Top Real Estate Predictions You Should Know About

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 19th, 2018

Top Real Estate Predictions You Should Know AboutWhether you are a homeowner looking to get the maximum return on investment, a buyer interested in fair market value or an industry insider grappling with the moving parts of the real estate industry, these are some trends and predictions you should know about.

Lower Home Supply Causing Significant Value Growth

Indicators point to a U.S. economy that has settled into a nice growth period. Unemployment rates have touched some record lows, wages appear to be on the rise and Millennials are entering high earning and home-buying years. Couple these factors with the fact that last year’s tax reform laws will likely put more money back in everyday Americans’ pockets and homes could be a hot commodity, so to speak.

Home supply — on the other hand — does not appear ready to meet the rising demand of buyers. Experts are predicting that rising demand will collide with the housing shortfall and prices will ramp up in 2019.

Home Values Could Rise Another 5 Percent By Year’s End

Some real estate insiders are pointing to National Association of REALTORS information that the number of available homes for sale has dropped for 35 consecutive months. The volume of sales is down because there simply are not enough homes being put on the market. Coupled with the uptick in the economy, sellers are in the driver’s seat right now and they are demanding top dollar for their homes.

That being said, it may be in the best interest of first-time homebuyers to get into the market sooner rather than later. The improved wages from the surging economy may not be able to keep pace with a potential 5-percent increase in property values by the end of 2019. It looks like a buy now or pay later real estate market.

It’s Not A Housing Bubble And Won’t Burst

The housing market has been on a tear over the last three years. Property values have appreciated fairly consistently for 35 straight months. Such data mirrors that of the housing market right before the crash. One of the driving force behind property values climbing back then was sub-prime mortgage lending. The practice was a ticking time bomb and the end was inevitable.

While some experts are calling for another housing bubble to burst due to an unforeseen flaw in the system, tough legislation and oversight are in place. It’s only human nature to be cautious when conditions appear similar to those leading up to a bad outcome.

This time around, rising home prices appear to be based on solid economic factors. Either contractors are going to start massive home-construction builds all over the country or the shortage will continue to drive prices up. While experts say we are not in a so-called housing bubble, the market may level off down the road to get in tune with consumer affordability.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, make sure to contact your trusted real estate professional to help you through the process.

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4 Important Reasons To Install A Home Generator

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 18th, 2018

4 Important Reasons To Install A Home GeneratorHome improvements are key investments when it comes to quality of life and property value. While decks, solar panels and smart technologies are trendy options, installing a home generator may be even more valuable. That’s because backup generators not only improve market value, they also protect you and your home during severe weather incidents.

Consider these four reasons why a home generator makes good sense.

Protect Against Severe Weather

The impact of severe weather can reach catastrophic proportions. Thousands of people are left without electricity for days — even weeks — after storms. Heat waves also put an inordinate strain on the power grid when all of those air conditioners and HVAC go into 24-hour overdrive.

The consequences of extended power losses are generally fouled foods in the refrigerator and freezer, unbearable temperatures and an inability to take corrective measures to the physical property itself. When the grid goes down, you may be left powerless as the losses mount.   

Keeps Critical Systems Operational

When the power goes down for an extended period of time, important electronics become inoperable. If you work from home or rely on electronic devices to earn a living, either you’re putting in for vacation time or losing money. But beyond the financial implications, many people need power for vital medical equipment to function. It’s simply too risky to not have a backup plan if you or a loved one suffers from a health condition.

Backup Generators Improve Home Security

We have all seen the national news coverage about post-storm or brownout crime waves. Looting and burglary ran rampant when residents are evacuated. That’s because criminals know full well that your alarm system went down with the power.

Consider the accumulated wealth you have at home and irreplaceable personal items. Those could be lost if your home gets robbed during a power outage. Fortunately, installing a home generator will allow you to keep the lights on and thugs away. Just having your lights on at night demonstrates that you have electricity and that acts as a powerful deterrent. A backup generator provides peace of mind against theft.

Backup Generators Improve Property Values

It only makes sense that a home generator will increase your property value. After all, home generator installations are direct financial investments.

According to Consumer Reports, installing a home generator can improve your home’s value by as much as 3-5 percent. Similarly, Remodeling Magazine indicated that the return on investment for a home generator installing can range as high as 150 percent. Of course, those figures may be weighed against the money you saved by being powered up when the grid was down as well.

The point of this discussion is that while new kitchens and smart homes are exciting ways to amp up your home’s values, improvements such as backup generators have a quiet value worth considering.

Your trusted real estate agent is available to suggest other home improvement tips that can help to improve the value of your property when you are getting ready to put it on the market.

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Four Of The Best Vintage Design Trends For Your Kitchen

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 17th, 2018

Four Of The Best Vintage Design Trends For Your KitchenSleek modern kitchens were all the rage a couple of years ago. But now, homeowners are re-creating the Happy Days right at home. Retro styles from the 50s and 60s are making a comeback in the kitchen. Just make sure you combine the old with the new. Using too many vintage touches can make your kitchen go from looking trendy to outdated.

Here are some of the most popular vintage trends for the kitchen. Discover some ways that you can incorporate them into your design scheme.

Funky Flooring

Hardwood is no longer the ideal kitchen flooring material. Funky pattern tiles and vintage black-and-white linoleum are currently making a comeback in the kitchen. You can play with a variety of colors and textures to create a vintage look. Some good things to try include red and cream tiles, checkerboard black and white patterns and colorful speckled flooring. Think about something that you would be likely to see in your grandparents’ homes.

Pastels

Pastel decor dominated the 1950s. They give off a soft but dynamic feeling that reminds one of a retro American diner.

Some classic pastel combinations include:

  • Sea foam green with soft pink
  • Buttery yellow and soft pink
  • Lime green with cream white
  • Robin’s egg blue and mint

You can add touches of pastel to your accessories, walls or curtains. Dish towels and other fabrics are also great ways to incorporate these colors into your kitchen.

Retro Appliances

There is no need to give up your modern-day efficiency to have vintage appliances. You can have modern performance and timeless design. Many kitchen appliance manufacturers are getting in on the retro trend. Ranges, refrigerators and dishwashers are now available in a variety of period-inspired designs. Try a pastel colored-range or a refrigerator with a stamped-metal body and chrome trim.

Vintage Wallpapers

Vintage wallpaper reflects a bygone era in an interesting, fun way. Want a 50s look? Try polka dot patterned wallpaper. For a look straight from the 1960s, redo your kitchen walls with a busy print. Or try repetitive geometric designs in bright colors like turquoise and pink. Vintage wallpapers are available through many large online retailers or Etsy and similar sites.  

Nostalgic details and salvage finds can help give your kitchen personality and flair. You won’t have to sacrifice modern convenience with today’s vintage kitchen appliances and accessories.

Whether sleek and modern or vintage and retro is your preferred style, be sure to give your trusted real estate professional your list of must-haves!

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3 Generations Top Housing Market Trends

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 13th, 2018

3 Generations Top Housing Market TrendsHistorians like to say that those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them. In the real estate industry, the chances of that happening are slim because agents and other professionals follow market trends closely.

That being said, a careful examination of 2017 market trends and other factors can help highlight where the housing market is headed. Consider these top trends when deciding about whether to buy or sell a property.

Millennials Scooping Up Homes

According to resources such as Zillow, the low inventory and emergence of Millennials in the home-buying market helped break records last year. Millennials comprised upwards of 34 percent of the market and about two-thirds of them were reportedly first-time home buyers.

Given the shortage of entry-level homes for this demographic, 2018 and 2019 should have them in the driver’s seat in terms of buying trends. Although home prices are expected to rise in the single digits during the foreseeable future, the second wave of Millennial home buyers are likely to take a big bite of listed properties. As this group moves into their mid-30s, expectations are that last year’s 34 percent turns into about 43 percent of homes purchased. Millennials appear to be setting the pace.

Gen Z Home Buyers Expect Smarter Homes

Consider those born between 1995 and 2001 are adults or on the cusp of becoming adults. The front end of Generation Z is graduating college and looking for starter homes. This group is bound and determined to be different and they were basically weaned on technology.

Tech-friendly kitchens, lights and home-integrated devices have been trending and this demographic is likely to make them a priority when buying a home. Homeowners who are considering updating to a so-called “Smart Home” could be rewarded with resale value once Gen Z enters their collective mid-30s. Smart homes are trending and could go vertical with Gen Z buyers.

Generation X Returns From Great Recession

The housing crisis of 2007-09 put upwards of 10 million Americans out of their homes. Forced into foreclosure and bankruptcy, the financial aftermath of that catastrophe is coming to an end.

Those that filed for bankruptcy during the crash are in position to put their rebuilt credit to work. According to reports, approximately 1.5 million people could become eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2019.

A large portion of these potential returning homebuyers fall into the Gen X age group. They are likely to be savvier than the first time out. Many of these 50-somethings are expected to be frugal and cautious value buyers that could target properties that are traditionally considered starter homes. Regardless of how the trend plays out, Gen X is coming to a housing market near you.

If these emerging trends indicate anything, it’s that the shortage of homes on the market will only get tighter. Several large emerging demographics and returning buyers are going to speed an already fast-selling market. The trending idea may be to buy a home in today’s market and save money.

Your trusted real estate agent is sure to keep up to date on all the trends. Be sure to contact them as soon as you are ready to list your current home or find the new home of your dreams.

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Check Out This Great Next Gen Kitchen Technology

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 12th, 2018

Check Out This Great Next Gen Kitchen TechnologyThere’s perhaps no better indicator that we are living in the technology age than Smart gadgets infiltrating the kitchen. Whether they are little conveniences or big-ticket items, the chef in every home can benefit from the devices that help improve cooking, storage and food preparation. These are some of the next generation kitchen items that are making life a little easier and homes a tad more valuable.

Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge Provides Constant Contact

This big-ticket Samsung line has definitely taken refrigeration to the next level. It features a touchscreen that you can connect to with handheld devices to connect with your unit. One of the key features is that it enjoys an embedded camera and you can literally look at what is on your shelves while shopping for the evening meal. The days of being one ingredient short are over.

But beyond the shopping aid, the Family Hub lets you know when food is expiring, provides recipe suggestions, plays music and can utilize an Internet of Things method of ordering items for you. The Smart fridge has all the bells and whistles that can help improve your quality of life.

Smart Ovens Are Trending

Star Trek: Next Generation fans may recall Capt. Jean-Luc Picard ordering tea by simply saying “Earl Grey, hot.” The days of voice-activated meals may be closer than you think.

The latest lines of Smart ovens are integrating WiFi and connecting to recipe apps as well as that friendly home bot Alexa. Amazon reported that Alexa will be integrated into the kitchen and laundry room going forward. Several lines of Smart ovens on the market are already set up for tech-oriented homes. This Smart kitchen trend is likely to be popular with Millennial homebuyers who are flooding the real estate market.

Tech-Savvy Toaster Ovens Rule

The sometimes-forgotten toaster oven could be making a comeback in a huge way. Some of the new lines, such as Breville’s Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro could double for a full-sized unit. Reviews on the brand tout the device’s ability to cook a 13-inch pizza or 14-pound turkey.

But the next generation aspect of these Smart ovens are things such as the “air fry” capabilities. It also features 13 pre-programmable cooking options including dehydrate. Those college dorm room days of crumb-filled toaster ovens heating up pre-cooked frozen foods are last generation.

Futuristic PancakeBot Amazes

Tech buffs often see 3-D printers as the device that could make the largest difference in terms of machinery and even ending hunger. The 3-D technology has been put to use making amazing and artistic pancakes of all shapes and sizes. You simply program it with a computer image to create the pancake design you desire, pour in the batter and serve.

The next generation of Smart kitchens are shifting the way home cooks function. In terms of property values, integrating Smart technologies appear to be highly sought after and can be a difference-maker in home sales.

If high-tech kitchen gadgets are on your list of must-haves, be sure to let your trusted real estate agent know so they can help you find the right home for you.

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3 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Time House Hunting

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 11th, 2018

3 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Time House HuntingIn the ideal home-buying scenario, you’d have plenty of time to find the perfect home. However, this is not always possible. Maybe you are relocating for a job and have to buy a house from across the country. If this is the case, you might have to limit the time that you spend house hunting.

Here are some tips to help you make your search as productive as possible. 

Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval 

Before attending open houses and searching for a home, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will help you identify the exact price range that you should be shopping for. It will also let home sellers know that you are a serious buyer. If you are competing with other buyers, a seller will be more likely to take your offer seriously if they know that you can afford the home. 

Sometimes you’ll hear the terms pre-qualification and pre-approval thrown around interchangeably. However, these two terms are very different. A pre-approval is much more valuable when it comes to buying a home. Although you will have to provide a lot more information for a full pre-approval, this qualification will provide you with a specific loan amount that you are approved for.

A pre-qualification is just an estimate of the amount that you can afford based on your income and other factors. It is not as personalized or customized for your specific situation as a pre-approval. 

Find A Good Real Estate Agent 

Find a good real estate agent who is knowledgeable of the area that you want to buy in. Ideally, they have lived in the area for a long time and know the community. A good local agent can bring invaluable knowledge to the table about the city. They should be familiar with the homes in the area. They might even know about homes that aren’t on the market yet but will be soon. This knowledge can be invaluable when you are in a time crunch and want to get the most out of your house hunting time. 

Make A List Of Your Must-Have Amenities 

You don’t want to spend time looking at homes that won’t meet your needs. There are probably some things that you’d like to have in a house, as well as things that you must have. So, if you’re in a time crunch, the first thing you should do is make a must-have list. Make a second list of things that you’d like to have but that are not required. Don’t bother looking at homes that lack the qualities on your must-have list. 

Contact your trusted real estate agent to help with your home search today!

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Home Buying: Repair Requests After A Home Inspection

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 10th, 2018

Home Buying Repair Requests After A Home InspectionThe perfect home has been found, the one in the right neighborhood with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. The home inspection is complete, but a few issues have been found. At this point, a home buyer has decisions to make. 

What Repair Requests Can Be Made After a Home Inspection?

Structural defects found during a home inspection are the responsibility of the seller and must be fixed. In addition, Realtor.com states that the following must also be repaired by the seller:

  • Water penetration such as mold or wet basement/crawlspace
  • Any code and safety violations like unstable decking or missing handrails

Cosmetic issues like bold paint choices or peeling paint, nail holes, and other normal wear-and-tear are the responsibility of the buyer, not seller.

Additional Repairs to Request 

Home buyers do have the option of requesting repairs they believe are the seller’s responsibility. These often go beyond obvious structural issues like a sinking foundation or mold in the basement.

Additional repairs that home buyers may request include but are not limited to:

  • Replacing pipes with leaks
  • Replacing galvanized pipes due to lead contaminant, low water pressure, and leaks
  • Upgrading electrical wiring in a home built before 1960
  • Fixing cracked window(s)
  • Installing new HVAC and/or water heater

Sellers may be willing to replace old sewer lines known as “tar paper” pipes. These “tar paper” pipes are called Orangeburg sewer pipes and often found in older homes. On average, this older type of sewer pipe has a 50-year life span. However, as it ages, it can begin to disintegrate with tree roots penetrating the material. A home buyer can hire a plumbing professional who specializes in sewer pipes to inspect the system as part of the overall home inspection.

There may be additional issues that the seller is not required to fix, but that leave the buyer unhappy. When this happens, it can be possible for the buyer to request a repair credit be added to the final contract. Typically, this works best when the repair or issue has a potential cost of more than $500. 

Qualified Home Inspection

Repair requests made by the home buyer, whether major or minor, usually are more credible when done in conjunction with a qualified home inspection. Not every state requires home inspectors to have specific certifications or even licensing, so it’s essential to work with real estate agent to select a qualified professional. A qualified and independent home inspector is the buyer’s responsibility. This inspector should have established credentials and belong to trade association, versus a friend or family member that “knows houses”. 

Home buying can be an overwhelming experience, but knowing which repairs to request the seller to fix after the home inspection, is one less item to worry about. Your trusted real estate agent is available to discuss these issues and more to ensure a smooth home buying or selling experience.

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Surprising Things That Can Derail A Closing

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

Surprising Things That Can Derail A ClosingOnce you and the seller have negotiated an offer and you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you might think that you are in the clear as far as your closing goes. However, that is not always the case. Many surprising things can put a halt to closing. Some may ultimately stop the closing altogether while others could simply cause a delay.

Here are a few unexpected things that can derail a real estate closing:

A Job Promotion 

While you might know that changing employers is one way to interfere with the closing, another deal-breaker can be switching positions with your current employer. If you are a salaried employee and switch to a non-salary commission job, for instance, you could be looking at a problem when it comes to closing on a house.

Whenever you have any change in employment, even if it is with the same employer, most lenders will require a two-year history. A new job title could be a problem at closing — even if the new position pays more money. In some cases, the lender might not be able to include the income from your new job. If so, you could quickly end up not being qualified for the loan.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid any change in employment until after closing even if it is with the same company. Talk with your mortgage finance professional regarding your personal circumstances before making any employment changes.

Last-Minute Requests for Documents

It is easy to assume that lenders will already have all the documents that they need by closing, but that is not necessarily the case. Lenders can become overwhelmed with work, especially during a hot real estate market. Lenders will sometimes realize that they need more information last-minute.

They might ask for a canceled check, copies of your rental agreement, current pay stubs or other items. If you don’t have the documentation handy, it could cause your closing to be delayed or even completely canceled if you can’t produce the requested information.

To avoid this situation, make sure that you consistently communicate with your lender throughout the loan process. 

A Delayed Transfer 

You will most likely need cash at closing. If you are relying on your bank to transfer funds right before closing, then you might be shocked if the transfer falls through at the last minute. Bugs in the bank’s system or other issues could affect the transmission.

Therefore, make sure you time your transfer to reach you or your closing agent a couple of days before closing. 

Closing on a mortgage is something that you don’t want to derail. Avoiding the above mistakes will help ensure a hassle-free closing transaction. 

As always, remember that you can count on your trusted real estate professional to remain committed to your success throughout the entire home buying and/or selling process. 

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Getting Your Garage Ready To Stage

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 5th, 2018

Getting Your Garage Ready To StageIf you’ve decided to sell your home, you’ve probably paid a lot of attention to the inside of your home. You have likely cleaned and staged your living room, bedrooms and kitchen to perfection. If you were like most other homeowners, you might have forgotten to stage one of the most critical areas of your home — the garage.

Most home buyers want a perfectly organized garage stage. A clean, organized garage is more important than you might think when it comes to selling a home. In fact, the Active Spring Shopper’s Report found that more than 30 percent of home buyers said that the garage is one of most essential rooms in a home. That means that 3 out of 10 buyers would rank a garage higher on their list of priorities than say a beautiful kitchen or bathroom.

If your garage has become a grease-stained dumping ground, that is okay. There are still plenty of things that you can do to get it looking like the showroom of an auto dealer. Get your garage in top shape with these tips.  

Clear The Clutter

Garages tend to be the one place where you can throw everything to keep out of sight. Anything that you don’t have room for probably goes into the garage. As a result, you might have quite a bit of clutter in there. Start by taking everything out. Before putting anything back in the garage, sort it into piles. Make three piles — keep, donate and throw away. Next, sort items accordingly.

Clean Thoroughly

Clean the floor and walls thoroughly. Use a concrete degreaser and a large scrubbing brush. If your floors are still dingy after cleaning, consider painting your concrete with epoxy. Garage floor epoxies are specially designed for concrete and can make your garage floor look brand new. This detail can impress buyers.  

Organize

The last step is to organize the remaining items. Consider installing different types of shelving to expand your garage storage. Metal and wire shelving, storage benches and metal cabinets are all excellent storage ideas for a garage. Consider installing storage racks on the ceiling of your garage to use the space above.  

Your trusted real estate professional will have loads of tips to help you make your home presentable and appealing for buyers. Make sure to utilize this valuable resource.

 

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Working From Home: 5 Best Tips To Make It Work

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 3rd, 2018

Working From Home 5 Best Tips To Make It WorkCarving out space for a home office isn’t always easy, but if you have the option to work from home even part of the time, it’s essential to have a space that works for you.

Here are 5 great ways to meet those needs:

Adapt A Closet

A guest room closet with bi-fold doors can become a perfect workspace with the addition of a shelf at the proper height to hold a computer or calculator and proper task lighting. Hang a bulletin board or add open shelving on the back wall. Multiply the functionality with a small cabinet or a portable file rack. The advantage of going to work in a closet is that you can close it off completely without having to do a daily cleanup. 

Grab A Corner From Living Room or Bedroom

Tuck a table desk into a corner of the living room or bedroom, assuming that you can work during the day when others aren’t sleeping or actively “living” in the space. Small table desks serve a variety of purposes, from serving snacks to displaying artwork, and are perfectly adaptable as work space, with a minimum of effort. All you really need is a good lamp and a nearby electrical plug in order to create an office. 

Claim Space In A Wide Hallway

With a space as narrow as about 30 inches and minimal depth, it’s possible to set up a small tabletop and chair to serve your needs for making phone calls, organizing schedules or planning appointments. It may not be ideal, but if space is at a premium it can be functional for short bursts of work at home.

Look For Multi-Purpose Furniture

A home office can exist in a den or dining room that has either a credenza or a tall cabinet with doors. Think about your needs, and seek out furniture that will fill the bill. Traditional period “secretaries” with closed door storage and a fold-down desktop are perfect, but even ramshackle armoires can be repurposed as office cabinets. 

Look For Unused Space

If you have a mostly empty storage room, even if it’s located in the garage, clean it out and clean it up. Add proper lighting, and even a portable heater or air conditioner. Brighten the space with fresh paint and an area rug, find second-hand furniture at garage sales or estate sales, and get creative with accessories. 

Be Aware Of Your Needs

There are two primary requirements for a home workspace, no matter what kind of work you do: storage space for the tools, supplies, files and accessories that you need; and privacy. It’s nice to be able to close the door on your work and “go home,” so the more insulated your home office is from other family activities, the more efficient it will be. Even if space is minimal, it can work for you!

If you are looking for a new home and a home workspace is ideal, be sure to tell your real estate agent that this is on the priority list!

 

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