June 2017

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner, there's plenty to learn from the survey results of the recently released Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report.

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Got vacation plans this summer? Follow these five tips to help keep your home safe while you're away.

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In the third installment of our four-part series on home buying, learn about costs you'll need to budget for in addition to the down payment.

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Results are in: The 2017 Homebuyer Insights Report

There's no question that buying a home is a big decision — certainly one of the biggest financial decisions anyone will make. If you're a prospective first-time homebuyer, you may be interested to learn more about the experiences of peers who are already benefiting from homeownership.

Bank of America recently released findings from the 2017 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, a survey designed to help shine a light on current home buying trends. Based on the report, here are answers to some of the questions that potential buyers may be asking:

  • "Am I too young to buy a home?" There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration for home buying, but age isn't one of them. According to the report, younger buyers who have made the leap understand the value of buying sooner and are confident they made the right decision. This group sees the positive impact homeownership has on their long-term financial picture (79%), and they believe owning a home is more affordable than renting (86%).
  • "What's the real value in owning a home?" Experienced buyers say the value of homeownership goes beyond dollars and cents. Homeowners value the emotional benefits of homeownership; 95% are proud of owning their home, and 91% treasure the memories they have made. More than three-quarters (78%) of owners say homeownership is not a burden.
  • "How much of a financial priority should home buying be?" Potential homebuyers who were surveyed rank paying off debts and bills (61%), improving credit score (47%) and saving for a new home (45%) as their top three financial priorities.

Find out more about what's motivating today's homebuyers in the second annual
Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report.

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5 home protection tips

Got vacation plans this summer? Before you head out of town, make sure you follow these steps to help keep your home safe while you're away.

  1. Alert your neighbors. Let neighbors that you trust know how long you'll be gone, and ask them to watch for unexpected visitors, maintenance crews or other suspicious activity. You could even ask one of them to park in front of your house so it looks like someone is home.
  2. Put your mail and newspaper delivery on hold. A large amount of unopened mail sticking out of your mailbox or sitting on your front porch can be a sign that the house is empty, making it a target for potential thieves.
  3. Set a timer for lights and electronics. If you don't already have one, consider installing a timer that allows you to set your lights, television and other electronics to turn on and off throughout the day. There are also apps (many of them free) that can provide a host of home automation functions through your smartphone.
  4. Be careful what you post. We all love sharing travel photos and posts about our experiences, but you never know who may see this information — or what may be done with it — especially if your social media accounts are public. Check your social privacy settings, and think twice before you post anything that would let potential thieves know that you're away from home for an extended period.
  5. Communicate with your home security company. If you aren't planning for anyone to enter your home while you're away and you have a home security system, give the alarm company a heads-up so they know to send the police right away should the alarm go off.

Source: "5 Home Safety Tips for Summer Vacations," by Elli Bishop, The Flipkey Blog

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Better Money Habits®: Plan for extra costs

There's more to buying a home than the amount of the down payment — and the more you know about the extra costs involved, the better prepared you can be financially.

For example, you'll want to budget for closing costs, which cover things like title insurance, appraisals and attorney fees. Closing costs are not included in your down payment and can cost 3% to 7% of the total loan amount.

You may also want to put money aside for new appliances, furniture, increased energy costs and homeowner's association fees.

To learn more, watch our short video "Planning for extra costs when buying a home."

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