Lee County Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

July 10, 2024

The Price of Perfection: Don’t Wait for the Perfect Home

In life, patience is a virtue – but in the world of homebuying, waiting too long in hopes of finding the perfect home actually isn’t wise. That’s because the pursuit of perfection comes at a cost. And in this case, that cost may be delaying your dream of homeownership. As Bankrate explains:

“One of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes is looking for a home that checks each of your boxes. Looking for perfection can narrow your choices and lead you to pass over good, suitable options for starter homes in the hopes that something better will come along.”

The Cost of Holding Out for Perfection

Nothing in life is ever perfect – and that’s true when you search for a home too. Unless you’re building a brand-new home from the ground up, chances are there are going to be some features or finishes you wouldn’t have picked yourself. It may be as simple as paint colors, a light fixture, or the tile in the bathrooms or kitchen. Or even that the backyard isn’t fenced in. It could also be that the home itself is great, but it’s not the ideal location you were hoping for.

But here’s the trade-off you’d be making without even realizing it. In all that time you’d spend searching for the perfect place, you’d overlook a lot of homes that would’ve worked for you. U.S. News explains:

“. . . you may miss opportunities if you enter the process with blinders on and aren’t open-minded . . . Countless potential buyers never buy because of this, and thus miss great investments or never move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

It’s Time To Redefine Perfection

Especially with affordability and inventory where they are today, buying a home that needs some updates, is a few neighborhoods away from your ideal location, or doesn’t have all your desired features can be a smart move. Here’s why.

For starters, these homes are usually more affordable, which is important at a time when some buyers are struggling to find options in their budget.

And they give you a chance to make the space your own or discover a whole new area of town. You may find out you actually love that neighborhood. Or, swapping out a feature here or there after move-in isn’t such a big deal. So, look past the green shag carpet and see the bones of the house. With a little vision and creativity, you can turn a good house into a fantastic home.

How an Agent Helps You Explore Your Options

If you’re open to a home that needs a little elbow grease or is a bit further out, let your agent know. They’ll be happy to show you how this can really open up your pool of homes to pick from. They’ll also help coach you through this process by:

1. Prioritizing Your Must-Haves: Your agent will want to revisit your wish list and separate your non-negotiables from your nice-to-haves. From there, they’ll focus on what’s really most important to you as they come up with a bigger list of options for you to choose from.

2. Coaching You To See the Potential: As you tour these added options, your agent will help you look beyond cosmetic flaws and imagine what the home could be with a little work. Simple updates like a fresh coat of paint or new flooring can make a big difference.

3. Connecting You with Local Pros: And an agent’s support goes one step further. If they know what you’re hoping to change after you move in, they can connect you with local pros who can get the job done. That way it’s less work for you, and you don’t have to worry about tracking down contractors.

Bottom Line

Remember, there is no perfect home. But with expert help and an open mind, an agent can find you the right home – even in today’s market. connect with a local real estate agent to see what’s out there.

Posted in Real Estate News
July 8, 2024

Homeownership: The Heart of the American Dream

Everyone’s vision for the future is personal and unique. But for many, common goals include success, freedom, and prosperity — values closely tied to having your own home and the iconic feeling of achieving the American Dream.

A recent survey by Bankrate reveals exactly that: homeownership is still a part of the American Dream. The results show, at 78%, that owning a home tops the list, surpassing other significant milestones such as retirement, having a successful career, and more (see below):No Caption Received

So, why is buying a home important to so many today? One reason is the financial and physical security it provides. Many people see homeownership as a way to reduce stress because owning a home with a fixed-rate mortgage stabilizes what is likely their largest monthly expense.

Another factor is the potential for building wealth. That’s because, over time, homeowners gain equity as they pay down their mortgage and as home prices appreciate, leading to longer-term financial stability.

But what about the responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining a home? According to a survey by Entrata, only 23% of renters feel homeownership is too much work, indicating the majority are open to the commitments and obligations that come with being a homeowner.

What Does This Mean for You?

While buying a home today might seem daunting due to higher mortgage rates and rising home prices, the long-term benefits can make it worthwhile. If you’re considering homeownership, remember that it’s more than just a financial investment — it’s a step toward securing your future.

Bottom Line

Owning a home is a significant and powerful decision that represents a big part of the American Dream. If you’re ready to take this step, start by reaching out to a local real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you make your homeownership goals a reality.

Posted in Real Estate News
July 3, 2024

Homeowners Gained $28K in Equity over the Past Year

If you own a home, your net worth has probably gone up a lot over the past year. Home prices have been rising, which means you’re building equity much faster than you might think. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Over the past year, there have still been more people wanting to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that’s pushed prices up. That rise in prices has translated directly into increasing equity for homeowners.

How Much Equity Have You Earned over the Past 12 Months?

According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $28,000 in the last year alone.

That’s the national average, so if you want to see what’s happening in your state, check out the map below. It uses data from CoreLogic to show how much equity has grown in each state over the past year. You’ll notice every single state with sufficient data saw annual equity gains:No Caption Received

What If You Bought Your House Before the Pandemic?

If you bought your house before the pandemic, the equity news is even better. According to data from Realtor.com, home prices shot up by 37.5% from May 2019 to May 2024, meaning your home’s value has likely increased significantly. Ralph McLaughlin, Senior Economist at Realtor.comsays:

“Homeowners have seen extraordinary gains in home equity over the past five years.”

To give context to how much equity can stack up over time, Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains the total equity the typical homeowner has today:

“With home prices continuing to reach new highs, owners are also seeing their equity approach the historic peaks of 2023, close to a total of $305,000 per owner.”

How Your Rising Home Equity Can Help You

With how prices skyrocketed a few years ago, and the ongoing price growth today, homeowners clearly have substantial equity built up – and that has some serious benefits.

You could use it to start a business, fund an education, or even to help you afford your next home. When you sell, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you, and may be enough to cover a big part – or even all – of your next home’s down payment.

Bottom Line

If you're planning to move, the equity you've gained can really help. Curious about how much you have and how you can use it to help pay for your next home? Connect with a local real estate agent.

Posted in Real Estate News
July 1, 2024

Focus on Time in the Market, Not Timing the Market

 

Should you buy a home now or should you wait? That’s a big question on many people’s minds today. And while what timing is right for you will depend on a lot of other personal factors, here’s something you may not have considered.

If you’re able to buy at today’s rates and prices, it may be better to focus on time in the market, rather than timing the market.

The Downside of Trying To Time the Market 

Trying to time the market isn’t a good strategy because things can change. Here’s an example. For the better part of this year, projections have said mortgage rates will come down. And while experts agree that’s still what’s ahead, shifts in various market and economic factors have pushed back the timing of when that’ll happen. Here’s how that’s impacted homebuyers who’ve been sitting on the sidelines. As U.S. News says:

Those who put off buying a home during the past few years as they were holding out for lower mortgage rates have been left out of the market . . . mortgage rates have stayed higher for longer than previously expected, keeping monthly housing payments elevated. In other words, affordability didn’t improve for those who chose to wait.”

This is why timing the market may not pay off if you’re ready and able to buy now.

The Proof Is in the Pudding: How Homeowners Benefit from Rising Home Prices

Delaying your plans also means missing out on the equity you’d gain if you went ahead with your purchase today. And the potential equity gains that are at stake may surprise you.

Each quarter, Fannie Mae releases the Home Price Expectations Survey. It asks over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists what they forecast for home prices over the next five years. In the latest release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise through at least 2028 (see the graph below): No Caption Received

To give these numbers context, let’s take a look at a breakdown of what you stand to gain once you buy. The graph below uses a typical home’s value to show how a home could appreciate over the next few years using those HPES projections: No Caption Received

In this example, let’s say you went ahead and bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. Based on the expert forecasts from the HPES, you could gain more than $83,000 in household wealth over the next five years. That’s not a small number.

This data helps paint the picture of why time in the market really matters.

The Advice You Need To Hear If You’re Ready and Able To Buy Now

Right now, you may be focused on what’s happening with mortgage rates and how those impact your monthly payment, but don’t forget to factor in home prices.

Prices are expected to continue climbing, just at a more moderate pace. And while a moderate rise in prices may not be fun for you now, once you own a home, that growth will be a huge perk. That’s the time in the market piece.

Sure, you could try timing the market, but the equity you’ll be missing out on in the meantime is something to seriously consider. If you’re ready and able to buy now, you have to decide: is it really worth waiting?

Rather than focusing on timing the market. It’s better to have time in the market.

As U.S. News Real Estate sums up:

“There’s never a one-size-fits-all answer to whether now is the right time to buy a home. . . . There’s also no way to predict precisely what the market will do in the near future . . . Perfectly timing the market shouldn’t be the goal. This decision should be determined by your personal needs, financial means and the time you have to find the right home.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re debating whether to buy now or wait, remember it’s time in the market, not timing the market. And if you want to get the ball rolling and set yourself up for those big equity gains, connect with an agent to make it happen. 

 

Posted in Real Estate News
June 28, 2024

The Difference Between an Inspection and an Appraisal

Posted in Real Estate News
June 26, 2024

How Long Will It Take To Sell My House?

You want your house to sell fast. And you may be wondering how long the whole process is going to take. One way to get your answer? Work with a local real estate agent.

They have the expertise to tell you how quickly homes are selling in your area and what’s impacting timelines for other sellers. That way you have realistic expectations and can work together to come up with a plan that’s based on today’s market.

Here’s a high-level overview of just one of the factors a great agent will walk you through – the supply of homes for sale and how that impacts your process.

The Growing Supply of Homes for Sale

Over the past few months, the number of homes for sale has increased. This is good news when you move because it means you’ll have more options as you search for your next home. But it also means buyers have more to choose from, so if your house doesn’t stand out – it may take a bit longer to sell.

Available inventory is made up of new listings (homes that were just put up for sale) and active listings (homes that were already on the market but haven’t sold yet). And if you look at data from Realtor.com you can see a good portion of the recent growth is from active listings that are sticking around (see the blue bars in the graph below):

How It’s Impacting Listings Today

Think of the homes on the market like loaves of bread for sale in a bakery. When a fresh batch of bread is put out, everyone wants the newest and hottest one. But if a loaf sits there too long, it starts to get stale, and fewer people want to buy it.

The same goes for homes. New listings are the freshest and most sought-after. But if a home isn’t priced correctly, doesn’t show well, or it doesn’t have an effective sales or marketing strategy behind it, it can sit on the market and become less appealing to buyers over time.

An Agent Will Help Your House Stand Out and Sell Quickly

Timing is important to you. You want to get this done, fast. By leaning on a pro, they’ll make sure your listing is fresh and doesn’t stick around long enough to go stale. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Home sellers without an agent are nearly twice as likely to say they didn’t accept an offer for at least three months; 53% of sellers who used an agent say they accepted an offer within a month of listing their home.”

Your agent will factor the recent inventory growth into their plan and create a customized selling strategy for your house. The supply of homes for sale can vary a lot by area. So they’ll do things like share their valuable insights into what’s happening with supply in your market, help you price your home correctly, and create a marketing plan that gets your home noticed.

Don’t let your listing get stale—reach out to a real estate agent today to make sure your listing is fresh and appeals to buyers from the start. It makes a big difference. 

Bottom Line

If you want your house to sell fast, you need to work with a pro. Connect with a local agent, so you’ve got someone who understands the current market trends and how to build a strategy around those factors, so your house is set up to sell quickly.

 

Posted in Real Estate News
June 24, 2024

Why a Vacation Home Is the Ultimate Summer Upgrade

 

Summer is officially here and that means it’s the perfect time to start planning where you want to vacation and unwind this season. If you’re excited about getting away and having some fun in the sun, it might make sense to consider if owning your own vacation home is right for you.

An Ameriprise Financial survey sheds light on why people buy a second, or vacation, home (see below): No Caption Received

  • Vacation destination or a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life (81%) – Having a second home to use as a vacation spot can be a special place where you go to relax and take a break from your daily routines and stressors. It also means you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay when you go there.
  • Better weather (49%) – Buying in a place where there may be nicer weather can be a great escape, especially if it’s cold or rainy where you usually live. It lets you enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures, even when it’s not so nice back home.
  • Rental income (41%) – You can rent it out to other people when you’re not using it, which can help you make some extra money.
  • Primary residence in the future (33%) – You can eventually move into the home full-time during retirement. That means you can enjoy vacations there now and have a getaway ready for your future.
  • Having a venue for gatherings with family and friends (25%) – It would be a special spot where you can have parties, regular family trips, and create fun memories.

Ways To Buy Your Vacation Home

And you don’t have to be wealthy to buy a vacation home. Bankrate shares two tips for how to make this dream more achievable for anyone who’s interested:

  • Buy with loved ones or friends: If you’re okay with sharing the vacation home, you can go in on the purchase price together and pool your resources to make it more affordable.
  • Put a savings plan in place: This will require patience and persistence but consider adding a vacation home savings plan to your budget and contributing to it monthly.

Finding Your Dream Spot with a Little Help from an Agent

If the idea of basking in the sun at your very own vacation home sounds appealing, you might want to start looking now. Summer’s when everyone’s trying to buy their slice of paradise, so it’s best to start early.

Your first move is to team up with a real estate agent. They know all the ins and outs of the area you want to be in, and which homes you should look at. Plus, they can give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about having a second home and how it can benefit you. The same article from Bankrate says:

Buying real estate in a new area — or even one you’ve vacationed in for many years — requires expert guidance. That makes it a good idea to work with an experienced local lender who specializes in loans for vacation homes and a local real estate professional. Local lenders and Realtors will understand the required rules and specifics for the area you are buying, and a local Realtor will know what properties are available.”

Bottom Line

If the idea of owning your own vacation home appeals to you, connect with a real estate agent.

Posted in Real Estate News
June 21, 2024

Do Elections Impact the Housing Market?

 

Posted in Real Estate News
June 17, 2024

The Sweet Spot for Buying Luxury Homes

If you’ve been looking for a home at the high end of your market, but haven’t found the right one, you may have put your search on hold. But according to recent data, now may be the time to jump back in. Here’s why.

There Are More Luxury Homes To Choose From

What’s considered the top-end of the market, or a luxury home, will always vary by location. But generally speaking, they’re homes that are valued in the top 5% of any given market. According to a recent report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, the selection of luxury homes is increasing (see graph below):No Caption Received

As the graph shows, there are considerably more single-family luxury homes available now than there were a year ago. In fact, there are even more than there were just a month ago. This means you should have a wider variety of top-of-the-line homes to choose from, each with unique features and styles.

Whether you were searching for the latest design elements, like modern kitchens with chef-grade appliances, a breathtaking view, or integrated smart home technology, more luxury inventory means you should have an easier time finding one that matches your taste and lifestyle.

Rising Luxury Home Prices Can Help You Build Wealth

Another important factor to consider is that luxury home prices are on the rise. According to HousingWire, luxury home prices have increased by 8.7% over the past year. That’s why:

“People with the means to buy high-end homes are jumping in now because they feel confident prices will continue to rise . . . They’re ready to buy with more optimism and less apprehension.

This means buying before prices climb higher – and while more inventory is on the market – may be your sweet spot. Because home prices are rising, owning a home could help you build more generational wealth over time. On the other hand, if you wait to buy, you might end up paying more for the same home later on as luxury prices continue to rise.

Bottom Line

With growing inventory and rising prices, you have a greater selection of luxury homes to choose from and an opportunity in front of you. Want to see the higher-end homes that are available in our area? Connect with a local real estate agent today.

Posted in Real Estate News
June 14, 2024

Savings Strategies Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs To Know

If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings. And a big priority is making sure you’ve got a plan in place for things like your closing costsdown payment, and more.

Here are a few strategies that can help speed up that process.

Budget and Track Your Expenses: To start, create a detailed budget that tracks the money you’ve got coming in and the money going out. This’ll give you a better look at your finances as a whole.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Spending: Now that you have your budget sheet done and you know how you’re spending your money, look for any line items that aren’t absolutely essential. If you cut down on those, you can re-allocate that cash toward buying a home. Even the little things can add up. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.”

Automate Your Savings: Once you know how much you want to set aside for your homebuying budget, look for ways to make it easy. If you have to transfer money manually, you may forget to do it. But getting some automatic transfers set up helps drive consistency and removes the temptation to spend it elsewhere. Realtor.com explains:

“If you’re struggling to put enough money away because of the constant temptations to blow your paycheck, consider automating the process. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck deposited into multiple accounts—if so, instruct it to send a certain percentage of your salary directly into your savings account. Or go through your bank . . .”

Lean into Any Side Hustles You Have: Do you have a gig you do (or have done before) to net some extra cash? Taking on part-time work, freelance jobs, or picking up a side hustle can help give your savings a boost.

Put any Unexpected Cash To Good Use: If you get any sudden windfalls, like a tax refund, bonus, inheritance, or cash gift from family, put it toward your house fund.

By using these strategies and focusing on your savings over time, you can make sure you’re well on the path to having what you need to buy your first home. As Ramsey Solutions says:

“Budgeting shows your money who’s in charge (that’s you). It gives you the power to tell your money where to go instead of having to wonder where it went. It’s how you make any money goals happen—like saving for a down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, connect with a local real estate professional.

Posted in Real Estate News