Three BIG Issues Affecting Real Estate

Three BIG Issues Affecting Real Estate

Recently, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) held their 52nd Annual Journalism Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Among the many highly anticipated sessions was one called “Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate™,” given by Joseph Nahas, Jr.

Their annual “top 10” list spans any and all issues that could have an impact on the real estate market. This year, the list was broken up into “Current” and “Long-Term Issues.”

This week I am going to focus on three of the five “Current” issues with a brief explanation of their impacts on the housing market today!

E-Commerce & Logistics

With promises of 2-day shipping no matter where you live, we are benefiting more now than ever before from the speed and ease-of-use of online retailers like Amazon. These e-retailers haven’t changed whether or not we buy certain items, but rather HOW we buy them!

Many traditional malls or big-box stores are being repurposed as warehouses or distribution centers for online retailers so that they can get their products out faster.

A Look to the Future: “Developers who are including experiences into their locations are the ones who will succeed. It’s about the experience and gaining something over just going to buy a product.”

Generational Change & Demographics

By now we’ve all heard that the millennial generation is the largest yet, just by sheer volume. The largest group of millennials turns 30 years-old in 2020. The average first-time homebuying age is between 30 and 32, depending on marital status. Real estate professionals will be inundated with more and more buyers as the years roll on. Nahas commented on this in his presentation, saying that,

“Too many developers have become dependent on making decisions based on baby boomer’s preferences.

The 75 million millennials are coming, and they will influence real estate and commerce even faster than the baby boomers in the 50s and 60s.”

Interest Rates & the Economy

The interest rate that you secure for your mortgage is a big factor in your monthly housing cost and in how much you ultimately pay for your home. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates rose to 4.62% on a 30-year fixed rate loan last week.

The Federal Reserve also raised the federal funds rate for the second time this year. If unemployment continues to be at or near record lows, two more hikes are likely to come later this year.

Nahas added,

“Rising rates can be good and bad for the economy. Bad for borrowing money with additional costs, but good to control inflation and help grow the economy at a moderate pace.”

Bottom Line

If you are planning on buying and/or selling a home this year, consult The Norma Langston Team who can help you navigate the conditions in your market and set you up for success. Phone: 469-450-2559 or email: norma.langston@exprealty.com.

Maintaining Your Backyard Oasis and Preparing Your Pool For Summer Fun

Maintaining Your Backyard Oasis and Preparing Your Pool For Summer Fun

Your Backyard Oasis 

There’s nothing better than a quick swim in crystal clear water on blazing hot day. Taking care of your pool filter will make sure that your pool is always in top condition and ready for you to enjoy.

What Types of Pool Filters Need to be Cleaned?

Filter cleanings are necessary for nearly all residential swimming pools. The reason for this is approximately 98% of residential swimming pools in Texas are either DE (diatomaceous earth), cartridge, or some combination of the two types called a hybrid. The remaining 1-2% are sand filters which do not disassemble and clean up without a sand change. Commercial swimming pools in comparison are nearly all outfitted with sand filters for several reasons.

Depending on the type of filter you have, you should check in on it every 1 to 3 months during the peak season and perform a backwash. Backwash is the setting used for flushing out the filter when it becomes overloaded with dirt or sand. Water is drawn from the pool by the pump and enters the filter through the underdrain system in the bottom of the tank. Refer to your particular product’s user manual to get the exact directions on how to properly backwash your filter.

Did you know filter cleanings pay for themselves?

The electricity savings alone will often cover the cost. To verify this just put a voltmeter on the filter pump motor and measure the amount of amps it is drawing when running before and after your filter cleaning. NOTE: If you are not familiar with electricity or qualified to do this please hire a professional.

A dirty filter that has been cleaned will often drop the average pressure on the tank by 5-10psi. This increased flow through the filter means the filter pump will draw less amps or power. Since your filter pump motor is one of the biggest consumers of power in your home this savings in power will directly affect your electric bill. Why give this money to the electric company when you could have a healthier pool instead?

With a clean and maintained pool filter you will:

  • Lower your electrical bill – this alone could pay for a swimming pool filter cleaning.
  • Get healthier pool water – 10-20lbs of dirt and gunk will no longer be in your swimming pools circulatory system. Your pool water will not longer be pumped through this gunk. Also you will be at less risk of algae outbreaks.
  • Prolong your pool filter’s life – less stress on the internals means less repairs.
  • Prolong the life of your filter pump motor – less resistance from the filter means it can do its job of moving your pool water more easily.

 

Enjoy your pool this season! 

7 Tips for Saving More on Your Next Remodel

7 Tips for Saving More on Your Next Remodel

 

If there’s any hard and fast rule of remodeling, it’s that it’s always more expensive than you think it will be. Here are 7 tips for staying under budget.

In 1986, Tom Hanks starred in a movie called “The Money Pit.” It was all about a couple’s adventures in remodeling what has to be the worst house ever. Even though it was a comedy, if you’ve ever been part of a big remodel, some of the situations the co-stars find themselves in (re: the remodel, not the rest of the story, which is clearly irrelevant) are way too familiar. Too little money, problems becoming bigger than initially assumed and chaos, chaos, chaos.

But you aren’t going to jump into a money pit worthy remodeling project. Oh no. Not when there are so many awesome ways to avoid it.

Remodeling is Always More Expensive Than You Expect

If there’s any hard and fast rule of remodeling, it’s that it’s always more expensive than you think it’s going to be. Even professionals tend to build some padding in to accommodate the unknown. The older the house and wider the scope, the bigger the padding.

Although building regulations have been around since the early twentieth century, they were inconsistent across the country and poorly enforced. It wasn’t until 1997 that the International Building Code was first published, finally creating a building code that was uniform across participating countries.

That’s a little background about why so many older houses are full of surprises you get to uncover when you start to remodel them. It really helps to go into a remodel with a savings mindset if you’re going to stay under budget.

Get Ready to Save Some Money: Tips to Get You Started

Remodeling can be a huge process, but if you’ve got the intestinal fortitude for it, it can be an incredible experience to be involved with. No matter if you hire most of the work or just hire the work that requires a permit, you may be able to save more on your job by trying these tips!

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to Save More.Whoa, whoa, whoa. Take that trim out carefully, you can reuse that stuff! Although more narrow types of trim like quarter round can be pretty fragile, wider crown molding or tall base moldings are great candidates for recycling, for example. Cabinets, tiles, sinks, tubs, light fixtures and most materials, really, can be recycled in some way.
  2. Paint Can Give Materials a Face Lift.Hate that wooden trim? Is the wash on your kitchen cabinets unbearable? How about that wood paneling? You don’t have to rip them out, all you need to do is sand them lightly, apply an appropriate primer and carefully paint them. Suddenly you’ve got a whole new look!
  3. Replace, Don’t Relocate.When you’re remodeling rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, it’s tempting to move toilets, sinks and dishwashers — but don’t! Instead, work around their existing locations, since moving your plumbing (as well as electrical) can be very expensive and may require that you bring your house up to current code, adding even more cost to the remodel.
  4. Check Out Sales, Coupons and Scratch and Dent.When it comes to appliances, especially, scratch and dent sales are one of the best places to find deep discounts. Big home improvement stores tend to get a lot of returns and typically there’s nothing else really wrong with the appliance. There may be a small scratch on the side or top, but if it’s not too obvious or it’s the sort of injury you’re likely to inflict on your appliance moving it into your house, there’s no reason to spend an extra $500 on that fridge.

Sales and coupons come around on a regular basis. Wait for them. Be patient. Collect the stuff you need for your remodel ahead of time, that way you’ll be ready and have saved a bundle on all those big-ticket items!

  1. Discount Material Stores Can Yield Fruit.Discount material stores often get bulk shipments of odds and ends that larger retailers couldn’t move in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes this means that they’ve got big stacks of avocado green tile, sometimes it means they have just enough high-grade laminate flooring for your living room. Make sure you know how much material you need before you go into a discount material store, usually it’s a one shot situation. Once they’ve sold out of the material, it’s just gone.
  2. Look for Ads Selling Used Materials.Remodelers and homeowners often put bigger ticket items up for sale when they’re being replaced, especially if they seem to have a reasonable amount of life left in them. Windows, pavers and excess materials from projects are popular things you’ll see in online and offline ads. You’ll need to make sure the used materials you buy are right for your remodel, but otherwise, this is a great way to save.
  3. Use Your Material More Efficiently.It might seem sort of obvious, but the more efficiently you use your materials, the less you’ll need and the more you’ll save. This means planning all your cuts ahead of time, being mindful of each piece and where it goes (like some giant crazy jigsaw puzzle!) and aiming for zero waste. You can usually return excess building materials, especially when they come from a home improvement store.

Can I Save Money Without Doing it Myself?

If you’re a little less handy or just far too busy to contemplate doing your own home remodel, it’s smart to call in a home remodeler. These professionals can advise you in ways to save money with your remodel, based on your end goals and what you’re already working with. Just try to be as flexible as possible, that’s the easiest way to save money with a professional remodel, really.

There are plenty of well-qualified, recommended home pros to choose between. Contact your Norma for recommendations.