Homeowners Are Staying Longer in Their Homes

In recent years, the National Association of Realtors’ historical data has revealed that homeowners are staying in their homes an average of nine years, as compared to four to five years just 13 years ago. There are several reasons for this dramatic change.

When home prices took a big dive in the mid-2000s, many owners were forced to stay in place because of little to no equity in their homes. This pushed the five-year average tenancy up.

The length of homeownership among younger families, who typically relocate about every five years, has not caught up with older generations, who live considerably longer in their homes.

The size of homes has been increasing for the last 40 years, and in conjunction with that, family household sizes have been getting smaller. As a result, the need to keep moving up to larger homes has greatly diminished. Many find that after several years of owning the same home, their needs are still satisfied.

Today, some homeowners are not anxious to give up a comfortable loan balance with a good interest rate after having benefited from good appreciation and historically low interest rates. Staying where they are is more appealing. Other homeowners who may have an interest in selling may be dissuaded by the lack of supply of homes to buy and not being able to find a replacement residence.

Today’s credit standards are tighter, making qualifying for a mortgage more difficult for some of those who do wish to sell and buy another home. When homeowners are less likely to qualify for a new mortgage, they are more likely to have to stay where they are, contributing to the average length of homeownership in the market.

Many factors contribute to choosing to stay in a home or not. If you are considering buying or selling a home, call or email us today, and we can help you navigate each of them so you can make the decisions that are best for you.


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House-Hunting Etiquette: Questions You’re Afraid to Ask

Permission to view someone’s home for sale comes with some rules of etiquette.

Even if you are visiting an open house, you need to be aware of things that you may normally take for granted.

Preparing ahead will help alleviate confrontation or the need to ask these questions when you are in someone else’s home.

  1. Is it okay to consume snacks or drinks? Unless you are prepared to clean up or pay for a spillage accident, have your refreshments before you enter a home. If a seller has left cookies out for the showing, feel free to take one and eat it in the kitchen.
  2. Can I use the bathroom? If it’s urgent, ask for permission. You never know if the water has been shut off. Schedule stops to take care of your personal needs before visiting.
  3. Is looking into closets acceptable? Look all you want, but don’t disturb what you see.
  4. What about taking photos? Before you click the camera, first ask if it’s okay. This is especially important if you intend to post your photos publicly and the seller has personal effects that they don’t want promoted.
  5. Can I sit on the furniture? This is not a good idea unless you have a physical need to do so. Ask for permission if you need to sit for health reasons.

Call or email us with any of your burning house-hunting questions. We are always here to help and make sure you have a pleasant experience.






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Should You Go with Fake or Real Plants for Your Home?

Plants can help personalize a home and enhance the interior. Plants can also help sell a home. According to a survey by Costa Farms and Alloy Research, one third of plant owners feel that plants “make a house feel like a home and that they make any home seem more welcoming.” The question is: Fake plants or real plants? Here are some pointers to help you decide.

If you’re a frequent traveler, leaving live plants alone to fend for themselves may not be a good idea. Unless you have someone to check your home and to water and feed your plants in your absence, having live plants is probably not a good idea.

Consider your pets. Curious cats and dogs can destroy your natural indoor garden by nibbling on leaves or digging in the soil.

Whether your plants are real or fake, you’ll need to decide what level of maintenance you want to deal with. If you enjoy nurturing your plants with trimming, feeding and watering, then live plants will likely work for you. On the other hand, faux plants are dust collectors and require regular tedious cleaning.

If you have your home on the market and are having it staged, then fake plants may be the way to go. With the availability of a huge variety of faux plants, great marketing backdrops can be created. Staging is usually short-term, so these décor items seem to make the most sense. There are also companies that rent real plants for staging and will provide the required care.

When it comes to real or fake plants, call or email us, and we can help guide you in the right direction and provide you with supplier recommendations.






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On the Fence of Selling Your House?

On the Fence of Selling Your House? 

No matter what made you decide to buy your current home, sometimes it’s hard to know if you are ready to head back to the market.

You’re Outgrown Your House – Whether you have expanded your family or have empty nest syndrome, your needs might not be there in your current home.

It’s a Seller’s Market – Inventory in the real estate industry is low and so are the current interest rates. This is perfect for someone selling their home, where they are typically going to get more than their asking price with little to no buyer demand for changes.

You Are In a Good Place Financially – If you have all your ducks in a row and your debt is low, selling your house is natural to get the most out of your good fortune. This is emphasized if you already have enough money saved for a down payment.

Your Location Is No Longer Fitting Your Lifestyle – The community and amenities near your current house always feel like they are missing your favorite gym or you wish you can be 15 minutes from the beach, finding a new home where you can have all you want with the space you need is a natural next step.

Do you think you are ready?

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Best Advice to Always Keep Your Home Clean

Have you ever walked into your friend’s home and were jealous at how tidy and clean it is?  There are a lot of people in our shoes. When you work hard with a lot of responsibilities, sometimes it’s hard to maintain an orderly space.

The most effective way to keep your home spotless is developing habits in your daily routine that complete the necessary maintenance.

As you move through your day-to-day in your house, make sure you think flat and empty. Keeping drawers shut and surfaces clear makes your space read as clean and tidy with a first impression. Once you’re in the habit of these two simple actions, you will be surprised at the difference.

If you happen to add anything to your home, make sure that you get rid of an item too. Decluttering is the biggest step towards having a house easy to maintain.

If you have been on the hunt for tips on good housekeeping, it would be no surprise that you have heard of Marie Kondo. Follow the KonMari method and set aside a time to really sort through all the objects and furniture in your house that don’t quite have a place in your space to determine what sparks you joy.

With your home sorted and decluttered, giving everything its own distinct place to go back to after use will make cleaning easier.  Having a place for everything takes away the added stress of figuring out where things go when you start cleaning.

Let us know your best cleaning habits in the comments below!

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What Neighborhood is Right for You?

When you finally decide to move, there is a flood of questions that come immediately after. Where, when, what?

The best way to start narrowing down your broad search for a home is to determine what kind of neighborhood you want to move to.

Choosing a neighborhood is crucial to making sure that not just the home is perfect for you but everything you are surrounded by is comfortable and enjoyable to you.

Here are a few things you must consider to start investigating the right neighborhood for you.

Create a Neighborhood Profile:

  • Do you have children or are you planning on having children? This will decide whether you should consider school systems, safety levels, and surrounding parks and amenities.
  • How far are you willing to commute? How are you planning on getting to work? Do you need access to major highways to drive or backroads to bike?
  • What is your current neighborhood lacking? Consider sound level, the community, if the surrounding area/nature is living up to your expectations and anything else that has been bothering you with your current area.

Select an Area:

Choose neighborhoods that best match your list of wants. A good place to start is with your commute to work!

Do the Research:

Based off your neighborhood profile, find out the information that is most important for you to know before you move. This could also include a general list of:

  • School information
  • Crime stats
  • Parks and recreation
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Tourist attractions
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How to Get What You Want Out of an Open House

Starting to search for a new home is daunting, but open houses are a fun way to get a break from Zillow and see properties that interest you in real life.

Open houses have a ton of information for home-buyers but there are a few tips that will help you get the most out of them!

Limit your open house weekend. If you are seriously looking for a house, prepare to only view 1-3 open houses in case you want to move forward with a property. It gets increasingly harder to remember all the listings you view, and which ones meet your expectations. 

Try to avoid getting hung up on visual aesthetics. Remember that the house you are touring is someone else’s – that dresser and mirror won’t be in your master suite so don’t let it dissuade you!

Make sure to ask any questions to the agent.  The listing agent is there to answer questions about the properties as you move through the space. These questions can include about the surrounding area, any association fees and other specific information that will help your decision on the home.

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Declutter and Downsize Effectively

Even if you are not moving, one of the more challenging parts of home ownership is keeping your home clutter free, knowing how to downsize your spaces and how to practically reduce the number of your belongings.

This will help you improve your skills so you can get the job done with the outcome you planned for.

Once you know why you need to declutter and downsize, how you do so will make more sense. Take a moment to realize the mental and physical benefits of the task at hand. Create a mental picture of what end result you wish to achieve. Hold on to that idea and enjoy the process.

Start with items that no longer have meaning to you or are no longer functional. They will be the easiest to discard and will create your decluttering mindset and enable you to keep going.

Next are the things that still bear a bit of a question mark as to whether they stay or go. These items may be duplicates of things you have kept “just in case.” Analyze their real value, rarity and question of if they are worth taking up precious space.

The final step would be to address those pieces that still stir memories. It is hardest to declutter the photos and heirlooms that stir your emotions, especially if they’ll make you feel guilty if you part ways.

Consider scanning old documents and photos. Friends and relatives may feel honored if you pass on small collectibles. Some items can be repurposed to start new lives in your newly created spaces.

It is a learning process to successfully declutter and downsize. Stay focused on your mission. We have guided many clients through the process and can do the same for you.

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Determining Home Appraisal Value: 7 Contributing Factors

The valuation of your home will consider a variety of contributing factors. The appraised value will weigh everything from location and demographics to the physical attributes of your home. These are key influences.

  1. First is the location. The neighborhood’s location value will be relative to its proximity to area schools, amenities and accessibility to those amenities. A home’s location within the neighborhood can add positive value if it is in a cul-de-sac or on a large lot and does not back up to any main roads. Location value is reinforced if surrounding homes are clean, neat and owner-occupied.

2. Value will be influenced by what upgrades and updates are contributing to making a home more current in quality, energy efficiency and safety.

3. Appraised value is enhanced when a home has been built in the last 20 years because it presents a lower risk for needed repairs and has newer amenities.

4. Buyers will pay higher prices when the design of a home is timeless and has good appeal for the majority of buyers.

5. As important as the value of the interior of a home is in the appraisal process, so is the exterior landscaping and overall curb appeal. Landscaping that is easy to care for and complements the home’s exterior will yield more value.

6. The value of the number of bedrooms and baths will be of prime importance when comparing to competing sold and listed homes. As the bedroom and bath count goes up, so does the value of the property.

7. The square footage and the efficiency of the floor plan contribute to the value. Finished livable basements add value, but not to the same extent as those living spaces that are above grade.

If you have any questions about home appraisals, call one of our real estate experts! We are always here to help guide you so you can make the decisions that are best for your goals.

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Ready to Buy a Home? Here’s How to Prepare.

To help avoid being a victim of homebuyer anxiety, here are some pointers to better prepare yourself for what lies ahead when you set out to buy a home.

A good starting point is to go to your lender of choice and get preapproved for a loan. In doing so, two major things will be accomplished.

You will know what kind and price of home that you can afford to buy, and you will be able to accompany any offer to purchase with a loan preapproval letter, which adds strength to your offer.

Before you set out on your search, if you list the characteristics of a home that will suit your family, your time will be rewarded more quickly because we can help you target amenity-specific homes.

In today’s market of limited inventory, you want to be mentally prepared to pull the trigger when you view a home that fits your needs. Hesitation can result in missing out on the property that really works for you.

To assist in the decision-making, evaluate your funds on hand so you can afford to do fix-its or be able to enhance a new build home if that’s what you would choose to purchase.

Have your yellow pad filled out with these items when you call upon us to partner with you in the homebuying process. By understanding your needs and what you qualify for, we can then move forward efficiently, meet your needs and not miss your best opportunities. We can help you determine what is right for you, given your individual financial circumstances and goals. Call or email us today.

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