It seems that, in the world of Northeast PA real estate, the tides could once again be turning around from renting a home to home ownership. And, I think we can probably thank lower home prices and mortgage rates that are at an all time low for the shift.
And, if you’re considering searching for your next Northeast PA home and are doing your own “what’s my monthly rent vs. a mortgage payment minus the tax savings gonna be” calculation, many financial advisors recommend that you consider this rule of thumb as well…. you should plan to stay in your new home for at least five years.
While these transaction costs are only one consideration that makes this a good idea, here are some of the others reasons why it’s prudent to think about the 5-year planning horizon as you conduct your home search:
I’d like a little financial security!. Every homeowner knows they need to have some extra funds set aside for an emergency just in case there is some unforeseen loss of income. Affording a home and its maintenance costs should never jeopardize the financial health of your household. Liz Weston of MSN.com recently asked several experts for their calculations regarding home repairs. Their answer? Plan to spend at least an additional 1% of a homes’ value on maintenance each year.
What about the resale value? – There’s still a significant amount of “distressed homes” and the trend will likely continue to exert at least some pressure on home values for the near future. If you need to sell your home two or three years down the road, you may come up short when all the moving, transaction, and other expenses are considered and it may be at least that long before the familiar growth in residential real estate value resumes.
How about my own sanity! – Studies have shown that moving is one of the top stresses in life (up there with death, divorce and illness). Personally, I think a well-planned move is a little less dire, but it is true that a happy homeowner is a settled homeowner. When you’re starting your home search, consider the changes coming to your family in the coming years: New baby? Child to college? If you know a move is eminent in the near future, consider finding a home with long-term rental value. Buy a home that can grow with you and you’ll find yourself much more financially secure…and sane!
The current low prices and 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates aren’t likely to last forever, and that old adage remains true: buy low, sell high. If you’re looking for a reason to start your home search in the area now, call me for a serious look at this June’s market.
Before you begin your new home search it’s very important to create your own “reality shopping list” that will help you prioritize your choices because looking for a home is a very time-consuming activity, especially if you have not properly narrowed what you need vs. what you want.
Ask yourself, do I NEED:
v A specific number of square footage for comfortable living?
v An eat-in kitchen?
v Garage or basement for storage needs
v Proximity to a specific school
v All living areas on the first floor for health reasons?
Then ask, do I WANT:
v A pretty view
v Carpeting colors or wood floors
Make sure to differentiate between the two and create the goal that emphasizes both criteria yet remains inside your budget. Once you have a clear view of what your next house has to have, the job of finding the right one will become easier!
Equally important is to focus, as specifically as possible on these larger questions:
Once you are pre-approved and ready to begin your search, how or where do you begin? There are a lot of homes out there and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming and confusing. A great agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible. Give me a call and I will be your guide through this challenging but exciting journey!
One of the many valuable things I’ve learned as a Northeast PA Weichert Realtor is that outdoor living sells! And no matter what life phase buyers are in, their home buying choices tend to soundly agree.
The 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey confirms again how important those backyard grills and dining areas are when it comes to what most people have at the top of their minds when they think about buying homes.
When potential homebuyers come to me, some of the features highest on their “must have” list virtually always have something to do with outdoor space. Young families buying homes, for example, are usually pleased to find a grassy area off the kitchen where their toddlers can toddle. High-profile clients often seek out impressive spaces with great foot-traffic flow for indoor/outdoor entertaining. Empty-nesters buying homes often come to me seeking the opposite — less yard with easy- or no-maintenance landscaping. The point is, no matter what the age or demographic of the buyer, in today’s market, outdoor space sells.
So — what is hot for those buying homes in 2012? The survey I cited earlier is one conducted every year by the American Society of Landscape Architects. This year they came up with some clear winners. According to the survey, top popularity goes to BBQ grill space (97.4%), followed by low-maintenance landscapes (96.6 percent), fireplaces/fire pits (95.8 percent), and dining areas (95.7 percent).
Not so obvious winners were decorative water elements such as ornamental pools, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels or bubblers, and pergolas. Not as popular as they once were? turf lawns at 50.9%, gazebos at 49.1%, and hammocks at 27.4%. Go figure!
If you are considering an outdoor remodel before selling your own home, be sure to design with local buyers in mind. Contact me any time for a stop-in — I’ll be happy to go over the features most clients look for when buying homes today.
When you’re ready to choose the local real estate agent, you are choosing someone who must fill a variety of roles: marketer, stager, tour guide, negotiator. And don’t leave out another role — psychology major!
To build – and maintain – our kind of successful track record, a great real estate agent needs to understand the way prospective buyers think about their search for a home, how they may react to presentation forms, and what builds – or detracts – from the value they assign to your property. It’s psychology, all right — and it’s usually a vital part of any sales or marketing success.
There was a very revealing study conducted at the University of Texas that looked at how psychology can affect a real estate transaction. A couple of years ago, they began conducting psychological studies, with one of them using statistical tools and a huge sample of real estate transactions. What was interesting is what they discovered about using the word “new”. Agents who marketed homes with phrases like “new paint,” new carpets,” wound up selling them for slightly less than those who did not?!
Their explanation for this was that with homes that aren’t brand new, highlighting “all new” features seems to call attention to the fact that the items mentioned needed to be replaced. It unnecessarily opened the door to suspicions about what went wrong that made replacement necessary.
I favor the tactic that under-promises and over-delivers. So, rather than trying to convince buyers how “new” an older home is, do the renewal work, but don’t brag about it. Then when potential buyers walk into the home, they will be impressed by the new carpets and fresh paint. It’s the approach that uber-successful Zappos company founder Tony Hsieh calls “surprise and delight.” What is effective for leading a company and retaining customers can also be psychologically effective for selling a local home.
I am constantly reminded of how important it is to never stop learning. If you are considering selling your home and are looking for marketing success with a psychological-edge, I hope you’ll contact me for a complimentary consultation!
Warm Regards, Lauren Bianco, Realtor
Helping you Find your way Home!