Real Estate and Design Tips
There’s an old adage in real estate: location, location, location. But ever since the Federal Reserve began its series of inflation-fighting interest rate hikes last year, a new mantra has emerged: mortgage rates, mortgage rates, mortgage rates.
Higher rates had the immediate impact of dampening homebuyer affordability and demand. But this year, we’re seeing further repercussions. While analysts expected listing inventory to swell as sales declined, instead, homeowners have been pushing off plans to sell because they feel beholden to their existing, lower mortgage rates.
So what impact is this reduced demand and low supply environment having on home values? And what can we expect from the real estate market in the coming months and years? Here are several key indicators that help to paint a picture of the current market and where it’s likely headed.
HOME SALES ARE EXPECTED TO PICK UP BY EARLY NEXT YEAR
The weather isn’t the only thing that heats up in the spring and summer. Nationally, it tends to be the busiest time in real estate. But this year, the peak season got off to a slow start, with sales declines in both March and April.1,2 Existing home sales in April were down 3.4% from the previous month—and 23.2% from a year earlier.2
What’s causing this market slowdown? Industry experts attribute it to several factors, including near-record home prices, high mortgage rates, and low inventory.
According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “Home sales are trying to recover and are highly sensitive to changes in mortgage rates. Yet, at the same time, multiple offers on starter homes are quite common, implying more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. It's a unique housing market.”1
However, some industry experts believe the market is poised for a comeback. Forecasters at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predict that home sales will continue to fall through Q3 before rising in Q4 and throughout next year.3 Analysts at Fannie Mae expect the recovery to take a bit longer, picking up in early 2024.
Meanwhile, home builder confidence is already up, as purchases of new single-family homes surged in March and April to a 13-month high.5 Builder incentives are helping to boost sales: According to the National Association of Home Builders, in May, 54% reported using them to win over budget-conscious buyers.6
What does it mean for you? A slower pace of sales has given buyers some breathing room. If you hated the frenzy of the pandemic-era real estate market, now might be a better time for you to shop for a home. We can help you evaluate your options and make an informed purchase.
If you plan to sell your home, prepare yourself for less foot traffic and a longer sales timeline than you may have found a year ago. It will also be crucial to enlist the help of a skilled agent who knows how to draw in buyers. Reach out for a copy of our multi-step Property Marketing Plan.
Keeping a clean and orderly home is a challenge for many of us. Between busy work schedules, social obligations, and family commitments, it’s tough to keep up with daily chores—let alone larger seasonal tasks.
The effort is worthwhile, however. A sanitary environment can keep you and your family healthier by minimizing your exposure to germs and allergens.1 Plus, researchers have found that organized, uncluttered homes have quantifiable mental health benefits, too, including reduced stress, improved emotional regulation, and increased productivity.2
The reality is, we enjoy our homes more when they are in good order. It’s much easier to relax without piles of unopened mail or a messy kitchen reminding us of work to be done. And don’t we all feel more inclined to entertain family and friends when our homes are well-kept?
That’s why we’ve rounded up our favorite tactics—from overall strategies to little tips and tricks—for keeping things tidy without spending all our spare time cleaning.
Set a Schedule for Daily and Weekly Cleaning
We’ve all been there—you put off vacuuming or mopping your floor for a few days, only to realize that weeks have passed. Creating a cleaning schedule that works for you is the best way to stay on top of things and avoid overwhelm. Here are a few of our favorite strategies:
Over the past few years, many of us have spent extra time at home—and that means we appreciate the personal design touches that make a house cozy and comfortable more than ever. Some of us have adapted our dwellings in new ways, from creating functional home offices to upgrading the appliances we use most.
But while it’s important to make your home your own, it’s also smart to think about the long-term impact your renovations could have on its value. Choosing highly-personalized fixtures and finishes can make it harder for future homebuyers to envision themselves in the space. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home soon, investing in popular design choices that are likely to stand the test of time will make things easier down the road.
And if you’re in the market for a new home, it’s wise to keep an eye out for features that might need to be updated soon so you can factor renovation costs into your budget.
We’ve rounded up six trends that we think will influence interior design in 2023, as well as ideas for how you might incorporate them in your own home. Remember, before taking action, it’s always wise to consult with a real estate professional to understand how specific updates and upgrades will affect your property’s value in your local market.
Last year, one factor drove the real estate market more than any other: rising mortgage rates.
In March 2022, the Federal Reserve began a series of interest rate hikes in an effort to pump the brakes on inflation.1 And while some market sectors have been slow to respond, the housing market has reacted accordingly.
Both demand and price appreciation have tapered, as the primary challenge for homebuyers has shifted from availability to affordability. And although this higher-mortgage rate environment has been a painful adjustment for many buyers and sellers, it should ultimately lead to a more stable and balanced real estate market.
So what can we expect in 2023? Will mortgage rates continue to climb? Could home prices come crashing down? While this is one of the more challenging real estate periods to forecast, here’s what several industry experts predict will happen to the U.S. housing market in the coming year.
Home for the Holidays: How To Stretch Your Budget
in a Season of Inflation
You don't have to break the bank to celebrate the holidays in style—even in this season of inflation. Prices may be higher on everything from food to gifts to decorations, but there are still plenty of opportunities to eke out extra savings.
For example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can save a couple of hundred dollars a year just by sealing your home and boosting its insulation.1 Other small fixes—such as swapping old light bulbs for LEDs and plugging electronics into a powerstrip—can boost your yearly savings enough to pay off some of your holiday budget.
And thanks to a pandemic-era boom in online shopping, it is easier than ever to find deals on new and pre-owned furniture, thrifted gifts, DIY decor, and more. Even secondhand stalwarts like Goodwill have joined the digital fray, making it a cinch to score gently-used treasures at extra-low prices.2
You won't be the only one bargain-hunting your way to a more financially-stable New Year. Multiple surveys have found that inflation is not only chilling people's spending, it's also prompting shoppers to search for better deals and creative ways to reduce their bills. 3
How do I update my dining room?
Formal dining rooms were very popular in the 80's - early 2000's. A common room built as a separate room from the kitchen with matching chairs and table, accompanied by a matching large piece of furniture where the wedding china with all its accessories were displayed. It is commonly used on special occasions and holidays, and there was usually a bulky 'leaf' that extended the table to accommodate larger gatherings.
Our nation is in the midst of a serious housing crunch. Last year, a lack of inventory and soaring prices left many would-be homebuyers feeling pinched. But now, with interest rates climbing, many of them are also feeling desperate to lock in a mortgage—which has only added fuel to the fire.1
Fortunately, if you’re a buyer struggling to find a home, we have some good news. While it’s true that higher mortgage rates can decrease your purchasing budget, there are additional ways to compete in a hot market.
Yes, a high offer price gets attention. But most sellers consider a variety of factors when evaluating an offer. With that in mind, here are five tactics you can utilize to sweeten your proposal and outshine your competition.
We can help you weigh the risks and benefits of each tactic and craft a compelling offer designed to get you your dream home—without giving away the farm.
The home office is taking on a whole new meaning. So many are now working from home. A place were you can focus and be creative is key to a functional office. Of course a well-designed office is a plus.
Here are five tips for getting a functional and aestically pleasing home office.
The best way to start planning your office space in your home is determining what you need to efficiently do your work. Do you need more than one monitor, are you doing a lot of Zoom calls/videos, making private phone calls, etc. The answers to these questions will help you plan your space.
Seller’s Checklist: A Timeline to Prep Your Home for Sale
We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell.1 If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.
Start by connecting with a real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.
Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call us if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. We can help customize a plan that works for you.
AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING
Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.
Formal dining rooms. A waste of space or must have? The answer seems to vary from person to person, family to family. The open concept is so popular in new homes and among families with young children, that the formal dining room is considered wasted space. An extra room is never wasted space to me. An office, a game room, cocktail space or... a way to completely go bold with your dining room design. Let me convince you of the later!
The best part of the dining room is that large wall. To some it seems daunting but there are so many possibilities, a bold wallpaper, wainscoting, or a wood patterned wall. If you are going to do an 'accent wall' this design is the best. See the picture below of the wall I designed for a client. The home is in the historic district and has a long formal living and dining room. A patterned wood accent wall was the perfect way to draw the eye to the end of the room and make a great statement.
gina t graham
Real Estate and Remodeling Blog
"Sometimes excellent is not a good enough word. I recommend Gina to everyone who is selling their home and for setting up the next home they buy." -Kit, staging client.