ARE MORE CHANGES COMING IN OUR WORLD?

I set out to write an article about only the Real Estate Market but so much else is happening and it is all interrelated.

Commencing with the start of summer we saw a slow down in the market for resales in many areas of our county.  This is typical as the hot spring market usually starts in January, accelerates and this year became a very strong Seller’s market.  Why?  There is still a pent-up demand for housing, both sales and rentals, and low inventory.  Many people with children of school age were frustrated at not being the accepted bid in many school districts.  So, successful bidding entailed waiving home inspections, appraisals, offering free rent backs to sellers, as well as an above-list price, etc. 

However, then came the slow-down, which only became more pronounced as summer ended and we moved into fall. After the heyday of the spring market buyers were now taking more time, fearing pulling the trigger on an offer, making lower bids, including home inspections, etc. all pointing to a buyer’s market. This is continuing today with many listings showing price reductions, coming back on the market, or leaving the market.  But, there is still a high demand with a shortage of inventory.

This is all coupled, as we know, with higher interest rates, an inflationary economy, a war in Ukraine, overheated parts of the world, high gas prices (now softening), a threatened train strike which would raise havoc with delivery of goods, a shortage of employees to keep doors open, etc.  For instance, a dollar store in the area was open only half a day, shelves were partially empty and there was one employee subbing from another store! And, can you believe Amazon is cutting back on their expansion plans!

Earlier I wrote about Escape to the Country.  Well, now many people want to continue to work from home, more women are opening their own businesses so they can be with their children, more parents are home schooling and inflation is causing higher food prices.  I predict more people will have home gardens next year. 

The environment is still a hot topic.  Coal prices are now rising which doesn’t lead to improving the quality of our world by not cutting emissions.  This is one result of the Ukraine war as well as a global drought.  I looked at the world on Google Maps the other day and saw massive amounts of brown especially in Africa and the western part of America!

I have always been a positive thinker but the way trends are going these days it is hard to always think positive! 

On a lighter note, we still love Halloween so people will be buying  costumes for their children, who will be Trick or Treating.  I’m sure with less concern about Covid spreading that more people will be going to parties.   So, let’s celebrate in the upcoming holidays and hope for a better future for all!  To discuss more insights with me about real estate and your potential interests in buying or selling, give me a ring on 703-395-9214.  I am Pat Sawhney, Licensed since 1975 and based at RE/MAX 100. 

5 Features Senior Home Buyers Should Look for in an Ideal Home for Aging in Place

According to data, 77% of adults over the age of 49 want to stay in their homes as they grow older. If you are looking for a home to purchase as an older adult, it is important to consider how suitable that home is for aging in place.

1. The Price

Before you begin looking at homes, it is important to determine exactly how much you can realistically afford to spend. Factors to consider include your income and expenses, how much you have saved for a down payment, and the cost of financing.

If you are working now, but anticipate retiring soon, take into account how your expenses and income may change. You can get a rough estimate by using an online affordability calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payment at different price points, down payments, and other factors.

2. Maintenance Costs

The initial purchase price isn’t the only cost of buying a home. You must also repair and replace broken and worn systems and appliances. You can reduce the unpredictability of this expense by purchasing a home warranty that covers the cost of repairing systems and appliances. So will a warranty pay for itself? Before you decide whether you need a warranty, review the home inspection report for any red flags and find out if there is any remaining warranty on the appliances in the home and what that warranty covers.

3. Access to Services

As you get older, it may become more important to live near your doctor or a hospital that can provide the type of medical care you need. You may also need access to home health services. Explore what type of transportation and other senior services are offered in the area.

4. Safety Features

Fall risk is a major concern for many older people. Changes in eyesight, side effects from medication and balance issues can make seniors more likely to fall. You can reduce your risk by choosing a home that has fewer hazards and more safety features.

For example, it is best to avoid a home with dim light fixtures and few windows. Dark homes can make it difficult to see obstacles that could cause a fall. Safety features, such as bar grips and handrails, can reduce the risk of a fall on slippery surfaces, such as bathtubs or bathroom floors. Elevated toilets can also reduce slip and fall accidents in the bathroom.  Avoid homes with slippery flooring and instead, look for slip-resistant tile or vinyl. 

5. Accessibility Features

Many seniors have mobility issues, use assistive devices or wheelchairs, and have difficulty with reaching, bending, or gripping. It can be expensive to modify an inaccessible home to accommodate changing accessibility needs. Choose a home with wide doorways and hallways that can accommodate a wheelchair, walker, or mobility scooter.

Look for easy-to-grip door knobs. People with arthritic hands and other medical conditions may have difficulty turning knob-operated doors. Lever-operated doors can be easier to grip. Consider choosing a home that is on one level, rather than a home with stairs that you may have difficulty navigating.

Choosing a home that is well-suited to aging in place can increase your chances of remaining in your home as you get older. Taking steps, such as considering purchasing a home warranty, can make purchasing an accessible home more affordable.

For more senior resources, visit SCAS today.

3 Things Seniors Can Do to Stay Safe, Healthy, and Financially Sound in Senior Living

As we get older, our bodies start to heal more slowly as our immune systems slow down. As seniors, we have to be mindful of this fact, and how easily we can get sick. We start thinking about the future, and we decide to move into a senior living situation or community. This could be the best decision we can make for ourselves as older adults.

To assist those transitioning into a senior living situation, Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield has compiled a list of resources that can help to keep seniors safe, healthy, and financially sound.

Keep Your Space Clean, Sanitized, and Organized

As seniors, we can’t afford to get sick, so we do our best to keep our surroundings clean.

Stay Physically & Mentally Active

Look for Financial Assistance

When you’re looking to transition to a senior living community, these resources can help. Keep these 3 things in mind and you’ll keep yourself safe, healthy, and financially sound as you move into your senior adventure.

The goal of Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield is to help seniors live life with meaning and dignity to build community connections for everyone. Reach out today for more information! 703-941-1419

4 Recommendations to Make the Most of Life When Marrying in Your Golden Years

Finding someone to love and commit to for the rest of your life is always a blessing. However, getting married later in life means your priorities differ from those marrying at a younger age. If you are tying the knot during your golden years, follow these four tips from The Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield (SCAS) for a happy and successful marriage.

1. Host a Small Ceremony
While there is nothing wrong with a large ceremony, a smaller ceremony takes a lot of the pressure and stress out of the wedding planning process. Plus, it saves money to put towards other priorities, such as a honeymoon or down payment on a house.

Invite your closest friends and family members, such as adult children and grandchildren, to an intimate reception. If you have many people you want to attend, put the money towards a large reception instead. Go all out with your favorite foods, DJ, and decor.

2. Stay Active
Staying active is a wonderful way to keep your physical and mental health strong. Take turns trying each other’s favorite activities. If you do not have any favorites, make a list of activities that interest you both and try them together, such as swimming classes, biking, or free online fitness videos. Even a short walk boosts your energy and gives you both a chance to talk and connect with each other.

Another great option is getting involved in your community. Parks, student mentoring, and animal shelters are a few of the numerous volunteer opportunities in neighborhoods. Local senior programs also offer a variety of services to their members, such as luncheons and holiday parties.

3. Start a Business
A great way to stay busy, spend time together, and make extra cash is by starting a business together. According to one report, 1.4 million firms in the United States are operated and owned by a married couple. If you and your spouse work well together, joining this group of wedded business owners might be your next adventure!

An important aspect to pay attention to is marketing. Marketing gets your name out to the public and tells them what makes your company unique and why they should choose you. Print media, social media, websites, and commercials are all excellent marketing options.

When designing your website, be sure to create an eye-catching infographic to increase brand awareness for your business. You can hire a graphic designer to take on the project, or you can design your own infographic and save money by using free customizable templates. Once you choose a template, simply personalize it with your own colors, text, background, and other design elements.

4. Update Finances
Finances should be one of the first things you discuss when deciding to tie the knot. Be honest with your partner about all debts. Make a game plan of how you both will tackle these bills. Talk about any social security income or retirement benefits you receive. Also, discuss whether your want joint or separate bank accounts.

Finally, create a monthly budget. This should include bills, essential costs, such as gas and groceries, and non-essential costs, such as dinner at restaurants or for-fun shopping money.

Your golden years are one of the best times of your life. Getting married during this period fills these years with even more love and joy. Follow these four tips to make the most of your marriage during this special part of your life.

Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

Elizabeth Amini is a social entrepreneur with a background in science. She learned data analysis while working as a scientist at JPL/NASA. Elizabeth earned a bachelors degree in Cognitive Science (the study of the brain) from Occidental College and an M.B.A. from University of Southern California. Her Anti-AgingGames.com business plan won the USC Business Plan contest as well as the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) award for promising new companies.

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A Guide to Hosting Family Holidays Remotely if You Can’t Meet in Person

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s holiday season is definitely not what most of us are used to. The CDC has advised Americans to limit travel and reduce the size of family gatherings. If you aren’t able to see your loved ones in person, you can still host a holiday virtually, however.

This guide provides inspiration on how you can enjoy the festivities if you aren’t seeing one another face-to-face, plus tips to stay safe if you are traveling this holiday season.

Send gifts and treats via old-fashioned snail mail.

If you can’t see your loved ones in person, put extra effort into their gifts. Instead of ordering something on Amazon and having it delivered directly, put together a package yourself. This allows you to add personal touches, like holiday cards made by the kids or homemade Christmas cookies. Not a big baker? These easy cookie recipes have you covered.

If you’re looking for affordable presents, turn to the internet. You can find luxury brands online for less. For example, a Saks promo code will let you buy top-quality gifts without breaking the bank. Finish off your luxury gift with the perfect package. Consider learning from a gift-wrapping tutorial, so you can give your loved ones something beautifully wrapped to put under the tree.

Invest in the tech you need for remote video calls.

Video chat is an easy way to connect with friends and family who are far away. Make sure all your family members have the necessary technology to accommodate a video chat platform like Zoom.

An old laptop or tablet won’t run at full capacity and may result in frustrating buffering and freezing, which can make calls frustrating or downright impossible. You can find deals on big brand tablets and laptops online. For example, Lenovo offers steep discounts on laptops on their website, as do other brands.

If you have older relatives, make sure they know how to use their new technology. If you can’t teach them in person, an online computer tutorial specially designed for seniors can help.

Find festive activities you can do “together” via Zoom.

Once the entire family has the tech tools they need, look for creative ways to enjoy the festivities via Zoom. For example, you could all sing carols together via a Zoom call. Another option is to have a tree-decorating competition. Decorate your respective trees at the same time as you chat and then show off the final results to one another via video.

You can also watch holiday movies together. Technologies like Scener let you simultaneously watch a film while in different locations. Pick some of your holiday favorites to watch throughout the holiday season. In need of inspiration? Town and Country Magazine offers a fantastic roundup of classics, from “Home Alone” to “A Christmas Story.”

Take safety precautions if you travel.

If you are traveling this holiday season, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The Mayo Clinic recommends maintaining distance, wearing a face mask, and avoiding touching your face. You should also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds often. If you can’t get to a sink, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The holidays will be different this year, but there’s no need to call off the festivities. With a little creativity and the right technology, you can still enjoy the season with your loved ones. Hopefully, the above guide has given you some inspiration on how to do just that.

The Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield (SCAS) provides resources to help families preserve the well-being of seniors. View more resources online.

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