With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.”

Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022. Freddie Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on.

It’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago.

What does this mean for buyers?
Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we recover from the challenges of 2020, it’s natural for rates to potentially rise in response to a healthier economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, reminds us:

“Rising interest rates reduce house-buying power and affordability, but are often a sign of a strong economy, which increases home buyer demand. By any historic standard, today’s mortgage rates remain historically low and will continue to boost house-buying power and keep purchase demand robust.”

With low rates fueling activity among hopeful buyers, there are a lot of people who are highly motivated and looking for homes to purchase right now. In this environment, it can be challenging to find a home to buy, so a local real estate agent will be key to your success if you’re thinking of buying too. Working with a trusted real estate professional to navigate the process while rates are in your favor might be the best move you can make.

Bottom Line
If you’re ready to buy a home, it may be wise to make your move before mortgage rates begin to rise. Contact a local real estate professional to discuss how today’s low rates can create more opportunities for you this year.

The housing market recovery coming into the new year has been nothing short of remarkable. Many experts agree the turnaround from the nation’s economic pause is playing out extremely well for real estate, and the current market conditions are truly making this winter an ideal time to make a move. Here’s a dive into some of the biggest wins for homebuyers this season.

1. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low
In 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows 16 times. Continued low rates have set buyers up for significant long-term gains. In fact, realtor.com notes:

“Given this means homes could cost potentially tens of thousands less over the lifetime of the loan.”

Essentially, it’s less expensive to borrow money for a home loan today than it has been in years past. Although mortgage rates are expected to remain relatively low in 2021, even the slightest increase can make a big difference in your payments over the lifetime of a home loan. So, this is a huge opportunity to capitalize on right now before mortgage rates start to rise.

2. Equity Is Growing
According to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity, and 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear.

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity homeowners gained since last year is $17,000. That’s a tremendous amount of forced savings for homeowners, and an opportunity to use this increasing equity to make a move into a home that fits your changing needs this season.

3. Home Prices Are Appreciating
According to leading experts, home prices are forecasted to continue appreciating. Today, many experts are projecting more moderate home price growth than last year, but still moving in an upward direction through 2021.

Knowing home values are increasing while mortgage rates are so low should help you feel confident that buying a home before prices rise even higher is a strong long-term investment.

4. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale
With today’s low inventory of homes on the market, which is contributing to this home price appreciation, sellers are in the driver’s seat. The competition is high among buyers, so homes are selling quickly.

Making a move while so many buyers are looking for homes to purchase may mean your house rises to the top of the buyer pool. Selling your house before more listings come to the market in the traditionally busy spring market might be your best chance to shine.

Bottom Line
If you’re considering making a move, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates and limited inventory. Reach out to us today to get set up for homebuying success in the new year.

Every day in the U.S., roughly 10,000 people turn 65. Prior to the health crisis that swept the nation in 2020, most people had to wait until they retired to make a move to the beach, the golf course, or the senior living community they were looking to settle into for their later years in life. This year, however, the game changed.

Many of today’s workers who are nearing the end of their professional careers, but maybe aren’t quite ready to retire, have a new choice to make: should I move before I retire? If the sand and sun are calling your name and you have the opportunity to work remotely for the foreseeable future, now may be a great time to purchase that beach bungalow you’ve always dreamed of or the single-story home in the sprawling countryside that might be a little further out of town. Whether it’s a second home or a future retirement home, spending the next few years in a place that truly makes you smile every day might be the best way to round out a long and meaningful career.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“The pandemic was unexpected, working from home was unexpected, but nonetheless many companies realized that workers can be just as productive working from home…We may begin to see a boost in people buying retirement homes before their retirement.”

According to the 20th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, 3 out of 4 retirees (75%) own their homes, and only 23% have mortgage debt (including any equity loans or lines of credit). Since entering retirement, almost 4 in 10 retirees (38%) have moved into a new home. They’re making a profit by selling their current homes in today’s low inventory market and using their equity to purchase their future retirement homes. It’s a win-win.

Why These Homeowners Are Making Moves Now
The health crisis this year made us all more aware of the importance of our family and friends, and many of us have not seen our extended families since the pandemic started. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see in the same report that 32% of those surveyed cited the top reason they’re making a move is that they want to be closer to family and friends (See graph below):
Should You Buy a Retirement Home Sooner Rather than Later? | Keeping Current Matters
The survey also revealed that 73% percent of retirees currently live in single-family homes. With the overall number of homes for sale today hitting a historic low, and with the buyer demand for single-family homes skyrocketing, there’s never been a more ideal time to sell a single-family home and make a move toward retirement. Today’s market has the perfect combination of driving forces to make selling optimal, especially while buyers are looking to take advantage of low interest rates.

If you’re one of the 73% of retirees with a single-family home and want to move closer to your family, now is the time to put your house on the market. With the pace homes are selling today, you could essentially wrap up your move – start to finish – before the holidays.

Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking to fully retire or to buy a second home with the intent to use it as your retirement home in the future, the 2020 fall housing market may very well work in your favor. Reach out to a local real estate professional today to learn more about the options in your local market.

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging times of our lives. A worldwide pandemic, a recession causing historic unemployment, and a level of social unrest perhaps never seen before have all changed the way we live. Only the real estate market seems to be unaffected, as a new forecast projects there may be more homes purchased this year than last year.

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, we’re preparing for perhaps the most contentious presidential election of the century. Today, it’s important to look at the impact past presidential election years have had on the real estate market.

Is there a drop-off in home sales during a presidential election year?
BTIG, a research and analysis company, looked at new home sales from 1963 through 2019 in their report titled One House, Two House, Red House, Blue House. They noted that in non-presidential years, there is a -9.8% decrease in November compared to October. This is the normal seasonality of the market, with a slowdown in activity that’s usually seen in fall and winter.

However, it also revealed that in presidential election years, the typical drop increases to -15%. The report explains why:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty.”

Are those sales lost forever?
No. BTIG determined:

“This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

In a separate study done by Meyers Research & Zonda, Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, agrees that those purchases are just delayed until after the election:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year.”

Will it matter who is elected?
To some degree, but not in the overall number of home sales. As mentioned above, consumer confidence plays a significant role in a family’s desire to buy a home. How may consumer confidence impact the housing market post-election? The BTIG report covered that as well:

“A change in administration might benefit trailing blue county housing dynamics. The re-election of President Trump could continue to propel red county outperformance.”

Again, overall sales should not be impacted in a significant way.

Bottom Line
If mortgage rates remain near all-time lows, the economy continues to recover, and unemployment continues to decrease, the real estate market should remain strong up to and past the election.

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.