6 Reasons to Celebrate National Homeownership Month

Our homes are so much more than the houses we live in. For many, they’ve also become our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe harbors in which we’ve weathered the toughest moments of a global pandemic. Today, 65.6% of Americans call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.

June is National Homeowership Month

As National Homeownership Month gets underway this June, homeowners have every reason to celebrate. A survey by Gallup just ranked real estate as the best investment you can make for the eighth year in a row. However, unlike other investment options, the benefits of owning a home aren’t purely financial. Here are the top ways Americans are winning by owning a home.

Non-Financial Benefits:

  1. Civic Participation: Owning a home is owning a part of your neighborhood. Homeowners have a stronger connection to their neighborhoods and are more committed to volunteer work and other ways to get involved.
  2. Pride of Ownership: Owning a home is having a space that is uniquely yours. You can customize it to your personal liking and make it reflect your personality and values.
  3. A Safe Space: Owning a home gives you a sense of security and privacy – two things that have become even more valuable as we’ve tackled the challenges of the recent health crisis.
    Financial Benefits:

Financial Benefits:

  1. Forced Savings: Owning a home builds equity. Your equity grows with each payment you make toward your mortgage. This form of forced savings can be used down the road to help you accomplish your biggest financial goals.
  2. Appreciation: Owning a home is making an investment that steadily gains value, and experts project home values will continue to rise in the years to come.
  3. Stability: Owning a home means having better control over your future housing payments. Over the years, a mortgage stays relatively steady, but rent costs continue to rise.

Bottom Line

If you own your home, take time this June to celebrate the ways homeownership has added value to your life. If you hope to become a homeowner this year, connect with one of our local experts today to take the first steps toward achieving your goal. We’ve been guiding home buyers and sellers since 1961.

Source: Keeping Current Matters, June 2021. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice.

Smarter Open Houses with Spacio & Patterson-Schwartz

Patterson-Schwartz is pleased to announce paperless open house registration through the Spacio app! This new, digital process provides a smarter experience for open house visitors and Patterson-Schwartz agents. Registrant information is gathered instantly and more accurately than the manual sign-in process, while automated follow-up ensures the interest in the open house never loses its momentum.

“Spacio enables agents to efficiently and seamlessly connect with potential buyers long after the doors to the open house close. Digitally collecting visitor data also eliminates paperwork and the use of QR code technology provides a touchless aspect. The experience is better, greener, and safer for all involved.”

Justin Kierstead, Director of Marketing at Patterson-Schwartz

Maximizing the open house opportunity

While the pandemic put restrictions on traditional open house activity in 2020, the local real estate market is experiencing a return to interest in in-person tours of homes in 2021. According to the National Association of REALTORS, open houses continue to be a frequently used source in the home search process among buyers.

The partnership with Spacio allows Patterson-Schwartz agents to make the most of the open house opportunity. The app is easily accessible via web and mobile devices and integrates with many agents’ lead capture and follow-up tools.

The app’s top features also make it a great piece of technology for today’s fast-paced and safety-minded market.

Each open house event generates its unique URL or QR code, which, when shared with visitors, allows for touchless sign-in on individual devices. These URLs and QR codes can also be shared in advance and save time through pre-registration. And as soon as the open house closes, registrants receive automated follow-up information and can connect with the agent at the click of a button.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this app to our agents,” says Patterson-Schwartz Senior Vice President, Business Development & Corporate Strategist, and Greenville Sales Manager, Donna Greenspan. “Open houses have long been a mainstay to real estate sales, and we love introducing new technology into the experience without sacrificing the personal touch.”

About Us

Celebrating 60 years of service, Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate is Delaware’s largest independent REALTOR® with nine offices and over 450 full-time Sales Associates. We offer a full range of services that include residential home sales, purchase and rental, relocation services, and property management. We invite you to connect with us when you’re ready to partner with a local real estate expert.

5 Tips for Making a Successful Offer

Today’s real estate market clearly has high home buyer interest and low housing inventory. With so many buyers competing for a limited number of houses for sale, it’s more important than ever to know the ins and outs of making a confident and competitive offer. Here are five keys to success for this important stage in the home buying process.

1. Listen to Your Real Estate Advisor

An article from Freddie Mac offers guidance on making an offer on a home today. Right off the bat, it points out how emotional this can be for buyers and why your trusted agent can help you stay focused on the most important things:

“Remember to let your home buying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

Your real estate professional should be your primary source for answers to the questions you have when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Understand Your Finances

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to get pre-approved for a loan early in the home buying process. Only 44% of today’s prospective home buyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. It shows sellers you’re a serious and qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge if you enter a bidding war.

3. Be Ready to Move Quickly

According to the Realtors Confidence Index, published monthly by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property sale today receives over three offers and is on the market for just a few weeks. These are both results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and vigilant in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to submit an offer as quickly as possible.

4. Make a Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t submit an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Be a Flexible Negotiator

After submitting an offer, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive market, it’s important to stay nimble throughout the negotiation process. You can strengthen your position with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Freddie Mac explains that there are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego:

Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

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Bottom Line

Today’s competitive landscape makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Connect with one of our local experts to make sure you rise to the top along the way. We’ve been guiding home buyers and sellers since 1961.

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

This Old House

Contributing blogger Charlie Schwartz, II, shares real estate insight steeped in family tradition in the January 2021 Schwartz Report

My father was fond of dispensing real estate bromides in the form of little parables that more often than not had snappy punch lines.   They often left the receiver scratching their head trying to winnow out what he was intending.  For example, take these two which are particularly appropriate to today’s inventory starved seller’s market:  “You can’t sell fruit from an empty wagon”; or, “You wouldn’t go to Happy Harry’s if Happy Harry didn’t have anything on the shelf.”  By which he meant to charge us with the need to urge more sellers to put their homes on the market NOW! For a buyer’s market when prices were too high and showing activity stagnant, there was this one: “Too much weight stops the freight.” That generates images of a little steam engine struggling to pull a heavy load up an impossible incline much like a seller trying to get more for his property than the current market will bear.

To a buyer, most appropriately to a first time buyer, there’s this gem:  “Never buy a home on a road with a line down the middle of it.” This gets at the three most important things about residential real estate, location, location and location. Highway departments put lines on roads with significant traffic counts, don’t they? So stay away from them. Here’s one that will need some explaining. It gets to the subject at hand:  “Never buy a home that is older than you are.” This seems like the most improbable dictate of them all. It might be difficult to follow especially in our three state market area where many homes date well into the last century and beyond.

photo scanned from “Houses, The Illustrated Guide to Construction, Design and Systems” by Henry Harrison

Here he was advising that you not take on more of a fixer upper than your age, finances, temperament and or experience will allow. A historic home, one full of “character”, which may have been the former residence of some important family, might just be a project that you take on at your peril, a bridge too far. The illustration above is one of 56 that appear in the first reference book that I bought after starting in the business. Houses, The Illustrated Guide to Construction, Design and Systems by Henry Harrison was published in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors in 1973 and many sections, particularly those dealing with classic home architecture, are still valid today. Want to know the difference between a Cape Cod Colonial and a Cape Ann Colonial or a Dutch Colonial and a Salt Box Colonial; it’s in there. You will find a Swiss Chalet and a Spanish Villa as well.

When you consider that European settlers began constructing homes on the Atlantic Seaboard in the early 1600’s and that many of those dwellings survive in one state of repair or another to this day, it’s not difficult to fathom the appeal of owning such a place. Perhaps fond memories linger of the This Old House show on WHYY where the team came to the rescue of a historic treasure.

But remember the lighthouse keeper is also responsible for the light house’s upkeep.

You will also meet an interesting and interested group of people who may at any moment become your not-so-silent partners in the endeavor. This is especially true if you have any changes in mind.  Imagine something as simple as repainting the house in the exact same color that it has been for years and having to get someone’s approval to do it. A seller of mine who was the proud owner of a 200 plus year old farm house on the historical register referred to these preservationists as the “hysterical review committee”.  That farmhouse is still there but the new owners started with not just “wide pine floors and cast iron latch door handles, horsehair plaster walls and antique wallpaper.” They also got “…windows that won’t close, sagging rafters and old water stains on cracked ceilings…” and “…an electrical system that consists of well-fed rats physically carrying tiny baskets of electricity to the lamps and appliances…”  a reference no doubt to the knob and tube wiring. The preceding quotes are taken from Kris Frieswick’s “Historic Home Horror Show” that appeared in a MANSION section of the Wall Street Journal this past December.

Owning a historic home will make you proud but also be prepared to become the museum’s curator, the lighthouse’s keeper and as Kris Frieswich advises:  “Put the following professionals on retainer:  A master plumber, an electrician and a furnace specialist.” You might also throw in a master mechanic, carpenter and cabinet maker. And before you choose your team ask each of them, what is the oldest historic home they have ever worked on. If they can describe their experience positively and without breaking down they’re keepers.

About Patterson-Schwartz: A Sixty Year Legacy

Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate opened for business on December 1, 1961, when William D. Patterson, Charles E. Schwartz and a small group of associates left the firm of Hanby, Patterson-Schwartz, Inc., Realtors to form their own company. The fledgling group began business in a semi-detached house at 1013 Washington Street in Wilmington, Delaware, with a staff of just 10 people. Today Patterson-Schwartz has grown to a sales team and corporate staff of over 400 strong and has expanded to nine locations that stretch from Brandywine Hundred to the Delaware Beaches.

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Content by Charlie Schwartz, II ©2021. Visit charlieschwartz.com for more Schwartz Report content.

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