Get Moving! 4 Urgent Reasons You Should Sell Your Home in 2017

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about selling your home, it might just be time to hop off. Now. To put it in other terms: 2017 is poised to be the year of the home seller, real estate experts say. So what are you waiting for?

“Sellers have been in the driver’s seat for the last two years, but this year is shaping up to be even better for several reasons,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com®. “Nothing is bad for sellers today.”

A combination of factors is coming together to make 2017 a prime seller’s market for most of the nation. Here’s what’s driving it:

Reason No. 1: Mortgage rates are still low

It’s all about rates, baby. Low mortgage rates translate to lower monthly costs. Lower costs entice buyers, which is good for sellers.

Although mortgage rates have been ticking up since mid-October to slightly over 4%, the rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage—the most popular home loan—are still hovering near 30-year lows. For now.

“We expect them to hold at this (4%) level for a while and continue to adjust up,” says Danielle Hale, managing director of housing research for the National Association of Realtors®. “Mortgage rates rarely move in a straight line. They could be in the 4.6% to 4.8% range by the end of the year.”

What does that have to do with home sellers? Well, potential buyers who are armed with that knowledge might hustle to close on a home before a rate hike.

What if you’re nowhere near ready to put your house on the market? That’s OK. Even if rates nudge up by the end of 2017, they’re still expected to be low enough to seduce buyers. The tipping point is when rates reach 5%, experts say. That’s when they could put the brakes on the robust real estate market.

“If they go above 5%, we’re going to see home prices come down,” says Trevor Levin, a real estate agent with Nourmand & Associates in Los Angeles.

Reason No. 2: Inventory is shrinking

Remember in Econ 101, when you learned that low supply and high demand lead to rising prices? The same is true—in spades—for residential real estate. When inventory shrinks, available homes become more valuable. As Martha Stewart would say, that’s a good thing for sellers.

Let’s put it in perspective: In 2007, just before the housing crash, existing home inventory peaked at 4.04 million homes for sale, according to NAR data. Fast-forward to November 2016: There were only 1.85 million homes for sale, 9.3% lower than the year before—and a whopping 54% lower than the 2007 peak.

“Quite simply, sellers this year have the least competition,” Smoke says.

And get this: Not only are there fewer homes for sale, but the time those homes have spent on the market has decreased year over year as well. If priced correctly, the typical home should move quickly, Smoke says. And that’s another boon for sellers.

“Many potential sellers don’t want to think about having to prep a home for showings and deal with an indefinite period of having to keep things in perfect shape,” he says. “Fast-moving inventory limits that pain.”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are rising

Lower inventory and greater demand have pushed up home prices. The median existing-home price in November 2016 was $234,900, up 6.8% from November 2015, when it was $220,000, according to the NAR. And that’s no fluke. That was the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Higher prices particularly benefit the seller whose property value plunged during the recession, sometimes to less than he owed. Thanks to rising prices, many homeowners whose property was underwater can now sell without suffering a big loss.

“2017 will be a rare ‘balanced market’ for buyers, because even though mortgage rates are edging up, many sellers have recovered enough equity to be able to afford to sell,” says Colby Sambrotto, president and CEO of USRealty.com.

Reason No. 4: Job markets are strengthening

As unemployment decreases and wages (finally) increase, consumer confidence will climb. Increased confidence will spur buyers to jump into the market—which is, you guessed it—more good news for sellers.

These pieces of the puzzle create a “virtuous cycle,” Smoke says. It’s not a term he coined, but it’s one he hasn’t had a chance to use in many years.

“These things are all connected,” Smoke says. “If people are confident, they’re more likely to buy big-ticket items like houses and cars. And then they spend more money on other things. It reinforces the economy, creating a virtuous cycle.”

The only ‘bad’ news for sellers

If you sell your home today, you mostly likely will buy another. Then, all the economic factors that worked in your favor as a seller will work against you as a buyer.

Sellers have a few options. You can rent for a while, and hope that prices come down in the future. But whatever you save on the price of a house you could surrender when mortgage rates climb to 6%—as predicted for 2019 and 2020, Smoke says.

The take-home lesson: Don’t wait, because mortgage rates won’t.

“There are opportunities for a seller-turned-buyer who wants to downsize in this market,” Smoke says. “You can lock in financing rates that you’ll never see again, and very likely make the trade-off work.”

Source: http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/reasons-sell-your-home-2017/

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10 Emergencies Every Homeowner Should Know How to Handle

Burst Pipe

Whether it’s a broken radiator or a rusted-out drain outflow, a burst pipe can cause a lot of trouble in a short period of time. If water is gushing, close the valve closest to the link first, then shut off the main water valve into the house. Once you’ve turned off the main water supply, reopen the smaller valve and slowly drain any remaining water into buckets.

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Black Out

During a power outage, the safest course is to disconnect all appliances and electronics. That way, you’ll avoid damage from power surges when the juice returns to your home. Take great care using candles for illumination, exercising proper fire safety, and be sure to stock up on batteries and flashlights. You can find more power outage safety tips at Ready.gov.

Gas Leak

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you simply detect a gas odor, evacuate the house immediately. Once you’ve relocated to a safe location, call the gas company’s 24-hour help line and ask them to send a technician to check your home for leaks.

Basement Flood

Before you charge into a flooded basement to rescue your belongings, be safe. Turn off the circuit breaker to the house (or, if you can’t reach the circuit box, call your utility and ask them to do it for you). Wear thick waterproof boots and gloves to protect against toxic elements in the floodwater.

Roof Damage

For patching a roof battered by storm damage, tarps nailed down with wood strips are the quickest and easiest fix. Just be sure to let any weather pass and take all precautions before climbing up—or even better, call a professional to do it for you, then arrange for more permanent patch-ups to happen as quickly as possible.

Furnace Malfunction

Somehow, the furnace always seems to give out on a frigid evening —and Murphy’s law states it will happen on a Saturday night, when the repairman charges double his usual rate. Before you pick up the phone, check to see if a clogged filter or a tripped circuit breaker might be the culprit.

Locked Out

Getting locked out of the house is a little embarrassing, and, if you have to call a locksmith, can be mightily expensive, too. Keeping a hidden key poses security risks. So remove your extra key from inside the hide-a-key garden stone or from under the back porch door mat, and consider leaving it with a trusted friend or neighbor instead.

Kitchen Fire

First, don’t panic. Keep a box of baking soda in a handy spot for dousing flare-ups in a toaster or stovetop pan. Avoid tossing water on the blaze, and don’t try to smother the flames with a dishtowel or anything that could catch fire. The better course of action is to use a pot lid to extinguish the flames. If it’s an oven fire, don’t open the door—close the oven and the fire should extinguish itself. Although some fire extinguishers are rated to extinguish grease fires, those handheld fire fighters can spread flames rather than extinguish them when used improperly. Educate yourself on the types of extinguishers and how to use them so you’re always ready in case of a disaster.

Flush Fail

Obviously, a plunger is your first line of defense for a clogged toilet. If you’ve cleared the clog but flushing troubles persist, open the tank and investigate. The handle may have gotten disconnected, or part of the flush mechanism may need to be replaced.

Animal Invasion

When backyard wildlife finds their way indoors, they can wreak havoc in a home. If a wild animal gets into your house, keep it contained in one area. Open a window, close all the doors, and it should find its way out. If it doesn’t, call animal control

Preventing and Removing Mice from Your Home

Homeowners have a strange relationship with mice. Some of us welcome them into our home as pets, while others try to keep them out or kill them off with traps and poisons.

As the nights get colder mice get braver and attempt to take refuge in your warm home. Unfortunately, the relationship isn’t always mutually beneficial. Mice can get into your food, chew through wires, and leave their droppings in all corners of your home.
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So what’s to be done about a mouse in the house?

There are really two steps to taking care of a mouse problem. The first is preventative, and the next is removing any mice that have found their way in.

Preventative steps

Without taking preventative action, you’ll have to repeatedly deal with mice entering the home year after year. What are preventative actions? Mice enter your home through small holes in the exterior of your home. That can mean cracks beneath doors, in windows, or holes in floors, foundations, and walls.

To stop mice from taking advantage of these vulnerabilities, make sure the bottom of your doors seal tightly. Taking time to inspect your home isn’t only useful for keeping mice out, it could also help you save on heat and prevent water damage.

A good way to keep the mice out of your home is to take away what’s bringing them there in the first place: food. If you find that mice are getting into your pantry items or bread basket, use jars or plastic containers those mice won’t be able to penetrate.

Another option for preventing mice is to use a deterrent. Mint plants and bay leaves are both natural mice deterrents. Moth balls also work but are poisonous to pets and humans, so if you have kids or pets this isn’t the best option for you.

One final way would be to employ a feline companion. Mice are less likely to stick around if the house has a cat that will constantly be stalking them.

Removing mice

The only way to remove mice from your home is to trap them, one way or another. First off, avoid using glue traps at all costs. Mice will try to escape by any means, including gnawing at their own limbs, and the glue injures their eyes. The most humane way of removing mice is a live trap. Live traps are reusable and easy to set up. Once you’ve set a live trap, be sure to check it frequently, as mice can easily starve or dehydrate if the trap is forgotten.

Once you’ve caught a mouse, you can place a towel or blanket over the top to calm them down as you transport them. Be sure to follow local regulations about trapping and  releasing wild animals.

Afterwards, just clean out your trap and store it in case you ever need it again.

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