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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Ready Homebuyers? Things Are About To Change

Glenn Brown

It’s been a perfect storm the last 3+ years against first and second-time homebuyers. 

But a change is coming, starting with anticipation of mortgage rates falling from 7%. 

Morningstar, echoing other analysts, in March shared current Fed Funds rate of 5.25-5.50% will be 4.00 to 4.25% at end of 2024. Furthermore, expect the Fed to continue to “cut through end of 2025, ultimately bringing the federal funds rate down by over 300 points”. 

Talk to realtors and lenders, they’re seeing activity pick up. 


Wait until mortgage rates fall to 5%, then homes in certain price points will have inversely increased in value. Whereas, if one can purchase now with expectation to lower ongoing expenses via refinancing later, you’ve capped initial co2006sts and participated in appreciation. 

Thus, first time buyers and those looking to move up, it’s time to plan. 

This means prioritizing your needs, wants, locations and budget for after you’ve moved into your new home. This last one is critical as lenders base your pre-approval on this moment in time, not the fact you plan to do X a year from now which requires more money in your budget. 

Due diligence should also include: 

Zillow, RedFin, Realtor - Scroll beyond pictures and into details of when built, sqft, interior features, acreage, adjacent home values and price/tax history. With price history, see when last sold, amount, then account for pictures or better yet when you visit, to see what’s been done since to determine value.  

Tax Assessments and Property Taxes - Regardless of Realtor views on tax assessments relative to asking price, know a $890K listing with town tax assessment of $620K for $9,300 property taxes, will get reassessed the following year. If bought for $900K, town likely comes in at $820K (or higher) for $12,300 property taxes or $250 extra a month on your budget. 

Financing Options - Explore beyond 30-year fixed rates. Understand directional interest rate landscape and how long you expect to stay in your home. Does a 7-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) make sense if the plan is to move in 5-7 years or refinance as rates come down 50-75bps? 

Mortgage and Cash Flow Calculations - The more variables, the better. Same with ability compare refinancing scenarios and contrast amortization tables. With clients, I’ll share, use links to save scenarios and then run these inside eMoney cash flow analysis. Together, we see impact on their future budget, cash flow 1-3 years out as well as long-term impact. 

For example, say one refinanced $600K in Sept 2020 at 2.75% on 30-year for $2,449 a month. 

In April 2024, decides to move with current mortgage balance ~$550K, using equity and additional savings, to add $150K to a new $700K mortgage at 7%. New monthly payment is $4,657, or $2,208 more. In 5 years (April 2029), outstanding balance is ~$658K without refinancing. 

Conversely, if able to pay $4,657 a month, decide to stay put with Sept 2020 mortgage and make $2,208 additional payments starting April 2024, the balance is $322K by 2029. Beyond the $336K spread after 5 years to move and borrow $150K, the Sept 2020 is now paid off in August 2035 and not 2050. 

But wait, there’s more to consider. 

What if the 7% mortgage is refinanced down to 5% by April 2026? New monthly is $3,634, or $1,023 less. Add this as extra payment starting 2026, what do you have? 

Understand money is a tool, not the only consideration. 

There is great value in doing what’s best for your family, educational or work opportunities and/or your personal choice of belonging to a community.

You should know this value going into a decision, not after it.   

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Glenn Brown is a Holliston resident and owner of PlanDynamic, LLC, Glenn is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ helping motivated people take control of their planning and investing, so they can balance kids, aging parents, and financial independence.

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