Aug. 20, 2019

First Comes Home, Then Comes Marriage?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group

First Comes Home, Then Comes Marriage?

When it comes to today’s real estate market, millennials play a major role. According to the National Association of REALTORSⓇ, the group makes up the largest share of homebuyers at 37 percent, and according to RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report, first-time homebuyers/millennials represent the largest opportunity for business in the year ahead, according to the majority of responding brokers.

Millennials are so keen on homeownership, in fact, that a growing contingent are putting buying a home before marriage. According to recent research from LendingTree, 24 percent of millennials say they are postponing marriage until after they buy a home. Additionally, 27 percent of millennial buyers are postponing parenthood until after they’ve bought a home...and 2 in 5 of all homebuyers are waiting to get the house before they get a pet.

No matter whether millennials are prioritizing marriage or home, the research reveals that more education about the home-buying process is needed either way. For example, while most home closings take 45 - 60 days, nearly half of first-time homebuyers surveyed believe the mortgage closing process will take 15 - 30 days, and about 14 percent believe it will take less than 15 days.

First-time buyers also need more education on the importance of good credit when buying a home. According to the research, just 15 percent of first-time buyers have a score of 740 or higher. While nearly 2 in 5 reported that they aren’t satisfied with their credit score, more than a quarter of them haven’t taken steps to improve it.

Despite credit-score woes, however, the two main obstacles to buying a home are low income and lack of savings. Nearly a third reported that a lack of income has held them back from buying a home, and another 27 percent claim a lack of savings has caused the delay.
LendingTree offers the following tips for first-time homebuyers to help them achieve their goal:

Save as much as you can for a down payment, closing costs and moving expenses, and also look into down payment assistance programs.

- Have a clear picture of the mortgage amount you can afford, realizing that your monthly mortgage payment includes property taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance if you put less than 20 percent down.

- Generally speaking, your total monthly debts, including your mortgage, shouldn’t exceed 43 percent of your gross monthly income.

- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking for a house. A pre-approval tells you how much a lender is willing to lend you and at what interest rate. 
Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 20, 2019

5 Tips for Lighting your Living Space

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group

5 Tips for Lightening Your Living Space

Do you dream of a light, airy living space? Do you want to feel like you’re living inside of a cloud? Below are five tips for a lighter living space, now.

Paint it white. Well this is an obvious one. From walls to wood paneling and hardwood floors, two coats of white paint will turn your living space into a year-round winter wonderland. Done and done!

Minimize. Do you really need all twenty of those awkward family photos on that side table? De-cluttering surfaces will lighten space with smooth lines. Cut clutter by adding hidden storage systems (like an ottoman with stow space), and minimize furniture to a handful of necessary pieces.

Add mirrors. Mirrors have long-since been a go-to trick for opening up a space. In addition to wall mirrors, consider adding mirrored back splashes or mirrored trays. Not into mirrors? Sparkle can do the trick, too. Glass-top tables and crystal candle holders, anyone?

Lighten the linens. Breezy, airy curtains and snow-white throws will make your space seem plush and comfortable, like snuggling with a sheep.

Shades of gray. To avoid looking as if you doused your house in bleach, consider adding soft, light shades of gray or blue to your color scheme.

For more tips on home decor and improvements, contact me today!

Posted in Home Design
Aug. 19, 2019

Water Heaters and What you should know

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Bay Street Realty Group

Water Heater Replacements a Good Bet in Today's Energy-efficient Driven Market

When considering purchasing a home, prospective buyers often have a long list of questions they’d like answered before making a final decision. And, with more buyers being energy-conscious today, they may be put off by large energy, heating and water bills that are a direct result of old systems and non energy-efficient offerings.
 
While savvy house hunters will most certainly ask about the age and condition of the basic systems and appliances in your home, it’s important to think carefully about which upgrades make the most sense before placing your home on the market. 
 
One change to strongly consider is the water heater. If your unit is anywhere between 10-15 years old, upgrading can be a big improvement, catching the attention of a prospective buyer. New models are up to 20 percent more efficient and can save up to $700 in energy costs over the life of the unit. Of course, it’s always a good idea to research your options before choosing a replacement.
 
The most popular water heaters today are electric, but those running on fuel, geothermal energy, propane, solar energy and gas are also available. Conventional water heaters have a large tank that stores hot water for future use, while tankless water heaters heat water directly when needed, reducing both storage and heating costs.
 
Currently, five categories of water heater are designated as Energy Star rated, including high-performance gas storage, whole-home gas tankless, advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump, solar and gas condensing. For each type of water heater, the Energy Star rating can help you determine just how energy efficient a model is.
 
According to Energy.gov, the type of water heater you choose may affect your water heating costs. For instance, an electric heat pump water heater is typically more energy efficient than an electric conventional storage water heater, however, an electric heat pump water heater might have lower energy costs than a gas-fired conventional storage water heater because of its higher efficiency.
 
Even if your water heater is currently working, if it’s an older, inefficient model, you could reap real cost benefits by replacing it with a more energy efficient one.
 
Adding an energy efficient water heater and maintaining it properly before you put your house on the market will help reduce energy bills significantly and attract more buyers. Keep yourself out of hot water and make a change that can only benefit your sale.
 
For more information about buyer questions, contact me today! 
Aug. 8, 2019

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Posted in Real Estate Tools
Aug. 7, 2019

Air Quality of your home

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

You may think about air pollution while you're running alongside a busy road or strolling to your favorite coffee shop, but do you ever think about the pollutants inside your home? Between sleep and home hangouts, the majority of your time is spent between your own four walls. According to Aire Serv, you should regularly change the HVAC filter in your home to help improve indoor air quality. For ease, stock up on a few filters at a time and plan to check the filter monthly. Other considerations to keep in mind include:

Dust and vacuum often. It's easy to put off dusting and vacuuming, but removing dust means you get rid of one of your home's most prevalent pollutants. Instead of a feather duster, use a wet rag or electrostatic cloth to trap debris instead of spreading it around. When you vacuum, turn the thermostat setting to ON so the fan blows continuously, drawing up dusty air and filtering it before sending it back into the air you breathe.

Avoid chemicals. Everything from cleaning products and air fresheners to personal care items give off harmful vapors that become trapped in your home. Avoid chemically laden products and choose non-toxic, non-aerosol, unscented products instead to promote good indoor air quality.

Utilize existing spot ventilation around your home. For example, run the bathroom exhaust fan when you shower and clean; flip on the kitchen range vent when you cook and clean; and turn on the laundry room exhaust vent when clothes are drying. These habits help you eliminate pollutants at the source.

The air filter in your furnace should be cleaned or replaced at least once every three months. Irritants and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and more build up in dirty filters, increasing exposure and worsening the effects on those with sensitivities.

If your furnace uses natural gas, propane or oil to keep your house warm, the air quality in your home could become contaminated by dangerous carbon monoxide gas. If not properly and adequately ventilated, its build-up in your home can be deadly.

Run an air cleaner. A small portable air cleaner is perfect for your bedroom at night while you sleep. This device collects airborne dust and debris, leaving the air cleaner than ever. If you opt for a whole-house model, it replaces the air filter. This type of installation is known to decrease asthma and allergy symptoms.
Posted in Home Guide
May 31, 2019

Dataw Island's Real Estate Report Spring 2019

Posted in Market Updates
April 8, 2019

Spring 2019 Home Guide

Posted in Home Guide
July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates