Thomas Beauchemin's Blog
Although it may seem like putting the cart before the horse, a strong case can be made for purchasing your retirement home before your golden years. In fact, with some deft financial planning, it may be worthwhile to buy your retirement home decades in advance. That may seem counterintuitive, but maybe other folks have been doing it backward. Whether you are a Millennial, Gen Xer, or Baby Boomer, the best time to plan ahead is right now. Consider these strategies.
Why Buying Now Saves Retirement Dollars
The Gen X crowd was born between 1965-1979, making them 40- and 50-somethings. Those are generally prime financial years. In many cases, they’re nearing the end of a mortgage and are probably enjoying the fruits of many years of savings. This means having equity and resources at their disposal to make a move on a property now.
The argument for paying off an existing home loan or doubling-up if it’s reasonably low rests on data that the home values continue to rise. Consider these incremental increases in median home sales pricing.
The median price routinely topped $300,000 in 2019, and the robust economy, coupled with an inventory shortfall, is expected to drive prices upward. If you were to have purchased your retirement home just 10 years ago, your savings would have amounted to nearly $100,000, plus lower interest payments. Those are real retirement dollars.
Why Buying Your Retirement Home First Makes Sense
One of the strategies savvy Millennials are employing is to purchase an “investment property” rather than a primary residence first. That may seem like thinking way outside the box, but the math and lifestyle considerations can make it a smart play.
This demographic runs between 23 and 38 years old, and they have grown up in a vastly different culture than their predecessors. Some are straight out of college struggling with student loan debt, and even the top end of the age bracket has members still evolving their careers in many cases. These factors tend to position Millennials for ongoing relocation as they take advantage of emerging opportunities. Rather than be burdened with buying and selling a home, it’s easier to rent.
Financially sharp Millennials, among others, have purchased properties in culturally rich areas that lend themselves to college students and tourism. The strategy is to enlist the help of a real estate professional who oversees renting, upkeep, and allow the asset to pay for itself. In many cases, it may even yield a profit. When retirement age arrives, there can be ample revenue to do a full remodel and just pay the taxes while you collect a pension or social security.
Although buying a retirement home prior to punching out for the last time may seem odd at first, it’s in your best interest to run the numbers both ways. Consider all the moving parts and detailed costs to make an informed decision about your best time to but a retirement home.
As a seller, you want to make the right improvements to allow your home to sell fast and at a good price. Many sellers end up making unnecessary improvements to their homes in an effort to sell. It’s important to know what improvements will actually make a difference in how your home is sold. Read on for more tips.
What Do Buyers Expect
This is a broad question because it depends on a variety of factors. First, a buyers expectations dictates what they’re looking for. Is a buyer looking for a fixer upper or does the buyer want a move-in ready house? What buyers see also greatly depends on a few factors including the time of year, the location of the home, how hot the market is, and how much inventory is available. Your home will sell based on what kind of real estate market climate it’s in.
Refresh Your Flooring
Buyers see the floors as soon as they get in the door of a home. It’s what either adds to or detracts from the house. Old creaky floors certainly won’t add to the appeal of your home. It’s one less thing a buyer will have to worry about before they move into a house, making it a great improvement.
In the same realm as flooring, you should be aware of the quality of your carpets. Do they need to be ripped up? Should you have your carpets professionally cleaned? If you have simple carpets over hardwood floors, this isn’t much of a concern. Wall-to-wall carpeting is where this is a major concern.
Upgrading your appliances will always be worth your investment. Buyers love to know that a home is equipped with exactly what they need and ready for them when they move in. No one wants to buy a home knowing that the dishwasher or oven may need to be replaced at any moment.
Refresh The Walls And Ceilings
Putting a new coat of paint on your walls and ceilings will be very attractive to buyers. You want to avoid buyers seeing things like smoke and grease stains. The wear and tear of everyday living can cause scuffs and scratches to occur on the walls. Fresh paint can really help to fix these cosmetic details.
The same thought process applies when it comes to wallpaper. If your wallpaper is old and tired, you may want to take it down and either replace it or paint the walls. Steering away from wallpaper may be the best practice, but if you can’t avoid it at least replace it.
Remember that buyers want to see themselves in the home. Personal style touches usually aren’t the best way to go when it comes to prepping your home. The more neutral and basic the changes you make, the better.
The short answer to our question of the day is...
We all know what we like when we see it.
New flooring can greatly increase your home's beauty in the eye of the beholder, yet it's impossible to know what kind of flooring will attract your home's next buyer. That said, here are the top selling points of three popular options.
Kudos for Carpeting
Carpet, especially if your home will be shown in the winter, is a popular way to add a comfortable look and feel to a home. Most often chosen for bedrooms, carpet can also hide a multitude of flaws beautifully and without a big dent in your savings. To spruce up a home for sale quickly, carpeting can be a great choice.
Now, for the possible drawbacks. Carpeting can cause issues for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. It doesn't last forever, and it usually won't be as stylish in five years as it is when first installed.
Tip: Going with one flooring choice throughout your main living spaces can produce an expansive, well put-together look.
Hoorahs for Hardwood
Hardwood flooring is a classic choice. Walk into a home with hardwood floor, and you get a sense of elegance, comfort and beauty. Over time, the essential oils of the wood offer a subtly aromatherapeutic and natural appeal. A well-maintained wood floor lasts for decades.
Yes, a lot of moisture can impact its look, and the kids and pets can scratch it. And refinishing is a big job involving chemical abrasion, although fans of the DIY method point out to us that there are wood and laminate refinishing kits on the market for under $100.
Tip: A great, cost-effective alternative is engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood comes prefinished, can be easily installed without a subfloor.
A Toast to Tile
Tile is as practical as it is handsome. Well-chosen tile will last the home's lifetime. The richer the hues, and the narrower the space left for grout to show, the easier tile is to clean.
In kitchens, either tile or laminate styled as tile works well. Expanses of tile are especially desirable in homes and condos throughout Florida and other warm states.
If you have tile, talk it up! Note its ease of cleaning, especially to potential owners with pets.
Tip: You can buy tile or laminate that looks like hardwood and have the hardwood look—without the refinishing needs.
Sellers Can Offer Options
If you're selling, and your flooring could use updating, considering offering to trim a little off your sale price, encouraging potential buyers to install their own choice of new flooring as desired. That offer itself might just make a deal happen.
Ready to submit an offer on a house? Before you present a proposal to a seller, it is important to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes" from a seller, as well as boost your chances of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three steps to follow before you submit a homebuying proposal.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
What good is a homebuying proposal if you lack the necessary financing to purchase a house? If you get pre-approved for a mortgage today, you can ensure that you will have the home financing that you need to make your homeownership dream come true.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several local banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer full details about a variety of mortgage options and help you select one that matches or surpasses your expectations.
Also, if you are unsure about the differences between assorted mortgage options, don't hesitate to ask for assistance. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to teach you about various mortgage options.
2. Define a "Competitive" Offer
If you want to acquire your ideal residence, it pays to put your best foot forward with your homebuying proposal. Because if you submit a "lowball" offer, you risk missing out on the opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A "competitive" offer generally accounts for the condition and age of a house, along with the current real estate climate. Thus, if you evaluate a wide range of housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer on any home, at any time.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area. This data can paint a picture of the current state of the local housing market.
Furthermore, find out how the home that you want to buy stacks up against similar houses that are available in your city or town. With this information, you can further refine your homebuying proposal.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-have, regardless of where you are on the homebuying journey. In fact, this housing market professional can help you can make the best-possible choices at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Prior to submitting a home offer, it often helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you determine exactly what to offer on a home. And if your initial proposal is rejected, a real estate agent will make it simple to reenter the housing market and discover your ideal home.
When it comes to submitting an offer on a house, it usually is a great idea to prepare. If you follow the aforementioned steps, you should have no trouble providing a homebuying proposal that is sure to capture a seller's attention.
The number one factor that affects the length of time a house remains on the market is curb appeal. That's the consensus of real estate professionals across the country, and was documented in a recent study by a well-known real estate website.
So if it's such a high priority, then why do a lot of homeowners skimp on that aspect of preparing their home for a fast sale? Sometimes it's a lack of awareness; other times it may be a lack of money. In extreme cases, it can be quite pricey to transform a home from "shabby" to "exquisite!" That's an unusual scenario, though, and in most cases the cost of enhancing your home's curb appeal should be both affordable and cost effective.
Where to Begin
The ideal visual (and visceral) effect you want to achieve can be summed up in ten words: fresh, well cared for, aesthetically pleasing, manicured, meticulous, updated, and clean. Perhaps a more concise way to describe the image you want to project to potential buyers is "pride of ownership." Once you're conveying that impression, people are going to make positive assumptions about the value and condition of your home. While it's not necessary that the front of your property and home look perfect in every imaginable way, it is important to pay attention to small details and overall impressions.
Some homeowners will see this goal as an overwhelming challenge, but it doesn't have to be. The first hurdle is to take care of the basics, such as making sure your lawn always looks freshly mowed and that there's no signs of peeling or faded paint on your home and garage. Pulling weeds, placing a few colorful hanging flower baskets in strategic locations, and trimming overgrown bushes and trees are also effective ways to make your property look more desirable.
An advantage of working with a seasoned real estate agent is that they can quickly size up the outside appearance of your home, and make cost-effective suggestions of ways to improve curb appeal and increase the attractiveness of your property. When it comes to selling your house in the shortest period of time, first impressions are vitally important.
One helpful tactic for getting your house noticed by house hunters and real estate agents is to take a walk (or drive) in your neighborhood to see how your curb appeal stacks up to other homes for sale in the area. Ideally, you want your home to look at least as good, if not better, than other nearby properties. Since potential buyers may be focusing their search on specific neighborhoods, such as yours, you'll be giving yourself more of an "inside track" in the real estate market by making sure your home compares favorably to others in the immediate area -- both inside and out.