Jupiter FL Real Estate & Community News

Feb. 19, 2024

It’s Time To Prepare Your House for a Spring Listing

It’s Time To Prepare Your House for a Spring Listing




If you're thinking of selling your house this spring, now is the perfect time to start getting it ready. With the market gearing up for its busiest time of year, it'll be important to make sure your house shines bright among the competition.

Here are some valuable tips you can use to get your house market-ready.

Declutter and Organize

First impressions matter, and if your house is a mess, that can easily turn off potential buyers. Before listing, take the time to declutter and organize each room. Decluttering is about more than just tidying up – it's about creating a sense of space and openness that allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home. According to Moving.com:

Decluttering and organizing your space will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers. . . .decluttering will help the buyers see themselves living in your home. Less clutter inside a home also helps a place appear larger and cleaner, which should attract more buyers.”

Deep Clean Your Kitchen and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points for many buyers, and often influence their overall opinion of the house. Ensure these spaces dazzle by giving them a thorough deep cleaning. Pay attention to details like scrubbing grout lines, polishing fixtures, and decluttering countertops. A sparkling kitchen and bathroom can leave a lasting positive impression on potential buyers.

Maintain Your Yard

Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see, so it’s important to make a good impression from the moment they arrive. A well-maintained yard not only enhances curb appeal, but also shows buyers the home has been well taken care of.

Take the time to spruce up your yard by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and clearing away any debris or dead plants. Remember, the goal is to create a welcoming environment that entices buyers to step inside and imagine themselves living there. U.S. News says:

“A beautifully landscaped front yard can elevate an ordinary house into a charming home and will help homes sell faster and for more money.”

Find a Listing Agent

A skilled listing agent is your partner in minimizing stress when selling your home. Lean on your agent for advice on decluttering, staging, and enhancing your home's appeal to potential buyers. Their insights into market trends and recommendations for reliable contractors and stagers are invaluable. As Realtor.com says:

“A good listing agent will help you price your home . . . recommend a photographer and stager to make it look its best, and put your home on the multiple listing service.”

Bottom Line

By decluttering, deep cleaning, and tidying up your house, you can create a welcoming environment that resonates with buyers and increases your chances of a successful sale. Let’s connect on what you need to do to get your house ready to sell this spring.

Feb. 15, 2024

Don’t Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You

Don’t Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You




Based on what you’re hearing in the news about home prices, you may be worried they’re falling. But here’s the thing. The headlines aren’t giving you the full picture.

If you look at the national data for 2023, home prices actually showed positive growth for the year. While this varies by market, and while there were some months with slight declines nationally, those were the exception, not the rule.

The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down. Let’s dive into the data to set the record straight. 

2023 Was the Return to More Normal Home Price Growth

If anything, last year marked a return to more normal home price appreciation. To prove it, here’s what usually happens in residential real estate.

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that take place each year. It’s called seasonality. It goes like this. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is usually still strong in the summer, but begins to wane toward the end of the year. Home prices follow along with this seasonality because prices grow the most when there’s high demand.

The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show how this pattern played out in home prices from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

 

 

As the data shows, for nearly 50 years, home prices match typical market seasonality. At the beginning of the year, home prices grow more moderately. That’s because the market is less active as fewer people move in January and February. Then, as the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up. That means home prices do too. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again and prices grow, just at a slower rate.

Now, let’s layer the data that’s come out for 2023 so far (shown in green) on top of that long-term trend (still shown in blue). That way, it’s easy to see how 2023 compares.

 

As the graph shows, moving through the year in 2023, the level of appreciation fell more in line with the long-term trend for what usually happens in the housing market. You can see that in how close the green bars come to matching the blue bars in the later part of the year.

But the headlines only really focused on the two bars outlined in red. Here’s the context you may not have gotten that can really put those two bars into perspective. The long-term trend shows it’s normal for home prices to moderate in the fall and winter. That’s typical seasonality.

And since the 49-year average is so close to zero during those months (0.10%), that also means it’s not unusual for home prices to drop ever so slightly during those times. But those are just blips on the radar. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall.

What You Really Need To Know

Headlines are going to call attention to the small month-to-month dips instead of the bigger year-long picture. And that can be a bit misleading because it’s only focused on one part of the whole story.

Instead, remember last year we saw the return of seasonality in the housing market – and that’s a good thing after home prices skyrocketed unsustainably during the ‘unicorn’ years of the pandemic.

And just in case you’re still worried home prices will fall, don’t be. The expectation for this year is that prices will continue to appreciate as buyers re-enter the market due to mortgage rates trending down compared to last year. As buyer demand goes up and more people move at the same time the supply of homes for sale is still low, the upward pressure on prices will continue.

Bottom Line

Don’t let home price headlines confuse you. The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose in 2023. If you have questions about what you’re hearing in the news or about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.

Jan. 30, 2024

Why It’s More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why It’s More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]




Some Highlights

Jan. 24, 2024

Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024

Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024




Even though home prices are going up nationally, some people are still worried they might come down. In fact, a recent survey from Fannie Mae found that 24% of people think home prices will actually decline over the next 12 months. That means almost one out of every four people are dealing with that fear, and you might be, too.

To help ease that concern, here's what experts forecast will happen with prices this year.

Experts Project a Modest Increase

Check out the latest home price forecasts from eight different sources (see graph below):

 

The blue bar on the left means, on average, experts think home prices will go up over 2% by the end of this year – not down.

Prices aren’t likely to depreciate in 2024 because inventory is still tight and lower mortgage rates are leading to strong buyer demand. Those two factors will keep pushing prices up as the year goes on. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains:

“With mortgage rates dropping, demand for homes in early 2024 is likely to be strong and will again put pressure on prices, similar to trends observed in early 2023 . . . Most markets will continue to reach new home price highs over the course of 2024.

What Does This Mean for You?

Experts are saying home prices will go up this year, and that's good news if you're thinking about buying a home. When you become a homeowner, you want the value of your house to go up. That appreciation is what builds equity and makes homeownership such a good investment over time.

Beyond that, expected home price appreciation also means if you’re ready, willing, and able to buy, waiting just means it will cost more later. 

Bottom Line

If you're worried home prices will come down, don’t be. Many experts believe they’ll actually go up this year. If you have questions or worries about what’s happening with prices in our area, let’s connect.

Jan. 16, 2024

Why You May Want To Seriously Consider a Newly Built Home

Why You May Want To Seriously Consider a Newly Built Home




Are you putting off your plans to sell because you’re worried you won’t be able to find a home you like when you move? If so, it may be time to consider a newly built home and the benefits that come with one. Here’s why.

Near-Record Percentage of New Home Inventory

Newly built homes are becoming an increasingly significant part of today’s housing inventory. According to the most recent report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

Newly built homes available for sale accounted for 31% of total homes available for sale in November, compared to an approximate 12% historical average.”

That means the percentage of the total homes available to buy that are newly built is well over two times higher than the norm. And even more new homes are on the way.

Recent data from the Census shows there’s been an uptick in both housing starts (where builders break ground on more new homes) and housing completions (homes where construction just wrapped).

And while some people may worry builders are building too many homes, that isn’t a concern – if anything, the recent increase is really good news. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Even more home building will be needed with the housing shortage persisting in most markets . . . Another 30% rise in home construction can easily be absorbed in the marketplace . . .”

How This Helps You 

Since the supply of existing homes for sale is still low right now, the increase of new-home construction can be a game changer because it gives you more options for your search.

Picture yourself in a home that’s new from the ground up: new appliances, fresh paint, fewer maintenance needs because everything is new, and so much more. Doesn’t that sound nice?

And it may be more within reach than you ever imagined. In addition, some builders are offering things like mortgage rate buy-downs for homebuyers right now. This can help offset today’s affordability challenges while also getting you into your dream home. In a recent article, Patrick Duffy, Senior Real Estate Economist at U.S. News, explains:

“Builders have been using mortgage interest rate buydowns for many years as a sales incentive whenever interest rates are relatively high, . . .Today more builders are offering rate buydowns for the entirety of the loan, allowing buyers to finance more home for the same payment amount.”

Just remember, the process of buying from a builder is different from buying from a home seller, so it’s important to partner with a trusted real estate agent who knows the local market. They’ll be your go-to resource for coordinating with the builder, reviewing contracts, and more.

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to sell so you can make a move but you’re having a hard time finding a home you like, let’s connect. That way you have a local expert to help you explore all of your options, including the newly built homes in our area.

Jan. 2, 2024

3 Keys To Hitting Your Homeownership Goals in 2024

3 Keys To Hitting Your Homeownership Goals in 2024




If buying or selling a home is your goal for 2024, it’s important to understand today’s housing market, know your why, and work with industry experts to bring your homeownership vision for the new year into focus.

Over the last year, the economy had a big impact on the housing market, and likely on your wallet too. That’s why it’s critical to have a clear picture of not just the market today, but also on what you want out of it when you buy or sell a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.comexplains:

The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, so that you can stay in your home long enough that buying is a sound financial decision.

Here are a few things to think through as you define your goals for 2024.

1. Know Your Why

You’re dreaming about making a move for a reason – what is it? No matter what’s happening in the market, there are still many compelling reasons to buy a home today. Your needs may have changed in a way your current house can’t address, or you could be ready to step into homeownership for the first time. Use your why and your motivation as a guidepost in partnership with an expert advisor to make sure your move gives you a lasting sense of accomplishment.

2. Figure Out What Your Next Home Needs To Look Like

You know you want to move, but how would you describe your dream home? The number of homes for sale has grown recently, and that could mean more options to choose from when you buy. But overall housing supply is still lower than more normal years in the market, so you’ll have to work closely with a pro to find what you’re looking for. Just be sure to keep your budget in mind as you balance your wants and needs. The better you understand what’s essential and where you can be flexible, the easier it will be to find a home that’s right for you.

3. Determine if You’re Ready To Buy

Getting clear on your budget and available savings is essential before you get too far into the process. Partnering with a local agent and a lender early is the best way to make sure you’re in a good position to buy. This could include planning how much to save for a down payment, getting pre-approved for a home loan, and assessing your current home equity if you’re selling your existing house.

A Professional Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Process

Buying or selling a home takes expertise to navigate. If that feels a bit overwhelming, that’s normal. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from your goals this year. A trusted expert will help you bridge that gap and give you the facts and advice you need about today’s housing market.

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to plan how to make your homeownership dreams a reality in 2024.

Dec. 27, 2023

Expert Quotes on the 2024 Housing Market Forecast

Expert Quotes on the 2024 Housing Market Forecast




If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home soon, you probably want to know what you can expect from the housing market in 2024. In 2023, higher mortgage rates, confusion over home price headlines, and a lack of homes for sale created some challenges for buyers and sellers looking to make a move. But what’s on the horizon for the new year?

The good news is, many experts are optimistic we’ve turned a corner and are headed in a positive direction.

Mortgage Rates Expected To Ease

Recently, mortgage rates have started to come back down. This has offered hope to buyers dealing with affordability challenges. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplains how they may continue to drop:

Mortgage rates have already retreated from recent peaks near 8 percent and may fall further . . .

Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“For home buyers who are taking on a mortgage to purchase a home and have been wary of the autumn rise in mortgage rates, the market is turning more favorable, and there should be optimism entering 2024 for a better market.”

The Supply of Homes for Sale May Grow

As rates ease, activity in the housing market should pick up because more buyers and sellers who had been holding off will jump back into action. If more sellers list, the supply of homes for sale will grow – a trend we’ve already started to see this year. Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLSsays:

Supply will loosen up in 2024. Even homeowners who have been characterized as being ‘locked in’ to low rates will increasingly find that changing family and financial circumstances will lead to more moves and more new listings over the course of the year, particularly as rates move closer to 6.5%.”

Home Price Growth Should Moderate

And mortgage rates pulling back isn’t the only positive sign for affordabilityHome price growth is expected to moderate too, as inventory improves but is still low overall. As the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) from Fannie Mae, a survey of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, says:

“On average, the panel anticipates home price growth to clock in at 5.9% in 2023, to be followed by slower growth in 2024 and 2025 of 2.4 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.” 

To wrap it up, experts project 2024 will be a better year for the housing market. So, if you’re thinking about making a move next year, know that early signs show we’re turning a corner. As Mike Simonsen, President and Founder of Altos Researchputs it:

“We’re going into 2024 with slight home-price gains, somewhat easing inventory constraints, slightly increasing transaction volume . . . All in all, things are looking up for the U.S. housing market in 2024.”

Bottom Line

Experts are optimistic about what 2024 holds for the housing market. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the new year, the best way to ensure you’re up to date on the latest forecasts is to partner with a trusted real estate agent. Let’s connect.

Dec. 21, 2023

Why Mortgage Rates Could Continue To Decline

Why Mortgage Rates Could Continue To Decline




When you read about the housing market, you’ll probably come across some information about inflation or recent decisions made by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). But how do those two things impact you and your homebuying plans? Here's what you need to know.

The Federal Funds Rate Hikes Have Stalled

One of the Fed’s primary goals is to lower inflation. In order to do that, they started raising the Federal Funds Rate to slow down the economy. Even though this doesn’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, it does have an impact.

Recently inflation has started to cool, a signal those increases worked and are bringing inflation back down. As a result, the Fed’s hikes have gotten smaller and less frequent. In fact, there haven’t been any increases since July (see graph below):

 

And not only has the Fed decided not to raise the Federal Funds Rate the last three times the committee met, they’ve signaled there may actually be rate cuts coming in 2024. According to the New York Times (NYT):

“Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged in their final policy decision of 2023 and forecast that they will cut borrowing costs three times in the coming year, a sign that the central bank is shifting toward the next phase in its fight against rapid inflation.”

This indicates the Fed thinks the economy and inflation are improving. Why does that matter to you and your plans to buy a home? It could end up leading to lower mortgage rates and improved affordability.

Mortgage Rates Are Coming Down

Mortgage rates are influenced by a wide variety of factors, and inflation and the Fed’s actions (or as has been the case recently, inaction) play a big role. Now that the Fed has paused the increases, it looks more likely mortgage rates will continue their downward trend (see graph below):

 

Although mortgage rates may remain volatile, their recent trend combined with expert forecasts indicate they could continue to go down in 2024. That would improve affordability for buyers and make it easier for sellers to move since they won’t feel as locked-in to their current, low mortgage rate.

Bottom Line

The Fed’s decisions have an indirect impact on mortgage rates. By not raising the Federal Funds Rate, mortgage rates are likely to continue declining. Let’s connect so you have expert advice about changes in the housing market and how they affect you.

Dec. 13, 2023

The Surprising Trend in the Number of Homes Coming onto the Market

The Surprising Trend in the Number of Homes Coming onto the Market




If you're thinking about moving, it's important to know what's happening in the housing market. Here's an update on the supply of homes currently for sale. Whether you're buying or selling, the number of homes in your area is something you should pay attention to.

In the housing market, there are regular patterns that happen every year, called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season and also when the most homes are typically listed for sale (homes coming onto the market are known in the industry as new listings). In the second half of each year, the number of new listings typically decreases as the pace of sales slows down.

The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to provide a visual of this seasonality. It shows how this year (the black line) is breaking from the norm (see graph below):

Looking at this graph, three things become clear:

  • 2017-2019 (the blue and gray lines) follow the same general pattern. These years were very typical in the housing market and their lines on the graph show normal, seasonal trends.
  • Starting in 2020, the data broke from the normal trend. The big drop down in 2020 (the orange line) signals when the pandemic hit and many sellers paused their plans to move. 2021 (the green line) and 2022 (the red line) follow the normal trend a bit more, but still are abnormal in their own ways.
  • This year (the black line) is truly unique. The steep drop off in new listings that usually occurs this time of year hasn’t happened. If 2023 followed the norm, the line representing this year would look more like the dotted black line. Instead, what’s happening is the number of new listings is stabilizing. And, there are even more new listings coming to the market this year compared to the same time last year.

What Does This Mean for You?

  • For buyers, new listings stabilizing is a positive sign. It means you have a more steady stream of options coming onto the market and more choices for your next home than you would have at the same time last year. This opens up possibilities and allows you to explore a variety of homes that suit your needs.
  • For sellers, while new listings are breaking seasonal norms, inventory is still well below where it was before the pandemic. If you look again at the graph, you’ll see the black line for this year is still lower than normal, meaning inventory isn’t going up dramatically and prices aren’t heading for a crash. And with less competition from other sellers than you’d see in a more typical year, your house has a better chance to be in the spotlight and attract eager buyers.

Bottom Line

Whether you're on the hunt for your next home or thinking of selling, now might just be the perfect time to make your move. If you have questions or concerns about the availability of homes in our local area, let’s connect.

Dec. 7, 2023

Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent When You Buy a Home

Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent When You Buy a Home




If you’ve recently decided you’re ready to become a homeowner, chances are you’re trying to figure out what to do first. It can feel a bit overwhelming to know where to start, but the good news is you don’t have to navigate all of that alone.

When it comes to buying a home, there are a lot of moving pieces. And that’s especially true in today’s housing market. The number of homes for sale is still low, and home prices and mortgage rates are still high. That combination can be tricky if you don’t have reliable expertise and a trusted advisor on your side. That’s why the best place to start is connecting with a local real estate agent.

Agents Are the #1 Most Useful Source in the Buying Process

The latest annual report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finds recent homebuyers agree the #1 most useful source of information they had in the home buying process was a real estate agent. Let’s break down why.

How an Agent Helps When You Buy a Home

When you think about a real estate agent, you may think of someone taking you on home showings and putting together the paperwork, but a great agent does so much more than that. It’s not just being the facilitator for your purchase, it’s being your guide through every step.

The visual below shows some examples from that same NAR release of the many ways an agent adds value. It includes the percentage of homebuyers in that report who highlighted each of these benefits:

 

Here’s a bit more context on how the survey results noted an agent continually helps buyers in these situations:

  • Helped Buyer’s Understand the Process: Do you know the difference between an inspection and an appraisal, what each report tells you, and why they’re both important? Or that there are things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage, like buying appliances or furniture? An agent knows all of these best practices and will share them with you along the way, so you don’t miss any key steps by the time you get to the closing table.
  • Pointed Out Unnoticed Features or Faults with the Home: An agent also has a lot of experience evaluating homes. They’ve truly seen it all. They’ll be able to pinpoint some things you may not have noticed about the home that could help inform your decision or at least what repairs you ask for.
  • Provided a Better List of Service Providers: In a real estate transaction, there are a lot of people involved. An agent has experience working with various professionals in your area, like home inspectors, and can help connect you with the pros you need for a successful experience.
  • Negotiated Better Contract Terms and Price: Did something pop up in the home inspection or with the appraisal? An agent will help you re-negotiate as needed to get the best terms and price possible for you, so you feel confident with your big purchase.
  • Improved Buyer’s Knowledge of the Search Area: Moving to a new town and you’re not familiar with the area, or you’re staying nearby, but don’t know which neighborhoods are most affordable? Either way, an agent knows the local area like the back of their hand and can help you find the perfect location for your needs.
  • Expanded Buyer’s Search Area: And if you’re not finding anything you’re interested in within your initial search radius, an agent will know other neighborhoods nearby you should consider based on what you like, what amenities you want, and more.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home, don’t forget about the many ways an agent is essential to that process. Any hurdle that pops up, a negotiation that needs to take place, and more, your agent will know how to handle it while they make sure to minimize your stress along the way. Let’s connect to tackle this together.