Millennials are now the largest generational group in the United States. One-third of home buyers nationwide are millennials, and they have become the most active segment of buyers as they age from their 20s into their 30s. And as Millenials age, their considerations in buying are changing.
For years millennials have been flocking to urban areas. When responding to a National Association of Realtors survey taken 5 years ago, 51% of millennials preferred to live in attached housing–condos, townhouses and lofts located close to where they work and play. Millennials in their very early adulthood valued mobility over stability.
Over time, Millennials have been shifting their purchasing toward homes in the suburbs. The greater affordability of these homes makes the longer driving distances more palatable. But having a yard for a dog is a significant inducement to Millennials that shouldn’t be underestimated.
A recent survey conducted on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage, found that 33% of millennials cited their dog as their number one motivator for purchasing a home. Getting married and the birth of a child were well behind at 25% and 19% respectively. Many Millennials who didn’t even own a dog at the time of the survey indicated they wanted to have a yard for a dog they planned to get someday.
As they shift toward the suburbs, Millennials still desire to be close to work and play. Walkability, public transportation, and bike paths will continue to be important. And while their dogs are their most important family members today, these suburban homes give Millennials room to grow. For many of their generation, neighborhood schools and additional bedrooms/bathrooms, like their parent’s homes had, will become increasingly important to them down the road.
Are you one of many people seeing your neighbors, friends or family diving head first into the real estate market and wonder if it’s time for you to do the same? See the difference waiting a month, year, or even 30+ years could make!
A recent study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. There are many reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners. In this post, we will explore some of the reasons to downsize and how to make the move easier.
Less Time Cleaning Most people tend to put off tedious chores such as weeding, dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning toilets. The good news is with less space, you spend less time and energy on cleaning. Not to mention, if you own less, there is less to clean around. With less time cleaning think how much more time you will have to pursue your passions.
Go Green and Save Big
Those who have lived in a large home know one of the downsides is high energy costs. Whether it is heating and cooling or water savings in your bathrooms and kitchens, you use a lot of energy maintaining a large home. Smaller homes will give you the benefit of reducing your family’s carbon footprint while you enjoy a lower energy bill in the warmer and cooler months. This reduction in you energy usage will also downsize your utility bills. When you have less space to heat, cool and light, your utility bills will naturally be lower. You’ll also save money on maintenance, taxes, insurance and repairs.
Boost Your Retirement Fund
Once you’re debt free with a fully funded emergency fund, it’s time to build wealth for the future. Experts recommend investing 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans.
If you’re still working your way up to 15%, that extra $500 could be the push you need to get there. An extra $500 over 30 years, could give you an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years. You can do a lot of living with that nest egg.
Preparing for Your New Home
Putting your home on the market is a process that takes time. Before you downsize your home, you will need to scale down your other belongings too. Look at this as your opportunity to do something new and live life with a lighter load. Start by going through your belongings and determining what you really need.
Whether you love to shop or just think you might need that outfit in the back of the closet someday, most of us tend to hold onto more clothing than we need. Begin by taking all your clothing out of your closet. Examine what you do and don’t wear. Remember that you didn’t build up an oversize wardrobe overnight, so give yourself time to go through and purge enough pieces so that everything will fit. Get rid of unwanted clothing at yard sales or online, or by donating items to charity.
Anything in Off-Site Storage
According to the Self Storage Association, there are about 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. That’s more than five times the number of Starbucks. Vow to eliminate storage fees by getting rid of enough stuff so that all your possessions fit in your own home.
If there is an exercise bike, treadmill or stair climber sitting in your attic or bedroom that has morphed into a permanent clothes rack, now is the time to donate it to a local thrift store or sell it online.
Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets
Do you really need all of your kitchen appliances? If you are someone with a juicer, food processor, blender, hand mixer, waffle maker and more considering asking yourself: “When was the last time I plugged that in?” If it’s been more than six months since you’ve used the convection oven or bread maker, it’s probably time to find that appliance a new home. While you’re in the kitchen, eliminate unused culinary gadgets and nonmatching tableware.
If your kids or other family members don’t want keepsakes from their own childhood (or yours) now, they’re not going to want them when you’re gone. Hold on to a few precious, symbolic mementos — those that truly spark memories and joy — and digitize images of the other things.
When you went to college or got your first apartment you probably filled it with new furniture. Over time, as you got a larger space the tendency is to fill or overfilling your home with furniture. When moving to a smaller space too much furniture will make rooms seem smaller. Start by measuring the new space and doorway and seeing what pieces will actually fit. If that couch is not going to fit through the front door there is no point in hauling it across town or the country.
Books, Magazines, DVDs
Unless a book has sentimental value or you’re going to read it again, put it back into circulation via a yard sale or thrift store so that others can enjoy it. Don’t want to sell it? Consider donating it to your local library, where you can always get free access to books, CDs and DVDs. You can store countless e-books (many are available for free) on an e-reader that’s smaller than a single print volume, and you can easily digitize your music and movie collections.
Consumer Reports advises organizing your important files into four categories: “papers that you need to keep for the calendar year or less; ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover; tax records, which you should save for seven years; and papers to keep indefinitely.” Many of the records you need to access indefinitely are now available through online accounts. Consider storing digitized documents on a web-based storage service or an external drive.
Finding the right home for your family is a personal decision. If you or your friends are ready for your next real estate action step, don’t hesitate. For sound advice and help creating your personal real estate plan, contact us today.
Safety is the number one reason people want smart home features. Consider adding mobile device-operated or computer-controlled home systems such as a doorbell camera, keyless entry, garage door opener, or indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras. These features allow users to monitor their home from anywhere in the world.
According to the National Fire Protection Association from 2007 to 2011, almost a quarter of home fire-related deaths in the US occurred in home with non-working smoke alarms. Smart devices can help prevent or detect a fire in your home. For example, a smart smoke detector will send an alarm to your smart phone when smoke is detected. Some smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, like the Nest Protect, offer the ability to flash smart bulbs to alert you and light your way when the alarm goes off. Additionally, they have the ability to shut off your HVAC unit in an emergency. Additionally, these devices won’t beep when the battery is low; instead they send an alert to your smart phone.
Imagine waking up in the morning and turning on your espresso machine from your bed via your smartphone. Click another app on your phone and your blinds open. You get up go to the bathroom and look in your smart HiMirror. The smart device analyzes and assesses your skin conditions, and then recommends customized skincare routes to help improve those blemishes. From work, you can turn off the lights you accidentally left on. Envision being able to see what is in your in fridge from the convenience of work and providing the most up-to-date grocery list.
This type of comfort and convenience was unimaginable in the past, but with the new wave of smart home devices, these devices could be yours. While it is not cost prohibitive to invest in every smart home appliance, smart lighting, thermostats and built in speakers are worth looking into and considered a solid investment by many real estate professionals. Energy Efficiency
A study conducted through the company Under One found that 68% of respondents cited energy efficiency as a driving factor enticing them to add technology to their home. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. house. Smart thermostats typically save 10% – 12% on heating and around 15% on cooling.
Just like other smart home appliances, the thermostat can be controlled through an app. This means if you are returning from vacation, you can tell your home to heat up or cool down from the airport. Research by the International Energy Agency (IEA), 19% of global electricity generation is used for lighting. Smart bulbs use less energy and last a lot longer than traditional bulbs. Smart bulbs can be put on a schedule or controlled remotely, which is great if you forgot to turn off the lights when leaving the house. Some bulbs even pair with other systems, like Amazon’s Alexa, enabling you to turn them on or off with your voice.
Now you can see how smart homes enhance quality of life. However, there are also security concerns that need to be addressed. As with any new technology security protocols are important. To help keep your smart home safe, you should: use multifactor authentication, perform security updates and install malware protection. And, don’t use public Wi-Fi.
In the past, home automation systems were high-tech curiosities that were not affordable or accessible to the majority of homeowners. Now just about anyone can take advantage of home automation to simplify their lives and increase their home’s market value.
May has set another new record in pending sales, breaking the older record set just a month ago!
For Sellers, the peak of the demand curve is passing but listings for sale are still in short supply, so we recommend you get your property on the market as soon as possible. For Buyers, inventory is improving and finding the right home is getting easier.
We continue to work our way through the five factors that impact your credit score. This week, I continue the discussion about amounts owed.
Whether you’re showing an amount owed on certain types of accounts In some cases, having a very small balance without missing a payment shows that you have managed credit responsibly, and may be slightly better than carrying no balance at all. Having a low credit utilization can be better than having a high one, or none at all. For example, closing unused credit accounts that have zero balances and are in good standing will not raise your credit scores.
How many accounts have balances A larger number of accounts with amounts can indicate higher risk of over-extension.
How much of the total credit line is being used Someone who is close to “maxing out” credit cards has a high credit utilization ratio and will see lower credit scores than one who exercises moderation.
How much is owed on installment loans compared with original amounts
Paying down installment loans is a good sign that you’re able to manage and repay debt.
Click here to read part one in this six part series.
We continue to work our way through the five factors that impact your credit score. This week’s suggestions are all related to your amounts owed. Amounts owed account for 30% of your credit score.
Owing money on credit accounts doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a high-risk borrower with a low credit score. If a high percentage of a person’s available credit has been used it may indicate that a person is overextended, and is more likely to make late or missed payments.
There are six components to this section. We’ll discuss two this week and four next week.
Amount owed on all accounts: Even if you pay off credit card balances each month your credit report may show a balance on those cards. The total balance shown on your last statement is generally the amount that will show on your credit report.
Amount owed on different types of accounts: In addition to the overall amount you owe, your credit score considers the amount you owe on specific types of accounts, such as credit cards and installment loans.
Click here to read Bill Holmes’s first blog post in this six part series.
Working in the mortgage and real estate industry for thirty years, I have been asked about every kind of credit problem you can imagine. Today I will answer three of the more common questions I get asked.
Will my credit score drop if I apply for new credit?
If it does, it probably won’t drop much. If you apply for several credit cards within a short period of time, multiple inquiries will appear on your report. Looking for new credit can equate with higher risk, but most credit scores are not affected by multiple inquiries from auto, mortgage or student loan lenders within a short period of time. Typically, these are treated as a single inquiry and will have little impact on the credit score.
How long will a foreclosure affect my credit score?
A foreclosure remains on your credit report for seven years, but its impact to your credit score will lessen over time. While a foreclosure is considered a very negative event on your credit score, it’s a common misconception that it will ruin your score for a very long time. In fact, if you keep all of your other credit obligations in good standing, your credit score can begin to rebound in as little as two years.
The important thing to keep in mind is that a foreclosure is a single negative item, and if you keep this item isolated, it will be much less damaging to your credit score than if you had a foreclosure in addition to defaulting on other credit obligations.
How many points will I lose from a credit inquiry?
Recently, data was released stating the true impact an inquiry has on your score and it showed that 57% of people’s scores are not affected at all. In fact, only 4% of consumers lose more than 20 points in their FICO scores because of a creditor pulling their reports, according to Frederic Huynh, one the scientists at FICO.