Buying a Starter Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in Nearly Half the Metro Areas in the Us


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Renting is often looked at as a more affordable alternative to homeownership, but in many areas of the US, that’s actually not the case.

According to recent data from, rents are rising fast and hitting new highs in metro areas across the country. In July, the median rental price in the US was $1607—a 9.8 percent increase from July 2020. 

And not only are rental prices increasing, but they’re increasing to the point that, in many areas, renting is now more expensive than owning. With a median rental price of $1607, rent is now 15.5 percent more expensive than mortgage payments for a starter home in 24 of the 50 largest metro areas. 

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’ve been putting off buying your first home because you’ve thought renting is cheaper, it may be time to reexamine that logic. Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that buying a home may actually be more affordable than your current rental.

Get in touch today and start saving money by buying a home! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Fall Real Estate Market Expected to Be Slightly More Buyer Friendly


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Summer is almost over, which means the temperatures are about to cool off. And while there’s no guarantee, it looks like the housing market may cool along with it—at least slightly.

According to a recent article from, many experts expect that, while the fall buying season will be competitive, it won’t be quite as frenzied as the spring or summer.

One indicator supporting that projection is the pace of price growth. According to the article, the national median home price hit $385,000 the week ending August 14 (the highest on record). That price represented a 8.2 percent increase year over year—a definite increase in price, but significantly less than the 17.2 percent increase from April 2020 to April 2021. Inventory is also starting to increase (according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®,1.32 million homes were available for sale in July 2021—a 7.3 increase from June)—and the more inventory is available in the fall, the easier the home search process will be for buyers.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? There’s no denying that fall is shaping up to be a competitive season for real estate—but with slowing price growth and increasing inventory, it could prove to be less competitive than it has been for quite a while. Let us help you find that perfect home this fall! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Don’t Buy a Car Before Closing on Your Loan (or furniture or open a credit card!)


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You need a new car. You need a new home. But will buying the former impact your ability to buy the latter?

recent article from outlined the ways taking out a car loan could impact your ability to get a mortgage (and to get the best rate on that mortgage), including:

  • Changing your credit score. When you apply for a car loan, it’ll show up as a hard inquiry on your credit report. While hard inquiries don’t have much of a long-term impact on your credit, in the short-term, they can lower your credit score by a few points—which, depending on your score, could jeopardize your ability to secure the most competitive rate (or to qualify for a mortgage at all).
  • Changing your debt-to-income ratio. Debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors lenders use to determine how much house you can afford—and, as such, what mortgage amount you’re approved for. Taking out a car loan before buying a house impacts your debt-to-income ratio and can result in you getting approved for a smaller loan.
  • Acting as a “red flag” to your lender. Making a big purchase (like a car) and taking on more debt prior to buying a home can be a red flag to lenders that you’re not responsible with your finances—which could impact your ability to get approved.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about buying a new home and a new car, you may want to consider waiting to buy the car until after your home purchase is all wrapped up. Give us a call if you have questions! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Who Is Responsible for Paying Real Estate Fees?


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When it comes to buying or selling a home, from a financial perspective, there’s more to think about than just the home price. There are a variety of fees associated with a real estate transaction—and, as a buyer or seller, it’s important to understand which of those fees you may be responsible for during the process.

recent article from aimed to clear up the confusion by outlining who covers common real estate fees, including:

  • Agent commission: Real estate agents make a commission off of every home sale; while commissions vary by agent, they’re often a percentage of the total sale price—a percentage that is then split between the buyer’s and seller’s agent. (So, for example, if the commission is 5 percent, 2.5 percent would go to the buyer’s agent, and 2.5 percent would go to the seller’s agent). Generally, the sellers pay this fee when it’s subtracted from the proceeds of their property sale at closing.
  • Closing costs: Closing costs cover a variety of fees (like loan processing, title company, and insurance fees) that are due at closing—and generally run between 2 and 7 percent of the home’s purchase price. Depending on the home sale—and the negotiating skills on either side—these costs may be covered by the buyer, the seller, or a combination of both.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? Whether you’re buying or selling a home, if you’re not sure what fees you’re responsible for (or how much those fees will be), talk to your real estate agent. They can give you deeper insights into what fees you’ll be expected to cover—and how much you should set aside to cover those fees during your home purchase or sale.

Give us a call today! We have tips on how to keep more money in your pocket. Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Buying Your First Home? Make Sure to Avoid These Common First-Time Homeowner Mistakes


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Buying a home for the first time is extremely exciting. But like any new experience, as a first-time homeowner, you don’t know what you don’t know—and that lack of knowledge can lead to frustrating, challenging mistakes.

But what, exactly, are some of the most common mistakes people make after buying their first home?

recent article from outlined some of the most common mistakes made by first-time homeowners, including:

  • Hiring a contractor without researching their background. Hiring the wrong contractor can lead to a lot of wasted time and money, and blindly hiring a contractor is one of the costliest mistakes a new homeowner can make. Before you hire anyone to do a home renovation project (whether that’s remodeling your kitchen, or landscaping your backyard), make sure to do your research, read reviews, and ask to speak to references.
  • Not budgeting for home-related expenses. When you bought your home, you budgeted for the major expenses, like your mortgage. But buying a home can come with a host of new expenses first-time homeowners aren’t used to paying, like homeowner’s insurance, homeowner association (HOA) fees, and monthly utility bills. If you don’t budget for those new expenses, it can put you in the red. When you buy your first home, make sure you’re looking at all the expenses associated with the purchase—and budget accordingly.
  • Putting off routine maintenance. Many first time homeowners don’t realize all the routine maintenance that goes into keeping your home in tip-top shape. And, as such, they let maintenance tasks slide—which can lead to expensive repairs down the road. When you move into your new home, make a checklist of all the maintenance tasks and how often/when they need to be completed—then review the list every month to make sure you’re not forgetting any tasks.

The Takeaway:

There are a lot of mistakes people make after buying their first home. But knowing the common mistakes first-time homeowners make can help you avoid those mistakes—and the headaches, frustration, and expenses that go along with them. Give us a call and let’s avoid those mistakes! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Is it Time for a New Roof?


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If you want to keep your home in tip-top shape (and avoid expensive problems down the road), you need to stay on top of home maintenance—and that includes your home’s exterior.

But what, exactly, on your home’s exterior needs maintenance, repair, or full-on replacement—and, just as importantly, when?

recent article from outlined when and how often to repair or replace exterior elements of your home, including:

  • Gutters. Gutters need regular maintenance to function properly and keep water runoff from causing damage. Plan to clean your gutters at least twice per year and, if they’re made from aluminum or galvanized steel (the most common gutter material), replace them after 20 years.
  • Windows. Windows generally have a life-span of about two decades—but if you notice any damage to the glass or frame (for example, cracks in the glass or mold on the frame), you’ll want to replace them sooner.
  • Roof. Depending on your roofing materials, your roof should last anywhere between 15 to 30 years (for standard asphalt shingles) or 50 to 75 years (metal roofing). But that’s only if you take care of it! Make sure to keep your roof clear of any overhanging branches that could damage the roof or cause mold issues.

Give us a call today and let’s discuss upgrades that help your bottom line when you sell! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Selling Your Home in Today’s Market? Don’t Believe These Myths


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Between low inventory and high buyer demand, there’s no denying that we’re in a seller’s market. But just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean that every house is guaranteed to sell—although you wouldn’t know that based on what people are saying.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions going around about selling in today’s market—and if you’re planning to sell, it’s important to ignore them. So what, exactly, are the biggest misconceptions about selling in 2021? 

recent article from outlined things people are saying about selling in today’s market that just aren’t true, including:

  • It doesn’t matter if your home is in bad shape. There’s a misconception that buyers are willing to take anything in today’s market—including homes that are all but falling apart. And while fixer-uppers are certainly selling, if you’re hoping to get top dollar for your home, presenting your home in the best possible condition is a must—so make sure to take care of any necessary cosmetic changes or repairs (like painting your home’s exterior or replacing broken light bulbs) before you list.
  • You can price your home as high as you want. Home prices are going up, but that doesn’t mean you can list your home at an unreasonable price and expect it to sell. Pricing too high can cause your home to sit on the market, ultimately making it harder to sell—so when you list, make sure you price your property realistically.
  • You don’t need to market your home. Just because there are a lot of buyers—and not a lot of properties—doesn’t mean you don’t have to market your home! Working with your agent on a solid marketing strategy will ensure your home gets in front of the right buyers—and can help it sell faster and for a better price.

The Takeaway:

Bottom line? If you’re planning on selling your home, don’t believe everything you hear—especially these real estate myths that could put a damper on your home sale. Give us a call today and let’s separate the facts from fiction! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

The Most Popular Interior and Exterior Home Styles by Generation


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Different people want different things in their homes—and that includes people of different ages. The perfect home style for a first-time Gen Z home buyer might not speak to a Baby Boomer looking to buy a home to retire in (and vice versa).

So what, exactly, are the most popular home style choices for each generation?

recent survey from Buildhome asked potential buyers across four generations—Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers—what type of home style they prefer between five different interior and exterior styles. For exterior options, respondents were able to choose from Modern Farmhouse, Cottage, Craftsman, Victorian, and Contemporary or Industrial Modern. For interior options, the options were Rustic Modern, Traditional, Modern, Zen, and Japandi (a style that combines elements of Scandinavian and Japanese design).

Gen Z, Millennials, and Generation X were all in agreement on their preferred interior and exterior styles: Rustic Modern and Modern Farmhouse. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, preferred a Cottage style for the exterior of their homes and Japandi for the interior.

What’s your home style? Get in touch and let’s find it! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

All Cash Offers on the Rise


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With low inventory and high demand creating fierce competition in markets across the country, in order to successfully purchase a home, buyers are doing everything they can to make their offer more attractive to sellers—including making all-cash offers.

According to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of REALTORS®, a full 25 percent of offers accepted in April 2021 were all-cash offers—up from just 15 percent in April 2020. And while some of those all-cash offers are investors, many represent buyers purchasing their primary residences. In April, 15 percent of primary residence buyers made an all-cash purchase.

Whether or not you are purchasing a home with cash, we can help! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Most Pandemic Buyers Happy With Their Home Purchase and the Process


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Between COVID restrictions, low inventory, and high competition, there’s no denying that the real estate market has been tough for buyers over the past year. But despite those challenges, the majority of buyers are happy with their decision to buy.

According to a recent survey from, 71 percent of buyers who purchased their home over the past year said buying was a good decision—and a full 75 percent said their new home is the right fit for their family.

Not only are buyers happy with their home, but many were also satisfied with the process. For example, nearly half of buyers surveyed (48 percent) said they didn’t feel pressured or rushed while buying their home.

“Given the challenges of the year, it is surprising how many recent homeowners are happy with their purchase,” Senior Economist George Ratiu, said in the article outlining the survey results. “We’ve had a very competitive housing market this year, characterized by very few homes for sale, steeply rising prices, and bidding wars. So it’s good to hear that the majority of buyers feel good about their decision to buy a home this year.”

Want to be happy, too? Let’s find you the perfect home! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479