Real Estate

Pandemic Prompts Shift for Property Managers

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 4, 2020 - 1:00am

Landlords are increasing their reliance on technology in leasing, collecting rent, and engaging with tenants remotely.

Categories: Real Estate

List Prices Hit a New High, Inventory Shortages Abound

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 4, 2020 - 1:00am

Housing inventories remain low, but the rate of decline in newly listed properties from April to May has shown improvement.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Applications Jump 18% Amid Record Low Rates

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 4, 2020 - 1:00am

Home buyers are rushing back into the market, paving the way for a robust summer selling season.

Categories: Real Estate

Top 10 Markets for Millennial Buyers During the Pandemic

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 4, 2020 - 1:00am

“As states and cities begin to reopen, millennials will play a significant role in the housing market’s recovery,” says NAR President Vince Malta.

Categories: Real Estate

Where PPP Loan Forgiveness Stands Now

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 3, 2020 - 1:00am

Eligibility requirements have been released but stand to change under proposed legislation.

Categories: Real Estate

Should You Fix That Yourself? How to Handle Home Repair During the Pandemic

Daily Real Estate News - June 2, 2020 - 4:29pm

(TNS)— When Tony Nittoli of North Hollywood noticed a leak under his bathroom sink in mid-April, he tied it up with an old T-shirt and stuffed junk mail under it. He’d normally call his apartment manager to take care of it, but health officials’ orders were clear: stay inside and away from others to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“What’s the sense of me not going out if I have somebody who’s going out to multiple houses coming to my house?” Nittoli said. “That defeats the purpose.”

Plumbers, electricians and handymen and -women are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. They’ve continued to come to the rescue when a pipe bursts or the electricity goes haywire. It’s frequently hazardous work, pandemic notwithstanding.

But what about when it’s not life or death, but life and discomfort? If the washing machine won’t wash or the screen door won’t seamlessly slide, does it make sense to call a professional? Does bringing in a worker—or several—put your safety and theirs at risk? Do you try doing it yourself? Is fixing a sink as easy as baking bread?

Safety First

Although home-repair workers were never ordered to put away their tools, business practices have shifted to meet the moment, according to several industry stakeholders.
Workers are required to wear masks and keep their distance from others inside a home, apartment or commercial space they’re working in, just as in other essential businesses, according to public health guidelines. Some companies outfit their workers in additional protective gear, such as gloves and booties.

For Mike Rios, who owns and manages seven rental units in West L.A., the adjustment hasn’t been hard. His go-to handyman “wears a mask and (it’s) business as usual,” he said.

Talieh Safadi, owner of Help Squad, a repair company with a location in Brentwood, said he typically asks customers to take a walk while work is being done or stay in another room.

Tom Bannon, chief executive of the California Apartments Association, which represents the rental housing interests, agreed that safety protocols are a two-way street.

Repair workers are asked to follow CDC guidelines, “And you hope that that the residents can do the same,” Bannon said.

When should you call a professional? If it’s an emergency or serious issue, make the call. Some repairs simply can’t be put off. An untreated electrical shortage could spark a fire. A leaky pipe in one apartment could cause thousands of dollars of water damage in the entire complex. In those situations, it’s necessary to bring in a trained professional, ideally before a situation grows dire.

If it’s less urgent, weigh the risks.

If you’re a family of five and your washing machine breaks, it might not be feasible to transition to a washboard. If it’s not urgent, Safadi recommends people over 65 or with underlying health conditions postpone work for a few weeks. If they need to go forward with a repair, he advises increasing safety precautions.

Apartment owners still have an obligation to make repairs within a reasonable time frame, but Bannon stressed that the pandemic has affected what’s reasonable.
Some tenants don’t want home-repair workers in their units—and it’s difficult from a legal perspective for a landlord to enter a unit against their wishes, Bannon said. On the flip side, some maintenance workers are hesitant to put themselves at unnecessary risk. The latter makes it trickier to find someone to tackle a job immediately and increases the turnaround time for some repairs, he added.

“It’s not a good time for maintenance unless it’s a serious issue,” Bannon said.

Repair Needs Are Increasing

People in the industry agree that comfort levels around home repair appear to be rising—possibly out of necessity.

According to ServiceTitan, a tech company that develops software for home-services workers, revenue for contractors in California in the first two weeks of May jumped 10 percent over the same period last year. And the numbers are showing improvement nationally.

Calls never stopped completely for contractor Edward Flanagan, though they did fall significantly after California’s stay-at-home order went into place. He estimates that he’s getting half as much business as usual now, compared with a quarter as much in mid-March.

Many of the large residential projects Safadi had lined up, including a more than $100,000 job to convert a garage to a living space, are on hold. But he said he is fielding more quotidian requests, including calls about broken dishwashers, toilets, garbage disposals, doors and faucets. More time at home means more wear and tear.

“Remember, all of us were home, including me and my wife, on lockdown,” Safadi said. “And guess what? There were a lot more issues with maintenance because everybody’s home.”

Should I Try to Do It Myself?

Those concerned about exposure to the virus or who are tight on funds might be considering a DIY approach. Professionals urge caution. Most plumbing and electrical work, for example, is best left to the professionals.

“One mistake can cause a lot more damage,” Safadi said.

“If you don’t know how to snake a pipe or a garbage disposal, it might leak overnight,” he explained. In a multi-unit complex, that can get expensive: “Because it leaks into the unit below or the unit next door and then it becomes a huge thing.”

Besides property damage, “there’s potential damage you could do to yourself,” Bannon said, pointing to garbage disposals as one source of danger.

But home maintenance falls on a spectrum of difficulty, said Bob Burke, chief executive of Repair Clinic, a company that offers step-by-step repair tutorials.

“What we’re seeing is that people have real needs, partly caused by the pandemic, partly because things are breaking because they’re at home, and I think people now are realizing they can do a lot more than they might have thought,” Burke said. “People are learning to be creative.”

The service is starting to see engagement with a younger audience, particularly in the 22 to 35 age range, according to Peter Krauss, president of the company. Their typical customer had been 45 or older, he said.

Marnie Sehayek initially intended to pay a handy friend to build out a closet in her Koreatown apartment. When L.A. issued its safer-at-home order in mid-March, that no longer seemed wise. Instead, she watched videos, conferred with friends, borrowed tools from a neighbor and did it herself over the course of several weeks.

“To be honest, I felt like I was in a Marx Brothers skit at almost every pass with it,” she said, adding that it ultimately came together. “It’s not exactly perfect, but it totally works for me.”

Then there are the basics, like how to flip a breaker on and off, and where the main water shutoff is, things Flanagan said everyone should know. Otherwise, you could be wasting water and electricity, he said.

“I think it’s good for people to have more of a knowledge of that going on,” he said, “and maybe this will give us a chance for people to do that.”

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Should You Fix That Yourself? How to Handle Home Repair During the Pandemic appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Will Surging Online Home Searches Jumpstart Sales?

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Online home searches through Google and real estate portals are spiking. 

Categories: Real Estate

iBuying Giant Tweaks Model to Pursue Listings

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Offerpad is expanding its services beyond instant cash offers to provide sellers a chance to list homes publicly.

Categories: Real Estate

41% of Home Buyers Say They’re Willing to Go Over Budget

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Find out how much more they’re willing to pay to get that perfect home.

Categories: Real Estate

Real Estate Leaders Speak Out Against Racism

NAR Daily News Magazine - June 2, 2020 - 1:00am

NAR President Vince Malta and real estate executives around the country express pain over racial disparities and commit to pushing for community and industry change.

Categories: Real Estate

What Motivates People to Choose Where They Live?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 29, 2020 - 1:00am

A new study examines why people decide to stay in a community or leave it.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Home Design That Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 29, 2020 - 1:00am

Find out which materials have natural antimicrobial properties.

 
Categories: Real Estate

How to Clean Your Electronics Properly

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 29, 2020 - 1:00am

The CDC recommends disinfecting electronics daily, and more Americans are heeding the call.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Home Prices Still Rising, Albeit at Slower Pace

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 29, 2020 - 1:00am

Real estate remains a bright spot, even as the COVID-19 pandemic hammers the economy.

 
Categories: Real Estate

30-Year Mortgage Rate Hits New Record Low

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 29, 2020 - 1:00am

For the third time in as many months, borrowing costs for a 30-year loan sink to their lowest level ever.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Are You Finding Working From Home Stressful? Try Listening to Background Sounds

Daily Real Estate News - May 28, 2020 - 4:02pm

(TNS)—Some businesses are in the process of reopening. But many people working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may face several additional months of hunching over their laptops at their kitchen tables before heading back into the office. Have you found it difficult to adjust to an increasingly isolated professional life? Now that we’re months into our work-from-home experience, here’s a tip that may prove particularly helpful.

Try listening to a little ambient sound.

Ambient sounds are the background noises that make up our daily lives, and people often choose to listen to soothing ambient sounds like rain or birds singing while working and studying. They’re not to be confused with the consistent humming of white noise, such as television static.

“People don’t like it that quiet,” says Jonas Braasch, an associate professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “It can be easier to work with background noise.”

Why do humans tend to enjoy background noise? Well, it could have something to do with our deep-rooted instincts for avoiding danger, Braasch suggests. After all, animals in a forest typically go quiet when a predator is near, which is why many instinctively feel more at ease when birds are singing.

Braasch believes this principle may translate to emotions felt during a modern crisis—like the coronavirus pandemic. As you shelter at home, listening to background sounds may provide a sense of being safe. “On a fundamental level, it gives you the feeling of not being alone,” Braasch says.

Nature sounds are among the most commonly mentioned ambient noises, and for good reason. “I can’t recall anybody disliking the sounds of nature. It seems that liking nature sounds is universal,” says Braasch, as long as they’re relatively calm (i.e., not the rattle of a snake).

Erin Largo-Wight, a professor at the University of North Florida, agrees that nature sounds have a positive effect on us. “Pre-pandemic, Americans spent approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. During the pandemic in areas with stay-at-home orders, that figure is likely even higher,” Largo-Wight said in an email. “Incorporating nature contact indoors is a simple and meaningful way to reduce stress.”

Research has shown that people respond well to working while listening to nature sounds, but what about decidedly more human-centric ambient noise soundtracks? Say, for instance, an office noises soundtrack. Though it hasn’t been studied, it’s possible that listening to office sounds could give someone a sense of normalization, Braasch says. So if you’re someone who works best in the office or at a coffee shop, finding some ambient sounds or background noises that replicate your preferred workspace may help restore some sense of order to your days. Ultimately, “people should listen to what they think is good for them,” Braasch advises.

Need a few recommendations for background sounds? Here are a few of our favorites:
With Coffivity, listeners can immerse themselves in chatty settings like a university cafe or coffee house. Rainy Mood puts listeners in the midst of a gentle rainstorm. For people missing the social experience of the office, this adjustable office sounds experience may provide some comfort. A word of warning: playing with the settings is very addictive. This ocean noise generator is perfect for anyone missing lazy days at the beach. You can adjust your wave experience to settings like “Distant Shore” or “Windy Coast.” Feeling some wanderlust right now? Quench it using Noises.Online, which offers soundtracks like “An enchanted forest in Slovenia” and “A starry night in Morocco. “Calling all Harry Potter fans: Be transported to your favorite fantastical places like the Leaky Cauldron, Hogwarts Express and the Gryffindor common room on Ambient-Mixer.com.

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Are You Finding Working From Home Stressful? Try Listening to Background Sounds appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

NAR: Contract Signings Likely Won’t Go Any Lower

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

The pandemic struck pending home sales in April, but a rebound is coming, says NAR’s chief economist.

 
Categories: Real Estate

Zombie Foreclosures Have Dropped Slightly Despite COVID-19

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

Forbearance options have helped unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure. But the mandate preventing foreclosures on government-backed mortgages sunsets June 30.

Categories: Real Estate

Short-Term Rentals Are on the Rise

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

More landlords are offering flexible leases to help retain tenants, such as month-to-month options or three- to six-month time frames.

Categories: Real Estate

6 Low-Budget Home Improvement Ideas for Listings

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 28, 2020 - 1:00am

Homeowners who are waiting to list can use the time to make eye-catching upgrades.

Categories: Real Estate
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