Nov. 24, 2021

Perform a "Home Inspection" While Hanging Holiday Lights

Christmas Lights

 

Holiday decorating is in full swing, and as homeowners deck their halls, they may want to also use the festivities as an excuse to inspect several out-of-sight areas of their home.

Groundworks, a basement and foundations firm, offers up tips to spot needed repairs in the home while also hanging your holiday decor. Here are the top seven home issues they suggest looking for:

Electrical Outlets

Is a plug no longer working? Outdoor outlets are exposed to the elements and can become damaged. A ground fault circuit interrupter may have been tripped. Take precautions if you find any loose connections or exposed wiring.

Circuit Breakers

While installing an outdoor light display, homeowners may discover problems with the home’s electrical system or circuit breaker box. “Some homeowners may only check out their electrical panel if they accidentally throw a breaker,” GroundWorks says. “However, proactive homeowners may want to look at their breaker box before installing holiday lights. You may discover that you need a diagram of which circuits are connected to which outlets or appliances. This can help you avoid overloading a single circuit.” LED Christmas lights tend to use less electricity and may help avoid blown fuses.

Overgrown Shrubs

Plants should be about two feet from your house to protect your foundation. Tend to any overgrown plants while hanging holiday lights, or make a note on your calendar to do so in March or April. “If you have overgrown evergreens, you can also give them a light trim around the holidays and use that greenery for home decorations,” Groundworks says.

The Roof or Gutters

If you’re on a ladder to hang Christmas lights, be sure to take a look at the roof and gutters. Are the gutters clogged? Is rainwater pooling right next to the foundation? Are any shingles missing on your roof? Spot existing damage and avoid creating more problems by using light clips on the edge of your gutter while hanging Christmas lights, GroundWorks suggests.

Chimney

Take a close look at the chimney. Does it look like it’s tilting or starting to separate from the house? This could be a sign of foundation issues. To test it, Groundworks suggests, hold a string with a small weight from the top edge of the house. The string will always fall straight down. Compare that to the structure to determine whether there is a tilt to any portion of the home, including the chimney. A tilting chimney may show a visible gap where it is pulling away from the remainder of the house, Groundworks says. A foundation expert may need to identify the problems and explore the best ways to fix them.

Pest Damage

You may also spot damage from pests. “Along the eaves, you could find woodpecker holes or wasp nests,” Groundworks says. “Where the house meets the ground, you could find signs of termites or ants.”

Siding Damage or Wood Rot

Look for any signs of deterioration, damage, or wood rot on your siding or window frames. If you find any, your home could be vulnerable to water damage. “In the warmer months, your home could be unprotected from heavy rains, resulting in flooding or moisture in your basement or crawl space,” Groundworks warns. “As the weather turns cold, the damaged siding could allow water inside the walls, cracking the concrete when it freezes.”

Shared via NAR Magazine

June 22, 2021

Don't Wait To Sell Your House!

Dont wait to sell

We’re in the ultimate sellers’ market right now. If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, you have a huge advantage in today’s housing market. High buyer demand paired with very few houses for sale makes this the optimal time to sell for those who are ready to do so. Whatever the move you want to make looks like, here’s an overview of what’s creating the prime opportunity to sell this summer.

High Buyer Demand

Demand is strong, and buyers are actively searching for homes to purchase. In the Realtors Confidence Index Survey published monthly by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic is considered “very strong” in almost every state. Homebuyers aren’t just great in number right now – they’re also determined to find their dream home. NAR shows the average home for sale today receives five offers from hopeful buyers. These increasingly frequent bidding wars can drive up the price of your house, which is why high demand from competitive homebuyers is such a win for this summer’s sellers.

Low Inventory of Houses for Sale

Purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available homes for sale. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“For most sellers listing sooner rather than later could really pay off with less competition from other sellers and potentially a higher sales price… They’ll also avoid some big unknowns lurking later in the year, namely another possible surge in COVID cases, rising interest rates and the potential for more sellers to enter the market.”

NAR also reveals that unsold inventory sits at a 2.4-months’ supply at the current sales pace. This is far lower than the historical norm of a 6.0-months’ supply. Homes are essentially selling as fast as they’re hitting the market. Below is a graph of the existing inventory of single-family homes for sale:

2021 inventory levels

At the same time, homebuilders are increasing construction this year, but they can’t keep up with the growing demand. While reporting on the inventory of newly constructed homes, the U.S. Census Bureau notes:

“The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 316,000. This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate.”

What Does This Mean for You? 

If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, don’t wait. A seller will always negotiate the best deal when demand is high and supply is low. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market today.

Bottom Line

As vaccine rollouts progress and we continue to see the economy recover, more houses will come to the market. Don’t wait for the competition in your neighborhood to increase. If you’re ready to make a move, now is the time to sell. Contact us today to get your house listed at this optimal moment in time.

Posted in Market Updates
June 1, 2021

3 Things To Prioritize When Selling Your House

 

Today’s housing market is full of unprecedented opportunities. High buyer demand paired with record-low housing inventory is creating the ultimate sellers’ market, which means it’s a fantastic time to sell your house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers are guaranteed success no matter what. There are still some key things to know so you can avoid costly mistakes and win big when you make a move.

1. Price Your House Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Even in a sellers’ market, listing your house for the right price will maximize the number of buyers that see your house. This creates the best environment for bidding wars, which in turn are more likely to increase the final sale price. A real estate professional is the best person to help you set the best price for your house so you can achieve your financial goals.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average time a homeowner owned their home, or their tenure, has increased from 5 to 10 years (See graph below):

 

This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you purchased or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from that sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that connection makes it even harder to separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your House Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes. However, not all buyers will feel the same way about your design and personal touches. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage, clean, and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through each room. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

 

Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, reach out to a local real estate professional to help you navigate through the process and prioritize these key elements.

May 28, 2021

Great Wine Storage Ideas

wine storage

TIPS FOR STORING WINE AT HOME

If you are a big wine connoisseur or just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Follow the guidelines below!

Temperature

To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor.

Moisture

Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.

Positioning

Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.

Timing

Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it!

Posted in Home Updates
May 25, 2021

What To Do With an Unfinished Basement

unfinished basement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although currently dimly lit and a little rough on the eyes, your unfinished basement still has a lot of potentials. With just a little love and the help of the following ideas, you can spice it up in no time and get some great use out of the space.

>Add a pop of color. Give your basement a whole different look without a big renovation by adding some color to space. Consider painting and sealing the floors, opening up the room by painting the rafters white or a light color, or creating a bold accent wall.

>Divide the space. Want to make your basement a multi-use room? Partition out the area by installing an inexpensive curtain system. This can be done either with a curtain track or a simple wire, some hooks, and curtains will suffice.

>Add foam mats. Whether you’d like to use the basement as a home gym to get a quick workout in or a place for the kids to play and rough house, adding some foam mats into the mix is a great and easy solution. They come in various colors and can quickly be picked up and tucked away if need be.

>Use a large rug. As an alternative to adding mats, find a large, eye-catching rug to be used as a focal point, and furnish the area around it.

>Add lighting. Basements often offer very little built-in lighting and few outlets around the room. Consider stringing café lighting across space from the rafters to give a nice ambiance and glow without any difficult electrical work.

Posted in Home Updates
April 8, 2021

The 50 Most Competitive Housing Markets April 2021

 

real estate bidding war

© Visual Generation - AdobeStock

 

Competition is fierce among house hunters. For buyers in San Jose, Calif., San Francisco, and Raleigh, N.C., they should be ready to face the most competition in the nation, according to new research by LendingTree.

LendingTree ranked the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. based on the competitiveness of their housing markets. They factored in the average down payment percentage, the share of home buyers who have credit scores above 720, and the share of home buyers who shop around for a mortgage before looking for a house. All of these categories—down payment, credit scores, and being mortgage ready—can help home buyers be in a stronger position to succeed in the heated housing market, too, the study notes.

For example, the average down payment percentage in the top 11 most competitive metros is 21%—showing that buyers are coming ready to make their offers stand out.  Currently, Nashville is tied at #18 along with Hartford, CT and Pittsburgh, PA according to Lending Tree.

Metro rankings

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 2, 2021

What Record-Low Inventory Means For You

The real estate market is expected to do very well in 2021, with mortgage rates that are hovering at historic lows and forecasted by experts to remain favorable throughout the year. One challenge to the housing industry, however, is the lack of homes available for sale today. Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report, which shows that the inventory of homes for sale is currently at an all-time low. The report explains:

“Total housing inventory at the end of December totaled 1.07 million units, down 16.4% from November and down 23% from one year ago (1.39 million). Unsold inventory sits at an all-time low 1.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 2.3 months in November and down from the 3.0-month figure recorded in December 2019. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.”

(See graph below):

Market inventory graph

What Does This Mean for You?

If You’re a Buyer:

Be patient during your home search. It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, however, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, be prepared to make a competitive offer from the start, and know that a shortage in inventory could mean you’ll enter a bidding war. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home and lean on your real estate professional as an expert guide along the way. The good news is, more inventory is likely headed to the market soon, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, notes:

“To their credit, homebuilders and construction companies have increased efforts to build, with housing starts hitting an annual rate of near 1.7 million in December, with more focus on single-family homes…However, it will take vigorous new home construction in 2021 and in 2022 to adequately furnish the market to properly meet the demand.”

If You’re a Seller:

Realize that, in some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there’s a shortage of an item at the same time there’s a strong demand for it, the seller is in a good position to negotiate the best possible terms. Whether it’s the price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to request more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple interested buyers. Don’t be unreasonable, but understand you probably have the upper hand.

Bottom Line

 

The housing market will remain strong throughout 2021. Know what that means for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both.

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 7, 2021

December 2020 Market Update

Nashville housing market update

Despite Uncertain Times, 2020 Housing Market Thrived

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 7, 2021) – Final numbers for 2020 indicate there were 44,850 homes sold in the region, compared to the 42,356 closings in 2019, the total sales for 2020 were up 6 percent.

Home sales hit 4,252 closings for December, according to data provided by Greater Nashville REALTORS®. This figure is up 22 percent from the 3,482 closings reported for the same period last year.

Fourth quarter closings were 12,310 for the Middle Tennessee area. That total is an 18 percent increase from the 10,456 closings during the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The figures we are sharing today remind us that even during our most challenging times, a home remains an important and essential part of everyone’s life,” said Brian Copeland, Greater Nashville Realtors president. “A thriving real estate market strengthens our local economy. We must continue to be sensitive to the impact of civil unrest, COVID -19, tornadoes and the Christmas Day explosion have made on our community. 2020 has proven that during times of uncertainty, home and family remain our most cherished safe haven. Regardless of the challenges that lie ahead, Realtors will continue to safeguard the foundation of our Greater Nashville community,”


A comparison of sales by category for December is:
  2019
2020
CLOSINGS 
3,482 4,252
Residential 
2,880 3,445
Condominium
445 537
Multi-Family 22 22
Farms/Land/Lots 135 248
 
A comparison of sales by category for the fourth quarter is: 

  2019
2020
CLOSINGS 
10,456 12,310
Residential 
8,702 10,041
Condominium 1,229 1,519
Multi-Family 72 75
Farms/Land/Lots 453 675
 
A comparison of sales by category year-to-date is:  
  2019
2020
CLOSINGS 
42,356 44,850
Residential 
35,305 37,170
Condominium
4,828 5,130
Multi-Family 297 257
Farms/Land/Lots 1,926 2,293
 
There were 2,622 sales pending at the end of December, compared with 2,114 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 26 days.

The median price for a residential single-family home was $345,000 and for a condominium it was $245,000. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $324,000 and $269,900, respectively.

Inventory at the end of December was 5,722 down from 9,365 in December 2019.

The current inventory of properties by category, compared to last year, is:
  2019
2020
INVENTORY 9,365 5,722
Residential 6,612 3,543
Condominium 744 840
Multi-Family  40 58
Farms/Land/Lots 1,969 1,281
“Many people continue to choose the Greater Nashville area as their home. Our low cost and high quality of living will continue to be a huge selling point for our community. With inventory at historic lows, now is an excellent time for homeowners to explore their selling options with a Realtor,” Copeland added.

The data collected for this release represents nine Middle Tennessee counties: Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson.
*SOURCE: Greater Nashville Realtors Association.
Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 2, 2021

Why Selling Your House on Your Own is a Mistake in 2021

Home hands fsbo

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following items.

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your potential buyers.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Is Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process is growing dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place, potentially driving the price higher, too.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your options.

Dec. 3, 2020

A Season for Selling

Your House May Be High on the Buyer Wish List This Holiday Season

 

Gifted House

 

Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to sell their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why selling your house now, or keeping it on the market this season, is the best choice you can make. This year, buyers want to purchase homes for the holidays, and your house might be the perfect match.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait to sell your house this holiday season:

1. Buyers are active now. Mortgage rates are historically low, providing motivation for those who are ready to get more for their money over the life of their home loan.

2. Purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are serious ones, and they’re ready to buy.

3. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you, or even select virtual options. You’ll remain in control, especially in today’s sellers’ market.

4. Homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers.

5. Today, there’s minimal competition for you as a seller. There just aren’t enough houses on the market to satisfy buyer demand, meaning sellers are in the driver’s seat. Over the past year, inventory has declined to record lows, making it the opportune time to sell your house (See graph below):

12 mo housing supply

6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who have been searching throughout the fall and have been running into more and more bidding wars are still on the lookout. Your home may be the answer.

7. This season is the sweet spot for sellers, and the number of listings will increase after the holidays. In many parts of the country, more new construction will also be available for sale in 2021, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.

Bottom Line 

 

More than ever, this may be the year it makes the most sense to list your house during the holiday season. Contact us today and together we will determine if selling now is your best move.