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DID YOU SAY RETIRE?

The past year and a half have brought about significant life challenges for so many, and in some cases have brought some to decide to retire earlier than they had originally planned.  It has been noted that a significant number of older workers retired earlier due to the pandemic.  That may sound grim to some, but I am one for always looking at the bright side of things.  While some may have felt a little uneasy about being forced to retire earlier, in some instances – that just means it’s time for you to turn the page to the “next chapter” of your life.  

If you have recently retired, it’s possible you may find your home is not fitting your new lifestyle for different reasons.  But there could be a silver lining in that … more than likely you have built-up a significant amount of equity which in turn, can fund your next move.  With the increase of home values in our area this past year, you can be fairly certain there will be good amount of equity in your home.  To figure out just how much, you may want to reach out to your local real estate professional and request a comparable market analysis so you can see what the current market value is of your home should you decide to sell.

Here are some of the benefits one can enjoy as you turn the page into retirement …

Moving closer to the ones we love – According to the National Association of Realtors, one of the main reasons why people move of those reaching retirement age is to live closer to family and friends.  

If you find yourself living further away from those most important to you … retirement and the equity you’ve built into your home may just enable you to “make the move” to be closer to the ones you love.

Finding the right home The equity in your home will not only give life to a move to a new location, but it can also help you purchase the best home that will fit your wants and needs when it comes to the size and style of the home that will be more suitable for you today and beyond.  Most at this stage of their life are looking to downsize.  Many who are looking to retire are thinking forward and are looking for that “one level living” home for ease of living and a better quality of life.  

My best advice … whatever your real estate goals are, speak to a local real estate professional to discuss your own personal real estate goals.  Some people get “stuck” in their own situation because they don’t know what their first steps should be, some claiming they don’t want to become “homeless” given the climate of today’s real estate market.   Speaking to a real estate professional can ease that worry and help shed light on the process and will also be the one who can guide you every step of the way 

If you’ve recently retired and your needs are changing, you are certainly not alone. Talk to a real estate professional to discuss what your best next steps for you should be.  

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

COULD THERE STILL BE TIME TO BE “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS?”

At this time, you may be noticing your neighbors taking down “For Sale” signs and putting up Christmas lights and decorations instead. Typically we find that during the holiday season and winter months is when buyers and sellers will take a break and regroup for the new year. But there are several reasons why staying active (buyer or seller) during a seasonal slowdown can work to your advantage.

Traditionally speaking, spring is when most buyers come out of the woodwork, starting their home search as more homes become available for them to choose from. But continuing or beginning your home search during the holidays, can give you more flexibility — and more options.  Here are a few reasons why …

Less competition:  If you’re tired of being defeated by all the home bidding wars, the holidays may be your season. While buyer activity has remained high throughout most of the year – due to record-low mortgage rates making homebuying more affordable — traffic will likely be less come winter. With fewer buyers out there to compete with … the likelihood of bidding wars becomes less, thus you’ll have more properties to choose from.

More time for house-hunting:  With the market as crazy as it has been, buyers have been forced to act fast if they want to “win the bid.”  Now, you can take a breath and spend a little more time looking for the right house, checking off as much of your wish list of wants & needs.  Save some time during the fall and winter and shop online, as many of us have been doing already, so you can spend the bulk of your time shopping for the perfect gift for yourself… a place to “Call Home.”

Lower interest rates:  While many homebuyers are expected to put the brakes on their home search around the holidays and winter months and resume in the spring, I would just say this … we only know what we know now.  Interest rates now are at an all-time low, and with talk about them going up heading into 2022.  If this falls true, this gives you, the buyer, less buying power.  There are also statistics that speak around home prices possibly going down in 2022.  Keep in mind … even if that be so, with the possibility of interest rates going up, your monthly payment would still be higher.  Speak to your mortgage lender about these scenarios – it could be an eye opener.  

Potential for negotiation:  Since we have been in a seller’s market for some time now, negotiations have been far and few between, given the seller having the upper hand.  With fewer buyers out there, sellers may be a little more willing to negotiate.  

End-of-year tax breaks:

Home purchases now give homebuyers the chance to enjoy an important tax write-off. Homeowners can deduct their mortgage interest on primary residences up to $750,000, along with combined deductions up to $10,000 of local, state, and property taxes. Seek guidance from your tax advisor for more specific information on this benefit.

For the seller:  There is some talk about home prices possibly going down in 2022 … again, we only know what we know now. There are still buyers out there wanting to buy now, but certainly will be less during the holiday and winter months.  If you want to expedite your sale, seek the advice from an experienced Real Estate Agent to discuss your specific real estate goals. He or she will give you the guidance you need to make your home sell with the least amount of stress.

For the buyer:   It is important to have in hand, a pre-approval for a mortgage.  This is key for any seller to consider accepting your offer.  Knowing what your budget can afford you and obtaining that pre-approval from the lender is key to getting you “Home for the Holidays.”

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO APPRAISALS AND INSPECTIONS

In today’s market, the conversation about the importance of an appraisal and inspection often come up when buyers are structuring their offer to present to the sellers.  This is due to the high buyer demand and low inventory that drives the intense competition which leads some home buyers to consider waiving the appraisal and/or inspection contingency to make their offer stand out of all the others.

Understanding what waiving these contingencies will mean to you in the grand scheme of your home purchase is important.  Knowledge is power – and certainly is in this case, as your decisions here might cost you more money in the end. Educate yourself on the “what ifs” before waiving either of these contingencies.  Discuss this strategy with your Realtor or Attorney would be my best guidance to you. Here’s a snapshot of what to expect from the appraisal and the inspection, and why each one can potentially save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road.

Home Appraisal:  One of the important hurdles a buyer needs to get over is to secure a mortgage. This entails having a bank appraisal done on the home you are looking to purchase.  

Lenders will typically require an appraisal to ensure that your loan-to-value ratio falls within their underwriting guidelines.  That appraisal ensures the lender doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.  The lender uses your home as collateral in the event you default on your payments.  

When buyers are competing on properties like they are today, bidding wars and market conditions can push home prices up, and in some cases the buyer’s contract price may end up higher than the value of the home   When this happens, you can expect either of the following to happen:  Seller can lower their price to the appraised value (unlikely in this market).  The price can be negotiated where both buyer and seller agree to meet in the middle, or the buyer can make up the difference if they have the additional funds and are willing to do so.  If none of those scenarios play out, the buyer will need to be prepared to walk away.  

Home Inspection:  Like the appraisal, the home inspection is important because it gives an impartial evaluation of the home.  It includes inspecting structural, mechanical as well as health & safety issues.  The home inspection is also giving the buyer an education on “how the house works”.  While the appraisal determines the current value of the home, the inspection determines the current condition of the home. 

Home inspections are the opportunity to discover major defects that were not apparent at a buyer’s showing.  Your home inspection is to help you make an informed decision about the house, including its condition.

If there are any concerns during the inspection – an aging roof, a malfunctioning HVAC system, or any other questionable items for example – you have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues with the seller. Your Realtor should help you navigate this process and negotiate what, if any, repairs that may need to be made before the sale is finalized.

Keep in mind – home inspections are critical because they can shed light on potential challenges you may face as the new homeowner.Without an inspection, and as the new homeowner, serious, sometimes costly issues could come up down the line that you are not prepared to handle.

Both the appraisal and the inspection are important steps in the homebuying process. They protect your best interests as a buyer by providing unbiased information about the home’s value and condition – something you should ponder on before you consider waiving these contingencies.  Speak with your Realtor or Attorney for their best guidance – remember knowledge is power! 

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals!

GETTING FROM HERE TO THERE – WHERE DO I GO WHEN MY HOME SELLS?

One of the TOP concerns for sellers that will give them pause when considering whether they should put their home on the market is … “Where do I go once my home sells?”  Some sellers may have it all thought out and have a plan.  Perhaps they are snowbirds and live in their Florida home during the winter months for example, and now they have made the decision that when their current homes sell’s, they will make their Florida home their forever home. Or perhaps they are combining households, with their significant other – and will no longer need two homes.  But most sellers will fall into the category of having to sell their existing home to purchase their new home.  Here are a few options sellers can consider to make their move from their current home to their new home possible.

Option one – have a short-term rental in place in the event you have not located the home you wish to purchase after your current home sells.

Option two – plan to temporarily move in with family members while moving your belongings in storage until which time you secure a new home.

Option three – If the buyer has the time to wait on their move … have an agreement drafted between the buyer and seller to allow you (the seller) to rent-back to (the buyer) after the home closes for a certain timeframe that would be agreeable to both parties.  This strategy will enable you to close on your current home, while looking to secure your next home purchase.   This will help you to be a more appealing buyer (not contingent upon your home selling/possible equity in hand) which could aid in having the seller accept your offer over another which can expedite your next home purchase.  This strategy will also allow the buyer to secure the home they wish to purchase while securing a lower interest rate and combatting the ever-increasing home prices.  It’s a win-win-win for both buyer and seller, but certainly a strategy that may not work for everyone.  

Option four – another more popular option would be for the seller to choose a buyer who is willing and able to give the seller extra time before closing on their current property by extending the closing date out, for an agreed upon timeframe of course, for the seller to locate their next home.  This is the best and easiest option for the seller, so they don’t find themselves once again moving more than one time.  In some cases, and especially in this market, sellers are receiving multiple offers – if the seller has not secured another property prior to their sale, they may be more likely to accept an offer where the buyer will give them that gift of time as part of the contract terms.  There are many parts of a buyers offer that can be enticing to the seller, and it is not always about the $$’s, but in some cases the terms will be just as valuable to a seller.  Having these conversations with your Realtor prior to putting your home on the market, can help ease the stress of having a possible plan in place once an offer/s has been received.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PUT YOUR HOUSE ON THE MARKET?

While traditionally, we have seen, and can all agree that in years past, Spring and Fall have always been the best and expected time to put your home on that market …  and this will probably continue to be the case looking forward.   I would just add a few things to ponder on if you are at the point of trying to make that decision to do what’s best for you. 

Your Real Estate Goals: 

First, and foremost – What is “your” timeline?  When is the best time for you, giving your real estate goals?   There really are no hard and fast rule to follow.  The time is right when the time is right for you!  There will always be buyers out there, no matter what the market.  Achieving your real estate goals within your own timeline should be your focus.

Increased Competition: 

If you follow along with the idea of when you “think” you should place your home on the market, for example – spring market, just consider this.  There will certainly be an increased number of homes placed on the market at that time which increases your competition.  Now in our current market, where there is such a lack of inventory – that may not be the case, but in the grand scheme of it all, it is. Now I am not suggesting that spring is not the best time to place your home on the market, it may very well be … I am just suggesting that you look at the BIG picture before deciding what time is the best time for you. 

Less Competition:

During the months of summer where traditionally people are focused on school ending, and vacations beginning – the market will tend to slow a bit.  Same holds true for the holiday seasons, and the winter months.  I would just say this … if there are buyers out there during that time, they more than likely will be more “serious buyers” wanting to buy.  If there are less homes to choose from – the competition is not as strong, and buyers may have to choose from only a handful of properties – and you may be the only show it town.  

Having said all that, if you are on the fence about “when” to place your home on the market, it may be helpful to speak to a Realtor, who can help you make that determination based upon your own personal situation.  Perhaps your home is not be ready to be put on the market right away for one reason or another, your Realtor can suggest what may need to be done to get your home “show-ready”, and that might take a little time for example.  Knowing where you are going is also a crucial part of the decision-making process.  How do you get from here to there with where you are now are the conversations that can be discussed with your Realtor to help you to make sense of it all, and In the end will help you determine a timeline that will work best for you and your real estate goals. 

Helping Buyers & Sellers achieve their real estate goals