Feb. 13, 2018

Home Design Trends To Watch in 2018

We frequently get questions from clients who are taking on decorating and remodeling projects and want to ensure their dollars are invested wisely.

 Which looks will last for years to come, and which ones will feel dated quickly? What colors and styles are most popular among buyers in our area? How can I add the most value to my home?

 So we’ve rounded up some of the hottest trends in home design to help guide you through the process. Whether you’ve planned a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, making smart and informed design choices will help you maximize your return on investment … and minimize the chance of “remodeler’s remorse” down the road.

WHAT’S HOT NOW

 While 2017 was all about millennial pink, brass fixtures and bright white kitchens, this year we expect to see a move toward warmer, cozier elements throughout the home.

1. Warm Colors

 A cool color scheme has dominated home design in recent years, but this year warm neutrals like brown and tan are back, along with rich jewel tones. While the pastel craze of last year is still hanging on, expect to see alternative color palettes featuring deep, saturated shades of red, yellow, green and navy. Grey will remain popular, but in warmer tones, often referred to as “greige.”

Family Room


2. Cozy Elements

 Along with warmer colors, we can expect to see a shift from stark, modern design to cozier looks. Velvet upholstery, woven textures and natural elements, like wood and stone, will heat things up this year.

3. Mixed Metals

 It used to be considered gauche to mix finishes, however the look of mixed metals will be very big in 2018. Brass will continue to trend, along with matte black and classics like polished chrome and brushed nickel. 

4. Bold Patterns

 Expect to see a lot of bright, bold patterns in the form of geometric shapes and graphic floral prints. These will be featured on everything from furniture to throw pillows to tile.

5. Natural Elements

Look for the use of natural elements throughout the home, including wood, stone, plants, flowers and grass. Botanical patterns will also be seen in prints, wallpaper and upholstery. Concrete accents will complement these additions in an effort to bring the essence of the outdoors inside the home.

6. Feature Walls

 Also called an accent wall, a feature wall is one that exhibits a different color or design than the other walls in the room. Expect to see an increased use of feature walls showcasing rich paint colors, bold patterned wallpaper, and textures brought in through millwork and shiplap.

7. Statement Lighting

 Lighting will take center stage with distinctive fixtures, including local artisan and vintage pendants and chandeliers. And smart lighting technology will enable homeowners to customize their lighting experience based on time of day, activity and mood. 

8. Hardwood Floors

 Hardwood floors will continue to dominate the market. The trend is toward either very dark stains paired with light-colored walls or light stains with darker walls. Greyish tones will remain popular, as will matte finishes, which are easier to maintain than high gloss. Expect to see frequent use of wider and longer wood planks, as well as distressed and wire-brushed finishes, which add texture and dimension.

 9. Smart Homes

 Everything is getting “smarter” in homes, from locks and lights to thermostats and appliances. And with devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, you can control many of these with voice activation from a central hub. We will see continued integration of and advancements in smart-home technology in 2018.

 

KITCHEN TRENDS

 While white kitchens will remain popular in 2018, expect to see more color this year in everything from cabinets to tile to appliances.

 1. Two-toned Cabinets

  Two-toned cabinets are quickly overtaking the white-on-white look that has dominated kitchen design for the past few years. While white remains a classic, grey and bleached-wood cabinet variations are surging in popularity, along with darker neutrals like navy and green.

2. Quartz Countertops

 Granite reigned as the top countertop choice for many years, but quartz is now king. It’s highly durable, low-maintenance and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. It’s also heat resistant, scratch resistant and non-porous (unlike granite and marble) so it doesn’t need to be sealed.

 

3. Bold Backsplashes

After years of dominating backsplash design, the white subway tile is officially on its way out. Expect to see it replaced with more elaborate shapes, patterns, colors and textures. Tile that mimics the appearance of wood, concrete and wallpaper is also gaining in popularity.

4. Statement Sinks

 While stainless steel and white porcelain are always safe bets, the trend is moving toward sinks that make more of a statement. Look for unexpected pops of color and materials like natural stone and copper. Touch-free faucets are expected to gain favor with homeowners this year, too.

 5. Brass is (Still) Back

 Brass fixtures came back in a big way over the past couple of years and will continue to be a popular choice in 2018 along with matte black, black nickel, polished chrome and brushed nickel. Missing from the list? Rose gold, which is decidedly “out” this year.

 

 6. Multi-purpose Islands 

Kitchen islands have evolved from simple prep-stations into the “workhorse” of the kitchen. Many feature sinks, built-in appliances and under-counter storage while also serving as a casual dining area. They have become the focal point of the kitchen, and we expect to see more of them in 2018 and beyond.

7. Black Stainless Steel

Black stainless steel is the hot new finish option for appliances, and it’s hitting the market in a big way. It offers a cutting-edge look and is easier to keep clean than traditional stainless steel. However, it’s harder to match finishes amongst different brands, so it’s probably only feasible as part of a complete appliance package.

8. Appliance Garages

Appliance garages are counter-level compartments designed to house small appliances like blenders, toasters and stand mixers. They make it convenient to have these items readily accessible, without the look of a cluttered counter.

BATH TRENDS

Expect to see many of the same kitchen design preferences carry over into bathrooms this year, including two-tone cabinets, quartz countertops and brass fixtures.

1.  Neutral Tones

 Neutral shades will continue to dominate in the master bathroom as homeowners seek a soothing and relaxing retreat atmosphere. But expect to see more options than just white. Shades of brown, grey, blue, green and tan will help to warm things up.

2.  Natural Elements

 Natural materials are particularly hot right now in bathroom design. This includes the use of wood and stone on walls, cabinets, counters and backsplashes, as well as the incorporation of botanical design elements.

3.  Large Tiles

 We expect to see a lot more large and slab-sized tiles in bathrooms, which have less grout so they are easier to clean and maintain. Wood-look porcelain tiles are also a favorite in wet areas, as they offer the warmth and rustic appeal of wood with the durability of tile.

OUR ADVICE

Style trends come and go, so don’t invest in the latest look unless you love it. That said, highly-personalized or outdated style choices can limit the appeal of your property for resale.

For major renovation projects, it’s always a good idea to stick to neutral colors and classic styles. It will give your remodel longevity and appeal to the greatest number of buyers when it comes time to sell. It will also give you flexibility to update your look in a few years without a total overhaul. Use non-permanent fixtures – like paint, furniture and accent pieces – to personalize the space and incorporate trendier choices.

 If you’d like advice on a specific remodeling or design project, give us a call! We’re happy to offer our insights and suggestions on how to maximize your return on investment and recommend local shops and service providers who may be able to assist you.

 

 

 Sources:
1.     Country Living –
http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/decorating-ideas/g3988/kitchen-trends
2.     Elle Decor –
http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g14486069/kitchen-trends-2018/
3.     Gates Interior Design  –
https://gatesinteriordesign.com/hottest-interior-design-trends-for-2018/
https://gatesinteriordesign.com/biggest-kitchen-bath-trends-for-2018/
4.     HGTV.com –
http://www.hgtv.com/design/rooms/kitchens/17-top-kitchen-design-trends-pictures
5.     House Beautiful –
http://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/kitchens/g2664/kitchen-trends/
http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13938283/2018-decor-trends/
http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13820501/best-and-worst-decor-trends-from-2017/
6.     Houzz –
https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/93399913/list/interior-design-trends-expected-to-take-hold-in-2018
7.     Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/25/the-kitchen-and-dining-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2018_a_23222693/
8.     Kitchen and Bath Design News –
http://www.kitchenbathdesign.com/123995/year-end-look-and-new-trends-for-2018/
9.     MSN.com –
https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/12-flooring-trends-for-2018/ss-AAtp7QA
10.   Realtor.com  –
https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/interior-design-trends-to-ditch-2018/
https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/hottest-interior-design-decor-trends-2018/?is_wp_site=1
11.   Realty Times – http://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/1007993-kitchen-design-trends-in-2018?rtmpage=MattLawler
12.   Sebring Design Build –
https://sebringdesignbuild.com/top-trends-in-bathroom-design/
13.   The Flooring Girl –
http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/hardwood-flooring-trends-2018/
14.   Vogue –
https://www.vogue.com/article/interior-design-trends-according-to-expert-designers-decorators
 
  
Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 31, 2018

U.S. Housing Inventory Crunch Continues... List Your House Today!

Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.

Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!

At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that:  “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

 

 

The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 30, 2017

Existing-Home Sales Skyrocket Toward 11-Year High

Existing-home sales in November skyrocketed to a spree not seen in more than 10 years, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports.

Existing-home sales totaled 5.81 million, a 5.6 percent increase from October and a 3.8 percent increase from one year prior. Inventory decreased 7.2 percent to 1.67 million, 9.7 percent below one year prior.

Faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “As evidenced by a subdued level of first-time buyers and increased share of cash buyers, move-up buyers with considerable down payments and those with cash made up a bulk of the sales activity last month. The odds of closing on a home are much better at the upper end of the market, where inventory conditions continue to be markedly better.”

“Existing single-family home sales jumped 5.6 percent year-over-year in November and hit an 11-year high,” said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at Realtor.com, in a statement. “Sales showed no signs of the uncertainty that buyers faced in November regarding the impact of the tax plan; however, expectations of climbing interest rates may have induced buyers to purchase earlier than they might have.”

Inventory is currently at a 3.4-month supply. Existing homes averaged 40 days on market in November, three days less than one year prior. All told, 44 percent of homes sold in November were on the market for less than one month.

“The anticipated rise in mortgage rates next year could further cut into affordability if these staggeringly low supply levels persist,” Yun says. “Price appreciation is too fast in a lot of markets right now. The increase in home builder optimism must translate to significantly more new construction in 2018 to help ease these acute inventory shortages.”

The metropolitan areas with the fewest days on market and most realtor.com views in November, according to realtor.com Market Hotness Index were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., and Stockton-Lodi, Calif.

The median existing-home price for all types of houses (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome) was $248,000, a 5.8 percent increase from one year prior. The median price for an existing single-family home was $248,800, while the median price for an existing condo was $242,500.

Single-family existing home sales came in at 5.09 million in November, a 4.5 percent increase from 4.87 million in October and a 3.2 percent increase from 4.93 million one year prior. Existing-condo and -co-op sales came in at 720,000, a 14.3 percent increase from October and a 7.5 percent increase from one year prior.

Twenty-two percent of existing-home sales in November were all-cash, with 14 percent by individual investors. Four percent were distressed.

“The elevated presence of investors paying in cash continues to add a layer of frustration to the supply and affordability headwinds aspiring first-time buyers are experiencing,” says Yun. “The healthy labor market and higher wage gains are expected to further strengthen buyer demand from young adults next year. Their prospects for becoming homeowners will only improve if more lower-priced and smaller-sized homes come onto the market.”

Three of the four major regions saw positive activity in November, with existing-home sales rising 6.7 percent to 800,000 in the Northeast, with a median price of $273,600; 8.4 percent to 1.42 million in the Midwest, with a median price of $196,100; and 8.3 percent to 2.34 million in the South, with a median price of $216,000. Existing-home sales fell 2.3 percent to 1.25 million in the West, with a median price of $375,100.

First-time homebuyers comprised 29 percent of existing-home sales in November, a decrease from 32 percent in October.

Source - nar.realtor.com 

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 8, 2017

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today!

Many people believe that selling their house during “the spring buyers’ market” is the best thing to do. Their reasoning is that there will be more buyers than there are during the winter months and, therefore, their house will sell quicker and for a higher price.

Historically, this made sense. However, today’s real estate market is not following the rules of the past.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures buyer “foot traffic” each month. It receives data on the number of properties shown to a prospective purchaser by a Realtor® (based on the number of lockboxes used). The data reveals the number of buyers out actively looking for a home, not just window shopping on the internet. NAR explains:

“Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

According to the latest Foot Traffic Report, buyer traffic is greater now than it was during this year’s spring market and there are more buyers out now than at any other time in the last five years (March of 2012).

 

The chart below shows that buyer activity over the last three months (blue bars) was greater than it was during this past spring market (green bars).

Bottom Line

If you are waiting for next spring to list your home because you think that’s when the buyers will be out in force, perhaps you should reconsider. Buyers are out right now!

 

Posted in For Sellers
Nov. 17, 2017

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeksFreddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 3.5%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Posted in For Buyers
Nov. 10, 2017

A Housing Bubble? Industry Experts Say NO!

 

With residential home prices continuing to appreciate at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.

Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.

Rick Sharga, Executive VP at Ten-X:

“We’re definitely not in a bubble.”

“We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but…while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we’re not talking about 2006 dollars.”

Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:

“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”

“Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”

Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:

“I wouldn't call house prices a bubble.”

“So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don't expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:

“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”

“…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”

Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:

 

“We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”

“Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”

Call us today to get your accurate home value in today's market.  Jim @ 813-477-2090

 

Posted in For Buyers
Oct. 30, 2017

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Unless You Know the Facts

Graphic, Buying A Home Can Be Scary

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home, which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:

  • 40% of millennials who purchased homes this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 724 in September.
Posted in For Buyers
Oct. 26, 2017

Hiring an Agent to Sell Your House May Cost You Nothing!

  •  Hiring an Agent to Sell Your House May Cost You NOTHING! | MyKCM

    There is no doubt that it is easier to sell your house when using the services of a local real estate professional. The agent will provide:

    • Greater exposure to more buyers
    • The skills of a professional negotiator
    • A layer of protection from possible legal liabilities
    • Professional guidance in navigating any pitfalls that may arise
    • A level of safety while showing the home

    There is no doubt that these services are valuable to any family that decides to sell. The only question is – how valuable? One of the main reasons For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe these services are not worth the fee an agent charges. But, what if those services didn’t cost the seller a penny?

    A study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything and, in some cases, may be costing themselves more by not listing with an agent.

    In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

    “FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

    Why would FSBOs net less money on their own than if they used an agent?

    The study makes several suggestions:

     

    • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
    • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
    • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war. 

      Three conclusions from the study:

      1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
      2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
      3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

      Bottom Line

      If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

Posted in For Sellers
Oct. 17, 2017

4 Reasons to Sell This Fall

Posted in For Sellers
Sept. 26, 2017

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your Home

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

A new study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.

Posted in For Sellers