YES, you need an inspection

I’ve heard from some buyers “why do I need a home inspection?” One of the big reasons buyers may ask this is because once they look at the property disclosure form and see that there are no issues; buyers may think an inspection isn’t needed (and of course save the money of paying for it!!) BUT, the property disclosure is just an opinion and not fact! ONLY a good home inspection will reveal if the items on the property disclosure are accurate or not, OR even find items that are not on the disclosure.

here is a great article that describes what a home inspection covers

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/home-inspection.asp

Elections and The Housing Market

Ready or not, the 2020 presidential election is upon us, and its potential effect on the Real Estate Industry should have us all paying close attention. No matter what side you are on; what happens in November is now affecting peoples decisions on weather to buy or sell a home. Here are some key indicators that I researched

1. Appreciation May Drop Off During an Election Year1

Election years produce slower growth. That’s great for bargain buyers but not so much for industry professionals. While the slower growth is minimal, it will still impact the industry.

2. Uncertainty Can Make It More Difficult to Sell Your Home.

Another factor impacting home sales is the uncertainty that comes with a new president. In years where an incumbent is not running (like in 2016), someone new will take office, contributing to buyers’ hesitancy to make large purchases.

Brandice Canes-Wrone, a Princeton economist, and co-author Jee-Kwang Park, conducted research2 that looked at data from 35 housing markets during 73 gubernatorial elections. They found that two factors affected what they call “pre-election decline”: a close presidential race and policy differences between the two parties. Many buyers will simply wait until after the new president is in office before buying a home.

3. Real-Estate Tax Rates, Deductions, and Credits May Change.

The tax deductions and credits for property-owners are among the longest-running tax breaks on record. The Trump administration brought us the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; a new administration could undo some or all of that as pertaining to property-tax deductions. Removing or reducing one’s ability to deduct up to $10,000 of property taxes for federal returns could be a significant deterrent for first-time homebuyers.

4. The Consumer Confidence Factor

One influencer in 2016 was the fluctuation in consumer confidence3 in the U.S. economy. The health of the economy and housing market are closely tied together. When consumers feel confident, they are more likely to buy. With consumers on the fence about the economy, the uncertainty of the elections could create more pessimism than optimism.

5. Elections Can Affect a Home’s Value.

Elections have historically affected housing prices with a slightly lower percentage increase in value4. According to a study of the California real-estate market, home prices typically rise 1.5% less during an election year5 than in the year prior to the election, and 0.8% less than in the year following the election. While these percentages may not seem like much, they can add up over time. An election year could potentially cost homeowners thousands of dollars in lost value to their largest assets.

Housing prices in election off-years increased, on average, by 0.22% more than housing prices in election years. In 2016, housing prices increased by only 3%, a drop from 2014’s 5% pricing increase.

Now these are just averages and not absolutes, BUT making those decisions about buying or selling a home are affected by what is happening in Washington D.C. The best way to help make your decision is by talking to a REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL that can help guide you through the buying and selling process in times of national elections to make the best decisions for your family. Contact me today with any of your real estate questions. #cincyhomessean

So what loan program should I use?

It’s true, there are a BUNCH of different loan programs available for home buyers. From FHA, to VA, USDA, and Conventional. There are lots of choices which is great for consumers. BUT how do you decide which program is for you? Most home buyers would like conventional loans because they are the least restrictive in terms of mortgage insurance, and better interest rates. here is a list of conventional programs. One may fit you! AND if you are looking for a new home; contact me today! 513-227-4284 #cincyhomessean

5% down with PMI (Conventional 95)One loan at 95% loan-to-value. PMI required.
Conventional 973% down. No income limits.
HomeReady™3% down. Must be at or below the geographical area’s median income unless home is located in underserved area.
90% loanOne loan with 10% down. PMI required.
Piggyback 80/10/1010% down, 10% second mortgage, and 80% conventional loan. No PMI required
Home Possible Advantage3% down loan with income restrictions. Offered by Freddie Mac home lenders.
Down Payment GiftApplicant may receive any percentage of the down payment as a gift from family or other eligible source.

Spring Remodeling Time

With the Spring season coming soon; many folks get the itch to start remodeling projects. The most popular is the KITCHEN! The best room in the house for family to come together for meals, raiding the fridge, have a drink of water after mowing the grass, picking up lunches on the way to school! Not to mention an updated kitchen builds lots of value when it’s time to sell a home. Here are some great tips and projects that can add that value to your home without breaking the bank! Contact me today for more tips and a home valuation for when you ARE ready to sell! #cincyhomessean

https://www.thespruce.com/inexpensive-kitchen-updates-4158938

Spring is ALMOST here!

Most of us this time of year have that dreaded sickness called CABIN FEVER!! Luckily there is a cure…SPRING! March is right around the corner and warmer weather means spring cleaning! AND Spring is the busiest time in the real estate world! A majority of home owners look to sell in the spring! If that is YOU, here is a great article with tips and maintenance suggestions to not only get your home ready for Spring, but ready to put on the market as well! Contact me if you are preparing to sell you home in the coming weeks! sdennedy@gmail.com; 513-227-4284

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/your-spring-home-maintenance-checklist/

It’s still a SELLER’S market

It’s been a challenging couple of years for home buyers. Folks are continuing to stay in their homes and if they do sell it will be for top dollar! Cincinnati has seen an uptick in average home prices as a result of the trends. If you are a buyer looking this year contact me to help you navigate finding the right home and getting the price that is RIGHT FOR YOU!! Sdennedy@gmail.com 513-227-4284

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2019/03/14/buying-home-cincinnati-still-sellers-market/3128360002/

Best home selling tips!

When selling a home, there’s a lot more than putting a sign in the front yard! The goal for everyone selling a home is to get maximum value. The first thing is to have a good real estate agent guide you through the process and help you with these tips for making sure you get top dollar!

Crank up the curb appeal

Pull weeds, rake leaves and trim overgrown shrubs, especially if they block windows or the path to your front door.

Paint

It’s important to make your house generic. A fresh coat of neutral paint will make your home appear larger, brighter and more appealing to potential buyers.

hsold204-after-kitchen

A clean and uncluttered kitchen is a staple of home staging.

Make repairs

Fix things like leaky faucets and sticky cabinets, and replace old screens. They may seem insignificant, but minor repairs add up in the mind of a potential buyer. They tend to overestimate how much repairs cost. You don’t want to give them any reason not to put in an offer.

Rearrange

hsold211-after-living-room

Lighten up your home with natural tones and a neutral dose of style.

Make sure your furniture placement allows for easy traffic flow and shows the purpose of each room. If you have too much furniture, rent a portable storage device to hold things until you are ready to move into your new place. If you don’t have enough furniture, borrow or rent.

Pack up

This includes personal photos and portraits. Less is always more. The less clutter and knickknacks you have lying around, the more potential buyers will be able to see your home and what it offers. Remember, you are selling your house, not your stuff. Plus, getting a head start on packing will eliminate some stress down the road.

Organize

When your house is meticulously organized, buyers will envision themselves living a stress-free life in your home.

Clean

Clean every inch of your house, and don’t forget to make your windows and floors sparkle. If your carpet appears old and stained, think about replacing it. Also, make sure there are no offensive odors. Purchase an air-neutralizing spray that will help remove odors without creating an overwhelming masking odor. Clean homes sell!

Lighten up

Let the sun shine in, and turn on the lights. Open all blinds or curtains, and make sure the house is well lit.

Temperature

Be sure potential buyers are comfortable when touring your home. If it’s freezing outside, leave the heat on, and if it’s summer, turn on the air conditioner.

Keep it ready to show

It may be a little inconvenient, but until you accept an offer, keep your home in tip-top shape at all times. What this means is that each room should have a clear purpose, nice flow and be clean and clutter-free. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves and their things in a room, and taking these steps will help ensure that.

It’s always the little things that mean so much when selling a home! Contact me with any questions about selling or staging your home. I’m here to help! It’s Your Home, Your Family, My Purpose.

What’s going to happen to Real Estate this year?

Real Estate Trend #1: Home Prices Are Still Rising Slowly

What Higher Prices Mean for Sellers

And be sure to wait for the right offer. Some buyers may try to gut punch you with a low number. If you aren’t in a hurry to move, wait for an offer that gives you the most profit. Remember, the less desperate person always has the upper hand when negotiating!

What Higher Prices Mean for Buyers

If you’re going to buy a home in this expensive market, you absolutely must find out how much house you can really afford.

Commit to staying within that budget amount. Don’t rush into a home purchase that doesn’t make financial sense for you no matter how much pressure you feel watching competitors pluck good homes off the market. You could screw up your finances!

If you can’t put down at least 10% on a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan, then you probably can’t afford a house in this market. A down payment that’s less than 10% will strangle your budget with massive monthly mortgage payments. But if you want to get prepared to buy and you’re committed to your budget, here are some options to consider:

  • Keep saving. If you stay patient and motivated, you can save for a five-figure down payment by this time next year.
  • Sacrifice some wants. If you can’t afford to buy the house you want, be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and you can upgrade as your income and savings increase over time.
  • Expand your search. What if the location where you’re planning to buy is what’s busting your budget? You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Real Estate Trend #2: Mortgage Interest Rates Are on the Decline (for Now)

What Lower Rates Mean for Sellers

If interest rates stay low, buyers will be more motivated to buy your home sooner than later. But if interest rates do start to increase later in the year, just plan for your house to be on the market a little longer. A mortgage is a big commitment, and adding higher interest rates to the mix will make many buyers pause.

An experienced real estate agent can help you set expectations for how much you can make, and how long you’ll have to wait for the right offer.

What Lower Rates Mean for Buyers

Even though interest rates are relatively low, if you’re not buying with cash, be smart and go for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. That way, you know exactly what your payment will be over the life of the loan. 

Take Control of the Trends With a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

Get in touch with me…let me answer all of your real estate questions. Weather you are looking to buy a new home or sell your home. I’m here to help. Remember it’s YOUR home, YOUR family, MY purpose! contact me today. 513-227-4284; sdennedy@gmail.com

Start thinking SPRING now!!

Sure, we’re about 90 days away from the start of spring, BUT it never hurts to plan now especially if you are planning to SELL your home in the spring time. Here are some great tips you can do today to get ready for the warmer weather coming SOON!

1) Wash Windows and Freshen Window Treatments

Windows often take the brunt of winter weather, keeping out cold winds and catching winter dust, dirt, and even salt from the roads. Your first step in spring cleaning should be to wash the inside and outside of your windows. You’ll be amazed at how much more light can enter a space when the windows are clean!

Changing your window treatments is an effortless way to bring spring pep into your home. Keep it simple by just washing or dry cleaning your current draperies, or take it one step further by updating heavy draperies with light and airy sheers.

2) Clear Your Gutters’ Downspouts

Dirty gutters are an eyesore and a liability not only for you but for potential buyers, as well. Cleaning your gutters will take roughly 15-30 minutes, but will save you money in the long run. You can avoid flooding during spring rains by clearing gutters of all rubbish using a ladder, a small hand rake, and a hose.

3) Bring the Outdoors In

One of the most exciting things about spring is the burst of flower blossoms that happen around the neighborhood. Filling your home with potted plants will make your house smell good and look beautiful.

4) Lawn Care

The first thing that a potential home buyer sees is typically your front lawn. Once the snow melts, you’ll probably need to take some steps to get your yard back into shape. Start your lawn work by raking away any leaves, branches, and clutter that was hidden under the snow all winter. Prune and trim your trees and shrubs and then haul away compost debris

5) Repair Roof Damage

Nothing is more intimidating to a potential buyer than a roof that needs some serious work. Keep up with small roof repairs so that you can avoid an expensive overhaul down the line. After a long winter, the first thing you should do is examine your roof and assess any damage, and while you’re up there, clear away any branches, leaves, moss, and other rubbish.

6) De-Clutter for Spring!

Consider investing in drawer dividers and closet organizers to tame spaces that are prone to clutter. If you are planning on putting your home on the market, de-cluttering your home should be one of your top priorities.

7) Refresh Your Textiles

Re-energize your home by updating pillowcases, throws, and duvet covers. Choose bright pops of color that coordinate well with existing color schemes. If you aren’t ready to invest in a new duvet or all new pillow, you can still freshen up your fabrics by giving them a good wash. Spring is the perfect time to shake off the dust that built up over the winter.

8) Repair Windows and Screens

Replace damaged and warped screens so that you can enjoy warm spring breezes without being bothered by bugs and other critters. If you had a particularly rough winter, you’ll want to recaulk windows and inspect them for water damage and rot.

YES YOU CAN…Sell a home fast when it’s COLD out!

The Internet Has No Seasons

You probably already know that most buyers go online to search for homes, no matter what the temperature is outside. In fact, nearly all buyers (93%) used the internet during their home search last year.2 This instant access to property listings has had an impact on the typical seasons buyers look for homes. While spring is still the hottest home-buying season, serious home buyers are always on the lookout—checking the latest listings on their tablet before bed or while waiting for their kid’s hockey game to end. So even though the weather may be changing, it won’t stop home buyers from shopping.

Less Sellers

Come spring, other sellers will flood the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But right now, you’ve got a limited number of sellers on the market. For perspective, 210,000 homes for sale dropped off the market from November to December in 2018.3 If that pattern repeats this year, you’ll have 12% less competition on the market if you list your home during the winter! Buyers have fewer homes to choose from, which means you could sell your house faster.

Buyers Mean Business

Most folks want to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire on a cold winter day. If a buyer is trudging around in freezing weather or breaking away from their holiday schedule to look at your home, they must be serious. That’s because many winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it’s an expiring lease, relocation, or a contract on their current home.

Time Off

You may think people are less likely to see your home in the midst of their hectic holiday schedules. That can definitely be true. But keep in mind, most people also have more time off around the holidays. That means more time for browsing their favorite home apps, dreaming about their future decor, and even scheduling home showings.

Getting Tax Breaks Before Year-End

Winter home buyers may also be motivated to capture the tax benefits of buying a home before year-end. Home buyers can write off some of the expenses of their home purchase on their taxes. There are usually multiple tax benefits of owning a home they can take advantage of too. Typically, a homeowner can count on the following being tax-deductible:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
  • Real estate taxes

All of these tax benefits could make a potential home buyer want to get a house bought and closed before the new year. And if you’re selling your home and buying another, you could ring in the new year with more tax breaks too!