National Real Estate Mkt shift

The Real Estate Housing Market Is Shifting: Too Many Homes, Not Enough Buyers

As mortgage rates surged, prospective homeowners were priced out. Now there are not enough buyers for an increasing number of homes.By Madeline Garfinkle August 10, 2022

The housing market is shifting, and faster than builders and sellers can adapt.

During the pandemic, low mortgage rates and increased demand led to a surge in the housing market, causing prices to soar and competition to rise. However, the tight market led to sky-high prices and an eventual rise in mortgage rates, which ultimately priced out millions of would-be buyers. Now, builders are faced with an excess of unsold homes, Bloomberg reported.

The once nationwide housing shortage — coupled with the boom brought on by the pandemic — pushed the market to a pressure point. Home prices rose by 20.6% year-over-year in March of 2022, marking the largest increase in the 30 years of record-keeping, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies tabulations of CoStar and CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices data.

However, by early July, the supply of homes versus demand had plunged to the lowest level since 2012, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders. Now builders and sellers are scrambling to adjust to the dramatic market shift as buyers back out of contracts in record numbers.

“It has become a very competitive market for builders where they are trying to offload any standing inventory,” Ali Wolf, chief economist for Zonda, told Bloomberg. “We may see a period where supply may actually exceed demand for a while in some of the markets that were the most feverish over the past two years.”

Market ‘Unpredictability’ Forces Zillow Offers to Fold

small model home and money on fulcrum

November 3, 2021

Zillow Offers was once one of the largest instant offer firms in the iBuying sector, but the “unpredictability in forecasting home prices” is prompting it to shutter that arm of its business for good.

KeyBanc analyst Edward Yruma told MarketWatch that most of the homes that the company had recently purchased were now worth less than what it paid for them. Of 650 homes analyzed by Yruma, he says the markets with the most homes listed below the purchase price that Zillow Offers bought from are in Phoenix, Charlotte, N.C., and Las Vegas.

About two weeks ago, Zillow announced a temporary halt to new purchases for its iBuying program for the remainder of the year as it worked through a backlog of about 9,800 homes. It cited labor and supply shortages for not being able to renovate homes fast enough and relist them.

But on Tuesday, Zillow made it official: Zillow Offers would be no more. The company also announced it would lay off a quarter of its workforce, or about 2,000 people, as a result.

“We’ve determined the unpredictability in forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated, and continuing to scale Zillow Offers would result in too much earnings and balance-sheet volatility,” CEO Rich Barton said in a statement.

Barton said that Zillow will instead focus on “creating an integrated and digital real estate transaction that solves the pain points of buyers and sellers while serving a wider audience.”

Zillow Offers will complete the purchase of an additional 8,200 homes—worth up to about $265 million—it is currently under contract to purchase. The company expects to lose up to 7% on those homes, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Zillow Offers began about three-and-a-half years ago. The company had once predicted the iBuying arm could generate $20 billion a year. Home flipping was the company’s largest source of revenue, despite it never turning a profit, The Wall Street Journal reports. Zillow Offers lost $381 million last quarter.

The booming homebuying market with high demand and low inventories has prompted home prices to rise rapidly. Other iBuyer competitors like OpenDoor and Offerpad reportedly began to slow their purchases in one of the largest iBuying markets, Phoenix, this summer. Meanwhile, Zillow had accelerated its purchases, according to Mike DelPrete, a tech strategist who studies iBuying. Zillow was also paying more than its competitors for each home—purchasing homes, on average, priced $65,000 higher than the median, DelPrete’s analysis shows.

5 Hidden costs to include when buying a home

Buying a home is exciting — but it can also be expensive if you don’t budget for the incidentals. And, we’re not just talking about the actual cost of the home. Some home buyers get so wrapped up in their home budget that they forget to factor in other things like closing costs, earnest money and more.

Find out what hidden costs you can expect to pay for when buying a home that a lot of people either don’t know about or let slip their minds.

1) Closing Costs

At the end of your transaction, there are a wide range of fees paid. These can include:

  • Cost of inspection
  • Lawyer fees
  • Recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Document fees
  • Surveyance fee
  • Title cost
  • Sales brokerage commission
  • Mortgage applications
  • Home warranty

When searching for your home, ask your real estate agent to go over the potential costs with you. These can all vary based on the home size you’re looking at, your market, the amount of your loan, etc. In 2019, the average home closing costs were about $5,700.

2) Earnest Money

Similar to a security deposit, earnest money is put down up front, before filing any paperwork. Especially in a seller’s market, it proves your level of commitment to buying the home. Once the transaction goes through, you’ll get that money back.

If you back out, though, you risk not getting that money back, so make sure you read your contract carefully and that you are positive you won’t have any setbacks. This earnest money can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.

3) Paying for Escrow

Paying escrow up front helps cover expenses like property taxes and insurance. Some lenders will ask that money stays in the account, which shows how important escrow can be. Escrow fees can cost $1.00 – $2.25 per $1,000 in house price, plus an additional $250.

4) Moving Costs

While it may seem like a simple thing, when you get caught up in the closing with paperwork and other costs, a lot of home-buyers forget about the moving costs. With vans, boxes, supplies, time off and company costs if you hire a moving company, you can be looking at a  minimum of $1,000. If you’re moving to another state or across the country, you could be looking at a couple thousand dollars.

5) Home Maintenance and Repairs

When you’re buying an older home, having to make repairs or update various appliances is almost inevitable. The decision as to how much you’ll spend will come down to what you deem is necessary to have fixed when you first move in and what can wait.

If you want to start fixing certain things ASAP, you won’t have much time to spare after you close a deal. That’s why it’s important to include your expectations into your budget for buying a home, especially for out-of-pocket expenses.

If your repair or maintenance can wait, then you can always build up the emergency funds in preparation for that expense.

Be prepared for the unexpected by hiring a real estate agent from HomeSmart! We have trained and knowledgeable agents who can talk with you about what you should expect from closing costs and other unexpected expenses that might come up in your transaction. We want to make sure you have the best buying experience possible. After all, this is probably one of the biggest — if not the biggest — purchase of your life.

Your Neighborhood Real Estate

I hope you’re enjoying the fall season!

Have you ever noticed that, when it comes to real estate, there’s news, and then there’s news you can actually use?

For example, most major newspapers, both print and online, publish updates on the real estate market — but only nationally and regionally. They don’t tell you what’s going on in your specific neighborhood because, by necessity, they can only cover a broad area.

But news that’s broad and general has limited value to you.

The real estate information that’s most useful, especially if you’re thinking of selling, is local. It’s specific to your neighborhood – maybe even to your street.

That’s where I can help.

When you have questions about the local real estate scene, give me a call. I can provide you with the latest information, data, and insights for your particular area. That’s news you can actually use to make better decisions about selling or buying.

It would be my pleasure to assist you with your local real estate needs, call today. Cathi Pospisil (928) 273-0538

Home Features Americans Consider Crucial

August 7, 2020

Let’s talk windows: Home buyers care about them more than you may have considered.

In a recent survey conducted by, consumers said the most important exterior feature of a home is the size and amount of windows, followed by a porch or patio, when sizing up curb appeal. surveyed more than 5,000 U.S. adults to learn their favorite home features, architecture, and more. (View consumers’ favorite architecture picks by state.)

For the interior, consumers ranked the home’s layout as the most important feature by far.

Important home features chart. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

Staging & cheap home updates!

If you haven’t heard of “staging”, it’s a fairly straightforward concept. It simply involves cleaning, organizing and preparing your home in such a way as to make it look its best to potential buyers.
One of the most difficult rooms to stage is the kitchen, because it’s one of the most used. You can’t just set it up to look nice for a viewing and then never go back in! Yet, an effectively staged kitchen can help sell your home, because it’s the room that buyers often scrutinize and remember the most.Here are some basic kitchen staging tips:Be relentless when decluttering your kitchen. Stow or get rid of any unnecessary items.Clear the countertops. Leave no more than two appliances in view. This will give the impression that there’s a lot of counter space available.Make sure the sink shines. If regular cleaners don’t work, there are a number of specialty products available for cleaning sinks of all kinds, including stainless steel.Consider making upgrades. You could do something as simple as replacing cabinetry hardware, or go as far as installing a new countertop.Paint or stain cabinetry. One of the most affordable and impactful improvements you can make to the kitchen is painting. A new coat of paint or other finish can make older, worn cabinets look like new.Add some fresh flowers in a vase. Flowers brighten up any room, especially the kitchen.Need more tips on making your home show well, so it sells faster and for the price you want? Call today.
Cheap Ways to Improve Curb Appeal
Let’s face it. If you’re selling your home, you probably don’t want to spend the time or money on a complete landscaping project. Luckily, you probably don’t need to. There are a number of affordable ways to improve curb appeal and impress buyers who drive up to your home.
You can make a big impact by creating a more welcoming entrance. For example, paint the front door and frame, and place potted plants on either side.You can also significantly improve your curb appeal by not only mowing the lawn, but also pruning trees and shrubs.Use a power washer to clean the walkways and driveway. A good cleaning can make them look almost new.And, don’t forget the front windows. Make sure window coverings look just as good from the outside as they do inside.
Give Outdoor Furniture a Facelift
As the summer stretches on, and your patio furnishings start to show the signs of use, you may want to try these simple ways of restoring them to their original luster.Before trying any of these techniques, always test in an inconspicuous area first. 
For vinyl cushions and fabrics without specific instructions for upkeep, try a mixture of water and mild detergent with an “oxicleansing” additive for stains. Avoid chlorine bleach that can corrode stitching and cause discoloration. Rinse thoroughly and dry without direct sunlight.Furniture frames require specific care, depending on the material. Wicker should be vacuumed and/or brushed before a gentle washing and rinsing with a garden hose (not a power washer). Aluminum frames will keep their appearance longer if you apply and buff a coating of car wax after wiping clean and drying. Natural woods fare well when scrubbed with commercial oil soap (not detergent), and can retain their integrity longer with a weather-resistant stain or urethane treatment. To help your outdoor furniture last from season to season, invest in weather-resistant slip covers.

Smart Home on a Budget

adjusting temperature on smart thermometer from phone

The Ultimate Smart Home on a Budget

Get a comparative analysis and cost breakdown on smart home products that won’t break the bank.

July 1, 2020 by Brandon Doyle

Getting started with smart-home technology doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You just have to know where to look. Here are some of my top recommendations.

Pay attention to local ads for good deals on smart home gadgets. Often places like Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot will have a sale that includes smart-home products. Recently, Lowe’s had GE Z-Wave smart switches and plugs on clearance for around $8 each. These items were originally priced just under $60, but the manufacturer rebranded and came out with new packaging.

Amazon owns Ring, so if you or your real estate clients are interested in a video doorbell, I’ve found they typically go on sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and of course on Prime Day. There are occasionally package deals where you can get a free Echo Dot or Google Home Mini included with the purchase of a TV or other home electronics.

When a new version of a product becomes available, manufacturers will discount the remaining inventory of the previous model. While you won’t have the latest and greatest features, the core functionality is the same and you can get a great deal. Examples include Amazon Echo devices and thermostats such as Ecobee—the Lite version does not have Alexa built in but works great at about half the price.

Remo+ makes a very stylish video doorbell similar to Ring for less than half the cost. It operates the same way and includes three days of free cloud storage within the app.

Knowing what’s available in smart-home technology is a value-add for agents selling new and existing homes. Check out more articles from my Ultimate Smart Home series.

The goal at Wyze is to make quality smart-home technology accessible to everyone. By working with efficient manufacturers and selling directly from their website, they’re able to offer high-quality products at much lower prices. The Wyze Cam V2 is capable of streaming full 1080p HD; it records 12-second videos to the cloud automatically when it detects motion or sound, and the videos are accessible for up to 14 days for free. With the addition of a 32 GB micro SD storage card, which is not included, you can record up to eight days of continuous standard definition video or two days of HD footage. Once it has run out of cloud storage, it will record over the oldest footage. All of this is available for only $19.99 with no subscription fees. While Wyze Cam V2 is designed for indoor use, Wyze will be releasing an outdoor version in the future. In the interim, for some, it may work to place the camera in a window looking outside.

Last year, Wyze expanded its product offering to include a smart sensor kit ($19.99), bulb ($7.99/each), and plugs ($14.99 for two). They’re all controlled via the Wi-Fi connection and do not require a hub. The Wyze App is very easy to use, and it integrates with your favorite voice assistant. Setting up an automation is straightforward. For demonstration purposes, I put a door sensor on my pantry and a Wyze bulb in the existing light fixture. Now when the door opens the light turns on, and when it closes it turns off, which is great when your hands are full. I was also able to setup the motion sensor to turn on a lamp using the smart plug.

Just after the 2020 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, Wyze announced its smart-home lock, which replaces the inside of your current door lock, adding smart capabilities while using your existing keys and deadbolt. This has allowed the company to keep the cost down to $89—again, less than half the price of competitors. Wyze Labs will be a company to watch as they continue to offer affordable solutions for smart home technology without sacrificing features.

Wiz smart bulbs are a great alternative to more expensive Philips Hue or LIFX colored bulbs. I recently tested several different bulbs and found the Wiz bulbs to be very competitive. They’re four for $38 on Amazon, connect via Wi-Fi, and are controlled with the Wiz app or with your voice assistant. The app features different scenes, modes, timers, etc., which is comparable to the experience you’ll find with Philips Hue or LIFX bulbs.

Here are some typical costs for common smart-home products:

Smart Bulbs: $8 to $45 each

Light Strips: $25 to $90 each

Smart Switches: $27 to $60 each

Thermostats: $170 to $300 each

Indoor Cameras: $25 to $130 each

Outdoor Cameras: $89 to $500 each

Smart Locks: $150 to $250 each

Video Doorbells: $100 to $250 each

‘Dated Homes’ No Longer a Deal Killer?

July 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many residents to rethink their home and priorities, nudging some residents to leave city abodes in favor of the suburbs and more space. With a limited number of homes for sale, many sellers are fielding competitive offers and bidding wars as some Americans look to relocate. And those looking to move quickly may be willing to make greater compromises in their preferences than they were just a few months ago.

“Sellers are realizing the sudden new demand—it’s like catching lightning in a bottle,” Jaime Sneddon, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan, Conn., told The New York Times.

The New York Times recently called out five trends from the coronavirus pandemic that are changing suburban real estate, and spotlighting the trend that some buyers may be getting less picky under such limited housing choices.

Move-in ready homes are still high in demand, but buyers may not be so quick to dismiss those that need a little more TLC as they may have done so in the past.

“Younger buyers have really not wanted to take on renovation projects, so if a house wasn’t move-in ready, it would take longer to sell and would sell at a discount,” Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Group, told The New York Times. “It sill has an effect on the selling price of a home, but the need for work is no longer an impediment to sale.”

There may be a tradeoff that more buyers may be willing to make, such as accepting a dated kitchen or bath in order to get something else on their wish list like a swimming pool, Cyd Hamer, a real estate professional in William Pitt Sotheby’s Westport office, told The New York Times.

Ann Hance, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhasset, N.Y., says she listed on June 12 a a dated three-bedroom colonial for $1.599 million. “It’s a house that needs work,” she acknowledges. “It’s got a great backyard and nicely scaled rooms, but it needs updating.” She says she received seven offers that weekend and the home is set to close for “substantially more than the list price and it’s all cash.” “This wasn’t the case in 2019,” she adds.

Smart BBQ Maintenance

BBQ Maintenance that Can Save Your Life
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering the number of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don’t want to be one of those who get injured!
The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. It is.Every summer, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built-up dirt and debris. Don’t be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you’re getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.

HomeSmart Real Estate made Easy! I’m here to help!