Will Coronavirus Impact the Housing Market too?

Ever since the outbreak of the Coronavirus from China, things have turned a little upside down. Stores are running out of food and toilet paper. Businesses are closing down, some being forced to close and only do take-out. Even the President has put limits on things such as no gatherings over ten people.

If you’ve been monitoring the situation at all, you know that with all the madness, the stock market has already taken a significant hit and this virus is beginning to affect our economy in many ways. With that being said, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Is the housing market next?”

Will the ramifications of the Coronavirus make their way into the Real Estate world?

One great article from curbed.com dives into this question. Read below for their take on the Coronavirus and the Housing Market, discussing where the market stands, what has happened in years past, and what you should be thinking about both as a potential buyer and a as a homeowner.

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS IMPACTING THE HOUSING MARKET: THE ECONOMY IS GRINDING TO A HALT. WILL THE HOUSING MARKET FOLLOW?

Few homes look their best in the dirty grays of late winter, which is, in part, why homebuying season coincides with the arrival of spring. This year, however, the crocuses that can make a house look that much nicer are showing up alongside the less reassuring news of a virus circling the globe.

The spread of COVID-19—more commonly referred to as coronavirus or novel coronavirus—has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It’s already claimed more than 6,000 lives worldwide. Major events and conferences have been postponed or canceled, corporations are telling employees to work from home, and the stock market has dropped almost 30 percent since February 24.

The CDC has recommended social distancing as a preventive measure for getting the virus, but if you’re already in the market for a house, all the uncertainty might have you worried about the housing market. Will it suffer a swoon similar to Wall Street?

There are almost 4,000 cases currently confirmed in the United States, and that number is almost certain to rise. The countries where the virus has hit the hardest—namely China, where more than 81,000 cases have been documented—are global manufacturing hubs that corporations use as suppliers. China’s economy has been brought to a standstill as a result of the virus, and the longer it stays that way, the more the United States economy will be effected.

Historically low inventory and rock-bottom mortgage rates would normally set the stage for a highly competitive homebuying season. While recessions normally have only a minor effect on the housing market, the coronavirus is making life and markets anything but normal.

Coronavirus already pushing mortgage rates lower

Late Sunday, the Federal Reserve announced a second emergency interest rate cut since the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the yield on Treasury bonds to almost 0 percent. Furthermore, the stock market crash can have an effect on interest rates, too.

When investors start thinking the stock market is too risky—like right now—they sell their stocks and buy bonds. The increased demand pushes the price of bonds higher. The higher the price of bonds, the lower the interest payment—called the yield—is relative to the price. When bond yields are lower, mortgage rates are lower, too.

However, the New York Times reported that this inverse relationship between stocks and bonds has not held as firm as it has historically, probably in part because interest rates were already so low. Rates are down to around 3.7 percent, and it’s an open question how low mortgage lenders are willing to go, regardless of whether the Federal Reserve cuts its target rate again.

Where the housing market currently stands

The housing market is, in a word, tight. Consider Seattle, where home prices have risen dramatically as it has become one of the country’s leading tech hubs. And while the nation as a whole is suffering from housing shortages, Seattle’s available homes for sale dropped a dramatic 27.6 percent year-over-year in January.

The housing market in other cities isn’t much better off: supply is at near record lows nationwide, and demand is near an all-time high. This combination means home prices are also near all-time highs in most cities as many potential buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale.

At the end of 2019, the number of houses for sale dropped even lower, particularly on the West Coast. Compared to a year ago, some cities saw double-digit percentage decreases in available homes for sale, although that is partly a function of there having been a supply spike in the second half of 2019, so the decrease looks more stark than it otherwise would.

But the supply spike was short lived. “It’s actually back down near record lows in terms of the level of inventory for many markets and the country as a whole,” says Jeff Tucker, an economist with Zillow.

On the demand side, key indicators suggest there will be a lot of buyers in the market. Low unemployment, solid wage growth, and low mortgage rates are all signals of high demand. Todd Teta of ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, says they’ve seen unusually high web traffic to real estate portals like Zillow and Redfin.

“We look at the portals, and traffic was way up relative to seasonality than what you saw in January of 2019,” he says. “All those indicators are looking pretty strong.”

It’s hard to forget the recent history, but while the 2008 financial crisis saw both the housing and stock markets drop in tandem, this was an aberration in so many ways; the housing market crash was ultimately the cause of the stock market crash. Typically the housing market isn’t tied to swings in the stock market, because people don’t buy houses purely as an investment. Housing is a basic need, and the decision to buy one is usually prompted by entering a new stage of life.

A newly married couple is moving in together and is buying a house. A couple is having a kid and needs more space to accommodate the baby so they buy bigger house. Empty nesters have more house than they need after their kids go to college, so they downgrade to a smaller house.

A stock market correction doesn’t change these circumstances for people. Even in full-blown recessions, the housing market is incredibly durable. In some previous recessions home prices have actually gone up.

Another thing to consider is that as the stock market drops, investors look for safer places to park their wealth, hence the bond market going up. The stock market drop can have the same effect on the housing market. Roofstock, a platform investors use to buy and sell single-family rental properties, has seen huge spikes in web traffic since the outbreak of the virus, as global investors look for less volatile investment options.

Are homebuilder supply lines being disrupted by coronavirus?

The short answer is yes. Nearly a third of home building material inputs come from China, according to the National Association of Home Builders, not to mention more finished products like bathtubs, sinks, appliances, and more.

This could delay home construction at a time when it has finally picked back up. Since the financial crisis, home building has struggled to keep pace with demand because of the cost of construction, lack of available land, and a construction labor shortage.

However, home builder confidence has skyrocketed in recent months, according to the NAHB. This signals that builders are more inclined to start construction on homes. To wit, new home sales—largely dependent on how many homes are built—have spiked dramatically in recent months, as have construction starts.

But if supply lines are disrupted, it could dampen the pace of home building and contribute to inventory shortages.

“Low interest rates help support demand, and consumer confidence readings in the coming months will be key, but the virus does heighten some of the longer-term challenges on the supply side in terms of housing supply,” says Robert Dietz, an economist with NAHB.

So how should I approach things heading into the spring homebuying season?

The conditions were set for the spring being an incredibly competitive housing market. Inventory is low, demand was high, and mortgage rates are low. If you already own a home, you might consider refinancing while rates are this low; other homeowners are already jumping at the chance.

However, it’s worth taking recent housing market history into consideration. Two years ago, similar conditions existed in the market and one realtor told Curbed that we were entering “the most competitive housing market in recorded history.”

That market didn’t materialize. Instead, home prices hit an affordability ceiling that kept many buyers out of the market. Eager sellers who listed their homes in hopes of taking advantage of the favorable conditions saw their homes linger on the market, leading to an inventory pile up not seen since the 2008 housing crash, particularly on the West Coast.

Home prices are still very high. If the same conditions existed and home prices were a little undervalued, it would likely create rapid home-price appreciation. But with prices already potentially maxed out, it remains to be seen whether current market conditions cause prices to break even higher or hit a ceiling.

The wild card in the housing market is coronavirus. If its impact is prolonged and induces even a minor recession, it could put a damper on demand—which would actually be welcome for buyers in particularly competitive markets. Still, don’t expect home prices to drop. It would likely just slow down the pace at which they are rising.

2020 Housing Market: Economic Perspectives

As we get ready for another month in 2020, let’s look some more about how our housing market is predicted to do this year. Below is an article from realtor.com (which you can read further by clicking here) going over the housing forecast of 2020 from an economic standpoint.

Economic Perspectives

Gross Domestic Product

Economic activity in the United States started 2019 on an upbeat note, fueled by consumer optimism and business confidence. Riding the corporate tax restructuring of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, companies boosted investments and, coupled with solid consumer spending, led to a 4.1 percent annualized gain in gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter of the year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In addition, exports outpaced imports during the period, leading to expectations of increased trade windfalls.

However, as the year wore on, the trade rifts between the US and its trading partners deepened, leading to an escalation in tariffs and overall uncertainty. While consumer optimism remained unabated—leading to a 4.6 percent annualized gain in consumer spending—business confidence waned and resulted in a 1.0 percent drop in investment in the second quarter. Even as government spending picked up the pace, the cumulative effect was a mild 2.0 percent GDP gain in the second quarter.

The loss of momentum was reflected in the third quarter’s GDP figure, which advanced at an initial estimate of 1.9 percent annual rate. The Bureau of Economic Analysis subsequently revised third quarter GDP to 2.1 percent, showing stronger business investment. The Federal Reserve, concerned about a deteriorating global economic outlook, decided to boost liquidity in the financial system, in an effort to prevent an economic slide.

Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve moved into 2019 signaling through its forward guidance that, as the economy continued on an expansionary track, it would maintain a policy focused on monetary tightening. Markets expected at least two additional short-term interest rate increases at the outset of the year.

Towards the midpoint of the year, however, the central bank’s policy shifted, in response to global changes. While the US economy continued showing signs of growth, major economies around the world slowed. In response to the slowdown, central banks around the world engaged in accommodative monetary responses, resorting to cutting rates and purchasing assets, in an effort to boost output. Along with the Bank of Japan, several central banks in Europe took interest rates into negative territory, attempting to spur investment and liquidity. In response, world currencies dropped against the US dollar, adding pressure on US exporters and sectors sensitive to currency risks.

The Federal Reserve decided to change tack in light of these shifts, and responded by cutting rates 3 times, at the Federal Open Market Committee’s meetings in July, September, and October. The central bank also expressed that it would move from a longer term outlook to a shorter term horizon, assessing incoming economic data through the year to guide its policy actions. While the bank’s two main objectives—stable employment and low inflation—remained on track in 2019, the rate cuts seemed aimed at walking a tightrope between maintaining US economic momentum amid a global economic moderation and placating investors’ expectations for growth.

Employment

Mirroring the shift in business confidence, the pace of employment growth moderated in the first three quarters of 2019. While companies continued adding positions to their payrolls, the number of net new jobs totaled 1.45 million during the January to September timeframe, 27 percent lower than the same period in 2018, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The professional and business services sector—the main driver of employment growth during the past decade—took a back seat to the healthcare and social assistance sector, accounting for 311,000 net new jobs, a 29 percent decline from 2018. With over 410,000 new jobs added to payrolls, the healthcare sector led the pack, posting a 19 percent gain compared with the same period in 2018. Stemming from solid growth in business travel, the lodging and food services sector provided the third largest number of net new jobs in the first nine months of 2019, with 136,000 employees added to payrolls.

As the corporate outlook dimmed partway through the year, employment in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities slowed. In addition, despite strong demand for housing, construction companies hired 58 percent fewer employees in 2019 compared with the prior year. The slowdown in hiring was also evident in other sectors, such as mining and logging, financial activities, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation.

Government entities also reflected shifting priorities in 2019. After an extended period of flat hiring, the federal government added 45,000 new positions during the first nine months of the year. Local governments—enjoying rising property tax revenues—also went on a hiring spree, adding 91,000 new employees to payrolls, a 44 percent increase year-over-year. State governments pared back their hiring, adding a more moderate 20,000 new jobs.

The pace of employment, while slower than a year ago, pushed the unemployment rate to 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2019, the same rate last experienced in the second half of 1969. The labor force participation rate reached 62.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, slightly below the average rate recorded over the past decade. While wages gained ground during 2019, at 3.0 percent during the first half of the year, when adjusted for inflation, they managed a more modest 1.2 percent year-over-year average gain.

Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence spent the better part of 2019 moving sideways, despite monthly fluctuations. In September, the Present Situation component of the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was unchanged compared with the same month in 2018. However, the Expectations component dropped 15 percent over the figure from the prior year, leading to an 8 percent decline in the overall index, and implying that consumers were expecting deteriorating conditions over the next few months.

2020 Economic Outlook

As economic momentum moderated through 2019 and global headwinds gather, GDP growth is projected to post a modest 1.7 percent advance in 2020. As the housing share of expenses continues rising, consumers—the largest contributor to output—will likely trim back on non-housing spending. A slowdown in consumer spending, coupled with rising global uncertainty and market volatility, can be expected to lead companies to contain costs and trim employment goals. An employment slowdown will move the unemployment rate from 3.6 percent at the start of 2020 to 3.9 percent by the end of the year—a jobless rate still below what would be expected in a healthy economy, but a shift in the wrong direction. In turn, consumer confidence will soften during the year, with the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index estimated to decline 21 percent.

Following the Federal Reserve’s monetary accommodation, inflation expectations remain modest and well-anchored, translating into a 2.0 percent year-over-year increase in 2020. While short term rates remain low, economic moderation is likely to impact bond markets, leading to mortgage rates moving mostly sideways in 2020. Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages are projected to average 3.85 percent during the next year.

 

Is it Time to Reduce Your List Price?

Has your home been on the market for a few months now, or even longer? Maybe you’ve had a little bit of interest, maybe not. However, with the market we’re in today, if your home is in reasonably good condition and still isn’t selling, it’s time to start asking yourself some tough questions and consider lowering the price on your home.

Here are a few things to think about if you find yourself in this situation:

Locate the problem. With a Comparative Market Analysis (known as a CMA) of recent sales prices, hopefully you listed the house at an attractive price. However, maybe the booming market and wanting to make the most profit possible had you listing your home a little above market value, hoping it would appraise. This could be one reason you aren’t selling. People want to buy a home, but they don’t want to pay more than it’s worth. Other problems could be: did you make obvious repairs, and declutter and clean the house until it shines? Have you had an open house? Have you staged the home? Try to figure out why buyers aren’t seeing the value of the house in relation to your price.

Examine feedback. Review the feedback provided by prospective buyers who have toured your home. Your real estate agent can set this up for you. If buyers consistently list the same negatives, you’ve found your problem. Is your home a two-bedroom, one-bath model? Is there a busy road nearby? Does the home smell like cigarette smoke? Fix what you can immediately. What cannot be fixed must be addressed in price.

Seasonal Sales. Spring and summer are the busiest season for home sales. If you’re selling in the winter, buyers expect better deals and may have considered your home overpriced. This is also something to keep in mind when setting your home price. If you’re trying to sell your home in the dead of winter (maybe you have no other choice), but are trying to get top dollar, you’re probably going to end up having to drop the price to a more reasonable number for that time of year.

Search parameters. Is your home price just above a common online search parameter? For example, prospective buyers may search for homes ranging in price from $200,000 to $250,000. If you price your home at $260,000, your home will be excluded from many online searches. If you want to sell for $250,000, a savvy agent will steer you toward listing at $249,900 so that you don’t fall just outside of buyers’ search parameters, thereby missing out on good prospects.

Agent expertise.  A good agent should be investing significant time and effort in marketing your home. Good marketing can be everything! Relying solely on the Multiple Listing Service and a sign in the yard is not a good strategy. Your agent should assist you in staging your home correctly, getting professional photographs taken, sending direct mail advertising, and posting your listing to social media platforms. When your home does sell, you’re paying a lot of money for the agent’s services, so make sure you’re getting the best possible! If the agent you’re using took pictures on their phone and doesn’t advertise your home anywhere else besides MLS, these are not good signs of a good agent. First impressions are everything and good marketing helps your home make a great first impression.

How much to reduce? If, in the final analysis, you need to reduce your price, carefully consider all the factors discussed above and make a decision with the help of your agent.

Homeowners Buying a New Home in the 2020’s

If you are currently a homeowner, there’s a 45% chance that you’re planning to sell your home and move to a new one within this decade according to lendingtree.com.

With a booming market there are plenty of reasons homeowners might be considering making a move in the next 10 years. Moving because you want a newer and nicer home, moving to cash out on the investment that is your home, changing cities or states, moving closer to kids or grand-kids, retiring, opting to go back to renting rather than owning, and so much more!

CLICK HERE to read this great article from lendingtree.com on how and why homeowners are making an address change in the 2020’s.

Are We In a Housing Bubble?

With higher home prices that just keep rising and a competitive real estate market, the phrase “housing bubble” is one that has been getting tossed around a lot as of late. People are wondering and worrying if there will be another housing market crash, afraid to buy in the event that there is or propelled to sell to make the most of their money while they can.

Well, while no one can say for certain because we can’t predict the future, many real estate professionals are leaning on the side of no, we are not headed for another crash.

Check out this article from scottsdalerealtors.org that details why many believe this is not a concern to be had:

Financial blogger Logan Mohtashami is not the first and certainly won’t be the last to write about whether the U.S. is entering another housing bubble.

With more than 30 years of experience in the home lending business, he recently remarked “it is bullish for housing that year-over-year real home prices went negative last year” as shown on the three Case-Shiller indexes below.

“Despite what some want you to believe, this housing cycle is not in a bubble. Look at the difference in the metrics for the real bubble years of 2002-2005 compared to the current cycle years 2012-2020.” – Logan Mohtashami | HousingWire

Did the Valley mirror this cycle? See the Cromford Market Index graph shared by senior analyst Tina Tamboer at the Scottsdale REALTORS® Influencer Marketing panel.

“What pushed demand so high?,” Tamboer asked the sellout crowd. “Dumb loans and false demand — somebody buying the house who’s not going to live in it and not going to rent it. Now, we’re back to normal demand, but we have no houses for them to buy.”

Despite the market rollercoaster, Tamboer said homeowners who kept their homes through the Bubble and the Crash saw a 20-year average Annual Appreciation Rate of 4.5%. Between 2009 and 2019, that rate more than doubled to 9.3% as shown below.

The 2020 Housing Market by ARMLS

As we kick off the 2020 Real Estate season, we love to look at what some trusted sources around our state have to say about it. What are their predictions? Will the market keep booming, or take a dip?

That being said, here is what Scottsdale’s multiple listing service (aka ARMLS) has to say about what the housing market might look like in the year 2020:

2020 Housing Market: Gen X, Boomers, and Millennials

As we head into 2020, many in the Real Estate industry, or those who are looking to buy or sell this year, may be wondering what the market will look like in the months to come and overall this year.

According to Realtor.com, one factor playing a major roll in the housing market this year is age groups. Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Millennials will all have an effect on the year 2020, just as they started to in 2019.

With Gen Xers and Baby Boomers:

Though many are beginning to retire and seek places that are sunnier, warmer, have lower taxes, and have lower costs of living, many are also opting to hang onto their homes a little longer than they did in the past. This is causing a diminish in home supply – even more of a diminish than there was before – and a diminish that new home builds cannot keep up with in order to keep inventory steady.

When it comes to mortgages, around 32% of home purchases this year are projected to be from Gen Xers, while around 17% of home purchases are projected to be from the Baby Boomer generation, a smaller percentage than in previous years.

About Millennials:

As for millennials, they are projected to make up a whopping 50% of all home purchases this year! That means they’ll take out more mortgages than the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers combined.

While some may think that Millennials are just looking for hip apartments in the city within walking distance to everything (or are drowning in too much student debt to hold their own in the Real Estate market), that isn’t the case. Not only are Millennials looking for other types of homes – such as an 1,800 square foot house in the suburbs – but they also have peak savings for down payments. The median age for millennials is 30 years old, which is also the age of the average home buyer now. These 30-somethings are starting families and seeking homes in good neighborhoods closer to good schools.

The only problem millennials will face, as will every other home buyer this year, is the inventory shortage, making it harder for them to find the right home.

 

This is just one factor looking to affect the 2020 market this year, but there are many more, which we’ll continue to write about in blogs to come. If you’re looking to possibly buy or sell a home this year, we’d love to help you in any way we can! You can call us at 928-771-1111.

The Silver Tsunami: Baby Boomers Influence on Coming Real Estate Market

As we close out the end of our year, we look back on the Real Estate market over of 2019, but also forward to what it may become. From home sale prices, inventory of homes, and so much more, we found this article in Phoenix’s Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) November Statistics an interesting read.

“The Silver Tsunami” commentary by Tom Ruff:

“I have little confidence in forecasting beyond six months, but Zillow’s not afraid to project 20 years out. These are the same people that told us buying a home near a Starbucks offers the best appreciation value and an ‘8’ in your address means ‘make a fortune’ to Chinese buyers. This brings us to the soup de jour of housing stories, the Silver Tsunami.

Zillow research contends, ‘The massive Baby Boomer generation has already begun aging into retirement, and will begin passing away in large numbers in coming decades – releasing a flood of currently owner-occupied homes that could hit the market,’ concluding the U.S. is at the beginning of a tidal wave of homes hitting the market on the scale of the housing bubble in the mid-2000’s.

But an article published in NAHB NOW counters the Zillow research. ‘While it is difficult to accurately predict two years into the future – much less 20 years – here are the facts:

• Just because homes will turnover more in the future, does not mean home prices will fall. Turnover is fine, provided there is sufficient demand, and demand is generated by population growth.
• The U.S. Census projects that the U.S. population will grow by 25 million over the next decade.
• Of note, the 18 to 44-year-old population, which includes a significant share of the new construction buyer demographic, will increase by seven million from 2020 to 2030.
• Millennials – at 80 million strong – are the largest population group in American history and their median age is turning 30. This is significant because the median age of first-time buyers in the United States is in the
low 30s, so demand for single-family housing is rising.
• As the baby boomer generation shrinks and their homes hit the market, millennials and Gen Xers will be able to absorb this stock, plus provide enough demand for ongoing new home construction.”

Housing requirements are always going to be related to population. For those who like data, here’s a link to the population projections for Arizona.

The Zillow article also touched on Sun City:

‘The same demographics that propelled Sun City’s rise now pose an existential challenge to this suburb as baby boomers age. More than a third of Sun City’s homes are expected to turn over by 2027 as seniors die, move in with their children or migrate to assisted living facilities, according to Zillow. Nearly two thirds of the homes will turn over by 2037.’

This conclusion left me equally amused. When we view home sales in Sun City over the past 12 months, there were 1,477 single family residences sold. Public records tell us there are 19,605 single family residences in Sun City. At the current rate, 53% of the residences will sell, far greater than the alarming 33% mentioned in the article. As for 2037, based on current rates, 128% of the homes would sell. Sun City was a bad example to choose.

The story makes one final point. The homes owned by baby boomers are in places where younger people no longer want to live. This is nothing new. Phoenix saw urban flight in the sixties as the boomer’s grandparents aged
and their parents moved to the suburbs. We need to look no further than downtown Phoenix, which is now one of the most desirable places to live in the Valley. With a growing population base, real estate always finds a way to
transition.”

For a further look at ARMLS stats, click here.

First Time Home Buyer Struggles

In recent history, first-time home buyers once accounted for 40% of annual home sales in the United States according to NAR’s (National Association of Realtors) chief economist Lawrence Yun. However, 2019 has shown that the first-time home buyers of today still have not fully returned, making up only 31% of all homes sales thus far this year.

Because of this, home sales are still running at an annualized pace of 5 million, which means the housing market has essentially remained unchanged since 2000. This is odd because even though that number has remained the same, the US population has not.

From 2000 to 2019, the United States has seen growth of nearly 45 million people in population and 20 million in number of households. One would think that with a greater population and a greater number of households, that home sales would go up, but that hasn’t been the case because of first-time home buyers struggling to purchase.

So, why is it that first-time home buyers are having trouble breaking into the market? Well, there might be several things at fault here:

Student debt, which has tripled over the past decade. The population of those who have it are those who are younger, fresh out of college, in new careers, getting married possibly, and perhaps already have kids (or your general makeup of those whom are looking to buy a home for the first time). It’s hard to get qualified for a home loan when you aren’t making very much money, have to support a family, and have 50k plus in student loans over your head.

The real estate market is booming. What this means is affordability has gone down because home prices have risen fast. While interest rates have gone down and it takes a smaller share of monthly income to own, first-time buyers are struggling to find homes within their price range that meet their needs.

Starter home listings are in short supply. This is due to homebuilders focusing on expensive homes rather than affordable homes that millennials could buy, which makes it hard to purchase.

Not FHA Certified. A lot of homes that first-time home buyers could possibly afford are your condos and your town homes. However, many first-time home buyers also need to use an FHA loan, which cannot be used on these types of homes because they aren’t certified for them.

Credit Scores. Many millennials haven’t made the best decisions here with student loans (like mentioned above), credit cards, new cars, etc. Nowadays, a good credit score is crucial to purchase a home considering requirements to obtain a mortgage are tighter than ever because no one wants a repeat of the housing market crash.

These are just a few of the factors affecting first-time home buyers and we’re sure there are more because you never know what someone’s struggles may be, or why they’ve been having to rent all these years rather than purchase a home of their very own. Hopefully, as the economy continues to do well, so will those seeking to purchase a home, which will enable them to do so.

Are you looking to buy a home for the first time, but aren’t sure if you qualify or what you might qualify for? Call our office today at 928-771-1111. We work with some amazing lenders and it doesn’t cost a thing to talk to one, and see what your options might be!

Tips For Winterizing Your Home This Season

Though we posted this article last winter, we felt it was worth posting again because it is such helpful and vital information to have in the winter season.

Living in Prescott where winter temperatures drop below freezing and we get some pretty crazy snowstorms depending on how “wet” the season is that year (snowmagedon February 2019 am I right?), we all should know how to properly winterize our homes.

Even though we don’t get as much snow as other places such as Flagstaff just north of us, or Colorado’s white winters, we still get enough accompanied by some temperatures that could wreak havoc on unprepared homes. Burst pipes, inadequate insulation to keep in heat and save energy, a furnace that cannot keep up with the freeze, and many other things.

Below is some advice from our very own Sheila Mengarelli on how to winterize your home this season. Take a look at her tips and tricks, and make sure your home is properly equipped for the cold months – and hopefully snows – still to come!

Tips to Winterize your Prescott Home

  • Service your Furnace– Have your furnace serviced fall and spring by a local HVAC company to keep you high and dry.

 

  • Change the filters— Don’t forget to change the filter in your furnace. When you put the first furnace filter of the season in, don’t forget to set your digital calendar to remind you to replace it at monthly intervals throughout the cold season.
  • Inspect your Gutters– Clogged gutters can cause water that is blocked to freeze and seep into your home. Take the time to clean them out and make sure that your downspouts are carrying the water away and not toward your house.
  • Repair drafts– Electrical outlets, door frames, windows, and recessed lighting areas typically tend to be drafty. Sealing up these areas can save on your energy bill. Simply use a wet hand, or incense, to move over the areas to spot potential leaks.
  • Check your insulation– Attics require 12 inches of insulation. Moisture problems can occur if your insulation has backing paper, so take the time to do an inspection.
  • Check for any exposed pipes outside– Pipes must be insulated from the cold too. Not only does it keep the pipes from freezing, it will prevent condensation from freezing on them, helping to save on energy bills. Make sure any drip systems are drained and water spickets are off.
  • Vacation — Will you be away for an extended period of time? Never turn your furnace off. Set it at 50 degrees. This will keep your home at a steady temperature no matter what the weather brings. It’s also a good idea to set your water heater to vacation or away mode
  • Check your smokealarm – While you are inspecting so many other aspects of your home, don’t forget to make sure that your smoke alarms are all functioning, and replace the batteries as needed. Also, make sure that you have a functioning fire extinguisher as well.