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How to Price Your Home for Sale

It’s natural for sellers to want to get every step of the selling process right, but a successful home sale depends on an accurate listing price. Your real estate agent will work closely with you to set the price, but in the meantime, you can use  the following information to better understand what goes into this process. .

 

What factors influence home prices?

 

Understanding what factors influence home prices will give you a deeper knowledge of the market, give clarity to the selling process, and help you work toward the accurate listing price of your home.

 

Comparable home sales

Comparable home sales—or “comps”—have a major impact on the price of your home. Comps refer to the comparable homes in your area, both pending and sold, within the last six months. Your Windermere agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to better determine the price of your home. CMAs factor in aspects, such as square footage, age, and lot size compared to other homes in your area, to determine how your home should be priced among the competition.

 

Your home’s location

Naturally, you home’s location plays a significant role in its asking price. Depending on the market conditions in your area, whether you reside in a metropolitan, suburban, or rural location, and the home’s proximity to amenities, schools, and entertainment all contribute to the price.

 

The home’s condition

If you have recently invested in upgrades or other maintenance projects for your home, they could increase your asking price. However, the price increase potential depends on the kind of renovation, its ROI, and how valuable it is to buyers in your area. If the home is in need of repair, it will likely fetch less interest than better maintained homes at your price point. Any outstanding repairs or projects looming overhead will make the home less attractive to buyers and could lead to a low appraisal.

 

Seasonality

Any factors that impact market supply and demand are worth taking into consideration when preparing to price your home, and seasonality is one that cannot be overlooked. Typically, market activity slows in the winter and picks up during the spring and summer months. However, market seasonality varies region to region. Talk to your Windermere agent about the seasonality trends in your area and how they factor into your asking price. 

 

Market conditions

Naturally, all sellers want to price their home competitively, but what a competitive price looks like depends on the market conditions, such as whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. Some sellers think that pricing their home over market value means they’ll sell for more money, but the opposite is often true. Overpricing your home presents various dangers, such as sitting on the market too long, which can result in selling for well below what it’s worth.

 

What’s your home worth?

 

Nothing can replace the professional knowledge and local expertise of a real estate agent, but automated valuation models (AVMs) can be a helpful first step in determining what your home is worth. Like comps, AVMs assess your home by comparing its information with the listings in your area.

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. You can find it here.

 

These are the basic tenets for understanding what goes into the price of a home. When you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with an agent who can interpret and expand on this information, perform a CMA for your home, and be the expert in your selling journey.

The post How to Price Your Home for Sale appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Matthew Gardner COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 12/7/2020

 

Hello and welcome to this rather special episode of Mondays with Matthew. I’m Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

 

Now, if you wonder what’s special about this particular episode, well the answer is twofold.

 

Firstly, I started these videos at the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic back in March and this is the 35th episode of Mondays with Matthew – where has the time gone?  Anyway, it will be the last one for this year and I wanted to take just a moment to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to watch my videos. It makes this economist very happy to think that you are still getting value out of my musings.

 

But there’s another reason that I am excited and it’s because, after many, many late nights poring over spreadsheets, I am now ready to share my 2021 US housing forecast with you so, without further ado, let’s get to it!

 

 

I’m starting off with my mortgage rate forecast.

 

As you will all be very aware, we have spent the entire year watching mortgage rates break record lows almost every week which, along with other factors, has helped drive housing demand significantly higher, but how low can rates go?

 

Well, my forecast suggests that rates will likely bottom out in the current quarter but that said, I do not anticipate them rising much as we move through 2021.

 

Economists' Forecasts are in a Fairly Tight Range

 

Now, I always like to see how my forecasts compare to others, so I spoke with a few housing economists across the country to see where they were regarding rates, and – as you can see – we are all in a pretty tight range for next year. I will tell you that my friends over at Fannie Mae were pretty defensive about their very optimistic forecast – I guess that we will see.

 

And looking further out – where my crystal ball fogs over just a little – the brave souls who are putting out forecasts for 2022 are showing rates not moving much higher even then, with Fannie Mae at an average of 2.9%, Wells Fargo at 3.1% and the Mortgage Bankers Association a little higher at 3.6%.

 

The bottom line here is that we are all pretty confident that although rates will start to rise, the increase will be modest, and I personally don’t see it impacting housing demand at all.

 

Yields Should Rise Next Year

 

And to explain why we will see rates rise, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are pretty directly correlated with the yield on 10-year treasuries, and you can see here that my forecast shows these rising – albeit modestly – next year and, naturally if this occurs, rates will follow.

 

But there are 2 reasons that might stop rates rising – at least by too much, even if Treasury yields do head higher.  First is the COVID-19 vaccine. You see, if it takes longer to distribute, or if we chose not to take it, then the economy could take another dip and, if that happens, treasury yields will likely pull back, and rates could drop again. But I remain hopeful that this will not be the case.

 

And second is the Fed.  As long as they continue to buy mortgage-backed securities, rates are actually insulated from rising treasury yields.

 

Home Sales Will Grow Significantly Next Year

 

OK – on to sales, and here I am specifically looking at existing homes – I will address new homes shortly.

 

My forecast is for sales this year to have risen by 3.9%, but sales in 2021 should be up by 6.9%, and that’s a level we haven’t seen since 2006.

 

But in order for sales to rise to this extent, we need more inventory, and I do expect to see more listings next year and it will likely be, at least partially, due to COVID-19 with some household’s new ability to work from home removing the need to live close to their offices.  But there will be others who will move simply because their current homes just aren’t set up for remote working.

 

Although I see a lot of homeowners moving due to work-from-home I believe that a lot of them will not move that far away.  You see, the theory that we will all be working from home full-time is – in my opinion – likely overblown – and I would contend that a lot of them will end up blending their workweek with some days at home and some days at their offices and, if I am correct, I see many households still staying within reasonable proximity of their workplaces.

 

Prices Will Also Rise - But at a Slower Rate

 

Turning our attention now to sale prices, well this year has been very impressive so far and we should see sale prices in 2020 ending up 7.4% higher than we saw in 2019. Now, this is quite remarkable, and I say this because I took a look at the 2020 forecast, I put out last year and I was forecasting price growth closer to 4% than 7%.

 

But COVID-19 changed all that.  Mortgage rates dropped, households decided for several reasons to move and, in concert with a historically low level of homes available to buy, prices have risen significantly.

 

Now – and as I have said for years – there must always be a relationship between incomes and home prices, and mortgage rates dropping can only allow prices to rise by so much.

 

And, along with other factors, it’s partly due to affordability issues that I see prices rising by a more modest 4.1% in 2021.

 

New Home Starts Will Also Grow

 

OK – looking now at the new home market – and for the purposes of this discussion I am just looking at the single-family market – so far this year we have seen a significant jump in new home sales and this very robust demand has encouraged builders to start construction of more homes and my forecast for single-family housing starts shows them rising by 8% this year, but next year I’m seeing starts up by a very significant 16.4%.

 

This is good news for several reasons, the biggest of which is that more new construction will add to supply and that should take some of the demand and price pressure off the resale market.

 

New Home Sales Will Jump Next Year

 

And with more starts, I expect to see sales rising with an increase of 21.5% this year and a further 18.7% in 2021. Notably, this will put new home sales at a level again that we haven’t seen since 2006.

 

But I do have one concern regarding the new home market, and my worry is all about cost.

 

Builders want to do what they do best, and that’s build homes, but they have to reconcile the costs to build a home, which are extremely high today, with the prices that would-be buyers can afford.

 

Now I see them managing this issue by looking to areas where land is cheaper and where there is still demand from buyers who, as we just talked about, are now looking at markets further away from major job centers.

 

The bottom line is that the new construction market will see very solid gains next year.

 

And finally, it would be remiss of me if I weren’t to address the one thing that is troubling a lot of brokers – and their clients –and that’s forbearance.

 

Homes in Forbearance are Significant, But Don't Worry Me

 

Although we saw a modest uptick in active forbearance plans earlier last month, I think it’s important to put things in perspective.

 

Despite small increases in the number of homes we saw entering the program, the number of active forbearances is still down by 8% (or 246,000 homes) from the end of October.

 

In total, as of November 30, there are 2.76 million homeowners in active forbearance plans and that represents approximately 5.2% of all mortgages but again, for perspective, the number of owners in forbearance is down by almost 2 million from the peak back in May – that’s a drop of 42%.

 

So, let’s talk about this for a bit.

 

As is human nature, there are some out there predicting that the housing market is going to crash again purely because of the number of owners in forbearance – all 2.76 million of them –will be foreclosed on when forbearance ends next spring, and this flood of foreclosed homes will lead to a spike in supply and this will lead prices to drop in a manner similar to 2008.

 

I get the theory, and I guess that at face value you might say that it seems plausible, but is it?

 

Although there’s no getting around the fact that foreclosures will rise next year as forbearance terms end, will it really be that dramatic?I think not.

 

There are several reasons why I’m not overly pessimistic about this. Although I see foreclosures rising next year, I actually expect the numbers to be very mild when compared to the carnage we saw between 2008 and 2010.

 

Why do I think this? Well, the housing bubble burst for very different reasons than we are currently experiencing. Back then there was a frenzy of reckless lending, irresponsible borrowing, and the unbridled speculation that did nothing more than set the housing market up for a crash. And crash it did. Home prices collapsed, and millions lost their homes.

 

But, back in March of this year – when COVID-19 really kicked in – homeowners were actually in a very good place.  Credit standards were still very tight, down payments were significant, and the housing market, along with the economy as a whole, was extremely healthy and that’s the difference.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has primarily hit renters, but it has impacted a lot of homeowners too and, as much as I am very sorry to say that we will see a rise in mortgage defaults and foreclosures but as the housing market muscles its way through the current economic downturn, I see foreclosures forming more of a trickle rather than a flood.

 

And, to support this, my colleagues over at ATTOM Data Solutions are currently forecasting more than 200,000 homeowners are likely to default next year but, if there is a longer-term Coronavirus related slowdown in the economy, the foreclosure count could get as high as 500,000 homes.

 

But as dramatic as their projections may seem, it’s worth noting a few things.

 

One. During the Great Recession, foreclosure filings spiked with 1.65 million American homes going into foreclosure in the first half of 2010, but this is well above the most pessimistic forecasts for foreclosures next year and even if defaults rise dramatically, they’ll still come in well below the levels we saw following the bursting of the housing bubble.

 

Two.  As I talked about earlier, home prices have risen steadily since 2012 and homeowners have built up large reserves of equity. This is the total opposite of the situation we saw in 2008.

 

And it’s because home values have been rising, a lot of borrowers in forbearance will be able to escape foreclosure by simply selling – we know that there is more than enough demand and they will sell to make sure that they get the equity out of their homes rather than to potentially lose it because of foreclosure.

 

Third. Lenders really have no stomach for a repeat of the foreclosure crisis we saw back in 2008.

 

Today, I am seeing lenders positioning themselves to use a more-cooperative, less-punitive approach to delinquent borrowers and that they will do a better job of keeping people in homes.

 

And finally.  Many, but not all, of the owners in forbearance, will not enter foreclosure because they will be able to catch up on their past-due amounts by paying more each month and some may be allowed to add the past-due amount to the end of the mortgage by lengthening its term.

 

The bottom line is that the housing market, and homeowners, are in a much better position today than they were back in the bubble days. Homeowners today have far more options to avoid foreclosure, and equity is surely helping to keep many afloat. Put it this way, even if today’s rate of foreclosures doubles, it will still only hit a mark that’s more in line with a historically normalized range.

 

Ultimately, I’m not concerned that we will see the housing market collapse because of forbearance.

 

And finally, a few more nuggets to think about.

 

Even if we ignore concerns over forbearance, there are still some talking about a housing bubble purely because prices have risen so rapidly over the past several years but I, along with my colleagues, just don’t see it.  It is true that prices have been rising at above-average rates, but fundamentals are still in place.  As I mentioned earlier, borrowers are well qualified, and they have solid equity in their homes.

 

But, as I have shown you, price growth is set to slow and I think that, because of this slowdown in price increases, there will surely be some homeowners who will think that the market has collapsed just because real estate agents aren’t telling them what they want to hear as far as the value of their home is concerned. What they need to understand is that the market isn’t collapsing, it’s just normalizing.

 

Sellers have had the upper hand for a very long time now, and many may have forgotten what a normal housing market looks like.

 

In the early days of the pandemic, it is true that buyers did gravitate toward the suburbs and I know this because 57% of buyers who bought between April and June of this year chose suburban locations and this compares with 50% before the pandemic. But it’s hardly the exodus from cities that some had speculated, and I would also note that there was even a small uptick in urban home purchases in that 3-month period – 12% before the pandemic, and 14% after. Meanwhile, sales actually fell a little in small towns and rural areas in the same timeframe, so I do not anticipate a massive move to the countryside.

 

Yes!  You’ve heard this from me for a long time now. First-time buyers will be a major force again this year – and for years to come – brokers need to figure out how to work with them. Their numbers are only going to grow.

 

Condos – Hmmm this is interesting.  Although I don’t see the condo market collapsing across the country – although I do see significant issues in markets like Manhattan and San Francisco – I am seeing inventory levels rise fairly significantly as opposed to single-family homes for sale whose numbers continues to drop but, for now, there still appears to be demand as sales are higher too. My concern is really in regard to the urban condominium market. You see, for many, the primary reasons to buy a downtown condo are twofold.  Convenient access to work, and lifestyle.

 

Well, some won’t have to live close to work if they are working a majority – or all – of the time from home and secondly, if we lose some of the lifestyle reasons to live in a city – restaurants, retail, and the like, well that takes away some of the rationale behind buying a downtown condo.

 

There’s no need to panic yet but I will be watching urban condo markets to see if demand continues to keep up with rising supply.  If it doesn’t, then we may well see prices softening.

 

And finally, well done, you made it through 2020!

 

So, there you have it.  My 2021 US housing forecast.

 

I really hope that you have found this video – and the ones I have published before – of use to you and your clients.

 

As always, take care out there, and remember to wear your masks.

 

In all seriousness though, it really has been an honor to speak with you all this year and, hopefully, we will meet again –in person this time – at some point next year.

So, between now and then, stay safe, have a wonderful holiday, and here’s to a great 2021 for all of us.

 

Bye now.

The post Matthew Gardner COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 12/7/2020 appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

10 Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom

 

We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, so it’s only right that bedrooms be high on the priority list when it comes to home upgrades. Whether you’re looking for extra comfort or added liveliness from your personal sanctuary, these 10 simple tips will level up your bedroom.

 

10 Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom

 

1. Bed feng shui

By incorporating some basic feng shui principles, your bedroom will automatically feel more comfortable. Position the head of your bed against a wall with ample surface area and room on the left, right, and foot of the bed. Avoid a bed position where doors can open directly into the bed. Finally, avoid the “coffin position,” where your feet point out a doorway.

 

2. Bedroom textures

Sheepskin rugs, a down comforter, plush pillows, and knit blankets can add a softness to the room that will make you want to sink right in. Lift these textures upward, with a canopy, tufted headboard, billowy curtains and hanging textiles so even the walls and ceiling feel snuggly.

 

3. Declutter under your bed

There may not be any monsters under your bed, but if it becomes a clutter nest, it can feel just as frightening. If you depend on the space under your bed for storage, organize it with storage bins.

 

4. Add mood lighting

Soften the light to mimic dusk for an intimate mood with dimmer switches, lamps, lanterns, or even string lights. Bedside lamps are a must-have for your nightstand arrangement. Whether you prefer to read books or watch shows and movies before you sleep, you won’t have to get out of bed when it’s time for lights out.

 

5. Breathe easy in bed

Aromatherapy can have a huge impact on your perception of a space, so find some soothing essential oils or a sweet candle to blanket the room with an ambiance you adore. As soon as you open the door, you’ll be eager to plunge into your little oasis.

 

6. Bedroom multi-functionality

These days, your bedroom may very well have taken on an additional role as a home office, or even your home gym. Accordingly, multifunctional items can help organize the chaos. Explore desks that double as nightstands, storage ottomans, lift-top side tables, or even loft beds.

 

7. Upgrade your decor

Choose natural and warm decor options like wood and comfortable fabrics to bring your bedroom together. Your bedroom is your own personal sanctuary. The more natural and comfortable it feels, the better chance you’ll have of getting the consistent sleep you’re dreaming of. Décor like wood blinds, elegant curtains, thick blankets, shiplap, and the like will help deliver that sanctuary feel.

 

8. Bedroom colors

Your bedroom’s colors have significant say in the overall feel of the room. For ultimate comfort, natural, earthy color palettes work best to bring an element of rejuvenation and healing to your bedroom. Think of soft reds, soothing blues, earthy browns and off-whites. These warmer, organic color palettes are trendy, as well.

 

9. All-white bedroom color tips

For those who prefer their bedroom to feel like sleeping on a cloud, choosing an all-white color palette is the way to go. Any splashes of color will go a long way against the white backdrop. Colorful throw pillows, rugs, and decorative items will pop, while maintaining that spa environment you’re after.

 

10. Upgrade your plant life

For a more natural feel to your bedroom, add some plant life throughout the space. Succulents, hanging baskets, and flower arrangements with fit right at home in your bedroom, improve your air quality, and bring a touch of the outdoors.

 

There isn’t one solution for the perfect bedroom, but these tips can guide your decision process to determine what upgrades will help you sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed. Make a list, get to work, and sweet dreams!

The post 10 Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

GivingTuesday 2020: Donate Through Your Local Windermere Office

 

After shopping for everyone on our holiday lists this year, let’s remember those in our communities who need our support. This GivingTuesday, you can help low-income and homeless families in your community by making a donation to the Windermere Foundation via your local Windermere office.

 

GivingTuesday – December 1, 2020

 

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement created in 2012 to unleash the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world—a day to encourage people to do good. It inspires generosity of all scales, whether it’s taking a stand for an issue you care about or simply making a neighbor smile. The organization now operates in over 70 countries and has touched hundreds of millions of lives.

 

The Windermere Foundation

 

Since 1989, Windermere Real Estate has been dedicated to helping our communities through the Windermere Foundation, whose mission is to provide support to low-income and homeless families. To date we have raised over $42.5 million, with more than $1.6 million coming in 2020 alone. This year for GivingTuesday, you can donate to your neighbors in need through the Windermere Foundation by designating your funds to your local Windermere office.

 

 

For more information on GivingTuesday and how you can participate, visit their website here: GivingTuesday FAQ. To find out more about the Windermere Foundation or to make a donation, please visit windermerefoundation.com.

The post GivingTuesday 2020: Donate Through Your Local Windermere Office appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

What is Wire Fraud and How to Avoid It

Image source: Shutterstock

 

A fast-growing form of cybercrime, wire fraud has led to major losses for homebuyers in recent years. Get to know what it is and what steps you can take to avoid it. 

 

What is wire fraud?

Real estate wire fraud is a scam that targets buyers while making payments during the home buying process. Attackers have taken advantage of the fact that there are several people and entities involved in real estate transactions. Between real estate agents title and escrow companies, mortgage lenders and more, there are many steps, some of which involve sharing financial information and transferring money. This gives ample opportunity for scammers to slip through the cracks somewhere along the line. 

 

The timing of wire fraud is typically during closing using a sophisticated phishing scam. Attackers apply the use of fake emails, phone numbers, or websites, often posing as the buyer’s real estate agent  and directing them to allocate funds to a fraudulent account. Because the attacker will have scanned, scrubbed, and lifted your personal information in preparation for the scam, their forms of communication can often look familiar and legitimate. 

 

The mission of the cyberattack is to get your funds into an account the attacker owns. To do this, it is common for them to say that you had previously sent funds incorrectly, that they were never received, that there are new instructions for payment, or that there has been a last-minute change in the closing process. These are all major red flags. It is imperative to take  extra caution during the final steps of purchasing a home because transfers, once initiated, are difficult to remedy and can delay your closing process.

 

How can I avoid wire fraud? 
 
  • Get to know the closing process: Talk with your Windermere agent ahead of time about what to expect throughout the closing process. Discuss payment options with your lender and ask specifically about instructions for wiring funds. It is safer to share this information over the phone than through email, as scammers could accumulate this information to use against you. 

 

  • Record contact information: Keep a list of the personnel involved in your closing process. Beyond your real estate agent, keep a record of contacts at your mortgage lender, title company, and attorney’s office. In the event that someone new reaches out to you with a request, confirm their identity with one of your contacts. 

 

  • Call to confirm: Call to confirm wiring instructions before sending the transaction through. Talk to a trusted representative and ask them to repeat the information to verify its legitimacy. After sending the funds, make same-day follow-up calls to ensure they were received.

 

  • Trust your gut: If you receive an iffy email or phone call, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your contacts, discuss your hesitancy, and get advice before proceeding.

 

The threat of wire fraud emphasizes the importance of working closely with everyone involved in the purchase of your home. If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank or wire transfer company immediately and request that they issue a recall notice for your wire. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and report the activity with as much information as you can gather. For more information about how to protect yourself from wire fraud, visit the National Association of Realtors’ Wire Fraud resources page.

House vs. Townhouse vs. Condo

Image sources: House, Townhouse, Condo: Canva — Question marks: Shutterstock

 

Deciding between a house, townhouse, and condominium can be a difficult process. Knowing how their characteristics align with your life and goals as a homeowner will help guide you to the right choice. 

 

What differentiates houses, townhouses, and condominiums? 
 
 
House: 
 
  • Detached houses offer the most freedom and privacy of the three housing options. They provide the opportunity to personalize your home as desired, without rules from a governing body like HOA. Houses don’t share walls like townhouses or condos, and typically offer larger outdoor spaces as well. 

 

  • Situated on their own lots, owning a house leaves the responsibility of maintaining and improving the structure and accompanying land to the homeowner. Between a down payment, closing costs, and other homeowner fees, the upfront costs of owning a house can be significantly higher than a townhouse or a condominium. 
 
Townhouse: 
 
  • A townhouse is typically a narrow, multileveled structure connected to others in a row or block, typically with a small parcel of property in front of or behind the home. Somewhere between a house and condo, townhouses may be the best of both of worlds for some homeowners. 

 

  • Like a house, townhouse owners are responsible for exterior (roof and siding) maintenance and repair. Most townhouses tend to have a small footprint and modern upgrades, with lower HOA fees than condos due to a lesser focus on shared amenities.
 
Condominium:
 
  • Condominiums are divided, individually owned units of a larger structure. Due to their smaller size and because they come with no land, condos are typically less expensive than a townhouse or a house. However, HOA fees combined with a monthly mortgage payment can increase the cost of condominium living, depending on the amenities offered in a building. Unique to condo ownership, the exterior of the units is considered a common area with ownership shared among the condo owners in the building. 

 

  • As a condo owner, you are only responsible for the inside of your unit. With this decreased maintenance comes less exclusivity and privacy. Condo owners live in close proximity and typically share amenities like gym and pool access, laundry, and other facilities. 

 

How does your home align with your life?
 
 
House: 
 
  • For homeowners looking at their property as an investment in their financial future, houses are a strong choice. Houses allow homeowners to plan long-term with the knowledge that their home will build equity over time.

 

  • If you are planning on putting down roots and starting a family, houses provide the best opportunity to grow into your future and are better suited to handle significant life changes. 
 
Townhouse: 
 
  • For people looking for more space than a condo but are not quite ready to make the jump to a single-family home, townhouses are the perfect fit. They present a great steppingstone for first time home buyers or buyers who simply don’t want the responsibility of taking care of a larger, standalone home and yard. 

 

  • Townhouses are often located in residential neighborhoods. They are fitting for those looking to graduate from rented dwellings in city centers or metropolitan areas yet maintain greater ownership flexibility than a single-family house. 
 
Condominium:
 
  • Condominiums appeal strongly to homeowners looking for a low-maintenance residence, with access to shared amenities amongst a community. Condos are usually found in denser areas closer to downtown centers, shopping, and entertainment. 

 

  • They are a better fit for buyers seeking metropolitan surroundings than a detached home, which is typically found in a more suburban or rural environment. Given their proximity to city/town centers and mass transit, condos present the opportunity of a shorter commute for those who work in downtown areas. 

 

After all the research, do what feels right. Whether it’s a house, townhouse, or a condo, work with your Windermere agent to find the best option for you and your future.

The Remote Worker’s Home Buying Process

Image Source: Getty Images

 

The pandemic’s influences on home life are far-ranging, prompting buyers to look at home ownership through a new lens. Remote work has created a paradigm shift in the wants and needs of homebuyers. Here’s what the remote worker should keep in mind when looking to buy.

Location

The location, location, location cliché has taken on new meaning for homebuyers who work from home. Because remote work gives us the opportunity to work from anywhere, home searches are expanding. Work commute times typically play a significant role in the home buying process; however, many buyers now have the option to view homes further away from their places of work.

 

Those who previously dreamed of the quiet life, but didn’t want the commute that came with it, are now able to make a move toward a more suburban environment. If you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of a downtown area but don’t want to feel isolated, search for properties in the suburbs with active town centers. 

The proper space

When COVID-19 began sending workers home in the early months of 2020, homeowners worldwide discovered their varied level of preparedness for remote work. Some had spacious home offices and were able to make the transition easily. Others had to create makeshift workspaces out of living rooms or bedrooms. What we have learned is that a dedicated workspace is paramount to productive remote work, its importance emphasized by the unknown timeline of a return to working in-person in many parts of the country.  

 
Before you buy: 
 
  • When searching for homes, understand that a home office situated in an open floor plan is more prone to distraction. 
  • Look for features such as an additional bedroom, finished basement, or bonus room that offer ample space to create your remote work environment. 
  • Having a designated space you can associate solely with work will not only drive your focus but helps to balance your home and work life. It allows you to wrap up the workday, leave your home office, and easily transition back into the goings on of your household.

 

After you buy: 
 
  • Light it up: You’ll want plenty of light in your home office to stay fresh throughout the work week. If you are next to a window, let in as much natural light as possible. Add in desk and floor lamps to brighten your space. 
  • Work comfortably: While working at home, it’s easy to sit in one place for hours on end. Shop for comfortable desk chairs that provide proper lumbar support. Explore alternatives to desk chairs like yoga balls and standing desks. 
  • Personalize: Adding personal touches will help to make your home office feel comfortable. Inspirational quotes, your favorite artwork, and pictures of loved ones are all types of décor that will keep you inspired in your remote work. 

 

For all these considerations and more, talk with your Windermere agent about how your remote work is shifting where you’re looking for a home and what you’re looking for when it’s time to move there. 

Modern Design Trends

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Modern design can tie your home together while making a statement. Getting to know the modern farmhouse, mid-century modern, and industrial design trends will help to determine which is best for your home.

Modern Farmhouse 

Bringing country living to wherever you call home, modern farmhouse is a style marked by sleek lines, vintage touches, and natural textures that still delivers a comfortable feel. Widespread use of the term “modern farmhouse” did not pick up steam until the mid-2010s, only gaining in popularity since. 

 
In your home: 
 
  • Color: A defining characteristic of the modern farmhouse is a whitewashed palette, which offers a satisfying contrast to the use of natural wood. Cream is also a popular choice. Floral accents are typically used to add depth to the whitewashed backdrop.  

 

  • Features: Exposed beams, antique items, and rustic décor form the makeup of a modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling. Barn lighting and gooseneck lamps are the most fitting lighting choices. Round out your modern farmhouse look with shiplap wherever you see fit, board-and-batten siding, and Shaker cabinets for your kitchen. 

 

Mid-Century Modern 

A movement begun in—you guessed it—the middle of the twentieth century, mid-century modern (MCM) took shape in a post-war America that saw a migration to urban areas, thus influencing design of the era to be more mindful of smaller living spaces. 

 
In your home: 
 
  • Philosophy: Mid-century modern is as much an artistic movement as a design trend. MCM designs are simple in form, emphasizing function and organic influences, and are meant for everyone to use. Consider these characteristics when planning your décor. 

 

  • Color: The color palette most commonly associate with MCM is earthy tones. If you’re looking to add more pop but want to stay true to the earthy palette, experiment with pastels. 
 
  • Furniture: Typical MCM design features in furniture include juxtaposing larger pieces with skinny legs, peg legs, the use of lighter-colored woods such as teak, and fun geometric shapes. Beloved favorites include credenzas, dressers, and egg chairs.

 

Industrial 

Inspired by warehouses, factories and unexpected materials such as shipping containers, Industrial design brings home the raw, hardwearing aesthetic typically associated with spaces like reclaimed yards, hangars, and ports. Customization is popular in Industrial design, and like mid-century modern, simplicity is emphasized.

 
In your home:
 
  • Color: The Industrial color palette is predominantly neutral. Texture is a more defining feature than color, which gives you flexibility when it comes to decorating. With neutral colors, it is easier to keep your home’s color palette aligned and complimentary. 
 
  • Materials: How do you make your home feel like a warehouse? Materials go a long way in accomplishing this. Industrial go-to materials for furniture and beyond include wood, aluminum, copper, steel, stone, and tin. Avoid soft materials like plush that would take away from the hardworking feel inherent in Industrial. 
 
  • A touch of nature: Due to its emphasis on recycled and reused materials, plant life and nature-centric accents are fitting compliments to Industrial design. Indoor plants, cactus, and flowers are popular items for sprucing up an Industrial space while adding an appropriately placed touch of color.

 

Although these trends vary in style and application, they all share a statement-making capability. When incorporating them into your home, know that any of these features will definitively shape the look and feel of your home.