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Author Archive Jason Burkholder

Houses Are Still Selling Fast

Have you been thinking about selling your house? If so, here’s some good news. While the housing market isn’t as frenzied as it was during the ‘unicorn’ years when houses were selling quicker than ever, they’re still selling faster than historically normal.

The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to tell the story of median days on the market for every January from 2017 all the way through the latest numbers available. For Realtor.com, days on the market means from the time a house is listed for sale until its closing date or the date it’s taken off the market. This metric can help give you an idea of just how quickly homes are selling compared to more normal years:

When you look at the most recent data (shown in green), it’s clear homes are selling faster than they usually would (shown in blue). In fact, the only years when houses sold even faster than they are right now were the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). According to Realtor.com:

“Homes spent 69 days on the market, which is three days shorter than last year and more than two weeks shorter than before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

What Does This Mean for You?

Homes are selling faster than the norm for this time of year – and your house may sell quickly too. That’s because more people are looking to buy now that mortgage rates have come down, but there still aren’t enough homes to go around. Mike Simonsen, Founder of Altos Researchsays:

“. . . 2024 is starting stronger than last year. And demand is increasing each week.”

Bottom Line

If you’re wondering if it’s a good time to sell your home, the most recent data suggests it is. The housing market appears to be stronger than it usually is at this time of year. To get the latest updates on what’s happening in our local market, let’s connect.

 

Ready to be in a new home for next holiday season? We can help! Give us a call or text at (717) 371-0557!

Your Friends in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder Team

——————

Jason Burkholder

Kelly Burkholder

Jaci Hoosier

717-371-0557 direct or text

Hometown Property Sales Group, LLC

717-207-8093 office

57 E Main St

Lititz, PA 17543

Fear, less

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

“Scary times don’t call for fearless leaders. We don’t need a gladiator jumping into an arena with the hungry tiger.  Instead, times of fear and uncertainty call for leaders to become fear(less) — aware of and consciously able to sort through what is truly scary and deserves careful consideration and what is causing undue stress and anxiety without being a real threat.”

That quote came out of a quick article I read, here in this link .   For the sake of this discussion, replace the word “leaders” with people.  After all, leaders are just people, individual persons.  You are also a person.

What does this have to do with real estate?  Well, if I’m being philosophical, real estate is about people’s lives.  A person can’t live their life in a constant state of fear, and really, there is no hungry tiger to defeat in this story, it’s real estate.  What’s there to defeat?  What is there even to fear?

If you care about real estate, the enemy is misinformation, uncertainty and the fear it drives.

It makes you question everything, and end up doing nothing.  It’s not enough for me to say “be fear(less)” if you’re jumping into this real estate market.  You have to actually be able to fear less things.  Your ability to be “aware of and consciously able to sort through what is truly scary and deserves careful consideration and what is causing undue stress and anxiety without being a real threat” is important when you’re thinking about making a purchase or sale that will change your life and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

See, if you’ve been on the internet, or listen to the radio, or watch tv, you find pretty quickly we live in a world full of threats, real and imaginary.  Fear.  BE AFRAID.  But mostly, the fear is imaginary. Clickbait. Lots of somebody’s hot take bullshit out there masquerading as news so you click and share.  Sorry for the language, but it’s true.

Not only are we bombarded by headlines full of fear, but most of them are full of misinformation, missing pieces, things that are flat out incorrect analysis and bullshit.  Take these statements for example:

  • The market is going to crash!
  • Investors are buying all the affordable homes with cash
  • Higher interest rates mean people can’t buy.
  • Multiple offers are gone! 
  • Foreclosures are coming! 

Fear, sensationalism and wrong information in each bullet point.   Why do I say that?  Because we don’t write headlines, we sell real estate.  We actually are working in the market every day, with buyers buying and sellers selling, not writing clickbait for ad revenue.  Here’s the answer to each of those bullet points.

  • The market is going to crash!  No, it isn’t, 2023 is on track to mirror prior years in many ways when it comes to closed sales, people are still buying.
  • Investors are buying all the affordable homes with cash.  No, cash sales were only 26% of recent sales, and investors were less than 20% of sales in PA, some areas lower than 10%.  Sure, there are cash buyers.  But not all of them.
  • Higher interest rates mean people can’t buy!  No, not true, people are buying all the time, like I said, we are pretty similar to last year.  Interest rates have absolutely affected affordability and made payments higher, but it has not stopped the prices from rising.
  • Multiple offers are gone!  No, there are fewer, but they are still there.
  • Foreclosures are coming!  No, they aren’t, distressed homes are still less than 1% of home sales nationwide.

That’s the best part of working with us.  You don’t have to figure out what’s true, and what’s not, in the headlines.  There isn’t anything to be afraid of.  You’re either wanting to buy a property or you aren’t.  You’re either wanting to sell a property or you aren’t.  If you are thinking about jumping into this, selling or buying, we can help you.

We know how to look at it all critically, and we’ll help you make sense of it.  We have sellers selling each week with multiple offers over list price.  We also have buyers winning multiple offer situations, buyers getting contracts signed with the ability to do home inspections, buyers getting contracts signed with offers that include seller help with closing costs, and buyer’s buying homes for list price or less.

We are not confused, we are not afraid and we’re ready to help you too.  Call us at 717-371-0557, let’s talk! – Jason

 

Your Friends in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder Real Estate Team

Jason Burkholder

Kelly Burkholder

Adam High

Jaci Hoosier

Welcome Home Real Estate

717-298-8040 office

57 E Main St

Lititz, Pa 17543

Real Estate Market Myths in 2023

Ok friends, let’s shine the light on a couple myths floating around out there regarding the real estate market right now.  There’s no denying that it’s a different market, and sometimes conflicting signals.  But that’s kinda the case every year, and misconceptions floating around about this market, coupled with  people filling airtime trying to “predict” what’s going to happen next aren’t making things any easier.

So what, exactly, are those misconceptions, and why are they incorrect? Let’s discuss some of the common myths in today’s housing market that are hurting both buyers and sellers, including:

  • Owners with low mortgage rates will never sell. Many buyers that purchased a home a few years ago locked in record low interest rates on their mortgages. And with interest rates significantly higher today, there’s a belief that those homeowners will never give up their low interest rates and sell. But the truth is, there are a ton of life circumstances that could force a person to list and sell their home — like a new job, growing family, or change in their financial situation — no matter what kind of interest rate they have on their mortgage.  Mortgage rates don’t play a role in what people want, they play a role in what people can afford.
  • “High Interest Rates” are keeping people from buying.  No, they aren’t. In Lancaster County, closed sales are up 25%, check out our last Market Update to see those stats.
  • As rates go up, home prices will go down, so I should wait. Many buyers believe that as interest rates rise, home prices will fall — and, as such, they’ve been waiting to make a move until prices are more affordable. But the relationship between interest rates and home prices is impacted by a variety of factors, including demand and available inventory, and the “prices will fall as rates rise” belief just hasn’t been true in this market.  The demand is still outpacing the supply, and even so, lots of people are successfully buying homes!  Don’t expect this to change anytime soon, prices aren’t coming down.
  • The market is about to crash, just like in 2008. The prices and fierce competition in today’s market are reminding some people of the conditions before 2008. But today’s market lacks the fundamental issues that caused the 2008 crash, including bad lending practices (they were legislated out), and the majority of homeowners had little to no equity in their home back then. The recent rise in prices was driven by completely different factors — including generational trends, more than a decade of under building housing, and demand outpacing inventory — making a similar crash highly unlikely.  How can I be sure?  Well, how about this next point.
  • Mortgage defaults are at the lowest rate in 23 years.  All time, historically low.  According to Core Logic, default rates (people not paying their mortgages) was only 1.1% of mortgages.  People have jobs, they are sitting on tremendous equity, they didn’t take risky loans to buy, and there simply isn’t going to be a “wave” of foreclosures.
  • Home owners have lots of equity.  ATTOM Data recently put out a report that says 49% of US homeowners are “equity rich”.  This means, again, it’s a great time for them to sell, and most people selling now are able to use that equity to easily move up, or move down, or simply cash out and use the money elsewhere.  Prices are stable, and rising, at a much more sustainable pace this year versus prior years.

So, what does it all mean for you?  Exactly what we have been saying. Now is a good a time to buy, or sell, as any.  People move because they want to, or need to, and despite headlines to the contrary, yes you can buy.  We are helping people do it all the time.  We can help you too.  Let’s talk about it.

Looking to sell or buy anywhere in Central Pa?  Call 717-371-0557!

Your Friends in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder Real Estate Team

Jason Burkholder

Kelly Burkholder

Adam High

Jaci Hoosier

———————-

Jason Burkholder

AB066232

717-371-0557 direct or text

Associate Broker

Realtor, e-Pro, RENE, AHWD

Certified Marketing Specialist

C2EX Endorsed, Certified Ally

Jason Burkholder Real Estate Team

Welcome Home Real Estate

717-298-8040 office

57 E Main St

Lititz, Pa 17543

www.JasonsHomes.com

Popcorn Is Better In A Bowl Than On A Ceiling

Do you know what a popcorn ceiling is?  Love it?  Hate it?  Most people hate it.  After all, ceiling popcorn is about the most useless (not to mention ugliest) decoration ever.   Want to get rid of it?  Well.  Normally that involves scraping it off, or demolition.  Tear it down.  As effective as that tutorial is, some of you might not want to get that messy.  Or if your house was built in the 1950’s, scraping off popcorn means dealing with potential health hazards like asbestos. Not fun or safe.

Well, I have some great news! Imgur user, makesomething, chose a different way to handle the ceiling popcorn in a room in his 1950 home. Here’s the thing, they didn’t even bother removing the popcorn at all!


Their ceiling popcorn had been painted over three times beforehand, so they decided to handle things differently.

Removing all those layers would be too much of a hassle.

The original ceiling. We wanted to do something with it, but didn’t want to spend too much money. The reason we chose not to scrap off the ceiling is because the popcorn ceiling in this room has been painted over at least 3 times. To avoid the hassle, we decided to just install the planks.

They bought some wooden planks from Lowes, spending about 9 dollars per six pack.

They also bought 2 inch brand nails, which they used to nail some planks to the joists in the ceiling.

The planks we used cost about $9 per pack of six at Lowes in California. These are extremely thin. They are nailed in with 2 inch brad nails onto the joists in the ceiling.

They used a stud detector to find the joists and chalk to mark the spots.

The planks fit together as they have v shaped grooves.

The planks they chose had V-shaped grooves in the ends, making them blend seamlessly.

Almost done.

Altogether, the wood planks cost about $250, which they had some left over.

Complete! It took about 2 days and $250 dollars.

Next came the moulding, which cost about $120. It’s a beautiful method for covering the edges of the outer planks.

Moulding around the vent. We built around the vent because we didn’t want to cut into the moulding. We are also thinking about changing the vent later on.

Two days and $370 dollars later, a brand spankin’ new and far more stylish ceiling!

However, if you want to save money, you could always use wooden pallets!

Moulding done. The moulding cost about $120. So the entire project was about $370.

They even had extra planks to decorate one of the walls. All that’s left for them to do is stain the wood.

We had extra planks left over, so we decided to cover the wall next to the fireplace. It’s an empty wall that we always felt like needed something.

As with most good DIYs, this one has been puppy approved.

Obligatory dog photo. She would walk in every once in a while to check on the progress.

This method would be awesome for old, cracked plaster ceilings too!  Not exactly a DIY kind of person and need a professional to help you pull this off?  Call me, I can connect you with a contractor!

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me or text at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!  You can always email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041 as well!

Your Friend in Real Estate,  
Jason Burkholder
Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

PS – As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

Buying Vs Renting – The Same Old Debate

Why would someone write another article on buying versus renting a home? What’s in it for the author of the article? Why would you read one? What is it you want to hear?

Do you just want confirmation and justification for what you already believe and want to do? Or, are you looking to be convinced otherwise? or simply just trying to “figure it out”? These are all good questions to ask if you find yourself reading an article on whether it makes more sense to buy a home, or to rent.

There are “reasons” to buy, and “reasons” to rent. Which is good, people want to make choices based upon reason. So, if you start reading about whether to buy versus rent a home, you’ll certainly be given “reasons” like:

  • When renting you’re just paying someone else’s mortgage.
  • You’re throwing your money away when you rent.
  • You have nothing to show for it. If you buy, you’re at least building equity.
  • Many of the richest people built their wealth through real estate. Real estate is a great long-term investment. Values always go up in the long-term.

Those are all real and valid reasons to some degree. But if you start reading articles bent on renting a home, versus buying, you’ll be given opposing “reasons”, like:

  • When you rent, you aren’t tied down to an area. You have freedom.
  • You aren’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance when things break.
  • Real estate values are not guaranteed to always go up.
  • Your house could be less than you bought it for if the economy changes.

Again, all valid “reasons” to some degree. Regardless of whether the article is pro-buying or pro-renting, the “reasons” cited tend to ALWAYS be the same, decade after decade, regardless of the market. They are overused, and honestly, pretty useless to anyone in particular. There is no absolute answer that is right for everyone.

In the end, it shouldn’t be a DIY diagnosis.

You can find plenty of “sources” to formulate your opinion on what makes sense for you. There are online calculators to help you figure out if renting or buying makes more sense for you. But that’s kind of like looking up health information online. It’s good to get some thoughts and perspective. Educate yourself. But it’s not necessarily proper for you to diagnose and treat yourself.

Same when it comes to financial and real estate decisions. Certainly educate yourself. Become informed. But truly assessing whether or not it makes more sense for you to buy a home or rent a house warrants getting some professional help. Professional help can cost less than self-help (At least in real estate…). While you can certainly sift through all the information you want online for free, and come to your own conclusion, you can also get the advice of someone who is a real estate expert for free, one thats actually applicable to your situation.

All you have to do is reach out to a real estate agent. A good real estate agent will give you advice. A great one will help you figure out if buying or renting makes better sense for you. They’ll help you assess your situation lend you their thoughts and insight based upon their knowledge and experience. And most of them will do this for free. They get paid if and when you end up buying or renting a place.

Now, certainly, you might question their motives… Will they push you to buy versus rent to make more money? Will they push you to rent because it’s quicker, easier money? Why would they help me for free? There’s got to be a catch. Sure, there are some agents who are in it just to make money. But most real estate agents are more caring and concerned about their clients’ best interests, than their own self-interest.

That doesn’t mean every real estate agent will necessarily be able to give you the best advice, even if they are caring, concerned, and not pushy. Finding an agent who knows the local area and has experience makes a huge difference in the quality of the advice. So, make sure you find not just an agent, but a great agent when you ask for advice. (If they’re all offering their advice for free, you might as well choose the best, right?)

Who’s the best agent to talk to? Where should I go?

Considering this is my article, of course I feel like I’m the best agent for you to talk to. Maybe I’m the best agent for you to talk to… maybe not. The best way to find out for sure if, or how, I can help is for us to have a quick chat.

I work all throughout Central PA, primarily in Lancaster County, Lebanon County, York County and Berks County. But in all honesty, I am not an expert on buying a home everywhere in the State of Pennsylvania. There are some parts I am not as familiar with. So if I’m not the best agent for you, I’ll tell you and I almost always know another agent who may suit your situation better.

So why not give me a call at 717-371-0557, or send me an email, and let’s schedule a time to talk. No obligation. I never push people to do one thing over another. If buying makes more sense for you, we’ll figure that out. If renting does, we’ll figure that out. I just want to make sure you’re able to make the best and most objective decision possible.

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me or text at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!  You can always email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041 as well!

Your Friend in Real Estate, 
Jason Burkholder
Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

PS – As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

1 in 4 Homes In America Are “Equity Rich”

When the housing bubble burst in 2007/2008, many Americans found themselves underwater or, in other words, with a home worth significantly less than what they owed on their mortgages.

But that’s all changed now.  According to recent studies, more and more Americans are finding themselves in the opposite situation—with a home worth far more than what they owe on their mortgage.

According to the a recent Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, which curates a well-known nationwide property database, as of Q2 2018, nearly 14 million properties in the US are now what’s known as “equity rich”—meaning the balance of loans on the property is worth 50% or less than the current estimated market value. That’s approximately one in four homes in the US that currently holds a mortgage!

But what, exactly, is the advantage of being “equity rich”? Homeowners that are equity rich can sell their homes and walk away with a significant chunk of cash in their pockets—cash they can then use to make a down payment on a new property.  The market is beginning to shift.  Now might be the perfect time for you to use that to your advantage!

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and upgrading to a larger and/or pricier property, let’s check the balance on your mortgage against the current market value. If you’re one of the equity rich, you can use that equity to get into the home of your dreams.

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,  Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

The One Thing that Always Helps Sell a Home

True or false…

When you’re selling a house, you should bake cookies before a showing or an open house.

I guess you could say the answer is a hard and fast “true” because, after all, it can’t hurt. Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies?

But it’s also kind of false…

Do you “make enough money” to buy a home? Probably yes!

Have you thought about owning but didn’t think you “made enough money” to buy a home?

Simple Steps to Begin Staging a Home

When you’re selling your home, one of the keys to successfully finding a buyer – and getting the best price for your home – is effectively staging. Staging refers to setting up your home in a way that maximizes its sale-ability to potential buyers and can involve everything from minor repairs to a complete overhaul on your home decor.

Staging is an incredibly important part of the selling process, and effective staging is a key to fetching top dollar for your home. If possible, you should consider hiring a professional stager. But, in case you want to DIY and stage your home on your own, here are 4 staging secrets to make sure you get the most out of the staging process:

1. A little paint goes a long way.

One of the quickest, easiest, and most cost effective ways to update your space and make it more appealing to potential buyers is with a coat of paint. Painting a room can completely change the feel and make the space feel more open and inviting.

If you haven’t painted your home in a while, you’ll definitely want to repaint before you start showing your home to potential buyers. You’ll also want to repaint if you have a number of colors on the walls of your home; the purpose of staging is to showcase your home in a way that allows potential buyers to picture themselves purchasing the home and living there. If they don’t agree with your color choices, it can create a roadblock to them being able to see themselves in the home.

When you paint, choose neutral colors, like an off-white or beige. These colors are universally appealing and will also make your rooms appear more open and spacious.

2. You only get to make a first impression once.

One of the biggest secrets of effectively staging your home is that you only get to make a first impression once. Your potential buyer is only going to see your home for the first time once, and during that initial viewing, they’re going to make snap judgements on whether or not your home is right for them. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot and lose them before they’ve even had a chance to see the entire house.

When it comes to making a first impression, curb appeal is critical. If your potential buyer drives up to your home and is immediately turned off by an unkempt lawn, a cracked driveway, or peeling paint, it’s going to be hard for them to overcome that initial impression, even if they love the rest of the home.

Before you start showing your home, make sure you do some work on the exterior so that the first impression is a good one. Have your lawn manicured, fix any issues with the driveway, refresh the exterior paint, and add plants and flowers on the path leading up to your front door in order to make your property seem more inviting.

3. The less stuff, the better.

The last thing that potential buyers want to see when they’re viewing a home is a ton of clutter and personal items. Again, the point of staging is to create an environment in your home where potential buyers can picture themselves living there. But if you have your children’s sporting gear spilling out of the closets, your family portraits lining every available surface, and an entire room you’re using for storage, it’s going to be hard for your potential buyers to separate your stuff from the space.

When you’re showing your home, remove as many personal effects as possible. It’s ok to have a photo or two, but try to make the space feel as neutral as possible. You’ll also want to declutter; clean out closets, cabinets, and the garage to make everything feel more spacious.

You’ll also want to get rid of any unnecessary furniture or decor that makes your space feel cluttered. When you’re staging, taking a minimalist approach to furniture and decor will have the most positive impact on potential buyers.

4. Clean until it sparkles.

This should go without saying, but before you stage your home, you need to make sure every inch of your home is thoroughly and properly cleaned. This is not a time to cut corners; if a potential buyer comes into your home and sees dust bunnies under the bed or a ring of grime around your bathtub, it’s going to be a major turnoff and could potentially cost you the sale.

Spend an entire day cleaning your house from top to bottom. Or, if cleaning isn’t your expertise, hire an expert from your local cleaning business or a site like Handy.

With these 4 staging secrets, your house will be staged and ready to sell in no time.

Still have more questions?  Do you want to sell a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

If you want to search Sell a Property in Central Pa or find homes for sale Lancaster County or Central PA , visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access an MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Central PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

Photo courtesy of 

Yoann Siloine

Ground Hogs and Real Estate, Neither One Have Anything To Do With Spring

Do you believe whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not is a true indication of when Spring will come?  A lot of people aren’t sure, and no matter what the groundhog sees, it means we’re going to have more winter.