Category: Starting A Family
Years before I ever dreamed of homeownership for myself, I was an HGTV connoisseur. In college, I double majored in âProperty Virginsâ and âHouse Huntersâ and spent hours glued to the TV with my roommate, ogling other peopleâs granite countertops.
Fast forward nearly a decade, and the time had arrived for me to purchase my own home. (No granite countertops hereâmy house was more like the âbeforeâ scene in an episode of âFixer Upperâ).
Not surprisingly, TV homeownership didnât prepare me for the real thing. There are lots of lessons Iâve had to learn the hard way.
If youâre gearing up for your own journey into homeownership, turn off the TV and gather ’round. Iâll fill you in on a few things I wish I had known beforehand, and a few surprises (some happy, some frustrating) that I encountered along the way.
1. A beautiful yard takes work
I never met a succulent that I didnât kill. Even my fake plants are looking a little wilted right now. But even though I donât have a green thumb, landscaping and yard maintenance are forever on my to-do list.
Each spring, I spray Roundup with impunity, attempting (and failing) to conquer the weeds. My husband handles mowing and edging.
Iâve slowly started to learn which plants can endure abuse, neglect, and a volatile Midwestern climate. I still have a long way to go in my landscaping journey, but all this work has given me a new appreciation for other peopleâs lush, beautiful lawns.
When you’re house hunting, keep in mind that those beautiful lawns you seeâand that outdoor space you covetâcome at a steep price. Either your time and frustration, or a hefty bill for professional landscapers, will be necessary to keep things presentable.
2. You might get a bill for neighborhood improvements
Your property taxes should pay for every improvement to the neighborhood, right? Not necessarily.
When my neighbors came together to petition the city for a speed bump on our busy street, the cost was passed on to us homeowners. It wasnât covered by property taxes, so we got a bill in the mail a few months later. Surprise!
When you’re preparing to buy a house, make sure you budget for homeownership expensesânot just repair and HOA costs, but those pesky fees that crop up when you least expect them.
3. Brush/trash removal? It works differently in every city
As a kid, I spent many fall weekends scooping leaves into yard waste bags that we left on the curb for pickup. But when I became a homeowner, I realized that my early brush with brush removal was unique to the suburb where I grew up. Every city handles it differently, if the city handles it at all.
In Milwaukee, where I live, homeowners can put leaves on the curb for pickup on designated days. For big branches, you need to request a pickup, or potentially dispose of them yourself. Check with your city to find the ordinances and regulations where you live.
4. Youâll want to clean (or hire someone to clean) your nasty windows
Window maintenance was never on my radar as a renter, probably because I never had more than a few windows in an apartment. But then I became the proud owner of many, many windowsâand all of them were coated in a thick film of gunk after years of neglect.
After we moved in, I started to tackle the cleaning on my own. But I quickly realized I was getting nowhere fast, and there was no way I could safely clean the exterior windows up in the finished attic.
So, I swallowed my pride and hired window washers. It was some of the best money Iâve ever spent.
5. You may feel a sudden urge to stock up on seasonal decorations
I never looked twice at a $50 wreath or decorative gourd before becoming a homeowner. Now, I have a burgeoning collection of lawn ornaments in the shape of snowmen and spooky cats. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.
6. Youâll need to create a budget for Halloween candy
At least I did in my Halloween-loving neighborhood, where the trick-or-treaters come out in droves.
I spent upward of $100 on candy my first year as a homeowner, and most of it was purchased in a panic at the Dollar Store after I noticed that our supply was dangerously low just halfway through the evening.
Now, I stock up in advance and shop with coupons to save a few bucks.
7. DIY renovation is equally rewarding and soul-crushing
For the first few months after we closed on our house, my husband and I spent every free hour after work and on the weekends ripping out carpeting, pulling nails one by one from the hardwood floors, and scrubbing away at generations’ worth of grime in the bathrooms and kitchen. It was some seriously sick stuff.
Being frugal and ambitious means we can accomplish a lot on a small budget. But acting as our own general contractors became a full-time job on top of both of our full-time jobs.
Simple pleasures like âhaving a social lifeâ or âFriday night with Netflixâ became distant memories. Itâs easy now to say it was all worth it, but at the time, I daydreamed about winning the lottery and hiring a team of pros to handle our rehab.
Watch: Here’s How Low You Can Go in Making an Offer on a Home
8. My impulse to check real estate listings lingered for a while
When I started house hunting, I obsessively searched for new home listings every day, poring over MLS descriptions and swiping through photos. Reaching for my phone to refresh the realtor.com app became muscle memory.
But after we closed on our house, my impulse to follow the market didnât disappear overnight. Even though I was a homeowner, I also had a phantom limb where âchecking the real estate listingsâ used to be.
A friend of mine put it best when she wrote about the sensation of loss she experienced when she âno longer had an excuse to occupy [her] free time with these real estate apps.â Itâs surprisingly challenging to turn off your home-buying brain after months of being on high alert.
9. Youâll never want to go back to sharing walls
I like my neighbors. I like them even more because, for the most part, I canât hear them. Gone are the days of people above me making bowling sounds late at night.
Now, I enjoy the sweet, sweet silence of detached livingâno adjacent neighbors blasting music or loudly quarreling. All the yard work in the world is worth it for this level of quiet.
The post 9 Things I Wish I Had Known About Owning My First Home (Before I Bought It) appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
One year ago, as 2019 came to a close, experts were predicting a highly competitive Arizona housing market for 2020. A few months into the year, however, there was some doubt cast on those predictions as the COVID-19 pandemic created uncertainty as to whether or not the housing market would stay strong.
Those doubts proved to be unnecessary, however, as the Arizona market performed even better than expected throughout 2020.
Hot Competition in the 2020 Market
Average sale price trended steadily higher throughout 2020, ending with a year-over-year increase of 18%. Monthly sales trended higher and higher throughout the year, as well. After a slight dip in during April and May, June jumped right back up with a 38.6% increase from previous months.
The average number of days homes spent on the market also dropped down to 41, compared to the 2019 year-end number of 60. Homes in Arizona continue to sell faster and faster.
2021 Forecast, Higher Prices & Continued Demand
A Strong Sellersâ Market
According to the National Association of Realtors, the Phoenix Metro Area is expected to be in the top 10 U.S. housing markets in 2021. This is great news for sellers in the area as homes will likely sell quickly and for good prices.
When a housing market is especially beneficial to home sellers, itâs called a sellersâ market. This is often caused by decreasing inventory and increasing demand, which is what weâre seeing in the Phoenix metro area.
In fact, the final months of 2020 saw record-low numbers of homes listed for sale, and yet the number of homes selling is at record-highs. This creates a limited supply of homes for prospective buyers, causing homes to sell faster and home values to rise. This sellersâ market is expected to continue throughout the upcoming year.
Increasing Home Prices and Home Sales
Realtor.com predicts Arizona home values will increase by 7% during 2021. The number of home sales in Arizona is also expected to rise in 2021. With an 11.4% predicted increase, you can expect this housing market to stay hot.
A hot market like this one has benefits for both buyers and sellers. Homeowners can expect home values to increase, which allows for greater profits during a sale. On the other hand, prospective homebuyers can be confident that their new homeâs value will appreciate sooner rather than later.
Why Work With an Agent?
Real estate agents are your number one resource when it comes to buying or selling a home. Agents, like the pros at Homie, know all the ins and outs of the market. They have experience recognizing details that other people may not see.
Whether youâre looking for your perfect starter home or youâre selling in preparation for a big move, your agent can help you get the best deal possible. You wonât want to navigate the red hot Arizona real estate market without one!
Talk to A Homie in 2021
If youâre looking to make the most of the strong sellersâ market in 2021 by selling your home, click here to get in touch with us and start your listing.
If your 2021 plans include finding an awesome deal on a new home, let one of our buyerâs agents help you find the home thatâs perfect for you. Click here to start the process!
The post Real Estate Market 2020 Recap & 2021 Forecast Greater Phoenix Metro Area, AZ appeared first on Homie Blog.
The coronavirus has galvanized many die-hard city dwellers to pack up and flee for the suburbs or beyond. But how easy is it to pull off such a drastic move during a pandemic?
Just ask Angela Caban, a former Broadway dancer and decorative painter who, after 28 years of living in New York City, reached her breaking point in April. Quarantined in a cramped apartment in Queens, hearing sirens wailing all night, she decided to buy a house in Charleston, SC,Â an area she’d grown to love during her frequent work trips there over the years.
Yet since Caban was on lockdown in New York, she had to shop for homes remotely and make offers without seeing places in person. Here’s what it was like to buy a house sight unseen, and the lessons she learned that might inspire other longtime urbanites and first-time home buyers to make the leap themselves.
Location: Hanahan, SC
House specs: 1,804 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, separate barn
List price: $234,000
Price paid: $232,000
How did the pandemic play into your decision to leave NYC?
You give up a lot to live in New York because it has a lot to offer, but when those things go away, you start to question why youâre giving up so much.
Once COVID-19 hit in March, April, and May, I was stuck in my apartment for three months straight with no work. I wasn’t getting unemployment because that hadnât kicked in. I had no outdoor space to speak of. I just wanted to have some room to roam, be in nature, and not feel desperate. Thatâs what put me over the edge.
I felt like no matter how difficult New York had been in the past, this was a whole new ball of wax. I was there for 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. When other tragedies had hit New York City, people were saying, “Weâre in this together.”
When COVID-19 hit, all of a sudden there was suspicion. Everybody was frightened of everyone else.
Watch: Listing Agents Answer Our Burning Questions About the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ House
The ambulance sirens were nonstop. Plus, my small apartment was directly on the street, with the garbage cans right outside my window. So when I tried to open the windows during the pandemic, there were roaches coming in. I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.”
What made you choose Charleston as your new home?
Iâd have work meetings down here, and I had fallen in love with the area. I liked the sense of history, the weather. And financially it was doable. My mortgage now is less than half my rent for my tiny apartment in New York City.
How did your house hunt go?
I started looking near the end of April. I put an initial offer in on a house that fell through after the home inspector I’d sent to look at it said it would fall down in two years. Then I was in a panic because Iâd already given notice on my New York apartment. So basically I had six weeks total to find another house and close on it.Â
What were your biggest challenges?
There was no inventory. Every house I looked at and said, “Oh, that’s a possibility,” would be gone by the time I called. An hour after being listed, the house would no longer be accepting offers!
How did you find the house you eventually bought?
Lucky for me, this house had been on the market for 60 days. I don’t know if it was because the photos were crappy, or the fact that the neighborhood was considered a little dicey. But Iâm from New York, so the neighborhood seemed comfortable to me. I put an offer in within 48 hours of losing the other house.Â
Wasn’t it scary to buy a house you hadn’t seen in person?
I was emboldened because I could always back outâyou have two weeks to do so when bidding on a house. So I got in the car and drove down to look at it two days after my offer was accepted. I literally did it all in one day; it took me 12 hours to drive down. I saw the house and drove around for about two hours, and then I drove back because I had to start packing! I literally didn’t sleep for 26 hours. It’s probably why I have more gray hair now than I should.
How did the house look once you saw it, compared with the photos online?
It was much better than I thought. There is a lot of detailing, dental molding, wainscoting, and paneling in the living room, along with 16 windows that let in a lot of light. Plus, there’s the barn in the back that is another 600 square feet or so. My eventual plan is to make a workshop and a place to make art and teach.
How was the mortgage process?
It was a nightmare. Nobody wants to give mortgages to a single, female, sole proprietor who does not have pay stubsâespecially during COVID-19, when theyâre afraid people may default on their loan. They had also enacted new COVID-19 regulations that meant I had a boatload more paperwork. I had to submit letters from clients, proposals for work that was going to happen, invoices for work that I was still waiting to be paid for. … It was insane. I joked with them that I had to give them everything except a bone scan.
How did you finally secure the loan?
Thanks to the help of my real estate agent, John Bell of Southern Bell Living, and his mortgage broker, Ethan Lane at Mortgage Network. They were amazing, and I was an absolute basket case: “What else do you want from me? I have no place to go. I’m going to be homeless!”
I look forward to giving them both a hug someday after COVID-19 is under control.
How did you close on the house during the pandemic?
That is a whole additional saga. I was finishing up a painting job in New York when all of a sudden on Friday they said, “You’re closing on Monday,” so I had to get an attorney to attend the closing for me. To get that, I had to get a statement notarized. In the middle of COVID-19! I met the notary on the street, but then I had to have two witnesses! It took me asking 18 strangers to find two people who said they’d help.
How did you pull off a move during the pandemic?
I couldnât get a truck in New York. So I packed my car and drove down to Charleston, where I dropped off my cats in the new house. Then I rented a U-Haul and drove it back to New York, hired two guys who then met me at my old apartment, packed the truck. Drove it back down to South Carolina, where I hired two more guys to help me unload the truck, and voilÃ .
Was leaving New York hard after living there for 28Â years?
Leaving was difficult because you almost feel like itâs a badge of honor that you’re a survivor in New York City. But down here, I finally feel like I can actually live my life instead of just trying to make it from one month to the next. I can think big thoughts and make big things happen, for which I simply didnât have the energy in New York.
Now that you’ve lived in Charleston for a few months, how are you feeling?
It’s like I can finally breathe, and I absolutely love it. I sit every morning out on my back patio and watch woodpeckers, blue jays, and cardinals. I have roses that are blooming that I planted.
What advice would you give first-time home buyers and others looking to move now?
When you’re looking at homes online, don’t immediately discount a property just by how it looks in its photos. It’s like online dating that way. You need to see how it feels once you’re face to face and interacting with the space. Luckily, though, the minute I saw it in person, I knew I would be very happy here.
The post ‘I Bought This House Based on Listing Photos Alone’: Was It Worth the Risk? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The local Arizona housing market has been hot nearly all year long. As we get closer and closer to the yearâs end, will the trends continue? We checked out all the stats for Arizonaâs market during November. Check out what we found out!
According to data from the ARMLS Â® from November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020, monthly sales in the Phoenix metro area rose significantly from where they were at this same time last year. With a +27.4% year-over-year increase, sales landed at 8,886 for the month.
While this number is a slight drop from the previous month of October, the -8.3% month-to-month decrease in sales is in line with the typical slow down in the market as the year starts wrapping up.
At $453.9K, November saw a +6.4% year-over-year increase in average list price. Median prices also rose. With a +10.0% increase from November 2019, the median list price in November was $330K.
Average sale prices increased by +18.0% between November 2019 and November 2020, landing at $418.7K. With a slightly smaller jump, median sale prices still rose significantly with +16.8% year-over-year increase. The November median sale price was $331.0K.
As forecasts predicted, these numbers are slightly lower than sale prices in October of this year. The average sale price was -1.5% lower than that of October and the median sale price was -1% lower. For next month, the average sale price is projected to increase, while the median sale price is expected to have another small decrease. Check back next month to see how these forecasts turn out.
Days on Market (DOM)
While many metrics in the market slowed down this November compared to the previous month, the Average Cumulative Days on Market did not. This number continues to steadily drop, showing homes are being sold more and more quickly. Landing at 41, the Average DOM saw a 2-day decrease from October of this year and a 17-day decrease from November of last year.
Want to Know Your Homeâs Value?
If youâre thinking of selling soon, youâre probably wondering how much your home is worth. Click here to request your free home value report from a Homie pro!
A Message From Sales and Operations Manager, Wayne Graham
Going into December, inventory is 28.2% lower than it was a year ago. In fact, some areas are experiencing record low levels of inventory. However, In contrast to the record low levels of inventory, weâre seeing record-high levels of sales. Demand increased by 27.4% between November 2019 and November 2020. Low supply and high demand are one of the surest guarantees of rising sales prices.
But even though prices are rising, according to the National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index it is still very affordable to buy a home in Phoenix compared to historical market trends. This is still possible because of extremely low-interest rates. So overall, home affordability is still in a good historical place in the Phoenix area.
Turn to a Homie
With our dedicated team of professionals, we can help you navigate the real estate market easier than ever. Click to start selling or buying with a dedicated and experienced Homie agent.
The post Homieâs Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update November 2020 appeared first on Homie Blog.
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For first-time home buyers, finding the perfect place to settle down is hard enough. But then to have the offer youâve made on it rejected? You might be tempted to start reconsidering this whole homeownership thing altogether.
But hold on! Having your home offer rejected doesn’t have to mean it’s back to renting. In fact, if you play your cards right, you might just be able to turn that rejection aroundâor at least learn from the experience and come back a stronger candidate the next time.
The most important aspect of a rejected offer is understanding why it was rejected, and for that we turned to the experts. Here are a few common reasons your home offer might have been rejected, and a few helpful tips on what you can do about it.
3 common reasons sellers reject home offers
Home offers are rejected for myriad reasons. Here are some of the most common ones, as explained by the experts.
1. Your offer was too low
The first and most obvious reason your home offer could have been rejected is if the dollar amount didnât meet the sellerâs expectations. This might mean your offer was insultingly low, or that it was just low compared with other offers.
Often, buyers “believe the best way to start a negotiation is with an offer thatâs lower than what theyâre willing to pay,” says Colby Hager, owner of CapstoneHomebuyers. “This can work, but it can also backfire. When a seller is considering multiple offers, the low offer seems less serious and could indicate further negotiating headaches down the road.â
Keep in mind that sellers are looking for a good deal just as much as you are, and you should plan on working with your real estate agent to make sure the sellers at least feelÂ like theyâre getting one.
2. Your earnest money deposit was too ‘cheap’
If thereâs one part of the offer you shouldnât cheap out on, itâs the earnest money deposit. This deposit (also called an EMD or âgood faithâ deposit) basically signifies how interested you are in the home and that you plan on moving forward with the deal, all the way to its closing.
âBelieve it or not, there are buyers who get cold feet and walk away from a transaction days before closing,â says Shannon Hall, broker and owner of Dwellings by Rudy & Hall. âThe EMD should be enough to let a seller know you’re very interested, and also uncomfortable with the idea of leaving it on the table.â
Since many contracts stipulate that a seller can keep the earnest money deposit when a buyer walks at the last minute, you should feel certain about the houseâand then convey this certainty by leaving a significant deposit.
Hager recommends putting down at least 1% of the purchase price to show sellers you mean business.
3. You asked for too many contingencies
Sellers donât just want the best price for their home; they also want the easiest dealâwhich means no complications.
âSellers like the least number of contingencies,” stresses Hall.
“But thatâs not to say that a buyer should waive the due diligence period,â she adds. âMake it shorter, but donât waive it. And if you need multiple contingencies, that’s fine; but look for a home thatâs been on the market for at least 30 days.â
Since sellers are generally more willing to make concessions on a home theyâve been trying to sell for several weeks, this is a good approach to take if youâre a picky buyer with multiple contingencies.
âSellers also don’t like to give away their money to help someone get into a home,â says Hall.
Make your deal an easier and more appealing one for sellers by sticking to the fewest number of contingencies possible, getting due diligence done quickly, or targeting homes that have been on the market for longer.
Watch: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Buying a Home
What to do if your home offer is rejected
The first step is understanding why the offer was rejected in the first place.
âIf an offer was rejected, a buyer can try again, depending on the reason it was rejected,â explains Karen Parnes, broker and owner of NextHome Your Way.
âIf you need a certain home sale contingency, for instance, and can’t remove it, then move on,” Parnes says. “But if you can pay more and the market warrants it, resubmit a better offer.â
How to avoid future home offer rejections
Although rejection is sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to increase your chances of making a successful home offer.
For instance, âa buyer should come into the market already aware that he or she will have competition,â Hall says.
In addition to putting your best foot forward, you should be sure youâre working with an agent who has the skills to close the deal.
âA good real estate agent can help by guiding the buyer on the expected norms of offers in their area,â says Hager.Â âA real estate agent will also know the market and help you figure out if starting with a lower offer is advisableâor if a strong offer out of the gate will get the best results.â
One final bit of advice: Work with an agent who understands seller interests.
âThe buyer’s agents who most often win the day are the ones who reach out to sellers before submitting an offer,â says Hager. âThey have the best chance of not being rejected because they took the time to understand the seller’s situation.â
And if your home offer still gets dismissed, donât be too disappointed. In a seller’s market, “buyers are bound to have their offers rejected,â says Parnes. âHomes are coming off the market quickly, and sellers’ expectations are high.â
If your offer gets rejected, work with an agent to fix it or simply move on to the next home. Then make an offer the seller canât resist.
The post 3 Big Reasons Your Home Offer Was Rejectedâand How To Play It Right Next Time appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.