A question we often get asked is about updating a house and how much remodeling should owners do. And, my first question back is to find out whether they plan to stay for longer term or preparing to sell soon. So many times we see owners let their houses become dated over years of living there then turn around and do expensive updating in order to sell so only the buyer gets to enjoy the new decorating and materials. Instead, it would be a better investment to make updates every year or two in order to keep up with the trends, enjoy what you pay for and most likely, get a better return on the investment when selling. Easy updates that aren’t too expensive are things like painting, cabinetry hardware and even changing out wall art, pillows and bedding.
Don’t miss the bus! That is, the bus of home buying while rates are low! There is talk about the treasury going up and we may find interest rates over 5% ! Gosh, that sounds crazy. An interest rate of 5% is really great but we’ve gotten spoiled with rates between 3% & 4.95% for several years. When Broker/Owner Lori Todd started in the real estate industry back in 1990, rates were 8% and when Choice Realty was established in 2002, rates were 7%. In the 1980’s, rates were double digits! So, maybe 5% isn’t so bad after all! But, why wait?! Inventory has improved a little bit as people have been busy with vacations and back-to-school time so there is more to choose from and typically this time of year, sellers are more serious and ready to sell. Searching in September allows buyers to make offer, get financing and close before the holidays (ummm… bad weather) arrives. So, if you’re thinking of moving, our sales team offers a free consultation to discuss time lines, goals, needs/wants, and the overall process.
A healthy home is a happy home. I recently became more interested in essential oils so I’m reading and learning about all the wonderful benefits of these essential oils. I found a couple of apps for my iphone that have all the oils listed and what benefits they bring. It’s really amazing to think back in history and how humans cured many ailments with natural resources. I’m so impressed with doTERRA Essential Oils, that we’re adding this product to our office for buyers, sellers and tenants to incorporate oils into their home environment. Aromatherapy is a way to use aromatic plant extracts for therapeutic purposes and enhances a feeling of well-being. When showing houses, many times you will read that sellers should bake cookies. This is to make an emotional connection. The same is true for essential oils but there are so many more options. Having a light aroma in a home can make a buyer have emotional reaction which may help the showing process when there is competition of listings for buyers to consider. If your home is priced right and in good condition, do you think buyers would be more drawn to your house if the aroma provides a sense of a safe, comfortable and peaceful home. SURE, they would!! Tenants may feel less grounded or permanent in a rental that others may have in an owned home but sometimes renting is more sensible for people who may need temporary housing and would not be financially wise to buy. Using essential oils in a diffuser can conquer that feeling and give a joyful feeling to tenants during their rental period. If you’d like to know more about doTERRA Essential Oils, please contact Lori Todd @ 812-219-7778 or visit: my.doterra.com/loritoddhealthyhome.
Looking at statistics from 2017, we have learned that first time home buyers were made up of 57% of buyers were married couples, 18% were single females, 7% were single males and 16% were unmarried couples and repeat buyers were similar although married couples increased to 69%. We also found that the typical buyer is 45 years of age and the median household income for 2016 was $88,800 with median purchase price being $235,000. Buyers also looked at fewer houses in 2017 than compared to 1987 when making a decision to purchase and I believe that is because the internet allows buyers to shop online and preview houses and only physically touring those of serious interest. It’s interesting, too, that 68% of buyers used their mobile device to search for homes. While 8% of purchases were directly with a builder, 87% percent of buyers used a Real Estate Agent. Buyers rely on their real estate agent mainly to help them find the right home to purchase but also to help negotiate the terms and price as well as help with the paperwork. The median down payment was 10% for homes purchased with a mortgage, which is about 5% for first time buyers and 14% for repeat buyers, showing us that home ownership builds wealth and equity. Still, the main reason for delayed savings is student loan debt followed by credit card debt. Are you still renting and hoping to purchase a home some day? Perhaps a one hour (free) buyer consultation with our Team can help prepare you to reach that goal sooner than later. Our Team of Real Estate Agents can educate you on the process of home buying tasks, answer some debt to income questions and provide resources that will help take out any anxiety you might feel during this big decision and investment purchase.
The most frustrating market a buyer can encounter is one with low inventory where there are very few options and where there can be multiple offers. Broker/Owner Lori Todd has been in the real estate industry for 27 years and in that period of time, she has never seen inventory as low as it is in today’s marketplace. Some buyers have not found a home to purchase and have had to sign a lease agreement locking them in to another year of leasing. Some buyers have found themselves in a multiple offer situation which can force the purchase price higher. It’s always good to prepare for all sorts of scenarios. To help reduce the stress and avoid killing the budget, buyers need to determine in advance what their top dollar is for any given home that you don’t get caught up in the bidding war. And, another tip is to make a list of all the wants and needs of a house so that when you’re in a rushed moment, making a good decision can be as easy as referring to your predetermined list. Team Choice agents focus on helping buyers with a strategic plan of action which helps remove all of the stress and anxiety and allowing buyers to be excited about the home buying process. We go over all of that thoroughly in our free buyer consultation session before jumping in the car to see that first house option. We are available days, evenings and weekends to accommodate the needs of our buyer clients.
I had a mentor once tell me that he describes the real estate market as ‘unbelievable’. When I asked why, he said well, if it’s really good, it’s unbelievable and if it’s really bad, it’s still unbelievable. Hmmmmm….. good point and so true! Today’s market is really unbelievable! We have historic low inventory and rates have continued to stay under 5% for a decade. We have clients wanting to sell their homes but they cannot find another suitable home. It’s like the chicken and egg circle!! You don’t want to sell until you can buy and you can’t buy until you sell. So, what gives? What will be the solution to this low inventory and when will it let up? We don’t know. What we do know is that there is a lack of new construction which is said to be a piece of the problem. When talking to builders, they describe challenges such as no affordable land, high infrastructure costs, difficulty in finding labor, and increase in building supplies makes the home price higher than market can bear. Is this a community problem. We think so but how to we fix it? Realtors lobby regularly to help find ways to protect and promote home ownership. It’s really a grass roots effort starting locally and moving on to state issues as well as the federal level. It’s the big picture and it’s a proven fact that when the real market does well, the economy does well. Because of the low inventory, price values have edged up but are starting to level out as we approach summer.
It’s that time again…. time to get the outside cleaned up from winter, time to spruce up the landscaping, and time to clean gutters and make sure all debris is cleared so that Spring rains can drain properly and avoid water damage. When we are showing houses for sale or on a listing appointment, one of the most common maintenance issues is the lack of preventive care. When there is water in a crawlspace, more often than not, it’s simply due to poor drainage around the exterior of the home but looks to be a bigger problem. And, when you see rotted wood around the roof overhang, it’s usually caused from clogged gutters and downspouts so the rain water cannot flow and ends up running over onto the wood structure.
Houses continue to sell throughout the winter and early spring even when exterior work may be needed. When inspection items occur, it is most common to escrow funds for the work to be completed when weather permits. Realtors and Lenders know this is common so buyers and sellers just have to work through the process and realize that sometimes Mother Nature causes a delay in maintenance. But, as long as funds and labor are available, there should be no issues with proceeding to closing on time.
If you are planning to sell, having a checklist and doing as much maintenance as possible prior to showings, the easier the process will go and chances are, you’ll get higher price during negotiations.
Do you hear it’s a “Seller’s Market” but still see houses sitting on the market for sale for long periods of time? In most cases, that means one of two things…. The house is either drastically overpriced or the condition needs improved. Today’s buyers are not patient or willing to invest money and time to get a house to move-in condition. They want to simply buy and move in and they are not willing to pay more than market value.
We are currently experiencing a Seller’s Market. Right now, every one of our company listings are under contract with a sale pending. While a few of our current listings sat on the market for a while, the sellers continually made improvements using showing feedback in order to reach a purchase without raising the list price. If Sellers are not willing to make improvements and price competitively, they will miss the peak selling market and their house will become stale and overlooked by buyers or will receive lower offer prices because of the length of marketing time.
Our company website has tips for sellers to prepare their house for the market. Simple and inexpensive tasks include fresh, neutral paint on exterior door and trim as well as inside in main areas, cleaning up landscaping, updating cabinetry hardware and light fixtures, cleaning/dusting the utility room and creating an inviting and cheerful entry. These tasks are good for annual maintenance even if you are not planning to sell but ready for a fresh outlook on your home! For more tips and consulting, call or email Team Choice!
For a while now, we’ve been experiencing low inventory on the market, making it difficult for buyers who have few options. Now that the weather is improving and Spring Break is just a couple of weeks away, we are hopeful the 2018 market activity will see a good increase in new listings. People have asked why we are having a shortage in listings and we think it’s a combination of several things. Not only have we had less new construction over the past several years but homeowners are staying in their houses longer. People don’t want to sell until they’ve already identified a new place to purchase and the loan process has tightened causing people to be intimated and simply avoid it.
Choice Realty & Management has a pre-listing packet available to owners who are thinking of selling. We can also prepare a market analysis for owners to help them decide if and when they want to list their home on the market. We have local data and consider local market conditions and influences rather than use other websites that have inaccurate and incomplete data. If you’re thinking of selling, give us an opportunity to offer our services to you!
It seems like February is always a month for down time. Coming off the holidays, people make resolutions for the new year and ready to start off with new goals and activities. But, then February arrives and things fade away while people tend to focus on the next exciting time, Spring Break! Sellers should be prepping their house if they plan to sell. Buyers should be searching online for inventory in order to get familiar with the market if they plan to buy. February is an ideal month to contact a Realtor who will work for you! It gives the consumer plenty of time to make plans and get tasks completed. With our consultations, we prefer starting early so that we can thoroughly review the needs of our clients and spend time making a good plan and getting organized.