Why is buying a new home that important? There are perfectly good existing homes out there, you might be thinking. Why should I buy a new one?
Selling a home will be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. While some people like to go it alone, we advise against it for lots of reasons, and they aren’t selfish ones. You’re often too close to your home to make the best decisions, and sometimes you need someone else to “be the bad guy” when you can’t do it yourself.
That said, how do you find the right agent for you?
Homebuilders are happy with the current state of the economy, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Any number above 50 on the homebuilder index is considered positive, and the national number rose three points, to 64 in October. That number is similar to what we saw in the home building boom in late 2005.
According to the NAHB press release:
“With October’s three-point uptick, builder confidence has been holding steady or increasing for five straight months. This upward momentum shows that our industry is strengthening at a gradual but consistent pace,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “With firm job creation, economic growth and the release of pent-up demand, we expect housing to keep moving forward as we start to close out 2015.”
Even regional numbers were up. While the West saw the biggest rise (5 points to 69), the South (our region) still saw a one point boost to 65, just above that of the national average.
The boom won’t last, however, if potential buyers don’t have access to loans. With that in mind, according to this article by CNBC, Fannie Mae has partnered with Quicken Loans to pilot new initiatives which will both allow more Americans to achieve home ownership, while also building a smarter mortgage system.
All good news to start our ride to the end of the year. Who wants to purchase a new home, either before the new year or early in 2016? Give us a call so we can show you how the Builder Trade In program can make that dream a reality!
On the one hand, it seems logical. A buyer’s agent finds homes for you to go look at. But if you’re buying from a builder, you don’t need someone to show you the homes, so you don’t need an agent. Right?
Not really. An agent does lots more than show you homes. An agent is trained to be a good negotiator. An agent can explain the endless documents you’ll be signing at closing. And most important, an agent is there to be your advocate if something goes wrong.
We’re not saying that something will go wrong when negotiating with a builder, but things happen. The builder brings in a city or county inspector, but that person didn’t represent you. What if something was missed? Once you’ve closed on the home, flaws may be your responsibility, and it could be complicated to get them fixed. If they are found by a home inspector before closing, possible flaws or defects can be handled, by the builder, before you close. Do you really want to find out there’s been faulty electrical or plumbing work after you move in?
An agent knows what sorts of concessions are customary and can negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible deal. An agent had fiduciary responsibility to you, the client. The builder does not.
And what if you are in a situation where you are selling your current home? What if that sales takes longer than expected? That’s a good reason to use an agent who is part of the Builder Trade In program. We can help that process go more smoothly.
What do you think? Are those all good reasons to hire an agent when buying from a builder?
Of course when you’re buying your brand new home, you’re probably thinking most about the options you want to enjoy while you’re living there. But odds are you’ll want to sell the home someday, so why not shop with some thought to how to maximize resale value. With that in mind, how do you juggle both future resale and current enjoyment?
1. Look at how long you’ll be in the home
If you plan to put down roots and stay in your home for 10 years or more, think most about what will make you happy while you’re living there. Options and upgrades won’t make much difference in resale value, if you are considering that kind of time horizon.
If however, you’re only planning to be in the home for three to seven years, you’ll want to consider your future selling options. Upgrades rarely pay for themselves, but they can make a home more attractive to potential buyers. Look at trends in smart home options, countertops and similar options. What is popular now? Those trends aren’t likely to change in just a few years.
Location is also important. Will there be new development? A mall going in? Fairfax County in Northern Virginia is experiencing property value increases driven by the new Springfield Town Center. Consider upcoming development or redevelopment when planning where to buy.
2. Remember space
Certain things aren’t likely to change soon. Open floor plans will remain popular for years, so keep that in mind when looking at floor plans. Multi-generational living is projected to become more popular as Boomers age. If your new home has space which is designed for or can be easily adapted to multiple generations, you’ll be ahead of that trend.
3. Invest in permanent upgrades and options
Many new home owners like to personalize their space with cosmetic changes, so spending lots of money of fixtures or lighting doesn’t make the most sense. However, kitchens and master baths are expensive to upgrade later, so potential buyers will appreciate the optional extras in those rooms.
Don’t forget to consult qualified designers and space planners. Investing a bit of money in the experts can lead to a quicker sale in the future.
We’ve talked about several reasons why you might want to buy a new home instead of an existing home, but today we’d like to talk about energy efficiency in new homes.
When looking at new homes, you’ll want to pay particular attention to builders who build ENERGY STAR certified homes. Here’s the benefit to you:
ENERGY STAR certified new homes are designed and built to standards well above most other homes on the market today, delivering energy efficiency savings of up to 30 percent when compared to typical new homes. A new home that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a process of inspections, testing, and verification to meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), delivering better quality, better comfort, and better durability.
Savings of up to 30%? That’s huge.
How do they do it? Builders use any or all of the following methods:
- High Performance windows- improved frames and protective coatings keep the heat in during winter and heat out during summer.
- Insulation- Quality insulation as well as special attention during installation makes a huge difference in energy use.
- Air Sealing- Comprehensive air sealing helps reduce maintenance costs and lower monthly utility bills.
- Use of recycled materials as well as the latest energy efficient building materials currently available.
- Programmable thermostats
- Water management systems to lower water heater costs.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? An energy efficient new home saves you money and is good for the environment.
With the Builder Trade In Program, we can help you find the energy efficient new home of your dreams. Call us today for more information!
If you’re shopping for a home and plan to have multiple generations under one roof, you’ve got some additional points to consider. Here’s our suggestions for things to look at if you are a multi-generational home buyer.
If you’re planning to live with your parents while they age, ease of access to the home is going to be a factor. Look for homes with few or no steps leading into the main level. An added bonus would be finding a home which has a private entrance to their own master bedroom suite.
Two Master Bedroom Suites
You and your parents will be happier living together if each of you has their own master bedroom suite. While these can be difficult to find in older homes, builders of new homes are becoming increasingly accommodating of multi-generational living. If you’re thinking about buying a new home, talk to us about the Builder Trade In Program and how the cost might be less than you are thinking.
Plan for Upgrades
If you do decide to purchase an existing home, it might not have all the accessibility features you’d like. That doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it’s best to plan your search with needed upgrades in mind. Some homes will be easier to retrofit than others. This is another reason why using a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist® agent will facilitate your search. In addition, once you’ve purchased your new home, your agent will be able to suggest qualified contractors to perform the needed work.
Check the “feel” of the neighborhood
Some neighborhoods will feel “too old” to your kids while others might feel “too young” for your parents. Make sure to keep that in mind during your search and find a neighborhood which feels “just right” for everyone in the family.
Remember easy access to public transportation
If your parents are living with you, they will probably want to remain independent, which means you’ll want to be certain of easy access to public transportation. It will also be handy when your children are teenagers.
Those are our items to consider. What would you like to add?
Multi-generational living is becoming more common as Baby Boomers age and move through retirement.
Data from the 2009 – 2011 American Community Survey (ACS) reported that 4.3 million households were multi-generational. That’s 5.6% of the total of 76.4 million family households with more than one person. While this is a small percentage, it represents a significant increase in the share of multi-generational households. The increase is from 3.7% of total family households in 2000 and 4.0% of total family households in 2010. So not only is the percentage higher, the rate of increase is also growing.
A few new home builders have recognized this trend and are starting to build homes to accommodate multi-generational living. Lennar has the NEXT GEN line of homes while Richmond America and Toll Brothers have optional designs that can be added to existing lines.
These homes have some common characteristics. Most of them feature a private entry, often covered for the convenience of the added generation. While all of them feature an additional bedroom and living area, most often with a separate bathroom, some of them go so far as to have a full second master bedroom suite and bath. A few even have small kitchen areas for private food preparation and dining.
This style of home makes lots of sense for both adult children and their parents. It avoids the need and expense of assisted living. With the private entrance, hired care givers can visit their clients without disturbing the rest of the family. Grandparents and grandchildren can live close together and interact, creating memories for all the generations in the home.
According to this article, multi-generational homes make financial sense.
“With respect to mortgages … these are single-family homes with one person on the mortgage. In most cases, a senior parent moves into the 2Gen suite. His adult children who need more space occupy the main residence. The senior parent is usually the source of the down payment, and the adult children are responsible for the loan. It’s far more economical than seniors living in nursing homes.”
As we continue to serve the senior population, we’re certain we’re going to be assisting more clients with finding multi-generational homes. What about you? Do you have a parent who might like to live with you? With these floorplans and the Builder Trade In program, we can help!
Floorplan credit: Richmond American Homes
While strictly speaking, there’s no bad time to sell your home (even in the winter), there are lots of reasons to sell your home in spring. It is one of the best times to list your home. Why is that? Glad you asked!
1. School is almost out
People prefer to move when their children are out of school. That’s especially true in a transitory area such as the metro DC area where we have so many military and government workers. Savvy buyers know the seasonal cycle, and they make plans to enter the market when there are lots of home available.
2. Inventory is on the rise
For that reason, the sooner you can get your home on the market, the better. By summer, we expect inventory to be higher than it is now. Getting in early will allow you a better selection of potential buyers. This is definitely the wrong time to wait.
3. Now is a great time to move up
As the market continues to recover, home prices will continue to rise. That’s good for your equity situation if you plan to stay in your current home, but if you have any thoughts of moving up, now is the time to make that happen. Based on the projections we are seeing, home prices are expected to rise as much as 6.7% by next March. With mortgage interest rates expected to continue to increase (although not as fast as earlier projections), moving up will only get more expensive. Why don’t you call us and find out how the Builder Trade In program can help put you into a brand new, affordable home this year?
The Hylton Group has been meeting or exceeding expectations since 1947 as a premiere home builder in Prince William County. We’re delighted to be working with such a great organization to bring new homes to more home buyers.
The Hylton Group philosophy is to stand behind every home they build with a solid home warranty. They don’t follow the recent builder trend of lowering the level of standard features and removing luxury in order to lower starting prices. Their homes are tightly built and meet ENERGY STAR guidelines. They include the features buyers want. In other words, Hylton does it the right way, and we’re proud to be working closely with them.
By being a semi-custom builder, the Hylton Group isn’t bound to a particular floor plan. They have a greater ability to move walls and make adjustments to fit the needs of a particular customer.
This doesn’t change anything we’re doing. It just brings us into a closer partnership with what we hope is the first of many such relationships with the finest in local home builders.
Just a quick reminder for potential home buyers. The Builder Trade In Program benefits you by mitigating the contingencies often present when trading up to a new home. We have many options to make the process as smooth as possible, both for you and for the builder.
And builders, the benefits are there for you as well. Please give us a call to find out how the Builder Trade In Program can help both builders and buyers!