Having a run-in with the law is one of the quickest ways to disqualify yourself from homeownership.
According to research from a Rice University sociologist, getting arrested just once can keep aspiring owners from buying a house as quickly as their peers.
Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, assistant professor Brielle Bryan found that millennials who had any form of contact with the criminal justice system were less likely to own a home as quickly, and for as long, as their peers who had no criminal justice contact. That held true regardless of race, education and socioeconomic status.
"It was surprising the see that even low-level contact with the criminal justice system appears to be detrimental to homeownership prospects," she said in a recent edition of Cityscape, a Department of Housing and Urban Development publication.
The nation's 10 largest builders closed on 207,700 houses in 2019, according to Builder, a trade publication. That's nearly a third (30.4%) of the total new-home settlements that year -- and a far cry from 1989, when the national behemoths claimed just an 8.7% share.
D.H. Horton led the list, as it has since 2002, with 58,400 closed contracts -- an 8.6% share of all new-home settlements. Lennar was the second largest, with a 7.5% share.
Moving back home is probably the last thing young adults want to do. But it has its benefits.
Mom may not do your laundry, Dad may ask where you're going whenever you leave the house, and you might have to live under your parents' rules. At the same time, though, you could accumulate enough cash for a down payment on a house of your own -- and leave the nest for good.
It all hinges on whether your folks charge you rent. If they don't, and if you bank what you would have been paying for a one-bedroom apartment, according to an analysis from realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, you could have enough for a 5% down payment on a typical house in less than a year. Based on the national median rent for a one-bedroom unit ($1,533 a month) and the national median house price ($327,000), it would take just 11 months to save enough for 5% down (just shy of $17,000).
Of course, it will take longer in places where prices are higher. Across the 20 largest metros, it would take an average of 15 months to accumulate a 5% down payment, based on home prices and rent savings in each market. The 11-month scenario holds up in Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, but it could take twice as long -- up to 22 months -- in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
It's important for homeowners to keep and maintain accurate financial records for insurance and tax purposes. But if they are lost in a fire, flood or other disaster, it's difficult to prove -- or even estimate -- your losses in order to qualify for loans, grants or other kinds of assistance.
Here are a few steps to take to reconstruct your records:
-- Free transcripts of your federal income tax returns are available at IRS.gov/individuals/get-transcript, or by following the prompts at 800-908-9946.
-- Bank and credit card companies can provide copies of past statements, either online or on paper.
-- Contact the company that handled the closing on your house to obtain a copy of your settlement papers. Ask the appraiser for a copy of his or her report, too.
-- If you've made any improvements to your house, ask the contractor to verify the work and cost. Or ask anyone who's seen the house before and after to provide a written description.
-- Check with your county tax assessor's office for records. Even old, out-of-date files can help.
With a new federal risk-rating system set to begin in October, now might be the time to review your flood insurance coverage. Especially in the states where the cost for National Flood Insurance Program coverage will increase.
A new analysis from ValuePenguin says some 3.8 million homeowners will see their premiums rise under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new ratings.
FEMA's rate changes promise to correct the problem of policyholders paying rates that don't reflect their true risk levels, says ValuePenguin's Andrew Hurst. But rate increases will be moderate. Existing limits on annual rate hikes are still in effect, so most won't exceed 18%.
The largest proportions of homeowners who will see increases are in Hawaii (87%), Texas (86%), Mississippi (84%), West Virginia (83%), Florida (80%) and Louisiana (80%).
Overall, about 193,000 homeowners will be hit by the highest premium hikes. And about 1.2 million owners will benefit from lower premiums.
You wouldn't know it from the way would-be buyers are fighting over every house that comes on the market, but according to a Bankrate.com survey, millions of people have put off their home searches.
Some said they'll hold off until next year before restarting the hunt. But a significant portion said they're finished with the process indefinitely.