If you’re looking to list your home this year, we have some good news—2020 is forecasted to be a seller’s market, which means most properties will sell quickly and for a higher price than normal. Although buyers are scrambling to find somewhere to settle down, even the most desirable homes still need some marketing to attract a broader audience.
Thinking about selling without the help of an agent? Here are four challenges you might not have thought about—and why you should probably consider working with a pro instead.
Reaching Out to Buyers
Real estate is always evolving, and nowadays, most homebuyers are using the internet, apps, and more to do their research before scheduling an in-person tour. That means if you want to reach an even broader audience, you’ll have to look further than just Zillow. With so many new platforms to choose from, It’s hard to know where to promote your listing—but working with an agent will open the door to even more options (and mean less work for you!).
Not sure where to start? Working with a licensed real estate expert will give you access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one way that buyers search for homes. The right agent will reach out to their broad network of contacts, host open houses, take advantage of social media, and feature your home on top real estate apps.
Taking Professional Photos
Now that we’ve entered the digital age of real estate, it’s essential to get your space looking its best on a screen. Wondering how to make an unforgettable first impression? High-quality listing photos can help lure buyers into your home, especially if you highlight its best features.
Although smartphone cameras have come a long way, they still can’t hold a candle to the power of a professional photographer. If you want a picture-perfect listing, working with a pro is the way to go—they’ll use the right angles and lighting to make your home appear bigger and brighter. Agents can even create virtual tours and take aerial photographs, which allow buyers to get an in-depth look at your home from the comfort of their couch.
Perfecting Your Listing
Want to craft a flawless listing? It’s not as easy as you might think. Most buyers prioritize price, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms—and you should include all of these in your home’s description. However, there’s more to it than just mentioning the basics.
Because many buyers preview homes online first, a good description will set your listing apart from the rest. Highlighting special features, such as outdoor entertaining space or custom cabinets, will have potential buyers falling in love at first sight. If writing isn’t your forte, you might want to consider turning to an agent instead. They’ve probably crafted hundreds of listings in your area, so they’ll know how to appeal to prospective buyers.
Pricing Right the First Time
No matter how well you market your listing, even the most beautiful homes can linger on the market if they aren’t priced correctly. Unless you have plenty of real estate experience under your belt, you could end up making a costly mistake by setting a price without the help of a specialist. If you list too low, you risk losing hard-earned equity—but asking too much will drive buyers away.
If you’re feeling a little lost, you might want to let a professional crunch the numbers for you. The right agent will be familiar with what other homes are selling for in your area, and they’ll be able to figure out how you stack up against the competition.
Take Your Next Steps
Are you ready to team up with an agent and take the hassle out of selling? Let us do the heavy lifting for you! We believe there’s no such thing as too many questions, so feel free to reach out to learn more about navigating the selling process, as well as our effective marketing strategies.
“Fake news” has become one of the trendiest terms of the decade—even when it comes to real estate. Homeowners are often bombarded with selling advice that promises to get their home sold quickly and for top dollar…but more often than not, these “tips” are nothing more than misleading—and can throw you off-track.
As we near the end of the year, we want to set the record straight. Here’s our list of the top four selling myths, debunked.
Myth #1: It’s Just like Reality TV
If HGTV is your guilty pleasure, you’ve probably watched hundreds of buyers and sellers navigate the real estate process on camera. Although the shows do get some things right, they’re often scripted and don’t provide an accurate idea of what it takes to sell your property.
One of the biggest misconceptions created by these programs is the length of the selling process. Don’t fall for the TV magic—it actually takes a lot more than a showing and a phone call to close a deal. In reality, homes can sit on the market for 60 to 100 days or more, and the closing process might last for up to 45 days. Instead of expecting instant gratification, it’s best to talk with your agent to create a realistic timeline before listing.
Myth #2: Selling Without an Agent is Cheaper
Many sellers are tempted to list their home as “for sale by owner” because they want to avoid a commission fee. However, the risks involved definitely outweigh the savings. Real estate agents have to wear a lot of hats—they act as everything from property value analyzers to professional marketers to legal negotiators, all of which require years of experience. When you opt to sell on your own, all of that responsibility falls onto your shoulders, and it’s a lot to handle at once.
Although it might seem like you’re saving money by doing it all yourself, an agent can protect you from scams, guide you through paperwork, and even sell your home for up to 75% more. In fact, a recent assessment by the National Association of Realtors notes that the average FSBO home price was $185,000, while homes sold by a Realtor went for $245,000. That’s a $60,000 price difference, which is much more than what you’d pay in commission!
Myth #3: You Can Only Sell in Spring or Summer
It’s no secret that spring and summer are prime seasons for real estate, but that doesn’t mean you should only list during those months. In fact, there are some hidden benefits to selling during the fall and winter that you might not have considered.
Many people buying in the second half of the year are often more motivated to make a deal, whether they’re relocating or adapting to a change in their personal life. That means they’ll likely have their paperwork and finances in order well beforehand, which speeds up the closing process. You’ll also deal with less competition, which will make your home stand out more and give you extra negotiating power.
Myth #4: You Can Price Your Home by Yourself
There are countless mistakes to avoid when it comes to pricing your property, especially if you’re a first-time seller. Many homeowners believe they know their home best and can set their own price, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Oftentimes, sellers put more value into their home than it’s actually worth due to personal feelings—after all, it’s hard to see your own home without an unbiased eye! The right agent will know the ins and outs of the local market and won’t be so biased, which makes them qualified to give you a more accurate estimate.
It’s also crucial to be wary of online home estimators that promise instant results. Believe it or not, they won’t take into account any recent upgrades or repairs you’ve made on your home. A website also lacks the same personal touch as a real person. An agent will do thorough research into real estate trends in your area, as well as other properties that have sold nearby. Their hyper-local analysis paints a better picture of what your home can actually sell for.
Looking for More Selling Advice?
Whether you’re selling your first home or your fifth, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your real estate knowledge. If you have questions or are ready to list, feel free to reach out to us for more information. We can’t wait to team up and tackle the selling process together!
Whether you’re heading down the street or to a new town, moving is always a tough transition. However, relocating across the country presents a whole new set of challenges you might not have considered. Picking up your life can be an exciting change, but it’s also a bit overwhelming.
Need some help navigating the process? Take a deep breath and get ready—we’ve got some quick tips for you!
Stay on Top of Your Schedule
Sometimes a cross-country move can come out of nowhere, especially if it’s due to a job or major life change. Even if you’ve been planning your relocation for a while, it can still be exhausting. Before you start tearing your hair out, it’s crucial to start planning ahead of time.
Once you’ve figured out your moving date, be sure to stay on top of your calendar. It’s easy for your schedule to fill up with appointments, going-away parties, and other obligations. It might help to create to-do lists or invest in a good planner (digital or paper!). However, as you get busier, be sure to plan some time for yourself, too. Tackling a move is impossible without some self-care!
Declutter & Organize
Let’s face it—organizing everything you own and moving it thousands of miles is no easy feat. Start lightening the load right away, and get rid of things you won’t need once you move. You might even want to have a garage sale or donate your gently used objects to charity. Remember, if you don’t use it regularly, you should probably lose it.
Looking for a simple way to tackle the decluttering process? Try going room by room and sorting things as you go. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as you pare down your possessions, so having a system will help ease the burden.
Pack Everything Up
When it comes to packing, it’s essential that all of your belongings are secure. Check that all boxes are reinforced, and invest in some heavy duty tape and wrapping materials. Moving supplies don’t have to be expensive, though—check social media or local stores to find a bargain on some good quality boxes.
Your stuff is in for a long haul if you’re moving across the country, so you might want to take extra steps to prevent any damage. If you’re looking for some good padding, old t-shirts and socks will do the trick in a pinch! Don’t be afraid to get creative—jewelry boxes, small containers, and extra suitcases can help you save some space.
Make Travel Arrangements
When you’re making a move across the country, getting to your new home is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Be sure to make travel arrangements in advance—this means you should research hotels, book rentals, and reserve plane tickets ahead of time. As you’re packing, be sure to set aside any essentials that you might need as you travel to your new place.
Wondering what you should keep on hand? Think of it like packing for a vacation—you’ll want toiletries, extra clothing, medication, and all your other “must-haves.” Don’t forget to keep important paperwork, such as birth certificates and passports, with you in case you need them.
Connect with a Local Agent
Unless you have a friend or family member in your new city, it can be tough to scope out the area. Nobody will know your future home quite as well as a local, and connecting with the right real estate agent can help.
Aside from helping you find a home, your agent can also help you navigate your new surroundings with ease. Working with an area expert comes with a lot of perks, including relocation packages, personalized guidance, and specialized tools…not to mention the local knowledge to recommend anything from the top school district to the best pizza joint! When you’re choosing a real estate agent, be sure to do your research and reach out to a few before making your decision. You want to make sure you gel with whomever you choose!
Ready to Conquer Your Move?
Although relocating can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Remember, staying organized and prepared will make the entire process that much easier! If you’re new to the area or are looking for some long-distance buying resources, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to ease the burden of your cross-country move!
The year is winding down fast, and with the upcoming rush of the holidays, it’ll be 2020 before you know it. With a new year comes new trends, and you can expect a number of home design shake-ups both big and small.
Here are the top home features that are sure to be priorities for buyers in 2020!
Separate Laundry Rooms
It might be a little unexpected, but laundry rooms were one of the most highly sought-after home features of the year, with a whopping 91% of buyers saying they’re essential. Many people also prefer the laundry room to be on the ground floor and sectioned off from the rest of the home.
In 2020, you can expect to see buyers continue to gravitate toward homes with designated laundry rooms—try brainstorming ways to bring more focus to yours!
The rustic farmhouse motif was certainly popular in 2019, but it doesn’t quite have the staying power of an industrial design. Next year, you’ll continue to see buyer’s seek out interior design elements like artisanal light fixtures, copper and metal hardware, concrete accents, and exposed brick.
Homes that already have these components incorporated will be a major plus—and while it’s a little tough to add brick walls and concrete accents if you don’t have them, there are other simple ways to industrialize your space!
As more and more buyers start moving towards smaller homes, efficient storage solutions become a high priority. In 2020, you can expect buyers to be on the hunt for homes that showcase their storage potential.
Built-in shelves along the wall, storage under the stairs, walk-in pantries—no matter your square footage, every inch counts. If you’re a seller, you can also use this to your advantage, staging your home in a way that emphasizes its efficient use of space. Think: a few extra storage cubes in your laundry room, a new shelving unit on an underused wall, or roll-out cubbies under your bed.
According to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders, green features have shot up to become one of the most sought-after features in a new home. In particular, over half of the survey respondents would invest nearly $10,000 for green features that would save them money, such as ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and windows, improved insulation, and efficient lighting. Other priorities included bettering the air quality in the home with things like dehumidification systems and electronic air cleaners.
If you’re planning to sell next year and have a little extra money to work with, consider making upgrades that’ll appeal to your buyers’ wallet.
Next year, we’ll start seeing a move toward more unique homes, and nothing sets your space apart from the rest like natural features, including river rock, reclaimed wood, exposed brick, and steel accents. These elements don’t necessarily have to come with the home even—staging your space with a rustic wood bookcase or a contemporary geode end table will do the trick.
If you’re preparing your place for a showing or just need a few cohesive decorating tips, sprinkling plants and greenery can help balance out the heaviness of these natural elements.
While 2019 may have been a year of bold colors, 2020 will usher in a muted era. Pastel shades like the popular Millennial Pink, Neo Mint, and Buxton Blue will be giving interiors a softer aura, reminiscent of 1970s-era home trends.
Additionally, accent walls have started slipping in favor, replaced instead by more strategic splashes of color, like painted doors and cabinets, two-tone walls, and accent furniture pieces.
Don’t Fall Behind in the Latest Real Estate Trends
Each year brings new fads to the real estate world, and keeping up with them plays a major role in impressing buyers. Need a little help staying in the know? We’ve got you covered! Follow along with our blog for the latest updates, and check out our specialized resources for all of your buying and selling needs.
Have a few more questions? We’re just a phone call away.
Get ready to hang the lights, deck the halls, and spread some cheer—the holiday season is almost here! Juggling the holidays along with a home sale might be sound impossible (or at the very least, stressful), but we’re here to help you find the best way to balance both.
Here are our top 4 tips for navigating your home sale during the holiday season!
Use Decor to Your Advantage
You don’t have to go all out with holiday decor, but a little seasonal warmth sprinkled here and there goes a long way! Hang some white lights along the staircase, add a wreath to the front door, and string some garland along the mantel. If you do opt for a tree, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t crowd the room—perhaps even consider a tabletop version.
Bonus tip: scent is the sense most closely tied to memory, so use that to your advantage to appeal to buyer nostalgia! Bake some cookies beforehand, warm up a pot of cider, or light a few seasonally scented candles.
Be Flexible with Showings
While you’ll probably have a busy schedule over the next month or two, you should make sure it doesn’t affect your availability for buyers too much. One of the biggest reasons people hold off on selling during the holidays is because they can’t be around to prepare their home…but intentionally making room in your schedule will make the whole process much simpler!
If you usually host a holiday party, consider asking a friend or relative to step in for you. If you’re traveling, try not to be gone for too long, and make it clear to your agent and any potential buyers when you’ll be back.
Work with a Home Stager (or Get Tips from Your Agent)
If you either: A.) really don’t have time to stage or B.) don’t want to take any risks on your home not looking its best, then working with a qualified home stager is a great option! You might be skeptical, but home stagers have been specially trained and certified to optimize your space with the right decor and furniture—which often leads to faster and more profitable sales.
It’ll also take one more stressful task off of your plate, giving you more time to plan for the upcoming festivities. If you want a few recommendations for home stagers, just give us a call. Of course, we can always do a walkthrough of your home and offer personalized tips and DIY projects, if you’d prefer that!
Practice Smart Marketing
Marketing a home is the key to reeling in the right buyer. It’s even more important during the holiday season, since fewer—but more serious—buyers are on the hunt. That’s where working with an agent really comes in handy! You can sit back, relax, and plan for the holidays, while we take care of getting the word out about your home through our comprehensive marketing resources, including our website, social media platforms, local advertising, professional contacts, and more.
And, of course, we’ll crunch the numbers and do the research to ensure that your home is priced at the best number for your interests.
List Your Home this Holiday Season
Balancing a home sale and the holidays can be stressful…but not if you work with a professional! Enlist our help, and we’ll be around to carry some of your workload, reduce your stress, and sell your home for top dollar—and answer any and all of your questions along the way. Ready to list your home? We’re just a phone call away!
You’ve probably heard that spring and summer are the best times to sell your home, and we’ll be honest: they do have their perks. But with mortgage rates remaining low and motivated buyers steadily flowing into the market, this fall is shaping up to be a pretty profitable selling season.
If you’re gearing up to list your home soon, then you’ll need to pay extra attention to your outdoor areas. Here are the top five spaces to give a little TLC to before you sell!
Once you’ve raked up the leaves, you might think your lawn is all taken care of. But there’s much more to fall lawn care than bagging up leaves! If temperatures haven’t majorly dropped by the time you list, you’ll need to keep mowing your lawn—it’ll continue growing until the first hard frost.
If you’ve got a few bare spots in your yard, fall is also the perfect time for overseeding! Since the ground is relatively warm but the sun isn’t quite as powerful as in the summer, growing conditions are better than ever. Just be sure you’re providing your lawn with plenty of water, and those sparse spots should start to fill in.
Since you’re planning a move, you probably don’t want to start planting new veggies, but there are other ways to give your garden a fresh look. First, you’ll want to make sure all of your leftover plants from spring and summer are cleared out, and your plot is weed-free. Once that’s taken care of, it’s time for the fun part!
Picked up a few pumpkins or gourds from the farmers’ market? Set them out near your doorstep. Need a home for a scarecrow or two? Give them a perch on either side of the garden. You can fill in any blank space with potted plants like mums or sunflowers or a decorative holiday banner!
With trees shedding leaves and dead branches, you’ve probably got a decent amount of brush and foliage dotting your roof. Now’s the time to pull out the ladder and do a clean sweep. Plus, it’s the perfect chance to get a look at the condition of your shingles and see if any need replacing!
While you’re up there, be sure to sweep out your gutters, as well. There’s a good chance the extra debris has them more clogged up than usual, which could lead to flooding or exterior damage. Clearing them out will prevent any issues, and show buyers that you go the extra mile in maintaining your home.
The crowning glory of your home’s exterior, the porch should act as the first taste of what the inside of the home has to offer. You want to strike the perfect balance between warm and welcoming and clean and clutter-free!
First, take care of spiffing the space up by sweeping the floors, ringing out the welcome mat, and dusting off any outdoor furniture. If you have one too many chairs or a crowded collection of potted plants, you should remove some of the clutter.
Then, add a little character! Put a few pumpkins by door, set out a scented candle or two, swap out your porch light for a warmer wattage, and update your throw pillows—just be careful not to overdo it. Since your porch space is likely relatively small, a little goes a long way.
The Front Door
It’s only a small portion of your exterior, but if you play your cards right, your front door can be one of the most eye-catching parts of your home. Nothing draws attention like a fresh coat of paint, so you should consider picking a shade that pops and matches your siding—like a warm red or a bold blue. At the very least, you should use furniture wax or dish soap to scrub out the dinginess.
Once you’ve revamped your door, it’s time to accessorize! Since it’s fall, you should be able to easily find a seasonal wreath to hang. If you really want to go the extra mile, think about replacing your house number or knocker with some shiny new hardware.
Need a Few More Tips?
If you want to make sure your home is staged to impress—in all areas—then we can help. In addition to our home-staging resources, we’d also be more than happy to do a walkthrough of your home and recommend a few personalized decor suggestions or DIY improvements.
From helping you stage to navigating closing, we’ll be there to help you through the selling process, every step of the way. Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away!
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably heard, “location, location, location!” on repeat. Finding the perfect city or town is one thing, but you’ll need to take it a step further. The right neighborhood matters more than you think, so before you start your search, we have some tips to help you find the perfect spot!
Do Your Research
Before you start driving through prospective neighborhoods, you’ll want to do some research at home first. Finding the right place to live can be time-consuming, but some quick online searches can help narrow down your options. Many agents also spotlight certain neighborhoods on their website and tend to offer more in-depth guides—as well as more listings and home-buying tips.
After doing your initial research, you’ve probably narrowed your list down to a few neighborhoods. Now it’s time to delve deeper and look at these places by the numbers. It’s worth looking at stats like crime rate, HOA fees, and average property taxes. You might want to start your search with sites like Neighborhood Scout and City-Data—these sites give you localized data on demographics, schools, and more.
Scope Out What’s Around
While the actual neighborhood might seem perfect, what’s around matters a lot, too. Remember, you’re buying more than just a home—you’re finding a new place to thrive. If you’re looking for convenience, a community far-removed from amenities you love might not work. Be sure to take your commute into account, as well as the driving distance to places you go all the time.
School districts also play a big factor in which area you choose, especially for your kids. Even if you don’t have children, home prices in good districts are consistently higher than others, so it’s still something you should take into account. Want the inside scoop? Compare options by looking up which schools serve a community and exploring their ratings on sites like Niche.com.
Take a Stroll
Now it’s time for some field research! Once you’ve picked some neighborhoods that seem like a good fit, go do some exploring—you’ll want to do more than just drive around, though. Get out of the car and take a stroll during different times of the day! This is a fantastic way to meet potential neighbors and see the condition of homes.
You’ll want to ask yourself some crucial questions during each visit. How well do residents maintain their homes? Do you see a lot of people outside, or does everyone seem to keep to themselves? Is there any common space or amenities you’ll want to use? This is the best way to picture yourself living in an area before actually committing to a home.
Narrow Down Your Options
If you don’t have a clear winner in your head after you visit each community, it’s time to down and weigh the pros and cons. You should also evaluate the market—there might not be a home for sale that suits your needs in the neighborhood you love, so consider all of your options.
If you have any other questions, be sure to reach out to a real estate professional. They’ll use their expertise to help you make an informed decision, and can also show you spots you might have missed!
Ready to Find the Neighborhood of Your Dreams?
No matter where you are in your home search, we’d love to help make the process easier. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re still searching for the right community or are ready to look at homes. Give us a call today so we can chat—we can’t wait to be your local experts!
You’ve seen the shows on HGTV, the brand new series on Netflix, the craze on sites like Pinterest and Instagram—tiny houses are all the rage. These smaller spaces come with gigantic opportunities—if you’re looking for an incredibly versatile and stylish home, you may want to look into one of the hottest housing trends of the past year. We’ve got all the details you need to understand the ins and outs of tiny homes—and maybe even buy your own.
What is a Tiny Home?
Less than 1,000 square feet and often towable, tiny homes allow their owners to be economical, environmentally-friendly, and enjoy life on the move.
These small abodes are built with an emphasis on organization and maximizing space. You’ll often see stairs repurposed into cabinets, smaller appliances, and loft areas for beds. However, many tiny homes are quite luxurious, with some featuring full sized appliances, bath tubs, and multiple floors. This is proof that “tiny” doesn’t necessarily mean bare bones!
An Inside Look at the Lifestyle
Where did tiny homes come from? Well, it turns out they aren’t just a recent trend—they’ve been around since the 1970s. The tiny house “movement” is becoming increasingly popular, especially due to shows on tiny house living and construction.
Many tiny home dwellers are fully committed to this unique lifestyle, but it takes some getting used to. The most difficult part is paring down what you own, as these tight spaces don’t come with the same amount of storage as a normal home.
However, you don’t have to give up everything you love. Many residents say that living in a tiny home allows them to tour the country and live without clutter. Additionally, a well-built tiny house will allow you to have plenty of space for privacy, hobbies, and even pets.
Discover Diverse Design Options
While tiny-home living might seem pretty straightforward, there are actually quite a few variations between homes.
One major option for tiny homes is towing ability. Having a towable tiny home means you can live wherever you’d like and move at any time, but a stationary tiny house is often larger and features more amenities like multiple floors and screened-in porches.
In addition, there are many different size variations and exterior designs to choose from. Some builders even make custom designs for each homeowner. Nowadays, tiny homes are even being built in shipping containers!
Are They Here to Stay?
Tiny homes may seem like a trend, but the number of homes being built are on the rise. In 2017, the tiny home industry saw a 67% jump in sales, with numbers steadily increasing. Tiny homes also remain easy on the wallet despite rising home costs. On average, a tiny home can cost from $15,000 – $150,000, which is significantly lower than the average home cost of $218,000.
As millennials begin purchasing their first homes, tiny houses are becoming increasingly popular. This is because many millennial buyers are choosing smaller houses and prioritizing travel, making tiny homes the perfect mobile option. They’re also a terrific choice for downsizing after retirement.
Tiny homes don’t seem to be going anywhere, and as more and more people are embracing this unique way of living, tiny home designs are becoming even more elaborate. Even Amazon has started selling tiny homes, so you can order one with just a few clicks!
Ready to Make a Move?
No matter what kind of home you’re looking for, you’ll always need a real estate agent to help guide you through the process. Whether you’re buying or selling, we’ve got the resources you need to lighten your load.
Ready to make your move? Give us a call and let’s chat—we’d love to help you make your real estate dreams a reality!
The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and consumer confidence remains high. In fact, the University of Michigan’s latest Surveys of Consumers found that Americans have their most positive personal finance outlook since 2003.1
However, if you follow national news, you’ve probably heard speculation that we could be headed toward a recession. Global trade tensions and a slow down in the GDP growth rate have sparked volatility in the stock market, leading to economic uncertainty.
Given these differing signals, you may be wondering: How has the U.S. housing market been impacted? Where is it headed? And more importantly … what does it mean for me?
MORTGAGE RATES ARE NEAR HISTORIC LOWS
This was welcome news for many in the real estate industry. Freddie Mac predicts that low interest rates and a robust job market will help the housing market remain strong despite the threat of recession.
In August, Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit its lowest level since November 2016, falling to 3.6%, down a full percentage point from a year earlier.2 Variable mortgage rates also fell when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates at the end of July for the first time since 2008.3
“There is a tug of war in the financial markets between weaker business sentiment and consumer sentiment,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Business sentiment is declining on negative trade and manufacturing headlines, but consumer sentiment remains buoyed by a strong labor market and low rates that will continue to drive home sales into the fall.”2
What does it mean for you? If you’re looking to buy a home, now is a great time to lock in a low mortgage rate. It will shrink your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. Or if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today’s lower rates.
PRICES CONTINUE TO RISE AT A MODEST PACE
According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, housing prices continue to rise. But the rate at which prices are rising is slowing down. For May 2019, the National Home Price Index rose by 3.4%, down from 3.5% the previous month.4
Of course, national averages often don’t present the whole picture. Some markets have seen modest declines, while other areas are witnessing double-digit increases. The key differentiating factor in most cases? Housing affordability.5
Since 2012, home prices have increased at about three times the pace of wages, according to National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun.6
“Housing unaffordability will hinder sales irrespective of the local job market conditions,” said Yun. “This is evident in the very expensive markets as home prices are either topping off or slightly falling.”5
But what about all this talk of a recession? Will we see housing values plummet like they did in 2008? Economists say no.
If we look at history, the real estate crash experienced during the Great Recession isn’t typical.
The recent Housing and Mortgage Market Review report from Arch Mortgage Insurance provides data to support this. “What we found is that the next recession is likely to be far less severe on the housing market than the last one. It’s not that this time is different; it’s that last time was really different from historic norms.”6
“A large decline in national home prices is unlikely in the next recession,” Arch economists write. “A persistent housing shortage should help cushion home price declines.”6
What does it mean for you? If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don’t let the threat of a recession hold you in limbo. The market is cyclical, and it will experience ups and downs. But over the long term, real estate has consistently proven to be a good investment.
STARTER INVENTORY REMAINS TIGHT WHILE LUXURY MARKET SOFTENS
As we’ve seen in the past, it’s become a tale of two sectors.
The low-end of the market remains highly competitive as buyers compete for affordable housing. A lack of new construction during the last recession led to an undersupply of starter homes. This trend continues—despite growing demand—due to a lack of skilled workers, rising land and material costs, and a slow permitting process in many areas.7
The result? There’s a shortage of homes for sale that Americans can actually afford to buy.
The luxury market, on the other hand, has softened. Economic uncertainty, changes to tax laws, and rising prices have slowed demand. Plus, to recoup their higher costs, builders flocked to this segment—causing an overabundance of supply in some areas.
“If you’re selling an entry level home, you’re probably still looking at a pretty competitive market in most places,” according to Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “But if you’re selling a more expensive home you probably have to adjust your expectations.”8
What does it mean for you? Move-up buyers, you’re in luck! If you’re ready to trade in your starter home for something more luxurious, you may get the best of both sectors. We’re still witnessing strong demand for entry-level homes, giving sellers the upper hand. At the same time, buyers of high-end homes are finding a greater selection (and more negotiating power) than they’ve had in years.
INVESTORS ARE BUYING HOMES AT RECORD LEVELS
There’s one group that hasn’t been slowed down by lack of affordability or economic uncertainty: investors.
According to CoreLogic, investors are purchasing homes at a record pace. In 2018, the share of U.S. homes bought by investors reached 11.3%—the highest level since the company began tracking nearly 20 years ago.9
Notably, this increased activity wasn’t led by institutional investors, but instead by small and individual investors focused on the starter-home segment.7 Declining interest rates and an uncertain stock market have led investors to flock to real estate as they seek out greater stability and higher returns.
“With declining mortgage rates … they’re searching for a better return for their money,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.10
What does it mean for you? If you’re looking for a way to “recession proof” your money, you might want to consider investing in real estate. People will always need a place to live, and (unlike the stock market) a rental property can provide a steady source of cash flow during uncertain economic times.
WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU
If you have specific questions or would like more information about how market changes could affect you, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you navigate this shifting real estate landscape.
While national real estate numbers can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.
LOCAL MARKET. HOUSTON
Preliminary numbers for Houston Real Estate Market in September are out and we can see how more homes have come to the market, 2.6% up from last year this time. Active listings are up with 3.9% from 2018. Remember this are general number only. For a detailed market update pf your neighborhood or area contact me and I will be happy to send one over.
Picture this: you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It’s got all the features you’ve been searching for, and it’s in the perfect neighborhood. There can’t possibly be anything wrong with it…right?
Though technically optional, a home inspection is highly recommended by most realtors, as it can save you thousands of dollars—or even prevent you from making a costly mistake all together. Here are some reasons why you need a home inspection before you move in—even if you don’t see anything wrong on the surface.
You Could Avoid Expensive Repairs
This is probably the biggest advantage of a home inspection. Certain problems can cost thousands to fix and may not be immediately visible. Wondering what kind of issues a home inspector can find and how much they’ll cost? Here are some of the biggest issues uncovered during home inspections (and typical costs to fix):
HVAC replacement: $4,000 – $12,000
Leaky roof: $300 – $2,000 for basic repair, $4,000 – $20,000+ for advanced repair
Foundation issues: $4,000 – $10,000
A great home inspector will fully sweep the home and point out any problems or potential issues. If there are any big-ticket expenses, you may want to reevaluate your purchase.
You’ll Protect Your Wallet
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you can make, and a good investment will generate more capital than what you initially paid. While a well-maintained home in a prime location can be a fantastic investment, expensive repairs can turn it into a financial disaster.
Once you have an inspection report detailing all of the issues with the home, you can evaluate the cost of repairs to determine if it’s a good deal. If you aren’t satisfied, you can walk away without losing much money.
You Gain a Negotiation Tool
While not all properties will require major repairs, even new construction homes may have issues you’ll want to take care of before moving in. You can use your inspection report as a negotiation tool to potentially lower the price of the home.
There are a few directions you can go from here. One option is to ask for money off of the price of the home so you can complete the repairs yourself. On the flip side, you can also ask the sellers to make the fixes as a condition of the sale. Either way, you’ll be saving yourself money in the long run.
You Get the Full Picture
While you may be in love with a home, it’s hard to know what potential issues to look for if you’re not a licensed professional. Think of a home inspection like a check-up, and the home inspector like a doctor—it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the health of a home, from the roof down to the foundation.
The inspector can diagnose all kinds of problems and tell you what needs to be fixed (and for how much). After the inspection, you’ll be handed a comprehensive report that gives you a full picture of the home’s condition, allowing you a more realistic look at the details that you might not have noticed before.
Ready to Buy Your Next Home?
Buying a home can be a difficult decision, so make sure you have the tools you need to make a well-informed decision. For tips on smooth sailing during the buying process, give us a call so we can chat. We’ve got the resources you need to make the right choice.
Haven’t started the buying process yet? Check out our specialized search tool to find the home of your dreams, and let us know when you’re ready to get started.