7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season

Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to list their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why listing your house now or keeping it on the market this winter may be the best choice you can make.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  • Relocation buyers are out there now. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays, and they need their new employees to start as soon as possible.
  • Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  • You can restrict the showings on your home to days and times that are most convenient for you. You will remain in control.
  • Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  • There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Over the past few months we’ve seen the supply of homes for sale decreasing year-over-year, as shown in the graph below:
  • The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching, and your home may be the answer.
  • Late fall and early winter make up the “sweet spot” for sellers. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights in 2020, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.

Bottom Line 

It may make the most sense to list your home this holiday season. Reach out to us today, we can help you determine if selling now is your best move.

Click Here to Contact Us Today!

VA Loans

The Difference an Hour Will Make This Fall

Every Hour in the U.S. Housing Market: 

  • 614 Homes Are Sold
  • 95 Homes Regain Positive Equity
  • Median Home Values Go Up $1.38

#bellingham #reasons #reasonstomove #realestate #realestateresource #neufeldnw #pnw #pnwonderland #whatcomcounty #lifestyle

Posted by Heart of Bellingham Community and Home on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home. This stops many people from even trying to jump into homeownership! Here are some facts to help take the fear out of the process:

  • 71% of buyers who purchased homes have put down less than 20%.
  • 78.1% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • In September, the average credit score for approved loans was 737.

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report shows that home prices have appreciated by 3.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.8% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase Next Year

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have recently hovered just above 3.5%. This is great news for buyers in the market right now, because low interest rates increase your purchasing power – but don’t wait! Most experts predict rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact your monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is needed to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing costs to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you’re buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over custom renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

Bottom Line

Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. Click Here to reach out to us today, we would love to help you determine if homeownership is the right choice for you and your family this fall.

Cooped Up

Installing Fashionable Chicken Coops

WRITTEN BY CATRIONA TUDOR ERLER

As more people search for a sustainable, self-sufficient way of life, the population of suburban neighborhoods is changing. People aren’t necessarily moving out, but chickens are moving in. In addition to providing fresh eggs, free-range chickens help control insects, add nutrients to the garden, and can even make affectionate pets. But to keep your little red hens safe and comfortable, the perfect coop is key. Most chicken coops are humble abodes hidden in a discrete location in the garden, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a bit of creativity, you can craft a practical and attractive setup worthy of being a central feature in your garden.

At her country home in Connecticut, the internationally renowned decorator Bunny Williams has an outdoor chicken run with swooping rafters to support the netting that keeps her flock safe from predators. The hen houses that flank this spacious aviary are built in the style of colonial outbuildings with clapboard siding and a pyramid hip roof. Williams-Sonoma featured a charming coop on wheels that allowed the chickens to be moved around your property—creating a modified version of free-range chickens—priced at $1,300. In its 2012 fantasy gifts catalog, Neiman Marcus offered a $100,000 chicken coop inspired by Le Petit Trianon at Versailles.

Those who fancy a chic coop but lack the Neiman Marcus budget can retrofit a prefab playhouse or garden shed to satisfy a chicken’s needs. Online, you’ll find playhouse “cottages” in styles such as Victorian, Cape Cod, log cabins, farmhouses, summer lake cottages, and more.

Like humans, chickens get testy, resorting to tension-induced behavior such as pecking and aggressiveness if they are crammed too close together. Birds with access to outdoor foraging require a minimum of two to three square feet per bird inside the coop. More spacious accommodations are even better, especially if the flock will be kept inside during the winter. In that situation, five to ten square feet per chicken is required. Birds that live in a chicken tractor (a coop on wheels) need about five square feet per chicken. Once the minimums have been met, plan for as much roominess as your space and budget will allow.

Once you’ve met the requirements of your local building codes, zoning ordinances, and, where applicable, homeowner association restrictions, you must meet the chicken’s requirements. Good ventilation is essential, as is protection from predators. Shade is important, too, as are areas of dry soil or dirt where hens can dust bathe to control parasites. If you don’t have a dusty spot in the chicken run or coop, provide a box filled with dirt or sand.

Laying hens will need nest boxes that are at least two feet off the ground and about one square foot. Prefab boxes such as milk crates or plastic tubs lined with shavings or straw and nailed to a shelf or directly to the wall work fine. For community nesting space, allow the same one square foot per hen.

Chickens instinctively seek high ground when they sleep to keep them safe from predators. Perching keeps them off the ground where they are more susceptible to pathogens and bacteria in the litter as well as parasites such as mites and lice. Unlike other birds, they do not wrap their feet around a perch; they sleep flat-footed. Thus, they need a two- to four-inch wide surface on which to roost. On the blog Fresh Eggs Daily, author Lisa Steele—a fifth-generation chicken keeper— suggests using the four-inch side of a two-by-four as a roost to help protect their feet from frostbite. Whatever the season, create an inviting coop for your hens to keep a happy flock.

poultry paperbacks

If you’re ready to get started or revamp your on-site chicken abodes, turn to these books for guidance.

Hentopia: Create a Hassle-Free Habitat for Happy Chickens; 21 Innovative Projects by Frank Hyman

“I wanted to possess the least expensive and lowest maintenance chicken compound in world history,” writes Hyman. “A Hentopia for chickens and chicken-keepers.”

Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard by Jessi Bloom

“More and more, chickens are becoming part of our gardens, providing us with fresh eggs,” writes Bloom, “but their strengths as garden helpers are often overlooked.”

The New Rules of the Roost: Organic Care & Feeding for the Family Flock by Robert Litt and Hannah Litt

“Distilled in these pages are our twenty-five years of combined personal and professional experience keeping chickens . . . ” write the Litts.

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

360.393.1183 Shannon / Shannon@NeufeldNW.com

360.393.8299 Gordon / Gordon@NeufeldNW.com

www.NeufeldNW.com

3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Pro in a Complex Digital World

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.

2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated and informed real estate professional. You’ll want someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone. Click Here to contact us today!

Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell

The best time to sell anything is when demand for that item is high and the supply of that item is limited. The latest Existing-Home Sales Report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reveals that demand for housing continues to be strong, but the supply is struggling to keep pace. With this trend likely continuing throughout 2020, now is a great time to sell your house.

THE EXISTING-HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in this report was not actually sales. In reality, it was the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory at the end of August decreased 2.6% to 1.86 million homes available for sale.
  • Unsold inventory is lower than the 4.3-month figure recorded in August 2018.
  • This represents a 1-month supply at the current sales pace.

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR,

“Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up
home prices.”

In real estate, there is a simple guideline that often applies here. Essentially, when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see greater appreciation. Between a 6 to 7-month supply is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and can expect depreciation in home values (see below):

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.1-month supply of homes on the market, and houses are going under contract fast. The Existing Home Sales Report also shows that 49% of properties were on the market for less than a month when they were sold. In August, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 31 days. As Yun notes, this should continue,

“As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates…The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market, and supply will fail to catch up with demand if a sizable supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, contact us today! Now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers who are out there searching for your house to become their dream home.

Bad Home Habits to Break Right Now

Save yourself time, money, and headacheBad habits can be hard to break — especially if you don’t even realize what you’re doing is harmful! When it comes to caring for your home, it may not be because you’re lazy about chores; you just may not know the right way to care for your appliances, fixtures, and other parts of your home. The preventative tips below provide some guidance for properly caring for your home, so you can avoid the damage these bad habits can cause.

The Bad: Slamming doors.
Slamming doors — especially heavy doors — not only damages the hinges and handles, it can also pull the door out of alignment, which can lead to a damaged frame, which can lead to even greater structural damage … you get the picture.

The Good: Replace the hinges.
You’ve seen those soft-close kitchen drawers, but did you know you can get soft-close hinges for your doors? Bonus: You won’t have to yell at the kids to “Stop slamming those doors” anymore!

The Bad: Letting gutters stay cluttered.
Your gutters should be cleaned out at least twice a year, but many of us just never seem to get around to it. Unfortunately, that sets us up for water damage on the roof and even the foundation as water spills out and down along the sides of the house rather than being directed away from the foundation. (Not to mention, clogged gutters are an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes. No, thanks!)

The Good: Clean them regularly or cover them.
For DIYers, be sure you use a ladder that does not need to lean against the soft metal gutters for support, which could cause more damage by bending or warping them. Not into heights? There are gutter cleaning companies that can also check for breakages and check over your roof at the same time, giving you a heads up on potential issues before they become real problems. (Almost) never want to think about it again? Check out gutter guards and screens. There are many varieties, including some that work better in cold-weather climes, so be sure to do your homework before choosing one. And remember they aren’t totally maintenance free!

PRO TIP: Never, ever walk on your roof to clean your gutters. Not only can you damage the roof, but you could void any warranties on it!

The Bad: Using one cleaning product for everything.
Granite counters, bamboo floors, and tile foyers need to be maintained with cleaners made especially for them. Using a one-size-fits-all formula can break down protective finishes, leave residues, and even create marks and stains.

The Good: Go natural or go specific.
All-natural cleaners are generally safe to use on multiple types of finishes. For example, vinegar is generally safe for wood and tile — but it’s not recommended for granite or marble. To really ensure you’re caring for your finishes properly and keep them looking their best for as long as possible, use cleaners specifically designed for the material you need to clean.

The Bad: Dumping everything down the drain.
Even though you have a garbage disposal, it’s not meant to chop up half a plate’s worth of spaghetti or the peels from a pound of potatoes. And you should never put anything down the toilet except toilet paper: not tissues, or paper towels, or cotton balls. Even “flushable” wipes really aren’t good for your pipes or the sewer system. And while there are plenty of de-cloggers on the market these days, many are extremely corrosive and can damage your pipes, especially older ones, leading to extremely costly plumbing repairs.

The Good: When in doubt, throw it out.
Prevention here is key. To help protect your drains and pipes, remember these rules:

Your garbage disposal is not an alternative trash can. It’s for little bits and pieces of biodegradable food products, and never for coffee grounds, pasta, stone fruit pits, potato peels, non-food items, or grease (we’re looking at you, bacon lovers).
Install screens on sink and bathtub drains to prevent hairs from going down the tubes.
Flush drains regularly with hot water. Yep, just plain hot water can help keep them open and clear.
Clean sink stoppers and the rubber flanges in your kitchen sink regularly and well to prevent odor-causing bacteria from settling in.
Toilet paper is the only product that should be going down the toilet.
The Bad: Letting filters get dirty and clogged.
We all know we should change our air filters every three months, and more often if we have pets. But knowing it and doing it are two different things! Plus, are you cleaning out the filter in your clothes dryer? Buildup there can actually cause a fire!

The Good: Regularly clean and replace them.
One great way to remember this is to replace them all at once. While you should be cleaning out the lint trap after almost every use of your clothes dryer, you can replace the HVAC filter, wash out the dishwasher filter, vacuum out the dryer exhaust hose and outlet, replace the water filter in your icemaker, scrub the filter in your range hood, and replace the filter in your vacuum cleaner all at once to make sure you don’t forget anything. That’s a good day’s work done!

 
 Just like with your own health, taking preventative steps to keep
your home in good working order can save you time, money, and
headache down the road.
 
 Have some bad home habits caused by problems around your
property? If you need financing for home renovations or repairs,
contact me to learn about your options.

Courtesy of Kim Erchinger Vice President, Regional Production Manager at Banner Bank 360-752-8254