Massachusetts & Southern NH Real Estate Industry News

Welcome to our blog! The purpose of this real estate blog is to provide some tips for staging your house, simple easy updates, what to do in the areas, all for you to enjoy. We plan to publish this blog monthly, so please subscribe or check back often!

Oct. 19, 2021

What is a Home Warranty and Should You Invest in One?


 

Have you heard the term home warranty floating around? Typically this is thrown around as an option when you start to consider your inspection options or are concerned about the condition of important items in a home that you are thinking about purchasing.

To help clear the air, we thought we would take some time to discuss what exactly a home warranty is and if it’s something that might be a good investment for you!

What is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty provides you with financial protection from service providers for any unexpected repairs that you might need to make on appliances. When you purchase a home, it’s often difficult to have full confidence that everything is working as it should prior to living in the home. If you choose to completely waive a home inspection, this can also offer you some protection for those major systems if they turn out to need some repairs. 

When you purchase a home warranty, you are purchasing this protection for however long you wish. Oftentimes, home buyers will purchase a one-year protection plan as most issues make themselves known within that time frame. Keep in mind that a home warranty is not the same thing as homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance protects you in case of events such as fire, storm, flood, or other accident. Contrastly, a home warranty will cover the cost of repairs for home systems and appliances such as electrical, heating, plumbing, etc due to typical wear.

Typically, home warranties can cost anywhere from $300 to $600. Depending on the provider, you’ll have additional options you can add such as coverage for the roof or swimming pool. Additionally, the best deals can typically be acquired when you’re going through the buying process and are in the process of purchasing that home. 

Some home warranty providers include American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty.


Benefits of A Home Warranty


Home warranties offer benefits for both buyers and sellers. For buyers, you can feel confident about moving into a home, knowing that you won’t need to spend additional money paying for surprise repairs after you move in. This warranty can give you peace of mind whether or not you’ve had an inspection done prior to purchasing the home.


If you’re looking to sell your home, a home warranty can also help protect the seller during the listing period. Additionally, sellers can offer to pay for the first year of this warranty to attract additional buyers to the listing. 

Is a Home Warranty Worth It?


Whether or not you purchase a home warranty is completely up to your and your comfort levels. Typically, a warranty isn’t necessary with newer homes since those major mechanical items are relatively new and may still be under the manufacturers’ warranties. However, if the home is a bit older, the odds are something is going to break at some point and it may be beneficial to have that warranty protecting you. Additionally, be sure to read up on the different options offered by those different companies to find a plan that’s right for you that offers both the coverage you are looking for and is cost-effective. Keep in mind that, typically, these plans do require a deductible and may not cover pre-existing conditions.


Alternatively, you can dedicate what you would pay in premium payments into an emergency fund to use if any repairs arise. This will prevent you from running into a situation where expensive repairs may not be covered on your policy for one reason or another.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Read the policies closely, evaluate the coverage, examine your emergency funds, and always have some sort of insurance policy to repair those crucial issues whenever they arise, keeping in mind that any home will require maintenance at one point or another.

 

Bottom Line

A home warranty is a great option to consider if you are concerned about any unexpected surprises when you purchase your home. If you’re not in the position to hand over a large amount of money to repair those major systems, then having this fallback can help. While there are many benefits, it’s important to read the fine print on the policies and really understand what you are getting before deciding if it’s the right option for you. Additionally, consider whether you’d rather put those premium payments into an emergency fund to fall back on instead of a warranty. In either case, know that these options are available to you to ensure that you feel confident in your new home purchase.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 18, 2021

6 Reasons To Hire an Agent Instead of Selling On Your Own

 

 

In this market, it seems like anyone can get their home sold. Buyers are lining up and bidding way over asking, so you should be able to take the reigns and sell your home yourself. Why not just bypass that commission and pocket the extra cash?


Well...it’s not really that simple. Even in a seller’s market, there are multiple reasons why hiring an agent is worth the commission. Today we’re outlining 6 key reasons why hiring an agent to sell your home is worth that extra cost. 

 

1. Your Agent Can Help You Make A Great First Impression
Agents work with buyers every single day and know what they look for when they step into a home. An agent can help you make those important decisions to make your home stand out as soon as the buyers pull up. They consider things like:

  • Should you remove any personal art or pictures?
  • How much landscape should you invest in to boost your home’s curb appeal?
  • What wall colors are the most appealing to buyers? 

An agent will help you identify what is worth putting money into prior to the home sale, ultimately saving you time and money. 

 

2. Agents Have The Resources To Get You the Most Traffic

Agents have multiple tools to get your home in front of the most potential buyers - from social media to agency resources - your agent will be able to broadcast your home across multiple platforms to ensure that your property is in the spotlight. Additionally, agents have a network of other clients, agents, and agencies that they can share your home with for additional reach. 

That’s good news for you! At the end of the day, the more buyers you get through your home, the more offers you’ll receive. In fact, in the current market, homes are receiving 3.8 offers on average

 

3. Agents Won't Miss Those Important (Legal) Details
When you’re selling your home, you don’t want to leave anything to guesswork. When you’re navigating the required documentation, it’s best to have an expert help you sort through all of the necessary steps. There are specific disclosures and regulations that are mandatory and the number of legal documents you need to juggle is growing.  There are many to keep tabs of, and if you don’t sell homes day in and day out, you might overlook important items.

Not only will an agent have the experience to ensure that all of the legal requirements are covered, but they also have professional errors and omissions insurance, something that you would not have if you sold your own home. This not only protects the agent but also can assist with giving the buyer recourse so that they may not need to pursue the seller to cover damages.

4. Expert Advisors Know the Market and How to Price Your Home
While it’s still a seller’s market, pricing your home is still critical in order to get the most bang for your buck. Real estate agents have the experience and tools to compare your homes to recently sold homes in your area, taking into account any upgrades you’ve completed. They can also take into consideration the latest market trends. 

If you decide to sell on your own, you might miss out on important information that could result in your pricing being unrealistic or inaccurate. 

5. Your Agent Will Be An Experienced Negotiator

Your real estate agent will act in your best interest through every step in the selling process. Part of this is understanding all of the parties involved with the transaction and how to work with multiple personalities. Your agent will have experience with addressing any concerns that come up along the way and negotiating with the necessary parties with your interest in mind. They’ll know what techniques to use, what second opinions to call on, and what tools to leverage in order to get you the most for your home. They’ll also be a fair match to experience buyer agents who are also looking to pull out all the stops to get the most for their buyers. 

If you sell on your own, you’ll have to have these difficult conversations on your own. This gets even trickier when you’re emotionally invested, and emotions can result in poor decisions and emotionally driven reactions.

6. Real Estate is a Full-Time Job

While it might sound easy enough to throw your home on the market and get it sold, it actually takes a lot of time and effort. There is a reason that being a real estate agent is a full-time job. If you decide to sell your own home, you’ll need to be able to answer the phone to schedule buyers who are interested in a tour. At the end of your workday, you’ll need to answer questions about the status of your home. You’ll be expected to provide all the necessary legal documentation and will be at risk if you forget anything. Finally, you’ll have to promote and market your home all on your own. 

When you hire an agent, they’ll be able to assist with scheduling, leave a lockbox for easy showing access, field questions from prospective buyers, and manage the necessary paperwork so that you can focus on your day-to-day. 

Bottom Line

While it may seem simple enough to sell in this market, there is actually a lot that goes on in every transaction that an agent manages. Additionally, there is a strategy that goes into pricing and marketing in order to ensure that you’ll get the most buyers through your home, resulting in netting you the most money. While a seller’s market does make it more favorable to sell, you still need to have an effective pricing strategy, dedicated marketing, negotiation skills, and availability to sell your home for the dollar amount you were hoping for. Don’t write off an agent just because of commission as you may end up netting out with more due to the resources that an agent can offer. Questions? Give us a call and ask how we can get you the most money for your home today.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 12, 2021

Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates

 

 

You’ve probably been hearing how mortgage rates have been at record lows. That’s been one of the major drivers in the housing demand we’ve seen over the past year. It’s true that mortgage rates have been incredibly low, hitting the lowest point in January of this year, but that’s not always going to be the case.
 

In fact, we’re starting to see rates slowly start creeping up. If you’re thinking about putting the home search on hold until next spring, these rates will certainly look different then and it could end up costing you. Today we’re diving into the reasons behind the climb in mortgage rates and what they could look like in the months to come.

What’s Going on With Mortgage Rates?

Hold on to your hats folks, the mortgage rate surpassed 3% in late September for the first time in months.  Nadia Evangelous, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors explain that it seems that the rates at the 2% range are likely over. In a press release accompanying the survey, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac explains “Mortage rates rose across all loans types as the 10-year U.S.Treasury yield reached its highest point since June.” 

Why does the U.S. Treasury yield matter? Khater explains that there has been a very strong relationship between the yield and the 30-year mortgage rate over the last five decades. The below graph from Keeping Current Matters depicts this relationship: 

So then, what impacts the Yield rate? Investopedia explains “There are a number of economic factors that impact Treasury yields, such as interest rates, inflation, and economic growth.” Due to concerns about inflation and economic growth due to the pandemic, the Treasury yield spiked last week resulting in increased mortgage rates. Evangelous explains that the Fed recently pushed up its inflation estimates for this year as inflation will likely be around for longer and that the “grace” period for higher inflations seems to be coming to an end as the Fed may also raise interest rates by mid next year.

Evangelous also explains that employment is another big factor in mortgage rates. Particularly, mortgage rates tend to rise when employment grows and the unemployment rate falls. Employment growth is being closely monitored as it will play a part in determining the Fed’s tapering, which can cause mortgage rates to move upwards. NAR forecasts employment to grow 3% on average in the last quarter of 2021, meaning that mortgage rates will likely follow suit. 

What Does This Mean for You?
 

What does this all mean to you if you’re looking to purchase in the future? Khater explains in the Freddie Mac release that the expects mortgage rates to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices, causing them to moderate slightly after increasing over the last year.

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also explain that consumers shouldn’t panic. Even though the rates will increase in the following month, the rates will still be historically low. However, it is important to keep in mind that the longer you wait, the higher rates will climb. The chart below depicts the predictions from 4 major experts in the industry over the coming months:

 


Bottom Line

To summarize, mortgage rates are starting to shift due to a number of factors ranging from concerns about inflation to employment rates. While rates today aren’t as low as they may have been in the past, they are still worth taking advantage of before they begin to climb further. While it’s true that the window for those record braking lows may have passed, you still have a chance to lock in a fantastic rate that’s well below what we’ve seen in recent decades. The key to this is to act now in order o save you the most money as well as to begin building up that equity for your long-term wealth. 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 11, 2021

Fall Baked Goods that You Need To Try This Season

 

One of the best parts of fall is all of the incredible baked goods that come with fall flavors. Apple pie, pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls are all favorites of the season. Today we’re bringing you some incredible baked goods that you need to try - some classic and some a twist on the favorites.

Get your apron on and your flour out, we’re baking some tasty treats today!

Our Favorite Fall Baked Goods

Pumpkin Donut Drops
Pumpkin, donuts, sugar...need I say more? No need to go out and purchase mass-produced donut holes. Now you can make your own donut shop right in your kitchen! These donuts are sure to be the weekend pick-me-up that you’ve been hoping for.
Sweet Potato Spice Bread
You’ve probably heard of pumpkin spice bread..but have you heard of sweet potato spice bread? Packed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and molasses, this break has all the fall flavors you could ask for. It’s an innovative twist on a classic fall baked good.
No-Kneed Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Another twist on a classic dish these no-knead pumpkin cinnamon rolls are sure to make everyone’s morning brighter. The classic dough is infused with pumpkin flavors and glazed with a pumpkin pie spice-infused topping.
Pecan Coffee Cake
This simple recipe is a big timesaver when you need a crowd-pleaser in the morning. You’ll enjoy a crunchy pecan topping atop a moist yellow cake. You just pour all the ingredients into one pan and you’ll have an amazing breakfast waiting for you in 30-35 minutes. Who wants a piece!?
Pull-Apart Caramel Coffee Cake
Another super easy recipe that is sure to wow your guests! All you need are 2 tubs of buttermilk biscuits, brown sugar, heavy cream, and cinnamon. The result? A sweet, delicious treat to share.
Pumpkin Bread
Don’t forget about this classic fall recipe! Pumpkin bread is a perfect breakfast or mid-day pick-me-up treat. The only thing that rivals the taste is the smell that fills your home when it’s baking in the over. Check out this delicious recipe!
Cinnamon Apple Cake
This melt-in-your-mouth cake is packed with fresh apples and boasts a cinnamon sugar crumble that’s sure to delight anyone who tastes it. Wow your guests by whipping up this from-scratch cake that’s super easy to pull together. No fancy tools required, just a bowl and spoon!
Apple Crisp
Need to do something with all of the apples that you picked this past weekend? Look no further! This apple crisp recipe is the perfect opportunity to turn your extra apples into a delicious fall dessert. All you need is a good vanilla ice cream to top it off!

Bottom Line
Fall is the perfect time to break out the allspice and baking dishes. The flavors of fall are always warm and comforting, and it’s a great time to try out some new recipes. If you have a favorite fall recipe, let us know in the comments! If you decide to try one of the items above, let us know what you think!

Posted in Community
Oct. 5, 2021

6 Common Misconceptions About Today's Market

 

Raise your hand if you have heard a million different things about the housing market. It’s a bad time to buy, it’s a good time to buy, you’ll have to pay way over asking, it’s shifting into a buyers market, it’s competitive...etc. What’s actually true?

The market is constantly changing and evolving. Small shifts can mean big things for anyone searching for a home. Today we’re going over 6 common things that people say about buying a home today that aren’t actually true in this current market. Let’s get started!

1. It’s a bad time to buy a home

Even though the market is still competitive, it’s actually still a great time to purchase a home. The market is actually starting to soften a bit, giving you an edge that you may not have had a couple of months ago. According to realtor.com, the sweet spot for buyers to buy is actually this week! This is due to a number of factors such as increased inventory, lower mortgage rates, and adjusted home prices. If you've been searching for a while, this week might just present you with your best opportunity to secure your dream home.

2. I’ll have to waive a home inspection for my offer to stand out

Due to the competition that we’ve seen in this market, many homebuyers have been waiving home inspections in order to speed up their purchase and make their offers more attractive to sellers. However, now that the market is slowing down a bit, many buyers have pressed the brakes on this. This means that you don’t have to give up a home inspection in order to find that perfect home. In fact, waiving a home inspection can be incredibly risky for buyers and the consequences should very seriously be considered before deciding to waive. 

3. I’ll need to bid tens of thousands over list price
According to the National Association of Realtors, median home prices have soared to nearly $360,000 - 18% higher than last July. However, during this first week of October, we are seeing some changes in the market. Realtor.com predicts that we'll see roughly 17.6% more homes available this week than we saw at the start of the year. Additionally, realtor.com predicts this week to be one of the peak weeks for price reductions in 2021. What does this mean for you? It means that, while the market is still competitive, buyers have more options to choose from. This results in fewer offers on the same home resulting in there being less pressure to bid so much over the asking price.

 

4. I’ll end up in a bidding war.

Bidding wars have been a common occurrence in 2021 due to there being more buyers than homes on the market. While the competition is still there, homes aren’t receiving as many offers as they used to be. As we mentioned, the housing supply is increasing. With more options available, buyers don't have to fight for the same home so For example, Keeping Current Matters explains that the average home sold received 3.8 offers in August as opposed to the dozens that they may have been receiving a few months ago.

5. I’ll need extra money to cover an appraisal gap
The appraisal gap. If you’ve been searching for a while, you might be familiar with this. When you purchase a home and utilize financing, the lender will require an appraisal before approving a loan. Due to the bidding wars that we’ve been seeing, there’s a chance that the amount your offering could be higher than the appraised value of the home. The lender will only provide you a loan for the appraised value meaning that you could be on the hook to cover the difference.

In order to be competitive in this market, many buyers were previously waiving any appraisal contingencies, meaning that they were willing to cover that discrepancy out of pocket. The good news is that this trend appears to be changing. Due to the softening of the market that we’ve been seeing, waiving appraisals and agreeing to cover appraisal gaps aren’t as common anymore. This means that you can feel confident that your offer is still competitive even with that contingency in place.

6. I need a perfect credit score to get a loan
It’s true that the higher your credit score, the more options you have to secure a loan. However, you don’t need to have a credit score in the 700s. According to keeping current matters, there are loan programs that allow a 620 or higher score. However, those programs may come with higher interest rates.

If you’re curious if you qualify, there’s no harm in having a conversation with a lender. If you’re worried about them pulling your credit, let them know that you’re not quite ready for that yet. They’ll still be more than happy to talk to you about where you’re currently at and how to get you to a place where you can qualify. 

Bottom Line
You’ve probably heard about the challenges of buying a home in today’s market. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the market is constantly changing and evolving. Through the noise of social media and new highlights, it’s important to consider the facts of what’s actually going on when you’re considering if buying a home now is the right move for you.

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 4, 2021

Our Top Halloween Festivities Across New England

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s already October. The crisp, cool air has set in and the leaves are starting to turn. It’s also the start of spooky season...which means loads of haunted fun around New England!

Today, we’ll be sharing our favorite Halloween locations around New England. We’ll also include some of the slightly less spooky options for those who might be looking for more treats than tricks. 

Increased Inventory

Screeemfest Canobie Lake Park - Salem, NH  👻 🎃
Screeemfest is the perfect chance to enjoy the Halloween spirit with the kiddos during the day and enjoy some haunted fun at night. For the kids, you can enjoy a day complete with Canobie Critters, meet & greets throughout the park, and lights-on haunted house walkthroughs. Once night falls, you can enjoy haunted houses and live entertainment!
Witch’s Woods - Westford, MA 👻
Located in the woods at Nashoba Valley Ski Area, Witch’s Woods features a haunted hayride and other haunted attractions. The haunts are held every Friday thru Sunday, October 1 thru October 31 plus select Thursday nights.
Fright Fest - Agawam, MA 👻 🎃
Taking place at Six Flags New England, Fright Fest is held from September 24 through October 31. You’ll enjoy haunted attractions like Midnight Mansion and Nightmares, scare zones like CarnEvil & Demon District, entertainment & shows, and rides that bring on a spooky flair at night. Looking for some less frightful options? Fright Fest also has family-friendly fun while the sun is up, so feel free to bring the kiddos!
Festival of Illuminations- Mendon, MA 🎃
If you’re not a huge fan of haunted fun, the Festival of Illumination at Southwick’s Zoo is a great option for you! This festival features lanterns & custom-build exhibits constructed from silk, steel, and environmentally-friendly LED lights. The Festival of Illumination will take you on a trip through the African Savannahs, the Amazon rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, as well as many beautiful and fascinating regions in between.
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular - Providence, RI 🎃
This option is another family-friendly event that celebrates the spirit of Halloween. Take a stroll through a trail illuminated with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins displayed while listing to the soundtracks from 1860s through today as this year’s theme celebrates the greatest music from the last 150 years.
Fright Kingdom - Nashua, NH 👻
This is an indoor attraction, meaning that you don’t have to plan around the weather. If you’re looking for some frightful fun no matter what the weather is, this is a great option for you! You’ll enjoy attractions such as Apocalypse Z, the Abandoned, Bloodmare Manor, and Psycho Circus.
Haunted Overload - Lee, NH 👻 🎃
This attraction offers you 3 levels of fear. You can choose from Day Haunt, Fright Night Lite, and Haunted Overload. During the day haunt, you have the opportunity to walk the haunted trails during the light of day to see the props and sets without any scares. Fright Night Lite allows patrons to enjoy the lighting and sound effects with no monsters. For those looking for some fright, Haunted Overload pulls out all of the stops. This haunted trail is one-of-a-kind and a fully immersive Halloween experience that features stunning sets, handmade props, and spectacular costumes in their most terrifying element.
Spooky World - Litchfield, NH 👻
Opened back in 1991, this original horror scream park featured haunted houses, sideshow attractions, celebrities, and a notorious haunted hayride. The park was soon after deemed New England’s largest and most terrifying horror scream park. After moving from Berlin, to Gilette Stadium in Foxboro, Spooky World joined forces with the horror scream park powerhouse, Nightmare New England in 2009 to set up their permanent headquarters in Litchfield, NH. Spooky World features a 1-mile long haunted hayride and other must-see haunted attractions!

🎃 Indicates family-friendly fun/no scares
👻 Indicates more intense scares and haunts

Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking for haunted fun or just want to get in the Halloween spirit, there are so many options to choose from in New England. Let us know your favorite Halloween attraction in the comments below!

Posted in Community
Sept. 28, 2021

The Best Time to Buy is Right Around the Corner

 

October doesn’t just signal the beginning of carving pumpkins, Halloween decorations, and candy stockpiling. It is also one of the best times to purchase a home. In a recent study by realtor.com, experts analyzed the housing market by reviewing trends from the past several years. They came to the conclusion that the best week to buy a home this year is right around the corner. They explain “Nationally, the best time to buy in 2021 is the week of October 3-9. This week historically has shown the best balance of market conditions that favor buyers.”

Why is that the case? There is a variety of factors that all come together to make the beginning of October a uniquely opportunistic time for home buyers. Today we’re taking a closer look into those contributing factors. Keep in mind that these trends may vary in major metro areas such as Boston and is a general outlook of the market across the country.

Increased Inventory
The number of homes available on the market is continuing to increase. According to realtor.com, the week of October 3rd will bring additional homes onto the market. Their findings estimate that we’ll see about 17.6% more homes available during that ideal week than we saw at the start of the year.

Realtor.com explains that if this trend holds, we can expect to see around 705,000 listings on the market in October, which is roughly 100,000 more active listings nationwide during the peak summer season in July and 166,000 (31%) more active listings than the average week so far this year.

Fewer Bidding Wars
With more homes available, you will start to see a slight decline in the number of bidding wars. More options mean that buyers may not be competing as intensely for each home. According to realtor.com, during this week, demand is 18% lower than the peak in July, and 6% lower than the average week. Keep in mind that while there will likely be less competition, it’s still a seller’s market, and you’ll want to present your best with your initial offer. 

A More Manageable Market Place
One result of the competitive market has been that homes come on and off the market in just a few days. If you’ve been searching for a home for a while, you’re probably used to the cycle that we’ve been seeing. Homes come on the market Wednesday/Thursday, showings take place on the weekend, and offers are due Monday. During this week, buyers might have a little more time to make their decision. Historically, this week slowed by 18% compared to the peak pace earlier in the year, as reported by realtor.com. With a median time on the market of 37 days in June, during this week in October, the pace could slow down to 44 days, adding an additional week for buyers. 

Adjusted Home Prices
Realtor.com also notes that this might be one of the peak weeks for price reductions in 2021. Historically, the data shows an average of 7.0% of homes have a price reduction during this ideal week. This is a result of inventory ticking up and sellers looking for a way to have their homes stand out. But what about appreciation? While homes are still appreciating overall, you might see home price adjustments from eager sellers who want their homes sold fast. One reason for that may be that sellers want to get into their homes by the end of the year. The process of closing takes time so getting your hold sold this October is hitting that Jan 1st deadline.

Bottom Line
Fall is your golden opportunity to jump on more favorable market conditions and secure the home you’ve been looking for. Historically, the best week for you to get out there and house hunt is just around the corner. Now is the time to team up with a trusted real estate professional to discuss how you will take full advantage of this window of opportunity and come up with a plan to find that dream home!

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 27, 2021

Does Your Home Hold Up to the Needs of Working Remotely?

 

One result of the pandemic that seems to be sticking around is the idea of working remotely. When the pandemic started, many offices shut their doors to ensure the safety of their employees and work moved into the home. Many of those employers realized that this is not only keeping their employees safe, but today’s technology allows for employees to be just as productive at home while also cutting many of the overhead costs associated with running an office. 

While some have returned to the office, other employers have decided to keep their employees remote. If your remote status has become permanent, or at least long-term, there’s a chance that your current setup isn’t going to cut it. In fact, many individuals are in the same position as you and are thinking if it’s time to make a change to accommodate their new work situation. Today we’re taking a look at the latest trends that we’re seeing in the housing market directly due to permanent remote work and why now is the perfect time to make a move to better fit your needs.

 

Trends in Remote Work

Today, we’re seeing that more and more companies are either delaying the return to the office or they are moving fully remote. An economist from Goldman Sachs stated in a recent CNN article job ads increasingly offer remote work and surveys indicate that work from home will remain much more common than pre-pandemic. Additionally, a survey conducted by Upwork of 1,000 hiring managers found that companies were planning more remote work now and in the years to come. They predict that by 2025, 26.2 million Americans will be remote, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates. The graph below from Keeping Current Matters depicts this data:

What This Means for Homeowners

If you own a home and have found out that you are either working from home 100% of the time or are moving to a partial/hybrid schedule, you may find yourself re-evaluating your space. Now that you aren't tied down to commuting daily to a location, do you think that there's a home out there that can better suit your needs and wants? Additionally, are there dream locations that were previously out of reach that are now attainable?

Let’s discuss if you’re 100% remote. In this case, you have no obligation to be close to your place of work. Imagine being able to move to that state or town that has everything you’ve wanted, whether it’s weather or amenities, with no worries about being able to commute to the office. Now is the perfect time to jump on just this. With no drive time to consider, you are now free to find a home in an area that’s within your budget that also offers you the dedicated space that you’re likely needing.

If you’re one of the 15% of individuals who are moving to a partially remote or hybrid schedule, you still may want to consider moving to an area that may be a bit further away from the office but perhaps is more affordable. Without having to commute every day, driving a little extra may be worth it in order to have the dedicated space that you need in the community that you love. 

Is Now Still A Good Time to Sell?

If you’re reading this and thinking that now might be the best time to make a move in order to find a home that better suits your needs, then you’re in luck! It’s still a seller’s market, meaning that you’re going to get the most return on your home by selling it now. In fact, 73% of people believe it’s a good time to sell, and here’s why:

  • Today, we are sitting around 2.6 months of inventory. A seller’s market is one where there are less than 6 months of inventory available and a neutral market is one where there are 6-7 months of inventory available.
  • The average home sold in August received 3.8 offers
  • The average home price appreciated 18% in the last 12 months.
  • The average home sold in just 17 days in August.

Bottom Line
Housing needs have evolved over the past year. If you feel that you’ve outgrown your space or that it’s not fitting your new normal, it’s time to take advantage of this unique opportunity and jump on this hot seller’s market. Now is the time to find a space that’s perfect for where you are right now.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 21, 2021

Unraveling Today’s Inventory Levels

 

 

Today, we’re seeing more and more homes on the market. If you’ve been looking to buy, that’s great news! However, you might be wondering what it means in terms of the health of the housing market. Does it signal a market crash, a shift into a buyer’s market, or is this a typical trend for this time of year? 

 

Today we’re breaking it down and taking a closer look at the inventory levels that we’re currently seeing. We’ll also compare this trend the what we’ve seen in years past in order to fully understand how to navigate today’s market conditions.

Historical Inventory Trends

Let’s take a look at trends that we’ve seen in years past in regards to inventory levels. Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months and starts to tail off in the fall. By the time winter rolls around, inventory drops significantly. The graph below depicts this trend from 2017 through 2019. 

The exception to this is what we saw last year. The seasonality that we’ve been accustomed to wasn’t replicated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on listing their homes due to the pandemic. Last year, active listings actually peaked in April and then fell off dramatically for the rest of the year. 

What’s Happening This Year?

2021 began with record-low inventory due to the decline of active listings that we saw in 2020. However, inventory has slowly been building over the past few months and more homes are continuing to come on the market. Now that we’ve entered the fall months, inventory will likely continue to climb and there may not be as many buyers out there jumping on each home. Does that mean that we’ve entered into a buyer’s market? No, we are just starting to level out. CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, Odeta Kushi, explains:

“It’s not the white hot market from earlier in the year & it’s not the 2020 market benefiting from a wave of pent-up demand but make no mistake this is still a hot housing market. Purchase apps slow modestly week-over-week but remain above 2019 levels (the strongest in a decade!).”

What this does mean for those looking to buy is that, due to less competition on each home, buyers have more opportunities to negotiate and may not have to be as aggressive with each offer. If you’ve been frustrated with the market over the past year, now may be the best time to get back out there as market conditions are more favorable for buyers at this time.

Why Are Listings Continuing to Increase?
So, why is the number of listings continuing to increase? Keeping Current Matters (KCM) mentions three key reasons:

  1. Pent-up selling demand - As more Americans continue to get vaccinated, homeowners may start to feel more comfortable putting their homes up for sale
  2. New construction is starting to increase - As more new homes are constructed, more options become available for current homeowners to consider when they sell. One key question that we often hear from potential sellers is “Where will I go?” The increase in new construction homes will help solve that problem for anyone looking to sell.
  3. The end of forbearance will create new listings - With the forbearance program coming to an end, experts predict that we will not experience a wave of foreclosures for a variety of reasons. The key one to consider is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Because of this, many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, leading to additional listings on the market. 

Bottom Line
If you previously decided to put the home search on hold or you’re not sure if you should continue the search, now is the perfect time to capitalize on these changing market conditions. There is more opportunity out there today than there has been in the past year, and buyers may not have to be quite as aggressive with their offers. Interest rates are still low, and inventory is climbing. If you’ve been waiting to purchase, now is the ideal time to pick up the search and find that dream home. If you have any questions about what this means for you, give us a call! (978) 320-3377

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 20, 2021

8 Must Do Foliage Hikes & Drives

 

 

With the crisp fall air starting to roll in, the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn into a beautiful arrangement of yellow, amber, and red that makes New England one of the best places to be this time of year. 

 

In order to take advantage of this gorgeous season in New England, we’ve put together some of the best drives & hikes that will allow you to take in some amazing views and enjoy the great outdoors this fall. 

 

Peak Foliage Tracking

One of the best ways to ensure that your day trip results in the best views possible are to keep tabs on peak foliage. There are many tools that you can use to help you track peak foliage, including one that we’ve linked here! Keep in mind that peak foliage will start earlier in northern New England and will work its way down.

 

Fall Foliage Must Do Drives & Hikes

Currier & Ives Scenic Byway 

Located in the scenic New Hampshire towns of Henniker, Hopkinton, Warner, Webster, and Salisbury, this drive takes you through picturesque communities in Merrimack County of New Hampshire. During this drive, you’ll experience historic villages, scenic views, rolling countryside, and covered bridges. Enjoy hiking in Rollins State Park or stroll along some of the many rail trails and enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon. 

 

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

The Kancamagus Highway is 34.5 miles of scenic driving that is known as one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the country. During your dive, you can take in breathtaking views of the White Mountains, the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls, and Rocky Gorge. Be sure to keep an eye for pull-offs to get out and snap some amazing photos of the scenery before you.

 

Monadnock Region Loop Scenic Drive

This scenic loop leads you through the Monadnock Region, providing you with views of quaint farmlands framed by vibrant hues of gold, amber, and rust-colored leaves. One of the highlights of this loop is the iconic scene of Mount Monadnock’s stunning reflection in Perkin Pond. 

 

Lake Sunapee Scenic Byway

This half-hour-long route reveals views of a collage of fall colors sprinkled along mountains, lakes, riverways, and farmlands. You’ll enjoy views of Mount Sunapee, Otter Pond, Little Sunapee Lake, and Pleasant lake. Finally, you’ll come across views of the towering Mount Kearsage where you’ll be in awe of its sea of fall color and magnificent foliage. 

 

Mount Morgan Hike

Located in Holderness, NH, this hike provides you with views of Squam Lake and Mount Major on the horizon. Additionally, you’ll enjoy full views of red, orange, and yellow leaves. The trailhead starts at Mt. Morgan Trailhead and is rated as a moderate hike with dogs allowed to join in on the fun!

 

Artist’s Bluff Trail

Located in Franconia Notch state park, this trail is one of the most popular in New Hampshire for those looking to see some fall foliage. Additionally, this hike features less than 500 feet of elevation, making it one of the easiest trails to get a 360-degree view of the area. At the summit, you’ll enjoy views of Echo Lake and Cannon Mountain. This trail is rated easy to moderate, with dogs allowed. The trailhead starts at Artist’s Bluff Loop Trailhead. 

 

Mt. Willard Hike

Mt. Willard is an incredible spot to catch the sunset and take in the breathtaking scenery. Climbing less than 1,000 ft to the summit, you will be met with expansive views of Crawford Notch and the surrounding mountain range. During peak foliage time, you will be greeted with expansive blankets of reds, oranges, and yellows. This hike is rated as moderate (you will definitely break a sweat!) and starts at Mount Willard Trailhead. Dogs are also welcome to join you on your adventure!

 

Arethusa Falls

Located in Crawford Notch State Park, this hike provides you with breathtaking views of fall foliage paired with a stunning waterfall cutting through the mountain. On your journey through the 2.8-mile hike, you’ll pass 2 stunning waterfalls including Arethusa Falls & Beemis Falls. This is also a great warm-up hike if you plan on doing bigger hikes in the White Mountains as it has New Hampshire’s classic rocky terrain & constant uphill. This hike is rated Easy/Moderate with dogs allowed. The trailhead starts at Arethusa Falls Trailhead.

 

Bottom Line

Now is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors and all that New England has to offer. As we start to enter peak foliage time, now is a great time to plan those weekend trips and enjoy this time of year with the entire family!

 

Posted in Buying a Home