There’s No Place like the City

Toto’s definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Rural areas are dwindling as more and more residents move into cities. According to a recent report from Trulia, metros have seen a commanding growth in jobs and home prices, while rural areas have been dwindling.

While this trend began well before the recession, the study shows that the move to metro areas have increased in recent years. The theory comes from people withdrawing from isolated areas and gathering in more of a weightier employment center.

As most homebuyers have seen, this has put an incredible amount of pressure on the housing demand in cities. Trulia’s report found that home values in the largest metro areas from mid-2012 to mid-2018 grew 53.1%, whereas rural counties saw a 27.9% increase in home value.

A population rise in cities = a mismatched market for homebuyers. Home values have been steadily increasing in these metro areas, with very little construction making headway. Luxury homes seem to still be available, but homebuyers looking for starter homes in the city are feeling the pinch.

There’s no place like home – and to many – finding a home in the city has been quite the challenge.

A Rise in Home Value and a Latte, Please

Coffee: it does more than just help you get out of bed in the morning – it also helps your home value.

A recent study released by Harvard Business School found that when a Starbucks pops up in your neighborhood, your home can increase by 0.5% within a year.

The conclusions from the study pinpoint how the expansion of restaurants, bars, cafés, grocery stores, and Starbucks chains can be a sign of gentrification. However, the study argues that these openings don’t necessarily attract affluent residents – but rather, how these openings mesh in with the neighborhood.

The study explains, “The most natural hypothesis to us is that restaurants respond to exogenous changes in neighborhood composition, not that restaurant availability is driving neighborhood change.”

If you’re a realtor, or in the process of thinking about selling your home, it might be worth seeing what new construction might be coming near the neighborhood. It’s important to know how to market your home to potential buyers, and if the neighborhood is changing, your approach might need to change.

And who knows? You might just see a spike in caffeine and home value.

2020 Brings Clear Vision – and a New Real Estate Market

It seems as though economists are quite convinced of their upcoming vision for the year 2020.

The housing market is still a seller’s paradise – with slow construction and aging-in-place homeowners, buyers are having to seriously compete for the house of their dreams.

According to real estate economists surveyed by Zillow and Pulsenomics LLC, the industry won’t switch to a buyer’s market until at least 2020. About 75% of 100 economists agree with the statement.

Some signs that the market is still favoring sellers: inventory dropping and home value appreciation rising. The data also shows that home values are expected to rise to an additional 5.9% at the end of 2018.

We’ll have to wait to see if their predictions are correct; but as for now, it looks like sellers will be holding the cards for a little while longer.

Millennials, Who? Gen Z, the New Crowd in Real Estate

Drum roll please….there’s a new generation entering the housing market: Generation Z. Those born between 1995 and 2010 already comprise 21% of the American population, according to Zillow – and many of them already have their eye on the housing market. 62% of Gen Zers believe owning a home is a key staple of the American Dream.

So what generational trends will the housing market see?

For both commercial and home real estate, we’ll see things like: bigger communal spaces, smart home technology, minimalistic design, and eco-friendly construction.

Gen Zers are wanting spaces that actually serve a purpose other than just being. They’re looking for retail stores to offer opportunities to build relationships – through social media and in-house events – rather than just being looked at as another number.

In terms of office space, those that find themselves in Generation Z want less visual clutter and more opportunity to destress – think “quiet areas” and meditation rooms.

While Generation Z still doesn’t surpass the buying power of Millennials in real estate, developers are looking ahead – and already tailoring changes.

Buyer / Seller Guides – What are Closing Costs?

At Alliance Title, we take pride in providing the best overall closing experience for our agents, lenders, and customers. Closing costs can seem a little confusing and overwhelming; through our Buyer / Seller Guide, we assist you through the process. Let’s go through the “What,” “Who,” and “When” of closing costs.


Other than the down payment and cost of the property, closing costs are additional fees that need to be paid at the time of closing.

This may involve:

  • Escrow fees
  • Title insurance premiums
  • Tax prorations
  • Loan fees
  • Deed recording fees
  • Real estate commissions
  • & more


There are many differences that usually play out between buyer and seller when it comes to closing costs. Listed below is the standard distribution, but it might differ on what works best for each party.

The buyer pays for:

· The lender’s title policy premiums

· Escrow fees

· Recording charges for all documents in     buyer’s name

· Tax proration

· HOA prorates and transfer fees

· All new loan charges

· Fire premium insurance for the first year

The seller pays for:

· Owner’s title insurance premiums

· Escrow fees

· Real estate commission

· Document recording and release fee for     deed

· Any loan fees required by buyer’s lender

· Payoff of all loans in seller’s name or   against the property

· Interest accrued by lender being paid off,   statement fees, etc.

· Any judgements, tax liens, etc. against the    seller

· Any and all delinquent taxes



Most buyers anticipate receiving their keys the day of closing; however, this usually doesn’t happen until a day, or a few days, after signing.

The transaction does not ‘close’ until all the funds have been cleared and provided to the title company, and the deed to transfer title is recorded at the county courthouse.


Whether you’re buying or selling a commercial or residential property, the professionals at Alliance are excited to help make your next transaction a success!

Not by the Hairs on our Chinny Chin Chin: Housing Market Stagnant

No big bad wolf will be able to huff and puff homeowners out of their home.

People are committing to staying in their homes for a longer period of time – meaning most are opting to age in place.

The result has been causing a dramatic shift in the housing market. The National Association of Realtors released their 2017 Generational Trends Report and shared that Millennials were the largest share of homebuyers at 34% with 66% being first-time owners. Although Millennials are buying homes at a slower rate than past generations, they’re still very interested in owning a home.

After the recession, most homeowners have been hesitant to move after locking down their current mortgage rate. According to Freddie Mac, sellers on average are living in their home for 10 years or more before selling – a rise in 5 years since the early 2000s.

Since 2014, this gap has only continued to grow. It seems as though most homeowners are deciding to renovate their homes rather than purchasing a newer one.

What does this mean – New home construction slows and house prices continue to rise for starter homes. Repeat buyers are seeing a rebound in equity – which is usually a good thing – but it seems to be hurting the younger generations who are desperately wanting to own.

Marketing Tips for Your Open House

Unless most of your customers are as honest as Sydney Fife in the movie, I Love You Man, it can be hard to know exactly how to market to your audience.

You have the perfect house to show – the location and aesthetics are picturesque and deserve an open house. How can you ensure your event will reach a fair amount of people in order to create a successful showing?

Pick the Right Day & Time

Obviously, the weekends see the highest attendance in open houses. Know your audience – do you want to attract younger couples, singles, or recent empty nesters? Then Saturdays are probably your better day.

This doesn’t mean that weekdays are off limits – just select the best time. Shoot for a schedule that attracts an after-work attendance. They might just decide to stop at your open house to avoid the daily commuter traffic going home. Having an open house in the evening also allows the buyer to see the house in a new light – literally.

Social Media

An effortless and creative way to advertise your open house will be through various social media outlets – especially Facebook and Instagram. Upload your post on Realtor Association pages and to your own personal account.

Include the day, time, and contact information. Don’t forget those pretty pictures of the house!


Place your open house signs as the busiest intersections – think about placing 15-20 directional signs pointing drivers and walkers to the property.

Make sure you place any signs, flyers, or postings about the event early in the week. This way people can plan accordingly and possibly even help spread the word to family or friends!

Be Bold

Remember, sometimes you’re going to need to go that extra mile to help sell. Think about going door-to-door around the neighborhood personally inviting them – or anyone they know looking at buying a home – to your open house.

Think about creating a “Thank You” video after the open house and posting it to your social media accounts. This keeps the momentum of your house going.

Frankly, my dear, Buying a Home is Stressful

The typical anxieties include: finances, relationship issues, not getting your multiple Americanos on time before going to the office…you know, the usual. released a bombshell of a statistic regarding the biggest stressor currently for Americans: buying a home.

Here’s their breakdown:

  • 33% of homebuyers had at least one moment of shedding tears during the home-buying process.
  • 38% of homebuyers were surprised at the length of the process
  • 13% of homebuyers believed they overpaid for their new home
  • 28% felt devastated after losing property that they put a contract in for
  • Only 1 in 5 homebuyers felt confident with their decision making

Apparently buyer’s remorse is a legitimate thing.

Avoid the Anxiety

Do your research.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and be as honest as you can with your real estate agent.

Understand that buying a home takes time and requires patience and obviously, money. Acquire a nice little nest egg before making the big leap.

By being prepared, you will be able to jump aboard with confidence when making an offer on a home that feels right for you. Because when you purchase a home, frankly, you should be thrilled – not distressed.

To Avoid or Not Avoid Escrow Impound Accounts?

Let’s get one thing straight: those extra shipping fees that are accumulated after adding up your shopping cart can make any grown adult question their decision to purchase.

But should homebuyers debate avoiding escrow impound accounts to potentially save money on monthly and upfront fees?

United Wholesale Mortgage is releasing a new program that will allow loan applicants to decline escrow accounts when finalizing their home mortgages. This move seems to be raising a lot of eyebrows and prompting many questions.

While it does seem attractive to not add on further costs upfront or on a monthly basis, it does open the door for possible financial issues – specifically for borrowers who are just looking for cost savings on their mortgage and not the actual big picture. Escrow impounds allow you to feel secure and confident with your financial responsibilities in paying your taxes and insurance – yes, those extra shipping fees aren’t the most fun, but it might just allow you to have peace of mind in enjoying your new home.

Best Cities for Housing Markets

Being a first-time homebuyer can be a scary feat; especially if you’re petrified of becoming a carbon-copy of Walter Fielding Jr. in The Money Pit. But don’t fret – luckily, WalletHub recently released their findings on the best and worst cities for first-time home buyers in 2018.

An unsuspecting city landed in the top five best cities: Boise, Idaho! In actuality, it shouldn’t be too startling of news after Forbes announced Boise as the fastest-growing area in the U.S. back in February.  Boiseans, rejoice!

WalletHub compared 300 cities of various sizes and used 27 assorted metrics to rank the cities by groups of affordability, real estate market, and quality of life.

According to the study, the top five cities with the best housing markets for first-time home buyers are:

  1. Broken Arrow, OK
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. Centennial, CO
  4. Boise, ID
  5. Grand Rapids, MI

Of course, who wouldn’t want to live in the Treasure Valley? If you’re a first-time homebuyer in the market, why not venture to Boise and see all that it has to offer?