August 2019 Newsletter

June 9, 2020

August spelled out in colorful letters on a beach with sea shells

Home Inventory


Realtor.com is disagreeing with the idea from economists that the inventory of homes will increase. The real estate giant is predicting a smaller inventory by 2020, which will cause bidding wars and fewer days on market to make a comeback. According to Realtor.com's July 2019 Monthly Housing Trend report, we are about to experience less homes for sale within these next few months, likely leading to stronger price appreciation.


Realtor.com claims the median listing price reached it's highest point for the year ($316,000) in June, rather than when we normally see the peak in July. This is likely due to the unavailability of homes that buyers are looking for.

It was only 18 months ago that the number of homes for sale hit its lowest level in recorded history and sparked the fiercest competition among buyers we’ve ever seen. If the trend we’re seeing continues, overall inventory could near record lows by early next year... So far there’s been a lackluster response to low mortgage rates, but if they do spark fresh buyer interest later in the year, U.S. inventory could set new record lows.

Chief Economist for realtor.com

Some of the reasons for the decline could be the large number of refinances seven years ago during the record low 3.3% interest rate, where homeowners refinanced, and would be paying more to finance a different home.


Homeowners Insurance


All homeowners should fully understand their home insurance policy in regards to what is covered and what is not. With insurance you should expect the unexpected, so we recommend talking to your insurance agent. This time of the year we are concerned with hurricanes, tornadoes, and maybe even flooding.


We want our homeowners insurance to be affordable and be able to protect us if it is needed. According to the Insurance Institute of Michigan, here are some great questions you should ask your insurance agent about your policy:


1. Is actual cash value or replacement cost covered?

Typically, with replacement cost policies you will pay the deductible in order to get the necessary repairs made, whereas an actual cash value policy may factor depreciation into the payout. It is common for home repairs to be a replacement cost and personal property to be replaced at actual cash value. Ask about if you can have personal property insured at replacement value as well.


2. Is jewelry covered?

Most policies will place a limit on luxury items, so ask your agent if you need more coverage for specific valuable items.


3. What kind of damage is covered?

Flood damage is usually not standard on most policies, as is the case for some natural disasters. Consider if flood insurance needs to be added to your portfolio.


4. Are there any endorsements on my policy?

Endorsements make the policy more specific to your needs, where you can specify additional coverage for art, music equipment, and other valuable items. Some companies may even allow coverage for identity theft!


5. What is the coverage if someone is injured in my home?

The liability coverage section of your policy should detail the maximum amount that will be paid in legal bills and damages if you are sued by someone injured in your home. Your agent will help you determine the right amount of liability you need.


6. How can I reduce my monthly premium?

It is a good idea to determine what you can afford to pay out-of-pocket in the event of a claim. Homeowners insurance is similar to car insurance, the lower the premium the higher the deductible. It can't hurt to ask about credits for items such as home alarms. All homeowners should fully understand their home insurance policy in regards to what is covered and what is not. With insurance you should expect the unexpected, so we recommend talking to your insurance agent. This time of the year we are concerned with hurricanes, tornadoes, and maybe even flooding. We want our homeowners insurance to be affordable and be able to protect us if it is needed. According to the Insurance Institute of Michigan, here are some great questions you should ask your insurance agent about your policy.


7. Does a newer home cost less to insure?

It is common for newer homes to cost less to insure than older homes due to the improved construction methods and safety features, and bringing an older home up to current building codes or completing renovations could lower the premiums.


8. Are all homeowners insurance policies similar?

The most common policy is the HO3, as it provides for coverage of the most common types of losses (fire, water damage & theft).


9. How do I file a claim?

Your insurance company should have a way to file a claim 24/7, and your agent should be able to update you on the process.


10. Is there anything that can make the claim filing process easier?

Most likely, providing your agent with an inventory of your home (documenting all personal property) will speed up the settlement process.


Search By Commute Time


According to a recent survey, 40% of buyers hope to reduce their commute time by up to 45 minutes. Realtor.com recently announced the launch of their new Commute Time Filter on iOS that features something not currently offered by some of their competitors - the ability to search for homes based on both rush-hour and off-peak traffic. Realtor.com found out by surveying more than 600 of their users that 85% of home shoppers would compromise home features (like lot size and square footage) in an effort to reduce their commute time.


“With a more holistic view of their drive to and from work, people are able to make more informed decisions about where to live, and hopefully reduce some unnecessary stress from their daily lives,” says Cheong, CPO for Realtor.com. After you have entered your basic search criteria (bedrooms, bathrooms, and location), you can filter the listings by your desired commute time by increments of 10 minutes.

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