We get asked that question frequently. Or if a property is already on the market, sellers often ask if they should take it off. There are arguments as well as pros and cons for both schools of thought. We’ll break down each side to help you make the decision on if you should list your home in the winter.
1. Less Competition
It’s as simple as supply and demand. If there are fewer homes to choose from, your home will get more activity and showings, in turn, more offers for more money. Additionally, when there are fewer options, buyers tend to be less picky.
2. Buyers Are Serious
Although there are typically more buyers in the spring and summer, the serious buyers continue looking in the winter. If a buyer is truly serious, it doesn’t matter the time of year. During the warmer months, people go to open houses just for fun, but in winter only the serious ones are out. And typically they have a pressing matter that is requiring them to find and close on a house quickly.
3. Online House Hunting Is Year Round
The internet has made house hunting from the warmth of your own home easier than ever. People are constantly looking at listings online. In fact, 93% of people use the internet in their home search and that’s how most begin. The only time they have to deal with the cold is to see the shortlist of their absolute favorites.
4. Agents Are Up To The Challenge & Motivated
Since the winter months are a bit slower, most real estate agents are also slow. If you choose to sell during the winter, your agent will be able to focus more on you. But, you want to be sure you get a good agent that’s up to the challenge. There are hurdles that need to be jumped when selling in winter and a good agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market the listings accordingly. They’ll know the current market in the area and be able to provide you with tips and suggestions.
5. More From Out Of Town Are Looking
During the holiday season, many family members come from out of town to visit. So, if they are considering relocating, they would look at homes when they’re in town. This often means they need to find a home fast and have a bit more financial flexibility. Additionally, people have more time off work and they take advantage of that by looking for their next home. Lastly, more people relocate for work in the first quarter of the year.
1. Curb Appeal Is Difficult
In the spring and summer months, it’s easier to show off the curb appeal of your home with flowers, landscaping, and daylight until 9pm. Winter poses a problem since everything is covered by snow, and typically not fresh snow. Homes listed in winter are often viewed with things looking drab and worn because everything is brown and gray. You could decorate for the holidays, which will make it more appealing. On the plus side, you won’t have to spend as much time meticulously working on your yard.
House hunting in winter can be a chore for the buyers. They’ll need to bundle up and endure the cold temperatures. Fresh snow can also be a traveling hazards for potential buyers, so they may choose to stay home for the day. Also, you’ll need to make sure your driveway and walkways aren’t slick or snow covered. Those who do come to look at your home can track in salt and possibility mud, which you will then need to take extra time to clean after each showing.
3. Buyers Have Limited Budgets
Near the end of the year, many people have their money tied up in other financial obligations such as buying holiday gifts, traveling, setting aside money to pay taxes, or making sure their own home and car are winter ready. With such a tight budget, more people may not be willing to invest in a new home.
4. Buyers Have The Negotiating Power
Most sellers will get multiple offers in spring and summer because there are more buyers. When there are less, some buyers may drive a hard bargain. They may even think that a seller is desperate for any offer and so they low ball them. And often times, the seller accepts because they are worried they won’t get another offer until spring.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about selling your home, in winter or otherwise, contact us! We’re here to help, know the market, and can list your home appropriately.
Whether you’re buying, selling, building or remodeling – it’s good to know the home features that every buyer is looking for. Especially if you’re remodeling or building and plan to resale, some of these items may make or break your real estate transaction.
What Not To Do
Let’s first start with a quick list of no-no’s. Although the idea and everyday use of some of these items may work for you, they could severely hurt you if you plan to sell you home since they’re not practical for the average buyer:
- Removing closets
- Combining two rooms
- Adding a sunroom
- A garage converted to a living space
- Adding a pool or hot rub
- Any feature that is too personalized such as wall color/texture, too much wallpaper, or lavish lighting that may look dated overtime
What To Do
Below are some home features that will increase the resale value of your home and what most all buyers are looking for.
Since they are much easier to clean, durable, long lasting, and have a contemporary look, hardwood floors are one of the top features a buyer wants. Engineered wood flooring is a good option if you’re on a budget, although it may not last as long it’s still just as easy to clean and has the same look.
Kitchens are where we spend a lot of our time, whether we’re entertaining or cooking. So this feature is obviously going to make the list. A buyer will likely be looking for a modern kitchen with an open floor plan. Specific features that are of importance is a large pantry, an area to eat separate from the dining room (either an eat-in kitchen or island with a breakfast bar), new appliances that are stainless steel & energy efficient, ample counter space & storage, and quartz or granite countertops all with a modern design.
Who wouldn’t want to save money? Buyers look for and are more likely to be interested in a home when it’s outfitted with energy efficient appliances, windows, lighting and HVAC. These items help save money in utilities each month but don’t take away from the buyer’s comfort level.
Having a dedicated laundry room is increasing in importance with buyers. Especially one large enough to sort, iron, fold and stack the laundry until it finally gets put away. The placement of the laundry room in a home is also important. Having the laundry room near bedrooms, just off the kitchen, as a laundry room/mud room combination or even a laundry chute if it’s downstairs are all considered to be good locations
Many older homes do not have the luxury of a walk in closet, but the feature is quickly gaining popularity. Although closet space in general is very important, walk in closets off the master are considered essential for most buyers when purchasing a home. Depending on how large the closet is, it provides a space to showcase your wardrobe & accessories, keeps your clothes organized, and allows for enough room for a couple to store all of their clothes & accessories.
A large 2 car or 3 car garage allows for the buyer to park their vehicle indoors plus adds storage space. Unlike an attic or basement, the garage is much more accessible to store belongings. The space could also be used as a workshop or mudroom with space to build shelves and cabinets. The possibility with a large garage is endless.
Outdoor patios are a simple way to extend the living space of your home. It’s really easy for buyers to see themselves sitting outside playing with their children or entertaining when the backyard is really nice. This is typically an easy and cheaper way to increase the value of your home.
We all love our garbage disposal but when it breaks down, it definitely becomes a love/hate relationship. We’ve scoured the blogs and professional opinions and we have a short list of ways to keep your disposal grinding away.
- Really think about what you’re putting in there. Most food should be alright, but take note if the food is prone to absorbing water further, if its very hard or tough or if it might get really gunked up in cool water. Heavy and hard things like bones might break the mechanical parts of your disposal. Fats and oils can solidify in cold water and clog your pipes. Foods that absorb water will eventually turn into a gunked up clog.
- Cold water is best when grinding your waste up. You can absolutely use hot water at all other times, but cold water is recommended so that oils don’t melt and then solidify in the drain plug of the disposal. I personally run hot water after to push anything lingering further on down the drain.
- Clean it up! I like to use citrus peels and some dish soap to keep the disposal clean and smell free. You can put the peel and the soap in while the disposal is running and you can tell right
- Use an allen wrench to free up the disposal. Sometimes they get bound up or maybe you over did it when cleaning out the fridge. Don’t stress! Just grab an allen wrench and hand turn according to directions. Usually that will do the trick and you won’t burn out the motor! Win!
- Experts recommend keeping your disposal blades sharp by dropping some ice cubes down the disposal. It doesn’t take a long time but it does sound a little intense. Bonus feature- it’ll act as an abrasive and clean off any built up food from the blades and the housing.
- Did you know there are disposal cleaners? There are. But they are not to be confused with your standard drain cleaner- which have caustic chemicals that can/will damage your disposal’s seals and integral parts. Don’t do that. You love your disposal too much.
- Be very vigilant and cautious when you’re getting things that fall in to the deep, dark, slimy disposal. Set up a barricade, nail the kitchen door shut- do what you must do so that you don’t turn into a horror movie character and lose your pretty fingers. Please.
We are not plumbers nor are we disposal experts, mostly just parents who have had to take care of a few household maintenance issues. But if you’re looking- we do have a plumber we can recommend. These are just our real life bits of advice and some info from the pros. Please use common sense when trying to do any work on your disposal. If you think about it- its really a sink full of spinning knives… so safe.
For more information on proper use of your disposal, click here!
For a checklist to prepare your home for the colder months, click HERE!
If you have any other disposal tips or if you can think of a topic you’d like to hear about, please let us know in the comments.
Let’s Make Awesome Happen,
Lifestyle: First thing you would want to consider, before ever looking at homes, is the lifestyle you lead. Think about the things you would need in an area that you couldn’t live without. Do you want to live in the city with a nightlife? Off the beaten path away from most people? Or somewhere in between? Making that decision first will help narrow down the area you look for homes in.
Crime: Researching the crime rates and statistics can help you narrow down an area to live. If you have already decided where you want to live, crime rates are always a good thing to check on. This is especially true if you have children or plan to have children. Call the local police department to get specifics about the area.
Culture: Some people need cultural stimulation regularly, so living in a larger city where that is accessible would be the best option.
Weather/Climate: The weather and climate have an affect on our mental health, daily activities, recreation, and sometimes our jobs. Picking a place that you like the weather year round is very important.
Job Market: The job market, salary, and opportunities will vary in every area. When thinking of finding a new area to live, look into your line of work to determine if it would be a good move. There may be more selection or higher salary in one area over another.
Housing Market: When buying a home it’s also good to get the most bang for your buck! Researching the housing market in an area will help to determine the property values and whether it’s a good place to invest. Things you would want to look into is how long homes are on the market, resale value, and current home prices, that will give you a good idea of the market.
Cost of Everyday Items: No matter how good your job is, or the value of your home, the prices of everyday items need to also be considered. The prices of groceries, gas, and utilities vary from place to place. It could mean the difference of living comfortably and within your means or living from paycheck to paycheck.
Taxes: There are 5 states out there with no sales tax, and 9 that don’t collect income tax. Not to mention that the property tax rate is different from city to city, even in the same state. Other states offer tax credits or exceptions. Taxes, although very necessary, could mean a big difference on the amount you spend each month on both your goods and your mortgage and is something that needs to be considered before moving.
Age: Is a neighborhoods historic or new developments? That’s something to consider, if that matters to you. Older neighborhoods bring character, but there may also be more to repair. New developments bring more of a modern feel but it typically suggests additional future growth, which could be viewed as positive or negative
Sounds & Smells: Listening to the area is important. Being close to a freeway/highway, train, etc could cause sleepless nights. Or, if there are any bad odors or poor air quality, that’s something that would affect your decision as well. Sounds and smells are not something you can detect on the internet. If you’re getting serious about a neighborhood, pay it a visit. Be sure to listen and smell, before ever making a purchase.
Schools: If you have or are planning to have children, be sure to check on the type of schools in the area. Look into the elementary, middle, and high schools. That can be a huge determining factor on the neighborhood to live.
Home Owners Association: HOA’s bring strict rules as well as typically an additional fee. Although they will keep the neighborhood looking clean, it may not be worth the extra cost.
Family & Friends: If being close to family and friends is important, that should always be considered when picking the place you live. Chose an area with a reasonable drive time or plane ride to them.
Commute: First thing to determine is how you’re going to commute. Will you be driving, are there public transportation options available, or are you close enough to walk? The next thing to consider is the time it takes to commute to and from both work and school. Be sure to look into the commute time during the peak travel times of the day. Will longer commute times affect your quality of life, taking away from time you could be spending with your family or friends.
Amenities & Conveniences: It’s good to identify how close you would be to things like hospitals, airports, parks, grocery stores, and gas stations. If the neighborhood you’re interested in is farther out, will you be willing to travel a greater distance to get your everyday needs or in an emergency? Another thing to consider is how far away you’d be to your hobbies. If you like to ski, being many hours away from the closest mountain wouldn’t be the best option.
Tourist Attractions: Being close to tourist attraction can seem great when you’re thinking about moving to an area. But consider what it would be like after years of living there. The busy season will bring more people in the area which could become difficult to deal with over time.
Saving money can be such a challenge for most of us. When it comes time to buy a home or invest in real estate it can become even more of a struggle. With mortgage financing, we must be sure to keep our debts low, while having enough assets on hand to get our loan approved. We will need to consider the budget for new mortgage payments while paying of credit card or consumer debts each month. AND we must be mindful about putting money away into a 401K or other investments and maybe having a little extra to enjoy life.
Below are 7 simple rules for saving your money and paying off debts. Following these rules will make it easier to get where we’d like to be financially before taking the steps to get your dream home.
1. Automate It!
Most places of employment offer direct deposit. Use that to your advantage. Set your direct deposit up for a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into several different accounts. One for your 401K, another into a savings account for the purpose of emergencies, also an account to save for home projects, vacations, etc. Then, set up your bills to be paid automatically. It would be beneficial to check with your loan holders to see if that would be an option. Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you can’t see the money then you won’t have the temptation to spend it.
2. Know How to Prioritize
Should you start paying down debt or saving first? Which debts should you start with? You need to know how to prioritize and compare the numbers. First, start by checking the interest rates on your loans and credit cards. The higher the interest rate, the more of a priority that should be to pay off. Save any extra money you get. Tax return? Put that into savings! Get a raise at work? Automatically deposit that extra percentage into savings each month. Eventually, you will have enough in that account for a nice down payment on your home.
3. Imagine Your Future Self
Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Owning your own home? Not drowning in debt? Studies show if you imagine where you’d like to be in the future that will motivate you to take the necessary steps for the purpose of achieving those goals.
4. Stop Unnecessary Spending
Take a good look at your finances and what you spend money on regularly. Do this with the intention of determining what can be dropped or scaled back on. Maybe a gym membership that you pay for monthly and only go once every 3 months or so. Another common unnecessary expense is cable TV; streaming services are cheaper, and they have a great selection. Additionally, rather than getting a coffee at Starbucks every day, make your own coffee at home. You may be surprised to know that could save over $100 a month. Also, eat meals at home instead of going out to eat. Even dropping one expenditure mentioned will make a huge difference on your bank account.
5. Reward Yourself
You can’t live your life to save and pay down debt. Every now and then you need a reward for all your hard work. Use that as a motivation to save. Got a bill paid off? Get yourself something! Reached your goal on an amount of money you wanted to save? Treat yourself! Be sure to make these rewards sensible, but you could be getting perks while saving and paying off bills.
6. Take Advantage of Bank & Credit Cards Offers & Rewards
Take a good look at your credit card rewards, it may surprise you what they offer. There may be an opportunity for you to receive a percentage of what you spend in cash back. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? Make sure your bank account doesn’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee. If it does, research how to waive it or get a different account.
7. Start Young (Its never early or late to Start)
If this applies to you, pay attention. Starting off at a young age will set you up in the future. Even if you’re working at your very first job, you can start taking the necessary steps. Apply the rules above and your savings will grow faster than you could ever anticipate.
By following these rules, you can save, pay off debt Whether your goal is to save for a home or prepare for the future, it’s all possible with a little hard work and knowledge on your side.
Think that your credit is hopeless and that you may never be in a position to buy a home? Don’t! There is always a way with a good plan and a good team. We have helped so many buyers get into homes when they thought it would never be a reality for them. We have a great team that can help you build the roadmap to get there. Want to know more about how to get started? Let’ Connect
Credit: NPR Public Radio – https://www.npr.org/2018/12/12/676120025/get-started-saving & http://time.com/money/4266906/save-for-new-home-tips/
When buying a home for the first time you most likely want to save money any chance you get. It can seem like an overwhelming and never ending drain on your bank account. When you finally close on your new home you probably won’t want to even think about any more paperwork or transactions, but a quick trip to the County Assessor’s office to file a homeowner’s exemption will save you so much money each year in property tax.
What is it ?
An exemption that reduces the taxable value of your home up to a maximum of $100,000 in value.
Why do I need it?
By reducing the taxable value of your home, your taxes are much LESS and you SAVE! If you have a mortgage, this savings will likely reduce your total monthly mortgage payment.
If you live in your home at least 6 months out of the year as your primary residence, you qualify!
When do I need to file?
You must file by the 15th of April in 2018!
Where do I file?
The county assessors office for the county in which you reside.
Remember: Idaho is a non-disclosure state and this means that you do not have to share the value of your home with the county when you apply (what you paid for it)
If you are not sure about your home owner exemption status, give us a call and we would be happy to help you! We are here to help!
Now that 2018 is finally here, resolutions and goals seem to be all anyone is talking about. If one of your resolutions is to be a first-time buyer then here are a few tips to help you make that a resolution that doesn’t fall by the wayside. Maybe your resolutions don’t involve buying, maybe it is to sell your home or to build equity with your existing home or investing in your home. In any case here is an abbreviated list of some routes to consider. (Full Article)
For the first time buyers
Buying a new home is scary, but taking the first steps toward an organized and planned out purchase is half the battle. Having a structured plan and timeline gives you a set of instructions that you can follow. Near the top of the list you create should be finding a reputable and thorough realtor to take the mystery of purchasing and turn it into an understanding of the process. Regardless of when your planned purchase date is, NOW is the best time to start working on your credit. If you’re one of the majority who has room for improvement, the sooner you start working on it, the better. And speaking of now, remember that you are going to need a down payment for your purchase.
For the First time Sellers
Maybe you don’t plan to be a first-time buyer, maybe selling is on the top of your 2018 goals, then you need to start planning too! When you prepare your home to be sold, you need to make sure that you take care of all those repairs you’ve been putting off. Along with fixing, you need to start getting rid of the extra and unused stuff that has been accumulating. Personally, I don’t want to pay to ship the contents of my junk drawer or those broken things that I keep meaning to fix. Throwing away (donating, selling) is hard but once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you’ll be happy you did and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
Trying to Add Equity
One of the most effective ways to add equity to your home is to bring your principle down. You can do this in several ways. Refinancing your home might be a good choice. Either for a shorter loan term or for a lower rate. Another way to bring down your principle is to pay more. That simple. Maybe you pay more each month or you make an extra payment. Either way you’re going to have to pay more.
Investing in Your Home
Investing in your home can be one of the more gratifying options. Most of us like to see transformations. And making your home more beautiful is always exciting. Make sure when you chose a project that you select one that has a good return of investment. It would be a good idea to do some homework and find out the most sought after home features. One type of renovation that will almost always yeild a good return of investment is increasing your home’s energy rating.
No matter what topic made your 2018 Real Estate goal list, we hope you were able to find some of this advice helpful. If you did, or have any other ideas- Reply and tell us all about them. Please don’t forget to check out the full Windermere article for any extra info.
LET’S MAKE AWESOME HAPPEN!
Were back after a shot hiatus with some wonderful germ that my granddaughter brought home. This week we have for you some helpful tips for your appliance purchasing adventures. Read these before you decide to update those awesome brown-ish kitchen appliances. Together were going to tackle the ups and downs of showroom shopping from; love at first sight, sticker shock, betrayal and all of the other juicy emotions that come along with. So lets kick it off with what I consider to be the most important tip:
Don’t make impulse purchases!
It might sound pretty obvious, but when you spot that set from across the showroom floor and the sparks start flying and you cant see anyone else- it’s hard to listen to logic. The super adorable compact washer and dryer set might make your heart beat out of your chest, but then you get home to your family of 5 miniature clothing destroying angles and you realize that your washer and dryer set wont make it in this relationship.
The healthier way to approach this front loading love of your life is to actually, shop around. I know, it sounds like it was meant to be. But consider your other options. Maybe there is a discounted set that fits better and has the features you need. Are there other stores to shop around at? Is online purchasing an option?
Measure! Measure! Measure! (then buy)
pretty obvious when you are considering filling the void left by your old appliances. Have you considered other clearances? Door swing? Handles? Depth of the appliance itself? Like I said, it sounds obvious when you are reading this. But you’ll forget. We all forget. Another thing to consider. Will it fit through your door or up the stairs? If you live in an apartment complex, there’s a chance you might be in big trouble since navigating stairs, and hallways and corners and elevators and other tenants can be a huge pain.
Consider energy rating
This is an aspect of appliances that is pretty readily found and is typically a selling point since most people want to do good by the earth and also their wallets. A huge monthly utility bill can turn a rosy romance into a bitter feud. If your dream refrigerator takes hundreds of dollars to keep your perishables from perishing, is it really true love?
When you are shopping around the showroom, look for the bright yellow sticker that says ENERGY GUIDE in big bold, black letters! This hard to miss sticker is where you can find the approximate yearly operating cost and the approximate yearly energy use. This is required by federal law to be on all new appliances as the program Energy Star is a division of the Environmental Protection Agency. If your showroom doesn’t have these. RUN.
Touch Screen Fridge? Really?
Before you decide that the touch screen fridge door is what you need, evaluate your current situation. Would digital grocery lists make your life easier? Maybe. Personally, I need to have something tangible in my hands when it comes to lists. I forget about all the handy list and reminder functions on my phone constantly. If this doesn’t sound like you. Then by all means, get the super high-speed iFridge.
I think the take-away from this section is to really evaluate if these awesome and eye-grabbing features will in fact make your life easier. Or. Will it be fun for a few minutes and then slowly forgotten about like many other trends in our lives. Think long and hard about how these bells
Know your needs
this one sort of plays into the above section. But really, its important. If you eat out most days and your current fridge is empty, then do you really need a new one? The same goes for washers and dryers. If you’re a single person with 10 shirts to your name, do you need to get a new set of appliances for your very light loads of laundry? I know, that with my two tiny granddaughters, my daughter is constantly doing laundry. The current set is probably going to lose this race.
I’m sure there are some other tips that should be considered. That’s why we have You! Please feel free to add any in the comments section. We’d really love to hear about what you wish you would have considered when you made your purchases and any advice to other buyers. Happy Shopping
If you’re like me, when you started the buying process you might have wondered why some houses are so outrageously priced and others are not. There are many factors that come in to play such as mortgage rates and availability, economic growth and personal demographics. But when prospective buyers are shopping their market, the one factor they may overlook is inventory shortage.
Real estate inventory is the quantity of houses that are available for purchase in any given market. When I’m out showing people properties, clients always amazed at how few mid-range homes there are. Clients also can’t believe how quickly they go.
The only time that inventory is a problem for home buyers is when the inventory is low. Basic economics. High demand and low supply yields high price tags for buyers. However, if you’re looking to sell, this is great news for you. The fewer homes available, the higher the price tag on your home.
In our current market in the Pacific Northwest, there has been an inventory shortage for several years. Due to the shortage, people are staying in their homes longer and moving less. Contractors are also in a bind because of the inventory shortages are causing prices to shoot through the room. Contractors don’t get paid for homes that sell for less than their cost for production, making them less inclined to build for fear of not making a profit.
In this quick video Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s chief Economist, breaks down the inventory shortage and it’s side effects. He also gives us a forecast for what might be to come.
Is this a good time to sell?
Here is your housing snapshot for January 2017 showing an increase of 10% in median home prices and time on market down 5% in Kootenai County. If you are a seller who is on the fence about putting your home on the market, this snapshot is a good indication that this might be a very good time for you to sell your home.
A market offering higher median home prices, shorter closing time frames and less inventory will give sellers who decide to list now have some real advantages especially this time of year.
Listing your home before the masses who wait for better weather in April and May can give you the edge for success. Low inventory combined with a large number of qualified buyers creates competition for your listing. Many buyers have already lost out on another home and these buyers are ready to pounce once your listing hits the MLS. Homes that are show ready and priced right are garnering multiple offers at full price and often offers over full price!
If you would like to be kept up to date on the market or know more about selling your home or the value of your home, contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a customized market analysis.
John and Tracey Your Professional Agents 208-818-2365 John firstname.lastname@example.org 208-818-2456 Tracey email@example.com Website www.johnandtracey.com