Family Meetings

4 MEETINGS EVERY FAMILY OUGHT TO HAVE

 Posted Courtesy of Russell Rhodes SWBC Mortgage

 An unexpected crisis draws families together–it’s almost inevitable. But families should also meet regularly to discuss important topics, both fun and serious. These meetings give each family member the opportunity to contribute and be invested in outcomes that consider everyone’s needs. They make your family stronger, happier, and more harmonious. They make it second nature to come together in crisis, as well as help avoid stress in more mundane matters. Here are four meetings your family should regularly have.
Icon

Gift Giving Guidelines. Is excessive gift-giving causing strain from the desire to reciprocate? Meet on this topic with extended family members. The goal is to reduce the tsunami of gifts that come to your children on birthdays and holidays. Try meeting on this at the end of a visit. Suggest that you all put a limit on the value of gifts you exchange, or have each family member give only one gift to only one other family member. While you can’t force anyone to gift the way you’d like, you can set some limits that will keep things under control. Here are some other strategies to keep gift-giving gracious, instead of stressful.

 Icon

Family Safety. A simple conversation can save lives, so make safety issues a regular topic of discussion. Review what to do in case of a fire and agree on a place to meet outside. Decide what to do if separated during a storm, flood, or other natural disasters, and make sure all family members agree on the plan. Remind family members of home safety hazards, such as watching videos in the tub while charging your phone. Kids have more access than ever to questionable pranks they see online, so discuss the dangers these pranks can pose. Empower older kids with a plan of action if they’re home alone and accidentally start a fire, and what to do if someone has a medical emergency. Post emergency numbers in the kitchen put them on all phones, and touch base with neighbors you could call in an emergency. Because emergencies can still happen while away from home, it’s important for everyone in the family to memorize each other’s phone numbers. Remind kids if something happens when you’re not around, they must listen to a police officer or other first responder, teacher, or other adults in charge. Ask extended family members for backup contacts if you can’t reach them. By having these discussions, you’ll be better prepared if disaster strikes.

 Icon

Family Vacations. Meeting as a family to decide on a vacation is a great way to keep everyone happy. Share ideas about what a vacation means to each person, and what they think was their best vacations. Keep the focus away from where they went, but instead on how they felt there. Let everyone share the one thing they’d really like to do, then see what vacation choices could satisfy all family members. If nothing satisfies all, have each person make a list, and keep searching for the trip that checks a box for everyone. When taking a vacation with extended family members, be honest and up front about sharing your budget limit, keep in regular contact as plans are made, and be ready to compromise.

 Icon

Your Parents’ Future. Discussing the future with aging parents can be stressful, but the earlier you know their desires, the better you can plan to fulfill them. Meet with your parents to make sure they’re set for the future. Meetings can be by texts, emails, or online video conferences. First, meet with siblings, so you’re together on questions and issues. With Mom and Dad, check that they’ve written a will, appointed an executor, and created an advance healthcare directive (living will). Find out where they keep important documents and get contacts for their lawyer and financial person. See if there are any health or safety concerns, and how they plan to cover costs if they need care later on. If parents need assistance now, meet with siblings to coordinate caretaking support. By approaching these topics and discussing personal considerations and desires before choices become urgent, you and your family will save a lot of headaches and heartaches.

If you have questions about home financing or refinancing, with rates now near historical lows, please text, call or email us. We’re here to help!

Russell Rhodes
Russell Rhodes
SWBC Mortgage Corporation
Sr. Loan Officer
NMLS# 223298
26503 Oak Ridge Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Direct: 832-381-2224
Cell: 713-582-6908
Fax: 1-866-275-4987
rrhodes@swbc.com
www.swbcmortgage.com/russellrhodes
Home Prices | Jessica Harless Next Home Realty Center

Home Values Projected to Keep Rising

As we enter the final months of 2020 and continue to work through the challenges this year has brought, some of us wonder what impact continued economic uncertainty could have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, the rules of supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what is to come.</p

Due to the undersupply of homes on the market today, there’s upward pressure on prices. Consider simple economics: when there is high demand for an item and a low supply of it, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. That’s what’s happening in today’s real estate market. The housing supply shortage is also resulting in bidding wars, which will also drive price points higher in the home sale process.

There’s no evidence that buyer demand will wane. As a result, experts project price appreciation will continue over the next twelve months. Here’s a graph of the major forecasts released in the last 60 days:Home Values Projected to Keep Rising | Simplifying The Market

I hear many foreclosures might be coming to the market soon. Won’t that drive prices down?

Some are concerned that homeowners who entered a mortgage forbearance plan might face foreclosure once their plan ends. However, when you analyze the data on those in forbearance, it’s clear the actual level of risk is quite low.

Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman & Associates and a highly-regarded expert in housing and housing-related industries, was very firm in a podcast last week:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

With demand high, supply low, and little risk of a foreclosure crisis, home prices will continue to appreciate.

Bottom Line

Originally, many thought home prices would depreciate in 2020 due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Instead, prices appreciated substantially. Over the next year, we will likely see home values rise even higher given the continued lack of inventory of homes for sale.

Shared from Keeping Current Matters

The Casan Collection | Jessica Harless NextHome Realty Center

Announcing The Casan Collection

Exciting News: NextHome announces its luxury collection and I am now a Casan Certified Agent!The Casan Collection by NextHome | Jessica Harless NextHome Realty Center

NextHome members are innovators, passionate about redefining the real estate experience in ways that prioritize the value of the human relationship. We understand that people looking to buy or sell their home are looking to do so with the greatest ease, placing their trust in us to expertly guide them through the process.

Luxury clients share these same qualities, plus an innate desire for something exclusive, someone who recognizes their unique wants and needs. The Casan Collection was specially designed to meet the standards of the top 10% of the market and set a new benchmark in luxury real estate.

 

NextHome’s commitment to elevating the highly specialized sale of luxury homes translates to the Casan Collection being available only to NextHome members who have completed a thorough training and certification course through the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. As a Casan Certified professional, you’ve experienced firsthand the Institute’s deep understanding of the affluent clientele that makes up the top 10% of their market. I can create the Casan Collection visual identity and marketing suite for my clients.

When the Inspection report is not good...

What to do When the Inspection report isn’t good

BY AMERICAN HOME SHIELD |OCTOBER 15, 2020

Whether you’re representing the buyer or the seller, the home inspection can be a critical time in the real estate transaction process. When the home inspection report is good, a collective sigh of relief can often be detected from agents and clients alike. When the home inspection report isn’t good, it’s time for agents to swing into action. Here are some steps to consider:

Know your market.

To some extent, reaction to a less-than-stellar inspection report may be tempered by whether you’re dealing with a buyers’ or a sellers’ market. If it’s a buyers’ market, sellers may be on the line to fix most of the deficient items noted in the report before the deal can continue. In a sellers’ market, buyers may not have as much negotiating power. It’s important to understand the current real estate climate and explain to your clients how the market conditions factor into home inspection expectations.

Work with the other agent.

As soon as possible, contact the other agent in the transaction to discuss the inspection report findings. Acknowledge that the report contains bad news and start the conversation about next steps. As much as possible, try to get a sense of their reaction and willingness to make concessions.

Ask for more time.

The real estate contract often specifies a date or timeframe for removing the home inspection contingency. Requesting an extension of that date may give you and your clients the chance to consider the report, gather additional information or estimates, negotiate repairs, fix deficient items, or decide your next steps. If you think some extra time would help keep the deal on track, request it.

Get multiple estimates.

If the cost of repair work noted in the report concerns the buyer or the seller, gathering several quotes from qualified sources may help pinpoint what exact costs are likely to be. In some cases, repair costs may be lower than the client’s project, which can be reassuring. If the estimates come in higher than clients predict, they have the accurate information they need for negotiation and decide whether to move forward.

Communicate.

With accurate figures in hand, have a heartfelt conversation with your clients to understand how the inspection report affects their financial and emotional commitment to the deal. Be ready to communicate their position to the other agent clearly.

Negotiate.

After you’ve assessed market conditions, have an accurate understanding of costs involved, and have communicated with your clients, it’s time to negotiate. In some cases, you may be negotiating which repairs the seller needs to make before the deal can close. In other cases, you might negotiate a reduction in selling price or a credit at closing to cover the repair costs. If you’re facing an unusual inspection issue, seek advice from trusted colleagues who may have handled similar situations in the past.

Request documentation.

For everyone’s protection, specify that sellers submit documentation of repair work performed from qualified service professionals. It’s also a good idea to schedule a follow-up inspection or a walk-through to confirm that the negotiated work was satisfactorily completed.

Add American Home Shield® Home Warranty Coverage.

300,000 real estate transactions per year include American Home Shield home warranties, and for a good reason. In addition to offering important budget protection for covered items, American Home Shield coverage can help mitigate unexpected home inspection issues to keep transactions on track. Home warranty protection can also offer valuable reassurance to buyers, especially when the age or condition of covered home systems and appliances are in question.

When home inspection reports are disappointing, it’s important for clients to see their agent responding calmly and deliberately. They will always remember the valuable, professional, and steady guidance that you offer during a critical time.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

Home Buyers | Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

What’s On Your Must Have List? 2020 Home Buyers

Some Highlights

  • The word “home” is taking on a whole new meaning this year, and buyers are starting to look for new features as they re-think their needs and what’s truly possible.
  • From more outdoor space to virtual classrooms for their children, buyers have a growing list of what they’d like to see in their homes.
  • Let’s connect today if your needs have changed and your wish list is expanding too.

Virtual Classroom |Homes Sold By Jessica Harless |NextHome Realty Center

Some Highlights

  • With remote learning sweeping the nation this academic year, organized spaces with enough room for kids to learn effectively are high on buyer wish lists.
  • If you’re trying to make room for your family’s growing needs, multi-purpose rooms and dedicated workspaces may be features to consider in your next home.
  • Let’s connect today so you can find a home where your kids feel confident and comfortable too.
Home Buyers | Jessica Harless | NextHome Realty Center

What’s On Your Must Have List? 2020 Home Buyers copy

Some Highlights

  • The word “home” is taking on a whole new meaning this year, and buyers are starting to look for new features as they re-think their needs and what’s truly possible.
  • From more outdoor space to virtual classrooms for their children, buyers have a growing list of what they’d like to see in their homes.
  • Let’s connect today if your needs have changed and your wish list is expanding too.

Virtual Classroom |Homes Sold By Jessica Harless |NextHome Realty Center

Some Highlights

  • With remote learning sweeping the nation this academic year, organized spaces with enough room for kids to learn effectively are high on buyer wish lists.
  • If you’re trying to make room for your family’s growing needs, multi-purpose rooms and dedicated workspaces may be features to consider in your next home.
  • Let’s connect today so you can find a home where your kids feel confident and comfortable too.
Group of  paper airplanes, orange one is the first place, can be used leadership/individuality concepts. ( 3d render )

Why Is It so Important to Be Pre-Approved in the Homebuying Process?

You may have heard that pre-approval is a great first step in the homebuying process. But why is it so important? When looking for a home, the temptation to fall in love with a house that’s outside your budget is very real. So, before you start shopping around, it’s helpful to know your price range, what you’re comfortable within a monthly mortgage payment, and ultimately how much money you can borrow for your loan. Pre-approval from a lender is the only way to do this.

According to a recent survey from realtor.com, many buyers are making the mistake of skipping the pre-approval step in the homebuying process:

“Of over 2,000 active home shoppers who plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months, only 52% obtained a pre-approval letter before beginning their home search, which means nearly half of home buyers are missing this crucial piece of paperwork.

This paperwork (the pre-approval letter) shows sellers you’re a qualified buyer, something that can really help you stand out from the crowd in the current ultra-competitive market.

How competitive is today’s market? Extremely – especially among buyers.

With limited inventory, there are many more buyers than sellers right now, and that’s fueling the competition. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are receiving an average of 2.9 offers for sellers to negotiate, so bidding wars are heating up.

Pre-approval shows homeowners you’re a serious buyer. It helps you stand out from the crowd if you get into a multiple-offer scenario, and these days, it’s likely. When a seller knows you’re qualified to buy the home, you’re in a better position to potentially win the bidding war and land the home of your dreams.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com notes:

“For ‘a buyer in a competitive market, it’s typically essential to have pre-approval done in order to submit an offer, so getting it done before you even look at homes is a smart move that will enable a buyer to move fast to put an offer in on the right home.’”

In addition, today’s housing market is also changing from moment to moment. Interest rates are low, prices are going up, and lending institutions are regularly updating their standards. You’re going to need guidance to navigate these waters, so it’s important to have a team of professionals (a loan officer and a real estate agent) making sure you take the right steps along the way and can show your qualifications as a buyer at the time you find a home to purchase.

Bottom Line

In a competitive market with low inventory, a pre-approval letter is a game-changing piece of the homebuying process. If you’re ready to buy this year, let’s connect before you start searching for a home.

Homes Sold By Jessica Harless | NextHome RealtyCenter

How Is Remote Work Changing Homebuyer Needs?

With more companies figuring out how to efficiently and effectively enable their employees to work remotely (and for longer than most of us initially expected), homeowners throughout the country are re-evaluating their needs. Do I still need to live close to my company’s office building? Do I need a larger home with more office space? Would making a move to the suburbs make more sense for my family? All of these questions are on the table for many Americans as we ride the wave of the current health crisis and consider evolving homeownership needs.

According to George RatiuSenior Economist for realtor.com:

“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term…Although it’s too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it’s clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof.” 

Working remotely is definitely changing how Americans spend their time at home, and also how they use their available square footage. Homeowners aren’t just looking for a room for a home office, either. The desire to have a home gym, an updated kitchen, and more space in general – indoor and outdoor – are all key factors motivating some buyers to change their home search parameters.

A recent realtor.com-HarrisX survey indicates:

“In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase was a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% [of] that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.

Clearly, Americans are thinking differently about homeownership today, and through a new lens. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.”

Through these challenging times, you may have found your home becoming your office, your children’s classroom, your workout facility, and your family’s safe haven. This has quickly shifted what home truly means to many American families. More than ever, having a place to focus on professional productivity while many competing priorities (and distractions!) are knocking on your door is challenging homeowners to get creative, use space wisely, and ultimately find a place where all of these essential needs can realistically be met. In many cases, a new home is the best option.

In today’s real estate market, making a move while mortgage rates are hovering at historic lows may enable you to purchase more home for your money, just when you and your family need it most.

Bottom Line

If your personal and professional needs have changed and you’re ready to accommodate all of your family’s competing priorities, let’s connect today. Making a move into a larger home may be exactly what you need to set your family up for optimal long-term success.