Happy Thanksgiving Commentary

It is all about turkey and giving thanks this week. As much as we have struggled to rebound from the financial crisis and recession during the past five years, we have plenty to be thankful for. For one thing, our rebound did happen — albeit very slowly. Just a few years ago, economic prognosticators were predicting that real estate would not rebound for at least a decade. It has been five years and we are already at least one year into a rebound. Again, we are not all the way back but at this point you can’t deny the progress we have made. No longer is the number of homes going into foreclosure leading the headlines. Now the drop in the number of foreclosures highlight the statistics.

The same can be said for the job market. We lost over eight million jobs during the recession and it has taken us this long to come up close to making up those eight million jobs, which does not account for the population growth of the past five years. Yet, the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.0% to close to 7.0% — a drop of almost 30% in four years. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the unemployment rate is poised to drop further in the coming months. We took a very large economic punch in the gut five years ago and we have now regained our footing and we are now punching our way back. That is called resiliency. And when others face tragedies such as the Typhoon that hit the Philippines a few weeks ago, we step up and help others in need. Yes, the past few years have been a struggle for millions, but we also have a lot to be thankful for — not the least of which is the turkey we will have on our plates in two days.
 Seventy-four percent of home owners say they want more pops of color in their houses, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Sherwin-Williams. Twenty-nine percent of home owners surveyed say the living room or family room are the areas of a home that they’re most looking to spice up with color, according to the survey. Nineteen percent of respondents said they want a more colorful bedroom, and 10 percent said the kitchen. While grays and beiges are still the most popular choices, more home owners are reaching for colors like burnt orange and baked clay as well. They’re also showing more willingness to incorporate pops of color in social areas of the home “because it’s an environment you want to feel energetic in,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. About 39 percent of home owners say the artwork is the most colorful element in their homes, not their walls. However, 23 percent of home owners polled cited the walls as the most colorful element in a home, making it the second most-popular response in the survey. Source: The Wall Street Journal

More Americans are opting to live alone, with single buyers making up a quarter of all home purchases last year, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In the U.S., there are 33 million one-person households, and living solo is becoming an international trend, MSN Real Estate reports. Why are so many living alone? People are marrying later, divorcing more, and living longer, sociologists say. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” says that young adults ages 18 to 34 are the fastest-growing group of people living alone. Solo households are also mostly women: 18 million women live alone versus 14 million men. The majority of solo households are in cities and metro areas. Purchasing a home can be a means of self-expression for singles, says Jennifer De Vivo, a real estate professional in Orlando, Fla. “It’s a way for singles to express their lifestyles and values,” she says. “They are able to focus on the exact communities, home styles, and features that cater to their individuality with much less compromise.” One-person households may be drawn to more low-maintenance homes, but for resale reasons, they still place a high value on being in a highly rated school district, agents say. Being a single buyer can pose challenges, particularly in a post-recession market. Qualifying for a home loan may be the biggest obstacle for single buyers, since they don’t have the advantages of dual incomes or shared responsibly that a two-person household does. Source: MSN Real Estate

David R. Leopold, owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspection in Fairfield County, Conn., says home sellers and their real estate professionals have an important role in preparing for a home inspection to help ensure it goes smoothly. Leopold offers up some of the following tips in a recent article in RISMedia, including: 

  • Don’t hide what isn’t working: If an appliance isn’t working, leave a note that indicates what isn’t working and how you’re getting it fixed. Don’t try to conceal defects because it can make the inspector start to view you as dishonest and wonder what else you’re hiding. 
  • Make things accessible: Ensure the location of the attic and crawlspace are identified and easy to access. Don’t make a home inspector move your belongings in order to gain access. 
  • Check the light bulbs: If a light bulb isn’t working, the inspector will need to determine if the fixture is inoperable. Save them time by making sure all the light bulbs in the home operate, including those in the crawlspace, attic, and furnace rooms.
  • Note septic systems: If you have a septic system in the yard, be sure to leave a sketch that includes the location of it. It will avoid home inspectors, buyers, and real estate professionals having to conduct prolonged searches for it, Leopold says. 

Keep appliances clear: Don’t leave dirty laundry in the washing machine or dryer because the inspector will need to test the appliances, and he doesn’t want to have to pull out dirty clothes in front of everybody, Leopold says. “Also, make sure your oven and stovetop are clear and clean, so we can easily test them without setting off the smoke alarm,” he adds. Source: RISMedia

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