SPRING USHERS IN ROBUST HOME MARKET

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Spring-Ushers-in-Robust-Home-Market-240x170This spring’s real estate market is coming in strong. New data released by realtor.com shows that homes in May are moving off the market at the fastest pace seen since the housing recovery began, despite record-high asking prices.

Based on realtor.com’s preliminary findings, homes spent a median of 65 days on the market in May—the same length of time as a year ago and three days quicker than April. The median home was listed at $250,000—9 percent higher than a year ago and 2 percent higher than the past month. For-sale housing inventory also has continued to increase on a monthly basis, but remains lower than a year ago.

Meanwhile, more than 550,000 listings have been added to the market to date in May (a 4 percent increase), but the level of inventory remains 4 percent lower than a year ago. Site traffic data on realtor.com shows a 30 percent growth in searches for homes for sale, compared with May 2015.

“Pent-up demand and low mortgage rates are driving consumers into the market with urgency,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke in a statement. “However, the recurring issue of limited supply is leading to higher prices.”

Thankfully, Smoke adds, gains in new single-family construction and new home sales are providing a pressure release. “Potential buyers are finding they can avoid a competitive bid situation if they elect to sign a contract on a home to be built,” he says. “As the share of new homes sold goes up, we should eventually see signs of more balance in the existing home market, like lower price appreciation. However, we clearly aren’t there yet.”

Here is a snapshot of the realtor.com’s May data:

• Median age of inventory is estimated to end at 65 days, the same as May 2015 and down 4 percent from April.

• Median listing price for May should reach a record high of $250,000—a 9 percent increase year over year and a 2 percent increase month over month.

• Listing inventory in May is showing a 4 percent increase over April. However, inventory decreased 4 percent year over year.

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SIX THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING AN INSURANCE POLICY FOR YOUR HOME

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6thingstoconsider-240x170As you begin the journey of homeownership, you’ll need to take steps to insure it as buying a home is a major investment. To make sure that you get the best protection for your home, consider the following six policy suggestions.

Your Home’s Location

Before agreeing to an insurance policy, assess your home’s surrounding area for potential discounts. For instance, if your house is near a constantly staffed fire department that is also highly rated, you could negotiate a policy discount with your insurance company.

When to Get Extra Protection 

If your new home comes with awesome amenities like a swimming pool and a hot tub, then consider kicking your liability insurance up a notch. This will protect you if someone suffers a serious injury on your property.

Claim History 

Check your home’s claim history because it could affect your homeowner’s insurance rates. When you buy a home that has had a claim filed for it during the past five years, your policy rates will probably be a little higher.

Embrace Earthquake Coverage 

California residents aren’t alone in their need for earthquake insurance. Other states also suffer from the natural disaster. In fact, at least 39 states experience earthquake tremors. Traditional home insurance policies generally don’t cover earthquake damage. Upgrade your policy to include it.

Is Flooding a Possibility?

Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, consider adding protection for it to your policy. According to reports, 90 percent of the nation’s natural disasters involve flooding, so protect your investment.

Take on a High Deductible 

If you take on a higher deductible, then your insurance company will reward you for it with lower policy rates. Since most people only file an insurance claim once every eight to 10 years, you’ll likely save more in the long run with lower yearly rates.

Insuring a Valuable Asset 

Homeowner’s insurance provides protection for one of your most valuable assets. When choosing a policy, be sure to compare the rates, coverage options and deductibles of several different insurers.

THE BEST MONTH — AND DAY — TO LIST YOUR HOME

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bestmonthbestdaytosell-240x170March is now the advent of the spring home-buying season. As the supply of available properties continues to lag demand in most areas of the country, competition between buyers is growing. This situation is changing many of the longstanding rules of real estate. Where the spring buying season once started in early May, more buyers are beginning their search earlier in places like Miami and Washington, D.C. due to the tight housing markets. Despite the extended buying season, a home must be listed for sale at the right time and price to generate multiple offers and a quick sale.

Even in today’s tight market, homebuyers are becoming more knowledgeable and do not want to overpay. As a result, selling a home in today’s dynamic market still requires a well-planned and orchestrated listing strategy. For most sellers, early May is still the optimum time to sell a home. Listing in early May results in selling a home 18 days faster for approximately 1 percent more than other times of the year in 18 of the country’s 25 largest housing markets. Buyers are more eager as their earlier offers fell through and they may be willing to pay a bit more. To increase the odds of selling your home even faster, list it for sale on a Thursday. Because many potential buyers tour homes over the weekend, they begin their search preparations the previous Thursday and Friday. Thursday listings are more likely to sell faster at above list price than those listed over the weekend.

ENERGY-EFFICIENCY AND THE RESALE VALUE OF YOUR HOUSE

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energyefficient-240x170Thanks to increased awareness and education, saving energy is something valued at all levels of society. Without a doubt, bolstering energy efficiency is crucial for preserving the future of our shared natural environment. However, there are plenty of more practical, down-to-earth reasons for making upgrades that improve your home’s energy efficiency. Besides reducing your monthly energy bills, these improvements can positively affect any home’s resale value.

For example, you can always save energy by getting rid of gaps and holes that allow heat and treated air to escape from your home. Older, drafty windows are especially prone to gaps. Replacing these windows with newer, energy-efficient windows can save money while improving residents’ personal comfort levels. Walls and vents are other major sources of energy-draining gaps. If installed with care, a new roof can reduce your energy expenses and bolster your house’s overall resale value. Many people experience savings as they add insulation to attics and foundations, which can drastically reduce energy consumption rates.

Replacing siding is one of the most cost-effective energy improvements you can make to your home. To experience great returns on your siding investment, make sure all corner wraps and underlayments used are certified through the ENERGY STAR program. Finally, make sure your home’s furnace is energy-efficient. These days, homebuyers prioritize maximally airtight homes with modern furnaces. An aged furnace won’t just lower your home’s resale value; believe it or not, any prospective buyer might well demand you replace your furnace before they sign on the dotted line.

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