5 Sizzling Reasons To Buy A Home During Housing’s Hottest Season

The Heat Is On: 5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home During Housing’s Hottest Season
By Rena Behar | Jun 15, 2017
flammulate/iStock; stevanovicigor/iStock
The days are getting longer. Ice cream truck jingles echo up and down the block. But the surest sign that summer is here? It just might be those “For Sale” signs popping up like dandelions in your neighborhood.

Yep, we’re smack dab in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. If you’re thinking of starting your home search, your first instinct as a savvy shopper might be to stay away and wait for the weather—and the market—to cool down. Why battle the crowds and bidding wars if you’re in no rush to move?


But there’s no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing’s hottest season—as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

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1. Prices aren’t necessarily higher

“A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true,” says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let’s be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it’s a seller’s market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home’s asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes also for sale in a given area, interest rates, and the job market.

“What is true, however, is that there are more homes on the market in summer than in the winter, and there is also a higher number of sales in the summer than the winter,” Chhina says.

Find homes for sale on
Which leads us to our next summer-buying advantage.

2. Inventory is broader

You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer with only two models for sale, so why limit your options when it comes to picking a house? The open-plan kitchen you’ve been yearning for or a home in a stellar school district is much more likely to pop up in a busier marketplace.

“The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. Buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week.”

In some less competitive markets, knowing that there are plenty of homes for sale can give you more leverage for price negotiation, and peace of mind knowing that if you have to walk to away, another home will be just around the corner.

3. Buying and selling at the same time could be easier

If you need to sell your current home before you can buy another, you’ll likely have an easier time with the balancing act during the summer. Rather than getting trapped with two mortgages, you could have a more seamless transition in a busier market.

“If the client needs to sell a home before buying, the home will be more likely to sell, and potentially at a good price, allowing the client to purchase their new home sooner,” says Joe Lopez of Connect Realty.

But remember, these transactions take time, so if you’re planning on pulling off a double act, get ready as soon as possible so you can capture as much of that golden season as you can.

4. School’s out for summer

Any beleaguered parent can tell you why this factor is crucial. By waiting until summer to make your move, you can minimize disruption to your kids’ lives. Plus, their schedule is clear to bring them along to showings. (Beware, though, not all agents appreciate young kids underfoot.)

“House hunting during the summer break from school means that kids can more readily attend showings— important when offer time is of the essence and parents want each member to approve of the new family home,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals.

And if the sellers have kids, they might also be trying to cement a sale in time for the new school year—and will likely be more motivated toward the end of the season.

“Sellers who find their properties still on the market as summer draws to a close and the ranks of buyers thin out may be more open to price negotiation,” Elliott says. “In addition, those buyers who were unable to secure a home after months of looking and making offers may become fatigued and drop out of the hunt.”

5. You’ll get to know the lay of the land

It’s easier to do a little detective work on your potential home when the weather’s nice and the days are longer. Trees and flowers are in full bloom, so you’ll get a better idea of your prospective new yard. You can step out on that back porch and envision what it will really, truly be like to live there and host your long-anticipated Margarita Mondays. Plus, everyone’s more active, so you’ll get a better feel for the community.

“Summer brings people out of their homes, so while you are home shopping with your agent, you will get the chance to take the pulse of the neighborhood and see your potential neighbors,” says Kyle Springer of South Central Homes.

“Families can often get a feel for the neighborhood’s kid population during the day in the summer,” Elliott says. “Here in Orlando, where daytime temperatures reach the high 90s and so many homes have pools, buyers listen for sounds of shouting and splashing.”

But beware! Sometimes the romance of summer can distract you from some red flags.

“It is fine to stop and smell the roses, but also pay attention to what lurks behind them,” says Jerry Grodesky of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate.

For example: the eyesore of a junk pile in your neighbor’s yard. Or the giant cellphone tower you didn’t see through those beautifully full trees—that now you can’t unsee. And make sure that foliage isn’t blocking any potential problems with the home, such as foundation issues or peeling roof tiles.

You should also use this opportunity to test how the property holds up in warm weather. See how well the air conditioning works when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, and open all the windows to see if any stick or simply won’t open. Of course, your home inspector will check these things, but it never hurts to get a jump-start.
Rena Behar is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s contributed to The Wirecutter, Groupon, Texas Monthly, and other publications. Follow @renadb

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

The paint on the wall may soon be a source of energy for a home. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, say “solar paint” will be available to homeowners in the next few years.

It’s a sunlight-absorbing paint developed by RMIT researchers that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air. Even a brick wall could potentially be turned into an energy-harvesting form of real estate, says lead researcher Torben Daeneke.

“Our new development has a big range of advantages,” Daeneke told Science Daily. “There’s no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system. Any place that has water vapor in the air—even remote areas far from water—can produce fuel. … This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight, and the vapor can then be absorbed to produce fuel. This is an extraordinary concept, making fuel from the sun and water vapor in the air.”

Source: “Solar Paint Offers Endless Energy From Water Vapor,” Science Daily (June 14, 2017)

The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying A Home

The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home

June 14, 2017

A still from The Money Pit
Shelley Long and Tom Hanks in The Money Pit have a few regrets about buying a home. | Universal Pictures via YouTube
Your home might be the biggest purchase of your life, but there’s a good chance you’re not going to be completely happy with the way the transaction went down. Half of people financial website NerdWallet surveyed said if they could repeat the home-buying process, they’d do something differently.

Some people wished they’d saved more money. Others regretted not learning more about mortgages. And a few realized they should have shopped around for a loan. Generation Xers were the most likely to wish for a home-buying do-over, with 61% saying they had some regrets about purchasing their house. Fifty-seven percent of millennial homebuyers had regrets. But more than half of baby boomers said they didn’t have any second thoughts about buying their home, perhaps because they were either more financially savvy when they bought their home or because they had more time to come to terms with their decision.

Many of people’s home-buying regrets had to do with a lack of financial preparation. People who bit off more than they could chew financially sometimes wished they’d done things differently. To avoid second thoughts when buying your next place, check out this list of 10 of the biggest regrets people have about buying a home.

1. Spent too much money
In 81% of U.S. counties, home-price increases outstripped wage growth in 2016, according to Realty Trac, putting homeownership out of reach for millions of Americans. Those who do take the plunge might end up spending way more than they expected, and some come to regret it. Overall, 4% of homebuyers NerdWallet talked to said they’d bought a house that was too expensive. Millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to say they’d spent too much money on a house than baby boomers.

Spending too much money on a house can have serious economic consequences. More than half of Americans say they’ve had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent, a 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey found. A fifth took on an extra job, 17% stopped saving for retirement, and 14% racked up credit card debt.

2. Bought the wrong house
Couple shakes hands with real estate agent
A couple shakes hands with a real estate agent in front of their new home. | iStock.com/lewkmiller
When you buy the wrong pair of shoes, you can take them back to the store and get a refund. But there are no take-backs when you’re buying real estate. Unfortunately, 5% of homeowners said they regretted buying their house, a share that was relatively consistent across generations.

Once you’ve bought the wrong house, there’s not a lot you can do to fix the problem short of putting it on the market and going through the whole process again. To avoid regrets, make sure you avoid common home-buying mistakes, such as forgoing an inspection, ignoring the realities of a long commute, or picking the wrong neighborhood.

3. Bought a house with the wrong features
Man cleaning pool with a dog
A man cleans his swimming pool and potentially regrets having one. | iStock.com
You thought you wanted a house with a chef’s kitchen, backyard pool, and home theater. Now that you’ve moved in, you’ve realized you don’t cook that much, the pool is a pain to maintain, and you’d rather have a guest suite for your in-laws than a room dedicated to watching movies.

Seven percent of homebuyers said the amenities and features they valued most when buying home later changed. Millennials were the most likely to have a poor fit between their home’s actual features and the ones they realized they wanted, perhaps because they’re younger and still figuring out what they need in a house.

“Look at houses based on the lifestyle you have not the lifestyle you aspire to have. … We’d have loved a large green lawn but realistically we’d never maintain it and probably wouldn’t spend on a gardener,” a first-time homebuyer advised in the Personal Finance sub-Reddit.

4. Should have waited longer to buy
Couple meeting with real estate agent
A young couple meet with a real estate agent. | iStock.com/gpointstudio
“Renting is like throwing money away,” some people say. But pressure to stop wasting money and get started building wealth could lead some people to jump into homeownership before they’re really ready. Five percent of people felt they rushed into the home-buying process sooner than they should have.

Ten percent of millennials and 6% of Gen Xers felt they jumped the gun on buying a home. (Only 1% of baby boomers felt they bought a home too earlier.) It’s hardly surprising that younger buyers might come to regret their home purchases. While owning your own home has advantages, it can also make it difficult to move around for new job opportunities. Younger buyers also might not be financially prepared for the costs of homeownership or not have had time to save enough for a big down payment, which can lead to a more costly mortgage.

5. Bought a too-small house
Santana house in Portugal, tiny house
Some people might come to regret the tiny-house trend. | iStock.com
Tiny homes might be popular on TV, but most Americans are still looking for McMansions. The average new house in the U.S. is 2,467 square feet, according to the Census Bureau. And that’s still not enough space for some people. Thirteen percent of buyers said they wish they’d bought a bigger house, including 19% of millennials and 20% of Gen Xers. Baby boomers were far more likely to be satisfied with their home’s size, with only 6% wishing they had a bigger place.

If you’re feeling cramped after you buy, home additions and renovations can add more space, provided you can come to terms with the price. The typical home addition costs $40,942, according to HomeAdvisor, while renovating a basement into livable space costs $18,810 on average. If you can’t afford a major renovation, tricks such as furniture that doubles as storage, using mirrors to make a room look larger, and even cleaning windows to let in more natural light, can make a petite home look more like a palace.

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6. Didn’t save enough for a down payment
monopoly houses on dollar bills
More than 25% of millennial and Gen X homebuyers wish they’d saved more for a down payment. | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Millennials in many U.S. cities will need to save for 10 years or more before they have accumulated enough for a 20% down payment on their home, research by ApartmentList found. Rather than wait, many are forging ahead with home purchases anyway, sometimes putting as little 3% or 5% down.

Low down-payment options can turn renters into buyers, but some regret the rush to homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27% of Gen Xers who NerdWallet surveyed wished they’d saved more before purchasing their house. Although it’s difficult for many first-time buyers to come up with the traditional 20% down, there are still good reasons to try to do so, including avoiding private mortgage insurance, paying less interest over the life of the loan, and making smaller monthly payments.

7. Wasn’t organized enough
mortgage paperwork
A person completes a mortgage application form. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Newbie homebuyers often underestimate exactly how much paperwork is involved in getting a mortgage and buying a home. Twelve percent of millennials NerdWallet surveyed said they wished they’d kept their paperwork better organized from the start.

Depending on your source of income, you might need to provide W-2s or tax returns, profit-and-loss statement for any business you own, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, or evidence of child support paid to you in order to get a mortgage. You’ll also need proof of your assets, including documentation of down payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information of outstanding debts.

Gather all your paperwork in advance, and develop a system for keeping it organized to prevent hiccups in the application process. Once you buy your house, continue to stay organized. Keep documents related to your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and home improvements in one place, so you know where to find them when you need them.

8. Didn’t do enough research
meeting with loan officer
A woman meets with a mortgage loan officer. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Hindsight is 20-20, and many homeowners wished they’d spent more time educating themselves about the realities of the home-buying and mortgage-lending process before they purchased their home. Gen Xers were most likely to wish they’d done more research, with 19% wishing they’d been better informed about the mortgage process and 16% regretting they didn’t learn more about buying a home in advance.

A lack of knowledge about how home buying and mortgages work makes it more likely that a buyer will make a rookie mistake. Some might not realize they can negotiate closing costs, underestimate how much money a lower interest rate will save them on their mortgage, or not pay close attention to the terms of their mortgage (such as whether it’s a fixed- or variable-rate mortgage). Starry-eyed buyers might fail to consider the true costs of homeownership, neglect to consider the neighborhood, or skip crucial steps, such as the home inspection.

9. Should have shopped around for a loan
wells fargo home mortgage sign
A Wells Fargo Home Mortgage branch | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A half of a percent might not sound like a lot, but it can add up to tens of thousands of dollars of savings over the life of your mortgage. Yet half of borrowers simply take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found. Some come to regret that hasty decision, with 18% of Gen X homeowners wishing they’d spent more time shopping around for a loan.

Taking the time to apply for a mortgage from several different lenders can yield a better loan offer. But make sure you’re not shopping based on interest rate alone, notes the Federal Trade Commission. You’ll also want to ask about fees, whether you’ll need private mortgage insurance (and what the cost will be), and what the loan’s APR is. (The APR includes the interest rate as well as points, fees, and other charges expressed as a yearly rate.)

10. Got the wrong type of mortgage
husband and wife working on finances with calculator and laptop
A couple stress about paying their mortgage. | iStock.com/Tomwang112
If there was one big lesson to take from the housing crisis of 2008, it’s that choosing the wrong mortgage can be disastrous. Some homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages found they could no longer afford monthly payments once interest rates reset, leading them to default. Others had interest-only or negative-amortization loans (where your loan balance actually increases every month because your payment is less than the interest that accrues every month). Even a standard fixed-rate 30-year mortgage could be a bad choice if you didn’t shop around for the best rate or misunderstand the terms of your loan.

Overall, 4% of homeowners said they’d chosen the wrong mortgage, including 7% of millennials and Gen Xers and 2% of baby boomers. Researching the mortgage process before you start looking for a house, shopping around for a mortgage, and making sure you understand all your mortgage terms can help you get the loan that’s right for your situation and avoid a potentially expensive mortgage mistake.

More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
9 Tax Breaks That Can Make Owning a Home More Affordable
10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase The Value of Your Home
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5 Most common Home Buyer Regrets

5 Most Common Home Buyer Regrets

Half of recent home buyers say that if they could repeat the homebuying process, they’d do something differently, according to a survey by financial website NerdWallet.com. Respondents indicate that their biggest source of regret when buying a home was not preparing enough financially for homeownership. Here are some of the most common reasons for buyer regret, according to the survey.

Purchasing a home that’s too expensive. Millennials and Generation X members were more likely than baby boomers to say they overspent on their home purchase, according to the NerdWallet survey. A 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey also found that more than half of consumers had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent. About 20 percent said they took an extra job, 17 percent stopped saving for retirement, and 14 percent accumulated credit card debt, according to the MacArthur survey.
Purchasing a home that doesn’t fit their needs. About 5 percent of respondents to the NerdWallet survey say their home didn’t align with their homeownership goals. Housing experts recommend avoiding common homebuying mistakes like forgoing a home inspection, ignoring commute time, or choosing the wrong neighborhood. Also, consumers need to know what amenities they need. That’s not always easy: 7 percent of buyers say the amenities and features they valued most changed after buying a home.
Not putting enough money down. Low-down-payment loans can help buyers without robust savings get into a home, but some may later regret not saving more before taking on the costs of homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27 percent of Gen Xers say they wish they had saved more before buying their house, according to the NerdWallet survey.
Not being organized. Many home shoppers say they wish they had gathered paperwork before the mortgage application process and developed a system for keeping it organized. That includes W-2 or tax return forms, profit-and-loss statements for business owners, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, and evidence of child support payments. Home shoppers also need proof of their assets, such as documentation of down-payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information on outstanding debts.
Not shopping around for a loan. Half of borrowers take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, according to a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But shopping around for a mortgage with an interest rate that is even half of a percentage point lower can result in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the mortgage. Home buyers should compare more than interest fees, including the cost of private mortgage insurance and the loan’s APR (which is the interest rate, points, fees, and other charges all rolled into a yearly rate).
Source: “The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home,” CheatSheet.com (June 14, 2017)