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The Parts of the Home That Are Worth Investing In
 

Homeownership is a special milestone to reach for many of us, with countless possibilities to improve property value, including upgrades. Learn the parts of the home that are worth investing in when you’re ready to increase your property value or upgrade your living situation. Follow along as we go through five key areas of the house worth investing in now.


Kitchen


The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. Investing in a well-designed kitchen can drastically enhance its value, making it a worthwhile investment.


Modern Appliances


Upgrading to modern appliances can improve efficiency and save time. High-quality ovens, stoves, and refrigerators improve a kitchen's appearance, reducing energy bills over time. 


Outdoor Kitchen


Expanding your kitchen outdoors is another excellent investment. An outdoor kitchen is the best home addition to expand space, as it extends both the kitchen and the area where guests always seem to gather. This setup is perfect for hosting parties and enjoying meals outside.


Living Room


The living room is a central gathering space; thoughtful investments like adding a fireplace, built-in bookshelves, or canned lighting make it feel cozier and more inviting.


Lighting


Installing state-of-the-art lighting transforms the mood of every room, from the kitchen to the family room to the primary bath. Consider investing in layered lighting, such as ambient or accent lighting, to create a versatile and inviting space.



Deck or Patio

Adding a deck or patio offers more ways to entertain and spend time outdoors. Whether for dining, relaxing, or entertaining, decks and patios expand your options for guests to gather. And what meal doesn’t taste better al fresco?


Outdoor Lighting


High-quality outdoor lighting improves safety and highlights your home’s exterior features. Solar-powered or LED lights along pathways, driveways, and gardens impart a warm and welcoming atmosphere.


When learning what parts of the home are worth investing in, make sure each change enhances your lifestyle as it increases your home’s value. The best renovations make your house into the welcoming refuge that you deserve.

 

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

There are a few key things you’ll want to avoid after applying for a mortgage to make sure you’re in the best position when you get to the closing table. Don’t change bank accounts, apply for new credit, make any large purchases or transfers, and don’t co-sign loans for anyone. Here’s a good rule of thumb. Always connect with your loan officer before making any financial decisions once you’ve started the mortgage process.

Why Your Asking Price Matters Even More Right Now
Why Your Asking Price Matters Even More Right Now




If you’re thinking about selling your house, here’s something you really need to know. Even though it’s still a seller’s market today, you can’t pick just any price for your listing.

While home prices are still appreciating in most areas, they’re climbing at a slower pace because higher mortgage rates are putting a squeeze on buyer demand. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale is growing. That means buyers have more options and your house may not stand out as much, if it’s not priced right.

Those two factors combined are why the asking price you set for your house is more important today than it has been in recent years.

And some sellers are finding that out the hard way. That’s leading to more price reductions. Mike Simonsen, Founder and President of ALTOS Research, explains:

“Looking at the price reductions data set . . . It all fits in the same pattern of increasing supply and homebuyer demand that is just exhausted by high mortgage rates. . . As home sellers are faced with less demand than they expected, more of them have to reduce their prices.”

That’s because they haven’t adjusted their expectations to today’s market. Maybe they’re not working with an agent, so they don’t know what’s happening around them. Or they’re not using an agent who prioritizes being a local market expert. Either way, they aren’t basing their pricing decision on the latest data available – and that’s a miss.

If you want to avoid making a pricing mistake that could turn away buyers and delay your sale, you need to work with an agent who really knows your local market. If you lean on the right agent, they’ll help you avoid making mistakes like:

Setting a Price That’s Too High: Some sellers have unrealistic expectations about how much their house is worth. That’s because they base their price on their gut or their bottom line, not the data. An agent will help you base your price on facts, not opinion, so you have a better chance of hitting the mark.

Not Considering What Houses Are Actually Selling for: Without an agent’s help, some sellers may use the wrong comparable sales (comps) in their area and misjudge the market value of their home. An agent has the expertise needed to find true comps. And they’ll use those to give you valuable insights into how to price your house in a way that’s competitive for you and your future buyer.

Overestimating Home Improvements: Sellers who have invested a significant amount of money in home improvements may overestimate how much those upgrades affect their home's value. While certain improvements can increase a home's appeal, not all upgrades are going to get a great return on their investment. An agent factors in what you’ve done and what buyers in your area actually want as they set the price.

Ignoring Feedback and Market Response: Some sellers may be resistant to lowering their asking price based on feedback they’re getting in open houses. An agent will remind the seller how important it is to be flexible and respond to market feedback in order to attract qualified buyers.

In the end, accurate pricing depends on current market conditions – and only an agent has all the data and information necessary to find the right price for your house. The right agent will use that expertise to develop a pricing strategy that’s based on current market conditions and designed to get your house sold. That way you don’t miss the mark.

Bottom Line

The right asking price is even more important today than it’s been over the last few years. To avoid making a costly mistake, let’s work together.

Investment Matters: How a Second Property Can Be Lucrative

Real estate has long been a favored investment strategy for those looking to build long-term wealth. But what if you could accelerate that wealth by investing in a second property? Whether you’re a seasoned real estate investor, a first-time home buyer, or a financial planner advising clients, it’s worth understanding the financial benefits of owning multiple properties. From rental income to retirement advantages, we’ll cover how a second property can be lucrative, making it your ticket to financial freedom.

Rental Income as a Passive Stream

One of the most compelling reasons to invest in a second property is the potential for rental income, as renting out the home is a smart thing to do with your vacation property in the off-season. A well-managed rental property can provide a consistent monthly income, which you can use to cover mortgage payments, maintenance costs, and even contribute to your savings. Having an extra stream of income can provide financial stability, especially in uncertain economic times. It’s like having an additional layer of security for your financial well-being.

Asset Value Appreciation

Real estate has a historical trend of appreciating over time. While market fluctuations are inevitable, properties generally increase in value, making them a reliable long-term investment. With increased property value comes increased equity, which you can leverage for further investments or even large personal expenses like education or retirement. As the cost of living rises, so does the value of your property and the amount you can charge for rent, protecting your investment’s real value.

Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Diversifying your investment portfolio is crucial for risk management. A second property adds another layer of diversification, spreading risk across different asset types. Real estate often performs differently than stocks and bonds, providing a counterbalance to market volatility. By diversifying your investments, you create multiple revenue streams, reducing the risk associated with relying on a single source of income.

Retirement Planning

A second property can play a pivotal role in your retirement planning, offering both immediate benefits and long-term security. The rental income from a second property can serve as a steady source of income during retirement, supplementing your pension or social security benefits. Alternatively, you can sell the property when you retire, providing a significant lump sum to fund your retirement lifestyle.

Start Planning for Your Financial Future

Investing in a second property can be a lucrative opportunity for people from all walks of life. From generating rental income to enjoying retirement benefits, the advantages are clear. However, it’s essential to approach this investment with careful planning and consideration to ensure success.

 

Not a Crash: 3 Graphs That Show How Today’s Inventory Differs from 2008
Not a Crash: 3 Graphs That Show How Today’s Inventory Differs from 2008





Even if you didn't own a home at the time, you probably remember the housing crisis in 2008. That crash impacted the lives of countless people, and many now live with the worry that something like that could happen again. But rest easy, because things are different than they were back then. As Business Insider says:

“Though many Americans believe the housing market is at risk of crashing, the economists who study housing market conditions overwhelmingly do not expect a crash in 2024 or beyond.”

Here’s why experts are so confident. For the market (and home prices) to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn't show that’s happening. Right now, there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time – and that’s true even with the inventory growth we’ve seen this year. You see, the housing supply comes from three main sources:

Homeowners deciding to sell their houses (existing homes)

New home construction (newly built homes)

Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)

And if we look at those three main sources of inventory, you’ll see it’s clear this isn’t like 2008.

Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses

Although the supply of existing (previously owned) homes is up compared to this time last year, it’s still low overall. And while this varies by local market, nationally, the current months’ supply is well below the norm, and even further below what we saw during the crash. The graph below shows this more clearly.

If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), we only have about a third of that available inventory today. 



So, what does this mean? There just aren't enough homes available to make values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that's not the case right now.

New Home Construction

People are also talking a lot about what's going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. Even though new homes make up a larger percentage of the total inventory than the norm, there’s no need for alarm. Here’s why.

The graph below uses data from the Census to show the number of new houses built over the last 52 years. The orange on the graph shows the overbuilding that happened in the lead-up to the crash. And, if you look at the red in the graph, you’ll see that builders have been underbuilding pretty consistently since then: 




There’s just too much of a gap to make up. Builders aren’t overbuilding today, they’re catching up. A recent article from Bankrate says:

“What’s more, builders remember the Great Recession all too well, and they’ve been cautious about their pace of construction. The result is an ongoing shortage of homes for sale.”

Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)

The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. During the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.

Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from ATTOM to show how things have changed since the housing crash: 




This graph makes it clear that as lending standards got tighter and buyers became more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures (shown in black) and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw when the market crashed.

While you may see headlines that foreclosure volume is ticking up – remember, that’s only compared to recent years when very few foreclosures happened. We’re still below the normal level we’d see in a typical year.

What This Means for You

Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. As Forbes explains:

“As already-high home prices continue trending upward, you may be concerned that we’re in a bubble ready to pop. However, the likelihood of a housing market crash—a rapid drop in unsustainably high home prices due to waning demand—remains low for 2024.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, points to the laws of supply and demand as a reason why we aren't headed for a crash:

“There’s just generally not enough supply. There are more people than housing inventory. It’s Econ 101.”

And Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“We will not have a repeat of the 2008–2012 housing market crash. There are no risky subprime mortgages that could implode, nor the combination of a massive oversupply and overproduction of homes.”

Bottom Line

The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing experts and inventory data tell us there isn’t a crash on the horizon.

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