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Barbara's Corner Blog

Friday, January 22, 2021   /   by Barbara Oleska

Should I Wait for Lower Mortgage Interest Rates?

Historically low mortgage rates are a big motivator for homebuyers right now. In 2020 alone, rates hit new record-lows 16 times, and the trend continued into the early part of this year. Many hopeful homebuyers are now wondering if they should put their plans on hold and wait for the lowest rates imaginable. However, the reality is, acting sooner rather than later may be the actual win if you’re ready to buy a home.


According to Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst for Bankrate:


“As vaccines become more widely available and a return to normal starts to come into view, we’ll see mortgage rates bounce off the record lows.”


While only a slight increase in mortgage rates is projected for 2021, some experts believe they will start to rise. Over the past week, for example, the average mortgage rate ticked up slightly, reaching 2.79%. This is still incredibly low compared to the trends&nbs ...

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Thursday, September 10, 2020   /   by Barbara Oleska

Homebuyer Traffic Is on the Rise

One of the biggest surprises of 2020 is the resilience of the residential real estate market. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is now forecasting that more homes will sell this year than last year. He’s also predicting home sales to increase by 8-12% next year. There’s strong evidence that he will be right.
ShowingTime, a leading showing software and market stat service provider for the residential real estate industry, just reported on their latest the ShowingTime Showing Index:

“Home buyer traffic jumped again in July, recording a 60.7 percent year-over-year increase in nationwide showing activity.”

That means there are 60% more buyers setting appointments to see homes than there were at this same time last year. The number of potential purchasers was also up dramatically in every region of the country:

The Northeast was up 76.6%
The West ...

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020   /   by Barbara Oleska

8 House Care Tips for the Summer

While Summer vacations offer the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list, be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.
In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1
The good news is, by dedicating a few hours this summer to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family … and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.
Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the summer. It’s applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who yo ...

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Friday, July 10, 2020   /   by Barbara Oleska

Is the Health Crisis Driving Buyers Out of Urban Areas?

The pandemic has caused consumers to re-examine the components that make up the “perfect home.” Many families are no longer comfortable with the locations and layouts of their existing homes. The allure of city life (more congested) seems to be giving way to either suburban or rural life (less congested). The fascination with an open floor plan seems to be fading as people are finding a need for more privacy while working from home.


Recently, news.com released a report that revealed how buyers’ views of listings are leaning heavily to more suburban and rural properties. Here are the year-over-year percentage increases in views per property type:


Urban – 7%




Suburban – 13%




Rural – 16%


In the report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com, gives these numbers some context:
“This migration to the suburbs is not a new trend, but it has become more pronounced. A ...

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Friday, July 3, 2020   /   by Barbara Oleska

New Index Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate

       













Earlier this month, realtor.com announced the release of their initial Housing Recovery Index, a weekly guide showing how the pandemic has impacted the residential real estate market. The index leverages a weighted average of four key components of the housing industry, tracking each of the following:

Housing Demand – Growth in online search activity
Home Price – Growth in asking prices
Housing Supply – Growth of new listings
Pace of Sales – Difference in time-on-market

The index then compares the current status “to the last week of January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market’s index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa.”
The graph below charts the index by showing how the real estate market started out strong in early 2020, and ...

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