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What Are Accessory Dwelling Units and How Can They Benefit You?

Maybe you’re in the market for a home and are having a hard time finding the right one that fits your budget. Or perhaps you’re already a homeowner in need of extra income or a place for loved ones. Whether as a potential homebuyer or a homeowner with changing needs, accessory dwelling units, or ADUs for short, may be able to help you reach your goals.

What Is an ADU?

As AARP says:

“An ADU is a small residence that shares a single-family lot with a larger, primary dwelling.”

“An ADU is an independent, self-contained living space with a kitchen or kitchenette, bathroom and sleeping area.”

“An ADU can be located within, attached to, or detached from the main residence. It can be created out of an existing structure (such as a garage) or built anew.”

If you’re thinking about whether an ADU makes sense for you as a buyer or a homeowner, here’s some useful information and benefits that ADUs can provide. Keep in mind, that regulations for ADUs vary based on where you live, so lean on a local real estate professional for more information.  

The Benefits of ADUs

Freddie Mac and the AARP identify some of the best features of ADUs for both buyers and homeowners:

  • Living Close by, But Still Separate: ADUs allow loved ones to live together while having separate spaces. That means you can enjoy each other’s company and help each other out with things like childcare, but also have privacy when needed. If this appeals to you, you may want to consider buying a home with an ADU or adding an ADU onto your house. According to Freddie Mac:

“Having an accessory dwelling unit on an existing property has become a popular way for homeowners to offer independent living space to family members.”

  • Aging in Place: Similarly, ADUs allow older people to be close to loved ones who can help them if they need it as they age. It gives them the best of both worlds – independence and support from loved ones. For example, if your parents are getting older and you want them nearby, you may want to buy a home with an ADU or build one onto your existing house.

  • Affordable To Build: Since ADUs are often on the smaller side, they’re typically less expensive to build than larger, standalone homes. Building one can also increase your property’s value.

  • Generating Additional Income: If you own a home with an ADU or if you build an ADU on your land, it can help generate rental income you could use toward your own mortgage payments. It’s worth noting that because an ADU exists on a single-family lot as a secondary dwelling, it typically cannot be sold separately from the primary residence. But that’s changing in some states. Work with a professional to understand your options. 

These are a few of the reasons why many people who benefit from ADUs think they’re a good idea. As Scott Wild, SVP of Consulting at John Burns Research, says:

“It’s gone from a small niche in the market to really a much more impactful part of new housing.”

Bottom Line

ADUs have some great advantages for buyers and homeowners alike. If you’re interested, reach out to a real estate professional who can help you understand local codes and regulations for this type of housing and what’s available in your market.

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A Real Estate Agent Helps Take the Fear Out of the Market

Do negative headlines and talk on social media have you feeling worried about the housing market? Maybe you’ve even seen or heard something lately that scares you and makes you wonder if you should still buy or sell a home right now.

Regrettably, when news in the media isn’t easy to understand, it can make people feel scared and unsure. Similarly, negative talk on social media spreads fast and creates fear. As Jason Lewris, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer at Parcl, says:

“In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Buying a home is a big decision, and it should be one you feel confident making. You should lean on a trusted real estate agent to help you separate fact from fiction and get the answers you need.

That agent will use their knowledge of what’s really happening with home prices, housing supply, expert forecasts, and more to give you the best possible advice. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“. . . agents combat uncertainty and fear with a combination of historical perspective, training and facts.”

The right agent will help you figure out what’s going on at the national level and in your local area.

They’ll debunk headlines using data you can trust. Plus, they have in-depth knowledge of the industry and can provide context, so you know how current trends compare to the normal ebbs and flows in the housing market, historical data, and more.

Then, to make sure you have the full picture, an agent can tell you if your local area is following the national trend or if they’re seeing something different in your market. Together, you can use all that information to make the best possible decision.

After all, making a move is a potentially life-changing milestone. It should be something you feel ready for and excited about. And that’s where a trusted expert comes in.

Bottom Line

If you need reliable information about the housing market and expert advice about your own move, get in touch with a real estate agent in your area.

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The Perks of Selling Your House When Inventory Is Low

When it comes to selling your house, you’re probably trying to juggle the current market conditions and your own needs as you plan your move.

One thing that may be working in your favor is how few homes there are for sale right now. Here’s what you need to know about the current inventory situation and what it means for you.

The Supply of Homes for Sale Is Far Below the Norm

When you’re selling something, it helps if what you’re selling is in demand, but is also in low supply. Why? That makes it even more desirable since there’s not enough to go around. That’s exactly what’s happening in the housing market today. There are more buyers looking to buy than there are homes for sale.

To tell the story of just how low inventory is, here’s the latest information on active listings, or homes available for sale. The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to show how many active listings there were in September of this year compared to what’s more typical in the market.

As you can see in the graph, if you look at the last normal years for the market (shown in the blue bars) versus the latest numbers for this year (shown in the red bar), it’s clear inventory is still far lower than the norm.

What That Means for You

Buyers have fewer choices now than they did in more typical years. And that’s why you could still see some great perks if you sell today. Because there aren’t enough homes to go around, homes that are priced right are still selling fast and the average seller is getting multiple offers from eager buyers. Based on the latest data from the Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

  • 69% of homes sold in less than a month.
  • 2.6 offers: the average number of offers on recently sold homes.

An article from Realtor.com also explains how the limited number of houses for sale benefits you if you’re selling:

“. . . homes spent two weeks less on the market this past month than they did in the average September from 2017 to 2019 . . . as still-limited supply spurs homebuyers to act quickly . . .”

Bottom Line

Because the supply of homes for sale is so low, buyers desperately want more options – and your house may be just what they’re looking for. If you work with a trusted local agent to get your house listed at the right price for today’s market. You could still see it sell quickly and potentially get multiple offers.

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Why Home Prices Keep Going Up

If you’ve ever dreamed of buying your own place, or selling your current house to upgrade, you’re no stranger to the rollercoaster of emotions changing home prices can stir up. It’s a tale of financial goals, doubts, and a dash of anxiety that many have been through.

But if you put off moving because you’re worried home prices might drop, make no mistake, they’re not going down. In fact, it’s just the opposite. National data from several sources says they’ve been going up consistently this year (see graph below):

 

Here’s what this graph shows. In the first half of 2022, home prices rose significantly (the green bars on the left side of the graphs above). Those increases were dramatic and unsustainable.

So, in the second half of the year, prices went through a correction and started dipping a bit (shown in red). But those slight declines were shallow and short-lived. Still, the media really focused on those drops in their headlines – and that created a lot of fear and uncertainty among consumers.

But here’s what hasn’t been covered fully. So far in 2023, prices are going up once more, but this time at a more normal pace (the green bars on the right side of the graphs above). And after price gains that were too high and then the corrections that followed in 2022, the fact that all three reports show more normal or typical price appreciation this year is good news for the housing market.

Orphe Divounguy, Senior Economist at Zillow, explains changing home prices over the past 12 months this way: 

“The U.S. housing market has surged over the past year after a temporary hiccup from July 2022-January 2023. . . . That downturn has proven to be short lived as housing has rebounded impressively so far in 2023. . .

Looking ahead, home price appreciation typically starts to ease up this time of year. As that happens, there’s some risk the media will confuse slowing price growth (deceleration of appreciation) with home prices falling (depreciation). Don’t be fooled. Slower price growth is still growth.

Why Are Home Prices Increasing Now?

One reason why home prices are going back up is because there still aren’t enough homes for sale for all the people who want to buy them.

Even though higher mortgage rates cause buyer demand to moderate, they also cause the supply of available homes to go down. That’s because of the mortgage rate lock-in effect. When rates rise, some homeowners are reluctant to sell and lose their current low mortgage rate just to take on a higher one for their next home.

So, with higher mortgage rates impacting both buyers and sellers, the supply and demand equation of the housing market has been affected. But since there are still more people who want to purchase homes than there are homes available to buy, prices continue to rise. As Freddie Mac states

“While rising interest rates have reduced affordability—and therefore demand—they have also reduced supply through the mortgage rate lock-in effect. Overall, it appears the reduction in supply has outweighed the decrease in demand, thus house prices have started to increase . . .”

Here’s How This Impacts You

  • Buyers: If you’ve been waiting to buy a home because you were afraid its value might drop, knowing that home prices have gone back up should make you feel better. Buying a home gives you a chance to own something that usually becomes more valuable over time.
  • Sellers: If you’ve been holding off on selling your house because you were worried about how changing home prices would impact its value, it could be a smart move to work with a real estate agent and put your house on the market. You don’t have to wait any longer because the most recent data indicates home prices have turned in your favor.

Bottom Line

If you put off moving because you were worried that home prices might go down, data shows they’re increasing across the country. Work with a local real estate agent to understand how home prices are changing in your local area.

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The Risks of Selling Your House on Your Own

Are you thinking about selling your house as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO)? If so, know there’s a whole lot more time and expertise needed in that process than you might think. While the idea of doing it all by yourself might seem tempting, it’s important to recognize the challenges you may face if you take it on all by yourself. As a recent article from Bankrate explains:

“Choosing the right price, crafting a compelling listing, marketing to potential buyers, coordinating showings, preparing paperwork: All of these are tasks that, in the absence of a real estate agent, you will have to do yourself.”

Here’s a bit more information on just a few of those things and how you may miss out if you don’t use an agent.

You May Not Price it Right

Pricing your house right is key to a successful sale. Real estate agents have experience navigating this housing market and understand the art of pricing a home to sell today. Unfortunately, homeowners who sell on their own often lack this all-important experience. That can lead to two common consequences: overpricing or underpricing the house.

An article from Nerd Wallet offers this advice:

If your home is overpriced, you run the risk of buyers not seeing the listing. . . . But price your house too low and you could end up leaving some serious money on the table. A bargain-basement price could also turn some buyers away, as they may wonder if there are any underlying problems with the house.”

Don’t run this risk. Instead, partner with an agent to make sure your house is priced at current market value, so it catches the eyes of eager buyers. This will put your house in a position to make the best first impression possible.

You Don’t Have as Much Experience in Marketing a House

In this digital age, online marketing has become a real game-changer, especially when it comes to selling your house. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Among all generations of home buyers, the first step taken in the home search process was to look online for properties.”

When you partner with a real estate agent who knows how to take advantage of online marketing tools and resources, you’ll be able to get in front of these tech-savvy house hunters, boosting your chances of a successful sale. But, if you’re attempting to sell your house on your own, you might find yourself missing out on the full power of online and social media strategies.

You May Not Be Comfortable Handling All the Back-and-Forth

When you decide to sell your house, you’re not just on a quest to find a buyer; you’re also stepping into a world of negotiations. You’ll have to coordinate with a bunch of people, including the buyer, the buyer’s agent, the inspection company, the appraiser, and more. It’s a dance where every move counts, and the expertise of a real estate agent can make a world of difference in keeping these negotiations on track and sealing the deal.

As NerdWallet says:

“Your listing agent will also, of course, be on your side throughout negotiations. They’ll double-check paperwork that comes through, communicate with the buyer’s agent and other parties to the sale, and generally stay on top of things through to closing day.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house and the idea of going it alone has crossed your mind, be sure to think through that decision carefully. Connect with a local real estate agent to discuss how a professional has the experience needed to take all that stress off your plate.

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What Are the Real Reasons You Want To Move Right Now?

If you’re considering selling your house right now, it’s likely because something in your life has changed. And while things like mortgage rates play a big role in your decision, you don’t want that to overshadow why you thought about making a move in the first place.

It’s true mortgage rates are higher right now, and that has an impact on affordability. As a result, some homeowners are deciding they’ll wait to sell because they don’t want to move and have a higher mortgage rate on their next home.

But your lifestyle and your changing needs matter, too. As a recent article from Realtor.com says:

No matter what interest rates and home prices do next, sometimes homeowners just have to move—due to a new job, new baby, divorce, death, or some other major life change.”

Here are a few of the most common reasons people choose to sell today. You may find any one of these resonates with you and may be reason enough to move, even today.

Relocation

Some of the things that can motivate a move to a new area include changing jobs, a desire to be closer to friends and loved ones, wanting to live in your ideal location, or just looking for a change in scenery.

For example, if you just landed your dream job in another state, you may be thinking about selling your current home and moving for work.

Upgrading

Many homeowners decide to sell to move into a larger home. This is especially common when there’s a need for more room to entertain, a home office or gym, or additional bedrooms to accommodate a growing number of loved ones.

For example, if you’re living in a condo and your household is growing, it may be time to find a home that better fits those needs.

Downsizing

Homeowners may also decide to sell because someone’s moved out of the home recently and there’s now more space than needed. It could also be that they’ve recently retired or are ready for a change.

For example, you’ve just kicked off your retirement and you want to move somewhere warmer with less house to maintain. A different home may be better suited for your new lifestyle.

Change in Relationship Status

Divorce, separation, or marriage are other common reasons individuals sell.

For example, if you’ve recently separated, it may be difficult to still live under one roof. Selling and getting a place of your own may be a better option.

Health Concerns

If a homeowner faces mobility challenges or health issues that require specific living arrangements or modifications, they might sell their house to find one that works better for them.

For example, you may be looking to sell your house and use the proceeds to help pay for a unit in an assisted-living facility.

With higher mortgage rates and rising prices, there are some affordability challenges right now – but your needs and your lifestyle matter too. As a recent article from Bankrate says:

“Deciding whether it’s the right time to sell your home is a very personal choice. There are numerous important questions to consider, both financial and lifestyle-based, before putting your home on the market. . . . Your future plans and goals should be a significant part of the equation . . .

Bottom Line

If you want to sell your house and find a new one that better fits your needs, get in touch with a real estate expert. They’ll be there to guide you through the process and help you find a home that works for you.

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Are Grandparents Moving To Be Closer to Their Grandkids?

During the pandemic, many people distanced themselves from their loved ones for health reasons. Grandparents were told to stay away from their grandkids, especially as schools started to open. That’s because it would have been risky to visit with their grandchildren who may have gotten sick from school.

Now that the pandemic has passed, many grandparents want more than ever to be near their grandchildren again to make up for that lost time. But how are they getting that “Grandparent Wish?” The data tells us many are moving to make sure they’re getting more quality time.

Grandparents Are Moving To Be Near Loved Ones

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows people between the ages of 55 and 74 are moving farther (more than 100 miles) than any other age group (see graph below):

The average age of grandparents in the U.S. is 67 years. The logical leap is that at least some of the people who are moving the furthest are grandparents. But what’s causing them to move so far?

The same report from NAR shows the top reason people move is to be closer to loved ones (see graph below):

 

Based on this data, it’s fair to say many grandparents are getting their wish of more quality time with their grandchildren by moving to be closer to them. And after experiencing isolation and loneliness during the COVID pandemic, that’s an especially good thing.

If you’re a grandparent, you know how important your grandchildren are. And you may be willing to sell and move just to be closer by. As Vance Cariaga, a journalist at Go Bank Rates, explains:

“Never underestimate the power of grandchildren – especially when it comes to lifestyle and financial decisions. Recent data shows that many baby boomers are relocating further away from home than they used to so they can be closer to their grandbabies.

Bottom Line

The data shows grandparents are moving further to be near their grandchildren. If you have grandchildren of your own, maybe you can relate. When you decide it’s time to be closer to your loved ones, connect with a local real estate professional.

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Key Skills You Need Your Listing Agent To Have

Selling your house is a big decision. And that can make it feel both exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking. But the key to a successful sale is finding the perfect listing agent to work with you throughout the process. A listing agent, also known as a seller’s agent, helps market and sell your house while advocating for you every step of the way.

But, how do you know you’ve found the perfect match in an agent? Here are three key skills you’ll want your listing agent to have.

They Price Your House Based on the Latest Data

While it may be tempting to pick the agent who suggests the highest asking price for your house, that strategy may cost you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when you see a bigger number, but overpricing your house can have consequences. It could mean it’ll sit on the market longer because the higher price is actually deterring buyers.

Instead, you want to pick an agent who’s going to have an open conversation about how they think you should price your house and why. A great agent will base their pricing strategy on solid data. They won’t throw out a number just to win your listing. Instead, they’ll show you the facts, explain their pricing strategy, and make sure you’re on the same page. As NerdWallet explains:

“An agent who recommends the highest price isn’t always the best choice. Choose an agent who backs up the recommendation with market knowledge.”

They’re a Great Negotiator

The home-selling process can be emotional, especially if you’ve been in your house for a long time. You’re connected to it and have a lot of memories there. This can make the negotiation process harder. That’s where a trusted professional comes in.

A skilled listing agent will be calm under pressure and will be your point-person in all of those conversations. Their experience in handling the back-and-forth gives you with the peace of mind that you’ve got someone on your side who’s got your best interests in mind throughout this journey.

They’re a Skilled Problem Solver

At the heart of it all, a listing agent’s main priority is to get your house sold. A great agent never loses sight of that goal and will help you prioritize your needs above all else. If they identify any necessary steps you need to take, they’ll be open with you about it. Their commitment to your success means they’ll work with you to address any potential roadblocks and find creative solutions to anything that pops up along the way.

BankRate explains it like this:

“Just as important as the knowledge and experience agents bring is their ability to guide you smoothly through the process. Above all, go with an agent you trust and will feel comfortable with. . .”

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time seller or you’ve been through selling a house before, a great listing agent is the key to success. Connect with a real estate professional so you have a skilled local expert by your side to guide you through every step of the process.

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Home Prices Are Not Falling

During the fourth quarter of last year, some housing experts projected home prices were going to crash in 2023. The media ran with those forecasts and put out headlines calling for doom and gloom in the housing market. All of this negative news coverage made a lot of people have doubts about the strength of the residential real estate market.

If it made you question if you should delay your own plans to move, here’s what you really need to know.

Home Prices Never Crashed

Disregard what you saw in the headlines. The actual data shows home prices were remarkably resilient and performed far better than the media would have you believe (see graph below):

This graph uses reports from three trusted sources to clearly illustrate prices have already rebounded after experiencing only slight declines nationally. That’s a far cry from the crash so many articles called for.

The declines that did happen (shown in red), weren’t drastic but were short-lived. As Nicole Friedman, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), says:

Home prices aren’t falling anymore. . . The surprisingly quick recovery suggests that the residential real-estate downturn is turning out to be shorter and shallower than many housing economists expected . . .”

Even though some media coverage made a big deal about home prices pulling back, the slight correction that happened is already in the rearview mirror. Basically, this data shows you home prices aren’t falling anymore – they’re actually going back up.

What’s Next for Home Prices?

The consensus from experts is that home price growth will continue in the years ahead and is returning to normal levels for the market. That means we’ll still see home prices appreciating, just at a slower pace than the last few years – and that’s a good thing.

Some news sources will see home price growth slowing and put out stories that make you think prices are falling again. The return of misleading headlines like those is already having an impact on how homebuyers are feeling again. You can see how this affects general opinion in the Consumer Confidence Survey from Fannie Mae (see graph below):

  

While the percentage of Americans who think prices will fall has been slowly declining this year, the latest Consumer Confidence data indicates that’s ticked back up recently (shown in red). This change is surprising especially since the home price data shows prices are going up, not down. It tells you the impact the media still has on public opinion.

Don’t fall for the negative headlines and become part of this statistic. Remember, data from a number of sources shows home prices aren’t falling anymore.

Bottom Line

Even though the media may make things sound doom and gloom, the data shows home prices aren’t falling anymore. So, don’t let the headlines scare you or delay your plans. Lean on a real estate professional so you have a trusted resource to cut through the noise and tell you what’s really happening in your area.

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Why Your House Didn’t Sell

If your listing expired and your house didn’t sell, you’re likely feeling a little frustrated. Not to mention, you’re also probably wondering what went wrong. Here are three questions to think about as you figure out what to do next.

Did You Limit Access to Your House?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your house is restricting the days and times when potential buyers can tour it. Being flexible with your schedule is important when you’re selling your house, even though it might feel a bit stressful to drop everything and leave when buyers want to see it. After all, minimal access means minimal exposure to buyers. ShowingTime advises:

“. . . do your best to be as flexible as possible when granting access to your house for showings.”

Sometimes, the most determined buyers might come from far away. Since they’re traveling to see your house, they may not be able to change their plans easily if you only offer limited times for showings. So, try to make your house available as much as you can to accommodate them. It’s simple. If no one’s able to look at it, how’s it going to sell?

Did You Make Your House Stand Out?

When selling your house, the old saying matters: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Putting in the work to make the exterior of your home look nice is just as important as how you stage it inside. Freshen up your landscaping to improve your home’s curb appeal so you can make an impact upfront. As an article from U.S. News says:

“After all, if people drive by, but aren’t interested enough to walk through the front door, you’ll never sell your house.”

But don’t let that impact stop at the front door. By removing personal items and reducing clutter inside, you give buyers more freedom to picture themselves in the home. Additionally, a new coat of paint or cleaning the floors can go a long way to freshening up a room.

Did You Price Your House Compellingly?

Setting the right price is extremely important when you’re selling your house. Even though it might feel tempting to push the price higher to maximize your profit, overpricing can scare away buyers and make it hard to sell quickly. Business Insider notes:

“. . . the biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their home.”

If your house is priced higher than others like it, it could make buyers lose interest. Pay attention to the feedback people give your agent during open houses and showings. If lots of people are saying the same thing, it might be a good idea to think about lowering the price.

For all these insights and more, rely on a trusted real estate agent. A great agent will offer expert advice on relisting your house with effective strategies to get it sold.

Bottom Line

It’s natural to feel disappointed when your listing has expired and your house didn’t sell. Talk to a trusted real estate agent to figure out what happened and what to reconsider or change if you want to get your house back on the market.