5 Reasons to Sell This Summer

As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream homes. The summer is a great time to list your home for sale. Here are five reasons why:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae just announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace by late summer. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase by nearly a full percentage point in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

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How to Use a Home Decor Theme In a Room

Not sure how to use a home decor theme in a room? No worries, it’s easy to use a theme to add personality into a space…the hardest part is deciding what theme to show off.

Home owners have so many themes to choose from. Whether you take a cue from a location, design style, season, or even a beloved kid’s character there are five tips you should follow when working a theme into your home decor.

Home Decor Theme Rule #1: Work with color.

One of the easiest ways to bring a theme’s feeling into your home is through color. Take a beach theme for example, the palette echoes the colors of nature: big sky blues, earthy browns, sea kelp greens and turquoise waters. Through the simple use of paint, you can set the stage for other beach touches throughout the home.

Home Decor Theme Rule #2: Use artwork.

Displaying artwork is an excellent way to set a mood in a home based on a theme. The artwork can be literal or even abstract to add personality into the room. You can find originals, as well as more affordable prints and posters to grab a buyer or guests eye. Just check out the two images being used in this lemonade inspired dining room used below. You can use artwork that describes a lemon tree or a painting that uses the colors to inspire the mind.

Home Decor Theme Rule #3: Have a focal point.

A theme should be developed around one specific piece you love or that represents the home’s lifestyle. Think about the pieces in the room and how they will adapt to your theme. Start with one thing then grow the theme from that if you want to add a travel theme start with a map and find weathered, authentic pieces that support the theme. Take your time and check out various outlets including furniture stores, yard sales and antique stores to spot that special piece that will bring your theme to life.

Home Decor Theme Rule #4: Use small pieces for a big impact.

You don’t need a lot of space or a huge budget to pull off a theme. You can change out throw pillows, table accessories, rugs or even knobs to add to your theme’s personality. Sometimes little touches can have a bigger impact than an overall transformation.

Home Decor Theme Rule #5: Add decor that’s natural and authentic to the theme.

Keep your eye out for materials that are natural to your theme and use pieces that are authentic. By using natural elements in a home it will create a warm and welcoming feel into the space. For generations humans love the natural and organic appeal of elements that make them feel calm, at peace, and above all, welcomed home.

What home decor themes have you used in a home?

Single Women Make Up 2nd Largest Home Buying Group

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, single women made up 18% of all first-time homebuyers last year, second only to married couples who made up 54% of total buyers.

Whether they are young, single and no longer want to rent, or newly divorced, the amount of single women becoming homeowners greatly outnumbers single males (11%). Asurvey of recent home buyers revealed some interesting trends about this rapidly growing group:

  • Average Age: 32 years old
  • Average Income: $49,400
  • Single women are more likely to become preapproved for a mortgage in order to know their budget at the beginning of the home buying process and to be able to make a move if they find their dream home.
  • Many female homebuyers think long-term when considering buying a home, often considering what amenities they may need in the near future.

“So what do women like best about homeownership? They believe that they are investing in their future by building equity and financial security. They are also very happy to no longer be paying their landlord’s mortgage payment. Being independent and having control over their environment is a key factor.”

It appears that it is not marriage before mortgage any longer, for either gender. As we reported yesterday, unmarried couples make up 13% of buyers, while single males account for 11%.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been your dream, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if your dream can become a reality sooner than you think.

US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index,homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting. The results from the first quarter index showed that “16 of the 23 metropolitan markets investigated moved in the direction of buy territory.”

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question: 

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

“The U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of home ownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”

The latest results were released shortly after the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices had climbed 5.4% nationally since March 2015.

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

“This [growth] appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds.”

Dallas and Denver are two of the major cities that continued to move deeper into rent territory, but they moved at a slower rate than they had in previous quarters. Johnson believes that, in these two markets, “strong economic support…should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on theNational Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first time buyer:

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Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home. Meet with a local real estate professional today who can help determine if your dream home is within your grasp.

Parent Investors

San Fransisco Bay-area couple Kate and Dale never expected to be landlords. But that’s exactly what happened when they decided to buy a three-bedroom townhouse for their daughter in her sophomore year at University of Washington in Seattle.

“Some of the campus housing we saw was horrible, and it was expensive, too,” says Kate. “We decided we could create a safe, good quality home for her and we thought it would be a good investment on top of it.”

Kate and Dale represent a new trend in the already-popular college town real estate market: they’re called “parent investors,” a savvy group of homebuyers who are opting to purchase a house in their kids’ college town instead of spending money on rent or dorm fees. A new survey from Coldwell Banker found that 64 percent of its real estate agents are seeing a “significant number” of parents investing in homes for their kids to live in while attending university.

“Interest in college towns is always going to be high, especially for people who once went to school there — and people are seeing value in this investment,” says Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker.

The lure of college real estate appears to be recession-proof. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they see a significant number of investors buying homes near campus and renting them out despite the economic downturn, with only 21 percent seeing a decrease in this trend over the past five years.

For Kate and Dale, the investment didn’t exactly pay off in spades. The $520,000 townhouse they bought three years ago has dropped in value, so they’ve decided to hold on to the property for a few more years until the market turns around. (Their daughter Sarah has since graduated and moved out.) Still, Kate says the decision to buy a home saved her a lot of unnecessary worry. They installed a security system, it was close to campus and two roommates helped to pay the mortgage.

“The rent in some of these college towns is so high and in my mind, I’d rather pay myself rent,” she says.

Costs are a big factor: Room and board fees for 2010-2011 have seen a 4.6 percent jump at a public four-year state universities and a nearly 4 percent rise for private nonprofit universities, the College Board reports.

But not all college towns are as pricey as Seattle. Coldwell’s college home listing report provides the average home listing price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom properties for sale in markets home to the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The listing finds that nearly two-thirds of the college town markets have an average home listing price of less than $250,000.

Topping the most-affordable list is Muncie, Indiana — home to Ball State University – where the average home listing price is $105, 115. (By contrast, Stanford University’s Palo Alto, California is the most expensive college town market, with an average home listing price of $1,385,652.)

And college towns aren’t just for investors: Fifty-one percent of the survey respondents noted they’re seeing a lot of alumni homebuyers, and 49 percent see a significant number of retirees moving to their college town.

Gillespie is one of them. Last September he bought a 3-bedroom townhouse for $120,000 in Champaigne, Illinois to be near his alma matter, the University of Illinois. He travels from his home in New Jersey to Champaigne about six times a year, often to cheer on the Illinois Fighting Illini. He says the value of his home has already increased, and it will likely serve as his retirement home some day.

Besides the sporting events, college towns have plenty to offer in terms of culture, restaurants, medical facilities and a robust economy, Gillespie says.

“This is quintessential America. People have a special spot in their hearts for these places,” he says. “Some of the best times of their lives were spent in college.”