The Holidays Mean Less Competition from Other Sellers
You are not the only homeowner who has considered taking your property off the market during the holidays. Most sellers don’t want the hassle and decide to wait until springtime to put their homes back on the market. That’s an advantage for you because you will not have to compete with dozens of other sellers. Fewer options mean more buyers checking out your home, either
Buyers are More Motivated During the Holidays
Anyone who takes out time of their hectic holiday schedule to shop for a new home is definitely serious about buying.
Your Home Looks Great During the Holidays
During winter months, homes usually look better
From: homestaging.about.com by Ronique Gibson
But there is some good news.
Currently, high rents and rising home prices are hitting Americans on all fronts, and 2016 will reinforce how the lack of affordable housing is playing out for so many Americans. With that in mind, here are five trends you can expect to see in the New Year:
First-time home-buyers will be older than ever
In 2015, the median age of first-time homebuyers was 33, four years older than in 1975. In 2016, expect first time buyers to be even older. Millennials, the oldest of whom are 35, want to buy homes, but are having trouble saving for a down payment, especially while they are paying record-high rent prices in the parts of the country where many of them live to find lucrative jobs: the Bay Area, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York.
Mortgage access also remains relatively tight and inventory, especially for entry-level homes, will remain low throughout the next year. New home construction is not geared toward the bottom end of the market and many homes priced in the bottom third of the market are still locked up in negative equity. At the same time, this generation is putting off major life decisions that go along with buying a home. They’re getting married and having kids later than previous generations– All of which adds up to an older first-time buyer.
Rent prices will continue to rise
There simply aren’t enough affordable rentals in the places young people want to live. The median rent in San Francisco is up 15% over the last year – and that represents a slowdown! As people delay homeownership, there’s just not enough supply. Too much demand leads to rising rents. Renters in several California cities, for example, can already expect to spend nearly half of their monthly income on a rental payment, which doesn’t leave much left over to save for a down payment — meaning folks continue to rent when they might otherwise be moving onto homeownership.
Rising home values will continue to outpace income
Home values will rise slower in 2016 than they have in previous years, but they are still expected to rise faster than incomes. That means housing affordability will suffer. As our economy returns to normal after the Great Recession, it’s understandable to cheer the housing recovery. On a monthly basis, owning a home is affordable, especially compared to rent. But the rising tide of the recovery has not lifted all ships equally.
Renters who want to buy will still face significant barriers to homeownership in 2016. One of the toughest to overcome will be saving up for a down payment while paying record-high rents. In 2016, stagnant incomes and rising home values will mean homeownership will drift even further out of reach, especially for low-income earners, whose incomes have been largely flat over the last decade.
It will also continue to be tough to find a home to buy. Zillow’s Negative Equity Report for the third quarter of 2015 found 13.4% percent of homeowners remain underwater with their mortgage balances exceeding their homes value. Throughout the recovery, the least valuable homes have been about three times as likely to be underwater. The persistent problem traps low-income homeowners in their homes and keeps affordable homes off the market.
People seeking affordable housing will re-invent the suburbs
An increasingly unaffordable rental market will have an effect on more than just cities. As millennials get older and become a bigger part of the housing market, neighborhoods will change to attract them. Affordable urban living within cities is increasingly scarce, which means those seeking affordable housing will turn to suburbs in 2016, but not just any suburbs. They will seek out walkable, urban, amenity-rich mini-cities within driving distance of the city. These suburbs will be 2016’s new hot spots.
Home values will level off in most of the country
There is some good news: home values are not crashing, nor are they inflating too quickly in most places. In 2014, home values grew at about 6%. In 2015, that rate slowed to just over 4%. In 2016, we anticipate home-value growth to continue to slow to 3.5% – in line with long-term historical levels – but still faster than wage growth. During the early recovery, we saw many markets experience unsustainable double-digit growth as home values quickly regained lost value with increased demand and limited supply. As supply has been slowly increasing in some markets and demand – especially driven by investors – has normalized, home value appreciation, too, has trended down towards the long-run average on our way to a more “healthy and normal” real estate market.
From: Fortune.com by Svenja Gudell
Lights are strung up on houses and trees throughout neighborhoods, snowflakes decorate grade school classrooms, and candy canes fill grocery store shelves. The holidays have snuck up on us yet again.
And with so much going on during this time of year, the old adage “accidents happen” should be kept in mind. The stress of decorating, buying gifts and prepping for the arrival of friends and family can leave even the calmest individuals feeling frazzled. And when your attention is diverted due to stress, injuries or disasters can occur.
An estimated 13,000 injuries result in visits to the emergency room each year around the holidays, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To keep accidents from spoiling your holiday cheer, follow these safety tips.
Deck the hallsDecorating for the holidays is one of the most widely embraced traditions of the season, but it also can be one of the most dangerous. The most popular decorating-related accidents can be the result of hanging strands of lights, and can include anything from falling off ladders to suffering electrical shocks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the holiday months are responsible for more fall-related injuries than any other time of year.
To keep yourself from becoming a statistic, test all lights before hanging them, and have a friend or family member hold a ladder steady while you’re decorating the roof or a tree in your yard.
Wrap presents, not bandagesFew things are more central to the holiday season than wrapping presents and hanging ornaments. Many people get excited to spoil their loved ones with gifts, and to get the ornaments out of storage to make the house more festive.
Though they’re part of the fun of decorating, these common holiday rituals can result in visits to the hospital if you’re not careful.
Think about it: Wrapping presents exposes you to slicing your hand with scissors or paper, and ornaments can fall or shatter, resulting in lacerations if someone steps on a piece of broken glass.
To help combat potential cuts:
These tasks may seem innocuous, but they can be far from it. The CDC reports that more than 50,000 winter-related back injuries occur each year.
When shoveling snow or transporting luggage — though it may sound silly — make sure you stretch beforehand, wear appropriate attire (including shoes with traction), keep a steady pace, hydrate, and lift with your legs while keeping your upper body straight to reduce strain and tension on your back.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fireIt’s extremely likely that you’ll hear this classic holiday song this month. It’s also likely that your home may be at risk for structure fires.
Strands of lights with frayed wires, Christmas trees, space heaters, candles, flammable items placed too close to open flames, and cooking all present risks for home fires during the holidays.
According to the National Fire Protection Association statistics for home fires between 2009 and 2013, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of the top three days of the year for home candle fires; Christmas tree fires resulted in $17.5 million of property damage per year; and decorations (excluding Christmas trees) were the first items ignited in about 860 home fires, causing an average of $13.4 million worth of property damage per year.
While fire typically is covered by standard home insurance, no one wants to go through the hassle.
Keep your home safe, take these precautions:
From: Zillow.com by Shannon Ireland
The month of December is known for frantic shopping and attending countless holiday parties but not for purchasing a home — and this can work in your favor. With fewer buyers in the marketplace, the available homes for sale are priced to sell. Plus, with fewer fish in the sea, there’s less likelihood of multiple offers and escalator clauses.
If a home is on the market in December, there’s usually a specific reason sellers are looking to move; it could be a job relocation, financial hardship, or a personal change of circumstance. Regardless, it gives you an opportunity to negotiate a sweet deal — lowball the listing price and ask for a closing date that works with your schedule.
Purchasing a home in 2015 is good for your bottom line when tax time rolls around. If you close by December 31, you can deduct property taxes, mortgage interest, origination points on your loan, and interest costs — all while building equity in your home. These deductions can be huge money savers, especially in the early years of your loan when you’re paying off interest.
A moving company’s December calendar usually resembles a ghost town. Not only will you be able to secure movers on short notice, but with competition for prime time slots (weekends) nonexistent, you could probably score a deal as well. Ask them to consider throwing in a couple of moving hours for free or packing materials and boxes gratis. The same tactic may also work with contractors, repairmen, and home inspector services.
With everyone off celebrating the holidays, December is traditionally a lean month for mortgage brokers. Since there are fewer real estate transactions, loan officers may be motivated to offer special incentives and possibly waive or reduce origination fees. With so few loans in the pipeline, underwriting turnaround times will be quick. You may be able to negotiate a better price with the seller if you’re able to close the purchase in under 30 days.
If you’re building a new home, ask about holiday incentives — builders typically roll them out to finish the year with a bang. If upgrades such as custom cabinets, quality carpeting, and designer paint colors are on your holiday wish list, December may be the ideal time to purchase a new-construction home. With fewer units sold throughout the month, the last few days of December are particularly important for sales.
There’s no need to wait until Saturday or Sunday to cram five house showings into your schedule. Rather than using your precious weekends, take an end-of-the-year vacation day on a weekday to check out the available inventory (especially if your company has a “use it or lose it” policy). Chances are, your agent has some time on their hands as well and would appreciate staying busy throughout December.
#1 Mixing metals
Never mix metals in your kitchen. Go all bronze, all copper or all stainless steel, but don’t put them arbitrarily together. This may look a little too eclectic for the average homebuyer, and you don’t want to have to replace hardware or fixtures.
#2 Creating your own counters
You might think that creating your own concrete counters will save you money, but it could actually do more harm than good. Instead, hire a professional. Or, look into alternatives like granite, quartz and other solid surface materials, which are also long lasting and visually appealing.
#3 Imitation open shelving
Open shelving is really big right now — everything’s in open view. But simply taking the doors off of your cabinets isn’t going to cut it. In fact, it looks amateur and will make buyers wonder why it was done. If you really want open shelving, install actual open shelving. Or, go with glass-door cabinets.
#4 Using “fake wood” in the kitchen
Cabinet door materials like particleboard and vinyl and wood veneer may seem cost-effective, but they often look cheap and detract from the overall value of your kitchen as a result. Plus, these “fake wood” materials can sometimes come with more maintenance and repairs than you want to deal with. When it comes to your kitchen cabinets, invest in the best materials possible.
#5 Going for an industrial look
The Industrial look — stainless steel counters, exposed ducting and bulbs, and metal shelves or cabinets — is on its way out. Unless you’re living in a loft, skip the exposed Edison bulbs and aluminum shelving and opt instead for lively materials that feel cozy and welcoming. If you need style ideas for your kitchen, talk to an experienced kitchen designer.
#6 Hiding your appliances
Specially created cabinets or “garages” take up a lot of counter space. Instead of wasting money on this, just store the moveable appliances in cabinets or cut down on how many you have. Keep the ones you use most often on the counter, but make sure it doesn’t look cluttered.
#7 Creating kitchen nooks
In the old days, kitchens nooks were dedicated to telephones, pull-down desks and other items. Nowadays, most people don’t use landlines — and most don’t want a desk in the kitchen either. If you have a nook, think about removing it. And certainly don’t add one; it will only take up space that could be used more effectively.
#8 Diversifying appliance colors
Every year, appliance companies release products in trending colors. Don’t put stock in these. Instead, stick with reliable stainless steel — or go with black or white. And, when it’s time to sell, you won’t have to spend additional money refinishing or replacing the appliances.
#9 Wasting island space
A purposeful island is the perfect complement to a large kitchen. But if the island doesn’t have a strict purpose, it may serve only to obstruct the flow of the room. Make sure your island has a clear purpose. Add a sink, a stove or counter space — whatever works best for the space and your budget.
From:blog.coldwellbanker.com By LINDSAY LISTANSKI
Location, location, location. As the real estate agents say, it’s the No. 1 attribute in real estate. But it’s not just true when it comes to assessing a home’s value—it’s also a key factor in determining your future happiness, according to Katherine Loflin, a consultant in the new field of “placemaking.”
Q: What advice do you have for people who want to find the right place?
First, create a wish list for the place you want. What kind of place are you seeking, given where you are in your life—kid-friendly, retiree destination, walkable, cultural offerings, quintessential experiences that you crave? Just as we know the kind of person we are seeking as a partner, we should know the kind of place where we would thrive.
Next, spend some time there—date your place. And just like you should probably see your potential life partner with the flu before you marry, you have to learn about the challenges of the place. What are the issues the place is facing? Do you love it enough to want to help, or at least accept it, warts and all?
Q: What are the most common mistakes when choosing where to live?
Don’t move there based solely on vacation experience(s) there. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”? That’s a real thing. Second, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is about “good” and “bad” places. Just like when you’re dating, it’s about your compatibility. While all people like places that are welcoming, different places do this different ways. In some places, welcoming means people hug you when they meet you. Some people love that, others not so much.
Q: How has this understanding of place affected the buying and selling of real estate?
One real estate journalist told me, “Today, houses are everywhere. We have to now also sell places. That’s what people are asking about more than the number of bedrooms.” Even when local economies failed at the end of the last decade, people who loved where they lived talked about taking solace in their place. As people felt disillusioned over the loss of a job that they had dedicated much of their life to, their values shifted. “I will no longer live to work, but work to live” was a common refrain I heard during that time.
Q: What are the most surprising stories you’ve heard about someone’s search for the right place?
The stories that always drop jaws are ones where I talk about people just “showing up” in a city or town they want to live in and figuring out the job and place to live once they get there. It is definitely a different strategy than what guided our parents, when absolutely everything 100% was dictated by the job.
Q: How can people who love their place change it?
There are always stories of a place going from unknown or declining to a thriving destination—like the upstart chef who couldn’t afford to open his own restaurant except in a small town. Then he took advantage of its rural location to help local farmers by creating a farm-to-table component of the restaurant, which further helped it succeed. And in a few short years, the place is transformed.
From: Realtor.com by Judy Dutton
Real estate is kind of like an endless black hole of knowledge—the more you go Interstellar to learn new stuff about buying, selling and improving your home, the more you realize how much you still have left to learn. Think of it as an advanced education that never ends. A fun one!—but without all the test cramming, crippling student loans and sloppy keggers.
Whether you’re a renter or a buyer, a dreamer or a seller, real estate touches all of us on a daily basis. We’re constantly seeking answers about how to navigate housing’s often tortuous path like true pros.
That’s where realtor.com comes in! We’ve been busy this year hitting the streets, tapping our exclusive expert sources, finding the inside track—and even taking a shortcut or two—to give you the very best advice you’ll find anywhere on home buying, selling, renovating, financing, renting and moving.
1. Stay ahead of ice dams. Ice dams form because the edges of a home’s roof are colder than the upper regions (where more insulation is below), causing ice to form around the eaves. Snow melts above, and the melted snow backs up behind a “dam” of ice, potentially causing leaks and permanent damage to the roof and home — if you’ve ever experienced an ice dam on your roofline, you know what a nightmare it can be. We spoke with Gerry Dunleavy, owner of Gerry Dunleavy Construction in Winchester, Massachusetts, to find out how to prevent ice dams from forming, and what to do if you notice one getting started. (Hint: Prevention is far easier than treatment!)
Before winter weather sets in:
2. Keep an eye on trees. Big snowfalls can settle onto tree limbs, making them heavy and more prone to breaking — which can be especially dangerous if a tree is within reach of your house. Ease the burden on your trees by brushing off snow after each snowfall, using a broom to extend your reach. Don’t shake the tree to remove snow, since this can cause brittle limbs to break. Proper tree maintenance in the fall, paired with regular snow removal, should help prevent breakage — but if a limb does fall during winter, have it removed as soon as weather permits.
3. Keep paths cleared of snow and ice. Regular shoveling (or snow blowing) is the best way to keep walkways, driveways and sidewalks safe and ice-free all winter. Keep some pet- and plant-safe ice melt or sand on hand to provide traction on stairs and other slippery areas, and flag the edges of your driveway and sidewalk so you know where to stop shoveling when the snow gets deep.
From: houzz.com by Laura Gaskill
Tress Realty Group compiles some of the best real estate news, tips, and information for buyers, sellers and investors.