Housing Buying Trends for 2017

2017 Trends

2017 Housing Trends

The real estate market is constantly changing, and this is especially true after an election year. Here are a few experts’ predictions about the 2017 market.

  1. More Millennials Will Become Home Owners

Over half of all homebuyers are under the age of 36. Adults born after 1980 are currently the largest adult generation and make up the largest percentage of the workforce.

  1. Mortgage Rates will be Volatile

A new president means mortgage rates will fluctuate more than usual. Political uncertainty is now replaced by policy uncertainty. Since the election, rates have risen above 4% for the first time in two years. Although historically, rates are still very low, it might be time to lock in a mortgage before rates increase more in 2017.

  1. Supply Will Improve, but it is Still Short

A defining feature of the 2016 housing market was the declining availability of houses. This caused price appreciation and homes to be sold very fast. Analysts expect the number of available homes to increase, but supply will still be limited. They suspect the market will be friendlier to sellers, as long as interest rates stay around 4%.

  1. Sellers Will Maintain an Edge Over Buyers

In 2016 the average home was on the market for only 52 days. Homes haven’t sold this quickly since 2009. Experts expect 2017 will yield even faster cycles as more people are looking for homes. With the number of buyers growing, sellers should expect an increase in interest for their home.

Time to think about listing your home for sale? Click here to find an agent.

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Turn Your Home into a Smart Home

Easy Smart House Options

Easy Smart House Options

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular, for buyers and sellers. Being able to control numerous features of your home with a smart system isn’t only convenient, it also can also increase security. Here are some easy options to make your home smart.

  1. Smart Electronics

Connect lights, power strips and televisions to your smart system. You can control lights and devices directly from your phone, at any location. If you left a device turned on, you can check on its status and turn it off from anywhere. It’s not only convenient, but also a great way to lower your energy bill.

  1. Security Cameras

Cameras are a great way to monitor your home when you’re gone. You can set up notification systems for certain rooms or outdoor areas of your house. When the system detects motion, you’ll be able to immediately access the camera feed on your phone. You’ll have peace of mind, and more control over your home.

  1. Control Connected Devices

This is a great way to add a futuristic feeling to your home. Many control devices like Amazon’s “Alexa” or Google’s “Home Controller” are activated through your phone and respond to voice commands. You can control the temperature, stereo systems, lighting and multiple other appliances just by giving the device a voice command. It’s a very user-friendly way to instantly give you more remote control of your home.

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Moving to a New City

Blog Moving Mar 2017If you’re moving to a new city and considering buying, follow these tips from Mel Foster Co. to find the perfect home for you.

  1. Do Your Research

It may seem obvious, but doing research ahead of time is crucial to finding a place to meet your needs. A few months before you move, begin physically visiting properties in your new city. It might be time consuming, but you’ll have a much better idea of the size and budget of your potential housing if you look in person rather than just online.

  1. Think Long-Term

You might be tempted to select the most inexpensive option when you first arrive in your new town, but you should consider your long-term options, too. Perks such as being close to entertainment venues may seem important now, but in a few years, your situation may change, and you may be thinking about starting a family. How many bedrooms will you need, what school district are you in, and are you still close to your work? These are all long term questions you should think about before committing to short-term housing.

  1. Hire a Realtor®

All the preparation in the world isn’t a substitute for professional help in your home search, especially in an unfamiliar area. Sellers pay the commission fee, so you have nothing to lose by seeking professional help. If you’re interested in specific neighborhoods, be sure to mention this as some Realtors® are more specialized in certain locations.

Get help finding a home in your new city by working with Mel Foster Co.’s relocation specialists. They can help you connect with an agent in any city around the world and there is no cost to use relocation services. Contact relocation today.

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How to Create Your Perfect Home Office

Home Office

Home Office

Whether you’re working at home fulltime or doing some afterhours tasks, having an in-home office is crucial to being productive. If you want to construct a space where you can get work done be sure to follow these tips.

  1. Make the Most of Your Space

One of the biggest constraints for home offices is the amount of space available. Some people turn spare closets into their office and while you may have more space than a closet, you shouldn’t ignore their techniques. You want to maximize the amount of space you do have. Make sure cable management is efficient, utilize nooks and crannies and be sure to plan accordingly. Don’t go overboard and buy massive amounts of storage, just leave a little extra room for growth.

  1. Fill Your Office with Comfortable Furniture

At the office you may not have control over the type of chair and desk you use, but at home you have complete control. Make sure you find a desk large enough to accommodate everything you’ll be using it for. If you’re spending a lot of time in your home office, don’t try to go cheap when it comes to a nice chair. You want a comfortable chair with plenty of support so you don’t end up with any health problems.

  1. Make Your Space Personal and Fun

Your home office should be a reflection of you. Include family photos, hobbies and any interests you have. This space is entirely yours, and whatever you need to be productive or happy should be included.  Even something as simple as a rotating wallpaper or screensaver on your computer can keep your office interesting.

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Sell your Home Now or in the Spring?

Sell now or later?

Sell now or later?

Many homeowners feel it’s a good idea to wait until the spring to sell their home. But once the busy holidays are over, it might be time to get your house ready to sell before competition heats up in the spring. Here are four appealing reasons you should consider listing soon.

  1. Serious Buyers are Available

Homes are sold 365 days a year. People move into the area, expand their families or decide to downsize at all times of the year. There are always homebuyers looking for their dream home. And it might just be your listing.

  1. Less Competition

There are typically more listings in the spring, so list your home in the winter to stand out in the crowd. By avoiding the tougher competition in the spring, your home is more likely to be visited by prospective buyers during showings, giving you more exposure than you’d receive in the spring.

  1. Mortgage Rates are Still Low

If you’re interested in buying and selling property, you probably keep a close eye on mortgage rates. And noticed the recent uptick. Even with the recent increase, mortgage rates are still very low.

  1. A Faster Transaction

Finally, the time required to close on a home will most likely be shorter in the winter. Inspectors have fewer appointments, attorneys have less work to do and mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process. You’ll most likely be able to have meetings on your schedule instead of theirs and get to closing faster. One of the most frustrating things as a seller is not getting answers or having to extend closing another 15 or 30 days. Winter gives you more control over the closing date and may save you from making an additional mortgage payment.

Looking for an agent to list your home this winter? Click here to find an agent or office near you.

 

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Be Organized this Year.

Are you Organized?

Are you Organized?

If your resolution this year is to get organized, avoid these common mistakes. You’ll be more efficient and less stressed by maintaining order in your home.

Mistake #1 Confusing Neat with Organized

Having piles neatly lined up on the counter unfortunately doesn’t mean you are organized. If your flat surfaces seem to constantly be filling with clutter, designate a spot in your home for each item. Soon you’ll start to notice the piles will appear less frequently.

Mistake #2 Using the Fridge as a Message Center

It may seem like the central hub of your house, but everyone goes to the fridge for food not information. Homes need a place where everyone goes for messages. Instead of cluttering your fridge with notes, messages and reminders, create a bulletin board where everyone knows they can find any updates they need.

Mistake #3 Too Many Storage Bins

Having too much storage is actually an issue, especially if you aren’t using it efficiently. You may be replacing your clutter with larger and boxier clutter by adding so much storage. Instead, consider reorganizing the storage you currently have. If you can take the storage bins you have and organize them in a closet or cabinet, you’ll be able to utilize all of your storage effectively.

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Winter Home Improvements Lead to Lower Utility Costs.

Ideas to lower your utility costs.

Ideas to lower your utility costs.

Save money on your utilities by tackling these smaller improvements this winter.

  1. Appliances

January is a great month to buy appliances. Retailers are trying to move last year’s inventory before new models are introduced. For every energy-efficient appliance you add to your home, you’ll save anywhere from $50-$100 annually. Time your purchases right for deep discounts and save money on your utility bill. In addition to the cost savings, you’ll have reliable appliances you can depend on for many years.

  1. Insulation

Make sure your insulation is in top shape, especially in the basement, attic and garage. Studies have found insulation purchases have over 100 percent price recuperation if you decide to sell your home. Not only will it add value to your home in the long run, your energy bills will be lowered almost immediately.

  1. Landscaping

Winter months are the perfect time to start planning your outdoor designs. According to the Chicago Botanic Garden, in winter there is less chance of transmitting diseases from one plant to another or attracting insects to fresh pruning wounds. By planning your spring planting now, you’ll get a jump on your spring chores. By the summer, your pruned trees or new plantings will be shading your yard and padding your pocket in the form of lower utility costs.

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Prepare for Dangerous Winter Road Conditions.

Prepare for Winter Weather

Are you prepared for winter weather?

Traveling during the winter can be dangerous, especially during severe storms. Sometimes travel is unavoidable, so follow these tips to make sure you stay safe on the roads this holiday season.

  1. Prepare Before a Storm Hits

Preparation is essential to having a reliable and safe car during the winter months. Have a mechanic check your battery, brakes, fluid levels and heating systems. Be certain your car is in the best possible shape. If you are stranded, make sure to only run the heat for about 10 minutes at a time as snow can sometimes block exhaust systems.

If you are going to travel, notify someone of your estimated travel time and route. This will provide you with a safety net if you end up stuck in a storm. Someone will know you’re not at your intended destination, and will be able to contact authorities for help if you can’t.

  1. Create an Emergency Kit

It’s a great idea to have an emergency kit in your car at all times. Blankets, food, water, first aid kits, road flares, shovels, towrope, booster cables and sand for additional traction are all extremely useful, especially during longer trips. Make sure you don’t eat snow, as it will lower your body temperature. If it’s your only source of water, try to melt it first.

If you’re planning on a cross-country drive, make sure you have the required items to charge your cell phone. If you’re stuck somewhere the best thing you can do is to call 911, and remain in your vehicle while you wait for help to arrive.

  1. Get The Right Insurance Coverage

Consider including towing or car rental to get back on the road faster after an accident or mechanical issue. Finding the right plan is easy, especially since Mel Foster Insurance offers a free auto quote. Visit our website to find an insurance agent today!

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Establishing a Rental Property.

Steps to Establish Rental Property

Steps to Establish Rental Property

Make your rental property stand out and maximize your profits with the help of Mel Foster Co. and its relocation specialists. Buy a condo in downtown Chicago, a beachfront bungalow in Florida or a home on the golf course in Arizona for your enjoyment, and to generate additional income for you. These tips can help you successfully rent out your property.

  1. Partner with Local Businesses.

To get the most out of your rental property, partner up with local attractions and businesses. If your rental comes with a 10% off coupon at a nearby ski resort, restaurant or theatre, it makes your listing stand out above the others. Local businesses will appreciate the advertising and business, and you’ll enjoy the increased interest in your rental.

  1. Reduce the Minimum Stay Requirement.

Renters will often be looking for a weekend getaway, especially during the off-season. During the busiest parts of the year, having a seven-day minimum isn’t an issue for potential renters, but you’ll notice a significant drop in interest during less busy parts of the year when week long rentals are more rare. Having someone renting for a brief period of time is much better than not renting at all.

  1. Keep the Listing Updated.

If you want to entice potential renters, update your listing about once a month. You should list upcoming shows or events that are easily accessible from your property. If someone is coming to town specifically for an event, they’ll immediately know your rental is the best option.

  1. Work with a Local Real Estate Agent.

It’s much easier to work with an agent in your current area before investing in a property in an unfamiliar area. Mel Foster’s relocation specialists can help you determine cost of living expenses, state tax rates and connect you with an agent in the area you’re interested in.

Click here for more information on how to get started finding the perfect rental property.

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Holiday Safety Tips For Your Home,

Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are a time for relaxing with family and friends. Make sure your home is safe this holiday season by keeping an eye out for common hazards.

Holiday Lighting

Be sure to take caution when it comes to decorative lighting. Carefully inspect cords, bulbs and connections for all your lighting. If anything is damaged, repair or replace it immediately.

Extension cords are the source of many fires, so be sure they aren’t damaged. Plugging multiple extension cords into each other increases the risk of a fire starting.

Don’t overload an outlet with too many plugs. This can cause an electrical overload and cause a fire. Outlet fires cause nearly $1.5 billion in damage annually. Stay safe by using separate outlets to evenly distribute the lighting throughout the house.

Christmas Trees

Choose a fresh tree that has been recently cut. Fresh trees are more resistant to ignition. Continue watering the tree daily to prevent it from drying out.

Make sure any lighting you use on the tree is designed for indoor use. Again, be sure the lighting isn’t damaged in any way.

Place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source. This includes fireplaces, candles and heating vents.

General Maintenance

Test your smoke alarms monthly and be sure to replace the batteries immediately if they are unresponsive. Make sure to have a smoke alarm in every sleeping area and on every level of your house.

Clean any clutter around the house. Don’t store combustible materials near outlets, heating vents or furnaces.

Replace heating and cooling filters as needed and be sure to have yearly cleaning and maintenance done on your heating and cooling systems.

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