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Fall is the new spring in real estate

Record-low mortgage rates, skyrocketing buyer demand, and shrinking inventory have pushed the housing market’s busy season forward through at least the end of the year.

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These are the outdoor projects that will improve the value of your home

‘Curb appeal has never been as important as it is today,’ landscape designer and HGTV personality Carson Arthur told Inman.

With coronavirus lockdowns still in full swing, no part of the home is proving to be as valuable as the backyard and front yard. Those who have a garden or a tree-lined patio can spend time in nature while still socially isolated.

Many homeowners are using newfound free time to start outdoor home projects — from work in the garden to adding a new patio for outdoor dinners.

Stuck in lockdown and looking to start an outdoor project of your own? We asked some landscape design experts about how outdoor quarantine projects can increase the value of you or your client’s home:

1. What you see is what you get

These days, buyers are all about curb appeal — what it looks like, what kind of decor it has and the type of lifestyle it sells, Carson Arthur, a landscape designer who regularly appears on HGTV shows, told Inman. Making the front of a property more lavish could be as simple as giving the front door a fresh coat of paint or installing a planter.

“Curb appeal has never been as important as it is today, with many online experts stating that the first impression your home makes to a potential buyer can be worth between 8 and 10 percent of your home’s overall value,” Arthur said.

2. Outdoor eating for the win

A stylish outdoor patio, rooftop or balcony has always added sparkle to a property — anyone who visits immediately thinks of the evenings they will get to spend there with family or friends. But given how much time we’ve had to spend inside this spring, many buyers may start to see a patio or grill area as an especially valuable home feature to have during tough times.

“We recommend keeping your dining table close to your grill or an indoor kitchen, so its easy to transfer dishes and food back and forth,” Amber Freda, a New York-based landscape and garden design expert told Inman. “Think about how many [seats] you will need ahead of time and plan accordingly.”

3. Don’t forget the garden and plants

When talking of increased home value, minds tend to jump immediately to fancy decks, pools and expensive renovations. But a vegetable planter or a garden full of flowers are easier to start and will automatically make a home look cared-for and stylish, Freda says.

“Plantings will instantly transform a home and increase the value,” she said. “You can also add an irrigation or landscape lighting system, mulch the soil for a more finished look, and add built-in features like fencing, a patio, a pergola, or an outdoor kitchen.”

4. Do some updates

New lights, a varnished and freshly-scrubbed deck or something as classic as a fresh coat of paint — these may not sound like exciting renovations but, when done, they make an enormous difference in whether a house looks luxurious or drab.

“This is a great time to save money and spend time outdoors by tending to your own maintenance, plantings, and built-in items,” Freda said. “There are so many great how-to articles, courses, and YouTube videos that can teach people how to do these things, and you may even find it so enjoyable that you want to keep doing it just for fun.”

5. In some cases, hold off

Current limitations on business and calling in contractors may make certain renovations impossible. Complex outdoor projects, such as installing a pool or doing a full-on roof replacement, should not be started without professional contractors. Use quarantine time to research and create plans for future updates instead.

“Redoing a project is never a fun thing and even worse if an improperly built deck or patio hurts the value of your home,” Arthur said.

Source: Veronika Bondarenko – Inman

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This Is How the Coronavirus Crisis Is Ravaging the U.S. Housing Market

The coronavirus crisis has ravaged not only the nation’s economy, driving down the stock market and pushing roughly 16 million people into unemployment, but its psyche as well. And the housing market has not escaped unscathed.

With more Americans out of work and worried about the security of their jobs in addition to their health, home buyer interest has fallen sharply, according to 90% of Realtors® surveyed in the National Association of Realtors® Flash Survey: Economic Pulse. About 6,000 real estate professionals participated in the survey, which was conducted from April 5 to April 6. Roughly 45% of respondents said buyer interest had plunged by more than half. Just 2% said they had seen an increase in eager buyers.

“The housing market is going to be stalled for the spring,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of research. “Buyers and sellers are not necessarily buying and purchasing right now unless they have to. They’re delaying the process for a couple of months.”

More than half of Realtors, 59%, said buyers are delaying their home-buying searches for at least a few months. And 13% said they’re seeing buyers postpone their searches and sellers hold off on listing their properties indefinitely.

“The sellers and buyers in the market today are extremely serious because they do need to make that transaction happen,” says Lautz.

They’re the ones that have to move due to a new job or other extenuating circumstances. Those who can wait out the pandemic are doing just that. But even those who do go through with their sales are experiencing delays. That’s to be expected, with most folks working from home and taking social distancing precautions.

Nearly a third of Realtors reported delays in obtaining financing were holding up transactions. Other culprits were home appraisals and inspections, final walk-throughs, in-person signature requirements, and title searches.

But real estate professionals expect that buyers will come off of the sidelines once the coronavirus is under control. Those trapped in their too-small apartments and starter homes will likely hit the market along with others who had been planning to buy until the virus temporarily derailed them.
“Realtors do expect there will be a rebound,” says Lautz. “We’re going to see demand coming out of this.”
Sellers are pulling their homes off the market

It’s not just buyers who are getting cold feet. Many sellers don’t want strangers, who could be COVID-19 carriers, in
their homes. They also don’t want to be moving house in the middle of a public health crisis.

About 80% of Realtors reported seeing fewer homes for sale – 14% said the number of listings fell by more than half.

“It’s only going to further reduce the limited inventory that was already available,” says Lautz. And instead of prices
going down, a severe housing shortage could “increase home prices.”

Those intrepid enough to continue to list their properties are taking more health precautions. Nearly three-quarters
have stopped holding open houses. That’s not surprising, as many states, cities, and multiple listing services have
prohibited them in light of the crisis. Almost half are requiring prospective buyers entering their homes to wash their
hands and use hand sanitizer. More than a third are insisting that buyers touring their abodes wear gloves.

“If they’re leaving their home on the market, they’re taking precautions,” says Lautz. “People are [opening] the windows
and cleaning the home before and after someone comes through.”

Home prices aren’t expected to plunge

Despite buyers’ hopes and dreams, most sellers aren’t reducing prices like they did around the Great Recession. While
roughly 63% of Realtors said buyers are expecting home prices to drop, just 27% of Realtors reported that their clients
cut prices.

“Because inventory has been tight for such a long period of time, we’re not expecting home prices to decline on a
nationwide scale,” says Lautz. “It’s not the same pattern [of an oversupply of homes for sale and a dearth of buyers]
that we did see before” when the housing market crashed more than a decade ago.

Renters are struggling during this crisis

Renters are also having trouble making their monthly housing payments, with many tenants losing jobs, hours, and income
as businesses shutter across the nation.

Around two-thirds of property managers and nearly half of individual landlords are encountering tenants who are having
difficulty paying their rents. About 46% of property managers and 27% of individual landlords were able to offer
accommodations to renters.

Only about 7% of property managers and 5% of individual landlords terminated leases as a result.

Source: Clare Trapasso –

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Brad A. Sprayberry, Esq., Director, Attorney Recruiting & Professional Development, Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart

[Kate] was diligent and conscientious… during her time with us… establishing herself as a well-respected member of the legal profession. Ms. Kelso was a truly engaging young professional.

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James R. Lackner, Ph.D Massachusetts Institute Technology, Brandeis University, Riklis Professor of Physiology

Kate is really special. I have always so admired her spirit and brain, her adventurous and lack of outward fear; in short, her bio.

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Vladimir Vukčević, War Crimes Prosecutor, Republic of Serbia

It was a great honor and professional satisfaction to the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office to host Kate and we believe that her visit marked the beginning of future cooperation… which will encourage resourceful and creative exchange of professional views and experience.

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