Experts Are Saying Sell!

Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge. The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate. The home-ownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way! Shall we dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season?!

1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report

Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.


For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage. “In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed.”

Home Prices

The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.

Days on the Market

Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month. Yun is positive about how today’s market conditions will help buyers this spring, “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

2. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Report

The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South. “The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.” Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say, “Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

OVERALL...The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history.



6 Ways to get your home ready for the Spring!

Finally, the Christmas tree is stowed away and the mantle has been cleared of stockings and garland. At least we hope… At last, you have the physical and mental space required to do some much needed home organization. Now is the time to get your home ready for the spring ahead with these 6 helpful tips.

1. Flip The Mattress.

Turning or rotating your mattress at least twice a year can help prevent what most sleepers call a sagging bed. While the steel coils inside your bed are resilient, sleeping in the same spot for an extended period of time will surely wear them out. Spinning your mattress 180 degrees will save your mattress from sagging as well as provide more support where you need it most.

2. Declutter The Place!

In with the new year and out with the clutter! Everyone has some “junk” lying around. Some of us more than others. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all benefit from decluttering our lives and home. Consider making a plan such as attacking one room or space at a time. Creating a sorting system can also make a tremendous difference. Gather three boxes or bins, and label them; Keep, Get Rid Of, or Stow Away. Think about whether you really love an item and if you have used it in the last 6 months. If the answer is no to either, you are probably safe giving it the boot.

3. Reorganize Your Kitchen.

Kitchens. The unsung hero in everyone’s home. The USDA estimates that the average American spends 37 minutes a day preparing and cleaning up food, not considering the time we spend physically eating! And even with all the time we spend in the kitchen, its organization is not one we often give much thought to. Consider using baskets to corral similar items in your pantry. Organize baskets by category like snacks, baked goods, pasta, etc. Also, think about using shelf risers in your cabinets. Shelf risers are an excellent way to store twice as many baking pans, casserole dishes, or whatever you might need need.

4. Step Up your Filing System.

For most, mail makes it from the mailbox to the kitchen counter where it lives for at least a week. Not no more! Have you gone paperless when it comes to bills or statements yet? This small tweak will reduce the mail you receive significantly. If you love paper, consider a home filing system. Create categories such as personal expenses, utility bills, tax records, bank statements, etc. Give each category it’s own folder and label it! Watch as this small tweak gives you back your counter space again.

5. Go Green’er!

The new year is a great time for new habits such as composting and recycling. Consider placing a bin under the sink for recyclables such as cans and bottles. Get in the routine of turning off lights as you leave rooms and setting your thermostat to a comfortable 68 degrees. Make positive changes by beginning with an energy audit (https://www.energy.gov/ energysaver/energy-saver) which will also help you understand how to cut back on your gas and electrical bills.

6. Get Your Home Ready For the Market!

Is this the year you are looking for a change? The Spring is a popular time for putting homes on the market as many sellers decide they want something different. Consider arranging furniture to optimize space and adding homely details such as fresh flowers to welcome potential buyers into your home.




The housing market has been hot for a while now. Homes have been flying off the shelves as fast as they have been listed. Buyers have been competing in bidding wars just to find a home to buy, let alone find their dream home. This ‘seller’s market’ has driven home prices to new heights. Home price appreciation averaged over 6% across the country!

However, home price growth has recently started to cool down. The latest report from CoreLogic shows that home prices have only risen by 4.7% over the last 12 months. Many buyers and sellers planning to enter the housing market this year have started to wonder if we are headed towards another housing crash. Ralph McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, recently stated in an interview, “There’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession. We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.

The real elephant in the room here is housing supply.”

The simple answer is we are returning to a ‘normal’ market. The inventory of homes for sale more closely matches the demand in the market. The added supply means fewer buyers are outbidding each other. Therefore, prices are experiencing less upward pressure. McLaughlin went on to explain, “If there are a lot of homes on the market and suddenly no one wants to buy them, you’ll get into a downward spiral of price competition. Right now, however, we’re in the opposite situation, there isn’t an over-abundance of homes on the market.”

As more renters looking for their piece of the American Dream enter the housing market, demand for housing will continue to grow. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates over 30 million new households will enter the market from now through 2040. “There’s the natural life cycle of young people getting older and starting to do adult life things which include … buying a house and that’s a lot of potential inertia that could last indefinitely.”

Home prices will start to appreciate by historical norms as we continue to head towards a more ‘normal’ market, rather than the over 6% increase seen over the course of the last couple of years. This is great news! Homeowners looking to sell their home will have buyers, as more buyers will be able to afford them!

So If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018.

The map below shows the results of the latest index by state.

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Real estate is local. Accordingly, each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly.

In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.)

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So, how does this help you list your home for the best price? Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0% or slightly less, you won’t want to list your home for more than that amount!

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is pricing their homes too high and reducing the price later when they do not get any offers. This can lead buyers to believe that there may be something wrong with the home, when in fact the price was just too high for the market.

Pricing your home right from the start is one of the most challenging parts of selling your home. Once you decide to list your house, let’s get together to discuss where home values are headed in your specific neighborhood.


Why Housing Matters Now


According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2018 at 54% of all buyers. Very clearly, a home is more attainable with two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs. However, many couples are also deciding to buy a home before spending on what would be a down payment on a wedding.


Last year, unmarried couples accounted for 16% of all first-time buyers. If you’re single, chill out! Single women still made up 18% of first-time buyers in 2018, while single men accounted for 10% of buyers. One recent article pointed to a sense of responsibility and commitment that drives many single women to want to own their home, rather than rent.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise when study after study shows that no matter what generation Americans belong to, the vast majority believe that homeownership is an important part of their American Dream.

While retirement appears to be living at the horizon for many newlyweds, home ownership is an integral cog to bring their financial ship into port. For Americans approaching retirement age, one of the greatest benefits of homeownership is the added net worth they have been able to achieve simply by paying their mortgage!

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater, with nearly half their net worth coming from home equity!


Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36.

Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated. It is no surprise that lifelong renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Census report shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years. Your monthly mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ building your net worth with every payment!

You may not be that much different than those who have already purchased their first homes. So whether you are single, married, on the cusp of retirement or become nauseous at the idea of wrinkles, it is never too early or too late to take the right financial steps forward. Reach out, let’s do this together.





Life in a real-estate office can be crazy! This episode we pull back the curtain and follow your favorite California Realtor Nahed Benyamein as she sets out to make home ownership a dream for some of her favorite clients. We’ll show you just how things go from the beginning of the day till the end. Full of surprises and excitement. Is everyday this crazy? Just about! Click below to watch the episode now!

Estate of Grace, was created to deliver value to anyone watching it! To describe this as just another “real estate show” would be an under statement. This series brings you into my business and more importantly, into my family! Estate of Grace will be airing on YouTube once a month so subscribe to my channel and don’t miss out!