Team Wheeler's Blog
The housing market has posted relatively good numbers over the past few years, even if the average percentages aren't exactly sensational. You may already know that we saw a decrease in growth in 2019, with housing prices rising at 3.3% compared to 2018's rise of 5%. Given the state of the economy and the trends of the past, we'll look at how 2020 is shaping up.
A Short Dip
Experts are predicting that home prices will rise 2.8% this year. So if you're getting ready to sell your home, hopefully you're seeing the cumulative effects of steadily rising prices. If your neighborhood hasn't followed the trends though or you've only recently purchased the property, there are a few more factors to take into account before putting your home on the market.
Listing & Offers
While the home prices may not be exploding, the creep is still being felt by buyers. In the average area, buyers could be dealing with a price increase of 11.1% in less than three years. This kind of influx could lead to fewer buyers, which ultimately leads to fewer offers. Prioritizing the listing and initial price of the home will have a major impact on the quality of your buyers.
Interest Rates in 2020
Rates have been dropping over the past year, going below 4% for most loans. With the average rates for a 30-year mortgage hovering around 3.7% (3.2% for a 15-year mortgage), this is good news for buyers (and sellers if they're planning to buy again too). However, if trade wars ramp up again, we could see the Federal Reserve move those rates back up, so sellers should keep an eye on the news.
The Story of Equity
As you can see, the news is still relatively good for home sellers in 2020, especially considering the relative state of debt in this country. Experts do not predict a decrease in equity for the new year, a sure sign that the economy is doing well enough to support rising home prices.
There's plenty of good news for the new year for home sellers, even if it's laced with the fear of a tumbling economy. Real estate professionals are seeing spikes nearly everywhere in the country, regardless of neighborhood. So even if you're not near the best amenities in your city or town, you may still be able to sell for the price you want. As the year progresses, keep an eye on your area, who's buying, and how prices are scaling.
In the quest to find a new home that you love, there are two fundamental things you must know: how much you can realistically afford to spend and what you need to be happy.
Qualifying for a mortgage is one of the first hurdles on the road to home ownership, but loan approval doesn't necessarily mean you can comfortably afford a house you have your eye on.
There are other expenses to factor into the equation, such as closing costs, the down payment, school and property taxes, possible HOA fees, and maintenance costs.
If a house you're considering needs a lot of repairs, updating, and decorating, for instance, those projects could take a big bite out of your bank account and household budget. First-time home buyers and growing families moving into larger homes often have to consider the cost of furniture, new window treatments, and painting supplies. People moving from an apartment or condo to a house may also need to buy a lawnmower, tools, and property maintenance machinery (weed whackers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, etc.)
Once you've determined that you can absorb all those costs without being "house poor," the next step is creating a list of requirements, preferences, and lifestyle goals. For example, if privacy is important to you, you'll need to narrow your search to homes that have a sufficient amount of frontage and space between neighbors and streets. Fences, privacy hedges, and mature trees could also help provide you with the kind of living environment you're looking for.
While the emotional appeal of a house is an important aspect of home-buying decisions, the location of a property and the amount of living space it provides will play a central role in your level of satisfaction. In addition to having enough bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage space, you may also want to consider things like the home's architectural style and whether the floorplan is to your liking.
Many families prioritize the quality of the school district, the look and feel of the neighborhood, and the distance from shopping centers, recreation, and needed services. Also highly desirable is a daily commute to work that isn't too grueling or time consuming!
Since everyone has different goals and needs when it comes to finding the ideal home, there's no one-size-fits-all strategy for zeroing in on the house of your dreams. Although there are a lot of websites that provide great ideas on everything from flooring and countertops to cabinetry and room color, having your real estate agent show you houses that match your specifications is the most productive thing you can do.
Getting out there and physically viewing and walking through houses in your price range will eventually lead you to the home that's just right for you and your family. It's a process in which you need to immerse yourself, but with a little persistence and a clear idea of what you want, you're sure to find the home that checks off most (if not all) of the boxes on your priority and wish lists!
When you've been in the same home for a while, it is common to get an itch to switch things up a little bit. For many homeowners, this means renovating the kitchen. Renovation is a great way to not only add a little bit of style but also increase the value of the home at the same time. There are a few great ideas to think about when it comes to kitchen renovations.
Add a Backsplash
One of the most popular kitchen renovations is to install a backsplash. This is a great way to upgrade and personalize the food prep area. Furthermore, a backsplash is easy to clean, functional and durable. There are plenty of ideas that people can use to make their kitchen backsplash unique. Consider neutral stone tile with colored or patterned pieces randomly interspersed, a pressed metal design or colorful glass tiles.
Open Up The Area
Consider opening up additional space in and around your kitchen. This can be accomplished with the removal of upper cabinets, introducing a window or skylight or, for a larger-scale project, removing walls to connect with other rooms. If you can't change the floorplan of your room, swapping in glass-front cabinets or open shelving for your upper cabinets can create more visual space.
Add Flair to the Counters
Counters are a common target for kitchen renovations. Styles change and, over the years, you may find the need for additional space. One solution is to add a kitchen island. This adds both storage space and workspace for your kitchen. Don't be afraid to go with unique countertop materials like concrete or wood.
Upgrade the Appliances
Finally, consider upgrading appliances to incorporate new technology and conveniences. Newer appliances not only come with new features like convertible compartments and touch screens but are also more energy-efficient than older models. This means you might also be able to save additional money over time with this investment.
You’ve probably heard how important it is to go hands-free in your car, but it can be just as important and useful to be hands-free in the kitchen. If you’re busy washing dishes or prepping for dinner, you can use hands free devices to do everything from answering calls to looking up recipes and preheating the oven. While kitchen appliances haven’t progressed to the point of actually making dinner for you, they can definitely help cut down on the mess.
Top Hands-Free Choices
- Touchless Trash Can – while a foot pedal trash can is a bit cheaper and takes care of most of the same issues, germs can still build up on the pedal itself. A true touchless trashcan has a motion sensor and opens when you wave your hand in front of it like a touchless hand dryer. Some are even smart enough to hook up to your tablet or phone with an app that accepts voice commands.
- Hands-Free Paper Towel Dispenser – Most of the time, when you need a paper towel, your hands are already wet or messy. That means you leave those germs or water on the side of your dispenser each time you grab a paper towel. An easy fix is a hands-free paper towel dispenser that pushes a towel towards you on command. This helps reduce your paper towel waste as well as keeping your kitchen cleaner.
- Motion Sensor Faucet – You can have a sink faucet in your home with the same technology you find in public bathrooms. That means no chicken goo or frosting gets left on the handles. Wi-Fi Appliances – A wide variety of kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators and ovens are now available in versions that connect over Wi-Fi to your other devices. That often means you can now control them with voice commands. Ever been partially through your prep work and realize you forgot to pre-heat the oven? Instead of taking the time and water to wash your hands, turn on the oven, then get back to work, you can just say “preheat oven to 400 degrees” and get on with what you were doing.
Smart appliances are a great selling point for a new home, and the small difference in cost can make a big difference in home value. Talk to your real estate agent today to help figure out what the best options are before you invest in that new smart kitchen.