Home Maintenance and Remodeling December 5, 2022

Holiday Storage Hacks

Treasured holiday decorations come in all shapes and sizes. Many can be especially delicate and tricky to keep in one piece. Thankfully, with a few clever storage hacks, you can keep your holiday decor merry and bright for years to come.Egg CartonsThese make egg-cellent storage for tiny round ornaments.Coffee FiltersSoft, flexible and sturdy filters are an inexpensive way to insulate decorations in larger boxes.Cardboard FlatsWrap strings of lights around flattened cardboard boxes for an easy, inexpensive, tangle-free storage solution.Garment BagsClear hanging bags are perfect for keeping wreaths and other hanging objects in pristine shape.Trash CansCorral unwieldy wrapping paper in round trash cans.Shoe BoxesWind up ribbon spools and organize by color in unused shoe boxes.Don’t forget to label, label, label! Properly labeling your storage bins will make finding what you need a task worth celebrating.

Buying and Selling Tips November 25, 2022

Perspective Matters When Selling Your House Today

Does the latest news about the housing market have you questioning your plans to sell your house? If so, perspective is key. Here are some of the ways a trusted real estate professional can explain the shift that’s happening today and why it’s still a sellers’ market even during the cooldown.

Fewer Homes for Sale than Pre-Pandemic

While the supply of homes available for sale has increased this year compared to last, we’re still nowhere near what’s considered a balanced market. A recent article from Calculated Risk helps put this year’s increased inventory into context.

It shows supply this year has surpassed 2021 levels by over 30%. But the further back you look, the more you’ll understand the big picture. Compared to 2020, we’re just barely above the level of inventory we saw then. And if you go all the way back to 2019, the last normal year in real estate, we’re roughly 40% below the housing supply we had at that time.

Why does this matter to you? When inventory is low, there is still demand for your house because there just aren’t enough homes available for sale.

Homes Are Still Selling Faster Than More Normal Years

And while homes aren’t selling as quickly as they did a few months ago, the average number of days on the market is still well below pre-pandemic norms – in large part because inventory is so low. The graph below uses data from the Realtors’ Confidence Index by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to illustrate this trend:

 

The pre-pandemic numbers are higher than the numbers we saw during the pandemic (shown in green). That’s because the average days on the market started to decrease as homes sold at record pace during the pandemic. Most recently, due to the cooldown in the housing market, the average days on the market have started to tick back up slightly (shown in orange) but are still far below the pre-pandemic norm.

 

What does this mean for you? While it may not be as fast as it was a couple of months ago, homes are still selling much faster than they did in more normal, pre-pandemic years. And if you price it right, your home could still go under contract quickly.

Buyer Demand Has Moderated and Is Now in Line with More Typical Years

Buyer demand has softened this year in response to rising mortgage rates. But again, perspective is key. Getting 3-5 offers like sellers did during the pandemic isn’t the norm.

Prior to the pandemic, it was typical for homes sold to see roughly 2-2.5 offers. As the market heated up during the pandemic, the average number of offers skyrocketed as record-low mortgage rates drove up demand. But most recently, the number of offers on homes sold today has started to return to pre-pandemic levels as the market cools from the frenzy.

What’s the takeaway for you? Buyer demand has moderated from the pandemic peak, but it hasn’t disappeared. The buyers are still out there, and if you price your house at current market value, you’ll still be able sell your house today.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about selling your house in today’s housing market, let’s connect. That way you have context around what’s happening now, so you’re up to date on what you can expect when you’re ready to move.

Buying and Selling Tips November 25, 2022

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market.

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

Adventures in Real EstateBuying and Selling Tips October 31, 2022

2021 is an Outlier, Not a Benchmark

The pandemic years, especially 2021, were a strange aberration where everyone moved, house prices skyrocketed, and nearly every real estate business posted record revenues.

Why it matters: 2022 is constantly being compared to 2021, which was anything but normal, and year-over-year comparisons are painting a deeply negative picture.

Dig deeper: Assuming a fairly conservative 5.15 million existing home sales in 2022, the comparison to last year is a sobering 16 percent drop — but 2021 is an outlier, not a benchmark.

Compared to the historical average of the previous eight years (2012–2019), transaction volumes in 2022 would be down only 0.9 percent.

By contrast, compared to the same historical average, transaction volumes were up 9 percent in 2020 and 18 percent in 2021 — notable outliers.

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

Adventures in Real EstateBuying and Selling Tips October 31, 2022

The Latest on Supply and Demand in Housing

Over the past two years, the substantial imbalance of low housing supply and high buyer demand pushed home sales and buyer competition to new heights. But this year, things are shifting as supply and demand reach an inflection point.

This year, buyer demand has eased as higher mortgage rates and mounting economic uncertainty moderated the market. This slowdown in demand is clear when you look at the red bar on the graph. It uses the latest data from ShowingTime to illustrate how showings (an indicator of buyer demand) have softened by just over 12% compared to the same time last year.

Now for a look at how housing supply has changed, turn to the green bar. It uses data from realtor.com to show active listings are up nearly 27% compared to last year. That’s because the moderation of demand allowed housing inventory to increase in 2022.

What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Buyers?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ll have less competition and more options than you would have had last year. Enjoy having more homes to choose from in your home search and lean on a trusted real estate professional to understand how the increase in supply has also increased your negotiation power. That professional can talk you through the opportunities and challenges buyers face in today’s shifting market. You may be surprised to find they’re different than they were a year ago.

What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Sellers?

If you’re looking to sell your house, know that inventory is still low overall. That means, if you work with an agent to price your house based on current market value, it will still sell despite the inventory gains and moderating buyer demand this year. That’s because there are still buyers out there who want to move, and your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, the best place to turn to for information on today’s supply and demand is a trusted real estate professional. Let’s connect so you know what’s happening in our local market and what that means for you.

Buying and Selling Tips October 31, 2022

Should You Still Buy a Home with the Latest News About Inflation?

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still high, remaining around 8%. This news impacted the stock market and added fuel to the fire for conversations about a recession.

You’re likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as you watch the cost of goods and services climb. The pinch it’s creating on your wallet and the looming economic uncertainty may leave you wondering: “should I still buy a home right now?” If that question is top of mind for you, here’s what you need to know.

Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation

In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrateexplains:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

And with rents being as high as they are, the ability to stabilize your monthly payments and protect yourself from future rent hikes may be even more important. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains what happened to rents in the latest inflation report:

“Inflation refuses to budge. In September, consumer prices rose by 8.2%. Rents rose by 7.2%, the highest pace in 40 years.”

When you rent, your monthly payment is determined by your lease, which typically renews on an annual basis. With inflation high, your landlord may be more likely to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. That may be part of the reason why a survey from realtor.com shows 72% of landlords said they plan to raise the rent on one or more of their properties in the next year.

Becoming a homeowner, if you’re ready and able to do so, can provide lasting stability and a reliable shelter in times of economic uncertainty.

Bottom Line

The best hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost. If you’re ready to learn more and start your journey to homeownership, let’s connect.

Adventures in Real Estate September 30, 2022

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year

Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.

Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.

To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:

“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”

Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.

Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.

Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.

Buying and Selling Tips September 30, 2022

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now

Some people believe there’s a group of homeowners who may be reluctant to sell their houses because they don’t want to lose the historically low mortgage rate they have on their current home. You may even have the same hesitation if you’re thinking about selling your house.

Data shows 51% of homeowners have a mortgage rate under 4% as of April this year. And while it’s true mortgage rates are higher than that right now, there are other non-financial factors to consider when it comes to making a move. In other words, your mortgage rate is important, but you may have other things going on in your life that make a move essential, regardless of where rates are today. As Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

Home sellers have historically moved when something in their lives changed – a new baby, a marriage, a divorce or a new job. . . .”

So, if you’re thinking about selling your house, it may help to explore the other reasons homeowners are choosing to make a move today. The 2022 Summer Sellers Survey by realtor.com asked recent home sellers why they decided to sell.

As the visual shows, an appetite for different features or the fact that their current home could no longer meet their needs topped the list for recent sellers. Additionally, remote work and whether or not they need a home office or are tied to a specific physical office location also factored in, as did the desire to live close to their loved ones.

The realtor.com survey summarizes the findings like this:

The primary reason homeowners decided to sell in the last year was the realization that, after so much time spent at home, they wanted different features and amenities, such as walkability, outdoor space, pool, etc. . . . 

If you, like the homeowners they surveyed, find yourself wanting features, space, or amenities your current home just can’t provide, it may be time to consider listing your house for sale.

Even with today’s mortgage rates, your lifestyle needs may be enough to motivate you to make a change. The best way to find out what’s right for you is to partner with a trusted real estate professional who can provide expert guidance and advice throughout the process. They can help walk you through your options, so you can make a confident decision based on what matters most to you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

While the financial reasons for moving are important, there’s often far more to consider. Non-financial reasons can also be a significant motivating factor. If you need help weighing the pros and cons of selling your house, let’s connect today.

Home Maintenance and Remodeling September 25, 2022

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Now’s the time to prepare your home for the changing seasons. Here are a few helpful fall maintenance tips.

  • Clean your gutters. Clear out any leaves and twigs to prevent them from damaging your gutters. Repair sagging gutters and fix or replace missing or loose downspout brackets or any other damaged pieces.
  • Clean your chimney. Hire a professional to clean your chimney and remove dangerous creosote.
  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal gaps around your windows and doors.
  • Check your HVAC. Hire a qualified professional to inspect your HVAC system every year. The inspector will specifically check for any safety issues and address maintenance concerns.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should check these throughout the year. However, regular checks are especially important during the cooler months when the windows are usually closed and the air is drier.
  • Protect your floors. Elements brought in from outdoors can quickly damage your floors. Place floor mats both inside and outside at every entrance. Store wet shoes in a waterproof tray at your entryways.
  • Reverse ceiling fans. Switch fans to turn clockwise during cooler months. This can save money on utilities as it prevents warm air from being trapped at the ceiling level.
  • Treat your lawn. Mowing and fertilizing your lawn now can help ensure a lush, green yard in the spring.
  • Check for overhanging branches. Trim limbs hanging over your house to prevent damage during high winds and storms.

 

©2022 The Personal Marketing Company. All rights reserved. Reproductions in any form, in part or in whole, are prohibited without written permission. If your property is currently listed for sale or lease, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing. The material in this publication is for your information only and not intended to be used in lieu of seeking additional consumer or professional advice. All trademarked names or quotations are registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Home Maintenance and Remodeling August 31, 2022

Working With a Remodeling Contractor

You know how important it is to choose the best professionals for a home remodeling project. Whether you’re getting ready to sell or want to update your home, the right skills and personality of the contractor can make the difference. But did you know the way you work with contractors can also influence your project’s outcome? Homeowners typically fall into three categories when it comes to how they work with contractors and other remodeling professionals. Which one are you?The hands-off homeowner trusts their contractor to manage the project and make good decisions. Contractors generally like this approach because it frees them to complete the job as they see fit. However, if the hands-off approach goes too far, it can hinder decision-making and slow down the timetable. When “laid back” crosses over to “indecisive,” project delays can easily crop up, leading to budget overruns and other problems.The manager likes to follow the big-picture aspects of overseeing the project. This might include tracking finances, reviewing records and regularly checking in on the progress. If this is you, be careful not to overstep and impede the project. Remember, you hired these professionals because you trusted them to do the job. Upfront due diligence usually pays off.The micromanager focuses on the smallest aspects of a project. It’s important to keep an eye on the details, but over-involvement isn’t helpful to the contractor or the other workers. If taken too far, micromanaging can cause delays because it’s hard to finish the work and keep on schedule when frequent change orders are being requested.