5 Reasons Buyers Should House Hunt in the Fall

The frenzy of the summer real estate market has cooled by the seemingly very same breeze sweeping leaves off the trees across much of the country. But now may be a better time than ever for buyers to do their house hunting.

According to RealtyTrac and realtor.com®, October is the best time to snag a deal on a house. RealtyTrac analyzed more than 32 million sales of single-family homes and condos between 2000 and 2015, finding that those who purchased in October paid 2.6 percent below the average estimated full market value for their property.

If buyers need more reason to start or continue their home search this fall, here are five additional reasons to shop for a home now from Lindsay Szwed, an agent with RE/MAX Suburban in the Chicago area.

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Market Shifting to Buyers’ Favor

A housing market defined by rapidly rising home prices, bidding wars, a lack of inventory, and sellers with the upper hand in negotiations may be changing. “The signs are pointing to a market that’s shifting toward buyers,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “But in most places, we’re still a long way from a full reversal.”

After all, home sales aren’t exactly tanking. Prices for existing homes were up 4.6 percent from a year ago in the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report. The median home list price in August was up 7 percent from last year.

While these numbers are still higher than last year, economists point to a slowing growth in the percentage jumps. Last year, median home list prices increased by 10 percent from the previous year and by 9 percent the year before that.

A recent report from real estate brokerage Redfin showed that more than one in four home sellers dropped their asking price last month. The areas seeing some of the biggest decreases this year are Las Vegas; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; and Atlanta.

“We’ve hit that tipping point in a lot of these cities where what sellers think they can get is just not possible for many buyers,” Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, told realtor.com®. “Now the pendulum is swinging away from sellers and back toward buyers.”

Economists point to housing affordability as a culprit for the slowdown. Mortgage rates are up 0.82 percent since a year ago; the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.65 percent as of Sept. 20. Each percentage point increase in rates can translate to about $143 more on a monthly mortgage payment, or nearly $51,500 over the life of a loan on a $300,000 priced home, according to realtor.com®.

“Home prices have just gone up too fast,” Blomquist says. “It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden it’s a market that’s going to crash. But it does mean there are limits to what people can afford.”

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for September 2018

Balance is finally returning to the housing market as buyers welcome more choices and moderating prices.

8 Ways to Extend Your Patio Season This Fall

Cooling temperatures and the arrival of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING doesn’t mean that you need to head indoors just yet. Using your outdoor living space is a great way to enjoy the changing of the season and enjoy some outside time. Consider these 8 ways to extend your patio season into the fall.

  1. Add Some Warmth

Making sure that your outdoor living space is still enjoyable and comfortable will encourage you to use the space more often. Consider adding a patio heater that can easily radiate heat in a large of area for you and your guests. Choose from a variety of sizes and styles that fit your budget and the overall look of your outdoor patio area.

  1. Hang Some Lights

You’ll need some extra lighting with the sun setting sooner than it was earlier in the summer. Hang a few strands of lights around the perimeter of your outdoor space in order to add a touch of sparkle to prolong those after-dinner conversations. Choose from different styles that cater to your unique tastes and personality.

  1. Cuddle Up with Throws

As temperatures continue to drop, make sure to always have a stack of fresh, cozy throw blankets ready for friends and family so they aren’t scared back inside by the crisp fall air. Consider storing blankets in a weather-tight box outdoors to keep them dry and ready for use.

  1. Add Some Ambience

To create a truly enjoyable outdoor ambience, consider adding a popular fire pit to your patio to encourage those guests to stay awhile. Not only does a fire pit add an extra layer of warmth but it provides a point of interest to an outdoor living space. Invite friends over to roast some hot dogs over the fire and indulge in gooey s’mores for dessert.

  1. Sip Some Tea

Wrapping up in a cozy blanket to read a book and enjoy a hot cup of tea, or hot chocolate, is the epitome of fall that many homeowners love. Make sure to provide enough side table space next to outdoor chairs for ultimate comfort while diving into a good book. Use a simple outdoor tray to carry sweeteners and sugar cookies to enjoy with your warm beverage.

  1. Leave the Leaves

You may want to immediately rake up fallen leaves on your patio, but consider letting them fall where they may to really set the scene of your outdoor space. The colors of fallen leaves provide those seasonal scents that remind of autumn-and they can be mulched for your fall lawn care needs.

  1. Add Fall Color

Pumpkins are a welcome addition to any outdoor space this time of year. Pick up a few different shapes, colors and varieties of the orange gourds to add a pop of instant seasonal color to your patio. Stack and store pumpkins on your patio before carving them later in the season.

  1. Have A Game Center

Fall is a great time to enjoy lawn games that carried over from the summer. Many homeowners find that fall is the better season to enjoy a quick game of horseshoes or croquet in the comfortable, cooling temperatures. Create a game center on your patio that is easy for guests to access and invite your friends and family to join you outdoors for a friendly competition.

Top 7 Home Preps To Tackle Before Fall Temps Drop

Ahhhh, fall – the air turns crisp and cool, yellow patches of leaves appear to take over the treetops and you’re prepped for sweater weather. But, is your home ready for the season? Whether you do the dirty work yourself or hire out, RE/MAX put together a checklist to help you tackle fall home preps that can make a big difference of how your home handles the season.

  1. Get your mind in the gutter. If you’re not on top of clogged gutters, you’re just asking for water damage. Water with nowhere to go can lead to exterior and foundational damage and maybe even a flooded basement. It’s a dirty job, but you can do it-or hire it out.
  2. Check the chimney. While you’re up on the roof and the weather’s still calm-check your chimney for damage. Search for loose or broken joints and if the flue cap is still in place. Now’s the time to also attend to any damaged roof shingles or flashing.
  3. Let’s get physical. Once the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll crank up that furnace and put it through quite a workout. Make sure it’s ready to handle the workload by replacing the filter and keep all the vents open so heat can circulate throughout your home.
  4. Turn off outdoor plumbing. Blow out sprinkler systems, drain outdoor faucets and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.
  5. Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools. Don’t let the harsh fall and winter weather get to your outdoor furniture and garden gadgets. Give them a quick clean up so they are ready for storage over the winter.
  6. Stay safe out there. Fall is as good reminder to perform an annual check of the safety features in your home. Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors get fresh batteries, check the fire extinguisher or replace if it’s six years or older and take this chance to update or practice your fire escape plans.
  7. Pre-plan for spring-blooms. Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs for a big pay off in the spring. Set your sights on a spot in your yard that gets full sun and get digging.

Looking for that perfect home where you’re in charge of home preps and maintenance? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help make your dream of owning your own home a reality!

August 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report

Home Sales Decline 1% as Inventory, Prices Level Out

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018 shows increasing home prices, low inventory and a reduction in days on market. These combined factors made August 2018 the sixth time this year that home sales lagged behind last year’s pace—but only slightly at -1.1%.

Home prices rose by 3.7% over August 2017, much lower than the year-over-year price increase of 5.4% from August 2016 to August 2017. In fact, the past three months of 2018 have trailed 2017’s rate of price growth year-over-year—compare that to four of the first five months of 2018 when year-over-year price increases easily topped those posted in 2017.

The Median Sales Price of $248,500 marked the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Even though active inventory dropped for the 118th consecutive month, the decline of 5.4% from August 2017 marked the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the August 2018 inventory drop marked the fourth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines, rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen in early 2018 and over the previous three years.

Read the full article in RE/MAX’s newsroom

Watch the 40 second summary video on YouTube

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for August 2018