Real Estate News from Ben & Kate September 2018   

 
Inspecting your home each season decreases the need for expensive repairs. This month's article includes a fall maintenance checklist that will help keep your home in tip-top shape.

There are also some little-known uses for Epsom salt around the home as well as a few of the latest apps for all those proud pet parents out there!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Ben & Kate

In this issue...
National Pending Home Sales Update 
National pending home sales trail off slightly in July.


Pending home sales stepped back in July and have now fallen on an annual basis for seven straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 0.7 percent to 106.2 in July from 107.0 in June. With last month’s decline, contract signings are now down 2.3 percent year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market’s summer slowdown continued in July. “Contract signings inched backward once again last month, as declines in the South and West weighed down on overall activity,” he said. “It’s evident in recent months that many of the most overheated real estate markets – especially those out West – are starting to see a slight decline in home sales and slower price growth.”

Added Yun, “The reason sales are falling off last year’s pace is that multiple years of inadequate supply in markets with strong job growth have finally driven up home prices to a point where an increasing number of prospective buyers are unable to afford it.”

Pointing to annual changes in active listings data at realtor.com®, Yun said increasing inventory in several large metro areas, and especially many out West, will likely help cool price growth to more affordable levels going forward. Even as days on market remains swift in many of these areas, Denver, Santa Rosa, California, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, Seattle, Nashville, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon were among the large markets seeing a rise in active listings in July compared to a year ago.

Earlier this week, NAR released commentary reflecting on the past decade since the beginning of the Great Recession. Although supply and affordability headwinds are the biggest issue right now, Yun said it is important to note just how much the housing market has recovered since the depths of the financial crisis. Today, thanks to several years of solid job growth, as well as safe lending and regulatory policy reforms, foreclosures sit near historic lows and record high home values have helped millions of households build substantial wealth.

“Rising inventory levels – especially if new home construction finally starts picking up – should help slow price appreciation to around two-and-four percent, which will help aspiring first-time buyers, and be good for the long-term health of the nation’s housing market,” said Yun.

Yun expects existing-home sales this year to decrease 1.0 percent to 5.46 million, and the national median existing-home price to increase around 5.0 percent. Looking ahead to next year, existing sales are forecast to increase 2 percent and home prices around 3.5 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast climbed 1.0 percent to 94.6 in July, but is still 2.3 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index inched up 0.3 percent to 102.2 in July, but is still 1.5 percent lower than July 2017.

Pending home sales in the South declined 1.7 percent to an index of 122.1 in July, and are 0.9 percent below a year ago. The index in the West decreased 0.9 percent in July to 94.7, and is 5.8 percent below a year ago.

Fall Fix-Ups: Donít Let Your Home Fall Apart 
Stave off winter breakdowns by tackling tasks ahead of time!

Taking the time to regularly maintain your property is critical as it helps protect your most valuable investment.

It’s also much more cost effective to proactively fix small problems as opposed to fixing them once they're past the point of no return.

Regular maintenance should be part of your routine so here’s a fall home maintenance checklist to help keep you organized:

  1. Lawn Love - Rake up leaves and aerate/fertilize your lawn.

  2. Get Cracking - Fix any cracks or gaps you see in the driveway.

  3. Safety First - Test and clean your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

  4. Furnace Fix - Inspect your furnace filter and schedule a furnace tune-up.

  5. Roofing Repair - Check your roof for leaks and damaged shingles.

  6. Clearing a Clog - Clean leaves from gutters and test downspouts with a hose.


  7. Chimney Sweep - Inspect your chimney for obstructions such as bird's nests.

  8. Cool Weather Ahead - Check the weatherstripping on your windows and doors.

  9. Pest Proofing - Check your home's exterior for any holes that rodents could use to gain entry.

  10. Foundation Fix - Ensure water doesn't pool around your home as it can cause flooding and damage your foundation.

Preventative maintenance will help ensure small problems don't turn into big headaches that need professional attention on short notice. Just a little time and planning will help you maintain your home's value and you'll also save money each month as your home will be much more efficient.

Extraordinary Uses for Epsom Salt 
This versatile household staple has an array of surprising uses!

Most of us know that adding Epsom salts to your bath helps relax muscles and relieve stress but here are a few lesser-known reasons why you should always keep Epsom salt in your home:

  1. House Cleaner - Mix Epsom salt with dish soap to scrub off stains on tile and countertops.

  2. Splinter Hint - Dissolve a cup of Epsom salt in a tub of hot water and soak the affected area for a few minutes.


  3. Deter Critters - Spread a light dusting around garbage cans to deter pesky critters like raccoons as they hate the taste.


  4. Help Your Garden Grow - Sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom salt before you plant your veggies and flowers as it acts as a magnesium fertilizer.

These are just a few of the many ways you can use this inexpensive, natural product that can be found at any drugstore. This mineral mixture has many more uses so make sure you stock up because once you’ve completed all that cleaning and gardening, you’ll want a long soak in the bath!

Pet Parenting? Yes, thereís an app for that! 
Pet Parenting? Yes, there’s an app for that too!

As proud pet parents, we’re always looking for ways to make our furry friends’ lives better.

There have been huge advances in smart home technology for pets but with these apps, all you need is your smartphone!

  1. PetCoach - This is perfect for new and seasoned pet owners. Whether you need a second opinion or it’s after hours for your vet, this app has all the answers!

  2. BringFido - This handy app lets you know which hotels, attractions and restaurants welcome pets so you won’t have to leave your hound at home.


  3. Dogo - This dog training app is based on positive clicker training. It’s fun, comes with a built-in clicker and monitors your progress. It will then personalize future training sessions according to your feedback.

Be a plugged in pet owner and let these handy tools help keep your pet healthy and happy. All apps are available for both Android and iOS and none of them cost a cent!



PS Are you sick of scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes? Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold? Sit back, relax and let me do the work for you! Just visit my website and check off the features you're looking for. Whenever a home matching your criteria hits the market, it'll be automatically flagged and emailed to you so you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home. This service is free and there's no obligation! Click here to get started.


Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.