On The Fence About Selling Your Home? - 05/24/2023
Home buyers are all too familiar with the same problem currently: There’s a shortage of homes for-sale. Fairly or not, Baby Boomers have been getting the blame; If more of them would sell, they’d make it easier for young families to afford a home. True, Boomers, are staying longer in their home than previous generations; but...Read More

Basic Lawn Upkeep Ups Values - 05/17/2023
Since the pandemic, the Great Outdoors has moved up a few notches in consumers’ estimation. Many ordinary backyards, “have been transformed into oasis with pools, patios, plants and greenery,” says Jessica Lautz, VP of research at the National Association of Realtors® {NAR}. But home sellers get the biggest boost in...Read More

Denied A Mortgage? You’re Not Alone - 05/10/2023
Applying for a mortgage is like taking a test you need to pass to graduate. Except instead of a diploma, the prize is a home of your own. The “pass” rate on mortgage approval, though, is surprisingly low. Surveying 4,900 buyers, the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report 2022 finds that in 2022, 28 percent of applicants were...Read More

Homebuyers: When Can You Refinance Into A Lower Rate? - 05/03/2023
Today’s buyers may love their home but hate their mortgage. In the foreseeable future, rates may very well stay higher than the 3 to 4 percent loans that made home buying more affordable through much of 2020 to 2022, notes Doug Duncan, chief economist at mortgage agency Fannie Mae. But rates may dip enough to make it advantageous...Read More

Homes Pulled From Listings Pull-In Buyers - 04/26/2023
With a shortage of homes for sale in most markets, serious buyers keep a constant watch on the latest new listings. But sometimes, the right home could have been listed months ago, and the discouraged seller “de-lists,” or takes it off the market. The chances that a seller will welcome a buyer after he’s stepped away...Read More

Rx For Angst-Ridden Long-Term Renters - 04/19/2023
As the share of 40-something Americans who haven’t been able to buy a home increases, so do their feelings of frustration and failure. But objectively, they are probably being too hard on themselves, says Seattle-based financial therapist Kate Dorman. (A financial therapist is a professional who “looks at how our feelings,...Read More

Work It Out: STR Ownership Might Not Offer Easy Money - 04/12/2023
What could be better than getting a paycheck without the work? This seductive message promoting various types of “passive income” has gained traction on social media platforms like TikTok. It’s helping fuel interest, especially among younger adults, in ventures like owning a “short-term rental,” {STR}, using...Read More

When Edited Listings Draw Home Buyers - 04/05/2023
Buyers like home sellers with nothing to hide. At the same time, sellers benefit if their property isn’t hastily discarded from a buyer’s list of homes worthy of a tour. A study recently published in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics finds that more information [words and photos] in online listings usually...Read More

“Anchors Away: Home Sellers Shouldn’t Look Back” - 03/29/2023
The previous two years were exceptionally good to home sellers. ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate analytics firm, reports that in 2022, home sellers nationwide realized a profit of $112,000 on the typical sale, up 21 percent from $92,500 in 2021. But the good fortune enjoyed by past sellers could lead today’s sellers into a costly...Read More

How Paying More Can Benefit Buyers Later - 03/22/2023
You found the home you love, priced at $515,000. You aim to bargain the seller down to $495, 000; but you wind up settling at an even $500,000. To assuage your regret that you’re paying more than you hoped, consider this: You may recoup that $5,000 and more when you later sell. That’s “because the final price has a...Read More

Listing Language Should Excite Target Buyers - 03/15/2023
Proud homeowners. It may not be polite to brag when guests visit, but when it’s time sell, boasting and name-dropping might pay off. The website, Point2Homes.com, recently examined 52 million words found in the listing descriptions of 730,000 properties listed for sale or rent on its site. Over the past few years, Point2 has conducted...Read More

Some sellers sold on renting - 03/01/2023
Many homeowners who want to move are reluctant to sell since they can no longer command the sale prices their neighbors enjoyed during the recent era of three and four percent mortgage rates. But some would-be home sellers who are relatively well-heeled and also hold a low-rate mortgage are crunching numbers and taking a new path to...Read More

Building a more affordable home - 02/22/2023
Either interest rates can fall, prices can drop or buyers can cut back on square footage. According to Laureal Vernazza, home design expert at The Plan Collection, which sells home blueprints to individuals and small building firms, there’s a trend towards consumers wanting smaller homes in hopes of reducing costs. “Due to...Read More

Interest rises in family mortgage - 02/15/2023
Home buyers are balking at today’s inflation-fueled high mortgage rates, while savers lament that many savings accounts aren’t earning enough to keep up with inflation. Increasingly, families where some members have ample savings, and others can’t land or don’t want a high-rate mortgage from bank or lending...Read More

Listen to This: Buyers Provide Selling Tips - 02/08/2023
Criticism can be hard to take. But successful home sellers need to carefully weigh criticism over and over again. After potential listing agents deliver their opinions, and after a stager points out cluttered or unappealing decorating, sellers still need to brace themselves for more – from buyers. Now, when negotiating power...Read More

Nearby stores signal price trends - 02/01/2023
Worried about where home prices are headed? With the pandemic-led price spikes receding, buyers and owners are worried values could erode significantly in future months. Some guidance on price direction over the course of several years can be gleaned if a home is near one of these grocery chains: ALDI, Trader Joe’s, or Whole...Read More

Homebuyers keep heads in the game - 01/25/2023
The housing market has slowed to a crawl, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of buyers out there. Like benched athletes who are hoping to be called into the game, buyers are looking to jump in when the right opportunity comes up. In the market frenzy of 2021 and early 2022, buyers were dropping out because they...Read More

More sellers opt for do-overs - 01/18/2023
Persistence has its virtues, but so does quitting. In this market, more sellers are calling it quits; with Redfin reporting that a record two percent of homes listed for sale were dropping out of the market each week last autumn. In many cases, by pulling up “For Sale” stakes, sellers are acknowledging reality: ...Read More

Remote workers drive housing market movements - 01/11/2023
These days, the old adage “A man’s home is his castle” needs an addendum: “if it’s also his office.” While rising rates pushed many buyers out of the market in 2022, those still buying did so in a big way. For the year ending in June 2022, home buyers moved a median 50 miles away, far longer than the...Read More

Sellers pay to remove buyers’ rate worries - 01/04/2023
Home sellers can remove one of the big obstacles keeping buyers at bay: high mortgage rates. Home building companies are already doing this in a big way. A recent survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting finds that 75 percent of builders provide mortgage rate “buydowns.” Individual sellers of existing homes can do the...Read More

Home on the range: The importance of price parameters - 12/21/2022
It’s probably the most crucial question for buyers to get right: ‘What’s your price range?’ Now, with many markets continuing to see a limited for-sale inventory, it helps to know how far up the price ladder it’s realistic to look. And, after moving in, a sensible price limit provides financial...Read More

Selling in 2023 takes precision pricing - 12/14/2022
Owners planning to sell their home in 2023 face a problem that has PhD economists puzzled: Where are prices headed? Rapid rate rises in 2022 slowed sales, but nationwide prices showed little weakening. Although many forecasts predict prices falling more, how deep a drop there’ll be is uncertain – and some locales might...Read More

Doors open for VA, FHA homebuyers - 12/07/2022
Rising mortgage rates have pushed many homebuyers out of the market. But their absence has provided FHA and VA buyers to step in. When rates were in the low single digits and sellers had their pick of competing offers, they hied away from buyers using FHA and VA financings. “There is less risk, and in some cases less cost, for a...Read More

Don’t count on it: square footage is approximate - 11/30/2022
Space, whether more or less, is a major factor motivating a move. A young family cramped in an 1100 square foot condo wants more bedrooms; a single professional needs a larger kitchen; a downsizing couple wants to trade half their space to be mortgage-free. But home shoppers clicking through listings shouldn’t take what would...Read More

Making a new place your hometown - 11/23/2022
More Americans have been making big moves: Out of an urban center to an outlying suburb, or to new towns and cities that promise more affordable, easier living. Except that, initially, the quest for a more enjoyable living may not feel very comfortable, caution people who’ve felt the loneliness a new locale can engender. Make-up...Read More

Creating a trail of rental payments leads to home buying - 11/16/2022
Most renters pay their landlord on time. If a renter aspires to buy a home, it’s especially important to keep making timely payments, since there’s a movement underway for mortgage applicants to get a boost towards approval from good rental histories. In the past year, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big...Read More

Slower sales spur staging - 11/09/2022
A home sale slowdown is good for business for one type of real estate professional: Home stagers. “We have not used professional staging in the past two years because of the hot real estate market for sellers,” says John Myers, of real estate brokerage Myers & Myers. Although in his Albuquerque, NM market, homes are...Read More

Home buyers, owners face cold truths - 11/02/2022
It’s going to be a cold winter. That forecast isn’t from the National Weather Service, and it concerns temperatures indoors, not out. Homeowners will likely be turning their thermostats down and donning sweaters in the 2022-2023 winter, since the National Energy Assistance Directors Association {NEADA} estimates the...Read More

Can a new home lead to better retirement living? - 10/26/2022
Rising mortgage rates have pulled prices down somewhat, but a scarcity of homes for sale is preventing a significant price slide. Many older homeowners, like those in the Seattle area that financial planner Samantha Kennedy counsels, wonder if cashing in on their home value and using part of their proceeds to fund retirement expenses...Read More

Coming home to buy your own - 10/19/2022
During the pandemic, now 28-year-old Megan Zuckerman left her New York City apartment for her parents’ home in New Jersey. But seeing friends struggling to find affordable rentals in the city now, she’s decided to stay with family to save for a down payment and avoid continually facing a lease expire. She’s hardly...Read More

Dicing and slicing second homes - 10/12/2022
Americans have a passion for beautiful homes, with vacation homes holding their own special appeal. Like dessert, though, second homes are tempting, and not necessary. Enter online platforms like SecondShare, Ember, and Pacaso, which offer second home ownership, but in more affordable slices. “Fractional ownership” or...Read More

Away from the curb appeal - 10/05/2022
Location has long played a key role in influencing home values. But ideas about what makes for a desirable location morphs over time, often influenced by events and lifestyle changes. The pandemic pushed the importance of nearby parks and open spaces – already rising as a desirable feature – to a key amenity for both home...Read More

Will Local Laws Ban Short-Term Rentals? - 09/28/2022
Homes are expensive. That’s why many buyers want a home that helps pay for itself, through short-term rentals (STRs) arranged by platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. Buyers, though, will need to find more than a home in a popular area, or with an extra room or two to accommodate overnight guests, since local laws may thwart their STR...Read More

That old house: Will buyers love it or level it? - 09/21/2022
Homes don’t have to die of old age. But just as high blood pressure or inactivity impacts humans’ longevity, older homes have their own predictors on whether a buyer will purchase it to live in or tear it down. Homes which haven’t been updated and located in highly desirable neighborhoods without nearby buildable...Read More

Some sellers have iBuy option - 09/14/2022
A fast, cash offer is a home seller’s dream. In 2021, not only did many sellers enjoy quick cash bids, but often above their home’s list price. Sellers of certain homes can still secure a cash offer – in fact they can arrange it by contacting an “iBuyer.” But the offer will likely be below the price...Read More

Reverse mortgages help for shrinking retirement fund - 09/07/2022
The Dow has dived, but home prices have mostly held their big gains from the past couple years. For retired homeowners, their home equity [calculated by subtracting any mortgage balance owed from the current value of a home] provides some emotional comfort compared to their shrinking investment portfolio. Now, some financial experts...Read More

Closing credits stretch buyers’ purchase power - 08/31/2022
You’ll know if buyers are gaining purchasing power in your market when sellers bend to some buyer requests. Now, with rising rates, buyers can particularly benefit by asking sellers to contribute part of their closing costs – even in lieu of slashing the asking price. Closing costs can be hefty, up to six percent or so of...Read More

Better insulation puts money into homeowners’ pockets - 08/24/2022
Financial planner Gregory Lawrence has a suggestion for homeowners on how to earn a healthy return: Improve the insulation in your home. But because it’s rather humdrum, admits Lawrence, most people aren’t enthused, says the Estero, FL based owner of Lawrence Legacy Group. Now, though, he expects investing in better...Read More

Pay less upfront for a security deposit - 08/17/2022
With the average rate nationwide for a one -bedroom apartment jumping to $1,129 early this year, renters everywhere are finding themselves financially stretched. Not only must their earnings and credit record meet a landlord’s standards, but they also need a month or more of rent upfront for a security deposit. The security is...Read More

Getting a boost from a mortgage guarantor - 08/10/2022
In this price-spiraling housing market, the only way many have been able to purchase is with a cash gift from family or friends. Now, with higher interest rates squeezing affordability further, buyers need another boost to reach mortgage approval. But this time it’s not cash, but a good faith promise that’s...Read More

Financial rewards for renewing renters - 08/03/2022
These days, homeowners and renters face the same problem: a shortage of available, affordable places to buy or lease. The only answer, for both groups, is to stay put. “Over the last 12 months, renters with expiring leases chose to renew about 58 percent of the time – which is the highest we’ve ever seen,”...Read More

Gambling to win a lower rate - 07/27/2022
Back in early July of this year, mortgage rates were roughly double where they sat at the same point in 2021. But the path to today’s loftier level hasn’t been a straight ascent up. “Rates move when the financial markets move, “explains Jeffrey Loyd, of Mortgage Acuity in Hackensack, NJ. For instance, when...Read More

Higher rates carry a possible tax perk - 07/20/2022
Mortgage rates are climbing to levels not seen in years. Back then, though, higher rates carried a sweetener: Homeowners typically deducted mortgage interest, lowering their federal income tax bill. But since tax reform in 2017, only 11% of filers itemize, and use mortgage interest as well as another homeowner perk – property...Read More

What’s wrong with this home? - 07/13/2022
Older homes, particularly those that haven’t been updated, are the wallflowers of this market. While buyer demand is still so strong that homes go under contract quickly, there’s less competition for the wallflowers, providing an opportunity for less deep-pocketed buyers, especially first-timers. Buyers can help ensure...Read More

Fixes for today’s remodeling frustrations - 07/06/2022
Dust, delays, cost over-runs. Remodeling is trying under the best of circumstances. Now, with record remodeling projects underway and continued supply snafus, it’s particularly vexing. Homeowners can benefit if they employ strategies for this unique remodeling environment, shares Kurt Clason, owner of NH-based Clason Remodeling...Read More

New vacation home loan fees complicate purchasing - 06/29/2022
Americans developed a voracious appetite for homes during the pandemic, with many going for “seconds”– sparking record high vacation home purchasing. But this March, vacation home sales dropped “sharply for the second consecutive month,” according to Redfin, although sales remain up 13% compared to...Read More

Be your own expert on whether an ARM will squeeze - 06/22/2022
More – but still a minority – of mortgage seekers are willing to gamble. The better they assess their personal risk, the less likely that they’ll regret rolling the dice. In May, some 10% of borrowers opted to trade a lower initial interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rather than take a higher rate that...Read More

Honest information sells homes in flood zones - 06/15/2022
Sellers aim to present their home in its best light. So, it’s only natural that if a home is in a flood zone, sellers hope that fact escapes notice. Counter-intuitively, real estate agents say buyers are reassured with information about the risks. For one thing, if an unsuspecting buyer does fall in love with the home, he’ll...Read More

Finding the space: adding an extra home in your backyard - 06/08/2022
With rents and home prices escalating ever higher, the need for affordable housing grows more pressing. But in communities across the country, many don’t want lower price homes or apartments nearby, with that sentiment so commonplace that it’s earned its own acronym, “NIMBY”. Ironically, points out Laurie...Read More

The value of outdoor rooms - 06/01/2022
Especially since the pandemic, homebuyers value kitchens, entertaining areas, and cozy places to relax. Increasingly, though, the best of these features isn’t located in one of the rooms or square footage cited in a listing – because they’re outdoors. Indeed, outdoor rooms are hard to define. For one, the cost,...Read More

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