Gardner Report 2017

We continue to hear that the housing market is unbalanced—that there are more buyers than sellers.  There is no single reason for the situation we are in today. Rather, the situation has developed this way because of several combined factors that suggest that the market will not return to equilibrium any time soon. Although this varies widely by location and price range, here are some reasons that this might be happening.

Reason #1: Demographics.
The first reason for the shortfall is purely demographic. As “Boomers” age, they are not following the trends of previous generations. Many are staying in the workforce far longer than their predecessors, and because of their postponed retirement, they don’t feel compelled to downsize their living situation. In fact, almost two-thirds of Boomers plan to age in place and do not plan to move even after retirement. Without this anticipated supply of homes from downsizing Boomers, there aren’t enough homes for move-up buyers. This limits the supply of homes for first-time buyers.

Reason #2: We don’t move as often as we used to.
As an overall nation, people aren’t moving as often. After experts have analyzed mobility, it’s clear that people aren’t required to relocate as frequently for work that matches their skillset.  Because there has been a drop in geographic-specific jobs, are simply moving with less frequency.

Reason #3: Builders aren’t building as many homes.
Many builders are not building as many homes as they were in the past, because of three main factors: land supply/regulation, labor, and materials. The costs related to building a home have risen rapidly since the Great Recession, and this is keeping many builders from building to their potential. In addition, to justify the additional costs, many of the homes that are being built are larger and more expensive, which makes it difficult for many first-time home buyers that cannot afford the price of a newly constructed home.

So, what should you do in this kind of market?  My advice is to focus on what works for your specific needs and if you want to explore what your options are, give me a call. I’m always up for a discussion about which approach might be right for you.

**Content an excerpt from blog posted 8/2017 by Mathew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate

Posted on October 2, 2017 at 11:02 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Mortgage Insurance–what am I insured against?

If you’re in the process of purchasing a new home, on your bank paperwork, you may have noticed something called “mortgage insurance.” Not sure what it is? There are several different types of insurance that homeowners should be familiar with. Here, I will explain the basics.

Title insurance:
Title insurance from the seller comes from the title company. It protects home owners and lenders from damage or property loss that may happen because of liens or other defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, exclusions, and conditions.

Homeowner’s insurance:
Homeowner’s insurance/hazard insurance/fire insurance is a policy issued from an insurance company and it protects your property as well as the contents and possessions inside. It also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.  At closing, homeowners will pay for the first year’s policy in full.

Mortgage insurance:
This type of insurance is not a benefit to a homebuyer. When a lender provides a loan and the buyer puts less than 20% down on the purchase, the lender takes a bigger risk. If the buyer ends up defaulting on the loan and they don’t have much “skin” in the game, it’s possible that the lender won’t cover their loan amount when it comes time to liquidate the property. This cost can be paid within your monthly mortgage payment or up front and it will cover the lender’s loss if something were to happen. For some types of loans, particularly FHA loans, the premium will last for the life of the loan, even though your equity position might get you above the 20% mark. Conventional financing will typically have a provision for mortgage insurance that can be removed once the homeowner has 20% equity in the home.

Buying a home requires many different steps and there is a lot of research that is required. The insurance process can be complex and sometimes confusing, especially if you haven’t gone through the home buying process before, and that’s one of the many reasons why it is important to work with a well-qualified, experienced, hands-on Realtor. If you have questions about it, I’m happy to sit down and talk with you about any questions you may have!

Posted on September 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is the other agent looking for in a potential buyer/seller?

Buying and selling a home is a process that some people just do once or twice in a lifetime, so oftentimes it feels unfamiliar and awkward. Having an experienced real estate agent that can walk you through the various steps is so helpful. Listing agents want buyers to have specific things when it comes to purchasing a home. Buyers agents want sellers to have specific things, too. Here’s what they are:

Listing agents generally want the potential buyer to have the following:

  1. A competent agent.
    Listing agents generally want to work with a knowledgeable agent that is experienced in managing contingencies and is ethical throughout the process, especially when there are multiple offers on a property involved.
  2. A pre-approval letter.
    Going house shopping without a pre-approval letter showing what home price you’re qualified to shop for, is a time drain for everyone involved. Before shopping for a home, buyers should have a pre-approval letter from their lender that has credit, assets, and income verified. That gives agents parameters on what homes are within the buyer’s range.
  3. Reasonable expectations.
    Buyers have many ideas on what they want their next home to look like, but those expectations need to be realistic. In other words, buyers need to have reasonable expectations of house conditions based on the age of the home.

Buyers agents generally want the seller to have the following:

  1. A knowledgeable, competent agent.
    Working with another agent who has experience in using the right forms and standard processes is important, and working with another agent that is ethical is also key. In today’s market, there are often multiple offers on homes and working with someone who follows ethical guidelines in those situations especially is important.
  2. Empathy and realistic expectations.
    Sellers want to sell their home, but it’s important to keep in mind that buyers are facing a lot of stress in the process trying to find a home. Buyers agents appreciate sellers that have empathy for what buyers are facing in a low-inventory market. In addition, sellers that have realistic expectations of what types of repairs a buyer will ask for as a result of the home inspection is also important to making the selling process go smooth.
  3. Resources and information.
    Sellers should be proactive about finding reputable, licensed contractors to get repairs done quickly and efficiently, the first time. This will help the selling process go a lot smoother. In addition, sellers should stay informed about the closing process and stay on top of getting their paperwork in order so there are no unnecessary delays.

Buying a home or selling one can be an exciting, but overwhelming time in your life. No matter what position you’re in, you and your Realtor should be able to work well together on whatever steps are coming next. If you’re looking for a Realtor to help make your home sale or home purchase a reality, contact me today.

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Homebuying Processs

Buying a home is an incredibly exciting time! It also involves a lot of details and it can be a little overwhelming at times – especially if this is your first time buying a house! To make things a little easier, here are some tips and information that you should keep in mind when it comes to making one of the biggest purchases in your lifetime.    

#1:  Don't change your financial position.
 When you’re buying a home, it’s important to keep your financial position steady. Don’t quit your job and try to find something new.  Also, it’s not a great time to become self-employed, where your income could become unstable. In addition, be sure that you keep the money that you have set aside for closing costs in a place where it will not be spent. Wait to make big financial changes after you have closed on the home and have moved in.

#2:  Don't change your credit position.
Having good credit is a big part of securing your loan and moving into the final stages of closing. Don’t buy a car, truck, furniture, boat, or motorcycle during the process of buying a home and be careful that you don’t max out your credit cards, apply for new ones, or fall behind in your payments on cards that you already have open. Don’t be lured into those “90 days same as cash” deals, either. That will show up on your credit report as well. Making these types of mistakes can cost you time and could be detrimental to the overall process of buying a home. 

#3:  Don't change your bank accounts.
This may not sound like a big deal, but changing your bank accounts or making large deposits could throw a kink in things. Before you do this, check with your loan officer.

#4: Be ready to provide a lot of information.
Get ready to provide a lot of personal paperwork and have any forms completed in a very specific timeframe. Federal guidelines have changed a bit and there are new deadlines that have to be strictly adhered to. Don’t worry, your loan officer and your Realtor will walk you through every step so you know exactly what’s needed and at what time.

#5: And of course, be honest and open.
Don’t omit debts or liabilities from your loan application. Now is the time to be very clear, not withholding facts that could help expedite the loan process.

Most importantly, try not to stress. It’s normal to be overwhelmed at points in the process and feel doubt how things are going. So, when in doubt, call your Realtor or loan officer, but try not to blame us for the rules – we didn’t make them up! We are glad to help you through the many steps and make sure you come away from this happy and excited to be in your new home!

Tips Provided by Nancy Johns, Blog Written by Brooke Strickland (brookestrickland.org)

Posted on December 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How To Avoid Home Buyer’s Remorse


At some point in your life, it’s common to feel some kind of buyer’s remorse. Whether it’s a small item at the store that you bought on an impulse or a car that you bought that you wish you wouldn’t have spent so much money on, there is likely something that has made you want to go back and return it or change the situation somehow. Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime, so when you go into it, keep in mind some simple things that will help you avoid having buyer’s remorse. Once you sign on the dotted line to become a homeowner, be sure that you’ll feel excitement….not remorse!

Tip #1: Find a realtor that is focused on your needs and wants.
When you’re searching for a home, work with a Realtor that understands your “must haves” and “would likes” so you know that he/she has your best interest in mind. If your agent doesn’t have a clear idea of what it is you need or want in a home, you’ll waste time and likely end up feeling frustrated. On the flipside, remember that homes on the market now are moving very quickly and you have to be ready to make a decision. Know what you want from the get go and know what you can spend. Get prequalified right away so you know the financial portion of the home buying process.

Tip #2: Don’t compromise on your core requirements.
Keep your core requirements at the core! It’s easy to find a house that “almost” fits the bill, but if it doesn’t have the core of what you need, keep shopping. For example, if you know you need at least 2 bathrooms but the one you really liked had just one, don’t settle. In addition, don’t let your spouse or another family member try to talk you into a home that doesn’t have everything you’re looking for.

Tip #3: Remember that your wish list is just a wish list.
While core requirements can’t be compromised, be sure that there are things that you can compromise on. For instance, if you know you don’t need a formal dining room, but it’s on your wish list as something that you’d like if possible, remember that it’s not a necessary requirement. Know what you can live without when you are going through the home buying process.

Tip #4: Don’t let the excitement get to you.
The market today is hot – and that means that if you find a home that you love, you’ll have to act quickly. But don’t let the excitement or stress of getting an offer on the table get to you. Getting caught up in the heat of the moment – whether it’s in a bidding war on a home or just trying to get the details wrapped up in a timely fashion, remember to sit back and take a deep breath.

Posted on September 14, 2015 at 7:27 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Continued: 4 Housing Trends for 2015

File:WE PRR Master Suite4 (8310448375).jpg
My most recent blog series covers some of the top trends predicted for 2015. This week, I’ll be covering 4 more things that home buyers can expect to see in homes on the market.

  1. Charging stations.
    Our society is one that is completely technology-minded and technology-dependent. Home buyers today can expect that there will be plenty of areas for people to set their electronic devices down and charge them when needed, so much so that there will be dedicated space for charging stations. The most popular locations will be home office spaces, as well as kitchen corners, garage areas, and mud rooms.
     
  2. Multiple masters.
    What’s better than one master suite? How about two. This is predicted to be a popular trend in 2015, which makes homes work better for families with multiple generations living under one roof. Master suites that have adjoining bathrooms are great for families that have aging parents living with them or those that often have out-of-town guests.
     
  3. Storage space.
    Every home owner wants ample storage space. The trend for 2015 is leaning toward large spaces such as a butler’s pantry with an area for prep or even completely separate rooms for wrapping gifts or crafting.
     
  4. No keys? No problem.
    Do you lose your keys on a regular basis? Then a keyless entry might be a perfect answer for you. Many builders today are switching to keyless entry systems, which can allow people to open their homes with fingerprint door locking systems. This creates not only convenience simply because no keys are required, but it also provides an added safety feature because only those with saved fingerprints in the database can enter the home.

Home trends are interesting to watch, but be mindful of what your budget is and what things are “musts” rather than just “wants” in a home.

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Housing Trends for 2015


Are you a home owner that is always up to date on the latest trends in home design? There are a lot of hot housing trends for 2015 that are already proving to be unique in helping homes stand out from each other. Experts predict that there are going to be a variety of trends happening this year, so in the next series of blogs, we will cover what some of these are.

  1. Hello, open living!
    Well, it’s no secret that open floor plans are very desirable, but home buyers entering the housing market are predicted to demand even greater amounts of open spaces, even in traditional condo buildings or small suburban starter-homes. For homeowners that already own a home and are looking for ways to make their spaces feel even more open and brighter, consider adding additional windows or skylights to tie the inside and outside together.
     
  2. It’s tub time.
    For many people, a nice soaking tub in the bathroom is a must-have item, and it’s looking like 2015 is proving this fact. Freestanding tubs are becoming a popular item in home design this year and it’s likely that freestanding decadent tubs will make a prominent appearance and push the traditional shower/tub combination to the back burner.  
     
  3. Burn, burn, burn!
    Fireplaces and fire pits are all the rage in home design today. There is just something comforting and romantic about sitting around a fire, whether it’s with a fireplace inside the home or a fire pit outside. Fireplace design that you will generally see this year will be more compact with fewer venting concerns.
     
  4. Posh Porcelain.
    If you want to step outside the box of carpet or traditional hardwood, porcelain floors are becoming a unique option. It is relatively inexpensive and can be found in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes including small tiles or long and linear planks. Surprisingly, this type of flooring wears very well, so the most common places you’ll see porcelain floors are in hallways or other high traffic rooms.

     

    Trends like these are fun to follow, but it is important to remember that even though you may love the idea of following along, it may not be the right move for your overall home’s style or your budget. Consider what ideas will work well for your home and how it can enhance the space.

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Home Remodeling Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,