July Market Update 2018

July Market Update courtesy of Craig and Stacey Akers at NextHome Valleywide.  Contact 480-621-6828 or info@nexthomevalleywide.com for a Seller Solution book that will give you selling tips, pricing, and comparable home sales in your area.


Waiting Means Less Space or Higher Price

More Homes Sell in $200’s This Year

2018-07 Infographic

For Buyers:

Hearing cries for more affordable housing supply, developers have sold more new homes in the low $200’s this year; selling 35% more than they did last year within the same time frame. However, the under $200,000 market remains neglected for additional supply. As of May 2018, only 6% of new homes sold were under $200,000, 37% were between $200,000 and $300,000 and 41% were between $300,000 and $500,000. This means that properties under $200,000 will continue to appreciate faster than any other price point and homes sold in this price range are only getting smaller. The annual average home size sold between $100K -$200K, new and resale combined, is currently 1,390sf compared to 1,454sf last year. That’s a loss of 64sf and roughly the size of a couple of closets. Since 2014, the annual average home size sold has consistently hovered around 1,975sf. Those buyers who didn’t want to sacrifice living space paid an average of $22,000 more for a 1,975sf home in the past year.

For Sellers:

Greater Phoenix is officially in the seasonal summer slowdown and contracts in escrow are expected to continue declining overall until the end of the year. The peak of the market for contract activity usually hits at the end of April, as it did both this year and last year. So far levels have dropped 17% from the peak, which is closely following last year’s drop of 18% between April and July. If the 2018 market follows last year and previous years, we can expect contracts in escrow to drop about 4% per month until the end of the year. This would be considered perfectly normal, anything more could indicate a non-seasonal drop in demand.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.comwhere you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.

Are you considering buying a vacation home?

If you’ve ever spent time searching for a place to stay on a holiday weekend, you may have thought about how much easier life would be if you had your own vacation home. If so, you’re not alone in that thought process. An estimated 1.13 million vacation homes were sold in the U.S. last year, with vacation home sales making up 21% of residential transactions.

 

Whether you’re ready purchase the vacation home you’ve been dreaming about or you’ve just started crunching the numbers, you’re probably wondering what it might take to invest in a vacation property. Here are three simple considerations to keep in mind:

 

Determine what you want: Get the ball rolling by deciding what it is you’re looking for in a vacation home. Do you want a place to get away from the city? Is a home nestled in the woods what you desire or are you looking for something on the beach? Be sure to also consider how much space you need. Will you bring additional family and friends with you on a regular basis? Whatever property you ultimately invest in, make sure it checks all the boxes for your lifestyle, both now and in the future.

 

Calculate the costs: Fully understanding the costs associated with owning a secondary property is extremely important. Start by contacting a lender to determine what you can afford. A lender can help you calculate the combined costs of your primary home and your new vacation home. Don’t forget to also budget any personal costs such as furnishing, HOAs/condo fees, utilities, landscaping, etc.

 

Maximize the off-time: If you purchase a vacation home, you’ll likely still have a primary residence where you’ll spend most of your time. This means you’ll need to determine how you’ll use the property when you’re not there. Will you head to your vacation home every weekend or maybe even spend the entire summer there? Will your visits be limited to special occasions or holidays? Whatever the frequency is, it might make sense to use the property as a rental when you’re not enjoying it. If your vacation home can be used as a commercial rental, it’s a great way to cover a portion of your mortgage, and the other costs you’ll encounter along the way.

 

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of a vacation home, I can answer any questions you have and/or help you get started when you’re ready to take the leap. Contact me today and let’s talk about how we can together make your vacation home dream a reality.

Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

June 2018 - Digital Marketing Campaign - Social Media Image

Relocation to a new area, can feel overwhelming.  Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more.  Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

In this guide, we outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. Our hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

  1. Gather Information

If you’re unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research.1 Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you’re moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.

Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks.

If you’re relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs.

By gathering this information up front, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.

Let us know if you’d like assistance with your information gathering process. We have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and we keep a number of reports and statistics on file in our office. We would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.

  1. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods

Once you’ve sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.

The first step is to prioritize your “needs” and “wants.” Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe.

If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you’re comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area.

Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It’s usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.

We provide neighborhood assessments and advice as a free service if you’re relocating to our area. Or, if you’re moving out of town, we can refer you to a local agent who can help.

  1. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One)

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it’s time to start looking for a home. If you haven’t already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.

Create another list of “needs” and “wants,” but this time for your new home. Include your basic requirements for square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, but also think about what other factors are important to you and your family. An updated kitchen? A large backyard? Double sinks in the master bathroom?

Narrow your list down to your top 10 and prioritize them in order of importance.2 This will give you a good starting point to begin your home search. Unless you have an unlimited budget, don’t expect to find a home with everything on your list. But having a prioritized list can help you (and your agent) understand which home features are the most important, and which ones you may be willing to sacrifice.

If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one.

Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.

We would love to assist you if you have plans to buy or sell a home in our area. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your unique needs and devise a custom plan to make your relocation as seamless as possible. If you’re relocating outside of our area, we can help you find a trusted agent in your new city.

  1. Prepare for Your Departure

While everyone considers packing a fundamental part of moving, we often overlook the emotional preparation that needs to take place. If you have children, this can be especially important. Communicate the move in an age-appropriate way, and if possible take them on a tour of your new home and neighborhood. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move.4

Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.5

To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing.

If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it’s best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.6

If you plan to drive to your new home, map out the route. And, if necessary, make arrangements for overnight accommodations along the way. If driving is not a good option, you may need to have your vehicles transported and make travel arrangements for you, your family and your pets.

Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.

Looking for a reputable moving company? We are happy to provide referrals, as well as recommendations on where to procure packing supplies in our area.

  1. Prepare for Your Arrival

To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an “essentials box” with everything you’ll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes.7 This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.

Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you’re at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records.

You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. And if you plan to remodel, paint or install new flooring, it’s easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings.8 However, it’s not always feasible without someone you trust locally who can supervise. Another option is to keep a portion of your things in storage while you complete some of these projects.  

If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren’t stuck with an appliance that doesn’t fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home.

If you own a car, check the requirements for a driver’s license and vehicle registration in your new area and contact your insurance company to update your policy.8 If you will rely on public transportation, research options and schedules.

If you’re relocating to our area, we can help! We offer “VIP Relocation Assistance” to all of our buyer clients. Contact us for a list of preferred hotels, utility providers, housekeepers, contractors and more!

  1. Get Settled In Your New Home

While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.

If you followed our suggestion to pack an “essentials box” (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you’ll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.7

If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.10

Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.11

As you unpack, make a list of items that need to be purchased so you’re not making multiple trips to the store. Also, start a list of needed repairs and installations. If you have a home warranty, find out what’s covered and the process for filing a service order.

Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it’s important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!

Need help with unpacking, organizing or decorating your new home? Contact us for a list of recommended professionals in our area. And when you’re ready to start exploring local “hot spots,” we’d love to fill you in on our favorite restaurants, stores, parks and other attractions!

  1. Get Involved In Your New Community

Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.12

First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you’ll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.12

Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Don’t wait for friends to come knocking on your door. Instead, go out and find them.

Finally, be a good neighbor. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.

Want more ideas on how to get involved in your community? Contact us for a free copy of our report, “Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven.”


LET’S GET MOVING!

While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don’t hesitate to ask for help!

In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job.13 But with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience.

We specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with our referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, we can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give us a call or message us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

Sources:

  1. You Move Me –
    https://www.youmoveme.com/us/blog/105-tips-for-a-successful-relocation
  2. HouseLogic.com –
    https://www.houselogic.com/buy/house-hunting/must-have-items/
  3. Livestrong –
    https://www.livestrong.com/article/436651-the-effects-of-sunlight-fresh-air-on-the-body/
  4. Parents Magazine –
    https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/make-moving-easier-on-you-and-your-kids/
  5. The Spruce –
    https://www.thespruce.com/starting-to-pack-for-your-move-2436470
  6. Moving.com –
    https://www.moving.com/tips/hiring-quality-movers/
  7. The Spruce –
    https://www.thespruce.com/unpack-your-entire-home-2435815
  8. HouseLogic.com –
    https://www.houselogic.com/buy/moving-in/before-you-move/
  9. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/moving-checklist
  10. Moving.com –
    https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-unpack-and-organize-your-house/
  11. ASPCA –
    https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/moving-your-pet
  12. Psychology Today –
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/is-where-you-belong/201607/why-youre-miserable-after-move

The Daily Express –
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/574171/Divorce-stressful-moving-home

June Market Update 2018

June Market Update courtesy of Craig and Stacey Akers at NextHome Valleywide.  Contact 480-621-6828 or info@nexthomevalleywide.com for a Seller Solution book that will give you selling tips, pricing, and comparable home sales in your area.


Is Greater Phoenix “Overvalued”??

Mortgage Payments Hit 13 Year Low

2018-06 Infographic

For Buyers:

Interest rates have been increasing along with the inflation rate as of late, which has spawned a string of headlines about affordability. While the rate hike has knocked some buyers out of the market without a doubt, general affordability hasn’t taken a big hit yet. According to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, buyers making the median family income could still afford 65% of what sold in the Valley last quarter. A measure between 60-75% is considered normal. Let’s look at the historical cost of a 1,900sf home in Greater Phoenix, for example. In March 2005, a home that size would run $281K on average. Today that same home would be $309K, $28,000 more (+10%). However, the interest rate back then was 5.9% compared to 4.5% today, meaning that the principal and interest payment has dropped nearly $100 from where it was 13 years ago for the same home. At the same time, the median family income rose from $58K to $69K according to HUD (+19%). Which is why despite recent increases in interest rates, the affordability of real estate in the Valley is still considered very good.

For Sellers:

Last April Corelogic released a report ranking the Greater Phoenix area as “overvalued”. In fact, they placed 37% of our nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas in that category. As of May, after 6 years of higher-than-normal appreciation rates, the monthly average sales price per square foot has finally reached its place along the long-term 3% appreciation line established between 2000-2003 before the 2005 bubble and 2008 crash. Meaning that if we had fallen asleep in 2003, and the last 15 years were just a long horrible dream, we would have woken up today and not known anything had happened. Prices are where they would have been had the market followed the average long-term rate of inflation. That brings to light that current appreciation rates of 6% or more are no longer sustainable in the long term. However that doesn’t mean that prices will “peak” or “crash” anytime soon. Most likely as demand slowly wanes, prices will go flat and hang out until they once again fall in line with the rate of inflation, but don’t expect that to happen in 2018. Supply and demand measures today indicate another 3-6 months of positive appreciation for the majority of homes priced below $400K.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.comwhere you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.

Retirement planning with a second home

Family_HomeIn the words of American businessman and author Robert Toru Kiyosaki, “Real estate investing, even on a small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth.”

And he isn’t alone in that thought. According to a recent survey by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International, real estate is the favorite long-term investment option of the respondents (27%), putting it ahead of cash investments (23%), the stock market (17%), and precious metals (14%).

Now if you’re considering real estate as an investment option, take it a step further. The National Institute on Retirement Security has reported that nearly 45% of the working-age households in the U.S. don’t have any type of retirement accounts. One way you can help better prepare yourself for retirement is with a sound real estate investment.

However, what do you do with the property until it’s time to make the move to retired status? Using a second home as a rental property until you are ready can provide an income stream when you and your family don’t need to use it. While this is a great way to jump start your retirement plans, you need to be aware of all the financial aspects of it, including the tax implications.

As of 2010, if you own a second home for personal use, you are allowed to rent it to another party for up to two weeks (14 nights) without reporting any of the income. On the flip side, a second home is considered an investment property if you spend less than two weeks in it and then attempt to rent it the rest of the time.

Savvy tax planning can make a difference in your return on the property so always consult with a tax professional or a specialist such as a national qualified intermediary for tax-deferred exchanges if you are considering buying a second home.

If you are interested in exploring investing in a second home as a way to plan for your retirement, I can help you get started. Contact me today to discuss what options are best for you.