Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update October 2020

If you’ve kept an eye on the housing market in Arizona for the past year, you know it’s been trending hotter and hotter. October stuck with that trend. Homes are selling quickly and for higher prices. Check out the stats below.

Monthly Sales

According to data from the ARMLS® from October 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020, monthly sales in the Phoenix metro area rose +4.1% from where they were in September of this year. At 9,690, total monthly sales are a full +23.5% higher than sales during the same time period in 2019.

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

List Price

At $457.7K, October saw a +6.9% year-over-year increase in average list price. Median prices also rose. With a +12.3% increase from October 2019, the median list price in October was $337K.

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Sale Price

Average sale prices increased by +23.2% in October 2020 compared to October 2019, landing at $425.3K. With a slightly smaller jump, median sale prices still rose significantly with +16.7% year-over-year increase. The October median sale price was $332.5K. November is forecasted to have a slight decrease in average sale prices, which would break the trend of steadily rising prices. Check back next month to check if the forecasts were correct.

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Days on Market (DOM)

The Average Cumulative Days on Market dropped by three days between September and October of this year, ending at 43. That’s a 16-day decrease from October 2019.
<img src=”https://www.homie.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/3-1.png” alt=”Data retrieved from ARMLS®.” width=”1060″ height=”510″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-32344″ />

Want to Know Your Home’s Value?

With homes selling quickly in the Phoenix metro area, if you’re looking to sell, we can help you find out how much your home is worth. Click here to request your free home value report from a Homie pro!

A Message From Sales and Operations Manager, Wayne Graham

The Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS®) has already declared 2020 to be our best year ever. Now is the time to reach out to Homie and let our expert agents help you sell your home.

Turn to a Homie

Homie has agents with significant local expertise in each of our service areas. These agents are knowledgeable and easy to work with. Click to start selling or buying with a dedicated and experienced Homie agent.

Source: homie.com

Messy Tahoe Home Filled With Mannequins Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

A wild residence in South Lake Tahoe, CA, crammed with clutter—including dozens of dead-eyed mannequins dressed in evening wear—is the week’s most popular listing on realtor.com®.

The home ticked all the boxes for the kind of listing designed to be shared far and wide across the web. Unassuming exterior? Check. Listing details with no acknowledgment of the weirdness within? Check. Photos that defy easy description—and leave you with more questions than answers? Check!

Carefully posed throughout the house, with at least one mannequin sprawled across a rug wearing nothing, these eerie ladies—and at least one gentleman—serve a dual purpose. They force you to take a closer look at the listing for an otherwise humdrum duplex and serve to distract from the messy kitchen and bathroom.

The combination was enough to send the listing ricocheting on social media.

Bold move.

Mannequin mania
Mannequin mania

realtor.com

But that wasn’t the only off-the wall listing racking up clicks this week.

A Pennsylvania home with painstakingly customized interior touches—including rounded doorways, a honeycomb-style grand staircase, and floating light fixtures—grabbed your attention, as did a Disney-themed home in Disneyland’s home town.

Other popular picks this week included a pair of dreamy celebrity properties: the historic New Orleans home of a politically polar-opposite power couple, as well as A-lister John Travolta‘s 43-acre oceanfront Maine estate.

There’s a lot going on this week. Scroll on down through the list, and take it all in for yourself.

Price: $3,380,000
Why it’s here: No partisan bickering here. We love this house. The sellers, political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, are staying in NOLA but have decided to downsize from this 8,279-square-foot Colonial Revival home.

The massive home was built in 1906 and has been updated to perfection. The quarter-acre lot is described as a “tropical oasis,” filled with gardens, mature shade trees, a terrace, a pool, and fountains.

New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, LA

realtor.com

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Price: $197,000
Why it’s here: This is for a buyer looking for something outside the box. Surrounded by 8 acres of privacy, it’s a legitimate, two-bedroom treehouse. There’s a fairly large caveat: The place isn’t finished.

The raised octagon has an open second floor, a deck, and a shop with kitchenette. The home is outfitted with electrical and septic systems and well service, but needs to be completed by a buyer with big dreams.

Cortland, OH
Cortland, OH

realtor.com

———

Price: $195,000
Why it’s here: Sitting on just over a half-acre at the top of a hill, this stone house from 1890 is a classic. The five-bedroom home comes with a four-car garage, lookout tower, original hardwood floors, curved interior walls, and updated bathrooms—for a combination of charm and convenience.

Ithaca, NY
Ithaca, NY

realtor.com

———

Price: $1,399,999
Why it’s here: This curious five-bedroom house is all angles and sharp edges from the outside, but the interiors were designed with curves in mind. The contemporary home features custom effects like the butterfly-wing entry staircase, rounded doorways, and floating light fixtures that suggest sand dollars from space.

Although it was designed for a very specific taste, the home, from 1987, is upscale, with a saltwater pool, kids playhouse, whole-house generator, and many upgrades.

Southampton, PA
Southampton, PA

realtor.com

———

Price: $535,770
Why it’s here: Known as the O’Leary mansion, this historic brownstone dates to 1890. It was built by James Patrick O’Leary for his mother, Catherine O’Leary—the woman considered to be responsible for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Today, the four-level, 12-bedroom home is in need of repair and is being sold as is. It still has much of the original woodwork and moldings, as well as walk-in vaults and a two-story coach house.

Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

realtor.com

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Price: $700,000
Why it’s here: This hideaway on 11 acres is just steps from the Ice Age Trail, and includes a three-bedroom home built in 1991. Highlights include a large kitchen, a living room with cathedral ceiling, log beams, a stone fireplace, and wet bar.

There’s a heated shop off the garage, a private pond, a new roof, as well as a number of other recent upgrades.

Hartford, IL
Hartford, IL

realtor.com

———

Price: $255,000
Why it’s here: Although this storybook home hasn’t been featured on HGTV’s “Home Town,” that didn’t stop folks from clicking. Built in 1929, the three-bedroom residence recently had a stylish makeover, including new paint, windows, and refinished floors.

Laurel, MS
Laurel, MS

realtor.com

———

Price: $835,000
Why it’s here: Built in the shadows of Disneyland, this ranch home has been decked out as an homage to all things Mickey Mouse. Happiest Airbnb opportunity on Earth?

The custom Disney designs are so spectacular, the four-bedroom home was featured on the Discovery Channel. Besides the decor, the home includes a heated pool, custom carpets, and a toddler-safe playroom floor.

Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA

realtor.com

———

Price: $5,000,000
Why it’s here: This 48-acre oceanfront estate is being sold by actor John Travolta. The massive 20-bedroom mansion was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1990s and has been recently renovated.

The extraordinary property includes a deepwater dock, open fields with ocean views, a third-floor children’s space, and a detached barn used for car storage.

Islesboro, ME
Islesboro, ME

realtor.com

———

Price: $650,000
Why it’s here: Nondescript from the curb, this five-bedroom residence made waves this week, thanks to the mannequins staged throughout the property.

Most of the mannequins are dressed in evening gowns—adding to the mystique. Built in 1962, the place could use some work—and a lot of tidying up. There’s no word on whether the list price includes the mannequins and/or their glittery gowns.

South Lake Tahoe, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA

realtor.com

Source: realtor.com

Underground Compound of 4 Fallout Shelters in Montana Awaits Buyer To Burrow In

When spectacular mountain views are available, nearby homes almost always feature an abundance of windows to soak in the vistas.

However, this property in Montana heads in a completely opposite direction. These four homes have no windows at all—they’re completely underground.

The quartet of below-ground homes sit beneath 10.6 acres in Paradise Valley near Emigrant, MT, just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Listed for $1.75 million, the earth-sheltered homes were originally built as fallout shelters. They offer all the amenities a comfortable residence requires—albeit with curved walls.

Views of Montana
Views of Montana

Theresa Lunn

Entrances
Entrances

Theresa Lunn

Entrance
Entrance

Theresa Lunn

Three of out of the four homes measure in at about 2,500 square feet, and each features multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.

The fourth home is significantly larger, with space to accommodate a crowd looking for a real escape.

“The largest one has several bunk rooms, so you could have more than a couple people in there,” says the listing agent, Theresa Lunn.

Each boasts a basement for food and supplies storage and to house all of the mechanicals.

The earth keeps the houses at a constant 50 to 55 degrees and to increase the temperature as needed, each home is equipped with its own HVAC and ventilation system.

“It never feels musty in there with the air circulation system. It always smells fresh,” Lunn says.

Exterior
Exterior

Theresa Lunn

Kitchen
Kitchen

Theresa Lunn

Kitchen
Kitchen

Theresa Lunn

Game room
Game room

Theresa Lunn

Bedroom
Bedroom

Theresa Lunn

Each home comes with its own kitchen, complete with appliances.

“Once you’re in there, they’re comfortable. It’s just like you’re in a house,” Lunn explains. “You walk down hallways, but then you just you walk into a kitchen that you think is your mom’s kitchen—a great area, bedrooms, very nice bathrooms.”

One house features a pool table in the rec room.

The current owner is a builder and is willing to sweeten the deal for a buyer who might be interested in buying the land and the underground homes.

“He would put a very nice [above-ground] home for an extra $240,000 onto the list price. Underneath the house, it would have a discrete entrance into shelter No. 4,” Lunn explains. “The additional house has not been built. He is offering that as a buyer package, if someone wanted that.”

Hallway
Hallway

Theresa Lunn

Bedroom
Bedroom

Theresa Lunn

Interior
Interior

Theresa Lunn

The Paradise Valley area is known for its outdoor activities.

“It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., for sure. It’s a huge mecca for fly fishermen,” Lunn says, adding hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and horseback riding are also popular.

“It’s a great spot for vacation rentals,” Lunn says, adding that renting an underground home could offer a unique allure for guests. “If you bought this, you could live in it and still rent it out. It’s also a great retreat possibility.”

Bathroom
Bathroom

Theresa Lunn

Storage
Storage

Theresa Lunn

Entrance
Entrance

Theresa Lunn

Lunn says buyers have shown an interest in the property—ranging from those in search of a sustainable property, to folks who desire the ultimate in protection.

The agent says she doesn’t like to use the term “preppers,” because of the negative connotations attached to the term. But she acknowledges that that is basically what people do when they store supplies in underground bunkers.

“If our great-grandparents didn’t prep, none of us would be here,” she says. “It’s just being prepared.”

Mechanicals
Mechanicals

Theresa Lunn

Mechanicals
Mechanicals

Theresa Lunn

Mechanicals
Mechanicals

Theresa Lunn

Mechanicals
Mechanicals

Theresa Lunn

The homes are currently attached to the electrical grid, but could be unhooked if a buyer decided to rely on the property’s own generators for power.

As in the case of most fallout shelters, the entrance to each home is through a thick door. Upon entry, the hallway takes a turn at a right angle.

“Any bunker worth its salt has to have those 90-degree turns, because nuclear and chemical material can’t go around [corners],” Lunn explains. “That’s really one of those tips of the trade for guys that are building bunkers.”

Lunn stresses these are regular homes where people would be very comfortable living or vacationing.

“[They’re not] some kind of freaky, end-of-the-world, zombie-apocalypse whatever. There is a lot of need for this type of property.”

Hallway
Hallway

Theresa Lunn

Entrance
Entrance

Theresa Lunn

Kitchen
Kitchen

Theresa Lunn

Bedroom
Bedroom

Theresa Lunn

Storage
Storage

Theresa Lunn

Source: realtor.com

15 Cities Where Homes Are Selling the Fastest

COVID-19 has brought tremendous volatility to many economic sectors, and one area where the effects have been felt most strongly is real estate.

In most areas, the onset of the pandemic last spring temporarily brought the real estate market to a standstill. Economic uncertainty was high as businesses shut down, making both buyers and sellers hesitant to enter the market, while stay-at-home orders and health and safety fears made it harder to arrange showings, inspections, and in-person meetings during the closing process.

As time has gone on, however, demand in the real estate market has picked up in a dramatic way. With the transition to working and schooling from home, families are increasingly seeking out homes with more space and amenities. Moreover, government efforts to stimulate the economy have kept interest rates low and provided relief to households through expanded unemployment benefits and direct payments. Simultaneously, shifts in consumer behavior have pushed savings rates higher over the last year. This combination of factors has given more buyers the desire and the means to look for homes.

Despite this, increased demand from buyers has not been met with an equal willingness of homeowners to sell. Some would-be sellers remain worried about risking COVID-19 exposure from tours and showings, but economic conditions may be the main reason why current homeowners are opting to hold onto their properties. For example, the same low interest rates that are enticing prospective buyers also make it easier for homeowners to refinance and stay put. Since selling one house frequently means buying another, sellers may look at a competitive market with many buyers and decide to avoid the hassle.

The overall effect is a market with unusually constrained supply of homes for sale. Real estate inventory usually shifts on a seasonal basis, dropping in the winter and picking up in the warmer months. COVID-19 interrupted these trends when the pandemic emerged in March. Inventory held flat during the spring but began to decline soon after. By December 2020, the number of active listings on the market was nearly 40 percent lower than at the same point in 2019.

Limited supply has affected sales in two major ways: first, prices are much higher, and second, homes are flying off the market. As with inventory, time to close usually follows seasonal patterns, with sales taking longer in the winter and less time in the warmer months. And here again, COVID-19 had a strong impact: sales were unusually slow after stay-at-home orders took effect but accelerated again over the course of the year. The median number of days a home spent on the market in the last quarter of 2020 was more than 15 percent lower year-over-year than the same period in 2019.

And as with all real estate, location matters. Demand—and with it, the speed of sales—are especially high in Western and Southwestern states that have been experiencing the highest rates of population growth. This includes the three states where homes are selling the fastest: Washington, Nevada, and Arizona.


Continue reading “15 Cities Where Homes Are Selling the Fastest”

Miami-Dade Total Home Sales Continue Surging in January 2021

Miami-Dade County total home sales posted a double-digit increase for the fifth consecutive month in January 2021 as pent-up demand and record-low mortgage rates continue fueling transactions, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

Miami-Dade County total home sales jumped 19.1% year-over-year in January 2021, from 1,857 to 2,211. Miami single-family home sales rose 9.1% year-over-year, from 887 to 968. Miami existing condo transactions increased 28.1% year-over-year, from 970 to 1,243.

“Double-digit home sale increases for five consecutive months speaks to the resiliency of the Miami real estate market, the global pent-up demand for South Florida properties, record-low mortgage rates, purchases from home buyers in tax-burdened states, the importance of the home as a hub in our daily lives and increased interest from international buyers,” MIAMI Chairman of the Board Jennifer Wollmann said.

Miami real estate accounted for 12,918 total home sales in the five-month stretch from September 2020 to January 2021. That is a 18.4% increase in the number of total transactions compared to the five-month stretch from September 2019 to January 2020.

Lack of inventory in certain price points is impacting sales, particularly for single-family homes. Increased housing starts and more sellers listing properties in 2021 should help alleviate the lack of supply.

Miami Luxury Condo Sales Surge 130.6% in January 2021
Miami single-family luxury ($1-million-and-up) transactions jumped 114.1% year-over-year to 167 sales in January 2021. Miami existing condo luxury ($1-million-and-up) sales increased 130.6% year-over-year to 113 transactions.

Luxury months of supply continues to trend downward for all property types, month-over-month, and year-over-year.

Miami single-family homes priced between $400K to $600K surged 51.5% year-over-year to 294 transactions in January 2021. Miami existing condo sales priced between $400K to $600K increased 64.5% to 153 transactions.

Record-low interest rates; a robust S&P 500; the appeal of stable assets in a volatile economy; homebuyers leaving tax-burdened Northeastern states to purchase in Florida (no state income tax); and work-from-home and remote-learning policies have all combined to create a robust market for luxury single-family properties.

110 Consecutive Months of Price Appreciation in Miami
Strong demand coupled with limited supply continue to drive price appreciation in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade County single-family home prices increased 25.2% year-over-year in January 2021, increasing from $375,000 to $469,500. Miami single-family home prices have risen for 110 consecutive months, a streak of more than 9 years. Existing condo prices increased 14.3% year-over-year, from $245,000 to $280,000. Condo prices have increased or stayed even in 112 of the last 116 months.

Miami, where the median price is still comparable to 2007 figures, remains a bargain compared to other global cities. In Miami, $1 million can net homebuyers 93 square meters of prime property, according to Knight Frank’s 2019 The Wealth Report. Monaco (16 square meters), Hong Kong (22), New York (31), Los Angeles (36) and others offer significantly less prime land for $1 million.

Single-Family Home and Condo Dollar Volume Increases
Single-family home dollar volume increased 86.4% year-over-year, from $471.7 million to $879.2 million. Condo dollar volume increased 69.4% year-over-year, from $393.9 million to $667.1 million.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 2.74% in January, up from 2.68% in December. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.

Lack of access to mortgage loans continues to inhibit further growth of the existing condominium market. Of the 9,307 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, only 13 are approved for Federal Housing Administration loans, down from 29 last year, according to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.

A better condo approval process is expected to increase sales. The guidance, which went into effect in October 2019, extends certifications from two years to three, allows for single-unit mortgage approvals, provides more flexibility with owner/occupancy ratios, and increases the allowable number of FHA loans in a single project. The changes, many of which MIAMI and NAR have championed, are expected to generate increased homeownership opportunities.

Miami Distressed Sales Stay Low, Reflecting Healthy Market
Only 1.8% of all closed residential sales in Miami were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 5.9% in January 2020. In 2009, distressed sales comprised 70% of Miami sales.

Total Miami distressed sales decreased 64.5%, from 110 to 39.

Short sales and REOs accounted for 0.7% and 1.1% year-over-year, respectively, of total Miami sales in January 2021. Short sale transactions decreased 37.5% year-over-year while REOs decreased 72.1%.

Nationally, distressed sales represented less than 1% of sales in January 2021, down from 2% in January 2020.

Miami Real Estate Selling Close to List Price
The median percent of original list price received for single-family homes was 96.8% in January 2021, up 1.3% from 95.6% last year. The median percent of original list price received for existing condominiums was 94.3%, up 1% from 93.4% last year.

The median number of days between listing and contract dates for Miami single-family home sales was 28 days, a 44% decrease from 50 days last year. The median number of days between the listing date and closing date for condos was 63 days, down 23.2% from 82 days.

The median time to sale for single-family homes was 80 days, a 18.4% decrease from 98 days last year. The median number of days to sale for condos was 111 days, a 9.8% decrease from 123 days.

National and State Statistics
Nationally, total existing-home sales transactions completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.6% from December to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in January. Sales in total climbed year-over-year, up 23.7% from a year ago (5.41 million in January 2020).

In January, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,587, up 18% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 9,608, up 24.6% over January 2020. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

Nationally, the median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $303,900, up 14.1% from January 2020 ($266,300), as prices increased in every region. January’s national price jump marks 107 straight months of year-over-year gains.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $305,000, up 15.1% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $230,000, up 15% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Miami’s Cash Buyers Top National Figure
Miami cash transactions comprised 33.1% of January 2021 total closed sales, compared to 33.8% last year. The national figure for cash buyers is 19%.

Miami’s high percentage of cash sales reflects South Florida’s ability to attract a diverse number of international homebuyers, who tend to purchase properties in all cash.

Condominiums comprise a large portion of Miami’s cash purchases as 43% of condo closings were made in cash in January 2021 compared to 20.4% of single-family home sales.

Seller’s Market for Single-Family Homes, Buyer’s Market for Condos
Inventory of single-family homes decreased 45.8% in January 2021 from 6,277 active listings last year to 3,401 last month. Condominium inventory decreased 15.4% to 12,608 from 14,902 listings during the same period in 2020.

Inventory of active listings has decreased the last 17 months for single-family homes.

Months supply of inventory for single-family homes decreased 44.6% to 3.1 months, which indicates a seller’s market. Inventory for existing condominiums decreased 9.6% to 11.3 months, which indicates a buyer’s market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six- and nine-months supply.

Months supply of inventory is down since July 2019 for single-family, reflecting strong demand.

Total active listings at the end of January 2021 decreased 24.4% year-over-year, from 21,179 to 16,009. Active listings remain about 60% below 2008 levels when sales bottomed.

New listings of Miami single-family homes decreased 13.7% to 1,541 from 1,785. New listings of condominiums increased 1.3%, from 2,468 to 2,500.

Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of January amounted to 1.04 million units, down 1.9% from December and down 25.7% from one year ago (1.40 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.9-month supply at the current sales pace, equal to December’s supply and down from the 3.1-month amount recorded in January 2020. NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982.

To access January 2021 Miami-Dade Statistical Reports, visit http://www.SFMarketIntel.com

Source: realtybiznews.com

10 Clothes Shopping Mistakes That Are Costing You

Man shopping for clothes
Photo by Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Clothes shopping can be a lot of fun — even if you’re not a fashionista.

Matching patterns and styles, trying on outfits, picking the perfect look for a big event — there are entire magazines and television shows devoted to artfully shopping for attire.

But if you’re not careful, you can also fall into some traps. There are so many options, from boutiques to giant department stores, and each has its own way of selling and pricing.

So first try on some advice for size: Avoid these dumb clothes-shopping mistakes, which can cost you plenty.

1. Falling for a fake ‘sale’

When you see a price slashed by 50% or even more, that’s a deal worth nabbing, right?

Not so fast. Make sure the supposed original price hasn’t been hiked up just to make this “deal” look juicier.

Do a little online research for the actual list price — or at least to get a sense of what other retailers are charging for the item — so you’ll know if that bargain is the real thing.

To learn more about this trick of the trade, check out “Why You Should Think Twice Before Paying a ‘Sale’ Price.”

2. Not using Honey

There is more than one way to overpay when shopping for clothes. Falling for a fake “sale” is just one. Another is neglecting to use Honey.

This free browser extension and mobile app automatically scours the internet for coupon codes for the items in your e-shopping cart — and then applies the codes that net you the biggest discounts. It works at more than 30,000 retailers.

According to Honey, its users see an average discount of 17.9% and save an average of $126 per year.

3. Not getting cash back

Are you passing up free money for items you would buy anyway?

When shopping online, you can use a free cash-back website like Rakuten to earn cash rebates on purchases from thousands of retailers.

So long as you are paying off your bill in full every month and thus avoiding interest charges, you can also earn money back by paying with a cash-back credit card.

Even better, you can double up on cash back by using a cash-back site and paying with a cash-back credit card.

4. Neglecting to follow your store online

Many major stores will text you a coupon if you sign up to receive their promotional emails. And you can collect coupons and learn about special sales by following the stores you like on social media.

Prefer not to have these alerts sent to your personal email address? No problem. Set up another email address through a free email service and use it just for those deals, promos and purchases.

5. Being clueless about sale schedules

Stores love schedules. If you shop frequently at a particular chain, learn its schedule for markdowns and annual sales — and take advantage.

Ask the clerks if you don’t know. These sale schedules aren’t state secrets.

6. Passing up an outlet store

Love Nordstrom’s shoe selection? Nordy’s heels move on to Nordstrom Rack, its discount relative, when they don’t sell. Same goes with Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.

Plenty of other big-price stores have lower-cost cousins, too. Or, just head to a nearby outlet mall for discounts on everything from jeans to jewelry.

7. Mooning over designer labels

If you’re papering your home with $100 bills, or are actual royalty, ignore this advice. Go ahead and buy all the designer clothes you want.

For the rest of us, the cachet of a fancy label isn’t worth the major-league prices. Levi’s jeans, for example, wear at least as well as pricier brands, and they have great old-school cred.

If you simply must own designer products, hunt for gently worn versions at a secondhand or thrift store.

8. Buying new when used will do

Be sure to check reputable secondhand stores before you buy new.

No one on the ski slopes will know if your snow pants have schussed down that mountain before — on someone else. The same is true for a barely worn prom or party dress, work clothes, school clothes, seasonal garb, sports attire and just about anything else you wear.

A few tips:

  • Become an expert thrift store shopper by reading “11 Secrets to Finding Quality Clothing at Thrift Shops.”
  • Find shops that specialize in gently used sports clothing and gear by searching online for a city’s name and “secondhand” gear and sports.
  • If you live where winter sports are popular, look for garb and equipment at annual local ski swaps.

9. Caring for your clothing improperly

Examine each garment’s washing instructions before you buy. Think realistically about clothing care before wasting money on high-maintenance garments unless you’re up for doing the required care.

Before falling in love with those beautiful linen pants, for instance, remind yourself that, even if they are a bargain, they’re bound to wrinkle. And you hate to iron. Or, if they’re dry-clean-only, your money will be wasted if you’re likely to toss them in a hot dryer.

10. Choosing paper receipts

If a store offers a choice between an emailed receipt and a paper copy, choose email every time. That way, if your purchase disappoints or doesn’t fit, all you need to do is search your email box for the store name to retrieve it.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

First Time Homebuyer? 6 Home Buying Myths to Look Out For – Redfin

Buying your first home is often a dream for many renters out there. But with all the information about how to buy a home, it can be easy to believe some of the home buying myths. Whether you’re looking to buy a house in Seattle, WA, or a condo in Miami, FL, you’ve probably heard some of the myths surrounding how much you’ll need for a down payment or how high your credit score should be. 

Before you set your sights on your dream home, make sure you know just what separates the home buying myths from the facts. You may realize that you’re able to buy your first home sooner than you think.

home-buying-myths

home-buying-myths

MYTH 1: You need a 20% down payment

The biggest home buying myth for any first time homebuyer is that you need a 20% down payment to buy a home. In many cases, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%. Common types of loans with low to no down payments include FHA, VA, and USDA loans. With FHA loans – loans designed for individuals with a low-to-moderate income level and credit score- your down payment could be as low as 3.5%. For veterans and current service members, VA loans offer no down payment mortgages, and those looking to buy a home in a rural area may qualify for a no down payment USDA loan. 

Aside from loans, down payment assistance programs can help you lower the cost of your down payment. These programs are available nationwide, statewide, or locally in your county or even city. Down payment assistance programs provide a wide range of assistance types such as second mortgages, forgivable loans, or grants covering partial to full costs of your down payment. Your real estate agent or mortgage lender can help you determine what down payment assistance you qualify for. 

If you do have the means to purchase a home with a 20% down payment, there are benefits to consider. For starters, you won’t need to factor in private mortgage insurance (PMI) to your budget. PMI is an additional cost your mortgage lender may require if your down payment is below 20% and the cost is factored into your monthly mortgage payment. However, it’s always a good idea to talk with your financial advisor or wealth manager to determine your finances and whether a 20% down payment is the right option.

MYTH 2: Renting is cheaper than buying a home

One of the most common home buying myths is that renting is cheaper than buying a home. If you’re deciding whether to make the transition from renter to buyer, you might believe that renting is the less expensive option. However, in some cities the cost of renting a home may be less than or equal to a monthly mortgage payment.

If you’re serious about buying a home, you may end up saving money in the long run if you buy a house rather than continue renting. To compare the costs of renting versus buying a home, you can use a rent vs buy calculator to determine which option works best for your circumstances.

MYTH 3: Your credit score needs to be perfect

Home buying myths centered around credit scores often run rampant, specifically the myth that you must have a great credit score to buy a home. Luckily, that’s not always the case. If your credit score is at least 580, you may qualify for a 3.5% down payment FHA loan. For those looking at USDA loans, your credit score should also be a minimum of 580. VA loans actually have no minimum credit score, but instead require lenders to look at the whole loan profile of a homebuyer.

Generally speaking, if your credit score is higher you’ll likely have more options when it comes to qualifying for a conventional loan. With a higher credit score, you may also find that the terms of your loan or interest rates are better. However, just because your credit score isn’t great doesn’t mean your homeownership dreams need to come to a halt.

MYTH 4: All mortgage lenders offer the same rate

First time home buyers may have the belief that every mortgage lender will offer you the same rate no matter where you go. When shopping for a mortgage, it’s always a good idea to get more than one quote. Not every mortgage lender will offer you the same – or even the best- loan terms. To avoid making this mistake, it’s important to get quotes from several mortgage lenders and find the one that’s best suited for your finances and homeownership goals. 

MYTH 5: Home inspections are optional

Especially if there are bidding wars, it can be tempting to skip a home inspection to make your offer stand out. However, home buying myths like these may cause more issues down the road. More often than not, mortgage lenders will require a home inspection before you buy the home, so you may not even have the chance to consider passing on a home inspection.

In the case that your lender does not require an inspection, this doesn’t mean you should skip it. It’s important to know the condition of the home you’re looking to buy. That way you’ll be aware of any damage or issues the house may have before becoming the owner. If a home inspection does find any significant damage, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to repair the issues or lower your asking price. 

MYTH 6: The listing price is non-negotiable

A home buying myth that some first time homebuyers believe is that the listing price is set in stone. Depending on the housing market, you may need to be prepared to spend more than the home’s list price or negotiate for a lower price. If you’re buying in a seller’s market– where there are more buyers than homes available- you should be prepared to make an offer that’s higher than the listing price.

If it’s a buyer’s market- where there are more homes available than buyers looking to purchase- you may be able to negotiate for a lower price than what’s listed. Either way, believing the home buying myths about listing prices may cause you to lose out or even overspend on the home of your dreams.

Source: redfin.com

‘Nicest House on the Lake’: This $12.5M Mansion Is Michigan’s Most Expensive Home

A sweet lake house on the market for $12.5 million is the most expensive home in all of Michigan.

The 16,000-square-foot house is in Charlevoix, MI—a small town in the upper reaches of the state that markets itself as “Charlevoix the Beautiful.”

Built in 2009, the grand mansion on Lake Charlevoix features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms.

The effort behind the home’s construction was no small feat.

“It took about five years to build, and the decor has been imported from all over the world,” says the listing agent, Rik Lobenherz, praising the craftsmanship and finishes in the residence.

The ornate wooden bar in the family room was imported from Malaysia in sections, and reassembled. Attention to detail is obvious in the home’s grand staircase, which spirals its way between floors, with lots of windows around it.

Aerial view of mansion in Charlevoix, MI
Aerial view of mansion in Charlevoix, MI

realtor.com

Living space
Living space

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Bar
Bar

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Interior
Interior

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Staircase
Staircase

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Staircase
Staircase

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Upper level
Upper level

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Despite its enormous size, the house doesn’t feel unpleasantly large.

“Each of the rooms are set up so they’re very comfortable,” Lobenherz says. “You don’t feel like you’re in a mansion as such. The rooms are very cozy, and there are eight fireplaces, so it’s just a very comfortable, homey feeling.”

Bedroom
Bedroom

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Master bathroom
Master bathroom

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Bedroom
Bedroom

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Most living spaces and each bedroom offer water views, with numerous windows in place to take advantage of the waterfront setting.

The kitchen is spacious, with a large island and high-end appliances.

“The owner loves to cook, so it even has its own pizza oven. There’s nothing that’s missing,” Lobenherz says.

Kitchen
Kitchen

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Theater
Theater

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Wine cellar
Wine cellar

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For entertaining, there’s a game room, a bar area, a theater room, and a large wine cellar. Adjusting everything from the heat to the lighting in the home is easy.

“It’s a smart house, so everything can be controlled remotely,” Lobenherz explains.

Beyond the smart home features, the agent says the home will only require a minimum of effort to bring it up to date.

Living space
Living space

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Dining space
Dining space

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Dining room
Dining room

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The current owners have lived in the house full-time, but they are looking to downsize. The furnishings are not included in the list price, but could be negotiated into a deal.

The house sits behind gates on 3 acres of land, with 195 feet of waterfront on Lake Charlevoix. The orientation of the house on the lot provides views looking down the length of the lake.

“It’s probably one of the better locations on Lake Charlevoix, which is a very coveted lake that is connected to the Great Lakes. You can go anywhere in the world on your boat from there,” Lobenherz says.

To handle an owner’s vessel, there’s a 400-foot pier.

Pier
Pier

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Aerial view
Aerial view

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Outdoor space
Outdoor space

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Outdoor fireplace
Outdoor fireplace

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There isn’t a pool, but Lobenherz notes that the entire lake is there to swim in. A stream with waterfalls runs along the side of the house.

The house’s lower level has several walkouts to the lake, with plenty of indoor-outdoor living options. A huge stone fireplace is the perfect place to spend an outdoor evening.

Guests have a large garage, with a spacious apartment above it.

“It’s beautiful. It would be the only bedroom area that doesn’t face the water, since it’s above a four-car garage, but it has its own kitchen and its own living room. I could live there,” Lobenherz jokes.

As for who is the perfect buyer for this house?

“If they’re looking for the nicest house on the lake, this is the one they should be looking at,” the agent says.

Living space
Living space

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Garage apartment
Garage apartment

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Garage apartment
Garage apartment

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Source: realtor.com

To List Your Home for More, Consider a Kitchen Remodel

January 20, 2021 February 4, 2021 by Lexi Klinkenberg

Updated on February 4th, 2021

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, serving as both a central meeting place for family and a functional area necessary for preparing meals. So it’s easy to understand why a state-of-the-art kitchen is a must-have for millions of homeowners from coast to coast. For those considering home upgrades, the kitchen is a great place to start. A kitchen remodel can add value for current homeowners, and appeal to homebuyers if you’re looking to sell in the near future.

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

A kitchen remodel can increase your home value

For homeowners who plan to sell their homes any time in the future, value is an important point of consideration. A new kitchen can play a significant role in higher than average list price, while an outdated kitchen that doesn’t meet functional needs can deter buyers in any housing market.

Think renovating a kitchen isn’t a big deal for prospective homebuyers? It is. It’s possible to recoup virtually the entire cost of a kitchen upgrade in the purchase price, giving you the opportunity to remodel your kitchen from top to bottom, with less concern for expenses.

Homes with new kitchens are rated number 1 for most valuable home improvement trends. The median list price on homes that have a new kitchen is $14,500 more than the national median, and on average, these homes sell for above their list price.

When planning a kitchen remodel, be sure to consider both what makes the most sense to you as well as what will appeal to most homebuyers in your area. For example, if you live in Atlanta, GA, and want to upgrade your countertops, opting for the most valuable trend, quartz, is probably a better option than granite. Someone who specializes in kitchen remodeling can also help you identify regional trends to ensure you make the best possible choice for your home.

In addition to increasing the value of your home, here are 5 other reasons you should consider remodeling your kitchen.

1. Improved lifestyle and convenience

For most homeowners who are planning on remodeling their kitchen space, convenience can be a primary motivator. If your kitchen can’t meet all of your needs, whether it’s too small or situated in an inconvenient manner, an upgrade is a great decision.

As you move forward with your kitchen remodel, determine what you need out of your kitchen and what is required to fulfill those needs. For example, if you need more space to prep and cook, extending your counter or adding an island might be the ideal solution. On the other hand, if you need more storage, an island or hanging cabinets could help you get the extra room to store your pots, pans, and dry goods. If you’re not sure where to start, speak with local kitchen renovation pros to identify the available options for your current kitchen space.

2. Better design and appearance

Kitchen remodels are often functional, but they can be beautiful, too. Upgrading your kitchen can both expand the area you have for food prep and can become a space you enjoy spending more time in.

If you don’t like the look or feel of your kitchen, a kitchen upgrade can bring your home into the twenty-first century. From counter materials to new cabinets, there are tons of ways to improve the space in your home. Some of the most popular kitchen features we are seeing nationwide include, granite countertops, an eat-in area, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors. You can definitely follow your own tastes to create the kitchen of your dreams or enlist the help of a pro to recommend more current trends. Regardless, the right approach to a remodel can guarantee a room that looks amazing and feels great, too.

kitchen lighting

kitchen lighting

3. Create additional space

If you’re tired of cooking and cleaning in a small, cramped space, a new kitchen can make all the difference. Renovating your kitchen can maximize the space you have available, making it much easier to cook meals and spend time with family.

Even small homes can be improved with remodeling opportunities. This can include adding things like extra cabinets or even kitchen islands. If space is really tight, taking down walls or expanding storage – like adding a new pantry or cabinets – into bordering rooms can free up storage options in your kitchen in a way that maximizes functionality.

4. Improved technology options

Kitchen technology isn’t a one size fits all option. If your 1980s fridge and old school oven can’t meet your needs, it may be time to upgrade. A customized kitchen remodel can also focus on technology. If you’re looking for higher-tech kitchen solutions, upgrading might be required.

Kitchen appliances come in all shapes and sizes, from fridges with Wi-Fi capabilities to ovens that provide quick preheat functionality and will have you ready to cook within minutes. Upgrading your kitchen with the latest and greatest technology can make cooking and preparing meals faster and easier. Start trawling home improvement stores and working with a kitchen renovation contractor that is knowledgeable in high tech options to help you weigh the pros and cons of each new kitchen appliance. No matter what you have in mind, there’s an option out there ideal for you.

5. Eco-Friendly Upgrades

If climate change or saving money on utilities are concerns for you, your kitchen remodel may be focused on implementing eco-friendly options for more sustainable living.

Appliances that offer great functionality while also reducing waste are available in countless forms, from low-energy refrigerators to microwaves with convection options. Those who want to truly maximize eco-friendly home upgrades may want to go beyond the kitchen alone, but Energy Star appliances can make it much easier to minimize your impact on the environment – and save money.

Remodeling a kitchen is never a requirement, but if you plan to sell soon or aren’t completely satisfied with the cooking space in your current home, a remodel is a great opportunity. Partnering with a kitchen remodeling company can ensure you tick every box, giving you access to pros who can identify needs and provide solutions that meet both functional and fashionable options within your budget. Whether you want more space, better tech, or to sell for more, it’s never too late to upgrade your kitchen.

Source: redfin.com

Homie’s Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update December 2020

2020 was a year to remember for Arizona real estate. You might be wondering how the market finished the year in December. We’ve got your update!

Monthly Sales

According to data from the ARMLS ® from December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, monthly sales in the Phoenix metro area rose by +27.4% year-over-year, landing at 9,666. That’s an +8.8% increase from the previous month.

Monthly Sales

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

List Price

At $442.2K, December saw a +10.8% year-over-year increase in average list price. With a +11.8% increase from December 2019 median prices also rose. The median list price for the Phoenix area in December was $329.9K.

New List Prices

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Sale Price

Sale prices in December rose by an even greater margin than list prices, showing that buyers are offering higher amounts than ever before. With an increase of +20.0% between December 2019 and December 2020, the average list price this month was $431.5K. Median sale prices also rose with +14.9% year-over-year increase. The December median sale price was $333.0K. These numbers are right on track with the previous month’s predictions.

Utah Monthly Sales

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Days on Market (DOM)

The Average Cumulative Days on Market in December was 43. While this is a 2-day increase from the previous month, it’s an 18-day decrease from December 2019, showing that the market is still experiencing a trend of homes selling faster and faster.

Average Days on Market

Data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Want to Know Your Home’s Value?

While keeping track of market trends is nice, it’s useful to know how these trends apply to your home. We can help you out with that! We offer a free home value report prepared by a Homie pro. Click here to request your free report.

A Message From Wayne Graham, Head of Real Estate

“2020 has exceeded all forecasts and expectations for the Phoenix market. All indications point to a continued strong market here locally, and we are excited for 2021!”

Turn to a Homie

If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Phoenix area this year, our team of dedicated and experienced professionals can help you get the best deal possible. Click to start selling or buying with your Homie agent.

Learn more about the Arizona Market!

Top Places to Retire in Arizona
Top Upgrades to Make to Your Arizona Home
The Best Months to Plan a Move in Arizona

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Source: homie.com