Move-Up vs. Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?

The pandemic has changed the way many of us live, work, and attend school—and those changes have impacted our priorities when it comes to choosing a home.

According to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 75% of respondents who have begun working remotely would like to continue doing so—and 66% would consider moving if they no longer had to commute as often. Some of the top reasons were to gain a dedicated office space (31%), a larger home (30%), and more rooms overall (29%).1 

And now that virtual school has become a reality for many families, that need for additional space has only intensified. A growing number of buyers are choosing homes further from town as they seek out more room and less congestion. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 40% of urban dwellers had considered leaving the city because of the COVID-19 outbreak.2

But not everyone is permanently sold on suburban or rural life. Instead, some are choosing to purchase a second home as a co-primary residence or frequent getaway. Without the requirements of a five-day commute, many homeowners feel less tethered to their primary residence and are eager for a change of scenery after spending so much time at home.

If you’re feeling cramped in your current space, you’ve probably considered a move. But what type of home would suit you best: a move-up home or a second home? Let’s explore each option to help you determine which one is right for you.

WHY CHOOSE A MOVE-UP HOME?

A move-up home is typically a larger or nicer home. It’s a great choice for families or individuals who simply need more space, a better location, or want features their current home doesn’t offer—like an inground pool, a different floor plan, or a dedicated home office. 

Most move-up buyers choose to sell their current home and use the proceeds as a downpayment on their next one. If you’re struggling with a lack of functional or outdoor space in your current home, a move-up home can greatly improve your everyday life. And with mortgage rates at their lowest level in history, you may be surprised how much home you can afford to buy without increasing your monthly payment.3,4

To learn more about mortgage rates, contact us for a free copy of our recent report!
“Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers”

One major benefit of choosing a move-up home is that you can typically afford a nicer place if you spend your entire budget on one property. However, if you’re longing for that vacation vibe, a second home may be a better choice for you.

WHY CHOOSE A SECOND HOME?

Once reserved for the ultra-wealthy, second homes have become more mainstream. Home sales are surging in many resort and bedroom communities as city dwellers search for a place to escape the crowds and quarantine in comfort.5 And with air travel on hold for many families, some are channeling their vacation budgets into vacation homes that can be utilized throughout the year. 

A second home can also be a good option if you’re preparing for retirement. By purchasing your retirement home now, you can lock in a low interest rate, start paying down the mortgage, and begin enjoying the perks of retirement living while you’re still fit and active. Plus, it’s easier to qualify for a mortgage while you’re employed, although you may be charged a slightly higher interest rate than on a primary home loan.6

One advantage of choosing a second home is that you can offset a portion of the costs—and in some cases turn a profit—by renting it out on a platform like Airbnb or Vrbo. However, be sure to consult with a real estate professional or rental management company to get a realistic sense of the property’s true income potential.

WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?

You may read this and think: I’d really like both a move-up home AND a second home! But if you’re dealing with a limited budget (aren’t we all?), you’ll probably need to make a choice.  These three tactics can help you decide which option is right for you.

1. Determine Your Time and Financial Budget


You may meet the bank’s qualifications to purchase a home, but do you have the time, energy, and financial resources to maintain it? This is an important question to ask yourself, no matter what type of home you choose.
Most buyers realize that a second home will mean double mortgages, utilities, taxes, and insurance. But consider all the extra time and expense that goes into maintaining two properties. Two lawns to mow. Two houses to clean. Two sets of systems and appliances that can malfunction. Second homes aren’t always a vacation. Make sure you’re prepared for the labor and carrying costs that go into maintaining another residence.
Of course, some move-up homes require more work than a second home. For example, if your move-up option is a major fixer-upper, you’ll probably invest more energy and capital than you would on a small vacation condo by the beach. Have an honest discussion about how much time and money you want to spend on your new property. Would a move-up home or a second home be a better fit given your parameters?

2.Rank Your Priorities

If you’re still undecided, make a wish list of the characteristics you’d like in your new home. Then rank each item from most to least important. This exercise can help you determine your “must-have” features—and which ones you may need to sacrifice or delay. Here’s a sample to help you get started:

FEATURE
Dedicated home office
Extra bedroom
Pool
Walk to the beach
Big backyard
Close to friends and family
Short commute to the office
Investment potential

3.Explore Your Options

Once you’ve determined your parameters and priorities, it’s time to begin your home search. 

If you’re still not sure whether a move-up home or a second home is right for you, we can help.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options and help you assess the pros and cons of each, given your unique circumstances. 

We can also send you property listings for both move-up homes and second homes within your budget so you can better envision each scenario. Sometimes, viewing listings of homes that meet your criteria can make the decision clear.

LET’S GET MOVING

Whether you’re ready to make a move or need help weighing your options, we’d love to help. We can determine your current home’s value and show you local properties that fit within your budget. Or, if your heart is set on a second home in another market, we can refer you to an agent in your dream locale. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

Sources:

  1. Zillow –
    https://www.zillow.com/research/coronavirus-remote-work-suburbs-27046/ 
  2. The Harris Poll –
    https://theharrispoll.com/should-you-flee-your-city-almost-40-have-considered-it-during-the-pandemic/
  3. MarketWatch –
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortgage-rates-keeping-falling-so-will-they-finally-drop-to-0-2020-08-13
  4. Toronto Star –
    https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/08/07/you-can-get-a-fixed-rate-as-low-as-184-per-cent-which-is-unbelievable-low-mortgage-rates-driving-up-home-prices.html
  5. Kiplinger –
    https://www.kiplinger.com/real-estate/buying-a-home/601091/timely-reasons-to-buy-a-vacation-home
  6. The Press-Enterprise –
    https://www.pe.com/2018/11/17/5-tips-on-when-should-you-buy-a-retirement-house-hint-before-you-quit-work/

Reap the Benefits of Your Realtor Even After You’ve Moved

Key Takeaways:

  • Our real estate expertise goes far beyond just buying or selling your home—you can rely on us for quality resources before and after you’ve moved. 
  • Whether you’re searching for the best local handyman, a notary, or something else entirely, you can trust our vetted providers to get the job done. 
  • If you ever need a real estate recommendation—today or years down the road—just give us a call for personalized advice! 

Unlock Our Exclusive Real Estate Recommendations

We like to consider ourselves real estate experts, and we love being able to share our knowledge with you! Throughout our years of working in the housing market, we’ve formed deep relationships with not only our clients, but with local trusted businesses, too. We’ve vetted these vendors ourselves so that you don’t have to play the costly game of trial and error. 

Need some personalized recommendations or strategic advice? Here’s how your agent can serve you even after you’ve moved.   

Sellers, we don’t stop at “SOLD”

couple with a sold sign

When we say we’re by your side every step of the way, we mean it—which means our services never stop at “SOLD!” Whether we’ve just listed your home or already sold it, we know there’s always more work to be done. Seemingly small details go a long way in making a house a home. We’ve worked with the best professional landscapers, painters, and cleaners in the area—all contacts you need to put the finishing touches on your space. 

We consider our clients to be one of our own, which means our exclusive buying and selling resources are always available to you. At any time, you can see if your home value has increased using our free estimator or jumpstart the buying process after you sell with our advanced search tool. Our real estate professionals have gained invaluable experience in working with our clients, so we try to return the favor whenever possible by providing in-depth insight.    

New homeowners, you’re not done with us yet

Couple holding keys to a home

We loved helping you find your dream home so much that we want to keep working with you—and honestly, we think we’re going to need each other! Homeownership is a huge investment, so you want your new place to be in tip-top shape at all times. 

First things first, it’s important to change your locks when you move into your home, since you don’t know who might have a copy of your keys. Don’t know of a local locksmith? Don’t worry, we’ll open some doors for you! Don’t let a household repair linger just because you don’t know a trusted provider who can get the job done. Whether you’re looking for a handyman to lend a helping hand on a home project or need repairs for your HVAC, you can count on our personalized recommendations for the most reliable providers in the area!

And for when you’ve been watching (maybe too much) HGTV

Older couple talking about renovations

We get it, watching Fixer Upper makes you want to DIY your entire home, especially if you’re thinking about listing soon or just moved in. But for when you’re not in the mood to do it all yourself, we’ve got contacts for everything from new light fixtures to full-on home renovations. Our desire for you to live in your dream home doesn’t stop when you sign the closing documents, and we will always be available to help with any home improvements. 

Want Access to Our Preferred Vendors?

Working with a top-notch real estate agent means you’ve gained a partner for life. So when anything comes up in your buying, selling, or homeownership journey, just give us a call! 

Whether you’re at the beginning of the selling process or have already bought your dream home, you can always rely on us to connect you with the area’s best vendors. Contact us today for any recommendations you may need—and don’t forget, we’re locals too, and we love to catch up with our clients! 

Houston, Tx is a SELLER’S MARKET and it’s a HOT one.

Houston Tx, We have a SELLER’S MARKET

When our inventory of homes goes below 3 months, it’s a SELLERS market. We are currently at 1.4 months of inventory.

This means the seller calls the shots. * In our Houston market we are seeing many homes with multiple offers and some of those offers are CRAZY! In a multiple offer situation, the seller gets to pick who they work with. There are a number of factors that play a role in an offer and all of those are negotiable items.

As a buyer coming into this market you have to know what to expect.

BUT WHY?

People are moving to Houston

People are moving to Texas from different states and a few other countries as well. They are selling high and willing to pay cash (25% of buyers) or willing to offer more due to their markets being more expensive. Or just because they can. As a buyer in this market you must come prepared and ready to give your best.

Interest rates hit lowest point in over 30 years

In 2020 interest rates ht the lowest point in over 30 years. This prompted many buyers that were on the fence to buy. Rates have been fluctuating since but they are still very low.

Lack of Inventory

Even before COVID Texas already had a shortage of homes coming to the market. In the past 10 years, the 3 mayor metropolitan areas in Texas, have seen less than 6 months of inventory which indicates a balanced market. *Our market here in Houston currently has 1.4 MONTHS OF INVENTORY! That means we have a large demand and not a lot of houses to sell.

Pandemic changing people’s habits and lifestyles.

Last but not least, WE have changed the way we live and the spaces we need to work from home, study from home, vacation at home, etc. More outdoor space, more office space, more space period.

Prices have gone UP

In Houston Tx, our average home price has gone up 20% year over year and it is now at $370,000.*

As we see inventory disappear in only a couple of days with multiple offers way over asking price, cash offers and all kinds of waivers on offers. This is resulting in prices going up at a crazy rate.

Are you still thinking about SELLING your home?

If you have any questions about the information provided here, or any other real estate questions I will be more than happy to answer those for you.

If you want to know how much your home is worth today, and if it would make sense to sell, I will be more than happy to have a non obligation consultation with you.

At the end of this week I will be able to offer a product that will make it super easy for my sellers to purchase a home before they sell! Game changer for sure.

If you are looking to purchase in today’s market, I will be more than happy to have a sit down conversation to set the right expectations for this market as a buyer.

Master Certified Negotiation Expert
Certified Multiple Offer Expert
  • *Information from Houston Association of Realtors.

The Top 4 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home with a Pool

Key Takeaways:

  • Pools are a highly coveted amenity, and having one of your own comes with quite a few perks.
  • Want to know the ins and outs of pool ownership? We’ve outlined some must-ask questions that every homebuyer should consider.
  • No matter what kind of home you’re looking to buy, you can always reach out to us for advice—give us a call to start your next chapter!

Here Are the Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Home with a Pool

If you’re in the market for a new home, a pool might be at the top of your wishlist—and having one comes with quite a few health, entertaining, and financial benefits! However, before you commit to buying a home with this luxurious feature, there are some questions you might want to ask first.

Want to learn the ins and outs of buying a home that comes with a pool? Here’s everything you need to know. 

What are the most common types of pools?

Pool with deck and chairs

Generally, most pools fall into two categories: above-ground and in-ground. Above-ground pools cost less to maintain and are statistically safer. However, in-ground pools blend into your yard’s natural landscape, and because they’re permanent, they may increase your home’s value over time. 

Pools can also be subdivided into a number of other categories based on their materials (fiberglass, concrete, etc.), the type of water (fresh or saltwater), and styles (lap pools, infinity pools, or spas). It’s best to do plenty of research in advance and ask your agent for more details on a home’s pool.

What should I know about pool maintenance?

Cleaning a pool

In most cases, pools cost around $100 or more each month to maintain and can require an hour of work per week depending on the season. However, this number varies based on your location and whether or not you use a professional service.

As a pool owner, you’ll be responsible for cleaning any debris, adding pool chemicals, as well as maintaining the pump and filter. You may also want to periodically test pH levels, vacuum your pool, and use cleaners to shock the water.

Over time, your pool will require more expensive maintenance, especially if a part goes bad or there’s a problem with the overall structure. If you have any concerns, your agent can be a helpful resource as you weigh the pros and cons.

Should I worry about pool safety?

If you plan on having children or pets near your pool, you want to ensure that it has the latest safety features. Fencing, mesh covers, and pool alarms add another layer of protection for all ages. If a pool doesn’t already have these upgrades, you’ll want to factor in the cost of adding them. More costly gadgets—such as alarms and fences—will set you back a few hundred dollars. 

Will home inspectors check a pool?

Checking a pool's chemical levels

Home inspectors almost always check a pool during their evaluation. However, if they aren’t well-versed in the specifics of pool maintenance, they may miss some critical issues. If you have any in-depth questions about a pool’s condition, hire a professional pool inspector before the closing. They’ll go beyond a general checklist and give you a thorough look at any problems a pool might have. Most pool inspectors will also provide an itemized list of potential repairs that can help you negotiate the final price of a home.

Want to know some of the most common red flags inspectors might point out? Be wary of any cracks in the pool’s interior, foul-smelling or off-color water, clogged filters, or broken equipment. 

Ready to Have Some Fun in the Sun?

Pools can require some effort and money to maintain, but you simply can’t beat the benefits of having your own swimming space. If you’re dreaming of buying a home with a pool, we’d love to help you track down your perfect place! Just give us a call to get started—we look forward to working with you!

Selling a home with a pool? Contact us to learn more about getting top-dollar in no time at all.

What Every Seller Should Know About Home Inspections

Key Takeaways:

  • Even in today’s hot market, it’s not uncommon for buyers to request an inspection before purchasing a home.
  • Believe it or not, there are a few steps you can take as a seller to prepare for your home’s big assessment.
  • If you’re ready to list and sell in no time at all, contact us to get the ball rolling!

4 Tips to Help Sellers Ace a Home Inspection

Home inspections—almost every buyer wants one, and they’re often a necessary part of the selling process. Even in 2021’s competitive market, it’s not uncommon to see an inspection contingency attached to an offer, and many sellers have a few questions about what exactly they entail. 

Want to learn the secret to acing your inspection as a seller? Here are a few tips that can help you prepare for your home’s big close-up.

Get a pre-listing inspection

Reviewing home inspection report

Even if your home seems move-in ready, it might still have a few issues you don’t know about. This is why many agents recommend getting a pre-listing inspection to uncover any problems ahead of time. It might cost a bit out of pocket, but it will help you know exactly what you need to fix before your home hits the market. Pre-listing inspections also prevent any surprises down the line and give you more control over the sale.

After your inspection, you can choose to repair any problems or simply let buyers know about them. If you have any questions about what should or shouldn’t be updated, just ask your agent for advice.

Don’t conceal any known problems

Home inspector looking at stairs

Most states require sellers to disclose a home’s known defects, even after they’ve been repaired. While it may be tempting to conceal these issues, doing so can come with serious legal ramifications.

For example, if your home has known water leaks or you’ve made major structural repairs, you’ll likely be required to communicate them to potential buyers. Home inspectors will take your disclosures into account during their analysis, so it’s important to be as truthful as possible. Luckily, your agent can serve as a helpful resource for understanding necessary disclosures!

Do a little prep work

Gathering receipts

Preparing for a buyer’s inspection shouldn’t involve expensive repairs. If your home is already clean and properly staged, there’s actually not a lot you have to worry about. However, there are a few steps you can take to get your space ready for inspection day.

Start by gathering all documents relating to your home—that includes proof of services and receipts from big-ticket purchases (like HVAC systems or appliances). You should also replace your air filters, check your light bulbs, eliminate clutter, and do a quick once-over of your home to make sure everything is in working order.

Know how to negotiate

Real estate agent helping sellers negotiate after an inspection

During an inspection, a qualified professional will spend a few hours examining your home from top to bottom. Generally, they’ll check major components, such as your roof, electrical wiring, plumbing, the foundation, HVAC systems, and all major appliances. It’s normal for an inspector to uncover a few issues—but after the inspection, the ball is back in your court.

In most circumstances, a buyer will request repairs or credits once they review the inspection report. But in today’s seller-driven market, some buyers only conduct an inspection for informational purposes. If you have any questions about post-inspection negotiations, it’s best to defer to your agent. They have the expertise you need to secure the best possible deal.

Looking for More Selling Tips?

Whether you’re eager to list or just have a few questions about selling, you can always give us a call for personalized real estate advice. We’re here to help you navigate every step of the home-selling process, and we can even tell you how much your home is worth in 2021’s crazy market.

Ready to get started? Drop us a line—we look forward to teaming up with you!

5 Questions Sellers Keep Asking About 2021’s Hot Real Estate Market

Key Takeaways:

  • Today’s real estate market is heavily skewed towards sellers, making now the perfect time to list your home.
  • Many would-be sellers have questions about moving when the market is this hot—and we have the answers you need to get started.
  • If you’re considering selling your home soon, it’s crucial to work with a top local agent. Give us a call to see what we bring to the table!

The Top 5 Questions Every Seller Asks in Today’s Market

Whether you’re eager to list or are just thinking about selling, you’ve probably heard that the 2021 real estate market is one for the record books. Since last year’s swift economic recovery, home values just keep getting higher, and it’s not uncommon for listings to sell over asking price in just a few days. And according to the National Association of Realtors, the typical home is now selling for 14.1% more than last year. 

Have a few reservations about listing your home right now? Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we hear from our sellers.

Should I even consider selling right now?

White sold home sign

To put it simply: yes! There’s never been a better time to sell, especially if you’ve built up equity by living in the same home for a while. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen a national housing shortage, record-low interest rates, and a surge of serious buyers. This has driven prices to all-time highs, and many buyers are even waiving contingencies or paying extra for the right home.

Looking for another reason to move? A recent survey by NerdWallet found that one in six homeowners plan to list their home in the next 18 months. So if you want to take advantage of today’s crazy market and beat out the competition, you shouldn’t wait much longer. 

Will I be able to buy a new home after I sell?

Couple buying a home

A majority of homeowners aren’t worried about selling their home—they’re actually more concerned with buying a new one. If your home sells quicker than you expect, you still have options. You may be able to request “use and occupancy” or “rent-back” contingencies from your buyer, which allow you to live in your current home until you find a new one. It’s also worth asking your buyer if they’re willing to be flexible with the closing date. Depending on your situation, it might even be more advantageous to buy before you sell.

Do I need to work with an agent if the market is so hot?

Clients talking to an agent

Many homeowners believe they can make an even bigger profit by not using an agent, particularly in a seller’s market. While you may save some money on commission, you could end up selling your home for below its true market value. And let’s be honest—nobody has time to sort through dozens of offers or handle all the complicated paperwork that comes with selling a home!

If you want to price your home right and ensure a stress-free selling experience, it’s worth paying for an agent.

Should I still stage my home or make improvements?

Painting a wall white

Unless your home is in dire need of an update, there’s no need to make any major changes before you list. However, it’s still a good idea to do a little staging to get your space looking its best. Start by tidying up, getting rid of clutter, and depersonalizing as much as possible.

If you’re trying to sell a fixer-upper and don’t want to complete any repairs, consider listing “as-is.” This tells potential buyers that you won’t be making any changes—what they see is what they get.

What’s my home worth in today’s market?

Increasing home values

Tempted to use an online estimator to see how much your home is worth? Before you type in your address, consider reaching out to a local real estate agent instead. The real estate market in our area changes day by day, and an agent will have up-to-date data that’s more accurate than any algorithm.

If you’ve lived in your house for at least a few years, your property has probably increased in value more than you’d expect. Get in touch with us today for a complimentary valuation, or give us a call for more personalized advice!

Sell Your Home with Confidence

Selling your home shouldn’t be a stressful experience. If you have even more questions about today’s market, just drop us a line—we’re here to make the entire process hassle-free! 

Curious about your home’s value? Send over your address, and we’ll conduct a free, no-obligation home value estimate.

4 Tricks to Buying a Home in a Crazy Hot Market

Key Takeaways:

  • Despite the ongoing pandemic, the real estate market is more competitive than ever before—and that means buyers have to do more to get their offer accepted.
  • Want to stand out from the competition and score the home of your dreams? Our four tips can help you achieve real estate success in no time.
  • If you have any questions about buying in today’s hot market, just give us a call for even more personalized advice!

The 4 Tips Every Buyer Needs to Know in 2021

If you’ve been house-hunting for a while, you’ve probably noticed that today’s real estate market is more than just a little competitive. Low mortgage rates, high demand, and dwindling inventory have created ideal conditions for sellers—but it’s still very possible to score a fantastic deal on a home.

Want to know the secret to buying a home in 2021? Here are four tips that can help you take back control in a seller-driven market.

Get your finances in order

Calculating mortgage payments

First and foremost, you need to get your finances in order before you even consider looking at homes. Start by paying off as much debt as you can and increasing your credit score. It’s also a good idea to keep track of just how much you have saved for a down payment. Sellers are more likely to choose buyers who can put down at least 15% or pay cash.

Want to strengthen your offer even more? Get preapproved or attach a higher earnest money deposit to show a seller you’re serious about buying their home.

Know what you want

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting milestones. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the little details—which is why it’s crucial to do your research in advance. Connect with a local agent early on to discuss your home-buying goals. A good agent will help you hone in on your budget, wants, and needs, as well as the right area or neighborhood.

Prepare for a bidding war

Negotiating a deal

According to a recent survey by Redfin, more than half of all buyers found themselves in a bidding war last year. And while the idea of competing against other home-seekers might seem overwhelming, there are a few things you can do to stand out. 

If you’re trying to score a house with multiple bids, send in your best and final offer up front. You may also want to include an escalation clause, which automatically increases your purchase price by certain increments (like a few thousand dollars at a time) so you avoid getting outbid.   

It’s also a good idea to consider homes below your budget, especially if you have your heart set on a popular neighborhood. This gives you some flexibility if you end up in a bidding war. 

Appeal to the seller

Talking about real estate

Even if you find yourself in a bidding war, it’s still possible to come out ahead. Believe it or not, sellers don’t always choose the highest offer, even if it far exceeds the original asking price. 

You can appeal to a seller’s peace of mind by limiting your contingencies, offering to pay closing costs, and letting them choose the closing date. Adding these extra bonuses might seem minor, but they can really impact a seller’s final decision.

Only Buy with the Best

Working with a top-notch agent can help you navigate 2021’s crazy real estate market with ease. So if you’re looking for some guidance, it’s time to give us a call!

Whether you’re at the beginning of the buying process or are already searching for a home, you can trust us to help you find your perfect place. Contact us today to get started; we look forward to working with you.

What Makes Today’s Real Estate Market So Competitive?

Key Takeaways

  • This year’s housing market is shaping up to be the most competitive on record, but the pandemic isn’t the only thing influencing the national real estate boom.
  • There are actually quite a few factors contributing to today’s hot market, including unfettered buyer demand, historically low supply, and steady interest rates.
  • Have questions about buying a home in 2021? Get in touch with us for even more personalized advice.

3 Factors That Make 2021’s Real Estate Market More Competitive Than Ever

If you’re planning a move, you might be wondering how the real estate market will change this year—and the predictions are pretty eye-opening. Existing home sales are expected to increase by 9%, home prices could rise by a whopping 8%, and mortgage rates should stay well below 4% for the foreseeable future. 

For buyers, this means you may have to work harder than usual to find the perfect place. However, this extra effort will pay off if you have a home to sell or want to take advantage of extraordinarily low interest rates. 

Need help making sense of today’s market? Here are a few reasons why real estate is more competitive than ever in 2021. 

The ongoing pandemic

Buying a home during the pandemic

A year ago, real estate experts had no idea how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact the housing market. While many predicted a crash akin to what we saw in 2008, we actually saw the opposite: a pandemic housing boom.

During last year’s lockdowns, many renters and homeowners grew unhappy with their living situations and wanted a change. This caused demand for homes to spike—and as panicked sellers pulled their listings, prices rose higher and higher.

The pandemic might slowly be coming to an end, but we’re still seeing remnants of 2020 in today’s market. And while more sellers are finally warming up to the idea of listing again, available housing supply is still at its lowest point ever.

Record-low interest rates

Dice changing rates

In late March, interest rates for 15- and 30-year mortgages hovered around 2.5% and 3.3%, respectively. Although these numbers aren’t quite as low as they were in 2020, buyers can still score a once-in-a-lifetime deal by moving now.

To put things into perspective, let’s say you’re thinking about buying a $300,000 house with a 20% down payment. Back when rates were nearing 4%, you could expect to pay around $1,200 per month for your mortgage. However, if you were to buy that same home with a 3% interest rate, your payment would drop to just $1,012—and that difference can save you tens of thousands of dollars over time.

Low inventory & unprecedented buyer demand

Sold sign

Real estate is all about supply and demand. And in today’s competitive market, an inventory shortage and swelling buyer demand have created perfect conditions for sellers. In particularly popular areas, it’s not uncommon for homes to sell just days after they’re listed, sometimes in bidding wars that go above the original asking price.

If you’re thinking about buying a home soon, be prepared to act fast. Many agents recommend getting pre-approved, limiting your contingencies, or even setting an escalation clause to automatically outbid other buyers.

Bottom Line: Now Is the Time to Move

Navigating 2021’s one-of-a-kind real estate market may seem like a daunting task, but the right agent will help you through every step of the process. Today’s buyers can capitalize on shockingly low interest rates, while sellers stand to make an impressive profit should they decide to list soon. And if you ever have any questions, we’re always here to help!

Buying or Selling Soon? Let’s Talk!

Don’t let the market keep you from making a move. If you’re ready to achieve real estate success in no time at all, drop us a line to get started. We’d love to offer you one-on-one buying or selling advice that’s tailored to your unique needs.

Exposing the 4 Factors Agents Use to Price Your Home Right

Key Takeaways:

  • Before you list your home, it’s crucial to understand how much a buyer would be willing to pay for it.
  • Your agent will use a variety of factors to determine a competitive list price—and some of them might be a little unexpected.
  • If you’re looking for a fast and accurate way to price your home, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a complimentary estimate!

4 Surprising Factors That Go Into Pricing a Home

Pricing your home to sell quickly—even in today’s hot real estate market—is all about balance. You want to price low enough to attract potential buyers, but high enough to profit from your equity. And while it may be tempting to use automatic estimators, it’s best to leave the number-crunching to your agent.

Need help determining the perfect price? Here are a few factors your agent will take into consideration when valuing your home.

Your home’s size and condition

House with coin stacks

This may seem like a given, but a home’s size, condition, and features play a huge role in how much it’s worth. Before you list, your agent will perform a walkthrough of your home to thoroughly evaluate its saleability. If your space is move-in ready and well-maintained, you’ll have more luck setting a higher asking price.

Many sellers are under the impression that big-ticket upgrades will drastically increase their home’s value, but this isn’t always the case. Before you make a significant change, ask your agent for their professional opinion. Believe it or not, smaller touches (like updating hardware or repainting) can have a better return on investment than a full-scale renovation.

Location

Map with pin

Real estate is all about location, and there are a few general factors that tend to boost property values. Typically, agents will price a home based on local schools, nearby employment opportunities, and proximity to amenities. Houses in more desirable neighborhoods or communities also tend to command a higher list price.

Above all, most buyers are looking for homes that offer the perfect blend of privacy and convenience. Being close to (but not right next to!) highways or public transportation is another huge plus.

Other recently sold homes

Sold home sign

One of the best indicators of your home’s value is the sale price of other listings in your neighborhood. Your real estate agent should conduct a comparative market analysis—abbreviated as CMA—to see how your home stacks up against the competition. By looking at recently sold homes that are similar to yours, they can calculate a fair and accurate price.

After your agent has assessed your home, they’ll likely send you a CMA report that contains their projected price, along with data from other comparable homes. A great agent will also be available to answer any questions, too!

Current market trends

Houses on a graph

Even if your home is in perfect condition, in the best location, and boasts quite a few upgrades, the current state of the market can have a huge impact on its overall value. And in today’s seller-driven market, homes are now worth more than ever before.

Just last year, home prices surged by 15%. To put those numbers into perspective, that’s a $45,000 increase for a $300,000 home. If you want to take advantage of these unbelievable conditions, now is the time to list—and we’d love to help!

Get Your Updated Home Value

Whether you’re just curious or are ready to sell, you can trust our team to calculate your home’s true market value. Request a free home valuation today, or reach out to us to learn more about 2021’s hot real estate market. There’s never been a better time to list!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Automatic Home Estimators to Price Your Home

Key Takeaways:

  • Automatic estimator tools are popular amongst homeowners and sellers, but they aren’t always the most reliable.
  • In some instances, these estimators can be off by thousands of dollars due to inaccurate data.
  • If you’re looking for a better way to determine your home’s market value, give us a call to get started!

Exposing the Inaccuracies of Automatic Home Estimators

If you own a home, you’ve probably wondered how much its value has increased since you first moved in. And while using an online estimator might seem convenient, you could end up with some pretty inaccurate numbers—and that’s bad news for sellers in today’s competitive market.

Want to make the most of your equity and find out how much your home is really worth? Here’s why working with a local real estate agent will always be better than trusting an “automatic” estimate.

Most estimators rely on user-reported data or algorithms

Home value on a laptop

Many homeowners believe that instant estimates are similar to a professional appraisal, but this simply isn’t the case. To generate a possible selling price, these real estate sites rely on potentially outdated algorithms that use property tax assessments, historic sold data, and user-reported information. Some estimators even use AI to scan photos of your home, which leaves ample room for error.

Estimators won’t take recent improvements into account

Couple renovating their kitchen

If you’ve made any larger improvements to your home, they may not get calculated into your instant estimate. Generally, most estimators will include any permitted work that’s noted on your latest tax assessment. But if you completed a project that didn’t require permits, it probably won’t influence the estimate.

For example, if you recently finished a kitchen renovation and didn’t have to take out a construction permit, an estimator could value your kitchen based on how it was before any upgrades. And if you rely on these incorrect numbers, you could shortchange your equity without even knowing it!  

Your estimate could be off by thousands of dollars

homes on coin stacks

Perhaps the biggest issue with automatic home estimators is their overall accuracy—or lack thereof. While most claim to be within 10% of a home’s real market value, that 10% could equal tens of thousands of dollars. When you look at the numbers, that’s a potential difference of $30,000 for a home worth $300,000!

Above all, it’s important to remember that these estimators will never substitute a professional valuation. If you’re really serious about selling your home or learning its value, it’s better to work with a local real estate agent instead—and take an estimator’s opinion with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Only Price Your Home with a Local Agent

Couple getting a home valuation from an agent

Want to know your home’s true value? Don’t trust a computer—start by consulting your local real estate agent! As area experts, we know how to calculate just how much your home could sell for in today’s competitive market. We can even take your renovations and recent sold data into account for an added level of accuracy.

Get Top Dollar for Your Home

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home or just want to know its value, you can trust us to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to request a complimentary home valuation, or just give us a call with any questions—we’d be happy to chat!

3 Reasons All Buyers and Sellers Should Use Listing Alerts

Key takeaways:

  • Listing alerts send new homes straight to your inbox as soon as they hit the MLS, and they’re the easiest way to keep up with the competitive market.
  • Listing alerts aren’t just useful for buyers—they can also help sellers stay up-to-date on other current and sold properties in their neighborhood.
  • Signing up for listing alerts only takes a minute, and you can always contact us to schedule a tour if you see a property you love!

Why Every Buyer and Seller Should Sign Up for Listing Alerts

Today’s real estate market is more fast-paced than ever—in fact, it’s not uncommon for a home to sell above asking price not long after it’s listed. So if you’re serious about buying, you need a to-the-minute resource to help you stay ahead of the competition.

This is where listing alerts come in handy. Just use our fully customizable filters to narrow down your search, and you’ll receive an email right when a home matching your criteria hits the market. And if you’re thinking about selling, you can also use listing alerts to scope out the competition in your neighborhood. 

Want to learn even more about the benefits of signing up for listing alerts? Here are three additional perks that every buyer and seller should know about.  

You’ll immediately see listings that match your criteria

Couple searching for a home online

Your home is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, which means it’s okay to be a little picky. Our listing alerts can be customized to your exact parameters, so you’ll know as soon as the right property becomes available. Take a look at our easy-to-use search tool to get started—we have filters for price, size, neighborhood, and even specific home features!  

You can create a portfolio of your favorite homes

Couple using a tablet to search for a home

When you sign up for our listing alerts, we’ll automatically create a personalized property organizer to help you keep track of all your favorite homes. Not only is this feature easy to use, it also allows you to save the listings you want to see in-person. You can even use your property organizer to schedule a showing, take a virtual tour from the comfort of your couch, or get in touch with a local agent for more information.

Sellers can keep up with sold listings, too

Recently sold home

If you’re like most buyers, you probably have an existing home you need to sell before you make a move. That’s why we designed our listing alerts to work with both active and sold homes. All you have to do is set your desired criteria, and we’ll send over listings right when they go under contract.

Wondering how listing alerts benefit you as a seller? By scoping out sold homes in your neighborhood, you’ll get a better idea of how fast and how much your home could sell for—you might even pick up some staging tips along the way, too. As if that isn’t enough, you can also browse other current listings to get a better idea of your competition!

Get the Latest Homes Sent Straight to Your Inbox!

Ready to sign up for listing alerts? We’re here to help! Contact us today to set up your first alert—we’d be happy to guide you through the process if you have any questions. And if you’re thinking about buying or selling soon, drop us a line for even more helpful information. We’re always here to lend our expertise.