Building equity in your home is like a savings account – the more you put toward it, the better. Your home’s equity grows with each mortgage payment you make and with time.
According to BankofAmerica.com, you can calculate your equity based on current appraised value less any mortgages tied to your home. If your home is appraised at $400,000 and you owe $120,000, then your equity is $280,000. But that doesn’t mean you have savings of $280K; it just means that you have a general idea of how much your home will yield should you sell it at that moment, less closing costs, of course.
Lenders consider equity differently. You can begin building equity the moment you purchase your home with your down-payment. ($400K – 20% = $320K) Your loan amount would be $320K and the equity in your home would be $80,000. You can increase your equity by paying your mortgage regularly and paying a little extra every month, which speeds up the amortization of your loan.
To approve a home improvement loan or to determine whether to eliminate private mortgage insurance, lenders take the appraised amount and divide it by your loan balance to get a percentage of how much equity you have. Divide your current loan balance by your home’s appraised value, then multiply by 100. ($120K ÷ $400K = 35%) That means you own 65% of your home.
These numbers are theoretical until you sell your home. Meanwhile, watch your savings grow on your monthly mortgage statement!
Home buyers and home sellers want to know one thing – how much a home is worth. Fair market comparable data, assessments and appraisals are all relevant ways to determine value, but all values are not the same. So what are the differences?
Fair market value. This metric is used to help determine asking and offer prices for a given home for sale. Market conditions and the economy can cause home prices to fluctuate, so get an electronic comparable market analysis (CMA) from your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional. The CMA will include at least three recently sold homes (within three to six months) that are as similar as possible to the home you want to buy or sell, including the dates of sale, time on the market, addresses, age when built, square footage, condition, features and improvements.
Assessed value. Tax roll authorities use assessments to determine annual property taxes. They use market data such as CMAs from multiple listing services but also include non-market data such as type of ownership (homestead VS investment property) and age of the homeowner (taxes are often frozen for seniors).
Appraised value. Mortgage bankers hire licensed appraisers to ascertain whether or not a home is valued correctly to protect homebuyers and limit their own risk. They use sales and rental data, plus other formulas. If the appraised amount is lower than the sales contract amount, the buyer can either come up with more cash or back away, or the seller can lower the price.
Here’s a case for buying a less expensive home than you secretly want.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends approximately 37% of his or her income on housing. Notably, the top 20 percentile earners spend only 29.9% of their income, while the bottom 20% pay 39.9%. So what do high earners know that you don’t know?
If you have a little less money invested in housing, you’ll have more money to do other things, like:
Invest more in your 401K or Roth IRAs.
Pay extra on your mortgage so one day you’ll be mortgage-free.
Save money to buy another property. Rent out the first home for passive income as renters make your mortgage payment for you.
Build or add to an emergency fund.
Make improvements without adding more debt or tapping into equity.
Conventional loan guidelines from Hud.gov suggest that the average homebuyer spend no more than 29% of his or her monthly gross income on housing. If your gross monthly income is $4,167, spend no more than $1,208, which should include property taxes and home insurance.
What if you have current debts? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio be no larger than 43% to secure a qualified mortgage – one the lender has done the due diligence on your ability to repay the loan according to government standards. However, many lenders aren’t comfortable with more than 36% DTI and may charge you higher interest rates accordingly.