While many people across the U.S. have traditionally enjoyed the perks of an urban lifestyle, some who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current neighborhoods. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. These are the kinds of things you may miss when spending a lot of time at home. When it comes to social distancing, as we’ve experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com notes:
“With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying behavior…consumers are already looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors. As we move into the recovery stage, these preferences will play an important role in the type of homes consumers will want to buy. They will also play a role in the coming discussions on zoning and urban planning. While higher density has been a hallmark of urban development over the past decade, the pandemic may lead to a re-thinking of space allocation.”
The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans, and 39% of the respondents who live in urban areas indicated the COVID-19 crisis has caused them to consider moving to a less populated area.Today, moving outside the city limits is also more feasible than ever, especially as Americans have quickly become more accustomed to – and more accepting of – remote work. According to the Pew Research Center, access to the Internet has increased significantly in rural and suburban areas, making working from home more accessible. The number of people working from home has also spiked considerably, even before the pandemic came into play this year.
If you have a home in the suburbs or a rural area, you may see an increasing number of buyers looking for a property like yours. If you’re thinking of buying and don’t mind a commute to work for the well-being of your family, you may want to consider looking at homes for sale outside the city. Let’s connect today to discuss the options available in our area.
Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are seven of the most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home:
1. Using Traditional Light Bulbs. If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use almost $200 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use about $40 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses around $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line!
2. Letting Faucets Leak. A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some people live in areas where water is plentiful, but for others in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet, and save a ton on your water bill.
3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size. We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty one can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.
4. Not Customizing the Temperature. Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.
5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly. Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.
6. Overwatering the Lawn. Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they’re performing when you’re not around.
7. Ignoring Leaky Windows and Doors. Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold winds or hot air to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters or AC. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to maintain your indoor climate.
Use these tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.
Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:
“The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however.”
Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?
Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:
1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.
2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:
- View homes
- Meet with mortgage professionals
- Consult with their agent throughout the process
All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.
3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today’s purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.
Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let’s connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.
Classic farmhouse with a custom kitchen remodel, soaring ceilings and a country garden beyond.
Imagine long summer days on the covered back porch, tending chickens and long established garden beds. Hosting dinners in the giant dining room and enjoying the friendly neighborhood and nearby Columbia City. Freshly painted sunny spaces await your vision.
Plenty of room for a master bath and a bonus room for art, library, dressing room, nursery… So many possibilities in this move-in ready gem. Click here to see more!
Or take a virtual tour right now!
Hi there! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to consult with you about your move. I hope you are as excited as I am to get started on this journey selling your current digs.
As we move forward, there are a few items I would like to refer you to. It’s totally possible I have already handed a physical packet to you. On the other hand, if our meeting is going to be virtual, or somewhere down the road, this might serve as the best place to “give” you these items.
If you click on the photo on the right, you will find my seller trifold. This has some information about me and about selling in general. I give it to everyone who has a consultation with me, whether I’ve known them for 10 years or 10 minutes. Take a minute to check it out.
Next is the Seller Infographic.
This is exactly what it looks like in the picture. It’s a roadmap that will outline the steps from here (our consult) to closing. When you click on it, take note that there are two pages. The second page gives you a brief description of each step.
It would be a great idea to familiarize yourself with each step a little and write down any questions you might have. Most will probably be answered as we go along, but I’m happy to go over anything in advance.
I may have already said this when we spoke, but in case I didn’t, the Seller Consult is something I do with all clients. I’ll speak to this more when we sit down but this is an integral part of the process and the process is what drives every transaction from start to finish.
Bonus: So what’s the image on the right? Another thing we do at Metropolist is produce a bi-annual print magazine. In our most recent version you will find statistical information about the current market, broken down by neighborhood as well as an overall look at the King County Metro area. You will also get feature articles about our brokers, and fun anecdotes about life as a real estate agent.
I look forward to sitting with you (virtually or in person), and I’m excited to see how I can help you sell your home. In the meantime, write down any questions you have about the process and we will go over them soon!
My business partner and Designated Broker at Metropolist, Chad Zinda, takes a deeper look positivity in these trying times:
When the quarantine first started, I was determined to be available to the whole Metropolist team; from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I was making sure everyone else was okay and had what they needed to succeed. But then the stay-at-home order was issued, stretching us into unknown territory, and my routine was no longer sustainable. Flight attendants tell us the same thing before every flight. Put on your own oxygen mask first. I was struggling to find a new routine because I was too busy making sure everyone else could breathe.
You know those rumble strips on the road for truckers that wake them up if they begin to drift off? I was hitting those every day, earlier and earlier. Something had to change.
I turned to the most valuable activity, my trusted companion, exercise–of the body and of the mind–and I turned off the news. In the beginning, I was watching the news constantly. My screen time notification told me I was looking at my phone 30% more. And that time was spent consuming all bad news. I needed to reset if I was going to achieve a positive mindset.
- Notice how you are feeling. Identify your emotions.
- Ask your family and friends how they are doing. Listen. Ask how you can help. The state of our collective mental health deserves our attention.
- Learn something new. Remind yourself of your purpose.
- Be a good neighbor. Help your community thrive.
Resources & Activities
- I create and share weekly videos with my team via Mailchimp
- I attend weekly classes to garner new business ideas and refine my skills to assist my productivity and keep me accountable.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (for people-pleasers like me)
In her podcast, Brené Brown says that when we are in crisis mode we either over- or under-function. I over-function. The key is self-care; to start with yourself. This pandemic is scary, and sad. We are experiencing a loss. We are all grieving “the way it was” and we are all dealing with it differently. It is okay to mourn. But I also have to remind myself that we won’t always be isolated and we won’t always feel this level of disconnection.
If you need a reminder of your purpose and new connections to motivate you, you are welcome to join us for our weekly production meeting every Wednesday at 10 am. We have tools and support to offer you to help you survive and thrive during COVID19 and beyond. Email me at [email protected] and I will send you an invitation so we can get back to business together.
By Chad Zinda
Photo by http://www.diwasphotography.com/
With over 90% of Americans now under a shelter-in-place order, many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession, if it’s not in one already. What does that mean to the residential real estate market?
What is a recession?
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:
“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”
COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy in the middle of March. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all calling for a deep dive in the economy in the second quarter of this year. Though we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the word today, most believe history will show we were in one from April to June.
Does that mean we’re headed for another housing crash?
Many fear a recession will mean a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the Great Recession of 2006-2008. The past, however, shows us that most recessions do not adversely impact home values. Doug Brien, CEO of Mynd Property Management, explains:
“With the exception of two recessions, the Great Recession from 2007-2009, & the Gulf War recession from 1990-1991, no other recessions have impacted the U.S. housing market, according to Freddie Mac Home Price Index data collected from 1975 to 2018.”
CoreLogic, in a second study of the last five recessions, found the same. Here’s a graph of their findings:
What are the experts saying this time?
This is what three economic leaders are saying about the housing connection to this recession:
“The housing sector enters this recession underbuilt rather than overbuilt…That means as the economy rebounds – which it will at some stage – housing is set to help lead the way out.”
“Last time housing led the recession…This time it’s poised to bring us out. This is the Great Recession for leisure, hospitality, trade and transportation in that this recession will feel as bad as the Great Recession did to housing.”
John Burns, founder of John Burns Consulting, also revealed that his firm’s research concluded that recessions caused by a pandemic usually do not significantly impact home values:
“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices).”
If we’re not in a recession yet, we’re about to be in one. This time, however, housing will be the sector that leads the economic recovery.
Stay-at-home restrictions are challenging for everyone, especially teenagers.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, teens – who would normally just be starting to enjoy life as independent beings in the world – are suddenly back under the purview of mom and dad. To make matters worse, many teens have had something extremely important to them suddenly ripped away: a lead in the school play, a varsity spot on the team, prom, graduation, a part-time job, etc. On top of that, their all-important social life is now off limits as well.
Whats a parent to do? While nothing will come close to replacing the life your teenager had been living, here are a few strategies to help your teen cope:
Make sure theyre informed. Teens are masters of disguising their true feelings, so dont misread their cool demeanor as apathy. They might be getting the bulk of their information through social media, which is not always accurate and may be causing undue alarm. Be sure to calmly keep them apprised of the developments surrounding the coronavirus, explaining why the restrictions are important. Dont withhold information out of fear of worrying them. Listen to a trusted news source together so that the information is coming directly from the experts, not their overreacting parents.
Give them a social outlet. Its critical that your teenager is still able to connect with friends during this time. Encourage social distancing activities they can do with a friend, such as hiking, running or biking. Let them take the car to a nearby scenic spot and hang out side-by-side with a friend in another car. Give them privacy to use the family computer to host a Zoom meeting or Google hangout with multiple friends. At all costs, make sure your wifi is up to snuff so that your teens can easily text, use social media and Facetime to stay connected.
Help them earn money. Your teenager may be depressed about losing a job, but you can easily come up with some jobs around the house for your teen to take on to earn some money. Have them help you with some small tasks related to your job while youre working from home, or a project that will get them outside, such as spring yard clean-up. While the financial incentive is a big plus, the real benefit is getting their minds focused on something other than the situation at hand.
Keep student athletes in shape. While staying active is essential for all teens in this situation, its particularly important for your student athlete who is used to a rigorous work-out schedule, and could respond negatively to suddenly being sedentary. Check in with coaches to see if theyve put a work-out schedule in place or are perhaps hosting online group workouts. Remind your athlete that keeping their fitness level up is essential so that they can return to sports without missing a beat.
Embrace family time. While the hectic pace of life before the pandemic might have made you and your teenager ships that pass in the night, youve now got lots of time together, so make the most of it. Eat meals together, binge watch a series together, play cards, get the old photo albums out, etc. The idea is to make sure your teenager doesnt stay holed up all day in his or her room. So make some interactive time mandatory.
Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash
By April Critchfield
I interact with a lot of real estate teams and their coaches on a daily basis. I see what they’re doing to stand out in their respective markets, and I see how they are always coming up with new and exciting ways to implement the working basics of real estate into their businesses.
That’s why, when our country recently started dealing with the most unprecedented changes due to COVID-19, I was anxious to see what they would do to keep their momentum, while staying safe and practicing social distancing.
It was no surprise to me that it was almost an effortless shift. The team leaders, coaches and clients of Workman Success Systems have always had the ability to work remotely, and for the most part, do work remotely. So, when offices started to close and people were starting to keep their distance, the social connection and client communication never stopped.
New “best practices” for virtual open houses and listing appointments started to emerge, and it wasn’t lost on me that the people I have been working with put immense thoughtfulness into every action they took, from hosting virtual walk-throughs to putting their own clients at ease and genuinely listening to their concerns about the next steps to take with their own real estate decisions.
At a time where communication could be so easily lost, I have heard about more tips, tools and opportunities to connect than ever before. We live in a digital world, and it’s sometimes so easy to just send a text message or “like” someone’s status update, but today, and especially now, it’s not enough. Adding the “extra touch,” sending a handwritten note to dropping off some toilet paper and hand sanitizer on someone’s doorstep, is showing that you’re actually thinking of that person.
The common theme so far has been to keep moving forwardkeep working, and keep your focus. Have compassion and empathy for those whose opinions differ from yours. (We are still all entitled to our own opinions, after all.) With the shifting world around us, we just need to be creative to keep our communication lines open.
If you’re wondering how to move forward with your own real estate business, or you have questions about coaching, I invite you to connect with us! We’re all in this together. What has been working for you? Please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Please stay safe and here’s to your health!
April Critchfield works with real estate team leaders and coaches and is a team member of Workman Success Systems in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is also a REALTOR® in Utah. Contact her at [email protected]. For more information about real estate teams, or real estate coaching, please visit www.WorkmanSuccess.com.