5 Strategies Millennials Can Use To Buy Homes

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 16th, 2018

5 Strategies Millennials Can Use To Buy HomesMillennials face numerous challenges when buying their first homes. 55% of young adults between 25 and 34 years old don’t own homes as compared to 80% in 1967, according to data from the Census Bureau. 

Buying a home is tough with the $1.4 trillion student loan debt, growing childcare expenses and rising rental costs. However, hope is not lost. Millennials can realize the quintessential dream of owning a home. 

Millennials can employ several strategies to plan for home ownership without selling their kidneys. Here are five ways to do just that. 

Develop A Realistic Budget 

Now is a great time to examine your finances and create a budget for a house you can really afford. Lenders may be able to approve you for a larger loan amount than what you thought possible. Therefore, it’s imperative to be realistic when deciding on the amount of home mortgage payment you can afford comfortably per month.   

Make Sacrifices 

Not long ago, someone said (and probably regretted) Millennials can’t save enough to buy homes because they are spend extravagantly. Well, saving thousands of dollars for down payment isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. And there are many low to no down payment programs available if you check with your trusted mortgage professional first.

You may have to sacrifice and cut unnecessary expenditures such as buying new outfits and even getting a new car. Living minimally can help pad your personal savings to propel you into owning a house. 

Consider The Suburbs 

Although it’s vital to stay near family and a lively social location, consider purchasing a house in a suburban area, where houses are typically more affordable. Plus, if you have pets they will love the larger lots and yards giving them space to play.

You can choose a less populated state where you will probably have a higher chance of affording a home. Although this may not be ideal, if owning your own place tops your list, then location will not stand in the way. 

Use State And Federal Programs 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) gives home buyers the chance to purchase houses with a very low down payment. This lower amount is quite attainable if you save toward this goal.  Some states also offer supplemental programs beyond the FHA program. Find out whether you can access extra grants and subsidies. 

Get Your Hustle In Gear 

Although most millennials struggle with unemployment, if you have one job, look for other ways to make extra dollars. You may consider driving for rideshare services, freelance gigs and running errands for people as a way to temporarily boost your earning potential.

Owning a place to call home is great. Like anyone else millennials can buy homes. Talk to a home finance expert and your trusted real estate agent for more information on how you can make your best investment. 

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5 Home Design Trends To Watch Out In 2019

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 15th, 2018

Home design trends continue to change at supersonic speeds. With New Year right around the corner, the home design world is focusing on trends that will probably reign big in 2019. 

5 Home Design Trends To Watch Out In 2019So, as you make your annual resolutions or consider revamping your home, it’s worth knowing them. After all, we all adore coming back to a place that makes us happy and helps us disconnect from tough days at work. 

It’s wise to be aware of temporary fads in design, but don’t be shy to try some new home designs and decor in 2019. In this post, we explore five trends to watch out for in 2019. 

Nature Luxury 

Blending outdoors with indoors continues to trend and is not stopping soon. Today, the idea enjoys a boost from state-of-the-art accessories made from natural elements to complete the appearance. Natural fibers, wood and rattan are getting indoors, helping to blur the lines. 

Classic Terrazzo Comeback 

Terrazzo, a hard stone with chips of granite, glass, marble and quartz reigns with its speckle signatures. Terrazzo was popular in the 80s but making a comeback in 2019. Because of its versatility, terrazzo is preferably used on countertops and not floors. This comeback will likely take away from marble’s more recent popularity. 

Colored Kitchens 

Though white remains a classic color for most kitchen designs, homeowners are injecting vibrant colors and shying away from bland hues. Rich colors, including wood tones and neutrals like mahogany, blues and grays are making their way into kitchens giving them a fresh, warm and unique feel. 

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest play key roles exposing homeowners to the endless possibilities and fun of rich colors, encouraging them to be risk takers when it comes to color. 

Blue Hues 

Blues are gaining popularity in interior dress ups. Most paint companies prefer shades of blue as their top choice in 2019. Blueprint is often seen as warmer than denim and softer than navy. Blue is perfect for reflecting the pool. The coloration is also popping up in home accessories like artwork, pillows and throws. 

Florals 

Though tropical palm prints remained popular this year, people aren’t tired of the look quite yet. In fact, eye-catching, oversized florals will probably dominate throughout 2019, with more complex interpretations expected. 

Your trusted real estate professional is familiar with popular trends in your area. Be sure to let them know what tops your list! 

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How To Handle Common Homeowner Challenges

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 14th, 2018

How To Handle Common Homeowner ChallengesIt takes hard work to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Everyday people work to save for a down payment and build a good credit score. When you turn the key to your first home or dream home, the sweat equity feels well worth it.

But the hard work of buying a home continues long after hanging family photos and hooking up a big-screen TV. There are challenges that property owners are unprepared to handle. These are three of the more common ones you may want to be ready to manage.

Leaking Pipes

Plumbing does not last forever and at some point, it will begin to leak. For people who have wells on their property, copper pipes can wear thin faster. That’s because the pH of well water can tend to be on the more acidic side and corrode pipes quicker.

Many homeowners are ill prepared to deal with pipes that spring a leak. If a leak goes unchecked, the water can cause other damage or hazardous mold growth behind walls and under floorboards. While one solution is often having a plumber make an expensive emergency call, there are other simple solutions.

Take a piece of an old bicycle tire tube and fasten it tight over the leak using a pair of hosepipe screw clamps. These clamps wrap around the pipe and can be closed over the rubber and leak using a screwdriver. If you do not have these items handy, it may be in your best interest to spend less the $5 and get them sooner rather than later.

Moisture In The Bathroom

The single most destructive force to any home is not rodents or termite infestations. Water can do more damage than the average homeowner might imagine. A poorly ventilated bathroom can create one of the most hazardous problems.

When moisture seeps behind walls or under the floor, it can spur on dangerous mold growth. These health hazards often go undetected and sick family members may not know the root cause is hidden behind the walls.

Overly moist bathroom walls from hot showers are a telltale sign that you need improved ventilation. Start immediately by opening a window when showering and enlist the help of a professional to properly vent the bathroom. The difference could be thousands of dollars in ripping out walls and rebuilding, not to mention your health.

Power Outages

There are two types of power outages that homeowners would be wise to prepare for — short ones and long ones. If your power is interrupted for a few hours or half of a day, keep the refrigerator shut and enjoy the time without television noise. A few inexpensive battery-operated lanterns or candles will provide enough light.

But if you are hit by a long-term outage, there are things you can do ahead of time to be prepared. Many homeowners in areas that suffer annual severe weather incidents purchase generators. Small ones can be set outside and run electricity to important items. Even a modest generator can help a homeowner through a week-long outage.

If you don’t have a backup generator, the time is now to prepare. They will fly off the shelves when the lights go out.

The joy of homeownership is coupled with ongoing challenges. Planning ahead can save time, money and help keep your dream home in tip-top shape.

Your trusted real estate professionals has tons of tips for homeowners and will likely be able to make sound referrals for home improvement professionals if the need presents itself. 

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3 Critical Tips for Buying a Home in a Short Sale

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 9th, 2018

3 Critical Tips for Buying a Home in a Short SaleYou just found your perfect home, and you feel like everything is right including the price. But, what could be wrong with your ideal home? Maybe, it is being sold as a short sale, and that could present a major challenge if you want to become be the eventual homeowner.

Short sales are different from other conventional real estate transactions since the property in question is usually listed at a price that is much lower than the amount of the outstanding mortgage debt.

Unlike a regular sale, the homeowner must obtain permission from the lender before proceeding with the transaction. Whether you are a veteran property buyer or a first-time home buyer, closing a deal on a short sale can be a challenging and stressful experience. We compiled the top three tips for buying a home in a short sale.

Consult a Short Sale Expert

First, you should consider getting help from a short sale expert who will help you identify homes that are being offered as short sales, help you determine a reasonable purchase price and also advise you on what to include in your offer to make it attractive to the seller.

Before you go for a particular short sale expert, ask them how many buyers they have helped purchase homes on short sales and how long they have been in business.

Good Deals Take Patience

Secondly, remember to be patient when engaging in a short sale deal. There is a high likelihood that most buyers will get impatient after several weeks of waiting and walk away from the deal leaving you in a strong position to negotiate.

If you understand that the initial offer on any short sale can take a long time before the lender accepts or rejects it, you will be in a better position to get a good deal since there will be no stiff competition. However, you should keep in mind that the lender might reject your offer.

Get a Full Loan Approval Early

Lastly, make sure that you get approved for a loan and not just pre-approved. Go through the trouble of getting approved if you want to stand a good chance of landing your dream home through a short sale.

Keep in mind that there will be multiple bids on the property and most of the prospective buyers will be pre-approved. Since you want to get the home at the best possible price below the market prices, being fully approved will make your offer stand out with the lender since you no longer face the risk of your financing falling apart at the last minute.

Entering into a short sale transaction will require patience and diligence. One of your best partners will be your trusted real estate professional. 

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Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 7th, 2018

Tips For Selling Your Home In The WinterWinter typically isn’t one of the busier home buying seasons – those seasons are reserved for spring and summer. But to think that you can’t sell your home at market value during the winter months is being naive. In fact, you can even use some of the characteristics that define the season to your advantage. For instance, because winter isn’t a hot selling season, there’s typically less inventory during this time of year. That said, if your home stands out in the listings, you have a better chance of getting on that coveted “short list” of buyers.

Here’s a look at some tips on how to do it:

Make Your Home Look Inviting

This is essential for selling your home at any period of the year, but it’s perhaps most important during the winter months. That’s because colder temperatures and shorter days have the tendency to make a property look a little dreary from the outside.

There are a few ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal during the winter months:

  • Exterior lights: Shorter days mean less daylight, so make sure your home is well-lit so that buyers can see all of its features in periods of low light.
  • Easy to navigate: Always ensure that your driveway and any walking paths are clear. This makes it easier for potential buyers to safely access the home and more closely observe the condition of the driveway, sidewalks, etc.
  • Decorate it appropriately: Don’t overdo it, but some seasonal decorations can add a nice touch.

Turn Up The Heat

Ideally, you want would-be buyers to walk in from the cold into a warm, cozy environment. So crank up the thermostat, make a fire in your home’s fireplaces (if applicable) and brighten any dark areas of the home. This helps create a comfortable interior environment as well as show off some of your home’s amenities.

Think Spring And Summer

As you know, your home is bound to look different during the summer months than it will during the winter. Hence, we’d encourage you to make sure that this is noted in your listings. Include exterior photos of your home during the warm weather months so would-be buyers can see the green grass, flowers in bloom and leaves on the trees.

Sometimes, envisioning how a home that is being shown in the winter will look at other times of the year can be difficult. Don’t waste the opportunity to include a few photos of your home at other times of the year.

Don’t be nervous about selling your home in the winter – just know how to showcase it to capture buyer interest. The buyers are out there in the winter, it’s just a matter of making your home stand out. Your trusted real estate agent is just the person to help you make sure your home is buyer-ready any time of the year!

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5 Tips To Price Your Home To Sell For Top Dollar

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 6th, 2018

5 Tips To Price Your Home To Sell For Top DollarMany home sellers are confused about how to price their home to sell. It’s definitely challenging to try and find that sweet spot between pricing it low enough so it flies off the market without undercutting the home’s value. Emotions play into the decision, too. If the seller has a lot of sweat equity in the home, or the property is the only place the children have ever called home, owners may tend to place a higher value on the house.

Here’s how to correctly price a home to sell in any market.

Rely On Your Real Estate Agent

Your Realtor is an expert in all matters related to home buying and selling. They have a vested interest in selling your home within a reasonable time frame. As such, they provide a valuable, objective perspective that you should closely pay attention to in order to correctly price your home to sell.

Look At Comps In Your Neighborhood

One thing that your real estate agent does is analyze the comparable properties in your neighborhood. Remember, what a home sells for in a nearby city doesn’t impact how to price your home in a neighborhood far removed. Your prospective buyers will also compare your home’s price to others they could buy in the same neighborhood.

Consider Special Features

Don’t discount special features that your home has, such as built-in shelving units, out buildings, a home movie theater, etc. These give you an advantage in that you can safely set your price a little higher than comparable homes without those features. Be sure your real estate agent mentions them on your MLS listing so buyers understand the higher asking price.

Be Prepared To Make Price Adjustments

Remember that you might have to come down from your asking price, so keep that in mind when you and your real estate agent set that number. Don’t expect that you’ll get exactly what you’re asking for unless you’re in a high demand area. When you give yourself some margin, you gain negotiating power you can use to make a sale happen.

Consider Your Own Finances

Pricing your home to sell is only one factor to consider. The larger equation takes your entire financial picture into account. Figure out how much you owe, how much commission you’ll pay and any sales concessions, if any, you’d be willing to offer a prospective buyer. This due diligence ensures you’ll be satisfied with the outcome after all the money has changed hands.

Pricing your home to sell correctly is a critical part of making the transaction happen. Remember that your real estate agent is the best judge of the best price point, but you can always point out the reasons why you’d like it higher or lower.

 

 

 

 

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5 Trends Shaping Green Homes

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 1st, 2018

5 Trends Shaping Green HomesThink green home design is a fad? Well, think again. Sustainable home designs are gaining popularity at a breakneck speed. In 2017, green homes accounted for more than 60 percent of family home builder’s portfolios, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. 

But what is really driving green home designs? In this post, we explore five trends shaping sustainable homes. 

1.    Energy Efficiency 

Home designs that cater to consumers’ need to reduce utility bills continue taking center stage. From net-zero energy homes to energy conserving products, home buyers want to save money. Moving forward, industry experts predict that ultra-efficient building designs like net-zero-energy or passive home designs will continue dominating the industry. 

2.    Health 

Most home buyers are more aware of the dangers of chemicals than before. As such, most of them are seeking non-toxic interior products. 
The manufacturing industry trend is leaning towards healthier materials. As the demand rises and prices stabilize, these products are more likely to be game changers. Most home designs will probably focus on eliminating troublesome chemicals such as VOC paints and phthalate free flooring. 

3.    Home Performance And Monitoring 

Home energy audits are major factors considered by consumers, and home performance is key. Some cities like Austin expect new homes to undergo performance tests before recommendation for resale. 

Energy software programs allow home builders and remodelers to monitor how slight changes in home designs can save thousands of dollars in utility bills. Homeowners are also benefiting from energy monitoring devices to track their household energy consumption. 

4.    Water Efficiency 

80 percent of American states anticipate water shortages in a few years, says a Government Accountability Office survey. Therefore, wise water usage is becoming crucial as consumers demand for water efficient homes. Most builders are already getting their homes HERS Rated as consumers look for ways to save dollars from rising water prices. 

5.    Biophilic Home Designs 

Nature is beneficial to us biologically, physically and psychologically. However, in the last century, home designs separated us from nature. Today, biophilic designs (connected to nature) strive to reverse that by integrating nature into homes. Modern building can capture the sun’s movement using windows, architectural details and patterns, connecting us to the season, time of day and our inner biorhythms. 

If any of these green trends are on your list of must-haves for your new home, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional.

 

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Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month Low

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

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month LowHome price growth slowed to its lowest rate in 20 months according to the 20-City Home Price Index issued by Case-Shiller. After years of dismal readings, Las Vegas, Nevada led the cities included in the index.

Top three cities for August included Las Vegas, Nevada where year-over-year home prices grew by 13.90 percent. San Francisco, California saw home prices increase by 10.60 percent year-over-year and Seattle, Washington home prices rose by 9.60 percent year-over-year. August’s 20-City Home Price Index overall reading fell below six percent for the first time in a year.

Cooling Home Price Growth Helps Balance Housing Markets

Cooling home prices have been forecast for months, but August’s reading indicated that home prices have peaked and that current home price growth rates may ease pressure on overheated real estate markets, where high home prices, limited inventories of homes for sale and rising mortgage rates have limited buying opportunities. Home price growth remained above current rates of wage growth and inflation, but slower appreciation of home values will help balance the housing market from an extreme sellers’ market to more moderate market conditions.

Rising Mortgage Rates Not Sole Cause of Easing Home Prices

Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan recently said that rising mortgage rates were not the only cause of slowing growth of home prices. Mr. Kaplan said that multiple factors including rising building costs, labor shortages and rising mortgage rates combined to ease record demand for home; Mr. Kaplan said that the Fed is closely monitoring the economy and housing markets and mentioned that he had previously forecast slower housing markets as 2019 approaches.

Recent stock market sell-offs boosted the 10-year Treasury note price, but this momentum appears to be settling. Fixed mortgage rates are connected to yields on 10-year Treasury notes. Yields rise as note prices decline. Mortgage rates rise as the 10-year Treasury yield rises. While nothing is set in stone, this situation indicates that mortgage rates could continue to rise.

Rising mortgage rates and strict mortgage lending requirements have barred home buyers concerned with affordability and less than perfect credit profiles. As prospective home buyers abandon their home searches, demand for homes should ease and may further reduce gains in home prices.

If you are interested in buying a new property or selling your current property, contact your trusted real estate agent to discuss market specifics in your area.

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4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This Winter

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

4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This WinterThe winter real estate market tends to be significantly different from other seasons. Buyers and sellers alike are often driven by different reasons than at other times of the year. That can be a win-win for both motivated buyers and sellers in the right climate.

Many homeowners list their property during spring and early summer hoping to maximize their return on investment during the competitive seasons. Families with school-aged children tend to be highly motivated buyers because they prefer not to take a child out of school mid-term.

Given the nationwide housing shortage, those seasons were hot seller’s market with Millennials scooping up listings quickly at or near asking price. But since the dog days of summer, the housing industry has changed substantially.

These are four meat-and-potatoes reasons to buy or sell property this winter.

  • Inventory Shortage: During the first six months of 2018, the national housing shortage stood at a 20-year worst. That was great news for sellers who enjoyed higher prices and fewer days on the market. It wasn’t great for buyers who were in heated competition for homes. A shortage is expected during the winter months. That could be good news for sellers. But there is likely to be less competition, and that may allow buyers a little wiggle room in negotiations.
  • Interest Rates: The Fed announced that interest rates would inch up in four increments by the end of 2018. While that may seem like bad news, it could be helpful for motivated buyers and sellers this winter. The rate increases will likely result in listing prices leveling off, and that could help buyers from being priced out of the market. The Fed also announced that rates would likely increase further by the end of 2019, which should motivate people to buy sooner rather than later. Simply put, the winter market forecast looks hot.
  • Tax Cuts: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped many Americans keep more of their own money and ratchet up the economy. A recent announcement from the White House says a middle-class tax cut of 10 percent is expected to be pushed through Congress. Rates may eek up but keeping another 10 percent of your money can provide a great deal of mortgage bandwidth.
  • Employment Opportunities: As mentioned above, spring and summer markets are often driven by family considerations. The winter market tends to be driven by others. One of the key reasons buyers and sellers relocate during the winter is driven by jobs. It is common for large and mid-sized companies to hire for the first of the year. Given the tremendous opportunities in this robust economy, higher salaries and dream jobs may present themselves. This winter could be a carpe diem homes market.

Although winter housing markets may have been sluggish in some years, it’s been a long time since everyday Americans were immersed in a thriving economy. With unemployment at a near 50-year low and wages rising, this winter could be a winner for buyers and sellers.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate agent is available to help you navigate the market any time of the year in your area.

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4 Housing Market Trends To Expect In 2019

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 26th, 2018

4 Housing Market Trends To Expect In 2019Just like Fantasy Football players try to predict who will score the most touchdowns, pass for the most yardage and win the Super Bowl, people with an eye on the real estate market also engage in speculation. Like sports fans, expectations are often driven by statistics from the previous season.

That being said, these are some of the important housing market trends buyers and sellers can expect in 2019.

1: New Construction To The Rescue (Sort Of)

The 2018 housing shortage has been well documented. The inventory shortfall has driven up listing prices and created a powerful seller’s market. The law of supply and demand would indicate that the construction sector will ramp up new home building in 2019.

Materials and labor costs are relatively modest when compared to new homes selling for approximately $150 per square foot on average. Home prices are expected to rise throughout 2019 creating more opportunity for construction outfits to build custom and spec houses. It is unlikely that new construction will keep pace with the high demand for homes. But buyers can expect more availability and custom-design options by working directly with builders.

2: Millennials Will Drive The Housing Market (Again)

In 2018, the full presence of Millennials was felt in the housing industry. There are now an estimated 75 million adults who fall into the demographic and they were reportedly responsible for upwards of 34 percent of all recent single-family home sales. Millennial home buyers were significantly responsible for higher than usual competition for starter homes in 2018.

At the older end of the spectrum, many are now in their mid-30s and fully engaged in careers. At the younger end, many are graduating from college and looking for starter homes as they enter the workforce. With more looking to buy first homes and others trading up, sellers would be wise to remain keenly aware of what Millennials want. Having grown up immersed in technology, Smart homes, and other integrated technologies tend to be attractive to this class of buyer.

3: Waiting May Result In Higher (But Still Low) Rates

The Federal Reserve continues to roll out interest rate increases against the fast-growing economy and employment stability. This did not come about unexpectedly and should not frighten off home buyers.

The Fed dropped rates to historic lows in 2008 after the Great Recession hit in an effort to stimulate growth. These days, business is thriving and there are reportedly 7 million unfilled jobs. All this good news means that the Fed will likely continue its planned increase throughout 2019. However, rates are likely to remain relatively low and buyer friendly.

4: Economy Expected To Remain Robust

To say we live in unusual times would be something of an understatement. The country has been embroiled in a series of tariff wars and trade negotiations many thought would cripple the GDP. The exact opposite seems to have occurred.

With the NAFTA deal now being redone as the USMCA, trade with Canada and Mexico are expected to be more beneficial for American businesses and wages. The administration is currently reworking a trade deal with the EU and a zero-tariff goal is on the table. The U.K. is in the midst of Brexit and a more beneficial trade agreement is expected there as well.

In terms of the dust-up with China, manufacturers appear to have simply shifted their output to other plants to avoid paying hefty tariffs. The price of goods appears to be staying low and the U.S. Business Confidence Index remains over 100 percent. These trends seem to overwhelmingly favor the American economy and housing market in 2019 and beyond.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate professional is aware of the trends in your area and ready to help you find success with your real estate transactions.

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