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Should You Try to Time the Housing Market

12/1/2022

Should you time the housing market

It’s been the year for contradictions in the housing market. Housing sales are decelerating, home builders are slowing down production and mortgage interest rates are more than double what they were a year ago. Mortgage applications are at their lowest level in 22 years. However, home prices remain near record highs, driven by low supplies, household formations by Millennial and Gen-Z homebuyers, and a strong job market. Is now the time to buy, or should you wait for housing prices and rates to come down? 

Timing the housing market is seldom a good idea, especially during market volatility. Only you know if the time is right for you to become a homeowner, but if you’re uncertain, consider the following:

1.     Even if home prices fall, they won’t do so everywhere. Prices in areas with plentiful jobs may go flat for a while, but they won’t fall significantly.

2.     Efforts to curb inflation will eventually result in lower mortgage interest rates.

3.     Buying a home is a long-term investment and a hedge against inflation. Buy when you plan to stay in the home for several years or longer, allowing you time to build equity and recover your closing costs.

4.     Buy when it’s affordable and the right lifestyle choice, even if you have to choose a smaller home or a lesser neighborhood.

5.     The smartest investors don’t wait for the bottom to buy, because there’s no predicting when that will be, if ever. Waiting could price you out of the market. 


Have any more questions or are curious about what is going on in your city? Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.  Your Forever Agent.

Guidelines For Safe, Clean Remodeling

11/23/2022
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As much as you’d like to rely on the professionalism of remodeling contractors (or yourself if you’re DIYing the renovation your home) the most important thing to be done is to keep the work site as dust-free and clean as possible.

Dust is one of the biggest dangers to the health of people and pets during a remodeling project. According to Buildclean.com, dust can include harmful substances such as dirt; organic matter from rodent feces and dead bugs; drywall, cement and sawdust materials; silica, asbestos and lead particles; mold and mildew; and volatile organic compounds like aerosols, paint, cleansers and solvents. The smaller the particles, the more dangerous they are, says the Environmental Protection Agency, especially those not visible to the naked eye.

Protective measures should include personal protective equipment for dust-generating work, such as facial masks, safety glasses, Tyvek disposable coveralls, shoe covers, and chemical-resistant gloves. Don’t allow anyone unauthorized to enter the work space, especially without protective gear. Because dust is so easily airborne, no one should eat or drink inside the work space.  

Prevent airborne dust from traveling to other parts of the residence. Limit traffic to and from the work space to prevent dust and debris being tracked elsewhere in the house. Turn off ceiling fans and air conditioning during dust-generating work. Cover vents, doorways and floors with plastic sheeting. Remove or cover furniture, wall décor, house plants and decorative accessories. Clean up, seal off and remove excess dust and debris from the work site daily.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.


Housing Sales Soften While Prices Escalate

11/17/2022
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This summer has been tumultuous for homebuyers and home sellers as they navigated blistering inflation, higher mortgage interest rates, and record home prices. But, the latest existing housing sales report from the National Association of REALTORS suggests that the market may be headed toward stabilization.

Housing sales volume in July 2022 retreated 5.9% from the previous month and was 20.2% lower than in July 2021. Meanwhile, median home prices shrank from $413,800 in June to $403,800 in July, but prices were still 10.8% higher than a year ago in July 2021, marking 125 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.

Among the reasons cited for the declines was mortgage interest rates that went above 6% in June, but have since fallen to nearly 5%. Compared to 2021 when the average commitment rate for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.96%, consumers paid double that percentage (5.41%) for the same loan in July 2022.

Homes are staying on the market slightly longer – from 2.6 months of inventory on hand in July 2021 to 3.3 month’s supply in July 2022. Yet, housing sales are still brisk. Eighty-two percent of homes sold in July 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

Housing shortages still abound, which is why prices aren’t falling any more than they have. Exacerbating the shortage is a slowdown in new single-family home starts as home builders turn instead to multi-family projects.

If interest rates and home prices continue to drop, sales volume could heat up again.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.

Don't Trust Credit Reporting Agencies

11/10/2022
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When you apply for a mortgage loan, or any credit, the lender relies on information that is supplied by lenders, landlords, government agencies, courts, and credit card companies to three credit reporting bureau, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Numerical values are assigned to defaults and late payments, income-to-debt ratios, types of credit and other data. The values are compiled into credit scores which provide a snapshot of your credit worthiness to anyone authorized to make inquiries.

According to a 2021 investigation by ConsumerReports.org, more than one-third of 6,000 surveyed consumers found at least one mistake in their credit reports and nearly as many found incorrect personal information such as names and addresses while 11 percent found account information errors. These errors can cause your credit scores to fall, making you pay more in interest for loans and credit lines, or in the worst cases, being denied credit altogether. 

What can you do? Get a three-bureau report and check for errors. One bureau may have accurate data while another can have incorrect or outdated information that can lower your credit scores. Sometimes, the incorrect data comes from the data furnisher – the lender, landlord, lien holder, etc. You’ll have to contact the data furnisher with proof of payment or release of lien or other evidence. Obtain a written statement of resolution to give to the credit bureau and to your mortgage lender via certified mail to make sure they get it.

Keep checking your credit at least once a year.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.


Design-It-Yourself Decorative Fabric

11/3/2022
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You want your home to reflect your personality, and one adventurous way to decorate it is by designing and printing your own fabric. As your own artist, you can personalize your home with unique colorways, designs and patterns for curtains, pillows, wall hangings, upholstery, or household items like table toppers, dish towels, pot holders and more.

ArtFabrics.com offers a way to you create your own design using their Pattern Lab. You can browse the site’s patterns or you can upload an image of your own, control how it repeats and the colors you prefer. At Zazzle.com, you may choose existing designs and modify colors, shapes and sizes of the prints to your needs. Spoonflower.com is a terrific source of artisan fabric if you prefer something original but don’t want to design it yourself.

Next, choose the fabric composition that you want – all cotton, linen, silks, polyesters and blends. The site will tell you which weaves and thicknesses are most appropriate for your project. You can order a sample book and feel the “hand” of the various samples to make your choice.

Digital printing on fabric is vivid and clear when it employs “reactive” rather than pigment printing methods. Reactive ink penetrates the fabric while pigment ink, a combination of color and glue adheres to the surface and is susceptible to fading, cracking and stiffness.

If you don’t know how to sew or reupholster a chair seat, look online for tutorials or you could hire someone to make your decorative items for you.


Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.

Design-it-yourself Wallpaper

10/26/2022
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Your home can reflect your personality and taste in unique ways by designing your own peel-and-stick wallpaper. But there’s a lot to consider – pattern size and scale, how to repeat the design; colorways; and of course, choosing which walls you want to accent.

Start with a search on the Internet of motifs you like, such as geometrics, abstracts, flowers, or landscapes. Redraw them yourself on paper, play with the styles, colors and designs you like best, take a picture on your phone, and then upload it to the device you want to use. Or, download a free drawing app like Autodesk Sketchbook or Krita directly from Techjunkie.com to your mobile device.

Once you have a design you like, save it to the cloud, then contact a customizer such as Tempaper.com to help you “see” your design. You can also get design assistance from the site for $75 per hour. Sites like Spoonflower.com and Zazzle.comcan also help, and you can use your designs on art prints, stationery, and other paper or fabric goods.

Wallpaper is sold by the square foot, so you’ll need to measure the height and width of the wall you want to embellish. Upload your image file and add it to the cart where you can order a sample to see how it will look. Because the custom papers are digitally printed, you won’t be able to order textured or metallic finishes.

The design process can be lengthy, but it’s worth it to personalize your décor.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.


Investment Real Estate Percentage Rules

10/19/2022
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Have you ever wondered what the formula is to make money in real estate? Guidelines or rules can help you gauge profitability and improve your results before you invest in a home to flip and resell quickly, or a rental home.

Home flippers use the 70% rule, meaning that the maximum price you pay for a property to flip should be no more than 70% of the home’s after-repair value (ARV) minus the costs of improvements. Rocketmortgage.comsuggests you determine the maximum selling price by studying comparable area homes in similar condition to your planned renovations. Use this calculation: The After-repair value (ARV) ? .70 − Estimated repair costs = Maximum buying price.

For real estate rental properties, the 1% rule and the 50% rule are quick ways to determine if a property is a good buy-and-hold investment. The 1% rule means you should be able to charge no less than one percent of a property’s purchase price: $300,000 purchase price = $3,000 gross monthly rent.

To help you determine cash slow, Smartasset.com suggests that a property’s operating expenses should be roughly 50% of its gross income. If the property generates $3,000 a month in gross rent, the 50% rule is that you earmark $1,500 for expenses, excluding mortgage payments, HOA fees and property management costs. Whatever remains is your net operating income.

These percentage rules are only guidelines. Investors should research market conditions and plan for vacancies, unexpected repairs, and the possibility of rising operating costs.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.


Is Now the Time to Remodel?

10/12/2022
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With today’s runaway inflation and rising interest rates, it may seem like a good idea to put your remodeling plans on hold. Or, maybe not.

According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University,  remodeling expenditures are expected to cool down from 17.4 percent in 2022 to 10.1 percent by Q2-2023, citing steep slowdowns in homebuilding, retail sales of building materials, and renovation permits. While that may appear ominous, researchers say remodeling expenditures should reach $450 billion, well above the five percent historical average.

As existing and new home sales decelerate, so will the need for contractors and materials. BusinessInsider.com reports that lumber prices are already down to $604.50 per thousand board feet in July 2022, falling 47% year-to-date, and 65% off from the 2021 high of $1,733 per thousand board feet. Inventories are starting to pile up at both sawmills and home improvement stores, making contractors more affordable and available. As the cost to build declines, inflationary pressures on the housing market should subside.

But as long as overall inflation is still a problem, the Federal Reserve will keep raising overnight borrowing rates to banks, increasing the likelihood of a recession. Economists polled by Bloomberg.com say that over the next 12 months, a mild, brief recession is 47.5% likely.

If you decide to remodel, it’s wise to stay in your home for at least five years to comfortably weather any housing market volatility.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.

Buying Lifestyle Real Estate

10/5/2022
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As you dream about how you’d like to live in your next home, you’re joining a growing cadre of homebuyers who value lifestyle over luxury and quality over quantity. The property you choose is paramount to having more comfort and convenience in your daily life.

For some, lifestyle is about displaying wealth, such as a big home in a pricey neighborhood. For others, it’s about location, like living on the beach or in a ski-in/ski-out mountain chalet. And for some, it’s about exclusivities, such as a guard-gated community or an over-55 master-planned development with golf, swimming, walking trails, and clubhouses.

Lifestyle is about having the time, space, and equipment to do the things you want to do. According to LuxuryActivist.com, time is the ultimate luxury. Your home should facilitate more time for family and friends, hobbies and interests, and healthy exercise.

When you shop for a home, look carefully at how space is allocated for each room and activity. Is the kitchen arranged comfortably for family meal preparation? Is there space for you and your partner to each have a home office? Can you also have a weight room, an art studio, or a media room? Your lifestyle may also prioritize sustainability through solar-power and xeriscaped lawns.

Your lifestyle should be free from compromise, like suffering a long daily commute to fund a dream home. Once you’ve moved, take the time to enjoy your home, play with your children, and watch glorious sunset views from your balcony.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.

How NIMBYism Stunts Housing Growth

9/30/2022
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In addition to supply chain interruptions, high material costs and labor shortages, badly needed new home construction is also being curtailed by NIMBYism, says the National Association of Home Builders. “Not in my backyard” homeowners may not realize that by preventing development in their towns and neighborhoods that they’re making homeownership much more expensive for themselves as well as others.

The root cause of nimbyism is that homeowners are afraid that their home values will fall if they allow less expensive homes to be built in their neighborhoods. While this is common in master-planned developments that require new homes to be built using only construction and materials approved by the homeowner’s association, many communities have put their land-use regulations and restrictions in place against rental properties or smaller multi-family homes being built next to single-family homes.

Detached single-family home zoning means that builders can only build a single-family home on a given lot, which prevents more affordable multi-family homes such as duplexes, townhomes and apartments from being built. The net result is fewer available homes to rent or buy and skyrocketing prices. As land values increase, these limitations prevent workforce personnel such as fire fighters, police, paramedics, teachers and others from living in the communities they serve.

Housing regulations and restrictions are set by individual cities and counties and some states, including Oregon and Washington, rewrote statutes to make affordable housing a protected class for fair housing.

Please contact me at LaurelRobinson@bhhsnwre.com with questions or for more information.

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