Stuck at Home? Here’s Some Things to Do.

By now we might all be getting a little stir crazy. With the gloomy weather and the COVID-19 social distancing going on, there is only so much Netflix one can watch. That being said, what are some other things we can do around the house to keep from pulling our hair out?

Well, aside from the obvious spring cleaning and small house project here or there, below is a list brought to you by our friends over at Lawyer’s Title with some fun ideas to keep you and the kiddos busy during this strange time.

 

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.

Listing Feature – 2201 Forest Hills Road

Breathtaking views including city lights and Thumb Butte are captured from this fabulous split-level home near the base of Thumb Butte in Country Club Park. Perfect for a family home or AirBnb investment, this home has been well loved and taken care of.

Complete with a raised hearth fireplace and wood floors, it also has large picture windows that give views in three directions. The main level is comprised of the master suite including bathroom and walk-in closet, office with built-in shelves and desks, a second bedroom, and guest bath. Also on the main level is the sunny kitchen and adjacent morning room. Nearly every window you look out from this home you are met with views and nature.

The lower level has a family room with a fireplace, two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room and a fabulous bonus space which has potential for a great lock-off Airbnb suite.

Nestled on a 1.29 acre tree and boulder studded home site, this house boasts 3168 square feet and a detached over-sized 2.5 car garage with shop. It opens to tiered decking and patios to extend living outdoors with the jaw-dropping views of Prescott we all love.

You don’t want to miss this amazing property with plenty of room for the whole family and land that is to die for!

Interested in seeing this home? Call us today for your showing appointment at 928-771-1111.

Daylight Savings: Should We Get Rid Of It?

Living in Arizona, we don’t exactly have to deal with the issue of Daylight Savings. For the majority of us, that is the way we like it! And, as it turns out, there are others whom would agree with us and want to do away with the clock tampering altogether. Not all of them are as fortunate as us to live in a place that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings time, which currently is only Arizona, Hawaii, and a few other US Territories.

Here are two articles about Daylight Savings time, one from NPR.org that argues against Daylight Savings, and the other from CNN.com that argues for it. Read them both and comment your thoughts! We’d love to hear what you think of this debate.

NPR Article Summary:

Daylight Saving Time Is Here Again. So Is The Debate About Changing The Clocks

In general, the time change gets a bad rap. An AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted last fall found that 71% of respondents want to end the practice of changing the clocks. In all, 40% favored year-round standard time, while 31% said they’d prefer year-round daylight saving time.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) says moving the clock forward by an hour saves energy by providing an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, thus reducing the need to use household electricity for lighting. The agency says that it also prevents traffic injuries because more people are commuting during the daylight and that it helps cut crime because “more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs.”

However, research on the effects of daylight saving time has also revealed drawbacks, and whether it truly helps conserve energy remains in question. One 2009 study of miners, for example, found that in comparison with other days, on Mondays directly following the start of daylight saving time, workers “sustain more workplace injuries and injuries of greater severity” due to tiredness. Another study, published in 2007 in the journal Current Biology, followed the sleep of 50 subjects for eight weeks across clock changes. It found that though human circadian rhythms — which control sleep patterns — generally adapt to the “fall back” change, they struggle to adjust to the “spring ahead.”

Adhering to daylight saving time is a federal mandate, but states can opt out as long as they pass legislation and receive federal approval, according to the Transportation Department. In fact, several states and territories have chosen to be exempt from daylight saving time, opting instead to follow standard time year-round. Among them are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Other states, like Washington, have been in the fight to opt out of the time switch.

In May 2019, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that would #ditchtheswitch, putting the state on permanent daylight saving time. More than 30 states are considering similar legislation, according to the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago.

However, Washingtonians will still spring forward on Sunday with the rest of the country, as the state waits on Congress to approve the change, according to the Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, #ditchtheswitch has gained traction on social media, prompting both voices of support and backlash. It’s a debate that won’t be going away anytime soon, and unless you’re in an exempt area, expect to be groggy on Monday.

CNN Article Summary:

Daylight savings year-round could save lives, improve sleep and other benefits

In an effort to avoid the biannual clock switch in spring and fall, some well-intended critics of DST have made the mistake of suggesting that the abolition of DST — and a return to permanent standard time — would benefit society. In other words, the US would never “spring forward” or “fall back.”

They are wrong. DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime. Not surprisingly, then, politicians in Washington and Florida have now passed laws aimed at moving their states to DST year-round.

Congress should seize on this momentum to move the entire country to year-round DST. In other words, turn all clocks forward permanently. If it did so, I see five ways that Americans’ lives would immediately improve.

  1. Lives would be saved – Simply put, darkness kills — and darkness in the evening is far deadlier than darkness in the morning. The evening rush hour is twice as fatal as the morning for various reasons: Far more people are on the road, more alcohol is in drivers’ bloodstreams, people are hurrying to get home and more children are enjoying outdoor, unsupervisedplay. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes increase threefoldwhen the sun goes down. DST brings an extra hour of sunlight into the evening to mitigate those risks.
  2. Crime would decrease – Darkness is also a friend of crime. Moving sunlight into the evening hours has a far greater impact on the prevention of crime than it does in the morning.
  3. Energy would be saved – Many people don’t know that the original justification for the creation of DSTwas to save energy, initially during World War I and II and then later during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. When the sun is out later in the evening, peak energy loads are reduced. Virtually everyone in our society is awake and using energy in the early evening hours when the sun sets. But a considerable portion of the population is still asleep at sunrise, resulting in significantly less demand for energy then.
  4. Recreation and commerce flourish in the sun – Finally, recreation and commerce flourish in daylight and are hampered by evening darkness. Americans areless willing to go out and shop in the dark, and it’s not very easy to catch a baseball in darkness either. These activities are far more prevalent in the early evening than they are in the early morning hours, so sunlight is not nearly as helpful then.

Research shows that sunlight is far more important to Americans’ health, efficiency and safety in the early evening than it is in the early morning. That’s not to say there aren’t downsides to DST — notably, an extra hour of morning darkness. But I believe the advantages of extended DST far outweigh those of standard time. It is past time that the U.S. sets the clocks forward forever, and never has to switch them again.

Prescott, AZ Honored as a True Western Town

If you didn’t already feel like Prescott has a great Western feel, well, now it has just been confirmed by True West Magazine! In their February article, Prescott was named #4 on their list of Top Western Towns. With our World’s Oldest Rodeo, historic downtown area full of Old West culture, and so much more Old West history throughout the town, we’re not surprised.

Read below for what the City of Prescott had to say about the article and being named one of the top Western Towns in the country:

Virgil Earp was a lawman there.  Doc Holliday lived there for a time.  Prescott was an Old West hotbed during Arizona’s territorial days.  And many reminders of that time still stand.

That is one reason Prescott is #4 among True West Magazine’s 2020 Top Western Towns. San Angelo, Texas took the top spot. Prescott will be featured in the February-March 2020 issue, hitting newsstands on February 18, 2020.

Courthouse Square downtown sets the tone with a sidewalk timeline featuring prominent dates in the region’s development. It mixes nicely with the historical plaques along Whiskey Row across the street. That famous strip of saloons includes the Palace, which adorns its walls with wonderful historical photos. At Sharlot Hall Museum, see Arizona Territory’s first governor’s residence, a log cabin restored to its original look. The Fort Whipple Museum tells of frontier life through its vintage 1909 military officers’ quarters, and artifacts such as Army weaponry, photographs and military maps. The Phippen Museum, headquarters for quality Western art, has 17 bronze sculptures and paintings by Solon Borglum. Prescott’s first rodeo took place in 1888 and Prescott Frontier Days rodeo still turns the town upside down with eight days of wild fun over the Fourth of July.

“Prescott is a remarkable Old West town,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell.  “Not only because of its history, but because it has done so much to preserve and present it through buildings, museums, events, and more.  Prescotttruly deserves the designation as a Top Western Town.”

Mayor Greg Mengarelli shared his excitement about the recognition stating, “We’re proud of this recognition we’ve received from True West Magazine and the chance to showcase our western history, heritage, and culture. Our community is rich with experiences from the past and visitors from near and far plan their vacations around them. We look forward to many more years of sharing this rich history and hope to be #1 on the list sometime soon.”

This is the 15th year True West has presented this annual award. Editors base their selection on criteria demonstrating how each town has preserved its history through old buildings, museums and other institutions, events, and promotions of historic resources.

True West magazine is in its 68th year of leading the way in presenting the true stories of Old West adventure, history, culture and preservation. For subscriptions and more information, visit TWMag.com or call 888-687-1881.

March To-Dos for Your Home

The weather has finally been warming up (can we get a “hallelujah”?)! With sunshine and blue skies, it’s beginning to be nice enough to put on those work boots and do some much needed inspecting around the home. Below is a list from houseopedia.com with some things to consider doing around your home now that the weather is thawing out.

  • Inspect the roof. Check for damage from ice and wind. Look for loose shingles and flashing. Check behind chimneys where shingles meet flashing. Inspect the gutters, especially where they attach to fascia boards. Reattach any gutters that may have pulled loose under the weight of ice.
  • Inspect the attic. Look at the underside of the roof decking, checking for signs of water seepage. Ice can get into cracked shingles, expand and cause a leak upon melting. Replace shingles and backing, if necessary.
  • Foundation drainage. Before spring rains, check the slope of soil from the house foundation. Build up any areas where soil has eroded. Use small river rock mixed with the soil to better hold it in place.
  • Clean fireplace. Shovel out ashes and log remnants, then use a hand broom and vacuum to remove the fine dust. Close the damper. If you have a gas log set, consider shutting off the pilot for the spring and summer to save on gas usage.
  • Prep garden tools. Sharpen shovels, hoes and pick axes. Gas up the lawn mower and weed eater and give them a trial run. Take the insulating covers off the faucets and move hoses into place.
  • Gardening goals. In March or April, depending on your climate, it’s time to start thinking about a spring and summer garden. Clear raised planting beds of debris, and turn soil. Start seedlings inside. Do not plant until after last frost date in your area.
  • Relocate firewood. If you have left over wood, move it several yards away from the house. During the spring, a wood pile attracts creatures such as termites, carpenter ants, skunks and possums.
  • Power wash siding and decks. Over the winter prolonged moisture may create mold and moss on decks and house siding. Rent a power wash machine and give them a good cleaning.
  • Clean windows. Winter weather leaves dingy windows. Let the sun in with a good cleaning.
  • Provide nutrients for your landscape. Depending on your climate zone, March or April is the time to apply fertilizer and weed control. Consult local gardening experts.

Prescott’s March Calendar of Events!

Spring is nearly here, which means events in Prescott are going to start happening a lot more frequently! We say, bring on the sunshine and festivities! Here is your calendar of events happening in Prescott this month, brought to you by our friends over at Lawyer’s Title.

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.

How to Build Good Credit from Bad Credit

While there are a lot of people out there who have bad credit simply because they have no credit, there are also a lot of people out there who have bad credit for the reason most think others have bad credit for – for making some un-wise financial decisions.

The range of credit scores goes from 300 all the way up to 850. Contrary to what some may believe, there aren’t very many people out there with a rock bottom credit score of 300. According to nerdwallet.com, principal Scientist at FICO, Tommy Lee says, “FICO scores of 300 are extremely rare; in fact, only 1% of the population has a score less than 470, and 4% have a score less than 500.” And, even those who have a score less than 500 are those individuals with some severe late payments, those who have negative remarks from public records or collections, and those whom are using well over their credit limit (meaning their credit cards are far past what would be considered maxed out). These individuals might have such insurmountable debt that bankruptcy is the quickest way to recovering their credit respectability.

However, let’s assume you aren’t quite there yet and your credit is still salvageable. How can you begin to rebuild that credit? Some of the biggest things that affect your credit score and that you can start improving on today are:

1) Making Payments on Time: You need to start making all your payments on time! Nothing matters more than paying on time, every time, and it should be your first priority. When getting any kind of credit, paying late should never be an option, and if it needs to be, then maybe you should think twice about taking out that credit. It’s not worth the potential credit score and financial havoc it could wreck on you.

2) The Amount of Credit You Use: Always be keeping track of just how much credit you are taking out. This is especially important if you have multiple lines of credit going at one time. Make sure you know the TOTAL amount of credit being built, not just one at a time, and like mentioned above, be paying those payments on time.

3) Stop Your Credit Bleeding: We mentioned not spending too much on credit, but what is “too much”? Well, a good rule of thumb is to not be spending more each month than you can actually afford. This seems like an obvious fix, but many people will splurge on things like a new computer, or a new wardrobe, promising, “I’ll pay it back over time.” However, then their car breaks down, or they have an emergency doctor visit, and so on and so forth. The point is, you never know what life will throw at you, and it’s far wiser to pay off any residual debt you already have and slowly save for those “splurge” things that, when you think about it, really can wait. If you can’t afford to pay for them that month, then you can’t afford them.

4) Make a Budget: Not only will a budget put your monthly finances into perspective for you, but it will also help you stay accountable to yourself and what payments need to be top priority. Then, any extra money you have that isn’t going towards paying off your credit, can go towards a night out with your friends, or perhaps even a savings account (*gasp!).

 

These are just a few tips on how to start turning that credit score around. If you have a horrid credit score, the good news is that you can only go up from there! We hope this article was helpful! If you have any more questions about how to build your credit back up, we’d encourage you to go speak with someone at your bank. We’re sure they’d love to help you on your road back to financially stability.