Home Buying

Gen X is Turning 50 and They’re Stuck in Their Homes

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The leading headlines on the future of the housing market typically read, “Get ready for the millennials!” If not that, the alternative subject line highlights the number of baby boomers retiring and whether they will move to the coast, move to be close to the grandkids or just stay put. In between the two is a generation of high wage earners that is mostly ignored in the national housing conversation. This doesn’t occur only in the housing market, the majority of news coverage in the last election was given to the, “We don’t want to change” boomers and the idealistic “We want the world to change” millennials. In the middle, described by some authors as the middle child, is Gen X. Once described as slackers, they are now in their prime earnings years and have the highest average income of any other bracket of consumers. Gen X who grew up on grunge music, wearing ripped jeans and flannel shirts has grown up and is very influential in the business world and yes, many are stuck in their homes.

I don’t view Gen X as having a middle child generation syndrome, despite not being written or talked about as much as the older and younger generations they interact with. I view this generation as the link connecting the baby boomers and the millennials. They have an understanding and share interests with both generations. While sociologists and the census bureau will give a different date range for members of this generation, I use the simple definition that identifies Gen X, with individuals born the first year the birth rate in the country began to once again decline after its continuous rise post World War II, 1965 to 1980 and the start of a new decade of patriotism. In all cases, generations are defined by a certain birth date and a general world view outlook.

Gen X understood the values of the baby boomers but challenged them with the indifference that went along with growing up as latchkey kids who either had two working parents or were part of a family separated by divorce. They went to college, got married, had kids, some got divorced and began to change social norms and alter the direction of popular music. It wasn’t the millennials that took the popularity of tattoos away from the exclusivity of bikers, gangs and members of the military. It was Generation X that started that trend, although for most it was more conservative and hidden than you see today. They looked at race differently, birth control was the norm, as was women being in the workplace. They don’t feel ignored like a middle child, but rather are often indifferent and are adept at independently figuring things out, which all goes along with growing up as a latchkey kid. They went to school with computers and are very proficient at technology, and unlike the millennials, can freely turn the technology off.

While the housing shortage across the U.S. appropriately discusses the impact to first-time millennial home buyers, Gen X was hit the hardest during the real estate down-turn that began in 2007. Some still own homes with negative equity and those with equity have the challenge of where will they move to, if they sell their home? The housing shortage has a negative impact on upward mobility for Gen X. With housing construction still below historical rates, and homes available in areas where Gen X want to live, in even shorter supply, balance of lifestyle is not just a millennial desire. The American story of moving and advancing to that next community or larger home every 5 years is gone.

The macro issue of more homes being available is a broader challenge that would require government, new entrepreneurs and businesses working jointly towards a solution. In the interim, what can members of this generation do if they truly want the step-up move? There is a solution that could work in certain markets and that is selling their home and then leasing it back to them for 60-90 days so they have time to search for a home with the money already in hand for the down payment. Under this scenario, a new buyer can purchase a home they want and can afford, and Gen X can have the time and the money to be more diligent about finding the next size home. After all, it is a generation that is accustomed to creatively figuring things out.

To the early Gen Xers, a happy 50th birthday wish to the likes of Dave Matthews, Billy Corgan, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Will Ferrell who are all turning 50 this year. Know someone who is turning 50? Send them a text wishing them Happy Birthday, they are also the generation that texts the most.

Best wishes to all who are pursuing owning their dream home.

Peter

Are Your Home Buyers Looking For You On Video?

 

Vlog to gain access to a younger generation of home buyers that grew up researching and learning through videos on the internet. If you don’t have a presence on the internet, are buyers finding you?

Win three FREE nights in Austin, Texas! Share your prior experience at past conventions and your excitement for this years Unitedpalooza through a short video! Use your phone and start recording, what do you have to lose? The winner of the drawing will recieve three nights paid at The Westin Austin Downtown.

See you online,

Peter

Partner Feature: American Home Shield

When you purchase your home, homeowners insurance is a must. But, what about a home warranty?American Home Shield

A home warranty is a great choice for most homeowners as it covers the repair or replacement of major home systems including HVAC, electrical, plumbing, large appliances, and pools, amongst others. This will give you peace of mind (often for a one-year period before you must renew) that your home is covered should anything break down.

If you’re currently considering a home warranty, American Home Shield is a leader in home warranties and a valued partner of United Real Estate. Check out just some of the major benefits of choosing them for your own warranty below!

 

A Brief History of American Home Shield

Since 1971, American Home Shield (AHS) has been providing home warranties to homeowners just like you. The company serves the needs of homeowners through their network of qualified repair professionals that are ready to help whenever necessary.

Most AHS customers use their plan twice per year, giving them the support and flexibility necessary to keep their homes running. Through their relationship with the ServiceMaster company, AHS offers premier services from well-known names like Terminix, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic, and Amerispec (amongst others) to homes across the nation.

 

Major Benefits of Using American Home Shield

There are major benefits of trusting your home to AHS over other potential organizations, including:

  • 24/7 Service – Home repairs don’t happen on a predictable schedule. Open 24/7, AHS is always there when you need them.
  • 90% Responsive – 90% of the time AHS assigns contractors to homes within just 15 minutes, meaning you receive the service you need (and quickly)!
  • 93% Effective – AHS has fulfilled 93% of customer service requests in the past three years. This guarantees they’ll provide the service promised when you need it most.

 

Learn More About American Home Shield for Your Needs

If you’ve been considering a home warranty, American Home Shield is a great resource.

Learn more about their services and pricing today to see if this is the right option to protect your important investment!

Buying Your First Home: How to Get Started

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Have you recently been feeling that now is the “right” time to purchase your first home? If so, it’s an incredibly exciting time in your life. However, there is also a lot of stress and anxiety that can come with the process.

If you’ve never purchased a home before, chances are that you have some questions. The most pressing of which is: “How do I even get started in my search?” And if you’ve been wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place.

Start the Process With a Few Key Questions

We’re going to answer your question with another question (or rather, questions). After all, it’s important to ensure you’re really ready to buy rather than doing so on a whim.

Some questions you should consider before going further in the process include:

  • Should I be purchasing a home at this time or is renting a better option/ Am I planning on staying in this area for the next three to five years?
  • What are my reasons for purchasing my home? Am I buying for the “right” reasons?
  • Am I at the right place in my life (relationships, job, financial stability) to purchase a home?

If these questions don’t slow you down or give you pause, it’s time to consider the next part of the process: Financing your home.

 

Get Your Finances in Line

Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime. And as such, it’s important to make sure your finances are in order before beginning the actual house hunt.

When you’re considering financing, it’s important to research available loan programs as well as potential mortgage rates and fees. Often, this means you should order your credit report, correct any errors, and pay down current loan balances before going to a lender.

Once your credit is in order, you can visit multiple lenders (beginning with your own financial institution) to interview mortgage brokers, determine potential loan programs, and figure out your potential monthly mortgage payment (depending on the home you can afford). You will want to get a preapproval letter since doing so will give you more leverage in negotiations with sellers once you find the home you want.

 

Next, the Home Search Can Begin

After these vital preparatory steps, you can begin the home search. It’s best to do so with an experienced real estate agent, helping you avoid common mistakes and get the best value for your money.

The best way to find a qualified agent is to ask for referrals from family members, friends or colleagues. By doing so, you can avoid the headache that comes with choosing an agent whose expertise might not fit your needs.

 

United Real Estate Can Help You Purchase Your First Home

If you’re interested in purchasing your first home and are looking for an agent to help you do so, the team at United Real Estate can help.

With decades of experience in helping individuals just like you, we can help find the perfect first home no matter your budget or needs. Contact us to begin the search for your home, today!

Home Warranties: What You Need to Know

When you purchase a home, your mortgage company requires homeowners insurance. But a home warranty? That’s an entirely different story.

Do home warranties really protect you?

Do home warranties really protect you?

Whereas homeowners insurance protects personal property (i.e. the contents within your home) as well as the structure of your home should an accident or disaster occur, a home warranty is optional insurance that protects major appliances within the home.

So what should you know about a home warranty before deciding whether or not to get one for your home? Read on to find out!

Home Warranties are Valid for a Limited Time

A home warranty typically lasts for just one year. And while it can be renewed, you must track when it expires on your own because a carrier won’t often notify you when it is expiring.

Coverage (and Cost) Varies Depending on Your Warranty

As is the case with standard insurance, warranties differ depending on the level of coverage you want to pay for. If you opt for basic coverage, you may have a few appliances covered like your furnace, heating and air conditioning, and a few other major appliances.

If you upgrade to a premium plan, you’ll enjoy more protection for other appliances in your home. It’s up to you to decide how much coverage you feel comfortable with (and can afford) as most plans will vary from $250 to $600 annually.

You Have to Pay a Deductible When You Make a Claim

Depending on your specific home warranty, you will have to pay a certain amount each time you make a claim. And in most cases, you can’t combine costs if two appliances break down at once; you must pay separate fees for each.

In Most Cases, You Can’t Choose Who Completes the Repairs

If you’re someone who is uncomfortable with being told who can enter your home to make the repairs, a home warranty may not be for you. In almost every case, your home warranty carrier will already have a list of contractors for all repairs, meaning you won’t be able to choose for yourself.

So, Should You Buy a Home Warranty?

Deciding whether or not to purchase a home warranty is a personal decision and one that you must make depending on the appliances in your home and whether or not you’re financially prepared to make major appliance repairs should something happen.

This makes it important to consider your options and make an informed decision when you’re purchasing your home. Many new homeowners don’t invest in a warranty if their home is less than 10 years old but will if it’s more than 10 years old. You may want to use these same guidelines or others as you make the decision for yourself.

If You’re Ready to Purchase a Home, United Real Estate Can Help

If you’re on the hunt for your dream home or have found it and need to take the next step, United Real Estate is here to support you along the way.

As a national leader, we’re able to guide new and experienced homeowners with our expertise. Contact us to find your dream home, today!

Who Should Pay for a Home Inspection?

So you’ve found your dream home and you’re ready to sign the paperwork, but not before getting a home inspection. After all, getting an inspection from a qualified professional is absolutely essential when you want to make sure there are no unwelcome issues with the foundation, electric, plumbing, or other systems in your new home.

But one question remains: Who should pay for the home inspection?

Don’t get caught with surprises, protect yourself with a home inspection.

This is one of the most common questions when it comes to working out the fine details of any home negotiation and below, we have the answers you’ve been searching for to seal the deal on your new home.

In Most Cases, Buyers Pay for the Inspection

While the nationwide average cost of a home inspection is approximately $450, inspections can cost upwards of $1,000 in areas of New York and sometimes less than the average in less populated areas. But no matter the exact cost, a home inspection is a pricey necessity that leaves buyers wondering if they should be stuck with the bill.

However, it is the buyers who traditionally pay for the inspection.

After all, it’s in their best interest to ensure that there are no issues with the home. Or, if the inspection does reveal issues, it gives buyers the ability to negotiate the price on the home due to the cost of any necessary repairs. As such, a home inspection can actually end up saving you money should you find major issues and prevent you from getting stuck with the bill for these repairs.

Sellers Do Pay for Some Inspections

Just like it’s most common for the buyers to pay for the home inspection, it’s also common for sellers to pay for other inspections.

For example, most sellers will pay for termite inspections and sometimes even well, water, or septic inspections if necessary. This alleviates some costs from buyers and gives further reassurance that the home is in proper condition for the next owners.

Everything is Negotiable

If you’re looking for a definitive answer to this question, you’ll probably find the answer “everything is negotiable” on most resources you find. And in fact, everything is negotiable.

In some cases, the sellers will pay for a home inspection. But if you’re looking for ultimate peace of mind in one of the most significant transactions of your life, it’s best to hire your own professional for the inspection.

If You’re Ready to Purchase a Home, United Real Estate Can Help

Whether you’ve found your dream home and need assistance scheduling the inspection or are ready to begin the hunt for your next home, United Real Estate can help.

Our position as a national leader in the real estate industry gives us both the experience and expertise to handle your unique needs. Contact us to find your dream home, today!

How to Win a Bidding War

Now that the housing market is heating back up, you’re likely going face stronger competition from your fellow buyers. So what do you do when you’ve found the perfect home, and it turns out that someone else thinks it’s perfect too?

Here are some expert tips to help you come out on top in a bidding war:

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers on homes.

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers. Be smart and follow our simple tips for success.

Get Your Finances in Order

Getting pre-approved for a loan will go a long way towards winning a bidding war. It shows you’re committed and helps to eliminate any doubts a seller may have about your financial ability. In a competitive market, your offer might not even be considered if you do not have a pre-approval letter.

Master Your Cover Letter

Your offer should contain a cover letter along with a pre-approval letter or a proof-of funds document. Your cover letter should showcase why you want the home, what you do for a living, your interests, and also how you see your future unfolding in this property. If you truly love the home, don’t be afraid to reveal why you and or your family belong there. Creating an emotional connection can help you stand out among the other bidders and give you an added advantage.

Much like a cover letter for a job, your offer cover letter is a pivotal element to getting noticed by the seller and can make or break your chances of getting the home.

Be Swift

As they say, the early bird gets the worm. Be the first with an offer that matches the asking price or comes in slightly below, to increase your chances of winning a bidding war. It shows you’re a serious buyer and that you value the home you’re bidding on. To give your offer some added urgency, put an expiration date on it as well.

Make a clean offer

The simpler the offer, the more likely the seller is to accept it. While you may be tempted to outline all of your “must-haves” upfront, these are better left until after you’ve made it a few steps further in the buying process. You’ll still have an opportunity to negotiate repairs, closing costs, furniture, and any other wants after the inspection.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Don’t let your emotions over-rule all of that hard work you put into researching asking prices, looking at schools and scoping out the neighborhood.  These are necessary to make a sound decision and sometimes all logic goes out the window when you fall in love with a home. Don’t let yourself step outside your price range in the heat of the moment. There will always be another home but there isn’t always more money.

If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a bidding war and need some expert advice, contact our knowledgeable and friendly team at 855-441-6288.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/how-to-win-a-bidding-war-on-your-dream-house/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102640371

Launching: Educator Mortgage Program

  • Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

    Now Offering: Discounts for Educators

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In conjunction with Supreme Lending, we have introduced a special Educator Mortgage Program that will be made available to teachers and all employees working in any public or private education system. This program is designed to benefit those who spend their days bettering the lives of others. You shape our children, our communities, our future – let us serve you, your family, your future.

What’s offered?

  • Discounted closing costs
  • Real estate agent fee credits
  • Priority loan processing
  • School Donations

Who can participate?

  • Teachers/faculty
  • Coaches
  • Custodial/facilities staff
  • Librarians
  • Secretaries
  • Professors/adjunct faculty
  • Counselors
  • And any public or private school employee

If you work in the public service sector and you are looking to find out if this program could work for you, contact us or visit our dedicated website.

Four Things to Avoid When House Hunting

  • What neighborhood works best for you?

    What neighborhood works best for you?

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House hunting can be exciting but there’s also plenty to consider when you’re conducting your search. When looking for a house, most people have a good understanding of what features they want.  But what about the things you need to avoid?

To dodge some major house hunting pitfalls, take a look at our quick tips below.

Looking outside of your price-range. Find out how much you can borrow from your home lender and stick to it.  While it can be tempting to stretch your budget for a home that appears to be just right, people often forget about hidden costs like taxes, insurance, utilities and fees that will be tacked onto the purchase price or the monthly payment. To avoid temptation, scratch any homes off your list that are clearly out of your price-range.

Buying the first home you see.  There’s a lot to consider when buying a home and without a strong basis of comparison, you could be making the wrong decision. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a good idea of what average prices are in the area you’re looking in and see how each home stacks up. You’ll also need to investigate the neighborhood to make sure it’s on par with your family’s needs. Once you’ve had a chance to look at some options, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve made an informed decision.

Homes that need major renovations. Unless you have the cash flow and ability to renovate, these homes are best left untouched, especially for first time home buyers. Think about how much time you’re willing to wait while your house is being renovated – are you prepared to wait even longer? Renovation projects tend to go over-time and over-budget, so unless you’re looking to stay put for several years, this home might not be worth the headache.

Not getting inspections. Make sure you arrange an independent inspection to assess the overall state of the home, even if your lender doesn’t require it. Since sellers may not disclose all issues, an inspection is a great chance to discover any potential roadblocks and decide if they will make or break your buying decision.  Knowing the true state of the home can also provide some great bargaining power.

Whether you’re searching for your first home or your thirtieth, our expert team is here to help make your home-buying process as smooth as possible. Contact them for more information today.

Sources:

http://www.trulia.com/pro/buyers/house-hunting-pitfalls-to-help-buyers-avoid/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/06/the-7-top-home-buying-mistakes-you-should-avoid/

Franchise Feature: Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis Downtown

    Indianapolis Downtown

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Originally nicknamed the “Crossroads of America” for sitting at the junction of multiple highways, Indianapolis has certainly become the intersection of culture, nightlife, nature and sports.

With a bustling downtown, major sports teams, numerous parks and an affordable housing market, it’s easy to see why folks are flocking to Indy.

Known most notably for the Indy 500, which recently took place at the end of May, Indianapolis is famous for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Along with world-class racing, Indianapolis has major sports teams such as the NFL Indianapolis Colts and the NBA Indiana Pacers, making it an ideal place for sports fans.

It’s the 12th largest city in the nation, second only to Washington DC in its number of monuments.  It boasts major universities such as Purdue, Butler and the University of Indiana.

Besides its many monuments, residents can enjoy neighborhoods with a diverse range of dining, shopping, theatre, art, live music and nightlife such as:

Zionsville

A lovely place for families to settle with top rated schools, a charming New England style downtown and a quaint community full of unique local shops and restaurants.

Carmel

Money Magazine named Carmel the 3rd best place to live – now that’s impressive! It has a strong local economy with projected job growth and top rated schools, along with pedestrian friendly streets and an authentic sense of community.

Northern Indianapolis

Located only 15 minutes from downtown, this area has an exciting mix of entertainment, local art and dining.  Residents have access to great local schools and safe investment opportunities as Northern Indianapolis has an established real estate market.

Downtown

This neighborhood has something for everyone with single-family homes, condos, high-end lofts and converted work/live spaces available. It’s highly accessible as well with interconnected biking and running trails and has plenty to do for every type of interest from the Colts and the Pacers to Mass Ave Theatre.

Broadripple/Meridian Kessler

Known for its older homes and historically rich background, this neighborhood is only 5 minutes from downtown. It offers a wide range of dining an entertainment options and has a strong LGBT community.

While the city has much to offer, Indianapolis also has ample outdoor space for nature lovers to enjoy such as Eagle Creek Park and Nature reserve, one of the largest parks in the U.S., along with hundreds of local parks and bike paths.

Residents enjoy a low cost of living compared to the larger cities in the nation, meaning locals can stretch their dollars a bit further and enjoy all that the city has to offer. Studies show that the cost of living in Indianapolis is approximately 4% cheaper than the rest of the nation when looking at housing, healthcare, childcare and transportation.

Along with a lower cost of living, residents can enjoy the benefits of an affordable housing market. The median home values in Indiana are below the national average. According to Zillow, the median home value in Indiana is $130,400, whereas the national average is $178,400.

With a thriving city culture, low cost of living and reasonable housing prices, Indianapolis is an ideal place to set up shop and get the best of city living without the expensive city price tags.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Indiana, check out our office in Carmel, IN – a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

Sources:

http://careers.angieslist.com/life-in-indy/

http://www.zillow.com/indianapolis-metro-in_r394705/home-values/

http://cost-of-living.startclass.com/l/195/Indianapolis-IN-Metro-Area

http://www.clrsearch.com/Indianapolis-Demographics/IN/Quality-of-Life

http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2015/05/26/juan-pablo-montoya-earns-nearly-2-5-million-for-indy-500-win-full-box-score-with-winnings-attached/