Two Things Sellers Need to Know this Spring

The past year has seen many changes, and you may be curious about what to expect in the spring housing market. If you’re considering selling your home during this season, consider what real estate professionals advise.

  1. Houses that are priced right are still selling.
  2. Buyers are still out there.

Setting the right price for your home is crucial in today’s market, as there have been significant changes over the past year. Although this spring housing market differs from the previous year’s, homeowners who have realistic expectations and seek guidance from real estate professionals to establish a fair price are still achieving favorable results. This is excellent news if you’re contemplating selling your property.

The increase and instability of mortgage rates have caused some buyers to halt their plans. Nevertheless, many individuals are still motivated to purchase properties for various reasons. Suppose you’re considering selling your house this spring. In that case, it’s advisable to collaborate with a real estate agent who can connect you with prospective buyers who are prepared to buy a home despite the current circumstances.

This spring presents opportunities for sellers. If you’re uncertain about whether it’s an ideal time to sell your property, seek the guidance of a reliable real estate consultant.

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Checklist for Selling Your House This Spring


As you get ready to sell your house, there are specific things you can add to your to-do list.

These include decluttering, taking down personal photos and items, and power washing outdoor surfaces.

Connect with a trusted real estate professional for advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.

The housing market is grappling with two major challenges.

According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, the primary obstacle faced by the housing market is the scarcity of available homes for sale, which is caused by a number of underlying factors.

“Two dynamics are keeping existing-home inventory historically low – rate-locked existing homeowners and the fear of not finding something to buy.”

Let’s break down these two big issues in today’s housing market.

Rate-Locked Homeowners

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the average interest rate for current homeowners with mortgages is less than 4% (see graph below):

The Two Big Issues the Housing Market’s Facing Right Now | Simplifying The Market

At present, the average mortgage rate available to buyers is in excess of 6%. Consequently, numerous homeowners are choosing to remain in their current residences rather than relocating to a new property with a higher borrowing expense. This condition is referred to as being “rate-locked.”

The housing market is currently facing difficulty in sourcing new inventory due to the large number of homeowners who are rate locked and hesitant to sell. Nevertheless, specialists predict that mortgage rates will gradually decrease over the course of this year, which may encourage more people to consider moving.

The Fear of Not Finding Something To Buy

Another factor that is deterring potential sellers is the apprehension of being unable to find a suitable replacement home if they do decide to sell. This fear has caused many people to delay listing their homes until more inventory becomes available. Therefore, if you are undecided about selling, it is crucial to explore all available options, including newly constructed properties. At present, builders are providing incentives such as mortgage rate buydowns, making this an opportune time to consider new home construction.

What Does This Mean for You?

The combined effect of these two problems is that the supply of available homes for sale remains lower than it was before the pandemic. Nonetheless, if you are looking to sell your house, the current market conditions present a promising opportunity to do so profitably. It is highly recommended that you collaborate with a local real estate expert to determine the options available to you at present, including leveraging your current home equity.

According to ATTOM:

“. . . 48 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich in the fourth quarter, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loan balances secured by those properties was no more than 50 percent of their estimated market values.”

This strategy has the potential to significantly impact your relocation expenses. To discover how you can utilize your home equity to reduce the cost of your next property, seek guidance from a nearby real estate professional.

Bottom Line

Homeowners who are rate-locked and concerned about finding suitable properties to purchase are responsible for the shortage of housing inventory throughout the nation. Nevertheless, as mortgage rates gradually decrease this year and homeowners investigate all available options, we should anticipate an increase in the number of homes available for sale.

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability

Experts predict that key factors affecting housing affordability, which has been a growing concern in recent years, will improve this year. Selma Hepp, Executive, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicshares:

“. . . with slowly improving affordability and a more optimistic economic outlook than previously believed, the housing market could show resilience in 2023.”

The three measures used to establish home affordability are home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Here’s a closer look at each one.

1. Mortgage Rates

Last year, mortgage rates skyrocketed to above 7%, leading many prospective buyers to delay their plans. However, the situation has changed as rates are now starting to decrease. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“Let’s celebrate some good news. . . . mortgage rates are down. With inflation showing a tangible slowdown, I do expect mortgage rates to follow suit in the months ahead.”

Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:

“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”

If high 7% mortgage rates caused you to hold back on your home buying plans last year, this could be the chance to re-enter the market. Ensure that you work with a team of experts who are informed about the current mortgage rates and can provide the most valuable guidance for the current market conditions.

2. Home Prices

The second influencing factor is the cost of homes. Home prices have been in the news recently due to their rapid increase during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:

“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

As a result, while some markets may experience stable prices this year, others may witness minor increases or decreases. This varies by location. To get an understanding of the situation in your area and how prices are affecting affordability, contact a reliable real estate expert.

3. Wages

The final component in the affordability equation is wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability | Simplifying The Market

Keep in mind that affordability encompasses more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages must also be considered. As wages have increased, many buyers have been presented with renewed opportunities in the market.

Although affordability challenges will not fully disappear this year, current trends and predictions indicate that 2023 should offer some comfort to homebuyers who have been facing increasing difficulties, based on the current trends and projections. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:

“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions, reach out to a trusted real estate professional to explore your options. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.

2022 Housing Market Statistics

2022 was a turbulent year for the US housing market, as inflation, soaring
interest rates and elevated sales prices combined to cause a slowdown
nationwide. Affordability challenges continue to limit market activity, with
pending home sales and existing-home sales down month-over-month and
falling 37.8% and 35.4% year-over-year, respectively, according to the
National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Higher mortgage rates are also
impacting prospective sellers, many of whom have locked in historically low
rates and have chosen to wait until market conditions improve before selling
their home.

Economists predict sales will continue to slow and housing prices will soften
in many markets over the next 12 months, with larger price declines
projected in more expensive areas. However, national inventory shortages will
likely keep prices from dropping too much, as buyer demand continues to
outpace supply, which remains limited at 3.3 months, according to NAR.
Even if prices fall, many prospective buyers will find it difficult to afford a
home in 2023, as higher rates have diminished purchasing power, adding
hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments.

How to Choose the Right Laminate Flooring

f you have pets or kids or are generally accident-prone, you may need some heavy-duty floors. And you may be exploring laminate flooring, thanks to its durability. Laminate flooring balances that resistance to wear and tear with an attractive style and easy DIY installation.

That’s why some homeowners are choosing laminate instead of hardwood or tile. But which option is best for you? You can make an informed choice for your home by learning the pros and cons, types of laminate flooring, and average cost.

When Does Laminate Flooring Make Sense?

Modern laminate flooring can be as appealing as some hardwoods but more durable, especially in high-traffic areas. While laminate was once confined to kitchens and game rooms, its fresh looks can work in dining rooms, living rooms, or even bedrooms.

Older laminates carry the risk of contaminants like formaldehyde or volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now regulates modern laminate construction. To avoid harmful chemicals, look for products with a Toxic Substances Control Act Title VI compliance label. And ask a healthcare professional how laminates may affect some household members who have chemical sensitivities.

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of laminate flooring:

Pros of Laminate Flooring

  • Durable: Laminate floors are easy to clean and maintain. They have a wear layer that protects the flooring from dents or scratches from everyday occurrences like dropped toys and contact with untrimmed pet claws.
  • Sustainable: Because laminate flooring is made from wood, it’s recyclable and sustainable.
  • Easy to install: Laminate floors are designed with interlocking boards, making them simple to install. They can also “float” over existing hardwood floors, so you don’t need to replace your existing floors to install them.

Cons of Laminate Flooring

  • Difficult to repair: Laminate flooring can’t be refinished or resanded. So, if you have a permanent scratch, dent, or stain, you’ll have to replace that section of your flooring.
  • Susceptible to water damage: Standing water will cause lasting swelling and damage. This means laminate floors may not be the best idea for your kitchen or laundry room.
  • Sensitive to humidity: When indoor humidity is higher than 60%, laminate boards can expand and push against one another. This may cause ridges along the seams or bulges in the middle of the boards. But when the humidity drops below 30%, boards can shrink and the joints may separate. Proper installation can avoid these issues.
  • Slippery: Laminate floors have been known to be extremely slippery when wet. If you have pets or children, factor this into your decision about laminate. Anti-slip sprays and finishes are available, though, to counteract the problem.

How Much Does Laminate Flooring Cost?

Laminate flooring prices vary depending on the style and design, but the average cost per square foot will be between 68 cents for styles like acacia and cherry and $1.60 for options like elm and hickory. Some laminate flooring includes features that add to the cost, such as water and noise resistance, and attached underlayment.

You’ll also pay installation fees if you use a contractor. They can vary depending on your region, your home’s size, and your project needs.

How Long Will Laminate Flooring Last?

Most manufacturers will provide a 10-year warranty for laminate floors. With proper care, the floors may last even longer than that.

Watch for signs that your laminate floor needs replacing. For example, swelling from water damage or buckling from excessive pressure signals the need to call a professional.

Types of Laminate Flooring Options

The types of laminate flooring mainly relate to the installation process, such as:

Glueless or Click Laminate Flooring

This laminate flooring uses interlocking pieces, so you don’t need glue to install it.

Pre-glued Laminate Flooring

The glue is already applied to the planks, so installation is simpler.

Glued Laminate Flooring

The oldest form of laminate flooring, this option requires gluing and doesn’t have a locking system.

Alternatives to Laminate Flooring

If any of your household members have chemical sensitivities, consider alternatives to laminate flooring. Several flooring options have similar features to laminate floors, including:

  • Vinyl planks: They offer minimal maintenance with some added quality and design. However, vinyl can have a higher VOC content, meaning it could cause irritation for chemically sensitive people.
  • Porcelain tile: For rooms with heavy moisture, porcelain tile is a strong alternative. But while the prices of tile and laminate are comparable, tile installation is typically more expensive.
  • Engineered wood: Although engineered wood is more expensive than laminate flooring, it can be a good choice for homeowners who want the durability of laminate with a more realistic hardwood look.

Questions to Ask Your Laminate Flooring Contractor

Laminate floor installation can be an easy or intermediate task for DIYers. However, if your home has oddly shaped rooms, needs carpet removed, or calls for a lot of labor for a flooring job, look for a reputable contractor.

Ask your contractor:

  • Whether laminate flooring is the best choice for each room where you’re considering new flooring
  • To provide the costs for contractor installation
  • If there’s a warranty on flooring and installation

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Should You Still Buy a Home with the Latest News About Inflation?

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still high, remaining around 8%. This news impacted the stock market and added fuel to the fire for conversations about a recession.

You’re likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as you watch the cost of goods and services climb. The pinch it’s creating on your wallet and the looming economic uncertainty may leave you wondering: “should I still buy a home right now?” If that question is top of mind for you, here’s what you need to know.

Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation

In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrateexplains:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

And with rents being as high as they are, the ability to stabilize your monthly payments and protect yourself from future rent hikes may be even more important. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains what happened to rents in the latest inflation report:

“Inflation refuses to budge. In September, consumer prices rose by 8.2%. Rents rose by 7.2%, the highest pace in 40 years.”

When you rent, your monthly payment is determined by your lease, which typically renews on an annual basis. With inflation high, your landlord may be more likely to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. That may be part of the reason why a survey from shows 72% of landlords said they plan to raise the rent on one or more of their properties in the next year.

Becoming a homeowner, if you’re ready and able to do so, can provide lasting stability and a reliable shelter in times of economic uncertainty.

Bottom Line

The best hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost. If you’re ready to learn more and start your journey to homeownership, connect with a real estate professional today.

*Info provided by Keeping Current Matters

New Homes May Have the Incentives You’re Looking for Today

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this year, builders are on pace to complete more than a million new homes in this country. If you’ve had trouble finding a home to buy over the past year, it may be time to work with your trusted agent to consider a new build and the incentives that come with it. Here’s why.

The Supply of Newly Built Homes Is Rising

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes is on the rise today, it’s still in tight supply, meaning it can be challenging to find just the right one.

The inventory of newly built homes, however, is also rising. And with more options available than there have been in years, a new home may be just the answer you’re looking for. The graph below shows just how much the supply of newly built homes has grown this year.

New Homes May Have the Incentives You’re Looking for Today | Keeping Current Matters

And here’s the thing – builders are also keeping a close eye on current market trends. With mortgage rates rising this year and, as a result, buyer demand softening, builders are slowing their pace of new construction. That’s because they learned their lesson in the housing crash of 2008 and want to avoid over-building and having too much inventory in their pipeline.

Basically, while there are more newly built homes on the market today than there have been in years, many builders want to sell their current inventory before adding much more – and that’s where you can really benefit. Today, builders may be more willing to work with buyers. According to a recent survey83% of builders have reduced their prices over the last three months.

What That Means for You

The current supply of newly built homes for sale coupled with the fact that data shows the majority of builders are doing price reductions are both great news for you. It means you may have more options and possibly some much-needed relief if you consider newly built homes in your search.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy, it may be time to look for a newly built home. To learn what’s available in your area and what incentives these builders are offering, work with a local real estate professional today.

How to Get Your House Ready for Back to School

It’s a given. When your kids go back to school, your schedule and family life get more hectic. But you can prep for the school year crush by fine-tuning how you organize your home, including storage and space use. Here are some ingenious but simple storage hacks for getting an organized home that will make going back to school easier. 

#1 Organize Your Kids’ Bedroom Closets and Drawers

Help your kids get dressed in the morning by organizing their clothes. Arrange the clothes in see-through bins and on hangers so they can find what they want to wear and get dressed in a hurry. That way, your child won’t waste valuable time rummaging around for matching socks or their favorite shirt. 

Pro tip: Label the drawers, bins, and closet organizers with the type of clothing that goes in them. If your child knows which drawer is for socks and which bin is for T-shirts, they can stash their clothes in the right places so an organized closet will stay that way.

#2 Add Places to Store Books

Make sure your child has a place to store textbooks, library books, and their own books. Install shelves that are low enough for them to reach. If they already have shelves in their rooms, organize them just like you did in their closet so they can find the books they need, fast. You don’t want them to miss the bus because they’re looking for their math book.

Pro tip: Put library books in a separate bin on a low shelf so your child remembers to return them on time.

#3 Create a Dedicated Space for Homework

Create a homework station where your children can study and work on their book reports. For younger kids who need parental supervision, set up a space in the kitchen or living area so you can make sure they stay on task. For older ones who can manage homework without mom and dad, set up a study space in their rooms. Make sure they have a table or desk, a comfy chair, bins to organize school supplies, good lighting, and no distractions. 

Pro tip: Keep phones and video games away from the study space (easier said than done).

#4 Set Up an Organized Drop Zone in Your Entryway

You know the drill. Your kids come home from school and throw everything from backpacks to sneakers on the floor when they step in the door. To keep your entryway from looking like a tornado went through, turn it into an organized drop zone. Create storage space for backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, hats, coats, and other gear. Put up cubbies for shoes, shelves for books, and hooks for jackets, backpacks, and tote bags. You’ll declutter the space and ramp up efficiency.

Pro tip: Put baskets or bins on the floor or on low shelves by the entrance to catch the socks, toys, papers, and other paraphernalia that doesn’t make it onto a hanger or into a cubby.

#5 Create a Back-to-School Communications Command Center

That’s a fancy way of saying you need a space where you can coordinate class and work schedules, homework assignments, school activities, and reading lists. The center can be as simple as a calendar and whiteboard on a kitchen wall. Or you can make it more functional by adding hanging bins for folders, a message board, or a small table or desk where you can put an inbox, a bill holder, and a supply of envelopes and pens.

Pro tip: Get a giant whiteboard with a calendar template that lets you customize each month and write down all your school-related appointments in one place. 

#6 Get the Kids’ Bathrooms in Order

Make it easier for your kids to get out the door in the morning by arranging their bathroom for maximum efficiency. Sort their bathroom essentials by category — toothbrushes, hairbrushes, towels, shampoos, and soaps. Organize them in cabinets, drawers, or bins. You want to make items easy to find so your kids can brush their teeth and hair and wash their faces fast.

Pro tip: Help younger children stay organized by labeling storage areas with the type of grooming supplies they hold, like “Hair,” “Teeth,” and “Bath.”

#7 Set Up a Back-to-School Breakfast Station

Feeding children as they rush out the door to the school is tough. Make it simpler by setting up a spot in the kitchen with easy-to-prepare food so your kids can eat on the run. Put out airtight containers of cereal, bowls, packets of instant oatmeal, and fruit in a basket. Make sure milk, yogurt, and other healthy breakfast foods are in easy reach in the fridge.

Pro tip: Use hotel breakfast bars as your inspiration. Kids love picking their own meal from an array of food, so copy that look on the kitchen counter.

#8 Make a Snack Drawer

Kids are hungry when they come home from school. Set up an area where they can get their own snacks. Put bins in the fridge that have healthy snacks just for them. Think fruit, yogurt, string cheese, nuts, hummus and celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes. If you make healthy food as accessible and ready to eat as junk food, your kids might choose an apple instead of a bag of chips.

Pro tip: Use clear bins so the kids can see what’s in them and know when you’re running low on snacks.

A few back-to-school hiccups are probably inevitable. But with some simple hacks for an organized home, the transition can be much easier.  

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