Owning A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In Most Markets In The US

According to a recent study by Zillow, owning a home is more affordable than renting in most metro markets across the United States.

According to the study, renters pay an average of 29.1% of their household income towards rent, while homeowners only pay an average of 15.4% towards their mortgages. This means renting eats up nearly twice as much of your income as owning a home.

Data Source: Zillow

Thanks to rising rents, homeownership is becoming a more sensible option across the nation, and renters are taking notice. According to the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Confidence® Index, 39% of homebuyers from October 2016 to November 2017 were renting at the time of their purchase, which means that 39% of buyers made the transition from renter to homeowner. And many of them did so without breaking the bank on a down payment. In fact, 61% of first-time buyers made a down payment of 6% or less.

The Takeaway

If you’re currently renting, it’s time to reevaluate your situation. Why throw away nearly 30% of your income on rent when you can spend almost half as much and have a home to show for it?

Historically Low Inventory Creates Perfect Storm For People Wanting To Sell Their Home

 

According to Realtor.com’s recent Housing Shortage Report, the US is experiencing the worst inventory shortage in two decades. And while this presents a definite challenge for people looking to buy a home, it creates the perfect storm of opportunity for those wanting to sell.

According to Realtor.com’s research, the housing shortage can be attributed to the baby boomer generation being unwilling to sell in the current market. In fact:

  • 72% of existing homeowners over the age of 55 feel their current home fits their needs
  • 85% of those baby boomers don’t plan to sell their home in the next 12 months

Boomers are keeping approximately 33 million properties off the market — a huge contributor to the historically low inventory the US is experiencing.

But this historically low inventory means that there couldn’t be a better time to sell. Low inventory means more competition, and more competition typically means higher offers and a better deal for sellers — especially if you’re selling a starter home.

Thanks to millennials entering the homebuying market for the first time, starter homes are the most in demand selling point on the market. And since they experienced a 17% decrease in supply from 2016 to 2017, a great starter home will be an even hotter commodity in 2018.

The Takeaway

Low inventory can be a problem for buyers. But if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, low inventory means there’s never been a better time to put your property on the market.

8 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them

Plenty of home sellers consider their places to be coveted properties that others would be lucky to own. But, that hubris can often lead to trouble when it comes to actually landing an offer and closing a sale.

First-time sellers in particular exhibit some self-sabotaging behaviors that can trip them up on the way getting the deal done. The following are the most common mistakes they make and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking they can go it alone

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Selling a home is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy DIY project. First-time home sellers quickly realize marketing and showing their property is a full-time job. Unless they’re experts in real estate contracts, appraisals, inspections, and other documentation, they can end up make costly errors. Fortunately, this is an easy one to fix: Hire a licensed agent.

2. Wanting to price it too high

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Homeowners may think they’re living in the perfect home, but pricing it too high will render it a white elephant. It’s great to be optimistic that you’ll make a nice profit, but it’s important to be realistic and price a home accurately. Remember, time is money. Seeking top dollar can cost you if your home remains on the market far longer than you’d planned.

3. Being unwilling to negotiate

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Just because an offer comes in lower than a seller might have hoped, that’s no reason to take it personally and refuse to negotiate. Think of an offer as a starting point that leads to a compromise that works for both parties.

4. Not doing a thorough cleaning

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From the moment sellers decide to put their places on the market, they should begin cleaning and decluttering to make the home look as attractive and well-kept as possible. Staging is important, but experts agree, nothing makes a home shine quite like a thorough cleaning.

5. Making it difficult for agents to show it

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Sure, last-minute showings can be inconvenient, but if sellers really want to make a deal, they have to be willing to let an agent and prospective buyers inside. Thinking a two-hour open house once a week is going to be enough is some serious wishful thinking.

6. Refusing to take the agent’s advice

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Homeowners often think they know their properties better than anyone, so why should they take any advice — even from a professional? Because you’ll benefit from the wisdom and experience of a professional. If your agent suggests that you stash your garden gnome collection in the shed or fix that rickety staircase, just do it.

7. Being unwilling to make changes

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Things like kitchen and bathroom updates can make a home look more attractive and move more quickly as it means less work a buyer will need to tackle after moving in. Still, some sellers dig in their heels and decide to adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude. Sadly, many buyers will choose to leave it.

8. Not considering the next move

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Homes can sell more quickly — or more slowly — than anyone, including even a Realtor®, can anticipate. So it’s important to have a back-up plan either way.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Are you or someone you know is 50+ and is looking to buy or sell their homes? Working with an Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designated agent can make the process a lot less stressful!

Sharon Harkness holds the SRES designation and would love to help you or someone you know today! Give us a call (217) 239-7144

10 Amenities That Get Homes Sold During Winter

Many homeowners believe attempting to sell their places during winter is a losing proposition. Real estate agents, however, know any season is the right one when a property is attractive and represents a great value.

With inventory typically lower during the cold weather months, it’s actually a perfect time to put a home on the market. It also doesn’t hurt to set the stage — or sweeten the pot, if you will — by evoking a warm and welcoming vibe that makes would-be buyers want to hang up their coats, kick off their boots, and stay a while.

There’s no denying it’s cold out there, so why not embrace it? The following are amenities that prove winter really can be the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Fire pit

#Cozy #night by the #fire during the #holidays…

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Create a covetable outdoor space with the help of a fire pit. Whether it’s made of stone and serves as a permanent fixture or is a movable and affordable centerpiece for backyard S’mores-making, adding the element of fire ups the charm factor immediately.

2. Hot tub

A nighttime soak in this Jacuzzi ® Hot Tub will bring a smile to your face in no time

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Wait, is this a home or a five-star resort? Watching steam rise from a frothy hot tub on a chilly afternoon or evening makes anyone want to move right in! Giving a place the spa treatment, will remind home-shoppers that with this luxurious item on the premises, winter can last as long as it likes.

3. Home theater

Think the kids will like this one? #SoldbyKenitaTang #Kenitatangrealtor #Movienight #hometheater #movies #Kids #Realtor

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Especially during the winter, and particularly in cold weather climates, playing up the ability to have a blast indoors does wonders for buyers’ peace of mind (moreso if they’re parents). A home theater, even on a smaller scale (think flat screen and an old-fashioned popcorn maker), helps visitors envision themselves and their families surviving those endless snow days in style.

4. Fireplace

It’s almost impossible to resist the hypnotic allure of a roaring fire. According to the National Center for Real Estate Research, fireplaces have a positive impact on the selling price, with each fireplace adding about 12 percent. If a home has this feature, by all means, strike a match and watch that property heat up!

5. In-home wine bar

Baby, it’s cold outside — so why leave the house? This wine bar is one way to keep spirits merry and bright. It also conjures up thoughts of hosting holiday parties and gatherings as new owners envision celebrating and showing off their place.

6. Hot cocoa bar

Hello Friends!! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!I've been pretty busy working on projects all last week and still haven't put up my Christmas tree. I did manage to get my hot cocoa bar done!! Is Everyone finished with their decorating yet or are you like me and it's taking you forever!! I'm normally not like this, but I'm struggling on trying to figure out how I want things to go. Hoping to figure it out and get it done by the end of the day. Happy decorating!! #mugrackmonday #signsandstemsmonday #wordsindecor #merrymerrydecor #mymerryhome #merrymondaydecor #myfarmcharmchristmas #verymerrymonday #mystyledholidayhome #lovingmyholidayhome #hotcocoabar #raedunn #raedunnchristmas #targetdollarspot #hotcocoa #coffeestation #farmhousechristmas #christmasdecor #holidayraedisplay Cute coffee banner is from @diyinspiredhouse Have a Holly jolly Christmas sign is from @rusticchicksboutique and Hot cocoa sign is from @houseon77th Awesome shops to check out

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On the other end of the spectrum, but no less festive, a hot cocoa bar offers a sweet welcome all ages can enjoy. Placed in the kitchen, dining room, family room, or foyer, this treat station makes you feel comfortable and right at home.

7. Wood-burning stove

Wood-burning stoves represent a delightful throwback to bygone days. Their timeless appeal will charm visitors at the same time they warm up a home. Thanks to advancements in technology, these old-fashioned heaters are more energy efficient than ever.

8. Home sauna

A home sauna? Why not? We can do that.

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Calling all athletes and anyone who could use a haven from the stresses of the outside world! (So, OK, everyone!) An in-home sauna is the oasis you’ve been seeking. Steam away those cares while enjoying health benefits that include improved circulation, detoxification, and even sinus relief.

9. Storm survival kit

Throwing in a highly-desirable item often increases interest from buyers. In a snowy climate, there are few tools as sought-after as a snowblower once that white stuff starts falling. Want to keep the enticement more affordable? Heavy-duty snow shovels, high-end gloves, rock salt, and de-icer all come in handy as well. First-time home-buyers who may be snow-removal newbies will appreciate this gesture.

10. Highlight energy efficient upgrades

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In addition to being comfortable temperature-wise, if a home is as energy-efficient as possible, that’s something buyers will definitely want to know — and remember. Creating a list of any upgrades to windows, doors, HVAC units, and the roof, as well as the installation of energy-saving appliances, means more money in buyers’ pockets and less going out the window.

1304 Ridge Creek Rd

Move-in ready home in heavily desired Fieldstone Subdivision! Be sure to see it before it’s too late!

Listing presented by licensed real estate broker Lisa Smith Duncan with Sharon Harkness Inc, Keller Williams Realty: TREC Living in Champaign Urbana, Lisa Duncan, Broker Keller Williams TREC Barb Schwartz, Broker with Sharon Harkness Inc. at Keller Williams TREC

CTTO music: Carefree by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)