Predictions for 2020's Housing Market

The Michigan real estate market is no exception, 2020 is projected to be a strong year in real estate.  Here are some pros and cons of buying and selling your home in the Michigan real estate market in 2020.

 

Mortgage Rates are on the Rise

Although rates are projected to increase in 2020, they are only projected to slightly rise. This means now more than ever is a great time to buy as they will only continue to rise over the next year or so, and you can still get a great rate!

Rent Prices Increase

Millennials are reaching the point in their life where they are having to make the decision of continuing to rent or becoming a homeowner. As rent prices rise it is becoming increasingly affordable to take on a mortgage. Many renters are finding they are able to take on a mortgage for the same, or at times, a cheaper monthly payment!

Low Inventory on the Market

Low housing inventory will continue into the new year, which will make it a great time for sellers. This trend will result in homes to selling quicker at a higher price. It's more important than ever for buyers to have a real estate agent working for them. Having an agent will get you the quickest access to homes once they're on the market.

Housing Prices on the Rise

As the demand for houses remains higher than the supply, many home prices will rise. Housing will become less affordable which will hurt Millennials and those that are renting the most. It's always best to work with a trusted real estate agent to best determine the listing price for your home. An experienced real estate agent has the knowledge and experience in your market and will be able to guide you to reach top dollar for your home.

The market for 2020 is really at a stage that can work well for both sellers and buyers.  Since rent prices are on the rise and mortgage rates are slowly increasing as well, now is a great time for renters to become homeowners!  with motivated buyers on the market and low inventory now is a great opportunity for sellers to get multiple offers on their home. If you are looking to buy, the first step is to consult an experienced real estate agent and get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Sellers will want to consult with a real estate agent for expert advice on their home value and the current market!

 

Sept. 21, 2020

Remodeling your home's top selling points

When it comes time to sell your home, you obviously want it looking its best so that prospective buyers will fall in love with it. This may lead to you consider touching up or remodeling parts of your home to make the best possible impression. If you’re trying to figure out the best parts of the home to give special attention to, there are a few places that buyers are more likely to pay attention to than others. This list includes the kitchen, the bathrooms and decks.

Considering the Kitchen

A lot of work goes on in the kitchen, so it makes sense that homebuyers want to make sure that the kitchen meets their needs. If your kitchen is dirty, cramped or outdated, that could raise a few red flags. Most potential buyers are looking for a big, open kitchen with modern appliances and usually a few key features like a dishwasher or kitchen island.

Obviously, your home doesn’t need to have all of these things to sell, and it may not even be realistic for you to make those sort of upgrades. Still, it’s possible to find a balance between a small, cramped kitchen and a potential buyer’s dream kitchen. Taking a moment to see how well your kitchen meets that balance can help you to see if there are any tweaks that you could make to improve the likelihood that a buyer will want to purchase your home.

A Focus on Bathrooms

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in a house, and buyers want to be confident that things will work well in the bathroom when they’re in there. There’s a lot that goes on in the bathroom, though; beyond the obvious, this is also where people get ready in the morning, take their showers or baths, brush their teeth and sound their absolute best when singing along to a favorite song.

Because of this, there’s always a wow factor involved when a potential buyer sees a nice bathroom. This can be a combination of new and nice-looking fixtures as well as cleanliness, lack of obvious mildew or water damage, layout and things like adequate lighting and sufficient mirrors. Most bathrooms only have a limited amount of space to work with, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference you can make with a few tweaks and upgrades.

Enjoying the Deck

Not every home has a deck, but those that do always get oohs and aahs from potential buyers. A lot of homeowners want to be able to enjoy their time outside of their home, and having a deck can make this a lot easier since you can set up tables, chairs, a grill or anything else in a secure and flat area outdoors.

This isn’t to say that you have to build a deck to sell your house, though some sellers actually do make significant changes to landscaping and outdoor areas to spruce things up. If you already have a deck, take the time to make sure it’s recently painted or stained and is otherwise in good condition. A deck can make a big impression, but an ugly or damaged deck can make the wrong sort of impression on your potential buyer.

Sprucing Up the Whole Home

Obviously, there are other parts of the home that you can make changes or updates to if you’re getting ready to sell your home. General repairs, remodels or upgrades can interest potential buyers regardless of where they occur. But take care of any obvious damage, and then focus on the kitchen, bathrooms and decks, before you work on any other big areas.

Aug. 27, 2020

Getting A Mortgage After A Salary Drop

In uncertain times, it can be easy to sit back and worry your time away hoping things will work out eventually. Although worrying will absolutely give you something to do, it won’t get you anywhere. So if you’ve been wanting to buy a home or refinance this year, don’t discount the possibility just because your income may have dropped. It’s true that qualifying for a mortgage is getting trickier for many potential borrowers, but you still have plenty of options and opportunities for a home loan.  

How Have Things Changed?

Many industries are facing uncertain futures and what are likely to be unstable paths of recovery. Because of this, lenders have become increasingly concerned about borrowers’ abilities to repay loans. That’s not to say that there’s no hope in sight for workers or business owners, just that from a lender’s perspective, the pandemic has introduced an additional level of risk that has never been factored into home lending equations before now.

So it’s not that you’ve done anything wrong, or that home buyers in general have done anything wrong, but lenders like to see that incomes are stable and will continue to be stable for the foreseeable future. And in the current economic climate, this is pretty much impossible to forecast. Given this, lenders are getting more choosy about who they’ll lend to. Minimum credit scores are going up and, in some cases, so are down payments. The good news is that lenders are still issuing loans for home purchases and refinances, even to buyers who have lost income during the pandemic.

Getting a Loan With a Salary Drop

Revenues in many industries have taken a huge blow, and many workers are being asked to take a salary cut in order to maintain the integrity of the workforce. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be denied a loan, although you may need to provide additional documentation so your lender has a better picture of your overall financial picture. But a lower income can still affect your loan in one or more ways:

  • It can reduce the amount you’ll qualify to borrow. This one is pretty obvious; if you’re making less, even temporarily, you won’t be able to make as large of a loan payment. Your lender may still be more than happy to make some kind of loan to you, but it may be for much less than you expect. So if you must borrow while on a reduced income, brace yourself for purchasing down. The upside to this, though, is a home that you’ll owe less on and be able to pay down more quickly once your income is back to normal.
  • It can change your debt to income ratio. A lot of borrowers walk the debt to income line, especially as housing prices continue to increase. If you were close to the cap before your income was reduced, be prepared to have to make some changes to your plans. You may need to pay off debts strategically, sell items like extra vehicles that are encumbered with loans or settle for a much smaller loan.
  • It can increase your down payment. If you’re determined to borrow within a specific price range, or you’ve already made an offer and your income changed during the sales process, a quick way back to the home of your dreams is to make a bigger down payment. There are many ways to increase your down payment, such as a gift from a relative (provided they do not expect you to repay the gift) or liquid funds from things like savings or a 401k. Before you cash out investments or savings, though, check with your lender to ensure you’ll have enough money remaining in any accounts that may need to contain reserves.

Need Help Finding a Lender?

The good news is that just because one bank may have new requirements that reduce your loan amount or make you ineligible for a loan right now, others may not. Offers vary from bank to bank and from program to program, so it’s worthwhile to shop around for mortgages. If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call today for a recommendation! It’s a great way to know that you’re getting a professional you can trust and who can help you achieve your dreams.

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 11, 2020

Is Metal Roofing Right for You?

 

There was a time when metal roofing was largely reserved for use on shop buildings or certain businesses. These days, however, you’ll see metal roofs on almost any sort of structure, including a wide range of home styles. If you’re in the market for a new roof, you might consider going metal. Before jumping on the metal bandwagon, however, here are a few things that you should know about metal roof installations and how to tell if a metal roof is right for your home.

 

The Look of Metal

When considering a metal roof, one thing that a lot of people think about is how the roof will look after installation. While some metal roofing materials are installed as bare metal, it’s not uncommon for the metal to be coated or painted (especially in the case of some materials such as aluminum.) The metal panels are often machined to produce creases, folds and bends that mimic the look of smaller panels, and in some cases even create a look similar to shingles or Spanish tile. While there are definitely options that look like what you would expect from a metal roof, there are a wide range of other aesthetic options available as well.

Metal Roofing Longevity

A properly installed metal roof can last a long time, in some cases outlasting many of the other materials in your home. A lot of metal roof installations come with warranties that can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years or longer, though painted metal tends to top out at around 30 years. These roofs are fire resistant and less likely to suffer wear and tear from weather that could otherwise reduce their lifespan, since they’re all but impervious to the effects of rain and snow.

Metal Roof Quality

The quality of a metal roof can vary depending on the material used in the roof and how thick it is. Common metals used in roofing include tin, copper, aluminum, zinc and steel, with each providing its own advantages in regard to aesthetics, strength and rust resistance. Aspects of the roofing material such as sheet size, design and mounting hardware used can have a big effect on the quality of the roof, as can the skill of the person doing the installation.

Metal Drawbacks

While there are a lot of advantages to metal roofing, it’s worth considering a few drawbacks as well. Some metal roofs, especially those that are made of softer materials such as copper, can dent or otherwise be damaged by hail or other large impacts. Metal roofing can also be louder than other roof materials if appropriate noise-reduction materials aren’t used during installation and insulating. Improperly installed metal roofs can leak around fasteners and screw holes, especially if specialized washers aren’t used with the connecting screws. The biggest disadvantage of metal roofing is the cost, however; the up-front cost of even a lower-end metal roof can be equal to or greater than the cost of a premium installation of other roofing types.

Is Metal Right for You?

While metal can be expensive to install, its longevity combined with its weather resistance and minimal heat conduction during the summer can make it a good long-term investment. It’s also lightweight and can be installed quickly by a skilled contractor and their crew. With that said, some homeowners prefer the look and easy maintenance of shingles or other more traditional home roofing solutions. In the end, the choice between metal and other options comes down to personal preference and how much of an investment you’re wanting to make into your house.

Posted in Home Maintenance
July 29, 2020

Preparing Your Pet For Moving Day

Moving day, just imagine it: The sun is shining, the weather is just perfect, and you’re about to close one chapter and open a brand new one. There’s so much possibility ahead! Although it may be exciting and full of promise for you, moving can be a terrifying event for your pets, even if you’re just moving down the street. Fortunately, you can take a lot of steps to protect your furry, feathery and scaly pals in these high stress times.

 

Your Moving Day Checklist: Pet Edition

Whether you’ve got a dog that you love, a cat that’s a handful or a flock of chickens, moving with animals takes patience and attention to detail in order to help them get through the process with the least amount of stress possible. Remember that your pet doesn’t understand what’s happening and that the noise, strangers and general chaos can be terrifying for them. Before you so much as begin to pack, it’s important to consider what’s going to happen with your pets during your move. Here are some things you can do to keep them safer and happier during the whirlwind that’s to come:

 

Start practicing now

It’s likely your pet will need to be confined to a crate, bathroom or other safe space so that the door can be left open to move things out. Before the move starts, you can begin to get them used to the idea of being confined. Start by staying in or near the space with them and rewarding them when they relax (this could take some time at first, so be patient). As they get better at being confined with you, go farther and farther away, and for longer periods, rewarding them as they adjust to the situation. Getting your pets used to being confined like this can help prevent injuries to them should they frantically scramble to escape, and can help you better see what kinds of things in those spaces may be potentially dangerous when they’re left unattended on moving day.

 

Ask your vet

Your vet has all kinds of things in their dispensary for these one-time highly stressful events. They can make a specific recommendation based on your pet’s history and particular panic buttons, and also give you more behavioral tools to your own toolbox to help your pet cope. Absolutely ask your vet for help before you even book a mover or a moving truck.

 

Take frequent breaks

If you can, stretch your move out over a few days or a week so that your pets can have a breather from their safety spot. Depending on just how much there is to move, it’ll be easier on you, too. For example, you might move a lot of boxes on Monday, take the small appliances over on a Wednesday and then move the furniture on Friday. Giving your pet some time to shake off the stress will make the move a lot easier for them.

 

Consider a pet sitter

Longer moves may require you to be away for a while, which turns an already stressful situation into a potential for real trouble. A pet sitter will help fill your shoes while you’re moving, or while you’re taking care of getting the new place cleaned up and ready to go if your pet is very prone to stress in new situations. Just make sure to introduce the pet to the sitter ahead of time so they can get to know one another.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 22, 2020

2020 Summer Market Update

Over the last few months, the housing market has been heating up. In many situations the current demand for a home is creating bidding wars unlike any that we have seen before. Sellers are receiving multiple offers for more then asking price. By more then asking price we are talking about several thousands of dollars more. Sellers are actually receiving multiple offers for nearly $10,000 over asking price. The current market is definitely a sellers market, if you want top dollar for your home now is a perfect time to sell. Here are a few facts about the current market that might surprise you:
• New listings are down 28% with declines continuing nationwide.
• According to Realcomp MLS, the high demand from home buyers in June has led to a 114% increase in closed sales since May 2020.
• In this same time period (May 2020-June 2020) there was also a 29% increase in pending sales and ONLY an 8.0% increase in new listings.
• The average rate on a 30-year loan has dropped below 3.0% for the first time in nearly 50 years according to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The current average is now sitting at 2.98%.
Posted in Real Estate News
July 14, 2020

What to do before listing your home

When it comes time to list your home, you’ll want to come up with a list of small repairs and other tweaks that you can do to try and get the most out of your property. If you don’t make a list, you might miss things that could bring down what potential buyers are willing to pay for your home. While there might be a lot of things to consider depending on the specifics of your home, here are some items that you should definitely double check before putting up a listing for your property.

 

The Paint

How do the walls in your home look? If it’s been a few years since they’ve seen a coat of paint you should probably consider giving them a fresh coat. This is especially true if previous work was done in a hurry or has obvious spots where patches were done and covered up with newer paint. A sloppy or mismatched paint job will turn off a lot of potential buyers since they’ll likely see it as a task they’ll need to undertake as soon as they buy the house.

 

Roofing and Siding

While you’re considering things that might be a big red flag for possible buyers, step outside and take a look at the siding, brickwork and roof. Even if you only have a few problems out there, to someone looking at the house, that could raise questions about leaks, insects and other issues the buyers might face in the future. If you want to get the most out of your home, then it’s worth replacing broken shingles or fixing bits of damage or discoloration on your home’s exterior.

 

Faucets and Plumbing

Leaks, drips and other plumbing issues are pretty common, and it’s easy to get used to them over time. If someone is shopping for a new home, however, a notable drip from a faucet or evidence of a leak can be big warning signs. Nobody wants to pay full price for a home if they might be facing water damage in the near future, so taking care of any drips or leaks, as well as stains that they might have caused, is a great move to make before you list.

 

Landscaping

Sometimes it’s tempting to not worry too much about the landscaping when listing your home. If the landscaping has obviously been ignored, though, it may leave potential buyers wondering what else hasn’t been taken care of. Even if you just spend a little time trimming up the shrubs and eliminating some unsightly weeds, you can make a big difference on the first impression made to someone considering a purchase.

 

Clutter and Trash

Just as with landscaping, having clutter or other trash around can make a really bad impression when someone is looking at your home. There may be good reasons why things look a bit cluttered, but a potential buyer isn’t going to know what they are and quite likely won’t bother to ask. Take the time to straighten up and get rid of the garbage before your home goes on the market.

 

Obvious Repairs

There are many other small repairs that are worth making before your home gets listed. Any little bits of damage or discoloration should be evaluated to see if they can be repaired. While you may not have the time or budget to fix everything, you should still attempt whatever repairs you can. Your home obviously doesn’t need to be perfect, but the better it looks the higher the eventual closing price will be.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 9, 2020

Mesh Networks for Smart Home Technology

Smart homes and smart home tech are becoming increasingly popular these days. Various smart home devices, sensors and more can add new functions to a home, automating some tasks and even increasing your home’s security. Unfortunately, some homeowners run into problems with smart home devices that have to be on the same home network to interact. Traditional WiFi extenders sometimes create separate but overlapping networks, meaning that devices outside of the range of your wireless router might not work correctly.

There are ways to get around this, however. One option is to set up a mesh network within your home. Unlike traditional WiFi extenders, mesh network extenders create a single wireless network that all your devices can attach to. If you’re considering adding smart home devices and have signal problems within your home, a mesh network setup is definitely worth considering.

 

What Exactly Is a Mesh Network?

With a standard WiFi network, your router or other access point typically serves as a hub for network connectivity and any extenders or other network components connect directly to it. Mesh networks are set up a bit differently, however. In a mesh network, each device connects not only to that central hub but also to each other. This creates a “mesh” of paths throughout the network, allowing signals to route through the network in multiple ways to ensure even coverage. This helps to prevent dead spots or weak signals, eliminating the need for overlapping wireless networks.

 

Do You NEED a Mesh Network?

Mesh networks can be useful, especially if you’re trying to keep smart home devices on the same network so that they can interact with each other. Depending on your home and where your wireless access point is located, though, they may not be entirely necessary. If your router is centrally located, or has a strong enough signal to provide good coverage throughout your home, your smart home devices should be able to communicate even without a mesh network. With that said, mesh networks can be very useful if some parts of your home have weaker signals than others or if you plan on adding devices outside of your home and aren’t sure how well your network will be able to handle it. Even if your network seems adequate for your needs, you may consider a mesh option to create more uniform coverage.

 

Smart Home Devices on the Mesh

There are a wide range of smart home devices that could benefit from being connected to a mesh network. Devices such as cameras and intrusion sensors should stay online and connected, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the home. Likewise, safety sensors such as smart smoke detectors need to be able to communicate, as do heat sensors and even leak sensors, to ensure that your home is well covered without the need for multiple devices or apps to help them stay connected. Even devices such as smart door locks and a smart thermostat can benefit from being on the same network to make automatic temperature adjustments more intuitive depending on whether the doors are locked or not. The more you’re able to connect your devices to a single network, the more likely you are to come up with innovative ways for your various smart home devices to work together.

Posted in Home Maintenance
June 26, 2020

What to Consider When Buying Lakefront Property