Tag Archive for: real estate

Buying a new house is an exciting experience, but it is also a huge life milestone. It is sometimes difficult to know whether you should purchase an affordable starter home or instead build or buy a dream house. There are benefits and disadvantages to each option, so here are three things you should understand to help you make the right decision.

Know the Benefits of Each Option

There are different benefits to buying a starter home or your dream house. It is up to you to analyze your current stage of life and determine which option is most beneficial for your unique situation.

Starter homes are more affordable than move-up homes (i.e. second home, typically a larger house), which you may want to live in for the rest of your life. They require less upkeep. You may even be able to rent them out in the future and generate additional income. However, starter homes generally need more repairs than newer ones. They are usually small in size and sometimes can be harder to sell, if/when you need the equity.

Your forever home, however, will be large enough to accommodate a growing family. Buying your dream home also gives you the opportunity to put down roots so you can avoid the hassle of moving again. The price tag is significantly higher and your dream home will likely need more upkeep than your starter house, depending upon its age.

Analyze Your Budget

The size of your budget has a direct impact on whether you purchase your forever home or a starter house. If you can only afford a small mortgage each month, you may have to buy a starter home to live within your means. If you have saved up enough money for a sizable down payment, you may be able to afford to purchase the house you’ll live in for the rest of your life. Knowing your budget and the features you desire in a home is important for finding the right house for a particular stage of life.

Understand the Costs of Each Option

Your new mortgage isn’t the only cost associated with purchasing a house. Homeowners insurance is a good investment because it covers the cost of any damage to the structure of your new house. It also covers the cost of any belongings that are stolen and any injuries that are sustained on your property. However, coverage does not extend to home systems or appliances. If you want to avoid unexpected expenses related to your plumbing, heating, electrical and cooling systems, it’s a good idea to consider buying a home warranty. While it’s an additional expense, it can save you money in the long run by dodging unnecessary repair costs.

According to one survey, less than 18% of Americans have home warranty coverage, however arming yourself with the right tools is essential for reducing unnecessary expenses for maintaining a home. When choosing a home warranty, decide which company is best by doing your research. You want to find a company with a great reputation for customer satisfaction. Furthermore, you want to ensure you’re getting excellent coverage for your home’s systems.

 

For some people, purchasing an affordable starter home is the best option. Others may prefer to go ahead and buy their dream house right out of the gate. There’s no one answer that’s right for everyone, but you must carefully weigh your options if you want to make the best decision for your family. Whether you choose to purchase a starter home or your dream house, purchasing a new place to live is a huge milestone for you! As always, we’re here to help you find the perfect place.

[This content is compliments of Well Parents]

Holding On To Summer

Black-eyed Susans are in full bloom, raging across gardens and hillsides in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Chatter has begun about picking apples, not blueberries, from an orchard near you. Ritters, anyone? Sure, Dunkin Donuts is now showcasing its Blood Orange Refresher, claiming it’s their seasonal drink. Schools are reopening for the new academic year. Football has begun again! Did you catch yesterday’s Backyard Brawl thriller? The unofficial end to summer happens this Labor Day weekend. And yes, this morning was a little chilly, I must say, but I’m holding onto summer this year!

We lack the four seasons in our region, we really do. Spring, in recent years, is a mixture of winter slop and daffodils and crocuses refusing to make up their minds whether it’s time to sprout or not. Autumn seems hidden behind the winter breeze that kidnaps the summer heat. When summer finally gets into motion, department stores are cramming Halloween decor and Christmas lights into our shopping carts. Don’t get me wrong, fall is my favorite, absolute favorite season of the year. [I even purchased a case of Founders’ Oktoberfest a few days ago – shhhh!] I’m just not willing to surrender to autumn this year. I don’t care how many times you shout pumpkin spice!

Summer hasn’t made an exit yet. In fact, I had sand between my toes only days ago and a sunburn on my right arm.

Real estate may likewise side with my position. It appears, like me, it could be summer dreaming. Some of its optics exude traditional summer responses. More properties have gone under contract in August of this year as opposed to August of 2021 and the housing supply remains dismal, 1.65 months supply, last time I checked. Keep in mind, a balanced market with normal inventory levels produces a month’s supply between five and seven. Nevertheless, as much as I hate to admit it, our market’s leaves are changing color. Sold listings through last month, year-to-date, are down 6.4%. New listings, likewise, are down month-over-month, when compared to last August, by over 23%. Perhaps this market has had enough of the surge it experienced over the previous twenty-six months (give or take).

Could it be that homebuyers, much like blueberry-pickers of July and August, have had their fill? They’ve looked at the entire inventory (which hasn’t been much), they’re fatigued by record-setting inflation and mortgage rates that don’t look as appealing as they did this past January. Although there’s certainly an element of truth to these pressures, the strain has been on buyers for some time now, our market remains rather healthy. When will inventory increase and the market become more balanced? That’s really anyone’s guess at this point – industry experts have yet to nail that down. In spite of that, year-to-date, there’s been a 19.9% increase in homes sold this year opposed to only five years ago in 2017.

We’re looking forward to a change in season in real estate, after all buyers need reprieve too! But summer wants to stick around this year (it told me so). We hope you can enjoy the few remaining weeks of the season.

* statistics from the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® (August 2017 – August 2022)

 

Whatever season you find yourself in, make sure to use our “search by city” feature and discover all our area has to offer.

Pandemic Impacts Homebuying & Selling

To say the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our nation would be the understatement of the year, a year some wish would be over already. Unless you recently came out of a coma, you know the effects of this pandemic. Lately, Americans have grappled with a loss of certain freedoms caused from a seemingly invisible pathogen. It has impacted the way we work, how we travel (in some cases), how our households function and it certainly has affected our relationships in one way or another.

As a small business real estate firm, who supports the efforts of our clients and our REALTORS®, we understand firsthand how work, travel, household dynamics and relationships have been impacted since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic only ten days ago. Real estate, like so many industries, has been making changes in recent days through a paradigm shift in modes of communication and how they get business done. Since the World Health Organization has declared this disease a pandemic, we’ve taken more precautions, like so many businesses throughout our nation, including Pennsylvania, who have also done the same.

Honestly, real estate appears more trivial since we’ve been asked to hunker down. There are nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, volunteers and scientists, just to name a few on the frontlines. Their health is at risk as well as their loved ones. They certainly didn’t ask for this, but they’re compassion and sacrifice lead the way through this period of uncertainty. Having said that, real estate professionals are an essential link between homebuyers and sellers in their quest for finding a place they’ll call home. At Realty Network Group, connecting buyers and sellers, is our mission in four words. Yet we know through these challenging times, we need to safely operate within the confines of this contagion and administer the highest level of care and service we can reasonably provide to our clients and customers alike.

Guided by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR), we’re proceeding with caution for the sake of our clients, their families in addition to our agents. For deals already under way, we’re also seeking the advice of counsel – time is of the essence. And that’s why PAR created the COVID-19 Addendum to the Agreement of Sale. Some situations may require a timeout in order to proceed safely through the transaction. This addendum permits these steps to be taken.

Many concerns have risen within our industry in less than two weeks. As of Wednesday (3/25) evening we have more concise guidelines from PAR: REALTORS® should “cease doing [all] in-person business” until Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, informs otherwise. We know many sellers are left wondering how they might possibly assist their agents in selling their homes remotely. Prospective homeowners are skeptical about placing their property on the market right now. Buyers are looking at record-low mortgage rates, and depending on their situation, some are realizing there might never be a better time to buy – yes, even in a seller’s market. Though real estate sales have been robust amidst this outbreak, there has been increased caution as to how consumers should be proceeding through these unchartered waters. Our firm hopes to clarify some of these matters over the next few weeks as more information becomes available to us.

Above all, we would like to sincerely wish everyone in our community and in our world good health and safety as we move ahead in these unprecedented times. If you carry one thing with you, let it be hope. Should you need to contact any of our professionals, please do so here. We look forward to addressing more of your concerns as time goes by. Stay healthy!