Archive for August, 2018

Millennial Home Buyers: What You Need To Know

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 31st, 2018

Millennial Home Buyers What You Need To KnowIn the past, you’ve likely read about how the Millennial generation is opting to rent rather than buy property. While this still holds true for many Millennials, the fact is that a growing number of this generation is making the leap into buying.

In fact, according to Inc., Millennials today represent the largest demographic of new home buyers, responsible for about 35 percent of all real estate purchases. (For comparison’s sake, Gen X’ers are responsible for about 25 percent of the buyer’s market.)

What’s more is the Millennial home buyers have been trending upwards for about four years now, and this trend is expected to continue beyond 2018. Noting this, it makes sense to get to know the Millennial generation and what they’re looking for in a home.

Here’s a closer look:

Straight To The ‘Forever Home’

Hampered by the Great Recession, it’s no secret that Millennials opted to rent, rather than buy, at the tail end of the 2000s. But now Millennials are ready to buy, and they’re not necessarily going for the starter home. No, they’re going right for the forever home.

This is largely because they’re now spending the money that they accrued from saving in rent or from living with their parents for all these years. Many have also moved beyond entry-level positions.

The Connected Home

It’s estimated that more than 13 million Americans currently work from home, a trend that emerged with the Millennial generation and is likely to continue. Noting this, Millennials tend to like the concept of the “smart home.” That is, they desire fast Internet service, smart thermostats and appliances, and energy-efficient features. Young professionals increasingly are working out of the home, so they want their homes to work better for them.

Low Maintenance

What else do Millennials look for in a home? Low maintenance is key. Young professionals are typically very busy starting out their careers, so much so that they don’t necessarily have time to take on a fixer upper. That said, they want a house that is close to move-in ready, has newer appliances, and updated kitchens and bathrooms.

Online Appeal

It’s estimated that up to 95 percent of Millennials rely on the Internet to view listings during the home buying process. Further data states that about 65 percent of buyers walked through a home after viewing it online, and more than 75 percent at least drove by a home after seeing the online listing.

Bottom line: If you’re selling your home these days, make sure that it shows well online. Take pictures with a quality camera and make sure you’re doing it in the right lighting for the best results.

If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your existing property, your trusted real estate professional is ready and willing to help you every step of the way.

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New Home Construction Boom Expected

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 30th, 2018

New Home Construction Boom ExpectedThe housing market has been trending in a positive direction and economic indicators point to new home construction going vertical.

Following the housing bubble and sluggish post-recession economy, construction companies largely turned their attention away from new homes. Diminished values, high regulatory and materials costs served as deterrents to home-building.

But the economic revival the country is experiencing – coupled with a housing shortage – has builders poised to jump back into the single-family home game. Here are three reasons new home construction is expected to boom.

1: First-Time Buyer Lifestyles

Consider that the last big new construction boom occurred 12-16 years ago. Those so-called “new” homes are well lived in these days. The trickle of actual new homes since cannot come even close to meeting the demands of Millennials entering the housing market. This demographic also tends to look for vastly different things than the traditional buyers before them.

Millennials grew up immersed in technology. Smart-home and Green features rank high on their check list. Items such as solar panels, automation and being able to manage a living space from a phone app simply were not part of the previous housing boom equation. Simply put, young first-time buyers want a type of home that fits their life experience.

2: New Home Economics

The inventory shortage has driven many people to rent. Many would rather invest that monthly housing cost into equity and gain tax write-off benefits. Also, a high number of military service members are returning to civilian life as the War on Terror winds down. That means you have a growing number of people with the ability to secure friendly VA mortgages that require no down payment.

Stateside, tech and career schools are turning out graduates that are entering good paying jobs. This all adds up to a large number of first-time homebuyers with the economic temerity to reach above traditional starter homes.

3: Rising Mortgage Rates Matter

Some economists forecast economic shrinkage when the Fed raises rates. The president recently voiced his displeasure over the move.

But the rate increase remains a natural phenomenon in an economy enjoying historic positive measures. Record-low unemployment and a GDP that posted 4.1 percent growth are touchstones that everyday Americans are doing better and can afford a little more.

While naysayers may claim the modest interest rate increase will result in economic contraction, it could have exactly the opposite effect in the new construction market.

Consider that home-builders who shifted to other niche markets see a window for improved revenues given the tight home inventory. The uptick in rates means that people will likely be prompted to buy sooner, rather than wait for the next hike. That could be another reason a new construction perfect storm is brewing.

The winds appear to be blowing in the right direction for construction companies to jump back into the new home game. These homes are likely to sell quickly, and builders could see tremendous pre-sale interest. If you are interested in buying a newly built home or one still on the drawing board, your trusted real estate professional is sure to be one of your very best assets.

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4 Reasons Millennials Should Buy A Retirement Home First

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 29th, 2018

4 Reasons Millennials Should Buy A Retirement Home First There’s an idea running through marketing and business circles that anything that is popular, the opposite will likely be popular as well.

Consider that sugar and caffeinated beverages such as Coca-Cola have seemingly opposite products like Coke Zero. That product, in turn, is offset in the marketplace by high-sugar, high-caffeine energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull.

In the housing industry, reverse living homes enjoy popularity. Basically, the bedrooms are downstairs while the kitchen, living room and other gathering spaces are upstairs. This concept of doing the opposite brings us to the idea about buying a first home.

The vast majority of potential buyers focus on starter homes as they build financial success. Some think about how that first home could be expanded to grow a family or sold when marriage and young ones come along. But Millennials enter the housing market may want to consider doing the opposite. What if you bought your last home first?

Consider these reasons for starting with your retirement home.

1: Lifestyle Suits Renting First

Millennials are flooding the job market and beginning to earn wages that prompt them to make major life purchases. But Millennial jobs tend to be different from the traditional ones of previous generations. Tech companies are trending in hip cities across the country and places with excellent weather. That means these first-time home buyers would either find themselves commuting through rush-hour traffic from the suburbs or paying urban real estate prices. Young Millennials may be better off renting and investing in property elsewhere.

2: Rent Out Your First Home

By taking your initial down payment and investing in a rental property, Millennials can make money or maintain a zero-expense real estate buy.

By purchasing your future retirement home in a vibrant community with a relaxed environment, it can pay for itself while strengthening your economic portfolio. The equity building in that first property will position you for a second home to live near work or build a family. That retirement rental may even put a few extra dollars in your pocket.  

3: Pursuing Career Opportunities

Whether you are fresh out off college, completed military service or rising in a company’s ranks, Millennials on the younger end of the spectrum can benefit from agility. Being able to seamlessly relocate to pursue emerging career opportunities or take a promotion in another city or state can help maximize your earning potential. Having a home is certainly nice, but you will be faced with a decision to sell and buy a new one or pass on an opportunity. Those are not necessarily the best considerations during prime earning years.

4: Downsizing Matters

The trend of valued elders is to downsize family homes as the enter their golden years. Ironically, many purchase the same type of starter homes all over again. The value of buying a retirement home first is that you will be able to cash out of any other property and apply that revenue to living expenses. In all likelihood, the initial real estate buy will be paid off. In the end, doing the opposite of common trends can prove to have improved long-term benefits.

If you are looking to buy a home to live in or for a long term investment, contact your trusted real estate agent to help you find your dream property.

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Buying A Home? Take Stock Of These Things

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 28th, 2018

Buying A Home? Take Stock Of These ThingsWhat are some of the most important factors that buyers take into consideration when looking for a new home? There are the obvious things like price, square footage, location and lot size. Those are the basics. Other things that are often weighed are garage size, how updated the kitchen and baths are and whether or not the basement is finished.

All of these are very important to consider, but there are other more “hidden” aspects of a home that many prospective buyers may not take into account. And it’s these aspects that could really come to bite them where it hurts if they’re not also assessed throughout the process.

Here’s a closer look:

Roof/Siding

Roofs tend to last about 20 years these days before replacement is necessary. The home inspector you hire to assess the home will be able to tell you the condition of the roof and whether replacement is imminent – and that’s information that you need to know. New roofs are expensive, and can range anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 on a standard single-family home. Siding is another thing to assess. Though siding can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, it may cost nearly as much as a roof to replace.

HVAC Unit

What’s the age of the furnace and air conditioner? Has the seller properly maintained each via filter changes and other standard service? A home inspector will be able assess the status of the HVAC unit to a certain extent, but it’s important to know whether or not replacement is imminent or more of a long-term issue. With furnaces averaging about $2,500 and air conditioners anywhere from $3,700 to $7,000, these are costs that must be considered.

Hot Water Tank

Hot water tanks typically only last anywhere from eight to 12 years, and replacement costs for a new hot water tank are about $1,000 while a tankless unit could be significantly more expensive. Make sure you know how old the hot water tank is in the home and what type of maintenance has been performed on it since it was installed. Annual flushing helps remove debris and contaminants that infiltrate the tank.

Windows

What’s the age and overall condition of the windows in the home? Being that a standard vinyl window costs about $600 and a wood window may cost upwards of $1,000, a whole-house window replacement job is a pretty penny.

The bottom line is that no home is going to be 100 percent perfect in every single aspect – and that’s why it’s important to look at the big picture during the home buying process. Failure to take into account the aforementioned may potentially result in thousands of dollars of other expenses beyond your mortgage payment.

Your trusted real estate professional can assist you through the inspection process and help to point out potential problems areas that should be addressed before closing.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 27th, 2018

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 27th, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 27th, 2018Last week’s economic readings included reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, and weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

Sales of New and Pre-owned Homes Falter in July

Home sales were lower in July, with new and pre-owned home sales falling short of projections and June sales. According to the Commerce Department, new homes sold at an annual rate of 627,000 sales as compared to 640,000 new home sales projected and a pace of 638,000 homes sold in June.

Downward revisions for previous months contributed to a lower sales pace reported in July; but the average price of a new home was $3278,700 in July, which may indicate that home prices are tapping out. July prices dropped 1.70 percent from June but were 12.80 percent higher year-over-year.

Sales of previously-owned homes were also lower in July with an annual pace of 5.34 million homes sold as compared to the expected reading of 5.40 million sales and June’s reading of 5.38 million sales. July’s reading was the lowest in two and a half years and indicated that low inventories of available homes coupled with high home prices has sidelined would-be buyers who can’t find or afford homes they want to buy.

The National Association of Realtors ® reported that Inventories of homes were 0.70 percent lower in July after rising in June. Sales of pre-owned homes were 0.50 percent lower in July and were unchanged year-over-year.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell two basis points to 4.51 percent. Mortgage rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.98 percent and three basis points lower than the prior week.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.82 percent and were five basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 210,000 claims filed as compared to an expected reading of 215,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 212,000 first-time jobless claims.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index, pending home sales and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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When It Makes Sense To Buy An Ugly Duckling

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 24th, 2018

When It Makes Sense To Buy An Ugly DucklingMove-in ready” homes are desirable — there’s no doubt about it! But sometimes it makes better financial sense to opt for a house with dated decor and a less than trendy kitchen or master bath.

You may not get your dream home immediately, but the opportunity to transform a property into your own swan can be rewarding. It can also be easy on the pocketbook.

When looking at Ugly Ducklings, however, look first to structural integrity and the condition of major home systems. including plumbing and septic, driveway and drainage. A home inspection is invaluable, even though no inspector can guarantee trouble-free systems.

Inspections will alert you to potential problems: Needed roof repairs, leaking faucets, inoperable appliances, termite infestation or dry rot and the like.

All home components have a life span, and if you’re buying an older home, try to determine the age of its systems, including heating and air conditioning, and kitchen appliances.

Here are some ways to weigh the pros and cons:

Electrical Wiring

Assure that the electrical panel and service to the home are ample for your needs. If the panel is undersized or the home still has aluminum wiring, you’ll probably want to check on repair and replacement costs: In some older homes, it might be a deal killer. But it also might be an opportunity. You’ll have to weigh the options.

Roof

A roof that has been well-maintained, and that currently has no major deficiencies, is a bonus. If there are existing problems with shingles or gutters, it’s prudent to get an estimate for needed repairs from a qualified roofer. Use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

HVAC

Heating and Air Conditioning are major “quality of life” considerations. Whatever systems the house has installed should be in reasonable condition, and should heat and cool appropriately on demand. That doesn’t assure that you won’t have some costs sooner rather than later. But, depending on the age of the systems, you make get many more years of use.

Appliances

Older appliances may not have all the bells and whistles of stylish new models. But kitchen updates are expensive; the most costly items include cabinets and appliances. Buying a house with a vintage kitchen means that you can undertake a redo on your own terms, doing a little or a lot on your own timetable and with a specific budget in mind. 

Decor

Paint and simple fixes can change the whole look of a room, and put a new face on a whole house. A little elbow grease and a lot of imagination will easily compensate for the extra price of a remodeled home with all the newest materials. 

Landscaping

If you’re looking for bargains, look beyond negative curb appeal. Consider lot size and potential, and know that with a little cash and a lot of sweat equity, a nondescript yard can be transformed. Choose low-maintenance plants and reap double rewards.

Buying property in need of TLC, a Plain Jane, or the ugliest house on the block can be a wise decision if you have a little patience. But you might have to also invest some time and effort, along with some cash, to make it a thing of beauty. 

If you are in the market for a fixer-upper, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional to help you find your very own diamond in the rough.

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Tips For Selling Your Home In The Fall

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 23rd, 2018

Tips For Selling Your Home In The FallFootball season has kicked off, temperatures are cooling and pumpkin spice everything is for sale in the stores. Yes, fall is here. While most people associate the spring and summer months as the ideal times of year to buy or sell, fall is still a great time to put your home on the market.

Families tend to want to get into their new homes prior to the holiday season, so buyers are typically still very active during the fall months. That said, there are plenty of ways that you can ready your home for a fast fall sale.

Here’s a look at several tried and true tips to increase your curb appeal and move your property this autumn:

Keep The Yard Free Of Debris

Chances are your yard is full of leaves in the fall. But because temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter, fall is also a time of the year when your lawn looks its greenest and most lush. Make sure your leaves are cleaned up to show off the true potential of your yard (not to mention create the impression that your home is well maintained and cared for). Rake daily if you have to. If you don’t like raking, set the lawn mower to a low setting and bag the mulched leaves.

Autumn Curb Appeal

Buy some mums, a haystack and perhaps even some pumpkins or gourds to decorate your home with. These are perfect fall decor and can really help make your home stand out to potential buyers.

Hit The Lights

The days are shorter in the fall, which means that the natural light inside of your home may be waning during show times. That said, make sure all of the lights in the home are turned on prior to showings to create a well-lit, welcoming environment. 

Clean The Fireplace

With the nights getting cooler, fall is the perfect time of the year to start up the fireplace. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure that this is mentioned in the listing. Also make sure that the fireplace is clean and looks inviting in case the buyer wants to turn it on. If you have a natural fireplace, don’t fret. Even if you don’t use it, make sure that it’s cleaned out and looks ready to use.

Clean Your Gutters

In addition to making sure your yard is leaf-free, make sure that your gutters are also clean. You don’t want to give buyers the impression that your home isn’t well cared for. Plus, gutters overflowing with leaves can make the buyer think that the home requires excessive maintenance, which can be a turn off.

Your trusted real estate agent is ready to help you with these tips and more to make sure your home is a must-see listing this fall.

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Myths About Buying A Vacation Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 22nd, 2018

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.

 

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Getting Ready For Winter: Necessary Home Checks

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 21st, 2018

Getting Ready For Winter: Necessary Home ChecksWhen the leaves start falling, winter can’t be far behind. In order to make sure your home will offer you cozy shelter from the coming cold, there are a few simple checks that you should not delay.

It’s wise to perform simple pre-checks of major home operating systems; schedule required maintenance or call for service if you suspect a problem. Be diligent about routine upkeep; replace filters regularly. Check for faucet drips, and make note of unusual appliance or plumbing fixture noises.

Here are five areas you should not ignore:

The Roof 

A tight roof is vital all year long, but especially in the winter. Take a walk around your home’s exterior and look up. Curling or missing shingles, damaged vents and ridge cap, sagging gutters or loose flashing are all signs that you should call a professional for thorough diagnosis.

Visit your attic to check for drafts and daylight. Also check for small holes and signs of insect or rodent infestation. Critters seek winter shelter, but you don’t want to leave an open invitation.

If you have turbine vents on the roof, you may want to cover them before winter arrives, and fall is the perfect time to do that.

HVAC

As the seasons change and you move from air conditioning to heat, you’ll want to check both for proper operation. With a single integrated system, it’s easy and there’s no need to shut one down to start the other. But if you call a professional to winterize an outside compressor, you might also have thermostat settings checked and recalibrated if necessary. 

If you have a separate oil-burning or propane furnace, confirm your fuel is adequate before turning on the heat.

Fireplace

Whether a fireplace is wood-burning or gas-fired, it’s smart to have a professional check the flue and assure that the damper is operating properly. Make certain the gas line is free from obstructions, and that anyone who lights a fire is aware of safety precautions. House fires and deadly fumes are entirely preventable; a seasonal checkup can save lives.

Doors and Windows

Checking the weatherstripping and seals is an easy task, even though it takes some time. Look for cracked or brittle rubber weatherstripping and light leaks, as well as drafts around the perimeters. Also check for signs of moisture on sills and trim.

Door sweeps should graze the floor so that dust and small insects don’t cross the threshold. Adjust and caulk the threshold if necessary. This is also a good time to check locks on both doors and windows.

Outside Hose Bibbs

Outdoor hose bibbs can be problematic in freezing temperatures. Always disconnect hoses for the winter. If you notice any leaks around a hose bibb, call a professional. During severe weather, it can be helpful to wrap those outdoor hose bibbs with foam insulation and a plastic sleeve in an effort to discourage freezing.

A little preventive maintenance pays big dividends when spring finally arrives!

If you are planning to wait until spring to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate agent to find out what other steps you could take now to improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 20th, 2018

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 20th, 2018Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders and Commerce Department releases on Housing Starts and Building Permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were released, along with a monthly report on consumer sentiment.

NAHB: Home Builder Housing Market Index Drops 1 Point

August’s reading for the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dropped one point to 67. This was the lowest reading for home builder confidence in housing market conditions in 11 months. Analysts said that trade wars are causing concern among builders due to higher costs for building materials. Higher costs will be passed on to home buyers, many of whom are already challenged by rising home prices and strict mortgage approval requirements.

Housing starts reached 1.168 million on an annual basis in July; analysts expected 1.270 million starts based on June’s reading of 1.158 million starts. Building permits issued increased in Jul with 1.311 million permits issued on an annual basis. June’s reading was 1.292 permits issued. Lower numbers of available new homes were a potential problem for housing sector, but demand remains high.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; the rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell six basis points to 4.53 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell four basis points to 4.01 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 3.87 percent.

First-time jobless claims fell to 212,000 new claims as compared to expectations of 215,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 214,000 new clams filed. The latest reading approached the level of new jobless claims seen as a post-recession low First-time unemployment claims indicate levels of lay-offs and are viewed by analysts as an indicator of job market performance.

The University of Michigan reported that consumer sentiment reached its lowest reading since 2006. Analysts said that consumer concerns were concentrated among the bottom third of income ranges surveyed. Rising consumer costs caused August’s consumer confidence index to slip to 95.3 as compared to an expected index reading of 98.5. July’s consumer sentiment reading was 97.9.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and pre-owned home sales and minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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