Posts by Tara Paras

Where Did Americans Move in 2018? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Where Did Americans Move in 2018? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Where Did Americans Move in 2018? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Every year United Van Lines conducts their National Movers Study by tracking their customer’s movement state-to-state over the course of the year.
  • Vermont claimed the top spot of states with the highest percentage of inbound residents following a campaign that covered relocation costs for skilled workers who moved to the state.
  • The most common response for why someone relocated to another state was for a new job or company transfer.

Love therapy with client Kaati Tarr!

Kaati_Tarr

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we consulted Kaati Tarr, LCSW, for advice on how to nurture true love. Kaati counsels teens and adults.

Turns out the platitudes are true: relationships start with yourself. Kaati says, “Ask yourself, What do I believe about myself? Many people I see struggle to connect with people because they don’t feel good enough.” This can create an internal competition. She calls it a “hustle.” People think they’ll be worthy of love “if I’m nice enough, if I try hard enough.” But love isn’t something you can win or attain.

Relationships are also about the right fit. “People think, It must be me, but it’s an us thing,” says Kaati. “Find your people. There’s nothing wrong with you as an individual. You need to be with people who make you feel good and inspire you.”

“Ask yourself, What helps me feel loved?” Kaati says. She holds hands with her husband, because it’s something he likes, and he indulges her love for long talks. You may never get what you need if you don’t identify and ask for it.

First Comes Love… Then Comes Mortgage? Couples Lead the Way

First Comes Love… Then Comes Mortgage? Couples Lead the Way | Simplifying The Market

According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2018 at 54% of all buyers. It is no surprise that buying a home is more attainable with two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs.

However, many couples are also deciding to buy a home before spending what would be a down payment on a wedding. Last year, unmarried couples accounted for 16% of all first-time buyers.

If you’re single, don’t fret! Single women made up 18% of first-time buyers in 2018, while single men accounted for 10% of buyers. One recent article pointed to a sense of responsibility and commitment that drives many single women to want to own their home, rather than rent.

Here is the breakdown of all first-time homebuyers in 2018 by percentage of all buyers, income, and age:

First Comes Love… Then Comes Mortgage? Couples Lead the Way | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

You may not be that much different than those who have already purchased their first homes. Let’s get together to determine if your dream home is already within your grasp!

Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever

Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever | Simplifying The Market Study after study shows that no matter what generation Americans belong to, the vast majority believe that homeownership is an important part of their American Dream. The benefits of homeownership can be broken into two main categories: financial and non-financial (often referred to as emotional or social reasons.) For Americans approaching retirement age, one of the greatest benefits to homeownership is the added net worth they have been able to achieve simply by paying their mortgage! The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater, with nearly half their net worth coming from home equity! Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever | Simplifying The Market Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36. Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated. It is no surprise that lifelong renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Census report shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years. Why Homeownership Matters Now More Than Ever | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Your monthly mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ building your net worth with every payment!

How To List Your Home for the Best Price

If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018.

The map below shows the results of the latest index by state.

How To List Your Home for the Best Price | Simplifying The Market

Real estate is local. Each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly.

This effect will be short lived. In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.)

How To List Your Home for the Best Price | Simplifying The Market

So, how does this help you list your home for the best price?

Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0%, you won’t want to list your home for more than that amount!

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is pricing their homes too high and reducing the price later when they do not get any offers. This can lead buyers to believe that there may be something wrong with the home, when in fact the price was just too high for the market.

Bottom Line

Pricing your home right from the start is one of the most challenging parts of selling your home. Once you decide to list your house, let’s get together to discuss where home values are headed in your area!

Thinking of Selling Your House? This is a Perfect Time!

It is common knowledge that a great number of homes sell during the spring buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that is a good strategy this year.

The other listings that come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market during this season in comparison to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months during which most people listed their homes for sale in 2018. This graphic shows the results:

Thinking of Selling Your House? This is a Perfect Time! | Simplifying The Market

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,520,000.

That number spiked to 1,870,000 by May!

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for homes right now.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition amongst buyers. Beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market and list your home today!

5 Reasons to Love Hiring A Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Reasons to Love Hiring A Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

5 Reasons to Love Hiring A Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Highlights:

  • Hiring a real estate professional to guide you through the process of buying a home or selling your house can be one of the best decisions you make!
  • They are there for you to help with contracts, explaining the process, negotiations, and pricing (both when making an offer or setting the right price for your home).
  • One of the top reasons to hire a real estate professional is their understanding of your local market and how the conditions in your neighborhood will impact your experience.

How to Get a Better Perspective on Affordability

How to Get a Better Perspective on Affordability | Simplifying The Market

Headlines spotlight the fact that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in more than a decade. Those headlines are accurate.

Understandably, buying a home is more expensive now than immediately following one of the worst housing crashes in American history. Over the past decade, the market was flooded with distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) selling at 10-50% discounts. There were so many that this lowered the prices of non-distressed homes in the same neighborhoods. As a result, mortgage rates were kept low to help the economy.

Prices have since recovered. Mortgage rates have increased as the economy has gained strength. This has impacted housing affordability. However, it’s necessary to give historical context to the subject of affordability.

Two weeks ago, CoreLogic reported on what they call the “typical mortgage payment”. As they explain:

“One way to measure the impact of inflation, mortgage rates and home prices on affordability over time is to use what we call the ‘typical mortgage payment.’ It’s a mortgage-rate-adjusted monthly payment based on each month’s U.S. median home sale price. It is calculated using Freddie Mac’s average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment…

The typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced U.S. home…

When adjusted for inflation, the typical mortgage payment puts homebuyers’ current costs in the proper historical context.”

Here is a graph showing the results of CoreLogic’s research:

How to Get a Better Perspective on Affordability | Simplifying The Market

As the graph indicates, the most recent calculation remained 28% below the all-time peak of $1,275 in June 2006. That’s because the average mortgage rate at that time was 6.68%. As seen in the graph, both today’s typical payment and CoreLogic’s projection for the end of the year are less than it was in January 2000.

Bottom Line

Even though home prices are appreciating at a slower rate, home affordability will likely continue to slide. However, this does not mean that buying a house is an unattainable goal in most markets. It is still less expensive today than it was prior to the housing bubble and crash.

Stay warm and green this winter

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the ways we combat winter (staying warm, clearing our driveways, etc.) can be bad for the environment. Here are a few ways to stay warm and minimize impact.

  • Choose safer antifreeze and recycle used antifreeze
  • Use sand instead of rock salt
  • Start fires with dry kindling vs chemical fire starters
  • Burn hard wood that’s aired out for at least 6 months for a cleaner burn
  • Low smoldering fires pollute more, so keep flames hot and bright

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale | Simplifying The Market

One of the biggest challenges sellers face when listing their house is decluttering. Cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

Those planning to sell soon are in luck! Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.

“The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!

“Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.”

When selling your house, first impressions matter! Before you or your agent schedule a photographer to take photos for your listing, make sure to tour your home with fresh eyes. Look for any imperfections that a buyer might notice.

When you sort through your more sentimental items, consider packing them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during open houses and showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you need to do right before you move!

Bottom Line

Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. This will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you’re off to a great start in your new home!