Posted in Real Estate

The Renovations That Provide The Best Return On Your Investment

The Renovations That Provide The Best Return On Your InvestmentRenovating a home is not only a way to increase the family’s standard of living but it can also be seen as an investment. There are multiple ways for someone to increase the value of their home and renovations are one of the most straightforward. At the same time, some investments offer a better return than others.

Those who are thinking about selling their home in the future should strive to get every dollar possible. Renovations can make this happen.

Garage Door Replacement

When people think about renovations, they don’t often think about the garage. Some people don’t even include their garage in their square footage because it might not be heated; however, replacing the garage door can provide a major investment return.

In some cases, the value of the garage door itself may double with a simple replacement. While some people dread the prospect of replacing a damaged garage door, even upgrading a working one can lead to a significant return!

Manufactured Stone Veneer

Stone is a popular building material because it provides a sleek look in addition to being versatile. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a stone veneer will also provide a major investment return. For those who spend around ten thousand dollars on a stone veneer, the value of this investment may nearly double. This provides a great way to not only upgrade the home but also increase its resale value.

Entry Door Replacement

A home’s doors are incredibly important because not only do they a measure of security but also they also draw someone’s eyes. Replacing an entry door may provide an investment return of close to 90 percent. Because this job can be handled quickly by a trained professional, this can be a quick upgrade for those looking to boost the value of their home before selling it.

Plan for Warm Weather Renovations

With the weather starting to heat up, many individuals and families are looking to plan their renovation projects for the summer. Think about the projects wisely as they can have a significant impact on the value of a home. Renovations should be viewed as investments as well as upgrades for the family’s standard of living. 

Posted in Real Estate

The Importance of Pricing Right when Selling a Home

The Importance of Pricing Right when Selling a Home

One of the first decisions you will need to make when selling your home is what price you want to sell it for. This is also one of the most important decisions you will make. Here are some reasons why the first listing price affects the entire outcome of their home sale.

A Too-High Price Can Exclude Your House

Some home sellers mistakenly think they should grossly overprice their home in order to leave plenty of room for bargaining during the negotiation stage. While a certain amount of bargaining does often occur, falsely inflating the value of your home inadvertently excludes your property from online search results.

It is estimated that 80% of homebuyers search online for houses to buy. Those buyers enter price search parameters that they feel they can comfortably afford. If you overprice your house, your listing won’t even show up in the search results of people who likely would be able and willing to pay you the actual value for your home.

Essentially, you are removing your house from their radar screen, making it invisible to an entire group of qualified buyers.

Properties With Price Reductions Appear Distressed

Another reason it is important to price your home correctly is because if you overprice your home and then have to drop the price due to a lack of interest, your house now appears to be a distressed property.  When you see items heaped together in a bin with “price reduced” on the side, don’t you assume they are damaged goods.

It is the same with a house listing that’s labeled “price reduced.” It does not matter if your house is a mansion. With a price drop, buyers will automatically assume something is wrong with it.

The Appraisal May Ruin Your Deal

Even if you succeed in luring someone who’s willing to overpay for your house, you still need to go through the appraisal process so your buyers can secure financing. When the appraisal comes back with a much lower figure, the buyers will have difficulty obtaining a loan because lenders won’t pay over-market prices. Your whole deal could fall apart at the last minute due to a failure to price right when selling your home.

Real estate agents make pricing suggestions based on hard data, like recent comps in the neighborhood. Your best bet is to rely on your real estate agent for advice about pricing your home right to sell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Financial Reports

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady In April

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady In AprilCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed little change in April as home prices rose by 0.10 percent to a year-over-year average of 4.70 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index showed corresponding home price growth of 0.10 percent to 4.00 percent year-over-year.

Ongoing influences on home price growth before the coronavirus pandemic included short supplies of available homes coupled with high demand for homes and low mortgage rates. While closures and shelter-at-home restrictions in many markets slowed buyer and seller activity,  real estate analysts said that home-buyer desiring to buy larger homes to accommodate working at home helped maintain home prices. Homeowners relocating to less congested areas also helped with stabilizing home-price growth in April. 

Case-Shiller 20-City Index: Home-Price Growth Rates Increases in 12 Cities

The three top cities in April’s 20-City Home Price Index were Phoneix, Arizona with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.80 percent; Seattle, Washington reported 7.30 percent yearly growth in home prices. Minneapolis, Minnesota reported home-price growth of 6.40 percent.

Home price growth rates increased in 12 of 19 cities reported. Detroit Michigan did not report to the 20-City Index for the second consecutive month. The coronavirus pandemic continued to grow and spread throughout the U.S during May; some states that opened their economies quickly are now reconsidering as Covid-19 cases rise at faster rates. Changing data and emerging responses to the spreading virus are expected to impact home price growth in the coming months according to whether the coronavirus spreads or diminishes.

FHFA Home Price Index: Home Prices Increase Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported 5.50 percent home price growth year-over-year in April compared to the March reading of 5.90 percent year-over-year growth. FHFA expects home prices to continue rising as real estate markets return to normal. With spring and early summer home sales impacted by coronavirus-related restrictions, Lynn Fisher, deputy director of research and statistics for FHFA, expected sales to pick up during the summer months.

As coronavirus infection rates increase, further restrictions and closings are anticipated and could negatively impact real estate markets and home prices soon.

Posted in Real Estate

The Advantages Of Using REALTORS Vs. For Sale By Owner

The Advantages Of Using REALTORS Vs. For Sale By OwnerFor Sale By Owner (FSBO) at first glance seems like it might be a good idea. After all, in an FSBO transaction, there is the saving of the commission that a real estate agent earns. Does that mean there is more for the homeowner from the FSBO sale? Not always.

One explanation for this is that FSBO homes may get less attention in the marketplace and therefore may receive fewer purchase offers.

Consider The Value Of Time

A professional worker who earns $150 per hour does not save money by doing the janitorial work accomplished by paying someone else $15 per hour. In the same way, there is a cost of trying to sell your home on your own that isn’t necessarily money out of your pocket.  Selling a home in every case takes a significant amount of time and attention to manage the process efficiently.

A REALTOR® spends time, energy, and money promoting the properties listed for sale. The real estate agent may help stage the home to get a better sales price and conducts the open house events. They also coordinate showings with other agents and prospective buyers to facilitate the sale of the home. This coordination can sometimes take months of time investment.

Consider The Value Of Professional Representation

It is easy for an amateur to make costly mistakes in a real estate transaction. A real estate agent working in a professional manner may lower the risk of these mistakes. Using a handmade FSBO sign in the front yard does not have the same impact as a professional one.

A REALTOR® pays a significant annual membership fee to belong to the multi-listing service (MLS). A property put up for sale on the MLS system, immediately notifies all the other members in the system that the property is available. A listing agent splits the commission with the agent that brings the buyer. Being on the MLS system means reaching all the agents that may represent thousands of potential buyers. A sign in the front yard has very little impact compared to this.

A real estate agent also markets properties on the Internet through a professional website, presence on social media, and various other paid advertising methods. They take attractive photos and videos of the property to use for marketing purposes. Putting these online attracts attention.

Without the help of a real estate agent, the homeowner needs to make all these marketing efforts and pay for them.

Closing The Sale

A real estate agent does all the grunt work that is necessary to work with the buyer, the escrow company, and the title company in order to have a smooth closing of the transaction.  A good agent helps to eliminate potential problems before they arise. This only comes through the experience gained in selling many homes over time.

Conclusion

For the vast majority of homeowners, with little or no experience marketing home for sale and closing a real estate transaction, working with a real estate agent is usually a better idea than trying to go at this alone. A REALTOR® does not get paid unless the home sells, so they are highly motivated to sell the home and close the transaction as efficiently as possible.

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 29, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 29, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and reports on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released.

Home Sales Results Mixed for May

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in May at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 3.91 million sales. Analysts expected 3.80 million sales as compared to April’s reading of 4.33 million sales. This was the lowest reading for sales of pre-owned homes since July 2010 and sales were 26.60 percent lower year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun,  the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that sales were expected to rise as coronavirus-related restrictis were lifted and people returned to work. Mr. Yun said in a report that sales of previously-owned homes should surpass last year’s annual sales pace in the second half of 2020. Mr. Yun made this forecast before rising coronavirus cases occurring after the reopening of the economy started.

There was a 4.80 months supply of previously-owned homes for sale in May, which was below the six-months supply indicating a balanced market.

The Commerce Department reported 676,000 new homes sold in May on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this surpassed expectations of 650,000 sales and April’s revised annual sales pace of 580,000 new homes sold. New home sales rose by 45.50 percent in May in the Northeastern region; New home sales rose by 29 percent in the West and 15.20 percent in the South, New home sales fell by -6.40 percent in the Midwest.

The average sale price of new homes was $317,900 in May. There was a 5.60 months supply of new homes available in May, which nearly matched the six months average inventory.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as JoblessClaims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average rate of 3.13 percent; The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.59 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.08 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 1.48 million from the prior week’s reading of 1.51 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims were also lower last week with 19.50 million claims filed as compared to 20.30 million claims filed the previous week.

Rising Inflation Indicates Improving Economy

Inflation rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 8.20 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -12.60 percent Analysts expected the inflation rate to reach 9.90 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news releases include readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, and labor-sector jobs reports. The national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims.

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate

The Healthy Home? Selling The Wellness Value Of A Home

The Healthy Home? Selling The Wellness Value Of A HomeA study by the World Health Organization says that 90% of our health comes from where and how people live. Homeowners are paying more attention to wellness. These considerations extend to the home that they want to buy. Do you want to get a great price when you sell your home?

Go green and go healthy.

Going Green

Homebuyers are looking for more than just a quality home in a safe neighborhood. They also appreciate energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency includes new appliances that use less electricity, smart-home technology that manages usage and climate zones, and better insulation as well as new windows and doors. It also includes having a solar energy system to reduce monthly electricity costs.

Wellness Living

Wellness amenities include special lighting, sound systems, interior climate monitoring, plus air and water filtration systems. Newly-constructed homes are being advertised as being more healthy and perhaps extending the occupants’ lives. Older homes can be retrofitted with wellness systems to increase habitability and make them attractive to buyers.

Here are some wellness systems to consider:

  • Water Purification — Pure water for drinking and ice cubes with soft water for other uses is high on the list of priorities. The best water purification systems have micro-filtration combined with activated carbon filters. They are able to remove up to 99.999% of any contaminants.
  • Air Filtration — Hospital-quality air-filtration systems with HEPA filters remove dust, allergens, pet dander, bacteria, mold, and contagious airborne viruses.
  • Climate Monitoring — These advanced smart home systems constantly test the interior air for contaminants. The system will inform homeowners if any toxic chemicals are detected.
  • Circadian Lighting — Advanced lighting systems provide full-spectrum lighting that comes on automatically to mimic the natural light cycles of sunrise and sunset. These systems are especially helpful to improve the moods of occupants in areas that have dreary outside weather
  • Soothing Sound Systems — Sound systems can be fine-tuned to emit white noise and noise-cancellation frequencies to provide soothing sonics for interior spaces.
  • Home Gym — Having an exercise room with large windows and a nice view of the garden is a real plus. This room can also serve as a space for meditation.
  • Sunroom — A sunroom is an excellent choice for a home addition. It can be used to relax and get some vitamin D from the sunshine as well as be filled with living aromatic flowers for quality aromatherapy.

Summary

Having a home that is designed to both be energy-efficient and improve wellness is a trend that helps sell them as a wonderful living space that promotes holistic living.

Posted in Real Estate

Pros And Cons Of Completing Home Renovations Before Selling

Pros And Cons Of Completing Home Renovations Before Selling

Whether you originally bought a fixer-upper or you’re just a homeowner who wanted to update their house, chances are you have seen your share of home renovations. Home renovations have the potential to greatly add to the value of your property, but they can also add to your own quality of life. Hopefully, you have completed your home renovations and gotten plenty of use out of them before listing your home for sale. 
If not, you may find yourself wanted to move before all the renovations are complete. What’s the best course of action? Should you put the time and money in to finish? Or should you cut your losses and list the home for sale? What are the pros and cons of completing home renovations before selling?
Pro: The Home May Sell Easier
Your real estate agent will be happier if your home is fully renovated. That’s because they know that the home may sell easier in a fully renovated condition. Of course, you could get a prospective DIY homebuyer eager to put their own “stamp” on the home, but that is nothing you can count on.
Con: You May Not Recoup The Extra Expenses
Not all home renovations equate to value-added improvements that you can count in your wallet. If your renovations are small things like replacing door hinges, patching a hole in the plaster, or stripping outdated wallpaper, you are unlikely to see an equal increase in what you can get for your home sale.
Pro: There Will Be Less Explaining
If you have finished the renovation, you have nothing to explain and no excuses to make to anyone. In the renovated condition, the home is what it is. Even if a prospective home buyer does not happen to like the new paint color you have chosen, they still can?t complain that it is old or worn looking. 
Con: You Will Need To Delay Your Listing
Home renovations can take up a lot of time, as you may know, if you have done a lot of them already. You will have to delay listing your home, which in turn will mean putting your moving plans on hold for what could be an extra month or two. Depending on your future plans, this could impact your child’s school entry date and more.
No one will force you to complete half-finished renovations. But consider these pros and cons before deciding how to proceed.

Whether you originally bought a fixer-upper or you’re just a homeowner who wanted to update their house, chances are you have seen your share of home renovations. Home renovations have the potential to greatly add to the value of your property, but they can also add to your own quality of life.

Hopefully, you have completed your home renovations and gotten plenty of use out of them before listing your home for sale. 

If not, you may find yourself wanted to move before all the renovations are complete. What’s the best course of action?

Should you put the time and money in to finish? Or should you cut your losses and list the home for sale?

What are the pros and cons of completing home renovations before selling?

Pro: The Home May Sell Easier
Your real estate agent will be happier if your home is fully renovated. That’s because they know that the home may sell easier in a fully renovated condition. Of course, you could get a prospective DIY homebuyer eager to put their own “stamp” on the home, but that is nothing you can count on.

Con: You May Not Recoup The Extra Expenses
Not all home renovations equate to value-added improvements that you can count in your wallet. If your renovations are small things like replacing door hinges, patching a hole in the plaster, or stripping outdated wallpaper, you are unlikely to see an equal increase in what you can get for your home sale.

Pro: There Will Be Less Explaining
If you have finished the renovation, you have nothing to explain and no excuses to make to anyone. In the renovated condition, the home is what it is. Even if a prospective home buyer does not happen to like the new paint color you have chosen, they still can?t complain that it is old or worn looking. 

Con: You Will Need To Delay Your Listing
Home renovations can take up a lot of time, as you may know, if you have done a lot of them already. You will have to delay listing your home, which in turn will mean putting your moving plans on hold for what could be an extra month or two. Depending on your future plans, this could impact your child’s school entry date and more.

No one will force you to complete half-finished renovations. But consider these pros and cons before deciding how to proceed.

 

Posted in Real Estate

How to Pack Weird Shaped So They Are Free From Damage

How to Pack Weird Shaped nothey Are Free From DamageIf you are like a lot of homeowners who have just sold their homes, packing up to move is the least enjoyable aspect of the whole thing. Packing is always time consuming, but it is worse when you have weird shaped items to pack. Sometimes the most commonly used items end up being difficult to pack.

Here are some tips for how to handle it.

Think Outside The Box

Many weird shaped items either do not fit inside a standard sized box or they will rattle around and get damaged. Try to think of unusual packaging materials that might fit the bill, such as egg cartons, cardboard paper towel tubes, insulated coolers and even file cabinet drawers. Often, you will be able to fit a odd or strangely shaped item into one of these. 

  • For instance, sharp knives can be tucked into paper towel tubes. Fold the two ends down and tape shut. 
  • Your kids rock or shell collection can be packed inside egg cartons, layered with newspaper and taped up.
  • A delicate light fixture such as a small chandelier can be packed into an insulated cooler and surrounded with Styrofoam peanuts.

Deal With Sporting Goods And Gardening Equipment

Sporting goods pose a particular challenge when packing. If your family engages in water sports, archery or other activities, you will be wondering how to pack things like fins, a crossbows, skis, and other expensive but weirdly shaped equipment. Here are some ideas.

  • Pack snorkeling and scuba gear into a large, new, plastic trash barrel. The fins will be able to fit on end so they get warped, and there will be plenty of room for masks, snorkels and scuba tank, if necessary.
  • Use a specially designed television box to pack a cross bow and arrows or any other item that?s flat and wide.
  • Ski poles will fit nicely into a bicycle box (along with the bicycle). You can get one from a local dealer or buy one from the moving company. Secure the poles with a zip tie first. 
  • Wrap up garden shovels and hoes with a zip tie and pack them into their own bicycle box. You can use the same box to pack rolled up tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear. 

You can see that with a little ingenuity there is always a way to pack weird shaped items. Be forewarned though – the stranger the item, the more creative you may have to get!

 

 

Posted in Real Estate

5 Tips For Getting A Job In A New City When You Relocate

5 Tips For Getting A Job In A New City When You RelocateDid you just move into a new city? Transitioning to a new city is hard enough, but when you also need to find a job, it can be even tougher. Since everything is a bit new to you, there are definitely some strategies to implement that will make your job hunting easier. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Let People Know You are Looking For A Job

Everywhere you go, spread the word that you are in the market for a new job. In general, people love to help out other people. Someone you speak with will surely know of a job opening; either where they work or someplace else. 

2. Be Ready With Your Business Card

Once you start having conversations with people about needing a job, they will want to know what you do and how to contact you. Have some attractive business cards printed up with your contact information and area of expertise.

The more of these you can get into circulation, the higher your chances of finding a job sooner rather than later. 

3. Use Your Existing Network

Check back in with your network where you used to live and see if anyone knows someone in your new city. You might be surprised to find out how vast a network of connections can be. If you can make a new connection in your new city through your old network, they may be able to introduce you to potential employers in the area where you now live.

4. Go Through The Employment Agency

Employment agency work can sometimes transition into permanent positions. Working through an employment agency will not make you wealthy, but it can help to pay the bills until the time you can find a job that fits with your career goals.

Plus, employment agencies can often put you to work the very next day or the next Monday. It is a temporary solution, but a worthwhile use of your time.

5. Spend Time Getting To Know The Locals

Some cities are known for being harder to find a job as an outsider. A local reference can help you to pass the test and get an interview. Get to know some locals who might be willing to vouch for you as a local reference. 

These five tips will help you get a job in no time in your new city. Remember, your first job in your new city might not be your dream job, but at least it will get you in the door.

 

 

Posted in Financial Reports

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 22, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 22, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on U.S. Housing markets, housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reports on new and continuing jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Recovers in June

Analysts cited slim supplies of available homes, tight housing markets, and low mortgage rates as drivers of new home sales. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose 21 points to an index reading of 58 in June;  builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose 22 points to 68.

Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose from May’s index reading of 21 to 43 in June. Readings for buyer traffic are typically lower than the benchmark reading of 50.

Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about housing market conditions and component readings of the Housing Market Index. Prospective home buyers continued to face obstacles of high unemployment and loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic; these factors will likely impact builder confidence for months ahead as impacts of the pandemic change.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Increase in May

The Commerce Department reported 974,000 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May as compared to a  pace of  934,000 housing starts reported in April. Building permits issued in May rose to 1.22 million permits issued on an annual basis from April’s pace of 1.07 million permits issued. Analysts expected 1.25 million permits to be issued in May on an annual basis.

 

Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low as Jobless Claims Decrease

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates that were the lowest mortgage rates recorded. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.13 percent; interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.58 percent and were four basis points lower than for the prior week. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 3.09 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 1.51 million claims last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.57 million initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell; 20.50 million claims were reported as compared to 20.60 million ongoing jobless claims reported the prior week.

 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, FHFA’s Home Price Index, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index.