10 Best Ways to Get Organized for a Big Move

Make your next move smooth, short and sweet with these tips for preparing, organizing and packing

Whether you are going across town or across the country, moving an entire household can bring on meltdowns, even among the best of us. But by beginning the planning process as soon as you know you will be moving, you can minimize stress and increase the likelihood that everything will go smoothly on moving day and afterward. Read on for 10 sanity-saving ways to get ready for the big move.

Posted on June 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

5 Tips for Buyers in a Tight Housing Market

 

 

 

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2017) – When inventory is low, home prices tend to go up. Attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming. To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market with as little stress and difficulty as possible, the National Association of Realtors® has these five suggestions:

 

 

1. Determine and stick to a budget. Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.

 

2. Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs. When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.

 

3. Be ready to make a decision quickly. In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

 

4. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

 

5. Work with a Realtor®. All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

 

 

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Posted on June 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May

 

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.5 percentage points in May to 86.2. The slight decrease can be attributed to decreases in three of the six HPSI components being larger on net than the three increases.

 

The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy a home reached a record low after falling 8 percentage points, while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a record high, increasing 6 percentage points.

 

This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy. Americans also expressed greater belief that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months, with that component increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who think home prices will go up fell by 5 percentage points this month.

 

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market, perhaps due in part to concerns over finding an affordable replacement home. Prospective homebuyers are likely to face continued home price increases as long as housing supply remains tight.”

 

Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights

Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in May by 0.5 percentage points to 86.2. The HPSI is up 0.9 percentage points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 8 percentage points to 27%, reaching a new survey low
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell increased by 6 percentage points to 32%, rising from last month’s decline to a new survey high.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up decreased by 5 percentage points in May to 40%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to -52%, following the trend from last month.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 6 percentage points to 71%, back near the level seen in March.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 5 percentage points to 18% in May.

 

Source:  Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI)  –  June 2017


Posted on June 8, 2017 at 3:48 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in May 2017

 

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 25 3131 $ 687 $ 2,113,160 54 98.34%
Montrose 1 1704 $ 490 $ 825,000 11 101.21%
La Crescenta 18 1758 $ 532 $ 877,038 34 103.02%
Tujunga  19 1598 $ 423 $ 616,960 31 102.05%
Sunland  24 1737 $ 389 $ 619,600 27 103.62%

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

RIP Forever Homes: Millennials More Inclined to Move

a young couple celebrate getting the keys to their new home by taking a selfie in the garden .

 

 

Say goodbye to the idea of a “forever home.” No, I’m not talking about taking home a rescue pup. Instead, I’m referring to the antiquated idea of buying that dream house and living there forever.  A recent community survey from Taylor Morrison showed that over half (56 percent) of homeowners no longer believe in the forever home.

 

To get these results, Taylor Morrison employed Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 U.S. adults who have purchased a home in the last three years, or who are likely to purchase a new home in the next three years. While the study focused on homeowners of all ages, it’s clear that millennials (the next gen of homeowners) are way beyond the forever home trend. Fifty-eight percent of millennials believe that the forever home is dead, and expect their home to evolve as their life does. From a growing family to a new job or a lifestyle change (buh-bye bar scene, hello golf course!), millennials want their living situation to be adaptable.

 

According to the survey, a third of millennial buyers intend to live in the next home they buy for less than 10 years, and 80 percent are equally or more interested in a newly constructed home over a resale home.

 

 Zoe Eisenberg, RIS Media’s Housecall – May 24, 2017 
 

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

That Old Home Decor Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

 

 

 

 

Some home shoppers say they’re drawn to these homes for the quality construction, distinctive design, and nostalgia, The Wall Street Journal reports.“The number of people looking for time-capsules houses [has], I’ll go out on a limb and say, exploded,” says Pam Kueber, who maintains a list of time-capsule homes on her remodeling blog, RetroRenovation.com.  Some real estate professionals are even specializing in mid-century or un-remodeled homes.

 

Ed Murchison with Virginia Cook, REALTORS®, in Dallas says that over the past five years he’s noticed more young home shoppers seeking Mid-century Modern homes, and they’re willing to pay a premium to get them, too. AMC’s “Mad Men” TV show may have been inspired buyers to appreciate 1960’s design.  So that means popcorn ceilings, shag carpeting, peach bathroom tiles, and baby-blue cabinets are hardly a turnoff to some select home shoppers. Indeed, Robin Miller was drawn to a home with such features that was built in the early 1960s in Weaverville, Calif. She purchased the home and plans to leave the retro design intact.

 

“It’s almost like the less you do, the better because it almost distracts from the architecture that’s already there,” Miller told The Wall Street Journal.

 

Many time-capsule homes are from the post–World War II housing boom. However, they are in short supply: Many of these homes have since been remodeled.  “We may be seeing the last era of true time-capsule houses in America,” Kueber says.

 

Real estate professionals say it’s not always smart to renovate a time-capsule home if you have one as your listing. There could be a niche audience out there looking for it.  “Once you remodel a house out of its time period, you have to perpetually remodel every 10 years to keep up with what’s fashionable,” says Alyssa Starelli with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore. “But if you maintain it in the period it was, it always suits the house.”

 

For buyers who do find a time capsule home, they should also be vigilant about the condition of the home since it is older. For example, they should assess the home for building code violations and safety hazards, such as lead paint, asbestos, and non-tempered glass in windows or showers, Kueber says.

 

Source: “Life Inside a Time Capsule,” The Wall Street Journal (April 27, 2017)    

 


Posted on May 22, 2017 at 9:03 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Curb Appeal: A Little Goes a Long Way

 Low-cost landscaping reaps benefits when it comes to curb appeal and home value.
According to the Appraisal Institute, homeowners spend between $1,766 and $3,227 on landscaping projects – and the expense is well worth it.
Updated landscapes can boost home values by up to 12 percent.
“Curb appeal is important to both appraisers and potential buyers, and homeowners don’t have to spend a lot of money to get it,” says Jim Amorin, president of the Appraisal Institute.  “In fact, it’s important that upgrades don’t exceed neighborhood norms.”
Inexpensive improvements ideal for adding value include planting perennials, power-washing walkways, raking grass clippings, replacing outdated flower pots – and sealing decks, driveways and/or patios.

Source:  Appraisal Institute

 

 


Posted on May 16, 2017 at 7:19 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

6 Things Professional Burglars Don’t Want You to Know

Even though a burglary occurs every 20 seconds in the U.S., you can still protect yourself without installing top-dollar security features.

Home burglary generally has a pattern; criminals are looking for an easy target they can rob fast.  Learn from the pros. Here are six tips from career burglars you can use to defend your home and prevent break-ins.

 

  1.   Nighttime Burglaries Aren’t the Best Time

Burglars like to break in to homes during daytime hours—the last thing criminals want is to encounter someone at home. Weekdays are ideal for thieves, since weekend schedules are too unpredictable. Between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. are the most popular times because there’s a high chance people will be away at work or school.

 

  1. They Know When You’re Not Home—Thanks to Social Media

While it’s tempting to post about your vacation to your social media feed, wait to share those trip photos and exotic location check-ins until you’re back home. Criminals scout public social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare to find victims.

Locating someone’s home address using basic information from their social media profile is surprisingly easy. In one survey of convicted burglars, more than 10 percent say they used social media to determine who was out of town. The same survey found one burglar stole over $250,000 in electronics and jewelry from 33 women he saw in public—he used GPS data embedded in photos they posted online to find their homes.

Even if all your accounts are private, that old friend from high school or new neighbor down the street could be a potential criminal. Never post what times you’re not home or how long you’ll be out.

 

  1. They Don’t Like Your Security Practices

Burglars want nothing to do with alarm systems (whether they’re from the best home security companies or not). Homes without a security system are almost 300 percent more likely to be targeted for a break-in.  If you do install an alarm system, make sure you guard it with a strong code. Don’t use your house number or birthday, and clean any dirt or grease off your keypad so a burglar won’t guess your code based off the numbers you’ve hit the most. Unlocked windows, unused deadbolts, poorly lit homes, and residences without security systems are prime targets for burglars, so make sure you are using the security features you already have.

Also, tricks that make it look like you’re home really work, professional burglars reveal. Burglars run from properties that look like people are inside. Motion sensor lights, bright flood lights, and timed lights are inexpensive security features for a home’s exterior that scare criminals away. TVs or radios left on, as well as cars parked in the driveway, make burglars nervous that someone is home.

 

  1. Great Targets Advertise Their Weapon Supply

If you’re a proud gun owner, that won’t scare away burglars—it entices them. A gun is stolen roughly every two minutes in the U.S., so homeowners should be sure to always lock up their guns. NRA bumper stickers on a car, or Smith & Wesson signs on a house, advertises that there are lots of guns to steal.

 

  1. Shrubs and Architecture Make Great Hiding Spots

Tall bushes are favorites of burglars since they offer an obstructed view from the street and an easy way to hide from neighbors. Keep shrubs and large landscaping features trimmed. If you want big plants by your windows, choose something thorny that will detract a burglar, like roses or cacti.

Think twice about large architecture features, too, like fences, half walls, and big fountains. Thieves are searching for crimes of opportunity, and such decor elements give a burglar more time to hide and plot their method of entry. The best defense is a clear view of your front porch.

 

  1. Valuables in the Open Help Them Decide on a Target

Keep your expensive items out of sight. You’re making it too easy for a burglar by advertising the type of valuables they can steal. Don’t leave a new MacBook in front of your first-floor kitchen window, iPads on your living room ottoman, or even a nice car in a garage window with a clear sight line to the street. Key hooks—especially with labels for each key—need to be concealed out of view from windows, too.

“A burglar appreciates such kindness, but you will find it expensive when you have to replace all the locks after a break-in,” says Mike Fraser, former professional burglar and host of the BBC show Beat the Burglar.

Fraser also advises to leave large family calendars out of view. You’re inviting a break-in by detailing when you’ll be away, Fraser says. This advice goes for any ID documents, too. Mail or other personal information left in plain view is a gold mine for a criminal looking to easily steal your details for identity theft.

Using these tips can help you protect your home from break-ins. Also, be sure to research crime rates and trends in your neighborhood and state.

Krystal Rogers-Nelson,  Apr 21 2017 –  Housecall

 


Posted on May 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in April 2017

 

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 14 2805 $ 673 $ 1,833,643 47 100.03%
Montrose 2 993 $ 615 $ 612,200 169 96.54%
La Crescenta 26 1636 $ 563 $ 826,219 52 101.24%
Tujunga  19 1416 $ 456 $ 602,257 32 101.67%
Sunland  21 2443 $ 352 $ 784,573 44 101.15%

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

New Homeowners: Ready to Knock Down Walls? 3 Projects to Knock Out Instead

new homeowners

 

 

You just became a homeowner—congratulations!  In between the oh-my-gosh-I-have-a-mortgage feeling and the pile of empty pizza boxes (you have yet to unpack your cookware), new homeowners may be making a mental list of all the things you’re going to do to make your home YOUR home —projects you plan to knock out the first few weeks as king (or queen!) of your castle.

But tackling too much, too soon is a recipe for regret for new homeowners. The fact is, even though all of those projects seem necessary (they seemed necessary when you walked the home, too!), many of them aren’t.

A full-blown kitchen remodel, for instance, is a wise investment—but only after you’ve determined your needs as a homeowner (and how long you plan to stay in the house, as well). Ditto for the bathrooms—both projects are disruptive, expensive and time-consuming.

So, what should be addressed right out of the gate?

Appliances

You may be one of the select new homeowners who gets to inherit the former owner’s appliances—another congratulations is in order! Head to Home Depot sooner rather than later for new, ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances. Replacing even just one with an energy-efficient and/or smart alternative, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), can save you $50 and 100 hours each year.

 

Insulation

Make it a priority to check the insulation in the attic—installing more where needed can cut costs your first year as a homeowner (and every year after). It’s well worth the expense: according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, fiberglass attic insulation recoups over 100 percent of its cost at resale.

Landscape

Money doesn’t grow on trees…but home value does. If your new landscape’s lacking, start planting trees as soon as possible—you’ll not only see lower energy costs over the long term, but also an average 18 percent boost in value, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

That’s it—just three tasks. If you’re in your forever home, you’ll have more than enough time to finish these, and the rest on your list.

 

 

Suzanne DeVita – Real Estate magazine,  Nov 21 2016 

 

 


Posted on May 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |