Here’s What Real Estate and Independence Day Have In Common

What’s the first thing you think of when you think 4th of July?

Probably fireworks, right?

Okay, maybe you think about barbeques, pool parties, or parades first.

The point is, the first thought for most people isn’t about the nitty-gritty that we’re actually celebrating — our independence as a nation.

Deep down, we all know that’s what it’s all about. And we respect it. But, we’re also human. Who can blame us for enjoying our freedom watching fireworks, without giving all that much thought about everything our founding fathers did to get us here?

So it is in real estate…

There’s a lot of focus on the “fireworks” in real estate. The big, glorious, flashy, exciting moments. Like…

  • The moment your house first hits the market.
  • Seeing the pictures of your house all over the Internet.
  • Throngs of people walking through your first open house.
  • Receiving offers from buyers…maybe even multiple offers.
  • Going under contract.
  • Walking into “the” house, and falling in love with it.
  • Making an offer on the house you love, and having it accepted.
  • Closing on the sale or purchase of your home.

All really exciting “firework” moments.

But they’re not the full story. There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes in order to get to those fun, celebratory moments. A lot of thought, knowledge, skill, and work… Not necessarily fun, or sexy stuff. But it’s all important. It’s all necessary to get to those exciting “fireworks” moments.

Not that the behind the scenes stuff should be something you think about. As a consumer, you should enjoy the glorious moments. Leave the nitty-gritty to your agent.

Just know that there’s more to it than the “fireworks” you want to see when you buy or sell a house.

Less Than 5% of Homes In The US Have Negative Equity, Making It An Ideal Time To Sell For Most Homeowners

After the housing crisis of 2008, many homeowners found themselves “upside down” on their properties, with their mortgage balances significantly higher than the value of their home. According to Zillow, negative equity in the US peaked 31.4% in Q1 of 2012, meaning nearly one-third of all mortgage holders in the US owed more on their homes than it was valued.

But luckily, the housing market has rebounded from the housing crisis, and homeowners have almost completely regained equity in their homes. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Equity Insights report, in Q4 of 2017 only 4.9% of all mortgaged properties had negative equity, with the number of homes with negative equity dropping 21% year-over-year (from 3.2 million homes to 2.5 million homes).

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about selling but were waiting for your home to recover its value, now is the time to make a move. The dramatic decrease in negative equity, combined with the current inventory shortage, make it an ideal time to sell and to get the most value for your home.

Curious about your home’s value? Click here for a no cost and no obligation market analysis!

15 Man Caves To Inspire Dad This Fathers Day

Man caves are a great way for a guy to get out of the hustle and bustle of life and get into his own element. Maybe his thing is automobiles, a particular sport, or geeking out on science fiction. Whatever the case may be, here are a few ideas for you gents to consider when creating your own sacred testosterone zone.

Read More

Happy National Best Friend Day!

It’s National Best Friend Day and, as far as I can tell, it began as a hoax. Someone apparently started it by using a hashtag online, and people jumped on board and made it into something.

In the least, it is an “unofficial” National day at best. It isn’t “real”.

But, it got me to thinking…

Real estate agents tend to get really friendly with clients while we’re looking for a home, or selling one. Almost like family in some cases.

Then, once the process is over, we can lose touch. Not entirely. It’s just that we don’t end up having that day-to-day interaction. And it can seem like maybe the friendship we developed was not genuine. Not “real”.

But, like true best friends, the friendship we develop with our clients is real. Best friends can be apart, or not even speak for days, months, even years, and come back together without feeling like they missed a beat.

The same goes with real estate agents and their clients…

It isn’t like the friendships we create with our clients aren’t real. They are. But, the life of an agent, and the involvement with our clients is much more intense while we’re working with them.

What “flavor” is your house?

Today, June 1st, is National Doughnut Day! I thought I’d give you a heads up, so you can get out early and grab your favorite doughnut before they’re all gone.

Have you been to Donut World in Lancaster? Best donuts around! And voted best in Fairfield County – two years in a row!

You ever notice how there’s always the same lame doughnuts sitting on the rack after the morning rush? They’re usually either super boring, or way to “out there” for most people.

No big deal. They’re doughnuts. They’ll get donated or tossed in the trash at the end of the day.

But I see a similar thing happen in real estate, and it is a big deal…

The houses everyone wants tend to sell quickly. They don’t stay on the “shelf’ very long. But there’s always some that just seem to be left to linger on the rack. And they tend to be the ones that are super boring, or way too “out there” for most home buyers’ tastes. (Or just way over-priced.)

So, keep the following in mind for when you go to sell your house…

You don’t want your home to be too boring, or too defined either. There’s a middle ground. Make sure your house is the “flavor” most buyers favor.

(And always feel free to give me a call for any thoughts on what the flavor is lately. I always have a good idea of what buyers are biting on.)

Now, go enjoy a doughnut…

Use This Spring Clean-Up Guide To Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Spring has sprung, which means it’s the perfect time to get the outside of your home in top shape before the summer months. A little sprucing can go a long way with enhancing your home’s curb appeal. In fact a property’s outdoor appeal can dictate people’s home buying decision. And while it’s not always necessary to keep a perfectly manicured lawn and flawlessly trimmed trees and bushes, little updates and refreshers, such as washing the windows and re-painting the front door, can make a positive impact. Plus, yearly maintenance can prevent big, costly overhauls down the road.

Use this infographic from The Grass People to hit all the bases—from the lawn and gardens to outdoor lighting and walkways.

What In The World Do Groundhogs And Real Estate Have In Common?

Do you believe whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not is a true indication of when Spring will come?

A lot of people aren’t even sure, which means we’re going to have more winter.

But even if you do, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If it’s sunny, and he sees his shadow, that means a longer winter. If it’s cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, it means Spring will come sooner. That seems totally backwards.

And then there are lots of different groundhogs… which are you supposed to believe?

Groundhogs don’t predict Spring

Truth is, Spring never actually comes sooner, even if every single groundhog doesn’t see his shadow. It begins on a specific calendar day.

Now the weather on the other hand, that’s a different story. The weather will be what it will be. Weather is something people make small talk about.

But a groundhog predicting it!? Meteorologists can barely do it.

So, most people don’t put a whole lot of stock in what the groundhogs “say” on Groundhog Day. However, a lot of people do put stock in the “Spring market” when it comes to real estate.

Is Spring the best time to buy and sell real estate?

So many people believe it’s the “best” time to buy or sell real estate. Not necessarily.

Sure, there is definitely a “Spring market”.

But first of all, to even say exactly what day it begins is impossible. Some real estate agents even say the Spring market begins in January. Others may say March. Or April. Maybe May.

And while there’s no definite answer as to when the Spring market actually begins, it’s even more inaccurate to say that it’s the best time for you to buy or sell a house.

It might be for some clients… but certainly not for everyone. It depends on so many variables, and upon the client’s specific scenario and needs.

Some solid advice…

Don’t put stock in the “Spring market”, no matter what you hear, or who you hear it from.

Do not base your decisions about when to buy or sell upon something people talk about as lightly as the weather… or whether the Groundhog saw its shadow or not.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

But if you are thinking about buying or selling, or both, then we should chat. And strategize.

Is now a better moment for you to begin buying or selling?

Or is it better for you to wait until Spring is “officially” here?

Or perhaps Summer…

Or Fall…

Or Winter…

It depends on a whole lot of variables.

So, if you’re thinking of buying or selling, let’s just chat.

If not, just stick this in your head for future reference!

Happy Groundhog Day!

This Local Hero Built A Train For All His Adopted Stray Dogs

Eugene Bostick and his brother Corky have shared a farm on a dead-end road in Fort Worth, Texas since the 1940’s. Over the recent years, a lot of people have dropped off stray dogs in the area. Somehow, many of them find their way to the Bostick farm, looking for a home with a warm heart. Fortunately, they found it!

Not only have the lucky pups been provided food and room to run, they also get a treat that very few will ever have the chance to experience.

They get to go out on the town in a train!

This gold-hearted man decided he could create a doggie transport by mimicking something he saw being used to transport rocks.

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They get so excited about it, they jump in as soon as they hear Eugene hooking up the tractor, and stay in for the duration of the ride!

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These little guys must feel like they’re in a parade. Now check out the video below to see this “chew chew” train in action!

Owning A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In Most Markets In The US

According to a recent study by Zillow, owning a home is more affordable than renting in most metro markets across the United States.

According to the study, renters pay an average of 29.1% of their household income towards rent, while homeowners only pay an average of 15.4% towards their mortgages. This means renting eats up nearly twice as much of your income as owning a home.

rent-addordability

Data Source: Zillow

Thanks to rising rents, homeownership is becoming a more sensible option across the nation, and renters are taking notice. According to the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Confidence® Index, 39% of homebuyers from October 2016 to November 2017 were renting at the time of their purchase, which means that 39% of buyers made the transition from renter to homeowner. And many of them did so without breaking the bank on a down payment. In fact, 61% of first-time buyers made a down payment of 6% or less.

The Takeaway

If you’re currently renting, it’s time to reevaluate your situation. Why throw away nearly 30% of your income on rent when you can spend almost half as much and have a home to show for it?

What Does MLK Have To Do With Real Estate?

Fill in the blank…

“I have a _________…”

I’m about 100% sure I can guess what word you chose.

Was it “dream”?

Good chance it was. We all know this line from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. So when we hear those first three words, it sort of naturally comes to mind.

But what many people aren’t aware of is how much he affected the lives of real estate agents, buyers, and sellers.

It was his death that gave Congress the last push needed to pass the Fair Housing Act, back in 1968. It’s pretty involved, so I won’t get into it all here, but to put it simply…

This was put in place to ban racial discrimination in housing. You can’t be refused the rental or purchase of a house, based upon your race.

Seems simple enough to most people now. A given, if you will. But it didn’t happen overnight. And believe it or not, it still can and does come up.

But guess who’s a big part of making sure this Act is followed…

On the front lines, it is people like me. Real estate agents. We’re tasked with making people aware that discrimination based upon race (and many other things) are not acceptable, and we must refuse to work with anyone who wants to do so.

And I am proud to be a part of this ongoing history.

Just figured I’d take this appropriate moment to pay him some respect, and give you some insight into how much more responsibility a real estate agent has than meets the eye.

That’s all for now…

…and may your dreams come true,

P.S. While my dream of helping people find their dream home is certainly not comparable to Martin Luther King’s dream…

Owning a home has become a huge part of the American Dream.

Please know how seriously I take this career. And how much heart and soul I put into helping people find their dream home.

If you know anyone dreaming of finding a home, please have them give me a call… I’d love to be a part of helping make their dream come true.

(Or maybe you even have a dream we should talk about…)