As housing prices soar in the Pacific Northwest, owning a home can sometimes feel like a dream only accessible to the super rich. And building your own custom home? For many of us, that can feel like it’s not even on the radar. But at Reality Homes, we want to show that owning a home custom-built towards your needs isn’t just a vague possibility, but rather a concrete, achievable goal. And with some of the circumstances and effects of COVID-19, we’re reminded how.
First thing’s first…
The most important thing during this pandemic is that you and your loved ones are healthy. Around the world, there are lots of societal and economic byproducts of COVID-19 — some that are incredibly significant, and others that aren’t quite as high a priority — and some of these relate to our line of work. Obviously, the byproducts that are the most urgent are those that relate to everyone’s health, safety, and housing and food security.
One effect that’s worth discussing is on a topic that informs our work, and that’s how COVID-19 has affected homeownership — specifically, how mortgage rates have responded to the crisis.
Mortgage rates were already quite low prior to COVID-19’s spread, and since then they’ve dropped even more. This has us thinking about preconceived notions many people hold about homeownership, especially regarding the kind of custom homes in which Reality Homes specializes. For one, it seems like people often assume custom homes are exclusively within reach for the elite mega-rich and that, for everybody else, a stale, ready-made home is your only option to escape the money pit of renting. So, in an economy where housing security and homeownership is increasingly a luxury, we at Reality Homes like to show that not only is it attainable to own a house, it’s attainable to own a customized, true-to-yourself home.
What COVID-era mortgage rates remind us about homeownership
The current low mortgage rates have accentuated the fact that custom homeownership is a possibility for people who, in many cases, didn’t think that would be achievable. We get that a mortgage can be intimidating — and that the costs associated with a custom home can increase that sense. But we also feel that nobody who wishes to own a home should be financially barred from that possibility, nor should they have to settle for a cheaply-built, cookie cutter house. Owning a home that nurtures your sense of place shouldn’t be exclusive.
Along with these low mortgage rates, Reality Homes has a few traits that make a custom home possible. The first is that our down payment is only $3,000. That, combined with low interest on your mortgage — the lowest rate ever of 3.29% was recorded in March — means you don’t have to pay an unattainable amount now, nor must you feel the squeeze with high interest payments later.
The other cornerstone of Reality Homes is our commitment to energy efficiency. Besides being environmentally responsible, this also saves you a bunch of money. It can be a bit scary to think about homeownership’s monthly expenses and maintenance, but Reality’s focus on building energy efficient homes means both less expensive utilities and subsequently less wear and tear on utility infrastructure. Over the course of your home, you’ll then save many thousands of dollars.
These qualities combine with today’s low mortgage rates to put you in a favorable position for homeownership; a low down payment means the initial step is attainable, a low mortgage rate means long-term affordability, and an energy efficient home means fewer long-term expenses with utilities and maintenance. Together, these make custom homes a possibility for many who had assumed otherwise.
Most importantly, from your friends at Reality Homes: Stay safe and look out for one another. We got this!