Author Archive | JOHN RICE ASSOCIATE BROKER | REALTOR

    Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options.

     

    Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options.

    Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options. | Simplifying The Market

    When you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to determine if you prefer the charm of an existing home or the look and feel of a newer build. With limited existing home inventory available today, especially in the starter and middle-level markets, many buyers are considering a new home that’s recently been constructed, or they’re building the home of their dreams.

    According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB),

    “The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months.”

    This is great news for homebuyers because it means there is additional inventory coming to the market, giving buyers more choices. The most recent data from NAHB shows,

    “The inventory of new homes for sale was 321,000 in September, representing a 5.5 months’ supply. The median sales price was $299,400. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $328,300.”

    Another added bonus is that builders are very aware of buyer demand in this segment, so they’re now building in a price range where there are more interested buyers ($299,400 instead of $328,300). With a reduced sales price and low-interest rates, today’s buyers have strong purchasing power.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may want to consider a new build to meet your family’s needs. Let’s get together to discuss the process and review what’s available in our area.


    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    OPEN HOUSE: Pole Barn 1 Acre Lot w House for Sale: Caledonia 5 Bed 2.5 Bath

    OPEN HOUSE: OPEN – TODAY – SUNDAY NOV 17 2-4PM – Opportunity knocks! This Caledonia Township 2 story boasts 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 stall attached garage, walkout basement, and huge 40 x 32 barn with 14ft entry door with raised rafters, cement floor, and 200 amp electric. Experience the quality the 60s brought to the house in the plaster walls, wood trim, wood cabinets and attention to detail. Location offers easy access to picturesque downtown Caledonia, Lepard Nature Preserve, close to area schools, and right down the road from the shopping, dining, entertainment, trail heads and more. Just south of M6 with easy access to major roads for commuting.

    Excellent Waterfront Opportunity: Thornapple River Waterfront Forest Hills Schools

    This is a rare opportunity offering an incredible location with sought-after Thornapple River frontage on “the pond” in Forest Hills School. With “great bones”, spacious room sizes and fabulous floor plan, this home offers the perfect opportunity to renovate the space into the home you have always dreamed of.

    140 Ft of private Thornapple River frontage. Nestled in the cove this 4 bedroom 3.5 bath home gives you all the enjoyment of being on the wide open stretch of the Thornapple River ranked top in the area for water sports, yet the location provide tranquility not found anywhere else on the river. With quality fit and finish throughout this masterfully crafted walkout ranch provides vaulted cathedral ceiling featuring beautiful wood beams, parquet floor, solid wood cabinetry, over 700sqft of Trex composite decking, 2 fireplaces, 2 docks, gorgeous river views, multi-zone heating and cooling, updated mechanicals, gorgeous landscaping, main floor master, main floor laundry, a brilliant floor plan with large spacious rooms, ample storage space, 2 wet bars, attached 3 stall garage and more. 

    4 Tips to Improve Your Home and Save on Your Energy Bill

     

    4 Tips to Improve Your Home and Save on Your Energy Bill

    4 Tips to Improve Your Home and Save on Your Energy Bill | Simplifying The Market

    By making a few key upgrades to your home, you’ll save on your utility bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home. When you’re ready to sell your house, these key features will make it even more attractive to potential buyers.

    As a homeowner, it’s important to keep your home running efficiently, not only to save money, but also to help the environment thrive. October 2nd is Energy Efficiency Day, a perfect time to think about making some key upgrades that will improve the efficiency of your home. If you’re looking to sell your house and increase the pool of potential buyers in your market, the upgrades below are truly a must.

    According with Wallet Hub,

    “In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income.”

    What should you spend on utilities?

    Money Management says,

    “If you’re working with a budget, and trust me, you should be, your utility costs should be no more than 8-10 percent of your monthly income.”

    How can you make your home more efficient?

    EnergyEfficiencyDay.Org provides some handy tips that can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. Here are a few simple ones to consider, and how to make them happen:

    1. Make the Switch to LED

    LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

    Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.

    2. Seal Those Leaks

    On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. In fact, all the little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.

    Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.

    3. Heat and Cool Efficiently

    Don’t waste money heating or cooling an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and in colder weather schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and increase when you are returning home or waking-up. In warm weather, schedule the thermostat to raise the temperature when you are away or asleep, and lower it at other times.

    Tip: Follow the U.S. Department of Energy recommended temperatures and be energy-efficient all year. 

    4. Maintain Your HVAC System

    Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.

    Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. 

    Bottom Line

    By making a few key upgrades to your home, you’ll save on your utility bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home. When you’re ready to sell your house, these key features will make it even more attractive to potential buyers. Let’s get together to discuss what buyers are looking for when it comes to energy efficiency options in our area.


    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise

    Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise

    Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise | Simplifying The Market

    In the third quarter of 2019, the U.S. homeownership rate rose again, signaling another strong indicator of the current housing market.

    The U.S. Census Bureau announced,

    “The homeownership rate of 64.8 percent was not statistically different from the rate in the third quarter 2018 (64.4 percent), but was 0.7 percentage points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (64.1 percent).”

    Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise | Simplifying The MarketToday there is still a lack of inventory, particularly at the entry and middle-level segments of the market, but that is not stopping buyers from making every effort to pursue homeownership. The many financial and non-financial benefits continue to drive the American Dream and will likely do so for generations to come.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re thinking of buying a home, let’s get together to make your dream a reality.


    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Forget the Price of the Home. The Cost is What Matters.

    Forget the Price of the Home. The Cost is What Matters.

    Forget the Price of the Home. The Cost is What Matters. | Simplifying The Market

    Home buying activity (demand) is up, and the number of available listings (supply) is down. When demand outpaces supply, prices appreciate. That’s why firms are beginning to increase their projections for home price appreciation going forward. As an example, CoreLogic increased their 12-month projection for home values from 4.5% to 5.6% over the last few months.

    The reacceleration of home values will cause some to again voice concerns about affordability. Just last week, however, First American came out with a data analysis that explains how price is not the only market factor that impacts affordability. They studied prices, mortgage rates, and wages from January through August of this year. Here are their findings:

    Home Prices

    “In January 2019, a family with the median household income in the U.S. could afford to buy a $373,900 house. By August, that home had appreciated to $395,000, an increase of $21,100.”

    Mortgage Interest Rates

    “The 0.85 percentage point drop in mortgage rates from January 2019 through August 2019 increased affordability by 9.7%. That translates to a $40,200 improvement in house-buying power in just eight months.”

    Wage Growth

    “As rates have fallen in 2019, the economy has continued to perform well also, resulting in a tight labor market and wage growth. Wage growth pushes household incomes upward, which were 1.5% higher in August compared with January. The growth in household income increased consumer house-buying power by 1.5%, pushing house-buying power up an additional $5,600.”

    When all three market factors are combined, purchasing power increased by $24,500, thus making home buying more affordable, not less affordable. Here is a table that simply shows the data:Forget the Price of the Home. The Cost is What Matters. | Simplifying The Market

    Bottom Line

    In the article, Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:

    “Focusing on nominal house price changes alone as an indication of changing affordability, or even the relationship between nominal house price growth and income growth, overlooks what matters more to potential buyers – surging house-buying power driven by the dynamic duo of mortgage rates and income growth. And, we all know from experience, you buy what you can afford to pay per month.”

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    7486 Alaska Ridge – Private Thornapple River – Forest Hills Schools

    Forest Hill Schools – Private Thornapple River frontage. This gorgeous Town & Country cedar home is surrounded by the natural beauty of hardwoods. Located on the open 6 mile stretch of the Thornapple River (all sports.) This home offers the best of rustic-lux. With soaring vaulted plank ceilings, stone fireplace, majestic views out every window, and quality finishes throughout every inch breathes the essence of home. The main floor master with luxuriously appointed on-suite, the additional bedrooms, finished garage loft space, and walk-out lower level each offer custom touches combining form, function and fun. Experience the peace of this location while appreciating its easy proximity to everyday amenities such as shopping, dining, entertainment, and more.

    Comstock Park Michigan House for Sale: 4 Bedroom 2 Bath

    4535 Wakefield Court NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321

    Opportunity knocks! This renovated 4 bedroom 2 full bath house features new paint and flooring throughout with updated bathrooms, updated kitchen, attached garage and great back yard. Zoned commercial, this property offers an excellent opportunity to use now as a rental while anticipating the future use and value based on the potential development for the area. Location offers easy access to several area amenities including the Fred Meijer Trail System, historic Comstock Park with eateries, Fifth Third Ball Park, Dwight Lydell Park, the shopping corridors of Alpine, Plainfield and East Beltline are each only a few minutes away, access to several major roads for commuting.

    Union Square Condo For Sale: Grand Rapids MI 49504

    Union Square: Downtown Grand Rapids Condo

    600 Broadway Ave NW #411 Grand Rapids MI 49504

    This is an excellent opportunity to own in one of the best addresses in Grand Rapids: Union Square. This unit features 108 sqft of private balcony, soaring main floor ceilings with exposed brick walls and spiral staircase leading to a beautiful master bedroom and bath with private laundry. The main floor features a full wall of amazing windows letting the natural light pour in on the open living room and kitchen, while the main floor bedroom and full bath provide nice privacy. Enjoy the on-site fitness room with full gym, the rooftop pool and hot tub, the large game room, off street parking and secure access. Top location in walking distance to the Bridge Street Market, New Holland Brewery and many more. Minutes from downtown.

    Thinking of Selling Your Home? The Waiting Is The Hardest Part.

     

    Thinking of Selling Your Home? The Waiting Is The Hardest Part.

     

    Tom Petty famously penned the words, “the waiting is the hardest part” in his early 80’s hit song The Waiting, and his thought process can surprisingly also be applied to individuals considering selling their homes today. Traditional thinking would suggest it may be best to wait until the spring to sell when there is a flood of buyers in the market, but right now may in fact be an even better time to list your home.

    We can see the overall economy is good: wages are rising, there are near record-low unemployment rates, and mortgage interest rates are still very low too. Over the past 10+ years the housing market has stabilized, so what (if anything) is the biggest challenge in the housing market today?

    The answer is simple: it’s inventory.

    According to the Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors,

    “Total housing inventory at the end of September sat at 1.83 million, approximately equal to the amount of existing-homes available for sale in August, but a 2.7% decrease from 1.88 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.0 months in August and down from the 4.4-month figure recorded in September 2018.”

    What does this mean?

    While homes are coming to the market, they aren’t coming fast enough! Right now, across the country there is less than 6 months of overall inventory of homes for sale, putting us in a seller’s market. The challenge is that there are not enough homes for sale to increase the supply needed for the number of people who want to buy, especially in the starter and middle-level markets.

    To be in a balanced market (meaning we have enough inventory for the number of buyers in the market), we need to have 6 months of inventory available. Today we are nowhere near that number, and as a matter of fact, the last time we reached that height was August 2012 (as shown in the graph below):Thinking of Selling Your Home? The Waiting Is The Hardest Part. | Simplifying The MarketWhen we look at the inventory challenge today, we can see that now is a great time to sell your house. Truthfully, waiting may end up being the hardest part in the long run. This landscape is a great place for sellers who own homes in the starter and middle-level markets to take the opportunity to sell in a sellers’ market, before inventory catches up with demand. Serious buyers are actively in the market and ready to make a move at this time of year. When inventory is limited at the lower end, like it is today, selling before more homes are listed could mean a significant seller’s advantage to those who are ready to move up. The upper level of the market has much more inventory available to move into, so it’s a win across the board.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re considering selling your home, don’t wait – now is the time to make your move! Take advantage of the high housing demand and the low inventory of homes for sale at the lower end of the market and use your purchasing power while mortgage rates are low to go after the move-up home of your dreams. Let’s get together to decide if now is the right time for you.


    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates