Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Feb. 11, 2019

Thinking of Selling Your House? This is a Perfect Time!

 

It is common knowledge that a great number of homes sell during the spring buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that is a good strategy this year.

 

The other listings that come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market during this season in comparison to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months during which most people listed their homes for sale in 2018. This graphic shows the results:

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,520,000.

 

That number spiked to 1,870,000 by May!.

 

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for homes right now.

 

Bottom Line

If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition amongst buyers. Beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market and list your home today!

Posted in Move-Up Buyers, Sellers
Feb. 6, 2019

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale

 

One of the biggest challenges sellers face when listing their house is decluttering. Cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

 

Those planning to sell soon are in luck! Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.

 

“The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

 

When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!

 

“Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.”

 

When selling your house, first impressions matter! Before you or your agent schedule a photographer to take photos for your listing, make sure to tour your home with fresh eyes. Look for any imperfections that a buyer might notice.

 

When you sort through your more sentimental items, consider packing them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during open houses and showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you need to do right before you move!

 

Bottom Line

Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. This will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you’re off to a great start in your new home!

Feb. 5, 2019

One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy a Home

The largest obstacle renters face when planning to buy a home is saving for a down payment. This challenge is amplified by rising rents, which has eaten into the amount of money renters have leftover for savings each month after paying expenses.

In combination with higher rents, survey after survey has shown that non-homeowners (renters and those living rent-free with family or friends) believe they need to save upwards of 20% for their down payment!

According to the “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership” study commissioned in partnership between the Urban Institute, Down Payment Resource, and Freddie Mac, 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home believe they need more than a 20% down payment.

The percentage of those who are aware of low down payment programs (those under 5%) is surprisingly low at 12% for non-homeowners and 13% for homeowners.

In a recent Convergys Analytics report, they found that 49% of renters believe they need at least a 20% down payment.

The median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%! Those waiting until they have over 20% may already have enough saved to buy now!

There are over 45 million millennials (33%) who are mortgage ready right now, meaning their income, debt, and credit scores would all allow them to qualify for a mortgage today!

Bottom Line

If your five-year plan includes buying a home, let’s get together to determine what it will take to make that plan a reality. You may be closer to your dream than you realize!

Feb. 4, 2019

Whose Mortgage Do You Want to Pay? Yours or Your Landlord’s?

There are some people who haven’t purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. However, everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

 

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at MBA, explained:

 

“The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market.”

 

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings,’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

As mentioned before, interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.46% last week.

Bottom Line

 

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Jan. 31, 2019

Do You Know How Much Your Home Has Increased in Value?

Last year we saw headlines about a possible housing market bubble, and many wondered if Americans still felt confident about the value of their homes. Recently, the 2018 Houzz & Home Study revealed:

Homeowners with mortgages have seen their home equity more than double since 2011, increasing to a record-setting $8.3 trillion in 2017.”

The average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 according to the latest release of CoreLogic’s Home Equity Report.

Since 2011 home values have increased significantly throughout the country, with prices rising by 5.1% in 2018 alone. When surveyed, homeowners revealed the top four reasons why they felt their homes had increased in value

 

  1. Desirable Location
  2. Improved National Economy
  3. Improved Local Economy
  4. Low Home Inventory in My Area

 

As we can see, not only does the data show that the homes have appreciated, but homeowners also believe they know why. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to use their newly found equity to sell their current house and move up to their dream home!

2019 will be a good year for the homeowners that still want to take advantage of their home equity! CoreLogic forecasts that home prices will increase by 4.8% by the end of the year.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who would like to find out your current home value, let’s get together to discuss the hidden opportunities in your home!

Jan. 30, 2019

4 Proven Ways Real Estate Can Build Sizable Family Wealth

Recently, David Greene, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and a nationally renowned author and speaker, wrote an article in Forbes explaining how investing in real estate could help build wealth. Many of the points he made also apply to a family owning their own home. Here are a few:

1. Appreciation

“The rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change.

 

One thing to consider when it comes to real estate appreciation affecting your ROI is the fact that appreciation combined with leverage offers huge returns. If you buy a property for $200,000 and it appreciates to $220,000, your property had made you a 10% return. However, you likely didn’t pay cash for the property and instead used the bank’s money. If you consider that you may have put 10% down ($20,000), you actually have doubled your investment, a 100% return.”

 

2. Leverage

“By nature, real estate is one of the easiest assets to leverage I have ever come across—maybe the easiest. Not only is it easy to leverage the financing of it, but the terms are incredible compared to any other kind of loan. Interest rates are currently below 5%, down payments can be 20% or less, and loans are routinely amortized over 30-year periods.”

 

3. Paying Off the Debt

One of the best parts of investing in real estate is the fact that … you’re slowly paying down your loan balance with each payment to the bank… After enough time passes, a good chunk of every payment comes off the loan balance, and wealth is created.”

 

4. Forced Equity

“Forced equity is a term used to refer to the wealth that is created when an investor does work to a property to make it worth more…

Example of this would be adding a third or fourth bedroom to a property with only two, adding a second bathroom to a property with only one, or adding more square footage to a property with less than the surrounding houses.”

 

Though Green was talking about investors, the same could be said about a family upgrading their own home.

 

Bottom Line

 

Green put it best by saying:

 

There are many ways to build wealth in America, but real estate might be the safest, steadiest and simplest way to do so.

Jan. 29, 2019

Is Student Loan Debt A Threat to Homeownership? No!

Over the course of the last thirty years, a shift has happened. An entire generation has been raised to believe that a college education is their key to unlocking opportunities that were not available to their parent’s or grandparent’s generations.

Due to this, student loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion and represents the largest category of debt, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt in 2010 and never looking back. As more and more Americans continue their education amongst rising tuition costs, this number will no doubt increase.

Many housing experts have blamed student loans for a drop in the homeownership rate for young families, and to an extent, they’ve been right. Increased debt at the time of graduation has no doubt limited young people from being able to afford a home at the same rate as their parents or grandparents did at the same age.

In a recent Forbes article, the author explained that “in just the class of 2017, the average student has about $40,000 in debt — almost enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home.”

The Federal Reserve set out to determine exactly how much impact student loan debt has had on the homeownership rate of those 18-34 (millennials). Their results found that,

Every $1,000 in student loan debt delays homeownership by about 2.5 months, but it doesn’t prevent homeownership entirely.

 In fact, by the time college grads reach their 30s, those with student loan debt have a homeownership rate nearly identical to those who didn’t take out loans.” (emphasis added)

In the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Fed report, they found that recent graduates prioritize paying off their student loans over saving for a down payment, despite their desire to be a homeowner. Many with debt want to “get that monkey off (their) back (before they) make any new investments.”

This has just delayed the wave of young home buyers from hitting the market. But as Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com warns,

“2020 will be peak millennial, the year when the largest number of millennials will turn 30.”

By age 30, those who attained a bachelor’s degree right after high school will be one or two years away from paying off their loans and will have been in their career long enough to earn a higher salary.

In the long run, research shows that attaining a bachelor’s degree or more actually increases the chances that someone will become a homeowner.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who has prioritized paying down your student loans over saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Even if you are a couple years away from paying off your loans, let’s get together to help you determine if waiting really is the best decision for you!

Jan. 28, 2019

Why It Makes No Sense to Wait for Spring to Sell

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by the theory of ‘supply and demand.’ If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

The supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2018:

Putting your home on the market now, rather than waiting for increased competition in the spring, might make a lot of sense.

Bottom Line

Buyers in the market during the winter are truly motivated purchasers and they want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.

Jan. 25, 2019

Think You Should For Sale By Owner? Think Again!

Some Highlights:

  • For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or real estate agent.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, 36% of homeowners who decided to FSBO last year did so to avoid paying a commission or fee. But, homes sold with an agent net 6% more than those sold as a FSBO according to Collateral Analytics!
  • Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss the advantages of having an agent on your side.

Jan. 23, 2019

The Importance of Homeownership to the American Dream

For centuries, people in this country have seen homeownership as part of the American Dream. Whether they were born here or immigrated from another country, they wanted to own a piece of America. With so many prominent societal changes over the last few decades, it is fair to ask if people in America still feel the same way about owning a home. The answer was made abundantly clear in two separate reports released earlier this month.

 

In their market trends report, As Housing Trends Shift, So Does Renter, Buyer and Seller Sentiment, Trulia revealed that:

 

“After two years of no change, the share of Americans who say that homeownership is part of their personal “American Dream” ticked up from 72 percent to 73 percent of Americans.”

 

At the same time, the National Association of Realtors released their Aspiring Home Buyers Profile. As the report explained:

 

“For both homeowners and non-homeowners alike, homeownership is strongly considered a part of the American Dream. For non-owners, roughly 75 percent reported that homeownership is part of their American Dream. For owners, nine in 10 believe it is part of their American Dream.”

 

Bottom Line

The belief among the vast majority of Americans, whether they rent or own, is that purchasing a home still remains a major step toward accomplishing the American Dream.