Saturday, October 23, 2021

5 Tips for Designing an Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

 Our Guest Poster Today: Matthew Schwimmer



















There are numerous options to consider when constructing a new kitchen or remodeling an old one. While aesthetics and practicality are vital, it is also beneficial to make design decisions that will help reduce the time it takes to clean. In this article, you will find tips for designing an easy-to-clean kitchen that is also enjoyable to use.

Designing A New Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

Are you thinking of buying a new house or getting a custom-built home? It's a great time to start thinking about what you want your kitchen to look like. If you don't spend much time in your kitchen, you can choose a house with a small kitchen that doesn't require much maintenance by itself. On the other hand, if you prefer to cook your own meals, you need to consider much more, unless you want to spend a lot of your time scrubbing after having dinner.

If you're thinking of designing an easy-to-clean kitchen, follow these tips:

Choose The Right Countertop Material

The first step to designing an easy-to-clean kitchen is to choose the countertop material wisely. Opt for nonporous, stain-resistant, and easy-to-clean materials such as Corian, quartz, steel, and sintered stone. When choosing these materials, you don't have to worry about your kitchen looking outdated. Instead, your kitchen will seem very modern and bright. Moreover, countertops made of these solid-surface materials, such as Corian, are the most sanitary. They don't have grooves to trap dirt like some other materials. This is also the reason why they're also frequently used at hospitals and fast-food restaurants.

Buy Easy-to-Clean Appliances

It's normal to be wowed by the performance or appearance of smart new kitchen equipment. However, when purchasing appliances for your new kitchen, you should also think about how you'll keep it clean. That's why you should take extra time to choose an appliance that is simple to clean and doesn't require any special lotions or solutions. Moreover, examine small elements, such as the knobs of your oven, to ensure there are no difficult-to-reach places. Knobs that are too close together, for example, make it impossible to get a cloth between them.

Furthermore, choose appliances with built-in cleaning systems. That way, you won't have to do the messy work yourself! Instead, allow your appliances to clean themselves! Choose ovens with pyrolytic cleaning functions, steam ovens with automatic steam cleaning and drying routines, and automatic coffee machines.

When designing an easy-to-clean kitchen, choose an induction cooktop. It's flat, easy, and safe to clean. Induction cooktops also eliminate the need to clean the grates and other components present in gas cooktops.

Avoid Open Shelves

When attractively arranged, open shelves can be appealing. However, they can be difficult to clean if you have to move dishes, books, and decorative objects only to dust the top. So, instead of open shelves that gather dust and grime, opt for wall cabinets. By choosing cabinets that can close and hide your stuff, you'd be getting a lot more storage space in your kitchen. Moreover, by favoring flat-front cabinets - you can take your cleaning time way down. This is because smooth furniture fronts don't have ridges and grooves where cooking residues can form. Simple flat-door cabinets with a baked-on finish are the simplest to clean. On the other hand, high-gloss painted cabinets show dirt easily, yet they're still easy to clean.

Design A Tight Triangle

A good kitchen triangle - made up of a cooktop, refrigerator, and sink - will help you minimize the distance you have to carry things. Spills are frequently caused by carrying food or liquid through the kitchen. However, an excellent way to compensate for a triangle is by opting for a practical kitchen island.

Furthermore, to limit the spills, place bins in strategic locations. The garbage and recycling bins in your kitchen should be placed beneath the sink to ensure that cleaning is as efficient as possible. The idea is to have as little distance between the sink and the bins as possible, which means fewer spills and messes.

Flowing Floors

Like we said before, the kitchen sees a lot of foot activity as well as spills from cooking and dishwashing. That's why it's a good idea to search for stain- and water-resistant flooring with no grout lines, such as engineered wood or vinyl. If you can't avoid using tiles in the kitchen, choose patterns with large formats. Moreover, the fewer seams and gaps in your floor - the less dirt can collect there. That's why you should pick tiles with narrow grout lines to make them easier to clean. 

Moving Your Kitchen Appliances

Like we said before, it's very important not to damage your kitchen appliances when relocating to a new home. When moving to your new San Antonio home, you can minimize these risks by hiring reputable and experienced movers. Instead of worrying about transferring your furniture yourself or asking friends and family for help, you can relax and enjoy yourself. Professionals can help you make San Antonio your home, so that you can start adapting to your new surroundings as soon as possible.

Common Mistake To Avoid When Designing An Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

The most common mistake people make when designing an easy-to-clean kitchen is storing cleaning supplies too far away from the kitchen. If your supplies aren't nearby, you might be reluctant to go get them so you can use them. For example, you're hardly going to be excited to sweep up after dinner if your broom is in the basement. So, if you're remodeling your kitchen, make sure there's enough storage for cleaning products. The optimum solution is a storage closet or pantry with enough room for a broom and cleaning supplies. In a tiny kitchen, though, a drawer will suffice. Keep a few things on hand if your space is limited. For example, a multi-surface spray, a sponge, and a hand broom with a dustpan are excellent starting points. Soon you'll see that maintenance cleaning becomes much more tempting when supplies are within easy reach.






Matthew Schwimmer, Blogger and Writer

https://evolutionmoving.com


Photo used: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-kitchen-3637739 


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home.

Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home. | Simplifying The Market

While today’s supply of homes for sale is still low, the number of newly built homes is increasing. If you’re ready to sell but have held off because you weren’t sure you’d be able to find a home to move into, newly built homes and those under construction can provide the options you’ve been waiting for.

The latest Census data shows the inventory of new homes is increasing this year (see graph below):Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home. | Simplifying The MarketWith more new homes coming to the market, this means you’ll have more options to choose from if you’re ready to buy. Of course, if you do consider a newly built home, you’ll want to keep timing in mind. The supply shown in the graph above includes homes at various stages of the construction process – some are near completion while others may be months away.

According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior VP for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

28% of new home inventory consists of homes that have not started construction, compared to 21% a year ago.”

Buying a home near completion is great if you’re ready to move. Alternatively, a home that has yet to break ground might benefit you if you’re ready to sell and you aren’t on a strict timeline. You’ll have an even greater opportunity to design your future home to suit your needs. No matter what, your trusted real estate advisor can help you find a home that works for you.

Bottom Line

If you want to take advantage of today’s sellers’ market, but you’re not sure if you’ll be able to find a home to move into, consider a newly built home. Let’s connect today so you have a trusted real estate advisor to guide you through the sale of your house and discuss your homebuying options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options

Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options | Simplifying The Market

Sellers have a great opportunity this season as buyer demand still heavily outweighs the current supply of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today’s housing inventory sits at only a 2.6-month supply. To put that into perspective, a neutral market typically features a 6-month supply. That places today’s market firmly in the sellers’ market category.

That same NAR data also shows today’s inventory of single-family homes is trailing behind the level we saw last year (see graph below):Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options | Simplifying The MarketBecause of the ongoing supply challenges, buyers can feel like they’re wandering across a vast, empty desert when searching for their next home. That means your house could provide an oasis for buyers thirsty for options – and it could increase the chances of buyers entering a bidding war for your home.

The latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from NAR shows houses are receiving an average of 3.8 offers. A multiple-offer scenario lets you select the best offer and gives you incredible leverage when you sell this fall.

Bottom Line

Buyers today are looking for relief as they wander today’s inventory desert. Listing your house this fall – before more options appear – gives your house the best chance to be noticed by multiple buyers. Let’s connect today so your house can stand out as the oasis it truly is.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, October 14, 2021

What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market?

What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The Market

As you follow the news, you’re likely seeing headlines discussing what’s going on in today’s housing market. Chances are high that some of the more recent storylines you’ve come across mention terms like cooling or slowing when talking about where the market is headed.

But what do these terms mean? The housing market today is anything but normal, and it’s still an incredibly strong sellers’ market, especially when compared to the few years leading up to the pandemic. With that in mind, what can previous years tell us about today’s real estate market and if it’s truly slowing?

We’re Still Seeing an Above Average Number of Sales

You may see headlines about a drop in home sales. But are those headlines telling the full story? The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) does show a drop of about 2% from July to August. But the month-over-month decline doesn’t provide the full picture (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAs the graph shows, historical context is key. Today’s home sales are well ahead of some of the more normal years that led up to the health crisis. That means buyers are still in the market, which is great news if you’re planning to list your home.

Houses Are Selling Faster Than Usual

When headlines mention the market is slowing, sellers may naturally wonder if their house will sell as quickly as they’d like. According to the most recent Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, homes are still selling at record speed (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAgain, if we look back at data from previous years, we can see the average time on market17 days –  means homes are selling faster than a normal pace.

Bidding Wars Are Still the Norm

The Realtors Confidence Index from NAR also shows a drop in the average number of offers homes are receiving in August, and many headlines may simply focus there without providing the important context (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAgain, it’s important to compare today’s market to trends from recent years. Currently, the average number of offers per listing is higher than 39 of the previous 45 months. That means the likelihood of a bidding war on your home is still high. And the number of offers your house receives can have a major influence on the final sale price.

So, Is the Market Slowing Down?

While there are slight declines in various month-to-month data, it’s important to keep historical context in mind when determining what’s happening in today’s market. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, put it best recently, saying:

“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.”

Bottom Line

Don’t let headlines make you rethink listing your home this fall. Selling today means you can still take advantage of high buyer demand, multiple offers, and a quick sale. If you’re thinking of selling your house, let’s connect and discuss why this fall is the perfect time to do so.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The Market

Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in January of this year, the golden window of opportunity for buyers isn’t over just yet. If you’re one of the buyers who worry they’ve missed out, rest assured today’s mortgage rates are still worth taking advantage of.

Even today, our mortgage rates are below what they’ve been in recent decades. So, while you may not be able to lock in the rate your friend got recently, you’re still in a great position to secure a rate well below what your parents and even grandparents got in years past. The key will be acting sooner rather than later.

In late September, mortgage rates ticked above 3% for the first time in months. And according to experts throughout the industry, mortgage rates are projected to continue rising in the months ahead. Here’s where experts say rates are headed:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The MarketWhile a projected half percentage point increase may not seem substantial, it does have an impact when you’re buying a home. When rates rise even slightly, it affects how much you’ll pay month-to-month on your home loan. The chart below shows how it works:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The MarketIn this example, if rates rise to 3.55%, you’ll pay an extra $100 each month on your monthly mortgage payment if you purchase a home around this time next year. That extra money can really add up over the life of a 15 or 30-year loan.

Clearly, today’s mortgage rates are worth taking advantage of before they climb further. The rates we’re seeing right now give you a unique opportunity to afford more home for your money while keeping your monthly payment down.

Bottom Line

Waiting for a lower mortgage rate could cost you. Experts project rates will continue to rise in the months ahead. Let’s connect so you can seize this opportunity before they increase further.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, October 7, 2021

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market?

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

There’s a well-known economic theory – the law of supply and demand – that explains what’s happening with prices in the current real estate market. Put simply, when demand for an item is high, prices rise. When the supply of the item increases, prices fall. Of course, when demand is very high and supply is very low, prices can rise significantly.

Understanding the impact both supply and demand have can provide the answers to a few popular questions about today’s housing market:

  • Why are prices rising?
  • Where are prices headed?
  • What does this mean for homebuyers?

Why Are Prices Rising?

According to the latest Home Price Insights report from CoreLogic, home prices have risen 18.1% since this time last year. But what’s driving the increase?

Recent buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) helps answer that question. When we take NAR’s buyer activity data and compare it to the seller traffic during the same timeframe, we can see buyer demand continues to outpace seller activity by a wide margin. In other words, the demand for homes is significantly greater than the current supply that’s available to buy (see maps below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The MarketThis combination of low supply and high demand is what’s driving home prices up. Bill McBride, author of the Calculated Risk blog, puts it best, saying:

“By some measures, house prices seem high, but the recent price increases make sense from a supply and demand perspective.

Where Are Prices Headed?

The supply of homes for sale will greatly affect where prices head over the coming months. Many experts forecast prices will continue to increase, but they’ll likely appreciate at a slower rate.

Buyers hoping to purchase the home of their dreams may see this as welcome news. In this case, perspective is important: a slight moderation of home prices does not mean prices will depreciate or fall. Price increases may occur at a slower pace, but experts still expect them to rise.

Five major entities that closely follow the real estate market forecast home prices will continue appreciating through 2022 (see graph below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean for Homebuyers?

If you’re waiting to enter the market because you’re expecting prices to drop, you may end up paying more in the long run. Even if price increases occur at a slower rate next year, prices are still projected to rise. That means the home of your dreams will likely cost even more in 2022.

Bottom Line

The truth is, high demand and low supply are what’s driving up home prices in today’s housing market. And while prices may increase at a slower pace in the coming months, experts still expect them to rise. If you’re a potential homebuyer, let’s connect today to discuss what that could mean for you if you wait even longer to buy.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Buying or Selling is Not a Game
















































PRICE MATTERS - on both sides! Sell at the right price - Buy at the right price.

We can help with that. Really!!

The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates

The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

Every Thursday, Freddie Mac releases the results of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey which reveals the most recent movement in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate. Last week, the rate was announced as 3.01%. It was the first time in three months that the mortgage rate surpassed 3%. In a press release accompanying the survey, Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

“Mortgage rates rose across all loan types this week as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield reached its highest point since June.”

The reason Khater mentions the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield is because there has been a very strong relationship between the yield and the 30-year mortgage rate over the last five decades. Here’s a graph showing that relationship:The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe relationship has also been consistent throughout 2021 as evidenced by this graph:The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe graph also reveals the most recent jump in mortgage rates was preceded by a jump in the 10-year Treasury rate (called out by the red circles).

So, What Impacts the Yield Rate?

According to Investopedia:

“There are a number of economic factors that impact Treasury yields, such as interest rates, inflation, and economic growth.”

Since there are currently concerns about inflation and economic growth due to the pandemic, the Treasury yield spiked last week. That spike impacted mortgage rates.

What Does This Mean for You?

Khater, in the Freddie Mac release mentioned above, says:

“We expect 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 addresses the issue:

“Consumers shouldn’t panic. Keep in mind that even though rates will increase in the following months, these rates will still be historically low. The National Association of REALTORS forecasts the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to reach 3.5% by mid-2022.”

Bottom Line

Forecasting mortgage rates is very difficult. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, once quipped:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

That being said, if you’re either a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner thinking of moving into a home that better fits your current needs, keep abreast of what’s happening with mortgage rates. It may very well impact your decision.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Why Homeownership Is Still The American Dream


How often do we hear the term "American Dream"? Don't know about you but I remember hearing that from the time I was a little child. The dream never came true for half my family. The other half was more fortunate. There is a lot more to that story, but this is about you! Don't let the dream pass you by. Set a goal and go for the AMERICAN DREAM!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

If You’re a Buyer, Is Offering Asking Price Enough?

If You’re a Buyer, Is Offering Asking Price Enough? | Simplifying The Market

In today’s real estate market, buyers shouldn’t shop for a home with the expectation they’ll be able to negotiate a lower sales price. In a typical housing market, buyers try to determine how much less than the asking price they can offer and still get the home. From there, the buyer and seller typically negotiate and agree on a revised price somewhere in the middle.

Things Are Different Today

Today’s housing market is anything but normal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes today are:

  • Receiving an average of  3.8 offers
  • Selling in just 17 days

Homes selling quickly and receiving multiple offers highlights how competitive the housing market is right now. This is due, in large part, to the low supply of homes for sale. Low supply and high demand mean homes often sell for more than the asking price. In some cases, they sell for a lot more. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how these stats can impact buyers:

“The imbalance between robust demand and dismal availability of for-sale homes has led to a continual bidding over asking prices, which reached record levels in recent months. Now, almost 6 in 10 homes listed are selling over the asking price.”

You May Need To Rethink How You Look at a Home’s Asking Price

What does that mean for you? If you’ve found your dream home, you need to be realistic about today’s housing market and how that impacts the offer you’ll make. Offering below or even at a home’s asking price may not cut it. In today’s market, the highest bidder often wins the home, much like at an auction.

Currently, the asking price is often the floor of the negotiation rather than the ceiling. If you really love a home, it may ultimately sell for more than the sellers are asking. That’s important to keep in mind as you work with your agent to craft an offer.

Understand An Appraisal Gap Can Happen

Because of today’s home price appreciation and the auction-like atmosphere in the selling process, appraisal gaps – the gap between the price of your contract and the appraisal for the house – are more frequent.

According to data from CoreLogic:

“Beginning in January 2020, nationally, 7% of purchase transactions had a contract price above the appraisal, but by May 2021, the frequency had increased to 19% of purchase transactions.”

When this happens, your lender won’t loan you more than the home’s appraised value, and the seller may ask you to make up the difference out of pocket. Buyers in today’s market need to be prepared for this possibility. Know your budget, know what you can afford, and work with a trusted advisor who can offer expert advice along the way.

Bottom Line

Bidding wars and today’s auction-like atmosphere mean buyers need to rethink how they look at the asking price of a home. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional who can advise you on the current market and help determine what the market value is on your dream home.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, September 27, 2021

The New Homeowners


There is nothing like the feeling of moving into your new home - a home that you own. Well, OK, the bank may be holding a mortgage, but it is yours! It is an investment. That monthly payment is going toward your investment - not your landlords! Ready now?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Time for a New home


Growing family? Downsizing? Need a change? Whatever your motivation, right now is a great time to act on it. Let's talk about your personal needs for a home and explore all the options available today!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Holy Cross - Mother Guerin High Schools

This is one of those stories not directly related to real estate. Though, on the fringe I suppose it is. It is not related to San Antonio either, but rather a step back in time when I lived in my birth city of Chicago.

Taking you back to the beginning of Holy Cross High School, River Grove, IL….   It opened in 1961, I was in the next class 1962-1966 and was excited about the new school as it was less than 2 blocks from my house. Before it opened, I was destined to go to St Pats a moderate bus ride down Belmont Avenue. 

The land for the new school was undeveloped and heavily wooded. It was by no means "citified". The development was the biggest “news” in the neighborhood that was typically Chicago Northwest residential. As kids we played at the construction site on weekends. There was a huge hill perfect for bike riding, no brakes! One of the guys did get hurt going downhill, no hands.  That challenge proved not to be a good idea. However, following a few stitches, we all went back and played on the site until we were chased away…  and then they added that darned fence!

Finally, the school opened its doors. After years of Catholic education under the guidance of nuns, it was quite a shock to be taught by brothers. It was all part of growing up in that era. The school was considered a prep school for future college attendees. It was not a school that offered shop or trades. We had intramural and competitive sports, but never a swimming pool. There were efforts made to fund raise for a pool, but never enough money – a minor downside of a private school. No pool did not seem much of an issue as we still had a swim team – they just had to go down the street to St Pats. We survived.

In those days, tuition was less than a thousand dollars, actually I think it was around 5 or 600 dollars. My parents struggled to afford it as did many others but they got it done. The annual enrolment was around 400 and the school prospered. Everyone looked forward to new education and building a future, after all, we were Holy Cross Crusaders. I can honestly say that during the years watching the school being built, attending for 4 years and even after, never once did I think about them shutting the doors – and later being torn down.

Once Holy Cross was up and running they started construction of our next door neighbor Mother Guerin High School. It opened in 1963. There was a time the girls shared some of our facilities – like the athletics and gym. And there was a time when one of our coaches forgot what day it was and who was in the facility. That is a hilarious memory – but not one for sharing here. Eventually, the girls school was completed and Mother Guerin along with Holy Cross were the pride of the neighborhood.

Holy Cross floundered in 2004. Enrollment was down and expenses up. Tuition was unbelievably expensive and for many, unaffordable. Talks took place and an agreement was reached to merge Holy Cross with Mother Guerin, the new name taken was Guerin Prep. A great resource for more information can be found at:  http://www.illinoishsglorydays.com/id426.html 


As I was researching some facts for this article, I stumbled on something that has totally shocked me. Earlier I mentioned St Pats. Turns out St Pats is one of the oldest continuously run high schools in Chicago – going all the way back to 1861 (that is NOT a typo). More on that here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Patrick_High_School_(Chicago) . My god – the great Chicago Fire did not happen until 1871. It is going to take me a few minutes to continue writing this story.



It seems the destiny of Guerin Prep was the same as that of Holy Cross. Following low enrollment of the 2019-2020 academic year, history repeated and a decision was made to close the school. The end of an era had come. The land was sold and the buildings torn down. I am told the approximate 20 acre site will be redeveloped into townhomes and condos. 

New generations will not know the history of that land, nor the adventures and experiences of the thousands of students that passed through those halls for decades. But, those who had the good fortune to attend those two schools will carry the memories and no doubt pass along something they learned in those formative years – and life will go on. It is an interesting life experience to have watched your school be built – and then torn down. The circle of life is more than just a movie.








I understand the mosaic originally from Mother Guerin has been rescued and may one day have a new home. Let us hope so.




  






Thank you to my cousins Lee and Kathy, and Kathy’s friend Mary Lou for making these photos available. 

If anyone wants to post a memory or share a story about either school you are welcome to do so. Either use the comment feature or write your own article and I’ll create a new post for you – follow this:  https://www.sanantoniorealestate.blog/p/guest-articles.html   (we’ll share stories under rule #11)

And, finally a school video:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Tips for Todays Sellers


Getting ready to sell your home? Thought we would share some seller tips with you today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Is a 20% Down Payment Really Necessary To Purchase a Home?

Is a 20% Down Payment Really Necessary To Purchase a Home? | Simplifying The Market

There’s a common misconception that, as a homebuyer, you need to come up with 20% of the total sale price for your down payment. In fact, a recent survey by Lending Tree asks what is keeping consumers from purchasing a home. For over half of those surveyed, the ability to afford a down payment is the biggest hurdle.

That may be because those individuals assume a 20% down payment is necessary. While putting more money down if you’re able can benefit buyers, putting 20% down is not mandatory. As Freddie Mac puts it:

The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”

If saving that much money sounds overwhelming, you might be ready to give up on the dream of homeownership before you even begin – but you don’t have to. According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. It may sound surprising, but today’s average down payment is only 12%. That number is even lower for first-time homebuyers, whose average down payment is only 7%.

Based on the Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR, the graph below shows an even closer look at the down payment percentage various age groups pay:Is a 20% Down Payment Really Necessary To Purchase a Home? | Simplifying The MarketAs the graph shows, the only groups who put 20% or more down on average are older homebuyers who likely can use the sale of an existing home to fuel a larger down payment on their next home.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, it’s important to know you don’t have to put the full 20% down. And while saving for any down payment amount may feel like a challenge, keep in mind there are programs for qualified buyers that allow them to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3.5%. There are also options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, you do need to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like downpaymentresource.com. Be sure to also work with a real estate advisor from the start to learn what you may qualify for in the homebuying process.

Bottom Line

Don’t let the myth of the 20% down payment halt your homebuying process before it begins. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect to start the conversation and explore your options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Top Reasons to Own Your Home


These are some of the reasons for owning your own home. Have you considered your own personal reasons? How would owning your home change your life?

Monday, September 20, 2021

An Agent Will Be Your Expert Guide Through Your Home Sale


Many hours of training followed by continuing education are required to hold a real estate license. Let us use our expertise to help you through the process of selling your home and reducing stress from the home sale transaction. Call us today.

Have You Ever Seen a Housing Market Like This? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Have You Ever Seen a Housing Market Like This? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Have You Ever Seen a Housing Market Like This? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Whether you’re buying or selling – today’s housing market has plenty of good news to go around.
  • Buyers can take advantage of today’s mortgage rates to escape rising rents and keep monthly payments affordable. Sellers can reap the benefits of multiple offers and a fast sale.
  • If this sounds like good news to you, let’s connect today so you can capitalize on the unique opportunity you have in today’s market.
Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Friday, September 17, 2021

Time


Time can get away from us with our busy lifestyles. Are you ready to make the time to become a homeowner?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | Simplifying The Market

An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.

According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:

The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”

What normally happens throughout the year?

Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | Simplifying The Market

What happened last year?

Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | Simplifying The Market

What’s happening this year?

Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | Simplifying The MarketThere are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.

  1. Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
  2. New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
  3. The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021

Time Is Money When It Comes to Your Home


For many folks, a home is the largest investment of a lifetime. Find out what is meant by "time is money" as relates to your investment!

Why It’s Still Safe To Sell Your Home

Why It’s Still Safe To Sell Your Home | Simplifying The Market

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to sell your house this year, there’s good news. Real estate professionals are highly experienced in how to sell houses safely during the pandemic. Over the last year, agents have adopted new technologies and safety measures designed to keep you safe. And experts say these practices are here to stay. As Bob Goldberg, CEO of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), puts it:

“The pandemic has confirmed to all of us in the industry that technology will continue to transform real estate.”

Below is a closer look at some of the new tools real estate professionals are using to better serve sellers.

New and Existing Technology Are Impacting the Process

In the 2021 Realtor Technology Survey, NAR asks real estate professionals their opinions on the most valuable pieces of technology for their business over the past 12 months. The graph below highlights the top five tools those agents said are true game-changers:Why It’s Still Safe To Sell Your Home | Simplifying The MarketTools that allow agents to serve clients at a distance and limit exposure to others, including eSignature, lockboxes, and video conferencing, became increasingly important during the last year. Those same tools are just as essential today. Restricting the number of people a seller must interact with during the process is the best way to keep all parties involved in a sale safe.

Trusted Advisors Stay Up to Date on Guidelines for In-Person Showings

As things change in our day-to-day lives, the guidance on how to stay safe changes as well. NAR regularly updates the resources available to real estate professionals to ensure the latest recommendations and best practices are readily available. This includes suggestions on how to continue to conduct safe in-person showings.

Agents also follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to make sure homes are safe. The CDC’s advice includes information on how to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and countertops so they’re disinfected for all.

This past year changed the way agents do things for the better. Real estate professionals use new technology, tools, cleaning procedures, and the latest guidance to meet your changing needs. The goal is to keep you safe and build your confidence throughout the sales process.

Bottom Line

It’s important to know that your safety is still a top priority when it comes to selling this year. Let’s connect today so you can have the best tools available to help you take advantage of today’s sellers’ market.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Friday, September 10, 2021

Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home This Year


Buying or selling - or buying and selling - it is a great time. Rate are still low and housing prices are on the rise. The question is - how long will it last?


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Home Price Appreciation Is Skyrocketing in 2021. What About 2022?

Home Price Appreciation Is Skyrocketing in 2021. What About 2022? | Simplifying The Market

One of the major story lines over the last year is how well the residential real estate market performed. One key metric in the spotlight is home price appreciation. According to the latest indices, home prices are skyrocketing this year.

Here are the latest percentages showing the year-over-year increase in home price appreciation:

The dramatic increases are seen at every price point and in all regions of the country.

Increases Are Across Every Price Point

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, each price range is seeing at least a 19% increase year-over-year:Home Price Appreciation Is Skyrocketing in 2021. What About 2022? | Simplifying The Market

Increases Are Across Every Region in the Country

Every region in the country is experiencing at least a 14.9% increase in home price appreciation, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA):Home Price Appreciation Is Skyrocketing in 2021. What About 2022? | Simplifying The Market

Increases Are Across Each of the Top 20 Metros in the Country

According to the U.S. National Home Price Index from S&P Case-Shiller, every major metro is seeing at least a 13.3% growth in prices (see graph below):

Home Price Appreciation Is Skyrocketing in 2021. What About 2022? | Simplifying The Market

What About Price Appreciation in 2022?

Prices are the result of the balance between supply and demand. The demand for single-family homes has been strong over the last 18 months. The supply of houses available for sale was near historic lows. However, there’s some good news on the supply side. Realtor.com reports:

“432,000 new listings hit the national housing market in August, an increase of 18,000 over last year.”

There will, however, still be a shortage of supply compared to demand in 2022. CoreLogic reveals:

“Given the widespread demand and considering the number of standalone homes built during the past decade, the single-family market is estimated to be undersupplied by 4.35 million units by 2022.”

Yet, most forecasts call for home price appreciation to moderate in 2022. The Home Price Expectation Survey, a survey of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for a 5.12% appreciation level next year. Here are the 2022 home appreciation forecasts from the four other major entities:

  1. The National Association of Realtors (NAR): 4.4%
  2. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA): 8.4%
  3. Fannie Mae: 5.1%
  4. Freddie Mac: 5.3%

Price appreciation is expected to slow in 2022 when compared to the record highs of 2021. However, it is still expected to be greater than the annual average of 4.1% over the last 25 years.

Bottom Line

If you owned a home over the past year, you’ve seen your household wealth grow substantially, and you’ll see another nice boost in 2022. If you’re thinking of buying, consider buying now as prices are forecast to continue increasing through at least next year.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Understand Your Options To Avoid Foreclosure

Understand Your Options To Avoid Foreclosure | Simplifying The Market

Even though experts agree there’s no chance of a large-scale foreclosure crisis, there are a number of homeowners who may be coming face-to-face with foreclosure as a possibility. And while the overall percentage of homeowners at risk is decreasing with time (see graph below), that’s little comfort to those individuals who are facing challenges today.Understand Your Options To Avoid Foreclosure | Simplifying The MarketIf you haven’t taken advantage of the forbearance period, it may be time to research and understand your options. It starts with knowing what foreclosure is. Investopedia defines it like this:

Foreclosure is the legal process by which a lender attempts to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by taking ownership of and selling the mortgaged property. Typically, default is triggered when a borrower misses a specific number of monthly payments . . .” 

The good news is, there are alternatives available to help you avoid having to go through the foreclosure process, including:

  • Reinstatement
  • Loan modification
  • Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure
  • Short sale

But before you go down any of those paths, it’s worth seeing if you have enough equity in your home to sell it and protect your investment.

Understand Your Options: Sell Your House

Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

In today’s real estate market, many homeowners have far more equity in their homes than they realize. Over the last year, buyer demand has been high, but housing supply has been low. That’s led to a substantial increase in home values. When prices rise, so does the amount of equity you have in your house.

According to CoreLogic, on average, homeowners gained $33,400 in equity over the last 12 months, and the average equity on mortgaged homes is now $216,000 (see map below):Understand Your Options To Avoid Foreclosure | Simplifying The MarketSo, what does that mean for you? Over the past year, chances are your home’s value and therefore your equity has risen dramatically. If you’ve been in your home for a while, the mortgage payments you’ve made over time chipped away at the balance of your loan. If your home’s current value is higher than what you still owe on your loan, you may be able to use that increase to your advantage.

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, elaborates on how equity can help:

Homeowner equity has more than doubled over the past decade and become a crucial buffer for many weathering the challenges of the pandemic. These gains have become an important financial tool and boosted consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market.”

Don’t Go at It Alone – Lean on Experts for Advice

To find out what your house is worth in today’s market, work with a local real estate professional. We’ll be able to give you an estimate of what your house could sell for based on recent sales of similar homes in your area. Since home prices are still appreciating, you may be able to sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

If you find out that you have to pursue other options, your agent can help with that too. We’ll be able to connect you with other professionals in the industry, like housing counselors who can look into your unique situation and offer advice on next steps if selling isn’t the best alternative.

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner facing hardship, let’s connect to explore your options and see if you can sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here