Richard Stein – Realtor®, GREEN, SFR, CBR, eCertified®

Local Agent, Worldwide Marketing – Douglas Elliman Real Estate formerly Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Buyers Will Pay More for Smart Tech Features

Home buyers are willing to pay extra in order to have a smart home, according to several new studies. Network-connected thermostats, security devices, appliances, and lighting already installed in a home may help home owners sell their properties faster and for more money, reports The Washington Post on the studies’ findings.

Fifty-seven percent of home shoppers eyeing older homes say they would consider them updated and more appealing if they had smart-home features installed, according to a survey of 1,250 American adults conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Sixty-one percent of millennials say they would favor a home that had smart-home features; 59 percent of parents with children living in the house say they would too.

Another recent survey this year conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting also found Americans heavily favoring, and willing to pay extra for, smart-home features when shopping for a home. Sixty-five percent of nearly 22,000 home buyers surveyed said they’d be willing to spend more for a home with smart-home technology. More than half of those surveyed said they’d be willing to pay extra for interior and exterior security cameras, network-connected appliances, doorbells with text alerts and access to security cameras, smart air filtration vents, and more.

Some appraisers say they are making adjustments when comparing a smart home with a similar home that does not have such features.

“Smart-home technology can definitely add to market value,” Pat Turner, an appraiser in Richmond, Va., told The Washington Post. “If you have the data showing that houses with smart technology sell for more, then you’ve got to.”

Source: “Buyers Say They’re Willing to Pay Extra for ‘Smart’ Homes,” The Washington Post

The Best Military Towns for Investing

Investors are eyeing military towns as a great place to invest in a single-family rentals.

“Acquiring [single-family rentals] near military bases may be one of the best real estate investment strategies, for a variety of reasons,” says Don Ganguly, CEO of HomeUnion. “For example, military service members are employed by the federal government, which provides greater employment certainty than the private sector. Demand from service men and women is stable, particularly as the military limits overseas deployments following two protracted wars. In addition, the military compensates service members based on market-rate rents, rank and dependents, giving landlords incentive to lease to military personnel and their families.”

HomeUnion identified the top military towns for investing in single-family rental properties based on average cap rates. The towns must have a military base with a population of active duty personnel and their families of 15,000 or higher.

The study finds that the majority of the single-family rentals near military bases that offer the highest returns tend to be primarily located in the South and Midwest, says Steve Hovland, director of research for HomeUnion.

The following metro areas are the best places to invest in housing near military bases, according to HomeUnion’s analysis:

  • Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Ga.: $965 (military housing area rent)
  • Fort Drum, Watertown, N.Y.: $1,238
  • Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.: $1,145
  • Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.: $822
  • Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.: $914
  • Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas: $883
  • Fort Gordon, Augusta, Ga.: $1,078
  • Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas: $1,097
  • Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas: $1,294
  • Offutt AFB, Omaha, Neb.: $1,193

Source: “The Best Military Towns Named for Investing in Rental Homes,” RISMedia

Home Owners Tackle Garage Messes

The garage is hardly a showpiece of the home. Instead, it can be a sore spot of mounting clutter, storing the lawn mower, sports equipment, storage bins, old paint cans, and more.

For many owners, the clutter may be getting to be too much. Garage organization product sales are going through the roof. Sales of these products are expected to rise 4.5 percent this year and each year through 2019. Ultimately, garage organization products are expected to reach a $2.4 billion business, a 25 percent rise from 2014, according to Freedonia Group, a market research firm.

Home owners are “starting to realize that our very expensive cars are sitting in the driveway while we’re housing our inexpensive stuff – and even junk – in the garage,” Lisa Mark, a professional organizer in Los Altos, Calif., told The Wall Street Journal.

A quarter of home owners admit they can’t fit even one car into their garage, according to a survey conducted in 2015 by Whirlpool Corp.’s Gladiator GarageWorks line. Also in that survey, a third of respondents said they keep their garage door shut because they don’t want others to see their messy garage. What’s more, 20 percent of owners say they have argued with their spouse over the state of the garage.

“There’s a lot of friction in the family about the garage,” says Josh Gitlin, Gladiator’s general manager. Realizing that garage messes can be a big project to take on, Gitlin says the company now also offers starter kits to help owners get a small start at digging through the clutter. The kit includes a few hooks and hanging units for items like lawn tools, sports equipment, and ladders.

California Closets says its garage product sales have doubled since 2010 as more owners focus on taking control over their garage messes’.

“When clients are moving into a new home, they’re even choosing to do their garage ahead of certain furniture purchases and landscaping, because they’re so starved for storage and organization,” Benjamin Weiss, a senior design consultant for California Closets, told The Wall Street Journal.

Some owners are even turning their garage into a spot they want to show off. A family in San Diego told The Wall Street Journal that they spent $15,000 on renovating their garage, adding cabinets and trying to make the space feel more like an extension of their home. A new epoxy floor is speckled black, gray and white. The walls are painted the same gray shade as the inside of the home. Three charcoal-colored cubbies near the door offer a mudroom, allowing the family’s children to place their jackets and shoes.

Now, “when I show people the house, I say ‘You have to see the garage,’” says Heather Weisman, the owner of the home.

Source: “What’s Behind the Garage Door?” The Wall Street Journal

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