The start of a new year always compels people to take a fresh look at their goals, from health and career to relationships and finance. But with historically low mortgage rates, increased home sales and price growth, and a tight housing inventory, the time is right to also make some homeownership resolutions for 2021.

Home buyers, is this the year you work to improve your credit score, pay down some debt, or save for a down payment for a primary residence, second or vacation home?

Home sellers, I have laid out plans for you to get top dollar for your property, including timing your home sale, making your property stand out from the crowd, and investing in your extra living space.

And even if you’re staying put for awhile, homeowners, you can resolve to improve your status quo by evaluating your home budget, finalizing your home maintenance schedule, or maybe investing in a second property (in Mammoth Lakes perhaps?).

So no matter your homeownership status, I have some ideas and advice for you to make this year your best one yet. Read on to learn more.

HOME BUYERS

Resolution #1: Qualify for a better mortgage with a higher credit score.

Your credit report highlights your current debt, bill-paying history, and other key financial information. Importantly for your home-buying journey, it is also used by lenders and companies to calculate your credit score, which partly determines if you are qualified to obtain a mortgage. Therefore, before you start house-hunting, make sure your finances are in the best possible shape by checking your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (via AnnualCreditReport.com). You can also obtain your credit score for free from some banks and credit card companies.

Your credit score will be a number ranging from 300-850.1 Generally speaking, a credit score of 740 or higher is considered very good to excellent.2 If your FICO score drops below 740, you might need to work at boosting your score for a few months before you begin house-hunting. Ways to do this are to pay your bills on time every month, keep your credit card balances low, and avoid applying for new credit.

Resolution #2: Improve your credit health by paying down debt.

Do you have student loans, credit card debt, or car payments tying up your income each month? That debt is hurting your “buying power,” or the amount of home you can afford. Not only is it money that you can’t spend on your new home, but your debt-to-income ratio also affects your credit score, which we discussed above. The less debt you have, the higher your FICO score and the better mortgage you can obtain.

If you can, pay off some debt in its entiretylike a low balance on a credit card. Then apply that “extra” money you previously paid on that credit card to pay off bigger debt, like a car loan. Even if you can’t pay off all (or any) of your debt in full, reducing the balances of each account will help you qualify for the best possible mortgage terms.

Resolution #3: Create a financial safety net before applying for a mortgage.

Don’t forget that buying a home requires some cash as well. A down payment is typically 10% of a home’s purchase price (more for a second/vacation home), and closing costs currently average $3,700.3,4 You’ll also need money for moving expenses and any initial maintenance tasks that might pop up. And as the pandemic taught us, you never know when an unforeseen event might cause a job loss, drop in income, or health scare, so having some liquid savings will ensure that you can still pay your mortgage if a crisis occurs.

Dedicate some effort to building up your reserves. Cut down on unnecessary expenses, and consider having a portion of each paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account to avoid the temptation to spend it.

HOME SELLERS

Resolution #4: Decide on the right time to sell your home.

If you’re looking to maximize profit on the sale of your home, selling earlier in the year makes sense. Across the country, listing prices historically increase early in the year, peak in May, plateau through June, and decrease for the remainder of the year.5 And, according to the National Association of Realtors, “with both mortgage rates and the number of homes available for sale expected to remain relatively low, home prices are likely to continue to increase. In mid-January, home prices typically begin a quick ramp-up in a normal year.”5

But sales price isn’t the only thing to consider. You might not be ready to sell your home yet because you don’t want to uproot your kids during the school year or because you need to tackle some minor upgrades before placing your home on the market.

This means that there is no one month or season that is the perfect time to sell your home. Instead, the right timeline for you takes into account factors such as when you’ll earn the highest profit, personal convenience, and whether your home is even ready to put on the market. A trusted real estate professional can talk you through your specific needs to clarify when to sell your home.

Resolution #5: Boost your home’s resale value by making your property shine.

Housing inventory is at historic lows across the country, and that means the market is fiercely competitive.6 Selling your home in 2021 has the potential to net you a huge return right now, and you can maximize that amount with some simple fixes to make sure your property outshines your neighbors’ for sale down the street.

In your home, you might need to tackle a minor remodeling project, such as upgrading the flooring or adding a fresh coat of paint. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, simply refinishing existing hardwood floors recoups 100% of the cost at resale, and completely replacing it with new wood flooring recovers 106% of costs.7

Outside, you might consider improving your curb appeal by removing a dead bush, trimming a tree that blocks the front window, or power-washing your moldy driveway and sidewalks. In fact, real estate agents say cleaning the exterior of your house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to a home’s sale price.8 And according to a Virginia Tech study, improving a home’s landscaping may increase its value by 10 to 12%.9

A good agent should provide custom-tailored suggestions to ensure your property pops inside and out. Ask me about our local insider secrets that will make your home stand out from others on the market.

Resolution #6: Invest in your “extra” living space to meet current buyers’ needs.

Due to COVID-19, more people are staying at home to work, go to school, exercise, and stay entertained. And these lifestyle changes are showing up in home buyer preferences. For example, according to one study, buyers are looking more and more for homes with formal, outfitted home offices, private outdoor spaces, and updated kitchen appliances.10

So if you’ve got an underutilized room, consider turning it into an office, home gym, schoolroom, or multi-purpose room to meet current home buyer needs and attract better offers on your home. Got some underwhelming space outside? You could turn it into an outdoor entertainment area by adding a firepit, upgrading the patio furniture, or installing a grilling area. Be sure to consult with a local real estate professional before investing in a renovation, however, as each market’s buyers have different tastes.

HOMEOWNERS

Resolution #7: Evaluate your household budget to reflect financial changes.

After this past year, in particular, your financial picture may have changed. Maybe you were furloughed, had your hours reduced, or got a new job further from home. Perhaps you’ve kept the same job, but you’re now working remotely. A work-from-home arrangement could mean less money spent on gas, tolls, a professional wardrobe, and dining out for lunch.

But this could also mean new (or increased) expenses now that you’re working at home, such as new tech-related purchases, faster Wi-Fi, and higher energy bills. January marks the perfect opportunity to update your income and expenses and review last year’s spending habits, tweaking as needed for 2021.

For more specific ideas, contact me for my free report “20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget.”

Resolution #8: Save money now (and earn more later) with a home maintenance plan.

Having a schedule of regular home maintenance projects to tackle will save you money now and in the long-term. You’ll avoid some surprise “emergency fixes,” and when you’re ready to eventually sell your home, you’ll get higher offers from buyers who aren’t put off by overdue repairs.

Even if nothing necessarily needs fixing right now, you can lower your energy costs by maintaining and upgrading your home.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simple fixes add up: replace five most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR ones to save $75/year; repair leaky faucets to save $35/year; replace older toilets with low-flow models to save $100/year; and seal air leaks to save $83-$166/year.11

For a breakdown of home maintenance projects to tackle throughout the year, contact me for your free report “House Care Calendar: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home.”

Resolution #9: Invest in real estate for a better standard of living.

Even if you don’t plan on leaving your current residence, real estate is a great way to improve your quality of life in 2021.

Have cabin fever from the long quarantine? A vacation home in a getaway location you love lets you safely spread your wings. And if you have been looking for a second stream of income, an investment property might be your answer. Just be sure to consult with a real estate professional to get a realistic sense of a property’s true income potential.

Want more information on how a second property fits into your 2021 plans? Request my free report, “Move Up vs Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?”

LET ME HELP YOU WITH YOUR 2021 GOALS

Without a plan and a support system, 55% of Americans will break their new year’s resolutions.12 Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or stay put in your home, it helps to connect with a trusted real estate agent to keep you motivated and on track.

As local market experts, I have the knowledge, experience, and networks to help you achieve your homeownership goals, whatever they may be. Reach out to me today for a free consultation and commit to a happy and prosperous new year.

Sources:

  1. USA.gov –
    https://www.usa.gov/credit-report
  2. Equifax –
    https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/score/what-is-a-good-credit-score/
  3. NerdWallet –
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/the-20-mortgage-down-payment-is-dead
  4. Zillow –
    https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/closing-costs/
  5. Realtor.com –
    https://www.realtor.com/research/we-should-be-in-a-buyers-market-right-now-but-covid-turned-everything-upside-down-best-time-to-buy-a-home
  6. Business Insider –
    https://www.businessinsider.com/how-2020-broke-the-housing-market-inventory-could-run-out-2020-9
  7. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-remodeling-impact-10-03-2019.pdf
  8. House Logic –
    https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  9. Virginia Cooperative Extension –
    https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-087/426-087.pdf
  10. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/top-agent-insights-for-q2-2020/
  11. U.S. Department of Energy –
    https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/how-much-can-you-really-save-energy-efficient-improvements
  12. Ipsos –
    https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/urban-plates-ipsos-NY-Resolutions

Whether you’re buying a second home while you rent out your first home or you’ve decided to invest in a vacation home in Mammoth Lakes, the financing can look a bit different. Thinking through these four questions will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

1. Do you have plenty of cash reserves?

When you get into second home buying, underwriters will want to see significant cash reserves before they approve the loan. Sometimes they’ll want to see enough in reserve to cover six months of payments on both properties. And if you’re not buying with all cash, you’ll probably have to do a 25-30% down payment rather than the standard 20% for first/primary homes.

2. Is your debt-to-income ratio low?

Debt isn’t a bad thing, but most lenders will want to see a modest debt-to-income ratio — ideally between 36 and 42 percent. If the second home you’re buying will produce rental income, your chance of getting approved is higher.

3. Are you prepared to pay higher interest rates?

Second mortgages are considered more risky, so lenders tend to charge higher interest rates. Banks will also be looking at your cash reserves to see if you can pay for maintenance in addition to the new mortgage. Add in higher interest rates and your second home is likely to be quite a bit more expensive than your first home.

4. Are you ready for the additional costs?

We’re not done quite yet — there are other additional costs that come with buying a second home or vacation home in Mammoth Lakes. For insurance, you’ll probably be paying about 20% more than a primary residence if you’re renting out the property at all. If you don’t live in Mammoth Lakes, you might also need to pay for someone to manage your property. Regardless, you’ll have added expenses like maintenance and utilities.

If you’re financially prepared for it, buying a vacation home or second home can be a dream come true.

Learn more about buying a vacation home in Mammoth Lakes in my Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide or contact me to chat more about vacation home financing.

——–

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Making an offer on a Mammoth Lakes home is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Offer too much and you may overspend and feel buyer’s remorse. Offer too little and you could get passed by. Fortunately there’s a bit of real estate science to it.

The amount you offer should consider these factors:

1. What have comparable properties sold for in the past three months?

A comparable property is one that has similar square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, amenities, neighborhood, etc. In Mammoth Lakes, other things to consider in “comps” are the view, the HOA cost and the zoning of the area. Your agent should compile a list of comps for you and take into consideration if the sales were regular sales, bank owned or short sales.

2. What condition is the property in?

In Mammoth Lakes, development boomed in the 1960s and 1970s. Many homes have been beautifully renovated, while others haven’t been touched since they were built. Is the property the nicest one in the neighborhood or complex? Or does it look just like it did in 1970? What types of upgrades or improvements has the current owner done? What about the complex?  Look for a project that is well-maintained will little deferred maintenance.

3. How long has the property been on the market?

If a property was just listed, the seller might not have any offers yet and might be hopeful they’ll get their asking price. If it’s been on the market for several months, the property may be over-priced. Your agent can provide some insight by talking to the seller’s agent and seeing how eager they are to sell. Various life events can cause a seller to become more or less motivated to sell, so see if you can get the inside scoop. The seller probably won’t go for an offer that’s more than 5% under the list price unless it’s been on the market for a long time and the buyer has very few contingencies. Of course this all depends on how appropriate the property was priced initially.

4. Do you have any contingencies in your offer?

Offers that depend on an appraisal, financing coming through, or the sale of your current home make offers less attractive to the seller. A seller would rather take a comparable offer with no strings attached than worry about your uncertainties. If you have contingencies, consider offering a higher price to encourage a seller to take your offer. Another consideration is the length of escrow. Some sellers may want a quick escrow while others want to get in one last trip to Mammoth before closing. Your agent can help uncover the goals of the seller.

So what do you actually DO with these four things? Start with the lowest price of the comparable properties (#1). Add or subtract based on the condition of the property (#2). Based on the seller’s motivation (#3), you can add or subtract as needed. If you have contingencies (#4), consider increasing your offer.

I love finding people the perfect home or second home in Mammoth Lakes. Learn more about buying a home in Mammoth Lakes with my Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide. Give me a call if you’d like to talk: (760) 914-4664.

My favorite thing about being a Mammoth Lakes realtor is getting to introduce people to their dream homes. When I meet a new client, I’m always reminded of my own search for a perfect home in Mammoth Lakes.

We bought our first Mammoth Lakes property in 2003. It was a second home for us. We loved visiting Mammoth Lakes, but we knew nothing about homeownership in a snowy mountain town.

From visiting over the years, we had a list of things we wanted: to be able to walk to the lift or gondola to go skiing, to have covered parking so we weren’t breaking our backs shoveling and to be able to rent it when we weren’t here. We were also looking for a turnkey property.

A spring view from a ski slope at Mammoth Mountain looking down at Eagle Lodge under the chairlift

Just like most potential buyers, we toured the town with a realtor. We ended up choosing a condo near Eagle Lodge. It was a great location with a beautiful view and lots of trees. My husband, John, wanted to sit on the deck and feel like he was in the mountains — it checked that box for him. It was a wonderful vacation home for us for many years.

When we made the leap to live here full time, the condo we bought in 2003 was suddenly too small. We ended up renting to see if we could really make it work living here full time. Living in Mammoth Lakes and visiting Mammoth Lakes are totally different. While renting, we were able to narrow down what we wanted in our next home:

A fall view of Snowcreek Golf Course with yellow trees and the Sherwin mountains behind

We found the perfect place for us—a newly constructed townhome in Snowcreek’s Creek House development. We have a two-car garage, just one set of stairs, a deck large enough for a BBQ, and a gas fireplace that I turn on with the press of a button. It feels like a dream come true.

When meeting with a new client, I always have them visualize what a property will look like in each season. I ask them what their partner or family is looking for—are they like John wanting to feel like they’re truly in the mountains, or are they dreaming of being neighbors with the chairlift? I tell them about my experience buying first as a second homeowner and then as a full-time resident and how I navigated the process.

And when we walk into the Mammoth Lakes home that happens to check all their boxes, the look on their face always reminds me of the excitement I felt when I found my own dream home.

Learn more about buying a home in Mammoth Lakes with my Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide. Give me a call with any questions: (760) 914-4664.

Photos by Josh Wray for Visit Mammoth

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need a home inspection. But the real estate world isn’t perfect, even in awe-inspiring Mammoth Lakes. Home sellers are required to disclose all known issues — you may have heard of “disclosures”— but that doesn’t mean they always do.

As soon as your offer is accepted, you should pay for an inspection by a licensed home inspector and have it done right away. In addition to assessing the condition of the property, a good inspection will find any red flags you need to know about.

Home inspectors evaluate the roof, plumbing, electrical system, heating and AC units, insulation, doors, windows and more. The price of the inspection varies based on the size of the property, but the average for a Mammoth Lakes home is about $400. The buyer generally pays for this. In my experience, it’s a very sound investment.

Afternoon light and shadows on a light switch inside a house

There are still some things an inspector can’t see or catch. They won’t go into the crawl space, and they can’t look through the walls, floor or ceiling to see the inner workings of the property. But they’ll catch anything that’s visible to their highly-trained eye.

If an inspector finds major problems or expensive issues to fix, you can still walk away from the purchase as long as you included an inspection contingency. I recommend this contingency for all of my Mammoth Lakes home buyers.

If you still want to move forward with the purchase, you can ask the seller to make the necessary repairs, bring down the purchase price, or request a credit at closing so you can make the repairs yourself.

A home inspection may save you from making a huge mistake with the purchase. At the very least, it’ll give you peace of mind. It’s worth every penny, and may well pay for itself several times over if major issues are discovered.

Keep in mind that a home inspection is only as good as the home inspector. In Mammoth Lakes, I recommend Eastern Sierra Home Inspections, CIP Inspections and Ferguson Home Inspections. I’ve worked with each of them and have had nothing but positive interactions.  

Learn more about buying a home in Mammoth Lakes with my Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide. Give me a call with any questions: (760) 914-4664.

You know you want to buy a new home or sell your current one. That should be enough to get you started, right? The lingo used by many realtors* can make the whole process sound a lot more complicated than that.

Learning a few key terms will put you a step ahead of all the other buyers and sellers out there. Here are a few of the most commonly misunderstood real estate terms:

1. Good-Faith Estimate

A Good-Faith Estimate is given by the escrow officer during the sales process to predict how much money will be due when you close on the property. The exact amount can vary — hence the word “estimate” — so buyers should always save a little extra money to make sure they’re prepared for the final closing costs.

2. Pre-Approval

People often think getting pre-approved for a loan is like having money in hand. While it does open the door for you to shop, it’s not a guarantee, and things can always change during the buying process. The loan is not yours until you close. Buyers should be conservative with their credit and their time… don’t go out and buy a car before you close the deal.

3. The Comp

For sellers, the word “comp” can cause a lot of confusion. A comp is a comparable property. It’s likely around the same size and in a similar area or complex. It’s helpful when it comes to pricing your property to sell. Although you can go online to various websites and find comps, most are not in real time or super accurate. For a more holistic look at the market, real estate agents will do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). As a realtor, I combine my knowledge of the local market with a variety of factors of comparable properties to give you a CMA.

4. MLS

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was developed by realtors in the early 1900s to make the transaction process more efficient. It’s a real time collection of regional databases of homes currently for sale. Sellers’ agents post properties that are for sale, while buyers’ agents share links to these properties with their clients. Having all the listings in one place is a win-win for buyers, sellers and realtors.

5. Agent/Realtor®/Broker

They sound the same, and you’ve heard of each one… they do the same thing, right? Not so fast. A real estate agent is licensed to help people buy or sell properties. They take classes and must pass an exam in the state they work in. A Realtor® is a trademarked term for a real estate agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors and follows its strict Code of Ethics. A broker is generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespeople or agents. A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or they might have staff or agents working for them. I’m a broker and a realtor.

Most people hire a realtor without understanding what the job entails… It’s much more than just showing properties. Ask for testimonials from previous clients to see which real estate agent, realtor or broker is a good fit for you.

Learn more in my Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide or Ultimate Home Seller’s Guide. If you’d like to talk, call me at (760) 914-4664.

2018 ACTION PLAN

If you plan to BUY this year:

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

If you plan to SELL this year:

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it’ll also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property … and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage … and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big-picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market, and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood. If you have specific questions, or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, please give Sonja a call at (661) 979-9000. She would love to discuss how issues here at home are likely to impact your desire to buy or a sell a home this year.

Real Estate 2018: What to Expect (Part 1 of 3 part article)

As we head into a new year, the most common question we receive is, “What’s the outlook for real estate in 2018?”

It’s not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners also want reassurance their home’s value is going up. The good news is that a strong U.S. economy, coupled with low unemployment rates, is expected to drive continued real estate growth in 2018. However, changes on the horizon could significantly impact you if you plan to buy, sell or refinance this year.

HOME VALUES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE

Get ready for another strong year! U.S. home values and sales volume will continue to rise in 2018.

Experts agree that home prices will increase in 2018, but predict a slower rate of appreciation than 2017, which clocked in at nearly 7 percent nationwide. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts a growth rate this year of 5.5 percent,1 while Freddie Mac’s September Outlook Report forecasts a rate of 4.9 percent. Either way, all indicators point towards continued growth in 2018.2

What does it mean for you? If you’re a current homeowner, congratulations! Real estate proves once again to be a solid investment over the long term. And if you’re considering selling this year, there’s never been a better time. Contact us to request a free Comparative Market Analysis to find out how much you can expect your home to sell for under current market conditions.

If you’re in the market to buy this year, there’s good news for you, too. Although prices continue to rise, the rate of appreciation has slowed. Still, don’t wait any longer. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more six months from now than you would today. Call us to setup a free, no-obligation property search and get notified about listings that meet your criteria as soon as (or before) they hit the market.

NEW CONSTRUCTION WILL MAKE REAL ESTATE MORE ACCESSIBLE

Lack of inventory in the housing market has been a primary impediment to homeownership for many Americans. “Ten years ago, the problem in the housing market was lack of buyers,” says Yun. “Today, the problem is lack of sellers. Inventory levels are near historic lows.”3

Yun also notes, “The lack of inventory has pushed up home prices by 48 percent from the low point in 2011, while wage growth over the same period has been only 15 percent. Despite improving confidence [in 2017] from renters that now is a good time to buy a home, the inability for them to do so is causing them to miss out on the significant wealth gains that homeowners have benefitted from through rising home values.”1

The good news? Yun expects a 9.4 percentage point increase in single-family new home construction starts.4

Economists at Freddie Mac make a similar prediction. “Existing home sales are unlikely to increase much going forward. Limited inventory will remain a consistent problem … Growth in home sales will be primarily driven by new home sales, which should continue to grind higher with single-family construction.”2

Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, agrees. “The markets that are going to grow are ones where builders can add that entry level product.”5

What does it mean for you? If you’ve been frustrated by lack of inventory in the past, 2018 may bring new opportunities for you to find a budget-friendly home that suits your needs. Give us a call to discuss options for new construction in our area.

MILLENNIALS WILL MOVE TO THE SUBURBS

The new entry-level construction will come with a catch though … it will be located in the suburbs, where the availability of land and fewer zoning requirements make it more cost-effective to build. Economists predict that’s where millennials and first-time buyers will flock for the greater variety of homes at affordable prices.6

Rising home prices, a sluggish job market, and an increase in student loan debt made homeownership largely unattainable for many millennials in past years. However, there’s significant evidence that this trend is turning around. For the fourth year a row, the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey found that millennials were the largest group of homebuyers.7

As millennials age, they are settling down and having families, which has prompted an increasing demand for larger but affordable homes. Thus, many are flocking to the suburbs, with 57 percent of millennial buyers opting for a suburban location.

What does it mean for you? If you’re a millennial who has been priced out of urban living, or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs.

And if you’re a suburban homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this growing market segment!

BOOMERANG BUYERS WILL RETURN TO THE MARKET

“Boomerang buyers” comprise the nearly 10 million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales during the housing recession of 2006 to 2014.

According to MyFico.com, a foreclosure remains on a credit report for seven years. It takes many boomerang buyers at least that long to raise their credit score and save up enough cash to qualify for a new mortgage.8

With this “seven-year window” in mind, RealtyTrac predicts that the largest wave of boomerang buyers – more than 1.3 million – will be eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2018.9

Markets likely to see the highest influx of boomerang buyers are those that had a high percentage of foreclosures AND have remained affordable. The majority of boomerang buyers are middle-class Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Expect to see even more competition for entry-level homes in those markets.

What does it mean for you? If you’re a boomerang buyer, we understand your unique circumstances. We can help you navigate the real estate process and write competitive offers that will play to your strengths. Contact us to discuss your options.

If you have questions or want help deciding the best way to go with your housing needs in 2018, be sure to call Sonja at (661) 979-9000, or email her at [email protected].

Sources:

  1. Inman News –
    https://www.inman.com/2017/11/03/what-to-expect-from-the-2018-housing-market/
  2. Freddie Mac September Outlook Report –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/outlook/20170921_looking_ahead_to_2018.html
  3. org –
    https://www.marketplace.org/2017/07/05/economy/tight-inventory-slows-housing-market-down-0
  4. National Association of Realtors Press Release –
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/existing-home-sales-to-grow-37-percent-in-2018-but-inventory-shortages-and-tax-reform-effects-loom-300549447.html
  5. Fox Business News –
    http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/11/27/entry-level-buyers-drive-solid-new-home-sales.html
  6. Zillow Research –
    https://www.zillow.com/research/2018-predictions-17217/
  7. National Association of Realtors’ Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report –
    https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends
  8. com –
    https://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/foreclosure-fico-score-affect.aspx
  9. RealtyTrac –
    http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/boomerang-buyers/

Let your nose help your home search, www.sonjabush.com, Mammoth Lakes

 

There are so many things to consider when purchasing a home, such as the number of rooms, kitchen upgrades, yard size, and so many other features.  However, you should also take the time to treat your first look at a house like Thanksgiving – enter the dining room and take a big whiff.

 

Your sense of smell can tell you a lot about the condition of a [city] home.  So follow your nose, along with your real estate agent, throughout a house and inquire about anything unusual that makes you hold your breath.  Below are four specific odors that could mean you are in for some serious work.

 

  1. Mold and mildew – If you get even the faintest whiff, investigate the basement and bathrooms. This could be a simple fix or the cause of larger issues, such as foundation cracks or improper insulation.
  2. Cigarette smoke – This can be an extremely offensive odor, especially to a non-smoker. In addition, it could cost you new carpets and new paint.  Smoke creates a film over paint and the only way to cover it up might be to literally do so.
  3. Pet urine – While you may be a pet lover, you do not want your new house to smell like a cat box. A quick fix could be to shampoo the carpets, but if the issue has persisted long enough then you might be looking at replacing the sub-floor especially if it has absorbed too much of the liquid and the smell.
  4. Sulfur – Just like rotten eggs, this odor will have you holding your nose. While this is not necessarily an expensive fix, it usually means there’s a gas leak somewhere, which is definitely not good for your health.

 

Follow your nose and be sure to ask for repair costs if you are going to have to pay for odor-removal renovations. With a little negotiation, you will find the right home and be hosting Thanksgiving dinner next year with only the scent of roasted turkey and grandma’s dressing in the air.  For more tips on purchasing real estate, please call me at 661-979-9000 or email me at [email protected].

 

 

Links:

Real Estate Agent

http://www.finishrich.com/blog/how-to-hire-a-great-real-estate-agent/

 

Cigarette Smoke

http://moving.about.com/od/afterthemove/a/Moving-Into-A-Home-That-Smells-Of-Cigarette-Smoke.htm

 

There’s a Gas Leak

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/tips/gas-leak-home.htm

Not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents.

To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, the following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:

  1. A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has their real estate license, they know the basics of the transaction process. They know what goes into buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing the process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result often means buying or selling a home for the best price.

For buyers, amazing agents have a strong understanding of market trends, competition, and how to make your offer attractive to sellers. They can help you identify and secure a deal to ensure you get the home you want, within your desired budget.

If you’re selling a home, market experts have experience pricing homes optimally for the market and creating pricing plans to minimize the time spent selling the home. This will help you sell for your desired price, and avoid costs like additional mortgage and utility payments.

Takeaway: Whether buying or selling a home, pricing can be tricky. Market experts can help navigate best-possible pricing strategies, and also secure the home you want within your budget.
  1. An Effective Time Manager

It’s common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent may not be utilizing the latest tools and technology to make the transaction easier and more cost-effective for their clients. Market experts have tools and strategies at their disposal to minimize the amount of time you spend on the process.

For sellers, market experts can make sure you only deal with qualified buyers, not the “window shoppers” who can waste your time. We also utilize the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home effectively, ensuring it gets sold quickly.

When looking to buy a home, inexperienced agents may waste your time by showing you homes that are not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to prioritize your needs and wants to find you the ideal home within your budget. They also know how to spot “red flags” and can steer you away from homes that are likely to turn up major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you time and money.

In addition, well-networked Realtors can gain access to the hottest listings before many websites do. Their extensive professional networks can help identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This can be invaluable in a highly-competitive real estate market.

Takeaway: Even a well-intentioned agent may not have the skills, tools or technology to make the experience easy for you. There are lots of hidden activities that may take up unexpected time, and a market expert will save you time and energy.
  1. A Market Insider

While most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city, they may not understand important trends or developments that would affect your transaction. These can include the state of the school district, issues with a homeowner association, new businesses in the area, zoning rules or trends in home prices.

Market experts live and breathe local real estate and know the trigger points for buying and selling in this market. We also stay current on effective marketing and negotiation practices, resulting in our track record of success.

For sellers, we understand what features of your home and neighborhood are assets in the selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, the speed of sales and more.

Takeaway: Getting relevant and specific market knowledge can be difficult and time-consuming, which is why many real estate agents don’t have it. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an experienced real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even street … we’re literally conducting market research every day.
  1. A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents truly set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to increasing this key skill.

Real estate negotiations can be challenging, even for seasoned professionals. It takes skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for your client’s best interests. While any agent can enter negotiations to buy or sell a home, they may not know the effective strategies to exit those negotiations with the result you want.

Experienced Realtors focus on negotiation as a key skill. We understand what to do before entering negotiations (establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept concessions).

Takeaway: Many agents can feel the stress of the negotiation process, and may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will help ensure you get the best deal, not just the fastest deal.
  1. An Effective Closer

Closing a deal fast is often a good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted quickly. For sellers, it often means you can avoid the added expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and maximize the value of your home sale.

However, an agent solely focused on speed can make decisions that aren’t in your best interests. Top real estate professionals know how to not only achieve your real estate goals quickly but in the right way to avoid potential pitfalls.

Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are complicated. And they can be overwhelming for the average agent who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, property disclosures, occupancy agreements and even lead paint records need to be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with these but also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations.

Market experts have a strong understanding of real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies within the closing process. In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where many sellers find an experienced Realtor is a huge asset.

Takeaway: Many agents don’t have a firm understanding of contracts. Because a real estate transaction often involves a significant investment, even a small mistake can mean serious trouble. With that in mind, it’s often best, and most responsible, to work with a true market expert.

If you are ready to talk with a real estate expert, give Sonja a call at 661-979-9000 or email her at [email protected].

We use cookies and tracking technology in connection with your activities on our website. By viewing and using our website, you consent to our use of cookies and tracking technology in accordance with our Privacy Policy.