If you're ready to move up, you may be trying to decide whether you want to buy a home that's already on the market or build a new one. And since the supply of homes available for sale today is low, you're willing to consider either avenue. While home builders are doing everything they can to construct more houses and help narrow the supply shortage, they're also facing delays due to factors outside of their control.
Here's the latest on some of the key challenges homebuilders are experiencing today and how they could impact your plans to move up. When you know what's happening in the industry, you can make an informed decision on whether to look for a newly built or an existing home in your home search.
The first hurdle builders are dealing with is the lack of supply of various building materials. According to a recent article from HousingWire:
". . . Nearly everything needed in the homebuilding process is facing some sort of delay and subsequent price increase."
The supply issue isn't just with lumber, even though that's what's covered most in the news. The article explains many other supplies are impacted too, including roofing materials, windows, garage doors, siding, and gypsum (which is used in drywall).
The difficulty in getting these items is dragging out timelines for new homes as builders wait on what they need to finish construction. And since materials are in short supply, even when they do get the product, the principle of supply and demand is driving prices up for those goods. HousingWire explains it like this:
"When supplies are low, charges inevitably go up, . . . Meanwhile, a lack of availability is causing huge delays, meaning builders are struggling to stay on schedule."
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) agrees:
"Builders are grappling with supply-chain issues that are extending construction times and increasing costs."
But that's not the only challenge with new home construction today. Builders are also having a hard time finding skilled labor, which means they're short-handed, further dragging out their timelines. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says this is an ongoing challenge for the industry:
"The skilled labor shortage in the construction industry is not new – it's been an issue for more than a decade now."
But there is good news. The February jobs report shows employment gains in the construction industry. Kushi puts this encouraging news into perspective in the article mentioned above:
"Overall this was a good report, . . . The supply of workers continues to fall short of demand, but the underlying momentum of the labor market recovery is strong, and falling COVID case counts provide further forward momentum."
That means, while finding workers continues to be a challenge for builders, there are signs of positive momentum moving forward.
HousingWire explains how these things can impact move-up buyers today:
"The residential construction industry is facing a crisis as builders manage the critical shortage of building materials and labor. Explosive supply and labor costs are forcing long delays. . . ."
So, when you weigh your options and try to decide between building a home or buying an existing one, factor the potential delay in new home construction into your decision. While it doesn't mean you should cross newly built homes off your list, it does mean you should consider your timeline and if you're willing to wait while your home is being constructed.
When planning your next move, understanding the latest market conditions is key to making the best decision possible. To make sure you have all the information you need, let's connect. Together we can make sure you know what's happening in our local market so you can confidently decide what's right for you, your priorities, and your timeline.
It's a well-known fact that the real estate market cools off in the fall and winter and picks up in the spring, but what is really the best season to sell your property? The answer ultimately depends on your situation and location. The reality is each season comes with its own unique advantages and challenges. To help you determine the best season for selling, we'll break down the top advantage and challenge of each season below:
Many people believe spring is the best time to sell your home, but that really depends on where you live. While spring is often the most popular time to shop, some southern states experience intense weather in late spring. Competition is also at its peak. Here are some of the benefits
Statistics show that late June has the highest number of closings, indicating summer is an ideal time to sell. It's also the most popular time to move, especially because school is out. However, extreme heat in some areas of the country coupled with vacation times can drag out the closing process.
Once school starts, there is a noticeable decline in real estate activity, but that doesn't mean fall is a bad time to sell. There are still many buyers on the market that couldn't secure a home in the spring or summer. Selling in late September / or early October has both pros and cons:
December is often considered to be the slowest month for real estate closings. Cold weather means fewer shoppers in most of the country, but competition is probably at its lowest point of the year. If you live in Florida, Arizona, or Southern California, winter is likely a great time to sell.
It's certainly possible to sell your home any time of the year, and so often the right season depends on your property, location, and situation. Your real estate agent is a great resource to help you assess the market and determine the best time to list your home. When you are ready to list your home, let's connect!
Buying and selling a home at the same time can be an intimidating experience. Lining up a buyer and a new home within a short timeframe requires tons of planning and a bit of luck. However, selling your home before closing on a new one doesn't mean you have to be left without a place to live. Sellers usually have a few different options to explore, including a rent-back agreement.
A rent-back agreement is a good way to buy yourself some extra time after a home sale. However, like most real estate negotiations, they come with benefits and risks. Below we'll explain everything you need to know about how these agreements work and why you might consider one:
A rent-back agreement is an arrangement that allows the seller to continue to live at a property as a tenant after the closing date. During this period, the buyer assumes the responsibility of a landlord. The purpose of a rent-back agreement is to give the seller extra time to find a place to live following the home sale.
The details of a rent-back agreement can be negotiated during the closing process. You'll need to work with the buyer to determine monthly payment, security deposit, agreement length, and utility responsibilities. The buyer's home insurance should cover the rent-back period. It's important to always consult with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney when negotiating the terms.
Depending on the terms and situation, sellers can benefit from a rent-back agreement in a number of ways. For one, it can give you the flexibility to accept a strong offer before having a new home lined up. It can also give you more time to find your dream home as opposed to simply settling for a property out of necessity.
Rent-back agreements can also be helpful if you have kids in school and would like them to finish out the school year before moving or changing districts.
Rent-back agreements have obvious benefits for buyers too — as they can provide supplemental income that can help offset a small bit of the cost of the new home.
Rent-back agreements are generally short, as most lenders only allow a rent-back period of 60 days. While the added time can be a huge benefit, it's not a long-term solution. During the rent-back period, sellers will need to abide by the lease terms set forth by the buyer.
The buyer will also need to assume the responsibility of the landlord. The arrangement may also be less appealing to buyers who are eager to move in quickly after closing.
The major risk of a rent-back agreement comes in the form of determining liability. Determining who has liability for damage or unforeseen circumstances is often part of the negotiation. Usually, the buyer's homeowners policy should cover the rent-back period; however, the seller may want to explore a short-term rental insurance policy to cover personal property.
Rent-back agreements are a common way for sellers to buy more time, but the true benefits will ultimately depend on your unique situation. Not all buyers will offer them, but sellers often have the leverage to ask for them in a hot market.
The new year can bring new beginnings. Unfortunately, without the proper planning, you will feel like you are already behind on day one. If you truly want to start the new year off on the right foot, you'll need to do some prep work before the day arrives. Getting your home and your mind ready for your New Year's goals can require letting some things go. Here are some items in your home that you can easily get rid of for the new year to bring more organization to your home and mind.
- In Your Living Spaces:
Book lovers may want to keep their favorite tomes, but even they can agree that a dated atlas or textbook doesn't serve the reader well.
That glass item you had on display broke months ago, and you've still been meaning to fix it. If you won't repair it or take it to be repaired right now, it's time to let it go.
Your great aunt's favorite collection may have made its way onto your shelf, but do you enjoy the real estate it takes up? If not, pass it along to another person who will. Keep one or two favorites and donate the rest to family or a charity.
- In the Kitchen:
Spices lose their pizzazz over time. Keep your food tasting its best by discarding anything too old.
Chipped or cracked dishes are liable to break unexpectedly when heated or cooled. Discard them to ensure that you don't have a mess on your hands in the future.
Specialty Cooking Tools
Holiday cooking items and one-off cooking tools can take up a lot of usable space in your kitchen. Be honest about what you have the space, time and skillset to cook or bake in your current space.
- In Kids' Rooms or Play Spaces:
Incomplete Games or Puzzles
No one wants to spend time on a puzzle only to leave it unfinished due to missing pieces. Save everyone the frustration and avoid the donation pile, toss this item straight in the recycling bin.
Donate toys that are too young for your child. If you do plan to have another, most items can be bought gently used later.
Party Favor Toys
Low-quality toys are not fun long-term, but still make a big mess. Do yourself a favor and toss or recycle the tiny and cheap items. Your child likely will never notice.
A paint refresh is the easiest way to transform a space without committing to a complete design overhaul. If you're craving a deeper, more decadent atmosphere, adorning your room with fall hues will create a luxe, seasonal space. Whether you want a deep pecan hue, a rich, burgundy color, or the gleaming color of golden hour, a fresh application of paint can bring these hues into your home. The below paint colors are a curated selection to bring cozy fall tones into your own home—and can also make a statement all year round.
Benjamin Moore – Bear Creek 1470
A deep, gray-brown color, Bear Creek is a rich tone that is a beautiful contrast to creams and creamy whites. In addition, Bear Creek brings in tones of winter woods and adds a layer of coziness to your living areas. This deep tone pairs well with a warm white or cream color for the trim and ceiling or can be continued on the trim, but a different sheen, like semi-gloss, is recommended for trim.
→ Where to Use It: A living room or great room
Benjamin Moore – Sequoia 1245
This reddish-brown color is both a neutral tone and also brings drama. Sequoia is softer than a burgundy but is deep enough to create a moody space. In addition, Sequoia's dustiness is neutral enough to pair well with many complementary colors. For a trim pairing, Sequoia looks stunning with an off-white or warm white paint selection.
→ Where to Use It: A library or study
Benjamin Moore – Metallic Gold 2163-40
This shimmery, soft brown has pink undertones, which brings a glowing ambiance to any space. Earthy yet elegant, Metallic Gold makes a room look effortless and inviting.
→ Where to Use It: A dining room
Farrow & Ball – Hague Blue
This dramatic, intense blue is a timeless color with green undertones. In addition, Hague Blue's deep, pigmented hue makes a dark room feel intentionally cozy and moody.
→ Where to Use It: A powder bathroom
Farrow & Ball – Deep Reddish Brown
Both luxurious and soothing, Deep Reddish Brown, is a warm tone with chocolatey undertones. Deep, warm and welcoming, Deep Reddish Brown will add richness and drama to walls, doors and trim.
→ Where to Use It: A stairway
Farrow & Ball – Tanner's Brown
This dramatic hue is a strong dark brown that is almost black in low lighting. However, in a well-lit space, it reads as brown. A rich, warm hue, Tanner's Brown brings drama and warmth to a room.
→ Where to Use It: Interior of a fireplace
Sherwin Williams – Cotton
This warm white will make your space feel effortlessly layered and cozy. It's soothing neutral hue makes any room feel relaxed and inviting. It's the perfect backdrop to layer in neutral or colorful furniture and accessories and to begin your day on a crisp, calm note.
→ Where to Use It: A bedroom or great room
Superstitions are often over the top. There's probably nothing magical about a rabbit's foot, and walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror won't lead to doom. But then again, trying to bring a little luck to your house can't hurt.
There are traditions that promise to bring good fortune to your new home. And even though these rituals are just old tales, following a few can give you a sense of peace and comfort. Here are a few:
Hang a horseshoe. There are a lot of theories as to why horseshoes bring good luck, with some sources claiming it dates back to ancient Egypt. There's even debate as to how a horseshoe should be placed on a wall. Some say the shoe should point upward, U-shaped, so that the luck doesn't drain from the shoe, while another theory says pointing it down allows the luck to pour down on people.
Buy a new broom. Legend says your old broom not only cleaned up dust and debris, but also collected your bad experiences, and you don't want to bring those into your new home. This could be a trick by the broom industry, but if you follow it, at least you'll have a nice, new broom.
Pick the right day. Did you know moving on a Friday or Saturday is said to be bad luck? It's an old superstition that may derive from the fact that those are common moving days when it's hard to find a mover. Moving on a rainy day is supposedly risky, while in Chinese culture, the No. 8 is believed to bring good fortune, so planning a move on the eighth might be a good idea. According to Indian culture, Thursday is the best day to relocate.
Bread and salt. These are traditionally given to new homeowners as a gift, with the bread representing all the wonderful food that will be enjoyed in the household while the salt ensures flavor, not just to meals but to life in general.
Ring the bells and shine a light. These are easy ones. First, after moving in, open all your home's windows and ring a bell in each room to ward off old, negative energy. Then complete the cleansing by lighting a candle at night.
Let's connect when you're ready to buy or sell!
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.
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.
One of the major questions real estate experts are asking today is whether prospective homebuyers still believe purchasing a home makes sense. Some claim rapidly rising home prices are impacting demand and, by extension, leading to the recent slowdown in sales activity.
However, demand isn't the real issue. Instead, it's the lack of supply (homes available for sale). An article from the Wall Street Journal shows this is true for new home construction:
"Home builders have sold more homes than they can build. Now they are limiting their sales in an effort to catch up."
The article quotes David Auld, CEO of D.R. Horton Inc. (the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002), explaining how they don't have enough homes for the number of buyers coming into their models:
"Through our history, to have somebody walk into our models and to tell them, 'We don't have a house for you to buy today', is something that is foreign to us."
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, also explains that, in the existing home sale market, the slowdown in sales was a supply challenge, not a lack of demand. Responding to a recent uptick in listings coming to market, she notes:
". . . if these changing inventory dynamics continue, we could see a wave of real estate activity heading into the latter part of the year."
Again, the buyers are there. We just need houses to sell to them.
If the slowdown in sales was the result of demand waning, we would start to see home prices beginning to moderate – but this isn't the case. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First American, explains:
"There's a lot of conversation around rising prices and falling quantity in the housing market, and there's this concept, or this idea, that it's a demand-side problem . . . . But, if demand were falling dramatically, we would actually see less price pressure, less home price growth."
Instead, we're seeing price appreciation accelerate throughout this year, as evidenced by the year-over-year percentage increases reported by CoreLogic:
(July numbers are not yet available)
There's a shortage of listings, not buyers, and there are three very good reasons for purchasers to still be interested in buying a home this year.
Though home prices have risen dramatically over the last 18 months, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Because of these near-record rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for most buyers.
While homes are less affordable than they were last year, when we adjust for inflation, we can see they're also more affordable than they were in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and much of the 2000s.
A recent study shows renting a home takes up a higher percentage of a household's income than owning one. According to the analysis, here's the percentage of income homebuyers and renters should expect to pay now versus at the end of the year.
While the principal and interest of a monthly mortgage payment remain the same over the lifetime of the loan, rents increase almost every year.
Whether you're a homeowner or an investor, real estate builds wealth through growing equity year-over-year. If you own, your household is gaining the benefit of that wealth accumulation. Fleming says:
"The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation . . . . We have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you're owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset."
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, elaborates in a recent article:
". . . once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets, including the two most expensive rental markets, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif."
Today, that equity buildup is substantial. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:
"The median sales price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of measured metro areas in the second quarter of 2021 compared to one year ago, with double-digit price gains in 94% of markets."
In 94% of markets, there was a greater than 10% increase in median price. That means if you bought a $400,000 home in one of those markets, your net worth increased by at least $40,000. If you rented, the landlord was the recipient of the wealth increase.
For many reasons, housing demand is still extremely strong. What we need is more supply (house listings) to meet that demand.
There are many headlines about how housing affordability is declining. The headlines are correct: it's less affordable to purchase a home today than it was a year ago. However, it's important to give this trend context. Is it less expensive to buy a house today than it was in 2005? What about 1995? What happens if we go all the way back to 1985? Or even 1975?
Obviously, the price of a home has appreciated dramatically over the last 45 years. So have the prices of milk, bread, and just about every other consumable. Prices rise over time – we know it as inflation.
However, when we look at housing, price is just one component that makes up the monthly cost of the home. Another key factor is the mortgage rate at the time of purchase.
Let's look back at the cost of a home over the last five decades and adjust it for inflation by converting that cost to 2021 dollars. Here's the methodology for each data point of the table below:
At every other point, even in 1975, it was more expensive to buy a home than it is today.
If you want to buy a home, don't let the headlines about affordability discourage you. You can't get the deal your friend got last year, but you will get a better deal than your parents did 20 years ago and your grandparents did 40 years ago. Let's connect when you're ready to purchase a home!
While no one ever wants to imagine their home filling with water, for many areas of the country, flooding is a scary reality for many homeowners. Whether a natural disaster is on the way or you simply want to be aware of how to protect your home when flash flood warnings sound, we have five steps to preparing your home for flooding.
Clear gutters. If flooding is predicted in your area, help your home out by clearing all gutters, downspouts and drains so your home can battle the rising water.
Elevate outdoor electric units. Outdoor generators, fuel tanks and air-conditioning units should not be left on ground level outdoors. Elevate them as best you can and securely anchor them so they don't float away if flooding occurs.
Power down. Shut off your electricity via your breaker panel to stay safe.
Move items upstairs. When flooding is likely, take charge by moving items upstairs and further from the flood zone. Furniture, rugs, electronics and important paperwork should all be moved to the highest ground possible. Make copies of important paperwork and store them digitally so you don't lose them.
Raise appliances. While you likely can't lug your refrigerator upstairs, you can elevate your appliances on concrete blocks to minimize damage if only a few inches of water floods in.
The pandemic created a tremendous interest in vacation homes across the country. Throughout the last year, many people purchased second homes as a safe getaway from the challenges of the health crisis. With many professionals working from home and many students taking classes remotely, it made sense to see a migration away from cities and into counties with more vacation destinations.
The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that this increase in vacation home sales continues in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where "vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock" and compares that data to the overall residential market.
Their findings show:
This coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.
As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2021 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.
If you're one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the pandemic, you're likely wondering what this means for you. If you're considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options. There are still plenty of buyers in the market. If, on the other hand, you want to keep your second home, enjoy it! Current market conditions show that it's a good ongoing investment.
Staging a home is important for open houses and showings. It can make the home more appealing to potential buyers and help them imagine their own family living there. Keeping a house clean and ready to be shown is already challenging. But if you have children, especially on the younger side, it can be particularly difficult to keep your home tidy and clutter-free. Here are a few tips and tricks for staging your home—and keeping it in tip-top shape—in a household with children.
Whether you have kids or not, there are some steps that always apply when staging a house for sale. First, go through each room and get rid of any unnecessary clutter, such as magazines, knick knacks and other items that could create the impression of an untidy house. Put away personal items, such as family photos, so prospective buyers can envision the home as their own.
Next, give the entire house a deep cleaning. If you don't have time to do it yourself or would prefer to have someone else do it, hire a professional cleaning company. If the house has an odor, find and address the source. Don't use air fresheners or scented candles to try to cover it up, as this can actually make the odor worse and turn off potential buyers.
Staging a Home With Children
Explain to your children that people will be coming to look at the house and that you need to keep it as clean as possible. Young kids may not understand, but older children may be more cooperative and helpful.
Let your kids choose their favorite toys to keep in their bedrooms or in a playroom. Transfer other toys to a storage area temporarily to avoid having the house be too cluttered. Explain to your kids that you aren't throwing away their toys and that they will be able to play with them again in your new home. Put away bikes, sports equipment and any other large outdoor toys in the garage, a closet or a storage unit.
If your for sale home features a playroom, try to stage it in a way that can appeal to parents with children of any age. Pack up any puzzles and games with lots of pieces. Arts and crafts supplies, such as paint, markers, stickers, clay and glitter are messy and can be tough to clean up on short notice. Be sure to put them away before you start the staging process.
In children's bedrooms, keep things simple. Get rid of unnecessary furniture and items taking up a lot of floor space, such as a dollhouse or large toys. Decorate the room in a neutral palette and be sure to remove any personal items, such as photos, drawings and gender- or age-specific decor. Make sure children's bedrooms are well lit and keep curtains or blinds open during showings.
Get Help Staging Your Home
Staging a house can be complicated, especially when you put children into the mix. But this is a great process to help attract serious buyers. Your Real Estate Agent can give you advice on how to declutter and redecorate, and may even recommend a professional stager who can assist you.
Understanding What Flood Insurance Does and Doesn't Cover
Flooding can happen anywhere—and even an inch of water can cause major damage to your home. If you're looking to take out a mortgage on a house in a high-risk flood zone, the lender will require you to purchase flood insurance. Before you buy a policy, though, it's important to understand what flood insurance does and doesn't cover.
National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers two types of policies. One covers the cost to rebuild a house or its actual cash value, whichever is less, with a maximum coverage amount of $250,000. The second type of policy covers the actual cash value of personal property, up to a maximum of $100,000. You have the option to purchase one or both policies. Be aware that these policies have separate deductibles.
A flood insurance policy will only cover losses that are a direct result of flooding. "Flooding" means that water must cover at least two acres or must have damaged your home and at least one other property.
Federal flood insurance will cover the plumbing and electrical system, furnace, fuel tank and fuel, water heater, heat pump and air conditioner. It will often cover a refrigerator, stove and built-in appliances, such as a dishwasher, as well as permanently installed carpeting, curtains, blinds, damaged cabinets, foundation walls and staircases. These policies can also cover a detached garage and personal property, as well as mudflow, groundwater seepage and a sewer backup.
NFIP limits coverage for a basement, crawlspace or living space with a floor below ground level and will not cover damage caused by mold, mildew or moisture unrelated to flooding or that the homeowner could have prevented. These policies will not pay for damage caused by the movement of the earth, even if the movement was a result of flooding. They will also not cover loss of use, additional living expenses, financial losses due to business interruption, most vehicles or property located outside of an insured building.
Thousands of agents across the country sell NFIP policies, even to homeowners who don't live in a flood plain. Coverage takes effect 30 days after a policy is purchased, meaning if a hurricane is in the forecast, you can't purchase flood insurance at the last minute and expect to be covered. Be sure to be proactive to protect yourself and your home, especially in a high-risk area.
Private Flood Insurance
Some private insurance companies also offer flood insurance policies that can provide supplemental coverage above the federal limits or serve as a primary flood insurance policy. In some cases, private flood insurance may be less expensive than an NFIP policy and it may cover additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable.
Do You Have the Right Flood Insurance Coverage?
Many homeowners don't think they are at risk of flooding or assume their homeowners insurance policy covers it. A flood insurance policy can cover many of the costs associated with flood damage and is worth the cost if you live in an area where flooding is more common. If you don't have flood insurance coverage, you can discuss your options with your insurance agent, or your Real Estate Agent can offer smart suggestions based on your neighborhood and risk.
As vaccines are administered and travel resumes, many of us are beginning to plan for those long-awaited vacations we missed out on over the past year. Some households are focusing their efforts on buying a vacation home rather than staying in a hotel, too. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports:
"Second homes (i.e., homes sold to buyers who are not going to occupy the home year-round, but use it as a vacation home, investment property, etc.) account for 15 percent of new single-family home sales."
It's not surprising that there's an increase in demand for vacation homes. The majority of Americans are realizing they prefer to be around small groups, as shown in a recent survey from The Harris Poll:
"Social distancing taught consumers new things about how they like to socialize; (75%) said, 'during COVID social distancing I realized I preferred smaller social gatherings at home or at friends' place.'"
Not only are vacation homes seen as a potentially more pandemic-friendly way to travel and socialize, but they can also serve as an extended home-away-from-home. With more Americans being given the option to continue working remotely or retire earlier than expected, vacation homes can be used year-round. The NAHB explains:
"Remote work arrangements have made it possible for some wealthier Americans to move to alternate locations that are not just small, suburban shifts from within their current metro area. More fundamentally, second home demand may also be benefitting by an acceleration of retirement plans, as well as stock market gains."
The demand for vacation homes has increased and will continue to rise as we head into summer. If you own a house in a destination area and have thought about selling, now is a great time to take advantage of today's high buyer interest. Let's connect to discuss your opportunities in our local market.
It's no secret that Savannah is one of the best places to visit in the South, but to really appreciate all that the Hostess City has to offer, it's important to plan accordingly. Savannah is obviously known for it's history and architecture after being spared destruction in the Civil War, but is also a city that has quirky residents, beautiful marshes, and many late nights. We've put together a list of some of our favorite places in Savannah for eating, imbibing, and taking in the sights.
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Start off your trip by checking into your home away from home in the Historic District. Be sure to stay on Jones Street, named one of the "7 Most Beautiful Streets in America." Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates offers Savannah vacation rental properties throughout the Historic District. Many of these properties are located within historic buildings full of charm and amenities. Jones Street is in the heart of the Historic District, so you're within walking distance of plenty of shops, sights, restaurants and late night fun.
Savannah has no shortage of rooftop bars, but you're within easy walking distance to Perch Rooftop Bar. Perch is located on the south end of Savannah's famous Forsyth Park. Have a stroll through the park, and then settle in on one of the bar's comfy outdoor loveseats with a cold glass of rose' and watch the setting sun filter through the oak trees.
Dinner at Local 11Ten
Hungry? Wander downstairs to Local 11Ten. Located under Perch, Local 11Ten is housed in the old Savannah Bank building. The building's renovated interior is one of casual elegance. Local 11Ten's menu showcases the flavors of the Lowcountry with seasonal ingredients. Sit back and enjoy the seafood special of the day while taking the activity surrounding Forsyth Park.
If you're looking to squeeze in a bit more fun on your first night, call a pedicab for an evening ride through the park over to McDonough's Lounge. McDonough's, as it's locally known, doesn't have craft cocktails or a wine list. But if you're looking to truly experience Savannah as the locals do, then this is the place to do it. Order a cold beer, people watch and pick your song for karaoke.
Before you head out of the Historic District, swing by the Mate' Factor. This cafe' features drinks made from Yerba Mate and homemade baked goods. An Egg and Cheese Sandwich and an Iced Green Drink will fuel you up for the day ahead.
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Stroll down the wide avenue flanked by majestic oaks draped in Spanish moss to Wormsloe Historic Site. The tabby ruins of Wormsloe are all that is left of the estate of Noble Jones. This is also the oldest standing structure in Savannah. Wormsloe hosts programs and events at various times throughout the year, and a nature trail is open during the site's regular hours.
The community of Pin Point is located off the banks of the Moon River, and has been for 100 years. Experience the richness of the Gullah/Geechee culture and community, and check out the Pin Point Heritage Museum in the old A.S. Varn and Sons Oyster and Crab Factory.
It's time for a drink and a bite to eat, so get both at The Wyld Dock Bar. Enjoy a Frozen Pain Killer or homemade sangria at a table overlooking the marsh. If you're hungry, enjoy some scallop corn fritters, crab chowder, or steamed banana leaf fish tacos. Eat and drink, and soak in the tranquility. Or, if you're feeling a sudden burst of energy, join in on one of the corn hole games held out front.
After returning from your day exploring, and resting up at your home a bit, enjoy an evening walk through town. Head out for a wander with a to-go cup with your beverage of choice and find a bite. There are plenty of options: Public Kitchen, Six Pence Pub, Chive, Circa 1875, CO, 1790 ... A slice of pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go's in City Market or the famous fried calamari at Olympia Café on River Street, are both classic Savannah choices.
Late Night — A Cocktail At Alley Cat Lounge
If you try to look up Alley Cat's address, Google will tell you that it's located at 207 West Broughton Street; don't fall for that. Instead, head down Barnard Street and duck down the lane right before the First Chatham Bank, and look for the door topped by the black awning — that's the entrance. From classic cocktails, to beer, and small batch spirits to non alcoholic concoctions, Alley Cat has something for everyone.
Morning at the Farmers Market
In the morning, head back over to Forsyth Park for the Forsyth Farmers Market, featuring vendors from all over the Lowcountry selling a variety of produce, meats, dairy, and homemade goods. Sample some cheese from Bootleg Farms or some Sweet and Spicy Pecans from Clark and Sons Organics. Treat yourself to a tasty breakfast at the market: a homemade danish from Gottlieb's and a bottled cold brew from Perc.
Historic District Shopping and Museums
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After breakfast, spend the morning the walking around Downtown. Do a bit of shopping in the Downtown Design District, not missing Custard Boutique and PW Short General Store. Then head north to Telfair Square. This square is home to two of Savannah's most popular museums. The Jepson Center is home to exhibitions of classic and modern art and is ideal for those looking to set their own pace on a tour. It also offers educational programs and workshops for adults and children.
The Telfair Academy is a stately two-story mansion, designed by William Jay in the Neoclassical Regency style and built in 1819. It houses nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art from the museum's permanent collection including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. Admission to the Telfair or Jepson is interchangeable and also includes the Owens Thomas House, making it a great bargain.
By now you've probably worked up an appetite, and you're in luck because The Grey Market is just around the corner. This neighborhood bodega is the newest offering the team who brought us the world-famous The Grey. The Grey Market has a full menu as well as an array of snacks and beverages. Enjoy an Egg Cream or an Ice-Cream Float, or, if you're feeling something a little stronger, grab a can of wine from the cooler.
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For a dining experience enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, reserve a table at The Collins Quarter. This Melbourne, Australia inspired café is in the very heart of the Historic Downtown District and features an Australian-influenced menu. The Collins Quarter has craft beer, wine, cocktails, and a coffee bar. Order up "The Perfect Fit," which pairs well with the Pan-Roasted Barramundi. The desserts and Collins Quarter change often and are outstanding to enjoy in the low-it evening atmosphere of the meticulously renovated historic building. If you are moe interested in sipping dessert, opt for the CQ White Russian. Trust us when we say it is the best White Russian you'll ever have. On the way home, stop by The Peregrin Rooftop Bar for a nightcap and a bird's-eye view of Downtown Savannah.
Pinkie Master's is a longtime local favorite of Savannahians. A couple years ago, ownership changed and the bar received a needed facelift and cleaning. Make no mistake, this is still the place to spot locals and all changes were subtle and for the good of the bar and its guests. Get comfortable and talk to some locals. Just bring cash as that is the only payment accepted at Pinkie Master's.
Brunch at Hush
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Before catching your flight home, have brunch at Husk Savannah. In a beautifully renovated historic home-turned-apartment-building shuttered for over a decade, Husk is known for its commitment to ingredient-driven cuisines and the menu captures the essence of Southern cooking with a modern flair. Go for a fully Southern experience and try the White Lily Biscuits with Red Eye Sausage Gravy, or the Husk Hot Fried Chicken with Grits and Shishitos. You'll be heading back home with both a full belly and a full heart.
Hot… that's certainly one way to describe summers in Savannah! But you're never too far from the water or a good time to truly enjoy the Hostess City. We've compiled a list of Summer "Hot Spots" perfect for locals to enjoy, or for those just passing through to get a taste of Savannah.
What says summer more than a trip to the beach? A 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah gets you to a little slice of paradise, also known as "Savannah's beach", Tybee Island. Feel the ocean breeze, the sand between your toes, and the time slow down just enough. If you're visiting without a car, hop on a shuttle, and it'll get you to and from the beach with ease!
Conveniently located and fun for the whole family, a Savannah Bananas Baseball game is a summer must, and you don't even have to like baseball to enjoy it. Their season runs from June through August, but tickets sell out fast! It's truly just a fan-first experience: you'll be dancing and singing, eating and drinking, and truly enjoying every inning… while cheering on the home team.
There's no better way to cool off, than with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Award-winning, homemade ice cream that will melt in your mouth (or on the cone, if you don't eat it fast enough). Located on Broughton Street, Leopold's Ice Cream is a perfect place to take a break from all the shopping and indulge in a sweet treat that's been a Savannah tradition since 1919.
Soak in Savannah from its historic waterways. Hop on a boat from River Street, venture through the water towards Tybee Island, and don't forget your camera! Dolphin Magic guides guarantee you'll catch a glimpse of our friendly dolphins and leave with a rich history lesson too. What's better than a sunset cruise, dolphins, and entertainment along the way?
No matter the season, Savannah has a food scene that's perfect for any palate. Fresh caught seafood, fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits, pasta dishes to die for, fried green tomatoes, and plenty of dining options for that sweet tooth. Locally sourced and locally owned Savannah restaurants are easy to come by and certainly a must. We also suggest that you "rooftop bar hop"! From Peregrin in the historic district to Top Deck right along the Savannah River, and everywhere in between… be sure to catch the Savannah sunset with a drink in hand.
Picturesque, charming, historic, inviting, far from ordinary, the list goes on and visitors agree … there's nothing quite like Savannah. Tourism is nothing new to Georgia's "first city," for the past several years tourism records have continued to soar. This year seems to be no exception, as Savannah made the list for Travel + Leisure's top places to visit in 2019.
The living is easy in Savannah. Most visitors want to come and live like a local. They want to feel that sense of home. Because of that, many choose to stay in a vacation property within the landmark historic district, instead of a hotel. They are smart travelers, many are millennials, who understand and trust the concept of Airbnb.
From the Savannah River to Gwinnett Street, and from East Broad to Martin Luther King Boulevard vacation rentals are in high demand and can be found on just about every block. Most of the homes in the area have about a 70-80% occupancy rate, and when you compare that to the hotels in the area, they're doing just as good — or even better!
In Savannah, purchasing a home to use as vacation property is a successful investment, but there are realities to note, before buying. First of all, it's really important to work with a lender, preferably local, who understands the nuisances for lending.
Secondly, the City of Savannah issues a permit for each vacation rental in order to limit and maintain a balance of full time and rental properties across the area. This is a blessing and a curse because they look at each ward and designate no more than 20% to be used as a vacation rental.
Vacation properties in the hostess city are so sought after that almost every ward is currently full, and there's a waiting list to receive new permits. Any home sold with a permit, is considered some of the most marketable property in the historic district. That's because, if you purchase from someone who's home is already permitted, you don't automatically get the vacation rental permit, but you can apply and almost be at the top of the list.
There are also a large number of people who want to use their garden home or carriage house as a rental, to allow them the opportunity to get into a neighborhood or a home that they might otherwise not have been able to afford. Those lucky homeowners are able to share their space with visitors without necessarily qualifying under the city's permit cap, as long as it's considered their full-time residence.
Annually, Savannah sees 7 million tourists. Each tourist is attracted to Savannah for a different reason, whether it be the walkability of the city, the European feel, the to-go cocktail atmosphere, the southern hospitality, the delicious and eclectic fare, the perfectly manicured squares, the Spanish moss shaded streets, or the proximity to the waterways… But no matter the case, each one of these visitors needs a place to stay, hence the success of vacation rental properties.
For more information on vacation rentals visit www.corabettvacationrentals.com and for additional details on vacation sales please contact Heather Booth directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-401-9401.