3 Millennial Home-Buying Trends Sellers Should Know

3 Millennial Home-Buying Trends Sellers Should KnowAfter five consecutive years of Millennials outpacing all other home-buying demographics, sellers would be wise to wrap their thinking around what makes this generation tick.

According to a 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends research study, Millennials purchased more than one-third of all homes in 2017. With home purchases totaling approximately 36 percent of the market in 2018, this class of buyer has increased its market share from 34 percent in 2017.

Taken as a whole, the previously formidable Baby Boomers ranging from 52-70 years old enjoyed only a 32-percent market share. GenXers declined from 28 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2018.

With the relatively young Millennials still not fully engaged in the real estate market, expectations are that this group could set the tone for decades.

Millennials Have Improved Buying Power

If you accept the Pew Research Centre definition of Millennials, then they were born between 1981 and 1996. That means the entire population is currently at or past the age of college graduation.

Other research indicates that they enjoy an average annual income that has trended up from $82,000 in 2017 to $88,000 in 2018. That means their overall income outran the estimated inflation rate of about 2.1 percent. Not every group can boast that claim.

With the older end of the group now over 30 years old and the younger swath advancing into careers, sellers may want to plan for spare-no-expense Millennial buyers. The average home they purchased in 2017 was $205,000. In 2018, the average rose to $220,000. They apparently are not shy about spending more on a house they like.

Single Millennial Women Are Buying More Homes

Young single females are making a run at home-buying supremacy. According to recent data, single women purchased approximately 18 percent of all homes in 2017. The figure is more than double that of single males, although married couples remain in the top spot.

The average age of single female buyers stands at 28 years old, and their home loans exceeded $175,000. Appraised values reportedly topped $210,000. Sellers may want to consider a more single female-oriented aesthetic moving forward.

Millennials Willing To Pay For More Space

There are two telling reasons why many Millennials are inclined to bypass traditional starter homes and pay for larger ones.

The first reason goes to the age of the older Millennials. At about 36 years old, they entered into adulthood during a painful economic period. High unemployment and a sluggish economy persuaded older Millennials to either wait or hunker down in a small starter home. That group now has equity in the property or money in the bank. With a hot economy and rising wages, larger homes make affordable sense.

Younger Millennials, by contrast, are entering the workforce during a full-blown economic revival. Jobs are plentiful, and employers are competing with wages to secure workers. The robust economic landscape allows many young professionals to afford larger homes. With that in mind, sellers may want to upgrade outdoor patios and consider taking down a wall or two to create an open floor plan.

If you are a homeowner interested in listing a property, speak with a real estate professional about what Millennials in your area want in a home. Millennial home buyers are changing the industry. If you are a Millennial in the market for a property, be sure to contact us for a pre-approval!

Winterizing Your Yard: 3 Landscape Tips

Winterizing Your Yard: 3 Landscape TipsIn some parts of the country, it has already started snowing! But, even if you live in an area with a moderate climate, your lawn and garden are about to take a “winter break.”

Here are 3 tips to assure that your yard will not only survive the winter, but flourish during the dormant season. They’ll assure that your landscape will greet spring full of life and beauty.

Fertilize The Lawn As Recommended

Most types of grass and landscape plants have a kind of built in “alarm clock” that helps them prepare for the changing seasons and the onset of winter. Many lawns, though, benefit greatly from a a fall “feeding” in order to supply proper nutrients to help roots survive during the cold and be ready to start growing again above ground in the spring.

Applying the proper fertilizer this fall is a simple and cost-effective way to get a jump on next year’s beautiful lawn. When and whether you fertilize will depend on your specific type of grass and your location.

Baby Your Plants

Autumn is the time you’ll want to pamper your plants — from rose bushes to winter squash, kale or potatoes — and different plants require varied treatments to protect them from the cold and frost. If you’re not a master gardener yourself, your local nursery should be able to offer advice. The top three things to remember are that plants need to be well-hydrated in order to prevent stress, that they might need extra nutrition (fertilizer) during the cold season, and that most plants like an extra blanket (in the form of additional mulch) during the winter.

Again, specific solutions will depend on the types of plants in your garden, but a little extra effort this fall will help even your traditional flower garden bloom even more beautifully come spring!

Extend The Growing Season

If you have a backyard vegetable garden or a raised bed full of herbs and spices, and you live in an area with mild to moderate winters, you might be able to extend the growing season indefinitely by covering your beds or tenting the garden. Learn how to protect your plants from freezing by using a frost blanket or rotating row covers. It’s not really that difficult, and the difference of only a few degrees can make a big difference.

Although frost blankets can top plants directly, you can make them even more effective if you build a simple framework — something like a miniature greenhouse — to give your plants a winter home that allows air to circulate.

For additional information, check with a local greenhouse or nursery, or just experiment with different ideas. No matter what you plan to do, the time to begin is now!

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact us to find out about your best financing options.

 

Fall Outdoor Lighting Tips

Fall Outdoor Lighting TipsMany people associate the fall months with cooler temperatures and changing colors. But another defining characteristic of fall is that the days become shorter. Yes, there’s limited daylight, as the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Noting this, it’s important to take any exterior lighting into consideration if you’re listing your home this fall. It’s important because you want your home to have a welcoming vibe to it, but with the potential for showings to occur in limited daylight, some modifications and new light installations may be necessary in order for it to stand out. What’s more is that exterior lighting can serve as a theft deterrent.

Here’s a closer look at some fall outdoor lighting tips to enhance the appeal of your home this fall:

Go Solar

Solar lighting is an effective, sustainable way to highlight the landscape of your yard, and illuminate paths and walkways. Just make sure that you’re placing solar lights in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day so that they have plenty of energy after the sun goes down.

Border Patios, Decks

If your backyard features a patio, deck or gathering space away from the home, don’t miss an opportunity to border it with lights to better highlight said features. If your deck or patio has railing, consider stringing lights throughout it.

Here’s another neat idea: If you have a patio umbrella, consider purchasing lights that fit within it. You should be able to purchase an umbrella solar light set from your local hardware store, which does wonders in providing accent lighting for this area. Even if the umbrella isn’t staying with the house, it can still make for a nice touch.

Don’t Shine Lights On Windows

Any lights that shine on windows will only hinder your home’s appearance. That’s because they’re likely to create a glare. Make sure that any lighting that you incorporate is well balanced and only goes to help the home’s overall appearance. On a similar note, make sure that any lighting doesn’t clash with each other.

Consider Uplighting

Uplighting, or shining lights so that they are hitting your home at an upward angle, is a creative way to make your home appear larger. Additionally, uplighting can help accentuate unique architectural features. Be sure to uplight from each side of the house for the best overall look.

Light For Safety

Finally, you should also be arranging lights in a way that promotes safety on your property. For instance, if there are any steps or inclines, make sure that the areas are well lit to avoid the potential for injury.

Be sure to contact us if you are considering buying a new home or refinancing your current property.

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV Myths

True Facts About 4 Real Estate Reality TV MythsMany of us are guilty of plopping on the sofa and binge-watching reality TV home flipping shows. The allure of buying and selling homes for big profits with no boss looking over our shoulders has major lifestyle appeal.

Shows like “Love it or List it,” “House Hunters,” “Flip or Flop” and others make it look incredibly simple. Even when they face adversity such as rotted wood or bad pipes, the way the reality TV stars overcome adversity is more of an inspiration than a deterrent. And plenty of everyday people do manage to succeed in the house-flipping industry.

But many of the myths these ratings-driven shows perpetuate could use a little busting.

Consider these four common house-flipping myths and the true facts behind them.

1: Three Viewings And A Closing

Reality TV shows tend to show viewers the industry professional looking at no more than three homes before making a flipping decision. That may play into the limited time slot they have but it’s far removed from reality.

True Facts: It’s not uncommon for potential home buyers to fall head over heels for the first property they view. After all, buyers often already like the neighborhood, school system, and home style. But the National Association of Realtors reports that the average person looks at about 10 properties before making a decision. Home flippers are additionally tasked with developing a return on investment plan. Three and done is not reality, it’s just TV.

2: Homes Linger On The Market

TV shows follow home flippers who seem to have all the time in the world before making an offer.

True Facts: Most of the purchase and sale process is simply staged for television. The homes have been pre-purchased before filming. Today, we are experiencing a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers than inventory. Homes move quickly.

3: Open Houses Are A Sure Thing

On real estate reality TV shows, the fully renovated home is amazingly staged and sells during the first open house. Multiple offers are often floated.

True Facts: Only in a perfect world or on TV does this happen. Matching properties with potential buyers requires hard work from real estate agents. They must align purchase limits, pre-approved house shoppers, family size, school systems, location, and other expectations. Most homes are sold by real estate professionals setting up appointments and making multiple showings.

4: Homeowners Make Fast-Sell Decisions

On real estate reality TV, homeowners seem to take just moments to decide whether to love it or list it. This certainly doesn’t mirror the process of ordinary homeowners.

True Facts: Homeowners sell their properties for a wide range of reasons. These may include downsizing, retirement, relocation or an expanding family among many considerations. The vast majority of people mulling over a sale also take a long look at their next home options. It’s completely unrealistic to think someone made such a major life decision in five minutes or less.

Reality real estate TV shows are wonderfully entertaining to watch. So is science fiction. Enjoy your binge-watching and speak to real-life mortgage and real estate professionals before making any major decisions.

5 Things To Know About Severe Weather And Homeowners Insurance

5 Things To Know About Severe Weather And Homeowners InsuranceThe average homeowner feels secure knowing they have insurance in the event of a severe weather calamity. Most people believe that no matter what happens, they have paid for protection against disaster.

Unfortunately, not every homeowners insurance policy provides full reimbursement from severe weather losses. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and other rare catastrophes may not be covered under your current policy.

Consider the impact of these extreme events and whether you are fully insured for the subsequent losses.

1: Hurricane Damage May Not Be Fully Covered

The recent national mobilization to deal with the fallout from Hurricane Florence highlights just how catastrophic severe weather can be to people and property. That being said, homeowners generally anticipate calling their insurance carrier to file a claim after returning home and assessing the damage.

It may come as a surprise, but many policies limit reimbursement to damage attributed to high winds. For example, a tree falls on a garage or vehicle and the insurance outfit writes a check.

But damage attributed to water can be tricky. Many policies do not cover flood insurance. That could mean that water backed up in the street or a stream, lake or pond overflowing into your home might not be covered. That’s why homeowners are advised to clarify water-related coverage.

2: Floods May Not Be Covered

People living near bodies of water may be required to carry flood insurance when applying for a mortgage. Flooding represents a high risk that can result in a total loss. Lenders are often apprehensive about approving mortgages for properties in so-called “floodplains.”

FEMA offers coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners living just outside a flood zone may not be required to buy additional coverage. However, you are taking a significant risk.

If your policy does not cover flooding, you could be on the hook for the full cost of the home’s repair or replacement. Considering the average flood insurance policy runs about $700, it may be worth the expense to protect your investment.

3: Tornado Insurance Coverage Can Be Murky

Although most policies cover damage from tornados, premiums can run higher in regions prone to these severe weather storms. But, like hurricanes, tornados that additionally bring about flooding can pose a problem for homeowners who make a claim. A carrier may conclude that the high wind and impact damage enjoys coverage. Water, however, can be a very gray area.

4: Earthquakes Often Not Covered

Like people who live in flood plains, earthquake riders may be required in certain areas of the country. Without additional coverage, the destruction caused by these catastrophic events may not be reimbursed. It’s imperative that people living in or around regions prone to earthquakes carry specific coverage. Imagine losing your home and still owing a monthly mortgage payment.

The important thing to glean from this overview about severe weather claims is that homeowners are wise to dig deep into their policies and have a clear, concise understanding about coverage. Keep in mind that water damage from flooding, rain and even sewer back-ups pose a significant threat to your home. For a few dollars more, enhanced severe weather insurance may be worth every penny.

Homeowner’s insurance is a requirement for most home loans. It’s important to note that some properties at high risk may not qualify for financing or you may find that insurance for high risk properties adds too much to your bottom line. Contact us to find out what specific insurance is necessary to finance your new home.

Mistakes Seasoned Home Buyers Often Make

Mistakes Seasoned Home Buyers Often MakeIt’s not uncommon today to move several times during adulthood, whether across town or across the country. Seasoned home buyers have been through the real estate process, often more than once. However, even if the home purchase has become routine, there are mistakes that can be avoided.

Stuck In The Past

The real estate market doesn’t stand still. It cycles and shifts, which is why it’s often recommended to rely on a real estate professional for an understanding of the current market. Home buyers with property purchased ten years ago, likely won’t have the same experience buying today. Don’t get stuck in the past, thinking the process will play out the same. It may, but it’s important to be ready for changes.

Skipping Homework

Whether upgrading to a larger home to accommodate a growing family or downsizing as the nest empties, it’s essential to do the homework before placing the current home on the market and committing to a new one. Certain homework needs to be done before beginning the buying process, especially if the purchase is reliant on the sale of the current home.

  • Determine if buying with cash or need to sell current home.
  • If need to sell current home first, will seller of new home offer contingency?
  • Is a flexible timeline needed for closing on current home/buying new?

Working out these types of critical details, even for seasoned home buyers, can be daunting, which is why it can be helpful to have a trusted real estate agent.

Allowing Emotions To Lead

Maybe the current house wasn’t the “forever” home. Seasoned home buyers, just like first-timers, can find themselves lost in emotions when searching for the perfect house. It’s a pitfall every home buyer should work to avoid. The home may have some of the exact features desired or be in the ideal location, but if it doesn’t fit the budget or has other issues, it’s not the right one.

Overextending Resources

Home buying is an exciting experience and it can be easy to become caught up in the process. However, overextending resources can make life after the purchase difficult. To help protect against overextension of resources later, always factor in the following when buying a home:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • DIY Abilities

Overextending on budget can directly affect the ability to make any needed repairs and if schedules are hectic, there might not be enough time for projects. In addition, it’s important to honestly take stock of DIY ability, and it’s okay to acknowledge that some jobs/repairs will require professionals or some level of assistance.

The key for seasoned home buyers, as well as first-timers, is to never be afraid to ask questions, make lists, and rely on professional help from a real estate agent.

Lastly, it’s important to meet with your trusted mortgage professional to get pre-approved for your new loan and to learn about your financing options.

Want To Buy A Home? Here’s How You Can Save Your Own Down Payment

Want To Buy A Home? Here's How You Can Save Your Own Down PaymentBurdensome student loan debt and a penchant for purchasing new electronics by 20- and 30-somethings can make saving up for a down payment on a home seem impossible. But Millennials and other potential home buyers may be surprised to discover that previous generations had money-saving challenges of their own.

Consider for a moment that many of our valued elders did not have the level of opportunity to attend college and earn a high-paying job. Look further back and you may realize that the Greatest Generation suffered through the Great Depression only to fight World War II.

Somehow, these outstanding Americans found a way to save money and become homeowners. So can you. By employing these money management techniques, you can cull together a down payment and still enjoy the latest gizmo.

Do The Math On Savings

It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to mindlessly squirrel money away without a comprehensive savings plan.

First steps should include discussing your pre-approval limit with a mortgage professional. By knowing your mortgage threshold, you will be able to work backwards and calculate a down payment amount.

One tried-and-true savings approach remains the 20-30-50 financial disbursement method. Structure your spending so that 20 percent of your earnings are going directly into debt reduction or savings. Approximately 30 percent should cover rent and the other 50 percent can be allotted for incidentals.

Make certain the 20 percent consistently finds its mark each month. Once you have cleared out the debt and are going full-bore on saving for a down payment, it can be motivating to watch your goal become a reality.

Eliminate High-Interest Debt

According to reports, the average American carried upwards of $6,375 in credit card debt during 2017. Folks, that is simply too much to effectively save money for a home down payment.

The high interest rates everyday people incur from credit card debt remains a significant impediment to saving money. If you have several cards with high balances, there is no quick fix to this problem. It will fall on you to be disciplined and methodical about paying them off.

Start with the card that charges the highest interest rate and work diligently to eliminate its balance entirely. Once you clear out the worst interest-rate offender, move on to the second worst. As these debts fall, you will have an opening to shuffle funds into your down payment savings account. We call that winning.

Pick Up Part-Time Gigs

The down payment effort can be accelerated by creating an additional revenue stream.

A few years back, the idea of the “gig economy” was trending. Stringing together a series of short-term and part-time jobs was considered cool. Although the so-called gig economy may have been the byproduct of a business sluggishness, such is no longer the case.

These days, unemployment is at record lows and employers are chomping at the bit to hire people. Consider picking up a few hours each week doing something you enjoy. It could entail anything from bartending to working as a coffee house barista. Make it fun and make certain the money goes only toward your home down payment. Talk about a win-win.

With strategic financial planning, people of all walks of life can earn the American homeownership dream. It’s time to stop thinking about the generational obstacles. Adapt, overcome and make it happen.

Your trusted mortgage professional is just the expert you need to guide you through all of your home financing options.

Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your Home

Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your HomeDownsizing at any stage of life can offer multiple benefits. Less square footage may come with a smaller price tag and usually means less space to clean. However, when downsizing a home, there’s usually the question of what to do with everything. That’s when creative storage ideas become essential.

Before Downsizing, Take Stock

Before selecting the best storage options, it’s important to first take stock of all personal items, from furniture to clothing, kitchen gadgets, and keepsakes. Sort into items to keep, donate, discard, and place in long-term storage. Long-term storage may mean investing in a self-storage unit to hold things like seasonal decor. Less stuff can mean less storage space needed in a smaller home.

Maximize Closet Space

It doesn’t need to be a walk-in closet to have the capacity to store an array of personal items. Maximize any closet’s storage space with a few tricks. Install a second tier hanging rod and rely on an expandable shoe rack to keep the floor clutter-free. Reduce the number of hangers used by layering outfits on a single hanger — blouse, sweater, and necklace or dress shirt, tie, and jacket. Store seasonal clothing, linens, and pillows in space-saver bags that remove bulk.

Rely On Under-the-Bed Storage

Even in homes with expansive square footage, under the bed often is an under-utilized space. Shoes, books, and other items are shoved out-of-sight, collecting dust and remaining unorganized. When downsizing, every space should have a purpose. Depending on the bed height, consider flat storage boxes ideal for clothing, blankets, and other items. Storage boxes with rollers can make it easy to access and act like an additional set of drawers.

Choose Space-Saving Furniture

The popularity of tiny houses and the number of people downsizing has created a boom of innovative space-saving furniture options. For the living room there are ottomans that open to reveal storage space for pillows, blankets, or video cases. Consider a couch with built-in drawers that slide out. In the bedroom, there are multiple bed choices that have built-in drawers and storage, perfect if the room doesn’t have dresser space.

Open Shelves Provide Functionality Plus Style

Whether in the kitchen, bedroom, or main living area, open shelves offer great functionality in a smaller space while providing style to the home’s decor. Use them as storage for books, collections, and artwork. They’re ideal when there isn’t space for large bookcases or a coffee table. In the kitchen, open shelves can hold everything from dishes to glassware and potted herbs.

Whether you are looking to buy a smaller home or make modifications to your current home, your trusted home mortgage professional can help you navigate all of your financing opportunities.

 

Plant Now For Spring Beauty

Plant Now For Spring BeautyWhile the weather is still pleasant this fall, it can be a good idea to plan ahead for early spring blooms. Trim shrubbery, plant bulbs, install new edging or add whimsical garden accessories to assure that when spring rolls around you’ll have something attractive to look at. Getting creative now will boost your spirits when winter seems to last longer than it should!

Whether you want to beautify for your own enjoyment or spruce up your yard with the intention of listing a home for sale come spring, get a headstart on your goals by taking time now to plan for spring.

Plant Early Spring Flowering Bulbs

If you want a profusion of color in your early spring garden, now is the time to plan for it. Most flowering bulbs require ample in-ground time in order to thrive, so it’s always wise to check with a local nursery before purchasing specific varieties of bulbs. Gardening success depends on adapting to local conditions.

Seek out a qualified expert if you have little experience, and then plan to experiment until your garden grows just the way you want it to. In most areas, the first flowers to bloom include crocus and daffodils, as well as some varieties of tulips.

Plan Your Planting Beds

Depending on your locale, fall can also be a good time to plant new trees and and perennial shrubs. Again, it pays to ask questions and to plan ahead. Even if it’s not the optimal planting season, direct your efforts towards defining planting beds, soil preparation, and various hardscape elements.

Cooler weather brings with it the chance to do some of the “heavy lifting” of landscape design: install brick or stone walkways, dry riverbeds, low stone walls, or decks and patios. By completing these tasks now, when spring arrives you’ll be able to concentrate on the fun parts of landscaping.

Plant an Edible Garden

Growing edible plants is a new trend: Not only are they generally easy to maintain, but the “fruits of your labor” are just as good to eat as they are to look at. A simple 4×4 raised bed garden can supply a wonderful variety of produce throughout the growing season and you’d be surprised as how they help create unique landscape appeal.

Some of the best crops for fall planting include cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and carrots. Even if you don’t eat them, they add a unique dimension to the landscape. Use showy cabbage along a garden path, and plant some carrots among heavier shrubs to create a lighter border.

Just remember that all growing things need a bit of tending to look their best. So be willing to spend a bit of time regularly in the garden — your plants will benefit from the attention, and you’re sure to enjoy it as well!

If you are interested in refinancing your current home or buying a new home, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Myths About Buying A Vacation Home

Myths About Buying A Vacation HomeAre you thinking about buying a vacation home? Maybe owning two homes is part of your retirement dream. Maybe you’d like to have a second home in your favorite holiday locale.

If you are thinking about taking this step, you might have talked to family and friends about it. Unfortunately, many people give well-intentioned, yet poor advice when it comes to buying a vacation home. Here are some myths — and the truth — about buying a second home straight from leading real estate experts.

You Can Buy A Vacation Home With No Money Down

You have probably seen advertisements about buying a vacation home with no money down. However, this is simply not the case and those advertisements are misleading. Unlike buying a first home, you will need a sizable down payment to purchase a second home.

The minimum amount down that you will need to buy a second home is 10 percent. In order to qualify for the lowest down payment, it would also have to be a single family residence and not an investment property.

So, if you plan to use it as a vacation rental, then you will need more money down – usually at least 20 percent due to the property being considered an investment property.

Renting Out Your Vacation Home Is Easy

Sites like VBRO, HomeAway and Airbnb have made renting out vacation rentals much easier. However, renting out a vacation or second home is not as simple as it seems. While renting out your vacation home is a great opportunity, you must run it like a business.

And remember, there are more expenses than just the mortgage payment and possibly HOA dues. Utility payments and amenities like internet and television services add to the monthly expenses and are desirable features to prospective renters.

Take some time with your trusted real estate professional and pencil out the total costs of maintenance. Then you will have a great idea of what it will take in rent to cover the costs.

You Don’t Have To Worry About Your Vacation Home When You Are Not There

Many people think that they can buy a vacation home and then forget about it when they are not using it. This is simply not the case. Vacation homes are often targets for thieves, so you’ll have to plan for a way to protect your home when you are not there.

Fortunately, the newer smart alarm systems make it easy to monitor a property from anywhere. Many smart home systems also include flood detection monitors so that you can be immediately notified if you have a water leak.

Owning a vacation home can be a very rewarding investment and a great addition to your long term financial plan. Once again, take your time and get your trusted real estate and mortgage financing professional involved to help you make the best decision possible.