Toss Or Save? Factor Storage Costs in Equation - 09/15/2021
Even when Americans are staying home, their stuff is going places. Despite a big supply of newly built self-storage units and a big drop in the number of Americans moving to a new home during the first half of 2020, research firm Yardi Matrix finds that rental rates held steady. And, by April of this year rates were up about eight...Read More

Seniors Fixing to Stay Put Need the Right Fixes - 09/08/2021
Comfortable in their home, many seniors never want to move. About one-half get their wish and can stay home until they die, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research {CRR}. But a fall or illness that makes living in their home unmanageable forces others out. Sometimes small fixes, like installing grab bars...Read More

Renters Caught in Price Spirals Have Limited Options - 09/01/2021
Bidding wars between homebuyers who are paying thousands over list price is the real estate headline of 2021. But renters haven’t exactly had it easy, either. Nationwide rates on all apartments jumped 6.3 percent at the end of June 2021 from the previous year, according to Yardi Matrix. Typically, rises are 2.5 to 3 percent, notes...Read More

The Pros And Cons of Different Mortgage Lenders - 08/25/2021
We no longer have to visit a physical store to buy everything from groceries to a new car, so why would we look for a mortgage at a neighborhood bank or credit union? In fact, in 2020, the majority of mortgage seekers -- 68.1 percent – didn’t tap a financial institution where they might have their checking or savings account,...Read More

The Big Picture Look at Living in A New Location - 08/18/2021
For many, living better in retirement means living somewhere new, evidenced by the fact that 18 percent of all recent buyers were between 56 and 65, according to stats from the National Association of Realtors {NAR}. But while dreams of a golf community, a better climate, or simply smaller, one-story living can be the original moving...Read More

Reading Between the Lines: Floor Plans Crucial to Listings - 08/11/2021
Increasingly, buyers have multiple ways to view a home: in-person, a virtual tour, a 3-D tour, a slide show. But a relatively simple two-dimensional drawing – the floor plan -- offers unique insights into how you’d live within those lines. The public is becoming more familiar with floor plans, which are distinct from a...Read More

Seller Beware: Unsolicited Purchase Offers Are Likely Low - 08/04/2021
It’s a hot seller’s market. But is it so hot that even homeowners who’ve expressed no desire to move should be receiving calls and letters from strangers urging them to sell? That’s what’s happening in select housing markets around the country, typically in areas where homes are priced...Read More

Nailing The Right Remodeling Financing - 07/28/2021
In the past pandemic year, homeowners who didn’t suffer income disruptions enjoyed fatter stimulus-fed savings accounts, and many decided to use those dollars for home improvements. Now, the surge in smaller and DIY projects will give way to more pricey remodeling, predicts Abbe Will, of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing...Read More

Don’t Count on It: Square Footage Is Approximate - 07/21/2021
Space, 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 seem to be...Read More

When A Home Offers Something Special - 07/14/2021
How would you like to live in a Craftsman bungalow, replete with a wide front porch and interior beams? Or maybe you’re better suited for a Georgian colonial featuring that style’s many front-facing windows and pillared porch? Unfortunately, dreams and reality can be at odds in real estate, especially now. “Most...Read More

Buyers Wanting a Lot Have A Unique Mortgage Option - 07/07/2021
City life has been losing favor. In 2020, net new suburban households rose 43 percent, as buyers turned from urban settings to places where a green lot separates them from their neighbors. Living in more open spaces opens another type of government-guaranteed mortgage to more home buyers: USDA loans. Yes, that’s the same...Read More

Investors Provide Certainty for Sellers, Frustration for Buyers - 06/30/2021
“Will I ever beat the competition?” That’s the question home buyers, waiting in lines to enter an open house, only to have their offer rejected again, are asking themselves. Frustrated shoppers, go easy on yourself. Currently, says Rick Palacios Jr., principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting,...Read More

Stay Safe: When Sellers Stay Past Closing - 06/23/2021
Homes are selling in record time. Sellers, though, aren’t moving so quickly. Accepting an offer within days after listing leaves sellers with the challenge of finding their new place before the scheduled closing on their sale – a time span typically between 30 and 60 days. At closing, the buyer becomes the official owner...Read More

A Fair Approach to Multiple Bids - 06/09/2021
Sellers are enjoying an unprecedented luxury of choice, with scarce inventories prompting bidding wars in many parts of the country. But that enviable position involves the responsibility of making a fair choice, defined by federal law as not discriminating against any buyer based on his/her race, color, national origin, religion, and...Read More

The Varied Returns of Owning A Home - 06/02/2021
A home is a comfort – and not just as a relaxing refuge from the world. Ninety percent of Americans also think it’s the best place to invest in. Professional financial advisors agree, within limits. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York surveyed Americans in February 2020, October 2020, and finally in February 2021,...Read More

Can Young Adults Ever Buy a Home? - 05/26/2021
Any Millennial [that includes anyone currently age 23 to 41] who is a homeowner is blessed with a generous relative, or patience, or creativity– or a combination of these. The National Association of Realtors [NAR} has been profiling home buyers since 1981 – when first-time buyers averaged age 29. In 2020, 48 percent of...Read More

Only Retiring Minds Can Decide Mortgage Question - 05/19/2021
It’s an “old” dilemma that keeps begging new answers: If you have the means, should you pay off your mortgage in retirement? Back in 2009, Tony Webb, then senior research economist with Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research [CRR}, advocated in a CRR brief that most households should not “retain...Read More

Keeping up with an old home - 05/12/2021
An old house’s charm is in the eye of the beholder. For many of the 1.4 million Millennial followers of @cheapoldhouses, the appeal is “to get into homeownership at a good price point,” says Elizabeth Finkelstein, who with husband Ethan runs the Instagram account, as well as CIRCA Old Houses, which lists older homes for...Read More

Cost Containment on New Construction - 05/05/2021
With demand high and supply low, buyers on a budget face increasing challenges finding the right home at an affordable price. Those whose hearts are set on new construction face even greater challenges, with pricing also escalating from climbing costs for supplies like lumber, paint and flooring. Indeed, in March, the National...Read More

Down Payment Help is Available for Select Buyers - 04/28/2021
Money for a down payment – from a few thousand dollars in low-cost areas to more than $25,000 in pricey housing markets – is available from non-profits, city, counties, and states at levels close to what was available pre-pandemic, reports the website The site counted 2,305 programs at the end of...Read More

Redefining The Perfect Apartment - 04/21/2021
Apartment shoppers are searching for features this spring that weren’t even top-of-mind a year earlier. Not all renters have the same wish list, but definite pandemic-related themes have emerged, find several surveys. Here, a look at what renters want, and how easy it may be to find: Craving a breath of fresh air After a...Read More

Living Comfortably In A Backyard Granny Flat - 04/14/2021
Taking on a new home, even a smaller, low-maintenance one, is too daunting for many seniors. And in the pandemic, many retirees want to be closer to family than their contemporaries in a senior community. An increasingly popular option is an “accessory dwelling unit” or ADU on the property of an adult child or...Read More

The Dangers Of Overly-Optimistic Pricing - 04/07/2021
Home sellers are pumped Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index, based on a survey early this year of 1,000 consumers show a big jump in the belief that this is a good time to sell. Overall, that’s a very rational judgment. The median price of an existing home sold in January reached $303,900, a 14.1 percent increase...Read More

Ensuring ‘Easy Payment Options’ Don’t Derail Mortgage Borrowing - 03/31/2021
A home is the biggest purchase most people make. To make it happen, though, buyers have to be mindful of their little purchases for weeks and months ahead, all the way to closing day. Running up credit card charges can sink a credit score, a key determinant of mortgage eligibility. Anytime borrowers are teetering near limits,...Read More

The Rental Choice That Feels Like Owning - 03/24/2021
“Do you rent or own?” For millions of households, the technical answer is ‘rent,’ but they’re living in a home that’s similar to what they’d buy if they went the ownership route. Indeed, for the past decade a burgeoning number of single-family homes have been converted to rentals; with more...Read More

The new retirement goal: be with the grandbabies - 03/17/2021
Retiring, relocating Baby Boomers are drawn to the Southeast and Southwest, where there’s “desirable weather and relatively affordable new housing,” finds a survey from Zonda, a housing research firm. No surprise there, except that the poll of 15,000 relocating Boomers shopping for a newly constructed home found that 25...Read More

Renovations could build bigger property tax bills - 03/10/2021
This year, many homeowners will be enjoying improvements like more spacious, update kitchens and new baths. “The remodeling market is bouncing back… as homeowners continue to spend significant time in their home and are adopting it for work, school, and leisure,” says Chris Herbert of Harvard’s Joint Center for...Read More

Why sellers follow a buyer’s money trail - 03/03/2021
Buyers have long needed a mortgage pre-approval letter to prove they’re serious home shoppers. Now, that paper testament isn’t enough. Sellers want a lender’s verbal assurance that a buyer has the financial wherewithal to make the purchase. A strange confluence of events – many markets seeing multiple offers...Read More

Buying new construction amid scarce inventories - 02/24/2021
Suddenly, significant numbers of buyers want a new home. Pending sales contracts on new construction swelled to record numbers in late 2020. A perfect storm of low-interest rates, favorable buyer demographics, and increased desire in suburban developments is fueling demand, notes Robert Dietz, chief economist, National Association of...Read More

Taking a bet on buying, then selling - 02/17/2021
Secure a contract on your own home before inking an agreement to buy another. That’s the time-honored rule to avoid paying two mortgages for an indefinite period and avoiding funding down payment without using sale proceeds. To flip that scenario is taking a gamble … one more buyers, faced with record lows of home sale...Read More

Detour in home preferences looks long-term - 02/10/2021
The relationship Americans have with their homes took a big, fast turn due to the pandemic. Home became the office, school, gym and more; with many deciding that their current place could use an upgrade. Sales of single-family homes in suburbia jumped as buyers looked for more spacious surroundings and didn’t worry as much about...Read More

What sellers want most: certainty - 02/03/2021
With fewer homes for sale in most markets, sellers hold sway over-eager buyers. Ironically, that means some sellers aren’t taking the highest price offer. “We are seeing the majority of our listings receiving multiple offers, so sellers are usually more inclined to take an offer with little or no contingencies, over higher...Read More

Rental Realities Are Shifting - 01/27/2021
The apartment market upended in 2020, with rates landing higher in some places and toppling from tip-top levels in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boson, Seattle and New York. The re-shuffling results from the surge in remote work and job losses, with many migrating for lower-costs. Now, apartment shoppers face a...Read More

Renters Now Pay By Credit Card - 01/20/2021
The COVID economic fall-out left millions of renters financially struggling. In response, more landlords are taking credit card payments, and a significant number of tenants have met their rent for at least one or two months by putting it on plastic. While the credit card option served as an emergency lifeline to many, renters...Read More

Can Big Gain For Modest Homes Continue In 2021? - 01/13/2021
The real estate winners of this unusual year aren’t the high rollers with luxury properties that typically garner attention. Sellers of homes in median price ranges [median is defined as the mid-point, half of all homes in a particular market would be priced higher, half lower] made big profits from what they paid for their home...Read More

Power Shopping At Home Search Sites - 01/06/2021
Home shopping online starts out feeling like watching HGTV, with research showing that’s it’s the first photo that will either draw us in or turn us off, says Michael Seiler, real estate professor, William & Mary. But when they get serious, buyers have an array of features – and sites are constantly innovating to...Read More

Pet Project: - 12/30/2020
While some buyers will tour a home and barely notice features like scratch-resistant flooring or a sofa in front of a large, sunny window, a significant portion will not only notice, but ooze enthusiastically about how it’s perfect for their pet. Francine Viola, an agent with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic, Olympia, WA., says...Read More

Second Home Buyers Get Rental Go-Ahead - 12/23/2020
This year we’re logging record time at home. Now, owners think they could use a spare -- near a beach, mountains, or woods. Recent Zillow data shows that views of for-sale listing in vacation-home markets are up nearly 50 percent from last year, and pending sales have jumped 30 percent. The WFH trend is likely fueling that...Read More

Family Becomes Impetus For A Long-Distance Move - 12/16/2020
Maybe it’s the months of FaceTime, but no face-to-face contact. Or, maybe it’s suddenly become clear that you don’t want to travel hundreds of miles to see cherished family members. Whatever the reason, this pandemic year is getting families thinking about moving nearer each other. “This has been especially for...Read More

Going For The Extra Yard - 12/09/2020
The suburban home and yard that many of today’s home buyers remember from their childhood is gaining a renewed attraction – but with caveats. After years of home shoppers saying they would rather have a home with a small yard in exchange for a “walkable” location near stores, schools, restaurants, and...Read More

Home Delivery Is Re-Shaping Homes - 12/02/2020
Renters and homebuyers have a consideration they wouldn’t have even given a thought to a few years ago: How to safely retrieve package deliveries? Already, 77 percent of apartment buildings have a dedicated space for storage, like a package locker in the lobby, according to a 2018 survey by the National Multifamily Housing...Read More

All Together Now … and Later? Families Consider Multi-Gen Living - 11/25/2020
Thousands of adults have felt more like children this pandemic year because they’ve returned to their childhood home --some with a spouse and a child or two of their own in tow. Whether they’ve moved back to escape crowded urban life or enlist help watching the kids while they work remotely, they add to the...Read More

Little dwellings that can provide big help to homeowners - 11/18/2020
Whether you want parents or extended family to live nearby or need a more affordable mortgage payment, the answer may lie right in your own backyard. The answer may also lie above the garage, in the basement, or attached to your main home. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, touted for meeting some pressing housing needs, is defined as...Read More

Finding The Sweet Home Office - 11/11/2020
Expect fewer buyers to be making a straight line to the kitchen. Now, according to the National Association of Realtors, the number one feature buyers desire is a home office – or maybe two. But while a well-appointed kitchen can cinch a buyer’s purchase decision, many don’t know what they need in a home...Read More

Baby boomers with suburban homes face choices - 11/04/2020
Suburban living is in style again, thanks to a pandemic-related preference for lower density living. And that’s significant for Baby Boomers, who raised their family in these newly desirable homes with a yard – but not too large, and are located at a distance – but not too far—from the city. Using 2020 data,...Read More

Gray Is Starting To Fade Away - 10/28/2020
Homebuyers can feel as if they’re moving through a dense fog, trying to distinguish one all-gray interior from another. Now, the fog is lifting, revealing some of nature’s warmer tones and crisp whites and darks. Gray, which circa 2010 became “the” color for walls and other home elements, is getting stale. ...Read More

Mortgage Worries? - 10/21/2020
Any homeowner who’s hoping their financial situation will improve soon shouldn’t wait. Contacting a qualified counselor and/or communicating with your mortgage firm now is the route sound financial footing, even if your paycheck will quickly rebound to its pre-Covid level. Industry stats show some 3.5 million mortgages are...Read More

To Live Happily In Your Dream Locale, Start Digging - 10/14/2020
A new term has entered the real estate lexicon, “untethered,” referring to remote workers with the freedom to move a distance from their employer. Their ranks are growing, with a recent Redfin survey finding 13 percent of buyers are searching for homes in locations they didn’t consider pre-Covid19. John Pinto, a...Read More

Keeping a paper trail, even when eClosings are electronic - 10/07/2020
A lot less paper and ink are now involved home sale transactions since the virus crisis has dramatically accelerated eClosings, the industry term describing how the necessary contracts can be signed and sent from one party’s computer to another. In some states allowing electronic notarization, home buyers/sellers can sign by simply...Read More

Home inspections can support a higher sale price - 09/30/2020
A home inspection, which a buyer orders after submitting a formal offer, is a hurdle most sellers would rather skip. After all, when an inspection reveals flaws like a foundation crack or wiring short in the attic, the seller typically has to get the problem fixed or give the buyer a price credit before a contract moves to...Read More

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