First Time Buyer Interest Strong Despite Rising Interest Rates

Interest rates are rising. According to Freddie Macthe current rate for a 30-yr fixed mortgage is 4.81%, which is up a nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. While some were concerned the rising interest rates would have a negative impact on the market, particularly with first-time homebuyers, it looks as if the changes in interest rates are doing little to dampen buyer demand.

According to First American’s most recent Real Estate Sentiment Index (which explores how sensitive first-time homebuyers are to rising interest rates), mortgage rates would have to hit 5.6% before first-time buyers delay entering the market. And because mortgage rates aren’t predicted to rise that drastically anytime soon, we shouldn’t see any negative impact on buyer interest in the coming months.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been hesitant to list your home thanks to fears that rising interest rates will limit the number of buyers, there’s nothing to worry about. Buyer demand is showing no signs of slowing.

New listing – New Braunfels Avery Park Home for Sale

We have a great new listing in Avery Park ready for you to enjoy a beverage of your choice on the back patio! Perfect location for commuting to San Antonio or Austin and close to great eating and shopping options. Call us today to schedule your showing! At only $217,000 this one won’t last long!

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Winter is the perfect time to buy a home!

Winter is the perfect time of year for plenty of things: making snow angels, going ice skating, and drinking hot cocoa by the fire are all things that come to mind.

But do you know what else winter is the perfect time of year for?

Buying a home.

There’s no better time to find your dream home than the winter months. Here are five reasons why winter is the perfect time to find a home:

1. There’s less competition

One of the best reasons to purchase a home during the winter is that there’s typically less competition.

Winter isn’t the most popular time of the year to move; kids are still in school and potential buyers with children tend to wait until spring or summer to start looking to avoid having to pull their children out of school. And because there’s less buyers on the market, you’ll face less competition on the homes you’re interested in.

You’re also less likely to face multiple offer situations when the market is less competitive — which means that when you find a home you love and put in an offer, you’re not going to be up against anyone else, which greatly increases the chance of your offer being accepted.

2. Prices are more competitive

Another major benefit of buying a home in the winter is that the pricing is more competitive.

This means that in the winter, you’re far more likely to get a deal on your home than spring or summer. In fact, recent research shows that while buyers paid $1500 more than the sale price of the average US home during the peak spring season. But in the winter? They paid $3100 less.

3. You’ll deal with more motivated sellers

Another plus of buying in the winter?

Because there aren’t as many buyers on the market, sellers are much more motivated to sell — which means they’ll be much more willing to negotiate with you.

That can mean anything from coming down on the price, covering some (or all) of your closing costs, working with you on the closing date, or even throwing in extra appliances to sweeten the deal.

If you buy during the peak season, sellers don’t have as much incentive to negotiate since there’s a lot of competition, so do yourself a favor and buy in the winter when sellers are much more motivated to get their home sold.

4. You get to see how your new home holds up in the cold

If you live in an area with harsh winters, another benefit of buying a home in the winter is that you get to see how your potential new home will hold up in the cold — while it’s actually cold outside.

If you buy during the warmer months, your new home may look great. But when winter rolls around you might find that the chill in the air travels from outside to inside, or that your home is properly insulated to keep ice from building up on the exterior.

Bottom line: When you buy in the winter, you get to see your potential new home’s winter performance before you buy. You can make sure that your house has proper heating and insulation instead of buying in summer and hoping for the best — which can be an expensive mistake.

5. You get to take advantage of your real estate agent’s slow season

Because the winter months are typically slower in the real estate industry, your agent likely doesn’t have as many clients as they would in the peak season — which logically means you’ll probably get more of their attention.

A great real estate agent will always take care of you — no matter how busy they are. But there are only so many hours in the day, and during the peak season, he/she will likely have multiple clients they need to split their attention between.

But less real estate activity in the winter means less clients for your real estate agent, which means they have more time and energy to devote to you and your home search. They’ll be more available to research potential homes, show you new properties, and answer your questions — which will make your home search easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

As you can see, winter just might be the perfect time to buy a home. So bundle up, call your agent, and get out there and find your new home!

Home Ownership or Weddings?

Of all the purchases most people will make in a lifetime, two of the most significant—and most expensive—are weddings and purchasing a home.

Because they’re so expensive, it can be challenging for couples to save for both. According to a recent survey, it looks like the majority of couples are prioritizing homeownership over a fancy (and expensive) wedding.

According to a recent survey from Open Listings, 64% of couples said they would delay or downsize their wedding if it meant being able to purchase a home sooner, and when asked what big-ticket item they were currently saving for, 29% of couples said a home (compared to just 17% of couples who were saving for a wedding). And the reason? Owning a home is just more important to most Americans couples than dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding—53% of couples and 65% of engaged couples claimed that home ownership was “very important.”

The Takeaway

If you’ve been putting off saving for a home in order to have a large, fancy wedding, you might want to reconsider. A big wedding is a great day. But buying your dream home? That can give you a great life.

Selling your home in the fall? Read on!

The majority of people think the best time to sell a home is during the summer. Children are out of school which makes it much easier for parents to relocate and start a new life in their new home. In actuality more than half of homebuyers do not have children or have children that are out of the house. There are far less numbers of homes for sale during the holidays which makes the demand for a quality home that much higher.

1. Make Curb Appeal a Top Priority.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, trees have started to lose their leaves. This makes maintaining the exterior of your even more of a priority. Bare trees result in a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of leaves.

2. Avoid Clutter at All Costs.

Family visiting during Thanksgiving can add quite a bit of clutter to the home. In the case that a potential buyer wants to view the home, eliminating this clutter couldn’t be more important. If family has taken over a bedroom that’s usually used for storage, it can be wise to invest in a storage unit. These are not expensive and can be rented for a month or two while the home is on the market. Clutter decreases the perceived size of the home which could be a deciding factor whether a buyer puts an offer in or continues their search.

3. Appeal to the Buyer’s Imagination.

Creating a warm atmosphere during Thanksgiving and the holidays when your home is being sold can do a couple of things. The potential buyers could imagine themselves celebrating their own Thanksgiving in the home. This isn’t the time to put up huge amounts of decorations but rather enough to get into the spirit of the season. Warm colors should be abundant and those quirky holiday decorations that some families put up in their homes during certain holidays should be kept in the attic.

4. Price The Home To Sell.

Pricing the home to sell during the holidays is extremely important. If you accepted a new job and need to relocate by the end of the year this multiplies in importance. Many buyers if in the same situation will want to put an offer in around the Thanksgiving holiday. This will reduce the stress of trying to find a home during the Christmas holidays when many people travel for extended periods. Closing quickly will also allow you to write off closing costs during this year’s tax season.

5. Select an Experienced Real Estate Agent.

Picking the right agent is important regardless of what time of year that it is. During the holidays it’s more important as many facets of selling a home can be impacted by the holiday breaks. We would love the opportunity to earn your business!

Remember: Selling your home during the Thanksgiving and holiday season isn’t impossible. Taking care of the small details leading up to the sale will only increase your chances of considering offers with your turkey dinner. Happy Thanksgiving and good luck selling this holiday season!

Moving with kids? This can help

3 Tips to Help Your Kids Cope With A Move

There are more than just logistical challenges when you move with children. Many kids feel emotional about leaving their friends or old home behind. Here are some common challenges kids face when moving and ways to help them feel more comfortable in their new place.

When your child is nervous about a new school …

Coordinate a tour of the school well before she starts so she can get familiar with the building. See if you can also introduce her to teachers and a few classmates so she’ll have connections on her first day.

When your child is upset about leaving friends behind …

Put together treats your child can use to remember his far-away friends. Include a photo album, frames, and other mementos from your child’s hometown.

When your child is worried the new city won’t have familiar activities …

Call us today and we can help you get information that can help you and your family transition during a move!

How to impress buyers

Little Things That Make a Big Impression on Buyers

It doesn’t take much to ruin a buyer’s impression of a home.

Take an otherwise appealing house and add peeling paint, a leaky faucet, and dirty dishes in the sink, and suddenly the buyer crosses that property off his list. Just as minor imperfections can turn off a buyer, a few small actions by you can make your home seem even more appealing.

Fix conspicuous problems

If you can’t afford to remedy all the problems with the house, at least fix obvious ones. A buyer will notice the rotten porch railing or cracked window pane on a casual walk-through.

Show the owner’s manuals

Sure, everything’s available online, but you still need to know the model number of your oven, dishwasher, and microwave when something breaks. Showing buyers that you’ve kept that information suggests that you’ve taken care of other things related to the house.

Make an effort outside

Short grass makes bare patches less obvious, and a few bags of mulch around trees and in flower beds can work magic on an otherwise lackluster yard. Add in a planter of colorful flowers by the front door, and you’ve added significantly to your curb appeal.

A little effort goes a long way with buyers, so ensure your home makes a great first impression.

Declutter for holiday guests

The holidays. It’s a time for celebration, a time for good food and good cheer, and – for many homeowners – a time for out-of-town visitors. And while gathering your loved ones from all corners of the globe to celebrate with you and your family undoubtedly brings holiday joy, it can also bring more than a bit of holiday anxiety.

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit of clutter since spring cleaning. And with piles of toys and clothes and all manners of STUFF spilling out of every drawer, closet, and cabinet, the thought of hosting guests can quickly have you singing the holiday blues.

But don’t worry! It’s not too late to get your home in order and your clutter under control. Here are 5 decluttering tips to get your home ready for holiday visitors:

1. Prep Your Kitchen For Maximum Efficiency.

A large part of any holiday gathering is the meal, and if you’re the one playing host, you’ll likely be the one responsible for getting that meal on the table. The last thing you want is to spend your entire celebration stuck in the kitchen, rifling through cabinets looking for that casserole dish you haven’t seen since Mother’s Day. Organizing, getting rid of unnecessary utensils and tools, and prepping everything you’ll need to get your meals cooked, plated, and served is key. The right preparation saves you a ton of time, energy, and frustration, leaving you free to spend the holiday enjoying the company of your family and friends.

Go through your kitchen and remove any tools you won’t be using for your holiday meals, like your frozen yogurt machine or Halloween cake molds. Organize your pots and pans by size and function so you can easily locate them as you’re preparing your dishes. Clear everything off the counters so you have plenty of space to work on and aren’t wasting time trying to find room as you go along.

Not only will prepping your kitchen help you prepare and serve your meal more efficiently, but it’ll also save you time on your cleanup… which means more time to enjoy those delicious holiday desserts.

2. Get Your Kids Into The Spirit of Giving.

If you have children, clutter is par for the course. Between clothes, shoes, sporting gear, and toys, it seems like their clutter multiplies overnight. Factor in that your children are just going to be getting MORE clutter from your holiday guests in the form of presents, and things can quickly get out of hand.

But the holidays are all about giving, and they actually present the perfect opportunity to help your kids downsize, declutter, and give back to people in need.

Find a local charity that’s accepting holiday donations, and talk to your children about the importance of sharing the holiday spirit with other children who are less fortunate than they are. Help them work through their clutter and identify toys and clothes they’ve outgrown to give to charity.

Not only does this help to declutter your home, it also helps teach your children an important lesson about the spirit of giving, and your children will feel good knowing that their things are going to give someone else a wonderful holiday season.

3. Keep The Holiday Decorations To A Minimum.

While holiday decorations can add a nice ambiance to your home for the holidays, overdoing it can cause more clutter and overwhelm your visitors. Take stock of your holiday decorations, and be honest with yourself about which will add to the space and get your guests in the holiday spirit and which will just take up space and make them feel like they’re in the holiday aisle of the local Target.

To keep holiday decoration clutter to a minimum, think of them as an accent, NOT a focal point. Instead of displaying your entire collection of snowglobes, choose 1 or 2 that have a sentimental meaning and display them on your mantle. Hang up one Thanksgiving art project that your child made at school, not every project from the past 5 years.

Taking the less is more approach to holiday decorations will make your home feel more spacious and less cluttered while still creating that special holiday experience for your guests.

4. Rearrange Your Furniture.

While your current furniture setup likely works perfectly for you and your family, it might not be the most functional as you add more people for the holidays. Too much furniture + too many people = serious clutter.

Take stock of your current furniture arrangements and see how you can maximize each space. Rearrange the couches in your living room to form a circle around the middle of the room so everyone can face each other. Take any unnecessary tables or shelves that are taking up space without adding functionality and move them to the garage. Move, remove, and rearrange your furniture to create a space that feels more open and inviting.

5. Make Room For Your Guests’ Clutter.

No matter how well you declutter before the arrival of your holiday guests, the truth of the matter is they’ll be bringing clutter with them. And if you don’t have a place for them to put their clothes, suitcases, and other things, your home will feel just as cluttered as it felt pre-holidays within 10 minutes of their arrival.

Clear out space in a closet or garage for each guest to store their suitcase. If possible, give them space in a closet or drawer to put away their clothes. Make room in the bathroom for things like extra curling irons and electric shavers.

By being prepared and having a plan of action for your guests’ clutter, you can stop it from re-cluttering your space.

With these 5 decluttering tips, your home will feel organized, spacious, and ready to host your out-of-town holiday visitors.

Selling your home? Start here!

Whether you’re selling your home for the first time or the fifth, your goals stay the same: Attract buyers and secure a good sales price. Take these simple steps to reach your home-selling goals.

Price it Right

A REALTOR® can access reliable market data to help you determine the right price for your home. And when your home is priced properly for the market, you will get more interest from buyers. A home priced too low for the market may mean a quicker sale, but it also means you’ll be missing out on extra cash. Finding the sales price sweet spot is how you’ll meet your goals.

Make it Look Nice

You might be surprised at how many sellers don’t de-clutter or make basic repairs before listing their home. Even in a seller’s market, buyers won’t make it past your listing photos if they are less appealing than others. Simple changes—like potted plants on the porch and a new coat of paint for the front door—can help make your home more marketable. Talk to your REALTOR® about what appeals to buyers in your market.

Be Flexible About Showings

A REALTOR® will try to accommodate your schedule, but you should be realistic about having potential buyers see your home. Weekend and evening showings are helpful for prospects with a 9-to-5 job. And if your area attracts people relocating, they might only be in town for a few days with a compressed schedule. Most important: Give buyers space. It’s hard to get a feel for a property when an anxious seller is following you around during a showing. Your REALTOR® can help you meet buyers’ showing expectations.

A REALTOR® can help you market your home effectively to attract buyers and secure a good sales price.