The uncertainty the world faces today due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many things to change. The way we interact, the way we do business, even the way we buy and sell real estate is changing. This is a moment in time that’s even sparking some buyers to search for a better deal on a home. Sellers, however, aren’t offering a discount these days; they’re holding steady on price.

According to the most recent NAR Flash Survey (a survey of real estate agents from across the country), agents were asked the following two questions:

1. “Have any of your sellers recently reduced their price to attract buyers?”

Their answer: 72% said their sellers have not lowered prices to attract buyers during this health crisis.

2. “Are home buyers expecting lower prices now?”

Their answer: 63% of agents said their buyers were looking for a price reduction of at least 5%.

What We Do Know
In today’s market, with everything changing and ongoing questions around when the economy will bounce back, it’s interesting to note that some buyers see this time as an opportunity to win big in the housing market. On the other hand, sellers are much more confident that they will not need to reduce their prices in order to sell their homes. Clearly, there are two different perspectives at play.

Bottom Line
If you’re a buyer in today’s market, you might not see many sellers lowering their prices. If you’re a seller and don’t want to lower your price, you’re not alone. If you have questions on how to price your home, reach out to a local real estate professional today to discuss your needs and next steps.

The following blog post is not by us. Tom Ferry is one of the top Real Estate educators in the country. We felt his words might resonate in your lives too!

No. 1: Are You a Lion or a Lamb?

Think of a lion or a lioness for a second. What do they do when something happens? Do they freak out? No. They remain calm. They survey the situation. They protect their own. They exhibit strength and act like a LEADER!

Now contrast that with a lamb… Lambs follow the herd. They flee at the mere sound of a twig breaking. They panic and run in fear.

In this crisis, are you going to be a lion/lioness or a lamb?

You need to decide.

I strongly believe the actions we take over the next 60-90 days will define our brands.

So stand tall. Be strong. Be the voice of reason. Be a pillar of your community.

When making your decision, keep this in mind from Greg Markov of the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, who just yesterday conducted a special “Negotiations During Times of Crisis” presentation for our coaching members:

“Fear leads to anxiety, and anxiety is a deal killer.”

 

No. 2: Now More Than Ever, Be Adaptable

Rigidness or reluctance to change will get you NOWHERE right now.

Hear me?

Do not try to fight this. You need to adapt, and you need to adapt quickly.

People on my team are working from home with their laptops on TV trays and dining room tables because our county has ordered no gatherings of any kind. My team accepted it and adapted on a moment’s notice without questioning it or fighting it. This is our new reality until we beat this virus.

So when it comes to your business…

…Get creative!

…Use video more than ever!

…Use Zoom or Google Hangouts to connect with your clients and your community at large.

I’ve already heard stories of people who are turning on their cameras and organizing remote yoga sessions.

Why couldn’t you do the same thing, but educating people about specific aspects of buying or selling real estate?

Be that voice of reason your community needs with a message to consumers of “We’re gonna get through this, and when we do, I want you better prepared to make wise real estate investments.”

 

No. 3: Be Smart

This one’s simple, but it needs to be said anyway.

Be smart.

Follow the health guidelines.

Obey your local orders and ordinances.

Wash your hands.

Practice social distancing.

Don’t point fingers.

Keep in mind what’s best for the common good… and we’ll all be better for it.

 

Change is swift and painful, but now is the time to adapt and build a strong community with your tribe.

As the lionesses and lions that you all are, how will you react to this growth test?

 

If you’re following what’s happening in the current housing market, you’ve seen how the lack of newly constructed homes is a major reason there’s a shortage of housing inventory available to today’s buyers. Another reason is that the inventory of existing homes for sale is shrinking. According to the most recent Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales are up 10.8% from the same time last year. That exceeds expectations and is great news.

The troubling news from the report is that the sold inventory is not being replaced. As NAR explained,

“Total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.40 million units, down 14.6% from November and 8.5% from one year ago. Unsold inventory sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from the 3.7-month figure recorded in both November and December 2018. Unsold inventory totals have dropped for seven consecutive months from year-ago levels, taking a toll on home sales.”

The situation was also addressed in a recent Zillow article stating,

“The number of for-sale homes in the U.S. is at its lowest point in at least seven years, and the shortage appears poised to get worse before it gets better.”

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk further noted,

“Inventory always decreases sharply in December as people take their homes off the market for the holidays. However, based on the data I’ve collected, this was the lowest level for inventory in at least three decades (the previous low was 1.43 million in December 1993).”

Why is inventory falling so dramatically? I thought the housing market had softened.

A year ago, that was the case – but the market shifted again. Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research at Zillow, explains,

“A year ago, a combination of a government shutdown, stock market slump and mortgage rate spike caused a long-anticipated inventory rise. That supposed boom turned out to be a short-lived mirage as buyers came back into the market and more than erased the inventory gains. As a natural reaction, the recent slowdown in home values looks like it’s set to reverse back to accelerating growth right as we head into home shopping season with demand outpacing supply.”

What does this mean if you’re a homeowner thinking of selling?

Now is a great time to consider putting your home on the market. The competition (number of houses on the market) has not been this low in decades. It’s best not to wait for the inventory (both existing homes and new construction) to increase in the spring, as it always does.

Bottom Line

The supply of homes for sale is at a historic low. Buyer demand is surprisingly strong. Now would be a great time to sell.

If you’ve traveled in the last few years, you may have stayed in a vacation home at some point. You may also have wondered whether you could turn your own home into profits by renting it out to travelers. If this is the case, and you are looking to flip your home into a profitable vacation rental property, there are some simple steps you should take to maximize your ROI.   

Clear Out Any Clutter

When folks travel for work or vacation, they want to feel relaxed and calm in their vacation rental home. So before you rent your home out for the first time, make a concerted effort to get rid of clutter that can cause guests extra stress. Wondering where to put all of that excess furniture and decor? You may need to consider renting a storage unit. Self-storage in Naperville can be rather affordable, especially when you use online search tools to find the best prices in town. Self-storage units have averaged $71.73 for customers renting in the last 180 days, but your rental rate may be higher or lower depending on how much room you need and where you rent.

Invest in Home Security

Hopefully, your rental listing will be popular and your home will be booked throughout the year. Even so, it’s highly likely that your property will be vacant from time to time and you may not be nearby to keep an eye on it. That’s why homeowners who are thinking about listing their homes as vacation rentals should consider adding home security. With so many options available, from monitored systems to security cameras, talking with a local security expert about what’s best for your vacation rental can ensure that you make the right investment. As you think about home security, you should also think about updating your locks to allow convenient access and to prevent the key to your home from being copied by renters.

Choose Furnishings Wisely

Installing smart locks and a security system can help protect your property, but you also need to think about preserving the contents of your home if you want to fully protect your investment. To ensure that rental guests don’t damage sentimental or expensive home furnishings, you can replace those items with budget-friendly furnishings that still look luxurious. Ikea is a top shopping destination for homeowners looking to deck out a vacation rental, but stores like Target can offer options too. As you select new decor and furniture for your vacation rental, you should also include themes and design elements that will attract renters and garner glowing reviews.

Add Some Extra Amenities

If you want to guarantee more ROI on your new vacation rental, it’s important to understand which amenities guests are looking for the most when they choose a vacation home. This list may seem fairly long, but the items included really just consist of little touches that help travelers feel at home in your rental property. Adding smart locks to allow for 24-hour check-in and access to the home can definitely help too, but you should go through each room to create a truly relaxing and memorable experience for your guests. If you want to impress more discerning guests, try adding some luxury amenities to enhance the vibe in your new vacation rental.

Create a Stand Out Rental Listing

Now it’s time to make sure all of your hard work pays off by creating the perfect online listing for your vacation rental. Helping your rental listing stand out to travelers requires some staging and quality listing photos. For the latter, make sure that the lighting is just right and also take pictures of every area in your home so that there are no surprises for potential guests. Once you have your photos perfected and your home set up, you can list your property on one or multiple vacation rental sites, such as Airbnb, Expedia or VRBO.

Transitioning a home into a successful vacation rental is all about creating an experience for potential guests, but it’s also crucial to protect your investment. If you follow these steps carefully, you should be able to accomplish both and earn bigger returns on your rental.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Does the idea of making phone call after phone call to screen real estate agents, moving companies, and contractors fill you with dread? Screening moving professionals by phone isn’t just tedious work, it’s also risky. Without the ability to compare pros side-by-side, read reviews, and solicit quotes in a no-pressure setting, you’re more likely to make a hire you’ll ultimately regret. Instead of searching for pros the old-fashioned way, use these websites and smartphone apps to hire trustworthy, talented pros for your downsize.

 

General Downsizing Resources

 

Downsizing isn’t an “easy” process for anyone, but there are ways to make it less challenging. Learn different ways to plug technology into the process to help you streamline and reduce your stress levels:

 

Your Move Simplified: The 9 Best Apps for Moving

Useful apps to help streamline each part of the moving process.

https://rismedia.com/2017/07/12/your-move-simplified-9-best-apps-moving/

 

Sell, Digitize, Organize, and Clean Up Your Junk with These Apps

Declutter your living space before putting your home on the market.

https://www.popsci.com/best-decluttering-apps/

 

Websites & Apps to Sell Stuff in Your Neighborhood

Learn where you can sell your stuff locally, and which websites charge commission and which don’t.

https://moneypantry.com/apps-to-sell-stuff-locally/#neighborhood

 

5 Steps to Prepare Your House for Sale

You want to sell your home for the best price; use this checklist to help make that happen. Don’t forget to plan each project in advance to give yourself time to complete (use your phone’s calendar and reminders to help keep to-dos on your radar).

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/prepare-house-for-sale/

 

How to Take Real Estate Photos Worthy of a Magazine Spread

Learn tricks of the photography trade to ensure the photos of your home encourage (not discourage) potential buyers.

https://www.homelight.com/blog/how-to-take-real-estate-photos/

 

How to Sell Your House Online

Online visibility for your property is key since that’s the first place buyers look; learn about your options when it comes to selling your home online.

https://www.redfin.com/resources/how-to-sell-a-house-online

 

Senior-Specific Selling Resources

 

The downsizing process for seniors can be especially tricky, as it involves both physical and emotional challenges. Below, find resources specific to seniors going through the moving process.

 

How to Make Moving Easier for Seniors

Learn how to approach the moving process with sensitivity to ease the emotional tension involved.

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-make-moving-easier-seniors.htm

 

How Technology Can Help Seniors

While some seniors embrace technology, others may run from it. Either way, technology can help during the move – plus, it can have many other benefits as well.

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-technology-can-help-seniors/

 

Relocation Technology: How the Modern Moving Process Works for You

This resource illustrates how modern technology can make the tasks involved with moving more of a minor inconvenience rather than a massive hurdle.

https://www.moving.org/relocation-technology-how-the-modern-moving-process-works-for-you/

 

Best Cell Phones, Plans, and Accessories for Seniors

If a technology purchase or upgrade is necessary for your senior, find out what phones, plans, and accessories are best suited.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/articles/best-cell-phones-plans-and-accessories-for-senior/

 

8 Assisted Living Search Mistakes to Avoid

If your loved one is downsizing to an assisted living facility, it’s important to prepare for the transition. Here you can learn from mistakes others made to ensure you don’t fall prey to the same issues.

https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/assisted-living-search-top-mistakes-to-avoid-1-22-13/

 

 

Regardless of whether you’re downsizing during your 20s or 60s, when you hire downsizing professionals, you entrust them with your home, your belongings, and your money. As such, shouldn’t you feel confident you’re hiring the right person for the job? Instead of choosing your hires based on proximity or price, use the above tools to find the best pros for your needs, budget, and vision. When you team up with the right moving and real estate professionals, you’ll waste no time selling your old house and settling into a downsized home.

 

Image via Rawpixel

Keep up the maintenance of your work because if your home doesn’t have proper maintenance it can cause various problems when you want to sell your home. You need to talk to the people who are good at the sale of their homes at a good price. They are lucky to make the best deal because they care about the proper maintenance of their homes. Whenever you want to sell your home, the first thing that can appeal to buyers is the proper preservation. Whenever your house ever goes on the market, the buyers first look to the preservations and care.

Using Leasehold Management London makes successively an easier residential development. It professionally starts to deal with many complex tasks about property management. It includes the financial aspects of expenditure, holding, and collecting funds.

Some very important home maintenance items make a house stand out that is the result of regular maintenance. You need to do a lot to keep up the working and appearance of a home. Performed some tasks for repairing the house improper items so that it helps to avoid costly replacement every day. Keeping little things on point is worth the effort while selling your home to the customers. These home maintenance tips can go a long way in helping the proper look of the home. Customers need every item to be proper and fixed hence it is necessary to have a look at each item to fix problems. It helps your sale goes smoothly and does not end up on failing the home inspection. You need to keep this in mind that a home examiner can tell when a landholder has not worked with regular home maintenance items.

Here are some ways to look after your home maintenance:

Maintain Your Strainers

The most important maintenance tips for the landowner is to make sure about the maintenance of the filters and strainers. Keep checking and changing your heating and cooling filters. Sometimes it occurs that the heating and air conditioning work tough in pushing air out of your house. Hence changing the filters regularly helps to maintain the home items. It helps to operate efficiently and effectively.

This is concluded that sometimes it requires an important amount of energy to run air out of the home. Because it fails to install a filter and it makes the process more tough and challenging. You need to pay particular attention to the filter you are using. This is known as the most important maintenance item. This needs to be checked and up to date

. Some filters are needed to be changed every month.

Maintain the batteries:

Maintaining the batteries is a small and important maintenance item. While changing the batteries, it helps to maintain the safety of your families. Make sure that while smoking, there are sometimes that carbon monoxide detectors are not working better. It depends on the safety of your families.

If you are avoiding the maintenance of smoke, it destroys home and destroyed home by a fire. Having carbon monoxide detectors helps you to face further difficulties. It helps you to be safe and secure.

 

Clean your Boiler:

While heating and cooling systems, it causes dust and sand. The dust and condensation can lead to the poverty of your ducts and units. It is a better idea if you allow an annual inspection service professional to look at the units. The service person will verify how your system is functioning? Is it requiring any maintenance? Or is it functioning as it should be? This helps to inspect and clean the boiler and furnace. When you have a heating system that is repaired by oil, the maintenance requirements take time. Oil doesn’t burn and clean as gas. Hence heating companies recommended an oil heating system to be checked every year. It is better to keep in mind that holding up with home maintenance on your heating system is very important in your daily life. Consider that if a customer sees you have not been maintaining any item of your home, he might take this into account. Protection of your heating system is a maintenance tip that should never be neglected and it is an expensive item to replace.

 

Check Your Water Heater:

A water heater usually performs well for so long. It may heat thousands of masses of water a year. It is like every utilization that can perform well for a long period. It is recommended to check the water heater every year. If you notice any minor problems or leaks, you must consider a plumber or water heater installation company to check what is wrong with the water heater. If you have hard water, seals have a way of failing hence water heater company must check the heater.

Check a failing water heater before it causes some serious problems in the heater. Home inspectors need to pay particular attention to the heater. Most householders don’t pay attention to the leaking fittings until the water heater becomes a serious problem. It should be checked every month.

 

 

Check Your Toilets:

Home inspectors notice every problem. They checked the critical problems and are used to maintain that issue. If you are having some problems with your toilets or faucets, home inspectors checked the problems. This problem needs to be checked every month. Water will find any way to outflow when it is under pressure, therefore you need to fix the problems of the faulty seal if you are hand or if you do not then call a plumber to fix the problem before it becomes critical.

 

Maintain Your Front Door:

The front door is usually the first look of your home. It depends on your front door that how it gives the best or the worst texture of your home. This should be maintained every year. You can also clean our polish your door for a new and a natural look. You can also try to paint it with some good colors. Most of the customers like a well-maintained and new natural look of the front door. Consider upgrading to the home items that can be visually appealing.

 

Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.

Much of the demand for housing over the past couple of years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home. Many of the more expensive homes listed for sale have not seen as much interest.

According to ILHM’s Luxury Report, this mismatch in demand and inventory of luxury and premium homes has created a Buyer’s Market. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home was defined as one that costs $1 million or more.

“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.”

The authors of the report were quick to point out that current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern.

“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”

Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time!

Planning a major move that involves relocating to a new city? Being new in town can feel a little nerve-wracking at first, but there are actually some pretty simple ways to get settled fast. You can connect with new friends, make your home more comfortable, and maybe even find your new dream job just by paying attention to a few do’s and don’ts for your move, to help you make the most of this major life change.

 

Don’t Be in a Rush to Unpack Your Home

 

It may sound like the opposite of what you should do to feel at home, but when you move to a new town, you really should make getting out and exploring a priority over unpacking. Morning or evening strolls in different parts of the city can give you a great idea of what’s nearby. And you can stop by a local coffee shop for some caffeine and conversation with locals. While there, look for local newspapers or publications to get the scoop on your new town. So that unpacking doesn’t overwhelm you while you get to know your new home, use these packing tips before you move to make the task more manageable. This way you don’t feel trapped in your home for days and can spend more time getting to know your new city. (Read more about things to do in Naperville here.)

 

Do Update Your Auto Insurance Policy

 

The last thing you want when you move to a new state is to have a ticket spoil the experience. You can avoid the added cost and frustration by getting familiar with your new state’s insurance and registration laws. Certain policy minimums may apply and the rules around proof of coverage can be very different as well. So make sure your current policy matches state law so you don’t have to worry about a fine as you explore the local community.

(Read more about Illinois Auto Insurance Laws here.)

 

Don’t Forget to Help Your Dog Get Settled

 

Moving can be rough for dogs, which can lead to anxious behavior, like excessive barking. All that barking and nervousness can make a bad first impression on your new neighbors, so take some time to help your dog feel comfortable with your move. Take some time off work so you can spend the first few days helping your dog adjust and curb any unwanted behavior. When you both feel up to it, take your pup out on the town to help you meet new people.

(Read more about how to find local pet sitters here.)

 

Do Invite Neighbors Over for a Welcome Party

 

Making new friends with people in your new town is a great way to get settled, but you should also try to make connections with your neighbors too. You may luck out and get neighbors who introduce themselves to you, but often you will need to make the effort in order to get to know the people who live around you. A welcome party is a fun way to meet several neighbors at once, so consider hosting guests once you’re unpacked. If you have a party of the open house variety, this allows people to come and go at their leisure. Just keep the timeframe short and be sure to put out a variety of snacks and beverages.

(Find out more about Naperville grocery options here.)

 

Don’t Ignore Social Offers From Family and Friends

 

If you tell friends and loved ones you are moving to a new city, chances are they will have some connections there. So, if someone you know offers to connect you with a mutual friend or even a distant family member, take them up on it! This is an easy way to settle into a city without feeling alone and can help you make new friends faster. If you are still looking for a new job, you can also use your network to bolster your chances of snagging an interview and landing a job that you love. (Find out more about jobs in Naperville here.)

 

Moving to a new city can be an eye-opening experience, especially when you don’t know anyone there. You can use the tips above to make the most of your big move and quickly meet new people in the community. Before you know it, you will feel right at home!

 

Here are a few extra Naperville resources you may find helpful:

 

Naperville Area Schools

 

Family Doctors in Naperville

 

Naperville Dentists

 

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.

Using data from HUD, Census and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today. Call us!

Springtime repairs around the house can be pretty big chores, eating up your spare time and cutting into your household budget, but they are an important part of keeping your home in great shape. Taking care of little maintenance issues now can help prevent big problems down the road, which can save you quite a bit of money and a lot of stress. However, the key with DIY projects is to ensure that you are prepared to call a professional if you need help with a big job so that it will be done safely and correctly.

 

It’s also crucial to have the right tools and a plan for the task at hand. Taking care of repairs around the home can include anything from plugging up holes in the drywall to replacing shingles or tiles on the roof, and these jobs vary greatly in cost and the amount of time it will take to complete them. Having a good idea of how you’ll get started will allow you to get the job done right the first time without any issues.

 

Here are a few things to consider when it’s time to do some maintenance around the house.

 

Start with the Right Tools

 

As with any task, it’s imperative to start with the right tools. After all, you wouldn’t start drawing a picture without a sharpened pencil and a good eraser, so it just makes sense that you would have specific tools at the ready when you’re tackling a home repair job. In general, most homeowners will want a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, a drill, and a sharp utility knife to handle common repair jobs around the house. If you don’t have these, look online for tool buying guides, and read the reviews before making purchases.

 

Find the Right Help

 

No matter what tasks you need to complete, it’s important to make sure they can be done as a DIY job before you get started. Many big projects — such as roofing, plumbing, and electrical work — will require a professional’s touch, if for no other reason than the potential safety issues. Look online for contractors near you to get an idea of your choices and to compare prices, and make sure you read the reviews before making a final decision.

 

Think of the Cost of Winter

 

The thing about spring repairs is that they need to be focused on the things that took the most hit during a hard winter. Cold weather, excess water, and high winds can all do quite a bit of damage to various parts of the home, from the gutters to the pipes, so make a checklist of all the things you want to take a look at. Getting organized will help greatly when it comes to starting any repair project, and it will also help you stay motivated if you have a physical list in front of you.

 

Prioritize

 

If you have a tight budget and there aren’t any repairs that require your immediate attention, you can start with the smaller things first, such as cleaning out the gutters or investing in an insulation cover for the hot water heater. These little tasks won’t cost much, but they will allow you to take care of the small things first and get them out of the way. Just make sure there are no pressing jobs, such as leaky pipes or broken roof shingles.

 

Springtime repairs around the house don’t have to break your budget or your patience. With a little planning and some research online, you can figure out the best ways to tackle projects around the house when the weather warms up a bit and save money throughout the year.