With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from
home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of
desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office
space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning
needs of their children as well.
This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have
become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with
larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices
and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find
the needed space in more creative ways.
The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the
ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary
bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is
an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have
done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room
combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered. Another
option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room which could be
converted to a workspace.
With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and
kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers
seek different features from their new dwellings.
Self-employed borrowers have always had to jump through a few hoops to finance or
refinance their homes. Without a traditional paycheck, lenders look for other ways to
document income. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many business owners and delayed
tax return filings. As a result, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have enacted changes in the way
the mortgage industry processes home loan applications (as of June 11, 2020).
Self-employed borrowers are typically verified by the most recent two years of income taxfilings. As a result of the pandemic, those two years might not give a current or accurate
picture of the borrower’s income. As the borrower is seeking to secure a loan before the next
filing period, underwriters are now requiring a signed Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) from
Profit and Loss Statements
As part of the underwriting process, self-employed applicants must provide an audited or self generated P&L statement for the current 2020 period. The statement must not be older than
60 days and must include:
• Net Income
• Business Depository Account Statements (two most recent)
• Business Revenue
In addition, the borrower must provide their most recent personal bank statements which
should support the P&L statement.
Self-employed loan applicants have always faced challenges when seeking a home loan. Now
more than ever, it’s important to understand the requirements and work with a mortgage
professional to ensure the loan application is packaged correctly with all the needed
documentation. Lenders are still approving home loans, but with these changes put in place to
minimize risk as the mortgage industry works through the challenges of this pandemic.
The original purpose of a mudroom was to ensure that the dirt and grime of the
outdoors never made it inside your home, where visitors could see it. Believe it or
not, the modern mudroom is often the first thing your guests see, as more formal
entries are shunned in favor of the casual entrance to the house. As a result,
these functional rooms are now gaining the attention of homeowners and
If your mudroom could use some sprucing up, here are 4 ways to instantly
upgrade your space.
1. Change the Entrance – Changing out that old dull door for a fresh style can
instantly change the mood of the room. Adding windows to bring in natural
light makes the space warm and inviting.
2. Fresh Paint – Almost every article about updating your home’s look includes
new paint for a reason; paint instantly changes the look and feel of a space.
Merging bright colors with clean white accents creates visual interest and
provides a perfect segue to the rest of the house.
3. Update Your Fixtures – From lighting to doorknobs and hooks, upgrade your
functional fixtures with contemporary styles. Double check that the room
has adequate lighting which also complements your design aesthetic.
4. Rethink the Storage – Does your mudroom have adequate storage for your
needs? A storage bench is a great addition which adds extra space, as well
as a place to sit while you remove your bulky items.
Mudrooms are often dirty, damp repositories for the mess which isn’t appropriate
for the main house, but there is no reason it can’t be functional and beautiful. By
making a few simple changes, you can transform your mudroom and welcome
your family and visitors through a fresh space.
There are so many questions and concerns amid the Covid-19 coronavirus
outbreak. The real estate market is especially hard hit and sellers are concerned.
Real estate at its core is a people business. It relies on person-to-person
interaction and the coronavirus necessarily limits this contact. As the spring
selling season gets started, home sellers will have questions and it’s important to
acknowledge concerns and offer practical advice and concrete information to
help sellers make the best decision for themselves and their families.
1. Should I still try and sell my home? – Of course, there are many aspects to
this question. First and foremost, the health concerns of the sellers’ family
have to be taken into consideration. Unless absolutely necessary, the
elderly and those with underlying health issues should not allow
unnecessary people into their homes; including buyers and agents.
If the household is essentially healthy and not considered high-risk, then
this could be a great time to sell. Consider the advantages of lower
inventory coupled with low-interest rates; as listings become rarer, the
remaining inventory will get more attention which could create better
2. Is it safe to have people through my home? – This is certainly a concern,
but there are practical steps you can take to ensure safer home showings.
3. What can I do to protect my family during showings? – Protect the home,
family and visitors alike by taking the following precautions.
a. Keep hand sanitizer at the front door to offer buyers and their agents
when they enter the home.
b. If there is a guest bathroom, keep disposable hand towels and soap
for guests to use and make the request known to the showing agent.
c. Offer disposable gloves for use with a receptacle for used gloves.
5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered
Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this
time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their
ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will
bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying
process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related
to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.
1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer
and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental
policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour
virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already
available which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs.
2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority;
this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person
during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour.
Drive separately from your agent meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one
person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the
3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts
include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan
approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed
after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. Since every aspect of real
estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in
place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to
set the right expectation.
4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It’s very common for
the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections,
appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow.
Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.
5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal
ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated
to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to
predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.
Finding the perfect time to buy a home is a challenge that requires research and a
bit of luck. While timing the purchase perfectly might be desirable, the truth is the
right time is a personal decision. As we enter 2020, you might be wondering if this
is the right time to buy your dream home. With a strong economy, low
unemployment and higher household income, there are 3 great reasons why you
should consider buying that dream home this year.
1. A Home is a Great Investment – Real estate remains one of the best
investments one can have. Based on hard assets, real estate tends to
weather the ups and downs long term better than other investment tools,
such as stocks or bonds.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates are Low – Interest rates have fallen over the past
year from 5% in November of 2018 and Freddie Mac expects them to level
at an average of 3.8% in 2020. This extra purchasing power is important
when buying your dream home and this is a good time to lock in that rate
for the next 30 years.
3. Hedge Against Inflation – Rental costs continue to rise and as the economy
heats up, inflation becomes more of a possibility. A fixed 30-year mortgage
freezes your housing costs and works as a buffer from inflation which is
impacting the rental market.
Owning property is almost always a good investment. If you’ve been thinking
about exchanging your current home for your dream house, 2020 could offer the
right time to move up.