Category: Real Estate

Keys To Selling Your Home Quickly

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Let’s be clear…it’s a great time to sell your home. Inventory is low, resulting in higher asking prices…and mortgage rates are historically low allowing buyers more purchasing power. That doesn’t mean that all homes sell immediately or for top dollar. Despite what you may read or hear, buyers are still picky…within reason…but rightfully so. By concentrating on just a few key things it’s possible to minimize the time your property spends sitting on the market. From improving curb appeal to removing excess clutter, here are several things that can help you to improve property values, attract potential buyers, and ensure a profitable sale.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is never a concern that should be taken lightly. Your home’s exterior appearance, landscaping and general exterior appearance all play a key role in ensuring that potential buyers are more likely to form a positive first impression. From listing photos to the first glimpse that buyers will have when they pull up to the curb, a few improvements can make a major difference.

Interior Upgrades

Home improvements and renovations can boost property value and help to ensure a quicker, less stressful sale. While a few upgrades can be well worth the effort and expense, it’s wise to stay focused and avoid going overboard in your efforts. A few small projects are often easier to manage and of greater benefit than larger efforts that have the potential to get out of hand.

A Good Agent

An experienced real estate agent is not a resource you will want to be without. Working with a professional who has a better understanding of the market as well as the tools, experience and skills needed to manage the sales process can provide a wide range of advantages. Homeowners who elect to go it alone could soon find themselves faced with an uphill battle.

No Clutter

Removing excess clutter and making an effort to depersonalize your home’s interior can help to ensure that buyers are provided with the blank canvas they need in order to better visualize the full potential of the space. Having less clutter within the home makes it much easier to prepare for property tours and open house events. Dealing with clutter now also means having less to pack up when it comes time to move to your new home.

Another Reason To Stop Renting And Buy A House

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If you are a first time homebuyer or just thinking about getting back into the market after a brief hiatus, your timing couldn’t be better! Yes, it’s a big step that requires some upfront costs, but the long-term benefits more than make up for itin the end. Aside from having a place to call your own and enjoying the several investment and tax perks that home ownership allows, it may actually be cheaper now than renting.

The Rental Affordability Report for 2021 that was produced by the nation’s premier property database, ATTOM Data Solutions, showed that owning a median-priced three-bedroom home was more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in over 60% of the 915 U.S. counties analyzed for the report. That’s pretty shocking when you consider that, over the past year, median home prices have increased more than the average cost of rent in 83% of those counties, and have risen more than the wages in about two-thirds of the nation.

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Home ownership has become more affordable in many housing markets thanks to noticeably declining interest rates (sometimes dropping below 3%) and the already high cost of renting. Although in many highly populated cities of over 1 million people, this may not be the case since the demand for space is far greater and sometimes just unattainable.

In the words of ATTOM Chief Product Officer Todd Teta, “The housing market boom of the past decade keeps pushing home values to a new record. Yet home ownership still remains the more affordable option for average workers in a majority of the country because it makes up a smaller portion of their pay.”

“The coming year is totally uncertain, amid so many questions connected to the Coronavirus pandemic and the broader economy. But right now, owning a home still appears to be a financially-sound choice for those who can afford it.”

After all, what better way to ring in the new year than with a space to call your own?

Homeowners Gained $56,700 in Equity on Average

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While it can be overlooked often times, a homeowner’s equity helps build long-term wealth over time. So, as home values climb, your equity does too. That’s exactly what’s happening today. There aren’t enough homes on the market to meet buyer demand, so bidding wars and multiple offers are driving prices up. That’s because people are willing to pay more to buy a home. Right now, this low supply and high demand are giving current homeowners a significant equity boost.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains: “Home price growth is the principal driver of home equity creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index reported home prices were up 17.7% for the past 12 months ending September, spurring the record gains in home equity wealth.” According to latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $56,700 over the last 12 months.

Curious how your state stacks up? Check out the map below to find out the average equity gain for your area.

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If you’re already a homeowner, equity not only builds your wealth, it also opens doors for you to achieve your goals. It works like this: when you sell your house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. You can use those proceeds to fuel your next move, especially if you’ve decided your needs have changed and you’re looking for something new.

If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, understanding the importance of equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. It builds your wealth and gives you peace of mind that your investment is a wise one, not just from a lifestyle perspective, but from a financial one too.

First Home Buying Tips

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It’s an adventure when you’re ready to go house hunting. It’s even more exciting when you are ready to search for your first home. Whether you’re moving out of your parent’s house, or you have been renting and are ready to finally own your own place, you’re taking a big step in life. Here are some helpful tips which will make buying your first home a positive experience.

Budget Wisely

Far too many people make the mistake of buying a home that is beyond their means. This only adds stress to their lives and can even lead to moving out if the mortgage is too much to handle. Sit down and work out your budget. Look at all of your monthly expenses and remember that you’ll want to continue to set aside savings for a rainy day. Once you see how much is left for a mortgage payment, give yourself some wiggle room.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re going to take the plunge as a first-time homebuyer, be strategic about your search. What area calls to you? A great price or a beautiful home will not be enough if you’re unhappy with the location. Consider the school district if you have children and think about access to your favorite stores. Figure out if you want neighbors nearby or if you would prefer your own space. Perhaps most importantly, decide if you’re comfortable with the quality of the surrounding area you’re moving to. This will help you to trim down your list of potential homes.

Establish Financing

This may be the most important tip in obtaining your first home…make sure you have your financing in order before you go home shopping. Seek out a licensed mortgage professional in your area and begin the pre-qualification process. Getting pre-approved before you start looking at homes is extremely important in the event you decide to write an offer on one. In the competitive housing market we’re currently in, offers from pre-qualified buyers go to the front of the line.

Budgeting Time and Money Wisely When Renovating Your Home

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In the current sellers’ market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – renovate before selling. Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:

Buyers may be willing to take on projects

A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we’re in a buyers’ market. Below that, and we’re in a sellers’ market. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our current supply of homes for sale, while rising, still remains solidly in sellers’ market territory.

So, what’s that mean for you? If you’re a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it’s indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren’t enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn’t meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later.

Not all renovation projects are equal

You don’t want to spend time and money on a project that isn’t worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad – even worse, one thats design quality won’t last a good while.

Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don’t spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.

Spotlight your already completed upgrades

If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you’re not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects.

Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you’ve made in your house’s listing.

When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Talk with your local real estate professional to find out what projects you should prioritize before you sell and how to highlight your upgrades to maximize your house’s potential.

Home Prices Keep Rising

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The median home price for single-family properties and condos has increased to $294,488. And since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, there’s been significant property appreciation across the board, with home values increasing, on average, by more than $41,000, according to the latest report from Radian.

A lack of inventory is helping to drive prices up, as the number of homes listed in the U.S. for the month were at a record low for any ninth month over the last 13 years.

Other findings:

– All regions reported faster appreciation than last month
– The strongest performing regions are the South and West, with growth occurring for three consecutive months
– The Midwest, however, had the highest month-over-month increase in appreciation rate (+242 basis points)
– September had the fastest, annualized one-month appreciation rate since 2020
– Among the 20-largest metropolitan areas of the U.S, more than half (13) posted faster annual price appreciation in September compared to last month

The takeaway:

“Given the rapid rise in home prices over a relatively short period of time, the Radian HPI is constantly mining the data to find signs of a shift in current housing strength—and so far, it seems to be heading in one direction,” said Steve Gaenzler, SVP of Data and Analytics, in a statement. “While there are some indications that affordability may be starting to place strain on certain homebuyers, the limited supply is a strong support for home price growth.”

Gaenzler added that, “ultimately while bidding wars may be reducing in frequency, sellers are still receiving above list price offers in many situations.”

Things To Keep In Mind When Making An Offer On A Home

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When it comes to buying a house, you’re looking for the perfect place to call home. The problem is, in today’s market there just aren’t that many homes available to purchase. With inventory hovering near record lows and sky-high buyer demand, a multi-offer scenario is the new normal. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re ready to make an offer.

Know Your Budget

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. That’s why you should connect with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Taking this step shows sellers you’re a serious, qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.

Move Quickly

Today’s market is dynamic and fast-paced. A skilled agent will do everything they can to help you stay on top of every possible opportunity. And, as soon as you find the right home for your needs, that agent will help you draft and submit your best offer as quickly as possible.

Utilize A Realtor

While homebuying may seem like a whirlwind process to you, local real estate agents do this every day, and they know what works. That expertise can be used to give you a significant leg up on your competition. An agent can help you consider what levers you can pull to help your offer stand out.

Make Your Best Offer

We all love a good deal. In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Use an agent as your trusted advisor to make a strong, but fair offer based on market value, recent sales, and demand.

Be Flexible

Be prepared to amend your offer to include flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to forego.

Pros & Cons Of Building Your Own Home

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Building a brand-new home may sound like a dream come true. You get to choose the ideal layout for your family’s needs, and have a say in each and every design element. However, the process may also be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Here are the pros and cons of building a house, including how much it costs, how long it takes, how it’s financed, and much more that will help you decide if this option is right for you.

Pro: You get what you want

Building a home is a popular option these days. And, it makes sense: When you build your own home, you get exactly what you want: an in-law suite for when the grandparents visit, a decked-out office for working from home, midcentury modern style, and more. Anything is possible.

The best way to make sure you get what you want (and that it fits within your budget): Hire a great builder from the start. This crucial step sets the best possible foundation (in every sense of the word) for your new home. Builders help you select others on your team (such as an architect, interior designer, and landscaper) and serve as your point person throughout the process.

Pro: Build where you want

Have you always dreamed of living by the water or having a mountain view? Or maybe you want no neighbors in sight? Building a home lets you set up your residence just about anywhere you want. Talk to your builder before making a land purchase. The builder will need to do a feasibility study on the land to make sure it’s a suitable place for the home you want to build. Builders help make sure the land is zoned for residential development and identify any issues with building on the site, such as connecting to utilities or developing the land before building can start.

Pro: Less maintenance

An obvious advantage of building a home is that everything is brand-new. That means maintenance and repairs will be minimal or even nonexistent for a while, saving you plenty of headaches and thousands of dollars a year. Nonetheless, a new house isn’t entirely maintenance-free. You’ll probably still need to do yardwork to keep up your newly installed landscaping. And you may want to pay for some preventive upkeep, and that could save you money in the long run.

Con: Cost

Building a house is an expensive enterprise, and typically costs more than buying a preexisting home. As such, you’ll need to have some in-depth discussions with your builder on what you want, and whether it’s affordable for you. Several factors determine how much your newly constructed home will cost: location, size, complexity, and design elements.

Con: Construction financing

To finance building a home, you’ll need a construction loan, which is a little more involved than getting a traditional mortgage to buy a preexisting house. For starters, you’ll likely need a 20% down payment since construction loans are considered higher-risk. Along with the usual financial documents needed for your loan application, you need to provide project plans, costs, and land value. You also need a signed contract or purchase contract with the project’s plans, specs, and budget details, and a timeline for the construction.

When shopping around for a mortgage for a new home build, go with a lender experienced in working with construction loans.

Con: Time

Generally, it takes a bare minimum of three months to build a simple house, and it can take much longer. Planning as much as you can will keep the project on track. Still, delays do happen. Weather is the biggest one, with temperature shifts and rain or snow postponing work. Your own choices could also be to blame. If you’re taking too long to choose your favorite flooring or windows, it could make it all take a little longer.

Things To Look Out For When Buying An Older Home

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Are you planning to purchase an old home? Old houses tend to cost less than modern builds. Additionally, if you’re the type of person who appreciates the nostalgic appeal and charm of an older home, then this will be a gratifying choice for you. Although older houses bring undeniable historical character, there are a few things you need to be aware of before buying one. Here is a list of important things to look for when buying an old house to avoid running into trouble.

Materials

The very first thing you should check before buying or moving into an old house is the presence of harmful building materials. Generally, houses built before 1978 are known to contain lead-based paints and asbestos. These chemicals pose a danger to both children and adults. Therefore, if you find the house to have these chemicals, you need to hire a professional to remove them before you settle in.

Foundation

The foundation of a home plays an important role in its overall stability—it’s what the entire structure sits upon. Many old houses tend to have foundation issues due to tear and wear, seismic waves, wet soil or tree root activity. In order to make the house livable, you need to hire a structural engineer to inspect and repair any damages or cracks. Experts can assess the situation and ensure the foundation is properly restored.

Roof

The roof is another common problem among old houses. If a house is very old, the roof shingles likely have depreciated and become less effective. Depending on the roof type the house has, its quality and efficacy can deteriorate based on weather, maintenance and quality of installation. Consider reaching out to professionals in your area to get an estimate on repair or replacement.

Electrical

Unlike modern homes, older ones usually have old electrical connectivity, which cannot withstand modern usage and appliances such as HVAC systems, computers and televisions, to name a few. Therefore, you need to ensure that the connection is updated before you finally move in. Among the areas to pay attention to are knob and tube wiring. These kinds of wiring were common in the early 1900s and are likely to be no longer effective.

Should You Buy A Bigger Home?

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If you have always wanted to live in a bigger home, then you may be wondering when the right time is for you to move. Bigger homes are more expensive and require more maintenance. However, you may be at a point in your life financially where you’re ready for a bigger place. Here are some reasons why moving on up may be a good idea.

Larger Family

Your current home may not fit your needs if your family is growing. If you’re expecting another child, then you will need a home with extra rooms. You’ll also need a home with extra storage space and bathrooms. This can be a very common reason why people seek to upgrade their homes. By checking in your area, you can start to plan your budget even before the birth of your child and make sure that an upgrade is right for you.

Affordability

Many folks move into a smaller home because that is all that they can afford. However, if you can afford to move into a bigger space, now may be the time to do it. If you have saved up a significant amount of money, or are earning more money than you used to, you can likely handle the financial responsibility of buying a larger home. When considering this type of move, you may also want to look in a more optimal area, such as one with better schools and other community opportunities.

Working From Home

More people are working from home these days, and one of the keys to successfully working at home is to have the right space. That’s why you may need a larger home. Most small homes do not have enough room to accommodate a home office or the space for a makeshift desk. If you live in a bigger home, you can convert an unused room into an office space. This can be especially helpful if you are considering starting a business, as having a space in your home to do this can save you a lot of money on rent.