For Buyers For Sellers Pricing

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree.

The uncertainty the world faces today due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many things to change. The way we interact, the way we do business, even the way we buy and sell real estate is changing. This is a moment in time that’s even sparking some buyers to search for a better deal on a home. Sellers, however, aren’t offering a discount these days; they’re holding steady on price.

According to the most recent NAR Flash Survey (a survey of real estate agents from across the country), agents were asked the following two questions:

1. “Have any of your sellers recently reduced their price to attract buyers?”

Their answer: 72% said their sellers have not lowered prices to attract buyers during this health crisis.

2. “Are home buyers expecting lower prices now?”

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree. | MyKCM

Their answer: 63% of agents said their buyers were looking for a price reduction of at least 5%.

What We Do Know 

In today’s market, with everything changing and ongoing questions around when the economy will bounce back, it’s interesting to note that some buyers see this time as an opportunity to win big in the housing market. On the other hand, sellers are much more confident that they will not need to reduce their prices in order to sell their homes. Clearly, there are two different perspectives at play.

Bottom Line

If you’re a buyer in today’s market, you might not see many sellers lowering their prices. If you’re a seller and don’t want to lower your price, you’re not alone. If you have questions on how to price your home, let’s connect today to discuss your real estate needs and next steps.

Home Improvement

7 Ways to Enjoy the Home Outdoors

In this current moment when many of us are staying home, one of the best remedies to help alleviate some of the stress is to head outside and get some fresh air – preferably at least six feet or more away from your neighbor. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, whether you have a sprawling backyard or a smidgen of a patio, make the most of your home outdoors with these seven ideas for improving your outdoor area.

Curate an outdoor lounge space

Had to cancel a beach vacation you planned for spring break or summer? Set up an outdoor lounge space on your patio or in the yard to give your outdoor space a tropical feel. You can either scour the internet for lounge chairs, chaise lounges, hammocks, and outdoor sectionals or create your own, like a one-of-a-kind outdoor lounge bed. All you need to complete this project is a platform bed frame, a futon mattress, and outdoor fabric to cover it. (If you’re not handy with the sewing machine, this would be a simple task for a local upholsterer to tackle.) Plop some outdoor pillows on top for added comfort and style. 

To complete your lounge, add in some side tables, a few candles, and maybe a glass of wine to create that all-inclusive atmosphere.

DIY outdoor movie theater

The movie theaters may be off-limits for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t re-create the experience in your own private outdoor space. Though you’ve likely seen elaborate backyard movie theater setups, it doesn’t have to be complicated: All you need is a white sheet that can be tautly mounted on a flat surface (a shed or siding on your apartment patio will do just fine), a projector and your phone to play movies, TV shows or whatever else you’re binging these days. 

Don’t have access to a projector? It’s surprisingly simple to make one out of a shoebox, some cardboard, and a magnifying glass. Round up your favorite patio chairs or arrange your outdoor cushions, make some popcorn, and enjoy your movie with the background noise of the crickets chirping.

Create an outdoor bar

It may be a while before you can go back to your favorite dive bar or swanky cocktail lounge, so why not create your own for your outdoor space? You can, of course, buy a bar online, or you can repurpose an old table or desk – or even get crafty with some cinder blocks, concrete glue, and a few 1 x 6 boards to create your very own. Gather your Bluetooth speaker, your favorite cocktail ingredients and a few glasses to get the ambiance of your favorite bar right at home. Here are a few ideas for inspiration, including bars you can squeeze into the smallest of outdoor spaces. 

Beautify a barn or shed

A barn or a shed is a utilitarian structure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an eyesore. Spruce it up by painting it a bold color, attaching some shutters, adding some flower boxes, installing a stone path or even stringing up some lights to zhuzh up that forgotten space in the backyard. 

DIY fire pit

Just because many of the state parks or campsites are closed doesn’t mean you have to miss out on everyone’s favorite camping activity: the campfire. You can easily create a DIY fire pit for your backyard in seven steps, which only requires a few supplies you can pick up curbside at your local home improvement store. Not a big DIYer? You can always buy a prefab fire bowl that’s just as effective at creating that warm, cozy campfire glow.

Make an al fresco dining destination

We’re all getting a little tired of eating in our kitchens (or, maybe in front of our televisions) night after night. Mix it up a little by making an al fresco dining destination in your backyard or patio. In addition to an outdoor dining table and chairs, lay down an outdoor rug and string up a strand of lights or craft yourself an outdoor chandelier to transform your evening meals. 

Create a meditation zone

Missing your yoga studio? You can still do a restorative practice and a Shavasana at home – and make it even better by creating a meditation zone in your backyard. Plant a garden with calming scents like lavender or jasmine, create a stepping stone path to your meditation spot or even build yourself a standing tent or cabana with curtains that blow in the warm, calming breeze.

For Buyers First Time Home Buyers For Sellers Housing Market Updates

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever

For years, we’ve all heard about the most desirable home features buyers are looking for, from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, master suites, and more. The latest on the hotlist, however, might surprise you: home offices.

In a recent article by George Ratiu, Senior Economist, he notes how listings with an office are selling quickly:

“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever | MyKCM

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and that’s not just because the current pandemic is prompting businesses to operate virtually. According to the same piece and the most recent data available, the number of employees working at home was fairly steady from 1997 – 2004 but has been climbing ever since (see graph below):Clearly, the work-from-home population is growing, and technology is making it possible. Just last month, according to an article on Think Google, searches for telecommuting hit an all-time high, and that’s certainly no surprise given our current situation.

People all over the U.S. are looking for answers on how to be most effective at home, and it’s making the ideal workspace more and more desirable. In fact, best practices from seasoned work-from-home professionals, like Chris Anderson, Senior Account Executive at HousingWire, tout that having a dedicated space is a must for productivity.

With today’s increasing demand for home offices, it’s a great feature to highlight within your listing if you’re selling a house that may meet this growing need. From bright natural light with large windows to built-in bookshelves or a quiet and secluded atmosphere, whatever makes your office space shine is worth mentioning to buyers when you’re ready to list your house.

Ratiu concludes:

“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”

Bottom Line

Remote work may become more widely accepted as this current crisis teaches businesses throughout the country what it takes to function virtually. So, what seems like a business challenge today may be more of the norm tomorrow. With that in mind, if you have a home office, your house may be more desirable to buyers than you think.

Home Improvement

Do It Together: 5 Home Projects for You and Your Household Helpers

While the kids are out of school, the adults are doing everything they can to keep their little ones safe and healthy at home – and find creative ways to alleviate the boredom and frustration they may be feeling after weeks away from their school friends or grandparents.

With just a few materials you can order online (or pick up curbside at the home improvement store) and some tools you likely have lying around the house, you can keep those little hands busy while giving your house some TLC.

Here are five DIY projects to improve your home and give your kids a productive outlet for their energy.

Build raised garden beds

It seems like everyone is jumping on the gardening bandwagon and creating “victory” COVID-19 gardens. A garden not only gives you the benefit of fresh herbs, vegetables, or flowers, it’s also a natural outdoor classroom for your kids – helping them learn measurements, basic botany facts, and giving them a boost to their mental and physical well-being

Raised garden beds help plants thrive because they’re easier to maintain, and they are a fairly easy project for children to assist with. To make a 4×4 raised garden bed, all you need are the following:

  • Eight untreated 2x4s that are 4 feet long
  • Four untreated 12-inch 4×4 corner posts
  • A box of 4-inch wood screws
  • A drill 

To construct the rectangular box, attach two 2x4s to each corner post (stacking them vertically). Have your older child hold the boards securely in place as you drill. When you’re finished building your structure, kids of all ages can assist you with picking out a sunny spot in the backyard for your raised garden bed and help you pour in the soil and plant your veggies or flowers.

Give your mailbox a makeover

Brighten up your humdrum mailbox and give your heroic postal worker something to smile about when they deliver your mail. This project is best suited for those kids who can comfortably wear a face mask and use a spray paint can responsibly. To give your mailbox a facelift, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Protective masks* 
  • Painters tape
  • Aluminum primer
  • Metal paint spray paint in a vibrant color

Tag team sanding off rust and old paint on your mailbox while wearing protective masks. Then, have your child assist you with placing painters tape over any address numbers or the mail flag to protect them from being painted. Spray primer and allow it to dry before applying the metal spray paint. To customize your mailbox and make it stand out, use stencils to create flowers, letters, or let your mini Van Gogh freehand different designs. 

* If you don’t already have masks on hand, consider waiting on this project until masks and other personal protective equipment are more readily available. Or, if you’re purchasing a new mailbox, you can do this project entirely freehand, no mask required.

Construct a birdhouse

Though birds aren’t required to shelter in place, it’s nice for them to have a safe spot to land in your backyard – and exciting for the whole family to watch as they come and go. You can either construct a birdhouse using a pre-cut birdhouse kit (available to order online at most home improvement stores) or you can make the cuts yourself on a 2×6 or even a spare fence post. Have older kids help you nail or wood glue it together and have little ones personalize it with paint to give the birds in your backyard a truly unique home to call their own. 

Or, if you want to give your neighborhood squirrels a place to kick back, you can repurpose almost any kind of wood to make an adorable miniature picnic table.

Stencil paint your tile floor

Want to give your tile floor a new look but don’t want to invest the money, time, or intensive labor it takes to rip up and lay down a new one? While this project requires patience and attention to detail, your children can pitch in and help out to make it go a little faster. Here’s what you’ll need for this tile stenciling project:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Painters tape
  • Primer
  • Semi- or high-gloss latex paint in both base color and a design color
  • A chosen stencil (create your own or look up one that you like online)
  • Foam roller

Begin your project with a deep cleaning of your bathroom floors (and cue the complaints from your kids). Once your floors are squeaky clean, tag team a floor sanding with your kids to help the tiles take paint. Then, tape the perimeter of the room, underneath your vanity cabinet and around your toilet. 

Apply primer to the floors and let them dry. Then, paint your base color. Once these coats have dried, you’re now ready for your stenciling. Have your kid help you tape the stencil in place and then paint your design color onto the floor. If your older kids have a steady hand, using two stencils will speed the process along and reveal a beautifully designed floor even quicker. This example can help you visualize a finished product.

Restyle your bathroom drawer pulls

You’d be surprised at how much of a design impact changing the drawer pulls on a bathroom vanity can have. This inexpensive DIY project is quick to complete and perfect for little hands who can help you hold the hardware while you handle the screwdriver. 

All you need for this project are new drawer pulls or knobs (have your child assist you with the measurements to see what size you need) and a screwdriver. Remove the old drawer pulls and have your kid at the ready to put all of the old pieces in a single pile and hand you the screws and the new drawer pulls as you need them. 

Feeling more ambitious? Change out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets for an easy upgrade. Or do this project on a small scale and swap out the handles or knobs on an old dresser to give it a new style.

Home Improvement

5 Important Home Maintenance Steps for Spring

Spring is one of my favorite seasons because it’s a great time to address any roof damage that came with the fall and winter, and clean those often-neglected gutters and downspouts.

You can make sure the air conditioner will work when temperatures skyrocket and take steps to prevent your clothes dryer from catching on fire.

And you can transform a blank backyard to colorful flowerbed landscapes that will make home look and feel more like ‘home sweet home.’

It’s possible to do these things, and more, to improve your home and enhance your life. But first, you need to have a plan. And for that, read on!

Clean The Roof And Check For Damage

Regular roof maintenance is the most important maintenance tasks you can do around the home, since the roof protects you and everything inside your home. You should keep your roof clean, clear and in good shape, as small problems today can lead to much bigger ones in the future.

Spring is the best time for roof maintenance because your roof has weathered the fall and winter; it’s seen its share of leaves, limbs and snowfall, and it’s finally getting a reprieve.

Lingering debris can lead to damage, so here are some chores you should tackle as soon as possible.

First, clean the leaves, limbs and other debris from the roof. Then focus on any chimneys, dormers and valleys.

Next, check the flashing for damage and use masonry caulk to seal gaps where the flashing attaches to bricks or masonry. While you’re at it, check for loose or damaged roof shingles and repair those as needed.

Once the roof is spotless, look for any holes that might leak water and lead to mold, mildew and rot.

After all this, you can rest assured knowing that the roof over your head is doing the best job it can.

Clean All Rain Gutters And Downspouts; Make Repairs, If Necessary

After you’ve worked on the roof, check the gutters, which have probably accumulated lots of leaves and debris during the cooler seasons. Nothing good comes from clogged, overflowing gutters — but they can lead to rotten fascia boards, water damage, pests and maybe even damage to your home’s foundation.

That’s why regular gutter maintenance is important, and spring is a great opportunity for that since there’s no freezing weather or snow. (Plus, it just feels good to be outside.)

First, put on some gloves. Then, grab a gardening trowel and scoop the leaves and debris from the gutters. Next, move the leaves and debris to a plastic bag for safe keeping. (That way, you can add them to your compost pile. Waste not, want not!)

Finally, wash the insides of the gutters with a garden hose and check the downspouts to make the sure the water flows freely. And if you want to avoid cleaning your gutters every few months, here’s a bonus tip: go ahead and buy some gutter guards! You just insert them in your gutters to prevent leaf and debris buildup throughout the year.

Prepare Flowerbeds

Spring is a great time to get back in the garden, and if you notice any bald spots on the lawn that you want to replace with flowerbeds, there’s no better time than the present to prep!

The first step to create a new flowerbed is to kill the weeds and grass in the area. All you need to do that is some newspaper, a simple sprayer with water and mulch.

First, lay out your new flowerbeds. To do that, grab a can of spray paint and mark the borders of your planned flowerbeds. Next, lay down several sections of newspaper in the designated areas. Wet them down using the sprayer. If you want to ensure proper application, Vigoro landscape fabric can support healthy growth and block invasive weeds.

Finally, add some mulch to cover the newspapers (in a pinch, you can use free pinestraw or leaves taken right from your backyard, or store-bought wood chips or pine bark from The Home Depot Garden Center).

And that’s all it takes. In a few months, you can rake away everything to reveal rich, ready-to-plant topsoil.

The ‘newspaper method’ is perfect for prepping your garden for vibrant flowers that can add curb appeal or enhance your backyard paradise.

Have The Heating And Cooling System Inspected

Temperatures start to warm up in the spring, so now’s the perfect time to call a professional to service your heating and cooling system.

Many homeowners ignore the air conditioning and furnace until they suddenly stop working. And it’s never fun to live in an uncomfortable house and wait on a list to receive help during peak demand.

That’s why it’s important to get in the habit of having regular heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance.

The best thing is to do what you can to keep your system running efficiently, and hire a professional to do the rest.

First, clear away all leaves and debris that could block airflow from the A/C condenser unit.

Then, call an HVAC technician to look at your heat pump — they will check the belts and replace them if needed; oil any moving parts; and inspect the wiring.

If you’ve got an air conditioner unit, the technician will clean the air filters or replace them, as needed; vacuum out the unit and lubricate the motor; and check the refrigerant pressure.

Finally, reverse any ceiling fans’ direction to counterclockwise. This will blow air down, which is what you want in the spring and summertime, to cool you down so you rely less on the A/C.

Clean Lint From The Clothes Dryer’s Exhaust Pipe

Lint buildup in your clothes dryer or its vent pipe is one of those home maintenance chores that often are forgotten but couldn’t be more important.

That’s because accumulation of lint reduces your dryer’s efficiency, at least, and could be a fire hazard, at worst.

When your dryer has a lot of lint blocking the vent pipe, it can reduce airflow, which causes the dryer to work harder and put out more heat than it should — and that’s how many fires start.

Don’t let your dryer’s lint get out of hand. First, clean the dryer’s lint screen every time you use it. Just make sure that’s a regular part of the clothes drying process.

In addition, periodically clean out the vent pipe — there are even brushes made for the job. Buy one of those at The Home Depot and keep it in your laundry room for easy access. You’ll need it!

Just these simple steps can give you major peace of mind and prevent costly damage.

That way, you can worry less and focus on the things that matter most: spending quality time with family and friends in your well-maintained home!

For more tips, check out the Four Seasons of Homeownership Spring Checklist and download the interactive graphic!

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