Introducing Stairs Financial: Your Operating System for Home Buying

Introducing Stairs Financial: Your Operating System for Home Buying

Hello world! We’re Stairs Financial–we help young Americans buy a home they can afford. We find homes within your budget and give you access to grants, loans and tax breaks.

We’re excited to announce that we’re a part of the YCombinator W22 batch! Thanks to YC and to our earliest investors at Antler for their support and belief in our mission to help people buy homes.

For a lot of us, buying a home means starting a family, building wealth, and joining a community. But it’s never been harder to buy a home, especially for first-time home buyers. Prices have been skyrocketing, inventory is low and competition is high. Buying a home is the biggest financial decision that most of us will make, but we don’t have the right tools and products to help us.

Today, we’re launching a home search product that shows you what homes you can afford–using your real financial data and the same formulas mortgage companies use to underwrite you. You can use this product to understand how your financial plans will affect your home buying goals, and find the home that’s right for you.

We’ve also built an investment account specifically designed to increase savings foryour down payment. Our balanced down payment builder portfolios are powered by actual real estate prices and investment data. We help you build your down payment faster than you would by saving in cash, but with less risk than saving all in stocks.

We’re just getting started, and we would love your input. Drop us a line if you’re planning on buying a home, or if you like our mission and want to help.

Malcolm-Wiley and Scott

What rising mortgage rates mean for home buyers

What rising mortgage rates mean for home buyers

For a few years now, home buyers have been pushed to buy homes to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates. But now, mortgage rates are finally starting to tick back up. In this post, we’ll go over the recent rise in rates and discuss what that means for buyers in the market right now.

Why rates are going up

Mortgage rates are the price of money to buy homes. Banks and lenders are responding to signs of high inflation in the economy in the past few months. The Federal Reserve raises interest rates to keep high inflation in check, and those rises in interest rates push up mortgage rates across the country.

The current national average for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.76%, up from around 2.75% in the middle of last year. Furthermore, many economists and financial experts expect mortgage rates to continue to rise in 2022.

The effect of rising mortgage rates on the real estate market

You might be wondering if you missed your chance to capitalize on low rates. It’s hard to predict how rates will move in the future, and it’s also hard to figure out how changing mortgage rates affect the real estate market.

When mortgage rates go up, a few things happen at once. First, it increases the total cost to buy a home, since you’ll pay higher mortgage payments for the same priced house, and those payments are spread out over the life of your mortgage. However, since this makes it harder for many people to buy homes, this can also reduce competition for inventory. This is especially relevant right now, with so many houses garnering multiple bids and even offers above asking.

What you should do in the face of rising rates

If you are currently in the market to buy a home, and you haven’t locked in a rate yet with a lender, it might make sense to lock one in now, in case rates keep going up. If you’re not in the market, keep an eye on how mortgage rates are changing in your area, and on how that is affecting prices and inventory in your market.

If you’re saving your down payment in cash, high inflation is destroying some of your hard work to buy a home. Think about signing up for our down payment roboadvisor, or managing inflation and market risk yourself.

What the Biden First Time Home Buyer Programs Mean for You

What the Biden First Time Home Buyer Programs Mean for You

On the campaign trail, President Biden ensured his supporters that housing affordability would be a key part of his domestic policy. For aspiring home buyers, the most important provision would incentivize home buying at the national level, the same way many states and local governments have. 

As a candidate, Biden proposed a $15,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. However, now that this measure has been introduced and debated in both houses of Congress, there are several different versions and approaches of home buyer support. Here’s the latest on each and what they might mean for home buyers. Neither plan has been ratified or implemented yet, we will update this with more information as things develop.

Downpayment toward Equity Act of 2021

This bill, currently in the Senate, would pay first-time first-generation home buyers up to $25,000 towards down payment and closing costs for a new house. There are a few catches though: homebuyers must meet income requirements, use a government-backed loan, and be a member of a traditionally disadvantaged group to get the full $25,000.

If you fit this description and you’re planning on buying a home soon, then you’re in luck. This bill is yet to be enacted, but if it is, it represents a significant increase in purchasing power available once you qualify for a mortgage.

Decent Affordable Safe Housing (DASH) for all Act of 2021

This bill, also currently in the Senate, would provide a $15,000 tax credit to all first-time home buyers. This tax credit, which represents 20% of the purchase price of the home, capped at $15,000, phases out based on income limits and home value by region. If this credit is more than your tax liability, you receive the difference as a rebate.

This bill applies to significantly more aspiring home buyers, but isn’t as good as money in your pocket. If you’re a first time home buyer and you’re planning on buying a home soon, you will be able to use this credit to offset your closing costs, and potentially plan for a lump sum around tax time.