Real Estate News

Why Smaller Homes are Making a Big Impression

A survey done recently by Houzz, a home remodeling and design website, showed that more and more homeowners prefer small houses, 1,000 feet or less. Often the smallest home in the neighborhood, these homes are relaxed and easy to keep clean, according to the owners.  

However, these homeowners use certain tactics to utilize their space and make their home still feel open. One method is having a lot of natural light. Another way to make the space feel less constricted is having an open floor plan, and expanding the living space to the exterior, as well.

In line with this trend, I am proud to be a part of a new project in Greenfield, Green River Commons (pictured right). Construction of these seven sustainable, ground level townhouses began in early November, just steps from downtown Greenfield. These low-cost condominiums are designed to be energy-efficient with LED lighting, roofs to support solar panels, energy star appliances, and more. They also have sensible floor plans that utilize the smaller space to maximize comfort.

Contact me today to learn more about these new affordable, sustainable homes or visit GreenRiverCommons.com.

View the survey here.

 

Do You Have These 9 Items Ready as You Prep Your Home for Sale?

9 Items to Prepare Your Home For SaleRecently I came across an article in Coldwell Banker’s blog about 9 overlooked items necessary to prepare your home for sale, by David Marine. I found the list to be very helpful since we often are so focused on the big, cosmetic tasks, that we skip some of the details behind the scenes. Here are some things you should be sure to have done before putting your house on the market:

1. Survey

Keep a current copy of your home’s survey and be sure to give your listing agent a copy, as well. This document will provide important information to buyers, such as property lines, easements, conservation buffers, etc.

2. Floorplan or Appraisal Sketch

Whether deciding on furniture placement or parking space, a floorplan is crucial for a buyer to know property dimensions. It is suggested to have an appraisal sketch done to confirm exact square footage of a home, rather than using tax records.

3. Utility Bills

Review your utility bills to give buyers an average cost for heating and cooling your home. This helps them figure out total costs of owning the home.

4. Termite Bond

A termite bond is a protection plan in the case of a termite infestation. In many markets where termites are common, buyers are interested in knowing the termite bond policy.

5. Pest Control

If your propety requires any type of pest control maintenance, have all of the details ready. Include how much you pay, how often maintenance is done, and who your provider is.

6. Insurance

Buyers are interested in knowing the seller’s current home insurance provider, since sometimes it can be easier for them to go through the same provider, rather than trying to acquire a new one.

7. Product Manuals and Warranty Documents

For any home appliances that will remain in the home, such as water heaters, ceiling fans, refrigerators, etc., have the manuals and warranty information ready.

8. Service Providers

Have a list of all vendors and service providers. The buyer may eventually opt to find their own providers, however they will appreciate having help available initially.

9. Covenants and Restrictions, Neighborhood Rules and Information

This information is very important to new owners. You can find it by contacting your neighborhood association or going to your municipality’s website.

If you really want to go above and beyond as a seller, once you have all this information, store it in handy binder or folder that can be easily passed on to the buyer. While it may seem like a lot to compile, it will be less stressful to do it before putting your home on the market and can even move your sale along faster.

Read the full article here.

Contact me today for help in preparing your home for sale!

Source: Marine, David. “9 Overlooked Items to Prep Your Home for Sale.” Coldwell Banker Blue Matter, 7 Dec. 2017, www.coldwellbanker.com/blog/9-overlooked-items-to-prep-your-home-for-sale/.

 

October Real Estate Sales Report for Pioneer Valley

Franklin County sales were down 13.1% and the median price was down 13.1% in October, 2017 compared to October, 2016.  The sales and median price was up in Hampshire and Hampden County.  I anticipate a reduction in the number of sales as we approach the winter season.  The inventory of homes for sale is low which means it is a great time to keep your house on the market.  Your house will stand out more because there is less competition on the marketplace and buyers do purchase homes during the winter months.  

The following reports will be posted monthly keeping you informed of the local real estate market.   

PIONEER VALLEY - KEY REAL ESTATE POINTS:

Sales—Up 20.6 percent from 432 in October 2016 to 521 in October, 2017.

Median Price— Up 6 percent from $194,000 in October 2016 to $205,550 in October 2017.

Inventory of available property—Inventory fell 24.7 percent from 2,303 single family listings at the end of October 2016, to 1,734 single family listings at the end of October 2017.

Supply—The supply of single-family properties on the market at the current rate of sale dropped 28.9 percent. At the end of October 2016 there were 4.9 months of supply at the current rate of sale. At the end of October 2017 there were 3.5 months of supply at current rate of sale.

Days on Market—The average days on market dropped 21.2 percent from 81 days in October 2016 to 64 days in October 2017.

Pending Sales—Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are up 21.1 percent from 475 in October 2016 to 575 in October 2017.

Mortgage Rates 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.95 percent with an average 0.5 points for the week ending November 16, 2017 . Last year at this time the 30-year FRM averaged 3.94 percent with an average 0.5 points. (Source: www.FreddieMac.com)

 

 

National Association of REALTORS Chief Economist speaks at Annual Convention

While the GOP tax plan will not increase GDP, the real estate market does hold the key to economic growth, according two prominent economists at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo on Friday. While the country’s GDP hit the three percent growth mark promised by President Trump during his 2016 campaign over the past two quarters, that could change if lawmakers don’t treat the industry with more care, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum. “I hope people understand that real estate drives the economy,” Yun told forum attendees. “That could come to a halt very soon if real estate is damaged.”

Lawrence Yun addresses attendees at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum Friday

Ken Rosen, founder of real estate research firm Rosen Consulting Group, added that Congress can’t rely on other sectors to produce the same level of economic growth as real estate. “It’s not going to happen from manufacturing, as much as the president would like to say. It’s not going to come from coal,” he told forum attendees. “You’d think a president who comes from real estate would know that, but that’s not what his advisors are telling him.”

Rosen said the best way to support such growth would be to loosen credit standards and build more homes. Yun noted that raising inventory rates could also help keep home prices from rising too quickly. The GOP tax plan could have the same impact of depressing home price increases by reducing the impact the mortgage interest deduction has on homeowners, Yun said. But the better method to reducing price growth would be to jumpstart new-home construction: “We don’t want to tame the price increases by disincentivizing buying a home; we want to tame price increases by building more,” he said.

However, in order to maintain and expand on the current level of economic stimulus provided by the real estate sector, housing experts warn, the industry must increase affordability and access to homeownership.  Yun predicted more interest rate hikes in the coming years, which will dampen affordability. Rosen said he encourages young people, including his own son, to buy now before rates increase. Rising home prices aren’t the real threat, he added. “The risk is interest rates. Now is the time to both purchase and lock in.”

Of course, not everyone can buy in the current market. Rosen addressed other ways to open up housing to more Americans, including loosening lending restrictions and introducing more alternative loan products, such as rent-to-own options, the ability to roll student loan debt into mortgages, and allowing institutional investors to buy in on individual home purchases through shared equity products. He also suggested creating an IRA for housing funds, where buyers could put money aside before taxes to help them save for a down payment.

Finally, even those who can buy might be suffering from what Rosen calls “post-foreclosure stress syndrome.” Rosen estimated a significant portion of those who have the money to buy a home aren’t doing so “because they’re afraid.” He suggested an education program to help Americans see the benefits of buying. “If you calculate homeownership with a 15 percent to 20 percent loan, there’s no better place to be.”

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.