Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 17, 2020

Home Features That Spark Bickering Among Couples

Couples can bicker when trying to decide on a home to purchase. A certain level of compromise is usually required in finding the right one. As a real estate pro, you may find yourself a mediator to these disputes.

Nearly one in four homeowners say their current home does not have all the features their partner considered important, according to a survey of more than 980 homeowners conducted by Porch.com, a home remodeling website.

So what features inspire the most spats during a house hunt? Wood-burning fireplaces, in-ground pools, and hardwood flooring, according to the survey. For example, with a pool, couples may not see eye-to-eye whether the maintenance costs and upkeep is worth the hassle of having one, the study notes.

“Not all features are bound to cause a struggle though,” Porch.com’s study notes. “Couples were often quick to agree on energy-efficient appliances, newly renovated bedrooms, and freshly upgraded bathrooms.”

 

Porch.com features that couples disagree about. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

 

 

 

Source: 
Homeowners’ Most Wanted,” Porch.com (2020) 
Posted in For Home Buyers
Jan. 15, 2020

What’s Trending Next? A Dozen Home and Design Ideas for 2020

Almost everyone enjoys making predictions for a new year—and certainly for a new decade. How about cooking appliances that tell you how to roast and broil to perfection? Or, better yet, new homes that come with a personal chef?

REALTOR® Magazine asked our favorite real estate trend watchers and influencers what to expect in 2020 and beyond. For starters, most agree that gray is on its way out, while deep hues are becoming the stars in interior paint. And more homeowners are following the craze of decluttering and tidying up popularized by Marie Kondo so they can focus on experiencing joy in their home.

While some fads are natural evolutions and others are more far-fetched, we’ve whittled it down to a dozen that are sure to inspire your buyers and sellers alike. Plus, don’t miss five up-and-coming kitchen trends that are bound to spark interest and maybe a remodel.

 

modern dining room

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

1. Comfortable Dining Rooms

Homeowners have decided they don’t want to give up their dining rooms—that’s in the past. Now they want dining rooms to be less formal and more functional, says architect Elisa Morgante of Morgante-Wilson in Chicago. The best way to do this is by investing in a multipurpose table that can take wear and tear, comfy chairs with high backs and armrests, and washable fabrics. Fun light fixtures are replacing delicate ones, and some traditional dining room furnishings are disappearing—such as china cabinets used for fancy entertaining, says real estate broker Jennifer Ames, partner at Engel & Volkers in Chicago.

 

dramatic curved staircase in foyer

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

2. Fabulous Foyers

Homeowners know the importance of exterior curb appeal, but now they’re taking advantage of the foyer as another opportunity to impress, says Liz Brooks, vice president of sales and marketing for Belgravia Group, a development firm in Chicago. At Belgravia’s condo building Renelle on the River, foyers are “gracious” in size with walls to hang a mirror or art or offer views through to a living room and beyond. The architects at Morgante-Wilson like foyers in multilevel homes to incorporate a dramatic stairway with wider or more curved treads, risers, and railings fabricated from novel materials. Some include a clerestory or skylight at the top to flood the area with light, says Morgante.

 

Wood Clad Apartment Building

© Joaquin Corbalan - AdobeStock

 

3. Mass Timber

Mass timber is beginning to receive recognition as a smart building material because its production generates less carbon emission than steel or concrete, says sustainable architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The material is also fire-resistant and strong and performs well during seismic activity, according to the Mass Timber Code Coalition. Plus, it’s cost-efficient and can be constructed faster since it’s prefabricated, and it can be used on walls, floors, and roofs—even in innovative sculptural forms. “With mass timber, there’s no waste on a site that must go into a landfill,” says Sam Ebersol, general manager of Mid-Atlantic Timber Frames, a heavy timber construction company in Paradise, Penn.

 

home elevator

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

4. Home Elevators

As the baby boomer population ages, first-floor master bedroom suites are becoming more popular. But not every house or townhome provides space to include them. In cases where a home has multiple levels, an elevator provides help for those who have trouble climbing stairs, says Kipnis. He recommends building the feature in new homes, or at least leaving adequate space—3 1/2 feet by 4 1/2 feet on each level for future installation. The cost will vary depending on materials, finishes, and an electrician’s hourly labor charge, but the total expense might run about $15,000 per floor.

 

rooftop common area

© ARX Solutions, Dranoff Properties

 

5. Communal Oases

Developers of multifamily buildings now recognize that homeowners want a green space to garden, even after they’ve vacated suburban homes. And while rooftop gardens have become more prevalent, other green spaces are popping up, too, as more developers note their health benefits. Carl Dranoff, founder of Dranoff Properties based in Philadelphia, planted a two-level garden at his newest project, Arthaus Condominiums in downtown Philly, which will include a greenhouse to grow orchids, outdoor plots to raise vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and an extended lawn off a communal event space. A horticulturalist will offer residents professional expertise. The architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy in New York has focused on adding greenery in another way—through large terraces that bring more light and air and a sense of space into the interior of its ARO building in Manhattan, as well as its surrounding block. Such tactics are more important in denser urban environments, say the building’s principals, Nancy Ruddy and John Cetra.

 

geometric bathroom tile

© Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

 

6. Graphic Bathroom Floors

Boldly patterned floors are adding a spark of interest in bathrooms that were recently trending very monochromatic and spa-like. Staging and design expert Kristie Barnett, aka The Decorologist, in Nashville, took this approach in one client’s homes. She used an encaustic, graphic floor tile, similar to those that show up along kitchen backsplashes. But Barnett adds one caveat for bathrooms: “When choosing this kind of pattern, it should be the lead actor in the show while other elements play supporting roles. A bathroom should still be a personal sanctuary, and too much visual noise could weary the eye.”

 

updated bathroom

© Renovation Sells

 

7. Remodeling Before Listing

Many homeowners don’t want to take on the work and extra cost of fixing up their home before they list. Yet many buyers don’t want to invest in a home where they know there are walls to paint, countertops to replace, and floors to resand. Consider the latest trend that helps remove buyer objections: a contractor who tackles the work and fronts the cost or who partners with a firm that provides financing. Sellers then pay back the funds at closing. The big reward usually is a higher price and speedier sale, says Mike Valente, a licensed general contractor who works with many homeowners through his Renovation Sells firm in Chicago. Compass, a national real estate firm, has established its Compass Concierge service to deliver a similar revamp option. A calculator on the company’s website helps suggests how much sellers might spend.

 

living wall in outdoor courtyard

© ArchiVIZ - AdobeStock

 

8. Living Walls

For homeowners downsizing to a property with a smaller yard—or for those who have trouble bending down—living walls offer a way to connect to greenery by growing plants, vegetables, and herbs along the walls of a home, garage, or outbuilding. Landscape designer Michael Glassman of Michael Glassman & Associates in Sacramento, Calif., says, “Gardening is going up rather than out for aesthetics and consumption.” He recommends vines like star jasmine and creeping fig, edibles such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and herbs like rosemary and basil. “Plant walls” resembling art are also showing up inside, especially when homeowners don’t have an outdoor space, says David Dynega, CEO of Detail Renovations in Great Neck, N.Y. 

 

fabric swatches

© Sunbrella®

 

9. Better Looking Performance Fabrics

Instead of looking only at fabrics that appeal for color, pattern, or texture, homeowners want materials that will last and perform—hence, the name they’ve earned: performance fabrics. Originally, they were designed for outdoor spaces, where the sun, wind, water, or inclement weather took their toll. But as the fabrics have become more attractive, designers and homeowners have started using them indoors, where they can withstand the wear and tear of pets and people, says Chicago designer Rebecca Pogonitz of GOGO Design Group, who’s a big fan of the trend. Greg Voorhis, executive design director of Sunbrella, well-known for its performance fabric designs, says his firm is seeing the rise of more textured chenilles, boucles, and chunky wovens. “They bring new energy into familiar spaces without sacrificing comfort or durability,” he says.

 

floorplan

© Lendlease

 

10. Downsizing Homes, Rooms, and Ornate Features

The McMansion craze has been dead for years, resulting in more homeowners looking to downsize and millennials never planning to go big. “They favor experiences over owning large high-maintenance, high-cost homes filled with lots of stuff,” says Ames. “It’s the Marie Kondo version of shedding stuff.” Many home shoppers are also looking for simpler architectural detailing that pares maintenance and cost, as well as fewer rooms that will go unused, Ames says. Lendlease, a development company that created the new Cirrus building in downtown Chicago, heeded this mantra when it planned its range of scaled-down units and beefed up its many shared amenity spaces, says Ted Weldon, executive general manager. Sheri Koones’ new book, Downsize: Living Large in a Small House (The Taunton Press, 2019), offers an abundance of information for homeowners looking to pare down

 

Navy accent wall in dining room

© Sherwin-Williams

 

11. Deeper Hues

You can read into the emerging palette of deep hues a desire to counter global unrest, as some designers speculate, or you can take the colors as an antidote to years of pale grays. Either way, the darker hues are coming on strong. Pantone anointed “classic blue”—a very royal tone—as its color of the year. Could it be a nod to the Sussexes or appeal of The Crown? Sherwin-Williams’ Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, touts her company’s “naval” (SW 6244), “anchors aweigh” (SW 9179), “ripe olive” (SW 6209), and “dard hunter green” (SW 0041) as choices to visually mitigate stress. Another emerging trend: monochromatic rooms, donning a single paint color on the walls, trim, and ceiling.

 

billiard room

© Mary Cook Associates, Toll Brothers Apartment Living

 

12. Hipsturbia

Live/work/play has become a way of life for millennials who aren’t willing to compromise when they have children. As they move to the suburbs for more space, they choose communities with urban amenities—thriving walkable downtowns with dining, shopping, entertainment, public transportation, and jobs. “Success has a way of spreading,” the Urban Land Institute noted when it coined the term “hipsturbia” in its Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 report, says Mary Cook, founder of Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates. “Every development we work on today is located in areas that fit this formula and foster community interactions,” she says. One example is Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living Oleander building outside Atlanta, which offers residents flexible community spaces equipped with state-of-the-art technology to accommodate events, co-working spaces, and more. The building sits on Emory University’s expanding Executive Park campus near new medical complexes designed to attract health care professionals.


Top 5 Kitchen Trends

 

kitchen

© Dave Burk, de Giulio Kitchen Design

 

Instead of adding a 13th trend to the list, we decided to give kitchens their own section because they remain the number one focus in the home. The new fads being cooked up are giving this room an update in style, appliances, materials, and colors, as well as a way to enhance surrounding spaces since many are part of the open plan living-dining-kitchen area. While white may still dominate cabinets and countertops, other colors and materials are popping up—so are new technologies that help homeowners prepare food more effortlessly and healthily. Here are five kitchen trends to watch in 2020.

  1. Materials. GE appliances are showing an uptick in more white and black matte finishes as well as a new look of glass-covered stainless steel fronts that’s emerging. These new materials fit in better with other room furnishings, too, says Marc Hottenroth, executive director of GE’s industrial design division. Also showing up in kitchens is a greater mix of metals, such as brushed bronze and copper to help freshen appliances, which generally last about 10 years.
  2. Technology. Voice assistants now read recipes and cooking directions for homeowners so they don’t have to turn cookbook pages with flour-coated fingers. Appliances with gourmet guided cooking technology provide recipes and tutorials through an app that communicates with the appliance via Bluetooth. The chef no longer has to turn knobs to adjust temperatures. For instance, a rack of lamb might be roasted, then finished with a broil, which would all be adjusted automatically. And a new wall oven with hot air-fry capability is offering a healthier alternative to deep frying.
  3. Function. A new kitchen island is emerging, which combines an island with a dinette, according to Gena Kirk, vice president of design at KB Home, a national home builder based in Los Angeles. The island features a place to prepare meals at one height and an additional countertop that slides out at a lower level for people to eat around when desired. Scaled-down appliance sizes are becoming popular in smaller open-plan homes and condos. In its new Cirrus building, a 47-story tower going up on Lake Michigan, Lendlease camouflaged appliances behind millwork paneling, says Linda Kozloski, creative design director. The company also went with smaller, more European-size appliance choices because of the units’ smaller sizes, which helps counter rising construction costs. Example: a 24-inch-wide refrigerator was selected instead of a 48-inch model.
  4. Workspace. After so much buzz about whether to stay with granite or switch to quartz or quartzite, KB Home offers another idea: natural wood cutting boards for a portion of the countertop surface. The wood area provides a convenient workspace without having to pull out a cutting board or leave one out all the time.
  5. Details. Chicago kitchen designer Mick De Giulio, principal of de Giulio Kitchen Design, is introducing design character in novel ways to surprise and contradict. One example includes the hand-hammered finish on a stainless steel Bacifiore sink to add sophisticated sparkle instead of a plain-Jane stainless or ceramic white model. Another is the instillation of polished stainless steel toe kicks at the bottom of cabinets that hardly show the dirt, scuffs, or mess that painted wood ones do.

Trends are meant to inspire rather than make agents and their clients feel the need to rush into a renovation to make a house hip or more marketable than another. These points represent what’s new or coming through the pike. In the future, for example, there may be more technology that will warn homeowners about natural disasters before they occur. And before clients invests in any updates, make it clear that it’s best to do so for personal enjoyment rather than to boost salability.


Trend to Watch: Car Charging Stations

The jury may still be out when it comes to electric car charging stations at home. They’ve become a popular amenity at multifamily buildings, and now some single-family homeowners who have invested in electric cars to shrink their carbon footprint are seeing the wisdom of installing charging stations in their garages, says architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The cost is relatively modest, perhaps $500 for the charging box and an electrician’s hourly charge to bring a 220-volt line into the garage. The outlet is best installed on the side of the garage where a homeowner plans to park their vehicle to avoid stepping over a cord, he says. But not everyone is convinced that it’s a huge trend. According to a recent survey from Erie Insurance, only 6% of respondents said they would want one, 55% would not, and 39% took a noncommittal stand and said they might. Sounds like a trend definitely to watch.

Jan. 15, 2020

Consumers: Agents Are as Valuable as Therapists

Home sellers and buyers really like and trust their real estate agents. Seventy-three percent of home sellers agree that their agent was as valuable as a therapist. Sixty-four percent of home buyers agree their agent knows them better than their next-door neighbor, according to a new consumer survey conducted by Century 21 Real Estate.

But with all that weight placed on the agent’s value and importance, the survey also found that consumers tended to be in a rush to commit to an agent. They interviewed two agents, on average, before deciding on whom to hire.

“We’re seeing a real disconnect within the real estate industry today where home buyers and sellers are extremely invested in the outcome of their transaction, yet they seem to be shortchanging themselves on the front end by rushing the vetting process to find the right agent to help them navigate what for most is the biggest emotional and financial decision in their life,” says Mike Miedler, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “Defying the mediocrity that still exists in the real estate industry is a major part of our mission, and every potential home buyer or seller should be extremely selective in whom they entrust to shepherd them through this complicated process.”

Those who rush to commit to an agent may risk aligning themselves with a person who makes them less satisfied with the level of service. A survey of 500 home buyers and sellers conducted by Wakefield Research found that 34% of recent buyers were not very likely to rehire their real estate pro.

Some consumers also expressed feeling abandoned by their real estate pro. Since closing on a home, nearly a quarter—23%—of consumers said their real estate agent had not reached out to make contact with them, the Century 21 survey showed.

Additional findings from the survey:

  • Greatest life achievement: Nearly three-fourths of surveyed consumers—or 70%—ranked buying a home as one of their top three greatest life achievements. Buying a home was second only to getting married (76%).
  • How agents added value: Home buyers surveyed said the top ways their agent added value to the transaction was by providing information about the market (23%) and navigating the overall process (22%). Home sellers said their agent most added value with their knowledge of the market (73%), advice and counsel (72%), their assistance navigating the stress (53%).
  • Couples don’t see eye-to-eye: Only 17% of couples in a relationship said they were perfectly matched on which real estate agent to use. 
Source: 
Jan. 14, 2020

Islands Continue to Be Main Draw in Kitchen Design

Make sure that kitchen island shines because home buyers may increasingly be sizing it up. Large islands are a prominent feature in kitchen design today, and most remodeling homeowners are putting high importance on this central kitchen spot.

In a survey of nearly 2,600 homeowners conducted by Houzz, a home remodeling website, one third of homeowners said they added an island during renovations and nearly a quarter of owners said they upgraded their current one.

Islands are getting bigger. A third of remodelers had kitchen islands that measured seven feet long, while another 39% had one that was six to seven feet long.

For the finish of the island, two in five renovating homeowners added or upgraded their island cabinets for a contrasting shade to their main cabinets. Gray was the most popular choice for that at 26%, followed by blue (19%) and black (11%).

Contrasting the countertop colors of the island was also common among remodelers. The most popular choices for contrasting the island was white (23%) and medium wood (21%).

Remodelers also made sure their island had storage features too. Further, more than half—or 52%—featured built-in appliances, such as microwaves, dishwashers, garbage disposals, cook tops, and beverage refrigerators.

 

Kitchen island

© Jessica Cain / Houzz

 

The Houzz survey found that of major kitchen remodels completed in mid-2019, homeowners spent an average of $35,000—which is up 17% from a year ago. Houzz considered a “major kitchen remodel” as one that included at least all cabinets and appliances being replaced. While spending is up, fewer homeowners this year, however, opted to upgrade countertops or sinks as well as tackling structural changes, like opening the kitchen to other interior rooms.

“It is remarkable to see median spend on kitchen remodels grow by double digits for the third year in a row,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Combined with a two-year decline in the scope of kitchen remodels, spend increases confirm our findings of significant price inflation in the home remodeling industry due to changes in international trade policy. Homeowners are dealing with increasing product prices by substituting materials, as indicated by slower growth in the use of engineered quartz and a decline in the popularity of engineered flooring materials, highly impacted by tariffs on imported materials from China.”

Some additional kitchen trends that emerged from the Houzz survey:

  • Taller backsplashes: More backsplashes in the kitchen were installed that stretched all the way to the ceiling. Or, homeowners installed tile from their counter to their upper cabinets or range hood. The most popular colors for backsplashes: white (35%), multi-colored (20%), and gray (15%).
  • Vinyl flooring: Vinyl flooring is becoming a trendier choice for renovated kitchens. This hardwood alternative has climbed in popularity from 10% in 2018 to 14% in 2020 among remodelers.
  • White shaker cabinets: White continues to be the most popular cabinet color (45%), followed by medium wood (11%) and gray (10%). Shaker cabinet door styles are by far the most popular choice among remodelers.
  • Recessed lights: The most popular light fixture upgrade among remodelers is adding recessed lights, at 69%, followed by under-cabinet and pendants lights (65% and 56%, respectively). Ninety-two percent of homeowners upgrading their kitchen island also chose to install new lighting above the island.
Source: 
“2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends,” Houzz (Jan. 9, 2020)
Jan. 14, 2020

Some Buyers Purchase a Second Home First

Some first-time buyers are opting to buy the vacation home before their first home. They’re being priced out of their current area—such as in cities like New York and San Francisco—so they’re opting to buy a vacation home in more affordable towns.

“I’m seeing this more and more,” Svetlin Krastev, an investment advisor with Black Sea Gold Advisors in Kingston, N.Y., told CNN.com. “People want to have exposure to real estate, but it would take all of their assets to get a residence in the city.”

For example, Bart Higgins rents a four-bedroom converted warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife and twin five-year-old children. They pay $5,300 a month. The property would cost between $2 million to $3 million to buy. So the couple purchased a vacation home near Kingston, N.Y., a unit with three buildings on 33 acres with a lake. They bought it for $300,000.

“We bought our first home as a second home as a way to relieve the pressure and buy us some time,” Higgins told CNN. They use Airbnb to offer short-term rentals of the property to help supplement expenses when they’re not there.

Financial planners, however, warn that buying a second home first could take up all of a person’s assets and delay them from being able to purchase a “first” home or a main residence. “Having a loan commitment on a second home will make it that much more difficult to buy what will be used as a first home,” JP Geisbauer, a certified financial planner at Centerpoint Financial Management, told CNN.

Others disagree and say that for urban professionals, it can pay off buying the second home first. A smaller mortgage on a vacation home may be more manageable than a larger mortgage in the city. Also, “the ability to rent out the property easily on home sharing sites makes it a more affordable way to grow equity,” Malissa Marshall, a certified financial planner with Soaring Wealth, told CNN.

Source: 

 

Posted in For Home Buyers
Jan. 14, 2020

How to Keep a Stainless Steel Sink Shining

Stainless steel can be tough to keep sparkling, particularly the kitchen sink. Stainless steel can be prone to scratching, and hard water can leave behind marks. Further, very hot items that come into contact with a stainless steel sink can cause it to become discolored, known as “blueing.”

So, how do you keep your stainless steel sink shining during showings? Houzz, a home remodeling website, interviewed designers to find out, and the best approach may be simply using soap and water. Here are a few of its tips:

  • Wash the sink regularly with mild dish soap and a soft rag or sponge.
  • Avoid using steel wool, wire brushes, or abrasive sponge pads. You could scratch the material.
  • Avoid using cleaners that contain bleach. They can corrode the sink.
  • To remove hard water marks, use a mixture of vinegar and water. Also, wipe the sink dry after use to avoid further water stains.
  • To prevent “blueing,” add water to the sink before placing in a hot pan. The hotness of the pan can cause the sink to discolor.

Stainless steel sinks that do get scratched up can often be buffed out using steel wool. That will smooth the sink’s surface. But the scratch will still be evident, albeit blended in more if done on a satin or brushed finish. Houzz notes that a buffed area will be more prominent on higher-end stainless sinks that have a shiny finish.

 

Source: 
How to Keep Your Kitchen Sink Looking Great,” Houzz (Jan. 11, 2020)
Jan. 7, 2020

Why You Shouldn't "For Sale By Owner"

Rising home prices coupled with the current inventory in today’s market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their homes on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might be hard to execute well for the vast majority of sellers.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons not to FSBO:

 

1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers

 

Studies have shown that 93% of buyers search online for a home. That’s a pretty staggering number! Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

 

2. Results Come from the Internet

 

According to NAR, here’s where buyers found the homes they actually purchased:

 

  • 55% on the Internet
  • 28% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 10% Other
  • 6% from a Yard Sign
  • 1% from Newspapers

 

The days of selling your house by putting up a sign in your yard or placing an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

 

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

 

Here’s a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:

 

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

 

4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult

 

The paperwork involved in buying or selling a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

 

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

 

Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, but the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

 

A report by Zillow revealed that FSBOs are inclined to do so because they believe it will save money (46 percent cite this among their top three reasons), but they don’t actually save anything, and eventually end up listing with an agent.

 

The same report revealed that,

 

“While 36% of sellers that (at first) attempted to sell their homes on their own, only 11 percent of sellers—in other words, less than a third…actually sold without an agent.”

 

It appears working with a real estate professional is the best answer.

 

Bottom Line

 

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your needs.

 

Posted in For Sellers
Jan. 7, 2020

Expert insights on the 2020 housing market

When closing out another year, it’s normal to wonder what’s ahead for the housing market. Though there will be future inventory issues, we expect interest rates to stay low and appreciation to continue.

 

Here’s what three experts are saying we’ll likely see in 2020:

 

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com

 

“I think the biggest surprise from the forecast is how long the market is staying in this low inventory environment, especially as Millennials are in a major home-buying phase…sellers will contend with flattening price growth and slowing activity with existing home sales down 1.8%. Nationwide you can look to flat home prices with an increase of less than 1%.”

 

Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at Mortgage Banker Association (MBA)

 

“Interest rates will, on average, remain lower…These lower rates will in turn support both purchase and refinance origination volume in 2020.”

 

Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research at Zillow

 

“If current trends hold, then slower means healthier and smaller means more affordable. Yes, we expect a slower market than we’ve become accustomed to the last few years…consumers will continue to absorb available inventory and the market will remain competitive in much of the country.”

 

As we can see, we’re still going to have a healthy market. It is forecasted to be a more moderate (or normal) market than the last few years, but strong enough for Americans to continue to believe in homeownership and to capitalize on the opportunities that come with low interest rates.

 

Bottom Line

 

If you’re wondering what’s happening in your market, contact us today.

 

Jan. 6, 2020

What’s Trending Next? A Dozen Home and Design Ideas for 2020

Almost everyone enjoys making predictions for a new year—and certainly for a new decade. How about cooking appliances that tell you how to roast and broil to perfection? Or, better yet, new homes that come with a personal chef?

 

REALTOR® Magazine asked our favorite real estate trend watchers and influencers what to expect in 2020 and beyond. For starters, most agree that gray is on its way out, while deep hues are becoming the stars in interior paint. And more homeowners are following the craze of decluttering and tidying up popularized by Marie Kondo so they can focus on experiencing joy in their home.

 

While some fads are natural evolutions and others are more far-fetched, we’ve whittled it down to a dozen that are sure to inspire your buyers and sellers alike. Plus, don’t miss five up-and-coming kitchen trends that are bound to spark interest and maybe a remodel.

 

 

modern dining room

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

 

1. Comfortable Dining Rooms

 

Homeowners have decided they don’t want to give up their dining rooms—that’s in the past. Now they want dining rooms to be less formal and more functional, says architect Elisa Morgante of Morgante-Wilson in Chicago. The best way to do this is by investing in a multipurpose table that can take wear and tear, comfy chairs with high backs and armrests, and washable fabrics. Fun light fixtures are replacing delicate ones, and some traditional dining room furnishings are disappearing—such as china cabinets used for fancy entertaining, says real estate broker Jennifer Ames, partner at Engel & Volkers in Chicago.

 

 

dramatic curved staircase in foyer

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

 

2. Fabulous Foyers

 

Homeowners know the importance of exterior curb appeal, but now they’re taking advantage of the foyer as another opportunity to impress, says Liz Brooks, vice president of sales and marketing for Belgravia Group, a development firm in Chicago. At Belgravia’s condo building Renelle on the River, foyers are “gracious” in size with walls to hang a mirror or art or offer views through to a living room and beyond. The architects at Morgante-Wilson like foyers in multilevel homes to incorporate a dramatic stairway with wider or more curved treads, risers, and railings fabricated from novel materials. Some include a clerestory or skylight at the top to flood the area with light, says Morgante.

 

 

Wood Clad Apartment Building

© Joaquin Corbalan - AdobeStock

 

 

3. Mass Timber

 

Mass timber is beginning to receive recognition as a smart building material because its production generates less carbon emission than steel or concrete, says sustainable architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The material is also fire-resistant and strong and performs well during seismic activity, according to the Mass Timber Code Coalition. Plus, it’s cost-efficient and can be constructed faster since it’s prefabricated, and it can be used on walls, floors, and roofs—even in innovative sculptural forms. “With mass timber, there’s no waste on a site that must go into a landfill,” says Sam Ebersol, general manager of Mid-Atlantic Timber Frames, a heavy timber construction company in Paradise, Penn.

 

 

home elevator

© Morgante-Wilson, Werner Straube Photography

 

 

4. Home Elevators

 

As the baby boomer population ages, first-floor master bedroom suites are becoming more popular. But not every house or townhome provides space to include them. In cases where a home has multiple levels, an elevator provides help for those who have trouble climbing stairs, says Kipnis. He recommends building the feature in new homes, or at least leaving adequate space—3 1/2 feet by 4 1/2 feet on each level for future installation. The cost will vary depending on materials, finishes, and an electrician’s hourly labor charge, but the total expense might run about $15,000 per floor.

 

 

rooftop common area

© ARX Solutions, Dranoff Properties

 

 

5. Communal Oases

 

Developers of multifamily buildings now recognize that homeowners want a green space to garden, even after they’ve vacated suburban homes. And while rooftop gardens have become more prevalent, other green spaces are popping up, too, as more developers note their health benefits. Carl Dranoff, founder of Dranoff Properties based in Philadelphia, planted a two-level garden at his newest project, Arthaus Condominiums in downtown Philly, which will include a greenhouse to grow orchids, outdoor plots to raise vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and an extended lawn off a communal event space. A horticulturalist will offer residents professional expertise. The architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy in New York has focused on adding greenery in another way—through large terraces that bring more light and air and a sense of space into the interior of its ARO building in Manhattan, as well as its surrounding block. Such tactics are more important in denser urban environments, say the building’s principals, Nancy Ruddy and John Cetra.

 

 

geometric bathroom tile

© Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

 

 

6. Graphic Bathroom Floors

 

Boldly patterned floors are adding a spark of interest in bathrooms that were recently trending very monochromatic and spa-like. Staging and design expert Kristie Barnett, aka The Decorologist, in Nashville, took this approach in one client’s homes. She used an encaustic, graphic floor tile, similar to those that show up along kitchen backsplashes. But Barnett adds one caveat for bathrooms: “When choosing this kind of pattern, it should be the lead actor in the show while other elements play supporting roles. A bathroom should still be a personal sanctuary, and too much visual noise could weary the eye.”

 

 

updated bathroom

© Renovation Sells

 

 

7. Remodeling Before Listing

 

Many homeowners don’t want to take on the work and extra cost of fixing up their home before they list. Yet many buyers don’t want to invest in a home where they know there are walls to paint, countertops to replace, and floors to resand. Consider the latest trend that helps remove buyer objections: a contractor who tackles the work and fronts the cost or who partners with a firm that provides financing. Sellers then pay back the funds at closing. The big reward usually is a higher price and speedier sale, says Mike Valente, a licensed general contractor who works with many homeowners through his Renovation Sells firm in Chicago. Compass, a national real estate firm, has established its Compass Concierge service to deliver a similar revamp option. A calculator on the company’s website helps suggests how much sellers might spend.

 

 

living wall in outdoor courtyard

© ArchiVIZ - AdobeStock

 

 

8. Living Walls

 

For homeowners downsizing to a property with a smaller yard—or for those who have trouble bending down—living walls offer a way to connect to greenery by growing plants, vegetables, and herbs along the walls of a home, garage, or outbuilding. Landscape designer Michael Glassman of Michael Glassman & Associates in Sacramento, Calif., says, “Gardening is going up rather than out for aesthetics and consumption.” He recommends vines like star jasmine and creeping fig, edibles such as tomatoes and cucumbers, and herbs like rosemary and basil. “Plant walls” resembling art are also showing up inside, especially when homeowners don’t have an outdoor space, says David Dynega, CEO of Detail Renovations in Great Neck, N.Y. 

 

 

fabric swatches

© Sunbrella®

 

 

9. Better Looking Performance Fabrics

 

Instead of looking only at fabrics that appeal for color, pattern, or texture, homeowners want materials that will last and perform—hence, the name they’ve earned: performance fabrics. Originally, they were designed for outdoor spaces, where the sun, wind, water, or inclement weather took their toll. But as the fabrics have become more attractive, designers and homeowners have started using them indoors, where they can withstand the wear and tear of pets and people, says Chicago designer Rebecca Pogonitz of GOGO Design Group, who’s a big fan of the trend. Greg Voorhis, executive design director of Sunbrella, well-known for its performance fabric designs, says his firm is seeing the rise of more textured chenilles, boucles, and chunky wovens. “They bring new energy into familiar spaces without sacrificing comfort or durability,” he says.

 

 

floorplan

© Lendlease

 

 

10. Downsizing Homes, Rooms, and Ornate Features

 

The McMansion craze has been dead for years, resulting in more homeowners looking to downsize and millennials never planning to go big. “They favor experiences over owning large high-maintenance, high-cost homes filled with lots of stuff,” says Ames. “It’s the Marie Kondo version of shedding stuff.” Many home shoppers are also looking for simpler architectural detailing that pares maintenance and cost, as well as fewer rooms that will go unused, Ames says. Lendlease, a development company that created the new Cirrus building in downtown Chicago, heeded this mantra when it planned its range of scaled-down units and beefed up its many shared amenity spaces, says Ted Weldon, executive general manager. Sheri Koones’ new book, Downsize: Living Large in a Small House (The Taunton Press, 2019), offers an abundance of information for homeowners looking to pare down

 

 

Navy accent wall in dining room

© Sherwin-Williams

 

 

11. Deeper Hues

 

You can read into the emerging palette of deep hues a desire to counter global unrest, as some designers speculate, or you can take the colors as an antidote to years of pale grays. Either way, the darker hues are coming on strong. Pantone anointed “classic blue”—a very royal tone—as its color of the year. Could it be a nod to the Sussexes or appeal of The Crown? Sherwin-Williams’ Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, touts her company’s “naval” (SW 6244), “anchors aweigh” (SW 9179), “ripe olive” (SW 6209), and “dard hunter green” (SW 0041) as choices to visually mitigate stress. Another emerging trend: monochromatic rooms, donning a single paint color on the walls, trim, and ceiling.

 

 

billiard room

© Mary Cook Associates, Toll Brothers Apartment Living

 

 

12. Hipsturbia

 

Live/work/play has become a way of life for millennials who aren’t willing to compromise when they have children. As they move to the suburbs for more space, they choose communities with urban amenities—thriving walkable downtowns with dining, shopping, entertainment, public transportation, and jobs. “Success has a way of spreading,” the Urban Land Institute noted when it coined the term “hipsturbia” in its Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 report, says Mary Cook, founder of Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates. “Every development we work on today is located in areas that fit this formula and foster community interactions,” she says. One example is Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living Oleander building outside Atlanta, which offers residents flexible community spaces equipped with state-of-the-art technology to accommodate events, co-working spaces, and more. The building sits on Emory University’s expanding Executive Park campus near new medical complexes designed to attract health care professionals.

 


 

Top 5 Kitchen Trends

 

 

kitchen

© Dave Burk, de Giulio Kitchen Design

 

 

Instead of adding a 13th trend to the list, we decided to give kitchens their own section because they remain the number one focus in the home. The new fads being cooked up are giving this room an update in style, appliances, materials, and colors, as well as a way to enhance surrounding spaces since many are part of the open plan living-dining-kitchen area. While white may still dominate cabinets and countertops, other colors and materials are popping up—so are new technologies that help homeowners prepare food more effortlessly and healthily. Here are five kitchen trends to watch in 2020.

 

  1. Materials. GE appliances are showing an uptick in more white and black matte finishes as well as a new look of glass-covered stainless steel fronts that’s emerging. These new materials fit in better with other room furnishings, too, says Marc Hottenroth, executive director of GE’s industrial design division. Also showing up in kitchens is a greater mix of metals, such as brushed bronze and copper to help freshen appliances, which generally last about 10 years.
  2. Technology. Voice assistants now read recipes and cooking directions for homeowners so they don’t have to turn cookbook pages with flour-coated fingers. Appliances with gourmet guided cooking technology provide recipes and tutorials through an app that communicates with the appliance via Bluetooth. The chef no longer has to turn knobs to adjust temperatures. For instance, a rack of lamb might be roasted, then finished with a broil, which would all be adjusted automatically. And a new wall oven with hot air-fry capability is offering a healthier alternative to deep frying.
  3. Function. A new kitchen island is emerging, which combines an island with a dinette, according to Gena Kirk, vice president of design at KB Home, a national home builder based in Los Angeles. The island features a place to prepare meals at one height and an additional countertop that slides out at a lower level for people to eat around when desired. Scaled-down appliance sizes are becoming popular in smaller open-plan homes and condos. In its new Cirrus building, a 47-story tower going up on Lake Michigan, Lendlease camouflaged appliances behind millwork paneling, says Linda Kozloski, creative design director. The company also went with smaller, more European-size appliance choices because of the units’ smaller sizes, which helps counter rising construction costs. Example: a 24-inch-wide refrigerator was selected instead of a 48-inch model.
  4. Workspace. After so much buzz about whether to stay with granite or switch to quartz or quartzite, KB Home offers another idea: natural wood cutting boards for a portion of the countertop surface. The wood area provides a convenient workspace without having to pull out a cutting board or leave one out all the time.
  5. Details. Chicago kitchen designer Mick De Giulio, principal of de Giulio Kitchen Design, is introducing design character in novel ways to surprise and contradict. One example includes the hand-hammered finish on a stainless steel Bacifiore sink to add sophisticated sparkle instead of a plain-Jane stainless or ceramic white model. Another is the instillation of polished stainless steel toe kicks at the bottom of cabinets that hardly show the dirt, scuffs, or mess that painted wood ones do.

 

Trends are meant to inspire rather than make agents and their clients feel the need to rush into a renovation to make a house hip or more marketable than another. These points represent what’s new or coming through the pike. In the future, for example, there may be more technology that will warn homeowners about natural disasters before they occur. And before clients invests in any updates, make it clear that it’s best to do so for personal enjoyment rather than to boost salability.

 


 

Trend to Watch: Car Charging Stations

 

The jury may still be out when it comes to electric car charging stations at home. They’ve become a popular amenity at multifamily buildings, and now some single-family homeowners who have invested in electric cars to shrink their carbon footprint are seeing the wisdom of installing charging stations in their garages, says architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, Ill. The cost is relatively modest, perhaps $500 for the charging box and an electrician’s hourly charge to bring a 220-volt line into the garage. The outlet is best installed on the side of the garage where a homeowner plans to park their vehicle to avoid stepping over a cord, he says. But not everyone is convinced that it’s a huge trend. According to a recent survey from Erie Insurance, only 6% of respondents said they would want one, 55% would not, and 39% took a noncommittal stand and said they might. Sounds like a trend definitely to watch.

 

Posted in Staging
Jan. 6, 2020

10 Home Features That Are Most In Demand

A back porch or deck, newly renovated kitchen, and hardwood flooring are among the top home features house hunters say they want most, according to a new survey by Porch.com, a home remodeling site. Further, buyers are willing to pay between $2,500 and $4,500 more for a home with these features, shows the survey of more than 980 recent home shoppers.

Consumers are embracing outdoor space, as a back porch or deck was the feature Americans most wanted in their home, according to the survey. Some buyers are willing to sacrifice square footage for greater access to outdoor space, Porch.com researchers note.

 

Porch.com most important home features. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

@ Porch.com

Porch.com home must haves. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© Porch.com