Great news for sellers!

New Survey: Buyers More Likely To Buy Existing Homes Vs. New Construction

Many people believe that when it comes to real estate, buyers want something brand new. But according to a recent report, the vast majority of buyers end up purchasing existing homes.

According to the New Construction Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018, only 38% of buyers in 2018 even considered purchasing new construction. And the percentage that ended up buying a brand new home? Only 11%.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, now is a great time to make a move. With 89% of buyers ultimately purchasing existing homes, your property is exactly what a huge portion of buyers are looking for.

What makes a home sell during winter?

Many homeowners believe attempting to sell their places during winter is a losing proposition. Real estate agents, however, know any season is the right one when a property is attractive and represents a great value.

With inventory typically lower during the cold weather months, it’s actually a perfect time to put a home on the market. It also doesn’t hurt to set the stage — or sweeten the pot, if you will — by evoking a warm and welcoming vibe that makes would-be buyers want to hang up their coats, kick off their boots, and stay a while.

There’s no denying it’s cold out there, so why not embrace it? The following are amenities that prove winter really can be the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Fire pit

Create a covetable outdoor space with the help of a fire pit. Whether it’s made of stone and serves as a permanent fixture or is a movable and affordable centerpiece for backyard S’mores-making, adding the element of fire ups the charm factor immediately.

2. Hot tub

Wait, is this a home or a five-star resort? Watching steam rise from a frothy hot tub on a chilly afternoon or evening makes anyone want to move right in! Giving a place the spa treatment, will remind home-shoppers that with this luxurious item on the premises, winter can last as long as it likes.

3. Home theater

Especially during the winter, and particularly in cold weather climates, playing up the ability to have a blast indoors does wonders for buyers’ peace of mind (moreso if they’re parents). A home theater, even on a smaller scale (think flat screen and an old-fashioned popcorn maker), helps visitors envision themselves and their families surviving those endless snow days in style.

4. Fireplace

It’s almost impossible to resist the hypnotic allure of a roaring fire. According to the National Center for Real Estate Research, fireplaces have a positive impact on the selling price, with each fireplace adding about 12 percent. If a home has this feature, by all means, strike a match and watch that property heat up!

5. In-home wine bar

Baby, it’s cold outside — so why leave the house? This wine bar is one way to keep spirits merry and bright. It also conjures up thoughts of hosting holiday parties and gatherings as new owners envision celebrating and showing off their place.

6. Hot cocoa bar

On the other end of the spectrum, but no less festive, a hot cocoa bar offers a sweet welcome all ages can enjoy. Placed in the kitchen, dining room, family room, or foyer, this treat station makes you feel comfortable and right at home.

7. Wood-burning stove

Wood-burning stoves represent a delightful throwback to bygone days. Their timeless appeal will charm visitors at the same time they warm up a home. Thanks to advancements in technology, these old-fashioned heaters are more energy efficient than ever.
8. Home sauna

Calling all athletes and anyone who could use a haven from the stresses of the outside world! (So, OK, everyone!) An in-home sauna is the oasis you’ve been seeking. Steam away those cares while enjoying health benefits that include improved circulation, detoxification, and even sinus relief.

9. Storm survival kit

Throwing in a highly-desirable item often increases interest from buyers. In a snowy climate, there are few tools as sought-after as a snowblower once that white stuff starts falling. Want to keep the enticement more affordable? Heavy-duty snow shovels, high-end gloves, rock salt, and de-icer all come in handy as well. First-time home-buyers who may be snow-removal newbies will appreciate this gesture.

10. Highlight energy efficient upgrades

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In addition to being comfortable temperature-wise, if a home is as energy-efficient as possible, that’s something buyers will definitely want to know — and remember. Creating a list of any upgrades to windows, doors, HVAC units, and the roof, as well as the installation of energy-saving appliances, means more money in buyers’ pockets and less going out the window.

A Whopping 77% Believe Now Is A Good Time To Sell

The current market conditions in the US have been a classic study in the effects of supply and demand; the supply of homes across the country have been low and demands have been high, causing competition—and prices—to skyrocket.

And thanks to the low supply and high demand, most Americans believe there’s never been a better time to sell their home than right now.

According to the 2018 Q3 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey from the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 77% of Americans surveyed believe that now is a good time to sell (a record high for the survey). And most of the people surveyed also believe that market conditions will continue to favor sellers (53% believe prices will increase in the next six months).

The Takeaway

Three out of four Americans firmly believe we’re in a seller’s market. So if you’ve been thinking about selling, now is the time to make a move.

More Than 19 Million Millennials Across The US “Mortgage Ready”

When someone uses the term “millennials,” most people don’t immediately think of financial stability or homeownership. But according to a new study, more millennials than ever are ready, willing, and able to purchase property in today’s market.

A recent study from Urban Institute, which analyzed data from the 31 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that 19 million millennials across the US are “mortgage ready,” which is defined as being no older than 40, not already having a mortgage, and having ample credit to qualify for a traditional loan (which includes a credit score of 620 or above and no recent credit issues, like bankruptcy or major delinquencies).

Why haven’t these millennials made a move? The report cites misconceptions about down payments as a major contributing factor for mortgage-ready millennials not making the jump into homeownership. (According to a survey released by Laurel Road earlier this year, 46% of Americans were unfamiliar with alternative lending options, and many millennials aren’t aware they can leverage these alternative lending options to purchase a home with as little as 3% down.)

The Takeaway

If you’re a mortgage-ready millennial but haven’t made a move because you’ve been struggling to save a large down payment, it’s time to start exploring alternative lending options. In today’s market, you don’t need 20% for a down payment—you might already have everything you need to purchase a home.

Use a REALTOR and save money!

One of the main gripes that people have with real estate agents is their commission. Many homeowners (mistakenly) think, “Why should I pay a real estate agent to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing myself?”

The reason people avoid working with agents is because they think it’s going to cost them money. But in reality, working with a qualified real estate agent is worth far more than what you’ll pay in commission. In fact, working with a real estate agent can actually make the process of selling your home less stressful, less time consuming, and less expensive.

Here are three ways real estate agents more than earn their commission — and can actually save you money — during your home sale:

1. They know the right people

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As the old real estate saying goes, when it comes to selling your home, it takes a village. And if you don’t have the right villagers in your corner, the process of selling your home can get expensive, fast.

During your home sale, there’s all sorts of vendors you’ll need to work with: contractors, landscapers, inspectors, tradesmen, professional stagers, movers… depending on your needs, the list can be lengthy.

Finding all of those vendors on your own will take a lot of time — and there’s no way to ensure you’re getting a good deal when you hire them. But when you work with an agent, they have professional contacts across the board and can recommend the right vendors at the right price.

Having access to your agent’s network is a huge time and money saver during the sale of your home.

2. They know exactly how to price your home

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Pricing your home is tricky business. If you don’t price it high enough, you’ll be kicking yourself when you get less than what you believe your home is worth. But price it too high and you won’t get any offers, leaving your house on the market — possibly stigmatized as “having something wrong with it” — and costing you money in the process.

When you try to sell your home on your own, pricing your property can feel like a guessing game. But when you work with a qualified real estate agent, their deep market knowledge will help you price your home in a way that works for both you and potential buyers.

It’s an agent’s job to know what’s going on in your market. They know how much homes are selling for, how long homes are sitting on the market, and exactly how you need to price your home if you want it to sell quickly and profitably. This information will significantly speed up the process of selling your home AND help you fetch a higher price — both of which put money right back into your pocket.

3. They give you your time back

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Many sellers who try to manage their home sale on their own start the process thinking that it’s going to require a minimal time investment. They think posting a few ads on home listing sites, hosting an open house or two, and signing a contract are all it takes to get a house sold.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Selling a home is a full-time job. That’s why there’s an entire industry built around it! Homeowners who go the sale-by-owner route in an attempt to save money often find their time, and lives, completely monopolized by the process.

And, as they say, time is money.

If you’re spending all of your time trying to get your house sold, it’s taking you away from your life — your family, your job, your hobbies. And there’s no price tag for what that’s worth.

Working with a real estate agent takes all that time burden off of you. Selling your home is their full-time job, and they can devote the time and attention necessary to get it done quickly. The amount of time and hassle this will save you is invaluable.

Not working with a real estate agent to save money on commission fees makes sense… in theory. But in practice, working with a real estate agent saves you immeasurable time, energy, and cash. Any good real estate agent will more than earn their commission — and then some — before the time comes to sign the closing papers.

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!

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.