Ways Coronavirus Will Change the Way We Design, Style & Live in Our Homes

Home is no longer just a place to unwind and rest our heads. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, our homes have had to do double and triple duty as offices, gyms, classrooms, movie theaters and more. With so many things happening under one roof, we have had to add new functionality, and this is changing the way we view our homes. The global pandemic has made an impact, and designers predict that a change to interior design is here to stay even as restrictions lift. Here are a few ways we may see change to interior spaces in the future:

Larger Home Office Spaces. As we struggled to turn bedrooms into boardrooms, and tables into desks, we may see shift in the importance of designated and larger home office space. For those living in tighter quarters, we may see more drop-down desks and stylish office furniture that can double as decor.

Defined Mudrooms & Entryways. Amid the virus, we all became more aware of the germs coming and going from our homes. Entryways became the spot to remove shoes and face masks, and it’s predicted that these new habits will lead to the reappearance of mudrooms and additional entryways that can help germs from entering the home.

Individual Private Spaces. As families isolated together, one thing became very apparent. We all need our private space! This need for privacy and alone time could bring on more nooks and layouts with distinct spaces rather than the popular oopen floor plan.

Hygienic Surfaces. Kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas could be designed with easy-to-clean hard surfaces and materials that repel bacteria and limit the spread of germs. No-touch technology in faucets and doorbells may also see a rise in popularity.

Additional Entertaining Spaces At-Home. Weeks of sheltering in place has reinforced the idea of home as a safe haven. As people begin to gather with friends and family again, home entertaining may become more popular than ever as an alternative to public spaces such as restaurants and bars. Outdoor entertaining spaces give an inviting and safe alternative to celebrating with others in a private setting, and a shift could be coming in the importance and design of these spaces.

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year

Information provided by Keeping Current Matters. All credit for article to be given to KCM.

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM
Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM

A recent survey by Lending Tree tapped into behaviors of over 1,000 prospective buyers. The results indicated 53% of all homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year, even amid the current health crisis. The survey further revealed why, naming several reasons buyers are more likely to move this year (see graph below):Let’s break down why these are a few of the key factors motivating buyers to actively engage in the home search process, and the corresponding wins for sellers as well.

1. Low Mortgage Rates

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM

The biggest reason potential homebuyers indicated they’re eager to purchase this year is due to current mortgage rates, which are hovering near all-time lows. Today’s low rates are making it more affordable than ever to buy a home, which is a huge incentive for purchasers. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Lending Tree survey want to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This is no surprise when comparing historic mortgage rates by decade (see below):Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac recently said:

“As the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery.”

2. Reduced Spending

Some people have also been able to save a little extra money over the past few months while sheltering in place. One of the upsides of staying home recently is that many have been able to work remotely and minimize extra spending on things like commuting expenses, social events, and more. For those who fall into this category, they may have a bit more saved up for down payments and closing costs, making purchasing a home more feasible today.

3. Re-Evaluating Their Space

Spending time at home has also given buyers a chance to really evaluate their living space, whether renting or as a current homeowner. With time available to craft a wish list of what they really need in their next home, from more square footage to a more spacious neighborhood, they’re ready to make it happen.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

With these three factors in play, the demand for housing will keep growing this year, especially over the summer as more communities continue their phased approach to reopening. Buyers can take advantage of additional savings and low mortgage rates. And if you’re thinking of selling, know that your home may be in high demand as buyer interest grows and the number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. This may be your moment to list your house and make a move into a new space as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy or sell – or maybe both – let’s connect to put your plans in motion. With low mortgage rates leading the way, it’s a great time to take advantage of your position in today’s market.

Strategies for Holding an Open House Among COVID-19

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The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on how we conduct real estate, but there are buyers actively looking to buy a home right now. Thanks to updated guidelines and industry practices, it is possible to hold a safe and successful Open House.

  1. Social distance and wash hands regularly
  2. Open windows & doors to bring in fresh outdoor air.
  3. Space out home visits by a few hours or days. Limit tours to financially qualified buyers with prequalification letters in hand, just be careful to stay within the parameters of fair housing laws.
  4. Invest in a portable air purifier. Not only is this an extra safety layer, but a HEPA-based filter will show buyers that you are taking the situation seriously.
  5. Require masks and provide shoe coverings.
  6. Turn on all the lights and open doors to limit others from touching surfaces.
  7. Provide online resources such as floor plans, virtual tours, and lots of good photos. Buyers should conduct online research before requesting a visit.

Keep in mind that regulations may vary from state to state and within the local market. Be educated and informed about the recommendations and show homes and conduct Open Houses carefully. Source: Forbes.

5 Things to Do Now to Get Your House Ready to Sell

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Prepping your home for sale can take time. You want your home to put its best foot forward when it comes to listing day. Here are five things you can do now to start getting your home ready for sale.

Make repairs. Buyers want to know they are buying a home that has been well-maintained. Obvious maintenance issues, like leaking faucets or running toilets, are usually inexpensive repairs that can be easily fixed. Make all major and minor repairs before listing so potential buyers are not scared away by a mounting repair list.

Declutter. Remove excess items from your home so that it seems warm and inviting. This also gives potential buyers the ability to see themselves living in the home, not just accumulated possessions that belong to someone else.

Stage. Put away family photos and personal effects that are unique to your family. You want your home to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Opt for neutral paint colors, decor and accessories so your home is a blank canvas that buyers can see themselves moving into with their own belongings.

Interview real estate agents. A good real estate agent will help you navigate all aspects of the home selling process. They can give you tips on accomplishing the above list, help you price your home to sell, and handle any contract negotiations. Make sure to choose someone you know you will enjoy working with.

Interview mortgage lenders. If you’re planning to buy a new home when this one sells, you may need a mortgage. Before starting your new home search, speak with a mortgage professional. They can help you get prequalified and provide an estimate of how much home you can afford so you can budget accordingly.

Are You Ready for the Summer Housing Market?

Are You Ready for the Summer Housing Market? | MyKCM

As the health crisis started making its way throughout our country earlier this spring, sellers have been cautious about putting their homes on the market. This hesitation stemmed primarily from fear of the spread of the coronavirus, and understandably so. This abundant caution has greatly impacted the number of homes for sale and slowed the pace of a typically busy spring real estate season. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American notes:

“As more homeowners are reluctant to list their homes for sale amid the pandemic, the supply of homes available to potential home buyers continues to dwindle.”

With many states beginning a phased approach to reopening, virtual best practices and health and safety guidelines for the industry are in place to increase the comfort level of buyers and sellers. What we see today, though, is that sellers are still making a very calculated return to the market. In their latest Weekly Housing Trends Report, realtor.com indicates:

“New listings: On the slow path to recovery. Nationwide the size of declines held mostly steady this week, dropping 23 percent over last year, a slight increase over last week but still an improvement over the 30 percent declines in the first half of May.”

Although we’re starting to inch our way toward more homes for sale throughout the country, the number of homes on the market is still well below the demand from buyers. In the same report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com shares:

“Sellers have yet to come back in full force, limiting the availability of homes for sale. Total active listings are declining from a year ago at a faster rate than observed in previous weeks, and this trend could worsen as buyers regain confidence and come back to the market before sellers.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) seems to agree:

“In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about homebuying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”

What we can see today is that homebuyers are more confident than the sellers, and they’re ready to make up for lost time from the traditional spring market. Summer is gearing up to be the 2020 buying season, so including your house in the mix may be your best opportunity to sell yet. Interest in your house may be higher than you think with so few sellers on the market today. As Vivas says:

“More properties will have to enter the market in June to bring the number of options for buyers back to normal levels for this time of the year, nationwide and in all large markets.”

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to sell your house this summer, let’s connect today. Buyers are interested and they may be looking for a house just like yours.

Credit for article in its entirety given to Keeping Current Matters, originally posted to their site on June 11, 2020.

Make a Big Impact on Your Small Patio With These Design Tips

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Even the smallest of patios can become an inviting and relaxing retreat with the right furniture and accessories. Take some tips from the pros to transform your small patio into a private oasis.

Hang Curtains
Hanging curtains is an inexpensive and easy way to create a temporary wall. Gauzy and flowing fabrics soften the look of your patio and add privacy – perfect for renters or those who live near neighbors that are too close for comfort.

Make a Statement with Lighting
Good lighting goes a long way in creating ambiance after the sun goes down but always make sure to use outdoor cords and light bulbs.

Provide Extra Seating with Floor Pillows
Floor pillows add not only pops of color but also extra seating without taking up too much room. Tuck them away when not in use or use as decorative accents.

Include a Lounge Space
The right seating can turn an unused patio into the perfect place to start and end your day.

Choose Furniture that Multitasks
Furniture that can pull double duty is the perfect choice for a small space. Consider an ottoman that can pull double duty as a table or a pouf that can be used for an additional seat, table, or place to put your feet up.

Bring in Greenery
Greenery brings vibrancy and pizzazz to any room. Bring color and texture to a small patio with potted and hanging plants.

Turn on the Tunes
Atmosphere is everything. A small outdoor Bluetooth speaker will help set the mood with sounds and takes up minimal space.

Add Pops of Color
Neutral tones can be relaxing but color keeps it interesting. Add pops of blue and green to complement your natural surroundings without overpowering.

Tips to Help You Maintain a Beautiful Yard All Year Long

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Let’s face it. Everyone craves a lush, beautiful lawn. Whether it’s to boost curb appeal or to turn a drab, boring yard into a grassy paradise, there are steps you can take to keep your yard looking green and lush all year long.

Dethatch with a rake. Thatch is dead or drying glass that if left too thick can suffocate your lawn. Rake away the debris that can inspire pests and disease. A little bit is good for you lawn but keep it under 1/2 an inch. Removal should be done in the Spring at the beginning of growth period so lawns can recover properly.

Aerate the lawn. Compacted soil keeps a lawn from flourishing. By aerating during a high growth period, you loosen the soil so nutrients are able to be absorbed and roots have room to grow. Aeration shoes are a great way to go for smaller lawns, but if your yard is larger, you may need to rent an aeration tool from a place like Home Depot.

Weed & Feed. For many, this is a Spring ritual but beware of overdoing it. Unless you have a major weed problem, you may want to consider spot-spraying or pulling weeds and applying a slow-release fertilizer if needed.

Deal with the bare spots. Once your grass starts looking green again, bare spots may become apparent. Flush the spot with water, rake dead grass, level it out with sand or soil, reseed and water. Before you know it, those bare spots will be a thing of the past.

Seed the lawn. Whether you’re nursing a lawn back to health or trying to grow one for the first time, seeding is an important task. Early spring or fall is the best time to do this as colder conditions can slow down growth.

Water it. All grass needs water. Depending on the type you have, that amount will vary. Get a well placed sprinkler and put it on a timer if you can’t spring for an elaborate in-ground irrigation system. Watering should be done in the early morning hours to avoid burning the full sun can bring.

Avoid cutting it too short. Avoid cutting your lawn too short. Cool-season grasses have an ideal height of two to four inches, while warm-season grasses are shorter and may require additional mowing sessions. Not sure which you have or what the difference is? Visit here.

Vary your mowing direction. Mix up your mowing – it’s good for your lawn! By varying the direction of your mowing, you ensure a more uniform cut, an upright grown pattern and reduce soil compaction.

Leave the clippings. Grass clippings are a natural mulch for your lawn and will help feed your lawn. To avoid unsightly clumping, mow when the grass is dry.

Organization Ideas for a Small Closet

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Although one of the first things homebuyers will tell you they’re looking for is closet space and ample storage, you don’t need to have a walk-in to have a closet that works for you. Make the most of what you’ve got with these organization ideas for your small closet.

Remove your closet doors. One way to get additional space is to remove the doors. It will allow you to store bulkier items or bring in items such as a shoe rack or dresser that might not otherwise fit. If you’re really neat, you can leave the closet exposed, or install some stylish curtains to hide the space.

Install sliding doors. If removing the doors altogether is not your thing, than consider changing the way they open. Because sliding doors glide open and closed rather than swinging out, they are another great option to get additional space.

Add hooks or an organizer. If you decide to keep your doors intact, consider a way to use them. Add hooks or organizers for scarves, shoes, belts and jewelry.

Buy a compact dresser. Many places sell compact dressers that easily fit in a closet. You can add more storage with drawers without making physical changes to your closet space.

Get a garment rack. Sometimes, even the largest or most carefully arranged closet is still not enough. If you’re short on space, a garment rack. One on wheels gives you the option of moving items to an unused room when people are visiting.

Economic Recovery from KCM

Experts Predict Economic Recovery Should Begin in the Second Half of the Year

Experts Predict Economic Recovery Should Begin in the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

One of the biggest questions we all seem to be asking these days is: When are we going to start to see an economic recovery? As the country begins to slowly reopen, moving forward in strategic phases, business activity will help bring our nation back to life. Many economists indicate a recovery should begin to happen in the second half of this year. Here’s a look at what some of the experts have to say.

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman

“I think there’s a good chance that there’ll be positive growth in the third quarter. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that there’ll be growth in the second half of the year…

So, in the long run, I would say the U.S. economy will recover. We’ll get back to the place we were in February; we’ll get to an even better place than that. I’m highly confident of that. And it won’t take that long to get there.”

Nonpartisan Analysis for the U.S Congress

“The economy is expected to begin recovering during the second half of 2020 as concerns about the pandemic diminish and as state and local governments ease stay-at-home orders, bans on public gatherings, and other measures. The labor market is projected to materially improve after the third quarter; hiring will rebound and job losses will drop significantly as the degree of social distancing diminishes.”

Neel Kashkari, President, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank

“I think we need to prepare for a more gradual recovery while we hope for that quicker rebound.”

We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but clearly many experts anticipate we’ll see a recovery starting this year. It may be a bumpy ride for the next few months, but most agree that a turnaround will begin sooner rather than later.

During the planned shutdown, as the economic slowdown pressed pause on the nation, many potential buyers and sellers put their real estate plans on hold. That time coincided with the traditionally busy spring real estate season. As we look ahead at this economic recovery and we begin to emerge back into our communities over the coming weeks and months, perhaps it’s time to think about putting your real estate plans back into play.

Bottom Line

The experts note a turnaround is on the horizon, starting as early as later this year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans, let’s connect today to determine how you can re-engage in the process as the country reopens and the economy begins a much-anticipated rebound.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

This article was published by Keeping Current Matters and shared in its entirety by Angela Barrett, REALTOR®. Full credit for article should be given to KCM.