Homeownership is still a crucial part of the American dream. For those people who own a home (and those looking to buy one), it's clear that being a homeowner has considerable benefits both emotionally and financially. In addition to long-term stability, buying a home is one of the best ways to increase your net worth. This boost to your wealth comes in the form of equity.
Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.
The best thing about equity is that it often grows without you even realizing it, especially in a sellers' market like we're in now. In today's real estate market, the combination of low housing supply and high buyer demand is driving home values up. This is giving homeowners a significant equity boost.
According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the amount of equity homeowners have has continued to grow as home values appreciate. Here are some key takeaways from the Homeowner Equity Insights Report:
To give you an idea of what that looks like in your area, the map below shows the average equity gains by state.
If you're already a homeowner, you likely have more equity in your house than you realize. The numbers in the map above reflect year-over-year growth. If you've been in your home for longer than a year, you'll likely have even more equity than that. That equity can take you places. You can use the equity you've gained to fuel your next move, achieve other life goals, and more.
On the other hand, if you haven't purchased a home yet, understanding equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. Homeowners across the nation gained an average of over $50,000 in equity this year. Don't miss out on this chance to grow your net worth.
If you want to learn more, let's connect. A trusted advisor can help you understand where home prices are today, how they contribute to a homeowner's net worth, and the impact equity can have when you own a home.
Are you looking to buy a home? If so, we've got good news for you.
While there's no denying the housing market is having a great year, many of the headlines are focused on the perks for sellers. But what about buyers today? As a buyer, you're likely braving bidding wars and weighing low mortgage rates versus price appreciation as you search for your dream home. If you find yourself a bit discouraged, hear this: there are clear signs buyers may have more opportunities this fall.
According to realtor.com, the sweet spot for buyers is just around the corner. In a recent study, experts analyzed housing market trends by looking at data from the past several years. When applied to the current market, experts determined the ideal week to buy a home this year. The research says:
"Nationally, the best time to buy in 2021 is the week of October 3-9. This week historically has shown the best balance of market conditions that favor buyers."
So, what's that mean for you? If you're looking to buy a home, there's a golden window of opportunity coming. Here's what you can expect from that week.
The number of homes available for sale should increase. According to realtor.com, you can expect to see more new listings come to market the week of October 3. The findings estimate we'll see roughly 17.6% more homes available than we saw at the start of the year.
This means you'll have more options to choose from which should be a welcome relief in a market with tight housing supply.
With more homes available, you should also see a slight decline in the number of bidding wars. Having more options means buyers may not be competing as intensely for the homes on the market because there are more choices to go around.
This means when you write an offer, you may have less competition and a better chance of being the top bid. Just remember, it's still important to come in with a strong offer.
As we move into the end of the year, the findings from realtor.com note this week may also be one of the peak weeks for price reductions in 2021. Historically the data shows an average of 7.0% of homes have a price reduction that week. Why? When housing supply ticks up, sellers need to look for other ways to make their house stand out.
This means, while home prices are still appreciating overall, you may see some homes with price adjustments from eager sellers. The process of closing a house takes time. To close before end of year, sellers may be more motivated this October.
If you're in the market for a home, don't lose steam now. Data shows early October may give you the long-awaited opportunity to find the home of your dreams. Let's connect so you have a trusted ally and advisor to help keep you motivated so you can find the perfect home for you.
In today's real estate market, buyers shouldn't shop for a home with the expectation they'll be able to negotiate a lower sales price. In a typical housing market, buyers try to determine how much less than the asking price they can offer and still get the home. From there, the buyer and seller typically negotiate and agree on a revised price somewhere in the middle.
Today's housing market is anything but normal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes today are:
Homes selling quickly and receiving multiple offers highlights how competitive the housing market is right now. This is due, in large part, to the low supply of homes for sale. Low supply and high demand mean homes often sell for more than the asking price. In some cases, they sell for a lot more. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how these stats can impact buyers:
"The imbalance between robust demand and dismal availability of for-sale homes has led to a continual bidding over asking prices, which reached record levels in recent months. Now, almost 6 in 10 homes listed are selling over the asking price."
What does that mean for you? If you've found your dream home, you need to be realistic about today's housing market and how that impacts the offer you'll make. Offering below or even at a home's asking price may not cut it. In today's market, the highest bidder often wins the home, much like at an auction.
Currently, the asking price is often the floor of the negotiation rather than the ceiling. If you really love a home, it may ultimately sell for more than the sellers are asking. That's important to keep in mind as you work with your agent to craft an offer.
Because of today's home price appreciation and the auction-like atmosphere in the selling process, appraisal gaps – the gap between the price of your contract and the appraisal for the house – are more frequent.
According to data from CoreLogic:
"Beginning in January 2020, nationally, 7% of purchase transactions had a contract price above the appraisal, but by May 2021, the frequency had increased to 19% of purchase transactions."
When this happens, your lender won't loan you more than the home's appraised value, and the seller may ask you to make up the difference out of pocket. Buyers in today's market need to be prepared for this possibility. Know your budget, know what you can afford, and work with a trusted advisor who can offer expert advice along the way.
Bidding wars and today's auction-like atmosphere mean buyers need to rethink how they look at the asking price of a home. Let's connect so you have a trusted real estate professional who can advise you on the current market and help determine what the market value is on your dream home.
A kitchen sink can be an overlooked part of the kitchen design process, but being strategic in your selection is essential from both a function and aesthetic standpoint. While typically considered utilitarian, selecting a unique kitchen sink material can make it a focal point and add the drama the space needs. Read on to find out the different types of high-end kitchen sinks to determine which one may be best for your home.
Stone Kitchen Sinks
A stone sink, such as granite, quartz or marble, brings the wow to the workhorse area of the kitchen. A stone sink can add value to your home and has a long lifespan. Since it is a material found in nature, every sink is unique because of its slight variations. However, stone sinks do require sealing maintenance.
Copper Kitchen Sinks
A copper sink is a showstopper and an unexpected element in a kitchen. A copper sink in an apron, also known as farmhouse style, will showcase its unique design; however, it can also be installed as an undermount sink. Copper sinks can come in either a smooth or hammered finish, and the level of patina can vary. The thicker the copper, the more noise it absorbs and will better resist denting. Copper also has antimicrobial properties, which is a significant asset for an area of the house that is a breeding ground for germs.
Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Cast iron sinks are one of the oldest types of sinks around, for a good reason. Cast iron sinks are iron and topped with a glossy enamel finish, resisting stains, dings and scratches. A cast iron sink installation can be complicated because it's so heavy. Cast iron sinks also require additional support once installed. However, a cast iron sink can quickly become a focal point of the kitchen since you can select your preferred style and color.
Fireclay Kitchen Sinks
A fireclay kitchen sink is made of ceramic clay, and once dry, is covered with porcelain enamel. The enamel is susceptible to chips, due to regular wear and tear, and the clay can risk cracking. Fireclay sinks are typically installed in an apron sink style, although they can be installed in various ways.
Concrete Kitchen Sinks
A concrete kitchen sink is a completely custom option. This of-the-moment sink material is poured on-site, creating its custom shape, size and look. If you use your sink infrequently, a concrete sink may be for you because the material is prone to staining.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
While a stainless steel sink is typically a more builder-grade option, there are ways to select an elevated stainless steel sink. Choosing stainless steel with a lower gauge means the sink is thicker, which means higher quality. A stainless steel sink in a satin finish is less likely to show water spots.
If you're a renter with a desire to become a homeowner, or a homeowner who's decided your current house no longer fits your needs, you may be hoping that waiting a year might mean better market conditions to purchase a home.
To determine if you should buy now or wait, you need to ask yourself two simple questions:
Let's shed some light on the answers to both of these questions.
Three major housing industry entities project continued home price appreciation for 2022. Here are their forecasts:
Using the average of the three projections (6.27%), a home that sells for $350,000 today would be valued at $371,945 by the end of next year. That means, if you delay, it could cost you more. As a prospective buyer, you could pay an additional $21,945 if you wait.
Today, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is hovering near historic lows. However, most experts believe rates will rise as the economy continues to recover. Here are the forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2022 by the three major entities mentioned above:
That averages out to 3.7% if you include all three forecasts, and it's nearly a full percentage point higher than today's rates. Any increase in mortgage rates will increase your cost.
You'll pay more in mortgage payments each month if both variables increase. Let's assume you purchase a $350,000 home this year with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 2.86% after making a 10% down payment. According to the mortgage calculator from Smart Asset, your monthly mortgage payment (including principal and interest payments, and estimated home insurance, taxes in your area, and other fees) would be approximately $1,899.
That same home could cost $371,945 by the end of 2022, and the mortgage rate could be 3.7% (based on the industry forecasts mentioned above). Your monthly mortgage payment, after putting down 10%, would increase to $2,166.
The difference in your monthly mortgage payment would be $267. That's $3,204 more per year and $96,120 over the life of the loan.
If you consider that purchasing now will also let you take advantage of the equity you'll build up over the next calendar year, which is approximately $22,000 for a house with a similar value, then the total net worth increase you could gain from buying this year is over $118,000.
When asking if you should buy a home, you probably think of the non-financial benefits of owning a home as a driving motivator. When asking when to buy, the financial benefits make it clear that doing so now is much more advantageous than waiting until next year. Let's connect when you are ready to buy!
Buying a home is an involved process, regardless of your price point. However, the luxury market comes with a different set of conditions. From working with a specialized real estate broker, less available inventory and a more discerning list of requirements, investing in a luxury property can be more involved than purchasing a mid-level home. Here are some of the little-known secrets of the luxury home buying process.
Work With a Luxury Broker
Working with a well-versed broker in the luxury market is key to ensuring a smooth home searching and buying process. A luxury broker will be familiar with the areas in which you're looking, will be up to speed on the latest trends, will be able to identify potential issues in properties you view and will know if a property is worth its listing price. Additionally, a luxury broker will have access to homes that might not be listed publicly or on the MLS. Many luxury listings are private to protect the seller's privacy, so only luxury brokers within the inner circle are privy to these listings.
Have a Knowledgeable Team in Place
In addition to working with a broker who specializes in the luxury market, making sure your financial advisor is involved in your purchase decision will ensure you're making an intelligent investment. Taking it a step further and arranging a meeting between your broker and financial advisor will safeguard your purchase.
Patience is the name of the game when buying luxury real estate. Because of limited inventory, the time it takes to conduct research and a discerning list of must-have features, it can take longer to find the property that is a perfect match for your specifications.
Know the Neighborhood
Familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood and its future plans is an important part of the luxury home buying process. From the school district to the area's downtown amenities to recreational opportunities, the neighborhood can be just as important as the home. Additionally, suppose you are buying a property for its views. In that case, it's important to understand any plans for the area and any possibilities of new construction that could impact any waterfront, golf course or sunset views.
Don't Discount Properties Based on Photos
Based on the photos, if you don't fall in love with a property, it's still worth an in-person visit to see the home. For example, a house may require interior updates but have one in a million waterfront views. If you discount the house based on the listing photos, you will miss out on your opportunity to own a property with those views.
Have Proof of Funds
Being able to prove you have the funds to purchase a luxury property can be more involved than if you're buying a mid-level home. Therefore, it's important you have the documentation to prove you have the funds before making an offer. You may even need this documentation before you view the property. If you're interested in buying or selling, let's connect!
Urban living is expensive—especially for recent college graduates who are living their dream of getting a good first job in the big city. But successful urban living, financial advisors say, is all about being thoughtful and learning to spend wisely and well.
If you've been in your home for longer than five years, you're not alone. According to recent data from First American, homeowners are staying put much longer than historical averages (see graph below):As the graph shows, before 2008, homeowners sold their houses after an average of just five years. Today, that number has more than doubled to over 10 years. The housing industry refers to this as your tenure.
To really explore tenure, it's important to understand what drives people to make a move. An article from The Balance explores some of the primary reasons individuals choose to sell their houses. It says:
"People who move for home-related reasons might need a larger home or a house that better fits their needs, . . . Financial reasons for moving include wanting a nicer home, moving to a newer home to avoid making repairs on the old one, or cashing in on existing equity."
If you've been in your home for longer than the norm, chances are you're putting off addressing one, if not several, of the reasons other individuals choose to move. If this sounds like you, here are a few things to consider:
As the past year has shown, our needs can change rapidly. That means the longer you've been in your home, the more likely it is your needs have evolved. The Balance notes several personal factors that could lead to your home no longer meeting your needs, including relationship and job changes.
For example, many workers recently found out they'll be working remotely indefinitely. If that's the case for you, you may need more space for a dedicated home office. Other homeowners choose to sell because the number of people living under their roof changes. Now more than ever, we're spending more and more time at home. As you do, consider if your home really delivers on what you need moving forward.
One of the biggest benefits of homeownership is the equity your home builds over time. If you've been in your house for several years, you may not realize how much equity you have. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $33,400 in equity over the past year.
That equity, plus today's low mortgage rates, can fuel a major upgrade when you sell your home and purchase a new one. Or, if you're looking to downsize, your equity can help provide a larger down payment and lower your monthly payments over the life of your next loan. No matter what, there are significant financial benefits to selling in today's market.
If you've been in your home for 5-10 years or more, now might be the time to explore your options. Today's low rates and your built-up equity could provide you with the opportunity to address your evolving needs. If you feel it's time to sell, let's connect.
Housekeeping Tips From the Pros
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group and Forino Co.'s Coosaw Point Development Donate $30,000 to Support Beaufort Academy's 2021 School Year Programs
BEAUFORT, SC - Bay Street Realty Group, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage based in Beaufort, SC, and Forino Co.'s Coosaw Point Development announced jointly today they are donating $30,000 to support Beaufort Academy's development and athletic programs for the 2021-2022 school year.
Beaufort Academy is an independent, co-educational school founded in 1965 and enrolls 338 students in preschool 2 through grade 12. Beaufort Academy's leadership curriculum is interwoven with concepts such as self-awareness, critical thinking, collaboration, and visioning. Along with other self-management concepts, these principles are integrated into the curriculum of core classes starting in kindergarten and progressing through 12th grade. Combined with an exploration of human development, information processing, and collaborative functioning, the goal is to help students develop both an understanding and working knowledge of human interaction.
This partnership, the first of its kind for Beaufort Academy, gives the school funding for all the school's major events, including the popular The Great Helicopter Egg Drop, Holiday Market, The Blue & White Classic Golf Tournament, Shamrock Shakedown Auction, and the Chilly Bean 5K/10K at Coosaw Point.
"Being able to have this level of support will allow Beaufort Academy to now focus on what is most important - the quality of education for each of our students. We are most grateful for this partnership opportunity and welcome Bay Street Realty Group/Coosaw Point to the Beaufort Academy family," says Jonolyn Ferreri, Beaufort Academy Director of Development.
According to Ken Willis, Managing Broker at Bay Street Realty Group, "This sponsorship was a perfect way for our company to work in partnership with Forino Co., the developers of Coosaw Point, so together we could support local educational efforts. We look forward to having a long-standing relationship with Beaufort Academy and their great staff, faculty, parents, and students."
An important metric in today's residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we've seen in each of the last two years. It's the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.
According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:
"The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month."
Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn't repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.
Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we've been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):There are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.
If you're in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you're thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market. Let's connect when you are ready to buy or sell!
When it comes to the latest news in real estate, there are a lot of sensational headlines in the media. In times like this, when it can be hard to know what to believe, put your trust in the experts. Those of us in the housing market respect that buying or selling a home is a major life decision, and we offer advice based on what the data shows.
Despite what you may have read, the housing market is still undeniably strong. Here's a look at what leading experts have to say about buyer demand today and how it continues to shape the industry:
"In general, there are definite signs of cooling demand. However, buyer traffic is still at historically high levels compared to pre-pandemic showings."
"Seasonally adjusted purchase applications tick up slightly to the highest level since July. Demand for homes remains strong and steady. Excluding 2020 (not a good benchmark) purchase applications are the strongest in a decade."
"Home buyer demand pushed price growth to a new record high in June, with S&P CoreLogic national Case-Shiller Index clocking in an 18.6% year-over-year growth rate. The month-to-month index jumped 2.18%, making it another strong monthly growth, and the fastest May-to-June increase since the data series began."
As a seller, buyer demand is an important factor that helps influence how fast your house will sell and how many buyers may be competing for it. When buyers have to compete against each other for a limited supply of available homes, bidding wars can drive prices up. While things have cooled slightly since the peak of the pandemic housing rush, buyer demand is still far surpassing historical norms. That's why we're still in a sellers' market.
If you're torn on whether or not you want to sell your home this year, rest assured it's still a great time to make a move. Let's connect to discuss how you can sell now and do it on your best terms thanks to today's buyer demand.
In today's sellers' market, standing out as a buyer is critical. Multi-offer scenarios and bidding wars are the norm due to the low supply of houses for sale and high buyer demand. If you're buying this fall, you'll want every advantage, especially when you've found the home of your dreams.
Below are five things to keep in mind when it's time to make an offer.
Knowing your budget and what you can afford is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best way to understand your numbers is to work with a lender so you can get pre-approved for a loan. As Freddie Mac puts it:
"This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer."
Showing sellers you're serious can give you a competitive edge. It enables you to act quickly when you've found your perfect home.
Speed and the pace of sales are contributing factors to today's competitive housing market. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is on the market for just 17 days. As the report notes:
"Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July 2021 were on the market for less than a month."
When homes are selling fast, staying on top of the market and moving quickly are key. After you've worked with your agent to find the home that suits your needs, they'll help you put together and submit your best offer as soon as possible.
No matter what the housing market looks like, rely on a trusted real estate advisor. As Freddie Mac says:
"The success of your homebuying journey largely depends on the company you keep. . . . be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls."
Agents are experts in the local real estate market. They have insight into what's worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller may need can help your offer stand out.
In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today's market, that's often not the case. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 50% of offers are above the list price.
In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Having an agent to help craft a strong, fair offer is critical in these situations. Your agent can help you understand:
When crafting an offer, you'll want to keep both your best interest and the interest of the seller in mind. Your trusted real estate advisor will help you consider which levers you could pull, including contract contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Of course, there are certain contingencies you don't want to give up, like the home inspection.
Freddie Mac explains:
"Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold 'as-is', which means the seller won't pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can't afford to fix."
Today's competitive housing market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let's connect to make sure your offer rises to the top.
If you're on the fence about whether or not you want to sell your house this year, there's good news. Real estate professionals are highly experienced in how to sell houses safely during the pandemic. Over the last year, agents have adopted new technologies and safety measures designed to keep you safe. And experts say these practices are here to stay. As Bob Goldberg, CEO of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), puts it:
"The pandemic has confirmed to all of us in the industry that technology will continue to transform real estate."
Below is a closer look at some of the new tools real estate professionals are using to better serve sellers.
In the 2021 Realtor Technology Survey, NAR asks real estate professionals their opinions on the most valuable pieces of technology for their business over the past 12 months. The graph below highlights the top five tools those agents said are true game-changers:Tools that allow agents to serve clients at a distance and limit exposure to others, including eSignature, lockboxes, and video conferencing, became increasingly important during the last year. Those same tools are just as essential today. Restricting the number of people a seller must interact with during the process is the best way to keep all parties involved in a sale safe.
As things change in our day-to-day lives, the guidance on how to stay safe changes as well. NAR regularly updates the resources available to real estate professionals to ensure the latest recommendations and best practices are readily available. This includes suggestions on how to continue to conduct safe in-person showings.
Agents also follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to make sure homes are safe. The CDC's advice includes information on how to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and countertops so they're disinfected for all.
This past year changed the way agents do things for the better. Real estate professionals use new technology, tools, cleaning procedures, and the latest guidance to meet your changing needs. The goal is to keep you safe and build your confidence throughout the sales process.
It's important to know that your safety is still a top priority when it comes to selling this year. Let's connect today so you can have the best tools available to help you take advantage of today's sellers' market.
A note from RISMedia Founder, President & CEO John Featherston on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11:
"I wanted to share with you some thoughts as we reach the somber milestone of the 20th anniversary of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001—a day that changed our lives forever. As we look back, we see that through the darkness of the unspeakable tragedy of September 11, 2001, came countless stories of courage and unity, from across the country and, true to form, from within our real estate community. We saw the industry come together to volunteer, raise funds and support one another, and we saw the New York real estate market roar back to recovery after many had predicted there would be no return in those early days.
"To commemorate this important moment in history, when nearly 3,000 souls were taken from us that terrible day, now two decades ago, we interviewed many leading New York-area real estate executives, who worked or lived close to Ground Zero in 2001. As we look ahead, these events will forever be woven into the fabric of history. Let us honor those who were lost and remember to appreciate all that we have."
Nearly 20 years ago, a day began like any other. Bright, crystal blue skies illuminated the streets of New York City as passersby enjoyed a crisp 65-degree breeze from a cold front blowing through the East Coast that week.
The sprightly weather falls in stark contrast to the dark events that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States—which resulted in 2,996 deaths in NYC, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania; the destruction of iconic architecture; and utter despair and vulnerability felt deeply around the world as dense, black smoke shadowed Manhattan, suffocating the light.
A Look Back at the Day
Twenty years later, the memory of the day is etched in the minds of countless individuals globally, but those who worked and lived near Manhattan at the time recall those moments with sharp vividness. We interviewed real estate giants located in NYC and the surrounding areas for a glimpse back at the day: how the community and industry came together, how it reshaped real estate, and what life and the markets are like now, 20 years later.
Diane Ramirez, chief strategy officer for the New York office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties, lived just four blocks north of the Twin Towers; in fact, she had a front-row view of the towers from her living room window.
"I was with my daughter-in-law and our eight-month-old granddaughter the morning of the attack," Ramirez recalls. "We felt the explosion of the plane hitting the tower building through our floor. The next view from our windows was flames from the building and papers flying out of the windows."
After the first plane hit, Ramirez remembers the ensuing pandemonium on the streets below as police officers and secret service members ran toward the building. While news outlets had begun their coverage, the full scope of the events had not yet been realized.
"The news was on the TV and we all thought it was a small plane that crashed into the building," says Ramirez.
Across the world, people scrambled to find out if friends and family in the vicinity of the attacks were alive and safe.
That morning, Joe Rand, chief creative officer at Howard Hanna | Rand Realty, had dropped off his best friend, Tom, at JFK for a return flight to his home in Los Angeles. For several hours, Rand was in the dark about his friend's well-being. Did he get on one of the planes that crashed? Was he safe?
"It wasn't until early afternoon that I found out that he wasn't on any of them," says Rand. "His flight was diverted to St. Louis…but for most of that day, I assumed he was gone."
For others, like Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens, and Scott Durkin, CEO of Douglas Elliman, the news seemed so unfathomable that the initial reaction was utter disbelief.
"We kept seeing people in small groups turning and looking at the sky, and we said 'they must be filming Law & Order,'" says Durkin, who was walking the streets of SoHo with his husband, on their way to vote that morning.
Freedman was in the midst of moving into a new apartment on 86th Street, and when the movers told her that a plane had hit the World Trade Center site, she and her husband were in disbelief.
"We imagined maybe it was just a small plane—an accident," she recalls. "But then the movers said to us that this was an act of terrorism. Like the rest of the world, we were numb, shocked, horrified and gutted."
Richard Haggerty, CEO of the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, Inc., and president and chief strategic growth officer of OneKey® MLS, who was at a conference in Lake Placid with the New York State Association of REALTORS®, remembers being in a hotel lobby that morning, engrossed in news coverage.
"I came down the stairs at my hotel and dozens of people were grouped around a TV in the lobby, and I saw the plane go into the second tower," says Haggerty, much like Freedman and Durkin who had heard the news and rushed to a nearby television to see what was happening, witnessing another hijacked plane crash into the South Tower. "The images that appeared on TV over the next two days were almost incomprehensible and surreal, and contrasted sharply with the peaceful scene from the night before."
"However, what also emerged over the next days and weeks was a grim determination to rebound and rebuild," adds Haggerty.
Picking Up the Fragments: A United Community
Following the crisis, there was a renewed sense of community. The attacks on the United States were deeply personal, and Americans rallied to support each other in this time of need.
Ramirez recalls being evacuated from her building with her family with "just the clothes on our back," and it was through the altruistic acts of neighbors, friends and family that those affected by the crisis were taken care of without hesitation.
"We lived with friends and family Uptown for days, and then were given homes by great New Yorkers who opened their unoccupied apartments to families in need like us," she says.
Ramirez says the real estate community stepped up as well, with her own brokerage calling landlords and homeowners who might be able to assist displaced families.
"It was so strange to be among the families that were taking care of us for over a month at no cost to us—just the kindness of great New Yorkers," says Ramirez.
Freedman also witnessed real estate professionals coming together to convince developers and clients that Downtown would be coming back bigger and stronger—which it did.
"The images, the pain, the loss…it will never go away," says Freedman. "It made us bond together. There was a sense of unity."
According to Haggerty, real estate associations played a significant role in aid and recovery, with the National Association of REALTORS® initiating a nationwide fundraising effort that collected more than $8.4 million "to provide urgent housing-related assistance for those struggling in the aftermath."
"Funds were raised and distributed within 100 days to ensure families remained in their homes," says Haggerty. "That effort led to the creation of the REALTORS® Relief Fund, which to date, has collected and disbursed over $33 million in aid in connection with 108 disaster recoveries."
Several weeks later, after evacuation and shut-down orders were lifted, Durkin recalls efforts to revitalize local businesses that struggled amid closures.
"Barbara Corcoran, who I worked with at the time, wanted to help the city and downtown restaurants that had been shut down for so long. So she took the entire company out to dinner one night," says Durkin. Corcoran reserved 14 downtown restaurants in order to serve the 700 brokers invited that night in an effort to give hurting businesses a boost.
A Market Resurgence and a Focus on Safety
An event that left the community reeling in the initial aftermath would likely have devastating impacts on an economic level, but for housing, it did not.
"Remarkably, 9/11 had a minimal impact on the housing market, which recovered almost immediately," says Rand. "We all expected the general market to crash because of the shock and horror of the event, especially in markets like New York that were likely targets of terrorist attacks. But the market recovered quickly, probably because the attacks came right in the middle of a growing bull market in housing, which continued unabated for another six or seven years."
Durkin says that after the attacks, the world fell in love with New York again.
"The market really took off much more than we expected," he says. "Collectively, deep down, we felt it was going to be a down market, and it was quite the opposite."
According to Freedman, a lot of development happened, especially in the Downtown market, which had a lot of underutilized buildings that were "ripe for demolition or development into new housing."
"New York is a great city and 9/11 showed the world the true grit of this city and its citizens. The pride we felt in coming back was felt throughout the landscape and people wanted to be part of it," says Freedman.
Haggerty experienced much of the same, proving wrong those who told him Manhattan would never recover.
"Lower Manhattan came back stronger than ever," he says. "If there is one word that will always describe New York, it's 'resiliency.'"
And "stronger than ever" didn't just have a figurative meaning. In the years to come, developers looked at buildings in a new way. For one, Ramirez says codes were reviewed to make certain that people would be safe in their homes and elevators. Aside from the broad heightened security, overall building design changed as well.
According to a commentary in The Conversation, written in 2016 by Shih-Ho Chao, associate professor of Structural Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Texas Arlington, the attacks on Sept. 11 led to a review of several building elements, as the construction industry borrowed designs that could withstand earthquakes to prevent the type of building collapse that we saw with the Twin Towers.
"Until those attacks, most buildings had been built with defenses against total collapse, but progressive collapse was poorly understood, and rarely seen. Since 2001, we now understand progressive collapse is a key threat," wrote Chao in the commentary. "And we've identified two major ways to reduce its likelihood of happening and its severity if it does: improving structural design to better resist explosions and strengthening construction materials themselves."
Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the International Code Council (ICC)—the primary developer of construction industry building safety codes and standards used throughout the U.S.—made the following changes:
The Structural Engineering Institute, The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) also made post-9/11 building recommendations.
Then and Now: A Look at Shifting Trends
As lifestyles have changed, so too have housing trends in the past two decades. There are crisis-related correlations between the Sept. 11 attacks and the modern-day surge of COVID-19. Durkin points out that the safety and comfort of the family unit was paramount then, just as it is now.
"Buyers came back in full force needing three-, four-, five- and six-bedroom apartments," says Durkin of the 9/11 aftermath. "They realized they needed to have a place for their entire family, even purchasing multiple homes for fear of being caught short."
"Similar to COVID, it dictated what everyone needs to have in a home in order to protect and nurture the family, and offer the family unit a place of safety should something happen," adds Durkin.
That multi-generational housing trend has continued on during the pandemic, but there have been dramatic changes over the years in terms of style as well as demographics, with a younger population flocking to the city.
"The trends have been toward more modern, sleek, open design. The downtown market has attracted the younger New Yorkers with the more trendy restaurants, shops and clubs coming into this area," says Ramirez.
While the COVID pandemic has changed migration patterns, with homeowners prioritizing more privacy and space and leaving behind their urban landscapes, for many, New York City will always be home. Haggerty says that while headlines would have the world believe that large swaths of the population have vacated the city, that's not entirely true.
"Residential real estate in the city has bounced back very quickly," says Haggerty. "The recent census data indicates that the New York city population has surged to 8.8 million. New York is still the place to be."
"You would think that people wouldn't want to live as close to where it happened," says Durkin. "Quite contrarily, it became a sacred place. People came from all over the world."
The Waves of Crisis
History has shown that during moments of crisis and despair, the community comes together. Haggerty reminds us that there will always be challenges that must be confronted. And while we cannot predict what is to come, these real estate professionals have found that past experiences lend a hand in preparing for the future.
"One thing I have learned is that worrying will not keep anything from happening," says Ramirez. "So my philosophy is 'Live life fully, feel deeply and love completely' (and trust in God)."
Ongoing conflicts such as the United State's withdrawal from Afghanistan and a turbulent political climate, for many, may have reopened old wounds of concern and fear.
"When you look around the world at groups like Hamas, the Taliban and Boko Haram, they all have explicitly genocidal intentions and I think that should be worrying and concerning for everyone," says Freedman. "Human shields, suicide bombers…all of this is antithetical to humanity."
"The tragic evacuation from Afghanistan is too current to translate into any serious specific concerns surrounding terrorism," says Ramirez. "Sadly, as a native New Yorker, we all know our city is a target."
However, the industry reminds individuals that the events of Sept. 11 led to a tightening of security, and even 20 years later, preparedness is at the forefront.
"After 9/11, the U.S. seems to always be on high alert and exceptionally cautious in order to protect people," says Freedman. "Our guard will never go down as long as these terrorist groups exist."
And whatever next challenge the waves of crisis bring, the real estate industry is confident it can weather any storm.
"I remember the feeling in the air while walking the day after 9/11—people felt so destroyed. Within the week, it seemed like New Yorkers did what they always do: they got back to work, held it together and remained strong," says Freedman. "Crisis always offers an opportunity, and 9/11 forced us to be much more diligent."
A surveyor is a professional who determines the exact location of a property line. Many homeowners don't know the boundaries of their yards and operate under erroneous assumptions. That can lead to disputes between neighbors that are stressful, costly and preventable.
You Need to Know the Location of the Property Line Before You Build
If you're thinking about building an addition or constructing a fence, you need to know exactly where the property line is so that you don't accidentally encroach on your neighbor's land. If you don't have your property surveyed and you inadvertently build in your neighbor's yard, you can find yourself in legal and financial trouble. You may be required to move a fence or have an addition torn down, or you may have to purchase a piece of land from your neighbor to rectify the situation and avoid a lawsuit.
Local zoning laws typically require that additions and other structures be located a minimum distance from a property line. You'll need to know precisely where that line lies before you begin building, or even designing, an addition. You don't want to spend time and money to develop a plan, then learn that you don't have the legal right to follow through with it.
You Need to Know Who Owns a Tree
Trees are often located on or near property lines. The location of the property line is important because it determines who is responsible for maintaining a tree. It can also impact liability if a tree falls in a storm. If the tree is located in your yard and it falls on your neighbor's property because you failed to have dead branches trimmed, you may be held liable for repair costs.
You Need to Know If There Are Additional Factors That Affect Land Ownership
Sometimes a property owner is granted an easement that gives that party permission to use a portion of someone else's land for a particular purpose. If an easement exists, you may not be aware of it, but it can affect your rights to build in your yard. A surveyor can research the issue and note any easements in a report.
You Need to Know Where Utilities Are Located
Pipes, gas lines and cables are often placed underground. It's critical to know what's beneath your property and where it's located before you or a contractor begins digging for any type of project. A surveyor can find and mark the locations of underground utilities to help you avoid an accident.
Get Accurate Information So You Can Make Informed Decisions and Prevent Disputes
When neighbors get into disagreements about property lines, things can get heated. Often, a dispute stems from a misunderstanding. If you want to build on your property or if you think your neighbor may be violating your rights, hiring a surveyor is a good first step. Once you have accurate, unbiased information, you'll be able to decide how to proceed.
Even though experts agree there's no chance of a large-scale foreclosure crisis, there are a number of homeowners who may be coming face-to-face with foreclosure as a possibility. And while the overall percentage of homeowners at risk is decreasing with time (see graph below), that's little comfort to those individuals who are facing challenges today.If you haven't taken advantage of the forbearance period, it may be time to research and understand your options. It starts with knowing what foreclosure is. Investopedia defines it like this:
"Foreclosure is the legal process by which a lender attempts to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by taking ownership of and selling the mortgaged property. Typically, default is triggered when a borrower misses a specific number of monthly payments . . ."
The good news is, there are alternatives available to help you avoid having to go through the foreclosure process, including:
But before you go down any of those paths, it's worth seeing if you have enough equity in your home to sell it and protect your investment.
Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.
In today's real estate market, many homeowners have far more equity in their homes than they realize. Over the last year, buyer demand has been high, but housing supply has been low. That's led to a substantial increase in home values. When prices rise, so does the amount of equity you have in your house.
According to CoreLogic, on average, homeowners gained $33,400 in equity over the last 12 months, and the average equity on mortgaged homes is now $216,000 (see map below):So, what does that mean for you? Over the past year, chances are your home's value and therefore your equity has risen dramatically. If you've been in your home for a while, the mortgage payments you've made over time chipped away at the balance of your loan. If your home's current value is higher than what you still owe on your loan, you may be able to use that increase to your advantage.
Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, elaborates on how equity can help:
"Homeowner equity has more than doubled over the past decade and become a crucial buffer for many weathering the challenges of the pandemic. These gains have become an important financial tool and boosted consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market."
To find out what your house is worth in today's market, work with a local real estate professional. We'll be able to give you an estimate of what your house could sell for based on recent sales of similar homes in your area. Since home prices are still appreciating, you may be able to sell your house to avoid foreclosure.
If you find out that you have to pursue other options, your agent can help with that too. We'll be able to connect you with other professionals in the industry, like housing counselors who can look into your unique situation and offer advice on next steps if selling isn't the best alternative.
If you're a homeowner facing hardship, let's connect to explore your options and see if you can sell your house to avoid foreclosure.
If you're trying to decide when to sell your house, there may not be a better time to list than right now. The ultimate sellers' market we're in today won't last forever. If you're thinking of making a move, here are four reasons to put your house up for sale sooner rather than later.
According to the Realtors Confidence Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes continue to sell quickly – on average, they're selling in just 17 days. As a seller, that's great news for you.
Average days on market is a strong indicator of buyer demand. And if homes are selling quickly, buyers have to be more decisive and act fast to submit their offer before other buyers swoop in.
In addition to selling quickly, homes are receiving multiple offers. That same survey shows sellers are seeing an average of 4.5 offers, and they're competitive ones. The graph below shows how the average number of offers right now compares to previous years:
Buyers today know bidding wars are a likely outcome, and they're coming prepared with their best offer in hand. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.
One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale. Though it's improving, it remains at near-record lows. The chart below shows how today's low inventory stacks up against recent years. The lighter the blue is in the chart, the lower the housing supply.
If you're looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.
If your current home no longer meets your needs, it may be the perfect time to make a move. Today, homeowners are gaining a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. You can leverage that equity, plus current low mortgage rates, to power your move now. But these near-historic low rates won't last forever.
Experts forecast interest rates will rise. In their forecast, Freddie Mac says:
"While we forecast rates to increase gradually later in the year, we don't expect to see a rapid increase. At the end of the year, we forecast 30-year rates will be around 3.4%, rising to 3.8% by the fourth quarter of 2022."
When rates rise, even modestly, it'll impact your monthly payment and by extension your purchasing power.
Don't delay. The combination of housing supply challenges, low mortgage rates, and extremely motivated buyers gives sellers a unique opportunity this season. If you're thinking about making a move, Let's chat about why it makes sense to list your house now.
As summer comes to a close, is it time to think about selling your vacation home? Based on recent data and expert opinions, it's something you may want to consider. According to research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year for January-April 2021.
If you've taken your last vacation this summer, here are reasons you should consider selling your vacation home this year.
As the report from NAR says, based on continuously evolving work needs, there could be more interest in your second home than you think:
"In 2020, across all nine divisions, the fraction of the workforce that work from home is typically higher in the vacation home counties than in the non-vacation home counties… The opportunity to work from home could further raise the demand for vacation homes in future years.
Recent data shows we'll likely see a sustained increase in the rate of remote work over the next five years. That means your vacation home could be highly sought after by certain buyers. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, puts it best, saying:
"Vacation homes are a hot commodity at the moment . . . . With many businesses and employers still extending an option to work remotely to workers, vacation housing and second homes will remain a popular choice among buyers."
When demand is high, so is buyer competition. When competition is strong, buyers will do everything they can to make their offer on your vacation home as appealing as possible. This can include things like all-cash offers and more. If you sell now, you'll be able to benefit from high buyer competition and pick the offer with the best possible terms for you. That offer could give you the opportunity to purchase the primary residence of your dreams.
Or, if you find that you'll continue working from home, you could consider taking up more permanent residence in your vacation home and selling your primary residence instead. While this isn't a choice everyone can consider, it could be a great option.
Buyers remain interested in vacation homes this year for a number of reasons. Now that summer is winding down, it's time to think about taking advantage of today's demand for vacation homes. Let's connect today if you're ready to give your second home its day in the sun.