Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordable

September 17, 2019

Residential real estate developers in America are responding to a national slowdown in new home construction by building smaller homes that are more New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordablemodestly priced. The demand for smaller, less expensive homes is growing, while the overall demand for new custom homes is declining. Prices decreased slightly, by about one-half percent, from the price levels in 2018 for newly-constructed homes.

Lower Profits For Builders

The median price for a newly-constructed home in America is $372,900. The median sales price of an existing home is $309,700.

American construction companies are feeling the pressure to build lower-priced homes along with the increased costs for imported building materials due to the tariffs and a labor shortage. This is lowering profits for the construction companies, yet creates a buying opportunity for those looking for a new home.

Lower New Home Inventory Levels

These pressures caused new home inventory to decrease by 1% from the 2018 levels. To put this in perspective, the inventory of new homes only decreased this much in 2013. Even though mortgage loans are easier to come by than a number of years ago, there is not the same demand as before for new homes. Perhaps, this is an advance indicator of an upcoming slowdown.

Down-Sized Demand

The U.S. Census reports that the average size of a new home went from 1,660 square feet in the 1970s to 2,687 square feet in 2105. In 2018, the average size of a new home was only 2,386 square feet.

During 2018, there were around 119,000 contractor-built single-family new homes that started construction and over 840,000 that were completed.

Other interesting trends reported by the Census about the 840,000 new single-family homes that finished construction in 2018 include:

  • 783,000 of the new homes have air-conditioning installed, which is 93% of the total.
  • 778,000 of the new homes have wood frames.
  • 59,000 of the new homes have concrete frames.
  • 336,000 of the new homes have a heat pump.
  • 270,000 of the new homes have a porch or patio.
  • Only 10% or 84,000 of the new homes have two bedrooms or fewer.
  • About half or 376,000 of the new homes have four bedrooms or more.
  • 31,000 of the new homes have one and one-half bathrooms or fewer.
  • 306,000 of the new homes have three or more bathrooms.

Conclusion

Builders who offer smaller, lower-priced homes are still experiencing strong demand. In fact, the demand for these modest homes is growing. This trend is likely to continue for the time being.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

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4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With Kids

September 13, 2019

4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With KidsIt can be challenging to be organized when you have children. But this is only because, as a devoted parent, you want to be sure your child has everything they need to become happy, well-rounded adults some day.

This usually means you’ll be bringing your kids to extracurricular activities, play dates, fun events and family outings. It also typically means that over the years there will be a steady stream of school supplies, toys, new clothes and maybe even a musical instrument or two. So how can busy parents stay organized with kids? 

Share A Calendar

Depending on how you prefer to organize your days, consider sharing a digital or paper calendar with the entire family. Family members can add events as needed and everyone can access the latest updates. This way, no one gets caught off guard when the dinosaur diorama is due on Monday morning or your child’s ballet recital gets moved from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Be Too Detailed

Toys and art supplies have a way of ending up on the living room floor no matter how many tidy storage bins are in your child’s room. Try keeping a large wicker laundry basket in the corner of the living room and let your child pile their things randomly inside the basket. This allows for fast cleanups and doesn’t require you to supervise the “organization.” It also lets smaller kids feel like they’re being a big kid by helping to straighten up.

Store Papers In Accordion Files

Keep accordion folders on hand in the kitchen for when your child comes home with artwork or papers with A grades. Have one accordion file for each month, because they will fill up fast. At the end of each month, go through and filter out anything you don’t want to save permanently. With this method you’ll automatically have your child’s best papers saved according to date.

Do Things On The Same Day

It’s surprisingly helpful to make a practice of always doing certain things on certain days. For instance, every Saturday is bath night, or every Wednesday is change the sheets day. This lets kids know what to expect in their lives and makes it easier for parents to remember things. 

Children add so much joy to parents’ lives. When you’re organized, you’ll probably find that you have even more time to share with your little loved ones.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

 

 

 

 

How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New Home?

September 12, 2019

How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New HomeWhether you’ve been looking for a home for a long time now, or you’re just about to get started on the hunt, you’re probably wondering how long should you spend looking for a new home. Does it take weeks to find your forever home, or months or even a year? What’s typical?

There Is No Typical

The reality is, there is no typical amount of time it takes to find your home. There are too many variables, including how actively you’re looking. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories of people who’ve been hunting for a house for a year. But come to find out, they’ve only really devoted one weekend a month to looking at houses.

Or you’ve heard of a couple who found their dream home in just two days. Well, odds are they spent many nights online, sifting through hundreds of house images and only went to see a handful of homes in person which really met their search criteria.

The Market Plays A Part

It takes longer to find a home when the market is slanted toward sellers. In times like that, there’s less inventory and the houses that are available may be out of reach financially. Keep looking, though, because your real estate agent may find the ideal house on the market from a motivated seller who’s wiling to come down on the price. Hang in there and you’ll find your dream home in any market.

Does Your Dream Home Exist?

If you feel like your home search has been dragging on despite a favorable market, it could be you’re looking for something too elusive to find. Maybe it’s not the houses you’re dissatisfied with, but something else. You may be unconsciously trying to recapture something you’ve lost, like your old childhood neighborhood or a feeling of community.

These are all valid desires that you can acquire with the right home in the right place. Try to identify what you’re really looking for so your real estate agent can help you find it. 

When it comes to finding your home, it takes as long as it takes. Be sure to secure your pre-approved financing with your trusted home mortgage professional and enjoy the process. Communicate with your real estate agent and try to keep an open mind. One day, when you least expect it, you’ll walk through the doors of your next home for the first time. 

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving Day

September 5, 2019

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving DayIt’s more likely that someone will incur an injury on moving day than on an ordinary day. The reason is that people are moving in ways that they don’t normally move, loads can be heavy, and accidents do happen. However, most injuries on moving day can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

Use A Dolly

Instead of trying to move more than one box by hand, use a dolly or a hand truck. This inexpensive tool can safely move multiple boxes without you having to lift anything at all. Keep in mind that all the boxes should be of equal size; don’t attempt to stack uneven boxes because they may shift and fall, causing an injury.

Take Breaks

Moving day is stressful because there is often a time constraint involved. Everything has to be moved into the truck by a certain time in order to remain on schedule. However, this is the kind of pressure that can lead to injuries. Being overtired leads to carelessness and that’s when accidents occur. Take multiple 10-minute rest breaks throughout the day so your body and mind have a chance to recuperate.

Don’t Overload Boxes

One of the most common moving day injuries happens when someone tries to lift a box that ends up being excessively heavy. Be mindful of the weigh of each box as you pack it. It’s better to keep the weight reasonable and stuff the box with filler than to overload boxes. You don’t have to weigh each box, but just give it a gentle lift to monitor how heavy it’s getting as you pack it.

Send Smaller Kids Packing

If you have smaller kids, the best option is to send them to the parents’ house, or to a babysitter’s until everything is in the truck. Smaller kids may run around and trip you up, distract your attention or otherwise get injured.  

Even the backyard is not a great idea, because they may wander near the truck out of curiosity. For their safety and yours, consider having someone care for them for the day off the premises.

Finally, if you do feel a twinge in your back or get overly exerted, stop what you’re doing and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Don’t try to “push through” the pain; it’s not worth it. Moving day injuries can be minimized or prevented when you take these simple steps. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing Trend

September 4, 2019

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing TrendA new group of young American adults is emerging as home buyers. These are the young adults who were born after 1995 and are part of the demographic group named Generation Z (Gen Z). In 2019, there are 31.5 million Gen Z members who are adult age. This will increase to 44.5 million adults in this demographic group by 2032 as all the younger members become adults.

Right now, there are around 14 million adults in the Gen Z category who are using credit for the first time.

Not Too Young To Buy A Home

Transunion reports that most Gen Z members are getting credit cards, which is the easiest form of credit available to them. However, they are also applying for mortgage financing in record numbers. The year-over-year increase in home loans among this demographic group is up 112%.

Planning For The Future

In a study conducted by Bank of America, the majority of Gen Z consumers, who are between 18 and 23 years old, are already saving for the down payment needed to buy a home. A huge number of them, 59%, report that they plan to purchase a home during the next five years.

Most dream of owning a home before they are 30 years old. They want to buy modestly-sized and lower-priced homes. They have a high interest in homes that are energy-efficient, homes that use smart technology, and those with renewable energy systems.

Smart Homes And Smart Financial Planning

Many of this generation are still living with their parents to save money for a home purchase, which they would otherwise have to pay in rent. Having lived through the Great Recession in 2008, they are, in general, more pragmatic than previous generations. They take home ownership very seriously.

Manifestation Of The American Dream

Over 71%, of those desiring to buy a home, are already designing it in great detail by selecting things they find on the Internet, which appeal to them. They use social media systems like Pinterest and others to get interesting decorative ideas. They share their home decor ideas with friends.

Conclusion

REALTORS® who work with this new group of home buyers will likely find them more motivated to buy a home than previous generations. They are usually more dedicated with their serious financial planning efforts in how to go about achieving their dreams.

The Generation Z consumers know what they want. They are willing to make sacrifices to get it. The majority want a home and are making plans about how to pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

Are Tiny Homes Here To Stay?

August 30, 2019

Are Tiny Homes Here To StayThe average size of an American home has been increasing since the 1970s. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) reports that, in 1973, the median size for a new home in the United States was 1,660 square feet.

Over the past 45 years or so, this increased by more than 1,000 square feet. The median size of a new home is now 2,687 square feet.

The Problem With Big Houses

At first, a big house is appealing until one tries to clean it or pay the utility bills. Many baby boomers, who are now nearing retirement age, are downsizing, especially if their children have all moved away.

Moreover, Millennials are the first generation of Americans to experience a reduced standard of living when compared to their parents.

Many millennials see big houses as wasteful, environmentally destructive, and not sustainable. Also, with the challenge of paying off massive student debt, these young adults are delaying buying a home or may remain renters for their rest of their lives, foregoing the chance to have their own home.

One solution for the problems with big houses is to make homes smaller.

The Tiny House Movement

There are strong motivators for the social trend called “The Tiny House Movement.” Many want a smaller space to live in, which they can more easily maintain and afford. Tiny houses are no more than 400 square feet. That is like living in a compact studio apartment.

TheTinyLife says that tiny houses are being built all over the country. They come in almost any style imaginable. The median price for a quality tiny house is about $40,000, although do-it-yourself types can build one for a lot less.

Some are built on a trailer bed that makes them portable. Others are built to function properly in off-grid locations using solar power. There are even tiny houses that have been printed using 3-D printing technology.

Tiny houses can be luxurious, or they can be built to provide inexpensive solutions for housing that helps the homeless.

The Denver Tiny House Community

Denver is trying an experiment with a group of tiny houses called The Beloved Community Village. This is a group of private one-room units that share a communal kitchen and bathrooms. They started with 11 units and plan to expand to 20.

The challenges they experienced were not necessarily construction related. They needed to change the zoning and occupant density rules to allow the development.

Summary

People make a conscious choice to simplify their lifestyle for the freedom that a minimalistic philosophy brings. It is quite possible to live well while also living with less. Tiny houses may even be part of the solution for the approximately half a million homeless people living on the streets in America as the successful tiny house community village in Denver is now demonstrating.

If you are interested in a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

 

Should You Relocate A House To Improve Its Value?

August 27, 2019

Should You Relocate A House To Improve Its ValueWhat can be done with a house that is just perfect but it is in a bad neighborhood or a dangerous spot? Think about homes that are in decent condition; yet, too close to the water. America is experiencing flooding now that is not supposed to happen in 500 years.

That cute little beach bungalow could easily get wiped out in the next hurricane. It might be time to think about moving those homes to a safer area or higher ground.

The International Association of Structural Movers says that around 8,000 homes are moved each year in America. Relocation may be due to hazards, such as the erosion of an oceanfront or cliff side lot. Others relocate for their historical value.

What It Takes To Move A Home

There are five main considerations for moving a home, which are:

  1. Legal Issues: Moving the home and transporting it must be allowed by law.
  2. Strength: A home must be strong enough to stay together when disconnected from its foundation.
  3. Lift and Transport: It must be possible to lift the home and transport it to the new location.
  4. Access: Access to the home’s new location must be unimpaired on the route to get there and on the site when the home arrives.
  5. Cost: The cost to move a home may be shockingly prohibitive.

Legal Issues

The legal issues can be very challenging. Do not give up easily, if the idea of moving a home is blocked at first because it may be possible to get a one-time waiver from the regulations.

Strength

Some homes are not strong enough to move. However, it is surprising what is possible if the home and/or lot is very valuable.

There are home-moving projects that lifted Victorian-style homes built over one hundred years ago in the most valuable parts of San Francisco. These homes only moved upwards. They stayed on their lots. The moving project raised them 15-feet higher to allow a garage to be built underneath. These well-built wooden homes survived the 1906 earthquake. They were carefully raised without damaging them.

Lift And Transport

Experts use many techniques to lift a home and prepare it for transport. Homes may be transported by strong flat-bed trucks, by industrial, heavy-lifting helicopters, and on barges in the river or ocean. Homes can be disassembled partially to make moving them easier.

Access

When moving a home, even if separated in pieces, the pieces may be very large. The entire transport route needs to be carefully checked by an engineer for proper clearance heights, enough turning radius when needed, and sufficient width for passage.

Cost

While many homes are movable, the cost may be too high to make it worthwhile. However, the cost to move a multi-million dollar mansion falling off a cliff may be far less than the home’s value, which might otherwise be lost.

Summary

If there is a beautiful heritage home sitting on a cliff’s edge overlooking the ocean and teetering on the edge of collapse, there is a new way to think about it. It may make perfect sense to move it to a lot that is down the street and further away from the edge.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options!

Tips On Making Friends In Your New Neighborhood

August 23, 2019

Tips On Making Friends In Your New NeighborhoodIt’s often harder to make friends as an adult than it is when you’re a child. It’s even more challenging to make adult friends when you move into a new neighborhood. You may feel like people already have their own group of friends and aren’t looking to include newcomers. Of course, that’s just an illusion.

Here are some easy ways to implement tips for making friends in your new neighborhood.

Put Out The Welcome Mat

Make your front door inviting to the neighbors. Place some cheery flower pots near the porch and buy a nice welcome mat for the front door. Be sure to put fresh light bulbs in the porch lanterns, too. These small touches will show neighbors you’re setting a friendly tone.

Have Coffee And Lunch Out

Make a point of having your coffee breaks and lunch at the nearby cafes as often as possible. Mention to the servers or owner that you’re new in town and this is your first time trying out their menu. They’ll likely take an interest in you and ask what house you bought, and so on. As you continue returning, you’ll be on a first-name basis, which will probably lead to some casual introductions to other locals who are stopping in for coffee.

Host A Housewarming Party

Housewarming parties are a fantastic way to welcome old friends and meet new ones. They are also a great excuse to knock on your neighbors’ doors and personally let them know they’re invited. If you feel uncomfortable having strangers in your new home, make it a backyard BBQ housewarming. In no time at all, you’ll have a new collection of local friends and acquaintances.

Join The Local Clubs

Membership clubs offer a natural way to meet new people without appearing overtly friendly. Look for some local clubs you’re interested in, such as gardening, exercise and book clubs. When you start attending on a routine basis, friendships will organically begin to develop.

Volunteer

If you have an extra hour or two in the week, consider volunteering as a way to help the community and to make new friends. Places that typically need volunteers include theaters, schools and athletic programs.

Making friends in your new neighborhood will enable you and your family to feel more at home sooner. One or more of the above-mentioned tips is likely to work for your personality and preferences.  And don’t forget your real estate and mortgage professionals! They’d be happy to help get you connected as well!

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

August 22, 2019

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture. 

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

August 22, 2019

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture. 

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.