Whether you own a home or are looking to buy or sell one,
here are some useful tips, ideas and advice.
When you are ready to make a move our team members are here for you.

Homebuyers’ Advice

Housing Industry Supports LGBTQ+ Pride

The prevention of housing discrimination has come a long way, but it still has far to go. According to History.comThe Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disabilities. Since 2009, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has supported extending fair housing protections to sexual orientation and gender identification.

In May 2019, the historic Equality Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but has yet to pass the Senate. The bill is strongly supported by the real estate industry, including the NAR, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and numerous real estate franchise associations. It’s meant to ban discrimination against the LGBTQ+  community “in housing, credit, employment, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service,” explains Naglrep.com, the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

The organization says that discrimination is a major reason why LGBTQ+ homeownership rates are at 49 percent compared to the national average of 65 percent. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2015 that struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, many LGBTQ+  singles and couples and those with children continue to fear discrimination (73%). Meanwhile, many states have stepped in with laws to prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices joins the LGBTQ+ community in celebrating June Pride Month and pledges its continuing support to help end housing discrimination in all its forms.

Homebuyers’ Advice

Characteristics of Millennial Homebuyers

According to a new survey from the National Association of REALTORS, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996, Pew Research) and also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers, are the largest homebuying segment at thirty-seven percent. While millennials have been the largest share of homebuyers since 2014, the survey also found that they are most likely to be first-time homebuyers.

The lingering economic impacts of the Great Recession and the pandemic have caused millennials to delay homeownership. They’ve lived with parents, relatives or friends for longer than any other modern generation, saving enough for a down payment on a home of their own.

The economy and pandemic have also impacted a larger number of homebuyers (18%) to purchase a home big enough to house multiple generations. Households often include adult siblings, adult children, parents and/or grandparents. Pooling resources allows family and extended family to save money on housing, quarantine together, share cooking, housekeeping and maintenance duties, and provide care for children and elders.  

While many millennials work from home, they also commute. Deciding where to live depended strongly on the quality of the neighborhood, but also on convenience to get to their workplaces and avoid long commutes. Fifty-seven percent of millennial homebuyers wanted to be closer to family and friends.

As a seller, what can you expect? Extensive virtual tours are a good idea for your marketing. Put your home in the best possible repair and update it with fresh cheerful paint and new appliances and fixtures wherever possible.

Homeowners’ Advice

The Problem with Garage Conversions

When you buy a home, plan on staying there for approximately five years. Why? You’ll need equity in order to sell the home without losing money.

Moving up to a better neighborhood could mean compromising on space, so you may be tempted to convert the garage.

Many older homes come with a two-car garage, approximately 20 by 20 feet, or 400 more square feet of living area. It’s already under the roof and walled on three sides, making it seem inexpensive and reasonable to remodel as a den, a bedroom or a guest suite.

The problem is that a garage conversion seldom looks or performs the way you think it will. Unless you remodel the garage from the outside, it will always look like a conversion. The driveway will lead straight to a wall, so unless you build on a new garage, tear out the old driveway, and repave the driveway to the new garage, it will never look right. 

You’ll have problems in the interior, too. The garage floor elevation could be lower than the rest of the house because it’s a concrete slab. It isn’t insulated like the rest of the house, so there will be a noticeable difference in sound absorption, temperature and finishes.

When it comes time to sell your home, the conversion will cost you. You can’t count the conversion because it doesn’t square with the tax rolls. Homebuyers will deduct the cost of reconversion or building a new garage from their offer. They want the security, storage, and utility of a garage.

No matter how you count it, square footage added at the cost of a garage isn’t worth it.

Homeowners’ Advice

June is National Homeownership Month

National Homeownership Month is celebrated in June, the kickoff of the summer homebuying season. Homeownership is widely considered the foundation of civil stability and familial happiness – the American Dream.

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) believes homeownership gives families more financial security, a better lifestyle, and stronger communities through supporting businesses, schools, and services making it a powerful financial, psychological and physical stake in local neighborhoods and communities.

Whenever a homeowner mows their lawn, shops at the local grocery, or joins the PTA of their children’s school, they’re creating a more stable community. This is why homeownership is one of the most subsidized national initiatives through low-interest rates, tax incentives, and low-down-payment federally guaranteed mortgages or bank mortgage package purchases.  

According to NAR, homeowners attain 46 times the personal wealth of renters because of equity ownership. They can customize their homes in a way that renters can’t – for their comfort and family needs. They contribute to their neighborhoods through home improvement, which makes them more desirable; through participation in schools, which makes them stronger; and in supporting the community.

According to Miblog.genworth.com, homeownership is at risk due to a number of factors –the pandemic, business closures and inflation. Homeownership is investing in the future. As a homeowner, you have the ability to shape your home, neighborhood and community for better or worse, simply by how you treat your home, neighbors and local businesses. The more we have responsible homeownership, the better our future looks.

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©2021 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Information not verified or guaranteed. If your property is currently listed with a Broker, this is not intended as a solicitation. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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