Home Inventory Levels

Current Home Inventory levels are down about 46% from 2015’s high point.

Available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers

Thinking of selling, now might be the time for you. Meet with me and I  can show you the supply conditions in your area and assist you in gaining access to the buyers who are ready, willing and able to buy now!


New Analysis Says Buying More Affordable than Renting

RealtyTrac® recently released its 2016 Rental Affordability Analysis, which shows that buying is still more affordable than renting in 58 percent of U.S. housing markets, despite home price appreciation outpacing rent growth in 55 percent of markets. The report also shows that the rise in rents is outpacing weekly wage growth in 57 percent of markets.

The analysis included recently released rental data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics along with public record sales deed data from RealtyTrac® in 504 counties with a population of at least 100,000.

“Renters in 2016 will be caught between a bit of a rock and a hard place, with rents becoming less affordable as they rise faster than wages, but home prices rising even faster than rents,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac®. “In markets where home prices are still relatively affordable, 2016 may be a good time for some renters to take the plunge into homeownership before rising prices and possibly rising interest rates make it increasingly tougher to afford to buy a home.”

Small Upgrades Now Mean Big Returns Later



It’s not uncommon in today’s real estate market for sellers to make repairs and renovations to their home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. These upgrades can drastically improve a property — so much so that the homeowner may rethink selling!

Investing approximately one to three percent of the asking price into your home initially often yields returns of around eight to 10 percent. If you’re thinking of selling in 2016 or simply want to upgrade for the new year, here are some recommendations that will make your home more appealing to you and potential buyers.

When One Door Closes

Replacing your front door can change a home’s entire exterior appearance. According to Remodeling’s 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report” for the Chicago area, installing a steel door for $1,391 results in 100.8 percent cost recuperation, while a fiberglass door for $3,196 results in a 92.2 percent recuperation. Design blogs and DIY television shows recommend painting your door a bright, bold color. However, if you plan to sell, a neutral color with a decorative glass panel is the more profitable decision.

Less is More

Brokers surveyed in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2015 Remodeling Impact Report said that a kitchen upgrade was the top interior project for attracting buyers. Full renovations may have seen bigger payoffs in past years, but this trend seems to have changed. Instead of completely replacing cabinetry, install refreshed fronts and new hardware. Swap out laminate countertops and repaint trim for a more modern look and feel.

From the Ground Up

New and refinished floors are a huge draw for buyers, as well as a source of pride for any homeowner. Based on cost estimate from the national Association of the Remodeling Industry and NAR’s estimated cost earned, 91 percent of the project cost was recovered for new wood floors and 100 percent of the project cost was recovered for refinished hardwood floors.

If you’d like to know what home improvements are the most popular in your local community, let’s talk. I can provide valuable insight and guidance so you can accomplish your real estate goals in 2016.

A Simple Tool to Help You Understand Your Local Market

Real estate is a constantly changing marketplace, and knowing how your neighborhood is performing will keep you on top of the action. Baird & Warner’s Market Insight allows you to see all of the real estate activity in your specified area. Select the community you’re interested in learning more about, and you can choose to receive emails that provide you with all of the real estate transactions and details specific to that selection. This interactive report charts such data as sold homes, properties for sale, inventory levels and even days on market. Please contact me if you’d like to sign up.



I came across this article from Realtor.com discussing the top reasons to buy in 2016.

Here are the highlights of that article.


Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance. A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market.

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break!

Let me help you on your journey. Visit me at REALESTATEBYEDWIN.REALTOR



7 Steps to a Safer Home for the Holidays

One of my colleagues sent me this article and I thought it was a good to share with everyone.

Gearing up for guests this holiday season? If so, now’s the time to ensure your home is safely prepared for company. According to the remodelers of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), homeowners who expect visitors, especially elderly individuals, should assess their homes for hazards, and, if necessary, increase accessibility to accommodate their needs.Home

“Welcoming loved ones to your home is a cherished holiday tradition,” says NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner, a remodeler from Newport News, Va. “By making some simple home modifications, you can ensure that family and friends will enjoy a comfortable visit and be able to maneuver around your house without trouble this year.”

Steps to take include the following:

1. Secure rugs and carpets. Secure area rugs with non-slip pads or double-sided carpet tape so that they are snug to the floor. Temporarily remove throw rugs, including bathroom mats, to prevent guests from tripping on the edges.

2. Test stair railings. Check that stair railings inside and out are tightly fastened. Make repairs where needed.

3. Turn up the lights. Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, hallways and in the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within reach of the guest bed so that your visitors can keep a light on until safely tucked in. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are also important when coming or going at night.

4. Clear outdoor walkways. Rake leaves, salt for ice and shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways to prevent falls.

5. Add non-slip treads or a mat to the shower. Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip floor. To enhance traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat.

6. Offer the best seat. Choose the best seat for your guest’s comfort—not too high, not too low. A firm cushion can prevent them from sinking too low in to the seat, and arms can help a person easily get up and down.

7. De-clutter. Move objects or even furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Secure cords to the wall or baseboards with hooks to prevent tripping. Clear stair steps of any objects, such as shoes, books and other personal items, that tend to collect on the lower treads.

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