Monthly Archives: April 2019

Fixer Uppers Are An Option, If…

According to a new survey from Move.com, the wave of first-time home buyers hitting the market has resulted in an interesting statistic. Nearly 60% of buyers searching for a home this spring are willing to consider buying a fixer-upper, with 95% believing that the projects needed will increase their new home’s value!

Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale, pointed to low-inventory at the entry-level price range for the increase in willingness to renovate.

“The combination of rising home prices and limited entry-level homes for sale is prompting many home shoppers to consider homes that need renovating.

Replete with inspiration at their fingertips – like Pinterest, Instagram, and various home renovation TV shows – some home shoppers are comfortable tackling home renovation jobs to find a home that balances their needs with their budget.”

Just over half of all respondents, who said they would be willing to buy a home in need of some TLC, would also spend more $20,000 to make the home fit their needs.

The most common ‘expected’ renovation is a kitchen remodel which can run anywhere from $22,000 for a minor remodel to $66,000 for a major changes.

This isn’t a new trend by any means. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, home improvement project spending reached a new high in 2018.

“Americans spent $336.9 billion on remodeling projects, up 7.4% from the $313.6 billion a year earlier.”

Home renovation shows have given many buyers hope that they can renovate a home that’s in their budget into their dream home.

But, it’s important to remember that reno projects aren’t always as easy to accomplish as they appear on TV. The amount of work and time needed to complete a job is compressed to fit a 30 minute or hour long show. Program hosts and their on screen crew are supplemented by behind the scenes workers with support from manufacturers, who are often paying for product placements.

While houses that need a little work are a good option for first time buyers, be sure that you can do it yourself, if that’s your plan.

If you can’t, be open to other options, including hiring professionals. Don’t depend on Uncle Bob who “knows a little something” about installing kitchen cabinets to help you.

A simple reason for tight housing supply

There’s been a lot written about the reasons behind the recent limited housing supply. One very simple answer that’s revealed in the National Association of Realtors Seller Traffic Index is people are staying in their homes longer.

According to the study, tenure length (the number of years someone owns a home before moving again) has increased. From 1985 – 2008, the average time spent in a home was six years. Since then, that figure has increased to 9.5 years!

(Then there are people like us. We’ve been in our home for nearly 25 years!)

Why the change? Falling prices during the housing crisis led to many homeowners having negative equity. Some, who haven’t spoken with a real estate professional in years, don’t realize that their situation has turned around, in some cases significantly.

Others simply have low mortgage rates and don’t believe it makes sense to sell, even though they could do quite well.

Also, many older homeowners have concluded that they can be comfortable in their current houses with few changes, if any, and have decided to age in place, while taking extended vacations in warmer climates.

Nonetheless, the current inventory status makes marketing your home a good idea, especially if you understand the options.

We’d be happy to meet with you to discuss whether this is the right time for you to make a move. Please contact us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191. We look forward to meeting with you.

Our favorite real estate cartoon from last week.

We’d be happy to put a “sole” sign in front of your dream home. (Thanks to Jim Golden from Rose and Womble Realty Co. in Virginia Beach.)

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

 

Buyer Demand Is Blooming

Last fall, some “experts” predicted that the residential real estate market would be a disaster. But, the emerging spring housing market is nothing close to those dire warnings.

According to two separate reports, made available to us by industry resource KCM, buyer demand has dramatically increased over the last three months, as we head into one of the busiest times of the year.

Both the ShowingTime Showing Index and the National Association of REALTORS Buyer Traffic Index show increasing buyer interest.

Why the increase in demand? Increased buying power.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Economists’ Outlook Blog, purchasing a home has become more affordable, which has led to increased demand.

“The income needed to make an affordable mortgage payment (mortgage no more than 25% of income) on a median-priced home with 10% down payment and 30-year fixed rate mortgage decreased from $60,425 in June 2018 to $53,783 as of February 2019, and the difference of $6,642 represents a gain in buying power because one can afford a home purchase at a lower level of income.”

As we mentioned in last week’s blog posting, new listings were up 21% on Cape Cod last month when compared with March 2018 and the number of days a home is on the market has decreased.

We know from working with our own buyer clients that those who hesitate often lose out as properties that are priced right aren’t available long.

While inventory of homes for sale has increased, the pace at which they are selling indicates that supply and demand are running neck and neck. This is an advantageous time to market your home, as buyers are looking to be settled on Cape in time for the summer.

If you have questions about whether this is the right time for you to buy or sell, we’d be happy to meet with you and discuss your options. Please get in touch via the comment section or by contacting us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

We look forward to meeting with you.

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5 Reasons Why Millennials Buy a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

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Our favorite real estate cartoon from last week.

Enjoy the improving weather…

Mari and Hank

It’s Getting Busy on the Cape

Real estate activity on Cape Cod increased last month with new listings jumping 21% above March 2018. Days on the market also decreased from 126 a year ago to 120 this past month.

According to preliminary data from the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® (CCIAOR), 355 homes sold in March, 291 single-family homes and 64 condominiums. Median sales price was $421,500 for single-family homes and $261,500 for condominiums. Last March, 325 homes (262 single-family homes and 63 condos) sold at a median price of $412,050 for single-family homes and $275,000 for condominiums.

Sales pending at the end of March were 347 for single-family homes and 82 for condominiums – a 7.1 percent increase for single-family and a 15.5 percent increase for condominiums, which will show up in closed home sales in the coming months. Last March, there were 324 pending single-family homes and 71 pending condominiums.

The increase in median sales price indicates that it remains a sellers market. But with all the leading indicators trending up, we anticipate a healthy spring market.

If you’ve been thinking about selling, there’s no better time than now. We’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your options and design a strategy to put you in a position for a successful sale at the right price. Please contact us using the comment section or call us at 508-568-8191. We look forward to meeting with you.


What To Consider When Choosing a Home for Retirement

In the second part of our series courtesy of industry resource KCM, we discuss four additional factors to consider when thinking about what kind of home you want to live in during retirement. (For Part 1, please click here.)

Security

Older homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security is helpful. An extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Consider all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

When it comes to your retirement home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in the future. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, please let us know. We can evaluate your ability to sell your house at the right price and work with you to find your dream retirement home!


Earlier this week, Mari attended “Marketing Edge,” an intensive two day seminar sponsored by the Tom Ferry organization. Ferry is the leading real estate coach and trainer in the country. In addition to presentations from industry leaders, Mari had the opportunity to meet with more than 500 professionals from across the country to share ideas about the most effective methods to market homes and properties. We look forward to implementing what she learned to benefit our Cape Cod clients.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

Thinking about Retirement?

As more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether they should sell their homes and downsize has become a hot topic. In today’s housing market, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to consider if your home can adapt to your needs, if you are considering aging in place. As emotionally attached as you may be to your home, selling could be the best option.

This week and next, we’ll be sharing with you — courtesy of industry resource KCM (Keeping Current Matters) — the factors that the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents suggest you consider when making a decision about your retirement living.

Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.”

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $9,700 in equity last year.

Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

Do you have questions about your home and how it might fare in today’s market? We’d be happy to meet with you and discuss your options. Please contact us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191, so we can arrange a convenient time to talk.

Next week: security, mobility, convenience, and pets.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Low

For those who were concerned about mortgage rates rising, the following graph should calm your fears.

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

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TRE and United Way

This week, Today Real Estate(TRE) management and staff will be participating in a United Way of Cape Cod and the Islands Day of Caring project at Cape Abilities in Orleans. Our President Todd Machnik is also the current Chair of the United Way Board of Directors. One way that TRE demonstrates it strong commitment to the community is by active involvement with United Way. In addition to Machnik’s leadership role, Mari and several other TRE professionals serve on committees.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

Increasing Your Family’s Net Worth

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Home ownership is a great way to build family wealth.

As we’ve said before, simply put, home ownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Want to know more?

If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, we’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your options and guide you through the process. You can reach us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191.


To make your dream home ownership a reality, here are a few tips from industry resource KCM (Keeping Current Matters) that you should consider implementing.

1.Set up an automatic savings plan that puts aside a small amount of every paycheck. This is one of the best ways to save without thinking too much about it.

2.Live within a budget right now. This will help you save money for a down payment, while also reducing other debts that might be holding you back.

3.Cut back on some of the “extras” that you spend money on now such as coffee and ordering take out for dinner. You’ll be surprised how the savings add up!


…and to the gloom and doomers who were predicting an increase in mortgage rates, moneywise.com is reporting that rates have actually fallen faster than we’ve experienced in the last decade making the dream of owning a home more affordable for many. If you have any questions about how this could impact you, please reach out.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank