Winter Is Coming… So What Does That Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

winter photoWinter is coming and even though we’ve had some glorious weather for the past couple weeks, the threat of the cold and snow are looming around the corner. Many people assume the fall and winter are slow times in real estate, but in reality, sellers who decide to stick it out will often find buyers who are more serious in their real estate search, not scared away by cooler weather and often have a move-in date in mind. Buyers will also find sellers this time of year are very motivated and more likely to negotiate than fair-weather sellers. The bottom line is don’t be discouraged if your house is on the market because there are determined buyers out there still on the hunt. Here are some tips from REALTOR Magazine for making your property looks it’s best during the fall:

·     The most obvious tip: rake up leaves on a frequent basis;

·     Inspect your gutters regularly and remove any leaves that get trapped;

·     Carry on weeding garden beds and walkways;

·     Remove all annual flowers that are no longer blooming and plants that are past their “best before” date.  Dead vegetation gives the impression of a home not cared for;

·     If you’re experiencing a warm, dry fall in your area, you’ll still need to irrigate your lawn (according to local by-laws of course);

·     Fertilize your lawn before the ground freezes (unless you’re lucky enough to live in a year-round warm climate).  This will give your grass a head start in the spring.  However, check with your local garden center first to find out if this is the right course of action for your particular environment;

·     Readjust the timers on outdoor lighting displays since it now gets dark earlier;

·     Give your gardens some liveliness by planting fall flowers such as chrysanthemums. Choose a color that compliments the exterior of your home;

·     Redesign your urns and flowers pots – it’s time for a fall theme;

·     Add some vignettes. Sometimes, it’s the little things that produce the most attention.  My personal favorite for generating anticipation in potential buyers is to create a simple fall vignette on the porch. Pumpkins add a punch of color and provide a warm, welcoming look when blended with something interesting like a couple of antique lanterns, for example.  Be careful not to add too many items to the vignette or it will appear too cluttered.

What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for the Housing Market?

This is not helping...

This is not helping…

As we enter the second week of the government shutdown (insert expletive or groan here) some parts of the housing market are feeling the effects of the inactivity. When people ask me what this means for the housing market especially in Reno/Sparks, I can say there might be delays in the process and the following:

  1. Lenders can delay some loans because they rely the IRS to verify a person’s income and, of course, the IRS is shut down, however, many lenders have the individual bring in their tax returns with the intention of verifying it with the IRS once the shutdown is over.
  2. Furloughed government employees may have to put the break on buying a house with no guarantee of when they will be payed next, and if they’re already in escrow, a delay may force them to pay a penalty to the seller.
  3.  People using USDA or some VA loans are out of luck–until the government re-opens, they will have to wait on loan approval.

Despite all this, most loans are going through because so much of it is automated. How is this shutdown affecting you?

Tiny Apartments, Drones and Gen X-ers: Just some of the new trends in Real Estate.

What trends are you noticing?

Tiny apartments, drones and Gen X-ers: these are just some of the new trends in real estate according to REALTOR Magazine, which recently revealed hottest new happenings.

  1. Generation X jumps to the top. Generation X—those ages 33 to 47—made up the largest chunk of home buyers, at 31 percent, between July 2011 and June 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends” report. Generation Y—those 32 and younger—made up the second-largest group, at 28 percent, followed by younger baby boomers (18 percent) and older baby boomers (14 percent).
  2. Mobile real estate search. Consumers are taking to their mobile devices in droves for real estate searches. According to online marketing firm The Search Agency, real estate ad clicks on smartphones grew 10.7 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. Tablet ad clicks shot up even higher, increasing 20.2 percent quarter over quarter—and 87 percent year over year. It all goes to show that consumers are becoming far more comfortable searching for real estate on mobile devices.
  3. Reversal of fortune in inventory? The complaint is widespread: Housing inventory has been stubbornly low in the past year. Well, perhaps that’s starting to change. The number of listings nationwide ticked up by 4.3 percent to 1.9 million homes on the market in June, according to realtor.com®. That’s the highest monthly jump in a year, and rising home prices could persuade more sellers to throw their homes on the market in the coming months.
  4. Drone photography. The use of miniature remote–controlled -helicopters for taking aerial photos and -video of properties is piquing interest among real estate agents. But it’s important to note that this marketing practice currently violates Federal Aviation Authority rules pertaining to the use of drones for commercial purposes. The agency is expected to release proposed rules for such use later this year. Congress has given the FAA until September 2015 to finalize a plan. Six states have put laws on the books restricting the public and private use of drones. NAR recommends that REALTORS® avoid using drones until the FAA has released clearer rules.
  5. Micro apartments. In some major metropolitan areas, people are living large in smaller spaces. So-called micro apartments—which are often less than 200 square feet—are becoming popular in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Boston, Providence, R.I., and Portland, Ore., reports CNN Money. But it’s not only those just-out-of-college grads flocking to these tiny units. In some “micro buildings,” the average tenant is 33 years old and makes less than $35,000 a year, according to Reuters.

I definitely hope we see an increase in inventory in the Reno/Sparks area and I’ve noticed almost all my clients look for houses on their smart phones. What trends have you noticed or are you adopting?