Homebuyers Should See an Increase in Listings Within the Next Year

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There’s no denying that we’re in a tough market for buyers. With historically low inventory, high competition, and rising prices, finding a home has been a real challenge.

But buyers, get ready, because it looks like things are about to get at least slightly better for people searching for a home.

According to data outlined in a recent realtor.com article, about 10 percent of homeowners plan to list their home this year—with another 16 percent planning to list in the next 24 to 36 months. That translates to an additional 1.5 million homes hitting the market—which, while not enough to completely end the historic inventory shortage, is certainly a solid start.

Options for first-time buyers should also improve. More than half of the buyers planning to list their homes this year (58 percent) have homes valued at $350,000 or less—which means more affordable options should be hitting the market soon.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? While lack of inventory and high competition has made for a challenging market for buyers, more sellers are preparing to list their homes—and when they do, things should get a bit easier for buyers. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Rent vs Buying – Is The Time Right to Buy?

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Making the decision to buy a home is a big one—and you want to make sure you’re ready.

But how do you know when you’re ready to make the transition from renting to homeownership?

recent article from realtor.com outlined key questions to ask yourself when you’re determining whether you should keep renting or make the jump to homeownership, including:

  • Do I have enough savings to cover closing costs? If you’re considering buying a home, chances are, you have enough saved up for a down payment. But before you make the decision to buy, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough saved to cover all the closing costs associated with buying a home (like the appraisal and inspection).
  • How long do I plan to stay in the property? Ultimately, you want buying a home to be a smart investment; you don’t want to lose money. And in order to not lose money on the deal, you typically need to stay put for two to three years—so make sure you’re willing to settle in for at least a few years before you buy.
  • Are you prepared for maintenance? When you rent, your landlord takes care of home maintenance—but when you buy, that responsibility falls to you. Before you make the decision to buy your own home, make sure you’re ready to tackle all the home maintenance projects—and costs—that come with owning property.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? You want to make sure that, when you buy a home, you’re ready—and asking yourself these questions can help you gauge how prepared you are to make the transition. Let us help you with your decision – Kevin and Jennifer Haley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Need To Come Up With A House Down Payment Fast? Try Tapping These Resources

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Ideally, when you’re ready to buy a home, you’ll have spent a significant amount of time socking away money for your down payment. But sometimes, you find your dream home earlier than expected—and you need a way to come up with some extra cash for the down payment, fast.

So, the question is, if you find yourself in that situation, what options may be available to help you get the cash you need to buy your home?

recent article from realtor.com outlined speedy ways to come up with a down payment, including:

  • Your 401(k). Most 401(k) plans allow you to borrow against the balance—often up to 50 percent of the balance or $50,000. Generally, you can access funds in about a week—but keep in mind that if you withdraw funds from your 401(k) early, you may have to pay a penalty and those funds will be counted as gross income, and it can also have tax implications. 
  • Your IRA. Generally, withdrawing funds early from your IRA carries the same penalty as withdrawing from your 401(k)—but that penalty is waived for first-time home buyers. So, if you have a balance in your IRA and you’re buying a home for the first time, it’s a better resource to tap for your down payment.
  • Explore down payment assistance programs. Certain cities, states, and local nonprofit organizations sometimes partner with banks to offer down payment assistance. If you need help getting the cash for your down payment, do your research to see if there are any local programs you qualify for.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? You should definitely invest time into saving for a down payment—but if you need a bit of extra cash (and quickly), these resources can be a great way to get the funds you need to buy your home. But, since many of these options may have tax or financial implications, you should consult with your accountant or financial advisor before doing so.

Need more tips or are you ready to get started on your home search? Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

These Are the Pandemic’s Most Popular Home-Related Purchases

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to spend more time at home than ever before—and, for many homeowners, all that extra time at home has translated to extra spending.

recent survey from Cinch Home Services found that more than half of the 1,000+ homeowners surveyed (52%) spent more on their homes since the pandemic hit—$1,329 on average.

So what, exactly, did homeowners spend on during the pandemic? Top home-related purchases included:

  • Furniture (54 percent)
  • Appliances (48.5 percent)
  • Decor (47.1 percent)
  • Home improvement tools and products (44.3 percent)

Homeowners cited a variety of reasons for increasing their home spending during the pandemic, including improving home comfort (57.2 percent), modifying home atmosphere (37.9 percent), and improving home organization (29.8 percent). 

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you invested in your home during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Lots of people weren’t just spending more time in their home, they were also spending more on their home. If it made the experience of lockdown more tolerable and comfortable, it was money worth spending.

Ready to find out what those improvements did for your home price? Get in touch today for a FREE market analysis of your home. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com Team@HanleyHomeTeam.com

The Pros and Cons of Building a Home

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A lot of people dream about building their own home from the ground up. But do the benefits outweigh the challenges?

recent article from realtor.com outlined the pros and cons of building your own house (versus purchasing an existing property), including:

  • Con: It’s generally more expensive. Building a home typically costs more than buying an existing home—so if you want to build a home, you’ll need a bigger budget than if you were to buy an existing home of a similar size.
  • Pro: Less maintenance. When you build a home, everything is brand new. That means you’re much less likely to have to deal with any significant maintenance or repair issues in the early years of living in your home—which can save you time, money, and frustration.
  • Con: More time-intensive. Depending on the size and complexity of the home, building a house could take anywhere from months to years. Home builds are also notorious for running into delays and taking longer than the builder or homeowner originally anticipated—and waiting that long for their home to be move-in ready just isn’t feasible for some people.

The Takeaway:

What does this mean for you? Building a home is a big decision. There’s no right or wrong decision, but if you’ve been thinking about building your own home, it’s important to understand both the benefits and the drawbacks—so you can make the best decision for you.

Interested in building a home? Get in touch today and let’s see if it’s the right decision for you! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2700 HanleyHomeTeam.com

8 Bad Reasons to Not Make An Offer On a Home

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Buying a home can be a nerve-racking experience, no matter what price range you’re in. Spending (or borrowing) hundreds of thousands of dollars, uprooting all of your belongings, and stepping into the semi-unknown can stress even the most level headed people, causing second thoughts and doubts. 

There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to make an offer on a house, like: structural issues, it’s over your budget, or the location isn’t ideal, to name a few. 

But, not all doubts are created equal. And sometimes we mistake trivial concerns for real ones, creating reasons not to buy a house that shouldn’t be there. 

Here are eight bad reasons for not making an offer on a house: 

1. Because you want to wait and see if the price goes down 

A wait-and-see approach is much more likely to end with someone else buying the house before you get a chance to. If you like it, there’s a high likelihood that someone else likes it too. Even if a house you like is overpriced, you’re better off making an offer and negotiating, than simply waiting for the owner to lower their price.

2. Because one of your friends doesn’t like it 

People’s opinions can impact us a lot. But when it comes to homeownership, you shouldn’t necessarily listen to what your friends think. After all, you’re the one who’s going to have to live there… so if you like it, go for it! 

3. Because the listing sites have a price estimate that’s different from what the seller is asking 

Some listing sites provide an approximate estimate of what a home is worth. But keep in mind that these are based on algorithms and publicly available data, not an in-person inspection and analysis of value. So, take them with a grain of salt, not as gospel. 

4. Because you don’t like the light fixtures (or something else that’s easy to fix) 

Small cosmetic defects can make a huge visual impact, but always try to focus on the big things, and not on things that are easy to change or fix. Items like light fixtures, paint color, and decor are easy to fix, so try and see past even the worst of taste.

5. Because you think mortgage rates will continue to fall 

In a competitive market, or on a nice-enough house, there are likely to be other bids, and sometimes more than just a few. Don’t let this deter you from making an offer though; you have as good a chance as anyone else, so just give it your best shot! 

6. Because there are already other bids 

In a competitive market, or on a nice-enough house, there are likely to be other bids, and sometimes more than just a few. Don’t let this deter you from making an offer though; you have as good a chance as anyone else, so just give it your best shot!

7. Because you’re afraid that the process will be too complicated 

Buying a home is a bit complicated. There’s a lot more to it than the average person ever knows. But, as long as you work with a great agent, the process shouldn’t be all that complicated for you. Most of that stuff goes on behind the

8. Because you want to wait for the “perfect” time to buy 

The “perfect” time to buy is when you want to or need to move. Timing the market is almost impossible to pull off. Usually, if the market does go down considerably, there are other factors at play that may get in your way of buying at that time anyway, whether it be interest rates, ease of getting a loan, or the overall economy and employment.

And #9 – the worst thing you can do is to not call us to help you! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

9 Open House No-No’s

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When buying a home, there may be no single event as important as the open house. Attending an open house gives you the opportunity to see, feel, and experience the home for yourself, far beyond what’s possible from looking at photos, taking digital tours, or driving by on a sunny afternoon. The open house is when you really get to find out whether you can see yourself living in the home or not. 

But if you want to get the most from an open house, there are some things to keep in mind (and some costly mistakes you’ll want to avoid). Not only is it possible to cost yourself money at an open house, but in some (rare) instances, a seller might not even entertain an offer based on somebody’s behavior at the open house. 

So if you want things to go smoothly, and want the best opportunity to buy your dream house, here are nine things you should never do at an open house: 

1. Keep your shoes on when you’ve been asked to take them off

No one likes to walk around without shoes on, especially in somebody else’s home. But as an open house guest, you need to respect the seller’s instructions. If you refuse, you might be asked to leave, and blow your chance at landing an accepted offer. 

2. Let your children roam around unattended 

Parenting is difficult, and bringing your kids along with you to an open house is understandable—after all, they’ll be living there too. But when touring an open house, make sure to keep an eye on your children, because, as we all know, they tend to get into things, and a packed home is full of all sorts of interesting items. A good rule of thumb is to just pretend that you’re at a museum. 

3. Loudly make negative comments about the house

We all have opinions, especially when it comes to a house that we’re considering paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for. But keep your negative opinions between you, your partner, and your agent, because if the seller’s agent overhears you, they might not only feel insulted, they’re likely to relay the comments to the seller, who might not take them too kindly if you put in an offer. 

4. Pry into the seller’s personal belongings 

Being allowed into someone’s home for an open house does not give you carte blanche to go through their personal stuff, no matter how intriguing it might be. Opening dresser drawers, touching clothing, pulling back bedding, and rifling through bookcases is a no-no, and violators are likely to be asked to leave. You’re there to see a property, not personal property. 

5. Overshare 

Unless you’re a trained spy, you probably don’t think too much about tempering your speech when chatting with strangers. But an open house is an exception, and you might want to consider what you’re revealing during conversations with (and around) seller’s agents. Even though talking about how much you’re pre-approved for, where your kids go to school, how desperately you need a new home, or that your lease is ending soon might seem harmless, it can put you in a poor position when you begin negotiations, so act accordingly. 

6. Make an offer

Even if you absolutely love the house and would be willing to give up a kidney for the chance to live there, you don’t want to make an offer during the open house. Not only would this be out of the norm, but it would also reveal your eagerness and put you in a position of weakness during negotiations. So even if you’re absolutely obsessed, take a deep breath, step outside, and regroup with your agent and your loved ones before making a decision. 

7. Spend too little time there (if you’re interested) 

There’s no need to spend hours at an open house, but if you walk in and walk right out, you might be doing yourself a disservice. To be sure, sometimes you know that it’s not a fit right away, but if you dolike it, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time looking around and taking in the details. At the very least, it might help you remember the little things that you’ll be thinking about once you start planning to move

8. Lie about your intentions 

Some people like to play games, but there’s really no upside to being disingenuous about your intentions during an open house (or after). Whether you’re just there to look, or are truly serious about making an offer, don’t present yourself otherwise. Not only is it bad form, but word can travel a lot quicker than you might think, and the next time you want to be taken seriously, you might not be. 

9. Show too much enthusiasm 

When we love a property, it can be difficult to contain our excitement, especially if we’re not used to playing our cards close to the chest. The open house, however, is one occasion when you’ll want to put on your poker face and play it cool. If you show too much enthusiasm, the seller’s agent (and therefore the seller) will know that you’ll do just about anything to get the house—and that’s not the position you want to be in. 

We are happy to attend an open house with you! Just reach out – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

Homeownership Still More Affordable Than Renting In Most US Counties

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Most people think that renting a home is a more affordable option than buying. But, as it turns out, in the majority of counties across the US, the opposite is actually true.

According to the 2021 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM Data, which analyzes rental, wage, and home price data in markets across the country, owning a median-priced three-bedroom home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom home in nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of counties in the US—even though home prices are increasing at higher rates than rental prices in 83 percent of those counties.

“Home-prices are rising faster than rents and wages in a majority of the country. Yet, home ownership is still more affordable, as amazingly low mortgage rates that dropped below 3 percent are helping to keep the cost of rising home prices in check,“ Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer at ATTOM Data Solutions, said in the report. “It shows how both the cost of renting has been relatively high compared to the cost of ownership and how declining interest rates are having a notable impact on the housing market and home ownership.”

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’ve been holding off on buying a property because you thought renting was the more affordable option, you may be able to transition to homeownership for less than you’re paying in rent—making now a great time to explore buying your own home. Give us a call to discuss today! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 HanleyHomeTeam.com

Among so many things, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was important to real estate, too

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Fill in the blank…

“I have a _________…”

It doesn’t take a psychic to know what word you chose.

Was it “dream”?

Good chance it was. We all know this line from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. So when we hear those first three words, it sort of naturally comes to mind.

But what many people aren’t aware of is how much he affected the lives of real estate agents, buyers, and sellers.

It was his death that gave Congress the last push needed to pass the Fair Housing Act, back in 1968. It’s pretty involved, but to put it simply…

This was put in place to ban racial discrimination in housing. You can’t be refused the rental or purchase of a house, based upon your race.

Seems simple enough to most people now. A given, if you will. But it didn’t happen overnight. And believe it or not, it still can and does come up.

But guess who’s a big part of making sure this Act is followed…

On the front lines, it’s real estate agents. We’re tasked with making people aware that discrimination based upon race (and many other things) are not acceptable, and they must refuse to work with anyone who wants to do so.

Real estate agents are proud to be a part of this ongoing history.

Today is the day where we take a moment to reflect and pay him respect. It’s also a good day to share some insight into how much more responsibility real estate agents have than meets the eye. He has made us all better people and professionals.

Before Taking on a Fixer-Upper Right Now Consider These Current Issues

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With the inventory of homes so low, some buyers are binge-watching HGTV and beginning to consider buying a fixer-upper. Fixing up a property can be a fun, fulfilling experience for many homeowners. But fixer-uppers can be challenging in the best of times—and with some of the challenges in today’s market, this doesn’t exactly qualify as “the best of times.”

recent article from realtor.com outlined some of the reasons why now might not be the best time to buy a fixer-upper property, including:

  • Material costs are high… The pandemic has created a high demand for home renovations, which has sent the prices for materials through the roof, doubling—or even tripling—in many cases. So, the renovations that you need to make on a fixer-upper property? They’re likely to cost significantly more than they would have at this time last year.
  • …and crews are busy. The demand for home renovations also has many contractors booked out for months—which means that, if you buy a fixer-upper, you could have to wait a significant period of time to start tackling projects.
  • There’s a higher risk for issues. Any property could have issues you don’t notice on your initial viewing—but the risk of safety, environmental, or inspection-related issues is much higher for older homes that need a lot of work.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? There are definite challenges associated with buying a fixer-upper in today’s real estate market—and buying a new construction or a newer home with fewer necessary repairs is probably going to be a safer bet. But if you’re set on making a fixer-upper purchase? Talk to your real estate agent (us!) as we can help you better understand the challenges associated with buying a fixer upper—and help you get a plan in place for navigating those challenges. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside