How long will it take to sell my home?

The national average time that a home spends on the market (as of January 2022) is 19 days, according to Anna Bahney at

Since no two homes and no two real estate markets are identical, the speed at which your home sells will vary, depending on a number of factors.

For instance, one recent study finds that the average home in the 50 largest housing markets sold within 39 days.

Taking a closer look at these metros, you’ll find that homes in one region sold within 9 days.

The simple answer to how long it will take to sell your home, then, is “it depends on where you live and market conditions in that area.” There are, however, other impacts to how long your home may remain on the market.

Let’s take a look at what else influences the speed of a home sale.

Your home’s architectural style

Some of the factors that determine how quickly your home will sell include those over which you have no control, such as its architectural style.

Ranch-style homes are the most popular in the U.S. right now. They typically sell quickly and for more than list price, according to a national real estate research platform.

Since many homebuyers are first-timers, small starter homes, in any architectural style, in decent neighborhoods, tend to sell the quickest.


It’s rather obvious that a home in decent condition will sell faster than a fixer, yet often we see homeowners unwilling to do the repairs required to sell a home quickly.

In these cases (an as-is sale), expect your home to sit on the market significantly longer than homes around you that are in more of a move-in condition.

We’re happy to share our knowledge of which repairs to undertake to speed up the sale of your property, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.


A home’s amenities can include anything from a guard-gated entry, view, home theater or wine cooler to the types of appliances included in the sale.

The latter, specifically stainless steel appliances, help to sell a home 15 percent faster than homes with other types of appliances, according to an older study. Add granite countertops to the equation and you’ve hit the exacta of home-sale speed.

Your real estate agent

While it may seem that all real estate agents are alike, it’s simply not true. There are listing agents and buyers’ agents and agents who do both.

The listing agent’s job requires experience in determining appropriate listing prices, massive marketing chops and the ability to multi-task while paying close attention to each detail.

Not all listing agents have the budget required to properly market a home. Hire one of those and your home will take longer than it should to sell.

Finally, how the home is priced will impact the number of days it spends on the market. Price it too high and it will linger far longer than if it’s priced attractively out of the gate.

Reach out to us to get an idea of your home’s current market value. It’s a service we provide free of charge and with no obligation.



Renting vs Buying a Home

When Americans consider whether to rent or buy a home, affordability is top-of-mind. Perceptions of affordability, however, don’t meet reality, according to a recent survey by Freddie Mac.

“More than 80% of renters now view renting as more affordable than homeownership,” according to the survey.

They’re wrong

“Owning the median-priced home is more affordable than the average rent on a three-bedroom home in 58% of the country,” says CNBC’s Michelle Fox, citing an ATTOM Data report from January.

The Freddie Mac survey finds that nearly 35% of renters reported that their rent payment consumes more than one-third of their income. Homeowners? Only 25% of them spend that much of their income on their mortgage.

Then why don’t they ditch the landlord and buy a home?

The quick answer to that one is, again, a perception that doesn’t jive with reality.

Nearly 90% of renters named the down payment and closing costs as major obstacles in their path to homeownership.

This perception is based, no doubt, on the many online articles erroneously claiming that a homebuyer needs 20% of the loan amount as a down payment.

While it’s financially better to have a large down payment, it is by no means a hard and fast rule set by lenders. Many offer mortgages with as little as 3.5 percent down and, believe it or not, there are zero-down options as well.

Still seems like too much money?

There are more than 2,000 down payment/closing cost assistance programs, nationwide. Some offer the help as a grant while others offer no-to-low-interest loans. Your lender can help you find the ideal program to fit your needs.

You’ll be glad you did it

“There is a reason so many Americans choose to develop their net worth through homeownership,” according to Matthew Desmond of the New York Times Magazine. “It is a proven wealth builder and savings compeller.”

When renters write their rent check every month, they’re helping their landlord to build wealth. The mortgage check that homeowners write each month? It goes toward building their own wealth.

And the proof is in the numbers. Not only do homeowners spend a smaller percentage of their income on housing each month, their net worth is, on average, $195,400 which is 36 times that of the average renter’s net worth ($5,400).

Yes, there are challenges for many renters who would like to buy a home. But they are far from insurmountable. You may be surprised what is possible with the right mortgage/real estate team to back you up.



How much can I borrow for a loan on a house?

In a perfect world, we could walk into a mortgage lender’s office and tell the folks there how much we think we can afford to pay for a home each month and they’d hand over the money to buy the home.

Ah, if only.

In reality, lenders have their own criteria for determining who they’ll lend money to and a system by which they make that decision.

Today we’ll look at how that decision is made so that you better understand what it takes to get a mortgage.

There’s this thing called a “DTI”

It’s a shortened version of “debt-to-income,” expressed as a ratio. All that paperwork you’re asked to submit with your loan application helps the lender determine exactly what yours is.

In other words, they’ll learn how much income you have left after paying your debts every month.

There are two types of DTIs, known as “front-end” and “back-end.”

The front-end ratio, should be no higher than 28 percent of your pre-tax income (31% for FHA-backed loans). Calculate yours:

  • Add up your monthly expenses for housing. Examples include rent or mortgage, second mortgage payment, HOA fees and insurance (if not included in your mortgage payment).
  • Take the sum of the above and divide it by your gross monthly income.
  • Multiply that result by 100.

The back-end DTI ratio lets the lender know how much of your income is spent on debt. This figure should be no more than 36% of your income (43% for FHA loans).

Calculate your back-end ratio:

  • Add up all of your monthly bill payments. This includes mortgage or rent payment, credit card minimum payments, student loan payments, personal loan payments, auto loan payments, alimony and child support payments. Don’t include utilities, groceries and other living expenses.
  • Divide the sum by your monthly gross income.
  • Multiply the result by 100

The lowest acceptable ratio isn’t set in stone, but you’ll most likely struggle to find a lender if yours is well under that number.

The good news is that you can raise your DTI by paying off debt or bringing in additional income.

How’s your credit score?

The amount of money you can borrow is based primarily on how risky it is to lend to you. The lender can glean this information from your credit score.

The dreaded FICO score – it has a lot to do with not only how much you can borrow for a house but for a car, a consumer loan and even has an impact on how much you will pay for insurance.

If your credit score is too low (typically below 580) you may not even qualify for even a government-insured loan. Borrowers with the best scores, 740 or higher, not only qualify more easily for a mortgage but get better interest rates as well.

We aren’t mortgage professionals but we’re happy to connect you with a trusted pro to answer any additional questions you may have. Feel free to reach out!

3 things to know about the appraisal process

Whether you are buying or selling a home, the appraisal is the most critical aspect of the process.

No matter how carefully the seller’s agent researched the current market, no matter how much the buyer is willing to spend on the home, the fact remains that the lender relies solely on the appraiser’s estimate of value when deciding how much to lend to the borrower for the purchase.

A low appraisal, therefore, changes the whole game.

Let’s take a look at the process and three things you should know about it.

1. The Appraiser

The appraiser is a specialist hired by the buyer’s lender to determine a property’s current market value and they use a number of methods to figure it out.

First, they measure the property and then they will compare the measurements to the legal descriptions of the property held by the city or county.

They will also evaluate the neighborhood in which the home is located. They’ll use city or county sources, along with MLS statistics, to obtain information on recent sales in the area. They may draw land diagrams and they always write a written report for the lender and the buyer.

2. Why the Appraisal may be low

The market value determined by an experienced real estate agent typically matches, or comes close to, the appraiser’s estimation of value.

Low appraisals generally occur when the seller uses an inexperienced agent and they are also quite common when the home has received multiple offers. Bidding wars frequently cause a home to go into contract for more than it’s worth.

Then, there are homeowners who don’t take the agent’s advice and overprice the home. They feel vindicated if they receive a full price offer but that feeling is dashed when the appraiser agrees with the agent that the home isn’t worth as much as the buyer is willing to pay for it.

Other reasons for a discrepancy in the home’s evaluation include:

  • A shift in the local economy that impacts the housing market. If a whole bunch of foreclosures hit the market quickly, for instance, surrounding home values decline.
  • The agent and/or the homeowner may undervalue certain improvements made to the home. In this case, the appraisal may come in higher than expected.
  • The appraiser may feel the home’s location, or problems, drag down its value more than the agent and homeowner did.

3. How to Deal with a low Appraisal

Let’s face it, a low appraisal is the pits. Buyers and sellers have only a few choices when faced with one.

“For the sale to go through, the buyer will need to either negotiate with the seller to take less for the home or make up the difference – also known as ‘the appraisal gap,’” according to Andrew Dehan at 

Taking less for the home is not an attractive option for most sellers. The truth is, you’ll be faced with this same dilemma with the next buyer, the next buyer and the one after that.

By the same token, buyers typically don’t want to fill that appraisal gap by paying more for a home than it’s worth.

Another solution to a low appraisal is for the buyer and seller can meet half way. The seller can lower the price and the buyer can bring in more cash.

Finally, the buyer can challenge the appraisal. This isn’t as easy as it may sound. The seller will need to get involved by verifying the accuracy of the report.

Appraisers are human and they sometimes get things wrong. Some of these include square footage, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms and the age of the home and these errors may be on the subject property or the comparables used by the appraiser.

Sometimes sellers have knowledge about the conditions of a particular sale in the neighborhood that the appraiser isn’t privy to. Perhaps your neighbor got a job offer in another state and to get there quickly, took a low offer.

At any rate, if you find inaccuracies you can challenge an appraisal and request a new one from the lender. The lender is under no obligation to agree with your request, but it’s certainly a question worth asking.

Questions about selling or buying a home? Feel free to contact us.

Why NOW is the time to make your real estate move

The latest housing market statistics show continued good news for home sellers. The nationwide median sale price in March increased 13.5% from March 2021 to a record-breaking $405,000 (Monthly Housing Trends Report).

During this time period, sellers, on average, received 1.4% over the asking price for their homes. In fact, nearly half of all sold homes were purchased for more than the asking price.

Despite this, homeowners, by and large, are still not putting their homes on the market. To add to a homebuyer’s woes, new home construction is at a standstill for many builders.

“… supply chain disruptions from the pandemic have meant garage doors are on back order, floor tiles keep getting discontinued mid-construction, and appliances are marooned aboard waylaid shipping vessels,” according to Alicia Wallace at

There has rarely been such an ideal time to sell a home. You’ll have little competition and will enjoy record high prices.

But, it won’t last forever.

Mortgage rates are rising

The Fed warned us that interest rate hikes were coming and they came through on the promise. We can expect a total of “… seven quarter-of-a-percentage-point interest rate hikes this year,” according to Ann Sipher, (citing Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans) at

He adds a caveat, however: because the economy is facing uncertainty, he reserves the right to change his mind.

With every hike in mortgage rates, home buying becomes more expensive, so a number of homebuyers are knocked out of the market. When fewer people are fueling the demand for homes, prices soften.

We’re hearing, in fact, that some housing market experts are predicting that the housing market nationwide will cool as we near the end of 2022.

“The higher rates and prices go in 2022, … the more buyer pushback we should see next year,” Devyn Bachman with US housing industry research and consulting service John Burns predicts at

Are you willing to take a chance that you will get less for your home in the future than you will if you sell now?

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”

No, William Shakespeare wasn’t referring to the real estate market when he wrote those words in  1602 (The Merry Wives of Windsor). But the importance of not procrastinating certainly fits our discussion.

Trying to time the market – waiting on the sidelines for the right time to jump into the local housing market to sell your home – isn’t a wise move. Here’s why:

All markets are cyclical, including the housing market

You can watch all the economic indicators available and still be getting only part of the story.

And, since none of us has a crystal ball, the odds are good that your home is worth more now than it may be down the line

According to the researchers at CoreLogic, “In the fourth quarter of 2021, the average homeowner gained approximately $55,300 in equity during the past year.”

Think about this. That is a substantial rise in equity and it could help make the transition into your next home a lot more comfortable.

For instance, that equity will help you pay a larger down payment on your next home, which could mitigate the effects of a higher interest rate on your mortgage.

We’re happy to put you in touch with a trusted lender to help you crunch the numbers and to offer a complimentary, no-obligation analysis of your home’s current market value.

The dangers of relying on first impressions when shopping for a home

When you’re looking at homes, pay close attention to your first impressions: they can be very powerful. They’re also often incorrect. A carefully appointed house with good curb appeal and a compelling atmosphere can blind buyers to its flaws and potential problems.

How Important are First Impressions When Home Buying?

First impressions have a dramatic influence on home buyers. Many buyers decide whether or not they are interested in buying a home within minutes of seeing it from the street.

Both real estate agents and home sellers understand that choosing a home often comes down to first impressions. There are companies that do nothing other than “”stage”” homes to lure buyers.

It’s important to remember this when looking at homes. The homeowner who repaints the exterior of a house to increase curb appeal understands first impressions. So too does the staging company that comes in to rearrange furniture and add accessories to a room.

The goal is to make people viewing the house feel welcome and, well, at home. Of course, the furniture and accessories that make up the bulk of your first impressions won’t be part of the house sale in most cases- and they may distract you from flaws that the house may have.

First Impressions and Home Buying Pitfalls

There’s nothing wrong with sellers trying to make their homes as attractive to buyers as possible. The danger is that your first impression of a house could influence your decision to buy or not.

Curb appeal, or how attractive a home looks from the street, is a good example. The home may have a fresh coat of paint and planters full of flowers by the front door, both of which improve curb appeal. Both features, however, really aren’t that important when choosing a home.

Sure, fresh paint is nice, but it doesn’t influence a house’s structural integrity or floor plan, both of which are more important considerations than the exterior paint. Potted plants are a lovely touch, but easy to replace, and not as important as well-established flower beds and other permanent landscaping features.

Similar dangers occur inside the house. People tend to take in the overall “feel” of a room when they should be looking at the room itself. Furniture and decorations can distract from checking the level of the floor or the size of the room. A finished family room in a basement is a bonus, but could mask cracks in the foundation.

In other words, when looking at homes be aware that, as with people, first impressions are important, but can also be deceiving. Before you choose your home be sure that you’re looking past the curb appeal and décor.

Finally, don’t skip the home inspection and feel free to ask your real estate agent for an opinion on the home. We’re here to help.

The nuts and bolts of the home inspection

A good home inspection report is a valuable resource — not only during the home buying process, but also as a guide to maintenance when you own the home.

Home inspection reports can be difficult to decipher, but it is vital that you thoroughly understand everything in the report and the inspector’s recommendations.

Types of Home Inspection Reports

Home inspectors produce different types of reports. Some home inspection reports are checklists pertaining to specific areas of the house. Some are narratives, detailing what the home inspector found as he or she went through the house. Some are written in plain English, while others use symbols and icons that the reader has to decipher.

No matter the format, a home inspection should provide a detailed description of the home’s features. “Damage to door lintel” isn’t as descriptive (or as useful) as “some scuff marks on door lintel with splintering on left side,” for example.

Some home inspectors tend to give a home’s negative features more attention than its positives. Make it clear you want the home inspection report to list the good along with the bad. You’ll be better able to judge the state of the home if the report includes the positives as well as the negatives.

Who Reads Home Inspection Reports?

Homebuyers aren’t the only people who read home inspection reports. Lenders may require a home inspection report in addition to the appraisal.

If you decide to exercise your right to walk away from the deal due to the findings of the inspection, you’ll need to share the report to get your earnest money deposit back.

Depending on state law, real estate agents representing both buyers and sellers sometimes receive a copy of the report. Depending on negotiations, buyers may allow the seller to also see the report.

Evaluating Home Inspection Reports

If at all possible, accompany the home inspector during the inspection. This allows you to ask questions and get a better sense of the condition of the house than if you rely on the written report alone.

Questions to consider as you look over the home inspection report include:

  • Are the problems with the house reflected in the asking price?
  • Are the problems significant enough to rule out buying the home?
  • Does a problem require immediate attention or can it be fixed in the future?
  • Do you need more information on a problem?
  • Is a problem minor or major?

Often, reading a home inspection report generates more questions than you had to begin with. Your home inspector should be willing to provide you with more information on the nature of specific issues.

Home Inspection Reports after a Sale

Hold on to your home inspection report after you purchase the house. A thorough report may contain up to 20 or more pages, detailing items that need adjustment, service or cleaning. The summary punch list, detailing the inspector’s concerns, is a valuable reference for future home maintenance needs.

We will be with you every step of the way to the purchase of the home so don’t hesitate to ask questions about the inspection, the report or anything else pertaining to the transaction.

Roof problems don’t need to keep you from the house of your dreams

There is no such thing as a home in perfect condition. This includes newly-built homes.


The folks at Scott Home Inspection in Colorado have compiled an online list that highlights the most common defects in a newly constructed home. The list includes some pricey items, such as “… improperly installed heating and air conditioning.”

One of the costliest home repairs or replacements is the roof. How costly? A new roof can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 Gregory Kyler, custom builder and licensed general contractor tells Jami Farkas at

A roof’s average lifespan is 50 years if it’s constructed of “Slate, copper and tile …,” according to Geoff Williams and Teresa Mears at

You’ll get about half as many years of life from a roof constructed of fiber cement shingles and 30 years from a shake roof.

Naturally, these life expectancies depend on weather and natural disasters.

So, what happens when you’ve fallen in love with a house, put in an offer and the home inspector raises red flags about the condition of the home’s roof?

Don’t throw in the towel. There are things you can do to save the deal and not be out of pocket for the work that needs to be done.

Renegotiate the price of the home

Your first step is to obtain a bid for the roof work that needs to be done. Ensure that you hire a licensed roofing contractor to supply you with the bid. Check a contractor’s license status by following the instructions at

Deduct the bid price from the amount you offered on the home. Your real estate agent will submit an amended purchase agreement to the seller’s agent. Then, it’s a waiting game.

If the seller agrees to the lower price, celebrate! If not, and you have the money, perhaps the sellers will split the cost.

If you have wiggle room in your loan preapproval amount, consider adding the amount for repairs into your mortgage. This will require increasing your offering price.

It’s a far from ideal scenario, however. Will the home appraise for that amount?

Renegotiate the terms of the contract

If you know that the purchase price reduction request might be a deal breaker for the seller, get together with your agent and pore over the contract terms.

Perhaps the seller will be amenable to paying for the roof repair or replacement before the close of escrow. Another method used is for the seller to place that amount of money in an escrow account so you can use it to pay for the roof work after closing.

The latter may raise issues with the lender, who may want a roof certification before releasing funds for the purchase.

Roof problems listed in the home inspection don’t have to be a deal breaker. Once the sellers are informed about them they will need to disclose them to any buyer that comes along after you and will face the same requests that you are making.

Don’t give up! We will negotiate for you and win you that home.

Can you use your 401(k) to buy a house?

Want to buy a house but you’re short on cash?

If you have a 401(k) (an employer-sponsored retirement plan), read on to learn how it can help you get into the home of your dreams.

First, remember the purpose of that 401(k)

It’s called a “qualified retirement plan” for a reason – it is a cushion to use when you leave the work world and settle into retirement.

It needs to be a rather large cushion too, we might add. “On average, Americans believe they need $1.7 million to retire, …” according to Jessica Dickler, citing a recent survey from Charles Schwab at

A more accurate way to determine how much income you’ll need each month is by dividing your estimated annual expenses by 4%, according to Jean Folger at

“So, for example,” she explains, “if you estimate you’ll need $50,000 a year to live comfortably, you’ll need $1.25 million ($50,000 ÷ 0.04) going into retirement.”

There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about raiding those funds to pay for a down payment and closing costs for a home. And, although we’ve researched the issue, we aren’t finance professionals, and we urge you to consult with one before making a decision.

Should I withdraw the money or borrow it from my 401(k)?

Keep in mind that “Every employer’s plan has different rules for 401(k) withdrawals and loans, …” warns the experts at “… so, find out what your plan allows,” they conclude.

Many plans offer the owner the choice of withdrawing the funds from the 401(k) or borrowing them. Both methods of getting your hands on the money have advantages and disadvantages.

“When done for the right reasons, taking a short-term 401(k) loan and paying it back on schedule isn’t necessarily a bad idea,” according to Troy Segal at

In essence, you’ll be borrowing the down payment for the home from yourself, and you’ll need to repay that loan, with interest, within 10 years.

Withdrawing the money from your retirement plan brings with it some distinct disadvantages. “Taking money out of a 401(k) plan before age 59 1/2 often results in taxes and penalties,” cautions Rachel Hartman at

This will happen if you’re younger than age 59. You will pay taxes and a 10% penalty upfront.

One advantage of requesting a withdrawal, however, is that there is no requirement to pay back withdrawals, according to the pros at

Borrowing the money from your 401(k)to help you buy a home allows you to skip paying the taxes and penalty, but you will have to pay interest on what you borrow.

“Depending on what your employer’s plan allows, you could take out as much as 50% of your savings, up to a maximum of $50,000, within a 12-month period (fidelity).

Before you make a decision on either of these 401(k) options, consult with your financial advisor. Most professional advisors “… recommend borrowers tap their 401(k) funds only as a last resort,” claims Gina Freeman at



What Makes a Perfect Luxury Condo?

By most people’s definition, luxury condominium buildings feature quality construction and tasteful architectural details. Common areas may be anything from fertile, Eden-like gardens to rooftop sundecks with cabanas and a full bar.

The definition of the “perfect” luxury condo varies by personal taste, but overall, the luxury condo offers superior service to meet the high standards of its residents.

When a building and its amenities cater to your particular lifestyle, you have found the perfect luxury condo.

On-Site Amenities

The best luxury condo buildings have on-site staff that includes a concierge, valet and other members to provide services to the community’s residents. Some of these services may include restaurant delivery, dog walking, and the procurement of theater and sporting event tickets.

Some of the most popular communities feature infinity pools, or at the very least, resort-style pools surrounded by a sundeck. Jacuzzis are standard as is a state-of the art fitness facility.

Ideal luxury condo buildings also employ a valet to park, wash and even detail your car.

The services that you feel are important will define whether or not the condo you are looking at is the perfect one.

Get clear on which services you must have in a luxury condo before heading out to tour them.

The heart of every home

Very often it is the kitchen that makes or breaks the sale of luxury homes, and condos are no exception. Gourmet kitchens are in demand, whether the residents do their own cooking or hires a personal chef.

Top-of-the line appliances, typically with a stainless-steel finish, are common. Professional ranges and dishwashers, granite or other slab countertops and fine wood cabinetry are desirable features for many lux condo buyers.

If you cook, you know the importance of good lighting and luxury condos generally cater to this need. From under-cabinet lighting to brighten up a work surface to overhead lighting, a gourmet kitchen offers it all.

Consider what you need in a bathroom

The bathroom is usually second in importance only to the kitchen, and bathrooms in many luxury condos are magnificent. In fact, think “spa” when envisioning the perfect condo’s bathrooms.

Custom materials, such as imported stone and rich wood set the elegant stage. Other common features include electronic faucets, towel warmers, shower rain heads and heated floors.

Some developers go all out and opt for tanning showers, bubbler tubs with fountains and fireplaces.

A view to die for

Depending upon location, a view may or may not be a part of your picture of the perfect luxury condo. In some parts of the country, a view of the city’s lights or the mountains is so quintessentially luxurious; it’s almost impossible to put a price on it.

The ideal luxury condo also provides dual-glazed windows through which to gaze at the sumptuous view.

If a view is important to you, put it on your must-have list.

Need a guest suite?

Whether you reserve this room for guests or transform it into a library or home office, the extra suite is a must in a luxury condo.

Some newer condos are now offering separate units as suites that you can rent, for a reasonable fee, to accommodate the overflow of guests.

Condos, luxury or otherwise, are attractive for the low-maintenance lifestyle they provide. Life in a condo means not having to concern yourself with grounds up-keep and other home maintenance matters.

Luxury condos provide that freedom, plus all the amenities that make your life easier.