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!

March 7, 2022

Things to Do in Boston This Spring

 

 

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner! The days are getting longer and soon the temperatures will start to climb. Today, we’re going over some of our favorite springtime activities in and around Boston to help you look forward to the warmer weather to come!

 

Our Favorite Boston Springtime Activities

New England Aquarium 

With spring flowers comes spring showers so we wanted to provide you with some options that you can do rain or shine! The New England Aquarium is the perfect spot to spend the day with the family seeing all sorts of sea creatures. From sharks to stingrays, there is so much to explore. Additionally, spring markets the return of the Atlantic whale-watching season, so consider hopping on a whale watch while you’re in the area!

Take a Cruise Around Boston Harbor

Looking for a unique Boston experience? Cruising around the harbor is a great way to see the city and enjoy a relaxing evening. Additionally, there are unique cruising experiences that you can take advantage of coming up this spring. Enjoy a St. Patrick’s Brunch Cruise happening March 19 & 20, complete with a 3-course Irish breakfast, drinks, and live music!

Boston Duck Tour

Spend a day as a tourist enjoying all the sites and history of Boston. The Boston Duck Tours is an iconic city staple that offers fun for the whole family. You’ll enjoy a tour of the city by land and sea. The tours start up again on April 1st!

Opening Day at Fenway Park

Opening day at Fenway Park is just around the corner! Nothing signifies the start of spring like a ball game at Fenway. Get your tickets now to attend opening day on March 31st against the Tampa Bay Rays. If you can’t make it to the game but are looking for the Fenway experience, check out Fenway Park tours, which will allow you to explore the stadium and get excited for the start of the spring season.

Boston Museum of Science

This is another great experience that you can enjoy rain or shine. The museum has many attractions that the whole family can enjoy, from the Hall of Human Life to the Theater of Electricity, which contains the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator. With changing exhibits and interactive fun, everyone in the family is sure to have a great day at the museum!

Patriots Day / Marathon Monday

Patriots Day is a big day for Boston. Although originally designed to honor the start of the American Revolution, this day is also the date of the Boston Marathon, a beloved tradition in the city of Boston. The best part? You don’t have to be a runner to get in on the fun. Take part in the celebration by cheering on the participants and soak up the adrenaline of the crowd watching with you. You can cheer participants on throughout the race route, although many gather on Boylston Street to celebrate the athletes crossing the finish line. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Another great tradition in Boston is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. During the parade, you’ll enjoy colorful floats, music, and Irish cheer as Boston takes the time to celebrate Irish heritage. The parade will take place on Sunday, March 20th at 1:00 pm. The parade starts on West Broadway and ends at Dorchester Avenue. If you’re looking for a good viewing spot, your best bet will be to stake out a spot anywhere along Broadway!

Bottom Line

Spring is not that far away and as we move into March, the city of Boston really starts to come alive. Take advantage of the longer days by trying some of these fun-filled activities. Leave a comment below and let us know what your favorite Boston springtime activity is!

Posted in Community
March 3, 2022

6 Reasons You May Want To Consider Purchasing an Older Home

 

We know that many homebuyers may be drawn to newer homes. After all, a newer home will have all of the most up-to-date features and you won’t have to worry about replacing anything until later down the road.

However, those turnkey new homes are tough to find in this market, and everyone wants to scoop them up. To that we say, what about older homes?

Before you decide that purchasing an older home isn’t for you, we ask that you read through our 6 reasons why we think purchasing an older home is a great option. At the end of the day, the choice is yours but we want to give you all of the information out there to help you make the best decision for you!

 

1. Generally, Older Homes Will Be Less Expensive

While the term “older home” is subjective as to how old the home is exactly, generally these homes do not use the modern materials that we see in many new builds today. Generally, we can think of older homes as those built before 1970, although for purposes of lead paint concerns, we can think of older homes with lead paint risk as any built before 1978. 

While these homes might not have the most updated features, they generally will save you a good deal of money. Rocket Mortgage reveals that the price of a newly built home is often higher than that of an older home by about 30% or more. With the price of homes rising, purchasing an older home might be the ideal option for someone that might be looking to achieve the goal of homeownership without breaking the bank to do so. 

 

2. The Craftmanship of Older Homes

Older homes are often built with great attention to detail using some of the best materials that were available at the time. The result is that many of these older homes were built to last, and with durable materials that we don’t see in new construction homes. For example, these older homes may have been built using wood made from old-growth trees (those that have grown for years without being disturbed) and are more resistant to rot or warping. 

Many of these materials may not be as efficient as some of what we see today, but they are typically durable and effective and have lasted as long as they have for a reason. That’s not to say that older homes will not require updating or repairs, but many do have good bones that will last you for years to come. 

 

3. Established Neighborhoods

With new construction, neighborhoods are often being built at the same time as the home. This means that if you were to move in, the landscaping would take years to mature and develop. Additionally, there’s not much information about a newly built neighborhood. In contrast, in an established neighborhood, you can look up the history and talk to neighbors to get a sense of if the area is right for you.

 

4. The Character in Older Homes

Similar to craftsmanship, the detail that is put into older homes is not common in newer homes today. Built-ins, original crown molding, herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, and stained-glass windows are all features that you will likely only find in an older home. While some newer homes do try to emulate these trends, nothing beats the originals. 

 

5. Larger Lot Sizes

One other benefit to owning an older home is that you will likely end up with a large lot than you would with new construction. CoreLogic reports that new constructions tend to have a larger home with a smaller lot. They explain “The median size of a new home increase from 1,938 square feet in 1990 to 2,300 square feet in 2016, but lot sizes during the same period decreased from 8.250 square feet to 6,970 square feet.” 

 

6. Long Purchase History

Another benefit to an older home is having more insight into the purchase history of the property. This can help you understand the proper’s appreciation over time. While this does not mean that the future is going to follow suit, it can help you determine if this purchase is the right move for you. With new construction, that information is not available, so it might be more difficult to make an educated guess on what the future holds for the property. 

 

Some Things to Keep In Mind

While we do think that purchasing an older home can be a great option, there are some things that you’ll want to keep in mind. Maintenance costs of older homes tend to be higher. This can be due to needing to make repairs, such as replacing older plumbing to fixing sloping floors. Additionally, your utility costs may also be higher due to older homes being built with less efficient materials. Newer homes benefit from improved materials that allow the home to better retain heat or air depending on the season. The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey stated that homeowners in older homes spend 17% more on electricity and 38% more on gas per year. 

 

Other items that you’ll want to keep in mind are that older homes often feature smaller closets, lower ceilings, and a much more closed floor plan. Additionally, construction standards have changed over the years, which means older homes may not be built to the same standards as newer homes. 

 

If you do decide to purchase an older home, a home inspection can help you uncover any potential concerns so that you can feel confident in your purchase decision. 

 

Bottom Line

While purchasing a brand new home may sound like a dream, there are certain benefits to owning an older home that shouldn’t be overlooked. There are certainly pros and cons to both newer and older homes that should both be weighed when you’re deciding on which home is right for you. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you have any questions about what is the right fit for you, have a conversation with your agent! They’d be happy to help you sort through your concerns and what your must-haves are to help you determine what might be the right fit for you.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 28, 2022

Reasons to Purchase a Home With the Help of a Real Estate Agent

 

 

Do you need to use a real estate agent to purchase a home? The short answer is no - however, there are many reasons why you would want to.

One objective that we often hear is that homebuyers don’t want to pay a commission to their agent. The good news is that if you’re purchasing a home, you typically do not pay commission fees. Those fees are paid for by the seller.
 

By working with a real estate agent when you purchase a home, you receive beneficial services and protection that will set your search up for success without having to pay the commission fee.
 

If you’re still not convinced, let’s dive into some of the key reasons why you would want to purchase a home with the help of a real estate professional.

Top Benefits To Working with a Buyer’s Agent

Assistance With Contracts - Real estate agents will help you with all the disclosures and necessary documents required in a real estate transaction. These transactions are heavily regulated and need to be executed correctly to protect your purchase. 

 

Rely on Proven Experience - By utilizing a real estate agent, you’ll be able to take advantage of their experience, especially in competitive situations. They’ll know the ins and outs of the entire process and will be able to guide you and offer advice about how to approach each step of the transaction given the current market conditions. 

 

Take Advantage of the Latest Technology - By using a real estate agent, you’ll be able to take advantage of the latest technology to make the purchasing process that much more efficient. Additionally, your agent will be able to set you up on a saved search that will allow you to get properties sent directly to you without having to sort through all available properties on your own. 

 

Assistance with Negotiations - Your real estate agent will act as a buffer between you and the seller for all negotiations during the transaction process. We know that purchasing a home is one of the largest transactions that you’ll make in your life, so having an expert negotiator by your side will not only make the entire process easier, but it will also guarantee that you have someone that will go to bat for you and look out for your best interest. 

 

Learn Along the Way - One other benefit that you’ll enjoy while working with a real estate agent is that they’ll not only guide you throughout the purchase process but they’ll also teach you everything that you need to know so that you have an excellent understanding of each step of the purchasing process.

 

Nail the Pricing - One big question that we often get is “How much should I offer on a home?” Without a real estate agent, you’re on your own to determine that. However, if you work with an agent, they’ll be able to help you navigate the current market conditions and come up with a fair, but competitive offer price. 

 

Bottom Line

Purchasing a home is a massive financial investment. While it is possible to do it on your own, wouldn’t you want to have an expert by your side looking out for your best interest along the way? There are many benefits to utilizing a real estate agent as you embark on your home search, from having the latest technology at your fingertips to having an experienced advisor help you navigate the current market conditions. If you have any other questions about how a real estate agent can help you, give us a call! We’d love to answer any questions that you may have.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 24, 2022

5 Reasons That Pending Sales Fall Through

 

 

A topic that no one loves talking about - what could happen once the offer gets accepted that would cause the deal to fall through?

We know that in a competitive market like the one we’re in today that getting the all-important offer acceptance seems like a victory. While you absolutely deserve to celebrate, do keep in mind that things can come up between the offer acceptance and the closing table. 

What obstacles might you face in that interim time frame? Today we’re breaking down 5 common reasons that we see pending sales fall through and what your options are should you find yourself in one of these situations. 
 

Buyer’s Remorse

We know that purchasing a home is a major milestone in life. It’s also one of the largest financial investments that you’ll make in life. Unfortunately, that can cause a case of buyer’s remorse once the offer has been accepted and can cause a sale to fall through.

 

In this market, to secure a home, you’ll need to act quickly. This has the potential to cause buyers to get caught up in the frenzy and make decisions without really thinking through all the pros and cons. However, once the offer is accepted, walking away may result in a loss of your initial earnest money deposit. While the consequences are generally steeper once the purchase agreement is signed, walking away from the purchase after offer acceptance can cause problems for both parties and add stress to the purchasing process.

 

If you find yourself in this situation, take some time to really think about what you want your next steps to be. What made you fall in love with the home in the first place? What are your concerns? Have a conversation with your real estate agent and share those thoughts as they may be able to provide you with some suggestions or recommendations to help you feel confident in your purchasing decision.

 

To avoid this situation entirely, be sure to have a defined list of must-haves and want-to-haves in your home. Additionally, be sure to take a moment after you view a home that you think could be the one to really evaluate if it’s a 10/10 for you. Don’t settle just because there’s limited inventory - the perfect house for you is out there, you just might need to be patient and wait for the right one. 

 

Unable to Obtain Financing

If you’re financing your home purchase with a mortgage, obtaining financing is something that you’ll need to stay on top of. However, even the most organized buyer can run into issues with financing. In most cases, your offer will include a finance contingency which will protect you if the loan isn’t approved. This means that you will get your earnest money deposit back should financing fall through.

 

However, if you do find yourself in this situation, there are options available. You may be able to find alternative financing if your original plan doesn’t look promising. You may be left with less favorable options, however, there is always the possibility of refinancing down the road.

 

How can you avoid a financing issue? Avoid making any large purchases, such as new furniture, until after closing. Additionally, don’t open any new lines of credit, such as a new credit card, or make any large withdrawals or deposits into your bank accounts. 

 

Failed Home Inspection

No one want’s to find major concerns in a home inspection but unfortunately, it does happen. If it does, your options depend on if an inspection contingency was included in the offer. If so, then you have the option to either negotiate for repairs or walk away from the deal with no penalty to you.

 

If you find yourself in a situation where the outcome of the home inspection wasn’t what you were hoping for, you do have some options. Most likely, the seller wants the deal to continue just as much as you do and will be open to negotiating. They may offer concessions to be paid to you at closing or safely and responsibly rectify the issue. You may request to see proof that a licensed professional completed all necessary repairs or you may request a home warranty paid for by the seller. 

 

Keep in mind that this is a case where having a conversation with a real estate professional before submitting an offer becomes critical. If you waive the inspection contingency, you will not be able to get a home inspection performed, let alone negotiate on any concerns. Additionally, your loan type may dictate what inspections are necessary and what options you have if any concerns arise. 

 

Issues With a Home Sale Contingency

If you need to purchase a home but also need to sell, you’ll likely want to include a home sale contingency into your offer. Keep in mind that in this competitive market, including a home sale contingency does weaken your offer. However, if it gets accepted, it does allow you additional protection should you need to sell your home before purchasing.

 

Now, if there are problems that cause your home either not to sell or not to close on time, it could put your home sale in jeopardy.

 

Luckily, there are ways to prevent the sale from falling through. You can work with the sellers to adjust closing dates to buy additional time. You may also be able to look into loan options that will allow you to bridge the gap as you wait for your home to sell. If there are any concerns, you should have a conversation with your trusted real estate agent as soon as possible so that can help you navigate the different options and prevent the sale from falling through. 

 

The Appraisal Comes in Low

One challenge of today’s market is that bidding wars often result in homes selling for much more than the asking price. You might be thinking, “I’m pre-approved for more than the listing price, so I should be fine.” It all comes down to the appraisal. Unfortunately, due to the competition that we’ve been seeing, there have been situations where the offer price ended up being higher than what the home appraises for. In this situation, your lender will only approve a loan up to what the home appraises for. 

 

So, what happens here? While this situation is discouraging, it doesn’t have to mean the death of the deal. Your options depend first on if you included an appraisal contingency in your offer. If so, you might be able to negotiate with the seller for them to come down in price to the appraised amount. Additionally, you may have included an appraisal gap in your offer, where you offered to pay x amount over the appraisal. In this case, you’ll cover the difference with your own funds up to the stated amount and the deal will continue.

 

Finally, there is the situation in which you did not include an appraisal contingency. In this case, you have no written protection if you decide not to continue with the home purchase. If you wish to continue, you’ll have to cover the gap with your own funds. If this is not possible, you’ll want to consult with your agent to see if there are any other options available to you to save the deal.

 

The key with appraisals and appraisal contingencies is to understand your budget before you submit the offer. Additionally, in this market, buyers should be prepared to spend additional out-of-pocket expenses to cover an appraisal gap if they are submitting an aggressive offer. One great way to manage this is by stating that you’ll cover an appraisal gap of $X, up to $X amount. 

 

Bottom Line

Most transactions will have some bumps on the road to the closing table. While some of these bumps can cause pending sales to fall through, encountering one doesn’t mean the end of the road. Keep in contact with your trusted real estate agent throughout the entire transaction and let them know if you have any questions or concerns. If you encounter any of these issues, reach out to them and have a conversation. They’ll use all the tools in their arsenal to get you to that closing table.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 21, 2022

The Importance of a Growth Mindset In Your Real Estate Career

 

 

When it comes to finding success in a career, does mindset make a difference? World-renowned Standford University psychologist and author Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. would tell you it does. Specifically, Dweck would go on to explain the two main mindsets that people possess, growth vs fixed mindset, and how having a growth mindset is essential to finding success in all that you do in life. 

 

Today we’re diving into this study further and reviewing how having a growth mindset in your real estate career is essential to finding long-term success and what you can do to develop such a mindset. 

 

Growth vs Fixed Mindset

What are the main differences between a growth vs a fixed mindset? When you have a growth mindset, you embrace challenges and learn from failures. You embrace the idea that your talents can be continuously developed, and it’s never too late to evolve. A fixed mindset, however, is the opposite. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities and talents are unchangeable. They are firm believers in either having the abilities or not. Because of this, those with a fixed mindset avoid challenging themselves. They believe that they know what they know and are more resistant to trying something new. One other major difference between those with a growth mindset and those with a fixed is that those with a growth mindset are open to feedback because they know that it will lead towards internal growth and will benefit them in the long run. 

 

The below image from fs.blog depicts the key differences between each mindset and how each contributes to your overall view of the world.

 

 

 

Why Is A Growth Mindset Important in Real Estate?

When you work in real estate, each day is going to look different. There are going to be new challenges and obstacles that arise that you will have to overcome. Your success is going to depend on you view those obstacles. Those with a fixed mindset may look at those challenges and view them as failures. In real estate, this is not the attitude to have. As a real estate agent, you need to be able to embrace those challenges, solve problems, continuously learn about your local market, and come up with solutions to help your clients reach their goals. Additionally, in your career, you should seek out feedback, either from your colleagues or clients, so that you can continue to evolve and be the best version of yourself for the clients that you serve. 

 

How To Develop a Growth Mindset

Set Goals

Set yourself up for success by developing SMART goals for your business. These are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-oriented goals. This will allow you to focus your time and efforts on reaching the goals that you have set for yourself to build your business.

 

Embrace Challenges

Run towards things that challenge you. By embracing challenges, you’ll be able to refine your skills and unlock new innovative ways to address obstacles. Because new challenges arise often in real estate, having this skill will allow you to build a successful career.  

 

View Failures as an Opportunity for Growth

While embracing failure is always easier said than done, viewing failures as an opportunity rather than a setback will allow you to feel confident in taking risks and accepting that there is always more than you can learn. 

 

Be Open to Feedback

View constructive criticism as a way to continuously improve. It’s not always easy to hear that you may be doing something wrong, but it’s much better to accept this early on and make the necessary adjustments to improve your future outcomes. Understand that it’s impossible to know everything and there’s always something new you can learn. Feedback is a fantastic tool that can be used to help you continue your growth. 

 

Aim to Go to Bed Smarter Than You Woke Up

Having a focus on learning is a major component of having a growth mindset. Aim to go to bed having learned one new thing during that day. One way to achieve this is by blocking some time each day to read a book or digest a news article. Having that hunger for learning will enable you to grow and succeed.

 

Reward Yourself For the Work, Not the Results

It’s important to reward yourself for sticking with your goals and putting in the effort, regardless of the results. For example, if you made it a goal to stick to a prospecting schedule for the week but did not get any listing appointments, don’t beat yourself up! Reward yourself for the work that you put in to get to your ultimate goals. It will all pay off and there is no benefit to beating yourself up for not getting those immediate results. 

 

Bottom Line

A key part of finding success in your career comes down to your mindset. Facing obstacles and challenges in your daily life comes with the territory of a career in real estate. Your chances of finding success comes down to how you approach things when times get tough. If you look at new challenges as a growth opportunity, then you’ll be able to set yourself up for a successful career for years to come.

Feb. 17, 2022

February 2022 MA & NH Market Update

 

We’re back with our February market update. We know it’s the middle of winter, but the market is continuing to heat up. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started.

What’s Going On While Homes Sales YTD?

It’s been all over the media that inventory is at an all-time low. Let’s break down what exactly that means, starting with New Hampshire. Looking at the city of Nashua, NH, which is one of the largest cities in the state, the inventory results were astonishing. According to the MLS, there were only four single-family homes for sale at the time we pulled the data last week. The story isn’t much different across the rest of New Hampshire. Across the state, inventory is down between 55 and 60 percent from this same date last year. When we take a look at inventory in the state of Massachusetts, we see a similar story. This year we've closed 3,498 single-family homes which are in line with what we saw before the pandemic. In 2019, we closed 3,515 homes so far year to date and in 2020 we had sold 3,531 homes. The difference between those numbers is minimal but where we’re seeing some major differences right now is really in the number of homes that are being listed.

 

What Are We Seeing With Listings?

In 2019 year-to-date in the state of Massachusetts, we listed 5,345 homes. In 2020, that number dropped to 4,888 and to 3,928 in 2021. Today, the number of homes listed sits at just 3,435. Now, a lot of people begin to wonder if buyer demand is changing and the answer is yes but buyer demand is increasing. This is fueled by some of the things that are happening in the economy and with the media in general. One thing that the media is highlighting is how interest rates are increasing and rightfully so. As of the time of pulling the data last week, the daily rates for an average 30-year home purchase loan are running somewhere between 3.5% and 3.75%, which is up from the 3.25% we saw around this time last year. What that's doing is causing buyers who might be on the fence to hop off. It's causing buyers who are thinking that they're going to buy at any point during 2022 to hurry up and find a home so they can take advantage of those lower interest rates right now before they increase any further. 

 

 

 

What Does This Mean For Anyone Looking to Buy

What does this mean in terms of competition? This time last year, we were typically seeing 10-15 offers per single-family home in the greater Boston area. Today, it’s not atypical to see 40+ offers on homes in the greater Boston area. One other factor that comes into play here that anyone buying should keep in mind is affordability. Let’s take a closer look at the average single-family home of both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 2019 the average price of homes sold year-to-date was valued at $488,000. In 2020, that climbed to $508,000. The biggest jump happened between 2020 and 2021 when the average price of homes sold year-to-date was $600,000. Today, the average price of homes sold year-to-date is up to $653,000.

 

One of the things that makes this market a bit tricky for buyers is that when we’re looking at the list prices for homes and we look at the prices of what’s gone under contract, we’re getting a lag of 30 to 45 days. What this means is that while we know that homes are selling for over asking, there's the constant challenge of dealing with lagging data which can inhibit us from having a full understanding of what those homes are actually selling home. That is the challenging part that comes into play with valuing homes for both sellers and buyers right now. 

 

All indicators point to 2022 being another year of appreciation. We predict that month over month, quarter over quarter we're going to find that home values are going to increase. 

 

Data Wrap Up

To wrap things up, let’s take a look at some rolling 12-month statistics. In 2019, there were 71,000 homes for sale during that rolling 12. In 2020, we had 68,0000 and in 2021, we had 61,000. In 2022, our rolling 12 is down to 59,000 homes for sale. Buyer demand is definitely there and there are homes available, it’s just taking us a little bit longer to get those homes onto the market for buyers to take advantage of.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to sell, now is the time! Inventory is extremely low and buyers would love to scoop up your home for the highest possible dollar. If you’re looking to buy, there is still an opportunity out there. Homes will continue to come onto the market and if you’re working with a knowledgeable real estate agent, they’ll be able to help you navigate the current conditions and help you find that perfect home. If you're curious about how these stats might impact your home buying or selling goals reach out to us! We'd love to help.

Feb. 14, 2022

Upgrade Your Home Office with These 5 Tips

 

 

The home office has become an increasingly important must-have feature over the past few years. It’s time to take a look around your space and ask yourself, “Does my office meet my needs or could it use a little TLC?”

If you’re thinking about selling, this question becomes even more important. With many homeowners now moving to a hybrid or fully remote schedule, having a comfortable, functional, and attractive space to work is more important now than ever before.

If you’re thinking that your office could use an upgrade but aren’t sure where to begin, we’re here to share 5 tips to completely transform your space into the perfect home office. 

Invest in the Right Chairs

If your space allows it, one way to transform your office is to upgrade your chairs and create a sitting area away from your desk and computer. This is a great space for you to take calls or to spend some quality time reading and learning. To warm up the space, consider purchasing woven chairs and some potted greenery to make the space feel inspired. This will help you transform your office from a place to store your computer to an oasis where you can sink into your work and enjoy your surroundings. 

Upgrade the Bookcase

While file cabinets are certainly functional, they’re not always the best things to look at. Adding a bookcase to your space will allow you to bring some additional style into the space and will also help warm it up! Instead of going for commercial steel or plastic, take a walk around your home to see if there is a piece that you think would work well in your office. If you need to purchase one, check out antique stores or think about repurposing furniture that has the character and style you’re searching for. 

Amp Up the Color

Make your office pop by bringing in some color! Keep in mind, that doesn’t just mean the paint job. Bring additional contrast into your space by adding a bright rug, framed fabric, or art prints. You don’t have to spend a lot to make a statement - just find some fun pieces that compliment your style and you’re sure to have an office that will wow anyone stopping by. 

 

Improve you Lighting

Don’t rely on a single ceiling bulb to light up your space. This setup will not only leave you with harsh shadows, but it won’t illuminate the space the way you would want it to. Instead, opt for layers of lighting. This can be achieved by investing in items such as a floor lamp, a desk lamp, and some wall sconces. 

Warm Up Your Space with Texture

Make your space more inviting by adding texture to your office. This is often done in other spaces by adding in throw pillows or blankets. However, the same look can be achieved in your office by adding in rugs, throws, baskets, and tapestries. Throw in a velvet footstool or ottoman and add some flowy curtains and you’ll have yourself a beautiful, inviting space that you’ll be excited to work in. 

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to sell or you’re looking for ways to liven up your space, these few tricks can help turn your at-home office into a workplace that you’re excited to commute to every day. Additionally, with many homeowners searching for a functional and stylish place to accommodate their remote lifestyle, having this upgraded space will make your home stand out from the crowd.

Feb. 8, 2022

The Key Mortgage Rate Indicator You Should Know About

 

 

Mortgage rates continue to be a hot topic of conversation and for good reason! Rates have increased since the start of the year, and not by an insignificant amount. Why is this so important? When mortgage rates increase, it means that your buying power decreases. Therefore, timing your home purchase so that you're buying before those rates get sky-high is incredibly important.

So, how do you know where the rates are headed? How are experts making their predictions?

Today we’re pulling back the curtain and sharing some insight into some of the key indicators that will help you get a pulse on where mortgage rates are headed and what that means for your home purchase. 

 

How To Tell Where Rates are Headed

A great way to get a sense of where mortgage rates are headed is by looking at the 50-year history of the 10-year treasury yield and projecting where the trends are going next. You might be thinking, "I have no idea what the treasury yield is all about." Not to worry! The key factor here is to look at the correlation between how the treasury yield moves and how mortgage rates follow. The graph below from Keeping Current Matters depicts this relationship:

What this data shows us is that the correlation between the treasury yield and mortgage rates is continuing into this year. As of two weeks ago, the treasury yield was 1.81%, which is 1.74% below the mortgage rate reported that same day and is in line with the average spread that we typically see between the two numbers (~1.7).

 

What Does the Future Hold?

Now that we understand the correlation between treasury yield and mortgage rates, we can forecast what we might see in the future. The Wall Street Journal just surveyed a panel of over 75 academic, business, and financial economists and asked them to forecast treasury yield over the next few years.

 

The experts predicted that treasury yield will climb to 2.84% by the end of 2024. Taking what we know about the correlation between treasury yield and mortgage rates, that would put rates at about 4.5% in three years. 

 

Now, it’s important to understand that this correlation should not be used as an exact indicator. Both mortgage rates and the treasury yield are difficult to accurately forecast. Still, having a grasp on this relationship and the current information we have available to us today can help you get an idea of what mortgage rates will look like in the future. Based on the data we have, mortgage rates will continue to rise over the next few years, which is important to understand if you're currently house hunting. 

 

What Does This Mean In Terms Of Purchasing Power

As mortgage rates increase, so do your monthly payments. Let’s take a closer look at how this all plays out. Let’s say you can afford a monthly mortgage payment (principal and interest) of $1,900. At a 3.00% mortgage rate, that would allow you to purchase a $440,000 home. However, at a 5.00% interest rate, that same payment would only allow you to purchase a $360,000 home. This example demonstrates how waiting can result in less purchasing power and, in turn, fewer options out there.

 

The graph below from Keeping Current Matters further highlights how mortgage rates can impact your purchasing power. 

 

Bottom Line

While we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us for certain where mortgage rates are headed, we do have some strong data that allows us to better predict what they might look like over the next few years. By understanding some of the key mortgage rate indicators, you can have a clearer insight into what the experts are predicting and can make an informed decision about the timing of your home purchase!

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 7, 2022

Top Kitchen Trends in 2022

 

 

For many homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the place where you gather and unwind after a long day. It’s a place where holiday meals are prepared and memories are made. Because of this, when it comes to home renovations, the kitchen becomes a popular project for homeowners looking to breathe some new life into their space.

 

So, what are the must-haves of a kitchen in 2022? What colors are in right now? What should you choose for flooring? There are so many design options out there when it comes to renovating a space as important as a kitchen. There is also the debate of form over function, and the question of how much should you be spending on the newest and greatest appliances?

 

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel and aren’t sure where to begin, we wanted to spend some time talking about the latest kitchen trends to watch this year based on the results of Houzz’s 2022 Kitchen Trends Study. From countertops to flooring to colors and more, we’ve got you covered! Let’s dive in: 

 

1. It’s All About Quartz

According to the study, one-third of renovating homeowners indicated that they splurged on the countertops. Engineered quartz and granite were the most popular choices, with 42% and 24% of homeowners favoring those materials respectively. This is due largely to the style, durability, and ease of cleaning of the materials, which seemed to matter more to many than the cost. In terms of color, homeowners favored white for their countertop selection.

 

2. Vinyl Flooring Is Growing In Popularity

When it comes to flooring, vinyl or resilient flooring continued to gain appeal, nearly doubling in popularity since 2019 to 23%. In fact, vinyl flooring has overtaken ceramic and porcelain tile, now at 19%, a decline of five percentage points over the past year. However, while Vinyl is indeed moving up, hardwood flooring still leads the pack, coming in at 25%. 

 

3. Larger Kitchen Islands

One feature that seems to be growing in popularity is the oversized kitchen islands (pun intended). Many renovating homeowners are stretching the length of their island to more than 7 feet. In turn, the kitchen island has become a major focal point of the home, with many installing new light fixtures above their islands to truly make it the centerpiece of the room while brightening up their entire living space. 

 

4. White and Gray Continue Are The Top Color Selections

Neutrals continue to dominate when it comes to home renovations. In terms of kitchen color, white leads the pack as the top choice for kitchen cabinets, backsplashes, and walls. Coming in second is gray, with 27% of renovating homeowners painting the kitchen walls gray, 13% installing gray flooring, and 11% opting for a gray backsplash, according to Houzz’s Survey. While gray and white do dominate the color field right now, it’s not all about the neutrals. The study also indicated that other colors are starting to increase in popularity, including blue, black, and green. In particular, these colors are bringing contrast in specific areas of the kitchen such as the island cabinets, giving an overall neutral pallet a nice eye-catching pop!

 

5. Top Notch Appliances

This is one area where homeowners indicated that they were willing to splurge to get what they want. Homeowners indicated that they desired appliances with features such as wireless and smartphone controls. These features increased in popularity by 8% from 2021. Additionally, Houzz’s survey revealed that one in five homeowners are incorporating beverage refrigerators in their renovated kitchens and adding wine refrigerators to their homes. 

 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to spruce up your space either for your own enjoyment or for resale, knowing the top trends can help point you in the right direction and kick start your next renovation project. Let us know in the comments what you’re favorite kitchen element is and if you have any plans to give your space a refresh!

Jan. 31, 2022

4 Ways A CMA Will Benefit You If You're Considering Selling Your Home

 

The big question that arises when you decide to sell your home is usually, “What price should I list it at?” You may have your ideal home price in mind or you may have seen estimates floating around while you were doing some online searching. However, the best option out there for you is to pursue a comparative market analysis, often referred to as a CMA. 

A CMA is a tool that helps real estate agents determine what the asking price of your home should be. It is an analysis that takes into account recent homes sold in areas similar to yours and compares them based on several factors, including size, location, condition, and amenities. A real estate agent will be able to provide you with this analysis and help you get started on your home selling journey. To provide you with additional insight, we’ve pulled together 4 ways that a CMA can benefit you if you’re looking to sell your home. 

 

It Will Help You Understand the Value of Your Home in the Context of the Market
In a market as competitive as the one that we’re in, you may think that you can list your home for just about any price and it will sell. However, it is still crucial to be knowledgeable about the market and what you’re up against when you go to sell. Pricing your home too high can lead to expired listings and minimal offers, even in a strong seller’s market like the one we’re currently in. A CMA helps in this regard as it will let you know the listing prices you’re competing against and can help prevent you from pricing outside of the market. This analysis will help you understand what the current conditions at play are, including median listing prices of comparable homes, average days on market, months of inventory, and average price per square foot - all great indicators to help you determine the right price to list at. Additionally, this knowledge will allow you and your agent to be able to respond to any offers you receive appropriately, ensuring that you get the most for your home.

 

It Will Help You Control The Speed of Your Home Sale
After reviewing the CMA, your real estate agent will provide you with their recommended upper and lower price limits for the listing price. This estimate will be based on the data the CMA provided, including what similar homes have sold for. At that point, you can decide where you want to price your home on the scale. Here at Chinatti, we like to look at three different pricing strategies - event pricing, market value, and aspirational pricing. Event pricing will be an appealing price, maybe even slightly lower than market value. This pricing strategy will draw in the most buyers, putting you in a position to receive multiple offers and most likely get more for your home than you might if you priced at market value. On the other end of the spectrum, aspirational pricing is typically above market value, and may not attract as many buyers right off the bat. Instead, you might face a longer period on the market with fewer, but more serious offers. Keep in mind, however, that pricing your home too high may lead to trouble when it comes time for an appraisal.

 

It Will Put Your Agent to The Test
Selling your home is a huge decision and, understandably, you probably want to compare your options. Interviewing several agents and comparing their CMAs is a great way to find the right agent for the job. A CMA is a fantastic way for your agent to demonstrate their dedication to selling your home and their general skill/market knowledge. A well done CMA will be thorough and leave no details out. Additionally, they should be able to answer any and all questions about your home sale so that you feel 100% confident at the end of your conversation. 

 

It WIll Bridge the Gap Between Online Estimates and the Appraised Value
One of the major benefits of pursuing a CMA is that it can be used to bridge the gap between an official appraisal value and an online home estimate tool, such as what is offered on sites like Zillow. A CMA is likely to be close to an appraised value and will allow you to get an accurate look at the market value of your home without the cost of an appraisal. Additionally, a CMA is more accurate than online estimate tools as it takes into consideration factors such as renovations and the most up-to-date market conditions. By pursuing a CMA, you can get a true understanding of what would be considered a fair price for your home and have confidence when the time does come for a home appraisal. 

 

Bottom Line
If you’re considering selling your home, a CMA is a great place to start! Reviewing CMAs from various agents will not only help you understand the value of your home but will allow you to identify the agent that is right to sell your home. Additionally, it will ensure that your home sale is set up for success and will get the most traction with the current market conditions. If you’re thinking about selling your home and would like to request a CMA, give us a call! We’d be happy to deliver that information and set your home sale up for success!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home