Archive June 2019

Marked Appreciation

A home generally appreciates in value between 3 and 4 percent each year, but not every home appreciates equally. While every market is different—and appreciation is naturally affected by factors homeowners can’t control— there are certain home features that create greater appreciation than others. Realtor.com did some research, analyzed millions of listings over the past five years and here’s what they found:

Size -Small homes are in high demand, especially by millennial first-time buyers. Homes smaller than 1,200 square feet appreciated an average of 7.5% a year for the past five years. Larger homes (more than 2,400 square feet) only rose by 3.8%.

Bedrooms – Two bedrooms appreciate 6.6% while five bedrooms appreciate just 4.3%.

Floor Plans – Open floor plans appreciate 7.4% a year—beating out other home features like a patio (6.8%), hardwood floors (5.7%), a fireplace (5.3%) and a finished basement (4.6%).

Style – Modern and contemporary architectural styles appreciate 7.7% a year. Bungalows and traditional homes appreciate at 6.5% and 5.6%, respectively.

Adjacency – Homes overlooking a park appreciate at 7.9% a year, hold value over a longer period of time and recover quickly from a downturn. Homes with mountain views appreciate 5.1% a year, while lake homes appreciate 4.9% annually

Know Your Coverage

There are many misunderstandings out there about homeowners insurance— misconceptions that can lead to expensive mistakes.

According to a survey by insurance marketplace InsuranceQuotes, homeowners tend to overestimate the amount of flood protection they have. Fifty-six percent of respondents still mistakenly believed that a standard homeowners policy covers flood damage. For millennials ages 18 to 36, the percentage rose to 67 percent.

Meanwhile, more than onethird of respondents thought auto insurance would cover items stolen from their car, but actually homeowners or renters insurance would cover those.

Most homeowners underestimate their coverage for dog bites: Regarding potential lawsuits filed by someone bitten by a policyholder’s dog outside their property, few knew they would be protected by their homeowners policy.

Dog Day Deals

According to Realtor.com, summer is the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. While you might think that waiting until the market cools down before starting your home search is the better choice, there are some distinct advantages to buying during housing’s hottest season.

Inventory is broader. Because summer is the busy season, there are more options to choose from, which is especially good for buyers looking for specific aspects in a home. Plus, knowing there are more homes out there gives you leverage during price negotiations and peace of mind if your bid is rejected.

Buying and selling may be easier. If you need to sell your home before you can buy another, it will likely be easier during the summer because houses are selling more quickly and at potentially better prices.

School is out. This could be an advantage for buyers with children because their schedules will be more flexible. Kids can more easily attend showings, and there will be less disruption to their lives during moving time. Sellers with children may want to cement a deal before school starts again, which can also be an advantage for buyers.

You may get to see more of the neighborhood. Nicer weather will likely draw out the neighbors and their children, allowing you to get a better idea of the level of noise or activity in the community. Trees and flowers are also in bloom, so you can see what your prospective yard truly looks like.

Turn It Down

If there’s one thing you can count on when you own a home, it’s the arrival of the energy bill each month. One homeowner’s energy costs will be higher or lower than the next, but there are easy ways to save a little money each month.

Use the dishwasher. Dishwashers, especially Energy Star appliances, are more efficient than washing dishes by hand. It’s also important to load your dishwasher as effectively as possible, so check your manual for the best way. If you don’t own a dishwasher, save water by turning the tap on only when you need to rinse.

Unplug idle electronics. Electronics and appliances still use standby energy even when not in use. Since unplugging every cord in your home is not feasible, consider using power strips with multiple plugs that you can turn off and on with the flip of a switch.

Circulate air with fans. Even with central air conditioning, it can be tricky to keep every room at a steady temperature on hot days. Position standing fans to circulate air throughout your home, rather than lowering the AC thermostat temperature. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they’re circulating in the correct direction: counter-clockwise during the summer—so air is being pushed down—and clockwise in the winter.

Measure laundry loads. Washing clothes in cold water instead of warm saves energy. And make sure there’s enough space inside the dryer for hot air to circulate, or you could end up running two cycles.