Working From Home? What Home Buyers Are Looking for Now!

With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning needs of their children as well.

This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find the needed space in more creative ways.

The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered. Another option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room that could be converted to a workspace.

With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers seek different features from their new dwellings.

Getting Outbid? Ways to Make Offer Stand Out

Summer is traditionally a busy time for buyers and sellers. This year has been no exception —and with lower interest rates, many homebuyers are finding the competitive environment challenging. With multiple buyers competing for properties, even terrific offers are often being outbid.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your offer more attractive to the sellers and increase the chances of getting the property.
Have Full Pre-Approval – A step beyond pre-qualification, a pre-approval involves submitting your full application to underwriting. Your lender will collect all your financial data and submit for review. This is stronger than a pre-qualification; a pre-approval requires the buyer to provide proof of their ability to qualify for the loan.

Increase the Earnest Money – Earnest money is the deposit held in escrow. While the contract will dictate how monies are disbursed in the event of a cancellation, increasing the amount offered can show the seller you’re serious.

Add an Escalation Clause – In a bidding war, it can be difficult to know what to offer because you want to outbid the competition without going too high. An escalation clause is one way to automatically outbid the others. The clause typically offers an amount—$1,000 for example—higher than any verifiable offer up to a specific amount. This can ensure yours is the highest offer.

Pay any Appraisal Shortage – When offering more than the asking price, sellers become concerned about the appraisal coming in too low. If you are willing to pay over market value, include the amount of shortage you are willing to pay.

Remove Inspection Contingency – This option can be tricky, but if you are planning a large remodel or are willing to tackle any defects found, then you can make your offer stronger by accepting the home as-is.

In this fast-moving, competitive real estate market, it’s important to make your offer stand out from the crowd. These strategies are great ways to demonstrate to the sellers that you’re serious about buying their home, increasing the chance of having your offer accepted. Learn more about how we can help, you win the bid on your dream home today!! Contact the Stephanie MacDonald Team today.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy??

Is now a good time to buy??

Is now a good time to buy?? 🤔 🏡

In such an unusual year, many of you are still trying to figure out if now is the right time to make a move. I’d like to share with you a couple of the sentiments that I’ve been hearing.

1. Its likely prices will go up because of inflation. After an unprecedented government stimulus, expect inflation sooner or later. Investing in real estate is a great hedge against that.

2. Interest rates are at historic lows — but don’t take that for granted. Requirements and rates will worsen at some point.

3. There’s real value in comfort and security right now. What matters more to you: trying to time the bottom of the market, or finding the right home that’ll make you and your family feel comfortable and safe during this time?

4. Try to avoid the “wait and see” mentality. Nobody buys at the bottom — and knows it. Focus on quality as your priority: the best deal on the best match that meets your needs for years to come.

If you’d like a more tailored look at how the market is playing out in your desired neighborhood, just contact me today!!

Stephanie MacDonald Team

Serving Greater Philadelphia, The Mainline, Center City and South Jersey

Top 7 Home New Year’s Resolutions

With the start of the New Year, thoughts naturally turn to change. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your home, then making the right resolutions can help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible return.

Getty Image
  1. Move Up Spring Cleaning – Time to do your spring cleaning now. Declutter,
    depersonalize and make the home look roomier.
  2. Stage Your Home – Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, this is the time to rearrange your furniture to make your rooms look bigger and brighter.
  3. Think it Through – Before you spend money on renovations and upgrades, think
    carefully and don’t overspend by guessing.
  4. Take Care of Neglected Repairs – This is a great time to hire a handyman or break out the tool belt to take care of deferred maintenance and take care of minor repairs.
  5. Interview Real Estate Agents – Hiring a real estate agent is critical to your success. Take the time to interview a number of agents and choose the right one for your needs.
  6. Check out the Competition – Go see homes listed for sale in your area and adjust your timing, staging, and pricing based on the market.
  7. Prepare Mentally – Selling a home can be stressful. Be prepared for low offers, picky buyers, drop-by agents, and odd terms. Prepare yourself now so you will take them in stride when you’re on the market.

Choosing the right agent is crucial to stress-free and easy home buying or selling on the Main Line, Center City and Southern New Jersey. The right agent has the resources and expertise to guide you through the process, every step of the way. If you have any questions or you’re ready to get started, please do not hesitate to call or email us. We’d love to hear from you!

The Stephanie MacDonald Team | 610-246-1048 | stephanie@themacdonaldteam.com

Selling your home during the Holidays

The Holiday Season has arrived and many home sellers are concerned it’s the wrong time to list their homes. The truth is that the holidays can be a great time to sell your home. Not only does your home look more beautiful dressed up for the holidays, but buyers are often more emotionally tied to the home because of it. There is no need to wait for the hectic New Year selling season to list. There are benefits to selling now!

  • Lower Inventory – Typically there are fewer homes on the market; fewer homes mean less competition. Inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. Waiting until Spring will increase the choices buyers have. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.
  • Serious Buyers – Buyers during the holidays tend to be more serious than at other times of the year. Moving is not fun at any time of the year, but the holidays are particularly hard, so buyers willing to do this are serious about moving. There are buyers ready, willing and able to purchase and are in the market right now.
  • Interest Rates are Still Low – No one knows what’s coming in the New Year, but for now, Interest Rates are still traditionally low.

The Holiday Selling Season is here. Home sellers can capitalize on the slower pace, smaller inventory and serious buyers by listing now. Deck the halls and offer a warm, cozy home to potential buyers and take advantage of the season for selling your home now.

We would like to help you decide if your home is ready to sell this winter. If you’re ready to sell or would like to learn more reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you.

Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Now that the warm summer months are behind us, it’s time to prepare for winter. Regardless of whether you expect to see sub-zero temperatures this season or you live in one of the warmer climates, preparing your home for colder weather can save you money and hassle this winter. So before you dig out your fall sweaters, take a weekend and prepare your home for the cold weather to come.

Curious about which maintenance tasks are best done in fall? This handy checklist should help.

Need more information about home maintenance? I have amazing list of businesses to share. Contact the MacDonald team today for more information.