To Home Improve or Home Maintain?

Throughout our lives, we’ve been taught the difference between wanting versus needing.

Do I need this $4 cup of coffee?

If you do, we’re not telling on you – we promise.

But it looks like a new survey shows that most homeowners are interested in home improvement/remodeling projects more than they are in tackling not so flashy home maintenance projects.

HomeAdvisor found that homeowners spent $3.70 less for every year since a home was built – meaning that an owner of a 50-year-old home would spend an average of $185 less on emergency home maintenance projects per year than an owner of a newer home.

Homeowners are more likely to spend more on home improvement projects rather than home maintenance projects – for every $1 spend on home maintenance, homeowners spent an average of $5 on home improvement projects.

It looks like millennials were the biggest generation to complete home projects in order to increase their home’s value. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers were more inclined to “modernize” their homes.

While room remodels seem to be the more popular home improvement project, owners spent an average of $9,081 on home improvement, maintenance, and emergencies for 2018. Spending on home services has increased 17% in 2018 from 2017.

Many experts strongly recommend saving 1% of your home’s value every year for emergency repairs. A homeowner with a $360,000 home would save $3,600 per year, or $300 per month.

Living Their Best Lives: Who is Purchasing Vacation Homes?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Millennials who?

Millennials who want to purchase vacation homes!

Yes, you heard that right. Most people might think of older homeowners when it comes to owning more than one property, but with Vacasa’s latest survey, experts are a little surprised.

Older millennials and younger Gen Xers are interested in buying vacation homes – younger buyers are more likely to be motived by the idea of owning an investment property, while the older homeowners are looking to purchase a second home for personal use.

The majority of survey respondents stated they would plan to spend less than $400,000 on their purchase; and 75% reported a combined family income of less than $150,000 a year.

When asked where they’d like to purchase another property, most haven’t decided. 31% wanted an urban property, while 30% wanting a beach property – but 65% stated they haven’t picked an exact city for their vacation rental.

If they follow the popular trends for purchasing vacation rentals, the top states are Florida, California, Texas, New York, and Colorado.

Of those who completed the survey, 25% said they are looking to make multiple purchases, with half of them already owning at least one other home.

The real estate industry will have to keep an eye on these generational groups – as vacations and leisure time seem to accompany their preferences of investing.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Marketing with Emojis

Emojis have essentially become their very own language – whether they’re used through texts, emails, social media posts, or marketing campaigns, emojis are not only fun to use, but can also help get your message across.

With World Emoji Day approaching this Wednesday, July 17th, it might be a good time to brush up on your emoji skills.

Yes, emojis are generally easy to work with, but it’s important that you are still able to connect with your audience the right way.

And there are definitely right and wrong times to send an emoji.

Emojis are entertaining! Not only are they a creative way to connect with your client, but emojis can also portray how much you truly care about their transaction and closing.

A University of Missouri-St. Louis study tested how the “smiley face” emoji was perceived in an email between colleagues versus a social email. They discovered that in both cases, the emoji made the recipient like the sender more and feel as though the sender liked them more.

When to Avoid:

If the appraisal came lower than expected, it probably isn’t a good idea to send an emoji their way. Emojis aren’t necessarily appropriate when there might be a negative moment in the transaction.

It’s also best to not assume all clients will understand or even like your emoji usage. Not all young people use emojis, and not all older generations hate them. Understand their preferred method of communication in the beginning of your relationship. If they prefer texts to emails, that might be a good indicator on whether or not emojis would be safe to use.

Understanding your emojis is also critical to maintaining a good relationship between you and your client. Check out Emojipedia to get the full lowdown on all emojis and their meanings – even if the emoji was created with a specific connotation, audiences might correlate the emoji with their own interpretation. I.e., the “whistling” emoji is mostly depicted as a “kiss”.

When to Use:

After you’ve established that emojis are something your client would possibly like, think about how you’d like to use them.

Emoji’s can act as punctuation. Use an emoji to lead your audience or client to a hyperlink at the end of your text or post.

Think about utilizing emojis as a way to emphasize a statistic or a hyperlink that you want your client to see.

Essentially, emojis are an exciting way to add a little more fun and emotion to your message – but that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. You still want your message to be clear and concise to your audience!

Price Cut: How Long Should You Wait to Lower Your Home Listing?

The million-dollar question in real estate: how long do you wait to drop the price on your home if no one has made an offer?

It can be disheartening to adjust your listing price, but if some time has passed, your real estate agent might suggest it.

ShelterZoom, a blockchain-based real estate platform, released a recent survey that asked home sellers how long they’d wait to lower their initial price.

While these timelines aren’t necessarily suggested (your real estate agent will know when to alter your home price based on the location, region, and style of home), these timelines are what homeowners would contemplate doing on their own.

Out of the 1,000 respondents, 33% claimed they would consider a price reduction after three months – which made this the most common choice.

20% said they would wait one month, while 17% said they would wait for five months. 9% of those who responded stated they could wait an entire year before a price cut.  

12% said they would never lower the price of their home.

Each region, location, and style of home will respond differently to listing changes. It’s best to discuss price with your real estate agent.

While every homeowner has a different goal and path for what they’d like to accomplish in real estate, it’s always important to have a game plan when listing your home.

Google Search for Home Trends

Who hasn’t Googled themselves? We’re all guilty of it at some point!

Google has become the answer to all – it’s even used as the final point when having an argument on Brad Pitt’s age. (Psst… he’s 55, Google says so).

Not only can you search for celebrity ages, but you can also search for home improvement projects or home DIYs.

And look at our luck – Google released a recent survey to find some of the biggest search trends over the past year that current homeowners (or future homeowners) are searching for.

Here’s some of the hottest home trends consumers Googled:


  • Ranch Style
  • Tudor Style
  • Craftsman Style
  • Mediterranean Style
  • Modern Style

Living Room

  • 1950s living room
  • Coastal living room
  • 1970s living room
  • Farmhouse living room
  • Victorian living room


  • Outdoor kitchen cabinets
  • Floating shelves
  • Bohemian kitchen
  • Light grey kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen wallpaper


  • Enchanted garden
  • DIY raised garden bed
  • Garden pathways
  • Vegetable garden
  • Garden tub


  • Bathroom shelves
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Murphy Bed
  • Picture frames

Paint Colors

  • Blueprint
  • Nightwatch
  • Liquid Kitty
  • Metropolitan
  • On the Rocks


  • Orange leather sofa
  • Emeco navy chair
  • Live edge river table
  • Gold coffee table
  • Friends couch

Commute Got You Down? Homebuyers Forfeit Features for Better Drive Time

It looks like commute times win when having to select the most important factors in choosing a home. has added a new filter that allows consumers to search through homes for sale based on the commuting distance and time to their work.

About 85% of people in their survey said they would sacrifice on lot size, square footage, and the overall style of the home, if it meant for a shorter commute time.

Let’s face it – commuting can be stressful, and if it can be cut short, then why not compromise on having that spare bedroom?

The average American’s commute has moved up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes in 2018 from the previous year. This might not seem like a huge jump, but it still added up to two and a half extra hours on the road when compiled over the course of the year.’s filter search could be the saving grace for homebuyers looking for a home that’s not only within their price range, but also within their commuting time.

Want to know what the average commute time is for the biggest cities? Check it out here.

Gen Z: What Do They Want in a Home and an Agent?

Smash Mouth’s “All Star” lyrics resonate well with how quickly things change and progress – we now have a new generational group on the hunt for homes. As the song goes: “the years start coming and the don’t stop coming.”

Gen Z, those born between 1995 and 2015, are currently between 4-24 years old (about 74 million in the U.S.). But don’t let their younger age distract you; they are already taking notes on what they want when it comes to homeownership.

Generation Z is the first generation in American history to show a strong diversity preference in terms of where they live – and they want to buy homes in culturally diverse neighborhoods. released a study that found Gen Zers aged 18-24 preferred a diverse community – 58% to 12% who prefer a homogeneous neighborhood.

Their timeline for wanting a home? They plan to start early – 14% expect to purchase a home between the ages of 18-24; 48% say they will purchase when they are 25 to 29 years old; and 25% plan to buy later in life, when they are 30 to 34.

This pattern matches the Gen X and Baby Boomers generations.

But what about what they’re looking for in an agent?

27% want their real estate agent to understand what they’re looking for in a home; 18% want their agent to have knowledge of the local market; and 15% want their agent to have experience in the field.

Experts in the housing market will be keeping a close eye on this generational group – as they are more keen to become homeowners at an earlier age than Millennials.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: How to Schedule Your Social Media Posts

Not so newsflash – posting to your real estate social media pages is important!


Because it helps create a band of followers who get to know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them achieve their goals within real estate. Social media helps with attracting leads, following up with past clients, and showing your true authentic self.

But sometimes, your hectic schedule can get in the way of your social media time.

While it’s easy to forget about posting here and there, it’s critical that you keep a consistent posting schedule for your brand.

Here’s how to do it:

Scheduling Tool

Facebook – Facebook has it’s very own scheduling tool that is free to use. You’ll act like you’re scheduling a normal post, but instead of clicking “Publish,” you’ll click the drop down arrow to select “Schedule.” This will bring you to a window that’ll allow you to select a date and time you want your post to publish.

LinkedIn / Instagram / Twitter – Unfortunately, these platforms do not have their own scheduling tool within the app. There are, however, free scheduling tools that you can use! Hootsuite, Buffer, and Later are all great scheduling tools that are free to use. Check out more social media scheduling tools here.

Whip Out Your Calendar

We know we just mentioned how busy you are – but it’s important that you block out time in your day to work on your social media game.

Give yourself 30 minutes a day in the morning and 30 minutes a day in the afternoon.

Plan out what you want to post and when – are you going to post about an open house event you’re putting together? What about discussing housing market statistics for first-time homebuyers? Think about what you plan to post, and how you’d like to execute it.

Best Days and Times to Post

According to Coschedule, the best times to post on each social media site it displayed for you below:

Social Media Platform Days and Times to Post
Facebook 9-10am, 12-1pm; 4-5pm; Thursday-Sunday
Instagram 8am, 1pm, 9pm; Friday
LinkedIn 12pm; Wednesday
Twitter 8-10am, 12pm, 7-9pm; Monday-Friday

Now, this doesn’t mean these are the only days and times you can post – rather, if you have a post that you really want your audience to see and engage in, think about posting within these time frames.

Social media is the key to accessing more followers and more leads! It’s a great space to showcase how special you are and what you can bring to the table for your buyers and sellers. Now get out there and post!

Understanding Your Home Owner’s Title Policy

So, you’ve bought a home – congratulations! You’ve worked hard to get to this point; a celebration is definitely a must do!

While there should be plenty of rejoicing after you’ve found the home of your dreams, it’s also incredibly important that you protect your property rights and understand what is included in your owner’s policy.

These documents might look intimidating, but these policies are put in place to protect you – so it’s beneficial to know what you’re signing.

For a one-time fee paid at closing, an owner’s policy will help protect your property rights for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

Here’s what the owner’s title policy will look like and what it all means:

The owner’s policy has five sections: covered risks, the exclusions from coverage, Schedule A, Schedule B, and the Conditions.

Covered Risks

This section details the kinds of risks the policy will help insure against. Some of the most important covered risks include:

  • Someone else owning your property
  • A defect or encumbrance on your title caused by fraud
  • Any liens for real estate taxes or assessments that have not been paid
  • The right of access to and from your land

Be sure to discuss the covered risks that are included in your policy with your title agent – ask which are subjected to other exceptions or exclusions.


This portion of the document lists the exclusions that are limited to the coverage of the policy – these are issues that the title company has nothing to do with.

  • Governmental regulations on the land and eminent domain
  • Title defects known to the insured but not disclosed in writing to the title company prior to the date of the policy
  • Effects of bankruptcy law on the transaction

Schedule A

Schedule A is important – it essentially allows your policy to be valid. It will include the date of the policy, the amount of insurance, the insured the legal description of the land insured by the policy, and the estate insured.

Schedule B

This form will list the various exceptions to the title that the title company found when it performed the title search.This list shows you (the insured) which items will not be covered by the title policy, and that the title company will not pay a claim or defend against a claim based on this list. This list could include:

  • Unreleased mortgages on the property
  • Easements
  • Taxes
  • Restrictions on the use of the property
  • Homestead rights or survey issues (if no survey has been performed)


When you’ve reached this section, you’ve come to the outlines of the relationship between the insured (you) and the title company.

The first section will define certain terms used in the policy, like: “Insured Claimant, “Entity,” and “Land,” to name a few.

The second portion will show how a claim under the policy is handled, including how to provide notice of a claim what is required to prove loss, and the requirement that the insured (you) must cooperate with the title company when handling a claim.

With the right title and escrow company, all of your questins can be easily answered. You shouldn’t feel left in the dark! Call your local Alliance Title branch with any questions or concerns you may have.

And check out Home Closing 101 for a deeper look at how title works.

Mortgages Equal Happiness?

Who knew all debt wasn’t created equal? While we all try and actively avoid debt, it does look like debt type plays a factor into happiness.

The Ascent team by The Motley Fool surveyed more than 1,000 Americans with debt to learn how it affects their feelings and thoughts.

While a mortgage is probably the biggest amount of debt someone can take on, many viewed it as the best debt type to have. Debt can be stressful – but if it helps put a roof over your head and can help with an investment, people tend to view it differently.

With 97% of those surveyed saying they believe they would be happier if they did not have debt, mortgage debt was the most satisfying type of debt, while those with medical loans were the least satisfied.

Here is the percentage breakdown of life satisfaction by debt type:

Mortgage – 87%

Auto – 82%

Personal Loan – 75%

Credit Card – 75%

Student Loan – 71%

Medical – 64%