Red River Valley Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 18, 2022

Getting Ready to Buy a Home? Embrace These Healthy Home Buying Habits

If you want to buy a home, you need to be able to responsibly save and manage your finances, and that comes down to having the right habits.

So what, exactly, are the “right” habits if you’re trying to buy a home?

recent video from realtor.com outlined the habits you’ll want to adopt if you’re planning on buying a home in the near future, including:

  • Set up weekly deposits. As mentioned, the quicker you save up for your down payment, the quicker you’ll be able to buy your home. If you want to speed up the process, set up a separate account for your down payment—and then set up an automatic weekly deposit. That automatic withdrawal will get you in the habit of saving, without requiring too much thought or effort.
  • Pare back your budget. When you buy a home, you want to have as much saved for your down payment as possible—ideally 20 percent. And in order to stash away that much cash, you’re going to want to pare back your budget. Look for ways to cut down your expenses (for example, by getting rid of cable or switching to public transportation)—and then put those savings directly into your down payment savings account.
  • Check your credit score. If you want to buy a home, you’ll need a solid credit score. Before you start looking at homes, get in the habit of checking your credit score. Make sure there’s no incorrect information that could be hurting your score—and, if there is, contact the credit bureaus to get it removed before you put in any offers.
Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 12, 2022

What’s A Broker’s Open House?

There are a number of different strategies you can use to sell your home. But there’s one marketing strategy that many sellers are unaware of that can be a great way to market your home—a broker’s open house.

But what, exactly, is a broker’s open house? How is it different from a regular open house? And how can it help you sell your home?

recent article from realtor.com answered key questions for sellers about broker’s open houses, including:

  • What is a broker’s open house? Unlike typical open houses, which are open to anyone who wants to attend (for example, potential buyers or curious neighbors), a broker’s open house limits the guest list to real estate agents and other real estate industry professionals.
  • What happens at a broker’s open house? A broker’s open house generally takes place within the first few days of your home hitting the market. Your agent will use the broker’s open house as an opportunity to network with other agents, market your property, and get other professionals’ insights and opinions on the home.
  • How do broker’s open houses benefit sellers? A broker’s open house benefits sellers by getting their property in front of other agents early on in the listing process. That way, agents can decide which of their clients would be interested in the property and take them to see it ASAP, getting more qualified buyers in the door sooner—which can help the home sell faster.
Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 10, 2022

Why You Should Capitalize on the “Negativity” About Mortgage Rates as a Buyer Right Now

Even though mortgage rates dipped below 5% this past week, they’re still higher than they were just a few short months ago. This has priced some home buyers out of the market, and caused others to take a wait-and-see approach, hoping for rates to drop back down to historically low levels.

It’s understandable why current buyers would want to hope and wait, but it’s impossible to say if rates will ever go back down to the 2% or 3% range, let alone soon. But if they do, it’s not likely to happen in the next few weeks or months, so the decision buyers have to make boils down to whether or not they’re willing to potentially wait years to buy a house.

That said, based upon this Market Watch article, buyers could inadvertently be costing themselves more money by waiting for rates to come down. This is because the “real mortgage rate” has gone negative for the first time in 40 years, according to the chief economist at Angi (a home services company). Simply put, if mortgage rates are currently at 5%, and the inflation rate is at 9%, the real mortgage rate is -4%.

So while some buyers may decide not to buy because rates are “high” relative to where they were a while ago, they’re missing the opportunity to capitalize on the fact that inflation is currently making these rates a better deal.

Of course, this is due to inflation, and inflation isn’t forever. So as the inflation rate comes down, one could argue that having a mortgage at the higher rate (relative to where they were) is not ideal. Unfortunately, nobody can predict how long and at what rate inflation will be high. But it’s probably a safe bet that it’s not easing up in the next few weeks or months, and it could last years.

This doesn’t mean you should run out and buy a house just to take advantage of the current negative real mortgage rate, taking inflation into account. But it’s something to think about — and worth crunching the numbers based upon your own personal situation — if you’ve been weighing whether or not to buy right now.

The Takeaway:

Mortgage rates are higher than they were a short time ago, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good deal. Due to inflation, the current mortgage rates are actually negative for the first time in 40 years. If you’ve been putting off buying a house hoping rates will come back down, you may be in for quite a wait, and during that time it could be costing you in ways that are hard to see or quantify without truly analyzing the pros and cons of waiting. Crunch the numbers and see how much sense it makes for you to buy now, based upon your personal situation.

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 8, 2022

7 Unusual (But Not Unreasonable) Reasons to Sell Your House

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to sell your house. Maybe you want a bigger one. Or perhaps you’d rather downsize to something smaller. Moving closer to work is always a solid reason. At least those are some pretty common and basic reasons real estate agents typically hear.

Let’s spice things up a bit and get real!

Here are 7 unusual reasons to sell your house that are actually pretty reasonable when you think about it!

1) You’re not having enough sex

It’s one thing to have to hide your hook-ups when you’re under your parents’ roof, but not being able to Netflix and chill in your own house is another thing altogether. If you’re finding it hard for you and your significant other to find any time or place in the house that’s safe for a romp without risk, maybe you should sell your house and find a bigger one with more places for privacy. Unless of course that’s part of the fun for you…

 

2) You’re not Amish

Of course you could always just put an addition on your current house to create more living space, but it takes a lot of time. It can take years just to plan it out and get the approvals, let alone get it built. And it’s hard (if not impossible) to live in your house while the construction is going on. Unless you’re Amish and can rally your whole community to come over and bang it out in a day or two, you could find yourself having to find another house to live in for the better part of a year. Maybe just move instead…

 

3) You’re out of projects

If you bought a fixer-upper and fixed it all up, but find it difficult to sit back, relax, and enjoy it, maybe you should look at some bank-owned homes. Those places need tons of work, and apparently you need projects to keep you happy and feeling at home. Hurry before you find yourself intentionally breaking things just to give yourself something to do…

 

4) You hate your neighbor’s car

Does your neighbor have a diesel pick-up truck that he loves to start up the minute you go to sleep, or an hour before you want to wake up? Are you sick of them parking their car in your spot or in front of your driveway, even after you’ve spoken to them about it and reported them to the police? If someone is that inconsiderate, you might be better off moving than trying to change their habits.

 

5) It takes you 20 minutes to get your mail

Taking in your mail, or dragging the trash to the street shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. But if you have a neighbor who loves to catch your ear and chat you up every single time they see you, it can be a 20 minute ordeal. If you find yourself peeking out the door to make sure the coast is clear before you head outside, it might make more sense to sell your house and find one that’s further away from the nearest neighbor. Just plan to set aside plenty of time (and a different excuse) for when your neighbor hears you’re moving and wants to know when, where, and why…

 

6) Cheaper than getting a divorce

If your marriage is feeling like it’s on the rocks, maybe you need a bigger house, not a divorce! They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so perhaps having separate bedrooms could bring you closer together and save you from a costly divorce! If you’d rather be building more equity by paying down a mortgage than just throwing it away on lawyers, alimony, or child support, then selling your house and buying a bigger one may be just the ticket.

 

7) You want a reason to get back in touch with your agent

 

When you work with an agent to buy or sell a house, it’s easy to get close to each other and feel like they’re a great friend, or even like family. But once you’re through the process, even if you stay close, it’s hard to find the time to get together on a regular basis. If you find yourself missing the good times you had together, give him or her a call and get your house on the market! And if you want to spend a lot of time with your agent, price it way too high so it sits on the market forever…

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 3, 2022

Will the Real Estate Market Ever Calm Down?!

When the real estate market’s hot, there are always buyers who want to wait for prices to come down before buying a house.

But as Kim Holderness illustrates in a hilarious video — where she stars as both a homebuyer and an agent — the market hasn’t shown signs of letting up anytime soon.

As they say, laughter is the best medicine…

So whether you’re an agent or a buyer in this crazy market, watch this video for your daily dose to help ease the pain:

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 2, 2022

Tips to Help You Feel at Home Faster on Your Next Move

Moving into a new home is an exciting time. But even if you’re super excited about your new place, it can take a little while to get settled in—and for your new place to actually feel like home.

But luckily, there are things you can do to speed along the process. A recent article from realtor.com outlined smart moving tips to help you settle into your new home, including:

  • Include personal items in your priority unpacking. As you’re unpacking, you’ll want to unpack the items you need first—whether that’s kitchenware, bedding, or clothing. But if you want your new place to feel like home, you’ll also want to prioritize unpacking a few personal items—for example, family photos or personal keepsakes.
  • Schedule installation services on day 1. In order to feel settled in your new place, it needs to be functional—so as soon as you have your move-in day, make sure to schedule any necessary installation services (for example, cable and internet) as soon as possible.
  • Schedule downtime. Moving can be a long, exhausting process—and if you’re feeling exhausted and depleted, it can be hard to get settled. So, if you want to feel at home (and fast!), make sure you’re scheduling plenty of breaks and time to rest, recharge, and enjoy your new space.
Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 1, 2022

Getting Ready to Buy a Home? Use These Tips to Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a major part in your ability to secure a mortgage—and to secure a competitive interest rate on your loan. So, before you buy a house, you’ll want to do everything you can to get your credit score as high as possible.

So how, exactly, do you do that?

recent article from realtor.com outlined strategies potential buyers can use to boost their credit score before they purchase a home, including:

  • Increase your credit limits. If you can’t pay off your credit card debt, one trick to boost your score is to ask your credit card company to increase your credit limit. Increasing your credit limit will improve your debt-to-credit ratio (how much you owe relative to how much credit you have available)—which plays a huge role in how lenders evaluate your creditworthiness for a mortgage.
  • Try to erase one-time mistakes. If you have a history of paying your bills on time, but have one or two late payments on your credit report, try reaching out to your credit card company and asking them to remove the late payment from your credit report. While this won’t work for people with a history of late payments, if you have a mostly positive track record, they may be willing to work with you.
  • Pay on time. If your credit score is less-than-perfect because you have a history of late payments, it’s time to start paying your bills on time. The more consistently you pay on time, the more your credit score will improve—and the easier it will be to get a loan.
Posted in Buying a Home
July 31, 2022

3 Simple Decor Items That Can Help You Sell Your Home

When you start showing your home, you want to decorate it in a way that’s going to appeal to buyers.

But what, exactly, does that look like?

recent article from realtor.com outlined decor items that can help make your home more attractive to buyers—and ultimately, help it sell—including:

  • Fresh flowers. Fresh flowers can make your home feel warm and inviting—and that feeling can pique buyers’ interest. Before you show your home, consider adding floral arrangements to highly trafficked areas, like the living room, dining room, and master bedroom.
  • Mirrors. When used correctly, mirrors can make a room feel brighter and larger—both of which can make the space feel more appealing to buyers. Consider adding a large wall mirror to a small room to add depth to the space—and place mirrors near windows to better reflect light and brighten up the room.
  • Area rugs. Area rugs not only define a space, but they add color, warmth, and texture to the room—all of which make it feel more purposeful and “complete,” which can help to draw in buyers.
Posted in Selling Your Home
July 30, 2022

What You Need to Know About Today’s Real Estate Market, According to an Economist

If you’re planning on buying a home, it’s important to understand what’s going on in the real estate market. But with so much happening, it can be challenging to know where to start.

So, from an economist’s perspective, what do buyers need to know?

In a recent article, realtor.com’s chief economist Danielle Hale shared what she thinks home buyers need to know about today’s real estate market, including:

  • Inventory has dramatically improved in the past year. If you’re looking for a home, good news—compared to this time last year, there’s a lot more inventory to choose from. “Our June Housing Trends Report shows that housing inventory has made the biggest about-face ever in a one year period of time, rising 18.7% over this time last year,” Hale said in the article.
  • Pay attention to your local market. While there is plenty of data on the real estate market as a whole, that national data may or may not apply to where you’re trying to buy a home—so while it’s fine to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on nationally, when it comes to your experience buying a home it’s more important to research your local market. “The local area where you’re trying to buy could be more or less buyer-friendly than the national data indicates,” Hale said in the article.
  • Make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. In the midst of some economic challenges and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to really look at your finances and make sure you’re in the position to buy before you start looking for homes. So, what does “being in the position to buy” look like? “Mortgage calculators and lenders will advise you based on financial rules of thumb that suggest you should spend no more than 28% of your income on housing payments and no more than 36% to 50% on total debt payments, including housing, student loans and car loans,” Hale said in the article.
Posted in Market Updates
July 29, 2022

Timeless Tips to Sell Your Condo in Any Market

When it comes to real estate, not all sales are created equal—and if you’re planning to sell a condo, there are tips and tricks you’ll want to use to make the sale as fast and profitable as possible.

So what, exactly, are those tips and tricks?

recent article from realtor.com outlined selling tips for homeowners preparing to sell their condo, including:

  • Use appropriate comps to determine your pricing strategy. Looking at recent sales in an area is typically a great tool for determining how to price a property. And that’s especially true for condos—as other units that have recently sold in your complex are likely very similar (or even identical!) to yours. Review recent condominium sales and see if there are any in your complex—then use the sale number to get an idea of how to set your price.
  • Highlight the convenience and amenities of your complex… One of the reasons people opt to buy condos instead of detached houses is for the convenience and amenities of condo living—so make sure to highlight them in your listing. For example, does your complex offer 24/7 security? A pool? A fitness center? A parking garage? Really sell the perks.
  • …and the selling points of your particular condo. In addition to selling the perks of your complex, you’ll also want to sell the perks of your specific unit. Do you have a killer view? A recently remodeled bathroom? New flooring? If there’s something that makes your unit stand out, make sure to feature it in your listing.
Posted in Selling Your Home