My Blog

Helping Buyers Navigate the Current Market


Buyers are entering the market in droves and in order to have the advantage when writing an offer, it is important to be prepared! Here are some steps buyers can take to be better prepared when they find a house they are interested in writing an offer on.

1. Have your preapproval letter or proof of funds available. Preapproval letters are typically only valid for 90-120 days. Get yours updated with your lender if needed!
2. Be decisive. If you see a home you want to schedule a showing for, don't wait until the weekend. The house may be pending by then. Schedule the showing as soon as you are able!
3. Submit a clean offer. Inspection and appraisal contingencies are often standard, but it is important not to have additional contingencies, such as a home sale contingency or requesting the seller provide a rebate for closing costs.
4. Be open to being creative. My licensed assistant, Karen Bruce, and I work with buyers and give other suggestions or ideas to help help an offer potentially more desirable to sellers.

Call me today and let me help you navigate the market as a buyer! Let Karen and I handle the stressful parts - we will be diligent in communicating with you so you are comfortable every step of the way!

Intense Competition Leads to Fastest Sales Ever


Homes are selling in an average of 20 days fewer than a year ago. While there is definitely intense buyer competition, it was good to see inventory open up slightly in April as more sellers started to list their homes. Inventory is still 26% lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many real estate experts predict that more homeowners will list their homes in the coming months, which is the common trend as weather warms and summer approaches. 

It is important for all buyers who are actively searching to have their preapproval or proof of funds ready before writing an offer! On the seller side, it is a GREAT time to sell! Call me today if you'd like a free analysis of what your house is worth in today's market! 906-236-3750

Baby Boomers Are the Richest Home Sellers


With the present real estate market, buyers are securing good interest rates and sellers are getting prices they are happy with. Overall for 2020 home sellers saw a median gain of $66,000 more than what they originally purchased for (nationwide). However, sellers ages 66-74 saw a median gain of $100,000 in equity. Boomers and older homeowners are really the ones holding the cards when it comes to selling. Homeowners who have been in their homes the longest tend to see the highest profits at resale. Often times older generations are looking to downsize or move closer to family members or to a warmer climate. Having been in their home longer means more of their mortgage is likely paid off and they will walk away with more after the sale closes.

That being said, younger age groups are still doing well in today's market when they sell also. If you are thinking of buying or selling, please give me a call. I'd be happy to share how I can work for you to help you accomplish your real estate goals! 906-236-3750

Wallpaper is Making a Comeback!

Some people cringe at the thought of wallpaper and the work it takes to remove it. However, wallpaper is making a comeback in small doses. Newer self-adhesive removable wall paper is a game changer without a long term commitment. Used on an accent wall or above molding, it can dress up a space without overwhelming a room. Consider your house - is there any chance an accent wall could improve a space? Would you be willing to try wallpaper knowing that it could be easily removed? It will be interesting to see how this trend develops throughout the year. 

Earnest Money Deposit vs. Downpayment


What is an earnest money deposit? This is a question many home buyers don't initially know the answer to! An earnest money deposit is a deposit made to the buyer's agent's brokerage within two business days of getting an accepted offer (per state of Michigan requirements). This monetary value is indicated on offer documents and is a way to show sellers how much stake in the game you are willing to have right off the bat. The earnest deposit is held in a non-interest trust account and is fully refundable if a buyer withdraws their offer due to an inspection contingency or another contingency indicated on the accepted purchase agreement. There is no hard rule for how much an earnest deposit should be, but as a general guideline it is nice for the deposit to be 1% of the accepted purchase price.

While the earnest money deposit WILL be applied toward your purchase at closing, this is DIFFERENT than the down payment you will provide for your lender. When a lender requires a certain percentage down for a loan, they are not considering any earnest money amount as part of the down payment. Keep this in mind. If you plan to put 10% down on your loan, the lender will require those funds at closing but your earnest money deposit will not be part of your 10% down (or whatever the down payment amount is). When your earnest money deposit is applied to the purchase at closing, it will likely reduce your amount you need to bring to closing to help offset closing costs. 

Still have questions? Call me! This can all be very confusing and I'd be happy to explain it more thoroughly to you! 906-236-3750

How to Win in a Multi-Offer Situation

With many houses going pending quickly after being listed, several buyers find themselves in competing situations when they write an offer on a home. It is very important to have a buyer's agent you trust working for you to help you put your best foot forward with your offer. First and foremost, it is critical to have a preapproval letter in hand, preferably from a local lender. There are many fabulous online lenders out there, but some agents will deter their sellers from working with an offer that is not working with a local lender. A seller selecting an offer comes down to more than just purchase price. You can consider an escalation clause, a shorter inspection window, or other options such as agreeing to pay the difference on an appraisal. If you are unsure what any of these things are, ask your agent! If you aren't currently working with anyone, I would appreciate the opportunity to work for you as your buyer's agent. Call me at 906-236-3750.

Wall Color Preferences are Shifting


In recent years, gray has been a dominant and trending color inside homes. However, now things are starting to shift. Earthy and warmer neutral tones (think tan, beige, etc...) are edging out grays as the most popular shades. In a recent survey, 63% of designers said that whites and creams are the shades to pick for people wishing to repaint and sell their house in 2021.

Has the pandemic affected color choices? It is possible, although color trends definitely come and go over time. Designers are also opting for light colored furnishings and adding pops of color through accent walls. If you love color but want a fresh, modern look, consider an accent wall in the color of your choice and paint the rest of the room in a cream or neutral tone. 

Often times buyers have their own visions of repainting after a house purchase, so it isn't always necessary to repaint your house prior to selling. However, fresh paint can definitely make a room feel cleaner, bigger, and just freshens up the space. Let me know if you'd like a no-obligation, free consult for your house prior to listing. I am happy to help!

First Time Buyers Shocked by How Much Home They Can Afford


Low mortgage rates, financial assistance from parents, and personal savings are helping first-time buyers stretch their housing budgets more than they thought they could, according to a recent survey. 47% of survey respondents indicated their budget is larger than they thought it would be. Much of this is due to the drop in mortgage rates over the past year. In March 2020 a 30 year mortgage rate was 3.65% and by January 2021 the rate was at a record low of 2.65%. Lower rates allow many buyers to stretch and buy more expensive homes while keeping their monthly budget the same.

The opposite side of that is that many first time home buyers acknowledged that they were outbid on homes they wanted to purchase so it took a bit more patience for them to get an accepted offer on a home they were interested in. Sometimes they had to compromise things they hoped to have (such as a garage or finished basement). 

Other first time buyers were pleased that they were able to save for a down payment faster than they expected. By setting aside a portion of each paycheck, cutting out discretionary spending, and saving lump-sum payments like tax refunds, many buyers had their down payment ready to go long before they thought they would. Being prepared ahead of time puts buyers in the best position to get the home they want!

Call me if you are looking for a home or have any questions about the home buying process. I am happy to help!

Buyers Shopping for Mortgage Rates Should Track APRs

Mortgage rates are at historic lows and that is great news for buyers and people looking to refinance an existing mortgage. However, there's more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! It is important for buyers to find out what the annual percentage rate (APR) is. This rolls in any upfront fees and other costs that may be associated with the loan. In the end, buyers will get what is called an "effective interest rate" which will have closing costs, fees, and everything else rolled in. This will be slightly higher than the advertised interest rate and it is ultimately the rate that will determine what a monthly payment is. If you are looking to buy, make sure you ask about extra fees and costs with every lender you speak to!

Most Commonly Delayed Home Repairs


Sears Home Services recently surveyed 1,000 homeowners and almost 70% indicated they have delayed home repairs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic primarily due to financial stress. Homeowners under financial stress are the most likely report postponing repairs to broken appliances, water damage, electrical issues, and roof repairs. It is possible, though, that these postponed repairs could result in pricier fixes later on. 

If you have delayed home repairs and aren't sure how to approach them, consider calling a realtor for suggestions of professionals who could help. I frequently give contractor information, names/contacts of HVAC professionals, roofers, etc... to current/former clients who are looking to have work done on their house. I have decades of flooring experience and can offer insight on that as well. Let me know if you have any questions! If I don't have the answer, I will find someone who does!

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