Our Blog:  Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 31, 2021

Many First-Time Home Buyers Are Overlooking a Competitive Edge in 2022

Buying a house was challenging for many buyers in 2021, but especially for first-time buyers. Competition and prices were high, and inventory was low, and while some predictions suggest things will loosen up a bit in 2022, buyers will still need to have an aggressive strategy heading into the new year.

According to this REALTOR Magazine article, first-time buyers are optimistic about their chances in 2022, and many are changing their strategies to increase their odds of success.
The most notable changes in strategy were:

  • Making an offer within 48 hours of seeing a home
  • Offering above asking price
  • Being willing to compete in bidding wars
  • Going over their budget
  • Making offers on houses without even seeing them first

Making offers quickly, being willing to go above asking and compete in bidding wars are all advisable strategies in this market.

Going over budget on the other hand…well, that depends. If “going over budget” means still within their comfortable financial means, sure! If not, it’s a recipe for future struggle and financial trouble.

And making offers on houses without seeing them in person first isn’t the worst thing to do given technology, but it isn’t ideal.

What wasn’t on the list, and would likely make the biggest impact for first-time buyers, was to choose and work with a great real estate agent. Working with a trusted buyers’ agent can enhance any of the above strategies, if not make them unnecessary. Their awareness of the market, perspective, advice, connections, and negotiation skills can often give first-time buyers an edge, yet many first-time buyers don’t put a lot of emphasis on choosing and working with one.

So, if you’re a first-time buyer looking to edge out competition in 2022, by all means be prepared to do everything on the list other buyers are planning on. But, to truly tip the scales in your favor, make sure you’re teaming up with a buyers’ agent you connect well with and trust.

Oct. 31, 2021

10 Creepy Real Estate Stories That’ll Make You Gasp With Fear…or Laughter!

Sometimes the scariest thing in the job of a real estate agent isn’t a mile long inspection report detailing foundation issues, or seeing your buyer pull up in a new car before their mortgage is approved. From the just plain weird to the downright freaky, the crazy situations agents find themselves in would surprise anyone who hasn’t been in the biz.

Below is a curated list of stories from fellow real estate agents who dared to share the spookiest, creepiest things they’ve come across when out listing and selling homes. Some can probably be explained away, while others are just downright funny…and a few will leave you scratching your head and wondering about the existence of “the other side”…

1. Out of the mouths of babes

2. The creepy canine

3. Getting ghosted

4. Head-scratching headstones

5. Nothin’ but knockin’

6. Even the ghosts are too busy in NYC

7. Again!? Does “he” do this often?

8. Maybe it just had great “central heir”!

9. Movement that’ll make you wanna move


10. Time to consider new construction

 

 

Oct. 21, 2021

On the House: Debt Management for Would-Be Homeowners

On the House: Debt Management for Would-Be Homeowners

 

 

There are a number of obstacles standing between potential buyers and their new properties, but according to research, none hinder purchases as often as unpaid debt. It’s believed that a whopping 48% of undergraduates have put off buying a home due to their loans. The question arises, then, how can debtors rein in finances to secure a property of their own?

 

RE/MAX Advantage Realtors Debbi and Richard Rivero outline the following methods for reducing debt so you can realize your dream of homeownership.

 

Pay High-Interest Debt First

 

An often-overlooked key to paying off debt is to focus first on paying off your high-interest loans. Experts call this the avalanche method: The less you pay in interest, the more you put towards repayment of principal. This may not work for everyone as some other loans require more immediate action but it can certainly help to avoid high-APR credit cards from draining the money that should be spent moving you forward. To get a clear overview, draw up all of your loans and identify any with high or rising interest rates.

 

Stop Adding Debt

 

This may seem like a no-brainer but, through mismanagement, it is common for those seeking to pay off debt to increase it further. If possible, your first step towards avoiding this should be to reduce credit card usage to its minimum percentage. This will help improve your credit score and ensure manageable monthly payments. It goes without saying that you should also be avoiding additional lines of credit and auto loans. A big purchase may prohibit you from making one for a house.

 

Create a Financial Plan

 

Most people can’t afford a personal accountant but that doesn’t mean your finances should go unreviewed. It’s worth spending a couple of evenings during the week building a financial overview so that you can track purchases and debts and estimate budgets and spending. To help with this, there are a number of useful apps that can be used from a smartphone so, if you’re busy, you can check in on the move. Make sure to keep all of your excel sheets and paperwork filed securely to be used as reference when applying for a mortgage later. 

 

Negotiate Lower Rates

 

If you’ve been doing everything right so far, you’ll find the game is balanced asymmetrically. That means a good credit score may qualify you for lower interest rates on your credit accounts or loans. Oftentimes, the longest-standing loans (if paid off at a steady rate) are the most eligible for this tactic — reliability is an important factor for most issuers. Make sure to tell the truth about your circumstances. Failing this, consider asking for an altogether break. Even if your credit card issuer is unwilling to grant one, you may receive a reduction of some percentage points.

 

Review Loan Options

 

When buying a property, it’s very important to understand all of your options before you lock yourself into one for an indefinite amount of time. Conventional fixed-rate loans are an excellent choice for steady earners but, for those still working through debt, there are alternatives. FHA home loans, for example, require a much smaller down payment and are applicable to those with a shorter credit history. Although these types of loans are typically inflexible and charge mortgage insurance, they provide opportunities for first-time buyers with a limited budget.

 

Work a Second Job

 

There is some comfort knowing that, with enough hard work, it’s possible to get out of almost any financial strait. Whether it’s a side hustle, a part-time role, or a temporary position, if you can spare the time and it doesn’t affect your day job, another source of income could alleviate a lot of your financial worries. This lifestyle, of course, comes with serious drawbacks. While it may work to pay off debt in the short term, you should not stake long-term plans on a two-job income.

 

In some cases, managing your money is as important as earning it. If you’re looking to buy a property within the next year, make sure that poor financial organization isn’t the reason stopping you. And when you’re ready to take the leap, turn to RE/MAX Advantage Realtors Debbi and Richard Rivero to find your perfect first home. 



Image by Pexels

 

Written by: Sharon Wagner

 

Oct. 11, 2021

What is the Future of the "Office Job"

Home Office vs. Traditional Office

Our “new normal" in the working life for many of us (thanks to COVID) has been more and more home offices, working from home, while teaching our children at home and doing household chores.  Although this can seem fun for a while, there are also many downsides and possible future harm.  Let’s dwell deeper..

While this might have been a pleasant year of working from home without the stress of daily traffic to and from your place of work, there are other issues with a strict work from home routine.  First, many home workers are seeing less exercise and therefore weight gain as they sit in front of their computers for hours.  Second, the psychological effects of non-interaction with fellow workers.  And some are realizing how difficult it is to work from home with children or spouses around, and still some cannot find that quiet space for themselves to be most productive.  Only time will tell how this "new normal" will pan on society.  If you are looking to be most productive at home, revisit my blog How to set up a home office. To find out more about pros and cons of working from home, check out this article "Working from Home vs. Office"

As we are starting to migrate back to the workplace or some sort of hybrid of that, you may see a huge impact on your finances as well.  John Egan has written an article for Bankrate entitled "How returning to the office can impact your finances".  John gives great tips and savings recommendations.  I would recommend reading and seek additional advice for your particular situation and finances.

If you prefer the working from home format, you might find that you need to expand your living space to make some more private spaces to separate work life from family life.  If that is the case, we have your remedy!  Start your search for a new home on line.  If you also have a house to sell, reach out to us so we can guide and advise you the best way to buy and sell with the least amount of stress and disruption to your life.

 

We will all make it through these crazy times, but know we are here to help and advise anyway possible.

 

Oct. 7, 2021

And the Winner is...

We are celebrating again!

 

Every year, the country is rated on numerous items.  The one that concerns me and should concern my readers as well is Safety.  I think your home should be your sanctuary.  I believe that is much easier to obtain when you home is located in a safe place.

According to Wallethub, the top places to live in the United States is now recorded and the number one place to live in 2021 is Columbia, MD!  

 

 

If you are thinking about making a move, you should consider Columbia, it is very conveniently located about a half an hour from both Baltimore and DC.  For more info on Columbia or the current real estate market there, check out or Columbia WebPage

Sept. 18, 2021

The Best Week to Buy a Home Is Right Around the Corner

With low inventory, high competition, and high prices, the summer has been a tough time to buy a home. But, the good news for buyers is that it looks like that’s about to change, and early October is poised to be a much better time to find and buy a property.

According to a recent article from realtor.com, the best week to buy a home in 2021 is right around the corner—the first full week of October, October 3rd through the 9th.

So, what makes this week such a prime time to purchase your dream home? According to Realtor.com’s analysis (which analyzed data going back to 2018), experts are predicting that about 100,000 new homes could hit the market that week—a much-needed inventory increase that can give buyers more options to choose from. And with the school year back in full swing (and many parents reluctant to move and pull their kids out of school), less competition is expected—which could save buyers money on their home purchase. Demand is predicted to fall 18 percent from the peak of the summer—while home prices are projected to drop 2.6 percent.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? “Buyers who think that now is the time to buy should get ready,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in the article. “You’ll get a better-than-average price, more options to choose from, and homes that don’t sell as fast as they did in the heat of summer.” So, if you’ve been struggling to find the right property at the right price, things could be looking up in a few weeks—making now a great time to start looking for a home.

Aug. 21, 2021

Thinking About Updating Your Home? Here Are Some 2021 Design Trends to Consider

When you redesign your home, you want to design it in a way that feels timely and on-trend.

But what does “timely” and “on-trend” look like in 2021?

The 2021 Houzz Emerging Home Design Trends Report outlined some of the year’s most popular home design trends, including:

  • Dedicated activity spaces. Forget craft closets. One of 2021’s biggest trends is creating an entirely dedicated room or space in the home to house the family’s favorite activity—whether that’s an art studio, a home theater, or a wine cellar.
  • Living room refreshes. Updating their home in general is a priority for many homeowners this year—but the room homeowners seem to be most interested in refreshing? The living room. According to Houzz’s data, searches for living rooms (which can provide homeowners design inspiration) are up 52 percent compared to 2020.
  • Luxury colors and materials. This year, homeowners are embracing luxury in their home design—with velvet, gold, and crystal accents all in high demand.
Aug. 12, 2021

Who Is Responsible for Paying Real Estate Fees?

When it comes to buying or selling a home, from a financial perspective, there’s more to think about than just the home price. There are a variety of fees associated with a real estate transaction—and, as a buyer or seller, it’s important to understand which of those fees you may be responsible for during the process.

recent article from realtor.com aimed to clear up the confusion by outlining who covers common real estate fees, including:

  • Agent commission: Real estate agents make a commission off of every home sale; while commissions vary by agent, they’re often a percentage of the total sale price—a percentage that is then split between the buyer’s and seller’s agent. (So, for example, if the commission is 5 percent, 2.5 percent would go to the buyer’s agent, and 2.5 percent would go to the seller’s agent). Generally, the sellers pay this fee when it’s subtracted from the proceeds of their property sale at closing.
  • Closing costs: Closing costs cover a variety of fees (like loan processing, title company, and insurance fees) that are due at closing—and generally run between 2 and 7 percent of the home’s purchase price. Depending on the home sale—and the negotiating skills on either side—these costs may be covered by the buyer, the seller, or a combination of both.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? Whether you’re buying or selling a home, if you’re not sure what fees you’re responsible for (or how much those fees will be), talk to your real estate agent. They can give you deeper insights into what fees you’ll be expected to cover—and how much you should set aside to cover those fees during your home purchase or sale.

July 25, 2021

How to Gameplan for Packing and Moving

So, you finally found your dream home!  This is when the stress really begins to build.  The lender will constantly "nag" you for more and more documents along the way, you have to do inspections, find title companies, moving companies, insurance company, just so much to do, and you then are hit with the overwhelming pile of stuff that you have in your house that now has to get into the new place.  If you are selling your home and moving to a new home, that just exasperates the situation. 

Where do you start?  Well, let's start with some supplies.  First, you should have packing supplies.  Always try to get free boxes, and the egg boxes are certainly a great choice!  Also know that you might need a variety of boxes in size and sturdiness for your all your things. It may be a good idea to invest in some wardrobe boxes as well.  According to Google, here’s a quick look at the approximate number of boxes you’ll need for different-sized moves.

 

Moving Boxes Needed by Home SqFt
Home Size/SqFt Small Large
700 SqFt 12 4
700-900 SqFt 15 6
900-1200 SqFt 21 10
1200-1600 SqFt 30 15

You can certainly use this as a guide.  Of course, if you house is 2400 sq ft, you would need 60 small boxes and 30 large and just keep estimating for the size of your current home.  Keep in mind, however, this can vary depending on whether you have fully utilized your sq footage or if you are more of a minimalist, but this is a good starting point. 

You will also need other items to help you pack.  Do you have picture frames, drinking glasses, dishes, or anything else fragile?  You will want to make sure they are wrapped and protected.  You can certainly purchase packing paper and bubble wrap, or start by saving any bubble wrap from items you purchase, use newspaper, mailer sheet, or other junk mail that might help.  You can also use clothes, sheets, towels etc. too.  You will need to bring your tee shirts, towels, sheets, etc. anyway, so why not use them to protect your breakables?                                                       

Now that your items are protected, you will also need packing tape or any type of tape to secure your boxes as well as a marker to identify items in your boxes.  It is also a great idea to write the room in which each box should go.  This aids anyone helping you move to place boxes exactly where they need to go.

Another great idea is using a portable moving/storage company like PODS.com  you can order a Pod ahead of time to sit in front of your house and load it up when you have time and then they can pick it up and relocate it to your new home for you to unload.  

If you are selling and need to declutter, before you put your house on the market, PODS can help there too! 

For a fast, free quote, visit PODS.com/Remax or call (866) 556-9595 and mention Promo Code: RMAX to save 10% on your next moving or storage project.

Courtesy of Debbi & Rich Rivero and the RE/MAX family!

July 14, 2021

3 Benefits of Hiring Carriers That Specialize in Senior Moves

Whether it is moving to a new house, a family member's home or an assisted living community, you need to complete numerous tasks when transitioning to a different living space. Working with a company that specializes in moving older citizens can make the process go more smoothly. When deciding which option to choose, consider these three services provided by transportation companies that focus on the retirement population. 

 1. Assist With Packing

From market reports to facility reviews, you spend days of research finding your perfect home; therefore, the less work required to settle into your new residence, the better. Professional movers can save you many hours by wrapping and boxing your belongings. 

Some companies provide packing supplies; however, you may save money if you purchase them separately. To help streamline the process, simply label or color-code boxes ahead of time and write down which items need to go where in your new living quarters. 

 

2. Provide Professional Recommendations

You will need other professional services to get settled into a new home. Since movers help people transition to different dwellings every day, they are a valuable resource for finding other reliable companies. 

For example, if you decide to purchase an existing home, it is wise to re-key locks to eliminate the risk of others gaining access to your house. Your Real Estate Agent or movers probably have some good recommendations for local locksmiths. Get their feedback or search a site like Angi for locksmiths in your area and research the suggestions to determine ratings and see comments from previous customers.

While it can vary, the average cost of re-keying a door is $50-$150, so get an idea of the price charged by each business. They may even offer specials for new customers. Just be sure to hire a company that is insured, bonded and provides a warranty in case something does not work.

Another great example is storage units. Since many older individuals choose to downsize, you may have items you do not want to part with that won't fit in your new home. Your Real Estate Agent can have coupons for places like PODS and  the movers may have some excellent storage center recommendations to keep your belongings safe. Some moving companies even offer their own storage facility, which saves you the time of finding and dealing with a separate business. 

 

3. Break Down and Reassemble Heavy Furniture 

According to one report, 33% of people hire professionals when moving. Although reasons vary, one advantage is assistance with furniture. Breaking down and rebuilding furniture can be difficult at any age, but it is especially challenging if you have any physical limitations.

Taking apart and putting together bed frames, desks or tables is also time-consuming. If you need to move a heavy piece of furniture from or to an upper floor, you need a second person to help. This limits what you can get done if you live alone. 

Save yourself these headaches by hiring a moving company that specializes in the older generation. These companies take all those tedious jobs off your plate by tearing down the furniture, wrapping the pieces, moving them to the truck, securing them, driving them to your new home, moving them to the right spot and rebuilding the furniture so it is completely ready to use. 

If you are mature in years and switching to a new residence, hire a professional moving company that focuses on older individuals to enjoy these advantages during your move. The right company provides packing assistance, business referrals and help getting heavy furniture safely set up in your new home.

Rivero Realtors are always here to help and have much experience in Senior Moving, call Debbi at 443.386.1306 to get started.

 

 

Blog courtesy of  Michael Longsdon 

@elderfreedom.net