Over the past week I’ve suddenly received several phone and email “phishing” solicitations. I’d like to blame it on a full moon, but that was nearly three weeks ago.
I’ve been contacted twice and advised my Amazon account had been locked due to suspicious activity. Two different people have called to tell me a credit card was being used in another state, that the police had been contacted, and they would need additional personal information to verify they were really talking to the cardholder so that they could assist me. I reached out to both credit card companies – no suspicious activity or security breach reported on my accounts. I also had a call trying to sell me new windows for my home. Told that caller my home has no windows. (You have to have some fun with these calls.) The best calls have been the three from people representing “investors” who are ready to purchase my house immediately – for cash. I had to play along with these calls too. Turns out the caller didn’t know anything about my home including where it was located, when it was built, the number of bedrooms, baths or square footage. After no doubt frustrating the caller for a few minutes, I let them know I was a Realtor® and that when it came to sell my home I had that covered.
Maybe with everything going on in the world scammers think this is an easy time to take advantage of people who might be feeling stressed or vulnerable. In my business escrow and title companies, banks and lenders continually deal with wire fraud. Bad people have figured out how to hack into emails, secure bank and corporate websites and anywhere else they think there might be a quick and dirty way to make money and defraud innocent people.
Be very careful. Be suspicious of phone calls and emails you don’t recognize or can’t verify. Caution and educate your children, parents and friends. If you question something, whether it’s from a friend, relative, business associate, bank real estate broker, escrow or title, and especially if you’re involved in a real estate transaction . . . verify the sender. It only takes a few minutes to protect yourself. It also only takes a few minutes for a wire transfer sent to a criminal recipient to empty a bank account, and those funds can be impossible to retrieve.
We have enough to worry about these days. Be safe. Verify. Verify. Verify. And while you’re at it, wear a mask. Take care of yourself, your family and friends.
Started in 2010, the information in the National Housing Survey contains information about consumer attitude, intentions and financial confidence as it relates specifically to housing.
With summer weather finally here we’re all spending more time outdoors, but with the confines created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors at home. Whether you live in an urban high rise or townhouse, creating privacy on your deck, patio or courtyard can be challenging.
HGTV has provided some interesting and affordable options available for adding a privacy screen to your deck. If you’re creative, there’s a lot of inspiration here for designing a customized screen to fit your space and decor.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS postponed the original tax filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th. July 15th is also the deadline for making first and second quarter estimated payments for 2020. You also have until the 15th to contribute to your IRA or health savings accounts for the 2019 tax year.
This is the is the last weekend before the deadline to finish gathering documents and preparing your taxes to meet the deadline. If you’re unable to meet the deadline, you can file for an extension to push your tax date to October 15th. That form, along with any IRS documents and information you may need, can be found at IRS.gov.
I don’t do a lot of online shopping unless its for a product I’ve purchased before or from a retail store I’m familiar with and trust. Buying groceries online, a t-shirt from Nordstrom or replacing a kitchen item from Amazon is a safe bet. I’ve never made a significant online purchase like furniture.
Replacing the ottoman in front of my sofa with something more contemporary and more sturdy has been on my list for some time. A glass of red wine sitting on a tray on an upholstered ottoman is a disaster waiting to happen, especially when you have a dog. With working and spending more time at home in recent months, and maybe drinking wine more regularly, the physical and visual issues of the ottoman have been more noticeable.
Welcome to Wayfair – there are so many choices. After extensive research (probably to much) I parked several glass coffee tables in my shopping cart to ponder. I finally selected a table that checked all the boxes – not too large, contemporary, glass top and interesting style. When I was finally ready to to push the “purchase” button, I was delighted to find it was on sale for the Memorial Day holiday weekend sale. Awesome!
The table arrived a few weeks ago. It was easy to assemble and it’s perfect! Fits the space exactly as expected, the glass top visually makes the room feel larger, it’s a nice update to the room and its a more stable spot for a glass of wine. Couldn’t be happier. I’ve been thinking about new bedroom nightstand lamps . . . there could be another online shopping success story in my future.
Robin Myers is a condominium specialist with Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.
This week Matthew Gardner, Windermere Chief Economist, speaks to the importance first time buyers will play in the recovery of the country’s housing market.
This week Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, discusses housing affordability and what we can expect moving forward. On average median housing prices nationwide are have increased by 23.5% above the 2008/2009 recession. While there has been some impact on values due to COVID-19, high demand from buyers in a market with limited inventory will continue to increase prices. What’s the solution? There’s high demand for entry level housing, but there’s no easy answer as to how to create affordability.
The number of homes available for sale declined in April and May for obvious reasons – there were health and economic concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since late May local home sales have been ahead of the same period last year. Buyer demand remains high but what is different about this year compared to last year is there are fewer homes for sale. The graph below, provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service for the Seattle Times, shows that new pending sales are well above the same period last year but new listings of homes for sale are 20% below the same period last year.
With barely a one month supply of inventory in many areas, homes are selling quickly. Multiple offers are more common, and many homes are selling above the list price. Buyers are finding more competition for the weekly supply of newly listed houses and condominiums coming on the market.
What’s driving this demand? Interest rates are at record lows making mortgages more affordable. Potential buyers can afford a larger home. And, after three months of quarantine, owners and renters whose homes offered adequate space when working off-site are seeking larger homes with more indoor space, a dedicated home office area and more outdoor live/play space. Buyers are ready to buy, but sellers don’t appear to be as motivated right now.