· All of you local homeowners will like this. Realtor.com says Durham is the third most stable growing real estate market in the country.
· Inman Headlines says that although the majority of home searchers now use the internet for their search, there has been a 10% rise in the use of real estate agents over the last 20 years.
· I hate to quote Zillow because they have become an increasing threat to the real estate industry as we know it. Perhaps I will tell you more in a future newsletter. They did attempt an interesting study of renting verses buying. According to Zillow the median rent in the US is $1,416 per month. That is enough to cover principal, interest, taxes and insurance on a home worth $289,500, well over the national average price of $196,500. Even though the average loan closes now in 43 days, they could not understand why everyone, especially millennials, are not interested in buying instead of renting. They failed to mention no down payment, bad credit, high student loans and fear of job security. The younger folks who are buying are buying townhouses while the older buyers are buying single family homes. Older buyers are trying to pay off their loans while younger buyers are trying to qualify. There is nothing new here. It has always been this way to some extent.
· What is today’s home buyer looking for? Realtor.com says the most searched items are #1, a large back yard, #2, a garage and #3 is an updated kitchen. The least searched items are a guest house, a mother-in-law suite and a “man cave”. The most searched for style is a ranch (42%) followed by a contemporary (28%). And here we are in two-story heaven. What is the favorite room in the house? The kitchen was favored by 80%. No wonder the whole country is over weight. Second favorite was the master bedroom followed by the living room. It should be noted that the over 55 crowd preferred a garage over the living room. In spite of all of these stats the number one goal of home searches is privacy.
· Inman once again gives us an idea of what today’s home buyers are looking for in the way of smart technology. Number one on their list are leak detection devices. This category covers a lot of things like fire, smoke, carbon dioxide, radon and moisture detectors. Second on their list was an energy saving thermostat. Third was smart garage doors that you can close from anywhere. Did you see the commercial of the couple lying on the beach that forgot to close their windows? Next was automated watering systems followed by security cameras.
· That last item brings up an interesting new problem. Technology first gave us the nanny cam. They have worked well for years, but now home owners are using them to spy on agents as they show their property. Unfortunately this has turned up an occasional indiscretion by an agent. Photographing folks in your home is perfectly legal, but it is advised that you notify prospective agents that the customers are being photographed. Now, several of the major tech companies are advertising and selling little computer towers with cute names. You can ask them to turn off the lights or order a pizza. That is all well and good but they are also recording what is being said in the house. When someone outside of your household is in your house, we are told that it is not legal to record them without their written permission. What is happening in the real estate industry, unfortunately, is that showings are being secretly recorded, and that gives the seller an unfair advantage in future negotiations. Do you want to see a house with your agent with someone recording the entire event?
· As you see there are a lot of changes going on in the real estate industry. One of the biggest influences on the home buyer now is TV. Commercials once controlled what fashions were “in” and which were “out”. Now we buy what Chip and Joanna say we like. Open space is the big craving now. I remember when it was called a kitchen-den combination. And the tiny house reminds me of a home-made house trailer. They did not sell too well back then, but with new packaging, they are going like hot cakes.