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Why You Need to Organize Your House to Sell Quickly and For More Money

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Organized closet

Why is it that organization and cleanliness make such a significant impression on buyers? After all, we are all aware that our houses get messy - sometimes very messy - from time to time. Life gets busy, and cleaning gets put to the bottom of the list.

However, buyers don't care about how busy a homeowner is when they are coming to look at your house. What they want to see is often the fantasy (or hopeful thinking) of what a new home will do for their lives.

We see it over and over again: buyers won't stop at your beautifully staged kitchen and living room. When they are in your home, they can and will open every drawer, cabinet, built-in, and closet.

And they will judge your house by what they find. Not only that but if your clutter is there, they won't be able to picture their things fitting into your home.

Think of your closets and drawers as a kind of potential blank slate - even though your items will still be there. Organized belongings make your space feel calm and inviting. If your home isn't orderly and clean, buyers will disconnect from your house emotionally. They won't be able to see any of its potential: only the mess.

You don't want this disconnect to happen.

Clean Is More Than Surface

This is why we always advise our sellers to treat their home as if it's already someone else's home once they decide to sell. Ironically, if you are taking selling seriously, you need to organize and declutter the way your buyers imagine they will do when they see your house.

This is especially true if you want to get top dollar for it and have it sell quickly. You want to sell quickly to avoid having to keep your house "perfect" until it sells. It won't work to put the toys in a bin, sweep the floor, and call it a day.

Invest In Organization

Organization is more important than any other problem area in your house you might think you have to tackle to get it sold. Think about this from the other way around. If you can get a buyer to invest emotionally, that is when that buyer is going to want to live in your house and pay their top dollar to ensure they are the ones who get to live there.

Ordering your world can take a long time. There are many online tools to help you get started if you feel lost. However, you might want to consider hiring a professional organizer before you put your house on the market.

An organizer can see your stuff more objectively than you can. You may need some extra direction or courage to get rid of things that are holding you back. An organizer can also make the most of your space in ways you may not be able to see.

For buyers, this is solid gold. So what if your house doesn't have the closet space you wish it did? If a buyer sees a cunningly devised system, she will be able to picture herself living there too.

Bringing it Home

The most important thing a buyer needs to feel in your house is a sense of connection. They need to be able to see themselves living there. To do this, they need to feel the sense of calm that is created by a well-organized space.

If you are thinking about selling your house, this should be one of your first steps. If you need help or have questions about where to start and live in Southeast Michigan, please call. We would be happy to help you get started!

248-348-7200

Housing Market Trends for 2018 and Beyond

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Housing Market Trends for 2018 and Beyond

For many prospective homeowners, the last few years have been a challenge. With home prices continuing to rise and inventory at its lowest point in a decade, first-time home buyers and those downsizing have had to compete against many others - especially in our country's hottest markets.

With this furious pace, experts have started to look into the possibility of another housing bubble and financial collapse.

Of course, no one wants to live through another great recession. Many American families are still trying to recover from the 2008 bubble burst.

So, what's the truth? Is this current real estate situation a housing bubble? What are the indications that it could be? Could we be headed for another bubble burst?

While some market trends are showing similar signs to a housing bubble, the newest data from popular housing markets this summer says we may be heading for a slow-down rather than a bubble burst.

It may not be the best news for sellers who are hoping for a bidding war and a massive increase in their asking price. However, it's better for everyone than another recession.

2 Significant Trends of a Housing Bubble

Interest Rates

In 1997, Professor Fred Foldvary predicted the 2008 bust based on his examination of history. Interest rates tend to follow bank credit swells, which are typically to follow peaks in land value.

The cycle has repeated itself consistently since around 1800, except for the interruption of WWII.

Some experts point to today's high mortgage rates as an indicator that the market is about to bust. Interest rates are high but not as high as their peak in 2007 of 6.70% or 18.19% in 1979.

Default Rates

The rate at which homeowners are defaulting on their loans is also a predictor of an impending real estate crash. However, this rate is at its lowest, nationally, in 12 years.

The Evidence Points Toward Housing Market Cooling

Although the fact remains that you may not see much of a difference in your local market, there is emerging data to suggest that it may be the beginning of a change.

In some of the most active markets in the country, where bidding wars were common, and housing prices were being driven sky high, markets have begun to cool.

Homes are starting to sit on the market for weeks instead of just days and sellers aren't receiving multiple bids on their homes.

Existing-home sales dropped this past June for the third straight month, and new home purchases are at their lowest in 8 months.

Inventory is Growing Again

Home prices are rising still - which is good news - but not as fast. Only 6.4% this past May, which was the smallest year over year gain since early in 2017.

Prices are at their lowest increase over a 3-month period since 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. 

Experts are predicting a 5% gain this year and a 3% gain in 2019, which is much lower than what we saw in 2007 shortly before the crash, which was 10.7%.

Takeaway

Evidence of the housing market cooling may not be welcome news to everyone. However, it's much more welcome news than another impending recession.

Sellers can take heart! Home values are still rising. And buyers can start to catch a breath.

As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 begins, the real estate market is looking like a much more comfortable place to venture into.

If you are interested in buying or selling a house and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

 

How to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood

by The Jamey Kramer Group

How to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood

One common nightmare scenario for new homeowners: you find the perfect house - a beautiful new kitchen, number of bedrooms, and beautiful deck. Then you find out later that your new neighbors have loud parties until 2 a.m. on weeknights.

Or there's a barking dog right next door. You are stuck with a perfect home in the wrong location.

What do you do?

This phenomenon can be called "neighborhood regret," and it's genuine. If you are not looking out for it, you may lose sight of how important your new neighborhood is going to be.

It's why you can't just consider the house itself. You have to think the whole package.

According to a recent Trulia survey, 36% of residents would move to a different neighborhood than their current one if they had a chance.

How to Search for a New Neighborhood

It could be argued that the neighborhood is just as important as the house you buy. You can always change the aspects of your home you don't like over time.

However, it's a lot less likely that you will have any way of influencing the makeup of your neighborhood.

If you are about to buy a house, or you are looking for a new community for this exact reason, follow these smart tips about where to start your search.

Make a List of Your Priorities

Most buyers know some of their top priorities before they start looking: school district, proximity to the interstate, walkability, etc.

Those are all great things, but think about the details you might be overlooking:

  • Can you handle a neighborhood with a lot of dogs?
  • Do you want to live on a street with other families?
  • Do you want to avoid a place where college students often throw late-night parties?

Scope Out Your Top Choices Online

The chances are good that this list of priorities will narrow your neighborhood choices down to just a few. If you have kids, the school district will probably make a significant impact on your neighborhood choice.

You can use Niche.com to find "user reviews" on the areas you are looking for. Niche is like a search engine for neighborhoods and schools. It is made up of a team of scientists and parents who have taken all the raw data about your area and taken the guesswork out of your search. Information is presented in an easy-to-use format that allows you to search under many different criteria and receive ratings and reviews from actual residents of the area you're searching for.

Take a Look for Yourself

The best way to find out about your potential new digs is to go there yourself. Drive through at all different times of day and night. If it's walkable, consider getting a coffee and spending some time strolling around.

Notice what you see and hear. Is the car traffic loud? Is there construction nearby? Are you noticing graffiti you didn't see when you toured the house?

Now, summon your courage and knock on a few doors. The chances are good that you will get your best information this way. The neighbors will know how quiet it is at night. They will have experience with potential crime, and it won't just be a statistic. You have got nothing to lose. If the next-door neighbor is rude, maybe that's a sign you should move on.

Takeaway

The environment you live in can be just as important as the state of your new kitchen or the number of bedrooms. Take some time to research your new neighborhood before you make that big purchase and avoid neighborhood regret.

If you have any questions about this process and live in the Detroit Metro area, we would be happy to help.

248-348-7200

Pros and Cons of Adding Onto Your Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group

New addition on house construction

With the housing crunch so many are experiencing, you might be wondering if it's a sound investment to add on to your existing home instead of looking for a bigger house.

This can seem like an especially good option if you like your neighborhood and your schools. Who wants to move if they can help it? There are many good questions to ask yourself if you're looking into this process, but here are just a few to get you started.

Is there a financial gain to adding on to my house?

If you're thinking about adding onto your house, it's probably because you would like to stay there, not because you want to sell it. However, it's good to keep in mind whether you'll ever be able to recoup the cost of a major remodel like a home addition if you do eventually sell it.

According to the data available for 2018, the value of the two most popular home additions for this year - a bathroom addition and a master suite addition - are just over 50% of the original cost. That means it's not a total wash when it comes to resale value.

It also means it's not something you should do to your house just to sell it. Doing a master suite addition or a new bathroom addition should be about what you want from your home.

In addition, it may make more sense in the current market if you can finance an addition for less than it would cost to find a new house with the equivalent square footage you would have after adding on to your current home. When you factor in how much it costs to move and the costs involved in closing on your current and new house, an addition may look on paper like it makes more financial sense.

What are the potential financial losses to adding on to my house?

However, there are many other considerations to a new home addition. Your energy costs will go up when you are heating and cooling a new space. Then there are the extra windows, floors, and gutters to clean and higher property taxes.

All this means that you will almost certainly not recover the full cost of your addition when you sell. If that's not why you're contemplating a new addition, it probably won't deter you. However, another thing to consider is the potential disruption of your life.

Will adding on to my house be as disruptive as buying and selling?

There's no getting around the fact that selling your house, buying a new one and moving are all significant disruptions to your life. It can be stressful even to contemplate. You have to clean, stage, pack, and keep everything in order. Then you have to keep the house ready to show at a moment's notice.

However, you may not realize the cleaning and vacating involved in new construction. Depending on how much house you are adding on, you may lose much of the function of your home for quite a bit longer than you may have thought.

Any new construction will involve a lot of dust getting everywhere in your house and workers in and out at all hours of the day. You may even have to leave your house while the work is being done. Compared to the hassle of selling and moving, adding on to your home may be about the same or more.

Could other potential losses be involved in adding on to my house?

A new addition could bring you the much-needed space you're looking for without having to change schools or neighborhoods. That's the good part; the reason you are thinking about taking the plunge.

You can expect to regain most or half of what you spent in resale value without paying as much as you would for a bigger house. That's another piece of good news. Besides losing your privacy and the function of at least portions of your home for an untold amount of time, you may also have to sacrifice valuable yard space.

If your kids are young, you know that's a big deal. It may not be worth it when it's all over. You could also be sacrificing the sanity of your relationship and your family, so you really have to plan ahead and get some real-life stories from other families who made this choice.

Conclusion

Building a home addition may sound like a good option in a tight housing market with few new homes for sale. However, it's best to take into consideration all the costs associated with this decision before you opt for that over selling your home.

If you have any questions about the resale value of home additions in your area, we would be happy to help. 

248-348-7200
 

 

Top Kitchen Fixes For Mass Appeal

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top kitchen fixes

Kitchens sell houses. It is as real now as it's ever been. You can expect to get offers up to $10,000 higher with an updated kitchen. You can also expect to get back about 85% of your original investment if you upgrade.

However, not just any new kitchen will sell a house fast and for more money. It has to have mass appeal. The last thing a prospective buyer wants to see is a new kitchen they can tell cost thousands of dollars, but which is not neutral.

The truth is, people have different taste. Your Moroccan-themed mosaic backsplash may make your heart flutter, but if a future buyer doesn't like it, she will see a hassle in her future.

What Most Buyers Want In A Kitchen

You may look at the numbers above and think it's not worth updating for a mere 85% return on your investment, but hold on. It's not always necessary to gut everything and start from scratch to make your kitchen the main selling point of your home.

Consider doing a few of these most critical fixes:

Wood Floors

One of the most essential surfaces for buyers in your entire home is the floor. Wood floors sell homes too, but especially wood floors in the kitchen. If you live in an older house, consider checking to see if a wood floor may be hiding under layers of linoleum. If you don’t have wood floors, and you don't have the budget for real hardwoods, ceramic or vinyl tile might be in your future.

There are so many wood-look products on the market that are durable, beautiful and easy to install. This one change could make a massive impact on prospective buyers.

Granite Countertops

What was once considered a luxury item is now regarded as standard in most homes. Yes, granite countertops do come at a higher price. Solid surface countertops - like Quartz - can come at an even higher price tag. But the truth is that Formica countertops just won't cut it. A prospective buyer looks at those cheap counters and mentally adds up the expense of switching them out. He or she is much more likely to accept the cost of the counters being included in a higher price for the house.

One other tip: neutral granite counters are always a huge selling point. No matter how beautiful you think it is, don't pick something flashy that a buyer won't want to accept.

Painted Cabinets

Good news: you don't have to replace your cabinets to get a return on your money. Painting them can go a long way. Paint doesn't cost nearly as much as granite countertops, but it can really transform a dated kitchen. Crisp white cabinets in place of dated and dingy - or just builder grade - make a kitchen look new.

Paint the Walls

This is an often-forgotten solution for the kitchen since most of a kitchen is covered in cabinetry and tile, but don't forget the walls! Paint the walls a beautiful color to offset the cabinets and countertop. It will give your kitchen the extra-new feeling it needs to sell your house.

New Cabinet Hardware & Sink

What if your cabinets are not dingy and they aren't builder-grade? It might not make sense to paint them if the wood is beautiful, especially if they were custom-built for your kitchen. You might consider changing your woodland-themed knobs to something updated and neutral. Brass knobs and pulls are a modern choice with a classic look.

Neutral Backsplash

A tile backsplash is such a personal choice. Maybe your prospective buyers absolutely hate white subway tile, but chances are much higher that most of them won't. You want something that makes your kitchen look new, clean, and neutral. So consider replacing the themed backsplash as a way to make your kitchen sell itself.

Updated Lighting

Does your kitchen feel like a cave? Is it too dark where it counts the most? Chances are good that if you don't have enough lighting there, your buyers will notice it. Consider updating and adding more lighting where your kitchen needs more.

Stage & Clean

The very best, and free, way to make your kitchen sell itself? Stage it like the rest of your house. Clean all the corners, nooks, and crannies. Take away most of the stuff you have sitting on your counters. Yes, that includes the appliances. If you have to, put them in a storage bin and hide them away. You want just enough out to make buyers feel like they could live there. They don't actually want to see you living there if you know what I mean. A bowl of fruit and a few props should be all you need. Your real estate agent can give you some helpful pointers.

Conclusion

With a couple of small - or maybe one significant - changes to your kitchen, you may be on your way to selling fast and for more than what you were hoping for!

New Home Forecast Summer 2018 - What You Need to Know

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Housing forecast

In years past, house hunting could be a fun, relaxed time. Buyers could afford to take their time and see multiple listings before making a decision. There were plenty of homes to choose from.

However, the housing market has not been kind to buyers in the last several years. One reason for this that we keep writing about is the housing shortage.

It's especially frustrating for first-time home buyers who are competing with so many others for the few starter homes on the market. And starter home prices are also rising.

You may have heard that new home construction is returning. That is true. More new homes are being built now than there have been since before the 2008 and the beginning of the recession.

Read on to learn about what's trending and how it could impact you as you continue your search!

New Homes Statistics in 2018

In May of this year, builders completed almost 1.3 million new homes across the U.S. according to the
joint report put out by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The last time that many houses were completed in a month was in January of 2018 when a little over 1.3 million new homes were completed.

There were also more new homes completed this year compared with this time last year. In April, 1.9% more new homes were completed than in April of 2017. In May it was even better: 10.4% up from May of 2017.

Future prospects for new homes and new home buyers also looks good. This trend can be traced through how many permits have been issued. The number of new permits issued to home builders was up 8% in May over May of 2017, so more new homes are being built this summer than last summer.

In addition, there are permits to put up single-family houses, which is good for new home buyers as well. Permits for single-family homes went up 7.7% over last year. New construction has varied from region to region, but the Midwest has seen one of the most substantial bumps - 17.4% - in permits issued to builders.

One of the most significant gains is in housing starts. Construction work on new homes that has begun but hasn't finished yet has gone up 20.3% from the same time last year. The Midwest overall has seen the biggest gain in new construction, which continues to make it one of the most affordable regions in the country.

The Downsides to New Construction

Although this region has seen the most growth, there still aren't enough new homes being constructed to meet all the demand. More new homes do help the struggling buyers. However, it's always going to be competitive. The market needs 1.25 million new homes every year to meet demand, but this current building pace doesn't match that. It's about 30% below the required supply.

Another potential frustration is in the types of homes being built. Demand is highest for single-family starter homes, as there is an increasing number of first-time buyers. New homes are more expensive than previously existing homes because of the associated costs.

Additionally, builders are erecting larger houses for clients with a higher income. Most of the new homes that have gone up have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms with a price-point to match.

Most new construction, as you can imagine, is happening further out from city centers and established suburbs. They are more likely to be part of a homeowners association, which can add more expense in the form of HOA fees. This is all good news for families looking for this type of new building, but it doesn't help young buyers looking for the right home not too far away.

Takeaway

New home construction is excellent news for the housing market overall. Even if you are a first-time buyer, it could end up impacting you positively. The good news is the housing shortage is beginning to ease, if ever so slightly.

If you are interested in looking for a new house in the Northville, Novi, or South Lyon, Michigan area, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

3 Small Home Fixes To Make A Huge Impact

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Tools for home fixes

If you have just purchased your new home in the spring or summer, chances are good that you have bought at the top of your budget and that you are trying to find ways to settle in and make the best of finishings in need of an update. You are probably mostly happy you finally got a house, after months of searching and putting in offers.

As a brand-new homeowner, the world is your oyster. However, your budget may not be. Whether you are inwardly groaning at your 1950s kitchen with no $20,000 insight to gut the whole thing, or eyeing your peeling front porch and wishing for carpenter elves, there are solutions.

You may not realize it yet, but there are many small and affordable fixes out there. Your attitude about your house can do a 180 on a slim budget.

Paint, paint and more paint

Did you know that paint is for more than just walls? You can actually paint your tile. That ugly backsplash you just can't afford to replace? That 1990s bathroom renovation you absolutely can't stand?

You can purchase a DIY epoxy kit that can cover the whole thing with a shiny, white glaze. No one will ever know the difference. You can even cover those mustard-colored bathroom sinks and fiberglass shower insert.

Another area where paint can make a huge impact is on your trim. Do you have dated or cheap-looking trim? It might take a weekend's worth of your time, but fresh white trim can give your whole house a clean, updated look.

The same goes for doors and kitchen cabinets.  If you want to get really bold, there are even paint products out there made especially for floors. So if you have a tile floor that's eventually going the way of dinosaurs, why not stencil on a pattern you like?

Hardware

You might not realize what an impact the fixtures and hardware in your house are making on you. Take a moment to look at your faucets, light fixtures, electrical plates, doorknobs and cabinet hardware.

These things can each be replaced relatively inexpensively. Does one room stand out to you? Could you switch out that construction-grade flush-mount ceiling light in the dining room for a modern pendant light?

You might be surprised at how much it changes the atmosphere of the place all by itself. Maybe your electrical plates are grimy. Can you change them for fresh, white plates to match your new white trim? Or perhaps all your kitchen really needs is a few coats of paint on the cabinets and new hardware. That's an inexpensive fix that can really make all the difference.

Outside

Is your curb appeal a little lackluster? It's a good thing you don't really need a team of beefy landscapers to fix it since they come at a price. There are three things you can do right now to update the front of your house.

Weed and mulch.

Don't worry about adding any plants or making big plans. Just have a load of mulch delivered and tidy-up what's already there. Don't have much of a garden? Buy a few hanging baskets or big pots for the front porch and put in some colorful flowers.

Paint your front door.

This is something no one thinks about doing, but it can make the most dramatic impact of all. If you have one bright color you love, think about putting on the front door instead of the bedroom wall.

Update your house numbers.

You can't beat the power of typography on the eye, especially for modernizing the exterior of your house. What better way to say to friends and neighbors, "welcome to my new house!"

Takeaway

Don't let your fading home finishes get your down. Make a few of these small fixes that will fit in your budget and enjoy the significant impact they make on how much you love your house.


 

Top Things to Overlook When Buying a New House and What Not to Overlook

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top Things to Overlook When Buying a New House

This year, housing shortages are worse than ever. Mortgage interest rates are rising a little bit, and home prices are raising a lot, due to the large demand. You might be sitting yourself down for a serious talk right about now if you’ve been on the housing search for a long time and haven’t gotten anything yet. First-time buyers are especially hurting in this extreme seller’s market.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Forget buying a house for now. I’ll just wait until market conditions clear up.” For some first-time buyers out there, the hassle and heartbreak might not be worth it.

But I bet you have that nagging voice in the back of your head asking, “what if it doesn’t get better? What if it only gets worse? If I gave up now, would I miss my chance?”

If you decide to take another stab at finding a house, you want to look at homes with a new perspective. I’m here to tell you there are things you can overlook when you decide to purchase a home. And there are things you shouldn’t. Not all potential home buyers know the difference. Maybe your willingness to accept a few things about a house that you don’t like will be the difference between buying a home and renting for a few more years.

What Should You Overlook?

Paint Colors

I can’t tell you how many times potential buyers have been deterred from looking at a home because the paint colors or the color of the trim isn’t to their liking. Paint colors are one of the easiest things to change about a house. Paint is cheap, relatively speaking, and it doesn’t take much skill or time to change.

Curb Appeal

If you are like most buyers now, you are cruising through the pictures on listing sites long before you make an appointment to see a house in person. In fact, many homes are weeded out of a prospective buyer’s list solely based on whether the pictures are nice or not. The curb appeal of your home is easily changed within a year or two, on a small budget. When deciding which houses to see, try basing your decision on the size and location of the house rather than how it looks on the outside.

Old appliances, Carpeting or Light Fixtures

It’s one thing if you’re looking at a home near the top of your price range that needs $100k worth of work before it’s livable. It’s another thing to strike it off the list for having old finishings like carpet, light fixtures or appliances. I understand that it all takes money to replace, but some of these things don’t require much money or skill to replace.

The bottom line is if your home needs cosmetic updates, but everything else is right, (location, size, and fundamental structure) you might be looking at the house of your dreams.

What Do Buyers Overlook (But You Shouldn’t)?

Budget Concerns

Sometimes buyers overlook how much closing costs are going to be when they calculate how much they can spend on a house. Make sure you get this nailed down before you make that offer. You should also take the time to calculate utility costs before you make your offer. Your offer is going to depend on how much you can pay each month. It’s best not to be surprised before getting into a new house, and you can’t assume your utilities will be the same in your new house as they are now.

Resale Value

While some things can be overlooked, what some buyers do is sacrifice what can't be changed in order to get into a house, like a backyard right next to a busy train track. You may tell yourself you don't mind, but you might be surprised what other buyers mind when it's time to sell.

Likewise, there are some things about your new neighborhood you might not know until you live there. Those can’t be changed either. What’s the new neighborhood like at night, for instance? Is there a dog that barks all night two doors down? Do the neighbors fight loudly on weekends or throw wild parties? And what will your commute be like from your new house? It’s a good idea to check these things out before committing.

Takeaway

House hunting season is bound to be tough right now for first-time buyers. Hang in there and try to hold your expectations loosely. If you can look past a few of the things that can be easily changed while being smart about the things you can’t change, you might find yourself with the advantage.

If you are interested in buying a house in Northville, Novi or South Lyon, Michigan, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

The Ugly Summer Housing Market Forecast

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Couple looking at house online - housing market

If you are a first-time home buyer this summer, you probably have already been feeling the burn, so to speak. If 2017’s housing market was difficult for those seeking starter homes, this year is looking to be even tighter. Spring has been very busy already, and it’s not likely to let up as summer progresses.

While searching for a new house, it’s best to be informed. According to Forbes, which has analyzed the data and research this spring, more buyers are as informed as they can be going into this season.

If you are one of them, it’s probably because of the disappointment you, or your friends, have experienced while looking for a home. Here are the facts:

  • Inventory has been declining steadily for 42 consecutive months. It’s down almost 9% from last year at this time.
  • Average days on the market have fallen by 5 days as well.
  • Starter home prices have risen 9.6% this year over last year.
  • Trade up and premium home prices have risen as well - 7.5% and 5.2%.
  • Mortgage rates are on the rise as well - 4.66% at the end of May, which is ¾ of a percent higher than this time last year.
  • 40% of buyers are planning to put more than 20% down.
  • 40% of buyers have been actively looking for a home for more than 7 months.
  • 60% of buyers are still hoping to close on their dream home within the next 6 months.
  • More than 25% of buyers plan to offer above asking price.
  • 31% of buyers are planning to put a larger earnest money deposit down.
  • Only 6% of buyers aren’t planning to use any of these tactics to cope with the increased difficulty of finding a new home.

Here’s an interesting one, not necessarily negative.

  • There are 8.3% more fixer-upper starter homes on the market than there were 6 years ago.

According to the list above, clearly many buyers are going into this season with action plans in hand - and you can too.

Get pre-approved before you shop.

You don’t want to fall for a home and then lose it in the rush to get approved for a mortgage. In addition, according to The Mortgage Reports.com, you can shop around for your mortgage the same way you shop for a home. Don’t be like other buyers and take the first offer you find.

Be prepared to act fast!

This means having all your ducks in a row and knowing exactly what you’re willing to settle for, and how much you have to spend. It is better to know when to walk away than get in over your head with a mortgage payment you can’t afford.

On the flip side, know what you can offer over and above what other buyers might be able to offer. If you have a bigger down payment or more earnest money, offer it up front.

You can also settle, up front, with your realtor what other terms you can add to your offer to make it more attractive. For example, offer a fast closing, a quick inspection or renting back to the seller are all things that don’t cost extra money but could make the difference to the seller.

Keep an open mind.

When looking at homes - especially the way we all window shop on our phones - it’s best to reserve judgment until you’ve seen a home in person. If there is a particular listing in your neighborhood and price range that you are tempted to pass by because the pictures don’t look great, think again.

Other buyers may be doing what you were tempted to do and miss out on a good opportunity. The same thing goes for viewing fixer-uppers. Not everyone can see past paint or finishings they don’t like. However, if you are willing to do that, you might just get in ahead of everyone else.

Takeaway

Yes, the market is crazy for buyers again this year. But take heart and keep informed. If you are interested in looking for a house, it is important to have an experienced real estate agent by your side. Call our office today!

248-348-7200

 

Home Improvement: Do It Yourself vs. Getting a Loan

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Home improvement project: removing old asphalt roof

Spring and summer are often the time to roll out those power tools and work on the home improvement projects you have been waiting to do. Some homeowners are just now realizing their house needs work either before the next time cold weather hits or before they can sell their house.

The trouble is, which projects are worth it to do yourself and what ones are absolutely best done by a professional? In addition, if you need professional help, how can you finance it?

Here are practical tips to help you decide if you should do that home improvement project or to hire a professional.

Doing It Yourself

There are a few big questions to answer before you know whether a certain project is worth doing yourself. Before you get into a big one, make sure you have really done your research. Otherwise, you may end up paying double for a contractor to get you out of your DIY predicament.

Do You Have the Time and Energy to Invest in This Project?

I’m not just talking about the energy required to do the work, but also the energy required to live with the constant state of a mess as you navigate through your job, your family life, and the unfinished work and state of mess that inevitably comes with a DIY job.

While things like finishing a basement, landscaping, or even painting your home’s exterior yourself might be worth the hassle of the workaround, replacing all your kitchen cabinets and countertops yourself might not be worth it in the loss of your kitchen for weeks or months.

Is it Safe for a Novice?

Even experienced DIYers know better than to take on something that could be dangerous or cause expensive problems if done incorrectly. Things like electrical, plumbing, and removing walls are best left to the experts.

Do You Truly Have the Skills to Do it Right?

Many of the projects on DIY shows aren’t as easy as the professionals make them look. Installing tile is often touted as a DIY project. However, it can be tricky and costly to get wrong. Do your research, take a class, and practice before you commit.

How to Finance a Home Remodel

There is good news if you need home improvement and know you can’t tackle it yourself. There are many ways to finance home improvements.

Personal Loans

According to an article in US News, there are some personal loans available for as low as $1,000. Although they do have the drawback of short repayment times, they do not affect your home equity.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is basically a smaller second mortgage for a fixed amount of money that is secured by your home. They typically have fixed interest rates that never change, so the monthly payment will be the same.

These loans have higher interest rates than mortgage rates, but they are much lower than a typical credit card. They also come in larger amounts - usually about 85% of the value of your home minus what you still owe on your current mortgage. You can also get a tax deduction under certain conditions.

The disadvantages of a home equity loan are that you use your home’s equity, so it doesn’t exist anymore or isn’t as high. There is a risk of foreclosure if you fail to pay the loan since the collateral is your home’s equity. Also, this isn’t a good product to use for short-term expense since you could end up paying more than if you had used a different loan product.

Contractor Financing

If you need a new roof, for instance, most companies offer financing to get you into the new roof you need right now and offer 100% financing. In fact, most contractors offer project financing that doesn’t affect your home equity, is easy to sign up for on the spot, and doesn’t tie up your personal credit card balances in case of emergency.

This option can often give you the ability to have a nicer renovation than you had anticipated and cover the total cost. However, keep in mind that it is a loan and a contractor is interested in selling you a higher-priced product by showing you a low monthly price you feel you can afford. Make sure to do your homework beforehand.

Best Home Improvement Projects for Return on Investment

Lifehacker.com lists the top three money-saving home improvements you can do. These are worth checking out even if they aren’t cosmetic. Not only are they worth the money, but they are, in some cases, very inexpensive.

  • Seal up all drafty areas - windows, doors, etc.
  • Update your old energy-wasting appliances
  • Clean your gutters and check for structural problems.

Conclusion

The best thing you can do to make a decision about home improvements and how best to get them done is to do your research, both on how long it actually takes to DIY a project AND how much it actually costs to finance.

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