As the seasons change so does the real estate market, and it’s important to embrace these changes throughout your home to capture every buyer opportunity before the winter slump. If you’re looking to sell your home before year’s end follow these simple home staging tips for your exterior and interior to welcome buyers into your home.
Create a welcoming front porch. If needed, paint your front door, add a new welcome mat and a few seasonal plants and pumpkins. Hang a wreath on the door that embraces fall foliage, so it can be used through the Thanksgiving holiday. Try adding a seating area if you have the space. Put out colorful, fall-inspired pillows and a throw blanket when showing.
Add seasonal plants. Speaking of seasonal foliage, change out your plant containers and pots around your home to show off hardier plants that will flourish this time of year. Try colorful mums, cabbages, goldenrods, burning bush or aster to show off a lively space.
Prune back landscaping. Take a look at the trees, shrubs and bushes around your home. Cut away anything dead or overgrown, especially around your windows. This will help safeguard your home from falling debris, as well as allow for maximum natural light to enter the home.
Inspect the roof. Fall is essentially the last time of the year you’ll be able to make any repairs on your roof. Depending on where you live, brutal weather can cause leaks, collapses and other damage, so do yourself a favor and a schedule an inspection.
Clean gutters and downspouts. This time of year, trees shed their leaves and can clog up your gutters. Because moisture can turn to ice during the fall and winter, you want to make sure any water is easily being removed from your home’s structure.
Spruce up the lawn. Those leaves can also make a mess on your lawn, so rake them frequently while on the market. Also, now is the time to repair any brown spots in your lawn and fertilize it. Winterize your sprinkler system now too, to save on electric.
Winterize the patio or deck, and pool. Most of us will have to say “bye, bye” to those fun summer days in the pool. Now is the time to close up the pool and put away or cover up most lawn furniture. Despite colder days, you should still set a scene to entice buyers. Try using an outdoor fire pit – create a seating area where you can chat around the fire, roast marshmallows and sip hot cocoa. Use a string of white lights to highlight the area, and don’t forget to add seasonal plants.
Find the perfect temperature. Check your heater, schedule your oil delivery and prepare to transfer from the air conditioning to heat. When showing your home you want to make sure it’s the perfect temperature to reduce any buyer distractions.
Focus on the fireplace. During this time of year the fireplace will become the center of attention. Make sure to check the fireplace and chimney are working properly. Create a seating area around the fireplace, bring in wood and set up a fall scene on your mantel.
Update your window treatment. Treat your windows to a good cleaning inside and out. Change out curtain panels for more luxurious fabrics, like velvet in darker or bolder colors. Make sure to keep your window treatments open to maximize the amount of natural light entering the home.
Light up the interior. With shorter days upon us you may need to add more lighting inside your home to really highlight the space during showings. Have at least three light sources in every room and turn on all the lights when showing your home. Try putting your lights on a timer and keep your front lights on to welcome buyers up to the house.
Add warmer tones. Besides using light to add warmth to a space, switch out your cooler-tone colors, like blues and greens for orange, red, burgundy, and yellow. Add these colors in your home with paint, curtains, artwork, a rug or other smaller accessories. Remember a little goes a long way with these colors.
Incorporate cozy upholstery. Time to add on the layers. Bring in textured upholstery in your furniture, window treatments, bedding, pillows, throws and rugs by using plush, soft materials – burlap, silk, fur, velvet and other heavier, durable materials work well.
Use autumn scents. Intrigue the senses this fall by adding familiar fall scents like vanilla, pumpkin spice or apple cinnamon.
Change up decor. Time to remove the lighter-colored accents, summer photos and boating, fiesta and beach house themes. Replace those accessories with warmer colors like those mentioned above – pumpkins, owls or birds, leaves or other natural elements to remind you of farm stands and harvest time.
What Happened to Rates Last Week?
Mortgage backed securities (FNMA 3.00 MBS) lost -57 basis points (BPS) from last Friday’s close which caused fixed mortgage rates to move higher for the week. The week before that, MBS lost -43 BPS. So, for the past two weeks, MBS have pulled back -100 BPS.
We had a holiday-shortened week that was dominated by focus on our Federal Reserve. We had a very light week for domestic economic data but we saw strength in Retail Sales and the labor sector which are both very important to our economy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments on Friday about “letting our economy run hotter” was negative for bonds (and drove up mortgage rate) as bonds do not like inflation.
The Talking Fed:
We got the Minutes from the last FOMC meeting on Wednesday. You can read the official release here: https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20160921.htm
It is an interesting read. Overall, it supported the expected “hawkish” tone. Members expressed concern over loosing credibility (you know making all these speeches that point to higher rates and then doing nothing about it). It was also clear that many supported a rate hike and or felt that they were close to seeing labor slack tightening enough to justify a hike. There was also concern that if they didn’t raise rates soon, that it would snuff out the momentum in the labor market. But the bottom line for long bond traders is that obviously Yellen did not agree and that’s all that matters at this point.
Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren (one of the 3 dissenting votes) said that investors were probably right in placing “very high” odds on a U.S. interest rate increase in December, a step he argues is already overdue. “The market seems to think that there’s a very high probability of December. We’ll see how the economic data actually comes in, but I think that is priced appropriately.”
Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke a the same conference in Boston and while she didn’t specifically address rate hikes she did discuss some academical conjecture on letting the economy running hotter for longer. She said “Increased business sales would almost certainly raise the productive capacity of the economy by encouraging additional capital spending, especially if accompanied by reduced uncertainty about future prospects,” Yellen said. “In addition, a tight labor market might draw in potential workers who would otherwise sit on the sidelines and encourage job-to-job transitions that could also lead to more efficient – and, hence, more productive – job matches. Finally, albeit more speculatively, strong demand could potentially yield significant productivity.”
Retail Sales: This is the biggest piece of economic data this week. The September Headline MOM (month over over month) matched expectations with a 0.6% gain. But the more closely watched Ex-Autos data was stronger than expected (+0.5% vs est of 0.4%) Plus, August was revised higher from -0.3% to -0.2%. If it weren’t for that revision. Ex Autos would have been up +0.6%.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The August Job Openings and Labor Turn Over Survey showed a trimming of labor slack as it fell from July’s revised 5.831M unfilled positions down to 5.433M which was below the market expectations of 5.724M.
Weekly Initial Jobless Claims were lighter than expected and (246K vs est of 255K) and last week was revised lower to 246K. This moved the more closely watched 4 week moving average down to 249,250 which is basically averaging 10K less than just a month ago. Labor Slack? Not in this metric.
What to Watch Out For This Week:
The above are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises.
It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets. Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon.
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First Imperial Mortgage
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Houston, TX 77009