Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until Spring to Buy a Home

The housing market recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Many experts agree the turnaround from the nation’s economic pause is playing out extremely well for real estate, so it’s framing up to be an ideal time to buy a home for those who are ready to make a purchase. Here’s a dive into some of the biggest wins for home buyers this season.

1. Mortgage Rates Are Low

In 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows more than a dozen times, falling below 3% for the first time ever. Continued low rates have set buyers up for significant long-term gains. realtor.com notes: “Given this means homes could cost potentially tens of thousands less over the lifetime of the loan.”Essentially, it’s less expensive to borrow money for a home loan today, a huge opportunity for buyers to capitalize on right now, before rates start to rise.

2. Buying Is More Affordable Than Renting

This trend toward low mortgage rates has made the typical monthly payment (including principal and interest) less expensive for buyers. According to realtor.com:“Over the past year, many counties have seen the difference between the cost to purchase a home compared to the cost to rent a home improve toward favoring buying a home.”Buying a home versus renting one may be a game-changer, as it amplifies long-term savings for homeowners. When paying a mortgage, as opposed to paying rent, that money is reinvested back in your favor. Instead of contributing to your landlord’s savings, you’re contributing to your own net worth. This is a term called equity, and it is one of the biggest financial benefits of owning a home.

3. Equity Is Growing

According to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity, and 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a tremendous amount of forced savings for homeowners.With this much equity in place for the typical homeowner, the chance of the market seeing a rush of foreclosures is not likely. Today’s homeowners have many options to avoid foreclosure, such as selling their homes and leveraging that equity to protect their investment. As a buyer, you can rest assured that your homeownership investment is a sound one, and foreclosures are not expected to dominate the market as they did when the housing bubble burst over 10 years ago

4. Home Prices Are Appreciating

According to leading experts, home prices are forecasted to continue appreciating. Today, many experts are re-forecasting their projections in an upward direction, anticipating home prices to continue rising through 2021. Knowing home values are increasing while mortgage rates are so low should help you feel confident that buying a home this year is advantageous from a price perspective, and a strong long-term investment.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering buying a home, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates. Let’s connect to assess your changing needs and set you up for success in the home buying process.

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Source: “Things to Consider When Buying a Home” Winter 2021 edition, courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

PSA Turkey Drive

Jennifer Jamieson of PSA Greenville

We are so thankful for our office admins who not only keep our day-to-day running smoothly but help spearhead many of our fundraising efforts. Hats off to Jennifer Jamieson in the Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate Greenville Center for coordinating our PSA “Fill the Freezer” Turkey Drive benefitting the Sunday Breakfast Mission. This 2 day collection effort resulted in donations of 28 turkeys and over $25 from the PSA family.

The Sunday Breakfast Mission, a local charity based out of Wilmington, Delaware, provides care and support to many homeless, hurting, and hungry men, women, and children. Active fundraising provides shelter, meals, clinics, and many more services for these individuals.

Learn how you can help SBM this holiday season by visiting their website.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a worldwide generosity movement and a reminder that non-profit organizations need your support, especially during a year that has brought a number of challenges to in-person fundraising.

Patterson-Schwartz has a long history of supporting Toys for Tots, ramping up donation efforts during our annual company holiday party where a new, unwrapped toy was collected as guests enter the event space. This year, in lieu of a large gathering, we spread the word to our agents, staff, and friends who made sure the collection bins at each of our offices were full to overflowing over the weeks of our donation effort.

Overflowing Toys For Tots box!

In early December, Santa’s helpers from Toys for Tots Delaware arrived bright & early to pick up the toy collection that was so generously donated by the PSA family. This year we honored Giving Tuesday by finding a different way to support our neighbors in need over the holiday season.

Click here to see how Patterson-Schwartz is making a difference in the community

59 years and a few additions later…

What started with a staff of just 10 people in a semi-detached house at 1013 Washington Street in Wilmington, Delaware, has grown into a home for over 400 strong with nine locations that stretch from Brandywine Hundred to the Delaware Beaches. Today we are thrilled to be entering our 60th year of serving the area’s real estate needs. Happy Anniversary PSA! 🎉

7 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Winter

All seasons affect your home, but perhaps no other season impacts it more than winter. The cold temperatures, wind, snow and freezing rain combine to make it a season not to be ignored.

To ensure you do not have any unnecessary repair costs this winter, follow these seven simple steps while preparing for winter. They are short and sweet—and can save you money in the long run.

Preparing a home for the winter can sound overwhelming, but these tips can usually be done within a weekend, and you will be better prepared for whatever weather comes your way.

1. Clean Your Gutters

You should do this every season, but right before winter might be the most critical time. If your area gets a lot of snow, your home will have to bear that additional weight. If your gutters get too much weight on them, they could be pulled from your home.

But perhaps the most important reason is that if you don’t clean your gutters, your home could get water damage. As snow and ice melts and refreezes overnight, the devastation inflicted on your home could cost thousands of dollars. Make sure the water has somewhere to go when it melts so it is kept well away from your house.

2. Re-caulk Your Windows and Doors

Re-caulk your windows and doors each year to prevent water damage and heat loss. A caulk gun and tube exterior caulk will cost you around $20, and you can easily do it in an afternoon.

To be clear, you should only caulk the outside perimeter of your windows and doors’ molding. Use exterior silicone caulk because it is less affected by extreme temperatures—meaning it won’t shrink and expand as the seasons change.

To caulk your windows and doors, cut the exterior caulking tube at a small angle using your caulk gun (most caulking guns have an internal blade for this). Insert the tube into the gun and crank the handle until the circular pad is pressed tightly to the tube.  Caulking should start to come out of the hole you cut once enough force is applied.

Next, apply a thin line of caulk across the window or door molding to your house. Using a latex-gloved finger, lightly press down on the caulk to spread it out so it fills all of the tiny cracks and crevices until it is smooth.

3. Get Your Roof Inspected

This step is probably the most ignored yet most important step when preparing a house for winter. If you are unable to access your home’s roof, you can get it inspected by a contractor to look for loose or broken shingles.

Any contractor you hire to do an inspection should also be able to do any minor repairs in an afternoon (replacing shingles is usually a quick process). It might cost you more than you would like to spend, but neglecting it for an entire winter could easily lead to even more repair bills down the road.

Summer rainstorms are notorious for wreaking havoc on a roof, so it’s important you repair any damage before your roof gets its toughest test: packed snow.

4. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

As you learned in high school, warm air rises. Reversing the direction of each of your fans will create an updraft, which in turn will push down any heated air pressed against your room’s ceiling. By keeping warm air circulating, you’ll use heat more efficiently, which should cut down on energy costs. Even if you don’t have any rooms with high ceilings, do this one as soon as the weather turns.

To reverse your fan’s direction, make sure the fan is off, then click the switch above the blades. If you have a remote-controlled fan, you should see an option for reversing the fan’s direction on the remote.

5. Get Your Chimney Inspected

To keep your family and home safe, get your chimney inspected and cleaned before each burning season—even if wood is not your primary source of heat, and you only use your fireplace for aesthetic reasons.

When you burn wood, deposits of creosote build up on the inside of your chimney. Creosote is cancerous and highly flammable. When enough of it builds up in your chimney, the smoke from a fire can cause it to ignite, which in turn can cause a chimney fire. Many home fires are caused by chimneys.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider installing a steel liner, which will help protect your home in the event of a chimney fire.

6. Drain the Fuel From Your Small Gas-Powered Engines

Gasoline doesn’t last forever; in fact, it decomposes quickly. When this happens in a small engine (such as a lawn mower or weed eater), it can cause the engine’s carburetor to gunk up, which means you may not be able to get it started again when winter is over.

To prevent this, you can either add a fuel stabilizer or let the machine burn through all of the gas by using it one last time in late summer/early fall and letting it run until it turns off. If you do this, your machines will last longer and start much more easily in the spring.

7. Check Your Insurance Coverage

Right before winter is a good time to check your insurance coverage. If you have done any renovations over the summer that could add value to your home, make sure the added value is covered by your policy in case anything happens in the winter. You should also check what your provider offers for things like roof and ice damage to see if you may want to add additional coverage.

The Bottom Line

Preparing a home for winter isn’t a marathon, but it does take a little bit of forethought. However, if you take the seven simple steps above, you will likely spend far less on maintenance than you used to.

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2020. All rights reserved.