Blog :: 04-2021

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Along with DIY projects and more! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see.

Vaccines, Stimulus Are Fueling Seller Optimism

Americans are more upbeat about the idea of selling, particularly as the vaccine rollout continues and latest round of stimulus checks are distributed. That could come as hopeful news as many markets face severe housing shortages and buyers are increasingly being left with few choices of homes for sale.

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index rose by 5.2 points in March to a reading of 81.7. The components on the index that increased the most last month related to home selling and buying, household income, and home prices.

“The significant increase in the HPSI in March reflects consumer optimism toward the housing market and larger economy as vaccinations continue to roll out, a third round of stimulus checks was distributed, and this spring home buying season began—perhaps with even more intensity this year, since 2020’s spring homebuying season was limited by virus-related lockdowns,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist.

The measure over home-selling sentiment moved higher across most consumer segments and reached nearly pre-pandemic levels, Duncan notes. That is “generally indicative of a strong seller’s market,” he notes. “Consumers once again cited high home prices and tight inventory as primary reasons why it’s a good time to sell.”

More Americans also reported it’s a “good time to buy” in the March survey compared to February, likely still being drawn to historically low mortgage rates despite recent upticks. However, that measure on home-buying sentiment still lags behind pre-pandemic levels. The home-buying experience is proving difficult due to rapidly rising home prices and a lack of housing supply, Duncan adds.

Here’s a closer look at indicators from March’s Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index, reflecting responses from nearly 1,000 consumers over the housing market:

  • 61% of consumers said it’s a good time to sell, up from 55% in February.

  • 53% of consumers said it’s a good time to buy a home, up from 48% in February.

  • 50% of Americans surveyed believe home prices will go up over the next 12 months, up from 47% the month prior.

  • 54% of consumers expect mortgage rates to increase over the next year, up from 47% a month earlier.

  • 82% of Americans say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months, unchanged from February.

  • 25% of respondents said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, up from 17% in February.

 

Source: “Home Purchase Sentiment Index,” Fannie Mae (April 7, 2021)

Why Spring Is the Best Time to Deep Clean Your Home

Why it's so popular to refresh your spaces during this season every year.

By Nashia Baker 

When you think about springtime, fresh blooms, seasonal fruit, and pastel colors likely come to mind. Another (arguably less fun) seasonal association? Spring cleaning. But why do we deep clean our spaces at this time? According to the experts, it's simple: The warm weather makes a maximum refresh possible. "With the ability to open windows and shake the rugs, spring is the perfect time for decluttering and deep cleaning," says Andy Telatnik, the director of marketing for retail at Bona. If you feel the same way, you're not alone. According to a Bona and Harris Poll survey last year, half of the adults in the United States say that the start of spring is all about cleaning; decluttering and polishing floors will be the top two tasks for homeowners this particular season.

Don't forget about the pros of disinfecting during this time of year, either. "Spring is a season when everyone starts spending a little more time outdoors—and more dirt and germs are invited in," explains Julie Mckinney, PhD, R&D director of equity, claims and compliance, hygiene, and home at Reckitt Benckiser. "Even though spring signals the end of the cold and flu seasons, people should still be vigilant about the germs and bacteria living on surfaces and collecting in the spaces in their homes—especially as the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate." Ahead, our experts share more about the logic behind spring cleaning and how to make the most of this time.

The benefits are both physical and emotional.

With spring comes longer days, which physically shine a light on the grime that has accumulated during winter. You start "noticing all the dust and smudges that have collected over the past year and feel inspired to get it all cleaned out to bring fresh energy," Kadi Dulude, the owner of  Wizard of Homes, a top-rated home cleaner on Yelp, says. And certain parts of your home really do need that refresh. Take your hardwood floors, "Deep cleaning your floors will extend their life," Telatnik shares. "By  removing dust, debris, and other elements of winter, deep cleaning will prevent scratches and damage to the wood finish, which likely means refinishing the floors less often."

Inevitably,  when your space looks good, you feel good, too. A recent Harris Poll survey, in partnership with Bona, found that people feel safer, productive, relieved, happy, and in control after cleaning and disinfecting their homes. Plus, eight out of 10 Americans felt more relaxed and enjoyed spending time in their spaces that much more.

Take a targeted approach.

"When considering what to prioritize in your spring cleaning and disinfecting routine, remember that any frequently touched surface should be considered high priority," Mckinney says. "Think light switches, doorknobs, handles, and sink faucets—all places where germs can linger for hours, or even days, and then travel from person to person." Once you've got your head wrapped around the most important areas to clean, Dulude says to carve out time and listen to your favorite music to make the process a fun one. Another tip? Round up go-to supplies. "Pick scents and materials that make you want to try them out on different surfaces," she explains. "Get a new mop, microfiber cloths, or organizing bins." She always recommends having other cleaners on hand to give your floors, countertops, and other most-touched surfaces the deepest clean possible.

From here, Dulude says to start on the top floor of your home with hard-to-reach items. "Things that are often overlooked during weekly cleans: tops of picture frames, ceiling fans, tops of high dressers and cabinets, and the insides of lighting fixtures," she explains. "But don't forget to clean under things, too. Take everything out from under the bed, give it all a clean, and put things back neatly (after mopping the floor, of course)." Take this approach in every space, like under your big kitchen appliances. If you'd rather enlist help to master this type of cleaning, you can also turn to an app or use a cleaning business tailored for the task.

Maximize your cleaning efforts.

Next, Dulude recommends these essential steps: deep clean your rugs, donate, toss or recycle any things you don't need, wipe down your knick-knacks, wash your throw pillows, blankets, and toys, and remove scuffs from your walls. Make sure to scrub your floors too. After this step, Telatnik says to let them dry, and then apply a coat of polish to refresh your finish. "A coat of polish can even out a floor's look, filling in any small scratches and adding a new protective layer on top of your floor," he said. "If the surface has larger areas of damage (worn patches, scratches, water spots, etc.), consider contacting a certified flooring contractor to determine the best approach."

"Additional steps that people often neglect, but should definitely tackle as part of their comprehensive spring cleaning and disinfecting routine, include vacuuming the mattress to reduce allergens and dust mites, emptying and disinfecting the shelves and drawers around the house, vacuuming the blower compartments of the A/C to prevent mold and mildew from venturing into your home, and cleaning the inside of the washing machine to help prevent bacteria buildup and laundry contamination adds Mckinney.

 

4 Simple Updates to Refresh the Home Office

Homeowners across the country have transformed their kitchens and living rooms into temporary workstations. But have they created an optimal setup for remote work? Kelsey Stuart, CEO of Bloomin’ Blinds, offers the following tips to make a home office more inviting and motivational.

Give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Whether you have a designated home office or plan to repurpose a spare bedroom or basement, try a quick and fresh paint job to transform the room. Lighter tones reflect more light, helping to make a home office feel roomier. Try a light, simple color scheme in order to promote high energy and creativity. This will also provide a professional background for video conference calls. Need inspiration? Try these 2021 paint colors of the year from Benjamin-MooreBehrPantone, or Sherwin-Williams.

Good lighting is key. Lighting is critical to productivity and professionalism in the age of Zoom calls. There are two ways to control the lighting in a room: through natural light via windows and artificial light, using lamps and bulbs.

  • If you haven’t already, swap out existing lightbulbs for LED bulbs. Relatively inexpensive, LEDs are energy-efficient and help light up a room better than traditional bulbs. Eliminate shadows by adding lamps where needed.

  • Whether you’re trying to focus for an extended period of time or are about to log into a videoconference call, controlling the amount of natural light in the room impacts your productivity. You might find it helpful to rearrange your office based on natural light sources so that your eyes don’t get fatigued. Also, control the amount of light in the space by adding blinds, which give you the ability to direct the light in your office. You could also use shades with motorized units to make easier adjustments. Blinds also can have sun sensors that will lower shades if the window gets too hot, helping you to stay focused on your work.

Bring in the outdoors. A functional and beautiful add-on to your office space, plants have been shown to boost creativity while also creating a calm environment to work—all while filtering the air you breathe. Here are ideas for what plants to add.

Personalize your space. We’re all spending more time in our home office, so don’t forget to add the personal touches that remind you of why you go to work every day. For instance, photos of loved ones or a fun pattern on a floor rug can help you create a space that you’re happy to spend time in.

 

 

Courtesy Realtor Magazine

Source: By Kelsey Stuart, CEO of Bloomin’ Blinds  

Is the new Workweek 3 Days In, 2 Days Out?

Many workers want to continue to work from home, even when the pandemic is over. A new survey from JLL of 2,000 employees globally found that 72% want to be able to work from home more during the workweek, up considerably from 34% before the pandemic. Sixty-six percent are in favor of a hybrid model that mixes in office, home, and a co-working facility.

The idea of a 3-2-2 model is gaining popularity with workers. LinkedIn’s year-end roundup of 2020’s workplace trends called it a one to watch in the new year. The model would allow employees to work three days in the office, two days remotely, and two days off.

While many workers don’t want to return full-time to the office, they are missing the workplace. Fifty-two percent of professionals say they do not feel as productive at home, and 58% miss working at an office, according to a separate JLL survey. The 3-2-2 model could allow workers to balance remote and in-office work.

“The emergence of this new framework for the workweek confirms that people don’t just want to go back to the office—for many, they need to,” writes Kenny Kane, chief operating officer at Firmspace, for Forbes.com. “And commercial real estate agents will see this reflected in their quarterly reports as soon as the pandemic turns around.”

Still, a CBRE analysis cautions that the growth in remote work could cut the overall need for office space by 15% after the pandemic ends. As workplaces consider new leases, they’re demanding more flexible space options, shared meeting spaces, better indoor air quality, connected building apps, and touchless technology, CBRE notes. Also, about 50% of the workers surveyed by JLL consider socialization spaces crucial to their experiences in the office in the future. These spaces could include coffee and tea areas, lounges, terraces that offer more connection with nature, and more.

Peter Miscovich, managing director of strategy and innovation at JLL, told the Commercial Observer that some clients are wanting to decrease their office portfolios, open up satellite spaces in the suburbs, or retool their existing spaces to fit a new hybid workplace model.

Co-working spaces are increasingly being viewed as an alluring option to more workers. The JLL survey finds that 40% of workers would like to be able to work at a co-working space in the future.

Regardless, the office will remain a key role for companies as a collaboration space, Miscovich says. Only 10% of survey respondents said they would want to work from home exclusively. Seventy-four percent said they would be willing to return to the office at least part time; 24% would be willing to return on a full-time basis.

 

Courtesy Realtor Magazine

Source: "72% of Workers Don't Want to Return to Office Full Time. Report Finds," Commercial Observer (March 5, 2021); "Shaping Human Experience," JLL (Feb 22, 2021); and "What the New 3-2-2 Work Week Will Mean for Commercial Real Estate," Forbes.com (March 2, 2021)