Agent NewsCommunityOffice NewsRecreational ActivitiesRetirement March 4, 2021

Spring Reading List

Spring Reading List

These are my reading picks through Springtime. I hope you enjoy them along with other reading options through Sno-Isle Libraries which is still offering contact-free pick up and return of physical library materials. All online services and resources continue to be available. Sno-Isle Libraries is now currently offering limited in-building services at select Sno-Isle libraries. Visit there site here, sno-isle.org

 

We Run Tides by, Vida, Vendela

Best friends Eulabee and Maria Fabiola have a vehement falling out after disagreeing on the nature of an act they witness while walking to their upscale all-girls’ school, and Maria Fabiola’s sudden disappearance soon after that exposes dark community secrets.

 

Sustainable Minimalism by, Seferian, Stephanie Marie

“Break the consumption cycle. There’s so much to do, and way too much to buy. Whether it’s through late night TV ads, social media, or other sources of influence, we are addicted to buying and then storing things. Sometimes we consume with no regret and other times we realize that we’re doing more harm than good to our wallets and our homes. It’s a constant cycle one that many are longing to break. Who wants their hard-earned money to go toward something that soon ends up in a landfill? A guide to eco-minimalism with a plan that is realistic. Manufacturing “stuff” exploits Earth’s precious (and finite) resources. And then there’s the harsh reality of where it all goes. Our discarded possessions ultimately head to landfills and contribute to environmental pollution, releasing greenhouse gases during breakdown and decomposition. Sustainable Minimalism is the solution. Empower yourself to incrementally incorporate the tenets of sustainable minimalism into your home and life. Learn to master the easiest tasks first and build upon your successes a practical and stress-free process.

 

 

I hope you enjoy the books I have chosen to put on our blog to read. Visit sno-isle.org to view other wonderful books that are available online. All online services and resources continue to be available. Sno-Isle Libraries is now currently offering limited in-building services at select Sno-Isle libraries. Visit there site here, sno-isle.org

 

 

 

written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Agent NewsBudgetBuyingCommunityHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes February 25, 2021

Moving and Packing Tips

The process of moving is long and complex. Being organized, knowing what needs to be done,
and tackling tasks efficiently can make your move significantly less stressful. We have some moving and packing tips for you and a detailed list to keep you on task and help make your move successful.

 

SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE:

 

Moving and packing

 

Use up things that may be difficult
to move, such as frozen food.

Get estimates from
professional movers or from
truck rental companies if you
are moving yourself.

Once you’ve selected a mover,
discuss insurance, packing,
loading and delivery, and the
claims procedure.

Sort through your possessions.
Decide what you want to keep,
what you want to sell and what
you wish to donate to charity.

Record serial numbers on
electronic equipment, take photos
(or video) of all your belongings
and create an inventory list.

Change your utilities, including
phone, power and water, from your
old address to your new address.

Obtain a change of address
packet from the post office
and send to creditors,
magazine subscription offices
and catalog vendors.

Discuss tax-deductible moving
expenses with your accountant
and begin keeping accurate
records.

TWO TO FOUR WEEKS BEFORE:

 

packing, moving tips

 

If you’re moving to a new
community, contact the
Chamber of Commerce and
school district and request
information about services.

 Make reservations with airlines,
hotels and car rental agencies,
if needed.

If you are moving yourself, use
your inventory list to determine
how many boxes you will need.

Begin packing nonessential items.

Arrange for storage, if needed.

If you have items you don’t want to
pack and move, hold a yard sale.

Get car license, registration and
insurance in order.

Transfer your bank accounts to
new branch locations. Cancel
any direct deposit or automatic
payments from your accounts if
changing banks.

Make special arrangements to
move pets, and consult your
veterinarian about ways to make
travel comfortable for them.

Have your car checked and
serviced for the trip.

Collect items from safe-deposit
box if changing banks.

 

TWO TO THREE DAYS PRIOR:

 

Moving and packing

 

Defrost your refrigerator
and freezer.

Have movers pack your
belongings.

Label each box with the contents
and the room where you want it
to be delivered.

Arrange to have payment ready
for the moving company.

Set aside legal documents
and valuables that you do not
want packed.

Pack clothing and toiletries,
along with extra clothes in
case the moving company
is delayed.

Give your travel itinerary to a close
friend or relative so they can reach
you as needed.

Look out for the second part of this coming soon!

 

 

written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Agent NewsCommunityEventsHealthOffice NewsRecreational ActivitiesRetirement February 8, 2021

5 Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance

by Chasity Rodriguez

It’s the New Year, but you’re probably back to your same old work from home schedule—taking calls from your couch, working late hours, and even checking emails on the weekends. In the midst of this ongoing pandemic, our work life has merged with our personal life so that there’s little separation between the two. “Many employers are piling greater responsibilities on their staff and promoting a culture of open communication outside of traditional work hours. Due to fear of losing their jobs, many individuals working from home feel obligated to meet these demands,” says Jeffrey Ditzell, D.O., a psychiatrist based in New York City. When work and life are under the same roof, it can be difficult to keep them balanced.

As hard as it may be in these times, maintaining a healthy balance between your work and your personal life is essential for your mental and physical health. People who have blurred, or nonresistant, boundaries between their work and personal lives tend to have higher levels of stress and feel more distressed over time. Eventually developing all of the health issues that come along with it, but the good news is you can prevent this imbalance and all of the negative impacts of it by drawing a fine line between your personal and professional life.

“Setting firm boundaries is crucial for a strong work-life balance,” says Regine Muradian, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. Learning how to establish boundaries will set you on the route to keep your work-related activities in control and prioritize more time for yourself, even when the pandemic is over. Here are five Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance that will help you build great WFH habits.

 

Establish set schedules for work

Designate when you will start and end the workday. When you set these times in stone (as best as you can), avoid checking your work email or accounts outside of your allotted work hours. Use technology to your advantage by using the various apps and digital reminders that make it more difficult for you to break your own rules and access things outside of work time. Although technology can feel like it’s taking over our lives and infringing on our work-life balance, we can actually use it to our benefit in helping us stick to the boundaries we know are healthy for us. This can mean setting time limits, turning off your active status, or even activating an auto-reply to let others know you’re not available outside your work hours.

 

Schedule time for mindfulness and movement

An imbalance between your work and personal life can be emotionally draining and cause burnout. Ensure you’re getting enough time each day to decompress and rest, which is necessary for your health and well-being. Make a habit to incorporate at least 10 minutes of mindfulness or yoga in your day. Prioritizing this time will help you check in with yourself in regards to how you’re feeling. To boost your mood and start the day with an energy boost, incorporate physical activity in your routine too. Pick any workout you enjoy and perform it regularly. This will enhance your mood and improve your experience of your day. Whether it is the first thing in the morning, during lunchtime, or before bed, creating time and space for consistent exercise and mindfulness will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

 

Spend more time with your loved ones

Set aside time regularly to do the things you love with those you love. Plan special dates that you’ll look forward to and don’t overlap with your work hours. This may include attending an online workout class, having a Zoom happy hour with friends, taking a walk with your partner, or anything else you want to make sure you fit into your day or week. You can also invest in more family time by checking in with your loved ones virtually and attending events, like birthdays and anniversaries. If you have any family events that may occur on a consistent basis, build your work schedule around those events instead of building those events around your work schedule, if possible.

 

Develop a new hobby to fuel your personal interests

The COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect time to reflect on your interests and adopt a new hobby that you love. If you’re WFH, you’re probably saving a lot of time and money on commuting, so why not put it toward a new activity or skill? Maybe it’s joining that 8 a.m. running club in your neighborhood, or growing flowers in your home garden, or perhaps learning a new language. Think about something that feels good to you and will help you decompress. This may be a good time to avoid the news, social media and just do something for yourself. Finding purpose in a hobby will not only spark your inner creativity but also uplift and motivate you.

 

Use your vacation days

While there may not be much to do on a vacation during a pandemic, you still need that time off for your mental health and well-being. Do something that comforts you—maybe it’s taking a staycation and doing a movie marathon or spending a week in your favorite city. During your vacation, make sure to mute all work-related emails and accounts, if possible, and just focus on having fun. Additionally, throughout the year, don’t be too hard on yourself—take breaks every so often for that much-needed “me time.” Reflect and evaluate when you need time off from work, which will shift you closer to the type of balance you are striving for. It is a process for most people, so reviewing and tweaking your schedule, habits, and boundaries regularly is important.

 

 

By Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director 

CommunityRecreational Activities February 1, 2021

What is Solo Camping and How You Can Safely Do It

 

I know exactly what you’re thinking, solo camping must mean camping alone, SOLO, right? Yeah, that’s correct. It’s something that has gotten more popular over the past few years and I am finally giving in and wanting to try it out myself. I even went out and got some gear for it already! Last summer I had already given you guys lists of places to go camping. They’re still available too! So you can check out my previous lists here and here. But in today’s post I am going to be talking more about what it really takes to successfully camp alone. 

Knowledge

This one might seem kind of obvious, but it is important. You need to make sure you are 100% ready if you are going camping alone. That means you know you have all of the tools you need, you have researched the campground or area you will be camping at and you have even let a friend or family member know where you’ll be staying and when you plan on being home. This is something I would ease into. If you have never gone camping in a group before, I would recommend starting there. When you first learn how to swim you don’t jump right into the deepest part of the pool without practicing in the shallow end, right? I would say camping with friends or family is probably more fun than going alone!

Proper Tools

The next step to being prepared is making sure you have the proper tools for camping. What you need is simple. You should make sure you have:

  • A tent, so you have somewhere to sleep
  • Food, so you have stuff to eat
  • Water, so you don’t die of dehydration
  • Fire Starter, so you can stay warm. This is important!!!
  • Utensils for cooking
  • Enough warm clothes
  • Storage for your food to prevent wildlife from getting to it
  • Lamp for light. It gets dark when you go camping too!

These are just the basics too. I’m sure seasoned campers will say there’s more you need too! Like a cover for your tent if it rains and stuff like that. But I am just trying to help out beginners because that’s what I am! If you have any other suggestions for what you need for camping, please let me know!! And if you want your own camping checklist, then download one that I made here!

An Adventure Plan!

Now unless your plan is to just sit around camp the entire time you are gone on your camping trip, you need to have some sort of game plan on what you want to do or else you’ll be so bored the entire time you’re gone! This is another reason why it’s important you research where you will be camping before you get there. How else will you know what that area has to offer? The whole point of camping and traveling is to get out and have new adventures and see new places! So plan out some places to check out BEFORE you get to the campground so you have plenty of options to choose from when you get there.

Camping is a great way to get out in nature. And there’s so many ways you can camp these days. You can rent special glamping tents at some places, you can camp by tent, you can rent or buy an RV or trailer to camp out of, or even rent a cabin. You can even rent campsites out of people’s backyards thanks to apps like Hipcamp now. And now with the option to go camping by yourself it adds a whole new element to the game. So get out there and explore!

 

 

 

Written By: Nikki Allen

Agent NewsBudgetBuyingCommunityHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateVacation homes January 25, 2021

The Do’s and Don’ts after applying for a Mortgage

by Chasity Rodriguez

 

 

Once you’ve found the right home and applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new place, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, consult your lender – someone who is qualified to tell you how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Below is a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

1. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts Before Speaking with Your Bank or Lender. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

2. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios. Higher ratios make for riskier loans, and then sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

3. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

4. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is significantly easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

5. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

6. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. The best plan is to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

 

 

 

Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

CommunityOffice NewsRecreational ActivitiesUncategorized January 14, 2021

Level Up 2021

2020 is behind us and I’m sure you will agree that we bid it good riddance. Though it was hard on all of us to be separated from our families, friends and each other, we somehow managed to have an excellent year in terms of sales and keeping the virus out of our office. It’s really a tribute to all of our real estates agents professionalism and dedication to both their clients and co-workers. 

 Over the holidays I was able to spend some time with my grandson while he played his favorite video games. I was reminded of how video games are very much like life.  In the gaming world, at least the ones that are inherently competitive, the player moves through what seems like a never ending sequence of levels.  Each level is more difficult as the player conquers the previous one.  However, it is in the upward progression of levels that I see a direct correlation to life itself;  specifically in the mindset and skill set of the player.

 You see, as you move upward to the next level, the game becomes more difficult.  The next level is more intense and the player must now have a mindset that is more focused and determined.  His or her skill set will be challenged to a greater extent than the previous level.  And as the player becomes more skilled, combined with a winning mindset, they find success.  Slowly but surely, they get better and better at the new level they are playing, until they break through.  With each conquering comes the bounty. Yes, without exception, the games offer greater and greater rewards with each victory. 

 In life, when we UP our level, we become uncomfortable with the degree of difficulty we just put upon ourselves. It’s harder. We have to focus intently and improve our skill sets in order to navigate the new level.  There will be risk.  There will assuredly be failure.  But always, always, always………….rewards. 

Windermere Mill Creek has dedicated the new year to what we call LEVELUP2021.  We hope you will join us in challenging yourselves to up your level in whatever that may be.  It could be in your business life, family life or whatever.  But as the video games prove, the challenge is worth it.  As your mindset and skill sets continue to grow and improve, it is not possible to be the same person that you were as you progress through the levels of life.  That in itself is a great reward.

Agent NewsBudgetBuyingCommunityHealthHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes January 7, 2021

How to Make Moving With Your Cat or Dog a Success

blog post by Chasity Rodriguez

 

IN A TIME DEFINED IN many ways by the coronavirus pandemic, everyday life is affected constantly as we adapt to changing circumstances. One of the many effects of the pandemic is that more and more people are buying or adopting pets, sometimes referred to as “pandemic puppies,” than ever before.

Simultaneously, an increasing number of people are sheltering in place or being uprooted and going through multiple moves due to major life shifts in how they work or go to school. For many families, that means packing up and making a move with their furry friends in tow.

Moving is not necessarily a fun activity, and we often don’t take into consideration just how stressful it can be for our four-legged friends. Animals, like people, need time to adjust. But with smart preparation and planning, you can make the move successful and easier for your pet, for you and for your new home.

 

Here are five tips to make moving with your pet as pleasant and stress-free as possible:

 

Visit Your New Home Before Moving Day

Introduce your pet to your new home and surroundings the way you might introduce young children to the space (they’re called “fur babies” for a reason, after all). Most people bring their children to their new home a few times prior to an actual move to get them excited about the house and neighborhood. This gives them time to explore and visualize themselves in the new environment and can alleviate some of the stress that may carry over with the major transition.

Try this with your dogs, too – let them sniff around while you’re taking measurements for furniture. Take them for a walk around the block so they can start to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Seek out any local dog-friendly parks and research where the best veterinarians and doggy day cares are. You’ll both come to rely on these resources, and it’ll be a great way to meet new people in your neighborhood.

You may be tempted to throw away old, worn-out items prior to your move, but you’ll be glad that you didn’t get rid of your dog’s favorite chew toy or your cat’s beloved scratching post. Having these familiar items present in their new spaces will be key to helping them acclimate and feel right at home.

If you really hate that old dog bed, it doesn’t have to stay in your new house long-term. Keep it around for the first few weeks until the dog adjusts and feels comfortable in its new space. Think about how you would feel if someone tossed your favorite pillow that you simply cannot sleep without.

The same goes for cats. You may feel inclined to get a brand-new litter box for your new home, but hang onto the one they’re familiar with while they get used to the new setting.

Keep Them Away From the Action

No one enjoys the mayhem of moving day. The house is a mess, movers are rummaging around and you’re scrambling to do your best to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible.

It may be a smart move for families with children to send them to stay with a family member or friend on the actual move day, and do the same with your pet, if possible. You don’t want them to associate their new home with the inevitable chaos and the frazzled mood you are sure to feel on moving day. If you don’t have someone that lives nearby, drop them off at day care or ask a new neighbor if they’d be willing to help.

Prevent Accidental Damages

A move can make pets act abnormally – your dog may decide to use the floor as a bathroom or a cat may scratch up the carpeting. To avoid these potentially costly damages, try to protect your new home as if you were dealing with a new puppy or kitten with some simple precautions.

Lay floor mats down or cover the couch temporarily until you know all the moving jitters have subsided. An accident can create more stress for both of you, and tarnish what should be a loving and peaceful new environment.

Give Them a Room, Then Room to Grow

Cats, in particular, are more likely to feel anxious about their new surroundings. A way to ease their anxiety is to limit their initial access to the whole house or apartment. Create a home base for them in one room that has their favorite toys, water, treats and a litter box, and allow them to acclimate on their own time. Once they’re comfortable there, you can open up additional space for them to explore room by room. If your cat’s home base isn’t the final destination for its litter box, slowly move it closer to the permanent location each day.

Finally, don’t forget to change your pet’s address tags when you relocate. With time, patience and smart planning, everyone will start off on the right foot (or paw) in your new home.

 

By Allison Chiaramonte, Contributor

 

Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Windermere Mill Creek

BudgetCommunityHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes December 22, 2020

How to Winterize Your Home Checklist

by Chasity Rodriguez

 

Make sure your home is safeguarded against subfreezing temperatures. Our checklist will help you ensure you’re prepared.

 


Protect Your Pipes

Depending on the region of the United States you’re in, you’ll need to protect your pipes from bursting this winter.

Frozen Pipes: Prevention and Repair

Check Your Fireplace

Animal nests or creosote buildup in your fireplace can be hazardous. Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season. Also, soot and other debris build up in the chimney. Call a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney before your first winter use. You should also vacuum or sweep out any accumulated ash from the firebox.

Clean Your Fireplace

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is an important part of winter prep. A good rule of thumb is to have the gutters cleaned as soon as the last leaves have fallen in the autumn. To prevent clogging, inspect and clean the gutters of leaves and other debris. Clean gutters will also allow melting snow to drain properly.

If you want to avoid gutter cleanings, consider gutter guards. They can be made of stainless steel or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will help keep out leaves, pine needles, roof sand grit and other debris from your gutter. They need to be occasionally brushed off to ensure the guards work to their maximum effectiveness, but it’s not as strenuous as routine cleanings.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

In the winter, the Department of Energy suggests keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home. Lower the thermostat a few degrees while you’re away or sleeping. Switching your thermostat out for a programmable version is a good idea. It’ll let you customize your heating so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it, keeping your home comfortable and bills down.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Bring in the Outdoors

Cold temperatures, snow and ice can damage outdoor furniture and grills. If possible, store them in the garage or basement. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. It must be stored outside. If you don’t have storage space for your items, purchase covers to protect them from the elements. You also need to maintain your grill and cover it before putting it away for the season.

Clean and Maintain Your Grill

Maintain Your Outdoor Equipment

Outdoor power tools, such as mowers and string trimmers, need to be cleaned and maintained prior to storing. If you have a snow blower, it’s time to inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it’s working properly.

Why Own a Generator

Caring for Outdoor Power Equipment

Save on Your Energy Bills

Call your local power company to see if they conduct energy saving assessments. It’s often a free service where a representative will identify specific changes to make your home more energy efficient and save you money. In addition to the suggestions above, LED light bulbs and water heater blankets can also make a difference.

Make Your Furnace More Efficient

Your furnace will function more efficiently with a clean filter. A dirty filter with trapped lint, pollen, dust, etc., obstructs airflow and makes your furnace run longer to heat your home. Replace filters at least every three months.

Be Roof-Ready

Snow, rain, ice and wind can make it challenging for your home to withstand winter’s wrath. Of particular concern should be your roof. You can get a head start on winterizing your roof with a few key steps.

  • Inspect the roof. Look for broken, frayed, curled or missing shingles; clogged valleys; damaged flashing; or deterioration.
  • Clear leaves, pine needles, dirt and other accumulated debris from the roof.
  • Cut back overhanging branches to prevent damage to shingles and gutters.
  • Install snow guards.
  • Check the attic and ceilings for staining from water leakage. While you’re up there, make sure the attic is properly ventilated to prevent mold and mildew.
  • If you live in an area that’s prone to snow, invest in a snow roof rake.

Protect Windows From Heat Loss

To help keep chilly air from leaking in through window cracks, swap out the lightweight summer curtains with thermal lined curtains or drapes. They’ll help keep your home warm and lower your heating bill. For the windows that don’t get direct sunlight, keep the curtains or drapes closed to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Time to Stock Up

Don’t wait for the next big winter storm. Depending on where you live, there are certain staples that are good to stock up on ahead of time.

  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Ice melt
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Weather radio
  • Emergency car kit (extra blankets, radio, ice scraper, car charger, first aid kit, jumper cables)
  • Water and food that doesn’t require cooking or preparation (dried fruit, granola bars, crackers, etc.)
  • Extra pet food

 

 

 

Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Office News December 7, 2020

Your Winter Reading List

 

 

Winter Reading List

These are my reading picks to enjoy reading through Winter. I hope you enjoy them along with other reading options through King County Library System which is offering contact-free pick up and return of physical library materials. All online services and resources continue to be available. No in-library services are available at this time. Visit there site here, kcls.org.

 

Oak Flat by Redniss, Lauren

A powerful work of visual nonfiction about three generations of an Apache family struggling to protect sacred land from a multinational mining corporation, by MacArthur “Genius” and National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss, the acclaimed author of Thunder & Lightning. Oak Flat is a serene high-elevation mesa that sits above the southeastern Arizona desert, fifteen miles to the west of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

 

Youth to Power by Margolin, Jamie

“The 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama. Tiananmen Square, 1989. The 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. March for Our Lives, and School Strike for Climate. What do all these social justice movements have in common? They were led by passionate, informed, engaged young people. Jamie Margolin has been organizing and protesting since she was fourteen years old. Now the co-leader of a global climate action movement, she knows better than most how powerful a young person can be.

 

We hope you enjoy the books I have chosen for you. Visit kcls.org to view other wonderful books that are available online. Kcls.org Libraries are not open yet but you can reserve books online and there are safe pick up and drop off options for you.

 

 

Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Agent NewsBuyingCommunityHomesHousingReal EstateVacation homes November 10, 2020

Why This Winter’s ‘Slow’ Home-Selling Season May Be Hotter Than Ever

 

Winter is traditionally real estate’s slow season. Between the cold weather and the holidays, the housing market typically plunges into a hibernation of sorts, with both buyers and sellers shelving any major real estate moves until spring. This winter’s real estate market, however, is shaping up to be unlike any other before it—and, contrary to what some may have feared, is slated to be an excellent time to sell a home. In fact, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts “it will be one of the best winter sales years ever.” Why? Chalk it up to a perfect storm of low mortgage interest rates, sparse housing inventory, plus a pandemic that’s fundamentally changed how, when, and where buyers are shopping for homes. So if you’ve assumed you should put your home-selling plans on hold until spring, read on for a surprising reality check on all the reasons this winter could be a great time to put your house on the market.

 

Pandemic lockdowns have created pent-up buyer demand

While spring is typically real estate’s busy season, the “silent spring” of 2020 saw the housing market grind to a near halt amid pandemic-mandated lockdowns. This, in turn, created pent-up demand to purchase property that is only now being unleashed. “We currently see buyers sticking around in the housing market much later than we usually do this fall,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “If that trend continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.” “There are plenty of people in the pipeline ready to hit the market this late autumn and winter,” Yun agrees. Many real estate agents have noticed this glut of eager buyers first-hand. “Winter is usually a slower season, but this year we’re not seeing any sign of letting up,” says Matt van Winkle, a real estate broker and owner of Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Seattle. “The selling season was delayed because of COVID lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, so several months of usual busy sales periods were delayed.” This buyer demand likely won’t wane anytime soon. “We will see an extended purchase season in 2020 and into 2021,” says Shelby McDaniels, channel director of corporate home lending at Chase.

 

Lockdowns are forcing many buyers to upsize their homes

COVID-19 has not only created pent-up demand, but many buyers are also in the market purely because they’re working/schooling from home and realizing their space is no longer big enough—particularly now that the temperature’s dropping so they can’t easily escape to their back patio to catch up on emails alone. “With people spending so much time in their homes, including working from home and virtual schooling, there’s a great emphasis on being happy there,” says Matt Curtis, owner of Matt Curtis Real Estate, in Huntsville, AL. Lack of space is a complaint agents hear more often now. And if people are allowed to continue working from home rather than commuting to an office, they might also realize that they can shop for homes farther outside cities—great news for home sellers who live in more remote areas.

 

Housing inventory is low

Although buyers are plentiful, the number of homes for sale is way lower than usual. According to realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, in September, national housing inventory declined 39% over last year. “Because the number of homes available is currently at a record low, even if we see some improvement, which I expect, there will still be relatively few homes for sale,” Hale says. “That will keep upward pressure on home prices and help ensure that homes continue to sell quickly.” “Inventory is low, so the overall advantage is with the seller,” agrees Yun. Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL, says buyers have so few homes to choose from these days that they’re feeling forced to make quick decisions about whether to make an offer, or risk losing out on the chance. Nationally, homes spent an average of 54 days on the market in September, 12 fewer days than last year, according to the realtor.com trends report. “The buyers I have worked with this year only had a handful of homes to look at,” Jones says. “They had no time to wait and talk about it, and they had to fight other buyers if they wanted to buy them.”

Sellers can get top dollar for their homes

It’s simple supply and demand: Low supply and high demand are bound to drive up home prices, so sellers stand to make a killing. Across the country, median home listing prices jumped 11.1% in September compared with a year ago, to $350,000, according to realtor.com. Price per square foot increased by 13.9%. “Sales prices and home values remain strong,” McDaniels says. And since there are so many offers on the table, “sellers can call the shots regarding terms of contract and repairs.” The only challenge sellers face with such low inventory—if you can even call it a challenge—is dealing with too many offers at once, says Curtis. “The challenge they face is navigating multiple offers and not accepting an offer too quickly to help ensure they get the most money for their home,” he says.

 

Mortgage interest rates are low

Although buyers will face stiff competition, it’s not all bad news for them. For one, despite high home prices, record-low interest rates mean they’ll save a ton of money. Interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan were 2.8% as of Oct. 22, according to Freddie Mac. This “boosts buyer home purchasing power,” Hale says. “In fact, despite double-digit increases in home prices this year compared to last year, today’s home buyers are likely actually paying slightly less on their mortgage each month, thanks to much lower mortgage rates.” The Federal Reserve has continued to lower interest rates this year to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 crisis, says McDaniels. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, economists and real estate professionals predicted mortgage interest rates would remain below 4% in 2020,” she says. “This means buyers that might have waited will consider entering the market this year.”

 

Any economic shift likely won’t be felt until spring

Although unemployment continues to rise due to COVID-19 layoffs, Hale says this could affect the real estate market, but the effects likely won’t be felt for a few months. “A worsening unemployment rate would lead to a slowdown in the housing market and home sales, but I don’t expect that to happen immediately, more likely in the spring,” Hale says. This could create a slower start to the spring home-buying season. Plus, if another round of stimulus money appears, this would fuel consumer spending. “This would be a good thing for the housing market and the economy at large,” Hale says.

 | Nov 2, 2020

 

 

Blog by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director