But what are the most viable trends that you should be on the lookout for? What technology is in high demand from homebuyers?
1. Leak detection sensors
Fire alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, radon detectors, moisture detectors — these are all devices that help you keep the home environment safe. There are even air quality devices that measure the air inside a home and identify dangerous toxins.
A Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey revealed that safety devices — like the detectors mentioned — are a large part (56 percent) of what qualifies a homes “smart” in eyes of those polled.
Why is any of this important? Because we all need to feel safe at home, and smart technology that can handle this kind of monitoring can help us with that.
Perhaps the most useful of these devices is the smart leak detection sensor. They monitor the plumbing in your home and walls to ensure there are no major leaks or malfunctions. This can help you prevent serious water damage or the buildup of mold and mildew inside your walls from a slow leak.
This could be a game-changer for those older homes with lots of character, which can be a crapshoot in terms of dependability.
For example, is there central heating and cooling? Is the plumbing outdated or worn down? What other elements of the home need to be updated?
Installing smart leak detectors in new and older homes can waylay some of this worry.
2. Connected thermostats
For homeowners, energy consumption is a big deal. The more power and energy you use, the higher your electric bill is going to be.
You constantly have to manage how much energy you’re using, and that involves monitoring several different aspects of your home, including lighting usage and air conditioning reliance.
Connected or smart thermostats can help alleviate this problem by conserving energy over time. They are much more advanced than simple, programmable thermostats.
They will learn your habits and preferences and can even detect your presence. This allows for scenarios like leaving the air off while you’re not home and letting it auto-adjust to a comfortable temperature when you’re on your way.
Ecobee and Nest, smart thermostat manufacturers, claim you can save anywhere from 12 percent to 23 percent of power consumption costs. Even so, it’s still money saved, and, in today’s world, any amount of money back in your pocket is a good thing.
Smart thermostats can help you sell a property, especially if you drive home the idea that they offer cost savings and better energy efficiency. Not to mention, something like the Nest thermostat can double as a central hub to interface with and control other smart home products.
3. Smart garage doors
Have you ever left home and realized you left your garage door is wide open? With a traditional door, you must return home to close it. With a smart garage door, you can monitor your garage door from anywhere.
Check the open or closed status from an app on your smartphone, and, if it’s open, you can close it, even remotely. You can be miles and miles away from home and still control your garage door.
This opens up a world of possibilities, too, like letting the dog or house sitters in through your garage or opening your home to emergency services or neighbors when you’re gone. Now imagine explaining all this to interested homebuyers. It’s an easy sell, right?
Smart garage doors offer both convenience and better security for the homeowner.
4. Smart watering systems
Another form of consumption homeowners need to be wary of is their water usage. Not just in terms of clean water for drinking, cleaning or bathing but also the water used to irrigate land.
If you live in a deed restricted community, you keep your grass trimmed and healthy or you risk fines and complications. But, at the same time, you may be restricted by law as to the amount of water you can use due to water shortages and droughts.
Smart watering systems make this process much simpler and more efficient.
Not only can you schedule watering sessions, but you can also keep track of how much water you’re using. This is important because it can help you keep your water consumption to a minimum, and it can also help you save money over time.
5. Smart home security cameras
Security is a huge concern these days. You don’t need to look far at all to see something concerning.
According to Safewise, a burglary occurs every 18 seconds in the United States.
A report by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology shows that about 60 percent of convicted burglars were deterred by the presence of a home security system.
The takeaway here is that home security matters, but for homeowners, the cost savings are also a concern. Most home security solutions, like the ones offered by ADT or Brinks, are expensive. There’s a certain cost you must deal with if you want to protect your home.
But if you have a smart home security camera, those costs are pretty much negated. You only need to pay for the equipment once, and any service fees are minimal compared to conventional security plans.
For example, Canary offers up to 30 days of cloud video storage, 24/7 remote incident support, an extended warranty and a homeowner’s insurance reimbursement, and their service is only $9.99 a month.
A property with smart home security cameras pre-installed will be both safer and cheaper in terms of operating costs for that security system.
More and more, Bellingham is becoming less affordable to first-time homebuyers.
The median price for a home sold in Bellingham during the third quarter hit $369,900, while the average price hit $431,517.
The median price for Bellingham is up 13.6 percent compared to a year ago and is the highest third-quarter number since she began doing the quarterly report in 2006.
The big jump in the median price isn’t all from a rise in home values; it appears there is a shift in the market where people are buying fewer starter homes for under $300,000 and more homes at higher price points.
68 is the number of homes in Bellingham that sold in the $600,000 to $999,999 price range in the past six months. For the same period in Bellingham, 53 homes sold in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range.
What’s happening is there are less starter homes available in Bellingham so more people are buying (those homes) outside of Bellingham, I think there are people that want to live in Bellingham, but can’t afford it.
In the last six months, 68 homes in Bellingham sold in the $600,000 to $999,999 range. In the $150,000 to $250,000 range for the same period, there were 53 homes sold in Bellingham.
Ferndale, which has a much smaller population base, sold 15 more homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range than Bellingham during those six months. Sudden Valley wasn’t far behind Bellingham, selling 40 homes in that $150,000 to $250,000 price range for the past six months.
For people who want to buy a home for under $300,000, there’s also a difference in the quality of the home in Bellingham and outside. A Bellingham home that sells for under $300,000 typically needs some work, such as a new roof. Outside the city in Whatcom County a home for under $300,000 is generally in better condition.
One impact from this is the change in where people buy homes. Between 2006 through 2014, around 47 percent of homes sold in Whatcom County were in Bellingham. Through the first three quarters of 2016, that percentage is down to 37 percent.
Experts expects this trend to continue for the next year, creating urban sprawl many have sought to prevent. There are builders that want to build more starter homes in Bellingham, but have little incentive to do so because of development costs.
Overall this is a healthy market in Bellingham, but there are a few pieces that are missing, particularly affordable housing as one of the missing pieces.
Across Whatcom County, the median price for homes sold was $316,400 in the third quarter, up 8.7 percent from a year ago. The number of homes sold totaled 923, up 0.7 percent.
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article105975817.html#storylink=cpy
A house sits for sale in the 2500 block of West Street on Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Columbia Neighborhood in Bellingham. Home values in the Columbia Neighborhood increased 14.6 percent last month compared to a year ago, the biggest jump in Bellingham.
While the home market is hot throughout Bellingham, it’s the older, more established neighborhoods that are seeing the biggest boost in home appreciation.
The Columbia, Lettered Streets and Cornwall neighborhoods in central Bellingham had the highest jumps in home appreciation compared to a year earlier, according to a report done by Zillow, an online real estate database company. Columbia’s median home value was estimated to be $324,400 in July, a 14.6 percent increase, while that estimate for the Lettered Streets rose 14.4 percent to $303,300. Cornwall Park had a 13.4 percent increase to $343,500.
The Bellingham neighborhoods with the highest and lowest median home values were at the bottom of the year-to-year growth list. The Edgemoor neighborhood home values rose 4.3 percent to $671,900, while the Meridian neighborhood rose 4.7 percent to $221,400.
11.3 percentage rise in Bellingham home values in the past year, according to Zillow.
Areas like Columbia are extremely popular right now because of a mix of factors that give them a good neighborhood feel. Those neighborhoods also are close to many different services, including businesses and a hospital.
Home values in Bellingham are climbing at a faster rate than in much of the nation. According to the Zillow report, home values are up 11.3 percent in the past year, while the national rate was 5 percent. A newly released report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, using different criteria, estimates that Whatcom County homes appreciated 7.3 percent in the second quarter, ranking 57th highest out of 259 metro areas.
One factor in the rise in home values is the lack of inventory. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Whatcom County’s available housing inventory was at 2.79 months in July, meaning that if no other homes or condominiums came on the market, the current inventory would last less than 3 months. A balanced real estate market typically has around 6 months of inventory.
The lack of inventory means this double-digit rise in home values is being driven by fundamentals rather than a speculative bubble, said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. An 11.3 percent increase in home values is unsustainable, but in this situation a slowdown in appreciation is usually a steady one rather than an abrupt drop.
Whatcom County home sales stuttered a little bit in July, with low inventory possibly a factor. Late summer/early fall may have slightly slower sales compared to the surge seen a year earlier.
When it comes to Bellingham home rentals, Zillow shows some surprising trends. Overall in Bellingham, rent actually fell 0.3 percent in July compared to a year ago, with the median rent settling at $1,434 a month. The median rent price takes in all possible residential property, such as apartments, houses and co-ops.
Gudell said rental markets typically go through a period of rising rents, then flatten out as more units are built. That seems to be taking place in Bellingham, which has been adding hundreds of apartments units in recent years.
Topping the list for rental rate increases is Samish Hill, which is on the east side of Interstate 5 near Lake Padden. Rents in that neighborhood rose 8.4 percent to a median amount of $2,104. Samish is one of two Bellingham neighborhoods with a median rent topping $2,000 a month; the other is Edgemoor, which rose 1 percent to $2,462 a month.
Gudell expects the rise in home values to slow down in the second half of 2016 into early 2017. The recent sharp increases in value might create a situation where some buyers are priced out of the market and will stick to renting until the market corrects itself.
“Right now it is a good seller, bad buyer market,” Gudell said.
|Neighborhood||Median home values||YOY||Median rent||YOY|
|Alabama Hill||$353,000||10.4%||$ 1,674||3.7%|
In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising, some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are five of those reasons:
1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:
- The buyer who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
- The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers
Recent studies have shown that 89% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 20% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
3. Results Come from the Internet
Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?
- 44% on the internet
- 33% from a Real Estate Agent
- 9% from a yard sign
- 1% from newspaper
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.
5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $210,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $249,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $39,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.