Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macshares:

“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”

That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.

While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.

It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.

Bottom Line

The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and contact The Belt Team to explore your options in our area.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

What To Expect From the Housing Market in 2023

The 2022 housing market has been defined by two key things: inflation and rapidly rising mortgage rates. And in many ways, it’s put the market into a reset position.

As the Federal Reserve (the Fed) made moves this year to try to lower inflation, mortgage rates more than doubled – something that’s never happened before in a calendar year. This had a cascading impact on buyer activity, the balance between supply and demand, and ultimately home prices. And as all those things changed, some buyers and sellers put their plans on hold and decided to wait until the market felt a bit more predictable.

But what does that mean for next year? What everyone really wants is more stability in the market in 2023. For that to happen we’ll need to see the Fed bring inflation down even more and keep it there. Here’s what housing market experts say we can expect next year.

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates in 2023?

Moving forward, experts agree it’s still going to be all about inflation. If inflation is high, mortgage rates will be as well. But if inflation continues to fall, mortgage rates will likely respond. While there may be early signs inflation is easing as we round out this year, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Inflation is still something to watch in 2023.

Right now, experts are factoring all of this into their mortgage rate forecasts for next year. And if we average those forecasts together, experts say we can expect rates to stabilize a bit more in 2023. Whether that’s between 5.5% and 6.5%, it’s hard for experts to say exactly where they’ll land. But based on the average of their projections, a more predictable rate is likely ahead (see chart below):

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

That means, we’ll start the year out about where we are right now. But we could see rates tick down if inflation continues to drop. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“. . . mortgage rates could pull back meaningfully next year if inflation pressures ease.

In the meantime, expect some volatility as rates will likely fluctuate in the weeks ahead. If we see inflation come back under control, that would be good news for the housing market.

What Will Happen to Home Prices Next Year?

Homes prices will always be defined by supply and demand. The more buyers and fewer homes there are on the market, the more home prices will rise. And that’s exactly what we saw during the pandemic.

But this year, things changed. We’ve seen home prices moderate and housing supply grow as buyer demand pulled back due to higher mortgage rates. The level of moderation has varied by local area – with the biggest changes happening in overheated markets. But do experts think that will continue?

The graph below shows the latest home price forecasts for 2023. As the different colored bars indicate, some experts are saying home prices will appreciate next year, and others are saying home prices will come down. But again, if we take the average of all the forecasts (shown in green), we can get a feel for what 2023 may hold.

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That means nationally, we’ll likely see relatively flat or neutral appreciation in 2023. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

Bottom Line

The 2023 housing market is going to be defined by mortgage rates, and rates will be determined by what happens with inflation. The best way to keep a pulse on what experts are projecting for next year is to lean on a trusted real estate advisor. Let’s connect!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market:

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | MyKCM

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, reach out to The Belt Team so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down

Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | MyKCM

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down? 

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, reach out to Terry Belt & The Belt Team to explore your options.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, reach out to Terry Belt and The Belt Team and let our 30+ years of experience work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market?

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market valuethe demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, let’s connect so you have expert insights on how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

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Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home, you may have been watching what’s happened with mortgage rates over the past year. It’s true they’ve risen dramatically, but where will they go from here, especially as the market continues to slow?

As you think about your homeownership goals and decide if now’s the time to make your move, the best place to turn to for that information is the professionals. Here’s a summary of the latest mortgage rate forecasts from housing market experts.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Stabilize

While mortgage rates continue to fluctuate due to ongoing inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty, experts project they’ll start to stabilize in the months ahead. According to the latest projections, mortgage rates are expected to hover in the low to mid 5% range initially, and then potentially dip into the high 4% range by later next year (see chart below):

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

That could bring you some welcome relief. So far this year, mortgage rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to inflation, and that’s made it more expensive to buy a home. And wondering if the rise in rates will continue is keeping some prospective buyers on the sidelines.

But now that experts say mortgage rates should stabilize, this gives you a bit more certainty about what they think the future holds, and that may help you feel more confident about your decision to buy a home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, move up to a larger home, or even downsize, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Contact Terry Belt and The Belt Team to discuss your goals and determine the best plan for your move.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

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Real Estate Fact vs Fiction

If you’re following the news, chances are you’ve seen or heard some headlines about the housing market that don’t give the full picture. The real estate market is shifting, and when that happens, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help debunk the headlines so you can really understand today’s market and what it means for you.

Here are three common housing market myths you might be hearing, along with the expert analysis that provides better context.

Myth 1: Home Prices Are Going To Fall

One piece of fiction many buyers may have seen or heard is that home prices are going to crash. That’s because headlines often use similar, but different, terms to describe what’s happening with prices. A few you might be seeing right now include:

  • Appreciation, or an increase in home prices.
  • Depreciation, or a decrease in home prices.
  • And deceleration, which is an increase in home prices, but at a slower pace.

The fact is, experts aren’t calling for a decrease in prices. Instead, they forecast appreciation will continue, just at a decelerated pace. That means home prices will continue rising and won’t fall. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

“. . . higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

Myth 2: The Housing Market Is in a Correction

Another common myth is that the housing market is in a correction. Again, that’s not the case. Here’s why. According to Forbes:

“A correction is a sustained decline in the value of a market index or the price of an individual asset. A correction is generally agreed to be a 10% to 20% drop in value from a recent peak.

As mentioned above, home prices are still appreciating, and experts project that will continue, just at a slower pace. That means the housing market isn’t in a correction because prices aren’t falling. It’s just moderating compared to the last two years, which were record-breaking in nearly every way.

Myth 3: The Housing Market Is Going To Crash

Some headlines are generating worry that the housing market is a bubble ready to burst. But experts say today is nothing like 2008. One of the reasons why is because lending standards are very different today. Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst for HousingWire, explains:

“As recession talk becomes more prevalent, some people are concerned that mortgage credit lending will get much tighter. This typically happens in a recession, however, the notion that credit lending in America will collapse as it did from 2005 to 2008 couldn’t be more incorrect, as we haven’t had a credit boom in the period between 2008-2022.”

During the last housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. Since then, lending standards have tightened significantly, and purchasers who acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified than they were in the years leading up to the crash.

Bottom Line

No matter what you’re hearing about the housing market, let’s connect. That way, you’ll have a knowledgeable authority on your side that knows the ins and outs of the market, including current trends, historical context, and so much more.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

FREE INSTANT HOME VALUATION – Want to know what your home is worth? Click Here to get our free instant home valuation!

Should You Buy a Home with Inflation This High?

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still going up. You no doubt are feeling the pinch on your wallet at the gas pump or the grocery store, but that news may also leave you wondering: should I still buy a home right now?

Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains how inflation is affecting the housing market:

Inflation will have a strong influence on where mortgage rates go in the months ahead. . . . Whenever inflation finally starts to ease, so will mortgage rates — but even then, home prices are still subject to demand and very tight supply.”

No one knows how long it’ll take to bring down inflation, and that means the future trajectory of mortgage rates is also unclear. While that uncertainty isn’t comfortable, here’s why both inflation and mortgage rates are important for you and your homeownership plans.

When you buy a home, the mortgage rate and the price of the home matter. Higher mortgage rates impact how much you’ll pay for your monthly mortgage payment – and that directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. And while there’s no denying it’s more expensive to buy and finance a home this year than it was last year, it doesn’t mean you should pause your search. Here’s why.

Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation

In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. Not to mention, as home prices continue to appreciate, your home’s value will too. That’s why Mark Cussen, Financial Writer at Investopediasays: 

Real estate is one of the time-honored inflation hedges. It’s a tangible asset, and those tend to hold their value when inflation reigns, unlike paper assets. More specifically, as prices rise, so do property values.”

Also, no one is calling for homes to lose value. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicsays:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

In a nutshell, your home search doesn’t have to go on hold because of rising inflation or higher mortgage rates. There’s more to consider when it comes to why you want to buy a home. In addition to shielding yourself from the impact of inflation and growing your wealth through ongoing price appreciation, there are other reasons to buy a home right now like addressing your changing needs and so much more.

Bottom Line 

Homeownership is one of the best decisions you can make in an inflationary economy. You get the benefit of the added security of owning your home in a time when experts are forecasting prices to continue to rise.

Please reach out if you need assistance in buying your next home.

Info@TheBeltTeam.com | 703-242-3975 | Contact Us

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year

The housing market is at a turning point, and if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, that may leave you wondering: is it still a good time to buy a home? Should I make a move this year? To help answer those questions, let’s turn to the experts for projections on what the second half of the year holds for residential real estate.

Where Mortgage Rates Will Go Depends on Inflation

While one of the big questions on all buyers’ minds is where will mortgage rates go in the months ahead, no one has a crystal ball to know exactly what’ll happen in the future. What housing market experts know for sure is that the record-low mortgage rates during the pandemic were an outlier, not the norm.

This year, rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to rising inflation. If inflation continues to rise, it’s likely that mortgage rates will respond. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains it well:

“Until inflation peaks, mortgage rates won’t either. Without improvement on the inflation front, we don’t know where the interest rate ceiling will be.” 

Whether you’re buying your first home or selling your current house to make a move, today’s mortgage rate is an important factor to consider. When rates rise, they impact affordability and your purchasing power. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a team of professionals, so you have expert advice to help you make an informed decision about your best move.

The Supply of Homes for Sale Projected To Continue Increasing

This year, particularly this spring, the number of homes for sale has grown. That’s partly due to more homeowners listing their houses, but also because higher mortgage rates have helped ease the intensity of buyer demand. Moderating buyer demand slows down the pace of home sales, which in turn helps inventory rise.

Experts say that growth will continue. Recently, realtor.com updated their 2022 inventory forecast. In the latest release, they increased their projections for inventory gains dramatically, going from a 0.3% increase at the beginning of the year to a 15.0% jump by the end of 2022 (see graph below):

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

More homes to choose from is great news if you’re craving more options for your home search – just know that there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory on the horizon. Housing supply is still low, so you’ll need to partner with an agent to stay on top of what’s available in your market and move fast when you find the one. It’s not going to be easy to find a home, but it certainly won’t be as difficult as it has been over the past two years.

Home Price Forecasts Call for Ongoing Appreciation

Due to the imbalance between the number of homes for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, the pandemic led to record-breaking increases in home prices. According to CoreLogic, homes appreciated by 15% in 2021, and they’ve continued to rise this year.

Even though housing supply is increasing today, there are still more buyers than there are homes for sale, and that’s maintaining the upward pressure on home prices. That’s why experts are not calling for prices to decline, rather they’re forecasting they’ll continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace this year. On average, homes are projected to appreciate by about 8.5% in 2022 (see graph below):

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains why the housing market will see deceleration, but not depreciation, in prices:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.

For current homeowners looking to sell, know your home’s value isn’t projected to fall, but waiting to make your purchase does mean your next home could cost more as home prices continue to appreciate. That’s why, if you’re thinking about buying your first home or you’re ready to make a move, it may make sense to do so now before prices climb higher. But rest assured, once you buy a home, that price appreciation will help grow the value of your investment.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market, so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and what lies ahead, so you can determine the best plan for your move.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

FREE INSTANT HOME VALUATION – Want to know what your home is worth? Click Here to get our free instant home valuation!