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What Are the Experts Saying About Future Home Prices?

A worldwide pandemic and an economic recession have had a tremendous effect on the nation. The uncertainty brought about by both has made predicting consumer behavior nearly impossible. For that reason, forecasting home prices has become extremely difficult.
Normally, there’s a simple formula to determine the future price of any item: calculate the supply of that item in ratio to the demand for that item. In housing right now, demand far exceeds supply. Mortgage applications to buy a home just rose to the highest level in 11 years while inventory of homes for sale is at (or near) an all-time low. That would usually indicate strong appreciation for home values as we move throughout the year. Many experts, however, are not convinced the current rush of purchasers is sustainable. Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Haus, explained in their June 2020 Hausing Market Forecast why there is concern: The upswing that we’ll see this summer is a result of pent-up demand from homebuyers and supply-in-progress from homebuilders that has simply been pushed off a few months. However, after this pent-up demand goes away, the true economic scarring due to the pandemic will begin to affect the housing market as the tide of pent-up demand goes out.” The virus and other challenges currently impacting the industry have created a wide range of thoughts regarding the future of home prices. Here’s a list of analysts and their projections, from the lowest depreciation to the highest appreciation: CoreLogic: Year-Over-Year decline of -1.5% Haus: Year-Over-Year decline of -1% Zillow: Year-Over-Year change is forecasted to bottom out at -0.7%. Home Price Expectation Survey: Decline of -0.3% in 2020 Fannie Mae: Increase of 0.4% in 2020 Freddie Mac: Increase of 2.3% in 2020 Zelman & Associates: Increase of 3.0% in 2020 National Association of Realtors: Increase of 3.8% in 2020 Mortgage Bankers Association: Increase of 4.0% in 2020 We can garner two important points from this list: There is no real consensus among the experts. No one projects prices to crash like they did in 2008. Bottom Line
Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, know that home prices will not change dramatically this year, even with all of the uncertainty we’ve faced in 2020.

Consider This: When to Refinance

Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones. -- Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner. --Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate. --Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner. --Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases. --Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost. #refinance #refinancing #whentorefinance #homesmarts #whosyourrealtor #rosevillerealtor #bossmom

Which Downpayment Strategy is Right For You?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders. But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available. THE DOWNSIDE-- The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search. THE UPSIDE -- The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities. WANT TO LEARN MORE? You might still have questions about the best way to structure your home loan. I can help! I know several qualified mortgage lenders who will be happy to discuss your options with you. Simply contact me, and I'll put you in touch with a pro I trust! Photo credit: Sabine Peters

TAKE 5: What to Negotiate When Buying a House

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home? Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home. Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims. Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

What to Repair When You're Thinking of Listing

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home. Repaint walls Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat. I can help you pick the perfect colors to appeal to buyers AND help you find a painter to do the work! Repair floors Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new! Refresh the landscaping Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel. Stuck on ideas? Read my blog post on easy DIY landscaping ideas. Fix your fixtures Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment #NowIsTheTimeToSell #DIY #ICanHelp

Easy DIY Landscaping to Up Your Game

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever I do, my favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up my landscaping features. Whether it's as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are my top five easy landscaping projects! Create a pathway. To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color. Add a wall or border. Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard. Plant upwards. Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting! Install a water feature. Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond. Light your way. An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants. #SpringFever #SoPinteresting #GardeningMakesMeHappy

Is it Time to Upsize?

Unfortunately, our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof. Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution. WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE? The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings. MOVING OUTWARD If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

7 tips on how to get your home ready to sell

So you've decided to sell you home. Now what?! Getting your home ready to go on the market can seem like a daunting task. Breaking it down into these bite-sized chunks will help you feel less overwhelmed, and help you set your timeline. 1. Declutter. You want your home to shine through, and buyer might have trouble seeing past your knick-knacks to see the features that they will love about your home. Pack away most of the items on your shelves, leaving a few pieces of decor to keep it warm. It's ok to have a few pictures of your family - it makes the house feel homey. 2. Fix it up. That broken light switch you've been meaning to fix...the dripping faucet...the squeaky hinge. The devil is in the details. Buyers will notice the little things, so it's best to take care of them now and have your home ready to make a great first impression. 3. Stage your rooms. Have you been using your living room as a play room? When you're selling your house, you want to make sure that the buyers can visualize the spaces in a way that they will use them. It's important to stage rooms as they were intended to be used. Furniture placement is important, too! Never block features like fireplaces or windows with furniture. Try moving lamps or side tables to create a fresh feel - you'll love the way it looks, and so will buyers. 4. Deep Clean. A good deep cleaning can make your home sparkle and let potential buyers know that you have meticulously cared for your house. Clean grout, baseboards and window tracks will leave a lasting impression. 5. Curb Appeal. Make sure your yard is in tip top shape before you go on the market. This is a great time to plant seasonal flowers, put flower pots on your front porch and put down new mulch. Hardy herbs like rosemary and lavender are easy to grow, and are welcoming. 6. Final Walk Through. After you've decluttered, fixed up, cleaned and staged your home, go to each room and look at it as if you were a potential buyer. It helps to have a friend do the same - they might have new ideas to make your home look it's best. 7. Consult with a Realtor®. Now that you're ready to go on the market, it's time to find a Realtor®. Interview several Realtors® to see who is a good match for you. Communication and promptness are a good indicator of how an agent will work for you. It's all about relationships, so make sure it feels right. This is a good time to ask what improvements can increase the value of your home. Sometimes a small facelift can have a big impact. Make sure your Realtor® has a solid marketing plan that includes professional photography and open houses. #renovation #sellyourhome

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©2019 by Valerie Gross with HomeSmart.