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Downsizing Is Good!

5 Real Estate Agent Tips For Downsizing Baby Boomers

Upwardly mobile baby boomers had a mantra of “More space!” as they looked for larger homes to accommodate growing families and increased possessions. Now, as empty nesters look to downsize, they’re headed in the opposite direction.

How can you best serve home buyers in their period of transition? Here are five helpful tips for real estate selling to downsizing baby boomers.

1. Evaluate Current Space and Possessions

Wanting a smaller home is a vague goal. Have your clients take a careful look at their current space and decide which features they could do without. Do they need more than one spare bedroom? Does the formal dining room get any use? 

2. Start Downsizing Immediately

The sooner your clients can begin eliminating unwanted furniture and home accessories, the easier the task will be. If they wait too long, they may be forced to take them along and put them in storage, which is an additional expense they don’t need.

3. Obtain SRES Designation

A Senior Real Estate Specialist, or SRES, has completed specialized training focused on working with seniors and evaluating their unique need. SRES certification will give your clients additional confidence in your ability to help them.

4. Budget for Monthly Housing Costs

All homes come with property taxes, HOA fees and other costs that must be included in the overall budget. Baby boomers on fixed incomes need to be particularly accurate in accounting for all expenses.

5. Think Ahead

Do your clients have health or mobility issues? Do they want to be close to family members? Consider other changes that will impact their choice in homes.

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Coronavirus Fears

Coronavirus Is Infecting The Real Estate Market: What You Should Know

Coronavirus, a deadly disease originating in China and spreading worldwide, has taken center stage in recent news. Can a health crisis have an effect on current real estate trends? Experts weigh in on how coronavirus may impact the U.S. housing market.

Putting the Brakes on the Luxury Real Estate Market?

At this point, there have only been 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. But according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the luxury real estate market is already taking a hit. Many high-end properties on both coasts are purchased by wealthy Chinese buyers, to the tune of $13.4 billion in NAR’s most recent annual report.

In the short term, this could repress an already sluggish luxury market, which is defined as properties selling for $1 million-plus. Bay Area broker Amy Kong, president-elect of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, reports lower attendance at open houses marketed toward Asian buyers.

Interest Rates on the Decline

China is the world’s second-largest economy, so anything impacting their financial outlook has a ripple effect around the globe. On January 30, rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans dropped nine basis points to 3.51% While lower rates could trigger an uptick in buyers, the benefit could be negated by sellers raising list prices.

What’s Ahead?

Yun makes a comparison between coronavirus and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the early 2000s. SARS had a negligible effect on U.S. real estate, but Chinese buyers weren’t as active then. Fortunately, the consensus is that once the coronavirus is under control the market will bounce back to business as usual.

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Rent Control and Other Real Estate Trends To Watch Out Fors... Are You In One?

Rent Control and Other Real Estate Trends To Watch Out For

Staying on top of current trends is an important part of successful real estate selling. What will buyers, sellers, investors and construction firms be doing in the new year? Experts offer these predictions on real estate trends to keep an eye on in 2020.

1. Mortgage rates continue to drop.

At the close of 2019, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at an average of 3.99%, making it a good year for first-time buyers and refinancers. With trade wars going strong and global economic growth stagnating, there’s a good chance the Fed will cut interest rates at least twice. As of mid-January, average rates were already at 3.79%.

2. Rent control spreads to more areas.

As many people struggle to find affordable housing, several states are turning to rent control. Oregon, California and New York all passed rent control bills in 2019. Other high-cost housing states such as Illinois and Washington are on a “watch list,” while rent control has become a talking point for a number of Democratic presidential candidates.

Rent control has already caused multifamily housing investors in affected markets to rethink and even reduce their investments, an issue that’s likely to occur in other states as they enact legislation.

3. Builders remain focused on starter homes.

Post-recession, builders turned their efforts to the more profitable segment of custom homes for well-to-do buyers. As a result, demand by first-time home buyers has remained strong, but the inventory of starter homes has dried up.

Builders specializing in entry-level properties saw double-digit percentage increase in sales last year, a trend likely to continue as supply tries to catch up with demand.

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Experts Predict a Strong Job Market and Low Mortgage Rates Will Fuel 2020’s Housing Market

Heading into 2020, a strong job market and low mortgage rates should bode well for the housing market. But thanks to a shortage of inventory and new listings, the positive real estate trends may turn out to be a mixed blessing.

Golden Age of Home Buying?

Unemployment and interest rates are both at their lowest levels in years. While widespread economic uncertainty in 2019 seemed likely to push mortgage rates north of 5 percent, rates actually declined to an average below 4 percent. In contrast, at the turn of the millennium mortgage rates were averaging 8.5 percent.

The National Association of Realtors Makes Their Predictions

According to the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates are expected to remain low during the year. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says 30-year fixed mortgages will stay below 4 percent and finish the year around 3.8 percent.

Increases in new-home sales are projected to hit a 13-year high of 11 percent, but supply of existing homes will continue to be tight, resulting in a more modest 4 percent increase. Yun calls this a “healthy development for potential home buyers,” as prices will remain relatively affordable.

Despite the optimistic outlook, Yun does offer a word of caution. Increases in economic activity and inflation may trigger a corresponding rise in interest rates.

Real Estate Experts Weigh In

Other experts tend to agree with NAR’s outlook. Realtor.com and Redfin both anticipate tight inventory in the face of strong demand. As a result, the biggest challenge facing buyers will be finding homes, not affordability. In terms of mortgage rates, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride also sees them holding steady at or slightly below 4 percent.

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Now May be the Best Time to Sell

Pending Recession Makes Selling Real Estate Now Very Attractive

A recession is generally viewed in a negative light in terms of the housing market overall. However, there might be a silver lining when it comes to real estate selling, especially for those who want to sell sooner rather than later. Could a possible recession in 2020 mean that homeowners should be eager to sell this year?

Upcoming Recession?

A recent Zillow report shows that real estate professionals, as well as economists, are expecting a recession to hit the economy at some point this year. While the effects of this recession aren’t predicted to be as dire as the one that hit the housing market in 2008, buyers and sellers should both stay alert.

Effects of Recessions on Sellers and Buyers

A recession that starts happening early in the year could motivate sellers to put their home on the market in the near future instead of waiting. Higher interest rates that could occur with a recession might mean having fewer buyers around at that time. This can make it harder for sellers to sell their home at an ideal price, and it could take longer to find the right buyer. Listing a home now or in the near future might be a better option for those who want or need to sell quickly or those looking to get as much as they can for their home.

Those who are thinking of selling a home this year might want to consider listingearlier rather than later in case interest rates do rise considerably. In the meantime, those who are looking into buying a home should keep a potential recession and increasing interest rates in mind when deciding when to purchase this year.

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