After the long days of summer have come and gone and fall is ending, it’s time to begin preparations for winterizing your home. When temperatures begin to dip, your lakeside cabin, seaside cottage or mountain lodge will need some extra TLC to make it through the colder months until spring comes around again. Whether your waterfront property is your vacation home or a primary residence, it’s important to properly winterize it in order to avoid potential damage and to save you time and money.
If your waterfront home is your summer getaway, then disconnect your hoses from outside pipes to prevent them from freezing and breaking. If you plan to turn the heat off for the winter, turn off your main water supply and open your faucets. Any water left in your hoses can cause damage, so be sure to drain the hoses connected to your dishwasher, washer, and any other appliances.
If you’ll be calling your waterfront property home for the winter, thoroughly inspect the insulation for both your interior and exterior pipes. Any areas where insulation is lacking could lead to a cracked pipe, which has the potential to cause serious damage and could end up costing a significant amount of money to repair.
Roof and Gutters
Properly winterizing your roof and gutters will help to avoid a buildup of rain, snow, or debris turning into a structural issue. For homeowners with a shingle roof, this is the time to check your roof for any signs of damage and make repairs accordingly. Cracked shingles can be carried off by high winds, torn off in a winter storm, or may fall to the ground after being struck by a fell branch, leaving your roof vulnerable to leaks.
This is especially important if you will be away from your waterfront property all winter. Since you won’t be around, you may not be aware that your roof has been damaged until it’s too late.
For metal roofs, check to make sure everything is screwed down tight. Clear your gutters of leaves and debris. The heavier your gutters become, the more prone they are to leaks, and could potentially rip away from your roof. Keep your gutters clear throughout the winter. Any blockages of leaves, twigs, or ice could lead to a leak, damaging your walls and insulation.
Once your plumbing, pipes, roof, and gutters are properly winterized, look to other areas of your property to prepare for the winter ahead. Check all windows and doors to identify any air leaks. If you identify a leak, be sure to patch it before you take off for the winter—or if you’re staying in the home for the season, before temperatures start to dip. Inspect your home’s insulation and weatherstripping and make replacements as needed.
Bring your patio furniture inside and store them in a safe space to keep them in good condition until spring. Inspect your boat lift and dock. Consider investing in a bubbler or agitator system to keep ice away from your dock if you’re expecting freezing temperatures throughout the winter. Follow proper winterizing guidelines for your boat and any other watercraft you have before covering them or placing them in winter storage.
For more tips on home maintenance throughout the seasons and much more, visit the Living section of our blog.
This video is the latest in our Monday with Matthew series with Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Each month, he analyzes the most up-to-date U.S. housing data to keep you well-informed about what’s going on in the real estate market.
Hello there! I’m Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, and welcome to the latest episode of Mondays with Matthew.
Today we are going to take a look at the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index survey that was just put out by Fannie Mae. And for those of you who may not be familiar with this survey, it’s actually pretty important and one that I track closely as it’s the only national, monthly, survey of consumers that’s focused primarily on housing.
The survey shows the responses of 1,000 consumers across the country to roughly 100 survey questions on a wide range of housing-related topics. Now, don’t worry, we aren’t going to look at all 100 questions – just the ones that solicit consumers’ evaluations of housing market conditions and that also address topics related to their home purchase decisions.
So, as you can see here, the overall index was trending higher pretty consistently until the pandemic happened which had massive, but temporary, impacts. And looking the last 3-years, you can get a better idea as to the speed of the pandemic induced drop – pretty remarkable.
Now, you will also see that the index recovered quite quickly; however, it fell again last fall as the pandemic was not going away at the speed many had hoped for – it rose again this spring but has been pulling back for the past few months but, that said, the August index level essentially matched the level seen in July.
Now let’s look at the questions that are used to create of the index number and how consumers responded.
When asked whether it was a good time to buy a home, the percentage who agreed with that statement rose from 28 to 32%, while the share who thought that it is a bad time to buy dropped from 66 to 63%. And, as a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to buy jumped 7 points month over month and its notable that this is the first time the net share number has improved in the past 4-months.
What I see here is that – although improving modestly, the general consensus is that it is not a good time to buy and that sentiment is being driven by two things: One – there are still not enough homes on the market, and two, rapidly rising prices are scaring some people.
And when asked if they thought it was a good time to sell their homes it was interesting to see that share drop from 75 to 73% while the percentage who said that it’s a bad time to sell dropped 1 point to 19% and as a result, the net share of those who said it was a good time to sell pulled back by 1% but it still indicates that more owners think that it is a good time to sell than don’t.
Looking now at the direction of home prices over the next 12-months, the percentage who think that home prices will rise fell from 46 to 40%, while the percentage who expected home prices to drop rose from 21 to 24%.
As a result, the net share of Americans who say home prices will go up dropped by 9 points – from 25%, down to 16%.
Although this may sound concerning, I should add that the share of respondents who thought that home prices will remain static over the next year rose from 27% to 31%.
On the financing side, the share who think mortgage rates will rise over the next 12 months dropped from 57 to 53%, while the percentage who believed rates would be lower rose from 5% to 6% and, as a result, the net share of Americans who believed that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months rose by 5%, and with 35% of respondents thinking that that rates will hold steady – it’s clear to me that a vast majority are not worried about mortgage rates rising.
The takeaways for me so far are that consumers tempered both their recent pessimism about homebuying conditions and their upward expectations of home price growth.
Most notably, a greater share of consumers believe that it’s a good time to buy a home – though that population remains firmly in the minority at only 32% – while the ongoing plurality of respondents who expect home prices to go up over the next 12 months dropped but was still well above the 24% of consumers who believe home prices will fall.
Now, there are two more questions that are worth looking at which aren’t directly related to home buyers and sellers but are still important as they look at employment and incomes.
The percentage of respondents who said that they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months remains very high at 82%, but it did drop by 2 points month-over-month, while the percentage who said that they are concerned ticked up to 15% from 13%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell by 4 percentage points month over month, but remains well above the level seen a year ago.
And finally, when households were asked about their own personal finances, the percentage of respondents who said that their household income is significantly higher now than it was 12 months ago pulled back one point to 26%, while the percentage who said that their household income is significantly lower dropped to 12%.
As a result, the net share of those who said that their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago rose by 1 percent month over month and came in 5 points higher than a year ago. It’s also worthwhile noting that most said that their household income is about the same as it was a year ago with that share rising from 56 all the way up to 59%.
Looking at all the numbers in aggregate, the index level was relatively flat in August with three of the index’s six components rising month over month, while the other three fell, and that tells me that the continued strength of demand for housing and definitely favorable conditions for home sellers may well be offsetting broader concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19 as well as rising inflation that have both negatively impacted other consumer confidence indices.
Most consumers continued to report that it’s a good time to sell a home – but a bad time to buy – and they most frequently cite high home prices and a lack of supply as their primary rationale.
However, the ‘good time to buy’ component, while still near a survey low, did tick up for the first time since March, perhaps owing in part to the very favorable mortgage rate environment as well as growing expectations that home price appreciation will begin to moderate over the next year. A sentiment that I personally agree with.
Well, I hope that you have found this month’s discussion to be interesting. As always if you have any questions or comments about this topic, please do reach out to me but, in the meantime, stay safe out there and I look forward the visiting with you all again, next month.
Each object in a home serves a purpose, but for those who experience dizziness and numbness, many of them can also be a potential hazard. Taking steps to reduce the risk of falling in your home is a worthy exercise for any homeowner, especially if you have elderly family members or young children living in your home or visiting often. Here are some ways you can fall proof the rooms in your home.
How to Fall Proof Your Home
The kitchen is synonymous with spills and messes. When these accidents happen, be sure to clean them up quickly and thoroughly to reduce the risk of a falling injury. Slippery floors have been the culprit of countless broken bones and bruises, so it’s best to wait until the cleaned spot is dry until you resume cooking.
Stay low to the ground as much as possible by keeping your most used items like spices, cooking utensils, and hand towels within reach to reduce the number of times you need to use a step stool.
In the bathroom surfaces are often slippery and slick, and the hard tile makes for an unforgiving landing spot. It’s common for homeowners to place a non-slip mat in the shower or tub to reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Grab bars are a more permanent option for making the bathroom safer. For those interested in installing a grab bar but have reservations about the aesthetics of installing a grab bar, look at pieces that align with your existing décor. Match the grab bar with your shower head, shower rod, and towel racks to make it fit with the space.
The key to preventing falls in the bedroom is visibility. Bedrooms are cozy, intimate spaces, which means that space can often be limited. Keep all pathways clear and make sure that your nightstands and bedside lamps are well within reach. Stow any cords next to your bed to avoid tripping over them in the night.
We’ve all taken a tumble on the stairs at some point or another. To mitigate the risk of falling, keep your stairs organized at all times. It’s easy for clutter to build up at the top or bottom of the stairs or on platforms between floors, but these objects are tripping hazards. Consider installing a handrail if you don’t have one or add a second one if you currently only have a handrail on one side.
For more information on home safety, cleaning tips, and more, visit the living section of our blog.
Much can be determined about the conditions of a local real estate market by its supply and demand. When the supply of available homes is greater than demand, it’s referred to as a buyer’s market. Reduced listing prices, longer days on market, and an increased number of re-listings are also signs of a buyer’s market. While the current market is far from favoring buyers, it’s still a good idea to understand how a shift in the conditions could impact your search for a new home when the time comes.
What is a Buyer’s Market?
A buyer’s market creates ideal conditions for those looking to purchase a home. With more homes on the market than buyers, sellers must compete to gain their attention. In a buyer’s market, inventory is high, which means buyers can take their time in finding the right home as there is simply more to choose from. It’s common for homes to be on the market for longer periods of time. Sellers will sometimes need to drop their price to gain a competitive advantage, a selling tactic that is not nearly as common in hotter markets. To get a gauge of your local market conditions, talk to your Windermere agent about the current home price, sales, and inventory figures in your area.
How to Approach a Buyer’s Market
It’s understood that a buyer’s market favors buyers, but how can they utilize this advantage as they explore available listings? For one, buyers can be picky about finding the right home. Unlike a seller’s market, buyers have the luxury of weighing comparative advantages between homes knowing that time is on their side.
The conditions of a buyer’s market favor the buyer when it comes to negotiations as well. With fewer people buying homes, sellers are willing to be more flexible during the negotiation process, which gives buyers leverage. This underlines the benefits of working with a buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents deliver significant value to the clients they represent in their ability to find the right home, streamline the buying process, and handle the negotiations and offer phases of a home purchase.
If you are selling a home while looking to purchase, you likely have the opportunity to make your offer contingent on the sale of your existing home, whereas in a seller’s market, there is a low chance of getting a contingent offer accepted. Contingent offers can be tricky, but when done correctly, it means that you don’t have to buy if you can’t sell.
When an agent sees that a home has been on the market for quite some time, that will fuel their ability to negotiate a lower price. In these market conditions, the chances are low that buyers will enter a bidding war or that a home will suddenly sell overnight to a competing offer. However, once buyers have identified their top candidate home, they should work with their agent to form a strategy for making a successful offer.
Sellers will be doing the most they can to make their homes stand out amongst the high number of available listings. It’s common for them to make repairs, upgrades, and other improvements to their homes before placing them on the market to entice buyers. Accordingly, a buyer’s leverage in negotiations carries through to contingencies, where they can work with their agent to negotiate repairs—a proposition that sellers will be more open to, given the limited number of buyers.
The conditions of a buyer’s market put the buyer in a favorable position as they go about finding the right home. For more information on how to increase your buying power, talk to your Windermere agent. If you are interested in understanding more about your local market conditions, or are looking to purchase a home, connect with a Windermere agent here:
All of us at Windermere Real Estate are proud to kick off another season as the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks.” Since 2016, we’ve partnered with the Seahawks to #TackleHomelessness by donating $100 for every Seahawks defensive tackle made in a home game. And for the third season in a row, the money raised will go to Mary’s Place, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting homeless families in the greater Seattle area. Mary’s Place works to provide safe and inclusive shelter and services that support women, children, and families through their journey out of homelessness.
Mary’s Place’s mission and the work of the Windermere Foundation go hand-in hand. Last year, we were able to donate $32,100 which brought our #TackleHomelessness total to $160,300 donated over the past five seasons. We look forward to raising even more this year!
There are a variety of reasons that a homeowner may decide to remodel their bathroom; they could be looking to increase the value of their home for a future sale, they may have discovered repairs that need to be made, or perhaps they’re simply looking to maximize their enjoyment of the space. Whatever your motivation may be, consider the following information before the hammer hits the tile to make sure your bathroom remodel turns out as successful as you’d hoped.
A Guide to Remodeling Your Bathroom
Which bathroom remodel projects have the highest ROI?
Before you decide which projects to tackle, it’s worth your while to identify which bathroom remodeling projects have the highest ROI. This can be especially helpful if you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future. According to recent nationwide data released by Remodeling Magazine, bathroom remodels can have as high as a sixty percent return on cost, while larger projects like bathroom additions return roughly fifty percent of their costs. The point is you likely won’t recoup every dollar you spend on your bathroom remodel, so choose your projects wisely. If you’re preparing to sell your home, talk to your agent about which bathroom projects are seeing the highest return in your local area.
How can I save on my bathroom remodel?
There are various ways to keep your costs down when remodeling your bathroom, but it depends on the scope of your project. If, while preparing to sell your home, you identify a handful of outstanding repairs that need to be fixed before you list, it may be difficult to pull off a low-budget bathroom remodel while still fetching a competitive sales price. Neglecting these issues can be a costly mistake, and in some cases can even jeopardize a sale.
One way to save money on your bathroom remodel is to do it yourself. Identify the pros and cons of either doing a project DIY or hiring a professional. Though you may save money on labor, if you get in over your head on a project the costs can add up quickly, and you may end up having to hire a contractor to remedy the situation. If you decide to hire a contractor, thoroughly research multiple companies, ask for referrals from family and friends, and get multiple quotes before deciding which is best for the job.
Simple Bathroom Upgrades
As the scope of a bathroom remodel changes, so do its costs. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange bathroom remodel cost an average of roughly $24,000 nationwide, while an upscale bathroom remodel was just over $75,000. But fear not, there are ways to give your bathroom a makeover without having to break the bank. Here are a few ideas for budget-friendly bathroom upgrades.
Refinish Your Tub: Remove all hardware from your tub and sand the entire surface smooth, evening out any chips or cracks and filling them with epoxy. Once the epoxy has dried, sand those areas one more time. Apply multiple layers of primer and topcoat as advised and buff the surface to finish off the job.
Add Décor: A well-decorated bathroom can revitalize the space. Add a fresh coat of paint to the walls, install a new faucet and shower head, and match your towel rods and shower curtains for a quick bathroom refresh.
Finishing Touches: The right bathroom lighting can make all the difference. Experiment with softer light bulbs or dimmers to create a sense of calm and relaxation. Add candles, scented oils, and new towels to make your bathroom feel like your own personal spa.
For more ideas on remodels, décor, and all things home design, visit the design page on our blog.
Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has supported low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S. Earlier this year, the Foundation proudly crossed the $44 million mark in total donations.
2021 has been an active year for giving back at Windermere. Our offices have continued to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, donating time and money to local organizations. In June, Windermere celebrated its 37th Annual Community Service Day, which saw agents and staff from across the Windermere footprint show up in force to partner with local organizations serving a variety of needs. When all was said and done, this year’s Community Service Day resulted in hundreds of hours of volunteer time and over $269,000 in donations.
A swimming pool can turn a backyard into a grotto, an oasis, an at-home vacation spot. But to let the poolside good times roll, they require maintenance. Your local climate can often dictate how much you use your pool. For some homeowners, you may be swimming in your pool year-round. For others, the pool may be a summer ritual, only to close it up once fall temperatures start to plummet. No matter how often you use your pool, these tips will help you keep it in tip-top shape.
5 Tips for Swimming Pool Maintenance
1. Keep Your Pool Water Balanced
A well-balanced pool maintains the correct levels of chemicals and, through filtration and disinfection, avoids having to change the pool water year after year. The main levels of concern are pH, total alkalinity, chlorine levels and calcium hardness. Aim to keep these levels within the following parameters:
pH: 7.2 – 7.8
Total alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
Chlorine levels: 1 – 3 ppm
Calcium hardness: 180 – 200 ppm
2. Routine Cleaning
Regardless of the season, keeping your pool water crystal clear requires routine cleaning. Weekly tasks include vacuuming, backwashing the pool filter, applying algaecide and chlorine, and cleaning the skimmer baskets. Running the circulation system is a daily task, which keeps the pool water fresh. Pool walls are a commonly missed cleaning spot. Brush them routinely to prevent algae growth and to eliminate chemical buildup.
3. Closing Your Pool
If you don’t use your pool year-round, you’ll have to go through the steps of proper decommission to avoid any hang-ups when it’s time to open it back up. Stow all equipment including ladders, lights, and thermometers before cleaning and vacuuming the pool. After you’ve balanced the pool water, let the system run for up to twenty-four hours before adding winterizing chemicals. Once the chemicals have run through for a few hours, remove the pool equipment, and drain. Finally, cover your pool to protect it from debris during the offseason.
4. Opening Your Pool
For those who user their pools seasonally, the day you reopen your pool is cause for celebration. But before you draft up any pool party invitations, you’ll need to give it some TLC. If you use a removable pool cover be sure to store it in a safe, protected place. Fill the pool back up to the maximum fill line and clear any debris from the water’s surface. Once you’ve tested the water and properly balanced the levels, remove any winterizing plugs to get water flowing into the plumbing system again. Once you’ve tested all systems to make sure the water is being properly heated and pumped, cleaned the walls, vacuumed the floor, there’s only one thing left to do—cannonball!
5. Pool Offseason
Even when your pool is not being used it requires a watchful eye. Besides keeping your pool ready for when you open it back up, offseason maintenance will help to avoid any major repairs due to neglect. Check your pool water occasionally. Even if your pool is covered, it’s possible for leaves, sticks, and needles to make their way inside. Continue to monitor the balance of your pool water by checking the levels weekly and adjusting as needed. Check the pump, heater, and plumbing for any signs of damage and clean the filter regularly.
For more information on keeping your home and the systems in it well-maintained, read more on our blog:
Successfully selling a home and buying a home are significant accomplishments on their own, but when their timelines cross it can be difficult to manage both. If you’re thinking about doing both simultaneously, it’s equally important to understand the steps you can take to make the process go smoothly as it is to have a backup plan in case it doesn’t. Above all, the balancing act required to pull off both deals highlights the importance of working closely with a trusted and experienced real estate agent.
Do I buy or sell first?
One can imagine a perfect world in which the two transactions go through one right after the other. However, this is not usually the case. So, should you list your current home first or start by putting in offers on a new one? There are pros and cons to both.
Selling your current home first allows you to make offers on a new home with cash in your pocket, increases your buying power, and avoids having to juggle two mortgages simultaneously. On the other hand, it creates a gap of residence, often leaving homeowners wondering where they’ll stay until they move into their new home or whether they may need to rent before they can buy again. Sellers may also negotiate a rent-back agreement with the buyers, allowing them to rent the house from the new owners before they move in.
Buying before selling solves the need for any temporary housing and makes the overall moving process much easier. Having a residence established ahead of time means you’ll only have to move once, which can save you some serious stress during this time of transition. Oppositely, buying a new home before you sell your current one will put an added strain on your finances. Having two concurrent mortgages equates to taking on more debt, which could result in less-than-favorable loan terms for purchasing your new home. Without the lump sum generated by a home sale in your pocket, coming up with enough money for a down payment may be a challenge and obtaining private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be in the cards. Finally, buying before selling comes with an obvious assumption—that your current house will sell.
Ultimately, the order of operations depends on your situation. Perhaps you’re moving due to a change of employment, and you need to direct all your energy toward buying a new home by a certain date before you can even think about selling your current one. No matter which route you take, it’s important to communicate your timeline to your listing agent or your buyer’s agent so they can strategize accordingly.
Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time
Local Market Conditions
Buying and selling at the same time will come with a certain duality: at each step in the process, you’ll have to balance your responsibilities as both a buyer and a seller. For example, when assessing your local market conditions, you’ll be looking at not one, but two housing markets.
Seller’s Market: Selling in a seller’s market means that that you’ll need to be prepared to move once you list, since you could be looking at a short selling timeline. However, relying too heavily on the assumption that your house will sell quickly could make things dicey down the road. If you’re buying in a seller’s market, finding a new home may take longer than expected. You could potentially be waiting weeks or months for an offer to get accepted.
Buyer’s Market: Selling in a buyer’s market typically means that homes stay on the market longer. If you proceed with a new home purchase just after you’ve listed your current house, know that it may take a while to sell. If you’re buying in a buyer’s market you can afford to be picky, knowing that time is on your side. With fewer people buying homes, sellers will be more flexible, giving you leverage to negotiate your contingencies.
Having a Backup Plan
If only you could wave a magic wand and make both transactions go through as planned. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place to right the ship should things go sideways at any point in the buying or selling process. Talk to your agent about which options may be right for you. Here are a few:
Sales Contingency: Buying your new home with a sales contingency allows you to opt out of the purchase contract if your home doesn’t sell by a specified date. Purchasing contingent on the sale is rare in highly competitive markets.
Bridge Loan: If your current home hasn’t sold yet and you’re not able to afford the down payment on a new home, a bridge loan may be a fitting solution. Bridge loans can be used to cover the down payment on a new house and are repaid once your existing home has sold.
Rent-Back Agreement: A rent-back agreement is a clause in the sales contract that allows the seller to rent their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the buyer moves in. This can be especially helpful in situations when the seller is having trouble finding a new home.
For more information on buying and selling a home at the same time, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent today by clicking on the button below.