Every year, Gallup conducts a survey of Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are asked to select real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.
For the seventh year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment. Gallup explained:
“Real estate remains the most favored investment to Americans, as has been the case since 2013, when the housing market was on the rebound. More than a third of Americans have named real estate as the top investment since 2016.”
This year’s results indicated 35% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 21%. The full results covering the last decade are shown in the chart below:
The belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term investment remains strong, even through the many challenges our economy faces today.
A recent survey by Lending Tree tapped into behaviors of over 1,000 prospective buyers. The results indicated 53% of all homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year, even amid the current health crisis. The survey further revealed why, naming several reasons buyers are more likely to move this year (see graph below):
Let’s break down why these are a few of the key factors motivating buyers to actively engage in the home search process, and the corresponding wins for sellers as well.
1. Low Mortgage Rates
The biggest reason potential homebuyers indicated they’re eager to purchase this year is due to current mortgage rates, which are hovering near all-time lows. Today’s low rates are making it more affordable than ever to buy a home, which is a huge incentive for purchasers. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Lending Tree survey want to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This is no surprise when comparing historic mortgage rates by decade (see below):
Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macrecently said:
“As the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery.”
2. Reduced Spending
Some people have also been able to save a little extra money over the past few months while sheltering in place. One of the upsides of staying home recently is that many have been able to work remotely and minimize extra spending on things like commuting expenses, social events, and more. For those who fall into this category, they may have a bit more saved up for down payments and closing costs, making purchasing a home more feasible today.
3. Re-Evaluating Their Space
Spending time at home has also given buyers a chance to really evaluate their living space, whether renting or as a current homeowner. With time available to craft a wish list of what they really need in their next home, from more square footage to a more spacious neighborhood, they’re ready to make it happen.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
With these three factors in play, the demand for housing will keep growing this year, especially over the summer as more communities continue their phased approach to reopening. Buyers can take advantage of additional savings and low mortgage rates. And if you’re thinking of selling, know that your home may be in high demand as buyer interest grows and the number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. This may be your moment to list your house and make a move into a new space as well.
If you’re ready to buy or sell – or maybe both – let’s connect to put your plans in motion. With low mortgage rates leading the way, it’s a great time to take advantage of your position in today’s market.
Move-in day excitement shouldn’t be overshadowed by moving day anxiety. Some smart preparation can go a long way towards making moving a little more uplifting (and a little less heavy lifting). Here are 5 things you can do leading up to your move to make for less stress on moving day.
1. Consider Your Move Date
Like tomatoes and pumpkin spice lattes, there is a peak season for moving, which falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But unlike tomato sandwiches, moving is actually best done during the off season for the most options and the best prices. Considering that the first and last weeks of the month can be particularly popular as well, a mid-week, mid-month move during the months of October–April is recommendedas your best bet.
Having access to the widest array of dates and times means that you’ll be able to plan your move when it’s most convenient for you. Plus, you’ll save money by scheduling during a slower time of the year.
2. Have a Packing Plan
Less stuff equals less stress when it comes to packing. Instead of blindly beginning to box your belongings, take stock in what you actually want to bring with you when you move. To get started, consult this step-by-step guide to the pre-move purge for tips on what you should consider when deciding what stays and what goes.
This meticulous approach keeps you sane and helps you plan—knowing exactly what you’ll be moving and how unwieldy those items is key for deciding what kind of moving company you’ll need.
Options can be overwhelming, but having the right information will make you feel confident that you’re hiring the right team for your move. When it comes to moving companies, they generally fall into 3 major categories: full-service, self-service, and specialized. How much you have to move, what kind of items you’re moving, and your budget will determine which category of moving company makes the most sense. In broad terms, a full-service moving company handles every part of the move—from packing to transporting to unloading at your final destination. A self-service company generally handles only the transportation part of the move (meaning that packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading the truck are up to you) and specialized moving companies are trained in proper techniques for moving unique items like antiques, art, appliances, or pianos.
Once you have an idea of the type of moving company you’ll need, get 3-4 moving quotes from properly licensed and insured professional movers to thoroughly compare your options.
4. Budget Accordingly
Expenses can add up quickly when you’re moving long-distance, so keeping track of your budget is a crucial step in your pre-move plan. Your moving quote will be a powerful tool to help you budget. There are a few different types of estimates you can receive, but the most popular type is called a binding not-to-exceed or guaranteed not-to-exceed estimate. This type of estimate ensures that the most you’ll pay is the quoted price, but you’ll pay less if the actual weight of your belongings is less than the estimated weight. Once you have an idea of what you’ll pay for your moving service, remember to additionally budget for tipping your movers. $10 per person for a half-day move and $20 for a full day is a good place to start.
5. Think About Moving Insurance
When you’ve taken care to pack only your most meaningful belongings, the last thing you want is to worry about them being damaged on their way to your destination. Moving insurance can give you peace of mind. By law, all moving companies must provide 2 coverage options for out-of-state moves: Full Value Protection and Released Value Protection. Full Value Protection requires movers to replace items damaged during moving or reimburse the current value. Released Value Protection only requires reimbursement at $0.60 per pound. You can ask the moving companies giving you quotes what expanded coverage they may offer, or, if your items are particularly valuable, you may want to consider carrying your own third-party moving insurance policy as well.
Ready to get moving? Start by comparing your options with Moving.comto get quotes from their network of licensed and insured professional movers. You’ll be on your way to planning a happier move.
As the health crisis started making its way throughout our country earlier this spring, sellers have been cautious about putting their homes on the market. This hesitation stemmed primarily from fear of the spread of the coronavirus, and understandably so. This abundant caution has greatly impacted the number of homes for sale and slowed the pace of a typically busy spring real estate season. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americannotes:
“As more homeowners are reluctant to list their homes for sale amid the pandemic, the supply of homes available to potential home buyers continues to dwindle.”
With many states beginning a phased approach to reopening, virtual best practices and health and safety guidelines for the industry are in place to increase the comfort level of buyers and sellers. What we see today, though, is that sellers are still making a very calculated return to the market. In their latest Weekly Housing Trends Report, realtor.com indicates:
“New listings: On the slow path to recovery. Nationwide the size of declines held mostly steady this week, dropping 23 percent over last year, a slight increase over last week but still an improvement over the 30 percent declines in the first half of May.”
Although we’re starting to inch our way toward more homes for sale throughout the country, the number of homes on the market is still well below the demand from buyers. In the same report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com shares:
“Sellers have yet to come back in full force, limiting the availability of homes for sale. Total active listings are declining from a year ago at a faster rate than observed in previous weeks, and this trend could worsen as buyers regain confidence and come back to the market before sellers.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) seems to agree:
“In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about homebuying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”
What we can see today is that homebuyers are more confident than the sellers, and they’re ready to make up for lost time from the traditional spring market. Summer is gearing up to be the 2020 buying season, so including your house in the mix may be your best opportunity to sell yet. Interest in your house may be higher than you think with so few sellers on the market today. As Vivas says:
“More properties will have to enter the market in June to bring the number of options for buyers back to normal levels for this time of the year, nationwide and in all large markets.”
If you’re ready to sell your house this summer, let’s connect today. Buyers are interested and they may be looking for a house just like yours.
More than ever, our homes have become an integral part of our lives. Today they are much more than the houses we live in. They’re evolving into our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection for our families through the evolving health crisis. Today, 65.3% of Americans are able to call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.
June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of owning your own home. Below are some highlights and quotes recently shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From non-financial to financial, and even including how owning a home benefits your local economy, these items may give you reason to think homeownership stretches well beyond a sound dollars and cents investment alone.
Owning a home brings families a sense of happiness, satisfaction, and pride.
Pride of Ownership: It feels good to have a place that’s truly your own, especially since you can customize it to your liking. “The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment achieved through homeownership can enhance psychological health, happiness and well-being for homeowners and those around them.”
Property Maintenance and Improvement: Your home is your stake in the community, and a way to give back by driving value into your neighborhood.
Civic Participation: Homeownership creates stability, a sense of community, and increases civic engagement. It’s a way to add to the strength of your local area.
Buying a home is also an investment in your family’s financial future.
Net Worth: Homeownership builds your family’s net worth. “The median family net worth for all homeowners ($231,400) increased by nearly 15% since 2013, while net worth ($5,000) actually declined by approximately 9% since 2013 for renter families.”
Financial Security: Equity, appreciation, and predictable monthly housing expenses are huge financial benefits of homeownership. Homeownership is truly the best way to improve your long-term net worth.
Homeownership is even a local economic driver.
Housing-Related Spending: An economic force throughout our nation, housing-related expenses accounted for more than one-sixth of the country’s economic activity over the past three decades.
GDP Growth: Homeownership also helps drive GDP growth as the country aims to make an economic rebound. “Every 10% increase in total housing market wealth would translate to approximately $147 billion in additional consumer spending, or 0.8% of GDP, as well as billions of dollars in new federal tax revenue.”
Entrepreneurship: Homeownership is even a form of forced savings that provides entrepreneurial opportunities as well. “Owning a home enables new entrepreneurs to obtain access to credit to start or expand a business and generate new jobs by using their home as collateral for small business loans.”
The benefits of homeownership are vast and go well beyond the surface level. Homeownership is truly a way to build financial freedom, find greater satisfaction and happiness, and make a substantial impact on your local economy. If owning a home is part of your dream, let’s connect today so you can begin the homebuying process.
If your move is delayed, evaluate the features of your current home so you know just what you want in your next one.
Now that many of us have spent several weeks living inside, we’ve become quite familiar with our homes — in some cases, maybe too familiar. If you were planning to move before COVID-19, and still plan to do so when the timing is right, you might want to take this time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not in your current home. For instance, those stairs you’ve climbed 10 times a day may have kept you moving while you’ve stayed home, but maybe you’d like stair-free living in your next home. Or perhaps the yard you thought you could do without has now become a must-have.
We’ve come up with a list of questions to help you pinpoint what you like and don’t like about your current home so you can find more comfort and pleasure in your next one.
What’s working for you — and what’s not?
On a scale of 1-10, how do you like your current home?
What’s your home’s best quality?
And its worst quality?
Do you like the style of your home? If not, is there an architectural style or era you prefer?
What’s your favorite room, and what makes spending time there pleasurable?
Space and flow: How do you feel when you’re at home?
Do you have enough space or too much? Where could you use more/less space?
How would you describe the layout — an open floor plan or more compartmentalized? Does it suit your lifestyle?
Do you have enough or too many bedrooms? Bathrooms?
Do you like the number of levels (single or multistory)?
Are you happy with the windows (enough natural light, well-placed, too sunny)?
Do you like the fixtures and finishes?
Is there a specialized room you’ve never had but have always wanted (such as a home office, workout room, sewing room, laundry room or mudroom)?
What’s outside — and how does it affect your experience of home?
If you have an outdoor space, do you enjoy spending time there?
If you don’t have one, do you feel like you’re missing out?
Do you enjoy taking care of a yard… or feel burdened by it (be honest!)?
Does your home have curb appeal? If not, what needs to be improved?
Do you have adequate parking? Is a garage or carport a must-have?
How much time and effort does the exterior require for upkeep (painting, staining, etc.)?
Your neighborhood: Community connections can make life all the sweeter
Are you happy with your neighborhood? Think about all its characteristics, including walkability, parks, nearby activities, density, noise level and neighbor involvement.
Do you have to travel far for basics such as groceries or a doctor’s appointment?
Are you happy with your commute?
Are there enough activities going on around you — or too many?
Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:
“The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however.”
Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country? Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity: 1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible. 2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:
Meet with mortgage professionals
Consult with their agent throughout the process
All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves. 3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today’s purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan. Looking closely at the third reason, we can see that there’s a big difference between purchasing a house last December and purchasing one now (see chart below):
Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let’s connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.