NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder Confidence

NAHB: Rising Demand for Homes Boosts Builder ConfidenceBuilder confidence in housing market conditions reached a new record high in November according to the National Association of Home Builders. November’s index reading of 90 was five points higher than in October. Index readings over 50 indicate positive builder sentiment toward market conditions. Readings for the Housing Market Index fell below 50 in April and May as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index rose six points to 96 for current housing market conditions and one point to 89 for builder confidence in home sales in the next six months. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose three points to 77. Readings for buyer traffic typically didn’t exceed 50 until recently. High demand for homes is associated with record-low mortgage rates and changing priorities created by the pandemic.

While demand for homes usually slows in the colder months, the pandemic has caused families to re-evaluate their housing needs as more people work from home and children attend school online or are homeschooled. Larger homes cost more, which contributes to home sellers moving to suburban or rural areas to accommodate the additional expenses of buying and maintaining larger homes.

Regional Housing Market Conditions Mixed in November

The NAHB reported gains in builder confidence in three of four regions. The Midwest led with a nine-point increase in builder confidence. The South and West also showed rising builder confidence, but builders in the Northeast reported a five-point drop in builder confidence.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the NAHB said, “In the short run, the shift of housing demand to lower density markets such as suburbs and exurbs along with ongoing low resale inventory levels is supporting demand for home building.”  Rising demand for homes as compared to low numbers of pre-owned homes available is creating additional demand for new homes. 

Analysts said that the demand for new homes will last for quarters or years as it will take time for builders to catch up with the unusually high demand for single-family homes.

A seasonal slow-down in home sales coupled with a new and severe wave of COVID-19 cases may cause challenges for home builders in the coming months, but the current demand for homes could rise if city-dwellers continue to move to less congested areas. Recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccines could impact flight from cities to suburbs, but government approval, manufacture, and distribution of vaccines can’t happen immediately.

Tips For Deciding The Value Of A Home

Tips For Deciding The Value Of A HomeHomes are more than just a building. They are filled with memories of children taking their first steps, holidays that were celebrated with family members and friends, and Super Bowl parties filled with smiles and cheers.

These memories are priceless; however, people cannot let emotions cloud their judgment when they are trying to sell a house. Instead, it is important to focus on the building. There are a few tips that everyone should follow as they try to figure out how much their home is worth.

Be Reasonable

The first tip is not to price a home too high out of the gate. While it is tempting to start high and reduce when necessary, the reality is that a price that is too high is going to scare off potential offers. It is better to start with a reasonable price that will get people interested. Then, if the offers start to pour in, there is a bidding war. The price will naturally take care of itself.

Upgrades Don’t Always Lead To A Higher Price

It is tempting to follow in the footsteps of TV shows and pour money into renovations that might lead to a large return on investment. The sad fact is that this is not always the case. Even though the homeowners might love the renovation, this doesn’t mean that a potential buyer will. Do not renovate purely to raise the value of a home. Upgrades can go out of style just as quickly as they came in.

Don’t Price Out Of Necessity

Never price a home based on a dollar amount that has to be reached. It is always better to price a home relative to what the market indicates. Nobody is going to make an offer on an overpriced home purely because that is how much money the seller needs to make.

Leave Emotions At The Door

Finally, do not price a home based on emotions. Yes, a home is a special place; however, remember that the home is on the market, not the memories. Instead, always price a home based on what the comparables are showing. This will lead to a smoother selling process, a higher price, and a bigger return on the initial investment.

Home Renovations Are On The Rise

Home Renovations Are On The RiseMillennials are among the most common demographic buying homes today. According to numerous reports that have been published, many homeowners are planning on conducting a home improvement project this year. In large part, this is due to millennials wanting to improve their homes.

Furthermore, home improvement projects may have bigger budgets this year when compared to prior years. It will be interesting to see what kind of home improvement projects unfold this coming year.

Types Of Home Improvement Projects

There are numerous renovation projects that homeowners are going to undertake this year. The most common are outdoor remodels. Many homeowners want to produce encompassing decks, providing a larger space for people to get together and hang out.

In addition to decks, people are looking to add patios as well. Patios can be made from a variety of materials; however, stone is becoming more popular. Homeowners are thinking about adding outdoor kitchens as well.

The most popular indoor renovation project involves the bathroom. People are starting to realize just how much time they spend in the bathroom. With new trends unfolding in terms of baths, showers, and toilets, many homeowners are looking to make an upgrade.

Finally, kitchen renovations are going to be popular as well. This comes as part of a push to generate an open concept among the kitchen, living, and dining areas. With new appliances coming out, there are plenty of opportunities for kitchen upgrades as well.

Reasons For Home Improvement Projects

Many experts are wondering why these home improvement projects are taking place now. The biggest reason is that homeowners are worried about the impression their house would make on their guests. Many homeowners are indicating that they have been planning these projects for a while; however, they haven’t had the time or money to carry out this project until now.

More Home Improvement Projects Are Coming This Year

With more people looking to carry out home improvement projects, expect to see a major jump in home values. Many homeowners enjoy a significant return on the investment they make in home improvement projects. This means that the value of their house may see a jump once the project is finished.  

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb Appeal

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb AppealAttractive landscaping is one of the first things that potential home buyers notice. They may see the landscaping in the photos of a home for sale or may even do a physical drive-by. The view of the property from the street is called “curb appeal.” It is important to make this be as nice as possible.

In many parts of the country, there are pressures on the water supply that make having a lush-green, living lawn very costly or even prohibited by the local regulations. Innovative technology and the use of natural ground covers, such as stone and rocks are replacing the green lawns that most people think of when considering landscaping a home properly.

Here is a guide to some landscaping that is attractive and worth considering to make a home look spectacular and require little maintenance:

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf has improved dramatically over the past few years. There is no longer the need to use the obvious green plastic covering of cheap fake grass. The newest artificial turf products look so much like real grass that it is nearly impossible to tell that they are not real. They can be installed over drainage rock and washed down with water like real grass.

Decorative Concrete

Molded concrete is now available in so many surface treatments, textures, and colors that it can represent almost any popular covering. For example, a nice European-style, cobbled-stone, street look is a popular choice for driveways and walkways. It is made out of molded, colored concrete, not stone, and installs easily.

Rock And Stone

Replacing areas of grass in the front yard with decorative rock and stone makes a nice look. It is better not to use wide swathes of this ground covering in big blocks. Instead, for a better aesthetic appeal, use natural rock and stone to create unique, eye-catching areas. For example, surrounding a wishing well with a nice circular area of rock pebbles creates a nice look.

Artificial Trees And Bushes

Advancements in the manufacturing of artificial bushes and trees developed very convincing products that are durable enough for exterior installation. Some best looking ones are the evergreen bushes.

They come in perfect heights of various sizes. They never need watering or trimming to make them look attractive. The only maintenance that they need is the occasional spray washing to remove dust and things that might fall on them like leaves from neighbor?s trees.

There are many to choose from. The modest-sized bushes are very inexpensive and usually less than $50 each. At the other end of the spectrum, are the exotic 11-feet tall artificial cheery trees that have built-in LED illumination. These are very dramatic and cost many thousands.

Summary

With these interesting ideas to consider, take a look at landscaping in a new way. Even though artificial landscaping requires an upfront investment, it can last for many years and may reduce overall maintenance costs significantly. If you ever want to sell the home, there will be much less landscaping needed to get it ready for sale.

How Will Coronavirus Impact Our Real Estate Economy?

How Will Coronavirus Impact The Real Estate IndustryWithout a doubt, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has impacted every part of the economy. This is a dangerous virus and has left many parts of the country on lockdown orders to prevent it from spreading rapidly. The question many people are asking is how much the real estate is going to be impacted by the virus as well.

People Are Not Looking For Houses

One of the biggest impacts of coronavirus is that some people simply aren’t out looking for houses. Stay at home orders and social distancing measures have prevented people from touring homes that they may be interested in buying and sellers postponing the listing of their home for sale.

In some parts of the country, the new listings available for homes have dropped drastically. This includes areas of the country that have been hit the hardest by the virus such as New York and California. Even web traffic to various real estate sites such as Zillow has dropped as well. Without a doubt, the rate of weekly mortgage applications has been impacted as well.

The Impact Of International Trade

In addition, for those who want to move, they might find a slowdown in international shipping and trade challenging. Many of the items that people need to furnish a home such as couches, tables, stoves, washers, dryers, ovens, and more are made overseas. Many home building materials are also manufactured and shipped from abroad. This creates a challenge for home builders and remodelers to effectively source the materials they need. It may take some time for the supply chain to reset and catch up with pent up demand.

The Response Of The Federal Government

Right now, those who currently own homes can find some relief from monthly mortgage payments if they are struggling financially. The government has put a moratorium in place on foreclosures. They have also told mortgage servicers to offer forebearance options for many mortgages.  While these grace measures will expire eventually, they may be helpful for the time being.

Looking Forward

The impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s real estate market is already apparent; however, the real question is how long the market is going to take to recover. The most recent report from National Association of Realtors states that 2020 is forecast for a 15% overall decline in the real estate industry. Many analysts believe that the real estate industry will be one of the fastest segments to recover across the country. Once the market does open up, the demand should increase quickly.  

3 Ways To Make Your Home Safer

3 Ways To Make Your Home SaferIn the wake of the recent news reports, you might be looking for ways to make your home safer. Some of the most common accidents and events that take place in homes include poisoning events, falls, and even burglaries. The good news is that there are ways to improve the safety of your home. You might even be rewarded with a lower home insurance premium!

Invest In An Alarm System

It is not easy to figure out exactly how many burglaries are prevented every year by having an alarm system; however, even having a sign in the front yard could be enough to scare off potential intruders. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make your home safer, invest in a home alarm system. 

The price of a home alarm system from vary from provider to provider. Homeowners can tailor their security services to meet their needs. This is a great way to keep burglars at bay.

Purchase A Video Doorbell System

There has even been a rise in the frequency of porch pirates, or those who steal the packages of others from their front door! If you are someone who buys a lot of stuff online, then you should get a video doorbell to watch your packages when they get dropped off.

Furthermore, you can even use this video doorbell system to see who ringing your doorbell when you aren’t home. In some cases, you can even communicate with them, providing them instructions, or asking them to leave when necessary.

Buy Automatic Outdoor Lighting Systems

Lights are often enough to scare people away. There are plenty of motion sensor lights that you can purchase for your driveway, porch, and front door. These lights can even be set to turn off when the sun comes up to save energy. 

Keep Your Home Safe

These are a few of the easiest ways that you can make your home safer. If you take steps to keep burglars at bay, not only will you protect your home but you might even save some money on home insurance! 

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On Repairs

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On RepairsOwning a house comes with major responsibilities and one of the most important is routine maintenance. While many people like to skip routine maintenance in an effort to save money, the reality is that these routine maintenance is going to save people down the road. The reality is that maintenance is a homeowner’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting their most valuable investment, which is their home.

There are a few projects that may save homeowners thousands of dollars down the road.

Inspect The Plumbing Connections

It is easy to forget about the plumbing system because many people don’t even see their pipes until problems arise. The idea behind expecting the plumbing system is that problems can be spotted before they cause a house to flood. Some of the appliances that people need to think about include refrigerators, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines. All of these devices have hoses that connect to the water supply.

If these hoses tart to crack, leaks can develop slowly. Eventually, this water is going to get behind the walls, causing mold to grow, and it may also get underneath the floors, causing them to warp. It is important for people to take a look at these pipes from time to time. If leaks are identified, they can be repaired.

Clean The Dryer Ducts And Vents

Many homeowners overlook their ductwork; however, people need to take the time open up their dryers and change their filters between every load. The vents that people use to remove lint from their clothes will clog up quickly. If the dryer is unable to suck air through this vent, it is going to have to work harder to dry the clothes. This is going to cause the dryer to overheat. It might even lead to a housefire. In order to prevent this from happening, homeowners should change their dryer lint filters after every load.

Routine Maintenance Is Critical

These are a few of the most important points that homeowners need to remember when it comes to routine maintenance. Homeowners need to have a regular schedule that they follow to ensure that none of these tasks are overlooked. It can prevent disaster from happening.

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market Today

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market TodayFor most people, their home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. Therefore, it should make sense that people will want to improve its value over time. In this case, people are going to need to invest in power tools. Those who are interested in home improvement projects need to know about the five most important power tools available in today’s market.

A Power Drill

While this might seem obvious, many people do not own a power drill. This is almost always at the top of the list of the best power tools on the market. It is a versatile tool that can handle everything from hanging pictures to putting in a fence. People need to make sure they know about the various options for drills on the market and find the one that is right for their needs.

A Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a unique but versatile saw that can help people with a variety of home improvement projects. This type of saw is great for helping people cut shapes and curves as well as straight lines. Try to find a jigsaw that has a variety of orbital settings. This will provide the user with added accuracy and speed.

A Circular Saw

This is another saw that is important for homeowners to have. This is great for heavier cutting jobs. They have the ability to cut through thick materials easily. There are both cordless and corded options and they pack a punch. Cordless varieties are a bit heavier but they provide the user with access to tight spaces

A Cordless Screwdriver

Traditional screwdrivers can pose a bit of a challenge and get uncomfortable over time. This is where a cordless screwdriver is helpful. This removes a significant amount of effort and makes projects go by more quickly. These screws can be used to both tighten and loosen screws.

A Rotary Tool

Finally, a great power rotary tool is a must. This is used to help people with cutting, grinding, sanding, and more. This is great for performing a variety of tasks around the home and can help people with numerous accessories. Do not overlook the value of a powerful rotary tool.

What Is Pooled-Funds Investing?

What Is Pooled-Funds InvestingUnder the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) relaxed the rules about advertising investments. This allowed the trend of crowdfunding to expand dramatically giving real estate investors more opportunities for pooled-funds investing.

What Is Polled-Funds Investing?

A pooled investment fund takes in money from a group of investors to use to acquire real estate for larger amounts than each investor’s money would support. Prior to the passage of the JOBS Act, these pooled investment funds were only accessible by large investors through private placements and private real estate investment trusts (REITs). The minimum investment might be up to $250,000 or more. High-net-worth individual investors and institutions were the only investors capable of the buy-in to gain access to these investments, which usually offered better and more stable returns.

After the JOBS Act came into being, the advertising of these pooled investment funds was possible under the new law. The phenomena of crowdfunding came out of this. Money from many investors creates a larger investment fund managed by a professional team, intending to obtain strong performance results.

Better Investment Opportunities For The Smaller Investor

These new investment opportunities allow the smaller investor to participate in a greater diversity of real estate than they could achieve on their own. Moreover, an investor can create a pooled fund to acquire a property with the help of other investors. To use this technique to buy real estate, it is helpful to work with a qualified real estate agent or broker who understands this concept of pooled investment funds.

Due Diligence Required

Not all investment pools succeed in producing decent returns for investors. The SEC is no longer regulating these polled investments carefully. This means that the challenge of due diligence falls on the individual investor. Before investing, it pays to conduct exhaustive research about the pooled investment fund, the cost of the fund management fees, the expertise of the fund’s management, and their past investment-performance history. Always remember past results are no guarantee of future performance and never invest any funds that you cannot afford to lose.

Summary

The relaxing of SEC regulations in 2012 allowed many opportunities for pooled investments to flourish. While there is the possibility of strong returns on investment, there is also some risk. Investors considering a pooled investment fund, such as a crowdfunding deal, should conduct thorough due diligence and get advice from a qualified REALTORS® in the market where the property will be located before making any investment.

What Is House Hacking?

What Is House HackingSome clever millennials are teaching the older boomers a new way to invest in real estate, which goes by the name of “house hacking.”

What Is House Hacking?

House hacking has nothing to do with computers, although you may go on the Internet to find candidates for real estate investments suitable for hacking. The goal of house hacking is to acquire a multifamily rental property, live in one part of it and rent out the other parts for enough rental income to cover most, if not all, of the expenses of owning the property.

Live Rent-Free

As the on-site manager of a property that you own, you do not have to pay any rent. If you are clever, and the rental market is robust in the area that you choose for house hacking, then the rental income from the other units in the multifamily property will be sufficient to cover the property’s expenses. Then, you live rent-free.

Finding A Hackable Property

Multifamily properties, up to four units, are the best candidates for house hacking. A two-story townhouse that divides into two separate living spaces, a duplex, a triplex, or a small apartment building may be suitable.

Cash Flow

Calculate the cash flow from the portions of the property that rent to others. If the rent covers all the expenses then the property is said to have a positive cash flow. That is the goal. Have some funds set aside to cover any downtime when a unit is vacant between renters.

Financing

Owner-occupied properties qualify for lower financing rates than non-owner-occupied properties, which are held purely for investment.

Landlord Headaches

As the owner/landlord you will deal directly with any tenant relations and problems. If a pipe breaks in the middle of the night, you are the one who will have to deal with the problem. Be sure to screen tenants thoroughly and maintain the property. Some do not like dealing with tenants; however, if you are careful when selecting tenants and handle any problems professionally, this work provides an excellent experience for understanding further real estate investments to build up your portfolio.

Summary

House hacking came about especially for those from the younger generation of millennials simply because buying a property is very challenging on one income and even difficult on two incomes. If you consider the payment of rent by others as part of the total income that supports a property, the math may work out better. When the numbers work out, you may have found an investment opportunity with house hacking. Work with qualified real estate agents and mortgage professionals who specialize in multifamily properties for the best results.