A Mid-Year Market Update for Home Buyers and Sellers
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the nation's supply of homes for sale is finally showing signs of improvement. The growth in supply is being led by mid-sized family homes, as fewer are going under contract even though spring and early summer are traditionally popular times for families to shop for houses.
"April data suggests a positive turn of events is on the horizon for weary buyers: If the trends we're seeing now hold true, we could potentially see year-over-year inventory growth within the next few weeks," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com.
If you're considering entering the market as a buyer or seller, a talk with a licensed lending professional who can help you make informed decisions. Contact us for a no-obligation chat, or to discuss your financing options.1
Strategies to Buy Your Next Home Sooner
Since the housing market shows signs of easing in many regions, you may be ready to take your buying plans off hold and begin shopping in earnest. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're shopping for a first home, especially if you're not viewing many move-in ready homes in your preferred neighborhoods.
While new construction usually costs more than an existing home, buyers enjoy some major advantages. Many builders offer "quick move-in" homes ready within 30 to 90 days, which is great news for weary buyers. Choosing new construction often gives the buyer freedom to choose their home's colors, square footage, and finishes.
This helps eliminate the need to trade in a small starter home for a bigger property in a few years. And since many builders offer warranties, new homeowners may be exempt from unexpected major repair bills.
If new construction doesn't appeal, you may be able to find an older home that needs minor updates. This is a popular option with buyers as the nation's housing stock ages; a 2019 study found that nearly 80% of American homes were at least 20 years old. If retro's not your style, don't fret - as one remodeling executive said, "You can fix ugly." Buyers considering a home in need of updates will benefit from hiring an experienced home inspector. An inspection ensures the home has solid structural components and identifies any potential problem areas.
This inspection will help ensure their chosen home has solid structural components while finding any problem areas.2
Inflation-Fighting Tips You Can Bank On
Depending on your circumstances, inflation's effect on prices may or may not be affecting you. For example, if you're working remotely (or driving an electric vehicle!), you won't need to worry about higher gasoline prices. No matter what your situation, here are some tips to consider that will help keep you comfortably in the black.
1. Reduce discretionary, non-essential spending. If you're able to postpone weekend travel and skip a few drive-through meals, these savings will make a big difference...even if you only reduce your monthly spend by 5%.
2. Identify online subscriptions and cancel those you aren't using. You may be surprised to discover how many unwatched, unwanted television channels, memberships, and online games you're paying for every month.
3. Renegotiate your monthly cable, streaming and cell phone bills. While these calls can be time-consuming, any savings will be well worth it. Even some iPhone and Android apps will offer a discount if you attempt to cancel them.3
Turn a Spare Bedroom into an Office with A Foldaway Bed
Fans of vintage movies have probably spotted a foldaway Murphy bed within an apartment or hotel room. Also known as wall beds, Murphy beds are still in production, with plenty of sizes and designs available. They can do more than save space. For example, a guest bedroom with a Murphy bed can be twice as useful, as they can morph into a home office on weekdays.
The Murphy bed was invented around 1900 by William Murphy, a young man with a crush on an opera singer. Since Gilded Age customs prohibited a woman from entering a gentleman's bedroom, Murphy created a method of storing his bed in a closet, transforming his studio apartment into a parlor. Later, he patented his invention and began selling "In-A-Dor" beds.4
Three Energy-Efficient Fixes Under $100
When you invest in your home to lower your bills, every penny saved is yours to keep. Here are some simple, affordable ways to save.
1. Make sure your home's using LED light bulbs. They're 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Also, EPA data shows that a typical household can save around $225 annually by going all LED.
2. Seal gaps around door frames and windows with caulking or insulation strips. You could be losing up to 30% of your home's heating or cooling through these gaps while your energy bills take monthly hits.
3. If you hear your toilet running 24/7, it may be losing up to 180 gallons of water every week through a leaky flapper valve. Replacing the valve usually costs less than $10.5
Some Bright Ideas for Improving Your Home's Lighting
Your home is your place to relax, work, entertain and have fun. If you find any of these activities difficult, you may need to consider updating your home's lighting. Here are some luminous tips.
Almost every room will benefit from less intense lighting, as bright lights make some people uncomfortable. Consider installing dimmer light switches in one or more rooms – especially those that need occasional bright light for hobbies or reading.
Natural sunlight can transform a room with its healing powers, increasing energy levels and improving moods. If trees or adjacent homes are shading your home, consider installing a tubular skylight or "sun tunnel". Total costs can be as low as $1,000 – even less if you install it yourself.
Another way to improve an area's mood is to adjust a room's colors. Blue light helps speed relaxation while green light improves sleep quality and may even help reduce the severity of migraine headaches. Repainting a room in a light blue or green shade can transform it into your personal sanctuary, although you can go for a faster fix by replacing light bulbs or changing lamp shades' colors.6
Sources: 1 cnbc.com; 2 nerdwallet.com; 3 nerdwallet.com; 4 smartspaces.com; 5 thepennyhoarder.com; 6 housebeautiful.com/ukShare:
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