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INTEREST RATES ARE ON THE RISE – WHAT BUYERS NEED TO KNOW

With interest rates on the rise – buyers need to know how much home they truly can afford without breaking the bank. If you were one of the lucky ones to have purchased your home before the rise in rates – congratulations!  If you are still in the market … adjusting your budget and/or changing your plan up a little may be all you need to do need to achieve your goal of homeownership.  Keep in mind – while interest rates are higher than they were 6 months ago, for example – they are only going to be higher in the very near and distant future.  So, if your goal is to own a home in 2022/2023 – best to make the move now – while interest rates are still higher than they were before –they will still be lower than what will be looking forward … Make sense?

First step, if you’ve already been pre-approved, you may want to make sure your “pre-approval” is current and up-to date given today’s interest rates, and the prediction of yet another hike.  My advice to you is to stay in touch with your mortgage lender so that he or she will be able to guide you through to a successful real estate transaction in this ever-changing market.   Some lenders will have different programs that you may qualify for that may lower your interest rate or offer some type of credit – so having that open dialogue with them will only benefit you in the long-term. 

To get started, there is a short application process a buyer would need to go through to determine what mortgage they may qualify for based upon their own personal finances.  Once completed, this allows the buyer to comfortably start their home search knowing what price range they should be looking in.  Best to do this right up front … there’s no sense looking for homes priced in the $500,000 range, for example, when you only qualify for a $400,000 purchase price. Inventory is picking up a little bit these days, homes are staying on the market a little bit longer – thus giving buyers a little more to choose from.  That’s all-good news for the buyers!  Having said that, and once you finally locate that “place to call home” you still need to be prepared, to put forth your best offer to compete in this market. If you currently own a home, and are looking to upsize or downsize for example, you may have a ton of equity in your current home which is great!  Whether you plan to pay cash for your second home or take out a small mortgage – your lender will help you determine as you go through the approval process whether your new purchase will need to be contingent upon the sale of your current home should you do the latter – that’s where things could get a little tricky in this market.  But certainly, this happens more then you know.  If you do have a home to sell prior to purchasing a second home, having this conversation on day one with a trusted real estate advisor to give you guidance and laying the groundwork on how best to move forward to achieve your real estate goals will be key.  

We are still in a competitive market right now, so best be a ready and prepared buyer if you are serious about purchasing a home in this market.  If you are currently in need of a good mortgage lender recommendation to get pre-approved – don’t hesitate to reach-out to me.  I have many good resources I would be happy to share with you.  

Laura

Helping buyers & sellers achieve their real estate goals

The Key To Your Real Estate Success

GETTING YOUR HOUSE READY FOR SALE

In today’s shifting market, sellers need not be caught off-guard, wondering if there is anything they should or could have done to make their home stand out over the other homes they will be competing with in today’s market.  Are there any possible renovations to tackle, in an effort to gain them the most value?  

Speaking with a trusted real estate advisor can help you think through today’s market conditions and how it can impact what you should or shouldn’t do before you decide to place your house on the market.  

Here are some things to consider …

What you need to know about your local market

Since the number of homes have increased over same time last year, buyers have more homes to choose from.  With that in mind, you can no longer ignore those repairs of cosmetic updates that you may have been able to do over the months, or year/s past.  Making those selective updates & upgrades will make your home more attractive to the buyers out there today.   

Don’t get me wrong … it is still a seller’s market, inventory is still low, but we talked about what makes it a seller’s market – “supply and demand”.  Since the amount of inventory coming on the market is increasing – the percentage of homes coming on the market to satisfy buyer demand is narrowing – thus is why sellers will need to add value to the home, in order to make the home more appealing to buyer, or price the home accordingly if need be.   It may be possible that the home will stand on its own without these renovations due to some determining factors, such as inventory, location, buyer pool etc.  These are things to discuss with your trusted real estate advisor.  

What you should know before considering any renovations

I’m sure you all have heard the old real estate expression … “First impressions matter!!  Still stands true today, so keep that in mind.  In addition to making that “first good impression” look to the following if you are considering any renovations – to decide if any will make sense to you given your individual circumstances.  According to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are some of the projects that could net you the best return when you sell your house.  

As you can see from the report – refinishing hardwood floors in 2022 gain the most rate of return standing at a whopping 147%, installing new hardwood floor just behind at 118% … interesting.   The least, still standing at a high of 82% is vinyl siding.   Click the link above (2022 Remodeling Impact Report) to read the full report.

To get started …

As an agent and knowing the real estate market … we will do a “first walk-through” together at our initial consultation, to determine what, if anything … you may want to consider in order to make your home stand out over your competition.   Having the reliable resources and recommendations to help provide those renovations and getting those estimates/proposals should you choose to go ahead … is key.  Then, looking at your budget, and the potential value-gain in doing these renovations will certainly factor in on your decision as to how to move forward with these renovations.  If you are not up for the challenge, or it is not in your budget, pricing your home accordingly, to let the new home buyer take on the task is certainly an option as well.

Laura

Helping buyers & sellers achieve their real estate goals

WAIVING CONTINGENCIES – Is Waiving the Home Inspection Contingency a Good Idea?

You are a home buyer in search of that “perfect home” and low and behold … you’ve found it!  Now you are faced with the task of securing that home and making it your home!   In today’s market buyers are still faced with many properties still receiving multiple offers – if they are priced well and have no major objections.  So, you understand that making your offer stand out over all the others is key in securing the home.  

In structuring your offer, your realtor should explain to you that your offer is not only about your offered price (while that is certainly an important factor) – it is also about the terms of your offer, that may make your offer more appealing to a seller over another.  In preparation of structuring your offer to make it out-shine the others, should there be multiple offers on the property, it is the job of your realtor to find out what in the offer might be important or appealing to the seller that could be included, as part of their offer, as every seller will have their own wants, needs, and goals.  

Some of the things to consider are – price of course, closing date, mortgage contingency, down payment amount, appraisal contingency, and inspection contingency.  For the purposes of this writing, I will touch on just one … inspection contingency.

As a listing agent, and working with buyers, the question that will sometimes come up – “Is the buyer willing to waive inspections?”  The quick answer to this as your trusted advisor and as a buyer’s agent would be – no, plain and simple.  There are many hurdles to get over in the buying and selling process and home inspections is just one of them.  Inspections are a key component and one of the determining factors of your home purchase.  Buyers need to know “what they are buying” to know what their investment will be once they sign on the dotted line.  I recently had a situation where in representing the buyer – offer was contingent on satisfactory inspections – based only on “health & safety” issues should they arise, which in this market and really in general is the norm.  What we are basically saying here is that the buyer will not “nit-pick on things – they are only concerned with the important stuff, like septic, electrical, and water just to name a few” – you get the idea.  Unfortunately, in this case there were a few, well there were many items that were deemed health and safety issues from the licensed home inspector – that my buyer asked the seller to address.  To confirm the home inspectors’ findings in this case, my buyer hired another contractor specific to the items in question to confirm or not his findings – which they did in fact.  Regardless of confirmed reports of the health and safety issues that arose from these inspections, seller declined to correct the items requested by my buyer. My buyer had no choice but to walk-away as these items were truly and directly the responsibility of the seller and my buyer was not willing to take on these major objections, along with the costs associated with these items.  The home went back on the market, and remains on the market as of today.  In my experience, the end result of my story is really not the norm, as most always, the buyer and seller will come to terms.  

There are varying degrees of comfort, knowledge and wherewithal that comes along with the decision of what a buyer is willing to take on or not, but it is having the knowledge of knowing what they are willing to take on or not only comes through having a home inspection.  It’s a minimal cost in the grand scheme of things, and the comfort and an education of knowing how a “home works” if you will, is just another important component of a home inspection.  

Will there be buyers willing to “waive inspections” in an effort to secure the property – for sure!  That is the right and choice of the buyer.  At the same time, it is my job as their realtor, to explain the possible pitfalls of making that decision and what that might mean to them looking forward …

Laura

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

THINKING ABOUT RETIREMENT?

The past couple of years have brought and continue to bring about significant life challenges for so many. In fact, for some, have accelerated the wheel towards early retirement … turning the page to the “next chapter” of their life.

If that sounds like you, and you have recently retired, or are at a point in your life that this may soon become your reality, take a quick look around … it may be possible you find your current home not quite fitting your new, or soon to be new lifestyle for many different reasons. But here’s the good news … It is extremely likely, depending on when you purchased your home, that you have built-up a significant amount of equity, which in turn can help fund your next move. With the increase of today’s home values in our area over the past couple of years, you can be fairly certain there will be good amount of equity in your home. To find out just how much … you may want to have a Comparable Market Analysis Report completed so you can see what your “current market value” is to determine just how much equity you really do have in your home should you decide to sell.

If you have been on the fence, here are just some of the benefits to consider as you may find yourself turning the page into, or towards 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 that move.”

Finding the right home – The equity in your home will not only give life to make a move to a new location, but it can also help you purchase the home that will be more suitable to your wants and needs for today’s lifestyle and beyond! 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 … if you have recently retired and your needs are changing, take comfort in that you are not alone. Retirement is a big step, and so is buying or selling a home. As you enter this new chapter of life, it is important to receive good sound advice from a trusted real estate advisor, one that will listen to your specific wants and needs and help you move forward with that in mind, easing the worry and to shed light on the process … guiding you every step of the way. 

Laura

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

WHY PRICING MATTERS

If you are keeping a pulse on the real estate market, I am sure you know that it is no secret that the market is slowing down just a bit then was the market craze we experienced over the last 2 years. Having said that … if you are a seller and thinking of selling your home – there still is no better time than now! If that is your plan – it is important to keep the following in mind …

Due to the lack of inventory, we have been experiencing, home prices are still appreciating, but just at a much slower pace. Now with the current rise in mortgage interest rates, homes are staying on the market longer (days on market increases) which creates less of a buyer demand which is why we are seeing this “shift in the market.” which is why, pricing your home correctly on “Day 1” is so important in this market!

We are getting back to basics – getting back to a more “normal market” if you will. No longer can we “price ahead of the market” and then expect to get at or over that asking price in many cases. The risk you bear for over-pricing a home in this shifting market is “time & money.” Don’t get me wrong – it is still very much a seller’s market – if we are to be successful in this market, we have to accept the fact that the market is changing, and we need to adjust our expectations along with that change.

While interest rates are rising, although tweaked downward a little bit over the last week or so – this affects the market on both the buyer and seller side. So, I go back to my favorite saying … we only know what we know now….

First step, speak to a trusted Real Estate Advisor (that would be me 🙂 to discuss what your real estate goals are, and have prepared a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to see what your current home’s value is worth. If at that time, it is your desire to place your home on the market, having decided to “make the move” – my best advice to you would be this … Homes that are priced well will sell quickly. Pricing your home at market value based upon current market conditions will attract a larger buyer pool that could ultimately net you a higher price. Pricing your home correctly on “Day 1” is critical, and in not doing so, you may find yourself “chasing the market” and ultimately netting less than you would have had you only priced it correctly to begin with.

Laura

Helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals