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NEXTHOME RECOGNIZED BY THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES

By NextHome

Every year, the San Francisco Business Times publishes their ranking of the region’s fastest-growing private companies. These are the innovators, the companies driving economic growth not only locally but globally.

They rank these flourishing companies by percentage growth in revenue from 2017 to 2019. The 2020 list included a touch of orange this year with NextHome, headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, ranking No. 63 on the list thanks to an impressive 73% two-year growth rate.

The 2020 Fast 100 class underscores that growth is not limited to one industry or locale in the Bay Area. Fast 100 companies are based in 25 different cities and reflect a varied range of industries and sizes. This year’s Fast 100 honorees include small veterinary practices pushing past their first $1 million and general contractors inching toward $1 billion in revenue.

Each company had a different path toward economic success. NextHome’s impressive growth has contributed to a year of milestones in 2020. The six-year-old franchise has opened over 500 franchised offices, with a total of 4,100+ members, in 47 states.

While growth is good, NextHome prides itself on growing with the right people. Each oncoming NextHome office has been meticulously reviewed to ensure that they will be a good fit for the culture of the franchise.

“The most empowering word in our language is the word ‘no’ and we use this word often when we discuss franchising opportunities with prospective brokers and agents,” said Charis Moreno, Nexthome’s Vice President of Sales. “We’re not looking to bring in everyone, and we think most people respect that. At the end of the day, you can have the best marketing, technology, and integrated systems and tools, but if you don’t have the right people the rest doesn’t even matter.”

Thank you San Francisco Business Times for recognizing NextHome as one of the Bay Area’s fastest-growing private companies, and thank you NextHomies for advocating our mission for helping enrich people’s lives by helping them find their next home.

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Untitled design (2)

Move-Up vs. Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?

The pandemic has changed the way many of us live, work, and attend school—and those changes have impacted our priorities when it comes to choosing a home.

According to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 75% of respondents who have begun working remotely would like to continue doing so—and 66% would consider moving if they no longer had to commute as often. Some of the top reasons were to gain a dedicated office space (31%), a larger home (30%), and more rooms overall (29%).1

And now that virtual school has become a reality for many families, that need for additional space has only intensified. A growing number of buyers are choosing homes further from town as they seek out more room and less congestion. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 40% of urban dwellers had considered leaving the city because of the COVID-19 outbreak.2

But not everyone is permanently sold on suburban or rural life. Instead, some are choosing to purchase a second home as a co-primary residence or frequent getaway. Without the requirements of a five-day commute, many homeowners feel less tethered to their primary residence and are eager for a change of scenery after spending so much time at home.

If you’re feeling cramped in your current space, you’ve probably considered a move. But what type of home would suit you best: a move-up home or a second home? Let’s explore each option to help you determine which one is right for you.

WHY CHOOSE A MOVE-UP HOME?

A move-up home is typically a larger or nicer home. It’s a great choice for families or individuals who simply need more space, a better location, or want features their current home doesn’t offer—like an inground pool, a different floor plan, or a dedicated home office.

Most move-up buyers choose to sell their current home and use the proceeds as a downpayment on their next one. If you’re struggling with a lack of functional or outdoor space in your current home, a move-up home can greatly improve your everyday life. And with mortgage rates at their lowest level in history, you may be surprised how much home you can afford to buy without increasing your monthly payment.3,4

One major benefit of choosing a move-up home is that you can typically afford a nicer place if you spend your entire budget on one property. However, if you’re longing for that vacation vibe, a second home may be a better choice for you.

WHY CHOOSE A SECOND HOME?

Once reserved for the ultra-wealthy, second homes have become more mainstream. Home sales are surging in many resort and bedroom communities as city dwellers search for a place to escape the crowds and quarantine in comfort.5 And with air travel on hold for many families, some are channeling their vacation budgets into vacation homes that can be utilized throughout the year.

A second home can also be a good option if you’re preparing for retirement. By purchasing your retirement home now, you can lock in a low interest rate, start paying down the mortgage, and begin enjoying the perks of retirement living while you’re still fit and active. Plus, it’s easier to qualify for a mortgage while you’re employed, although you may be charged a slightly higher interest rate than on a primary home loan.6

One advantage of choosing a second home is that you can offset a portion of the costs—and in some cases turn a profit—by renting it out on a platform like Airbnb or Vrbo. However, be sure to consult with a real estate professional or rental management company to get a realistic sense of the property’s true income potential.

WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?

You may read this and think: I’d really like both a move-up home AND a second home! But if you’re dealing with a limited budget (aren’t we all?), you’ll probably need to make a choice.  These three tactics can help you decide which option is right for you.

  1. Determine Your Time and Financial Budget

You may meet the bank’s qualifications to purchase a home, but do you have the time, energy, and financial resources to maintain it? This is an important question to ask yourself, no matter what type of home you choose.

Most buyers realize that a second home will mean double mortgages, utilities, taxes, and insurance. But consider all the extra time and expense that goes into maintaining two properties. Two lawns to mow. Two houses to clean. Two sets of systems and appliances that can malfunction. Second homes aren’t always a vacation. Make sure you’re prepared for the labor and carrying costs that go into maintaining another residence.

Of course, some move-up homes require more work than a second home. For example, if your move-up option is a major fixer-upper, you’ll probably invest more energy and capital than you would on a small vacation condo by the beach. Have an honest discussion about how much time and money you want to spend on your new property. Would a move-up home or a second home be a better fit given your parameters?

  1. Rank Your Priorities

If you’re still undecided, make a wish list of the characteristics you’d like in your new home. Then rank each item from most to least important. This exercise can help you determine your “must-have” features—and which ones you may need to sacrifice or delay. Here’s a sample to help you get started:

#

FEATURE

Dedicated home office

Extra bedroom

Pool

Walk to the beach

Big backyard

Close to friends and family

Short commute to the office

Investment potential

  1. Explore Your Options

Once you’ve determined your parameters and priorities, it’s time to begin your home search.

If you’re still not sure whether a move-up home or a second home is right for you, we can help.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options and help you assess the pros and cons of each, given your unique circumstances.

We can also send you property listings for both move-up homes and second homes within your budget so you can better envision each scenario. Sometimes, viewing listings of homes that meet your criteria can make the decision clear.

LET’S GET MOVING

Whether you’re ready to make a move or need help weighing your options, we’d love to help. We can determine your current home’s value and show you local properties that fit within your budget. Or, if your heart is set on a second home in another market, we can refer you to an agent in your dream locale. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

Sources:

  1. Zillow –
    https://www.zillow.com/research/coronavirus-remote-work-suburbs-27046/
  2. The Harris Poll –
    https://theharrispoll.com/should-you-flee-your-city-almost-40-have-considered-it-during-the-pandemic/
  3. MarketWatch –
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortgage-rates-keeping-falling-so-will-they-finally-drop-to-0-2020-08-13
  4. Toronto Star –
    https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/08/07/you-can-get-a-fixed-rate-as-low-as-184-per-cent-which-is-unbelievable-low-mortgage-rates-driving-up-home-prices.html
  5. Kiplinger –
    https://www.kiplinger.com/real-estate/buying-a-home/601091/timely-reasons-to-buy-a-vacation-home
  6. The Press-Enterprise –
    https://www.pe.com/2018/11/17/5-tips-on-when-should-you-buy-a-retirement-house-hint-before-you-quit-work/
August 2020 - MVP - Social Media Image

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

In July, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 3% for the first time in history.1 And while many Americans have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today’s rates truly a bargain?

While average mortgage rates have drifted between 4% and 5% in recent years, they haven’t always been so low. Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. At that time, the national average was 7.31%.2 As the rate of inflation started to rise in the mid-1970s, mortgage rates surged. It’s hard to imagine now, but the average U.S. mortgage rate reached a high of 18.63% in 1981.3

Fortunately for home buyers, inflation normalized by October 1982, which sent mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that would bring them as low as 3.31% in 2012.3 Since 2012, 30-year fixed rates have risen modestly, with the daily average climbing as high as 4.94% in 2018.4

So what’s causing today’s rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.

Mortgage rates generally follow bond yields, because the majority of U.S. mortgages are packaged together and sold as bonds. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. Increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.5

However, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “the number one driver of low mortgage rates is the accommodating Federal Reserve stance to keep interest rates low and to buy up mortgage-backed securities.” According to Yun, “we will see mortgage rates stay near this level for the next 18 months because of the significance of the Fed’s stance.”6

HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT CURRENT HOMEOWNERS?

Low mortgage rates increase buyer demand, which is good news for sellers. But what if you don’t have any plans to sell your home? Can current homeowners benefit from falling mortgage rates? Yes, they can!

A growing number of homeowners are capitalizing on today’s rock-bottom rates by refinancing their existing mortgages. In fact, refinance applications have surged over the past few months—and for a good reason.7 Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and total payments over the lifetime of a mortgage.

The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the savings.

Estimated Monthly Payment On a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Loan Amount

4.0%

3.0%

Monthly Savings

Savings Over 30 Years

$100,000

$477

$422

$55

$20,093

$200,000

$955

$843

$112

$40,184

$300,000

$1,432

$1,265

$167

$60,277

$400,000

$1,910

$1,686

$224

$80,368

$500,000

$2,387

$2,108

$279

$100,461

Be sure to factor in any prepayment penalties on your current mortgage and closing costs for your new mortgage. For a refinance, expect to pay between 2% to 5% of your loan amount.8 You can divide your closing costs by your monthly savings to find out how long it will take to recoup your investment, or use an online refinance calculator. For a more precise calculation of your potential savings, we’d be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.

HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT HOME BUYERS?

We’ve already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power. For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 30-year mortgage at 5.0%, you can afford a loan of $279,000.

Now let’s assume the mortgage rate falls to 4.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $314,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That’s a budget increase of $35,000!

If the rate falls even further to 3.0%, you can afford to borrow $355,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That’s $76,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you’ve been priced out of the market before, today’s low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home.

On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighborhood. So if you’re planning to move, don’t miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today’s historically-low rates.

HOW LOW COULD MORTGAGE RATES GO?

No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. A lot will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic and subsequent economic impact.

Forecasters at Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 30-year mortgage rates will average 3.2% and 3.5% respectively in 2021.9,10 However, economists at Fannie Mae expect them to dip even lower to an average of 2.8% next year.11

Still, many experts agree that those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. “With rates now at all-time historic lows, it’s hard to imagine that people may be holding out for something even better,” warns Paul Buege, president and COO of Inlanta Mortgage.12 Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.

HOW CAN I SECURE THE BEST AVAILABLE MORTGAGE RATE?

While the average 30-year mortgage rate is hovering around 3%, you can do a quick search online and find advertised rates that are even lower. But these ultra-low mortgages are typically reserved for only prime borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?

  1. Consider a 15-Year Mortgage Term

Lock in an even lower rate by opting for a 15-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, a shorter mortgage term can save you a bundle in interest, and you’ll pay off your home in half the time.13

  1. Give Your Credit Score a Boost

The economic downturn has made lenders more cautious. These days, you’ll probably need a credit score of at least 740 to secure their lowest rates.14 While there’s no fast fix for bad credit, you can take steps to help your score before you apply for a loan:15

  • Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Pay your bills on time, and catch up on any missed payments.
  • Hold off on applying for new credit.
  • Pay off debt, and keep balances low on your credit cards.
  • Don’t close unused credit cards (unless they’re charging you an annual fee).
  1. Make a Large Down Payment

The more equity you have in a home, the less likely you are to default on your mortgage. That’s why lenders offer better rates to borrowers who make a sizable down payment. Plus, if you put down at least 20%, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.

  1. Pay for Points

Discount points are fees paid to the mortgage company in exchange for a lower interest rate. At a cost of 1% of the loan amount, they aren’t cheap. But the investment can pay off over the long-term in interest savings.

  1. Shop Around

Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst mortgage providers, so do your homework. Contact several lenders to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.16

READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST MORTGAGE RATES IN HISTORY?

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don’t miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help.

We’d be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we’d love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. CNN Business –
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/16/success/30-year-mortgage-rates-record-low/index.html
  2. Freddie Mac –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html)
  3. Value Penguin –
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=NUh
  5. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/how-interest-rates-are-set/
  6. Washington Post –
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/25/mortgage-rate-remains-historic-low/
  7. Yahoo! Finance –
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mortgage-refinancing-makes-big-comeback-151500346.html
  8. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/is-no-closing-cost-for-you/
  9. Freddie Mac June 2020 Quarterly Forecast –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/fmac-resources/research/pdf/202006-Forecast.pdf
  10. Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Market Forecast July 15, 2020 –
    https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary
  11. Fannie Mae July 2020 Housing Forecast –
    https://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_071420.pdf
  12. Washington Post –
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/25/mortgage-rate-remains-historic-low/
  13. Investopedia –
    https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/042015/comparison-30year-vs-15year-mortgage.asp
  14. Money –
    https://money.com/mortgage-rates-below-three-percent/
  15. Experian –
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/improving-credit/improve-credit-score/
  16. Equifax –
    https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/report/understanding-hard-inquiries-on-your-credit-report/
July 2020 - MVP - Social Media Image

Add Value To Your Home With These 9 DIY Improvements

Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.

The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!

1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return of 417% and 143% respectively.

Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of your home.

2. Clean The Exterior

When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. Real estate professionals estimate that washing the outside of a house can add as much as $15,000 to its sales price.

A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of sudsy water will often do the trick.

3. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, update its interior, and make it appear larger and brighter. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive!

To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. According to a recent survey of home design experts, cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint. And respondents chose white and gray as the best exterior paint colors to use when selling a home.4 However, it’s important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and regional design preferences, as well.   

4. Install Smart Home Technology

In a recent survey, 78% of real estate professionals said their buyer clients were willing to pay more for a home with smart technology features.5 The most requested smart devices? Thermostats (77%), smoke detectors (75%), home security cameras (66%), and locks (63%).

The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy-efficient. In fact, many manufacturers report that smart thermostats can cut back on heating and cooling costs by 10-20%.

If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.

5. Modernize Your Window Treatments

Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments.

If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy-efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal. Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences.

Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself.

6. Replace Outdated Fixtures

Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen.

Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to designers, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.

7. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror

A minor bathroom remodel offers one of the best returns on investment, with a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend. We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. Now complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror.

Before you purchase a new mirror, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the sheetrock behind it.

If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one if it’s currently frameless. There are several online retailers that will send you the frame components cut to your specifications, which you can assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through!

8. Shampoo Your Carpet

Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons that most buyers prefer hard surface flooring. But if you love your carpet, or you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make an effort to keep it clean and odor-free.

To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it weekly. Experts also recommend a deep shampoo at least every two years. Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project you can knock out in about 20 minutes per room. According to Consumer Reports, you can rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies for around $90. With an average return on your investment of 169%, it’s well worth the effort and expense.

9. Customize Your Closet

Real estate professionals estimate that a closet remodel can add $2500 to a home’s selling price. And while a professional renovation can cost upwards of $6000, there are many high-quality DIY closet systems you can customize and install yourself.

Experts recommend taking a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. Make sure frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach and store seasonal and seldom-used items on high shelves. Place shoe racks near the closet entrance so they are easy to access. A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers!) will love.

Sources:

  1. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/improve-curb-appeal-landscaping/
  2. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/landscape-renovations-that-pay-off/
  3. HouseLogic.com – https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  4. Fixr –
    https://www.fixr.com/blog/2020/01/14/paint-color-trends-in-2020/
  5. T3 Sixty –
    https://blog.coldwellbanker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CES2018-Smart-Homes-An-Emerging-Real-Estate-Opportunity.pdf
  6. Consumer Reports –
    https://www.consumerreports.org/smart-home/smart-home-tech-upgrades-to-help-sell-your-house/
  7. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy
    https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/a1801.pdf
  8. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/07/05/10-upgrades-under-1000-that-increase-home-values-2/#47b0d3162e60
  9. Insider –
    https://www.insider.com/home-design-rules-you-should-be-breaking-2020-1
  10. Zillow –
    https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/roi-for-bathroom-remodel/
  11. Lowes –
    https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/remove-a-bathroom-mirror
  12. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-flooring-increases-home-value/
  13. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-i-clean-my-carpets.htm
  14. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/projects-that-increase-home-value/
  15. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/remodeling-impact
  16. EasyClosets – https://www.easyclosets.com/tips-ideas/2016/10/02/how-to-plan-your-walk-in-closet/
March 2020 - MVP - Social Media Image

Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade

Whether you’re planning a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in home design. Sellers who make tasteful updates can generate increased buyer interest and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, we advise our clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials and finishes they select when planning a remodel or even redecorating. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular options could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to list your property. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

To help, we’ve rounded up five of the hottest home design trends for 2020. Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

1. IN: Sustainability / OUT: Fast Furniture

Consumers have become increasingly eco-conscious. Many are shunning the mass-produced, “fast furniture” popularized by retailers like IKEA, opting instead for higher-quality pieces that are built to last. And the availability of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly furniture, and decor options is set to grow in 2020 and beyond.

At the same time, there’s been a noticeable shift toward individuality in today’s interior design. Instead of following the latest fad, more homeowners are opting to embrace their personal style and invest in items they believe will “spark joy” (à la Marie Kondo) for years to come.

To incorporate this trend, designers recommend layering old and new pieces for a curated look that you can build over time. Instead of purchasing a matching furniture set from a big-box retailer, buy one or two sustainably-sourced pieces that complement what you already own. Try searching estate sales and Craigslist for vintage classics or well-built furniture that can be refinished. And to accessorize your room, mix sentimental items with newer finds to create a truly personalized space.

2. IN: Cozy / OUT: Cold

Designers are moving away from cool grays, industrial finishes, and stark modernism. In 2020, there’s a big emphasis on creating warm and cozy spaces through color, texture, and shape.

Gray has dominated the color palette for the past decade. This year, expect to see a move toward warmer neutrals, earth tones, and nature-inspired shades of blue and green. Warm metals, like gold and brass, will also continue to trend. And hardwood floors are heating up, as cool gray and whitewashed finishes fade in popularity. Expect to see a rise in classic choices like walnut, mahogany, and oak in richer and darker tones.

Furniture will also get cozier—and curvier—in 2020. From rounded sofas and curved-back chairs to oval dining tables, softened-angles are dominating the furniture scene right now. And designers expect softly-textured fabrics—like velvet, shearling, and mohair—to be big this year, as homeowners strive to add a touch of “hygge” (the Danish concept of calming comfort).

Want to warm up your home decor? Try one of the top paint colors for 2020: Benjamin Moore’s First Light (soft pink), Sherwin Williams’s Naval (rich blue), or Behr’s Back to Nature (light green).

3. IN: Bold / OUT: Boring

Bold is back! After years of neutral overload, vivid colors and prints will take center stage in 2020. Expect to see geometric designs, color blocking, and floral and botanical patterns on everything from pillows to rugs to wallpaper.

The hottest trend in interior paint right now is bold trim and ceilings. Monochromatic rooms (e.g., walls, ceilings, and millwork painted the same color) will be big this year, as well as high-contrast pairings, like white walls with black trim. Color is coming back to kitchens, too, and two-toned color schemes continue to gain steam. In 2019, 40% of remodelers chose a contrasting color for their kitchen island.1 While white was still the top choice for cabinets, blue and gray are increasingly popular alternatives.

If you’re ready to “go bold,” separated spaces like laundry and powder rooms are great places to start. It’s easier to incorporate busy wallpaper or bright wall color in an enclosed area because it doesn’t have to flow with the rest of your decor.

Of course, clients always want to know how design choices could impact their home’s value. The reality is, neutral finishes are still the safest bet for resale. If you’re prepping your home to go on the market, stick with non-permanent fixtures—like artwork and accessories—to brighten your space.

4. IN: Nature / OUT: Industrial

Biophilic design has been big the past few seasons, and it isn’t going anywhere in 2020. It centers around the health and wellness benefits of connecting with nature, even while indoors, and it’s impacted the latest trends in color, prints, and materials.

As we mentioned previously, floral and botanical patterns are hot right now, along with nature-inspired hues, like blues, greens, and earth tones. We’re also seeing a heightened use of organic shapes and sustainable materials in furniture and furnishings, including wood, wicker, rattan, and jute. This infusion of nature coincides with a decline in the popularity of urban-industrial fixtures. Designers predict that concrete floors and Edison light bulbs are on the way out.

Want to bring in elements of biophilic design on a budget? Houseplants are a great place to start. But you can also enhance your home’s natural light and create a visual sightline to the outdoors by removing heavy curtains and blinds. And when the weather is nice, open your windows and enjoy the breeze, sounds, and smells of nature. These simple acts are scientifically proven to help reduce stress, boost cognitive performance, and enhance mood!2

5. IN: Functional / OUT: Fussy

In 2020, homeowners want design that’s beautiful, but also liveable. With the rise in remote workplaces, online shopping, and virtual exercise classes, many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Cue the growing appeal of multi-functional spaces, like a combination kitchen/office or gym/playroom. Real life—and rising housing prices—necessitates the creative use of limited space.

Durable, low-maintenance materials will also surge in popularity this year. Engineered quartz—which is more stain, heat, and chip-resistant than natural stone—is now the #1 choice for kitchen countertops.1 Waterproof, wood-look luxury vinyl is the fastest-growing segment in the flooring industry.3 And improvements to water and stain-resistant performance fabric has made it a mainstream option for both indoor and outdoor upholstery.

Now that functional is hot, what’s not? Designers say that mirrored furniture, open shelving, and all-white kitchens are too impractical for today’s busy families.

So how can you start enjoying the time and energy-saving benefits of this design trend? Begin by structuring each room so that it best suits your needs. And when purchasing furniture or fixtures, choose options that are durable and easy-to-clean. The truth is, design fads come and go. But a comfortable and relaxed home (that you don’t spend every spare minute maintaining!) can help create memories to last a lifetime.

DESIGNED TO SELL

Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Buyer preferences vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share our insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

  1. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/magazine/2020-us-houzz-kitchen-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~129594531
  2. Terrapin Bright Green – https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/
  3. Remodeling Magazine –
    https://www.remodeling.hw.net/products/vinyl-ceramic-and-hardwood-oh-my-todays-popular-flooring-trends_o
  4. Elle Decor –
    https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g29859422/design-trends-2020/?slide=1
  5. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/12/23/twelve-interior-design-trends-well-see-in-2020/#43f81f044a5f
  6. Wall Street Journal –
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-top-6-interior-design-trends-for-2020-11577460357
  7. Good Housekeeping –
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g29849170/home-decor-trends-2020/
  8. Architectural Digest –
    https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/top-design-trends-of-2020
  9. Los Angeles Times –
    https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-01-11/2020-home-design-trends
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NextHome Lifestyles Makes America’s Best Real Estate Professionals List

The Brad Gill Team was Named to REAL Trends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals in San Jose.

The Brad Gill Team of NextHome Lifestyles was named one of America’s most productive sales associates as a part of REAL Trends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals, a ranking report produced by REAL Trends and Tom Ferry International. His team is now a member of the “America’s Best Real Estate Agents,” and ranked number 452 for the state of California. 

REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals ranks over 14,500 residential real estate professionals solely based on their excellence in real estate sales during calendar year 2019. All production numbers are independently verified by a third party to ensure accuracy and report integrity. This group of highly successful real estate sales agents represents the top 1 percent of all real estate practitioners in the United States.

“Congratulations to The Brad Gill Team who made the America’s Best list,” says Tom Ferry, owner and founder of Tom Ferry International. “I have the pleasure of working with successful real estate professionals day in and day out, and I know all the hard work, late nights, and huge effort that goes into achieving such incredible results,” says Ferry. “There are multiple ways to become successful in real estate. Yet, despite the differences, the real estate professionals on this list have one thing in common—they are simply the best. Congratulations to all recipients of this prestigious recognition.”

 

The America’s Best are ranked in twelve categories:
By Transactions 
Agent-owned brokerages by Transaction Sides

Individuals by Transaction Sides

Teams, Small (2-5 licensed members) by Transaction Sides

Teams, Medium (6-10) by Transaction Sides

Teams, Large (11+) by Transaction Sides

Team-owned brokerages by Transaction Sides


By Volume 

Agent-owned brokerages by Volume 

Individuals by Volume 

Teams, Small (2-5) by Volume 

Teams, Medium (6-10) by Volume 

Teams, Large (11+) by Volume 

Team-owned brokerages by Volume


To qualify for inclusion, an individual agent must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in sales volume in 2019. For real estate agent teams, the minimum is 75 transaction sides or $30 million in closed sales volume. 

“Those individual agents and teams who make up the 2020 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals represent only about 1.5% of all Realtors® in the country yet account for over 10% of the closed transactions, and more than 16% of all the sales volume closed last year,” says Murray. “To say that The Brad Gill Team are exceptional sales professionals is an understatement. To attain this level of sales is extraordinary.”

“I’m pleased and honored to be ranked on this ranking of the country’s top residential real estate agents,” says Brad Gill. “It represents the time and effort that we put into each client that we serve and how much work it takes to build a successful real estate career. The level of sales it takes to qualify makes it a special recognition.”

Information on those receiving this recognition can be found online at https://www.realtrends.com/rankings/americas-best.

 

METHODOLOGY

REAL Trends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals honors America’s finest real estate agents and their companies and is compiled and analyzed by REAL Trends.

The rankings are compiled based on surveys from virtually every nationally branded network, many state and local associations of Realtors®, MLSs, all applicants from past years’ rankings, and the 900 largest brokerage firms in the United States. Verification from an independent source is required for all submissions. In addition, REAL Trends senior staff reviews every submission for completeness and accuracy.

About The REAL Trends + Tom Ferry The Thousand

The REAL Trends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals ranking report is sponsored jointly by REAL Trends and Tom Ferry International. REAL Trends America’s Best honors America’s elite real estate agents and their companies and is compiled and analyzed by REAL Trends.

REAL Trends is a leading source of analysis and information for the residential real estate brokerage industry. Tom Ferry International is a nationwide real estate business and life coaching and training company. 

 

 

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NextHome Raises Funds to Support Canine Companions

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® (CCI) is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

The assistance dogs Canine Companions for Independence® breed, raise and train aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and often, their best friends. They open up new opportunities and new possibilities and spread incredible joy. CCI unites people with dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence and confidence.

$50,000—that’s what it takes to raise, train and place a CCI assistance dog as well as provide the graduate team a lifetime of care and support. Yet Canine Companions provides assistance dogs to the recipients absolutely free of charge.

In 2019, NextHome raised over $35,000 toward this outstanding organization. We’re looking to go one step further in 2020! Let’s raise another $50,000 to fund the development of even more assistance dogs that will increase independence for children, adults and veterans with disabilities.

With your help, we can give independence and give a dog a job.

The Future of Real Estate

NextHome is a progressive real estate franchise that provides consumer-centric branding and innovative technology. Our mission is to enrich lives by helping people find their next home.

Selecting Canine Companions for Independence as our national charity partner was a thorough process, yet the easiest decision to make. NextHome’s core values align perfectly with Canine Companions’ goal to help members of communities across the country live more independent lives by matching them with highly trained assistance dogs.

“As a firm believer in investing in your own team and giving back to local communities, it made perfect sense to associate NextHome with an organization that is equally dedicated to society by delivering the greatest resources to individuals in need,” said Chief Executive Officer James Dwiggins.

NextHome is encouraging its members, friends, families and supporters to help raise funds to support the mission of Canine Companions for Independence. Donations will allow Canine Companions to continue to provide expertly trained assistance dogs and follow-up services free of charge to adults, children and veterans.

Please help us reach our goal of raising an additional $50,000 to support Canine Companions for Independence. Donate today!

 

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Is your home fire ready?

The geography and weather in California make it a state threatened by wildfires. As wildfires continue to increase each year, Cal Fire encourages residents to plan, and prepare.

According to Cal Fire, property owners and residents in areas most at risk should maintain defensible space and prepare homes against flying embers.

“Flying embers from a wildfire can destroy homes up to a mile away. Taking the necessary measures to harden (prepare) your home can help increase its chance of survival when wildfires strike,” said Cal Fire officials.

Cal Fire also recommends fire-resistant landscaping. This type of landscape can prevent the spread of a fire to your home.

“The good news is, you don’t need a lot of money to make your landscape fire resistant. And you will find that a fire-resistant landscape can increase your property value and conserve water while beautifying your home,” said Cal Fire officials.

Residents should be prepared for possible evacuations in the event of a wildfire. Be sure to have a plan on what to take and where to go. Fire officials recommend having a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed in case of a sudden evacuation at night.

 

Keep these six “P’s” ready in case immediate evacuation is required:

-People and pets

-Papers, phone numbers, and important documents

-Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses

-Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia

-Personal computer hard drive and disks

-”Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash

 

Residents should put together emergency supply kits long before a wildfire occurs. The supply kit should be easy to grab if you have to evacuate quickly.

 

Cal Fire Emergency Supply Kit Checklist:

-Face masks or coverings

-Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person

-Map marked with at least two evacuation routes.

Click here for full supply checklist: https://www.ready.gov/kit

 

Cal Fire officials said evacuation plans will be different this year due to COVID-19. If you need to evacuate and plan on staying with friends or family members, ask first if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Be sure to check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to find out if they are open.

For more information on how to prepare for wildfires visit: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/

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How residents can prepare for power outages

Pacific Gas and Electric is asking residents to prepare to be without electricity. Due to the increased wildfire threats our state faces, PG&E said they’re expanding efforts to reduce wildfire risks by conducting Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). 

“A PSPS could mean that you might be without power for several days, even if you do not live in a high fire-threat area. Losing power will undoubtedly bring challenges, but by preparing in advance you can reduce the stress and anxiety of a PSPS,” said PG&E officials.

Some California residents received text messages from PG&E informing them that their power could be shut off between the hours of 3-10 p.m. on Aug. 17-20. PG&E said the outages typically last one to two hours.

 

Take these steps before a PSPS

-Prepare an emergency supply kit, include flashlights, first aid supplies, food, water and cash. 

-Fully charge your cell phone.

-Create a safety plan for your family, including pets.

 

Take these steps during an outage

-Leave a lamp on to alert you when the power returns. 

-A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours and a full freezer will keep its temperature for roughly 48 hours. Use coolers with ice to keep food cold. 

 
For more information on how to prepare for a PSPS and what to do during an outage, visit PG&E’s website: https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/outage-readiness.page 

May 2020 – Market Update

  May 2020 Welcome to May! The weather is improving across the city of San Jose, and thankfully, so is the fight against COVID-19. But what about our housing market? Are home prices up or down? Is anyone buying or selling real estate while also sheltering in place?   As you know, the coronavirus pandemic […]