Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year?

Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone.

This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:

“After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.”

What does the survey indicate about sellers?

Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes once stay-at-home orders are lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.

Just this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:

“The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.”

What does the survey note about buyers?

The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:

  • 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
  • 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
  • Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.

As we’ve mentioned before, buyer demand is strong right now, and many are simply waiting for more inventory to become available so they can make a move, especially as the country begins to reopen.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, contact a local real estate professional today. There’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours.

Forbearance is NOT forgiveness

Let’s do some ‘mortgage forbearance math’

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Mom and Dad have a mortgage.

It’s currently $1,500 per month.

Dad gets laid off, calls the servicer, and asks for forbearance.

In one phone call, he gets 6 months “off” from paying.

Seven months later, Dad is finally back to work, and hasn’t been able to save any money during the forbearance.

Forbearance is lifted and servicer says,”That will be $9,000 + $1,500, which is now due”. ($10,500)

Dad almost passes out and says, “WHY??

“Servicer: “That’s the 6 months of forbearance plus the current month.”

Dad: “I can’t do that, can we work something out?

“Servicer: “Sure, we will spread out the $9,000 over 12 months.

“Dad: “Phew….ok, good. What will that look like?

“Servicer: That will be $2250 a month for the next 12 months.

“Dad: ” OMG!!! I can’t afford that.

“Servicer: “Sorry…..”

Dad: “Can I refinance?”

Servicer: “No because the loan went into forebearance.”

Dad: “What can I do?”

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In a nutshell, this is forbearance, folks. Forbearance is not forgiveness. We need to keep putting this message out there, because it is a problem. Please understand the seriousness of this, and if you still have questions, I can connect you with a professional to talk about your options.

What’s going on in the real estate world and how can we keep you safe?

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The biggest conversation going around currently is about Covid-19, social distancing and how to avoid catching the virus. In a world where people need to see your home before they buy it, how do you handle that?

A lot of restrictions have been placed on those of us who work in the real estate world. Open houses and group showings are prohibited, Hand sanitizer and wipes are everywhere, and we’re encouraged to not touch anything. So what ARE we doing to keep you safe?

  • Virtual Tours: I’m not sure about you, but I want to see a house before I put an offer on it to make sure its the right house for me. With open houses not being an option, I am personally doing virtual walk throughs for all my seller clients. Honestly, It’s a really cool feature and it takes no time at all to set up. It allows a potential buyer to see your house without ever stepping foot into your house.
  • Not opening doors: This one might sound odd to you, but many agents are asking the seller to leave all doors open. This would be those in the bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and pantries. By limiting how many surfaces you touch, you minimize how many places you can potentially spread germs. Hopefully your agent has sanitizer wipes for those couple doors you do have to open.
  • Putting in the proper verbiage into your offer: Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty with people who work in industries that are having a harder time than others. Make sure your agent puts in a clause in case your loan is either denied, or commitment is postponed because your job has been affected.

A lot of people have put their house hunting on hold right now, but if you’re thinking about selling and you are comfortable with someone being in your house, there are lots you can do now while buyers are biding their time. Take this opportunity and let your Realtor get your pictures done and enhanced, get the virtual tour set up, and create a floor plan. Doing these things now gives you a better advantage in the spring market this year. Be prepared, don’t procrastinate!

$25,000 Homes for Heroes Foundation Grant: Together As Team We Are Helping Healthcare Heroes

Many people are asking, “How can I help?”  Here at the Homes for Heroes head office, we are asking that very question! In this time of great need the Homes for Heroes Foundation took swift action and just donated $25,000 to HealthWell’s COVID-19 Fund to specifically assist healthcare professionals at risk or who are quarantined due to COVID-19.  It’s because of affiliates like me, and heroes like you, fueling the Circle of Giving that this is able to happen.
 
When a Hero uses an affiliate in their real estate transaction, a portion of that transaction goes towards the Circle of Giving which allows donations like this to happen. Thank you.

The tree that fell

Once upon a time there was a tree….

It was a big tree, that prevented the houses around it from having the ability to have solar panels, had too many leaves that fell in the fall, and cast so much shadow that it was close to impossible to grow grass under its substantial shade.

It was a good tree…

It held strong against the forces of New England weather, and even when parts would fall it did manageable damage and provided many laughs when someone would attempt to climb and trim its colossal limbs. 

One December day the landowners decided to remove the tree. They chose a candidate they felt was worthy of the task. But destruction lay in their wake.

The tree had fallen on a neighbors fence and broken limbs off another tree. They were unprepared for the amount of wood that would need to be removed and could only take on small piece away at a time. The noble landowner took their word when they said they would come back from their quest to dispose of the wood. Times goes by, and the noble landowner wonders when the chosen contractor will be back….


Unfortunately many home owners go through this exact thing. We find a project we can’t do ourselves and we find someone who claims they can do it for you and they really can’t. The moral of the story: do your due diligence when hiring contractors for ANY project. Ask about their license and insurance. You want to make sure you are protected if something goes wrong.

problems with older homes

Older homes offer a host of opportunities for customization, blended with character and history, which is why many people love them. But the flip side is that the older they are, the more likely they are to come bundled with unpleasant surprises—including some you might not even have heard of.

Fixing them is sure to be expensive, but knowing what to expect can help you prepare your budget. Here’s what to look for in an old home, depending on when it was built.

1900s

A home that is more than 100 years old might seem like a sweet deal, especially if you’re fond of classic architecture and “This Old House,” and don’t mind a healthy dose of down-and-dirty DIY. But buyer beware: These gorgeous antiques can make “The Money Pit” seem like a documentary of your life.

It is somewhat inevitable that many of these older homes will have some type of settling, so you will see floors that look like they are leaning slightly. Often, tilting is nothing more than a cosmetic annoyance—but it could indicate expensive-to-fix foundation issues.

Unrenovated homes might also have knob-and-tube wiring, the early electrical systems that were common until the 1930s. Ceramic knobs and tubes run through the floor joists or wall studs, carrying electricity throughout the home. However, the rubber insulation can degrade and create a fire hazard. And without GFCI outlets (ground-fault circuit interrupters, which trip the circuit if there is a surge in current), the system isn’t grounded.

Fixing it is pricey, so get ready—and start working on getting estimates from some good electricians.

1920s

Balloon framing was invented as an inexpensive alternative to traditional timber framing, and was used frequently from the late 19th century through the 1920s and early ’30s. Instead of complicated joinery to keep post and beams well-connected, balloon framing utilizes… really, really long boards. And nails.

Sketchy as it all sounds (“balloon” was originally a derogatory term indicating that the frame might just blow off in the wind), the structure itself is relatively sound. But the framing can be a tremendous fire risk. Unless the gaps between the planks are filled or well-insulated, basement or crawl-space fires can rocket upstairs.

1930s

Homes built in the 1930s and earlier—and the occasional ’40s home—typically used clay sewer lines. Tree roots can invade every type of sewer line, but the clay kind are particularly vulnerable because terra-cotta, the material they were made of, is brittle and liable to break. Because plumbers typically cobbled together shorter pipes to form the line, they might separate over time, causing leakage and soil contamination.

Clay isn’t your only potential sewer problem: Your water main and sewage line may be installed too close together to meet modern standards. Most municipalities require at least 10 feet of separation. While no one will make you dig up your existing lines, the regulation can greatly increase the cost of a replacement if either line breaks.

1950s

Clay lines aren’t the only troublesome sewage system. Cast-iron sewer lines, popular from the mid-20th century to the ’80s, can corrode or crack, with a replacement cost in the many thousands.

Buyers might also find ungrounded outlets, especially if the home hasn’t been sold since its construction. Expect an expensive update to ground your system and mitigate your fire risk. At the very least, GFCI outlets will need to be installed.

1960s

Feeling a little chilly in your Mid-Century bungalow? Check inside the walls.

1960s homes were not built with an emphasis on insulation. Energy prices were much lower, so preventing heat loss was not a huge concern for builders or homeowners.

Luckily, unlike replacing a sewer system, improving insulation is an easy DIY. Rent an insulation blower from your favorite hardware store—expect to spend about $50 per day—and your home will be toasty long before wintertime.

1970s

Expect to find fewer outlets per room and fewer circuits—which means all your electronics could trip a fuse. And if you find single-strand aluminum wiring—common during the copper shortage of the late ’60s and early ’70s—be prepared to replace the system. Faulty connections overheat the wiring, creating (surprise!) a fire hazard.

Of course, you can’t ignore the No. 1 problem of homes built in the 1970s: the decor. Shag carpeting? Avocado walls? Fake wall paneling? Ugh. Fortunately, you don’t need a home inspector to point those out.

1980s

By the ’80s, builders had figured out how to build a mostly modern home. But there is one quirk to look out for: PB (polybutylene) piping. Prone to rapid degradation and subsequent bursting, these gray-colored water pipes cost homeowners millions of dollars in water damage.

Most PB has long been replaced, but if you’re unlucky enough to score a home that still has the faulty piping, budget for a replacement. Even if you don’t care, your homeowners’ insurance company may decline to cover you until a change is made.

Count yourself lucky if your old home isn’t rife with problems—but not too lucky. One of the joys of home ownership is knowing that something will always go wrong. But even when it inevitably does, don’t panic. Everything is fixable.