Western Massachusetts Real Estate and Community News

Jan. 8, 2020

The Top Renovations for Maximum ROI

Top Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re planning on selling your house in 2020, these are the top renovations that will give you the highest Return on your Investment.
  • Regardless of how long you’re planning on staying in your current home, it’s smart to be aware of which home renovations add the most value.
  • The exterior of a house is the first thing buyers see when searching for a home. Upgrading your roof or siding will ensure your home leaves a great first impression!
Jan. 6, 2020

3 Benefits to Buying Your Dream Home This Year

3 Benefits to Buying Your Dream Home This Year

 

Outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are three more great reasons why you may want to consider buying your dream home this year instead of waiting.

1. Buying a Home is a Great Investment

Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to CoreLogic’s Equity Report,

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”

This means the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year. If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen since November 2018 when they hit 4.94%. In their latest forecastFreddie Mac expects rates to remain low, leveling out to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.

When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.

3. Investing in Your Family is a Win

There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.

Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.

Bottom Line

Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Give me a call to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you this year.

Jan. 3, 2020

Why Sell in Winter?

Ever wonder when the right time to sell your home will be? Well, maybe the time is sooner than you think! Here are four reasons to list your home this winter.

 

❄️People who look for a home in the winter are serious- they are ready to buy!

❄️There are fewer homes available for buyers during the winter- less competition means more money for your home.

❄️After winter, the supply of listings increases substantially, lowering demand for your home.

❄️You can sell now for more money, move in the spring, and be a few steps ahead!

 

Ready to list your home? Now is the perfect time! Give us a call! 📞413-333-7776

 

Dec. 20, 2019

Don't Wait for Santa!

Dec. 9, 2019

Tips to Sell Your Home FASTER

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

When selling your house, there are a few key things you can prioritize to have the greatest impact for a faster sale:

 

1. Make Buyers Feel at Home

 

Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make buyers feel like they belong in the house. According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors, “83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”

 

Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that, “One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

 

2. Keep It Organized

 

Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized. Before buyers arrive, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers. Put out a scented candle or some cookies fresh from the oven. Buyers will remember the smell of your home.

 

3. Price It Right

 

More inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. A key to selling your house is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). This means you’ll be driving more traffic to your property, and ultimately creating more interest in your home.

 

4. Give Buyers Full Access

 

One of the top four elements when selling your home is access. If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.

 

Bottom Line

 

If you want to sell your home in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible.. give me a call to find out what you need to do to sell your home as quickly as possible.

 

Dec. 6, 2019

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Winter

5 Reasons to Sell This Winter

 

Below are five compelling reasons to list your house this winter.

 

1. Demand Is Strong

 

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase, and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

 

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

 

Inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.

 

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

 

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple of years, for fear they would not find a home to move into. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

 

3. Buyers Are Serious at This Time of Year

 

Traditionally, homeowners think about spring as a great time to list their homes, when more buyer traffic may be out there actively searching. In the winter, however, the buyers who are seeking a home – whether for relocation or otherwise – are serious ones. They’re ready to make offers and they’re eager to move, often quickly. Your house may be exactly what they’re looking for, so listing when other potential sellers are holding off may be your best opportunity to shine.

 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

 

If your next move will be into the premium or luxury market, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that now. Demand for your entry-level home is high, and inventory in the luxury or premium market is too.

 

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and in your mortgage) if you wait.

 

5. It’s Time to Move On With Your Life

 

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Are you ready to go on with your life the way you think you should?

 

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market this winter. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

 

Dec. 4, 2019

Buyers Are Looking for Your Home

 

Buyers Are Looking For Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

 

  • Existing Home Sales are currently at an annual pace of 5.46 million.
  • The inventory of existing homes for sale remains below the 6 months needed for a normal market and is now at a 3.9-month supply.
  • Inventory remains low due to high demand from buyers who are still looking for a house to buy!

 

Dec. 3, 2019

It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day!

 

It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day!

 

Did you know that each year in the United States, we celebrate “National Roof Over Your Head Day” on December 3rd?

 

As noted on the National Calendar, it was “created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head. There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them.”

 

From bungalows to cottages, and farmhouses to treehouses, today we show our appreciation and gratitude for the places we call home. Owning the roof that shelters us is something many renters still aspire to, knowing there are so many financial and non-financial benefits to homeownership.

 

According to the 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University,

 

“Cost-burdened renters now outnumber cost-burdened homeowners by more than 3.0 million. In addition, renters make up 10.8 million of the 18.2 million severely burdened households that pay more than half their incomes for housing.”

 

Homeownership drives many benefits, including providing families with a place to feel secure. It also helps promote confidence that they are investing proactively in themselves and their communities. That is why there are 77.7 million owner-occupied housing units in the United States.

 

Many, however, fear it is too expensive to own a home. In reality, however, it’s actually more expensive to rent. Here’s the breakdown as a percentage of income necessary for both – affording median rent and owning a home:

 

It’s ‘National Roof Over Your Head’ Day! | Keeping Current Matters

 

Bottom Line

 

Today we pause to appreciate the places we call home, and all of the other reasons we have to be truly thankful. For those who don’t own yet and would like to, it’s a wonderful time to start identifying the steps to take toward homeownership.

 

Nov. 25, 2019

How Long Can This Economic Recovery Last?

How Long Can This Economic Recovery Last?

The economy is currently experiencing the longest recovery in our nation’s history. The stock market has hit record highs, while unemployment rates are at record lows. Home price appreciation is beginning to reaccelerate. This begs the question: How long can this economic recovery last?

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Survey of Economists recently called for an economic slowdown (recession) in the near future. The most recent survey, however, now shows the economists are pushing that timetable back. When asked when they expect a recession to start, 42.5% of the economists in the previous survey projected between now and the end of 2020. The most recent survey showed that percentage drop to 34.2%. Here are the most current results:How Long Can This Economic Recovery Last? | Keeping Current MattersLike the economists surveyed by the WSJ, most experts are still predicting a recession will likely occur sometime in the next few years. However, many are pushing back the date for the economic slowdown.

Bottom Line

Real estate is impacted by the economy (and the consumer’s belief in the strength of the economy). The fact that most economic experts are calling for the recovery to continue through 2020 means the housing market will also remain strong for the foreseeable future.

Nov. 7, 2019

How to Determine If You Can Afford to Buy a Home

How to Determine If You Can Afford to Buy a Home

The gap between the increase in personal income and residential real estate prices has been used to defend the concept that we are experiencing an affordability crisis in housing today.

It is true that home prices and wages are two key elements in any affordability equation. There is, however, an extremely important third component to that equation: mortgage interest rates.

Mortgage interest rates have fallen by more than a full percentage point from this time last year. Today’s rate is 3.75%; it was 4.86% at this time last year. This has dramatically increased a purchaser’s ability to afford a home.

Here are three reports validating that purchasing a home is in fact more affordable today than it was a year ago:

CoreLogic’s Typical Mortgage Payment

“Falling mortgage rates and slower home-price growth mean that many buyers this year are committing to lower mortgage payments than they would have faced for the same home last year. After rising at a double-digit annual pace in 2018, the principal-and-interest payment on the nation’s median-priced home – what we call the “typical mortgage payment”– fell year-over-year again.”  

The National Association of Realtors’ Affordability Index

“At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month and up from a year ago…All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago…Payment as a percentage of income was down from a year ago.”

First American’s Real House Price Index (RHPI)

“In 2019, the dynamic duo of lower mortgage rates and rising incomes overcame the negative impact of rising house price appreciation on affordability. Indeed, affordability reached its highest point since January 2018. Focusing on nominal house price changes alone as an indication of changing affordability, or even the relationship between nominal house price growth and income growth, overlooks what matters more to potential buyers – surging house-buying power driven by the dynamic duo of mortgage rates and income growth. And, we all know from experience, you buy what you can afford to pay per month.”

Bottom Line

Though the price of homes may still be rising, the cost of purchasing a home is actually falling.