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Market Outlook

There’s been some concern lately about another housing market crash.
Maybe you’ve read articles linking today’s environment with the Market
Meltdown of 2008. Even with the talk of recession, this real estate market is
very different and that means that most experts do not expect a crash, just
a normal ebb-and-flow slowdown. There are some significant differences in
today’s situation:

Heading into the 2008 crash, loans were very easy to find. Almost anyone
could qualify for a loan with zero down payment and lower FICO scores.
The lending industry was taking huge risks, and this pushed home prices
higher, artificially. With stricter lending policies in place, not only do
borrowers need to qualify properly, but appraisals are based on true value,
avoiding over-inflated prices.

Housing Supply
Another difference is the housing supply. As home prices soared, so did the
number of homes for sale. Currently, there is still a shortage of available
inventory for the buyers still looking for a new home.

Equity Levels
Another huge difference is near record equity for most homeowners. The
strong housing market during the pandemic pushed home values higher
than ever before. Contrast this to the Market Meltdown era of short sales
and foreclosures, and it’s clear that most sellers can still afford to negotiate
and reap a healthy gain in the process.

What this means to you
The bottom line is that if you are a buyer looking to purchase or a seller
ready to move, there is no reason to wait or worry that there is a crash on
the horizon. The frantic pace of the market has slowed, interest rates have
risen, but opportunities are still available in this market.

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Why You Should List Your Home During Holiday Season

Listing your home during the holiday season can be a fantastic idea!

Here are some compelling reasons why:

✨ Less Competition: Fewer sellers mean your home stands out to motivated buyers.

🏠 Serious Buyers: Many house hunters during the holidays are ready to make a move.

🌟 Festive Appeal: Decorated homes exude warmth, creating an emotional connection.

📆 Flexible Timing: You can choose when to schedule showings and close the deal.

💰 Year-End Tax Benefits: Buyers may want to take advantage of tax benefits.

🎁 A Fresh Start: Buyers might see your home as a holiday gift to themselves.

Ready to make the most of the holiday season in real estate?

Let’s chat!

#HolidayHomeSelling #RealEstatePros #FestiveOpportunities

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How to Respond to a Lowball Offer

After all the hard work it takes to ready a home for sale, it can be so discouraging to find the first offer you get is a lowball offer. Regardless of the market,there are buyers who write offers 10%,20%,even 30%below list price. While most of these offers are just“throw-aways,”it’s still possible to turn it in to a successful sale.

Before you do anything,take a deep breath and stay calm. There are many reasons why a buyer throws out a low offer. It could be they are getting bad advice from a family member or nervous first-time buyers afraid of leaving money on the table. It’s also possible that they are working with a new or poor real estate agent. The one thing you know is that they were interested enough in your home to write an offer,and they expect to negotiate.

The next step is to send a counter offer. Be respectful and thank them for the offer. If you do have room to negotiate,then offer to reduce your price to a reasonable level. If you have priced the home well to start with,then explain how you arrived at the list price and present any available comps.

Remember to look at the other terms offered and be flexible where you can. For example,they may have asked for a longer escrow period,and you can accommodate their timetable.You may also want to ask that the home inspection is“information only”that removes the option of repairs.

A lowball offer may take the wind out of your sails,but it doesn’t mean that there is no opportunity for moving forward. Working with your agent,send a reasonable counter offer back to the buyer and you may find that there is still a successful sale down the road.

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The Real Reason Your Agent Wants You Gone During Showings

There are several good reasons for homeowners to make themselves scarce when potential buyers come to view their house. While one motivation is avoiding problematic comments,there are other benefits to giving prospective buyers space during showings.

For one,an empty home allows potential buyers to envision themselves living there.With the sellers out of the way,buyers can move freely through the rooms and picture where heir own furniture and belongings could go. An unoccupied house becomes a blank canvas for buyers to mentally customize to their own lifestyle and needs.

Leaving also allows buyers privacy to discuss their impressions and point out pros and cons to each other candidly. They may feel more comfortable critiquing elements of the home or debating if it meets their wish list when the sellers are not present. This facilitates an open dialogue between potential buyers.

Finally,an empty house also provides a neutral atmosphere for buyers to evaluate it objectively,without sellers unconsciously influencing their perspectives. Buyers can take their time forming their own opinions when touring alone,without chatting with sellers or feeling pressured in any way.

Vacant showings also enable buyers to visualize a future here,speak freely,and decide independently. These benefits make it advisable for sellers to make themselves scarce during viewings.

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Prioritizing Lifestyle Amid Rising Interest Rates

The real estate market has changed over the past year. One of the biggest
issues facing anyone considering a home purchase or sale is rising interest
rates. After enjoying years of mortgage rates in the 2-3% range, many
borrowers are shocked to see a conventional 30-year fixed loan offering
rates as high as 7 per cent. While historically reasonable, this increase is
having an impact on the real estate market. If you are considering a move,
it’s important to remember that your lifestyle still needs to take precedence
over these temporary changes.

First, your mortgage interest rate is just one aspect of your overall financial
situation. Taking a more holistic view of the potential move, including
lifestyle and personal needs, may provide a more favorable picture. For
example, if the move is a downsize, what is the savings in loan amount
(less expensive home), maintenance and repair costs, utility costs, property
taxes, etc.? One must also consider the potential tax deduction difference
that mortgage interest might provide.

Another important consideration is that property values may have dropped
in some areas as rates have increased. While one may not completely
balance the other, it can make the increase more palatable. Additionally,
rates fluctuate and if interest rates decrease, you might have the option to
refinance down the road. Meanwhile, home values have historically been a
great vehicle for wealth building as values rise over time.

Finally, and most importantly, if your lifestyle has changed and you want to
move, then that should be your priority. Quality of life is the single most
important aspect of health. While rising interest rates may change your
decision, it should not keep you from moving if that’s what’s best.

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Unusual but Important Considerations When Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Most people know that choosing the right neighborhood is one of the most
important aspects of a great lifestyle. When buying a new home, this
becomes even more important. While everyone knows that property values,
safety, schools, and commute ranks high in importance, there are some
considerations that are not commonly thought about in advance yet make a
huge impact on satisfaction.

· Vibrant Community and Social Scene – While some people are
looking for a quiet life in the country, for those craving more action, consider
this when choosing a neighborhood. Look for farmer’s markets, art
galleries, festivals, bars and clubs, community events; ways to create a
sense of belonging and involvement.

· Pet-Friendly Environment – For pet owners, finding a welcoming
community for their furry friends is important. Look for places with lots of
green space, dog parks, and pet-friendly establishments.

· Unique Architectural or Historic Value – There are many cities with
historical districts and heritage sites. Buying a home in these areas can be
a distinctly inspiring experience. One caveat, before buying, it’s important to
make sure to understand the rules and restrictions; often there are
ordinances which prevent changing the exterior of the home.

· Natural Surroundings – For nature enthusiasts, living near green
spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities can be important. In addition
to community parks, trails, or lakes, these buyers should consider proximity
to national parks, BLM land, or public waterways.

· Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Communities – If environmental
sustainability is important, then look for communities with eco-friendly policies and amenities. Watch for communal gardens, bike lanes, and
renewable energy initiatives.

Choosing the right neighborhood is about more than just property values
and school systems. By looking beyond the traditional aspects and
considering the unique things that enhance lifestyle, buyers can make sure
that the community, as well as the home, suits their needs.

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Important Things to Consider Before Buying a Fixer Upper Home

Purchasing a fixer-upper property can be an exciting and rewarding
experience. HGTV is filled with programs of amateurs knocking down walls
and tiling bathroom floors. The fact is that this is much harder than it looks
and before diving headfirst into this kind of project, it’s critical to consider
whether you are prepared for the venture.

5 Important Things to Consider Before Buying a Fixer-Upper Home

1. Financial Planning – The first step in buying a fixer-upper home is to
establish a realistic budget. Include the purchase price, repairs costs, and
any expected expenses for renovation or restoration. Once you have
created a “known” list, then add extra for unexpected issues that will arise.

2. Time and Effort – Renovating a fixer-upper takes time and effort,
even if you hire a general contractor to oversee the project. Consider the
overall scope of the project and evaluate your skills and level of time

3. Structural Condition – Before making an offer, thoroughly inspect
the property’s structure and foundation. Recognize the impact of any issues
uncovered and make sure to budget for the proper corrections.

4. Real Estate Market and Location – Even a beautiful home in a
terrible area is a bad investment. Consider such factors as property values,
market trends and the potential for future appreciation. Work with a
financial planner to make sure the investment fits your long-term goals.

5. Legal Considerations – Before writing the offer, familiarize yourself
with local building codes, permit requirements, and zoning regulations.
Ensure the changes you anticipate align with local requirements.

Purchasing a fixer-upper home can be a wonderful investment and
worthwhile project. By evaluating your budget, time commitment, property
condition, and potential appreciation, you can be sure to choose the right
situation for your goals and experience.

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Buying a New Construction Home? A Few Tips To Avoid Panic

A brand-new home! Who hasn’t dreamed of creating the perfect home from
scratch and moving into a space that no one has ever lived in before.
There’s something special about a fresh home, but remember, new doesn’t
mean perfect. And it certainly does not mean that there won’t be
imperfections, small or large, to contend with.

One of the most important things to understand up front is what does your
warranty cover? A builder’s warranty covers typical defects and other
problems, but the fine print outlines timelines, procedures, and limitations.
A thorough reading prior to closing will clarify how to handle any issues that
arise when you move in.

When you are ready to move in, your checklist will differ from a typical
resale home. First, always have an independent home inspection, just as
you would if you purchased a used home. Alert the builder immediately of
anything that the inspection uncovers. During the final walk-through, you
will also want to make sure the home was completed correctly; are the light
switches level, are the floors even, is the paint free from nicks and
scratches? You are buying a new home and it should look new.

Buying a new home is exciting. The good news is that most issues are
minor and can be quickly corrected by the builder or home warranty
company when discovered. No need to panic when imperfections show up.

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The Real Reason Home Prices Don’t Seem to Be Crashing

The real estate market today is quite different from what it was just a few
months ago. Mortgage rates have risen dramatically which impacts the
borrowing power of home buyers. The frantic pace of the past few years
has also slowed with homes staying on the market longer than we saw
during the last few years.

With all these changes, many potential homebuyers are wondering when
the prices will crash. In other words, when is the right time to buy?
The housing market is affected by supply and demand. With a potentially
smaller buyer pool, the assumption would be that home prices would fall to
attract the few buyers still looking. But prices are not reacting this way in
many markets. In fact, the supply of homes nationwide has stayed
relatively small, which in turn has helped prices stay steady.

The fact is that rising interest rates are affecting sellers as well. Most sellers
are planning to purchase a replacement property. This means that many
sellers are reconsidering their own ability to purchase the desired
replacement home. As a result, rather than attempting to capitalize on any
lingering seller’s market, many have withdrawn instead, keeping the current
inventory low and prices stable.

While it’s difficult to predict the effect of more interest rate hikes on seller’s
behavior, homebuyers should concentrate on finding the right property for
their needs rather than second guessing the market. It’s always the right
time to buy the perfect property.

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Looking for a Mortgage? How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Nothing is more stressful than shopping for a mortgage and realizing your credit score isn’t what you expected. Worse still is finding that your identity has been stolen and there are fraudulent accounts or activity on your report. Recovering from identity theft can be time-consuming – you might lose your dream home if the seller cannot wait for you to resolve the issue.

Before this happens to you, there are steps you can take to protect your Social Security number and your credit.

Guard Your Social Security Number – First, you should memorize your Social Security number – never keep the card in your wallet. Second, consider whether giving your SSN to someone is really mandatory; many forms request this information, but ask questions before providing to see if it’s actually required.

Freeze Your Credit – This little known trick can prevent anyone from applying for credit in your name; including you. Contact the reporting bureaus to prevent your credit report from being used for any purpose. Unfreeze when you need it.

Get ID Theft Protection – Consider using an ID theft protection company to monitor your credit.

Be Careful Online – Avoid public interest hot spots and other unsecured networks when buying or banking online. Install a firewall and consider a private virtual network system. Do not open any unknown emails or links.

Don’t take your identification lightly. Your credit is important to most aspects of your financial life, but especially so when obtaining a home loan. A small change in credit score can cost thousands of dollars in additional fees and interest; it can even cost you the home if your ID has been stolen while you work to restore your credit. Take some simple steps ahead of time to ensure you’re protected.