3 reasons to be thankful for a Thanksgiving at home 

 

Thanksgiving might look a little different for you and your family in 2020. If you’re following CDC recommendations for low-risk holiday activities, you’ll choose a small dinner with only the people who live with you in your home. 

For homeowners who love throwing an elaborate feast for a crowd, coronavirus presents a challenge. At Clean Title, we’re focusing on the bright side! Here’s three ways to count your blessings this holiday season. (Even if it means a quieter dinner without Aunt Etta’s famous pecan pie!)

Less fuss

Let’s face it, holidays can be stressful. And food prep can take a lot of time and energy. This year, with a smaller crowd, you can still make it special. But now, you’ll enjoy a much lower grocery bill and a lot less work getting ready. 

More leftovers

They say you shouldn’t try new recipes on guests. No wonder we’ve been eating the same stuffing recipe since 1967! Looks like 2020 is the perfect year to try a few new dishes with your immediate family. And the biggest bonus of all? With fewer mouths to feed, you’ll have more leftover. So you can have Thanksgiving (and dinner ready) all week! 

More time to focus on what matters

Maybe you and your family love games. Or it could be hiking in the woods during fall is your thing. With a big crowd, it’s always hard to get any activity started (except eating). Make plans now for a slower day with less time around the table and more time enjoying something you like to do together!

In case you need a few activity ideas, try these:

  • Prepare a few to-go plates for shut-ins who are at-risk for illness. Deliver them (in masks) as a group. Sing, dance or do a lot of extra waving from a safe distance outside their door.
  • Schedule dinner time to host a virtual dinner party with family and friends. Share recipes and stories while live.
  • Prepare your home early for December holidays. Enlist the kids to take over some of the decorating this year. (Why should you have all the fun?)
  • Set up an outdoor theater for the big game, parade-watching, or movies by the fire. 
  • When all else fails, plan next Thanksgiving. If a bigger house is on your wish list so you can host a table full, use this extra time to go house hunting!

 

If you do choose to buy, you’ll need a title on your new home. When it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

Local real estate market heats up… for now!

 

Working from home. Studying at home. Playing at home. With more time at home, we all want (and need) a little more out of our space.

That’s why the same pandemic that has all but shut down the travel and tourism industry and created widespread unemployment is also turning up the heat on a hot local real estate market. 

…and more good news

Adding more fuel to the fire is the double bonus of low-interest rates plus low inventory or (less houses for sale). That’s essentially a buyer AND seller’s market at the same time. 

Factors that were once considered a deal-breaker–a pool or a yard with a lot of upkeep for example–are suddenly highly desirable. When your outlook is work and school at home for the known future, location is no longer everything. Distance from the city center and traffic patterns are less of a concern. 

People primarily want more space so everyone in their family can have their own space. 

Numbers are strong nationally and locally

Existing and new home sales reached their highest levels since 2006 this week. Realtor.com said New Orleans has the fifth-highest increase in real estate sales in the U.S. in 2020. And local real estate brokerage Latter & Blum said sales prices are up 21% compared to last year. The average number of days on the market has dropped 6%.

But keep in mind:

All the variables–and there are many–can change quickly in an upmarket.

Elections are coming. Because there’s nowhere else to fall, interest rates could easily go back up. Continuing unemployment (and under-employment) may begin to cut into who can afford to move. 

Quick tips for buying and selling

Nothing says buy low, sell high like a hot real estate market. So if you’re interested in selling, buying, or both, now might be your best opportunity. 

 

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

The affordability index is up! Understanding the 2020 market

Remember the housing bust that started back in 2008?

Lenders–trying to boost “the American dream” for everyone–relaxed their strict lending standards. Too many people and businesses took on real estate loans they couldn’t afford. The bubble burst. The stock market crashed.

It didn’t take long for people to lose their homes in the aftermath. Foreclosed properties flooded the market. And there weren’t enough buyers to purchase them. Home prices tumbled so buying a home got much more affordable.

Now you can see from the green bar on this National Association of Realtor’s chart that median-priced homes are more affordable compared to median incomes. In fact, more affordable than they’ve been since the crash when properties were sold at discounts not seen before in the housing market. 

But today’s homes are affordable for a very different reason.

 

What makes a home affordable?

There are three main elements that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers:

  1. Current mortgage rates
  2. Mortgage payments as a percentage of an owner’s income
  3. Current home prices

 

So why are homes so affordable today?

Although all three factors add up to the final numbers, the one that’s playing the largest part today is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this main factor, we can see that it’s more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last seven years.

No one can guarantee affordability won’t stay high. Or go even higher if more people lose their jobs and foreclose on their homes. But for today, conditions are favorable.

 

So where and when do I start?

You’ll want to do your research. Ask a local real estate professional their thoughts on the market today. And if you have another house you need to sell first, it’s not a bad idea to jump in on those little fix-it projects this very weekend. 

If you’re considering purchasing your first house or moving up to that dream home, remember affordability when it comes to the cost of your home. Buying while mortgage rates are low can save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

 

If you do choose to buy, you’ll need a title on your new home. When it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

It’s Virtually Sold! Marketing your Home Online.

Competition is fierce and in-person tours are so 2019. Don’t panic. There are still many ways you can set yourself apart and sell your house or property. Boosting your online presence is the best place to start.

Start with high-quality images

It’s an era of open concept plans, Pantone paint and HGTV-worthy listings. Shadowy or blurry pictures won’t inspire buyers. You need high-def, brightly lit, gleaming photographs that spotlight the very best of your house.

PRO TIP #1

Whether taking photos yourself or investing in a professional, don’t forget to tidy up first! You want viewers to say, ‘I could see me there!’ Don’t let them get distracted by cluttered bookshelves and messy bathroom counters. A picture is worth a thousand words and is sure to sell a house if it’s a good one.

Set up a virtual tour

In this pandemic season, home tours and the shopping process has been turned on its head. A virtual tour is a perfect way for potential buyers to get a feel for your property without actually having to come over. Look for this option to become more popular with buyers and sellers alike as we grow used to real estate in the new normal.

PRO TIP #2

You don’t need a 360-degree drone to get good footage. Updated smartphones do a decent job recording videos. Before you move from room to room, make sure the lights are all on and window shades are open for best lighting. Even easier still, you can use free online editing software to make a video slideshow. Just set individual pictures of the house to music or a voiceover.

Boost your online game

Another online essential for a successful real estate marketing plan is a strong social media presence. Plaster all the major social platforms with pictures of your home and share your best memory or what you’ll miss about it most. Make sure your neighbors get notified too… they can spread the news to their friends far and wide and hand-pick their new neighbors!

PRO TIP #3

If your budget allows, try paid Facebook or Instagram ads to reach your target audience. There’s also Zillow and other real estate sites—make sure your agent has access and uses these extensively.

Hire a professional

You don’t have to go it alone. If there’s one place that it could be worthwhile to put a bit of budget these days, it’s on marketing your home to stand out from the home.

PRO TIP #4

Find a full-service firm for your one-stop marketing needs. Award-winning local real estate marketing and photography firm Nola Real Estate Marketing has an impressive array of photo, video, staging, and listing packages that can do the work for you and help you get it sold.
You don’t need a huge budget to have a successful marketing campaign. There are plenty of low-cost
ways to attract buyers using the web. Happy listing.
And when it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!
Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can.  See us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!
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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Buying or Selling During a Market Upheaval

Only you can ultimately decide when to buy or sell a home. But no doubt about it, there are certain times, like when the economy is less stable and the market is uncertain, that, undoubtedly, you should analyze your plans and long-term goals more carefully.

Here Are A Few Key Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Looking to Buy in an Uneven Market:

  1. Are you employed and is work steady? If changes in the economy or a potential recession could affect your position and/or your company’s ability to pay you, moving right now might not be… well… your best move.
  2. How many months of living expenses do you have on hand? As long as a real estate down-payment doesn’t impact your ability to fall back on your savings accounts in a poor economy, you’re still a good candidate for house hunting.
  3. How long do you plan to be in your next location? If this is a long-term move for you, this is potentially a very good time to find not only a good value on a purchase price but on a lending rate as well.

Sellers should think of these possible issues:

  1. Where are you headed when you sell? If you’re looking to buy after selling your home, ask yourself the above questions. You’ll want to have money in reserve. Especially if you end up selling your current home for less than you expected.
  2. Are you willing and able to reduce the price of your home? You never know what the market is really like until you try. And you don’t know if it might not get worse. But if you’re someone who jumps at the first offer—and the offer isn’t great—are you prepared to say no? Or to negotiate a lower price?
  3. Are you willing to take your house off the market? Six months from now if your house hasn’t sold, would you rather take your house off the market than letting it get stale or give the appearance of being less valuable? (You might consider negotiating a shorter up-front contract with your real estate agent for this reason.)

Are you in the Right Space?

One other question for anyone dipping their foot into the real estate transaction waters: are you in a space emotionally and mentally to handle the added pressures and workload of buying or selling a home? Maybe a “household project” of this magnitude is exactly what you need right now!

With all the economic uncertainty we’re facing during COVID-19, a long-term economic downturn is possible and some experts say, probable. Only time will tell how long it could last. Since you need to make this very big, very important life decision now, just be sure to do your research and ask yourself the big questions first. And as always, make sure you’re basing your real estate decisions on finances and not emotions.

 

When it comes time to close on your sale, keep Clean Title, LLC, in mind. We’re researching the past to protect your future!

Don’t miss our popular Title FAQs for tips that will give you the peace of mind only a clean title can. Come see us on our Facebook page and check out details of our services on our website. Or call 985-277-5095 to speak to one of our title professionals today!

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