Be on the Lookout for Gen Z: The Next Generation of Homebuyers

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You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.

According to realtor.com, “Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”

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Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”

The report from Concentrix goes a little deeper on Gen Z, identifying the main reasons this cohort wants to own homes:

  • 55% want to own a home because they want to start a family
  • 47% want to build wealth over time
  • 33% want to make their family proud

Although they’re eager to buy, this generation also perceives a few challenges ahead:

  • 66% believe saving for a down payment and closing costs will be challenging
  • 58% feel covering the monthly costs of owning may be difficult
  • 52% perceive a lack of knowledge about where to start

It is also interesting to note that 21% of Gen Zers think their parents will provide financial help, 17% will use a down payment assistance program, and 15% believe other family members will help them. One of the highlights of the report mentioned,

“More than half of Gen Zers who think they’ll receive help also think they will need to pay their parents back, compared to 40 percent of millennials.”

Bottom Line

It is never too early to start saving for your own home, whether you are part of Gen Z or a different generation. If you would like to know where to start and how much you need to save to reach your goal of buying a home, let’s get together so you can better understand the process.

Retrieved from: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/

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What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

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While a recent announcement from CNBC shares that the average national FICO® score has reached an all-time high of 706, the good news for potential buyers is that you don’t need a score that high to qualify for a mortgage. Let’s unpack the credit score myth so you can to become a homeowner sooner than you may think.

With today’s low interest rates, many believe now is a great time to buy – and rightfully so! Fannie Mae recently noted that 58% of Americans surveyed say it is a good time to buy. Similarly, the Q3 2019 HOME Survey by the National Association of Realtors said 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home. Unfortunately, fear and misinformation often hold qualified and motivated buyers back from taking the leap into homeownership.

According to the same CNBC article,

“For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO®, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.”

This is great news, as it means Americans are improving their credit scores and building toward a stronger financial future, especially after the market tumbled during the previous decade. With today’s strong economy and increasing wages, many Americans have had the opportunity to improve their credit over the past few years, driving this national average up.

Since Americans with stronger credit are now entering the housing market, we are seeing an increase in the FICO® Score Distribution of Closed Loans (see graph below):What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | MyKCMBut hang on – don’t forget that this does not mean you need a FICO® score over 700 to qualify for a mortgage. Here’s what Experian, the global leader in consumer and business credit reporting, says:

FHA Loan: “FHA loans are ideal for those who have less-than-perfect credit and may not be able to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan. The size of your required down payment for an FHA loan depends on the state of your credit score: If your credit score is between 500 and 579, you must put 10% down. If your credit score is 580 or above, you can put as little as 3.5% down (but you can put down more if you want to).”

Conventional Loan: “It’s possible to get approved for a conforming conventional loan with a credit score as low as 620, although some lenders may look for a score of 660 or better.”

USDA Loan“While the USDA doesn’t have a set credit score requirementmost lenders offering USDA-guaranteed mortgages require a score of at least 640.”

VA Loan: “As with income levels, lenders set their own minimum credit requirements for VA loan borrowers. Lenders are likely to check credit scores as part of their screening process, and most will set a minimum score, or cutoff, that loan applicants must exceed to be considered.”

Bottom Line

As you can see, plenty of loans are granted to buyers with a FICO® score that is lower than the national average. If you’d like to understand the next steps to take when determining your credit score, let’s get together so you can learn more.

Retrieved from: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com

Millennials and The Road to Home Ownership

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If it seems like all your friends are buying a house… it’s because they are! But don’t worry, you’re not alone if you haven’t. There has been a lot of talk about how, as a generation, millennials have ‘failed to launch’ into adulthood and have delayed moving out of their family’s home. What doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the same context, however, is the large number of millennials who have moved out of their family’s home, but have been renting an apartment, condo, or even a house! Many experts have looked at the homeownership rate among millennials and have questioned if they even want to own homes! The great news is that not only do millennials want to own… they are flocking to the real estate market in larger numbers every year! Buyers aged 18-34 years have comprised the largest share of first-time homebuyers at roughly 50- 60% for the last few years. In 2017, buyers aged 25-34 years accounted for 65% of first-time home buyers, compared to 50% in 2005. According to the National Association of Realtor’s latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average age of a first-time home buyer in 2017 was 32. This generation will continue to be the topic of conversation A LOT when it comes to housing as more and more enter ‘average home buying age’.

Experts Need To Stop Lumping All Millennials Together

In a group of people with such a wide age range (18-36 according to the Census), it is impossible to draw conclusions about this generation as a whole, despite what many have tried to do. Many experts have begun to realize that there is a noticeable difference between the behaviors and experiences of this generation, and have therefore divided them into ‘young millennials’ (18-26) and ‘older millennials’ (27-36).

No matter which group you find yourself in, you no doubt have peers that fit into the other category and may even identify with different characteristics from each group.

One of the many reasons that it has been easy for experts to lump all millennials together is the fact that 66% of millennials are under the age of 30, with 22% falling under the age of 25, according to a study by NerdWallet.

With the majority of the generation still in their 20s and either not ready to or not in a position to make huge life-changing decisions (such as buying a home or starting a family), it has been easy for those who follow trends to not notice the progress ‘older millennials’ have already made.

The ‘Responsibility Zone’ Is Calling

Whether pushed into the zone or a willing participant, many ‘older millennials’ are aging into the ‘Responsibility Zone,’ or the age range when responsibilities start to dictate behaviors, such as:

• Moving out of the house

• Getting married

• Buying a home

• Having children

And not necessarily in that order! You may have noticed that many of your friends and family members have started to make pretty big decisions all at once. There are many millennials who are crossing all four of these major life events off their list in a two-year span. If you blink you might miss it!

Over the last 60 years, the median age of first marriage for Americans has increased substantially. The graph below shows the percentage of each generation that was married between the ages of 18-33. This age range fully encompasses the millennial generation and you can see the drastic difference in the percentage that has married by age 33. The Silent Generation led the way with 65% married by this time. The graph on the lower right was created using data from the Census Bureau. It shows that in 1955, the median age for men to be married was 23 and for women, 20. In 2017, men were 30 and women were 27 at first marriage. Even though this difference doesn’t seem very large, (only 7 years), the resulting delay, or ‘failure to launch’ into adulthood, can be felt in the homeownership rate as well as other areas of the housing market.

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Simply put, the homeownership rate is the percentage of homes that are owned by their occupants. The homeownership rate is computed by dividing the number of owner-occupied housing units by the total number of occupied housing units. As the economy has recovered from the housing market crash, more and more young professionals are moving out of their childhood homes and opting for a place of their own. At the same time, many who were impacted by the shake-up in the economy are beginning to rebuild their credit to a point where homeownership may again become an opportunity. The current homeownership rate for all Americans is around 64.2%.

Regardless if you are buying or selling, Cara Realtors is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of exclusive Real Estate Services to all of our clients. Contact us today.

Point Pleasant Office: 732-892-9900

Brick Office: 732-477-0200

Retrieved from: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/

 

 

3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now

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Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.

1. Affordability

Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:

  • Price
  • Wages
  • Mortgage Interest Rate

Prices are up, but so are wages – and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.

“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”

2. Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.
3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now | MyKCMAdditionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.

With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, Fannie Mae and others have increased their forecasts for housing appreciation for the rest of the year. If home price gains are about to re-accelerate, buying now rather than later makes financial sense.

3. Increase Family Wealth

Homeownership has always been recognized as a sensational way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:

“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”

The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you.

Bottom Line

With affordability increasing, mortgage rates decreasing, and home values about to re-accelerate, it may be time to make a move. Let’s get together to determine if buying now makes sense for your family.

Retrieved from: https://www.mykcm.com/2019/07/25/3-powerful-reasons-to-buy-a-home-now/

Having a Professional on Your Side Makes a Difference

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In today’s fast-paced world, where answers are a Google search away there are some who may second-guess the benefits of hiring a real estate professional. The truth is, the addition of more information brings more confusion. Shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, and dozens more on HGTV have given many a false sense of what it’s like to buy or sell a home.

Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who is going to guide you toward your dreams and not let anything get in your way of achieving them. Buying or selling a home is definitely not something you want to DIY (Do It Yourself)!

Here are just some of the reasons you need a real estate professional in your corner:

There’s More to Real Estate than Finding a House You Like Online

There are over 230 possible steps that must take place during every successful real estate transaction. Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few key parts in the process. Don’t you want someone who has been there before? Someone who knows what the actions are to ensure you achieve your dream?

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, even tens
of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the potential cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

 

What Is the Home You’re Selling Worth in Today’s Market?

There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional who’s been there before to guide you through the process will give you a huge advantage.

 

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Retrieved from: Keeping Current Matters: Buying a Home Fall 2019 Guide

 

Millennial Buying Power Poised to Boost Homeownership

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In a recent article by Realtor Magazine, Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American Financial Corporation, notes,

“The largest group of millennials by birth year will turn 30 in 2020, which puts them entering their prime homebuying years”.

The article continues to describe how millennials have more buying-power than the generations that preceded them, making their interest in embracing homeownership stronger than ever,

“Millennials—the most educated generation—have the highest incomes across their generational cohorts, even when salaries are adjusted for inflation.”

This combination of power and desire has the potential to drive positive growth in the homeownership rate heading into the near future. According to Fleming,

‘“The gap between the potential and actual homeownership in 2018 narrowed slightly as the growth in homeownership modestly exceeded the increase in potential demand,” he says, citing First American’s Homeownership Progress Index.

“We expect the homeownership rate to further close the gap with potential in the years ahead as millennials continue to make important decisions, such as obtaining an education and, later in life, getting married and having children.”’

That said, the shortage of sellable inventory in the entry and mid-range levels that’s attractive to potential millennial buyers may be a contributing factor as to why many millennials haven’t yet purchased a home. According to another recent report citing Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic,

“Lower rates are certainly making it more affordable to buy homes and millennial buyers are entering the market with increasing force. These positive demand drivers, which are occurring against a backdrop of persistent shortages in housing stock, are the major drivers for higher home prices, which will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.”

With millennials aging-up into mortgage-ready and home-buying territory, along with their strong buying interest and buying power, this generation is poised and ready to have positive impact on homeownership rates across the country. Many of them just need to find a home they’re excited to buy in this competitive end of the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, let’s connect and determine if now is a great time for you to list your house and move-up. More millennials are getting ready to jump into the market and join the ranks of homeownership, so demand for homes in the starter and mid-level range will continue to be strong.

 

Retrieved from: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

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Below are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase…and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple years, for fear that they would not find a home to move to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time needed to close a loan is 43 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that in the luxury or premium market.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year. If you’re moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

 

Retrieved from: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today

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Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:

  1. Home prices are appreciating at a more normal rate: Home prices have been appreciating for about ten years now. Experts at the Home Price Expectation Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae are forecasting continued growth throughout the next year, although it should be leveling-off to normal appreciation (3.6%), as we move into 2020.
  2. Interest rates are low: Over the past 30 years, the average mortgage rate in the United States has been 8.27%, and rates even peaked as high as 18% in the 1980s. Today, at 3.81%, the rate is considerably lower than the historical 30-year average. Although experts predict it may climb into the low 4% range in the near future, that’s still remarkably lower than our running average, suggesting a great time to get more for your money over the life of your loan.
  3. An impending recession does not mean there will be a housing crash: Although expert research studies such as those found in the Duke Survey of American CFOs and the National Association of Business Economics, are pointing toward a recession beginning within the next 18 months, a potential recession isn’t expected to be driven by the housing industry. That means we likely won’t experience a devastating housing crash like the country felt in 2008. Expert financial analyst Morgan Housel tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:

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Bottom Line

With prices appreciating and low interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership.

Retrieved from: https://www.mykcm.com/2019/07/24/mid-year-housing-market-update-three-things-to-know-today/

 

Why It’s Important to Hire a Real Estate Agent

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When you’re selling your home it can be tempting to try and go it alone. Maybe you don’t want to work with a real estate agent to try and save some money, or you just think it won’t make much of a difference. There are a lot of people who do try to sell their homes on their own and when you’re watching the success stories on TV or reading them online it’s easy to think there’s nothing to it.

The truth is there’s a lot that goes into selling a house you may not have considered. Depending on your level of experience with buying and selling homes you may not even know the basics of how things work. Agents do more than just bring in potential buyers and show up to have documents signed. They know all the ins and outs of both buying and selling a house.

If you’re trying to sell your home you really do need to consider all your options to make your sale a success and that includes using a real estate agent. The reasons you need an agent to sell your home are the same no matter where you go. Having a good agent to sell your home is invaluable. Here are five things you should take into consideration when deciding to get a real estate agent to sell your home. 

1. You’re Already Busy

Selling a house can be a full-time job. You’ll have to field calls from interested buyers, work out where you want to advertise any open houses you might have and about a thousand other little things that lead up to a finalized sale. You’re already busy with your life and job, so adding in everything that comes with selling a home is a lot to ask. 

A real estate agent’s job is to deal with all of these exact things. They are not too busy to get back to interested buyers right away. They are not too busy to find the best places to advertise. They aren’t too busy to make sure people who express interest are actually qualified buyers. Basically, everything that would add more to your plate is already something a real estate agent just does.

The things that are extra for you are the day to day life activities of an agent. They do these things multiple times a day and they do them well. They already know how to sell a house, so they’re not learning how to do any of these things on the fly. If you’re already finding yourself busy with life, you definitely need a real estate agent to sell your home. 

2. Real Estate Agents Have More Experience

Unless you’re selling houses every day along with whatever your normal day job is, you don’t have as much experience as an agent. Experience can make a huge difference in getting your house sold quickly, or having to drop the price because it’s been on the market too long. Real estate agents know how to navigate the market better than anyone else out there. 

They’ve trained for this, they’ve taken and passed exams, and they’ve done this all before. More than once. Their experience is valuable and worth the costs involved. Your end goal is to get your house sold so it doesn’t become a hassle you have to deal with or lose money on. A real estate agent’s goal is the same as yours, they just know how to do it faster and better. 

When you’re considering whether or not to use an agent you really do need to consider how their experience can help you get your house sold. They’re the ones that know everything from regulations to tiny things like the best place to look for buyers. Again, this is what they do so trusting the pros, in this case, is a great idea.

3. Real Estate Agents are Professional Negotiators

This is just another fact that goes into what a real estate agent does. Selling your house can be emotional. It’s somewhere you’ve lived your day-to-day life as a family or maybe even grown into as a family. If you’ve put a lot of work into it, you can have an extra attachment because you know the amount of sweat equity involved in that work. 

An agent is removed from all of that. Their main goal is to get your house sold and if negotiations are involved they aren’t going to hold onto emotional ties that prevent them from making a good deal. They definitely aren’t going to make a deal without your approval but since they’re removed from the emotional side of things they can give you better guidance and advice.

Everyone is attached to their home in one way or another. Even if you try really hard to be objective there’s still a high likelihood that some amount of emotional attachment will creep into your negotiation skills. Having a real estate agent present to help you refocus on the bigger picture will be essential to getting your house sold without getting hung up in the negotiation phase. 

4. Real Estate Agents Understand Contracts

At one point selling a home on your own may have been an easy thing to do. There wasn’t much involved on the paperwork side of things and closings were pretty simple. Now, however, that is not the case. Closing paperwork is complicated. There are state and federal regulations that have to be gone over, and closings can get overwhelming very quickly. 

Your buyer may have a real estate agent there with them during the closing, but that agent is going to be focused on the buyer’s best interests. You’re going to need someone on your side, too. Sometimes last minute things come up right as someone is about to sign on that dotted line. For someone that doesn’t deal with closings often these can be deal breaker situations. 

A real estate agent helping you sell your house is going to know about contracts and closings. They’re going to know what needs to be disclosed and what to do if something comes up as paperwork is being signed. 

Contracts and disclosures are not always easy things to understand, especially if you haven’t gone through the process more than once or twice. Having an agent there to navigate the closing contract signing situations is a huge key to the successful sale of your home.

5. Real Estate Agents Can Give You Pricing Advice

Much like the negotiating, pricing your home can be something that’s hard to separate emotion from. You already know how hard you worked to get your home ready for sale, or the work you’ve put in during the past years you’ve owned the house. It’s hard to keep that out of your mind entirely while coming up with a price to list your home at. 

Agents can help you because they know the neighborhoods, they know the market, and they know comparable housing prices. All of these things factor into making sure you’re pricing your home effectively. You still have the final say, and a real estate agent can’t force you to list at a certain price but their experience and knowledge should be given proper credit. 

An agent can help talk through what you would like to sell the home for, and show you what other homes are selling for right now. If there’s a huge gap in what you want and what the real estate agent thinks is attainable it’s something you can talk about. There might be something you don’t know, or there might be something the agent hasn’t considered for your pricing. 

As a team, you can come up with a price together. Again, this gives you someone removed from the situation emotionally that’s still on your side. They still want you to make money on the sale but they are going to have a realistic way of looking at things that you might not have if you’re very attached to your house. This is an invaluable resource to have when trying to make a sale.

Bottom Line:

Selling your house is not as easy as you might initially think it will be. There are a lot of reasons you’ll want to have a real estate agent on your side. From negotiation to fielding interested buyers there’s just a lot to consider and this is what they do day in and day out. 

Hiring an agent to sell your home is likely to take a lot of stress off of your shoulders, and may even get your home listed and sold more quickly potentially being the best decision you make during the entire process.

Retrieved from: https://www.mckissock.com/blog/real-estate/why-its-important-to-hire-a-real-estate-agent/

10 things to put on your summer home maintenance checklist

There are a lot of things you need to do for your home throughout the year, and summer is the time when a lot of those efforts need a little extra attention. Consequently, putting together a checklist to follow for the rest of July and August is a great way to avoid unexpected issues.

Here are 10 things around the home you can’t afford to ignore this summer:

1) Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

This is something you should be doing on a regular basis anyway, but if you haven’t done it in a while, now is definitely the time, according to Insurance Hub. Test every one and, if they don’t beep, replace the batteries. It doesn’t take much effort but it’s vital to protecting your loved ones and your home itself.

2) Dust the fans

Whether you have ceiling fans or the box version you pull out of the attic or basement every summer, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re free of dust and other debris before putting them into heavy use over the next few months. Making sure the blades and other components are cleared off is good for not spreading dust around a room, but also because it keeps the fan balanced and in good working order.

3) Inspect your air conditioners

The same is true of your AC units – whether you have a central system or install individual units in windows – because a lot more debris can build up around them. Due to how much power they use, an inefficient air conditioner can be quite costly, and there can also be some fire risk if the unit is in particularly bad shape. In that case, it might be better to get it repaired or replaced.

4) Give the grill a once-over

If you plan to do any grilling this summer, you will have to check that all components of it are in good working order, according to The Nest. First, you should clean it thoroughly, whether it’s gas or charcoal. However, if you have a gas grill, there’s plenty more to consider to make sure everyone is safe, including the propane tank and hookups.

5) Make sure the porch, deck or patio is in good shape

If you’re going to be spending plenty of pleasant hours hosting company or just reading a book alone in an outdoor space, you need to make sure all the masonry or wood is in good shape. If not, there may be plenty of steps you can take to fix them, but doing so sooner than later is vital to ensuring everyone avoids slipping or tripping – and potentially injuring themselves – when they come over.

6) Get to work on the appliances

There are plenty of appliances you should look over in the summer, from cleaning all the collected dust and debris off the back of the refrigerator to clearing out the exhaust fan above the stove, according to Better Homes and Gardens. You should also be sure to clear out all the lint that can build up around your washer and dryer, and inspect the dishwasher for leaks.

7) See if the trees and bushes are healthy

Not only are dead and dying trees or shrubbery around your home not good for the other plants in your yard, they’re also a potential risk. In the summer and into early fall, weather events like thunderstorms, tornados and hurricanes can threaten your property depending upon where you live, and in those cases, big overhanging limbs or the entire plant can put people and other objects in your yard in harm’s way. Pruning the vegetation back as necessary, or having them removed altogether, is usually a good idea for this reason.

8) Vacuum all the vents

Similar to clearing all the dust off your fans, tuning up your air conditioner and cleaning your appliances, you might want to ensure all vents in your home is clear of dust and other debris, according to Home Advisor. In the course of your regular vacuuming, making sure to get every vent you encounter – whether intake or exhaust – can help your HVAC system run more effectively. That’s true not only in the summer, when the A/C is often on full blast, but also the winter when you have the heat going.

9) Look at the roof

As mentioned, summer can bring with it some storms that pack heavy rains and winds, and even a little damage to your roof could lead to major problems for your entire home. Water damage that starts at the roof can have a very real (and literal) trickle-down effect that cost thousands or more to repair. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to get up on the roof when the weather is good to make sure there are no missing shingles or tiles and everything is as it should be. If not, it’s time to repair the issues immediately.

10) Clear the gutters regularly

Along similar lines, there’s plenty of stuff that can get stuck in your gutters over the course of the year, and if you’re not making sure to clear them off regularly, you’re significantly increasing your risk of having a backup that causes water damage. As such, taking a few hours to make sure there are no leaves, pine needles sticks and other debris clogging up your gutters and spouts is going to be time well spent when heavy rains come. It can also be a good idea to make sure where the gutters empty out either has a rain barrel collecting the excess water or is properly designed to make it flow away from your foundation.

Bottom Line:

Every home has its own unique needs that owners must take into account when putting together a to-do list – the list of necessary maintenance tasks expands quickly if you have a pool, for instance. In general, common sense should dictate many of the steps you take to make sure your home is protected not only during these next few months of summer, but all year long.

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