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What Not To Do To Settle Into Your New Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Familysettiling into new home

As the weather warms up and sunny days abound, we know many of you are going to be moving into new homes this year. One of the best things about being a new homeowner is that feeling that it’s all yours. You get to do whatever you want with it, right?

Well, yes, but there are certainly ways that you might think you are doing the best for your house but you’re actually hurting it. Read on and avoid these little mistakes.

Cleaning 101

Has anyone ever told you not to use Windex on your mirrors? Well, you know what causes that black ring around old mirrors? Cleaning solution! It drips down the mirror and pools just on the underside of installed fixture mirrors - like the kind you see in bathrooms - and eats away at the backing, causing that unsightly black ring. Instead, use a microfiber cloth and dampen if necessary.

You might think bleach is the go-to cleaning solvent for every emergency. What about moldy grout? Not so much. Using bleach to whiten grout actually creates a breeding ground for more mold. This is because the bleach eats away at the grout. It also eats through a lot of other stuff, it turns out including:

  • Stone surfaces like granite
  • Laminate and colored grout
  • Enamel and acrylic tubs
  • Vinyl flooring like linoleum
  • Corrode your garbage disposal seals

Instead, use vinegar and water on most everything and ice cubes in the disposal.

Speaking of the disposal, those heavy duty drain cleaners you use when you get a clog? They can also dissolve your pipes. The solution? Vinegar and baking soda can make them explode. Either call a plumber or invest in a snake tool and some drain covers.

Gardening

Planting trees too close to your house or trying to train anything to grow up your walls is a homeowner no-no. A lot of times new homeowners don’t think through the ramifications of those plants growing a lot bigger.

A tree’s roots will grow as wide as the crown is, so unless it’s a dwarf variety, that tree needs to be far, far away from your house’s foundation, driveway or sidewalk. We know that ivy is really pretty, but it is best left in pots, or at least supported by trellises. Don’t let it get a vine-hold on your walls or they will eventually crumble.

Mulching too much and stacking firewood against your house are also big potential problems. There is such a thing as overdoing a good thing. Too much mulch can keep your plants from getting any water. In addition, as with firewood by your house, it can become a breeding ground for insects like termites to take up shop right by your walls.

Conclusion

It’s always a good idea to check out any changes you want to make to your new house before you make them and potentially end up paying. Likewise, looking at the manufacturer’s instructions for how to clean your home’s surfaces will help keep your new house looking and feeling new for years to come. 

Cheap Fixes To Sell Your House Quickly

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Cheap Fixes To Sell Your House Quickly

If you are going to try selling your home this summer, you don’t have to tell us that you want to move that house quickly and you want to get your asking price for it.

Homeowners sometimes get zealous about the kinds of improvements projects they do in order to sell quickly and for top dollar. However, they don’t always choose what buyers want to see.   

Don’t waste your money or time on things a buyer doesn’t want. In addition, definitely do look at the list below to find out which repairs or updates bring the biggest returns.

*Don’t get confused between maintenance and updates. Maintenance might be needed, but it doesn’t add value. If you just replaced your roof, it won’t get you a higher price for your home. However, it will increase your pool of potential buyers, so definitely do it if your house needs it.

Cheap Fixes to Add Value to Your Home

Paint

This is the number 1 most cost-effective and biggest return on investment when selling your house.

Update your paint colors to something neutral, not white. Paint your trim a nice, crisp white. If your house is already painted this way, just make sure all holes are patched and all scuffs and dings are either cleaned or touched up.

Don’t just stop at the walls either! You may not be thinking about your ceilings (unless you have had a leak), but buyers are going to look up there. Updating popcorn ceilings, cracks, grease spots or any other kind of stains will go a long way toward making a buyer want to pull the trigger right away.

*Quick tip: bold paint and wallpaper choices are almost always going to work against you. These are style choices a buyer doesn’t want to see. If you have decided to sell your house, investing in a steamer and letting your personal color preferences go could be the thing that gets you a higher offer.

Kitchens

You are not going to spend a bunch of cash on a new kitchen that you’re leaving. That said buyers don’t want to replace appliances or clean disgusting ones. They also don’t want to suffer from someone else’s design choices.

Painting dated cabinets and replacing hardware is a good option. So is deep cleaning your appliances or replacing broken ones. The good news is that remodeled kitchens are almost always a 100% return on investment.

Bathrooms

The other area that sells homes is the bathroom, and for the same reason as the kitchen. Buyers don’t want to fix that dated, gross bathroom. That’s your job. If you have dated tile, a scummy tub surround and a vanity that is eating up bathroom space, consider investing in a few things (besides elbow grease):

  • Pedestal sinks
  • Tile epoxy
  • A new toilet and/or shower door
  • If your tile is outdated and dirty, either scrub and whiten with a grout cleaning solution or refinish your tub surround with tile epoxy. It can be rolled on or sprayed and dries hard and shiny like tile. It does require a bit of work, but it is way cheaper than replacing the tile. Likewise, if your shower door is scummy, maybe you just need to clean it really well and leave as-is. But if it can’t get cleaned enough to look like new, you need a new door.

Exterior

This may be your most important fix of all. Most buyers are looking online at first impressions. They matter more than you think they do. Some buyers are going to just flip on by and never save your home for a second look if they don’t like the picture of the front of your house.

  • Trim the grass.
  • Weed the flower beds.
  • Plant blooming flowers.
  • Make sure the front of your house is clean and in working order.
  • Re-paint or stain the front porch if necessary.

These are all cheap fixes. Some of them are free. However, they go a long way toward getting you that quick sale.

Conclusion

If you want to sell your house quickly without spending a lot of money, consider doing these things. Don’t change the house according to your own taste, but definitely do make the fixes buyers want to see, and make sure there is no visible maintenance you haven’t done.

When you are ready to put your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

The Pros and Cons of Buying for the School District

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Bus in neighborhood

People have many different priorities when considering buying a home. These include proximity to a job, amenities, location within a city, the number of bedrooms, and interior finishing. The list goes on and on.

When making a decision about this huge purchase, there are so many factors to weigh. Not the least of which is, where will your kids go to school?

Will you be able to sell the house when you move, and for how much? Will you get a good return on your investment?

The common wisdom for buying a home has been “buy in a good school district, even if you don’t have kids.” And there is good reasoning in this approach - especially if you have kids.

However, there are also some good reasons not to let the school district influence your decision.

Do You Have Kids?

The biggest factor for buying a home in a good school district is, of course, whether you have kids under the age of 18. The truth is, when you buy a sought-after home in a good school district, the value of that home is reflected in the price. You will be paying more up-front. But then, your children will benefit from the education a good school district provides.

The alternative is living in a bigger or better home in a less-desirable school district. At that point, you must factor in the cost of paying for a private school education or making a lifestyle-altering choice like homeschooling your children. Some families are able to do this. However, most families will want to benefit from a high-quality public education.

Private schools, as many people know, can run into the thousands per year for each child. The average tuition cost for a private school can run up to $10,000 per year. That is the same as paying around $900 per month in extra mortgage payments.

Tip: The age of the schools, the condition of the facilities, student to teacher ratios, and standardized test scores are all things you can find online about a public school district. These are the factors used in determining the value of the school district.

If you are childless and not planning to have children, or have children over 18, buying an expensive house in a good school district may not be for you.

As mentioned above, the value of the school district does tend to be reflected in the price of the home and the property taxes. If you are paying this without reaping the benefits, it’s no deal for you. You can always pass that inflated price on to the next buyer, which makes this option seem like the safe bet. However, your home isn’t going to appreciate in value as much as a home in an area with bad schools.

It’s true! You can look at the data provided by Zillow to see the home appreciation values for the last 20 years in any area. The reality is that home values have gone up faster and higher in gentrifying areas than in those with good school districts.

What does this mean?

In the economics blog “Up From Wage Slavery”, the author makes a good case for why this trend is changing. Here are some of his reasons:

  • Government policy can affect school district changes quickly.
  • The growth market is in gentrifying cities. Small towns with good school districts appreciate, but fewer people are choosing to move there.
  • People moving to cities are increasingly either childless or waiting until they are older to have children.

Conclusion

It’s not a bad investment to buy a house in a good school district. In fact, it can be one of the safest investments to make. If you are directly benefiting from the schools in your area, it’s a no-brainer.

But if you are looking at buying a home for its appreciation value, the truth is in the data: homes in gentrifying cities (many of which have less desirable school districts) are appreciating faster and higher.

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

248-348-7200

Real Estate News: Seller’s Market - Buyers Are Paying More

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House with sold sign

According to USA Today, 2018 is shaping up to be a seller’s market more than ever before. This is especially true for anyone selling a “starter” home.

The lowest point of the housing market was in 2012, and we’ve seen it steadily get better over the last six years. Now, many people have jobs but the inventory is still tight, so buyers are getting creative to afford homes.

One-third of buyers are spending more than the upper limit of what they thought they would spend to buy a home - an average of over $16,000 - according to an Owners.com survey. This is for two reasons:

  • Home prices went up 6.2% on average between January of 2017 and January of 2018.
  • Bidding wars are driving up prices because of the low inventory.

Guess who is paying the most over their set budget?

The answer is Millennials.

Put it another way: Millennials are the “most likely to splurge” to the tune of $25,000 on average. Not all of them, but around 40%.

Compare this to 34% of Gen Xers by $13,000 and only 19% of Baby Boomers by $8,000 on average.

The fact is that Millennials are still first-time home buyers. They are coming from a rental or living with relatives, compared to their older counterparts, who can stay in the home they are in until they find something in their price range. In addition, they are also unpracticed at buying a home, so less likely to know what constitutes a realistic budget.

Good News for Sellers

This could be great news for sellers, although it doesn’t mean your house will automatically attract a bidding war. A home priced too high for its area is still likely to sit on the market unless it has clear amenities and updates the other homes around it don’t have.

And there are concrete things buyers are looking for this year when they are looking for an updated home. The top answers might surprise you.

According to a Zillow survey of 4 million home sales in the last two years, here is a list of amenities that made homes top sellers (that is, the homes with these amenities sold for this percentage above asking price):

  • Steam shower (29%)
  • Professional-grade appliance (29%)
  • Pizza oven (26 %)
  • Pet shower (25%)
  • Outdoor kitchen (25%)
  • Entertainer or prep sink (25%)
  • Shed or garage studio (24%)
  • Heated floors (24%)
  • Meditation room (24%)
  • Wine fridge (22%)
  • Chef’s kitchen (21%)
  • Craftsman style (21%)
  • Herringbone or parquet floors (21%)
  • Free-standing tub (21%)
  • Solar panels (21%)
  • Coffered ceiling (20%)
  • Outdoor fireplace (20%)
  • Carrara marble (19%)
  • Home theater (19%)
  • Farmhouse sink (19%)

That’s right; buyers these days are looking for wellness-related features like heated floors and free-standing tubs, outdoor cooking spaces, and mudrooms with pet showers.

These things signal to potential buyers that your home is recently updated and will not need any changes or remodeling. It also helps buyers to be able to see themselves living and entertaining in the space.

This desire could translate into more money for you on the other end - and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Investing in some paint and simple staging could change a bedroom into a meditation room in a day.

Takeaway

With inventory low and more buyers willing to pay more, you could be looking at a nice profit on your home if you were thinking about selling this year. Some minor updates could be all you need!

If you are considering putting your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

 

How to Use Your Tax Refund to Help Buy a Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group

New house concept

We are approaching what most people think of as the peak housing season - the season when most homes are listed and most people who are looking for a home start that process.

Interestingly enough, the peak season for Midwesterners starts in May - ahead of the rest of the country. All other regions start in June.

Getting a jump on this year’s busy season could be important - especially if you’ve been waiting extra long to find that perfect house.

So, how can tax season be helpful?

It’s not hard to figure out how having extra money could be helpful, and I’m sure there are a few different purchases you could make.

Don’t we all look forward to that tax return? Tax return season tends to be when prospective buyers get approved for a home loan more easily for this reason.

Tips on Using Your Tax Refund to Buy a Home

Down Payment

The down payment can be the biggest hurdle. First-time homebuyers are more than ever saddled with school debt. Did you know you can apply for a low down payment mortgage program if you’re a first-time buyer?

There are also down-payment assistance products to help you pay 3.5% all the way on down to nothing down for a first home. A tax refund could be used for a down payment or the return can be used before you’ve received the money to get pre-approved for a loan. Once the money is in your account, it can be used for closing.

If you get approved for a no down payment loan, a tax return can help with closing costs or help to pay the insurance.

Improve Your Credit Score

You may not be approved for a no down payment loan - or even a low down payment loan - because of too much debt. Your debt to income ratio may be too high - meaning the repayment of the mortgage would take too much of your monthly income and the bank thinks you wouldn’t be able to do it.

You can use that tax return to pay off debt in order to qualify. Paying off credit cards or other lines of credit with high-interest rates can dramatically increase your credit score as well, making you a better candidate for mortgage qualification.

It would be helpful to talk to a mortgage loan officer before deciding which debt to pay off if that’s what you’re hoping to do. You want to pay off the debt that makes the most impact and doesn’t jeopardize your loan approval.

Asset Reserves

An underwriter wants to see assets - money - in your bank account. If you have a lower credit score, a high debt ratio or some other problem standing in your way, you may still receive an approval if you have asset reserves like a big tax refund in the bank.

If it’s 2-6 months’ worth of monthly mortgage payments, that’s the most ideal. Talking to a loan officer should help sort out what is best to do with your tax refund if you think it may help you buy the home you’ve been waiting for.

Conclusion

Tax season is upon us. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you may be surprised at how much it could help you buy a first home this season. Make sure you talk to a financial advisor to work out how best to use this asset.

If you are ready to start looking for a house and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We’re here whenever you need us!

248-348-7200

Deep Cleaning Checklist to Sell Your Home Fast

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Deep cleaning checklist

There’s nothing like walking into a home you know has been taken care of. You may not realize it has been deep cleaned just by walking into it, but you know a clean house when you experience it. It smells nice, it feels nice.

In fact, this one single thing is more important than almost anything else you can do to get your house sold fast.

Not everyone deep cleans their house every spring and fall, so you may be playing catch up in this area when it comes time to sell your house. Trust me, though. You will be so glad you put in the work up front.

Taking the time to deep clean, purge and make your home inviting helps to keep it clean during the selling process and makes moving that much easier.

We realize not everyone has a good idea of how to deep clean a house. These days, with both parents working and families moving more frequently, you may not have been called-upon to deep clean a house.

Even if you elect not to deep clean your house yourself before selling, a checklist is a good idea to give a house cleaner to make sure you’re not paying for something you’re not getting.

Deep Cleaning Checklist

Basic Tips

  • Carry all supplies in a tote you can easily carry with you from room to room.
  • Make it green by carrying clean rags and a bucket for dirty rags.
  • Always clean left to right, back to front and top to bottom.
  • De-clutter every room before cleaning - throw out useless items and donate things you haven’t used in 6 months.
  • Create a filing system and small storage system for papers, keys, and things that would normally fill up a junk drawer.
  • Create a mail sorting system to avoid piling.

Deep Cleaning Room by Room

Every Room

  • Wash windows, sills, and screens. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner this makes a room feel.
  • Clean all light fixtures and bulbs. Replace burnt out bulbs. Your home may be much brighter than you’re used to by now.
  • Light switches.
  • Ceiling fans: blades and lights.
  • Using a hose attachment, get all cobwebs from corners and the joints between walls and ceilings.
  • Dust the tops of everything: doors, cabinets, trim, appliances, etc.
  • Clean under and behind all furniture.
  • Remove all trinkets to clean and dust, around and underneath.
  • Polish the furniture.
  • Wash all rugs and mats.
  • Clean switch plate covers and door knobs.
  • To clean walls: Grease, smoke, and dust build up on your walls over time. Resist the urge to spot clean, as it can make the rest of your wall look dingy in comparison. Instead, wash walls using a general-purpose cleaner with hot water. Start at the top of the wall to avoid drips and in a corner so that you wash one wall at a time. Use a clean mop. Rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. Press lightly, as flat paint doesn’t absorb much water. If a wall needs serious scrubbing, you may want to consider re-painting. This may also be a necessity if there is smoke damage - or you have smoked inside your home for any length of time. If this is the case, all drapes and upholstery will need to be steam-cleaned as well.
  • Empty and clean all trash cans
  • Vacuum or lint roll lampshades
  • Vacuum upholstery

Entry

  • Hose down/scrub around front door and light fixture.
  • Polish exterior light fixtures and door hardware.
  • Clean up your yard and landscaping.

Kitchen

  • Clear off countertops, scrub.
  • Polish faucets and sink.
  • Deep clean inside of fridge and freezer - make sure to take out and clean the drip pan.
  • Take your stove apart, remove knobs, scrub thoroughly with degreasing cleaner.
  • Clean the inside of your stove and oven door along with the broiler drawer and ledges.
  • Inside/outside of the microwave.
  • Clean chairs/barstools
  • Wipe cabinets inside and out.
  • Wipe baseboards.
  • Vacuum and mop floors, paying special attention to corners and cracks along cabinet bases.

Bathrooms

  • Wash all walls and tile. You may need to use a grout cleaner for mildew or discolored spots in your tub or shower. Use an old toothbrush to get the corners and cracks. Hair products do tend to coat the walls and build up over time just as with grease in the kitchen.
  • Clean towel racks and toilet paper holders.
  • Use an old toothbrush and whitening cleaner on sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers.
  • Bleach shower pan if necessary and remove drain cover and scrub clean.
  • Clean glass shower doors.
  • Scrub and disinfect every surface of the toilet.
  • Wash and polish all mirrors.
  • Clean or put away all items on the countertop.
  • Wash and replace all linens in use - towels and area rugs.
  • Scrub floors and baseboards.

Laundry Room

  • Clean washer and dryer. Remove lint and knobs and wipe down inside and out. This is a good time to clean the lint from under your dryer drum.
  • De-clutter the top of your dryer and all surfaces, corralling all products into one cupboard or basket.
  • Scrub floors and baseboards.

Garage

  • Make sure everything is well lit, well organized, and clean.

Closets

  • Vacuum the floors.
  • Dust the walls and the shelves.
  • Consider not only categorizing, ironing, and straightening all hanging clothes but also investing in matching hangers for a uniform look. Make sure all storage items are stacked neatly and shoes are all clean and lined up nicely or on a rack.
  • Place cedar blocks in the closet to freshen the air and prevent moth

Extra tips

To eliminate smells:

  • Wash the inside of your fridge with baking soda and water.
  • Boil lemon juice in your microwave.
  • Add lemon juice to your dishwasher.
  • Put lemon rinds down your garbage disposal.
  • Put activated charcoal in the fridge to keep bad smells away.
  • The best smell for your home is clean - don’t attempt to cover up bad smells with heavy air fresheners
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned before showing your home and put large rugs at the front door to control dirt tracked in. You can also ask those viewing your home to take their shoes off when they tour the house.
  • The best time to wash windows is on an overcast day. 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water and two drops of dishwashing liquid make a great window cleaner. Spray on and wipe with newspaper.

Takeaway

It's a common fact that clean homes net more money. If your home is squeaky clean, you will not only sell your home faster, you will make more money.

When you are ready to put your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

How to Buy a Home Even if Debt Has You Worried

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Young couple that bought a home

It used to be that no one even considered buying a home if they had any other debt to their name. This was when you could pay for college by working full-time while you studied, and whole families existed on one income.

In this country, credit has become such a huge part of our lives that we hardly think about it anymore. Until we get those bills piling up, right?

Of course, you shouldn’t buy a house if you are deeply in debt and are not able to pay the bills you already have. If you have abused your credit cards in the past, rest assured that you are like many Americans.

However, you may also need to reduce your spending drastically until you can get your debt to income ratio under control. The highest recommended debt to income ratio is 43%. That is usually the rate under which you have to fall in order to qualify for a home loan.

Rent or Buy

You have heard that it makes more sense to own a home than to rent. This is true even if you have to borrow money to buy it. Most people do have to borrow. Every payment you make on your purchased home goes toward building equity in your property, and it will increase your net worth.

When you rent, you are paying someone else and they get all the equity. It makes the idea of a home loan sound more attractive.

It can be good, in this situation, to think about why you are longing for that home. Are you taking your cues from the home renovation shows which make owning your dream home easily attainable? Are you simply hoping for a way to be on your own and to build credit? Do you want to increase your family size?

Even with school debt, it can be doable. There are two main ways to think about owning a home despite being in debt.

Going Small

So many options exist for this, but it may be necessary to think outside the box. Once you have convinced yourself that you must go small, you have much more freedom to consider the possibilities.

Are there smaller homes in your dream area that you overlooked before? Maybe the kids could share a bedroom and you can jump on that minimalist bandwagon. A big backyard could be a potential place to add a bedroom down the road when things aren’t so tight.

Maybe you have a relative with a large property or want to live in an area with available plots of land. In most cases, you can get the zoning to have a tiny house built right. The tiny house movement is becoming more and more popular as they are both environmentally sustainable and economically easy.

In any case, a small home is cheaper to maintain, heat, and cool than a larger one, so you will also save on utilities once you live there.

Becoming a Landlord

Another way to afford a home with a restricted budget is to buy a home with an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, or the potential to create one. If you can rent out a basement or attic space, you can use the rent to help with mortgage payments.

Another Helpful Option

An FHA loan is a good option for some potential homeowners. These loans commonly allow you to pay a small down-payment, only around 3% of the home’s value rather than the more common 20%.

Conclusion

Just because you have some debt may not mean you can’t afford to buy a home. By re-thinking your idea of what buying a new home means or looking for something with a potential rent-able spot, you could potentially afford to be owning your own home and building your own equity.

When you are ready, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

How Bitcoin Could Revolutionize Real Estate

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Bitcoins and real estate

Most of us have heard of the term Bitcoin. We may not totally understand what it is or how it functions, however, we know it’s been making the news because of its value.

In addition, that value is rising. Right now as I write this, one Bitcoin is worth over $10,000 in US currency.

What does this have to do with real estate?

Bitcoin - whatever else we understand about it - is not “real” in the same sense as a building, a house or a piece of land is real.

First, let me break down some of these terms to be more understandable. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is encrypted or secured, using cryptography. And we know from watching spy movies that cryptography is simply writing code.

In this case, the encryption techniques used to secure and verify the transfer of transactions is powered by a public ledger. Anyone can see these transactions. They are recorded and validated chronologically using this highly sophisticated encryption. That public ledger is called the Blockchain.

As far as real estate goes, that is all you need to keep in mind about Bitcoin and the Blockchain. Understanding Bitcoin can be tough. While it is an asset that can be used for many types of transactions - mostly financial - the language around it is highly technical.

Bitcoin is reaching the mainstream

It can get confusing very quickly. It is important to know is that nine major banks, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, are in partnership to develop Blockchain technologies. So this technology and currency have reached - or is reaching - the mainstream.

In fact, cryptocurrency is entering the stock market. And here is where you and your property could eventually enter into this. Some initial coin offering (ICO) issuers have a vision of the future where “tokenized pieces of property could be tracked and traded via a shared database.”

A token is simply a representation of a particular asset - say, your house - that resides on top of another Blockchain. A token can represent any asset that is fungible and tradable.

The tokenization of real estate would allow for fractional ownership of property. You could, conceivably, “split up” your home and sell off equity stakes on the Blockchain. That equity would go on being freely traded until the home is sold - at which point the homeowner and equity owner(s) would benefit from the gain in the home’s value.

How soon is this coming?

There are four ICO issuers right now having to do with real estate:

  • BitRent - which is a way to finance construction projects;
  • Etherty - real-estate management through equity access;
  • Caviar - a fund that makes loans to real estate projects in order to temper its crypto investments;
  • Trust - this is already doing what I mention above - tokenizing equity in real estate and other assets.

I think it’s fair to say that this is coming. How soon, it’s hard to tell. For one thing, real estate laws are highly complex and record-keeping isn’t uniform state by state.

Right now there are places in Cook County, Illinois and in Vermont, as well as others, who are updating their laws in accommodate cryptocurrency. You may see individuals putting land titles on the Blockchain sooner than you think.

Conclusion

The concept of Bitcoin can be confusing. Its language is full of technical terminology and its inner-workings resemble the machinations of the stock market which few ordinary people truly understand. However, handled wisely and understood well, cryptocurrency as the future in real estate could end up being a very exciting time for homeowners.

Real Estate Predictions for 2018

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Real Estate Predictions for 2018

Every year, investors and financial companies like to pay attention to the housing market and make predictions for how it will do in the upcoming year. Will the trends we have seen in the previous year continue to develop or will they take an unexpected turn?

Of course, not many people see things coming that are truly unexpected. One notable exception to this is depicted in the film The Big Short with our housing market and its eventual demise.

In any case, what’s interesting is that the experts don’t agree. They are predicting some wildly different things, according to an article in Market Watch. Part of the reason for this, according to Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics and cited in this article, is the housing market collapse and “messy” recovery.

Some experts think we might even still be in a housing bubble. Another reason he cites for such divergent opinions on the market is social media - media outlets sometimes report based on anecdotal evidence rather than more factually based evidence.

An example he states is reported from a few years ago that millennials suddenly lost interest in being homeowners. He says these kinds of reports can have unintended consequences. In reality, millennials are the fastest growing sector of homeowners and are much more likely to own homes as singles than previous generations.

Here are three other predictions for 2018 that seem grounded, based on how the market did in 2017:

Inventory Will Continue To Be Low

This may be crushing news to a lot of people, given that the inventory has been in a crunch for a couple of years now. This has given rise to bidding wars and rising home prices in many areas of the country.

Superficially, this can seem like good news but it just isn’t sustainable. Home prices can’t rise faster than wages forever. New homebuyers are leveraging themselves at a higher rate than they were - and will continue to do so - but it won’t be sustainable.

We may see a slight increase of inventory as some sellers will have no choice but to sell and builders are starting to swing more toward single-family homes and away from apartment complexes, however, it won’t be very big.

Mortgage Rates Will Be Around 4%

Last December, the Federal Reserve increased short-term interest rates by 25 basis points, which usually has a corresponding effect on mortgage rates. However, there were three such bumps in 2017 and two in 2016 which didn’t make much of a difference - only slightly raising the cost of a home loan.

The three bumps projected for 2018 by Federal Reserve policy makers may just have very little effect on mortgage rates. Most experts agree that by the end of this year, rates will only be around 4.5% at the highest, which is still historically low.

People Will Keep Renting In More Expensive Areas

This one has to do with the new tax law, which makes it more expensive to own a home in high tax and high price areas of the country. Home prices are rising faster than wages, salaries, and even inflation. It all adds up to mean that, for some of the most expensive areas of the country, it makes more sense to rent than to buy.

Conclusion

Even though not all the experts agree, these three trends seem to be in keeping with how the housing market is shaping up in the last few years. It certainly can be a volatile time to buy or sell a home. We hope to make your experience as pain-free as possible.

If you are ready to buy or sell, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

4 Reasons Your House is Sitting on the Market

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House sitting on the market

This past peak season of the real estate market was the best we have seen in a decade. There were so many homes being bought and sold, we published several blog articles dedicated to home buyers having a frustrating time trying to even put an offer on a house.

While this is a good market for sellers, not all homes are “flying off the shelves” so to speak. Some houses are still sitting on the market and frustrated homeowners may want to know why.

Real estate is not an exact science, but there are a few obvious reasons your home may not be selling - reasons obvious to seasoned realtors but maybe not to homeowners.

If you are trying to sell your home - with little or no interest - start with these issues first:

Price

It can be very difficult to part with a home you have loved and lived in for many years. You have likely given it blood, sweat, and tears in a literal sense so it means much more to you than it does to the person coming in trying to tell you what it’s worth.

The sad reality is, however, that even with the market being hot for sellers right now, the only way to truly predict an accurate selling price is to look at what comparable homes have sold for in your neighborhood.

Of course, the realtor you hire will do what you tell them to do with your home. However, if he or she hasn’t at least tried to give you the reality of the situation, he or she is not doing their job. In fact, that realtor is actually doing you a disservice. An overpriced house is one of the most obvious reasons it won’t sell.

Lack of Aesthetic Appeal

There is a reason we have whole television shows devoted to the buying and rehabbing of “fixer uppers.”

Most people don’t want the hassle of buying a house that looks bad whether from poor curb appeal or on the inside because of decor and finishes that are old or in need of repair.

Look at your house honestly and critically. Is there peeling paint on the outside? Does the screen door need to be replaced? Are there overgrown bushes or trees blocking the view?

Likewise, design choices inside that are more than a decade old are likely to detract. Do you have old carpeting? Do you have wallpaper that passed its prime 10 years ago?

A word about curb appeal in the era of online shopping: if the picture of the front of your house doesn’t look nice, prospective buyers will skip it and move on. Most people don’t want to mess with having to clean something up.

They want a home that looks nice when they buy it. And most buyers these days are looking at pictures of listings for a long time before they ever go to visit a house in person.

It’s Not Upgraded

We get it. The last thing you want is to buy a new set of kitchen appliances you won’t get to use. Or put a new roof on a house you are about to vacate. However, your house will stand out - and not in a good way - if those things are old.

There are always going to be other homes on the market with key items updated. Yes, replacing a roof more than 10 years old does seem like a hassle and a waste of money, but chances are good you will be paying for it one way or another.

If your home has been sitting on the market, it might be the time to invest in some upgrades.

It’s Not Clean

You may not smell the cat odor or the smell of cigarettes in your home anymore, but I guarantee a prospective buyer will. A prospective buyer will notice your clutter, even when you don’t.

We even suggest taking down everything personal as soon as you decide to sell. Family photos, collections, and even too much furniture only detract from a showing. Take the time to clear out your storage areas - especially your garage - and invest in a short-term storage solution to get rid of some of the clutter if need be.

This is also your chance to touch up paint - or repaint entirely - clean your carpets and install new outlet covers. Taking care to make your baseboards and trim look new can make a huge difference. These things aren’t going to break the budget.

And yes, we know showings are annoying. The reality of the situation is that once you list your home for sale, you have to take ownership of getting it sold. Making sure it’s clean, clutter-free, and brightly lit will go a long way. It may, in fact, be all you need to get it sold.

Conclusion

Channel your frustrations into action: listen to your realtor and fix the problems with your house. You may be looking at a sale within a couple of weeks.

If you are ready to put your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.

248-348-7200

 

 

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