Teacher First Time Home Buyer Programs | Save with Homes for Heroes

Teacher first time home buyer

Teacher first time home buyer programs deliver a variety of benefits to educators who are beginning their journey into finding a home. Some deliver financial benefits, some provide rewards, some provide help at different stages and some deliver resources. When you are looking at your first home, the blizzard of details can be daunting, partly because so much of it is new. Don’t let that stop you, because there are professionals and friends who can help you.

Teacher First Time Home Buyer Programs

teacher first time home buyer programs
When you begin to sort through the programs out there they fall into three categories:
  • Programs that provide support
  • Programs that provide discounts
  • Programs that provide mortgage loan help

Let’s take a look at all three.

1) Support for a First Time Home Buyer Teacher

Homes for Heroes has been helping first time home buyer teachers find their first home, and save them significant money in the process for more than 20 years.

If you are a teacher, you are a hero. You play a crucial role in serving your local community. Homes for Heroes recognizes the importance of your role in the community and is dedicated to providing support, valuable services, industry expertise, and local market knowledge through their network of more than 4,400 real estate agents and loan officers. They specifically joined Homes for Heroes to serve teachers and other local heroes, and to help teachers like you save money on your first home. That’s the best part, teachers like you save an average of $3,000 when you use Homes for Heroes local real estate and mortgage specialists to buy, sell or refinance a home.

“Our real estate agent was fantastic to work with! She made every step of the home buying process simple and helped keep our minds at ease. Her dedication to helping others was very evident – we highly recommend Homes for Heroes.” – Eric and Taylor are teachers who purchased a house in Wisconsin.

Simply sign up online. There’s no obligation. A company team member will follow up with you to answer your questions, and when you’re ready to proceed, they will connect you with their local real estate and mortgage specialists.

If you choose to work with Homes for Heroes local specialists, after you close on your home, Homes for Heroes will send you a Hero Rewards® check. The average amount is $3,000 if you buy or sell a home, however if you do both, the average savings doubles to $6,000! After closing on your house, you can use the money to purchase new furniture or appliances, replace the carpet or re-paint the exterior of your new house. It’s yours to do what you want.

BONUS: the Hero Rewards savings offered by Homes for Heroes can often times be received IN ADDITION to the other savings outlined in this post. That’s why you’re able to save more with Homes for Heroes than other teacher first time home buyer programs who do not go above and beyond the benefits offered by federal and state programs.

2) Discount Teacher First Time Home Buyer Programs

It’s a little hard to believe, but there is a program that is a wonderful option for a first time home buyer teacher from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will sell you a house for 50% off.

The Good Neighbor Next Door is a national program. One of its goals is to make the home purchase more affordable for community heroes such as:

  • Teachers, educators and school employees
  • Law Enforcement officers and employees
  • Firefighters and first responders
  • Emergency medical technicians and other workers in the emergency medical services field

The eligible homes in the Good Neighbor Next Door program are in locations identified by HUD as revitalization areas. That means they are in locations where:

  • Household incomes are low.
  • Homeownership is low.
  • Foreclosure activity is high.

These neighborhoods need both economic and community development, and a good way to encourage that is to make foreclosed properties available to heroes at a half-off. If you get one of these deeply-discounted homes, you must agree to live there for at least three years.

With the Good Neighbor Next Door program, the properties that are available are offered first to the Good Neighbor eligible applicants seven days before they go on the general market.

Teacher First Time Home Buyer Programs for Mortgages

Most of the programs for first time home buyers that involve financial help come from the federal government, and most of them center around down payments. Although these programs are all called “loans,” they are really loan guarantees. That means these federal agencies will stand behind your loan. The actual money, however, comes from private mortgage brokers and banks. Getting approval from the federal government is one half of a two-part process. The other half is being approved for the mortgage with your lender.

In most cases, these federal programs are loan guarantees that insure your mortgage if you should default on payments. That, in turn, gives the private lender confidence in your mortgage application.

The VA Loan Guarantee

The Veteran Administration loan guarantee, if you are eligible, is probably the best of the federal mortgage programs in terms of benefits. Of course, you need to be a veteran, an active duty military member, a Reservist or a member of the National Guard. If you are a veteran who is now a teacher, it’s a great opportunity. The benefits of a VA loan guarantee eclipse the other programs quite a bit. The three advantages that provide the most financial benefit are:

  • No down payment
  • No private mortgage insurance
  • Lower interest rates

These three benefits alone can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars. Other benefits include:

  • The VA loan guarantee will limit your closing costs.
  • Does not require a minimum credit score (but your private lender may have a minimum).
  • You can use the benefit throughout your lifetime and can even have two VA loans at the same time if you are careful.
  • VA home loans are assumable.
  • There is no maximum loan amount, but the VA does limit its guarantee
  • The VA does not have a maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio requirement (but it does have guidelines for your mortgage lender)
  • You aren’t automatically disqualified from a VA loan if you have had a bankruptcy in the past. If bankruptcy was more than a year ago, you could be eligible.
  • The VA home loan guarantee can be used for single-family homes (up to four units), condos, manufactured homes, new builds and home improvements like solar panels.
  • VA Loans may also be used by the surviving spouses of military service members killed in the line of duty.

There are some costs, and one of them is the VA Funding fee. For the first time home buyer, the federal agency lowers its funding fee (2.15% of the total loan). The VA funding fee is a one-time fee you pay to get the VA loan, but it can be folded into your monthly mortgage payments. The funding fee is waived for veterans with service-related injuries, disabilities or recipients of the Purple Heart.

If you want to know whether you qualify for eligibility requirements of the VA loan, based on your service history, they have a very useful chart that explains it.

The USDA Loan Program

USDA loans are part of a national program for folks who want to buy a home in a rural area. The agency defines rural areas as towns with less than 35,000 people, and it includes most of the United States.

The USDA Loan program has benefits that include:

  • No down payment.
  • USDA home loans typically have lower interest rates.
  • USDA loans do not technically have a minimum credit score. However, most private lenders will ask for a score around 640.
  • You can use a USDA loan guarantee to build a new home or buy an existing home. You can also use the money to renovate or move an existing home.
  • USDA loans are assumable.

The USDA loan guarantee also has some fees at closing. It has an upfront guarantee fee that costs 1% of the loan. Then it has an annual fee that costs 0.35% of the loan amount. You can roll these fees into the mortgage so you don’t need to pay the money at closing. There are also upper income limits on these loans and the home must be your primary residence.

Since about one third of the teachers in the U.S. (32%) work in rural schools, this program should be a great resource for educators, teachers and school administrators.

The FHA Loan Program

The FHA loan guarantees are for low-to-moderate-income earners who have low credit scores. The low down payment rules and relaxed credit requirements make this loan guarantee a good option for educators who are searching for affordable housing.

Here are some of the advantages of the FHA loan guarantee:

  • Low Down Payments – The FHA has a minimum down payment of 3.5%. Typical mortgages require up to 20%. Your down payment percentage may be higher if you have a credit score below 580.
  • Low Credit Scores – This program was designed for those who have a low credit score and cannot get a loan from conventional lenders.
  • Assumable – FHA loans are assumable. An assumable loan lets you sign your current mortgage over to a potential buyer without a lot of the paperwork. In addition, they assume your loan at the interest rate you got when you bought your house. That becomes a significant advantage for a seller in a real estate market where interest rates have gone up dramatically (for example, this year)

The FHA system does require two insurance-type fees at closing:

  • The Upfront Funding Fee is 1.75% of the total financed amount. It’s paid at closing, but it can be rolled into the mortgage and paid over time. This is a one-time fee.
  • The Mortgage Insurance Premiums is a fee you will be paying annually for the life of the loan. The current rate for MIP is 0.55%. You can roll this into your monthly mortgage payments.


One teacher home loan program that’s not in place yet has a great deal of potential for educators: the HELPER Act. It’s not a law yet, but Congress is currently considering it. The name stands for: Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator and Responder. It is being compared to VA loans…but for teachers. It would be an amazing teacher first time home buyer program if it passes. The benefits include:

  • No down payments
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI)

Those two benefits on their own would potentially save you thousands of dollars, both up front and over the life of your mortgage. As with the other loan programs, there would be one upfront funding fee (3.6%) that would help in insure your loan.

The bill has bi-partisan support, and the President also supports it. If you are a public school teacher or educator, this is a bright spot in a tough housing market. The bill is waiting for action in the House Committee on Financial Services.

Receive an Average $3,000 Savings with Homes for Heroes

In addition to helping and supporting first time home buyer teachers, Homes for Heroes finishes up with a thank you check. It’s what we call Hero Rewards® savings and it’s a check we send you after closing on your new home. Teachers receive an average of $3,000 when they work with our real estate and mortgage specialists to close on their new home. And, if they buy and sell, the average savings doubles to $6,000.

At Homes for Heroes, we want to thank every hero in the nation, and that includes teachers and educators. We have the largest nationwide network of real estate and mortgage specialists ready to help you achieve homeownership.

Sign up now to get more information from our Homes for Heroes team. There is no obligation, cost, or extra paperwork for you. This is simply our way to say thank you for your service in the community.

Fill out this form to get started or learn more about Homes for Heroes, and we’ll reach out.

Veteran Home Loans | Get More Savings from Homes for Heroes

keys to a new home

Veteran home loans come in many shapes and sizes, but the one you should really concentrate on is the VA loan system. It can help veterans during various stages of their lives, whether you already own a home or are looking for a new home. The benefits of a VA loan guaranteed mortgage are substantial. Save yourself a lot of money, up front and over the course of your mortgage, by learning the basics of the VA loan system. The time you invest will be more than worth it.

There are other loans for veterans out there, and we will talk about those too.

Veteran Home Loans: Benefits of the VA System

young, smiling couple embracing each other and holding up a new house key after using veteran home loan to purchase house through Homes for Heroes

The military VA home loan program was established as part of the GI Bill right after World War II. It saw its 75th birthday in 2019, and it is still one of the most popular benefits offered to eligible veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs oversees it, and it has helped more than 25 million veterans and eligible service members since it began. It helped 1.2 million heroes in 2020 alone.

Before we jump into the benefits, it’s important to point out that the VA loan program doesn’t actually give you the loan. The loan, the mortgage and the money all come from either a private mortgage lender or a mortgage broker. The VA system insures the loan, guaranteeing for the lender so that they will get paid if you default. So, while it’s often referred to as the VA loan, it’s actually the VA loan guarantee.

What does that guarantee get you?
  • You will have no down payment on your mortgage loan.
  • You won’t need to buy private monthly mortgage insurance.
  • You will get a low competitive interest rate.
  • You will have a cap on your closing costs.
  • The program does not have a minimum credit score requirement–though many lenders will have a number they want you to have.
  • You do not have to be a first-time home buyer.
  • It’s a lifetime benefit–you can reuse the benefit.
  • VA home loans are assumable (which can be a big deal right now with interest rates rather high).
  • There is no maximum loan amount, but the VA does limit its guarantee. Veterans can borrow up to $647,000 without a down payment in most of the country.
  • The benefit can be extended to a surviving spouse or to families of soldiers killed in the line of duty.
  • The VA does not have a maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio requirement, which is the comparison of your monthly income to the debts you have to pay each month. It does, however, have strong suggestions to private lenders about what to allow.
  • Single-family homes (up to four units), condos, manufactured homes, new builds and home improvements like solar panels can take advantage of the VA home loan benefit.

Of course, some of these benefits have some fine print that you should be aware of. The “no down payment” is true, but only if your mortgage loan comes in under a certain amount ($647,000 for example). It’s good to work with a mortgage specialist who knows what they are doing when it comes to the VA.

As a veteran, you may already have a home, and you may have already used the VA system to finance the home you live in right now. But did you know you can use the VA to help you refinance your mortgage, not just one, but in two different ways?

Refinance Your Veteran Home Loans Using the VA

After you’ve owned your home for a while, refinancing your mortgage may become a useful tool to help you in your financial life. The VA can help with that too.


The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan is a refinance loan you can use the new loan to reduce the interest you pay on your mortgage. That typically becomes an option if interest rates are falling. Refinancing is a great idea. Why? Because it can reduce your monthly payment in the short term and your overall mortgage payments in the long term.

The VA characterizes the VA IRRRL as a streamline refinance. It requires a lot less documentation, fewer requirements and less stress overall. It is also a fast refinance and can typically be closed in about 30 days.

The VA IRRRL is only open to those who already have VA-guaranteed loans.

VA Cash Out Refinance

The Cash Out Refinance lets you refinance your mortgage and turn the equity you’ve developed in the property into cash. That means if you’ve been paying into your mortgage for years, that equity can become cash in your pocket. You can use this cash to repair your home, renovate it, install energy efficient elements, pursue your education and take care of emergencies (for example, medical bills). The choice is yours.

Unlike the VA IRRRL, this loan is not streamlined and very much like a typical refinance with all the rules and documents.

The big advantage for the Cash Out is that it is open to veterans who have VA loan eligibility but may have missed it the first time out. That ability to convert conventional loans into a VA mortgage, and get cash back, makes this a very attractive option under the right circumstances (see list of benefits above).

VA Grants You Should Know About

In addition to VA purchase loans, the VA has a couple of grants veterans should know about. They aren’t exactly Veteran home loans, but they designed these grants to help disabled and aging veterans make changes to a home to make it more livable. Two of the grants have almost identical names, so it’s tough to tell them apart.

The Special Home Adaptation Grant is to help disabled vets who want to build or buy or change their existing home to make it more accessible. In this case either you or a family member can be the owner. You must have a service-related disability and the maximum for this grant is $22,000.

The Specially Adapted Housing Grant is very similar, but this is for the vet who owns their own home and plans to live in it for some time. You need to have a service-related disability, and only 120 of these grants are issued each year. The upper limit on them is $109,986.

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations Grant will help vets make their existing home more accessible. This grant is not restricted to vets with service-related injuries–it’s open to all veterans. The lifetime limit on this grant is $6,800.

Other Options for Veteran Home Loans

There are two more federal government programs that are not military-specific, but they can help you find and buy a home if the circumstances are right. They are also worth a look.

FHA loans

The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA loans. With that insurance, the buyer only needs to put 3.5% down (conventional mortgages are much higher). Again, the government agency doesn’t give you the mortgage. It does, however, guarantee it so private lenders can reduce their requirements. The eligibility requirements are:

  • A credit score of 620* or higher
  • Proof of income (1-2 months of paystubs)
  • W2 forms for one year
  • An appraisal from an FHA-approved appraiser
  • Current debt information (auto loans, credit cards, etc.)
  • Acceptable debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
  • The home must be your primary residence

*FHA loans are available to home buyers who have credit scores as low as 580, but they do require mortgage insurance.

USDA Loans

Many retired military members are looking to live in rural areas or small towns. If that’s you, take a look at USDA loans. These loans, backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, offer:

  • No down payment
  • Reduced mortgage insurance

The government defines rural, in this case, to include about 97% of the U.S. map, so check this mortgage program out. It can save you thousands of dollars, both at closing and with your monthly payment.

At Homes for Heroes, we want to thank all the community heroes we can find, but veterans hold a special place in our hearts. They have the best stories and they inspire us. If you’re a vet, let us help you find a new home, sell your existing home, or refinance your mortgage. We have the team that can help you every step of the way. And then we will thank you with a Hero Rewards check at the end of the process.

Receive Average of $3,000 in Savings from Homes for Heroes

Homes for Heroes has been helping veterans for more than 20 years and our local mortgage specialists are adept at navigating Veteran homes loans through the VA.

“Overall great experience. I was able to use the Homes for Heroes program along with my VA loan and purchased the home of my dreams. The Homes for Heroes real estate agent was phenomenal and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you!” – Stephen, Navy, bought a new house in Texas.

Homes for Heroes can help veterans in at least three ways.

  • We provide a local, licensed real estate specialist who is committed to assisting their community heroes with buying or selling a home.
  • We provide a licensed mortgage specialist experienced in managing VA loans.
  • We provide Hero Rewards® savings after you close on a house or mortgage in the average amount of $3,000.

Because you need a private lender to get approved for a VA loan guarantee, we provide one.

On your part, there are no fees, no extra paperwork, no red tape. The process is exactly the same as a typical real estate transaction. You just receive excellent care from our real estate and mortgage specialists. And as a bonus for working with our local specialists, you receive Hero Rewards® savings.

For more information, or to speak with one of our local specialists with no obligation, simply sign up today.

To learn more about Homes for Heroes or to get started, fill out this form, and we’ll reach out.

8 Popular Home Design Features for 2022

There’s a lot to consider when selling your home, from the market and appraisals to where you’ll go next. Don’t forget, however, that design is also a key factor. It’s often one of the first things buyers notice when they walk into a home, and it’s also a detail that you, as a seller, can easily control.

According to Realtor.com’s 2022 housing market forecast, home for-sale inventory will increase from last year, as will the projected number of overall sales.1 This means, if you’re looking to sell in the near future, now is the time to consider how you can stand out.

Updating your home design is one way to do that. Changes like new security features or upgraded siding can add value to your home now and be highlighted when you market it for sale later. To get the most out of your updates, focus on these popular home design features that will wow buyers in 2022.

Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

Eco-Friendly Fixtures

Millennials account for the largest share of current homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.2 Sustainable living tops the list of priorities for this generation. A recent Deloitte survey found that nearly one-third of millennials initiate or deepen their consumer investment in products or services that help the environment—this also includes the houses they choose to live in.3

Here are a few eco-friendly design features that will be attractive to these millennial buyers in 2022. Bonus, they can net a significant return on investment (ROI) for you, as a seller, too.

● Energy-Efficient Windows: Heat gain or loss from low-performance windows drives 25–30 percent of home heating and cooling costs, according to Energy.gov.4 Therefore, energy-efficient windows can help homeowners save money.
● Low-Flow Water Fixtures: According to the EPA, replacing your shower head with one that’s labeled with WaterSense can save four gallons of water with each shower.5 Doing the same with your faucet can save 700 gallons per year. This leads to cost savings and environmental support.
● Native Landscaping: According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, 58 percent of members report increased client demand for native trees and plants as a means to combat biodiversity loss from climate change.6 Enhance the eco-friendly appeal of your home with some native plants in the front yard.

Wellness Retreat Nooks

The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health. For example, in an effort to prioritize mental health, many people are relocating to quieter, more peaceful homes, with 22 percent of city dwellers planning a move to less congested residential areas, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute’s (HIRI) 2021 Insights Summit.7

However, no matter where you live, you can still intrigue buyers by jumping on this trend. At-home wellness amenities, which were once viewed as luxuries, are now on many homeowners’ must-have lists. Indoor spaces that function as a retreat for wellness and self-care have become extremely popular, according to HIRI.

Improve your quality of life in your home with reading nooks, spa-inspired bathrooms, and exercise or meditation spaces. Even if your house doesn’t have the square footage to section off an entire room for relaxation, making simple tweaks to natural light, air purifiers, and indoor plants can help you feel better in your home now while enabling future buyers to see the opportunity for their own space.

Calming Paint Colors

Paint colors that produce a calming atmosphere will also be a key selling point in 2022. Soft earth tones and natural hues will prevail this year, including various shades of blue, green, brown, and beige. Recent research suggests steering clear of trendy paint colors in favor of a more classic palette to bring the feel of nature indoors in a subtle and soothing way.8

In fact, the same research found that buyers are often willing to pay an extra $4,698 for a house with a light blue bathroom or an extra $1,491 for a house with a dark blue bedroom. Another crowd-pleasing hue to refresh the walls with is BEHR’s 2022 paint color of the year, known as Breezeway.9

This shade of green with silver undertones was created to mimic sea glass. As the BEHR website describes it, Breezeway “evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”

Home Safety Features

Buyers want peace of mind more now than ever before. According to a 2021 survey from the American Institute of Architects, members report seeing an increase in the popularity of these home safety features10:

● Emergency backup power generation
● Accommodations for multiple generations
● Wider accessible doorways and hallways
● Home security monitoring equipment
● Interior ramps and home elevator features

Consider how you can build home safety features like these into the design of your home to enhance your quality of life now and attract more buyers later. For example, you could install a backup generator in the garage and sell it with the house or update your major doorways to be wider.

Before making an investment in expensive home safety upgrades, contact us. We can help you determine what will deliver the greatest ROI for your location and goals.

Designated Work Spaces

It may come as no surprise that after the pandemic, 63 percent of homebuyers want their next house to feature room for a designated office, according to the National Association of Home Builders.11 In addition, 70 percent of these buyers want the office to be at least 100 square feet (or a 10×10 room).

If you can, consider turning a bedroom or a den into a work-from-home office. When designing the space, make it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Position a desk near the window for natural light, install a bookshelf unit, arrange a few succulents on the work surface, and hang a few framed posters or a cork bulletin board on the wall. You want the space to foster productivity as well as be a place in your home you enjoy spending time.

When you get ready to sell, we can help you highlight your designated work space. Given the high demand for this design feature, it can help you interest more buyers and attract more competitive offers—if marketed creatively.

Luxury Kitchen Retouches

The kitchen has always been a main focal point of interior design, and that’s no different in 2022. Families will always need this space to come together in their own homes.

This year’s buyers want a kitchen with new upgrades and retouches, but you don’t have to renovate the entire kitchen to make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips on how to create a kitchen that buyers will love without spending too much money on renovations:

● Repaint the kitchen, keeping the calm and nature-inspired colors in mind that are most popular right now. Taking a kitchen from dark to light by painting cabinets and walls can make all the difference.
● Update the hardware. These kitchen “accessories” stand out and add personality to an otherwise standard kitchen.
● Update light fixtures to bring in more light while also adding a fresh look and feel to the space.

Unique Accent Walls

In a recent interview with the National Association of Realtors, Brian Santos, the director of education for Fresh Coat Painters, explains that bold, unique accent walls are trendy right now.12 An accent wall gives a home character while maintaining the calming feel of natural- and neutral-colored walls.

Santos also explains that this is part of a design aesthetic that draws inspiration from the Roaring Twenties, and it’s likely to remain a sought-after home feature in 2022. Here are some bold colors to consider for your home’s accent walls:

● Solid black
● Jewel or metallic tones
● Textured wallpaper
● Painted ceilings
● Built-in shelves

If you’re planning to sell in the next year, talk to us before adding an accent wall. Depending on your target buyer, it may be a design feature that actually hurts your home’s value. We can run a free Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help you understand what would resell best in your neighborhood.

Exterior Siding Updates

A new exterior siding refresh is one of the most affordable renovation projects you can do to help increase a home’s resale value. The average cost is just $12 per square foot, but higher-end material options can push costs closer to $50 per square foot.13 What’s more, there are many siding materials available, from fiber-cement, brick, and wood to vinyl, metal, and stone.

While all these options can infuse the exterior with character and add curb appeal, fiber-cement and vinyl deliver the highest ROI. In fact, according to a 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a vinyl siding replacement can boost resale value by $11,315 (68.3 percent cost recoup), and a fiber-cement siding replacement can boost resale value by $13,618 (69.4 percent cost recoup).14

Give your home this simple, affordable, and attractive facelift before putting it on the market. If you’re not sure how to get started yourself, our team can connect you with a trusted vendor to guide you through the process.

Keep These Home Design Features on Your Radar in 2022

These design features can infuse personality into your home while helping to close the deal if you plan to sell in 2022. The average buyer knows just what they’re looking for in a space they plan to call home, so with some investment and foresight, you can give your house an edge over the competition—and boost resale value in the process.

However, you don’t need to make all these changes to attract more buyers. We can help you determine which design features you should add to your home by sharing insights and tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. We can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area, which will help us decide what changes need to be made. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!


  1. Realtor – https://www.realtor.com/research/2022-national-housing-forecast/
  2. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends
  3. Deloitte – https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/2021-deloitte-global-millennial-survey-report.pdf
  4. Energy.gov – https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/update-or-replace-windows
  5. EPA.gov – https://www.epa.gov/watersense/about-watersense
  6. American Society of Landscape Architects – https://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=60427
  7. Home Improvement Research Institute – https://www.hiri.org/blog/4-major-home-wellness-trends-from-hiri-summit-speaker-dr-jie-zhao
  8. Zillow – http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2021-07-15-Homes-With-Light-Blue-Bathrooms,-Dark-Blue-Bedrooms-Could-Sell-for-Up-to-4,698-More-Than-Expected
  9. Behr – https://www.behr.com/colorfullybehr/behr-announces-2022-color-of-the-year-and-trends-palette/
  10. American Institute of Architects – http://info.aia.org/AIArchitect/2021/0910/aia-interactive/index.html#
  11. National Association of Home Builders – https://www.nahb.org/-/media/NAHB/news-and-economics/docs/housing-economics-plus/special-studies/2021/special-study-what-home-buyers-really-want-march-2021.pdf?_ga=2.188050984.1824982414.1639512139-1247360189.1639512139
  12. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/styled-staged-sold/hot-home-trend-the-accent-wall-is-back
  13. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/how-much-does-siding-cost-to-install/
  14. Remodeling Magazine – https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2021/

A Return to ‘Normal’? The State of Real Estate in 2022

Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that caused home prices to soar nationwide by a record 19.9% between August 2020 and August 2021.1

However, there were signs in the fourth quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In the month of October, only 60.3% of sales involved a bidding war—down from a high of 74.5% in April.2 While this trend could be attributed to seasonality, it could also be a signal that the real estate run-up may have passed its peak.

So what’s ahead for the U.S. housing market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.


Most economists expect to see mortgage rates gradually rise this year after hitting record lows in late 2020 and early 2021.3

Freddie Mac forecasts the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 3.5% in 2022, up from around 3% in 2021.4

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that rates will tick up to 4% by the end of the year. “Mortgage lenders and borrowers should expect rising mortgage rates over the next year, as stronger economic growth pushes Treasury yields higher,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association at their 2001 Annual Convention & Expo in October.5

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even a 4% mortgage rate is low when compared to historical standards. According to industry trade blog The Mortgage Reports, “Between 1971 and December 2020, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 7.89%.”6

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to lock in a historically-low rate. Whether you’re hoping to purchase a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, act soon before rates go up any further. We’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.


In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus and a shift to remote work triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labor shortages hindered new construction.

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to George Ratiu, director of economic research at Realtor.com, “Prices and sellers reached for the moon [last] year. It looks like we are now about to move back to earth.”7

Data from Realtor.com released in November showed that listing price reductions had more than doubled since February 2021. And the average days on market (an indicator of how long it takes a home to sell) has been slowly creeping up since June.7

What’s causing this change in market dynamics? The real estate market typically slows down in the fall and winter. But economists also suspect a fundamental shift in supply and demand.

At the National Association of Realtors’ annual conference last November, the group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, told attendees that he expects increased supply to come from an uptick in new construction—which is already underway—and an end to the mortgage forbearance program. “With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease,” he said.8

Demand is also predicted to wane slightly in the coming year. Rising mortgage rates and record-high prices have made homeownership unaffordable for a growing number of Americans. And in a recent Reuters poll, nearly 80% of property analysts said they expect housing affordability to worsen over the next several years.9

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Increased supply and softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with more inventory on the market, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.


Nationally, home prices rose an estimated 16.8% in 2021.8 But the average rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022.

Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, told Yahoo! News, “Home asking prices have decelerated in the second half of 2021, with median listing price growth slipping from a peak of 17.2% in April to just 8.6% in October.”10

But experts disagree about how much more property values can continue to climb this year. Goldman Sachs predicts that home prices will rise by 13.5%, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are forecasting a 7.9% and 7% rate of appreciation, respectively.2

However, not all analysts are as bullish. The National Association of Realtors predicts a 2.8% rate of appreciation for existing homes and 4.4% for new homes, while the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average home price to decrease by 2.5% by the end of the year.10,2

According to Hale, “With prices near all-time highs and mortgage rates expected to rise, we expect this slowdown in prices to continue.”10

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. We can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.


Along with home, gasoline, and used vehicle prices, rent prices rose dramatically last year. According to CoreLogic, in September, rents for single-family homes were up 10.2% nationally year over year.11 And economists at Realtor.com expect them to climb another 7.1% in 2022.12

“Homes are expensive now…but for most people, the comparison that is most important is how that cost of homeownership is going to compare to the cost of renting,” Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker told CNBC in November.13

Tucker also pointed out that rent is less predictable than a mortgage—and more likely to go up along with inflation.13

Real assets, like real estate, are often used as a hedge against inflation. That’s because property values typically rise with inflation.14 And when a homeowner takes out a mortgage, they lock in a set housing payment for the next 30 years.

In contrast, renters are at the mercy of the market—and they don’t gain any of the benefits of homeownership, like tax deductions, equity, or appreciation.

George Ratiu of Realtor.com told CNBC that he advises buyers to consider their budget and time frame. If they plan to stay in the home for at least three to five years, he believes it often makes sense to buy.13

Fortunately, it’s shaping up to be a better year for buyers. “I think 2022 has the promise of providing less competition, a lot more homes to choose from, and, as a result, a lot more approachable prices,” Ratiu said.13

What does it mean for you? Both property and rent prices are expected to continue rising. But when you purchase a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you can rest assured knowing that your monthly mortgage payment will never go up. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a real estate investor, we can help you make the most of today’s real estate market.


While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.


  1. Fortune – https://fortune.com/2021/11/04/us-home-prices-real-estate-forecast-2022-outlook/
  2. Fortune – https://fortune.com/2021/11/29/housing-market-real-estate-predictions-2022-forecast/
  3. Freddie Mac – http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html
  4. Freddie Mac – https://freddiemac.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/freddie-mac-strong-housing-market-will-continue-even-rates-and
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association – https://www.mba.org/2021-press-releases/october/mba-annual-forecast-purchase-originations-to-increase-9-percent-to-record-173-trillion-in-2022
  6. The Mortgage Reports – https://themortgagereports.com/61853/30-year-mortgage-rates-chart
  7. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/has-housing-market-peaked/
  8. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/nars-yun-says-housing-market-doing-well-may-normalize-in-2022
  9. Reuters – https://www.reuters.com/world/us/rise-us-house-prices-halve-next-year-affordability-worsen-2021-12-07/
  10. Yahoo! News – https://www.yahoo.com/now/where-home-prices-headed-2022-130012748.html
  11. CNBC – https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/16/inflation-rent-for-single-family-homes-surged-10percent-in-september.html
  12. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/what-to-expect-in-2022-housing-market/
  13. CNBC – https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/23/rising-inflation-hot-housing-market-what-you-need-to-know-about-buying-a-home.html
  14. Money – https://money.com/inflation-2021-stocks-bitcoin-gold-reits-commodities/

20 Unique Home Gifts for Every Person on Your List

Every year, it seems the holidays sneak up on us—and every year, that brings with it the dreaded last-minute gift panic. Finding a present that hits all the right notes can be surprisingly stressful, even when it comes to people you’ve known for years.

But have no fear! We’ve lined up a list of unique gifts for every “type” on your list. And since we work in real estate, they’re all centered around home life. From the coffee snob to the sports enthusiast, these presents are the perfect way to bring beauty, function or a touch of whimsy to your loved one’s home this holiday season.


We all know someone whose kitchen is their happy place—but once all the basics are covered, it can be hard to find the perfect present. These gifts will be a treat for the chef, baker, or food lover on your list, no matter how well equipped they are.

  1. The Coffee Snob
    Glass Pour-Over Coffeemaker – $36
    Have a java lover on your list who just can’t get their brew right at home? This high-end pour-over system makes a smooth brew that can even be refrigerated and reheated so your recipient can enjoy a perfect cup at any time.
  2. The Foodie
    Shiitake Mushroom Log Kit – $3
    Help your favorite gourmand create restaurant-quality meals with this kit that allows them to grow delicious mushrooms right in their cupboard. All they’ll need to do is soak the wood and put it in a cool place, then wait a few weeks, and voila—mushrooms! Best of all, they can keep growing mushrooms on the same log for years.
  3. The Baker
    Vintage Etched Cake Stand – $60
    If you’re lucky enough to have a fabulous home baker on your list, give a gift that reflects the joy their treats bring to others. This lovely glass cake stand is the platform that a beautifully decorated dessert deserves.
  4. The Tea Aficionado
    Flowering Tea Set – $25
    Your favorite tea lover may have tried all of the herbal blends out there, but we bet they haven’t seen tea like this. This set contains two “blossoms” of tea leaves hand-sewn around flowers that bloom when you place them in the included glass teapot and add hot water.


For many of us, time outdoors is the ultimate source of rejuvenation. The nature-lover on your list is sure to appreciate these presents that help them maximize that joy in their daily lives.

  1. The Gardener
    Striped Garden Tote Bag – $37
    Dedicated gardeners all need a great bag to carry their gear. This tote is attractive and sturdy and will help them keep their home’s exterior beautiful and welcoming.
  2. The Flower Lover
    Monthly Flower Subscription – starting at $40/month
    If your loved one prefers to enjoy their flora without all the work, a delivery of farm-fresh flowers is sure to surprise and delight. And you can keep the joy blossoming year-round with a monthly or bi-monthly subscription.
  3. The Environmentalist
    Collapsible Metal Straw – $20
    Know someone who is trying to bring less plastic into their home? This reusable metal straw means they’ll never have to buy a box of plastic straws again. And since it collapses into a tiny carrying case, they can use it at home or on the go.
  4. The Outdoor Adventurer
    Solar Phone Charger – $29
    Have a camper or adventurer on your list? This solar-powered phone charger, which comes with a built-in flashlight and compass, is a must-have. It will also make a great addition to their home emergency kit.


Like it or not, most of us spend a good chunk of our lives working—whether at a job or on projects and chores around the house. These gifts are designed to make that work a bit easier and more enjoyable.

  1. The Remote Worker
    Home Office Lap Desk – $35
    Working at home can be great—in part because you can work from anywhere in the house. The remote worker on your list will appreciate this lap desk with a built-in mouse pad and phone slot, which will allow them to work comfortably from the couch or the bed without overheating their computer.
  2. The Back-to-The-Office Worker
    Bento Lunch Box – $27
    If your loved one is heading back to the office, it doesn’t mean they have to give up the healthy habit of a home-cooked meal. Send them to work with this stylish lunch box packed full of nutritious food.
  3. The Do-It-Yourselfer
    65ft Laser Distance Measure – $50
    The handy person on your list can say goodbye to unwieldy tape measures with this nifty device. It’s perfect for DIY projects up to 65 feet.
  4. The Clean Freak
    Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand – $60
    In the COVID-19 era, we’ve all become a little germaphobic. This UV wand kills viruses and bacteria in seconds without any wiping or washing required. It’s perfect for disinfecting shoes, computer keyboards, and more!


Of course, there’s a lot more to life than work. If you’re gifting a friend or family member who really lights up when they talk about their hobbies, we’ve got you covered.

  1. The Sports Enthusiast
    Hockey Stick BBQ Set – $45
    Looking for a gift for the sports enthusiast in your life that isn’t another jersey? These BBQ tools made from repurposed hockey sticks are a great pick. Perfect for cooking up food to watch with the game!
  2. The Bookworm
    The Book Lover’s Journal – $13
    Know someone who loves to curl up on the couch with a good book? This journal will help the book-lover on your list keep track of what they’ve read, as well as their ever-growing “to-read” list.
  3. The Runner
    Marathon Map Hydration Bottles – $36
    Help the runner you love to stay hydrated (and motivated) with a water bottle inscribed with their favorite race route. It’s perfect for runs around the neighborhood or just toting around the house.
  4. The Tourist
    Travel Backpack – $100
    Make it easy for the travel lover on your list to bring back souvenirs. This lightweight backpack folds flat so it’s easy to pack but sturdy enough to carry their new treasures all the way home.


For many of us, the greatest joy in life comes from our relationship with our family. Help your recipient strengthen and celebrate those all-important connections with these thoughtful gifts.

  1. The New Parent
    4-in-1 Baby Food Maker – $155
    It’s hard to know what to buy for new parents once their registry is cleared out, but if they’re interested in making baby food at home, this tool is a must-have. It makes the process, from steaming to mixing, fast and easy.
  2. The Genealogy Fan
    DNA Kit – $99
    Know someone interested in reconnecting with their ancestral home? This DNA kit can help them trace their geographical heritage and uncover their family history.
  3. The Pet Person
    Custom Printed Socks – $25
    Is your friend’s pet their favorite family member? These adorable socks are sure to put a smile on their face as they cozy up on the couch with their fur baby. And since you can feature up to four pets on each pair of socks, no one needs to feel left out.
  4. The Documentarian
    Mini Link Printer – $100
    We all have that relative who snaps a million photos at every family event. Help them capture each precious moment with this unique gadget that essentially transforms a smartphone into a Polaroid camera. It makes it easy to customize and print out snapshots to display around the house or insert into a scrapbook for posterity.


We want to be your real estate consultants through every season of life. So please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to ask for recommendations or referrals any time of year. And when you’re ready to give yourself the gift of a new home, contact us to talk about your options. From finding the right neighborhood to identifying the amenities that will make the biggest difference to your quality of life, we’re always eager to help.