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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!

Jan. 13, 2023

Updated Home Buyer's Guide

Hi there,

It’s been tough to be a home buyer the last few years, we get it.

Skyrocketing home prices, rollercoaster mortgage rates, fierce competition over limited inventory…

If you’ve been uneasy about entering the real estate market because of these conditions, then our newly updated Home Buyer’s Guide is for you.

Click here to get your free copy → Updated Home Buyer's Guide

In it, you’ll find expert advice to guide you through today’s often turbulent home buying journey, including:
    • 5 Critical Questions to Ask A Potential Agent – How to interview your buyer’s agent to ensure they’re a market expert who will best serve your specific needs.

    • Calculating Your Buying Power – A straightforward worksheet to gain clarity on your buying power so you’ll be able to win the home you want.

  • Making an Offer – Insider tips on how to craft a purchase offer that satisfies your needs and appeals to today’s sellers.
Whether this is your first home or your tenth, take some of the uneasiness out of the process so you can enjoy the experience of becoming a homeowner.

Download our Home Buyer's Guide now or reply to this email so we can set up a time to chat about your real estate needs.

Thanks,

Edward Wall

P.S. Do you know someone who could benefit from our updated Home Buyer's Guide? Please share this link with them!
 

623 Pelican Dr Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548

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Posted in Real estate
Jan. 5, 2023

Experts Predict What The Housing Market Will Look Like In 2023

The housing market is sending clearer signals that historically low mortgage rates and the home-buying frenzy have come to an end. As we near the end of 2022, here’s a look at the expectations of real estate experts for 2023.

Danielle Hale, Realtor.com chief economist: After several years of an unambiguous sellers’ market, the 2023 housing market could feel more like a nobody’s market. We expect to see some buyer advantages in the form of 22.8% more homes for sale, however, the increase will result largely from homes taking longer to sell amid challenging affordability conditions. For-sale homes will remain high-priced, with the national annual median price for 2023 expected to advance another 5.4%—less than half the pace observed in 2022. Still high prices mean that homeowners are likely to walk away from a home sale with significant equity, if they decide to venture into the market and can find a buyer. On the whole, however, we expect home sales to be dramatically lower, down 14.1% compared to 2022 as both buyers and sellers pull back from a housing market and economy in transition. We expect the annual tally for 2023 to be roughly in line with the recent pace of home sales in late 2022.

For many potential first-time home buyers, 2023 will herald a delayed dream rather than a celebration as home costs exceed what’s possible on their budget and income. As fewer households make the jump to homeownership, increased rental demand could help keep rents moving higher. Nationwide, the median rental is projected to increase 6.3% in price, even as an influx of new multifamily housing helps to better meet rental demand. Renters looking to save in the year ahead may consider moving further out to the suburbs.

A still strong jobs market will keep incomes growing at a faster than historically average pace (3.9%), but they will not exceed expected inflation (4.1%) which means that many households will continue to make tough budget tradeoffs. After years of high-flying tech cities dominating real estate who’s-who lists, this year's top performers are expected to be modest, mid-sized domestic industry hubs in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. The slow and steady real estate markets in these areas where homes continue to be affordable will be the stars in 2023, better weathering the affordability challenges that loom ahead.

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Bob Pinnegar, president and chief executive officer of the National Apartment Association: Pursuing sustainable and responsible solutions to address our nation’s housing affordability crisis will remain a steadfast priority in the new year. Our nation’s affordability challenges stem from an alarming supply/demand imbalance, and to properly address this we must build 4.3 million new apartments by 2035.

On the economic side, supply chain issues have begun to ease and will hopefully continue to in the year ahead. While jobs are steady, the labor market faces challenges in areas like construction, where workers are needed. Inflation is starting to show signs of easing, but any of those impacts are unlikely to be seen until the end of 2023.

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State and local lawmakers continue to consider damaging policies like rent control, which more than 40 years of academic research and real-life case studies consistently reiterate is ineffective in addressing affordability. Rent control distorts the housing market by acting as a deterrent and disincentive for rental housing development and expedites the deterioration of existing housing stock. As these policies continue to be discussed, the rental housing industry will continue to advocate for responsible solutions – like revitalizing Section 8 and removing barriers to apartment development - that will improve affordability challenges long-term.

Nick Bailey, president and CEO of RE/MAX, LLC: One thing I can say for certain about the housing market in 2023 is that no matter the macro-economic conditions, Americans will continue to buy and sell millions of homes. Generally speaking, when we’re talking about the overall health of the housing market, most people are approaching that conversation from the lens of an investor. Will the market bottom out or have we hit the top? That’s an important conversation, but the truth is, people are getting married, divorced, moving to care for aging family members, relocating for career opportunities and so on, every single day. And for those people, it’s less about the interest rate or mortgage rates that week and more about their present situation and whether they can afford a house that fits their needs.

I’m optimistic that 2023’s spring selling season will be a bright spot as levels of inflation get more under control. There will still be extreme demand as new construction just can’t get out of the ground fast enough, and the Millennial home buyers, who make up a huge demographic, are primed to make their move. According to a recent survey conducted by RE/MAX in partnership with SWNS Media Group, 84% of Gen Z, 79% of Millennials and 61% of survey respondents 77 or older plan to buy a house or condo in the next few years. In my opinion, 2023 will be a better year for housing than many people think, especially because we'll no longer have year-over-year comparisons to 2021 – an historic outlier that made 2022 seem less than what it really was.

Jacob Channel, senior economist for LendingTree: The housing market will remain tough for many would-be buyers. While mortgage rates might stabilize, prices could decline, and buyers may be able to negotiate with sellers more in 2023 than they were able to over the height of the pandemic, that doesn’t mean that buying a home is suddenly going to become a walk in the park. On the contrary, affordability challenges will likely persist for many, owing to rates remaining steep and supply remaining limited.

Borrowers shouldn’t expect rates to fall to anywhere near their record 2021 lows, or even to as low as they were at the start of 2022. Home prices won’t necessarily fall everywhere, but a combination of relatively high rates and weak home buyer demand will probably push prices down nationwide this year. Although a 5% to 10% drop may seem steep, it’s important to keep in mind that because home values rose so much over the height of the pandemic, declines this year are unlikely to totally wipe out the gains that many homeowners saw over the past few years.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors and senior vice president of research: 4.78 million existing homes will be sold, prices will remain stable and Atlanta will be the top real estate market to watch in 2023 and beyond. Home sales will decline by 6.8% compared to 2022 (5.13 million) and the median home price will reach $385,800 – an increase of just 0.3% from this year ($384,500).

Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines. However, markets in California may be the exception, with San Francisco, for example, likely to register price drops of 10–15%. Rent prices will rise 5% in 2023, following a 7% increase in 2022. Foreclosure rates will remain at historically low levels in 2023, comprising less than 1% of all mortgages. The gross domestic product will grow by 1.3%, roughly half the typical historical pace of 2.5%. After eclipsing 7% in late 2022, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will settle at 5.7% as the Fed slows the pace of rate hikes to control inflation. That is lower than the pre-pandemic historical rate of 8%.

Taylor Marr, Redfin deputy chief economist: Slowing inflation and the hope of the Fed easing rate hikes in the new year are likely to bring mortgage rates down further and thereby improve homebuying demand. But don’t call it a comeback or even a recovery yet; demand is still way down from its peak. We’re keeping a close eye on the labor market for confirmation that inflation will continue slowing. A strong job market like the one we have now contributes to inflation because it pushes up wages and leads to higher prices. Though it seems counterintuitive, a slight uptick in unemployment and/or slower economic growth would likely help bring mortgage rates down further. If that happens, the increase we’re seeing in early-stage demand could translate to an uptick in pending sales in early 2023.

Selma Hepp, interim lead of the Office of The Chief Economist at CoreLogic: Following the recent mortgage rate surge above 7%, real estate activity and consumer sentiment regarding the housing market took a nosedive. Home price growth continued to approach single digits in October, and it will move in that direction for the rest of the year and into 2023. However, while some housing markets have seen significant recalibration since the spring price peak and are likely to post losses in 2023, further deteriorating for-sale inventory, some relief in mortgage rate increases and relatively positive economic news may help eventually stabilize home prices.

Jeff Tucker, Zillow senior economist: The rental market is cooling, but to this point it hasn’t brought any real relief for renters. However, there are signs affordability may improve in the coming months. Annual rent growth has fallen from a record 17.2% annual growth in February to 8.4% year-over-year growth in November.

Renters looking to sign a new lease in 2023 should feel encouraged about this data, but still need to keep a close eye on the market and act quickly when they find a rental that fits their needs and budget. Rents are still higher than they were pre-pandemic, so tradeoffs and flexibility will still be necessary into next year. Renters facing a renewal should know that they’ve got more bargaining power this year and should carefully consider the prices of other nearby rental options when negotiating a lease renewal.

Kuba Jewgieniew, CEO and founder of Realty ONE Group: Homeowners will stay in homes due to locked-in lower interest rates. Regarding Realtors, 300,000 to 400,000 new licensees entered the real estate market over the past couple of years (similar to the relative percentage growth of NAR members between 2005-07).

Many top-producing professionals and teams that have been closing $100 million per year in transaction sales, chose this career path during real estate’s hot markets (2012-2020). So, they haven’t experienced a severe downward cycle like this since 2008. There are more than 90,000 real estate brokerages in America. Of these, many will consolidate, and others will get wiped out. Their Plan B funding source for access to capital, just to stay afloat, are friends and family.

The average interest rate on a credit card is now at a high of over 18% and expected to be in the 20’s soon. Home equity lines of credit are increasingly popular during high inflationary times.

Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for Bright MLSOver the past year, the housing market underwent an about-face as rapidly rising mortgage rates dramatically slowed home sales activity. In 2023, the housing market is expected to continue its correction and the housing market will start to look more normal, though we may need to reconsider what normal means. Mortgage rates will decline slowly in 2023, though will remain above 6% for most of the year. While not high by historic standards, 6% mortgage rates along with fast-rising prices will also keep some prospective buyers out of the market. Bright MLS’ forecast suggests that there will only be 4.87 million home sales in 2023, down 6% compared to 2022, and the lowest level of sales activity in nine years.

The median home price is expected to be relatively flat in 2023, rising just 0.3% year-over-year. But the national figure does not tell the whole story. Local markets that are more affordable and where the local economy is strong will see stronger price growth in the year ahead. In contrast, higher-cost metros, where housing affordability is a challenge, are at greater risk of price drops. In addition, pandemic boom towns where demand surged will also see greater price corrections in 2023. The frenzied pace of home sales activity during the pandemic was not typical or sustainable, nor is it good for a healthy, stable housing market. A return to a slower market with more modest price growth is a good place to be headed in 2023.

L.D. Salmanson, CEO of Cherre, a data integration and insights platform: Looking at the current market, we are seeing fewer transactions and increasing days on market. Low absorption rates indicate a price gap between buyers and sellers. Historically, this environment had been temporary — people lost their jobs while still carrying mortgages at variable rates. This will likely force sellers to have a reality check in 2023, needing to lower prices to make the sale. As interest rates continue to rise, the housing market is less appealing to potential buyers and mortgage applications are extremely low. Though a few very specific markets have sustained demand, most markets will see large corrections, and some markets, like South Florida, will even experience 20-30% price drops.

Any time there is a hot housing market with a sharp increase in the median home price, there is the possibility of a housing bubble. After home prices hit their peak in June, we saw the first decline in home price growth in 10 years, with the lagging Case-Shiller Index showing price increases falling 1.3%. Black Knight also reported that U.S. home equity dropped 7.6% in Q3, marking the largest drop since 2009. Though we are not technically currently in a housing bubble or experiencing a major market crash, declining prices coupled with interest rates climbing higher than 7.14% indicates that we are experiencing a market downturn that will continue into 2023.

Kate Wood, home expert at NerdWallet: After three years of a wildly unbalanced housing market, it’s tempting to hope 2023 will at last bring normalization. But the market remains far from normal, even if it’s no longer going to extremes. Rates have fallen from the peaks of October and November, but with continued upward pressure from the Federal Reserve the lows we’re seeing now could just be the eye of the hurricane. And major economic or geopolitical changes could, as they did this past year, totally upend rate forecasts. Home prices will likely continue dropping next year, but this won’t be a bubble bursting. These price drops will be more like a balloon slowly deflating — no longer headed skyward, but still hovering out of reach for many. Markets seeing the most significant drops will be those where home values grew the most rapidly, so even with prices dropping, home values will probably still be up year-over-year. Even with higher interest rates forcing some buyers out of the market, demand will likely continue to outstrip supply because the supply just isn’t there.

Many would-be sellers will likely be unwilling to give up the historically-low interest rates they purchased at or refinanced to for a rate that could be double. We may see an increase in homeowners moving without selling. Instead of giving up the low payment on their previous homes, they’re keeping them and converting them into single-family rentals. With a tenant’s rent covering the mortgage while the owner’s equity continues to grow, this can be a win-win for the seller. For home buyers, though, these are more potentially affordable homes that won’t go on the market. Nonetheless, buyers will probably continue to gain traction in 2023.

Jamison Manwaring, CEO and co-founder of Neighborhood Ventures: 2023 will be the first normal year for housing since 2019. After big run ups in housing costs in 2020 and 2021 followed by 4% increase in interest rates to slow the market in 2022, 2023 is set up to be a more normal year as interest rates stabilize and more newly constructed housing units are added. The supply of new units will be offset by the number of homeowners not moving because their interest rate is much lower than a new loan.

New home and multifamily construction projects slated for delivery in 2024 and 2025 will be delayed because the run-up in interest rates have made these ventures less profitable. Housing costs will remain flat and may even decline in some Sun Belt markets. Additional supply of new construction multifamily units will be delivered throughout 2023, mostly in Sun Belt states helping to ease housing costs. These high growth areas have suffered from housing shortages and new supply has been slow due to materials and labor shortages and Covid-related delays. But many of these projects will be delivered during 2023 adding thousands of additional units.

Jack Macdowell, chief investment officer at Palisades Group: Our base case shows housing activity dropping significantly in 2023 due to lower levels of purchase demand and limited housing inventory. At least through the first half of 2023, persistent labor market imbalances created in part by an undersupplied labor force will likely keep inflation elevated and policy rates restrictive. Barring unforeseen events, geopolitical or otherwise, we would expect volatility to subside alongside the Fed reaching the zenith of rate hikes, leaving room for mortgage rates to drop below 6%, and easing the debt service burden for would-be home buyers.

We expect mortgage delinquencies to rise as disposable income levels and consumer savings diminish. However, given the default management toolkit and large amounts of home equity, we are unlikely to see a material increase in foreclosure activity that leads to distressed property sales. 2022 and 2023 will likely be remembered as the years where the housing market sowed the seeds for future pent-up demand as would-be home buyers continue to get forced into the rental market due to affordability pressures. In the absence of new supply added to the housing stock, the release of this pent-up demand could come as soon as 2024.

Lazer Sternhell, CEO of Cignature Realty: The federal fund’s target rate is projected to hit 4.6% in 2023, which makes it extremely difficult for investors to evaluate multifamily deals: what will interest rates be at closing, what refinancing events will be available down the line, and what will an exit strategy look like? Investor preference will continue to be focused on free market buildings in prime locations.

Instability in the capital markets and rising interest rates have significantly curtailed multifamily investment activity and higher commercial mortgage rates are sending buyers to the sidelines. Private buyer tolerance for volatility keeps investment activity afloat. If rates stabilize in 2023, institutional investors will provide a further tailwind to the multifamily investment market.

Multifamily’s underlying solid fundamentals over the last 10 years delivered an average annual total return of over 9%. We expect multifamily to perform above average in 2023 despite economic headwinds and ongoing capital market disruptions. Multifamily real estate is one of the best asset classes for hedging inflation. Investors will wait for the multifamily market to stabilize.

Marc Minor, CEO and co-founder of Higharc: 2023 will see the continuation of the suburban migration. Smaller cities will be winners in 2023. As the tussle over remote versus in-office work calms down, Millennials who were previously waiting on the sidelines will settle in — likely not in the major cities they started the pandemic in. More than 900,000 new homes have been built every year for the last 60 years, on average. Most of the new homes being built today are in smaller metro areas. Expect this dynamic to drive housing in 2023 and 2024. New construction homes are going to be brought to market in line with the sturdy pace we were seeing pre-pandemic. It is no secret, the U.S. has a deficit of 3.8 million homes. The strength of demand is there and the need for the construction of new homes has never been higher.

Doug Bibby, president of the National Multifamily Housing Council: Over the coming year, we expect rents to continue to decrease from the heights of the last couple of years, but that demand for apartment homes to remain strong. Indeed, we can be reasonably confident, as research commissioned by NMHC and the National Apartment Association found that as a country we need to build 4.3 million new apartments by 2035. And that, of those 4.3 million apartment homes needed, we already are facing an existing 600,000 apartment home deficit because of underbuilding due in large part to the 2008 financial crisis. Even more worrisome, the number of affordable units (those with rents less than $1,000 per month) declined by 4.7 million from 2015 to 2020. A recent NMHC survey found that while market conditions may be beginning to normalize, the cost of construction and labor, and delays due to permitting and regulations, continue to impede the creation of badly needed housing. Simply put, over the course of 2023 and beyond we need to build and renovate more housing of all types and at all price points in communities across the country.

One trend of particular concern that will unfortunately continue is that lawmakers at the city, state and even federal levels continue to pursue failed policies like rent control to deal with housing affordability challenges. Again and again, rent control has been shown to actually hurt housing affordability – not improve it. As Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck described it, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.” Looking ahead, we need real solutions that will actually lower housing costs and spread opportunity. That starts with expanding housing supply. NMHC was encouraged when the White House announced their Housing Supply Action Plan earlier this year and we look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration and lawmakers in both parties in Congress to implement policies that allow for the development of desperately needed housing.

Rick Goldberg, vice president of sales at Arize: Over the last few years, the multifamily industry has seen record demand and surging rental rates. In a recent survey conducted by Yardi Matrix, the average asking rent rose 7% year-over-year, while the national occupancy rate remained strong at 95.6% this past October. There is no doubt that multifamily investors and employees are facing ongoing pressures including but not limited to record-breaking inflation, ongoing supply chain constraints, interest rates increasing and resident concerns.

Steven Shores, chairman and CEO of RangeWater Real EstateThe increase in mortgage rates from 3 to 7 percent has dramatically slowed home­ buying. As a result, RangeWater anticipates the demand of rental housing to rise. Both conventional multifamily communities and build-to-rent neighborhoods provide affordable options to meet the needs of an underserved population. As a nation, we are under-housed by 3+ million homes, which even at full production, is a difficult gap to close.

While demand for rental housing should remain robust in the medium to long term, our industry is facing significant headwinds including rising interest rates, inflated construction costs and a slowing economy. For all these reasons, I anticipate 2023 to be a challenging year, but anticipate improvements in late 2023 leading into continuous improvement throughout 2024 into 2025.

Lucas Haldeman, founder and CEO of SmartRent: As the housing market continues to decline in 2023 and mortgage rates are spiking, the demand for housing construction will remain low. Subsequently, employment demand will suffer for home builders. In order to remain competitive, we’ll see home builders offering additional incentives– like rate buydowns, rate locks, and upgrades on kitchen appliances. It’s likely there will also be a rise in spec home offerings in the attempt to increase buyer demand, due to the shortened move-in process in the wake of rates continuing to rise.

Leasing and maintenance teams within the multifamily industry have always had high employee turnover, and in this past year, we’ve continued to see that spike, even reaching all-time highs. This is due to labor shortages and a lack of resources for employees. Proptech will be crucial in employee retention going into 2023, as it allows for the centralization of operations– allowing employees to manage multiple properties by using fewer systems to streamline processes and creating new career paths for existing associates.

Ward Morrison, president and CEO, Motto Franchising, LLC: 2022 ushered in massive changes in the mortgage market. The Federal Reserve upped interest rates which impacted the 10-Year Treasury, rapidly increasing interest rates changed the dynamics of the market, and refis seemingly disappeared overnight shifting the industry to a purchase focus. Looking ahead to 2023, we are already starting to see compression in interest rates. This is due to the spread on the 10-Year Treasury versus consumer rates beginning to shrink and overall lower market risk. As the Federal Reserve tapers and improves consumer confidence in how they are addressing and reducing inflation, the risk premium will likely decrease, and we will have the potential to see rates come down towards the end of 2023.

While supply and demand of home inventory is still off balance, we are beginning to see inventory rise which is putting buyers in a more favorable position than they were in the 2022 seller’s market. In 2023 ,I anticipate we will see a shift to a buyer’s market where sellers will be more apt to work with a buyer to see the purchase through to the finish line. Sellers won’t necessarily want to lower the cost of the home, but they may be willing to offer incentives or seller credits the make the deal more attractive or work with you on products like 3-2-1 or 2-1 Buydowns, or ARMS that meet the needs of your current financial situation. The thing to always keep in mind when shopping for a home is that the market is volatile and “Black Swan” events such as economic, political, and geo-political happenings can change things quickly. Ultimately, the key to home buying success is finding a trusted real estate and mortgage advisor that is prepared to support you in what could be the most complex transaction of your lifetime.

Sean Grzebin, Head of Originations at Chase Home LendingWe’ve seen notable shifts in the market over the last year. While the market may seem daunting right now, it could still be the right time for buyers who are well-prepared financially to take on homeownership. Recent data indicates that we may be headed toward a buyers’ market as inventory increases and prices decline. We expect to see buyers who are financially ready enter the market and become homeowners in 2023. We also anticipate that Black and Hispanic buyers, Millennials and Gen Z, and single women will continue to become more dominant forces in the housing market.

It’s clear that homeownership remains a priority and we expect buyers will make significant efforts to prepare themselves financially. According to our 2022 First-Time Homebuyer Study, 58% of consumers said that they are likely to purchase in the next 12 months and 70% still see homeownership as an important step to building wealth. Forty-four percent of survey respondents indicated they are confident that they will be financially ready to purchase in the coming year, up 12% year-over-year. Many are making lifestyle changes to help them afford homeownership. As an example, we found that two-in-five future homeowners plan to move in with family to help save money, up from one-in-five last year.

Steven Abrahams, head of strategy for Amherst Pierpont Securities – a Santander company: Nominal home prices next year look likely to run flat to slightly positive. But that is well above consensus. The rise in home prices since 2020 and the rise in mortgage rates in 2022 has cut affordability and led to wide expectations that nominal home prices will drop nationally. Estimates vary but commonly range between -5% and -15%. But those expectations miss a unique element of the housing market: nominal prices tend to be sticky to the downside. Homeowners that cannot get their target price often stay in the home, take it off the market or even rent it and wait for a buyer. Supply drops as fast if not faster than demand.

The only circumstance where that does not happen is when the homeowner loses the ability to stay in the home—often due to unemployment, a higher rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage or both sufficient to burn through available cash. But homeowners, with one notable exception, usually fund with fixed-rate debt. That helps explain why home prices nationally have run flat or higher in six out of the last seven recessions, through Fed hikes and wide swings in affordability. Home prices famously fell from 2006 and through 2012 after the U.S. adopted a wide range of creative adjustable-rate mortgages and recession pushed up unemployment. At the peak, distressed home sales made up 49% of the total. But the housing market today is funded with tightly underwritten fixed-rate debt. Distressed sellers are around 1% of sales. That should help the housing market avoid another price crash and squeak out a gain in 2023.

Thad Wong, co-CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate and @properties2023 will be a significantly better market than what many experts are predicting. There will be some price retraction off the record highs of early 2022, but generally, the next three to five years will be stable, fluid and relatively uneventful — which is exactly what the industry needs, after the last three years. There is an interesting dynamic now between inventory, interest rates and pricing. Inventory needs to stay low enough long enough for rates to ease back down, and I believe that low inventory levels will continue throughout 2023, which will put a floor under pricing. As interest rates move down, we’ll see affordability improve, demand pick up and healthier levels of inventory return. The biggest disappointment among most home buyers, with the exception of entry-level buyers, is not that they can’t afford to buy, but that they missed out on the lowest rates in history. The initial shock of rising rates is already giving way to acceptance, and those that need a home will figure out how to buy at today’s rates.

David O’Reilly, chief executive officer, The Howard Hughes Corporation: Despite market headwinds, this is not a repeat of the housing downturns from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Home sales over the past several years have been to end users, not speculators, and new home construction since the GFC has not kept up with household formation—implying a housing shortage of almost 4 million homes nationally. As existing homeowners are locked in with historically low interest rates, they will be reluctant to trade out to today’s higher mortgage rates and potentially downsize their home. Limited resale inventory means new construction is needed to meet the growing demand for housing—and, when combined with the undersupply of existing homes, will drive a quick rebound of the housing market in the second half of 2023. We will continue, albeit more slowly, to see migration into the communities that offer an outstanding quality of life—particularly in the Sun Belt and the Southeast, which will create a quicker rebound in those markets.

Brian Carson, CEO at AHF Products, a leader in hardwood flooring: We are primed to see a 20-25 percent increase in the number of homes that need remodeled in 2023. That reflects the housing boom 25 years ago, as those homes are now coming of age. Right now, around 20 million homes are between 20 and 40 years old – that’s when older homes get an extreme overhaul and makeover. We can expect the next five to six months to be slower as high-interest rates and inflation take a bite out of disposable spending. But the next five to six years will be extremely strong with a lot of success in the flooring and home renovation industries.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2022/12/19/experts-predict-what-the-housing-market-will-look-like-in-2023/?sh=5f360579bfc0

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 3, 2023

7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price

Over the past few years, a real estate buying frenzy bid up home prices to eye-popping amounts. However, as mortgage rates have risen, buyer demand has cooled. Consequently, home sellers who enter the market today may need to reset their expectations.

The reality is, it’s no longer enough to stick a “for sale” sign in the yard and wait for buyers to bang down the door. If you want to get the most money possible for your property in today’s market, you’ll need an effective game plan and a skilled team of professionals to implement it. 

Fortunately, we’ve developed a listing strategy that combines our proven approach to preparation, pricing, and promotion, all designed to help you get top dollar for your home. However, you will play an important role in the selling process, as well. 

 

Here are some crucial steps you can take to set yourself up for success as a home seller in this market:

 

1. Make Strategic Repairs and Improvements

 

When you sell something, it’s important to consider what your customer wants to buy. And according to the National Association of Realtors, only 6% of today’s buyers report that they are looking for a DIY fixer-upper. The vast majority want a move-in-ready home, which means that any outstanding repairs or dated features can be a major turn-off.

Before your home goes on the market, we’ll conduct a thorough walk-through to identify any problems that could prevent it from selling. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection. Finding and addressing issues like leaks, rot, and foundation problems up front can pay off in the final sale price. Plus, it prevents sales from falling through because of a red flag on the home inspection, a scenario no seller wants to face. Beyond repairs, we’ll also help you identify the simple upgrades that offer the highest return on your investment. For example, new paint can give your home a fresh look at a reasonable cost. However, it’s important to choose the right colors. One study found that painting your bathroom light blue could lead to a 1.6% increase in the offer price. Similarly, minor landscaping improvements can pay off in a major way. A healthy lawn offers an estimated 256% return on investment.

 

2. Declutter and Depersonalize

 

When buyers look at a home for sale, they try to envision themselves living there. That’s hard to do if it’s chock-full of the current owner’s family photos, children’s artwork, and souvenir collections. Plus, cluttered homes look smaller, and older items can make them feel dated. Decluttering before you put your home up for sale will help you in the long run, after all, you’ll need to move all your things to your new home eventually. Now is the time to shred, digitize, or organize old documents, donate old clothes, or move bulky furniture into storage. At a minimum, you’ll want to pack away excess items neatly before potential buyers view the home. Remove personal photos and other trinkets to create a blank slate that viewers can imagine decorating with their own prized possessions. If you feel overwhelmed by this process, we’d be happy to make recommendations or refer you to a local service provider who can help.

 

3. Stage Your Home for Success

 

Just as you take care to dress professionally for a job interview, you should always ensure your home looks its best for potential buyers. Home shoppers today are used to scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, and they want to see the same wow factor when touring a home. The process of making your home look its best and appeal to potential buyers is called staging, and it can be a game changer. According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, an average-priced staged home sells 5 to 11 times faster than its nonstaged counterpart. Even better, most staged homes sell for 4% to 20% over the list price! Some sellers hire a professional stager, who may bring in furniture and decor to increase the home’s appeal. Others choose to stage their homes themselves. We can help advise you on which route to choose and how much to invest in the process. It’s also important to consider what buyers in your neighborhood are likely to be looking for in a home. We can help guide your staging choices with our local market insights. For example, in neighborhoods where a large share of residents work from home, it may be effective to stage one room as office space so potential buyers can envision their day-to-day routine.

 

4. Prep for Each Showing

 

Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect that (sometimes messy) reality. But when your home is on the market, it’s important to ensure that it is always ready for viewers, even on short notice. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home!

Before your home hits the market, it may be worth hiring professional cleaners to get in all the nooks and crannies. After, try your best to keep things spic and span. Just a few minutes a day wiping down counters, sweeping the floors, and vacuuming can make a big difference. 

It’s also worth noting that most buyers will open cabinets, drawers, and closets, so try to make sure everything is as neat and organized as possible. Keep toiletries and small appliances off countertops, and secure valuables and sensitive documents in a safe or off-site.

Want help finding a cleaning service to make your home shine for buyers? Reach out for a referral!

 

5. Price Your Home Correctly From the Start

 

In the past few years, you may have seen homes in your neighborhood sell for shocking amounts and wondered if you could get a similar price for your property. The temptation to list your home on the high side can be strong, but it’s best to be realistic from the start. Even in a hot market, some homes will sit for months. And the longer a property is listed, the more buyers worry that something is wrong with it.

Of course, you also don’t want to set your price too low and lose out on potential profit. That’s why it’s essential to work with real estate agents (like us!) who know the ins and outs of our local market and what buyers are willing to pay today. In a quickly evolving market, comparable sales from a few months ago can lag behind the current market reality. 

Fortunately, if you’ve owned your home for several years, chances are good that it’s worth much more today than you paid for it. That means you stand to walk away with a handsome profit. In fact, recent reports show that homeowner equity is at an all-time high.

 

6. Avoid Acting on Emotion

 

The past few years of over-asking-price offers with few contingencies have set certain expectations for many sellers. It’s only natural to feel hurt or even offended if an offer comes in lower than what you think your home is worth. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that those market conditions were unprecedented, and we are now returning to a more typical market. Home sellers who act rationally, rather than emotionally, are going to get the best results. 

 

Remember: You can always counter a low offer. The same goes for repair requests and contingencies, everything is negotiable. However, it’s important to accept that the market is adjusting, and flexibility is key. Keep your expectations reasonable and remain open-minded. Furthermore, you can rest assured knowing that we’ll be by your side every step of the way to help you navigate the process and negotiate a great deal.

 

7. Work With a Local Market Expert

 

The economics impacting mortgage rates may be national, but real estate markets are hyperlocal. That’s why working with a professional agent who understands your neighborhood’s dynamics is essential. Through our experience, we’ve gathered insights that can help us position your home for success in this market. Plus, we have the resources to connect with qualified buyers searching for a home like yours. 

 

Working with a knowledgeable agent is also the secret to getting as much money as possible for your home. We have access to extensive data on recent sales in your neighborhood, which we will use to price and promote your property. That’s one reason why homes sold by agents draw much higher prices than those sold by their owners alone. While for-sale-by-owner homes went for a median price of $260,000 in 2020, the median for homes sold by agents was $318,000.(8) That’s a difference of $58,000, and money you don’t want to leave on the table.

 

YOUR AGENT AND ADVOCATE

 

Selling a home in a fast-changing market can be stressful. You’re likely to hear conflicting advice and opinions from people in your life, and decisions like what color to paint your front door or how much to list your home for can be overwhelming. 

 

That’s where we come in. The market may be adjusting, but it’s still highly advantageous for sellers, and we’re here to help you make the most of it. We’re listing experts in our area, and we know what steps you need to take for a smooth, profitable transaction.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, we invite you to reach out to schedule a free consultation. We’re happy to talk through your specific situation and goals and help you identify your next steps.

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Posted in Real estate
Dec. 22, 2022

3 Reasons to List Now

Ask any agent and the best time to sell is usually "right now." The truth is, Winter 2022/2023 is a great time to list, and here are 3 reasons why. 



1.) There is practically nothing on the market right now, which means buyers who have to move to have to make a choice based on what's available. Plus, supply & demand have higher price points and more negotiating power. 

2.) Interest rates hit an all-time low a few weeks ago and are trending back up. Albeit, still single digits, as the interest rate continues to increase it will lower the amount of purchasing power a buyer has. So, we are advising buyers to take action now. 


3.) It's cold and it's the holidays... people are around to look at homes. There's not much else to do. 



If you have any questions about what you can do to prepare your home for the market, feel free to reach out to me via phone or email. I’d love to chat with you. Edward

Posted in Real estate
Nov. 23, 2022

Ongoing Costs of Homeownership

Can you afford to both buy and own a home?

Buying a 🏡 can be a great financial decision—if you’re ready. But, before you put in any offers, it’s important to crunch the numbers.

You’ll need to consider the up-front expense of a home purchase, as well as the ongoing costs of ownership, like those listed on this video.

Wondering if you can afford to buy a home? We’re happy to talk you through your goals and budget. Send us a DM to set up a free consultation.

 

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Posted in Real estate
Oct. 28, 2022

Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Your First Home

Deciding whether to jump into the housing market or rent is rarely easy, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But in today’s whirlwind market, you may find it particularly challenging to pinpoint the best time to start exploring homeownership.

 A real estate boom during the pandemic pushed home prices to an all-time high. Add higher mortgage rates to the mix, and some would-be buyers wonder if they should wait to see if prices or rates come down.

 

But is renting a better alternative? Rents have also soared along with inflation – and are likely to continue climbing due to a persistent housing shortage. And while homebuyers can lock in a set mortgage payment, renters are at the mercy of these rising costs for the foreseeable future.

So, what's the better choice for you? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying versus renting. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to schedule a free consultation, and we'll help you with your options. You may also find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

 

1️: How long do I plan to stay in the home?

You'll get the most financial benefit from a home purchase if you own the property for at least five years. There are costs associated with buying and selling a home, and it may take time for the property’s value to rise enough to offset those expenditures.

The longer you own a property, the more you will likely benefit from its appreciation.  A home purchase may not be your best choice if you plan to sell in less than five years.

 

2️: Is it a better value to buy or rent in my area?

One helpful tool for deciding is a neighborhood’s price-to-rent ratio: just divide the median home price by the median yearly rent price. The higher the price-to-rent ratio is, the more expensive it is to buy compared to rent.

Remember, this equation only provides a snapshot of where the market stands today. We can help you interpret the numbers to determine if buying or renting is your neighborhood's better long-term value.

 

3️: Can I afford to be a homeowner?

To determine your financial readiness, examine how much you have in savings. After committing a down payment and closing costs, ensure you still have enough left for ancillary expenses and emergencies. Then consider how your monthly budget will be impacted.

If you want to buy a home but aren’t sure you can afford it, give us a call to discuss your goals and budget. We can give you a realistic assessment of your options and help determine if your homeownership dreams are within reach.

 

4️: Can I qualify for a mortgage?

Every lender will have its own criteria. But, in general, you can expect a creditor to scrutinize your job stability, credit score, savings, and debt obligations. You must also pass a mortgage stress test if you borrow from a federally regulated lender.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is always a good idea before you start house hunting. Let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll give you a referral to a loan officer or mortgage broker who can help.

 

5️: How would owning a home change my life?

It’s important to consider how homeownership would affect your life, aside from the long-term financial gains. You should be prepared to invest more time and energy in owning a home than renting.

However, you might relish the chance to tinker in your own garden or make HGTV-inspired improvements. The great thing about owning a home is that you can generally do what you want with it – even if that means painting your walls fiesta red one month and eggplant purple the next. The choice – like the home – is all yours.  

 

 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS

The decision to buy or rent is among the most consequential you will make in your lifetime. We can make the process easier by helping you compare your options using real-time local market data. So don't hesitate to reach out for a personalized consultation, regardless of where you are in your deliberations. We'd be happy to answer your questions and identify actionable steps you can take now to reach your long-term goals.

 

 

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Posted in Real estate
Oct. 4, 2022

Renters for a Weekend or a While: What’s the Best Use of Your Investment Property?

 

The residential rental market is now the fastest-growing segment of the housing market. In the United States, the demand for single-family rentals, defined as either detached homes or townhouses, has risen 30 percent in the past three years.And in Canada, rentals units now account for nearly one-third of the country’s homes, with particular demand for multi-family units, including apartments and condominiums. At the same time, the short-term, or vacation, rental market is also booming. The popularity of online marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO has helped the vacation rental market become one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry.Now, more than ever, there is an abundance of opportunity for real estate investors. But which path is best: leasing your property to a long-term tenant, or renting your property to travelers on a short-term basis?In this post, we examine the differences between the two investment strategies and the benefits and limitations of each category.

WHY INVEST IN A RENTAL PROPERTY? The Top 5 Reasons

Before we delve into the differences between long-term and short-term rentals, let’s answer the question: “Why invest in a rental property at all?”There are five main reasons that investors choose real estate over other investment categories:

1. Appreciation

Appreciation is the increase in your property’s value over time. And history has proven that over an extended period, the cost of real estate continues to rise. Recessions may still occur, but in the vast majority of markets, the value of real estate does grow over the long term.

2. Cash Flow

One of the key benefits of investing in real estate is the ability to generate steady cash flow. Rental income can be used to pay the mortgage and taxes on your investment property, as well as regular maintenance and repairs. If appropriately priced in a solid rental market, there may even be a little extra cash each month to help with your living expenses or to grow your savings.

Even if you only take in enough rent to cover your expenses, a rental property purchase will pay for itself over time. As you pay down the mortgage every month with your rental income, your equity will continue to increase, until you own the property free and clear … leaving you with residual cash flow for years to come.

3. Hedge Against Inflation

Inflation is the rate at which the general cost of goods and services rises. That means as inflation rises, the money you have sitting in a savings account will buy less tomorrow than it will today. On the other hand, the price of real estate typically matches (or often exceeds) the rate of inflation. To hedge or guard yourself against inflation, real estate can be a reliable investment choice.

4. Leverage

Leverage is the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment. You can put a relatively small amount down on a property, finance the rest of the investment with a mortgage, and then profit on the entire combined value.

5. Tax Benefits

Many potential investors forget the tax benefits that can come with a real estate investment. From deductions to depreciation to exemptions, there are many ways a real estate investment can save you money on taxes. Consult a tax professional to discuss your options.

There are some of the many reasons why investors choose real estate, but what’s the best use of an investment property? In the next section, we explore the differences between long-term and short-term rentals.

 

LONG-TERM (TRADITIONAL) RENTAL MARKET

Traditionally, when most people think of owning a rental property, they imagine buying a property and renting it out to tenants who live there for years. They use their rental property to generate an additional stream of income while benefiting from the property’s long-term appreciation in value.

That steady and predictable cash flow is one of the top benefits of owning a long-term rental. And as an owner, you don’t have to worry about paying the utility bills or furnishing the property—both of which are covered by the tenant. Add to this the fact that traditional tenants translate into less time and effort spent on day-to-day property management, and long-term rentals are an attractive investment option.

However, there are also limitations to long-term rentals, which often come down to your ability to control the property. Perhaps the most obvious one is that you do not get to use the home or closely monitor its upkeep (this is different from a short-term rental, which we’ll share in the next section).

In addition, while you can usually generate a steady, predictable income stream with a long-term rental, you are limited in your ability to adjust rent prices based on increasing or seasonal demand. Therefore, you may have less income to account for the greater wear and tear typically experienced with long-term renters. In fact, according to data from Mashvisor, in the 10 hottest real estate markets, short-term rentals produced “significantly higher rental income” than long-term rentals

 

SHORT-TERM (VACATION) RENTAL MARKET

Short-term rentals are often referred to as vacation rentals, as more and more travelers enjoy the benefits of staying in a home while on vacation. In fact, according to Wells Fargo, vacation rentals are steadily growing and are predicted to account for 21% of the worldwide accommodations market by 2020.

Investing in a short-term rental or funding your second-home purchase by renting it out can offer many benefits. If you purchase an investment property in a top travel destination or vacation spot, you can enjoy steady demand from travelers and still enjoy the home yourself when it’s not rented. In addition to greater control over how your property is used, you can also adjust your rental price around peak travel demand to maximize your returns.

But short-term rentals also have risks and drawbacks that may dissuade some investors. They require greater day-to-day property management, and owners are typically responsible for furnishing the property, yard maintenance, and utilities.

And while rental revenue can be higher, it can also be less predictable based on seasonal or consumer travel trends. For example, a lack of snowfall during ski season could mean fewer bookings and lower rental revenue that year.

In addition, laws and limitations on short-term rentals can vary by region. And in some areas, the regulations are in flux as residents and government officials adapt to a new surge in short-term rentals. So make sure you understand any existing or proposed restrictions on rentals in the area where you want to invest. To lower your risk, consider investing in resort communities that are accustomed to travelers. Urban centers or suburban communities may be more resistant to short-term renters, thus more likely to pass future limitations on use.

 

WHICH INVESTMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Now that you understand these two real estate investment options, how do you pick the right one for you? It’s helpful to start by clarifying your investment goals.

If your goal is to generate steady, predictable income with less time and effort spent on property management, then a long-term rental may be your best option. Also, if you prefer a less-risky investment with more reliable (but possibly lower) returns, then you may be more comfortable with a long-term rental.

On the other hand, if your goal is to purchase a vacation or second home that you’ll use, and you want to defray some (or all) of the expense, then a short-term rental may be a good option for you. Similarly, if you’re open to taking on more risk and revenue volatility for the possibility of greater investment returns, then a short-term rental may better suit your spirit as an investor.

But sometimes the decision isn’t always so clear-cut. If your goal is to purchase a future retirement home now to hedge against inflation, rising real estate prices and interest rates, then both long- and short-term rentals can be strong options. In this case, you’ll want to consider other factors like location, market demand, property type, and your risk tolerance.

 

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Posted in Real estate
Sept. 21, 2022

How to Avoid the Top 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

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It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream house, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying.

When you hire a home inspector, you get a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers.

The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, if made, will help to maintain your home over the long term. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement.

However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress. Avoid these eight common buyer blunders to minimize your risk, protect your investment, and give yourself peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.

 

MISTAKE 1: Skip Your Own Inspection

Many buyers rely on their home inspector to point out issues with the property. However, by conducting your own visual assessment before you submit an offer, you can factor expected expenses into the offer price. Or, if you suspect major problems, you may choose to move on to a different property altogether.

Examine the walls and ceilings. Are there suspicious cracks, which could point to a foundation issue? Any discoloration? Yellow spots can indicate water damage, while black spots are typically mold. If there’s a basement, look for powdery white deposits along the walls and slab, which can result from water seepage.

To assess the plumbing, start by turning on a bathroom sink or tub, then flushing the toilet. Check for a drop in water pressure or a gurgling sound coming from the pipes. You can also try running the water in sinks and tubs for several minutes to test for drainage issues. Peak underneath sinks to spot signs of leaks or drain pipes that go into the floor instead of the wall.1 

Look for fogged or drafty windows, which may need replacing. Examine the roof for signs of cupped, curled, or cracked shingles. Check siding, decks, and other wooden structures for evidence of rot.

Overall, does the home appear to be well maintained? Unless it’s a highly-competitive seller’s market, consider the overall condition of the property BEFORE you submit an offer. Work with your real estate agent to factor in repairs and updates you know you’ll need to make when you determine your offer price.

 

MISTAKE 2: Hire the Cheapest Inspector

We all love to save money, but not all inspectors are created equal. Before you hire one, do a little research. You may even want to start shopping for an inspector before you complete your home search. Inspection periods are typically short, so it never hurts to be prepared.

You can start by asking around for recommendations. Check with friends and family members, as well as your real estate agent. Then contact at least two or three inspectors so you can compare not only price but also levels of experience and service.

Ask about their background, years of experience, and the number of inspections they have completed. Verify their certifications and credentials, and make sure they carry the proper insurance.

Find out what is (and what isn’t) covered in the inspection and if they utilize the latest technology. Ask to see a sample report so you can compare the style and level of detail provided. Finally, make sure you feel confident in the inspector’s abilities and comfortable asking him/her questions.

 

MISTAKE 3: Miss Attending the Inspection

Make every effort to be on-site during the inspection. Buyers who aren’t present during their inspection miss out on a great opportunity to gather valuable information about their new home.

If can attend the inspection, don’t spend all your time picking out paint colors or chatting with your new neighbors. Instead, use your time there to shadow the inspector. It’s the perfect chance to find out where everything is located, ask questions, and see first-hand what repairs and updates may be needed.

Of course, if you do choose to tag along with your inspector, exercise good judgment. Don’t get in the way, become a distraction, or do anything to jeopardize your (or the inspector’s) safety.

If you ain’t make it to the inspection, ask if you can schedule a time to meet in person or speak by phone to go over the report in detail. It will give you an opportunity to ask questions or request clarification about issues in the report you don’t fully understand.

 

MISTAKE 4: Skim Over the Report

Inspection reports can be long and tedious, and it can be tempting to skim over them. However, buyers who do this risk missing crucial information.

Instead, you should read over the report carefully, so you don’t miss anything significant. Now is the time to address any areas of concern. You have a limited window of time to request repairs or negotiate the selling price, so don’t squander it.

Your inspector may also flag some minor items that you wouldn’t typically expect a seller to fix. However, ignoring these small issues can sometimes lead to bigger problems down the road. Make sure you read everything in the report so you can take future action if needed.

 

MISTAKE 5: Avoid Asking Questions

Some buyers are too embarrassed to ask questions when there’s something in the inspection report they don’t understand. Afraid they might look foolish, they avoid asking questions and end up uninformed about important issues that could impact their home purchase.

The reality is, questions are expected. You hired your inspector for their professional expertise, so don’t be shy about tapping into it. For example, you might ask:

● Would you get this issue fixed in your own home?

● How urgent is it?

● What could happen if I don’t fix it?

● Is this a simple issue I could fix myself?

● What type of professional should I call?

● Can you estimate how much it would cost to make this repair?

● How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?

● What maintenance steps would you recommend?

Don’t bother asking your inspector if you should buy the property, because he/she won’t be able to answer that question for you. Instead, use the information provided to make an informed decision. A skilled real estate agent can help you determine the best path.

 

MISTAKE 6: Expect a Perfect Report

Some buyers get scared off by a lengthy inspection report. But with around 1600 items on an inspector’s checklist, you shouldn’t be surprised if yours uncover a large number of deficiencies. The key is to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require extensive (and costly) repairs.

Your real estate agent can help you decide if and how to approach the sellers about making repairs or reducing the price. Whatever you do, try to focus on the major issues identified in the inspector’s report, and don’t expect the sellers to address every minor item on the list. They will be more receptive if they perceive your requests to be reasonable.

 

MISTAKE 7: Forgo Additional Testing

There are times when an agent or inspector will recommend bringing in a specialist to evaluate a potential issue. For example, they may suggest testing for mold or consulting with a roofing expert.

Some buyers get spooked by the possibility of a “red flag” and decide to jump ship. Or, in their haste to close or desire to save money, they choose to ignore the recommendation for additional testing altogether.

Don’t make these potentially costly mistakes. In some cases, the specialist will offer a free evaluation that takes minimal time to schedule. And if not, the small investment you make could provide you with peace of mind or save you a fortune in future repairs.

 

MISTAKE 8: Skip Re-inspection of Repairs

 

Most buyers request receipts to prove that repairs have been correctly completed. However, it’s always prudent to go a step further and have negotiated repairs re-evaluated by your inspector or another qualified professional, even if there’s an additional charge.

While the majority of sellers are forthcoming, some will try to save money by cutting corners, hiring unlicensed technicians, or doing the work themselves. A re-inspection will help ensure the repairs are completed properly now, so you aren’t paying to redo them later.

To avoid having to go back to the sellers, be specific when requesting repairs. Identify the problem, how repairs should be completed, who should complete the work, and how the repairs will be verified.

Some buyers prefer to avoid this step altogether by completing the work themselves. They either request that the seller fund the repairs or reduce the selling price accordingly. Whichever path you choose, protect yourself and your investment by ensuring the work is done properly.

 

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Posted in Real estate
Sept. 8, 2022

The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent

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When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to work with a qualified real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a market expert. So how do you ensure you’re hiring an amazing real estate agent? There are currently more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many options to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose the right agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors, trust and reputation are the top deciding factors consumers use when hiring an agent. But how do you measure trust and reputation ... and what criteria can be used to help you make your decision?

In this guide, we've outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you can ask to make sure you’re working with the right market expert to achieve your real estate goals.

 

5 ATTRIBUTES OF AN AMAZING AGENT

As we mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents. To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:

1. A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has their real estate license, they know the basics of the transaction process. They know what goes into buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing the process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result often means buying or selling a home for the best price. For buyers, amazing agents have a strong understanding of market trends, competition, and how to make your offer attractive to sellers. They can help you identify and secure a deal to ensure you get the home you want, within your desired budget. If you’re selling a home, market experts have experience pricing homes optimally for the market, and creating pricing plans to minimize the time spent selling the home. This will help you sell for your desired price, and avoid costs like additional mortgage and utility payments.

 

Takeaway: Whether buying or selling a home, pricing can be tricky. Market experts can help navigate best-possible pricing strategies, and also secure the home you want within your budget.

 

2. An Effective Time Manager

It’s common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent may not be utilizing the latest tools and technology to make the transaction easier and more cost effective for their clients. Market experts have tools and strategies at their disposal to minimize the amount of time you spend on the process. For sellers, market experts can make sure you only deal with qualified buyers, not the “window shoppers” who can waste your time. We also utilize the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home effectively, ensuring it gets sold quickly. When looking to buy a home, inexperienced agents may waste your time by showing you homes that are not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to prioritize your needs and wants to find you the ideal home within your budget. They also know how to spot “red flags” and can steer you away from homes that are likely to turn up major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you time and money. In addition, well-networked Realtors can gain access to the hottest listings before many websites do. Their extensive professional networks can help identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This can be invaluable in a highly-competitive real estate market.

 

3. A Market Insider

While most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city, they may not understand important trends or developments that would affect your transaction. These can  include the state of the school district, issues with a homeowner association, new businesses in the area, zoning rules or trends in home prices. Market experts live and breathe local real estate and know the trigger points for buying and selling in this market. We also stay current on effective marketing and negotiation practices, resulting in our track record of success. For sellers, we understand what features of your home and neighborhood are assets in the selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, speed of sales and more. Takeaway: Even a well-intentioned agent may not have the skills, tools or technology to make the experience easy for you. There are lots of hidden activities that may take up unexpected time, and a market expert will save you time and energy.

 

4. A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents truly set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to increasing this key skill. Real estate negotiations can be challenging, even for seasoned professionals. It takes skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for your client’s best interests. While any agent can enter negotiations to buy or sell a home, they may not know the effective strategies to exit those negotiations with the result you want. Experienced Realtors focus on negotiation as a key skill. We understand what to do before entering negotiations (establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept concessions).

 

5. An Effective Closer

Closing a deal fast is often a good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted quickly. For sellers, it often means you can avoid the added expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and maximize the value of your home sale. However, an agent solely focused on speed can make decisions that aren’t in your best interests. Top real estate professionals know how to not only achieve your real estate goals quickly, but in the right way to avoid potential pitfalls. Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are complicated. And they can be overwhelming for the average agent who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, property disclosures, occupancy agreements and even lead paint records need to be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with these, but also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations. Market experts have a strong understanding of real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies within the closing process. In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where many sellers find an experienced Realtor is a huge asset.

 

Takeaway: Getting relevant and specific market knowledge can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many real estate agents don’t have it. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an experienced real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even street ... we’re literally conducting market research every day.

 

Takeaway: Many agents can feel the stress of the negotiation process, and may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will help ensure you get the best deal, not just the fastest deal.

 

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT

So how do you know if you’re working with an amazing agent? The first step would be to “shop around.” Many people work with the first agent they come across without a firm understanding of their level of experience. It’s always a good idea to interview a number of agents before selecting one. If you’ve gotten referrals from people you trust, then you may only need to interview 2-3 agents. However, it can be tough to know what to ask in the interview process. Here are some questions that can help you qualify the best agent to help you achieve your real estate goals:

1. Can you send me some information about yourself? Look for professionalism and consistency. What are their professional accomplishments? Also, try to identify how they approach their work. Look for a business person who has a strategy and solid support system. If they’re a newer agent, ask about their team’s dynamic and accomplishments.

2. How long have you been in real estate? The average Realtor has 10 years of experience4. But while longevity is important, even more telling are the number of transactions they have closed or been involved in. So feel free to also ask: “How many homes have you sold in this area?”

3. What will you do to keep me informed? Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will the agent be able to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, and then find an agent who will give you the attention and time you want and deserve.

4. Can you provide me with further resources I may need? From market reports and pricing trends to school performance and crime statistics, top agents have resources at their disposal. In addition, market experts have built strong relationships with their extended team of professionals, and can often get expedient service or be able to “cash in a favor” for you should a need arise.

5. Seller only: Can you share with me your plan to market my property? Many agents will simply put your home in the MLS and wait for it to sell. An amazing agent should have a detailed plan of how to get your home exposure on social media, to their local networks, and more.



Now that you’re armed with the 5 Attributes of Amazing Agents and the Top Questions to ensure you work with the best possible real estate agent, you’re ready to start interviewing agents. We’d love an opportunity to win your business. Schedule a free consultation with us to find out how true market experts can help you achieve your real estate goals!

 

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Posted in Real estate
Sept. 8, 2022

Top 12 Apps for Homeowners and Renters

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More than 77 percent of people own a smartphone.1 The average person checks their smartphone 46 times a day, with people under the age of 24 checking it an average of 74 times a day.1 We check it while we’re waiting in line and during our leisure time, whether we’re scrolling through social media, reading emails or getting up-to-date on the latest news. Smartphones are not only a useful tool for communication. With the following apps, you can get organized (whether you plan to buy or sell), save money, learn about the homes in your neighborhood and get inspired for your next renovation project. If you’re like 81 percent of people, you have your smartphone with you during most of your waking hours; let it help you stay organized and make your life easier.

Apps For Homeowners: Get Renovation Inspiration

These apps not only offer ideas for your next remodel or home décor project, some of them even give you a preview of what your home may look like once it’s finished.

1.) Houzz (Free)

The Houzz app is the number one app for home design and it’s no wonder; the app gives you access to all the inspiration, blogs and design ideas from the Houzz site on your phone or tablet. The app features View in My Room 3D, which allows you to view products in your home before you buy. Just take a photo of the space and a 3D version of the product will appear. Browse products, save photos of designs you’d like to view later and connect with local professionals in your area. Whether you’re gathering ideas for your next renovation and décor project or you’re just browsing, the Houzz app will satisfy all your design needs.

(Android, iOS)

2.) iHandy Carpenter ($1.99)

Make sure the photos, shelves, mirrors and other artwork you hang are even and aligned with this helpful app. It’s an all-in-one tool kit that features a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level bar, ruler and protractor. No need to purchase these tools separately; just hold your smartphone up to the wall and the app will take care of the rest.

(iOS, Android)

3.) Color911 ($3.99)

If you’re thinking of changing the color scheme of your home or want to find the right shades for lamp shades, rugs or throw pillows to match your vintage sofa, the Color911 app provides pre- elected color palettes to match any color scheme. Take a photo of the room or the furniture and the app will create a custom palette full of complementary colors. Write notes about your palette and organize it all into folders to share with family, friends or your design professional.

 

Bonus Apps for Homeowners:

AroundMe (Free)

Hungry and looking for a local hotspot? Meeting friends at a coffee shop nearby? Or just need to find the closest ATM? AroundMe allows you to search for the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, book a hotel or find a movie schedule close to where you live. Open the app and start  learning more about your neighborhood. (iOS, Android, Windows)

BrightNest (Free)

From keeping things clean to making them colorful, Brightnest, developed by Angie’s List, is loaded with suggestions on how to make your home a better place to live. With categories of customized tips (money-saving, cleaning, eco-friendly, healthy, cooking, and creative) there are plenty of great ways to pull inspiration from the app. BrightNest will help you tackle important home tasks with easy-to-follow instructions, a personal schedule and helpful reminders. (iOS,

Android, Web)

Apps For Sellers: List & Sell Your Home Quickly Are you a homeowner who is thinking of selling? If you’re preparing to sell, you know there are a lot of tasks to complete before putting your home on the market. These apps help you manage your to-dos so you can list and sell your home more efficiently with fewer distractions.

4.) Homesnap (Free)

Using the Homesnap app, you can snap a photo of any home, nationwide, to learn more about it. When you’re ready to sell, snap a few of the homes in your neighborhood to find out their valuation. This app isn’t perfect, which is why you should always consult with a local real estate agent. However, it can give you a general idea of the value of your home compared to others in the neighborhood. (iOS and Android devices)

5.) Docusign (Free)

Use the DocuSign app to complete approvals and agreements in hours—not days—from anywhere and on any device. Quickly and securely access and sign any documents. The benefit to using the app (over your desktop computer) is you will receive push notifications when a document is waiting for your signature and you can view and organize all your docs on-the-go. Using the easily downloadable app, receive and sign documents for free. You can receive and sign documents for free, but will need a paid account to send documents; pricing starts at $10 a month. (iOS, Android, Windows, Web).

6.) Wunderlist (Free)

Designed for use on the Web and mobile devices, Wunderlist is a well-designed to-do list and task management program that makes it easy to create a list and add tasks, due dates and reminders. Organize your ideas or focus into separate lists or create tasks within one list. You can also email them with whomever you collaborate, such as a spouse or your real estate agent. (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Web)

Bonus App for Sellers:

Real Estate Dictionary (Free)

Not sure what all those industry specific terms mean? Search thousands of words and phrases from real estate, mortgage, and financial dictionaries for clear, in-depth definitions. This is a handy app for anyone who’s buying or selling and wants to learn more about the process. (iOS,

Android)

Apps For Renters: Get Ready to Buy

Not ready to buy a home just yet? These apps will help you get into the perfect rental while you save money, build a budget and get on track for homeownership.

7.) Mint (Free)

Do you know where your money goes each month? Manage your bills, budget and credit score all in one place. Mint is a free app that helps you view your complete financial picture and track your spending. We recommend this app to anyone, but it’s especially useful for renters who need to crack down on their spending in order to save for a down payment. Use Mint to look for areas you can cut spending in order to save a little extra each month. (iOS, Android)

8.) Acorns ($1 a month to start)

Acorns is modernizing the practice of saving loose change with their automated savings tool. The app rounds up your purchases on linked credit or debit cards, then sweeps the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio. Acorns is free for four years for college students and everyone else pays $1 a month until their account balance hits $5,000, then 0.25% of their account balance per year. This is a useful tool for those who have a hard time saving. (iOS,

Android)

9.) Neighborhoods & Apartments

Built for the on-the-go apartment hunter, this app from Walk Score takes the hassle out of finding your next home or apartment and helps you live near the people and places you love. They collect listings from top rental listing sites and we like them because they share how walkable each address is, determined by access to public transit, things to do, bike trails, shorter commutes, etc. (iOS, Android)

 

Bonus Apps for Renters:

Wally (Free)

Wally is a personal finance app that helps you compare your income to expenses, so you can understand where your money goes each month, and set and achieve goals. Wally lets you keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why, & how much. We love how simple it is to set a personalized savings target and scan receipts. (iOS, Android)

Credit Karma (Free)

If you’re preparing to buy, boosting your credit score is likely a goal you’ve set. Credit Karma is a free app that allows you to safely monitor your score and receive updates on ways you can improve it over time. They provide financial calculators and educational articles to help you better understand what credit is all about. Check as often as you want, and it doesn’t hurt your

score. (iOS, Android, Web)

Apps for Buyers: Find the Perfect Home

When you’re ready to buy, there are several apps that can help you stay on top of the process. Whether you’re browsing online at different neighborhoods and homes and can’t seem to remember where all your saved data and information went or you want to save an important task or a neighborhood or listing clipped from the Web, these apps help you keep it all straight.

10.) Dwellr (Free)

Dwellr is run by the U.S Census Bureau and provides demographic information about the neighborhoods you are considering moving to. You get a variety of education/school, real estate, transportation, and population statistics to give you an idea of what it would be like living there. If you want to get the feel of a potential neighborhood, then Dwellr may just be the app to help you find the best home. (iOS, Android)

11.) Evernote (Free for the Basic version, $34.99 per year for Plus and $69.99 per year for

Premium)

Collect ideas, notes and images in one place to access later on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Categorize your notes so you can find them quickly and easily and share them with others in a group notebook. Add the Web Clipper feature to your browser and clip and save articles, blogs and images from the Web. Whether you’re collecting research on a business idea or you’re looking for inspiration for a home renovation, Evernote can help you keep it all together. (Web, iOS, Android)

12.) Mortgage Calculator (Free)

There are a lot of free mortgage calculators available for download that will help you quickly determine what your monthly payment will be while you’re house hunting. We recommend picking your favorite and using it to help you shop in your price range. These numbers should be used as a guide, work with your agent and mortgage professional to learn exactly what type of loan you’ll qualify for. (Web, iOS, Android)

Bonus App for Buyers:

Google Maps (Free)

Google Maps is a must-have for anyone who’s house hunting. When you’re ready to visit a property or check out a neighborhood, you can use Google Maps to give you turn by turn directions to the house. You can use their satellite view to get a good idea how far important things like schools, parks, shopping, bus stops, and restaurants are to a home you are interested in and check out the other houses on the street. (Web, Android, iOS,)



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Posted in Real estate