March Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

The ABCs of Involving Children in the Home buying Process

When I talk to clients with families, I make a point of asking whether they want their children to be involved in the buying or selling process. If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a home, here are some ways you can engage the youngest members of your family.

To read the full newsletter including 7 Spring-Cleaning Tips, The Five Best Places to Dine Alone in Chicago  and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

How to Sell Your Home with a Baby

Real Estate News

As the spring real estate market is starting to heat up, there maybe homeowners who are thinking of selling their home but, are nervous about it because they have young children at home.  I have some great tips on how to prepare your home for showings if you have a baby or young children. Every time there is a showing done on your home, it needs to be as spotless and showroom ready for buyers as possible.

Living Room

If you living room looks like toyland, then you need to do your best to make it look like the living rooms you see in the Crate & Barrel magazines by removing all toys, blankets, and large baby accessories.  This is one of the first rooms that buyers will see and you need to have a good first impression on buyers by having this room look as close to the pictures they viewed online of your property.

Favorite Hiding Places 

I am including some my favorite hiding places I had when I was preparing to sell my home with a baby.  Place stuffed animals and small toys in a laundry hamper but only if it has a lid on it. If you have any extra pillows or a Boppy pillow in the nursery, a great hiding spot for those is behind the gliding rocking chair where no one can see them. Any large toy that can be folded down can be placed under the crib, under the bed in the Master Bedroom or tucked away. The truck of your car is another great hiding spot for any large toys that you don’t want taking up space during a showing of your home.  If you have dirty bottles or glasses, load up your dishwasher to hid them out of sight but don’t run it. Also, if you have any dirty blankets or towels place them in the washing machine at least 2 hours before the showing and let them stay hidden in there. By starting the washing machine in advance of the showing the spin cycle will be finished and won’t make any noises during the showing. Just don’t forget about your wet laundry in the washing machine because you may end up with moldy items. Another way to prepare for a last minute showing is to keep a large plastic bin by the front door and toss all the toys in the bin and take it with you in your car.

Where to go during Showings?

Here are some places you can take a baby or small child while buyers are viewing your home. Take your child for a quick car ride around the block possibly while you are exploring a new neighborhood that you would like to move to next.  If the weather is warm outside, take your child for a walk and go to your local park. If the showing is on the weekend, go to the grocery store, HomeDepot or visit a friend that lives near by.  An educational way to keep your child occupied would be to take them to your local public library and read a few books.

Selling your home with young children may seem like a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end weather your goal is to get more space for your growing family, be closer to extended family or have a yard for kids to play in.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

 

 

 

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

Real Estate News

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | Keeping Current Matters

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below.

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | Keeping Current Matters

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:

“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.

Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!

February Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

When ‘As Is’ Makes Sense for Buyers or Sellers

You see a listing for a home and it says “as is.” What exactly does that mean? Typically, “as is” signifies a home has issues that may need attention. This could be a good option for buyers or sellers.

To read the full newsletter including 3 No-Cost Ways To Stage a Property, Ways to Beat the Winter Blues by Visiting These Chicago Attractions and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Real Estate News

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors,mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you to take action.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

January Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

Buying or Selling? Tap Into Baird & Warner’s Suite of Exclusive Tools for the New Year

Thinking of buying or selling a home in 2019? The beginning of a new year is a great time to dive in. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an empty-nester looking to downsize, Baird & Warner’s exclusive tools can improve your experience and make it easier.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s winter adventures, renovation projects and their costs and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

December Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

IMG_2622

Budget Tips to See More Green This Holiday Season

Saving for a down payment or home renovation? Socking away a little extra cash can be a challenge this time of the year — with holiday parties to attend, food and drink to buy and, of course, gifts for family and friends. Consider these great tips if you want to stick to a budget and still have the merriest of holidays.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s Best Indoor Water Parks Near Chicago, the 17 Essential Doughnut Shops in Chicago and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

November Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

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Why the Holidays Are a Great Time to Buy and Sell?

With holiday celebrations just around the corner, it might seem counterintuitive to step up your real estate activity. But it’s actually a great time to enter the market, whether you’re a buyer or seller.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s top 10 pizza places, tips to throw a fall feast with friends and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent?

Real Estate News

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent? | Keeping Current Matters

Chances are if you are renting you are spending too much of your income on your monthly housing expense. There is a long-standing ‘rule’that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their rent or mortgage payment. This percentage allows the household to save money for the future while comfortably covering other expenses.

According to new data released from ApartmentList.com, 49.5 million renters in the United States were cost-burdened in 2017, meaning they spent more than 30% of their monthly incomes on rent. This accounts for nearly half of all renter households in the country and is up 3.1 million from 2007.

When a household is cost-burdened by their monthly housing expense, they are not as easily able to save money for the future. This is a big factor for many renters who dream of owning their own homes someday.

But there is hope for those who are able to save at least a 3% down payment! The percentage of income needed in the US to buy a home is significantly less than renting at 17.1%!

The chart below compares the historic percentage of income needed to rent and buy from 1985-2000 to the first quarter of 2018. As you can see, the cost of renting has climbed above historic numbers while the cost of buying dropped over the same period of time.

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is spending too much of their monthly income on rent, consider saving money by getting a roommate, moving into a less expensive apartment, or even moving in with family. These are all ways to save for a down payment so that you can put your housing costs to work for you!

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling

Real Estate News

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today’s real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what’s happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced local agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com