A Return to ‘Normal’? The State of Real Estate in 2022

January 2022 - MVP - Blog Post Image

 

Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that caused home prices to soar nationwide by a record 19.9% between August 2020 and August 2021.1

 

However, there were signs in the fourth quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In the month of October, only 60.3% of sales involved a bidding war—down from a high of 74.5% in April.2 While this trend could be attributed to seasonality, it could also be a signal that the real estate run-up may have passed its peak.

 

So what’s ahead for the U.S. housing market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES WILL CREEP UP

 

Most economists expect to see mortgage rates gradually rise this year after hitting record lows in late 2020 and early 2021.3

 

Freddie Mac forecasts the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 3.5% in 2022, up from around 3% in 2021.4

 

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that rates will tick up to 4% by the end of the year. “Mortgage lenders and borrowers should expect rising mortgage rates over the next year, as stronger economic growth pushes Treasury yields higher,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association at their 2001 Annual Convention & Expo in October.5

 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even a 4% mortgage rate is low when compared to historical standards. According to industry trade blog The Mortgage Reports, “Between 1971 and December 2020, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 7.89%.”6

 

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to lock in a historically-low rate. Whether you’re hoping to purchase a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, act soon before rates go up any further. We’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.

 

 

THE MARKET WILL BECOME MORE BALANCED

 

In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus and a shift to remote work triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labor shortages hindered new construction.

 

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to George Ratiu, director of economic research at Realtor.com, “Prices and sellers reached for the moon [last] year. It looks like we are now about to move back to earth.”7

 

Data from Realtor.com released in November showed that listing price reductions had more than doubled since February 2021. And the average days on market (an indicator of how long it takes a home to sell) has been slowly creeping up since June.7

 

What’s causing this change in market dynamics? The real estate market typically slows down in the fall and winter. But economists also suspect a fundamental shift in supply and demand.

 

At the National Association of Realtors’ annual conference last November, the group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, told attendees that he expects increased supply to come from an uptick in new construction—which is already underway—and an end to the mortgage forbearance program. “With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease,” he said.8

 

Demand is also predicted to wane slightly in the coming year. Rising mortgage rates and record-high prices have made homeownership unaffordable for a growing number of Americans. And in a recent Reuters poll, nearly 80% of property analysts said they expect housing affordability to worsen over the next several years.9

 

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Increased supply and softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with more inventory on the market, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.

 

 

HOME PRICES LIKELY TO KEEP CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER PACE

 

Nationally, home prices rose an estimated 16.8% in 2021.8 But the average rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022.

 

Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, told Yahoo! News, “Home asking prices have decelerated in the second half of 2021, with median listing price growth slipping from a peak of 17.2% in April to just 8.6% in October.”10

 

But experts disagree about how much more property values can continue to climb this year. Goldman Sachs predicts that home prices will rise by 13.5%, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are forecasting a 7.9% and 7% rate of appreciation, respectively.2

 

However, not all analysts are as bullish. The National Association of Realtors predicts a 2.8% rate of appreciation for existing homes and 4.4% for new homes, while the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average home price to decrease by 2.5% by the end of the year.10,2

 

According to Hale, “With prices near all-time highs and mortgage rates expected to rise, we expect this slowdown in prices to continue.”10

 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. We can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.

 

 

RENTS WILL CONTINUE TO RISE

 

Along with home, gasoline, and used vehicle prices, rent prices rose dramatically last year. According to CoreLogic, in September, rents for single-family homes were up 10.2% nationally year over year.11 And economists at Realtor.com expect them to climb another 7.1% in 2022.12

 

“Homes are expensive now…but for most people, the comparison that is most important is how that cost of homeownership is going to compare to the cost of renting,” Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker told CNBC in November.13

 

Tucker also pointed out that rent is less predictable than a mortgage—and more likely to go up along with inflation.13

 

Real assets, like real estate, are often used as a hedge against inflation. That’s because property values typically rise with inflation.14 And when a homeowner takes out a mortgage, they lock in a set housing payment for the next 30 years.

 

In contrast, renters are at the mercy of the market—and they don’t gain any of the benefits of homeownership, like tax deductions, equity, or appreciation.

 

George Ratiu of Realtor.com told CNBC that he advises buyers to consider their budget and time frame. If they plan to stay in the home for at least three to five years, he believes it often makes sense to buy.13

 

Fortunately, it’s shaping up to be a better year for buyers. “I think 2022 has the promise of providing less competition, a lot more homes to choose from, and, as a result, a lot more approachable prices,” Ratiu said.13

 

What does it mean for you? Both property and rent prices are expected to continue rising. But when you purchase a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you can rest assured knowing that your monthly mortgage payment will never go up. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a real estate investor, we can help you make the most of today’s real estate market.

 

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Fortune –
    https://fortune.com/2021/11/04/us-home-prices-real-estate-forecast-2022-outlook/
  2. Fortune –
    https://fortune.com/2021/11/29/housing-market-real-estate-predictions-2022-forecast/
  3. Freddie Mac –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html
  4. Freddie Mac – https://freddiemac.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/freddie-mac-strong-housing-market-will-continue-even-rates-and
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association –
    https://www.mba.org/2021-press-releases/october/mba-annual-forecast-purchase-originations-to-increase-9-percent-to-record-173-trillion-in-2022
  6. The Mortgage Reports –
    https://themortgagereports.com/61853/30-year-mortgage-rates-chart
  7. com –
    https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/has-housing-market-peaked/
  8. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/nars-yun-says-housing-market-doing-well-may-normalize-in-2022
  9. Reuters –
    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/rise-us-house-prices-halve-next-year-affordability-worsen-2021-12-07/
  10. Yahoo! News –
    https://www.yahoo.com/now/where-home-prices-headed-2022-130012748.html
  11. CNBC –
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/16/inflation-rent-for-single-family-homes-surged-10percent-in-september.html
  12. com –
    https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/what-to-expect-in-2022-housing-market/
  13. CNBC –
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/23/rising-inflation-hot-housing-market-what-you-need-to-know-about-buying-a-home.html
  14. Money –
    https://money.com/inflation-2021-stocks-bitcoin-gold-reits-commodities/

20 Unique Home Gifts for Every Person on Your List

December 2021 - MVP - Blog Post Image

Every year, it seems the holidays sneak up on us—and every year, that brings with it the dreaded last-minute gift panic. Finding a present that hits all the right notes can be surprisingly stressful, even when it comes to people you’ve known for years.

 

But have no fear! We’ve lined up a list of unique gifts for every “type” on your list. And since we work in real estate, they’re all centered around home life. From the coffee snob to the sports enthusiast, these presents are the perfect way to bring beauty, function or a touch of whimsy to your loved one’s home this holiday season.

 

 

FOR THOSE WHO ARE ALWAYS IN THE KITCHEN

 

We all know someone whose kitchen is their happy place—but once all the basics are covered, it can be hard to find the perfect present. These gifts will be a treat for the chef, baker, or food lover on your list, no matter how well equipped they are.

1. The Coffee Snob

Glass Pour-Over Coffeemaker – $36

Have a java lover on your list who just can’t get their brew right at home? This high-end pour-over system makes a smooth brew that can even be refrigerated and reheated so your recipient can enjoy a perfect cup at any time.

2. The Foodie

Shiitake Mushroom Log Kit – $30

Help your favorite gourmand create restaurant-quality meals with this kit that allows them to grow delicious mushrooms right in their cupboard. All they’ll need to do is soak the wood and put it in a cool place, then wait a few weeks, and voila—mushrooms! Best of all, they can keep growing mushrooms on the same log for years.

3. The Baker

Vintage Etched Cake Stand – $60

If you’re lucky enough to have a fabulous home baker on your list, give a gift that reflects the joy their treats bring to others. This lovely glass cake stand is the platform that a beautifully decorated dessert deserves.

4. The Tea Aficionado

Flowering Tea Set – $25

Your favorite tea lover may have tried all of the herbal blends out there, but we bet they haven’t seen tea like this. This set contains two “blossoms” of tea leaves hand-sewn around flowers that bloom when you place them in the included glass teapot and add hot water.

 

 

FOR THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER BE IN THE BACKYARD

 

For many of us, time outdoors is the ultimate source of rejuvenation. The nature-lover on your list is sure to appreciate these presents that help them maximize that joy in their daily lives.

5. The Gardener

Striped Garden Tote Bag – $37

Dedicated gardeners all need a great bag to carry their gear. This tote is attractive and sturdy and will help them keep their home’s exterior beautiful and welcoming.

6. The Flower Lover

Monthly Flower Subscription – starting at $40/month

If your loved one prefers to enjoy their flora without all the work, a delivery of farm-fresh flowers is sure to surprise and delight. And you can keep the joy blossoming year-round with a monthly or bi-monthly subscription.

7. The Environmentalist

Collapsible Metal Straw – $20

Know someone who is trying to bring less plastic into their home? This reusable metal straw means they’ll never have to buy a box of plastic straws again. And since it collapses into a tiny carrying case, they can use it at home or on the go.

8. The Outdoor Adventurer

Solar Phone Charger – $29

Have a camper or adventurer on your list? This solar-powered phone charger, which comes with a built-in flashlight and compass, is a must-have. It will also make a great addition to their home emergency kit.

 

 

FOR THOSE WITH THEIR NOSE TO GRINDSTONE

 

Like it or not, most of us spend a good chunk of our lives working—whether at a job or on projects and chores around the house. These gifts are designed to make that work a bit easier and more enjoyable.

9. The Remote Worker

Home Office Lap Desk – $35

Working at home can be great—in part because you can work from anywhere in the house. The remote worker on your list will appreciate this lap desk with a built-in mouse pad and phone slot, which will allow them to work comfortably from the couch or the bed without overheating their computer.

10. The Back-to-The-Office Worker

Bento Lunch Box – $27

If your loved one is heading back to the office, it doesn’t mean they have to give up the healthy habit of a home-cooked meal. Send them to work with this stylish lunch box packed full of nutritious food.

11. The Do-It-Yourselfer

65ft Laser Distance Measure – $50

The handy person on your list can say goodbye to unwieldy tape measures with this nifty device. It’s perfect for DIY projects up to 65 feet.

12. The Clean Freak

Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand – $60

In the COVID-19 era, we’ve all become a little germaphobic. This UV wand kills viruses and bacteria in seconds without any wiping or washing required. It’s perfect for disinfecting shoes, computer keyboards, and more!

 

 

FOR THOSE MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR HOBBIES

 

Of course, there’s a lot more to life than work. If you’re gifting a friend or family member who really lights up when they talk about their hobbies, we’ve got you covered.

13. The Sports Enthusiast

Hockey Stick BBQ Set – $45

Looking for a gift for the sports enthusiast in your life that isn’t another jersey? These BBQ tools made from repurposed hockey sticks are a great pick. Perfect for cooking up food to watch with the game!

14. The Bookworm

The Book Lover’s Journal – $13

Know someone who loves to curl up on the couch with a good book? This journal will help the book-lover on your list keep track of what they’ve read, as well as their ever-growing “to-read” list.

15. The Runner

Marathon Map Hydration Bottles – $36

Help the runner you love to stay hydrated (and motivated) with a water bottle inscribed with their favorite race route. It’s perfect for runs around the neighborhood or just toting around the house.

16. The Tourist

Travel Backpack – $100

Make it easy for the travel lover on your list to bring back souvenirs. This lightweight backpack folds flat so it’s easy to pack but sturdy enough to carry their new treasures all the way home.

 

 

FOR THOSE WHO PUT FAMILY FIRST

 

For many of us, the greatest joy in life comes from our relationship with our family. Help your recipient strengthen and celebrate those all-important connections with these thoughtful gifts.

17. The New Parent

4-in-1 Baby Food Maker – $155

It’s hard to know what to buy for new parents once their registry is cleared out, but if they’re interested in making baby food at home, this tool is a must-have. It makes the process, from steaming to mixing, fast and easy.

18. The Genealogy Fan

DNA Kit – $99

Know someone interested in reconnecting with their ancestral home? This DNA kit can help them trace their geographical heritage and uncover their family history.

19. The Pet Person

Custom Printed Socks – $25

Is your friend’s pet their favorite family member? These adorable socks are sure to put a smile on their face as they cozy up on the couch with their fur baby. And since you can feature up to four pets on each pair of socks, no one needs to feel left out.

20. The Documentarian

Mini Link Printer – $100

We all have that relative who snaps a million photos at every family event. Help them capture each precious moment with this unique gadget that essentially transforms a smartphone into a Polaroid camera. It makes it easy to customize and print out snapshots to display around the house or insert into a scrapbook for posterity.

 

 

READY TO GIVE YOURSELF THE ULTIMATE GIFT?

 

We want to be your real estate consultants through every season of life. So please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to ask for recommendations or referrals any time of year. And when you’re ready to give yourself the gift of a new home, contact us to talk about your options. From finding the right neighborhood to identifying the amenities that will make the biggest difference to your quality of life, we’re always eager to help.

 

New Build or Existing Home: Which One Is Right for You?

November 2021 - MVP - Blog Post Image

Homebuyers today are facing a huge dilemma. There simply aren’t enough homes for sale.1

 

Nationwide, there were 1.27 million active listings in September, down 13% from the previous year. According to the National Association of Realtors, that’s about 2.4 months of inventory, which is far less than the six months that is generally needed to strike a healthy balance between supply and demand.2

 

Given the limited number of available properties, if you’re a buyer in today’s market, you may need to expand your search to include both new construction and resale homes. But it can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges.

 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should take into account when choosing between a new build or an existing home.

 

 

TIMEFRAME

 

How quickly do you want (or need) to move into your next home? Your timeframe can be a determining factor when it comes to choosing between a new build or resale.

 

New Build

If you opt for new construction, you may be surprised by how long you have to wait to get the keys to your new digs. Currently, many home builders are dealing with unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including rising costs, labor and material shortages, and shipping delays. While historically it took around five to six months to build a home, many builders are now reporting construction timelines closer to a year or more.3

 

These issues have led some builders to cancel contracts or raise the price on unsuspecting homebuyers long after agreements were signed. Unfortunately, this scenario can throw a major wrench in your moving plans and significantly delay your timeline.

 

To minimize these types of surprises, it’s crucial to have a real estate agent represent you in a new home purchase. We can help negotiate better contract terms and advise you about the potential risks involved.

 

Existing Home

If you’re in a hurry to move into your next residence, then you may want to stick to shopping for an existing home.

 

You can typically move into a resale home as soon as you’ve closed the deal. The average time it takes to close a home purchase is around 51 days, but it can vary based on loan type and market activity.4

 

If you need to move even sooner, it’s sometimes possible to close faster, especially if you’re a cash buyer. In fact, many sellers prefer a quick closing, so it can give you an advantage in a competitive market.

 

 

LOCATION

 

From commute to construction to amenities, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your next neighborhood.

 

New Build

With a brand-new home, you’re more likely to move into a neighborhood that’s located on the edge of town and is still undergoing development.5 This could mean a longer commute and ongoing construction for some time.

 

However, new developments can also offer a lot of amenities that appeal to modern homebuyers. Water features, hike-and-bike trails, tot lots, and dog parks are just a few of the enhancements we’re seeing pop up in master-planned communities across the country. And some feature new schools and their own urban-like centers with restaurants, retail, and office space.6

 

Existing Home

An existing home is more likely to be located close to town in a neighborhood with mature trees, established schools, and a deeply-rooted community. As a result, you may find the neighborhood’s trajectory to be more predictable than an up-and-coming area.

 

But the amenities may be lacking and the infrastructure dated when compared to newer communities. And while some homebuyers love the charm and eclectic feel of an older neighborhood, others prefer the sleek and cohesive look of a newer development.

 

 

MAINTENANCE

 

Are you a DIY enthusiast, or do you prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle? Set realistic expectations about how much time, effort, and money you want to devote to maintaining your next home.

 

New Build

When you build a home, everything is brand new. Therefore, in the first few years at least, you can expect less required maintenance and repairs. A 2019 survey found that millennials’ homebuying regrets often came down to maintenance issues, rather than other concerns.7 So if you would rather spend your weekends exploring your new neighborhood than fixing a leaky faucet, you may be happier buying a turnkey build.

 

That doesn’t mean, though, that a new home will be entirely maintenance-free. In fact, depending on the builder, you could find yourself repairing more than you expected. Some home builders have reputations for shoddy construction and subpar materials, so it’s important to choose one with a solid reputation. We can help you identify the quality builders in our area.

 

Existing Home

No matter how good a deal you got when you purchased it, you could come to regret buying an older home if it costs you heavily in unexpected maintenance and repairs. According to HomeAdvisor’s yearly True Cost report, home renovations have grown more expensive in recent years. For example, installing a new HVAC system could cost you $5,371 on average. And you can expect to pay nearly double that amount ($9,375) for a new roof.8

 

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for these large expenditures. We always recommend that our buyers hire a certified home inspector, whether they buy a new or existing home. Once we have the inspector’s report, we can negotiate with the seller on your behalf for reasonable repairs or concessions.

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

 

On a quest for greener living? If so, there are several factors to consider when deciding on your next home.

 

New Build

There’s a growing demand for energy-efficient housing, and many builders are rising to the challenge. Nearly 1 in 4 homes built in 2020 received a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index Rating by the Residential Energy Services Network. A HERS rating provides an index score that compares the newly-built home to those that were standard in 2006. The more energy-efficient the home is, the lower the score it receives.11

 

The average home rated in 2020 was 42% more efficient than those built in 2006 and 72% more efficient than a typical home built in the 1970s.11 So if energy efficiency is a top priority, a new home with a low HERS rating may be a good choice. You can also look for one that’s ENERGY STAR Certified, which means it meets a series of strict efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2020, only 7.9% of homes built in the U.S. received this designation.12

 

Existing Home

Of course, a basic tenet of sustainable living is: reduce, reuse, recycle. And since a resale home already exists, it automatically comes with a lower carbon footprint. Research has also shown that remodeling or retrofitting an older home is often greener than building one from scratch.13

 

With some energy-conservation effort and strategic upgrades, environmentally-conscious consumers can feel good about buying an existing home, as well.

 

 

DESIGN

 

Open floor plan? Kitchen island? High ceilings? Must-have design features could drive your decision to build or buy resale.

 

New Build

With a new home, you can bet that everything will look shiny and perfect when you move in. Builders tend to put a lot of emphasis on visual details and follow the latest design trends. For example, newly-built homes are likely to feature an open floor plan, central kitchen island, and 9+ foot ceilings, which are must-haves for many modern buyers. They are also unlikely to feature carpet on the main level or laminate countertops, both of which have lost mass appeal.14

 

However, some buyers complain of the cookie-cutter feel of new homes since they are often built with a similar aesthetic. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t incorporate your own style. We can help you negotiate custom features and upgrades to personalize the space and make it feel like your own.

 

Existing Home

In some of the most coveted neighborhoods, an older home with classic styling and character can be highly sought after. But unless the previous homeowners have invested in tasteful updates, an existing home is also more likely to look dated.

 

While some buyers prefer the traditional look and character of an older home, others crave something more modern. If that’s the case, we can help you find a resale home that leaves enough room in your budget to renovate it to your liking.

 

 

WHICHEVER PATH YOU CHOOSE, WE CAN HELP

 

When it comes to choosing between a new build or an existing home, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are numerous factors to consider, and you may have to make some compromises along the way. But the homebuying process doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

 

We’re here to help. And in many cases, our homebuyer guidance and expertise are available at no cost to you! That’s because the home seller or home builder may compensate us with a commission at closing.

 

Some new-construction homebuyers make the mistake of visiting a builder’s sales office or even purchasing a home without their own real estate representative. But keep in mind, the builder’s agent or “sales consultant” has their best interests in mind—not yours.

 

We are knowledgeable about both the new construction and resale home options in our area, and we can help you make an informed decision, negotiate a fair price, and avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money. So give us a call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation—and let’s start searching for your next home!

 

 

Sources:

  1. Reuters –
    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-existing-home-sales-fall-august-inventory-declines-2021-09-22/
  2. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-ascend-7-0-in-september
  3. KFVS 12 –
    https://www.kfvs12.com/2021/09/22/covid-19-pandemic-affects-delivery-rate-building-materials/
  4. Rocket Mortgage –
    https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/time-to-close-on-a-house
  5. Real Assets Adviser –
    https://irei.com/publications/article/master-planned-communities-changing-u-s-housing-trends-favor-investors-can-benefit/
  6. Builder Online –
    https://www.builderonline.com/land/development/5-master-plan-trends-home-buyers-gravitate-toward-today_o
  7. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/homebuyer-regret-survey-may-2021/
  8. Home Advisor –
    https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/true-cost-report/
  9. Roofing Calculator –
    https://roofingcalculator.com/news/how-long-do-roofs-last
  10. Plumbing and Mechanical Engineer –
    https://www.pmengineer.com/articles/94873
  11. National Association of Home Builders –
    https://nahbnow.com/2021/10/nearly-1-in-4-new-homes-in-2020-was-hers-rated/
  12. EnergyStar –
    https://www.energystar.gov/newhomes/energy_star_certified_new_homes_market_share
  13. Advanced Materials Research – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271358381_Comparative_Study_of_New_Construction_and_Renovation_Project_Based_on_Carbon_Emission

National Association of Home Builders –
https://nahbnow.com/2020/04/most-likely-and-unlikely-features-in-a-new-single-family-home/

Shut Down Home Intruders With These 7 Safety Strategies

October%202021%20-%20MVP%20-%20Blog%20Post%20Image

 

According to the FBI, more than one million burglaries are committed in the United States each year, with victims suffering an estimated $3 billion in combined property losses.1 Fortunately, there are some proven tactics you can use to decrease your likelihood of a home invasion.

 

Most burglars won’t go to extreme lengths to enter a residence. They are looking for easy access with minimal risk. A monitored security system can be an effective deterrent—homes without one are 300% more likely to be burglarized—but it isn’t the only way to protect your property.2 The strategies below can help to maximize your home’s security and minimize your chances of being targeted by intruders.

 

Thinking about listing your home? We have some additional recommendations for you. Contact us to find out the procedures we use to keep our clients and their property safe and secure during the buying and selling process.

 

 1 . Check Your Doors and Windows

 

According to home security company ADT, the most common entry point for a burglar is an unlocked front door (34%) followed by a first-floor window (23%) or back door (22%).3 So securing these points of entry is essential.

 

  • Evaluate the condition of your doors and locks.

 

A steel door is generally considered the strongest, but many homeowners prefer the look of wood. Whatever material you choose, make sure it has a solid core and pair it with a Grade 1 or 2 deadbolt lock with a reinforced strike plate.4

 

  • Add window locks and security film.

 

Aftermarket window locks are an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can provide an additional layer of protection for your home. Choose a lock that is compatible with your window frame material and a style that is appropriate for the window type. And consider using a specialty film on windows that are adjacent to a door. Security film holds shattered glass in place, making the windows more difficult to penetrate.5

 

 

2. Landscape for Security

 

When it comes to outdoor landscaping, many of us think about maintenance and curb appeal. But the choices we make can impact our home’s security, as well. Thieves target homes that they can enter and exit without being detected. Here are a few tweaks that can make your property less appealing to potential intruders.

 

  • Increase visibility from the street.

 

A privacy hedge may keep out nosy neighbors, but it can also welcome thieves—so trim overgrown trees and shrubs that obstruct the view of your property. According to police officers, they offer an ideal environment for criminals to hide.6

 

  • Place thorny bushes and noisy gravel below windows.

 

Don’t eliminate shrubbery altogether, though. Certain hedges can actually offer a deterrent to robbers. Plant thorny rose bushes or sharp-leaved holly beneath your first-story windows for both beauty and protection. Add some loose gravel that crunches when disturbed.

 

 

3. Light Your Exterior

 

When it’s dark outside, criminals don’t need to rely on overgrown shrubbery to hide. Luckily, a well-designed outdoor lighting system can make your home both safer and more attractive.

 

  • Install landscape lighting.

 

Eliminate pockets of darkness around your yard and home’s perimeter with strategically placed outdoor lights. Use a combination of flood, spot, well, and pathway lights to add interest and highlight natural and architectural details.

 

  • Use motion-activated security lights to startle intruders.

 

The soft glow of landscape lighting isn’t always enough to dissuade a determined intruder. But a motion-activated security light may stop him in his tracks. And if you choose a Wi-Fi connected smart version, you can receive notifications on your phone when there’s movement on your property.

 

 

4. Make It Look Like You’re Home

 

Motion-activated lights aren’t the only way to make an intruder think you’re at home. New technology has made it increasingly possible to monitor your home while you’re away. This is especially important since most burglaries take place on weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm, when many of us are at work or school.2

 

  • Turn on your TV and leave a car in the driveway.

 

A survey of convicted burglars revealed that the majority avoid breaking into homes if they can hear a television or if there’s a vehicle parked in the driveway.7 If you’re away from home, try connecting your TV to a timer or smart plug. And when you travel, leave your car out or ask a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway.

 

  • Install a video doorbell.

 

In that same survey, every respondent said they would knock or ring the doorbell before breaking into a home. A video doorbell not only alerts you to the presence of a visitor, it also enables you to see, hear, and talk with them remotely from your smartphone—so they’ll never know you’re gone.

 

 

5. Keep Valuables Out of Sight

 

Few home invasions are conducted by criminal masterminds. In fact, a survey of convicted offenders found that only 12% planned their robberies in advance, while the majority acted spontaneously.8 That’s one of the reasons security experts caution against placing valuables where they are visible from the outside.9

 

  • Check sightlines from your doors and windows.

 

Don’t tempt robbers with a clear view of the most commonly stolen items, which are cash (think purses and wallets), jewelry, electronics, firearms, and drugs (both illegal and prescription).6 Take a walk around your property to make sure none of these items are easily visible.

 

  • Secure valuables in a safe.

 

Consider the possessions that are on display inside your home, as well. It’s always a good idea to lock up firearms, sensitive documents, and expensive or irreplaceable items when you have housekeepers or other service providers on your property.

 

 

6. Highlight Your Security Measures

 

While it’s prudent to hide your valuables, it’s equally important to advertise your home’s security features. In surveys, convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes with obvious protective measures in place.7,8

 

  • Install outdoor cameras.

 

Security cameras are the most common home protection device and for good reason.10 Not only do they help prevent crime (burglars are known to avoid them), they can offer peace of mind for homeowners who want to sneak a peek at their property while away.11 And if you do experience a break-in, security camera footage can help police identify your intruder.

 

  • Post warning signs.

 

Security system placards and beware-of-dog signs are also shown to be effective deterrents.8 Of course, you should back up your threats with a noisy alarm and loud barking dog for maximum impact.

 

 

7. Limit What You Share on Social Media

 

Social media platforms can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s easy to reveal more than you’ve intended. Be thoughtful about what you’re posting—and who has access.

 

  • Delay posting photos or travel updates.

 

It can be tempting to upload a concert selfie or pictures from your beach vacation. But these types of photos scream: “My house is unoccupied!” Try to wait until you’ve returned home to share the photos on social media.

 

  • Set privacy restrictions on your accounts.

 

Think twice about connecting with strangers or casual acquaintances on social media. If you enjoy sharing family updates and personal photos, it’s safer to limit your followers to those you truly know and trust.

 

 

YOUR HOME IS SAFE WITH US

 

We take home security seriously. That’s why we have screening procedures in place to keep our clients and their homes safe when they are for sale. We also remind our buyers to change the locks before they move into their new homes and provide referrals to locksmiths and home security companies that can help. To learn more about our procedures and how you can stay safe during the buying and selling process, contact us to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation –
    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/burglary
  2. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/house-burglary-statistics/
  3. ADT –
    https://www.adt.com/resources/how-do-burglars-break-into-houses
  4. National Crime Prevention Council –
    https://www.ncpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/locking-your-home-reva-1-pdf.pdf
  5. SafeWise –
    https://www.safewise.com/blog/10-simple-ways-to-secure-your-new-home/
  6. Forbes –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2014/03/20/how-your-landscaping-can-keep-burglars-away/?sh=2a8addf27429
  7. KGW News –
    https://www.kgw.com/article/news/investigations/86-burglars-say-how-they-break-into-homes/283-344213396
  8. Science Daily –
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516160916.htm
  9. org –
    https://www.security.org/home-security-systems/home-invasion-protection/
  10. SafeWise –
    https://www.safewise.com/resources/security-stats-facts/
  11. The Guardian –
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/18/former-burglars-barking-dogs-cctv-best-deterrent