Should You Buy a House During the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Should You Buy a House During the Coronavirus Outbreak

For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic has created a time of great financial uncertainty. For others, it’s potentially a time of great opportunity. Many real estate insiders and experts have been commenting about the opportunities that exist for investors and homebuyers in a market that is ever-changing.

Shark Tank star and real estate icon, Barbara Corcoran, is the latest to weigh in, telling TMZ that, “Now’s the time to score a steal,” they said. “She told us buyers who are willing to pay special attention to details can find properties discounted by as much as 25%. She’s seen it happen in NYC, and says that kinda deal won’t be uncommon due to the harsh economic reality facing millions of Americans. She says if sellers are willing to list right now during a pandemic, it’s likely because they’re desperate to unload the property. That adds up to great deals…if you’re able to buy now.”

So, if you’re looking to make a move right now, and buy a Fort Collins or Loveland home, what do you need to know and what should you be looking for?

Distressed properties

Yes, it’s crass to say that one person’s loss is another’s gain. But the reality is that some of those whose jobs and/or finances can’t withstand an economic downturn may end up losing their homes. It’s not out of line to think that there is going to be a new wave of foreclosures related to job loss and financial hardship, even with mortgage companies and banks offering assistance. Unemployment will help, as will the government’s economic stimulus package…but, it only provides a small amount of assistance that may cover one month’s mortgage payment or a few bills, and not much else. 

Between the low mortgage rates and the potential for home prices to come back down if there is a glut of distressed properties that hit the market, there could be a good buying window for buyers.

Investment properties

This could also be a good time to consider real estate as an investment tool—especially in light of the recent stock market drop and those low mortgage rates.

“With historic low rates, it is a good time to consider investing in real estate,” Victoria Shtainer, a real estate agent and expert at Compass in New York, told Realtor.com. “Low rates give you more buying power, and we have been negotiating amazing deals for our buyers. Given the current volatility in the stock market, investors are reassessing asset allocations in their portfolio, and considering how real estate may fit into this from an asset allocation standpoint.”

Realtor.com added that buying an investment property “can be a valuable asset and a good way to generate passive income, and it might also provide tax write-offs and incentives that you wouldn’t get on other instruments.”

For a historical perspective on real estate vs. stocks, check out this piece by Bigger Pockets, which provides a ton of data points as well as this nugget: “Throughout modern history, residential real estate has actually boasted an extremely high rate of return with low risk. “

A few things to keep in mind when buying now

Given the current situation around the coronavirus quarantine, the way you buy a home will likely be different. You can’t expect open houses or, in many cases, in-person home tours, right now (Although, you’ll likely walk through a home you wish to purchase with an inspector during your escrow process.). Your escrow timeline may also be impacted.

“I recommend working with your lender early, even before the offer is accepted,” Beatrice de Jong, consumer trends expert at Opendoor, told Business Insider. “The home buying process is taking longer than usual, and you could end up waiting around if you don’t get a jump start.”

The delay is partially due to the fact that lenders have been inundated with refinancing applications from existing homebuyers, but also because of work-from-home mandates that limit what some of the professionals involved in the process can do. 

“Yes, the influx of refinancing applications has overwhelmed lenders — but that’s not the only reason the process is slowing down,” they said. “Many companies’ employees are now working from home, which sometimes hinders them from working as quickly. 

That can affect multiple aspects of the escrow process, like the appraisal. “The appraiser physically has to go out to the house…Many of them are actually asking to have quarantine clauses built in,” Andy Taylor, General Manager of Credit Karma Home, told Business Insider. “They want to know that the home they’re going to isn’t under quarantine because someone there is sick from this virus that’s going around.”

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

How to Sell Your Home Now

How to Sell Your Home Now

Everything has changed in the real estate world, seemingly overnight. The incredibly hot market of the past couple years has taken a hit as the coronavirus has made its way across the country, and the world. But homes are still selling. Not with the same frequency, but people still have to have to sell. 

If you’re one of them, and considering selling your Fort Collins or Loveland home, you’re probably wondering what to do right now—especially since in-person home tours aren’t happening. These tips will help you get your home to stand out and get it sold even when others aren’t moving.

Spring for enhanced virtual tools

It might cost you a little more, but creating a virtual experience for your home is as close as you can get right now to showing buyers what it would be like to walk through the place in person. 

“As we’ve suddenly found ourselves adapting to a new normal, the meaning of home has never meant so much to each and every of us,” Robin Brown of the Brown Home Team at Coldwell Banker Apex Realtors in North Texas, told us. “Our clients rely on us to help them make their move while still finding ways to keep them safe. The use of immersive 3D Virtual Tours and Video Walk Through’s are critical tools to allow home buyers to Shelter AND Home Shop in place.”

Brown’s newest listing in McKinney, TX is a 4,903-square-foot former model home on a corner greenbelt lot, and the residence’s ample proportions, open floorplan, and designer touches come to life on the video tour and 3D walk through.”

Paint a picture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it’s the words that move you. Brown’s McKinney listing also includes a detailed note from the sellers of the home in the listing. This gave the sellers an opportunity to talk at length about the features of the home and the memories they made there, and speak to details that buyers might not know about, even if they did an in-person tour. 

Take great photos

Having great listing photos pre-quarantine was important. Now it’s even more so. If you’re willing to have a photographer in your home at this time, your agent should be able to recommend someone who will not only take great shots, but also practice enhanced safety measures in your home. If you’d rather take your own photos, heed these tips to get the best shots you can.

Choose a great agent

This is a challenging time for real estate, but great agents rise to the top. Those who have been in the business a while have weathered cyclical markets. Even though this current situation is new to all of us, it’s more important than ever to work with an agent who is able to adjust to market conditions and find new ways to market property. 

It’s great that your brother’s girlfriend’s next-door neighbor’s cousin twice removed just got his real estate license right before we started the quarantine, but, frankly, this is no time to go with someone brand new. If you’re selling now, you need to be able to depend on the experience, expertise, and network of your agent. 

Listen to your real estate agent

This is no time to go rogue. Your agent has your best interest at heart, and they want to get your house sold just like you do. You may not love the idea of packing up your basement full of Hulk Hogan memorabilia, decluttering your crowded kitchen, or repainting the blood-red walls of your master bedroom, but if your agent tells you to do so, listen. Every tip your agent bestows is intended to make your home more saleable. Keep that in mind when you’re doubting the effort you have to put in or worrying that the paint color your agent recommended isn’t exactly your taste.

Message me if your thinking about selling your Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

The Best Ways to Improve Your Air Quality and Ward off the Coronavirus

The coronavirus and its nasty attack on the lungs is on everyone’s minds. And, as we take increasingly careful measures to keep ourselves safe by staying home, many of us are thinking about ways we can improve the air quality within our walls. While there is no evidence that better indoor air quality can aid in the fight against the coronavirus, we know that poor air quality can exacerbate asthma and allergies and potentially worsen the conditions for people afflicted with the coronavirus. And, “Air pollution can boost levels of inflammation in the lungs, making patients more vulnerable to other infections,” said Cleveland.com.

Here are several things you can do to improve the air quality in your home now.

Change your air filters

Do you change the air filters in your home every 30 days? That’s what many filter companies recommend. If it’s been a while, go ahead and order yourself some filters. And get the good ones. 

“Quality air filters improve your indoor air by eliminating more contaminant particles like pollutants and allergens, as well as keeping dust build-up down; more than standard filters can,” said HVAC.com. “A good quality air filter can also improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment through contaminant reduction.”

Get an air purifier

“Air purifiers usually consist of a filter, or multiple filters, and a fan that sucks in and circulates air,” said Good Housekeeping. “As air moves through the filter, pollutants and particles are captured and the clean air is pushed back out into the living space.”

There are other reasons to consider air purifiers. “Beyond respiratory concerns, there’s also growing evidence that simple in-room purifiers can clean air enough to boost cognitive development and academic performance,” said Curbed. “A remarkable study was conducted in LA after the Aliso Canyon methane gas leak, where plug-in air purifiers were installed in businesses and schools within a five-mile radius of the gas facility as part of the mitigation process. These were larger, industrial-sized units that run about $700, but just adding them to school classrooms improved test scores, the study authors say—the equivalent of cutting class size by a third. This alone seems like an excellent argument for putting at least one purifier in the same room as your child’s brain.”

Get some plants

Certain kinds of plants can help you purify the air and lower your stress level. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, which was designed to find ways to clean the air in sealed space stations, plants can be effective to absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen into the air, and remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene,” said Yahoo. “These chemicals can cause irritation to the skin, ears, eyes, nose, and throat, as well as some cancers, according to the EPA. The study suggests that at least one plant per 100 square feet can effectively clean the air.”

NASA picked several plants for their detoxification qualities, including: The snake plant, which can “release oxygen at night;” peace lily, which “produces fragrant flowers all summer long, and effectively removes ammonia, formaldehyde, trichlorobenzene, and benzene from the air;” bamboo palm, a “fast-growing houseplant” that will “add moisture to the air in the dry winter months and… thrives in indirect sunlight;” and parlor palm, which is “perfect for new plant parents” because it “requires minimal maintenance.”

Get a salt lamp

Not only do they bring a bit of sparkle and nature into your space, but Himalayan salt lamps are also thought to potentially have healing properties. “Combined with a light source inside the lamps, the chunks of salt produce negative ions, which yield positive effects on indoor air,” said The Jerusalem Post. “Placing a Himalayan salt lamp in every room of the home can reap several health and environmental benefits.”

Keep the house clean

“Vacuuming and dusting and cleaning surfaces more regularly to remove dust, particulates and other lung irritants, as well as prevent the spread of coronavirus,” said Cleveland.com.

Message me if your thinking about selling your Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

Family Home Improvement Projects You Can Do During the Quarantine

Things You Can Do to Help Your Property Appraise

All this quarantining making you want to fix up the house you’re stuck in? You are not alone. Despite the stay-at-home orders, the parking lot of our local Lowe’s is still packed every day! 

The good news is, you can order just about anything you need, and with all that family togetherness, you’ve got the manpower to get some stuff done. Here are some great projects to take on while the family is hunkering down together. 

Do your backsplash

Tiling a backsplash seems like it would be a complicated project, but it’s actually relatively easy, even for novices. Little kids can get involved, too, since there are so many different tasks involved, from measuring all the way to grouting. 

“If more involved renovations are on your to-do list, let the adults handle the removal of the old unit first,” said Home Jobs By Mom. “Then allow the kids to get creative with the new backsplash. If you’ve decided on a multi-colored mosaic backsplash, for example, the kids can work together to assemble the tiles on a sheet. This diy home improvement project not only replete with artistic flair but can be completed by one child or through family teamwork. If you think they are up for it, they can even assist in tile placement and grouting.”

Paint

Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable updates you can make to your home and it’s perfect as a family project. Be sure to lay down a drop cloth if you’re letting your kids paint with you, and take a little time first to show them some basic pointers so you don’t end up with drips. 

Paint the fence 

If your fence has seen better days, gather the fam and get some sun while you perk it up. “Have kids grab a brush and paint that picket fence white again, or update privacy fences with a color that matches or compliments your home,” said Quicken Loans.

Bring a piece of furniture to life

Have a tired old table, sideboard, or bookcase? Order some paint and splash on a pop of color to bring it to life. You can make an old piece feel brand new, and you’ll have the added benefit of feeling proud every time you walk past it.

Redo your kitchen cabinets

We’re not gonna lie. This is a doozy of a project to take on without professional training and extreme patience and diligence. But, you’ve definitely got the time on your hands now, so why not give those dingy cabinets a makeover. 

It’s not easy to get a smooth finish, even with a professional sprayer, so it’s probably best to keep the paintbrushes out of the little ones’ hands unless they’re painting an area that is not going to be easily seem—like the back of the cabinet boxes or underside of shelves. They’ll probably have fun with the sanding block, though, or can be assigned the job of wiping down the finishes after they’ve been sanded. They don’t need to know what a tedious job this is; If you package it right, they’ll think it’s a privilege!

Once you figured out who’s doing what, use some professional tips to get a pro quality look. “You don’t need to spray to get a smooth finish,” painting contractor John Dee told This Old House. “He often brush-paints cabinets anyway because it gives him more control and avoids the risk of paint spray ending up where it’s not wanted. (Surface prep is the same whether you spray or brush.) Brushing is time-consuming, he warns, and could take up to a couple of weeks to complete. But the result is a durable, glass-smooth finish that’s the equal of anything from a spray gun. ‘You just need to use the best materials and take the time to sand and do the brushwork right,’” he said.

Create a garden

“Creating a garden is a low-key renovation project for the whole family. It’s also combining science and art for a great learning experience,” said Isley’s Home Service. “Starting a garden helps your kids develop an appreciation and understanding of nature. And in this age of video games and smartphones, that’s a good thing. Find some decorative plants or even plant seeds for the front and/or backyards. Being able to eat what you grow always has an impact so go ahead, work together and have some fun.”

Build a playhouse

This is obviously a more involved DIY project, so maybe you don’t tackle this one unless someone in the family has some carpentry skills. If you do move forward, however, you can create something special that will hold lifelong memories for the kids. 

“They’ll have so much fun building something that is specifically for them to play in and they’ll learn a lot about carpentry along the way,” said Italian cabinet manufacturer, Aran Cucine. “Young children are obviously not be suited for dangerous tasks such as sawing lumber, but they’ll be able to help with measuring, painting and hammering with supervision.”

Message me if your thinking about selling your Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com