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According to the ‘2019 Home Buyer Report’ conducted by Nerdwallet, many first-time buyers still believe they need a 20% down payment to buy a home in today’s market:
With the fall season upon us, change is in the air. For many families, children are growing up and moving out of the house, maybe leaving for college or taking a jump into the working world. Parents are finding themselves as empty nesters for the first time. The question inevitably arises: is it finally time to downsize?
If you’re pondering that thought, you may also be wondering if you should fix-up your house before you sell it, or go straight to the market as-is, allowing a potential buyer to do the updates and remodeling. If you’re one of the many homeowners this camp, here are a few tips to help you decide which way to go.
1. Analyze Your Market
A real estate professional can help you to understand your market and the potential level of buyer interest and demand for your home. Are you in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? This can change based on the price range of your home, too. A professional can also give you some insight on what you can change or remodel, and how to declutter your house to make it attractive to buyers in your area.
2. Get an Inspector
Right now, the average length of time a family stays in a home is between 9-10 years. That’s a little longer than the historical average, so if you’ve been living in your home for a while, it might be time to make some significant improvements. Think: electrical system, HVAC units, roof, siding, etc. An inspector can give you a better idea of the condition of your home, if it is up to current code standards, and recommendations on how to have your house ready before you put it on the market.
3. Decide If You Need to Remodel
You may also be thinking about driving buyer appeal with something like a kitchen or a bathroom remodel. If so, first dig into the market value of your home, and compare it to the actual cost of the remodel. A local real estate professional can help you determine your home’s market value, and you’ll want to get a few quotes from contractors on the potential remodel pricing as well. Once you have those two factors narrowed down, you can to decide if a remodel will give you a return on your investment when you sell. Oftentimes, it is actually more advantageous to price your house to sell, list it competitively, and then let the buyer pick the colors they want for their bathroom tiles and the type of countertop they prefer. The 2019 Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine compares the average cost for remodeling projects with the value those projects typically retain at resale.
Nationwide, inventory is low, meaning there is less than the 6-month housing supply needed for a normal market. This drives buyer demand, creating a perfect time to sell. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s get together to help you confidently determine what will be the best choice for you and your family.
Make the outdoors better for you and for others.
More of us are getting outdoors than ever before. We’re breathing the fresh air, getting the shot, taking in the view...and it’s great. To appreciate and protect the natural world, we need to experience it. But, as with any new experience, there’s a learning curve, and there are some things you need to figure out. Getting outside is no different.
That’s where Leave No Trace comes in. The folks at Leave No Trace have defined a list of principles for experiencing everything the outdoors has to offer while leaving minimal impact. These aren't just principles for the backcountry, they are a guide to reduce your impact whenever you're outdoors.
There are seven core principles of Leave No Trace:
To dig into more detail on the Leave No Trace principles check out this story by Sarah Seads.
It All Adds Up
The great thing about these principles is that they’re easy to practice anytime you go outdoors, whether you’re on a picnic at a local park, chilling with friends in the backyard, or spending a day at the beach. Leave No Trace will help you minimize impact in everything you do.
It’s the small things that can make a difference, like checking the weather and knowing that it might rain on your afternoon hike. You’ll be able to pull out a raincoat instead of going off-trail to seek shelter under a tree. Or, picking up crumbs off the picnic table so that wildlife doesn’t get habituated to human interaction.
Want to make it a game? Use Litterati to map and track each piece of waste you pick up. You can keep a running count of your positive impact, and the data helps communities track litter patterns. You'll be surprised at how quickly your eye will begin to notice litter in the world around you, and you'll feel great about being a part of a community picking it up.
Leave No Trace is all about learning the basics and passing them on. Though at first they may seem like big changes, these principles will quickly become a natural part of your outdoor experience. With a few small steps and a willingness to share your knowledge, the places you love can stay in great shape for other visitors and your next visit.
Leave No Trace Hot Spots
Around the United States, some natural areas are getting “loved to death." The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics started the Hot Spot Tour to bring these areas into the spotlight and aid the local community in developing a recovery plan.
For the 2019 tour, Leave No Trace received over 120 nominations for landscapes in need. After selecting 19 landscapes, the organization started working with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, state agencies, non-profits, and land trusts to build programs that address the core issues affecting these landscapes.
Education programs, service projects, and follow-up programs put heavily impacted areas back on the road to recovery and give the core user groups tools to keep them healthy. Check out this year's hot spots–and the steps being taken to protect them–on the Leave No Trace website.
Keeping the lands and waters we enjoy ready for our kids, and our kid's kids, is up to all of us. Practicing Leave No Trace every day will help us get there.
BY: Katheleen Howley
The cheapest financing in almost three years is making it easier for Americans to buy homes.
The Housing Affordability Index from the National Association of Realtors increased to 151.9 in June from 137.7 a year earlier in June. That’s a jump of 10 percent. A higher reading means homes are getting more affordable, per NAR’s magic sauce that measures prices, incomes and financing costs.
Americans trying to buy homes have been challenged with a shortage of available properties and prices that have increased at a faster pace than incomes.
The U.S. median price of an existing single-family home was $288,900 in June, up 4.5% from $276,500, according to the data behind NAR’s affordability index. The median family income was $78,916, up 3.5% from $76,217 a year ago.
The big difference between this June and a year earlier was mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rate was 3.84%, NAR said, compared to 4.74% last year. That meant the average monthly mortgage payment, measuring principal and interest, was $1,082 in June, compared with $1,153 a year ago. The payment as a percentage of income was 16% in June, down from 18% a year earlier.
Rates have dropped since June. The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.6% this week, matching last week, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the lowest rate since November 2016. A year ago, the rate was 4.53%, Freddie Mac said.
VIA: Housing Wire