Could Changing Buyer Needs Be Good News For New Home Builders?

“Could Changing Buyer Needs Be Good News For New Home Builders?”

I’ve started working with a group of young investors.  Although their business model is to buy, fix, and flip houses, the market at the bottom where they troll is hot.  While looking for fresh opportunities, I found an approved, but as yet, unbuilt subdivision.  Even in a depressed market like Waterbury, new homes sell for more than existing homes.  So what is it that new homes have that buyers want?

New homes are more energy efficient.  Studies show that over 90% of all homebuyers want Energy Star rated appliances. New homes have Energy-Star rated windows, and insulation in all the right places.  Finally, buyers want ceiling fans.  Running the central air all summer is not only expensive, but unhealthy.  When it’s not sweltering, ceiling fans keep the air moving, so you can open the windows to let the fresh air in and the stale germs out.

Buyers want ample storage to keep the house organized, and the storage has to make sense. Today’s buyers want laundry rooms to hide the dirty laundry, linen closets in the bathroom large enough to hold comforters, and space in the garage for bikes and outdoors equipment.  I have a listing with a laundry chute.  The buyer’s daughter thought this was the greatest thing since sliced white and check out this cool storage system:

I would have louvered doors to let air circulate.

I would have louvered doors to let air circulate.

So if we know what buyers overwhelmingly want, then what can they live without?  How about an elevator?  It makes sense, since more buyers are interested in ranch homes, which are seen as more energy efficient than their double height entryway counterparts.  Buyers want master baths with a useful tub, not just a shower stall.  I always counsel my flippers to make sure there’s a tub in the house to accommodate a family with small, bath aged children, but this surprised me.

Finally, buyers are rejecting certain types of communities.   They don’t feel the overwhelming need to live on a golf course, or in a gated community, and they don’t want to live in a high density planned urban development or mixed use community.

So why could this be good for new home builders?  Because if buyers want what they want and they can’t find it in pre owned houses, building their own home, whether from stick or manufactured in a factory, may be the most economical solution.

Posted in CT, first time home seller, first time homebuyer, manufactured housing, new construction, prefabricated homes, Real Estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Manufactured Homes – They Aren’t Just For Trailer Parks Anymore

Manufactured Homes – They Aren’t Just For Trailer Parks Anymore”

Modular homes -They aren't Just for Trailer Parks Anymore

When I lived in upstate NY, most of the people we knew lived in single or double wide trailers.  Sometimes after a really bad storm, I’d drive along the main road and see garbage strewn all over some farmer’s field.  In reality, this “garbage” was the personal contents of someone’s trailer after it blew apart in the wind.   Double wides were considered a step up because they were anchored to a slab or sat on top of a basement like their stick built counterparts.

Today, modular homes have come a long way, baby.  In fact, many expensive homes are pre fabricated in climate controlled factories and then shipped to their building site in as little as 2 to as many as 20 separate pieces.

I looked into manufactured homes years ago and although there were several models, you couldn’t make changes to the floor plans.  Today’s modular home buyer doesn’t have to pick their home from a catalogue.  Instead, they work with a design team who can customize the home to suit their needs and show them, in 3D, how it will look when it all comes together.  Houses can also be created from someone else’s plans, something you couldn’t do back in the day.

While stick built home costs range from $100 – $150 or more per square foot, manufactured homes cost from $75 to $80 per square foot, or depending on the client’s desired upgrades, top out at $100 per square foot. Why? Because modular home manufacturers capitalize on their ability to buy in bulk.

What do you need to get started?  You’ll need a suitable building lot.  Whether stick built or modular, you will need to apply for a new construction loan with higher interest rates and a term of just 6 to 12 months.  Since many banks don’t understand manufactured housing, it’s harder, but not impossible to find financing.  The good news is that once construction is completed, you can refinance into a conventional loan at a better rate for a 15 or 30 year term.

With so many of today’s homebuyers looking for new construction, I think you will see more and more homes being shipped in on trucks to construction sites near you.

Posted in manufactured housing, modular homes, new construction, prefabricated homes, Real Estate | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

A Woman’s Place is in Her Own Home

“A Woman’s Place is in Her Own Home”

English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. ...

English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. Nederlands: Een icoontje van het Crystal icon thema (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lot has been said about first time homebuyers, but did you know that single women account for more than 20% of homebuyers and over 40% of first time home sales?  Women are a force to be reckoned with in the real estate market!  So what drives the female buyer?

Women, more than their male counterparts, see homeownership as a means to financial security.  Why pay rent to build someone else’s equity when they can build their own wealth?  Homeownership gives women tax benefits that renting can’t, and with interest rates at ridiculously low rates, women buyers believe buying a home gives them long-term stability, while they work and after they retire.

While men look at where they can relax in their new homes, women look at how the various parts of the house will make the family’s life better.  A well-functioning kitchen is the backbone of our home.  We want lots of useable storage space and modern amenities.  Many women buyers want new construction, and builders who cater to what women want and need, have done well, even in a down housing market.

Where do women buy? Condos offer an environment where women can maintain the interior, while someone else takes care of the grounds.  We like to live in urban areas where shopping, dining, and activities are easily accessible.  While our male counterparts are satisfied with 1 bedroom apartments, women buy 2 bedroom properties, maybe because we see them as a place our grown children can come home to visit.

Women usually spend less than men, partly because we traditionally earn less.  We’ll compromise on the size of the home to get the neighborhood that makes us feel comfortable and safe.

Women want an agent that’s accessible, with great communication skills, and the patience to look at as many properties as it takes to find the right one.  Like women doctors,  women agents can give the female buyer a commonality not always achieved with a male agent.

Related Reading:

Single Women Homebuyers  Online Community of Women Home Owners

What Women Homebuyers Want by Theresa Burney

Wanted Single Women Homebuyers by Alyssa Abkowitz

Single Women Are Homebuyers by DoItYourself Staff

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Common Sense: Older Sibling of Common Courtesy

“Common Sense: Older Sibling of Common Courtesy”

You’ve just been arrested for unlawful possession of prescription drugs so what do you do?

A) Apologize to the judge and throw yourself on the mercy of the court.

B) Disrespect to the judge, like it’s his fault you got arrested, forcing him to increase your fine and throw you in jail for 30 days.

Obviously for one young woman in Florida, the answer was B, Disrespect the judge so he throws the book at you.

I hope she learns not only common courtesy but common sense while she cools her heels in jail for 30 days.

Related reading:

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Just Sold! 26 York Street; Waterbury, CT

“Just Sold!  26 York Street; Waterbury, CT

Just Sold! 26 York St; Waterbury, CT

26 York Street is a wonderful 2 family in the Hilltop section of Waterbury.  By working with an experienced short sale attorney, Russell Stutsky, who guided the contract through the banking system, we received short sale approval from two separate lien holders in just about 60 days from the date of contract.

I have to thank the buyer, who put oil in the tank weeks before closing, a car in the driveway, and lights on timers in the windows, so the house never looked empty.  I also have to thank the seller, who poured heart and soul into the property throughout his ownership. Finally, I want to give a shout out to my mortgage originator, Dan Ianniello, who worked closely with all involved parties to make sure we closed on time.

If you or someone you know is contemplating a short sale, please contact me so I can tell you what my short sale team can offer you because peace of mind is worth a lot!

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SF Home for Sale: Boyden Estates; Waterbury, CT

“SF Home for Sale: Boyden Estates; Waterbury, CT”

Set in the north end, Boyden Estates, is a popular subdivision featuring 3 and 4 bedroom contemporary Colonial and Raised Ranch style homes.  The streets are quiet, the houses well maintained, and best of all, just minutes from shopping, dining, highways, schools, and public transportation.

20 Society Hill Watebury, CT

Built in 2008, 20 Society Hill is a 3 BR 2.5 BA Colonial listed at $175,000.  MLS#W1069996.  To view this or any other property in Connecticut, please contact Ruth Zeiss.  Call or text (347)556-0014 or email her at

single family home for sale: Boyden Estates: Waterbury, CT

single family home for sale: Boyden Estates: Waterbury, CT

With it’s open floor plan for easy entertaining, and two story foyer for all your grand entrances, you’ll love 20 Society Hill located in the Boyden Estates Subdivision.

Stainless appliances and granite give the kitchen the look you’ll love.  Central air and propane fired heat keep you comfortable no matter the season

single family home for sale: boyden estates; waterbury, ct

Three large bedrooms, upstairs, bring peace and serenity to the beginning and end of your day.

Single family home for sale: Boydent Estates; Waterbury, CT
The master bedroom had a huge walk in closet built for 2, a full bath with tub, and a balcony overlooking the backyard.  Another full bath is found in the hallway near the other 2 bedrooms while the powder room as located on the first floor in the laundry room.

If you are looking for a lovely home in a popular subdivision; a home that has the modern look and amenities you’re looking for, then 20 Society Hill in the Boyden Estates subdivision of Waterbury, CT, is a house you need to see Now!

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Would You Get Your Next Mortgage From Walmart?

“Would you Get Your Next Mortgage From Walmart?”

The word from super retailer Walmart is that they are thinking about entering the mortgage business, joining Warren Buffett, in the new real estate normal.  Would you get your next mortgage from Walmart?

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