Single Homeowners – Love the Home You’re With

When you think of your ideal partner, what qualities do you begin to list off?

Tall? Great smile? Steady job?

How about – whether or not they’re a homeowner? released a survey of 500 unmarried respondents and found that 46% of singles nationwide believe a homeowner is more appealing than a non-homeowner. It’s also been noted that single women are the fastest growing group of home buyers today.

So if you’re single, and looking to purchase a home amongst other single homeowners, where could you travel to?

The top cities with single male homeowners:

  1. Detroit
  2. St. Louis
  3. Minneapolis
  4. Cleveland
  5. Pittsburg

The top cities with single female homeowners:

  1. Detroit
  2. Baltimore
  3. Charlotte NC
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Minneapolis

Who says you need to be married to own a home?

Three’s a Crowd: Married Homeowners and Roommates

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…roommates.

New data from Trulia shows that in 2018, 280,000 U.S. households included married couples living with a roommate. This rate has doubled since 1995 – which is the first year this data was ever tracked.

Trulia’s research found that every $100,000 increase in the median metro home value equates to a .25% increase of married couples with roommates.

Where is this happening?

It looks like the west coast is playing a larger role in these living situations. Trulia claims that “In housing markets with the highest rates of married couples living with roommates, including Honolulu and Orange County, the share is between four and five times the national rate.”

So, while it’s exciting to be a newlywed and planning the adventure of marriage, a roommate might alleviate the burden of mortgage payments for homeowners.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: SEO Strategy

Words – keywords – are pivotal. In order to show up in Google searches, you need to be using prominent keywords in your industry to stick out above the rest.

That’s where SEO strategy comes in. Search Engine Optimization is all about matching your keywords to the audience you want – in your case, real estate. And with 70% of customers preferring getting to know a company by the articles rather than advertising, it’s critical that you implement SEO into your social media and blog postings.

Here are a couple quick tips on SEO planning for your personal real estate brand:

Organize Keywords

Keywords are essentially the terms you want to show up in searches. Before sitting down and typing out your post, think about who you want to reach. Write down a list of keywords you want to rank and show up for on Google search pages.

Keyword Placement

Where you put your keyword is another very important step. For the page you’re trying to rank for (a blog post, perhaps), you’ll want to place the keyword in five areas. Below, they’re combined with the example keyword, “Boise Condos.”

  • The URL:
  • Page Title: The Top Boise Condos to Hit the Real Estate Market
  • Within the copy of the article: Usually with SEO, you’ll want to have the keyword sprinkled in 1-2% throughout the article. So if you have a 500 word blog post, you’ll want to write the keyword around 5 times.
  • When saving your images: boise_condos.jpg.
  • Image Alt Tag: usually on whatever platform you’re using to post, it’ll allow you type a description in a keyword box.

Keyword Synonyms

Before, Google would only consider ranking pages that had the exact keyword used in it. Now, Google will use synonyms as the same keyword – for example, “suburb” and “neighborhood.” It’s important to use a variation of the keyword, as it not only helps you and your ranking, but it helps your article sound less robotic.

When it comes down to it, SEO is a long-term game. You won’t see a dramatic change overnight. But, with consistency, and interaction between other blog posts and social media posts (commenting is another great key to link back to your brand!), you’ll be one of Google’s best friends.

Decluttering your Home to Spark Joy

It’s time for Marie Kondo to ask you, “Does this spark joy?”

Sometimes, organizing your home can be the very last thing you want to do. But it’s proven that an organized and decluttered home helps decrease stress – so why not start of this year right?

When you’re trying to sell what you no longer need, Craigslist is usually the top website on everyone’s list. However, there are plenty of other moving and decluttering apps to use on your next spring cleaning day!


This app will help you donate any of your unwanted clothes and accessories. ThredUp will send you a bag to fill with your donations; afterwards, you ship the bag for free by dropping it off at any Post Office or FedEx location – and once your bag has been processed, you’ll earn cash or credit for the items they’ve accepted. They’ll donate the ones they believe won’t resell.


A clever take on a garage sale, VarageSale brings it to you virtually. You sign up through Facebook and become connected to your “Community” – essentially the city you live in and are willing to buy/sell items.

You can sell anything from clothing items to furniture pieces – everything is categorized and easy for you to find. The app also has a messaging feature, so you’re able to talk with owners through the app and not have to give out your personal phone number.


If you’re not really willing to talk to strangers, Decluttr is the app for you when you’re trying to get rid of tech gadgets.

This app will help you downsize on CDs, DVDs, Blue-rays, video games, or books. You scan the barcodes of the items, and Decluttr will decide the price they’re willing to pay for. If you’re happy with the offer, they’ll send you packaging that will ship for free. While it might not bring you the most bang for your buck, it’s safe and easy.

May the Mortgages Be with You: Rates and the Market Place

What goes up, must come down.

At least, that’s what is predicted to happen to mortgage rates in the upcoming weeks.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average was at 4.46% during the week of January 31st. This was the first time in 2019 that we’ve seen a rise in rates – about one basis point compared to the previous week.

However, critics and professionals agree that a slower-growth economy seems to be underway. Fixed-rate mortgages follow the 10-year U.S. Treasury note; demand for assets like these seem to grow popular as investors believe a slow in economic growth is imminent.

While the slowdown might be a huge relief for potential homebuyers, the housing market is still seeing small inventory. So for now, it’s all about give and take.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Wire Fraud

Being tricked into doing something for a prank is one thing, but being tricked into wiring thousands of dollars to a scammer – that’s a completely different story.

As a real estate agent, it’s critical to help guide your client from falling into a trap of wire fraud. In 2017, the Internet Crime Compliant Center saw a 480% increase in the number of complaints filed last year in the real estate industry. The amount stolen in these wire transfers was a $19 million dollar difference than in 2016.

One way to secure your buyer’s confidence in the transaction, is to help educate them in identifying, avoiding, and reporting potential fraud.

Here are the top three ways to help protect your clients from a scammer:

Hacked Email Accounts

Instruct your buyers to pay attention to how the wire instructions are sent. It’s best to pay attention and only accept instructions that are secure and encrypted. If anything at all seems suspicious, directly call your title company.

Verify Transfers

Before your buyer sends the wire, urge them to verify the wire instructions that were sent – have them call the title company or closing agent.

Weary of Changes

It is very rare for instructions to change on a wire transfer – especially if the instructions are wanting the change to be taken care of immediately. If they receive any email or notification instructing them of a change, have them confirm with you (the real estate agent) or the title company.

While it’s unfortunate that wire frauds have climbed exponentially, there are still ways to combat it – and the best way is educating your clients.

Millennial Homebuyers – TLC for Fixer-Upper Homes

Everybody loves a good makeover show – What Not to Wear, The Biggest Loser, Love it or List it – but when it comes to doing the heavy lifting yourself, people run for the hills.

That is, most people run for the hills.

A recent poll released from Clever Real Estate surveyed 1,000 U.S. residents shopping for a home – and 67% of millennials said they would submit an offer on a property in need of major repairs. They are also the generation that completed the most home projects this past year.

The millennial generation has taken longer than most to enter into the real estate market. But while this generational group is entering home shopping later, becoming a homeowner is still their top priority. Clever’s survey found that 72% of millennials prioritize homeownership over marriage or having children.

What kind of homes are millennials looking for?

It seems as though millennials are 52% more likely to buy a multi-family property in comparison to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

They’re prioritizing safe neighborhoods and good schools – 38% of millennials say that safety is a top consideration. They are also 46% more likely than older generations to list school districts as the most important factor in shopping for a home.

Also, fixer-uppers. If they find one that fits within their other criterion, anyway. 

Todayland: Digital Mortgage Applications

With digital submissions, comes great responsibility.

Most companies – big and small – are moving towards the online and app-based mortgage application process. With most day-to-day activities and processes being digital, it would only make sense for the housing process to jump aboard.

The hope is for these online forms to help with the unease of mortgage applications – no longer are they stressful – they should be easy to fill out and quick to understand. The idea is that these online mortgage applications will create a faster process, which would also allow a quicker closing date.

Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, explains that “some lenders have an almost completely digital process, and some lenders have a partial digital process. But, ultimately, the industry as a whole, from application to underwriting and processing the application, is moving toward a digital structure.”

Creating a user-friendly experience and an app that provides guidance to an otherwise confusing process is another positive aspect to consider when applying through a digital platform.  

But who are using these new online platforms?

A recent poll from Branded Research found that men are more likely than women to contact lenders online. However, new homebuyers younger than 45 are also more likely than older homeowners to start the process online as well.

Those that have completed their home process through the new online platform seem to be relatively happy with the new switch. Sammie Jones of Hampton, Georgia, is one of the first to comment, saying that he “would do digital every time. It was that profound a difference. It made the mortgage process kind of enjoyable.”

Whether or not you’ve yet to file through a digital mortgage application, it looks like there’s a pretty good shot you’ll use it for your next house.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Understanding Co-Signing

With the majority of homebuyers coming from the millennial generation, they might be receiving a little help from parents or guardians to help them lock down their first home.

Because, you know, student debt might be one of the major hindrances for them.

But if a jointly held mortgage is the answer for your client to secure their dream home, it’s important that you be as clear and direct as possible as to what co-signing entails.

If your client asks you about co-signing, it’s important that you encourage them to speak to a lender or a financial planning professional before taking any action. Then feel free to share the following information with them:


As a co-signer, you are 100% responsible for the obligation. If for any reason the owner cannot make their mortgage payments, you will now be considered responsible for the payments.

Credit Score

Any delinquency will appear on the co-signers credit report.

Future Loans

The co-signed loan takes up part of your debt-to-income ratio and restricts your ability to borrow additional money in the future. If you have upcoming purchases – like a car – you might want to talk with your lender beforehand.

Remember, as a real estate agent, you should clarify that it remains the responsibility of the homebuyer and the co-signer to discuss this option with a lender or professional financial planner to understand fully the pros and cons of taking this route.

Great Scott! 2019 Smart Home Technology

When you were a little kid imagining futuristic worlds, what sort of technology were you visualizing?

Disney’s TV movie, Smart House, got a couple things right. While Pat, played by Katey Sagal portrayed the virtual assistant of the home, we now have Alexa or Google Home as our smart assistant. Did your childhood imagination include that?

CES 2019 – Las Vegas’ annual tech show – recently showcased thousands of high-tech products to update your home.

Here are the top smart home products shown at CES 2019 – and who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you to include a couple of these products in your next renovation.

Smart Assistant Accents

While most of us know Alexa or Google Assistant to be a visual product that is easily recognizable, Amazon and Google are creating stylish accent pieces that will help blend into the design of your home.

The Mui Smart Block can be controlled via voice and looks pretty. When being used, the LCD display will light up and interact with your voice.

Smart Mirror

This Google Assistant-embedded mirror will change your morning routine.  From Capstone Connected Home, this mirror allows you to ask it anything you would normally ask from Alexa or Google Home. You’ll be able to compose email and text messages from it – even by typing directly on the mirror!

Mood Lighting

The Apple HomeKit Eve Light Strip was the smart lighting to take the stage this year. The light strip comes with an adhesive on the back, so you can attach to various parts of your home – under your couch, shelves, or behind your TV screen can add that extra flair.