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!

July 12, 2019

4 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

4 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster | Simplifying The Market

Since June of last year, we have seen an increase in the inventory of homes for sale month per month. Every spring and summer, the inventory increases because people want to sell their home. For those with children, they may want to be in their new home for the beginning of the school year.

 

If you are one of those sellers, you may find these 4 tips helpful in getting your home sold more quickly.

 

1. Make buyers feel at home

 

Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make them feel like they belong in this house! According to the Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors,

 

“83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”

 

Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that,

 

“One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

 

2. Keep it organized

 

Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized! Before the buyers show up, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. It is also a good idea to put out some cookies fresh from the oven or a scented candle. Buyers will remember the smell of your home! According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers.

 

3. Give buyers full access

 

One of the top four elements when selling your home is access! If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.

 

4. Price it right

 

As we mentioned at the beginning, more inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. The key to selling your house in 2019 is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the greatest amount of buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market!

 

Bottom Line

If you want to sell your house in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible, a local real estate professional is a useful guide. Call us today to find out what you need to do to sell your home more quickly.

July 12, 2019

Americans’ Powerful Belief in Homeownership as an Investment

American’s Powerful Belief in Homeownership as an Investment | Simplifying The Market

The Federal Reserve Bank (The Fed) recently released their 2019  Survey of Consumer Expectations Housing Survey. The survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment. Since 2014, the percentage has increased by over nine percent.

Americans' Powerful Belief in Homeownership as an Investment | Simplifying The Market

The Fed’s survey also showed that when the results are broken down by age, education, income, or region of the country, more than 55% of Americans in each category see homeownership as a good investment.

 

This coincides with a recent Gallup survey of Americans which revealed that real estate was their number one choice for the best long-term investment when compared to stocks, savings accounts or gold.

 

Bottom Line

Americans’ belief in residential real estate as a good financial investment continues to grow as the housing market returns to normalcy.

July 5, 2019

Know What to Expect at Your Home Inspection

Know What to Expect at Your Home Inspection | Simplifying The Market

So you made an offer and it was accepted. Now, your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents oftentimes make your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

 

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, to walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

 

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. HGTV recommends that you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

 

1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

 

2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.

 

3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to ask about their experiences.

 

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that continued training and education are provided.

 

5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible that they might have missed something they should have seen.

 

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

 

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace and chimney, the foundation, and so much more!

 

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional who you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

July 4, 2019

Americans Rank Real Estate Best Investment for 6 Years Running! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Americans Rank Real Estate Best Investment for 6 Years Running! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Real estate has outranked stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds as the best long-term investment among Americans for the last 6 years.
  • Stock owners are more positive about real estate than stocks as an investment.
  • Of the 4 listed, real estate is the only investment you can also live in!
July 4, 2019

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT FSBO

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT FSBO | Simplifying The Market

Rising home prices coupled with a lack of inventory in today’s market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their home on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

 

The top 5 reasons are listed below:

1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers

 

Recent studies have shown that 95% of buyers search online for a home. In comparison, only 13% use print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

 

2. Results Come from the Internet

 

Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?

 

  • 50% on the Internet
  • 28% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 7% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by putting up a sign and listing it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

 

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

 

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult

 

The paperwork involved in the process has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 7% over the last 20+ years.

 

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

 

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

 

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, they may actually cost themselves more. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is:

 

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

 

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance of a bidding war for the property. The study found the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6%.

 

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent without additional cost?

 

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss your needs.

July 4, 2019

Millennials Are Increasing the Demand for Condominiums

Millennials Are Increasing the Demand for Condominiums | Simplifying The Market

When deciding to buy a home, people are presented with many different options. The type of home you buy depends on your needs, budget, and in many cases, the desired maintenance level. For many millennials, their choice has been buying a condominium!

 

According to CoreLogic,

 

“Last year about 43% of all condo home-purchase mortgage applications were submitted by FTHBs… Similarly, the data show condos were more popular with young homebuyers and empty nesters. For instance, 21% of all condo home-purchase mortgage applications were submitted by buyers aged 18 to 30, compared with just 17% of all single-family home-purchase mortgage applications by the same group in 2018.”

 

With home prices increasing year-over-year, it makes sense millennials are buying condos instead of a single-family house. As a result, the demand for this type of home has been increasing.

Millennials Are Increasing the Demand for Condominiums | Simplifying The Market

 

As this graph explains,

 

“The younger millennials are the largest cohort and are likely to drive much of the condo demand in the coming years”.

 

Bottom Line

If you are a millennial considering buying a home, understand that there are many options available. You may find yourself in a condominium as your first home. If you would like to determine which type of home best fits your needs, let’s get together to evaluate your options!

July 4, 2019

Is Mortgage Debt out of Control?

Is Mortgage Debt out of Control? | Simplifying The Market

The housing crisis of the last decade was partially caused by unhealthy levels of mortgage debt. Homeowners were using their homes as ATMs by refinancing and swapping their equity for cash.

 

 

When prices started to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of their home). As a result, they walked away. This caused prices to fall even further.

 

Headlines are again talking about record levels of mortgage debt, making the comparison to the challenges that preceded the housing crash. However, cumulative debt is not an important data point. If we look at the debt as a percentage of disposable personal income, we are at an all-time low.

 

Here’s a visual representation of mortgage debt as a percent of income:

Furthermore, according to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, more than 1-in-4 homes with a mortgage have at least 50% equity. The report explains:

 

“[O]ver 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 834,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.”

 

Bottom Line

Unlike 2008, homeowners have a comfortable level of mortgage debt and are sitting on massive amounts of home equity. They will not be walking away from their homes if the housing market begins to soften.

June 26, 2019

Stop Wondering What Your Budget Is & Get Pre-Approved!

Stop Wondering What Your Budget Is & Get Pre-Approved! | Simplifying The Market

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

 

Even if you are not in an incredibly competitive market, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

 

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

 

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

 

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

 

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

 

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

 

Bottom Line

Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so today.

 

June 26, 2019

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need! | Simplifying The Market

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

 

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

 

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

 

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

 

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

 

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area.

June 25, 2019

Having a Professional on Your Side Makes All the Difference!

Having a Professional on Your Side Makes All the Difference! | Simplifying The Market

In today’s fast-paced world where answers are a Google search away, there are some who may wonder what the benefits of hiring a real estate professional to help them in their home search are. The truth is, the addition of more information causes more confusion.

 

Shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, and dozens more on HGTV have given many a false sense of what it’s like to buy and sell a home.

 

Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who is going to guide you toward your dreams and not let anything get in the way of achieving them. Buying and/or selling a home is definitely not something you want to DIY (Do It Yourself)!

 

Here are just some of the reasons you need a real estate professional in your corner:

There’s more to real estate than finding a house you like online!

There are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream?

 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

 

What is the home you’re buying or selling worth in today’s market?

There is so much information on the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

 

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

 

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

 

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

 

Bottom Line

Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional who’s been there before to guide you through the process is a simple step that will give you a huge advantage!