Bigger vs. Smaller Home – What Downsizers Miss

The grass is greener on the other side – but, is it?

Homes.com released a survey focusing on homeowners who have recently downsized; the survey found that while downsizing was the better option for them financially, it didn’t necessarily mean immediate happiness.

Half of the respondents cited “getting rid of possessions” as a major challenge when downsizing to a smaller home, with loss of space as one of the greatest challenges.

If you had to decide between keeping your comfy sectional couch, or your antique dining room table, you’d have a difficult time too!

Another interesting find: 19% of homeowners became more distant from family and friends after they moved into a smaller home.

The survey also highlighted that on average, parents with adult children waited 5 years after they moved out before deciding to downsize – giving their children the option of moving back home, if need be.

Check out Homes.com’s infographic below!

Infographic provided by Homes.com

Want more real estate news? Check out Alliance Title’s Blog for more!

Real Estate of the Decade: How Did Neighborhoods Fare?

With 2020 approaching, it’s time we take a step back and look at how far real estate has come since 2010. After nearly a decade, some drastic changes have been implemented into the market.

At the start of 2010, real estate was in some tough waters: home values were at their lowest and delinquency in mortgages was high. But now, as 2020 approaches, home values have recovered (along with the economy) and mortgage rates are at a historic low.

The new challenges of 2020? Well, much of the country is still grappling with housing affordability and lack of homes for sale.

Below, you’ll find Redfin’s research of the housing markets that have experienced the most dramatic changes over the past decade.

Take a look here:

  • Highest % increase in home prices: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Biggest contrast between increase in home prices and decline in incomes: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Largest dollar value jump in home prices: San Francisco, California
  • Greatest decline in days on market: Long Island’s Nassau County, New York
  • Steepest drop in home supply: Salt Lake City, Utah

We’ll have to wait to see what 2020 will bring – but with the decade coming to a close, it’s interesting to see where real estate has come.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Holiday Gift Guide for Clients

Struggling with holiday gifts to send your clients? We’ve got you covered!

To inspire repeat clients and encourage referrals, it’s important that you continue building relationships with your past leads. What better way to inspire and encourage a continuing relationship, than to send out a little holiday gift?

*It’s important to note, however, that each state has its own regulations with what can be purchased as gifts for clients. Be sure to check with your state regulations.

You’ll want to make sure your gifts are thoughtful and personal – your previous (or current) clients will be able to tell the difference!

Holiday Card

Pick out a set of holiday cards and personally write your warm wishes inside for each of them. A handwritten note is a special touch, and really does go a long way!

Food / Drinks

Homemade cookies, a bottle of wine, or a sweet candy treat are all great options to send! Keep your client in mind, though – not everyone has the same tastes!

If you need more of a direction, local hits are always a great gift. If your state specializes in jam, wrap up the jar in a cute bow!

Plants / Décor Items

A lovely poinsettia (what better holiday plant?) or a unique vase / planters are great ways to spruce up your holiday gift giving. Another option – a holiday wreath to hang on their front door!

“Home for the Holidays” doormat or sign, or a cozy holiday candle are perfect staples as well.

The holidays are a perfect excuse to show your clients you care! A small gift can be a great reminder to use you again in the future, or to refer someone to you.

Check out more real estate tips and tricks – stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Deck the Halls and Test Your DIY Homeowner Skills

Being a homeowner, you might already know the frustration of attempting a DIY home project yourself, rather than hiring a professional.

But – you’re not alone!

A new survey released from HireAHelper found that many homeowners would tackle a renovation first before hiring someone.

Which projects are homeowner most comfortable with, you ask?

86% of homeowners would rather assemble furniture themselves than hire a professional. The project homeowners are least comfortable with – installing a ceiling fan.

The second project homeowners feel confident tackling: unclogging a toilet. When it comes to generational groups, however, 1 in 4 Gen Zers would rather hire someone to unclog a toilet, than complete the task themselves.

Check out HireAHelper’s infographic below:

Infographic from HireAHelper

Want more real estate stats? Check out Alliance’s Blog here.

Must Love Dogs: Condo Requirements Before Move-In

There might be some ruff news for future homebuyers if you’re looking to purchase in a condo.

Home shoppers know that when it comes to finalizing a home transaction, you’re going to need to send in financial statements, tax returns, and more – to condo and co-op boards before you’re accepted.

But now, a lot of condos are requesting an extra step if you own a pet.

Some condos and co-ops are requiring headshots, resumes, recommendation letters, and even sit-in interviews for pets.

As of now, this is more popular in New York City – where pet interviews are mandatory in order to ensure pets won’t fight other residents or bark throughout the night. Those on the board believe they might be held legally liable if the pet bites another person in one of the common spaces.

Some pets, if listed as “banned”, have the opportunity to try out a trial period – if the resident signs a letter that acknowledges the dog can remain in the building only at the board’s discretion.

While this might be another hoop to jump through – maybe a cute sweater or bow tie might help your pet pass on a good first impression.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Tick Tock on Winter’s Clock – Time to Buy a Home

The first day of winter is approaching, and with that, comes the best time to purchase a home!

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their analysis of the best days of the year to buy a home. According to the research, the biggest discounts fall the day after Christmas or on New Year’s Eve.

Compared to the summer months, December can help you save BIG time.

The month of December will still have about a 1.2% premium – but the month of June usually has the highest of 7.1%.

The best days to purchase according to ATTOM researchers: Dec. 26, Dec. 31, and Dec. 4 – in that order.

Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer with ATTOM Data Solutions, explains, “While lots of folks are shopping the day-after Christmas sales or getting ready to ring in the New Year, our data shows that buyers and investors are buying homes on those days at a discount.”

So if you’re in the market to purchase a home….aim for those closing days.

Want more real estate news? Be sure to check out Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Understanding Google Analytics

If you’re looking to improve your site to help boost sales, find more clients, and / or improve your mobile app, then Google Analytics is where you need to start!

Google Analytics helps provide insight into some pretty awesome data – and you don’t have to be tech savvy to use it (although, it always helps!).

How to Install

It’s free! And free is always good.

You’ll need to go to the Google Analytics sign up here, and create an account. You’ll include which site(s) you want Google Analytics to keep track of your data for.

After you’ve filled in the names of your website and account, you can find the tracking ID at the bottom of the page.

If you don’t know how to read or edit HTML code, ask a knowledgeable friend or colleague to help you – you’ll need to provide them the code and access to your website. The code will need to be pasted onto every page of your website, just before the section.

What Can You Track?

Here are a few things Google Analytics will organize for you:

  • Location: identify the geographical location of your site visitors
  • Traffic Source: identify what websites send traffic to your site
  • Content: Sort through the most popular blog posts and pages of your site
  • Devices: see whether visitors use a mobile device or a computer more when accessing your site

Review Overview Report

The overview report is important to look at to track your traffic. Go to “Insights > Reports” to open the reports page in your dashboard.

Here are the things to look at in this report:

  • Sessions: see what a visitor does in a single visit – like browse multiple pages, purchase products, etc.
  • Users: the number of visitors who arrived at your site during a selected date range
  • Page Views: the total number of pages viewed
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors who leave your site after just viewing one page

Want a More In-depth Look?

Google Analytics has A LOT to offer. It can seem overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of user-friendly guides that can help you sort through the fluff of things you really want to be looking at. Check out Moz’s Guide here as one of the many great guide examples.

Looking for more real estate tips and guides? Follow Alliance Title’s Blog for more.

Homebuyers and their First-Time Home Preferences

Generational trends prove to be different when it comes to purchasing a home for the first time. A survey from Clovered, a home insurance company, found that Millennials wanted more from their first home compared to Baby Boomers or Gen Xers.

With the length of staying put in your home increasing, Millennials might consider their first home to be their forever home. Clovered’s survey shows some interesting differences between the generations – that raises interesting questions on how a “starter home” might be changing for new homeowners.

Ideal Size:

Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials
2,949 sq. ft. 3,311 sq. ft. 3,320 sq. ft.

Ideal Style:

Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials
Other (32%) Ranch (12%) Ranch (15%) Other (14%) Modern (20%) Other (18%)

Location:

Infographic provided by Clovered

Want more real estate news? Check out the rest of Alliance Title’s blog here.

Real Estate Cyber Security: Update Your Password

Cyber security is incredibly important within the real estate industry.

But we get it – updating your passwords can be a downer! Especially if you currently utilize the myth of believing random character passwords are the best way to prevent hackers.

Today’s cyber security advice definitely takes a more user-friendly turn.

Cyber Security Experts are now recommending easy-to-remember phrases as passwords, rather than ones filled with random characters. The old advice of using complicated passwords came from a time when people just had fewer passwords to remember.

In reality, those types of passwords aren’t making you any less vulnerable to security breaches, and they’re ultimately frustrating you.

So, how can you make a strong – but easy – password? Check out our tips below:

Different Passwords for Different Accounts

We all have dozens of online accounts that are protected by passwords – this should also mean that each account has a different password.

Repeating passwords is a BIG no-no. If one password is compromised, then your other accounts will be exposed to hackers.

Think of Phrases

Instead of a simple word as your password, think about using phrases instead. Use your favorite book, TV show, or even an inside-joke you have with a friend or family member.

This simple switch will make it easier for you to remember AND will be unique enough to prevent cyber-attacks.

Keep Your Passwords Organized

Okay, so you have a different password for each of your accounts – how do you remember all of them?

We know that writing down passwords is a bad idea, and unfortunately, this is still relevant today. Luckily, there are an array of apps that can help organize all of your passwords. Check out this list of Password Managers to help you decide which best fits your needs.

Enable Two-Step Verification

After you’ve confirmed your password for your account, enable two-step verification (if the account has it available).

With two-step verification, you’ll have to confirm your identity before accessing the account. This is usually done by texting a code to your phone.

We know, we know – passwords can be annoying to deal with. But, if you take a moment to properly protect your account, it can save you a great deal of trouble in the future.

For more real estate tips, follow Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Homeowner Strength in Equity Grows

Do you have that homeownership strength?

According to a new report from CoreLogic, homeowners in almost every state have seen their equity grow from Q2 in 2018 to Q2 in 2019 – with the West seeing the largest growth.

Idaho homeowners saw the most growth, with a gained average of $22,000 per borrower.

Connecticut, Delaware, and North Dakota were the only states to see a decrease in borrow equity over the past year.

Another major milestone – the report also shows the lowest negative equity share since CoreLogic began tracking specific data in 2009 – only 3.8% of all homes with a mortgage were underwater. In 2009, that percentage was at 26%.

CoreLogic predicts that with low interest rates and home equity rising, there will be better support for increasing home improvements and improvement of households who take out home equity loans to consolidate their debt.

Want more real estate news? Follow Alliance Title’s Blog here.