How Homeownership Delivers Unsurpassed Family Wealth


There are many financial benefits to homeownership, but probably none more important than its ability to create family wealth.

How Housing Matters is a joint project of the Urban Land Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. It is an online resource for research and information on how homeownership contributes to individual and community success.

Their article, The First Rung on the Ladder to Economic Opportunity Is Housing, explains the importance of homeownership to a family’s financial health. In that article, they simply stated:

“The ladder to economic success can stretch only so high without the asset-building power of homeownership.”

To this point, National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed in a recent post:

“Housing wealth contributes positively to the homeowner’s and children’s economic condition, because home equity can be tapped for expenditures such as investing in another property (which can generate rental income), home renovation (which further increases the home value), a child’s college education, emergency or major life events, or expenses in retirement…

Housing wealth (or net worth or equity) is built up over time via the home price appreciation and the principal payments that the homeowner makes on the loan.”

Here is a graph showing the build-up of wealth over time:How Homeownership Delivers Unsurpassed Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Just last month, NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, explained that even though home appreciation has slowed, homeowners are still building wealth:

“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year.”

Later in life, this wealth is crucial…

This wealth is important to a family’s retirement plans. In a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University titled, Housing America’s Older Adults 2018, they revealed that a renter 65 years old or older has a net worth of $6,710. Meanwhile, a homeowner 65+ years old has a net worth of $319,200. That huge difference will allow for a dramatic upgrade in one’s lifestyle during your retirement years.

Bottom Line

Homeownership builds wealth. This, in turn, allows families to have more and better options when it comes to their children and their life in retirement.


Want to learn more? Click Here to contact us today!


The Top Reasons to Own Your Home


If you are looking to own your own home, click here to contact us now! We would love to assist you in achieving your Real Estate dreams!

How to Use Texture and Pattern in the Garden


structure and style

How to Use Texture and Pattern in the Garden


Creating a pleasing landscape or garden for your home is an opportunity to express yourself creatively. Two design elements that contribute enormously to the success of a garden composition are texture and pattern. The truly great gardens use these elements, along with unity and harmony, proportion and scale, light and shade, and mass and space to create a garden that has a delightful tension between restful and stimulating.


Patterns give coherence and definition to garden design. While the physical layout of paths and beds in the garden is the primary source of pattern, plants also play a role.

Use pattern to create emotional effects in your garden. For example, a static design that can be taken in at a glance is reassuring and restful. The eye focuses on the pattern itself, rather than being lured to move through the space. In these cases, the pattern should be interesting enough to capture and hold attention.

In contrast, a pattern with movement can generate excitement and curiosity. A diagonal line that stretches in either a straight or zigzagging direction across the property adds a sense of urgency and will draw the eye. Punctuate the design with a focal point such as a bench, statue, urn, or feature plant at the far end of the line to provide an eye-catching and satisfying conclusion to the visual journey.

Patterns that hide parts of the garden add the allure of mystery. Viewers don’t know what’s around the corner or beyond the large shrub for example, and that sense of the unknown is compelling. Adding mystery to a garden is particularly effective in a small space. A small garden will seem larger if you can’t see the entire area in a glance.

In addition to the physical aspects of pattern, think about light, shadow, and color as part of the palette, and be careful not to overdo bold patterns, which can overwhelm.

Whatever the pattern, whether symmetrical and ordered for a formal garden, or abstract and wild for an informal design, it will establish the essential character of your garden.

Expert Design Tool

To best assess the success of the patterns and textures in your garden, take a digital photo and adjust the saturation to the lowest level to create a black-and-white picture. Without the distraction of color, you can get a much better sense of what works and what doesn’t.


Texture is defined as in the visual and tactile quality of a surface. In a work of art (or the garden) the effective combination of various textures contributes to the success of the overall composition, making an arresting, pleasing scene.

In the garden, texture is provided by hardscaping, foliage, and flowers. Hardscape includes features such as walls, paving, fences, and arbors. Whatever material you choose to use for garden structures, its tactile appearance, whether coarse or fine, will contribute to the textural effects in the garden.

Foliage is the second important source of textural effects. Large-leaf plants are bold in texture, creating a dramatic, assertive look; small-leaf plants appear more delicate. Too much of either will generally make a less successful design than a balanced blend. Is the garden too bold and hard looking? Add some fine textured foliage to soften it. Too boring because everything is lost in a fine blur? Contrast the fine texture with bolder plants.

Leaf color can influence the perception of bold, medium, or fine texture. Even a bold-leaf plant such as a hosta will look finer in texture if it has pale variegation or edges to the leaves. Golden and brightly colored foliage tends to look less bold than dark-green leaves.

Flower form also contributes to texture in the garden. If you study the famous English herbaceous and perennial borders, you will notice that they have a pleasing mixture of flowers with round heads; tall, pointed spires; airy sprays of small blossoms; umbrella-shaped blooms; and flowers with tiny petals. The variety of textures, blended into an attractive whole, is part of the visual appeal of these borders.

Experiment with creating different effects by combining contrasting textures, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As the great early twentieth-century English gardener author Vita Sackville-West wrote, “Gardening is largely a question of mixing one sort of plant with another sort of plant and seeing how they marry happily together; and if you see that they don’t marry happily, then you must hoick [pull] one of them.” With little trouble, you can create a garden that combines pattern and texture in a way that pleases your eye and satisfies your soul.

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

360.393.1183 Shannon

360.393.8299 Gordon


The Impact Staging Your Home Has On Your Sale Price



Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Profile of Home Staging.
  • 62% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market.
  • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar-value offers from buyers.
  • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
  • The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.

Boomerang Buyers: Don’t Be Afraid to Buy a Home Again!



According to CoreLogic, from 2006 to 2014 “there were 7.3 million housing foreclosures and 1.9 million short sales.” The hesitation some Americans feel after experiencing a foreclosure brings to mind the old saying: “Fool me once- shame on you. Fool me twice- shame on me.

According to the 2019 Home Buyer Report from NerdWallet,

Thirteen percent of Americans have lost a home due to a financial event such as foreclosure in the past 10 years. More than 6 in 10 of them (61%) have not bought a home since, and 20% of those who haven’t repurchased say they never plan to again.”

This makes sense. They don’t want to go through the same pain again. As a cornerstone of the American dream, nobody wants to lose homeownership. But let’s illustrate this simply: Recall learning to ride your first bike during your childhood. Did you stop riding it because you fell on the ground and scraped your knees? Or did you get back on and try again until you were able to ride without falling?

Purchasing a home is not as simple as learning to ride a bike, but the concept is the same! There are many things necessary to learn that affect the ability to get the financing needed to purchase a home. Past occurrences can determine if there is a waiting period. In other words, you need to let your knees heal before you try again!

As we’ve mentioned in the past, homeownership has many financial and non-financial benefits. Each person needs to go over the pros and cons, taking the time to figure out what is best for their family. Should they continue renting, or should they try to buy again?

The good news is that some “boomerang buyers” are getting back into the market. They’re getting back on their bike!

“Of 2.8 million former homeowners whose foreclosures, short sales or bankruptcies dropped off their credit reports from January 2016 to November 2018, 11.5% have obtained a new mortgage, according to a study by credit rating agency Experian for USA Today.”

NerdWallet’s report also mentioned:

  • 6% plan to buy a house this year.
  • 39% intend to buy over the next 3 years.
  • 58% say they will purchase within 5 years.

Bottom Line

If you lost a home due to a financial event but would like to review your options, CLICK HERE to contact us today! We can help you create a plan to obtain a home in the future!

Are Older Generations Really Not Selling Their Homes?



Many studies suggest one of the main reasons for the inventory shortage in today’s market of homes for sale is that older generations have chosen to “age in place” over moving.

The 2019 Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trend Report by NAR clarifies this point!

NAR’s findings show that Baby Boomers (43%) and the Silent Generation (12%) made up 56% of sellers in 2018! This means the majority of sellers last year were over the age of 54. This also shows these generations ARE moving!

The report also shared the reasons why they chose to move. According to the research, the top reason was a desire to be closer to friends and family. Below is a full breakdown:


As we can see, they have plenty of reasons to sell their current home! But what type of homes are they trading in?


Once again, the report demonstrated that older generations are not keeping that 3-bedroom, 2-bath colonial home. Instead, they are putting it on the market and moving on with their lives!

Bottom Line

If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, contact us today, we can help you find a home that will!

Starting The Search For Your Dream Home? Here Are 5 Tips!


In today’s real estate market, low inventory dominates the conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared.

In a article entitled, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind,” the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole process.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approvedfor a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

This step will also help you narrow your search based on your budget and won’t leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and love, ends up being outside your budget!

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as ‘must-haves’‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live In

Every neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area. Make sure that the area meets your needs for “amenities, commute,school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that would best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code, doesn’t mean that you need to tour every listing in that zip code.

An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

Making notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring the home.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home. CLICK HERE to contact us today, we would love to help make your Real Estate dreams become a reality!

New Research Shows Housing Is Affordable For First-Time Buyers


Home prices have been on the rise for the last seven years, leading many housing market analysts to conclude that first-time homebuyers are being shut out of the market due to affordability concerns.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports on the percentage of First-Time Home Buyers (FTHB) on a monthly and yearly basis. Their latest report shows that FTHB’s made up 33% of buyers in March, which matches their reported share in 2018.

NAR uses survey data from their members to come up with this statistic, so their results do not include every transaction completed. Rather, they only show the transactions reported by members who complete the survey.

The other entity that reports on FTHB share is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI uses data from mortgage applications that define an FTHB as “any borrower who did not have a mortgage for the preceding three years.”

This means the AEI measurement also includes former homeowners who transitioned out of a home they previously owned and re-entered the market after at least 3 years. The latest FTHB share data from AEI shows that first-time buyers made up 57.5% of all mortgages in August 2018. NAR’s data shows a 31% share for the same time period.

New research from the New York Federal Reserve shows that these traditional reports on FTHB share have been unable to give an accurate depiction of this group’s involvement in the market.

The NY Fed was able to take consumer credit data and identify when a mortgage payment entered a consumer’s credit report to determine when a first-time home purchase was made. Using this data, they were able to show that AEI’s reported FTHB share was consistently 10% higher. The NAR reports were right on par with their findings until 2010, when NAR’s share dropped to the 11% gap seen today.

So, what does this all mean?

First-time home buyers have not disappeared from the market as many analysts had believed. Buying a home is very much a part of the American Dream for younger generations, just like it had been for their parents and grandparents.

This also means that rising prices have not scared buyers away from the market. Many first-time buyers are making sacrifices to save their down payment and make their dream a reality.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is scrolling through listings on your phone every night dreaming of buying your own home, there are opportunities in every market to make that dream a reality! Click here to contact us now or give us a call today to see what is available in your area! Gordon: 360.393.8299 or Shannon: 360.393.1183

5 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’


Are You Ready To Find Your Dream Home?