With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning needs of their children as well.
This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find the needed space in more creative ways.
The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered.
Another option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room which could be converted to a workspace. With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers seek different features from their new dwellings.
Most of the country is experiencing a very tight real estate market, especially in the Dallas Metroplex area. Inventory levels are historically low, perhaps owing to the concern of strangers traipsing through the home during this time. Additionally, because most people are staying home, they have been able to focus on their property and how it fits into their lifestyle, emphasizing the need to right-size their environment.
With properly-priced homes moving quickly off the market, homebuyers are frustrated. For those who can be flexible with their timing, new construction offers an appealing alternative to the resale market. New construction offers the buyer a fresh, blank canvas on which to create their perfect home. In any market, this can be appealing, but when resale inventory is low, this is even more attractive. Yet, new construction is more than modern floorplans and beautiful finishes. Before buying new construction, it’s important to ask a few questions first:
• How long will the property take to build, and what possible delays could affect that timeframe? How does that timeline fit in with selling your current home or finding interim housing? • Is your completion date affected by the sale or occupancy of other units or phases? • What is included in the base unit and what are the additional costs for custom add-on options? • What are the HOA (homeowner’s association) fees and what do they cover?
In addition, it’s important to understand the exact location of the new home and any planned developments or improvements which could affect the home in the future – road noise, parking or traffic congestion, view, etc. For those trying to compete in this resale seller’s market, it could be time to buy new. Developers are offering some great incentives in this climate, and it can be a great alternative for those with a little time to wait.
Many homeowners are surprised when they suddenly realize that “perfect” home of just a few
years ago no longer suits their needs. From an expanding family to the empty nest, it’s
common for a home to no longer be the right fit. If you’re unsure if you’ve reached the point
where a move is warranted, here are a few signs you’ve outgrown your home.
• More Kids than Rooms or More Rooms than Kids – Life changes and our homes must
• Clutter or Lack of Storage – Do you need more closet or storage space? A home with
more space could be the answer.
• Home Office – More and more companies are opting for telecommuting or home office
workers, if your kitchen is your office, it might be time to look for a new home with
extra room for a home office.
• Outdoor Entertaining – Home design trends over the last couple decades has seen a rise
in outdoor living and entertaining areas. You might have simply outgrown your yard if
you crave space for an outdoor living or dining area.
• Lifestyle – The square footage might be fine, but you would prefer a different floorplan;
more open, single story, more windows, etc.
Your reasons for moving will be as unique as you are, but these are just a few considerations
which indicate you might have outgrown your current home. Make sure your home still meets
your needs and wants, then you’ll be able to decide if it’s time to move.
“I’m so sorry, they went with another offer.” It’s a shocking thing to hear; you’ve already moved into that dream home in your mind. It’s common to start second-guessing yourself, even condemning yourself for not offering more money or better terms, but the truth is sometimes it just doesn’t work out. The next step is to figure out how to move on.
Go Ahead and Mourn – It’s perfectly reasonable to mourn the loss of the “perfect” home.
Take a Break – This might not be as easy as it sounds if you need to move, but even a short weekend off to regroup and refresh will allow you to continue the search.
Understand What Went Wrong – It may be that you did nothing wrong and the seller got an all-cash offer 20% over asking, but it’s still a good idea to talk with your agent about your offer, make sure you truly offered a fair price with reasonable terms and if not, make adjustments next time.
List What You Liked About the Home – Make a list of the features you liked about the home – open floor plan, big yard, expansive view, etc. This will allow you to watch for these features as you continue the search.
Losing out on your dream home is sad, but it doesn’t mean you won’t find another home you love just as much. Take some time to think through the experience and keep going – there are so many homes to choose from, you’ll find another home to love.
You’ve done everything right so far; you’ve found a great lender, received a pre-approval and submitted your loan package for final approval. Now you’re done, right? Wrong. Until you close on your new loan, it’s more important than ever to keep your credit steady; most lenders perform one last credit check right before they fund and a decline in your score can mean the difference between getting the home and losing the loan.
Things You Should Never do After Applying for a Loan
Don’t Change Jobs – While sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially if a new job is a reason for the move, but any change in income or job status creates risk and should be avoided if possible.
Don’t Make any Large Purchases – As tempting as it may be to go shopping for new furniture, wait until after you close to make any large purchases. This applies to furniture, appliances and even new cars. New loans could change your debt to income ratio and cause you to no longer qualify for the loan.
Don’t Apply for New Credit – Every time someone runs your credit report, your score is affected. This is not the time to search for a new credit card.
Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts – It might seem counterintuitive, but closing or paying off loans or credit cards might actually bring your FICO score down. The length of time you’ve had your credit open is a positive effect on credit scores.
The bottom line is to avoid doing anything to your credit. If you’re unsure of what you can or cannot do, ask your lender; they can guide you in the right direction and make sure you close on your new loan.
Fall weather is finally here and this is a great time to tackle some home projects before the holiday rush starts. Creating a fresh, modern look to your home can be done with a few simple weekend projects. Here are the 4 best DIY projects you can try this fall to spruce up the look of your home.
Create a Grand Entrance – Your front door is the first thing your guests see when they come by. This weekend, give your entrance a fresh look. Add a pop of color to your front door or porch with contemporary paint colors; sage, muted yellows and navy blues are trendy colors this year.
Replace Interior Doors – Pre-hung interior doors come in a wide variety of styles from traditional to modern. Instantly update the look of your room or home with new interior pre-hung doors.
Frame Bathroom Mirrors – Most tract homes come with basic mirrors over the sink. Spend some time removing the mirrors and add a modern, framed hung mirror instead to add elegance and a spa-like feel to any bathroom.
Wallpaper an Accent Wall – Wallpaper is back. Not only are there great options available with modern patterns, colors and textures, but new adhesive backing makes it easy to apply, straighten and remove.
Fall is a great time to make updates to your home with a little time this weekend. Small changes can make a big impact; a quick trip to the local home improvement store can provide great inspiration for a weekend fall project.
Over the past few years, smart technology has really blossomed into a huge market. With more-and-more devices offering connectivity and lower prices, almost all households have some kind of smart device in their home. While some smart devices are simply “nice to have,” many can actually increase the value of the home; if you are considering a move in the future, learning which smart upgrades will increase your home’s value is important.
Here are a few of the best smart home upgrades:
Smart Thermostats – Energy-saving smart thermostats can sense when the home is occupied and vacant to control the temperature while saving energy costs.
Smart Smoke Detectors and Security Systems – Life-saving smart security can alert you and the authorities automatically if there is a problem in the home.
Smart Door Locks – Either as part of the security system or stand-alone, smart door locks allow you to control access to your home. Using Wi-Fi to unlock doors remotely and program unique codes for family, guests, housekeepers, etc., you will always know by whom and when your home is accessed.
Smart Moisture Sensor – Mold has become a huge problem. Smart moisture sensors detect water leaks, humidity and temperature changes to protect your home from moisture damage.
These are just a few of the great smart home products available to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Most starting under $250, these smart choices will not only protect your home but add value when listing for sale.
A down payment is the amount of cash a home buyer puts toward the price of a new home. It accomplishes a few things; first, it reduces the amount of money you need to borrow and it reduces the risk the lender takes in loaning the money. By reducing the risk, the borrower will typically get a better interest rate on the loan and increase the amount of home they can buy.
How Large a Down Payment Do You Need?
The amount of down payment needed depends on the type of the loan, the lender and the property price itself. While most of the 0% down home loans of the last decade are gone, Veterans can still purchase a home loan with no down payment. Other programs include FHA loans with as little as 3.5% down. Conventional loans typically require a 20% down payment, but some allow as little as 5%.
Is it Better to Make a Larger Down Payment?
In addition to the down payment, buying a home also requires cash for closing costs and some reserve savings to guard against unexpected financial concerns. One thing to remember though is that any financing with less than 20% down will require private mortgage insurance – a monthly payment that protects the lender in the event of default.
The best amount of down payment should be determined in consultation with your lender and your tax or financial advisor, but the quick answer is “it depends.” By working with a trusted lender, explore your options and you will make the best decision for your needs.
Have you wondered if you should consider professional staging for your home before you list it for sale? Most of us have wandered into new home developments and enjoyed the ambiance of a perfectly styled model home. Of course, we would all like our homes to give that same impression to potential home buyers, but what would that cost? Understanding the options available to you for staging can help you decide what, if any, professional staging makes sense for you and your budget.
What is Staging?
First, it’s important to understand what professional staging includes. The best answer is, “it depends”! Staging can be as simple as a consultation or as involved as removal of existing furniture and replacing it with designer furnishings. Needless to say, the cost of the two extremes are drastically different. Most homeowners who hire professional stagers are somewhere in the middle.
Staging begins with a tour of the room or home. Often the simple placement of furniture can make a huge impact. The stager might also bring in elements to enhance the décor, such as colorful pillows, lamps, wall art or carpet. These are loaned to the homeowner for the duration of the listing.
Cost of Staging
Most stagers charge a flat rate for the initial consultation; this ranges from about $250-500, depending on the size of the home. If the homeowner determines that they also need furnishings, these are rented by the month and can range from $300-500 per room, per month. Additionally, there is often a minimum number of months required, typically 3 months.
Professionally staging your home is one option home sellers have to ensure their home is seen in its best light. Just as buyers fall in love with model homes, staging your home can bring a modern feel and entice buyers to write the offer. The best way to start is with your agent, to understand your market, competition, and needs.
For generations, homeowners would buy a home for life. Working over the years to make the payments and celebrating the end of the 30-year mortgage were great milestones in the family. Today, few home buyers expect to be in their home for longer than 7 years on average. Paying off a 30-year mortgage seems like an impossible task. Fortunately, there are great ways to pay off your loan which do not involve time. Here are a few tips for paying off your mortgage loan faster.
Biweekly Payments – Work with your lender to determine how they handle biweekly payments. If processed immediately, you can save 8 years of payments on a 30-year loan.
Extra Payments – By making just one extra payment each year, you can pay off your loan 11 years earlier.
Refinance to 15 years – There are great interest rates available for mortgage loans. Consider a 15-year mortgage.
Principal Reduction – Watch for ways to add to your monthly payment a little at a time. When possible, increase the principal payment you make.
Paying off your mortgage builds wealth. Consider your life goals, including retirement. A 30-year loan taken out at 37 years old will not be complete until 67 – retirement age. The loan needs to be part of the overall financial plan from the beginning and making a payoff a priority with a few simple steps can add up to huge savings in interest which can then be used for better investments.