Home Remodeling Uptick to Follow Rise in Older Homeowners
The number of households belonging to older adults is on the rise across the nation, and (let’s face it) the homes themselves aren’t getting any younger. So states the Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies' Housing Perspectives (JCHS), which recently published the projection that, if true, makes it likely that Lewes home remodeling activity will spike in the coming years.
Abbe Will, research analyst for JCHS drew this conclusion:
"Since much of the housing stock is currently ill-equipped with even basic accessibility features, older homeowners aging in place will need to invest in retrofitting their homes in order to age comfortably and safely.” In other words, even for homes which remain in their owners’ hands, home remodeling activity could grow markedly.
Home remodeling is no minor industry. Home improvement expenditures by older homeowners already topped $90 billion in 2013—making it a significant economic contributor. Now the JCHS projects that it could surge by an extra $17 billion annually over the next three years. Welcome news indeed for the construction and design industries, who had been in the doldrums until recently.
But what does this mean for Lewes homeowners who plan to sell in the near future? When considering a remodel, if you want your home to attract potential older buyers, consider the innovations modern designs have made for individuals in that demographic group. That will be the competition.
JCHS's analysis notes, "… not even a third of (existing) homes have what could be considered basic accessibility features, such as a no-step entry and bedroom and full bathroom on the entry level.” Both young and old can appreciate other features, as well. Wider hallways in a kitchen remodel is one example. Another is bathrooms showers with ‘edgeless’ design, which holds appeal both to Millennial buyers (for the sleek, modern look) and to seniors with limited movement. A bedroom on the main level that can readily be converted to a master if needed can be attractive to older homeowners—and also to anyone looking for a guest or au-pair suite. Investing wisely by thinking long-term when it comes to home remodeling plans is part of strategic home ownership. If you are considering selling your Lewes home at some point, it doesn’t hurt to inform yourself about forward-looking trends.
- Written by Russell Stucki
A Businesslike Decision - Switching Your Lewes Realtor©
It’s true of any commercial offering: sometimes a perfectly saleable item doesn’t move off the shelves as rapidly as predicted. Real estate is no exception—not every Lewes home is sold as quickly as its owner and the property’s Realtor® wish. When that happens, and the term of the original listing expires, an important decision must be made: should the listing be renewed, or should another Lewes Realtor be enlisted to try a different approach?
If you have been dissatisfied with the amount of effort your current Lewes Realtor has demonstrated up to now, the decision will be easier than otherwise—especially if you have already communicated your impression and been less than overwhelmed by the response. You are right to expect that your Lewes Realtor will have posted attractive, accurate listing material for the MLS, has included your property in the advertising program that goes out to the community, and has been diligent and professional in showings and (if it was agreed upon) open house presentations. You should have been able to contact her or him within a reasonable amount of time when communications were called for, been satisfied by the punctuality of appointments when scheduled.
If performance in any of these basics has been unsatisfactory, it’s entirely reasonable to entertain a change in representation. On the other hand, if your Realtor has not disappointed in any dimension, you are left in a problematical situation—one which has no clear-cut solution. Whether or not your inclination is to stick with the team in place, to make the right decision you need more information. The best guidance is—get it!
· Before you decide whether or not to extend the relationship, ask your agent to review the days on market (DOM) for similar nearby Lewes properties. An analysis will show whether yours is the only slow-moving property, or whether it has simply hit a lull in neighborhood activity.
· Ask yourself whether you have paid attention to the suggestions offered by your current Realtor. If you have chosen to bypass any of them, this could be an appropriate point at which to reappraise.
· If you have had many showings with few offers forthcoming, it’s a pretty good sign that your asking price is higher than prospective buyers believe is justified. If that’s the case, changing Realtors alone isn’t likely to have the desired effect. You’ll need to fix whatever problems visitors are seeing…or else lower the price.
If a hard-headed analysis tells you that switching Lewes Realtors is warranted, don’t worry too much about the reaction you will get. Most Realtors are very professional; they know that clients do occasionally change representation for a number of reasons, and that hard feelings are simply not warranted. Be ready to interview several agents and to compare what they offer. Pay extra attention to how they propose to stimulate activity—you are well-positioned to appraise their ideas!
- Written by Russell Stucki
The Magic Word for Growing Your Lewes Property Value
As soon as you decide that you will be putting your Lewes property up for sale—whether soon or at some point in the foreseeable future—it’s also time to get strategic about growing your property's value—starting with a generous dollop of objectivity.
The difficulty stems from a truth about how everybody perceives much of their property’s value. We escape from hurly-burly of daily living by retreating to the comfortable confines of our home—our place. A good part of its value to us and to our family is its sheer familiarity—the “hominess” that makes it our personal haven. But some of the very things that make it so comfortable to us will be off-putting to outsiders—and they are the prospective buyers.
Our great leather easy chair (the dark brown one that’s gotten a few shades lighter where we sit, and a little off-color where the spills happened) may look a bit peaked to the untrained eye, but it’s been that way for years: who cares? The back door needs to be bolted to stay shut…we do that without even thinking about it—hardly an issue! The sofa may sag, but it sags exactly right (for us)! The bathroom window that’s sort of stuck (okay, maybe it’s painted shut)…etc. etc. etc.
Professionals are of one voice about the real value you add to a property when you go to the trouble of systematically depersonalizing it. It helps to approach doing that seriously and deliberately—to tackle it in an organized manner. There are any number of ways to go about that, but here is one way that will pay off:
Make a list. Starting from one end of your Lewes property, note with pencil and paper every nit-picky detail that is other than what you would expect to find if it were a brand new home. This is not as easy as most people assume, because there will be such a great number of details, that
a) it will be very tempting to start skipping some of the minor ones, and
b) you will find it hard to resist the urge to start fixing the easy ones as you go along (don’t do it: you’ll derail the list-making!)
After a decent interval, sit down with the list and re-classify each item into an Easy Self-Fix List and a Professional-Attention-Needed List.
Step 3 Get bids from the appropriate Lewes professional tradespeople, calculate which fit your budget, then schedule the work.
Step 4 Get started on your own endeavors to address the Easy Self-Fix List. You’ll be able to organize your own efforts to finish up about two weeks after the last of the tradespeople are scheduled to finish their projects (a two week grace period is realistic: you are aiming to finish everything about the same time).
- Written by Russell Stucki
Is that Sound You Hear the Lewes Mortgage Rate Alarm Bell?
In case you set your alarm clock to go off when it was time to buy a home, that clang you may be hearing from somewhere in the distance could be it (figuratively speaking, of course). The reason has to do with the direction of Lewes mortgage rates (among others).
Now, I realize this could come across a little bit like Aesop’s boy who cried ‘Wolf’ since a year and a half ago the experts were unanimous in predicting that mortgage rates would rise throughout 2014 (to at least 5%, if I remember correctly). And not only did they not jump—after a short rise, they actually fell!
The experts were wrong. To the extent I agreed with their call, I was, too—but at least I wasn’t lonely. And I also try to be clear that predicting the future of any financial movement is never a sure thing. The same is true today…but…
Last week, less than a week after the Federal Reserve monetary policymakers emerged from their meeting, Bankrate web commentator Janna Herron published a view that sent alarm bells ringing in my head. It makes so much sense, I feel compelled to share it. Already publicized in the rest of the media was the announcement that 15 of the 17 Fed officials now agree that they expect to raise the federal funds rate at some point within the next 6 months (and one expert was quoted as expecting that as early as September or October). Fifteen out of 17 is a 88% majority, so it couldn’t get much clearer. The funds rate has been cemented to the ground at precisely zero for almost seven years. Since 2008.
Lewes mortgage rates are based upon that Fed funds rate. When it rises, mortgage rates have to rise, or lenders would have to be reclassified as charitable enterprises (not likely). The reasons given for the Fed governors’ near-unanimous prediction are both the rise in the pace of job gains and, as was reported, “The Fed also noted improvement in housing.”
Now, that news may have prompted Lewes mortgage-rate watchers to sit up and take notice—but not necessarily have them hearing alarm bells going off. But there were two other pieces of information:
· First, the current national mortgage rates reported last week rose. They were pegged at just over the 52-week average for 30-year fixed loans, but at 4.13% it remained below the 4.33% of a year before. In other words, still (perhaps momentarily) in the historically basement-level range.
· Second, new mortgage activity began to rise, moving 1.6% up from a week before. Applications had been dropping, but now they were on the move. This while home builder confidence levels soared, with expectations hitting the highest levels in nearly a decade.
As with any batch of economic numbers, the signs can be interpreted in multiple ways, but one way sure does seem to stand out: mortgage rates are attractive now, housing activity is almost certainly on the rise, and mortgage rates and monthly payments are very likely to become more expensive. The same thought may be occurring to more and more people as we enter the summer home-buying season: “What if I could pay less every month for the same home…for the next 30 years…”
- Written by Russell Stucki