6 Lessons Monopoly Can Teach About Home Buying

  1. Patience

MONOPOLY: So your family has decided to play Monopoly? Refill your beverage, grab a snack and change into comfortable clothes. You’re going to be there a while.

LESSON: Buying real estate is a process. There’s pre-approval for a loan, interviewing agents, searching for homes, submitting an offer, maybe submitting another offer, the home inspection, the appraisal, and final loan processing before you get the keys. Needless to say, buying a home can take some time. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on all of the great reasons you decided buying a home was right for you. Staying in close communication with your agent throughout the process will help, too.

  1. Neighborhood matters

MONOPOLY: Everyone starts the game with one corner in mind: Boardwalk and Park Place. The high-priced properties have the best returns on investments, and the players who snag them first tend to do well in the game.

LESSON: Location is often a major consideration in real life as well. Home values, your lifestyle and so much more are factors in your neighborhood choice. Work with your agent to learn all you can about the neighborhoods that pique your interest.

  1. Keep an open mind

MONOPOLY: Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue have a bad reputation because they’re the cheapest properties on the board, but they also present opportunity. Add a few houses and hotels and your return could be bigger than the one on nearby Connecticut Avenue.

LESSON: Keep an open mind when shopping for a home. An up-and-coming neighborhood may have appeal you didn’t see before, and more value for your budget.

  1. Be prepared

MONOPOLY: You’re a Monopoly mogul! You have a handful of desirable properties and a steady stream of income from your houses and hotels. Then comes the Chance card: “Make general repairs on your property – for each house pay $25, for each hotel pay $100.”

LESSON: You never know what card you’re going to draw. But unlike Monopoly, the real world has home insurance available to help you prepare for unexpected repairs and disasters. A variety of plans, customizable to any budget, are available. Some homebuyers also opt for warranties covering potential appliance issues after move-in.

  1. How to win a bidding war

MONOPOLY: Trading properties keeps Monopoly exciting. And there are no strict rules as to how a seller determines to accept an offer. Sibling rivalry, bribes involving candy or even business sense can play into a player’s decision.

LESSON: Sellers don’t always accept the highest offer. Writing a letter about why you fell in love with their home can sometimes sway their decision in your favor.

  1. The importance of strategy

MONOPOLY: Monopoly is a game of strategy, but few players are inclined to study ways to win. What if you had a coach sitting next to you, advising how much to bid for a property, where to look next, and whether or not mortgaging a utility to buy Boardwalk is a smart idea? You would be unstoppable!

LESSON: Buying a home is an infrequent occurrence; for some it happens only once in a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have someone on your side that is up-to-speed on laws for your state, knows which neighborhoods would best fit your lifestyle and helps you navigate a bidding war? That’s the value an experienced agent provides.

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2019 Real Estate in a Digital Age

Did you know that the three most popular information sources home buyers used in the home search were:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Agents Report Sharp Declines in Bidding Wars

There will likely be less competition for home buyers this spring—a widely reported index from Redfin shows a significant decrease among real estate professionals reporting bidding wars in March, compared to a year ago. Only 16 percent of offers written by Redfin agents on behalf of their customers in the first three weeks of March faced a bidding war, down from 61 percent a year ago, according to the brokerage’s index.

San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, and Portland, Ore., are the most competitive housing markets this month, according to the report. However, even in these markets, only one in five buyers faced bidding wars; a year ago, real estate agents in these markets reported that 65 percent of their buyers’ offers faced multiple bids.

Read the full article on REALTOR® Magazine…

Buyers Far Less Likely to Face Bidding Wars

Home shoppers will likely face less competition in their offers, and that may allow them more time during their house hunt.

A new report from Redfin shows that only 13 percent of offers written by agents on behalf of their customers faced a bidding war last month—down significantly from 53 percent a year ago.

“Buyers have heard the market has slowed, so now they’re trying to get all of their ‘wants,’ not just their ‘needs,’ ” says Kalena Masching, a Redfin real estate pro in Palo Alto, Calif. “They’re waiting until they find a home they can check more boxes—for instance, three bedrooms instead of two or a higher rated school. In general, they are being more judicious as they think through their purchase. Meanwhile, many sellers have not yet recognized that the market has shifted.”

The number of homes for sale has been slightly increasing in several markets, which has left fewer home buyers competing for each home. In December, the number of homes for sale had grown by 5 percent over a year ago.

Several West Coast markets continue to be among the most competitive, but many are seeing fewer bidding wars compared to a year ago. Portland, Ore.; Denver; and San Diego each saw less than one out of five offers face a bidding war, down from more than half of offers a year earlier, Redfin reports. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle posted the biggest year-over-year percentage drops in bidding wars.

Meanwhile, the least competitive housing markets in January that overall saw the fewest bidding wars were Miami (3 percent), Dallas (6 percent), and Houston (6 percent).

Source: REALTOR Magazine

Millennial Monopoly: 4 Real Estate Trends in 2019

What’s behind the rise in homeownership? Growing interest from millennials. Here are the 2019 millennial real estate trends you need to know about this year.

Empowered with Knowledge 
First-time, homebuying millennials are much more informed when it comes to renovations, repairs and real estate process than other generations. Growing up during the development of the internet has made them very tech and research savvy and able to find ways to access important information such as listings, neighborhood reports, HGTV home renovation videos and other types of industry information on their own. In 2019, they will rely on real estate agents to share information that they can’t find online such as neighborhood developments, local market forecasts, local housing regulations and more.

Buying homes – despite rising rates
Millennials continue to make up the largest segment of buyers, accounting for 45 percent of mortgages, compared to 17 percent of baby boomers and 37 percent of Generation Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle, older millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up most of the millennials who close in 2019. As their housing needs adjust over time, millennials are on track to make up the largest share of homebuyers for the next decade.

Sweat Equity
Many millennials grew up watching renovations and makeovers on HGTV, which means many of them are ready to invest sweat equity in their new home. Millennial homebuyers, overall, are more aware of the costs, work and implications of renovations than the previous generations. This is good news as interest rates rise and buyers should be prepared to settle for homes in need of TLC.

New Buying Strategies
Social media continues to impact millennial homebuying habits. They rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions, and a strong online reputation for real estate professionals is a must in catering to this market. In fact, a recent study showed that millennials would prefer to buy a house from a real estate agent influencer over a traditional real estate agent. Showcasing a home on social media, especially on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram, is essential for appealing to millennial buyers.

Research your way to the right real estate agent who can make all the difference. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you and your future. Contact Jennifer today!

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.

5 Tips for Buying Your Retirement Home

Planning for retirement means making a lot of decisions, including when you’ll stop working, how much you’ll withdraw from your savings each year, and where you’ll live. Many Americans view retirement as an opportunity to move into a new home; in fact, 64 percent of retirees either have moved or plan to move.

Ready to begin planning? Here are five tips to get you started.

  1. Location, location, location
    Ideally, you should think about where you want to live long before retirement, but it’s never too late to think about your priorities. Do you want to be close to family or health care resources? Do you desire a home in the mountains or somewhere you’ll never see snow again? Make a list of what you want in a home location so you’ll have a starting point for your search.
  2. Don’t delay
    If possible, don’t wait until poor health or declining finances force you to move somewhere that’s not your ideal location. Move while you’re still young enough to enjoy your dream retirement home.
  3. Get professional financial advice
    It’s important to protect your nest egg and keep it growing throughout retirement. A professional financial planner can help you understand what size mortgage is right for you, so your dream home doesn’t strain your finances.
  4. Be mindful of amenities
    When choosing a location and a home, in addition to your personal priorities, it’s important to keep in mind accessibility to amenities important to seniors. Community features such as good transportation, quality of roads, safe neighborhoods, and access to health care, socialization opportunities, shopping and cultural venues are all options to consider.
  5. Focus on must-haves
    Make a list of must-have features and those you would like your retirement home to have. Share the list with your real estate agent to help him or her focus on properties that meet your criteria. Your list of must-haves and desirables will likely be very different from the list you made when you bought your first home. Now, a single-level house with large bathrooms and a level lot may be more desirable than a two-story with lots of bedrooms and a big backyard.