Real Estate News from Angie Baltic and Teri Mitchell November 2017   

 
Having your home broken into is a traumatic experience that you definitely want to avoid so this month's article shares some tips on how to increase your home's security.

There are also some great feng shui ideas to help you create a harmonious home environment as well as a few tips on how to build a more close-knit community.

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!

Blessings,
Angie & Teri

In this issue...
National Pending Home Sales Update 
National pending home sales flatten out in September.

Pending home sales were unchanged in September, but activity declined on an annual basis both nationally and in all major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, was at 106.0 in September (unchanged from a downwardly revised August figure).

The index is now at its lowest reading since January 2015 (104.7), is 3.5 percent below a year ago, and has fallen on an annual basis in five of the past six months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the quest to buy a home this fall continues to be a challenging endeavor for many home shoppers.  “Demand exceeds supply in most markets, which is keeping price growth high and essentially eliminating any savings buyers would realize from the decline in mortgage rates from earlier this year,” he said.

“While most of the country, except for the South, did see minor gains in contract signings last month, activity is falling further behind last year's pace because new listings aren't keeping up with what's being sold.”

Added Yun, “Hurricane Irma's direct hit on Florida weighed on activity in the South, but similar to how Houston has rebounded after Hurricane Harvey, Florida's strong job and population growth should guide sales back to their pre-storm pace fairly quickly.”

As has been the case most of the year, Yun says the ongoing supply constraints continue to squeeze prospective buyers the most at the lower end of the market.  Last month, first-time buyers were 29 percent of all transactions, which matched the lowest share in exactly two years.  Furthermore, existing sales were down notably on an annual basis in the price range below $250,000, but up solidly the higher up the price bracket.

“Buyers looking for a little relief from the stiff competition from over the summer may unfortunately be out of luck in the coming months,” said Yun.  “Inventory starts to decline heading into the winter, and many would-be buyers from earlier in the year are still on the hunt to find a home.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 1.2 percent to 94.5 in September, but is still 2.4 percent below a year ago.  In the Midwest the index climbed 1.4 percent to 102.9 in September, but remains 2.5 percent lower than September 2016.

Pending home sales in the South decreased 2.3 percent to an index of 115.9 in September and are now 5.0 percent below last September.  The index in the West grew 1.9 percent in September to 102.7, but is 2.9 percent below a year ago.

Smart Home Security Made Simple 
A fully secure home will provide you with peace of mind.

Whether you’re at home sleeping or away on vacation, it’s important to know that your home is secure.  A secure home is also much more attractive to potential buyers when it comes time to sell.

Smart lighting, remote locks and wireless cameras can all make your home safer; however, the issue of cyber criminals hacking into smart home systems is a valid concern so homeowners shouldn’t forget about the basics.

Eliminate potential hiding spots by trimming down bushes that are around your windows and doors.  Most thieves are opportunists who see an open door or window and decide to take a chance and see what they can make off with.

Next, install strike plates on your doors to help protect the deadbolt from crowbars or kick attacks.  Thieves want to get into your home as quickly as possible so if one forceful kick doesn't work, they’ll likely turn and run.

Windows are also popular break in points so install heavy sash or keyed locks.  Installing an eyebolt in window corners also prevents the window from being opened from the outside.  Glass block windows are an excellent choice as they look attractive, can't be opened and are extremely difficult to break.

Give the impression your home is lived in while you're away on vacation by installing a dusk-to-dawn porch light.  Although technology allows you to control blinds and lights right from your smartphone, you'll still need to find someone to rake your leaves as there isn’t an app for that yet!


When it comes to home security, paying attention to the little things can often make a huge difference so take time to "case the joint" and list all the security failures that burglars would appreciate.  Potential buyers will prefer a secure home as it's one less thing for them to worry about so you may as well do it sooner than later so that you can enjoy the benefits as well.

The Feng Shui Way 
Creating good feng shui around your home is easier than you think!

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that helps achieve a harmonious living environment in order to promote happiness and prosperity.  Here are a few ideas to enhance the energy flow around your home:


  1. Think Outside the Nest - Birds bring great energy so add a few feeders and a bird bath in your backyard.

  2. The Right Path - Place a few plants and wind chimes on your porch and make sure the path to your front door is unobstructed.


  3. Fire & Ice - Essential oils, crystals, candles and water features such as fountains and fish bowls will bring calm and balance into your home.

  4. Mirror, Mirror - The strategic placement of mirrors helps improve feng shui by drawing more sunlight into otherwise murky rooms and by expanding narrow areas such as hallways.

  5. De-clutter - Clearing your home of clutter will introduce a smoother flow of energy.  Clutter is a sign of trapped energy so be ruthless and get rid of everything you don’t need.

Feng shui emphasizes that our physical surroundings have an impact on our emotional well-being so it’s important to be aware of how we arrange our space.  Buyers often feel certain vibes when they enter a home so a "harmonious feel" could be the difference between a quick sale and one that drags on.

Building a Better Community 
Getting to know the people living around you offers plenty of benefits!

Research shows that there are many physical and mental health benefits to enjoying a sense of belonging.  Here are a few ideas to help you build community spirit:

  1. Rags to Riches - Organize a garage sale or clothing swap in your ‘hood.  It’s also a great way to get rid of clutter!


  2. Clean Green - Coordinate a park clean-up and then enjoy drinks and snacks that will hopefully be donated by a local business.


  3. Book Smart - Build a “Little Library” at your local park or on your front lawn and enjoy watching people gather to exchange books.


Getting to know people who live close by will really improve your quality of life and foster a sense of belonging.  Social media can also help build a safe, connected, friendly place to live by providing a platform to share events and ideas.



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 out on your dream home.


Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.