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What Young Homebuyers Are Looking For

 

These days, if you want to sell your home, you’re probably going to sell to a Millennial, or even scarier, a Generation Yer. It’s not all bad though. A lot of these younger people have solid financial backing, either from their parents or well-paying jobs, giving them the money to buy your home at a price you’ll like. But in order for them to spend their hard-earned money on your home, you’ve got to pique their interests. If only there were a way to figure out what young home buyers want. What if there was a content writer in that same age group with a lot of insight into what people his age are looking for in homes? Wouldn’t that be something? All right, fine, I’ll tell you. But we young people are pretty simple to figure out.

What young home buyers want is a home that requires little to no additional work. At this point in our lives, we’re young professionals who are more concerned with the financial benefits of homeownership and having space for our dogs to run around than fixing up a home and making it uniquely ours. Now, of course, every now and then you’ll run into that charming young couple that wants to invest their sweat equity and personal touch into a property. But the majority of us just want a nice house that we can move into without worrying about a leaky ceiling or doors that don’t shut all the way.

I don’t love pigeonholing young people like this, but it’s the truth. If I wanted to provide a nuanced account of what every type of Millennial/Gen Yer wants in a home, I’d write a book. But I’m a Millennial so this blog post will do just fine. Here’s what young home buyers want in their homes.

1. UPDATED KITCHEN AND BATHROOMS

If there’s one thing that young people don’t want, it’s a home that looks and feels old. We love a modern, upscale, and classy look, but we’re also more budget-conscious than previous generations. When you walk through a home, there are two places that are dead giveaways as to whether the house feels modern or outdated. The kitchen and the bathroom. Nothing turns off young people like old looking bathrooms and kitchens. Why? Well for one, they don’t look like how we envision our dream home looking. They aren’t sleek and modern—they remind you of your grandmother’s house. And who wants to live in their grandma’s house at age 26?

Secondly, when a bathroom or kitchen looks old and outdated, that just means we’re going to have to pay to get them renovated eventually, which is a big red flag for a group of people who want to do as little work and save as much money as possible while moving into a new home. The best way to make a home more appealing to young home buyers is to have bathrooms and kitchens that give off that modern, upscale vibe—and don’t scare them off with thoughts of pricey remodels.

2. SMART HOMES

This is an era of new and exciting technology, and what young home buyers want is a home that reflects that. We already talked about modern-style homes, but what’s more modern than a home with smart technology? Smart home features have impacted the real estate industry significantly over the past few years, and they’ve become a must-have when targeting young home buyers. Some of the more popular smart home features for young home buyers include automated or voice devices that control lighting, appliances, heating systems, garage doors, etc. For a generation that lives on their phones just as much as we do in our homes, it’s important to us to have the ability to retain control of what’s going on in our homes while we’re away.

3. ENERGY EFFICIENCY

You may not be able to tell from the first two points, but we young people aren’t shallow. We have principles. We care about things other than ourselves. One of the main things we look for when we’re buying a home is energy efficiency because we’re trying our hardest to save money— the environment! Seriously though, for whatever reason, energy-efficient windows and appliances can go a long way in making your home more attractive to young home buyers. Being conscious about saving money and the environment is part of the versatility and efficiency that makes our generation so special.

4. LAUNDRY ROOMS

This may come as a surprise, but one of the biggest features we Millennials can’t do without is a laundry room. It sounds silly, but we truly value having a space to wash, dry, and fold clothes without messing up our living spaces. Not to mention, nobody—and I mean nobody—likes the laundromat. If you don’t have a laundry room and would like to add one, a basement is usually the easiest and cheapest place to put it coming in at about $1,000. If you don’t have a basement, a laundry room or laundry closet (just fits a washer and dryer) can cost from $5,000 to $10,000 to install. Don’t have a basement or a laundry room? Don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other ways for you to tailor your home to what young home buyers want.

5. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

When a young person buys a home, they’re not just buying the house itself, they’re buying into the community around it as well. This is where we’re going to be doing our living, shopping, running, and potentially raising families. When you think about it like that, a good location goes a long way. That being said, there’s not much you can do if you’re selling your home and your community doesn’t have much going for it. That just means you may have to switch your target. If you’re out in a rural area, you may not want to target younger buyers because we like being closer to cities. If your home is in a good neighborhood with cool bars and nice restaurants within walking distance, be sure to include that in your home listing. Selling your home is about playing to your strengths! Do that and you’ll be golden no matter whom you’re targeting.

6. HARDWOOD FLOORS

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, hardwood floors are just really convenient when it comes to maintenance. Not only is hardwood flooring easy to clean and maintain, but it also lasts longer than carpeting. When you add in the fact that a lot of young homeowners have pets, hardwood floors are the perfect counter to the messes that our furry friends love to make. Installing hardwood floors isn’t the cheapest home improvement project but it may be worth the investment as it can bring in young home buyers in droves.

7. OUTDOOR SPACE

Speaking of pets, we’re dying to have outdoor space for our pets to stretch their legs and run around. After years of apartment living, those guys deserve the chance to have their own domain. Even if we don’t have pets, Millennials are social beings. We want space to barbecue with friends or simply kick back and relax by ourselves. If you’re looking to draw young home buyers to your home, creating an outdoor haven should be near the top of your list. The vast majority of Millennials will pay more for a home with a nice outdoor space than one without.

8. HOME OFFICE

One of the best inventions of my lifetime (up there with legendary technology like the iPhone, the internet, and sliced bread) is working from home. Did you know that more than 8 million Americans work from home? And all signs point to that trend continuing its upward trajectory. That means a home office is high on the list for a lot of young home buyers who have put their days of sitting in rush hour traffic behind them.

9. LOW MAINTENANCE

A majority of what young home buyers want really boils down to making things as simple as possible for them. Convenience is the name of the game for young home buyers. We want homes that look fancy and upscale, but without having to put too much effort into keeping it up. We’d rather spend our weekends relaxing than repairing a roof or replacing old windows. Call it lazy if you want, but I call it smart. We’re willing to pay more for a home that’s ready to move into without having to go through the stress and effort of repairs and replacements. So if you’re looking to sell your home to a young buyer, it’s important that you stress a low cost of maintenance.

10. OPEN FLOOR PLAN

Gone are the days of formal dining rooms and rooms with defined purposes. Open floor plans have been all the rage for a while now, and the Millennial generation has caught on. An open floor plan gives us the versatility to convert different spaces based on our needs. We’re looking for large open spaces in kitchens, living rooms, and family rooms that we can use for multiple purposes. We also love to entertain, so we want a home where guests can flow freely through the house during gatherings rather than being sectioned off in different rooms.

11. STORAGE SPACE

This just in: Millennials have a lot of stuff. Do we need all of it? No, but we’d like to keep all of it anyway. That’s why storage space is so high on so many of our lists. Be it walk-in closets, a spacious garage, or a pantry, we really just need a place to keep all our stuff nice and neat. We’re used to tiny apartments and the backs of chairs doubling as clothes hangers. Give us the space we need!

Original post written by Khari Pressley

 

Four Benefits of Owning a Home

 

It’s a major responsibility, but owning a home comes with some big-time benefits – one being peace of mind. Here are a few other benefits to owning versus renting:

You’re Building Up Equity Every Month

What is equity? It’s the amount you sell your home for, minus the money you still owe on it at the time of sale. The amount you owe reduces each time you make a mortgage payment. Your principal payment increases each month, too, meaning that as time goes on, you’re paying more toward the actual loan amount versus interest. Equity in your home is typically lowest at your first mortgage payment and highest at your last payment.

It’s Cheaper to Own a Home Than Rent – In the Long Run

Buying and owning a home may be a little overwhelming at the very beginning because of interest rates, mortgage payments and the paperwork that goes along with it. You may think it’s easier – and cheaper – to rent a house, but it’s really not. After a while, your interest rate will decrease. Plus, each month that you’re making a payment, you’re putting money toward your own home, not sending hard-earned cash into a landlord’s pocket.

As a Homeowner, You’ll Enjoy More Stability

Owning a home actually brings much freedom and a sense of independence. The house belongs to you and you can do whatever you want to it. You don’t have to worry about a landlord hiking up your rent at the beginning of a new year or risk being kicked out of the house. Any improvements that you wish to make benefit no one else but you! Plus, if you have kids, you’ll have to worry less about having to switch school districts on-the-fly because you won’t have to worry about being asked to vacate.

Improvements Are Made for Your Own Good

Let’s talk about this a bit more. Once you a buy a house, you’re no longer restricted by a landlord’s guidelines or requirements on paint, decor or design. You get to decide what type of construction, design or maintenance professionals you’ll hire to work on the home. Any improvements made to a rental are enjoyed by you for only as long as you’re living in the home. Once you leave, your updates will benefit the next renter.

Are you you in the process of looking for a new home? Give us a call today at 480-759-1500 to discuss your options!

Tips & Tricks For A More Organized Move

Moving into your new home is an exciting milestone. It’s the start of an all-new chapter in your life, but moving can also be highly stressful. With a little planning, you can take the frustration level down a notch (or five). Here are some clever and efficient ways to organize your move.

  • Make a list. Before starting the packing process, take a moment to imagine how you want your new home to look. Make a list of things you currently own that you don’t want or need, to move into the new place. Donate or sell what’s usable and get rid of the rest.
  • Pack smart. Use press and seal bags or containers. Buy a roll of stretch wrap to protect your valuables from getting scratched or battered during transport. Vacuum seal your out-of-season clothing for easy storage in the new house. Use wheeled suitcases to move heavy items like books.
  • Start with the easiest and most important stuff. Before things get busy, pack and set aside valuable documents, sensitive financial information, jewelry, electronics and computer-related items. All of these objects should be specially packed and cared for, and doing so at the very beginning will prevent any mishaps (and misplacements!) down the road.
  • Create a labeling system. This can sometimes be more helpful than a personal assistant! Employ a hybrid color-coded and numbered list system to keep track of what’s in your boxes. Keep written record of what’s in each colored and numbered label. This way, you won’t need to search forever for that one thing at the new house. Instead, you can dive right in.
  • Always pack a box of essentials. This box should get you through the first day and night in your new home. Use a clear, plastic bin to easily differentiate between the rest of your stuff. A few things that you may want to include in this “essentials” box are: A minimal set of dishes, towels, sheets, tea kettle or coffee maker, phone charger, hair dryer, toilet paper, light bulbs, one or two rolls of trash bags, paper towels and much-needed tools like box cutters.

I hope you guys found this article and some of these tips helpful. If you have any other tips for an organized move, I’d love to hear about them.  Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

Matt Askland

 

Why You Need An Appraisal

It’s finally happened — after months of searching, you’ve found your dream home. It’s the perfect size for your growing family, the kitchen was just remodeled and there’s a huge deck for entertaining. And best of all, the seller accepted your offer!

As we near your closing date, your lender will want to verify the home’s value with an appraisal. This might sound nerve-wracking, but don’t worry: Appraisals protect you from overpaying.

Let’s dive into appraisals to demystify the process:

When do you need an appraisal?
If you’re taking out a mortgage to buy a new home, the lender will require an appraisal. The appraiser gives an independent estimate of the property based on recent sales data of similar homes.

When your mortgage amount matches the appraised price of the home, you know that you have a good loan-to-value ratio — and aren’t paying more than you should be.

What does an appraiser look for?
An appraiser will physically measure the home’s square footage and visually inspect the entire property. They’ll note things like:

  • Floor plan functionality and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Age of the house and its overall appearance
  • Value of any recent updates or remodeling
  • Size of the lot
  • Desirability of the surrounding neighborhood

After comparing all of that against similar nearby homes sold within the last 90 days, the appraiser arrives at your home’s value.

What if it’s valued for less than you expected?
Let’s say you agreed to buy the property for $250,000 but the appraisal came in at $225,000. Your lender won’t approve a loan for more than the appraised price.

If you still want to buy the home, a lower price can be negotiated with the seller or you can challenge the appraisal and pay for a second opinion.

Another option is to walk away. This may not sound ideal, and it will probably be hard to do. But the goal is to get you the right home at the best price.

If an appraisal comes in low, we’ll discuss all the options available to make sure you don’t overpay.

Are you ready to find your dream home? Reach out today to get started.

 

 

Real Estate Direct Mail

Are you looking for a summer project? A direct mailer should be at the top of your list.

While direct mailing may not yield a vast number of sales in a short period of time, it can result in a steady flow of clients listing with you because they first saw your name in a postcard or brochure that had arrived in their mailboxes.

As a matter of fact, at least one realtor had executed an extensive postcard campaign and continued to get clients from it for five years after sending the last postcard.

But how do you do this? And does the benefit really outweigh the costs? Fair questions to be sure but rest easy, if you are willing to invest a little extra time and money into the process, you will likely be reaping the benefits of your labor for years to come.

Postcards – The typical realtor postcard will tend to feature a generic but nice looking house, the agency logo or mascot and a picture of the agent doing the mailing along with some contact information.  These are certainly well and good.

Such mailings get your name and number out there and a number of recipients may well put it in their junk drawer for later reference. But that generic approach does not really draw much attention to you or provide a compelling reason to act sooner rather than later.

Get creative with different designs and catch phrases to encourage those potential clients who may be riding the fence on whether or not to enter the housing market to get off the fence and jump in.

Here are a few examples to try:

Get the deal of your dreams in today’s buyer’s market! – Couple this with a picture of someone sleeping.  Include a thought bubble filled with a picturesque home with a big yard for better effect.

This can be directed at apartment complexes filled with first-time buyers or starter neighborhoods with young and growing families.

Tired of throwing money away? Stop renting and buy now! – Put this over a picture of a landfill, possibly with a bulldozer pushing piles of money around.

With a little help from Photoshop, this should be easy to accomplish. Clearly, this is directed at apartments and neighborhoods with a lot of rental properties.

Time to move up! – Include an image of a ladder.  A close up or a wide angle shot with a family climbing up it.

Maybe even with that picturesque house at the top. Again, this is marketed mostly to the starter neighborhood.

Sell high and have something left over. – The picture possibilities are endless here.

You can use a stack of bills changing hands, images of various kinds of vacations, from the beach to the mountains, a new car (parked in front of a home to minimize confusion) or even a new larger home.

These ideas can be marketed to many people from starter neighborhoods to retirees.

It’s a seller’s market.  Move now and pad that nest egg! – The image here could be a bird carefully arranging hundred dollar bills around its nest. Send this one to older couples likely looking to downsize now that the kids have moved on.

These are just a few ideas. You can mix up the designs, change the fonts (just don’t do anything too elaborate), alter color schemes and more to suit your taste and keep things fresh.

In fact, if you are planning on doing postcards over an extended period of time, make sure that you do change this up a bit just to avoid repetition.

The big thing to remember is to always have your name and essential contact information (website, email, phone number) on the card.

You can also include postcards that feature recent listings to encourage people to buy or even postcards with recently sold homes.  Target these to the neighborhoods the homes were sold in to show that you know the area and can succeed in it.

This should help people to get off the fence a little sooner.

Newsletters – One other option is to use a newsletter format.

These can include recent listings, reports on the local market, profiles of local business that specialize in home improvement or tips on home upkeep and what to do to sell a home.

Whichever option you choose, or if you use both, make sure that you are keeping the focus on the customer and include your contact information so that when your marketing material has inspired someone to sell or buy, you are easy to reach and ready and willing to help.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn brainstorm some more direct mail ideas, give us a call today at 480-759-1500.

Have a great summer!

Matt

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

(2 min read)

Tips For Choosing the Right Realtor

A record number of Americans are gearing up to buy their first homes.  This is a big decision that can bring a lot of questions including the big one. How do I choose the right realtor? We can help with that! Read below for simple tips that will help you find the best real estate agent.  Here’s a hint: the tools you need are actually right in front of you.

 

Ask Around

Just like recommending your favorite local coffee shop, word of mouth recommendations are still the best way to go to begin curating your list. Ask friends and family for realtor references especially if they are recent buyers. It’s important to note that just because a realtor might have been a good fit for someone you know, they still may not be the right one for you.

 

Find Your Neighborhood

Decide on the areas that you are interested in living in and narrow down your potential realtor list based on that.  You can research this online or drive those neighborhoods and take note of the realtors selling homes there. Working with an agent who has experience in successful sales in the area you want to live will put you several steps ahead.

 

Google!

It’s time to find out more about your potential prospects. Do a few Google searches to get to know their online persona.  As a first time home buyer, pick a realtor who is experienced and knowledgeable, but also current and fresh. Does it seem like they know the area you are interested in?  If they have a website, is it modern and up-to-date? Are they active on social media and post regularly? Do they offer relevant content that is helpful and coincides with your vision? A realtor who takes the time to continue learning about the growing market trends is someone you want on your side.

 

Be a Boss

Make a list of real estate questions that are important to you regarding your house hunt.  Ask them to explain the home buying process and add anything that you expect from your realtor (i.e. preferred method of communication, how often you would like updates).  Being honest about your expectations from the beginning will pave the way for a smooth buying experience. Meet your potential realtor for coffee or just give them a quick call. Do you feel that they are genuine in the advice and information they are offering you? Are they approachable and outgoing? Someone who is outgoing is most likely confident and confidence is definitely a characteristic you want when choosing a realtor. At the end of the day, go with your gut. And remember, they work for you.

Buying a first home is a significant milestone. Take your time when selecting who will help you make this major financial and emotional decision. Just don’t forget to have fun and enjoy this time, too! You’re only a first-time home buyer once!

If you need help finding the right realtor for you, call us.  Cardinal Financial AZ has worked closely with hundreds of realtors and will be able to recommend the right fit for you. Call 480-759-1500 or email matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com to talk about your options!

5 Things To Know About The Phoenix Real Estate Market

5 Things To Know About The Phoenix Real Estate Market - myarizonaloan.com

If you’re keeping even somewhat of an eye on Phoenix real estate, you may have noticed some pretty significant changes in recent months – including an increase in listings and sale prices. What else do you need to know about the current state of affairs? We’re breaking it all down for you right here.

#1: Prices Are More Than Rebounding

Home prices in the Greater Phoenix area are reaching 2006 levels and, in some cases, even exceeding them. Even still, the median price in many popular neighborhoods around the Valley comes in under $300,000 – with many of them doubling in value since the market hit rock-bottom at the height of the recession. (Source: AZCentral.com)

#2: First-Time Homebuyers Are Driving Up Demand

The past 5 years in Arizona have seen an increase in property value of 39 percent on average and homes under the $300,000 range are moving ultra fast. As millennials are just now beginning to purchase their first homes, demand is going up faster than supply. Nearly half of homes for sale stay on the market for less than 30 days, which means it’s a seller’s market. (Source: AZFamily.com)

#3: The Priciest Neighborhoods Are Exactly Where You’d Expect

Paradise Valley, Carefree, Scottsdale and North Scottsdale continue to have the most expensive real estate. In Paradise Valley’s 85253 zip code, the median price reached $1.4 million in 2017, up approximately 17 percent from the previous year. In Scottsdale, DC Ranch’s exclusive Silver Leaf neighborhood houses a mansion recently sold for a record $18.5 million. (Source: AZCentral.com)

#4: Flips Are Hot (Again)

Ten years since the United States’ housing market collapsed, real estate flips are again on the rise. In the Phoenix area, more than 8,500 homes sold last year were flips – that’s more than anywhere else in the country. Just how hot is the local flip market? Hot enough to attract Zillow’s “Instant Offer” pilot program, an initiative that allows investors the opportunity to skip the bidding process and purchase a home online, which Zillow will then “flip” with slight renovations and the investor can turn around and sell for profit. (Sources: NPR.org and DigitalTrends.com)

#5: People Are Migrating To Arizona

Phoenix is one of the top markets for homeowners who are being priced out of more expensive markets like California, New York and Chicago. Between 2016 and 2017, Arizona’s capital gained approximately 80,000 new residents looking for more affordable real estate. Other U.S. cities to make the list include Dallas, Houston and Charlotte. (Source: BizJournals.com)

What kind of questions do you have about buying a home? Ask them in the comments below and we may just turn your questions into a future blog post!