Retirement marks a significant transition in life, offering the chance to step back, reassess priorities, and embrace newfound freedom. For many retirees, downsizing their living space is a logical step that brings a host of benefits, both financial and emotional. And when it comes to choosing the perfect destination for this new chapter, North Carolina stands out as a prime choice. Let's explore the advantages of downsizing in retirement and why North Carolina might be the ideal place to call home.

Financial Freedom

One of the most compelling reasons to downsize in retirement is the opportunity to unlock financial freedom. By moving to a smaller, more manageable home, retirees can significantly reduce their housing expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. This newfound financial flexibility allows retirees to reallocate their resources to other priorities, such as travel, hobbies, or bolstering their savings for the future.

Simplified Lifestyle

Downsizing offers more than just financial benefits; it also promotes a simplified lifestyle focused on quality over quantity. By letting go of excess space and possessions, retirees can streamline their belongings, reduce clutter, and create a living environment that is easier to maintain. This newfound simplicity frees up time and energy to pursue activities that bring joy and fulfillment, whether it's exploring nature, pursuing creative passions, or spending time with loved ones.

Enhanced Community Connections

Moving to a smaller home often means relocating to a more close-knit community where neighbors look out for one another and share common interests. North Carolina boasts a reputation for its welcoming communities, where residents embrace a laid-back lifestyle and genuine Southern hospitality. From charming small towns to vibrant urban centers, North Carolina offers a diverse range of neighborhoods and communities to suit every taste and preference.

Access to Amenities and Activities

Despite its smaller size, downsizing doesn't mean sacrificing access to amenities and activities. North Carolina offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, from picturesque beaches along the coast to majestic mountains in the west. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, fishing, golfing, and other activities year-round, while cultural aficionados can explore museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues.

Affordable Living

When it comes to affordability, North Carolina shines as a retiree-friendly destination. The state boasts a lower cost of living compared to many other parts of the country, with affordable housing options, reasonable taxes, and access to quality healthcare. Whether you're looking for a cozy cottage in the countryside or a low-maintenance condo in a bustling urban center, North Carolina offers a range of housing options to suit every budget and lifestyle.

Conclusion

Downsizing in retirement offers a host of benefits, including financial freedom, simplified living, enhanced community connections, and access to a wealth of amenities and activities. And when it comes to choosing the perfect place to call home, North Carolina ticks all the boxes. With its welcoming communities, diverse landscapes, affordable living, and endless opportunities for adventure, North Carolina beckons retirees seeking to embrace the next chapter of their lives with open arms. So why wait? Start your downsizing journey today and discover the joys of retirement living in the Tar Heel State.

Are you ready to turn your homeownership dreams into reality? Have you ever imagined transforming a run-down property into your dream home? If so, then diving into the world of fixer-uppers might be the perfect path for you. But how do you navigate the journey from a neglected property to your ideal living space? Let’s explore some key strategies to find your perfect fixer-upper and turn it into the home of your dreams.

Define Your Vision

Before you start your search, take some time to define your vision for your ideal home. Consider factors such as location, size, layout, and style. What are your must-haves, and what are you willing to compromise on? Having a clear vision will help you narrow down your options and focus your search on properties that align with your goals.

Set a Realistic Budget

Fixer-uppers can offer significant savings compared to move-in-ready homes, but it's essential to set a realistic budget for renovations and repairs. Factor in the cost of purchasing the property, as well as the expenses associated with renovations, such as materials, labor, and permits. Be sure to leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses that may arise during the renovation process.

According to recent data, fixer-upper homes typically sell for 20-30% less than comparable move-in ready properties. However, renovation costs can vary significantly depending on the extent of the work needed. On average, homeowners spend between 10-20% of the purchase price on renovations for fixer-uppers.

Work with a Knowledgeable Realtor

Finding the perfect fixer-upper can be challenging, but working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can make the process much smoother. Look for an agent who has experience with fixer-uppers and understands the local market. They can help you identify properties with renovation potential, negotiate the best price, and connect you with reliable contractors and other professionals.

Assess the Property Carefully

When evaluating potential fixer-uppers, it's crucial to conduct a thorough inspection to identify any underlying issues or structural problems. Look beyond cosmetic issues and pay attention to the condition of the roof, foundation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Consider hiring a professional inspector to provide a comprehensive assessment of the property.

According to industry data, the most common issues found in fixer-upper properties include outdated electrical wiring (found in 60% of homes), plumbing problems (found in 45% of homes), and roofing issues (found in 35% of homes). Identifying these issues early on can help you budget accordingly for repairs and renovations.

Prioritize Renovations

Once you've purchased your fixer-upper, it's time to prioritize renovations based on your budget and vision for the home. Start with essential repairs that impact the property's safety and structural integrity, such as fixing leaks, repairing the roof, and updating electrical and plumbing systems. From there, you can focus on cosmetic improvements and upgrades that will enhance the home's aesthetics and functionality.

According to remodeling industry data, the most common renovations for fixer-upper homes include kitchen remodels (undertaken in 80% of projects), bathroom renovations (undertaken in 65% of projects), and basement finishing (undertaken in 40% of projects). These upgrades can not only improve your quality of life but also increase the resale value of your home.

Conclusion

Finding your perfect fixer-upper and transforming it into your dream home can be an exciting and rewarding journey. By defining your vision, setting a realistic budget, working with a knowledgeable realtor, assessing properties carefully, and prioritizing renovations, you can navigate the process with confidence and achieve the home of your dreams. So roll up your sleeves, unleash your creativity, and get ready to unlock the hidden potential of your fixer-upper!

 

As the landscape of the United States shifts, North Carolina has emerged as a beacon of growth and transformation, particularly within the real estate sector. The Tar Heel State, known for its diverse geography from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic coast, has seen significant changes in its real estate trends as we navigate through 2024. Let us delve into the current state of North Carolina's real estate, exploring key trends, market dynamics, and what potential buyers and investors can expect moving forward.

1. Surge in Demand for Suburban and Rural Properties

A prominent trend that has continued into 2024 is the increasing demand for properties in suburban and rural areas of North Carolina. The pandemic-induced shift towards remote work has not reversed as many anticipated. Instead, it has solidified a preference for larger, more affordable homes outside of urban centers. Cities like Asheville, known for their natural beauty and outdoor activities, have seen a spike in interest, reflecting a broader desire for space and a connection to nature.

2. Urban Revitalization and the Rise of Mixed-Use Developments

Conversely, North Carolina's urban areas are undergoing significant revitalization, with a focus on mixed-use developments. Charlotte and Raleigh, in particular, have seen an influx of such projects, blending residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. This trend caters to a growing desire for walkable communities where amenities are just a stone's throw away, appealing especially to millennials and Gen Z professionals.

3. Affordability Challenges Persist

Despite North Carolina's appeal, affordability remains a challenge for many residents. The influx of out-of-state buyers, coupled with limited housing inventory, has driven up prices, making it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers and locals to enter the market. This has spurred discussions on housing policies and the need for innovative solutions to ensure the state remains accessible to a diverse population.

4. Sustainability and Green Building Practices Gain Momentum

Sustainability has become a significant factor in North Carolina's real estate decisions. Buyers are more conscious of their environmental impact, leading to a surge in demand for energy-efficient homes and green building practices. This trend is not only seen in new constructions but also in renovations, where there's a push towards sustainable materials and technologies.

5. The Impact of Technology on Real Estate Transactions

Technology continues to revolutionize how real estate transactions are conducted in North Carolina. Virtual tours, online closings, and blockchain-based transactions are becoming the norm, offering convenience and efficiency. This digital transformation has made the market more accessible, allowing buyers and sellers to connect and transact with ease, irrespective of their physical location.

Looking Ahead: North Carolina's Real Estate Landscape

As we move further into 2024, North Carolina's real estate market shows no signs of slowing down. The state's economic growth, coupled with its natural beauty and quality of life, continues to attract a diverse population. For potential buyers and investors, staying informed about these trends and market dynamics will be crucial in navigating the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The future of North Carolina's real estate looks promising, with innovation and sustainability at its core. Whether it's the charm of its rural landscapes or the hustle and bustle of its revitalized urban centers, North Carolina offers a unique blend of opportunities that cater to a wide array of preferences and lifestyles. As the state continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: North Carolina is a vibrant, dynamic place to call home.

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This analysis provides a snapshot of the current real estate trends in North Carolina. Given the dynamic nature of the market, these trends are subject to change, influenced by economic factors, policy decisions, and shifting societal norms. Whether you're considering buying, selling, or investing in North Carolina, staying abreast of these trends will ensure you make informed decisions in this ever-evolving market.

If you're thinking about moving, it's important to know what's happening in the housing market. Here's an update on the supply of homes currently for sale. Whether you're buying or selling, the number of homes in your area is something you should pay attention to.

In the housing market, there are regular patterns that happen every year, called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season and also when the most homes are typically listed for sale (homes coming onto the market are known in the industry as new listings). In the second half of each year, the number of new listings typically decreases as the pace of sales slows down.

The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to provide a visual of this seasonality. It shows how this year (the black line) is breaking from the norm (see graph below):

Looking at this graph, three things become clear:

What Does This Mean for You?

Bottom Line

Whether you're on the hunt for your next home or thinking of selling, now might just be the perfect time to make your move. If you have questions or concerns about the availability of homes in our local area, let’s connect.

 

The new year is right around the corner, and you might be wondering if 2024 will be the right time to buy or sell a home. If you want to make the most informed decision possible, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about what's ahead for the housing market. Spoiler alert: the projections may be better than you think. Here’s why.

Experts Forecast Ongoing Home Price Appreciation

Take a look at the latest home price forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

As you can see in the orange bars on the left, on average, experts forecast prices will end this year up about 2.8% overall, and increase by another 1.5% by the end of 2024. That’s big news, considering so many people thought prices would crash this year. The truth is, prices didn’t come tumbling way down in 2023, and that’s because there just weren’t enough homes for sale compared to the number of people who wanted or needed to buy them, and that inventory crunch is still very real. This is the general rule of supply and demand, and it continues to put upward pressure on prices as we move into the new year.

Looking forward, experts project home prices will continue to rise next year, but not quite as much as they did this year. Even though the expected rise in 2024 isn't as big as in 2023, it's important to understand home price appreciation is cumulative. In simpler terms, this means if the experts are right, according to the national average, after your home's value goes up by 2.8% this year, it should go up by another 1.5% next year. That ongoing price growth is a big part of why owning a home can be a smart decision in the long run.

Projections Show Sales Should Increase Slightly Next Year

While 2023 hasn’t seen a lot of home sales relative to more normal years in the housing market, experts are forecasting a bit more activity next year. Here’s what those same three organizations project for the rest of this year, and in 2024 (see graph below):

 

While expectations are for just a slight uptick in total sales, improved activity next year is a good thing for the housing market, and for buyers and sellers like you. As people continue to move, that opens up options for hopeful buyers who are looking for a home.

So, what do these forecasts show? The housing market is expected to be more active in 2024. That may be in part because there will always be people who need to move. People will get new jobs, have children, get married or divorced – these and other major life changes lead people to move regardless of housing market conditions. That will remain true next year, and for years to come. And if mortgage rates come down, we’ll see even more activity in the housing market.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, it’s important to know what the experts are forecasting for the future of the housing market. When you’re in the know about what’s ahead, you can make the most informed decision possible. Let's chat about the latest forecasts together, and craft a plan for your next move.

Maybe you’re in the market for a home and are having a hard time finding the right one that fits your budget. Or perhaps you’re already a homeowner in need of extra income or a place for loved ones. Whether as a potential homebuyer or a homeowner with changing needs, accessory dwelling units, or ADUs for short, may be able to help you reach your goals.

What Is an ADU?

As AARP says:

“An ADU is a small residence that shares a single-family lot with a larger, primary dwelling.”

“An ADU is an independent, self-contained living space with a kitchen or kitchenette, bathroom and sleeping area.”

“An ADU can be located withinattached to, or detached from the main residence. It can be created out of an existing structure (such as a garage) or built anew.”

If you're thinking about whether an ADU makes sense for you as a buyer or a homeowner, here's some useful information and benefits that ADUs can provide. Keep in mind, that regulations for ADUs vary based on where you live, so lean on a local real estate professional for more information.

The Benefits of ADUs

Freddie Mac and the AARP identify some of the best features of ADUs for both buyers and homeowners:

“Having an accessory dwelling unit on an existing property has become a popular way for homeowners to offer independent living space to family members.”

These are a few of the reasons why many people who benefit from ADUs think they’re a good idea. As Scott Wild, SVP of Consulting at John Burns Researchsays:

“It’s gone from a small niche in the market to really a much more impactful part of new housing.”

Bottom Line

ADUs have some great advantages for buyers and homeowners alike. If you're interested, reach out to a real estate professional who can help you understand local codes and regulations for this type of housing and what’s available in your market.

Why Homeownership Wins in the Long Run

Today’s higher mortgage rates, inflationary pressures, and concerns about a potential recession have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to think about the long-term benefits of homeownership when making your decision.

Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how home values grow with time and how, by extension, that grows your own wealth. That may be why, in a recent Fannie Mae survey, 70% of respondents say they believe buying a home is a safe investment.

Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.

Home Price Growth over Time

The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy price gains have been over the last five years. And, since home prices vary by area, the map is broken out regionally to help convey larger market trends.

If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by just over 56% nationwide over a five-year period.

Some regions are slightly above or below that average, but overall, home prices gained solid ground in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains homeowners made over the years become even clearer (see map below):

The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over a roughly 30-year span.

This nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house 30 years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. That’s a key factor in why so many homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.

And while you may have heard talk in late 2022 that home prices would crash, it didn’t happen. Even though home prices have moderated from the record peak we saw during the ‘unicorn’ years, prices are already rebounding in many areas today. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year.

The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and deal with annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home.

If you’re questioning if it still makes sense to buy a home today, remember the incredible long-term benefits of homeownership. If you’re ready to start the conversation, let’s connect today.

Some Highlights

One of the benefits of being a homeowner is that you build equity over time. By selling your house, that equity can be used toward purchasing your next home. But before you can put it to use, you should understand exactly what equity is and how it grows. Bankrate explains it like this:

“Home equity is the portion of your home you’ve paid off – in other words, your stake in the property as opposed to the lender’s. In practical terms, home equity is the appraised value of your home minus any outstanding mortgage and loan balances.”

The Majority of Americans Have a Large Amount of Equity

If you’ve owned your home for a while, you’ve likely built up some equity – and you may not even realize how much. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ATTOM, the majority of Americans have a substantial amount of equity right now (see graph below):

Leverage Your Equity When You Sell Your House | MyKCM

And having such large amounts of equity is a benefit to homeowners in more ways than one. Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of Market Intelligence at ATTOM, explains:

“Record levels of home equity provide security for millions of families, and minimize the chance of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008.”

Over time, your home equity grows. In addition to providing financial stability while you own your house, when you’re ready to sell it, that money could go a long way toward paying for your next home.

Bottom Line

By selling your house and leveraging your equity, it can be easier to pay for your next home. Always be sure to consult with a licensed real estate professional to you can find out how much home equity you have and start planning your next move.

A lot has changed over the past year, and you might be wondering what’s in store for the spring housing market. If you’re planning to sell your house this season, here’s what real estate experts are saying you should keep in mind.

1. Houses That Are Priced Right Are Still Selling

Houses that are updated and priced at their current market value are still selling. Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow, says:

“. . . sellers who price and market their home competitively shouldn’t have a problem finding a buyer.”

The need to price your house right is so important today because the market has changed so much over the past year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“With a smaller pool of buyers today and more competition from other homes on the market, homesellers will likely need to adjust their price expectations in the market this spring.”

While this spring housing market is different than last year’s, sellers with proper expectations who lean on a real estate expert for the best advice on pricing their house well are still finding success. And that’s great news if you’re thinking about selling.

2. Buyers Are Still Out There

As mortgage rates have risen and remain volatile, some buyers have pressed pause on their plans. But there are still plenty of reasons people are buying homes today. Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS, spells out the mindset of today’s buyers:

“For some buyers, higher mortgage rates simply means buying a home is out of the question unless home prices fall. For others, higher mortgage rates will be a hurdle but ultimately will not keep them from getting back into the market after sitting on the sidelines for months.”

That’s why, if you’re interested in selling your house this spring, it’s helpful to work with a real estate agent who can help connect you with those buyers who are ready to purchase a home.

 

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