5 Easy Ways to Make Your Old Home Feel New

If you’ve lived in the same home for a while, you’re not alone.

Homeowners are staying put longer than they did in the past. The typical homeowner now spends about 13 years in their home, up from roughly 10 years a decade ago, according to a Redfin study. Homeownership tenure is especially long in California — Los Angeles homeowners hold onto their homes for a median of 18.1 years, up from 13.6 years in 2012.

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How Much Will Home Prices Continue to Rise in 2022?

After watching four homes go to competing bidders over the course of seven frustrating months, Shubham Nath and Ankur Srivastava finally nabbed a four-bedroom house in Warren, N.J., last June. The couple pounced on the property when it hit the market. “We saw the home on a Saturday, looked at it a second time that Sunday and made an offer Sunday night,” says Nath. And this time they were prepared to best the seven other bidders: They offered about $60,000 above the home’s $849,000 list price, plus a 2.5-month closing period so that the seller would have plenty of time to pack up and move. And when the property appraised for $7,000 below the price they had agreed upon in the purchase contract, the couple paid for the appraisal gap. “We jumped through a lot of hoops,” Nath says. 

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5 Signs It’s Time to Break up With Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent can’t make more housing supply appear out of thin air or double the value of your home overnight. But they should make you feel supported and well represented in a crazy market. If not, it may be time to cut ties.

This is not a decision to make lightly, but if you do you certainly have no shortage of options. As of October, the National Association of Realtors, the real estate’s largest trade group, had 1,564,547 members — a 7% jump from the end of 2020. And many more real estate agents aren’t NAR members.

With all the competition, real estate agents are fighting tooth and nail for clients. “It’s a dog-eat-dog industry,” says Jason Gelios, an agent with Community Choice Realty in Southeast Michigan. Considering that you have plenty of agents to choose from, there’s no reason to stay with your agent if you’re not happy with their service.

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How to Win in a Red-Hot Housing Market

Laura Gross knew that she’d be facing fierce competition this spring when she was getting ready to bid on a four-bedroom house in Troy, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. So she pulled out all the stops: She waived an appraisal contingency, offered $30,000 above the home’s $285,000 list price, wrote a letter expressing why she loved the home (it reminded her of the house she grew up in a mile away), and offered the seller a free 60-day rent-back.

The seller chose Gross’s offer over seven others. “I knew I had to offer above list price and waive con­tingencies to even have my offer considered in this market,” says Gross, an accounting manager at a manufacturing company.

Gross is just one in a tsunami of house hunters who have flooded the housing market since the coronavirus pandemic began. She experienced firsthand how tough today’s housing market is for buyers.

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Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market

By the time they got the last offer, Quinn and Daryn Shapurji had received 54 bids on their four-bedroom, single-family house in Fishers, Ind., in just three days. Ms. Shapurji said they felt totally overwhelmed — and a bit melancholy.

“We felt bad that we had to say no to so many people, because we got a lot of beautiful letters from buyers saying how much they loved our house and why they wanted to live in the area,” said Ms. Shapurji, 32, a closing coordinator for a home builder. “Some buyers had already struck out on five or six homes.”

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The Real Costs of Selling a Home

We’re a mostly stay-put nation: Nearly half of American homeowners 50 and older have been in the same residence for 20-plus years. Which means that when it finally comes time to move on, you should be prepared for some sticker shock. Selling a home costs a lot of money, often as much as 10 percent of the sales price. But you can reduce that with a little negotiating, planning and do-it-yourself taskwork. Here’s the lowdown.

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Home Buyers Loving the Suburbs Again

For years, buyers have been flocking to cities and close-in suburbs, seeking a boost in quality of life by shortening their commutes and gaining easy access to restaurants and cultural events. The pandemic turned that trend on its head.

Last year, a number of city dwellers migrated to the suburbs and exurbs to get more space, both indoors and outdoors. Gaining the freedom to telecommute gave more buyers the ability to move from urban centers. A survey from the American Institute of CPAs found that 42% of employed Americans worked remotely at some point during the pandemic. Companies such as Twitter, REI and Square have announced plans to let employees work remotely indefinitely.

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You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate. It’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.

The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.

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Home Prices on the Rise

Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.

Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyper­active market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”

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Presale Renovations Take Off

A couple in Cambridge, Mass., were looking to sell a two-bedroom condo. The property had been rented out to three college students and needed work if the sellers were going to get top dollar for it, says Carol Kelly, a Compass real estate agent based in Cambridge.

“[The couple] didn’t want to reach into their own pocket to pay for the renovations,” Kelly says. “They didn’t want the stress of investing their own money into the property.”

So Kelly recommended Compass Concierge, a service the brokerage rolled out in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Sellers pay back the money using the proceeds of their sale. Compass put $17,000 worth of improvements into the Cambridge condo, installing new flooring, painting the kitchen cabinets, and power-washing the house. It paid off: The condo, which was listed at $589,000, sold for $640,000, enabling the sellers to repay Compass and eke out bigger gains from their investment.

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