SRES® Blog

AIA Survey: Home Design Trends

AIA Survey: Home Design Trends

Your clients who want to incorporate aging-in-place features to accommodate multiple generations under one roof may be interested in findings from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey. So too will those who want to upgrade their homes for better functionality to respond to the ongoing pandemic. The quarterly AIA surveys provide a snapshot of residential trends that architects are seeing and measure whether a feature’s popularity rose or fell. Due to pandemic work-at-home situations, home offices, outdoor living spaces, and multi-function rooms, and flexible

Design Matters: Color is Back for 2021

Design Matters: Color is Back for 2021

If you’re tired of pale gray, the popular home paint color during the last year or so, look to the new hues of 2021. In recent months, paint companies released their 2021 color predictions. Many of their choices have been influenced by the changes the pandemic has brought to our lives. For example, in announcing its color of the year, Urbane Bronze (https://bit.ly/34RY9pf), Sherwin-Williams, suggests finding your sanctuary. It says, “As we're looking to create the ultimate retreat for reflection and renewal, we're turning to a hue whose natural simplicity and nature-inspired energy cultivate a

2021 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

2021 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Now is the time of year when you’re taking a hard look at your financial picture and developing a plan for the year. Before you start, check the all-important Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contribution limits for 2021. For details, visit the IRS site at https://bit.ly/3mUplK4 and https://bit.ly/2JpWZK5. For individuals contributing to a 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan, the contribution limits stay at $19,500. For those over the age of 50, the catch-up contribution stays at $6,500. The maximum contribution limits for individual retirement

Fee for Refinancing Mortgages Now in Effect

Fee for Refinancing Mortgages Now in Effect

Your clients who are refinancing their mortgages now will need to factor in the new adverse market refinance fee that kicked in on December 1, 2020. The 0.5% charge applies to conventional loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it was put in place to cover projected COVID-19 losses. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the fee means the average consumer will be paying $1,400 more than they otherwise would have paid. Since many homeowners may be focused solely on chasing the lowest interest rate, give them a heads-up about the change. Others may not know about or forget to

Serve Bi-lingual Clients with Mortgage Information in Their Native Languages

Serve Bi-lingual Clients with Mortgage Information in Their Native Languages

Maybe your market includes clients for whom English is a second language, or you have the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, and the bulk of your sales comes from foreign buyers. If so, both audiences may appreciate being able to navigate the loan process in their native languages. The Mortgage Translations clearing house (https://bit.ly/3dGiBMZ), developed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, provide loan documents in multiple languages: English Spanish Chinese Vietnamese Korean Tagalog The site includes the Uniform

Refinance Quickly to Avoid Extra Fee, Effective Dec. 1

Refinance Quickly to Avoid Extra Fee, Effective Dec. 1

On December 1, it’s going to get more expensive to refinance a mortgage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will start charging a 0.5% fee on refinanced mortgages that the two mortgage giants purchase. The reason for the fee, known as the “adverse market refinance fee,” is to cover projected COVID-19 losses. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the change will cost the average consumer an additional $1,400 than they would have paid before. However, those refinancing balances $125,000 or less are exempt from the fee. Initially, the adverse market refinance fee was to go into effect on

Get More Eyes on Listings with Better Descriptions, Careful Staging

Get More Eyes on Listings with Better Descriptions, Careful Staging

With 25% of buyers making offers without even seeing a home -- a statistic from a recent Redfin survey -- it may be more important than ever to showcase features that are most important to today’s shoppers. In addition to detailed MLS descriptions, images and videos are crucial in conveying the features, feel, and flow of a property. Keep an eye out for new surveys and studies to stay up to date on how the pandemic changes homebuyer preferences and how your listings can accommodate those wishes. For example, 35% of consumers are changing what they’re looking for in a home. That’s according to

Create a Workspace that Sparks Joy

Create a Workspace that Sparks Joy

With more people staying home to work – perhaps for some time to come – you and your clients may be struggling to find the right home office setup and ways to stay focused and productive. Look to Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying up guru, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, who developed the KonMari method of home decluttering. “Spark joy” is Kondo’s famous rallying cry. Here are some KonMari-based strategies for creating a comfortable, productive work-at-home life. Create an ideal work spot. Imagine how you want your workspace to look when you walk in in the morning. Do you want

Mortgage Assistance for Homeowners Hit by Natural Disasters

Mortgage Assistance for Homeowners Hit by Natural Disasters

If you work in a place that has been hit by recent natural disasters — Hurricane Sally and the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington — homeowners in your area may benefit from disaster relief policies from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. According to Fannie Mae’s guidelines for single-family mortgages impacted by a natural disaster, homeowners could get their payments suspended or reduced for up to 90 days. Some may be eligible for reduction or suspension of payments for up to 12 months. During the payment break, such homeowners won’t face late fees and foreclosures, and other legal

NAR Survey Looks at Market Recovery

NAR Survey Looks at Market Recovery

During the Covid-19 lockdown, what would happen to the real estate market was an open question. Now that some cities and towns have opened up, the answer has gotten clearer. For example, the 2020 Market Recovery Survey, conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® in June, shows that markets are recovering and that both buyers and sellers are returning. The data can help you give clients a better picture of what’s happening, buyers’ and sellers’ timelines, and the home features that now are important. For example, 35% of NAR members polled reported that buyers had changed at least one