By: Shmuel Shayowitz

There was much catching up to do after a few weeks of Jewish holidays. On my first day back, I had three early-day consultations with aspiring home buyers. These three were completely different in their geographical pursuits and their demographical makeup. Two were first-time buyers, and the third was looking to scale down from their current home. Yet after completing the three calls, I felt that my discussion was eerily similar with each of them.

I could understand how the conversation with the two first-time buyers could be similar, even though they were looking to buy homes in two completely different states, and their race and religions were entirely different. When it came time for the third conversation, I expected quite a different discussion, but we hit upon most of the talking points as with my previous talks.

While I always pride myself on educating my clients and being a resource to them for their homeownership needs, it mostly went on deaf ears. Today, I find myself teaching people about homeownership and financial undertaking, and for the first time, they are finally listening. I realized that I keep having the same conversation repeatedly because we are very much in unchartered waters, and people are starting to fear the future.

Over the past few months, real estate has changed. For those aspiring home buyers who have been “window shopping” for a home, and even those who went as far as getting pre-approved for financing and kicking around some numbers, it has hit them like a ton of bricks. The same is starting to take hold for homeowners who have owned their homes for fewer than 15 years. I am even seeing it with real estate professionals in conversations I have with many of the newer agents.

Quite frankly, the real estate market has only seen success over the past decade. Since the great recession, we have only seen increased home appreciation and valuations each year. At the same time, for the most part, mortgage rates have been gradually improving (even excluding the pandemic’s historical lows). Most real estate professionals don’t even know how to conduct business in an environment like the one we are about to face.

The fact of the matter is that there is no longer a guarantee of success merely by owning a home. Homeowners who have seen the value of their home (and equity) skyrocket over the past few years will be in for a rude awakening. For realtors who keep telling their buyers that real estate is the safest asset, that is no longer the case. Homebuyers who think they can’t go wrong buying a home at any price are simply in for a big surprise.

That said, I don’t subscribe to the theories of Robert Kiyosaki, Grant Cardone, Dave Ramsey and others who say buying a home is a terrible idea – it’s simply not true. As I often say, your home is likely the biggest asset a person has in their life – but it is also their most significant liability. Integrating your home into your short-term and long-term financial objectives is more critical than ever. If you own a home and have not done an annual financial review with someone, I implore you to do so now, before it’s too late.

Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at Shmuel@approvedfunding.com.

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