Reflections On 2020
This time last year there wasn’t a person who could predict what 2020 had in store for us. Just a few months in, our lives were turned upside down. Many of us were full of uncertainty and anxiety as news of a global pandemic surrounded us. Our work lives, school lives, and family celebrations were hosted on Zoom and the like. What felt like a novelty at first became a new normal. It would be remiss to say that it was all bad. Of course it was and is bad, but for those fortunate enough to have the comfort of a roof over their head, a warm meal, and the love of family and friends it is hard not to appreciate a reason to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. We are grateful to our healthcare workers and everyone else in our community who have worked so hard to help keep us safe and healthy.
Among the fear and uncertainty, the real estate market slowed to almost a complete halt. However, as we adjusted to a new way of doing business, including virtual showings, and lenders offered record low mortgages, people slowly started to feel more comfortable buying and selling homes. A couple quiet months gave Heritage Realty of CNY the time to work towards long term goals and join Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to offer our clients even more services starting in July, 2020. We have been fortunate to see exponential success in our local real estate market and have enjoyed helping families and business owners start their next adventure.
Here we are 10 months into this pandemic and it seems there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel if we can all stay the course. Whatever 2021 has in store for our community, BHHS Heritage Realty is here to answer all of your questions in regards to Real Estate and help you find a new home or sell your current home.
HOW MUCH HOME DO YOU REALLY NEED?
In a fast-moving housing market, you may find yourself compromising what you want to what’s affordable and available to buy. Some wish list items you’ll be able to find, but others you can happily do without if you concentrate instead on choosing a home that functions for your household and budget.
Size: Most homebuyers want more space, but square footage can be misleading. A bigger house isn’t better if you’re paying big bucks to heat, cool and maintain space you don’t use.
Layout: As you preview homes, think about your daily activities and whether the layout functions to serve those needs. Does the interior design allow you to pivot as needs change? For example, a little-used formal dining room or living room could become a home office or playroom.
Materials: As suggested by the children’s story The Three Little Pigs, houses made of brick or stone are the safest, longest-lasting materials, but houses made of siding can be comfortable and affordable. The quality of materials and the workmanship are what matter most.
Comfort: You want your household members to be comfortable and enjoy the spaces that they have. Think about places for family and friends to gather. Privacy is important, so there should be shared spaces to do homework, play games, and converse.
Costs: When estimating your monthly payment, include taxes and hazard insurance, but don’t forget to set aside money in your overall budget for decorating, maintenance and repairs, such as installing curtains and repainting.
ARE LISTINGS GROWING YOUR AREA?
Home sellers may be wondering whether to put their homes on the market now during the winter months or wait for spring 2021. There are arguments for both sides, but the National Association of REALTORS® predicts that this “will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”
NAR economists say we have a perfect storm of low mortgage interest rates, low housing inventory, plus a pandemic that’s causing many homebuyers to work from home and virtually school their children. They’re rethinking how and where they want to live. While most homebuyers purchase homes to secure more living space, that’s true now more than ever.
Buyers are looking for advantages because low inventories and rising prices favor sellers. Many will look at homes in the winter because the interest rates on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate are below three percent for those with good credit. There’s less competition from other buyers, which means fewer above-list-price offers and bidding wars.
According to CNBC real estate expert Diane Olick, buyers could be reaching their limits in terms of housing prices after months of double-digit increases. This fall, for the first time in months the NAR reported a decline in pending home sales. While the number of listings available for sale is still lower than year-ago levels, the percentage is shrinking. Price reductions are becoming more frequent, but continue to remain low.
To find out what’s happening in your area, contact a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Heritage Realty professional for an in-depth market analysis.
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