REAL ESTATE

5 Steps for Boomers Preparing to Downsize

Although it can be difficult to move from the family home, the decision to downsize to a simpler and more affordable life can be a good one for aging baby boomers. Here are 5 steps on how to go about it:

  1. Dream, research & strategize – Make your wish list. Begin by dreaming and considering different scenarios. What matters most? Where do you want to be – city? suburbs? 55 & over community? What about location? Do you want to be close to medical? close to airport? close to family?
  2. Begin to Downsize in Place – That means begin to get rid of your stuff. Storage is a big issue when downsizing. One perspective is to imagine how many rooms you’ll have in your new home, then purge belongings to fit your new space.
  3. Use available resources to help market your home – Curb appeal and online marketing are important now. Use a real estate agent who can help you spruce up your home for sale. Impressions count – both in person and online.
  4. Make a detailed plan based on monthly payments – Downsizing savings typically come from lowering monthly mortgage payments by using cash from selling your existing home. Additional savings come from reduced property taxes, maintenance and utilities. Prepare for the long-term. A National Association of Realtors survey says downsizers on average plan to stay 15 years in their new home.beach House2
  5. Scout locations – This is the fun part. With the “business” side of downsizing taken care of and your wish list in hand, you can turn your dreams into reality. Hop on the internet to research – can you afford a London flat? How about the beaches in Mexico? Statistically, the trend for downsizing boomers is toward smaller, walkable U.S. cities with well furnished homes, high speed internet, and accessible services.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

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7 Best Things About Buying a Home in the Fall

landscape - leavesFor the first time in recent history, October surpassed June as the most popular month to get married. And these autumn-loving brides may be on to something: Although the spring months are notoriously the best time to buy real estate (as well as have a wedding), fall may be the new ideal season to buy a home.

Hear us out: One obvious reason is that it’s easier to get from open house to open house without questioning if you’ll need an AC repair ASAP upon moving into that home for sale in Phoenix, AZ. Also, families on a mission to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture. Besides these two more obvious reasons, here are seven expert insights on why you should consider a fall real estate purchase.

Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale — and in some cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer. “[Fall] means new inventory and repositioned old inventory that did not sell in the prime season,” says Wesley Stanton, a New York, NY, agent with The Stanton Hoch Team.

This puts you in a great position to negotiate. “Fall homebuyers should consider [making] lowball offers, followed by more aggressive negotiation,” says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and director of education at Spark Rental. Davis points out that many sellers are very motivated to sell before the holidays. If possible, buyers should let these sellers know that they can close before Thanksgiving or before the school winter break.

2. Sellers are worn-out

Sign Compliance (1)Some sellers who put their homes on the market during the prime selling times of spring and summer might have been a tad overconfident by listing their homes for more than buyers were willing to spend. After months of no action, these sellers are often ready to make a deal. “Sellers who were unrealistic earlier in the year about price will now be more willing to reduce the price come fall,” says Thomas Miller, a Washington, DC, real estate agent. “Because there [are fewer buyers] and because the sellers are now eager to sell, they are more inclined to take the low offer than wait another six months for spring to come around.”

3. Sellers are serious

Not all homes on the market in fall are summer leftovers. Some people need to sell in the fall because the timing is right. Maybe they were having a home built, and it’s now ready. Maybe they need to move because of a job. “The sellers with houses on the market in the fall tend to be serious,” says Sam Heskel, president of Nadlan Valuation, an appraisal management company in Brooklyn, NY. “That means sellers could be more open to negotiating and accepting a lower offer.”

4. You can take advantage of tax breaks

First-time homebuyers, take note: Although you can’t escape paying income tax, you can make a dent in what you owe when you become a homeowner. “Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December,” says David Hryck, a New York, NY tax adviser, lawyer, and personal finance expert. “Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.”

5. Fall is a safer time of year

Did you know that burglars have peak seasons? They do, says Sarah Brown, a home safety expert for SafeWise.com. “July and August are prime months for burglaries to take place,” she says. “Waiting until the fall [to buy] gives you an advantage when learning about a home and the neighborhood.” You’ll be settled in your home and can take precautions — like setting up that new alarm system — before the next burglary season rolls around.

6. You’re the center of attention

Realtor 01Because spring and summer are ideal times to buy a home, real estate agents are usually busier then. And that could mean you might not always get the attention you want. This is also true for other professionals you’re working with to buy a house. “Service providers, such as mortgage lenders and title companies, are moving out of the summertime sales swamp and can often respond more quickly,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Orlando, FL.

The same goes for movers. “Because summer is peak moving season, people often experience more delays and service issues, such as moving companies reaching capacity and running out of trucks to pick up shipments,” says Jack Griffin, president and chief operating officer of Atlas World Group. “The probability of experiencing a delay goes way down in the fall season.”

7. You can take advantage of end-of-year sales to outfit your homeSale2

There are bound to be improvements you’ll want to make after buying a house. You’ll also probably need to buy items to maintain your home, and if appliances weren’t part of the deal, you’ll need those too. Wouldn’t it be great to coordinate your home purchase with sales on items you’ll need? According to Consumer Reports, the calendar determines when it’s a good time to buy all sorts of consumer goods. In particular, September is a great time for buying carpet and paint. October means lawn mowers go on sale, and appliances and cookware are cheaper in November.

 

Article courtesy of Trulia.com

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your Fall home buying. 

Buyers Remorse: 4 Ways to Conquer it

You’ve finally signed the last document. That “For Sale” sign turns to “Sold” in front of your brand-new home. The real estate agent hands you the keys, and you’re full of emotions. You should feel on top of the world, excited to move into a home of your very own. But what if you don’t feel good? What if, in fact, you feel bad? You feel anxiety over buying a house, and you’re panicked. This, my friends, is buyer’s remorse.

Why do I care about you and your remorse? Not so long ago, I also bought a house. I felt overwhelmed with creating a new budget, navigating property taxes, and all of the maintenance work I had ahead of me. Eventually, however, I overcame the fear of first-time home-ownership and grew to love my house, living day to day in my home without a care in the world. How did I conquer the hand-wringing existence you currently find yourself in? Follow these tips to help calm your nerves and fast-track your way into the rewarding world of home-ownership.

Control only what you can control
Stoic philosophers believed that to live a more content life, you should attempt to control only the things you have the ability to control. Even though they were pretty much constantly getting exiled, those guys knew their stuff.

You may feel like you’re on the brink of a full-fledged panic attack, but try to calm your fears and give this new home a chance. (Plus, you paid your closing costs, and you can’t turn back so easily now.) So strap yourself in. This is your reality now, so control what you can and make the best of it.

Remind yourself of all the reasons why you bought the home in the first place. This wasn’t a split-second decision, after all. You put in a lot of time, money, and effort to find your perfect home. You might be surprised at how quickly those anxious feelings fade when you focus on accepting (and enjoying!) your new space.

Check off one thing
Now that you’ve accepted that this is your new house, why are you panicking? Is it because you worry you will lose your job and miss your mortgage payments? Is it because there are many improvements to make to your house?

Make a list of your worries or concerns and solve just one of them. Paint a room, put in a new light fixture, or set a new emergency fund savings goal. Cross one thing off your list, and you’ve just made progress toward settling into daily life as a homeowner.

Throw a party!
Most well-adjusted adults don’t use “party” as a verb. But it’s time to make an exception, because when you buy a house? It’s time to party. Have a cookout, host a grown-up dinner party, or throw a tailgating party in your new home. The point is: Gather your friends, family, and loved ones in your home for a celebration. The enthusiasm will be contagious. Your guests will be genuinely excited for you and your new home purchase, and some of that excitement might just rub off on you too.

Find your favorite place
Walk around your house and consider each room. Be mindful of the light and of the space. Find your favorite place in your house and just enjoy it. Drink it in. Appreciate this spot. It’s the best spot in the house and this is your house. You bought it!

Whenever you feel your anxious mind running away again with buyer’s remorse, come back to this spot. This is a good, relaxing spot. It’s home. And soon the rest of the house will be too. Take a deep breath. Your buyer’s remorse will pass, and eventually, when you’re enjoying your new home (and maybe even considering buying a vacation house), you’ll wonder why you ever worried.

Source: Trulia.com, written by John Viera

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs! 

Sellers saying “Now is a good time to sell!”

shutterstock_1638721Many homeowners have been reluctant to list their homes for sale – some by choice, some for fear of being unable to afford a new home, or of coming out in the red.

71% of survey respondents believe now is a good time to sell
Recently released findings from a survey by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) show more homeowners are ready to move on and unload… or, at least, say they are. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents for the quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) report believe now is a good time to sell, an increase from 69 percent the previous quarter and 61 percent one year ago.

“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth. Perhaps this notable uptick in seller confidence will translate to more added inventory later this year. Low housing turnover is one of the roots of the ongoing supply and affordability problems plaguing many markets.”

Renters less sure about their home-buying prospects
Renters, however, are less sure about their home-buying prospects. Fifty-two percent of renters surveyed believe now is a good time to buy a home, a decrease from 56 percent the previous quarter and 62 percent one year ago. Eighty percent of homeowners surveyed, to compare, believe now is a good time to buy. Forty-two percent of respondents believe homes are affordable, with respondents living in the Midwest most likely to believe homes are affordable and respondents living in the West least likely to believe homes are affordable.

Business 01Survey respondents are reining in their optimism in the economy, as well, according to the report. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed believe the economy is improving, which is in contrast to a record 62 percent the previous quarter. (Homeowners, notably, tend to be more optimistic about the economy.) The survey’s Personal Financial Outlook Index, which gauges respondents’ sentiment on their financial situation over the next six months, dropped to 57.2 in June.

“It should come as little surprise that the confidence reading among renters has fallen every month since January (64.8) and currently sits at its lowest level (53.8) since tracking began in March 2015 (65.7),” Yun says. “Paying more in rent each year and seeing home prices outpace their incomes is discouraging, and it’s unfortunately pushing homeownership further away – especially for those living in expensive metro areas on the East and West Coast.”

New Home - family - 01Twenty percent of respondents, especially those with annual incomes less than $50,000 and/or under age 34, would consider moving to a more affordable area.

“Areas with strong job markets but high home prices risk a migration of middle-class households to other parts of the country if rising housing costs in those areas are not contained through a significant ramp-up in new home construction,” Yun says.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs.

Cooler fall temperatures point to outdoor fun in North Texas!

Labor Day has passed, but that doesn’t mean the fun has ended in North Texas! In fact, Fall’s cooler temperatures make outdoor events the perfect place to be! So grab your family and friends, and head outdoors for a great time at these area fairs and festivals.

grapefestSept 14 – 17, 2017 The 31st Annual GrapeFest! Grapevine TX
The four day family-friendly event includes a grape stomping competition, live entertainment on 3 stages, KidsWorld with interactive games and a live aquarium exhibit. The festival features six different wine experiences, including the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic  and Grapevine’s Urban Wine Trail. Fun for the whole family!

Sept 16 – 17, 2017 Family Camp Out, Twin Coves Park, Flower Mound TX
Experience Flower Mound camping by pitching a tent at Twin Coves Park! Various family games and activities will be provided along with a catered dinner and breakfast. Bring a tent, tent decorations, sleeping bags, bug spray, and flashlights. The “Most Creative” tent will win the tent decorating contest and a prize! Cabins and RV slots are additional charge and must be booked separately. Pre-registration required by 9/11.

Events - Balloon FestivalSept 22 – Sept 24, 2017 – Plano Balloon Festival, Oak Point Park, Plano TX
45 hot air balloons, sky divers, live music, fireworks and a kids zone. Tethered balloon rides available. ½ Marathon, 5K and 1K runs. General Admission is $5. Parking is $5-$10.

Sept 23 – Nov 22 – Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas Arboretum, Dallas
Pumpkins, gourds and squash … oh my! This year’s theme for the internationally acclaimed pumpkin village is The Wizard of Oz, featuring 90,000 pumpkins, as well as gardens with 4,500 Chrysanthemums and 150,000 stunning, fall blooming plants. Named one of the “16 Most Beautiful Public Gardens to Visit in the fall,” by House Beautiful magazine. Cost $10-$15

shutterstock_357524000Sept 29 – Oct 22, 2017 The State Fair of Texas! Fair Park, Dallas
For 24 wonderful days, The State Fair of Texas is the largest fair and stock show in the state. Enjoy Big Tex, live music, carnival rides, good eats, art shows and more!

Sept 29 – 30, 2017 Lewisville Western Days Festival, Lewisville TX
The Western Days festival was designed to showcase the history and spirit of the west. Find your inner cowboy through themed events, attractions, food, shopping and entertainment. 3 stages, arts and crafts, Kid Kountry (children’s activities) and a cattle-drive parade round out this fun family event. FREE admission until 7pm each day.

Oct 7 – 8, 2017 Cottonwood Art Festival, Cottonwood Park, Richardson TX
Now in it’s 48th year, the semi-annual Cottonwood Art Festival is a juried show and features works from the nation’s top visual artists. Also features a variety of music, food, spirits, lake views, boutique and Art Stop (children’s area). Well-behaved dogs are welcome!

bonnie and clydeOct 14, 2017 Bonnie and Clyde Days, Pilot Point Town Square
Free festival commemorates and reenacts the filming of the bank robbery scene in the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde movie. Old-time family fun includes 2 reenactments, Model A and Classic Car show, the chain Gang Walk, pie eating contest, Kids Zone, live music and more.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs. 

 

Bounce Back in Pending Home Sales a Welcoming Sign

Business Growth 01

After declining for three straight months, pending home sales reversed course in June as all major regions, except for the Midwest, saw an increase in contract activity, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index, a measure of housing contract activity, climbed 1.5 percent to 110.2 in June from an upwardly revised 108.6 in May. At 0.5 percent, the June index increased annually for the first time since March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the bounce back in pending sales in most of the country in June is a welcoming sign. “The first half of 2017 ended with a nearly identical number of contract signings as one year ago, even as the economy added 2.2 million net new jobs,” he said. “Market conditions in many areas continue to be fast paced, with few properties to choose from, which is forcing buyers to act almost immediately on an available home that fits their criteria.” Added Yun, “Low supply is an ongoing issue holding back activity. Housing inventory declined last month and is a staggering 7.1 percent lower than a year ago.”

Couple Cheering 02Yun noted that there could potentially be a sliver of increased hope in the months ahead for prospective first-time buyers, who continue to struggle reaching the market. Sales to investors last month were the lowest of the year (13 percent), which helped push all cash transactions to 18 percent – the smallest share since June 2009 (13 percent).

Source: National Association of Realtors

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

 

How To Hire a Mover

Moving - 2When moving, there’s a million small details to juggle. Hiring a moving company can save you a bundle of stress, but it’s important to note that not all moving companies are the same, and you want to make sure your items are safe and secure in the hands of your movers.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking to hire a moving company:

Hire a licensed company – Be sure to only use a licensed moving company and check for a valid U.S. Department of Transportation number on the main DOT website.

Find reassurance in valuation – Even if movers are bonded and insured, verify if belongings are covered during the move. Some states require a valuation of 60 cents per pound of coverage but in many cases additional valuation can be purchased for the move.

shutterstock_28772560Avoid imposters – Visit the official site of the moving company and ensure there is a local address and the office is staffed.

Get a real quote – Inspect the website to ensure they will not sell personal information to other movers to provide the quote and avoid sites that feature multiple quotes from different companies. Never pay for an estimate and consider an on-site estimate to ensure accuracy for larger moves.

Inquire about the movers – Be careful if choosing to move forward with a company that employs temporary or day laborers and does not have Workers’ Compensation coverage should anything happen.

moving - 3Research options – The Internet is filled with reviews and comments on social media pages, so take the time to read about pros and cons of a potential company. Learn from customers’ experiences and look into complaints on the Better Business Bureau website, as well. Understand, not every move can be perfect, but if the company is taking time to respond to customers comments and work toward resolution, it is a good sign.

Don’t fall for a too good to be true price – If the price seems like it is too good, it probably is going to cause headaches and problems down the line. Moving is expensive – even if completed without movers – be sure to look at all of your options as it’s best to go into the process prepared. Also, never move forward with a company that only accepts cash.

Check for hidden fees – When asking about pricing, be sure to understand what is included and if there are cancellation fees or a nonrefundable deposit. Most companies will refund a deposit if within a certain amount of days before the move, and see if there are extra fees for stairs, mileage or large items. Some movers will offer complimentary padding and stretch wrap to protect furniture, but not all companies will.

Movers - 6Reputation is important – Many reputable movers belong to the American Moving and Storage Association. Identify if a prospective company is a member before booking a move.

Ask for references – Get advice from friends and family who have had a good experience with movers. Did they feel like they were communicated with throughout the process and were told a window of time for the movers to arrive? Don’t forget to ask questions to feel confident with booking a company.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. It’s highly beneficial to have a professional knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side. Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!