Charlie and Devon: a veteran service dog team

Charlie and Devon: a veteran service dog team

It takes a distinct form of courage to take on a job called “Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician.” Especially while serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. Charlie Linville, of Boise, is that kind of brave.

Even while recounting how he was injured, Charlie is matter-of-fact. “I stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device),” says Charlie. “When I came to and figured out what happened, my leg was severely damaged, my hand was severely damaged and I had some brain injuries.” Charlie tried to save his leg but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. “For 18 months after my injury I had my leg. I had several surgeries, but I was in so much pain I decided to have it amputated and live a happy life,” he explains.

Although Charlie had every reason to feel sorry for himself, he’s moving on. He’s still in great shape. He even climbed Mount Everest! And he’s a great father of two little girls. Despite his challenges, somehow he manages to stay positive. “I’m lucky that I’m not in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” Charlie says.

Still, Charlie needs help with everyday tasks. That’s where Service Dog Devon III comes in. Charlie received Devon, free of charge, from Canine Companions for Independence in August. Canine Companions is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

“I have a lower spine injury that makes my left leg go numb so my balance isn’t always what it needs to be,” Charlie explains. “When I’m using my cane and carrying something, having the dog with me to pick up something that I’ve dropped, open a door or hit a light switch is a big day-to-day thing for me when I’m out in public.”

At home, Charlie does not always use his prosthetic leg. “Devon is learning to bring me the prosthesis when I’m sitting on the couch,” explains Charlie. “Sometimes I have a hard time getting up, and Devon can retrieve something and bring it to me. Just having someone with me to help do things that are really difficult or painful for me really affects my life in a positive way!”

Charlie is one of hundreds of military veterans who have received assistance dogs from Canine Companions. “Canine Companions assistance dogs are amazing, magical gifts,” says Charlie. “They change people’s lives.”

To learn more about the Veterans Initiative offered through our partners at Canine Companions for Independence, click here

You Control the Outcome: Downsizing in Retirement

You Control the Outcome: Downsizing in Retirement

Congratulations – you’ve reached a point in your life where the heavy lifting of child rearing, career chasing, ladder climbing, and “accumulation phase” have peaked and you’re ready to steadily slide into your glorious, golden years of retirement. Naturally, many people think that retiring and downsizing must be synonymous. Sure, there are many benefits of downsizing in retirement, but there are also some common pitfalls to be aware of. We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts so you can successfully navigate downsizing in retirement.


1. Focus on your “must haves.” Set your non-negotiables whether that is wanting to be near a golf course or grandkids, having an attached garage or gourmet kitchen, handicap accessible doors and hallways, and main-level living, etc. Knowing what you want (and don’t want) will narrow your options down quickly.

2. Have a budget. Talk with your financial advisor about your plans. Map out your monthly budget and be sure to make considerations for HOA fees, rising healthcare costs, leisure activities, transportation costs, insurance, and other important budgetary line items that can affect your overall spending in retirement.

3. Try it before you “buy it.” You don’t have to make a final decision immediately. There are many alternatives to simply selling and moving because you feel like you have to.

  • Find a rental comparable to what you ultimately see yourself owning.
  • Secure a “long-term” Airbnb or VRBO to test drive your downsizing plans.
  • Rent a storage unit for the excess furniture and possessions you are considering eliminating. If you can live without them for 4-6 weeks, chances are you are ready to part with them permanently.


1.Set unrealistic expectations. Just because you find a smaller space doesn’t mean it will save you money. Similarly, don’t expect the sale of your property to generate unrealistic profits. Find a trusted realtor to help you understand the process start to finish.

2. Do it alone. Cleaning, decluttering, organizing, packing, and unpacking are strenuous jobs. It can also be emotionally trying leaving a home you’ve created lasting memories in, and parting with sentimental items you’ve accumulated. Seek help. Whether it is hiring a professional packing and moving company, or recruiting your friends and family, secure a support system before you begin the journey of downsizing.

3. Wait until it is too late. Timing is everything. Waiting until you’re forced to leave your home could have severe consequences on your emotional and financial well-being. With the proper advanced planning, you stay in control of your satisfaction and happiness rather than leaving it to chance.

Are you ready to start planning your downsizing efforts? Gateway Insurance Group would be glad to partner with you. Give us a call at 858-428-3929 or visit us at

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.

NextHome opens first franchised office in Alaska

NextHome opens first franchised office in Alaska

Kirk Maynard

Pleasanton, CA — May 14, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Arctic Sun. The new brokerage represents the first office location in the state of Alaska by the NextHome franchise. The Fairbanks-based brokerage will be owned and operated by Kirk Maynard and his wife, Lisa. As a second-generation REALTOR®, Kirk brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NextHome franchise.

The agents at NextHome Arctic Sun will focus on selling homes throughout the northern Alaska region including the cities of Fairbanks, Fort Greely, Salcha, Nenana, Denali, and Healy.

NextHome Arctic Sun will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, military, traditional single-family sales, and commercial.

Born and raised in Alaska, Kirk first became licensed in 2004. Starting his first year at the local Century 21 office, he attained his broker’s license shortly after. In 2006, he moved to a Coldwell Banker franchise, and in 2007, he bought the Coldwell Banker Gold Country brokerage.

At the time of his purchase, the office had three agents. Over the course of the next 10 years, not only did Kirk grow his personal business to more than 60 transactions annually, but the brokerage agent count grew as well. With more than 25 agents at the company, Kirk’s company grew incredible market share due to the agents’ hands-on personalized approach to working with clients and providing them world-class service.

After more than 10 years with the Coldwell Banker franchise, Kirk knew it was time to look at increasing value for the agents and their clients.

“I really liked the NextHome difference,” said Kirk. “The clean and modern feel was something that our brokerage was missing. On top of that, we now have top-level technology, connectivity with a progressive corporate team, and a connection with brokers all over the country. We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of NextHome.”

Committed to giving back, Kirk has served the real estate community for more than a decade. He has been a member of the Greater Fairbanks Board of REALTORS® (GFBR) for 15 years and served on the Board as a Director for five of those years. He was elected 2009 GFBR President and currently serves on both the Alaska Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) State Board and the 2019 GFBR Education Committee.

“From the moment I spoke with Kirk and Lisa, I felt like we’ve known each other for years,” said NextHome’s Vice President of Sales Charis Moreno. “Having them be the first to bring the NextHome franchise to Alaska is very exciting. Their market has not seen a new real estate franchise brand in a long time. Bringing a fresh, unique spin to local Alaska real estate, NextHome Arctic Sun is perfectly positioned to bring a new look and feel throughout Alaska.”

Outside of selling real estate, the Maynards focus on family. They have three children – son Colby (20) and daughters Chloe (16) and CeCe (13). Living in Alaska, the family enjoys all that the state has to offer such as fishing and snow activities.

Please join us in congratulating Kirk, Lisa, and the rest of the team at NextHome Arctic Sun on the opening of their NextHome office in Fairbanks, AK!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

10 Summer Prepping Ideas for Your Home

10 Summer Prepping Ideas for Your Home

Get your family and home ready for summer by using some of these prepping ideas. The weather is changing, which means time to get outside and get your home ready for warmer weather.

The weather is getting warmer, and that means it’ll soon be time for backyard barbeques, evening cocktails on the patio, growing a new crop of vegetables and playing catch with the kids. Break out the home maintenance checklist and get your home ready for summer with some of these tips.

1. Get Your AC Tuned Up

While there are some cool DIY projects on this list, getting an AC tune-up isn’t one of them – you should call in a professional for this task. Just as you need to get your furnace tuned up every fall, you need to get your AC tuned up every spring. An AC tune-up includes inspecting and cleaning components and connections inside your AC, and it’s important because the technician should be able to tell whether your AC will soon need repairs. With regular tune-ups, you can avoid most breakdowns of your AC unit. Many HVAC components are covered under a home warranty. If your warranty doesn’t cover your AC appliance, check out American Home Shield® today.

2. Conduct a Home Energy Audit

Now is the time to learn more about your home’s energy profile, and what you can do to improve its energy efficiency. A home energy audit can tell you whether and where your home is drafty, for example, or whether you need more insulation and where to install it. Whether you have it professionally done, or do it yourself, it’s worth it – and your local utility company may offer an incentive for homeowners to have this done.

3. Install a Smart Thermostat

Springtime is a great time to install a smart thermostat, because soon you’ll need to keep your home cool. A smart thermostat lets you program your HVAC to cool your home only when you’re in it, so you’ll save a bundle on cooling costs, while still staying comfortable on even the hottest days.

4. Get Ready for Bugs

Many species of insects go dormant during the cold weather of winter and early spring, but they come out again in full force as soon as temperatures rise. Before the bugs come out, get ready for their return. Take steps to keep the bugs away, such as cleaning up piles of leaves or other debris near your house, sealing cracks in doors and windows, and inspecting window screens for holes. If you want to put out pesticides or other repellants, now is the time to do so.

5. Check for Water Leaks

The summer months bring more than heat – they can also bring storms and flooding. Check your basement for signs of water leaks. Clear out grates or drains near your home so that water is directed away from the foundation. If dirt has settled around your home, or your home is at the bottom of a hill, water will run towards your foundation. Install grates to direct water away.

6. Clean the Gutters

If you only clean your gutters once a year, do it in the spring, so that they can most effectively direct the rains of summer storms away from your siding and foundation. Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year – once in the spring, and again in the fall.

7. Reseal Your Doors and Windows

Now is the time to inspect your doors and windows for missing, cracked or peeling caulk and reseal them to prevent water leaks and draftiness. If you have wooden window frames, check to see if they need repainting. You can also take this opportunity to repaint your front door, if necessary, and wash your windows.

8. Aerate, Dethatch and Overseed the Lawn

Okay, so this is three things, but they all go together, and they’re all equally important to helping your lawn look its best in the summer months, when you most want to use it. Your lawn may not need to be aerated, dethatched, and overseeded every year – if it looks healthy and lush, it’s probably fine, especially if it’s newly installed. But take the time to do it at least every two or three years, so your lawn stays healthy and oxygenated.

9. Spruce Up Your Garden Beds

Spring is a great time to weed, mulch, and plant in your vegetable and garden beds, and if you’re looking for summer crafts for kids, there are plenty of gardening tasks they can do. Kids love playing in the dirt, growing things, and helping out. They can help pull weeds, spread mulch and compost and even seeds or seedlings.

10. Clean the Lawn Furniture

Soon you’ll want to entertain friends, relatives, and neighbors outside, so it’s time to drag the lawn furniture out of the garage and knock the cobwebs off. Use a power washer or a hose to clean chairs, tables and other pieces of lawn furniture. Don’t forget to wash the cushions! You can also take steps in protecting your patio furniture, and have them last longer.

Summer is coming fast – don’t let it catch you unprepared. Get your home ready for warm weather, so you can focus on enjoying yourself and your loved ones.

For more tips, visit the American Home Shield blog!

NextHome Sierra Realty opens in Reno, Nevada

NextHome Sierra Realty opens in Reno, Nevada

Sarah Durbin

Pleasanton, CA — May 10, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Sierra Realty. The new brokerage represents the fifth office location opened in the state of Nevada by the NextHome franchise. The Reno-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Sarah Durbin.

Sarah’s team will focus on selling homes in the entire Reno region including Sparks and Lake Tahoe.

NextHome Sierra Realty will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab and resale, short sales and foreclosures, traditional single-family sales, and property management.

Originally from Utah, Sarah spent more than 13 years as a high-volume property manager. Her extensive real estate property management includes the supervision of more than 1,400 properties in Utah, South Carolina, Washington, and California.

Investors continue to work with Sarah today because of her vast property management knowledge.

In 2018, she relocated to Reno to be closer to family. This move sparked an interest in expanding her real estate brokerage to include real estate sales.

“As someone who has worked investment properties for more than ten years, I really enjoy working with investors,” said Sarah. “I’ve helped long term hold investors and their property management needs but saw an opportunity to also help sell these properties when it was time. Additionally, I wanted to help acquire properties for our investors for their real estate portfolios.”

“It was a natural fit for my company to expand into real estate buying and selling,” she added. “I like working not only with experienced investors, but helping people begin investing in long term hold and fix-and-flip properties. I enjoy helping people start their journey of getting their real estate portfolio going.”

Sarah was introduced to NextHome through another NextHome franchisee. She wasn’t expecting to affiliate with another franchise after an inopportune experience with a property management franchise. However, she found NextHome to be very different.

“The tools, technology and customer service of NextHome is top notch,” said Sarah. “After spending time really researching the company, I knew that NextHome was a great company to partner with.”

At the 2019 NextHome National Conference, Sarah was honored as the 2018 Courage Award recipient. In 2017, Sarah and her husband Brian, lost their 17-year-old son to suicide. Through this tragedy and deep loss, the couple have been active in helping raise awareness to those who need help. They started a social media kindness campaign, #SammySmiles, to assist people with suicide counseling and suicide prevention.

In addition to Sammy, the couple have two wonderful children – son Kashden (age 10) and daughter Parker (age 5). The family loves to do anything outdoors, taking in all of that Northern Nevada has to offer.

“It’s an honor to have someone of Sarah’s caliber join our company,” said NextHome’s Vice President Imran Poladi. “While the professional side of Sarah is impressive, she is an even better person.”

Please join us in congratulating Sarah and the rest of the team at NextHome Sierra Realty on the opening of their NextHome office in Reno, NV!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Four Ways to Rehumanize Your Business

Four Ways to Rehumanize Your Business

In today’s digital world a human element has been removed from so much of our communication. People now hide behind email or send mass emails to their database. We often receive voicemails from robots. Even text messaging which was once deeply personal, quick communication, has been taken over by promotions and advertisements from companies we didn’t even realize had access to our phone number.

To stand out, it is imperative to be different, and be true to yourself. Because YOU are the differentiator your customers are looking for.

Below we’ve shared four of our favorite ways that can help you “rehumanize your communication,” and in turn, create a phenomenal customer experience that your clients will never forget.

1.) Determine Your Brand Identity Make Sure It’s Front and Center

According to, the About section is typically one of the four most visited areas of your website. Isn’t that surprising? Now that you know that, think about what you currently have on your about page. Is it personal to you and your team? Does it speak to your values and what makes you – YOU?

It should! If you love dogs, take a cue from Mortgage Broker Alex McFadyen. Alex has created a brand all around his pug, Ernie. His Company is called “The Mortgage Pug,” and he includes his pug in all of his videos! Why? Authenticity! Alex explained that when he started his business “he didn’t want to be just another guy in suit.” He understands that mortgages can sometimes be “stressful, and boring,” so he decided to make it fun! This process has worked wonders for him!

When you’re creating your company branding, or your about page, don’t be afraid to include information about you as a person. Tell your future clients about your family, your hobbies, and even include it in your branding and marketing when it makes sense. People trust people more than brands.

2.) Send a Thoughtful and Personal Gifts

We learned this tip from Joey Coleman in his amazing book, “Never Lose A Customer Again” and it has changed the way we think about gifting.

This sounds simple when you think about it but most people aren’t doing it. How many times have you signed a major deal with a company and received a t-shirt or coffee mug with their logo on it as a thank you gift? It’s kind of a nice gesture, but it’s also a little selfish don’t you think? If you wear that t-shirt or use that mug, you’ll be helping that company expand their brand awareness. Seems pretty one-sided.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve done this – we’ve been guilty of it as well. But change your mindset for future thank you gifts! Think about the conversations you’re having with these people. Did they mention a favorite local restaurant? Are they wine connoisseurs? Do their kids love Legos? Next time you land a major deal, think through previous conversations and send your customers something that they would appreciate. Even if you don’t get them the perfect gift, they’ll think so highly of the fact that you remembered their interests, and it will leave a lasting impression.

3.) Provide Value Within Your Community

The phrase we live by on our marketing team is “Be of value and abundance will follow.” Try to provide your community with valuable information that relates to your interests and your businesses interest.

Social Groups (Like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup) are a great way to get involved with your community. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and you love crafting, join a local crafting group and create content around DIY home decorations. But don’t just sit back and post content. Respond to your peers. Give them feedback and suggestions. Become an active participant within these groups and conversations.

By doing this you’ll build relationships with like-minded people and build your reputation as a reliable resource.

4.) Use Video Email

We could write a whole book on this (in fact we did) because we believe that video is the number one way to bring people back into our digital world. Think about it. If you’re looking for a real estate agent and you receive three generic emails, and one personal video, who are you going to remember? The video of course – and the person inside it.

We recommend using video email in a variety of ways including cold lead follow up, appointment reminders, happy birthday messages, purchase anniversaries and many more. It’s a great way to communicate hard to understand processes, procedures, or even difficult situations.

As we mentioned – there is so much more that can be said on the benefits of using video in business communication. Because of that, we’ve compiled everything we’ve learned with and from our customers over the past 10 years into this easy-to-read, highly informative book.

“Rehumanize Your Business” is a hands‑on guide to adding simple webcam and smartphone videos into your communication mix in order to build trust, save time, and truly connect with people.

It’s been ranked as Amazon’s #1 new release in Sales & Selling, Communication Skills, and several other categories.

It’s been ranked as Amazon’s #1 best seller in Business Sales and Business Communication.

Click here to see where you can purchase it today!

For more helpful tips, visit the BombBomb blog!

NextHome Alliance Realty is the newest NextHome Office

NextHome Alliance Realty is the newest NextHome Office

Peter Dang

Pleasanton, CA — April 30, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Alliance Realty. The new brokerage represents the 57th office location opened in the state of Florida by the NextHome franchise. The Orlando-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Peter Dang.

Peter and his team will focus on selling homes in the entire Orlando area including Winter Garden, Kissimmee, Davenport, Winter Park, DeLand, and Deltona. Additionally, the brokerage will assist clients who speak English or Vietnamese.

NextHome Alliance Realty will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, new home construction, short sales and foreclosures, and traditional single-family sales.

Peter has been licensed in real estate since 2003 and started his career at a small independent brokerage. After working at a few brokerages, Peter spent the majority of his award-winning career at RE/MAX Assured located in Orlando.

He consistently ranked among the top three agents at the 35-agent brokerage. Selling more than 40 transactions annually, Peter has been a well-respected member of the Orlando real estate community.

In 2018, Peter decided to take his spirit of entrepreneurship to the next level and go out on his own. The thought of owning his own real estate company was a goal for many years and in late 2018, he made the leap.

“I wanted to build something that I could be proud of,” said Peter. “I love to train and help agents any way I can.”

Peter found NextHome through an online search of real estate franchises. He knew he wanted the flexibility of running the business his way but wanted to have a level of support from a national company.

“I really liked the look and feel of NextHome and what the brand had to offer,” said Peter. “It felt energetic and had a young feel to the company. The company has a great management team and the technology is top notch. NextHome made sense for me in so many ways.

When not selling real estate, Peter loves to spend time with his wife of 15 years, Thao, and their four children – daughters Bethany (age 12), Olivia (8) and Naomi (5), and their son Nathan (10).

Please join us in congratulating Peter and the rest of the team at NextHome Alliance Realty on the opening of their NextHome office in Orlando, FL!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Meet your April 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Meet your April 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Please join us as we celebrate our NextHomie of the Month for April 2019, Heath Van Patten of NextHome Treasure Valley and NextHome VIP Realty! Heath opened NextHome Treasure Valley in Meridian, Idaho in August of 2016, then soon after opened NextHome VIP Realty in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in September of 2018. In Heath’s three years with NextHome, he’s served as a team player spreading his knowledge and ideas to members across the country. His willingness to share and his passion for collaboration make Heath the perfect candidate for the NextHomie of the Month nomination.

Heath first became interested in real estate in 2006 while living in Phoenix, Arizona. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that he entered the industry full-time after moving to Meridian, Idaho. When asked why he decided to dive into real estate, leaving the health and fitness industry behind, he said, “I could see the explosive growth happening and I wanted to be a part of it.”

He is now the owner of two NextHome offices, managing over 40 agents. Heath is involved with his local association by serving on the PR and Communication Committees, while also serving as the 2019 NextHome Growth Committee Vice-Chair.

Heath is a hands-on leader that makes himself available to help other NextHomies whenever needed. He recently helped host a pre-conference mastermind with over 30 franchise owners in attendance where they gathered to share strategies that are working in their markets. He’s also known to host workout sessions in the early morning hours to help get the NextHomies together.

Heath’s greatest inspiration is his daughter Addison, “Addy” for short. Addy turned 5 on April 6th and Heath loves “watching Addy grow and become her own person.” Spoken like a true parent! On May 6th, Heath and his wife Kristen will be celebrating eight years of marriage together. Her family is what moved them to Meridian, and they couldn’t be any happier to call it home.

When we asked Heath to describe our NextHomies, he gave us this, “One word – love. It beams from everyone. It’s an ‘I’ve got your back’ kind of feeling.” We couldn’t agree more. His passion for NextHome shines through in his collaboration efforts and the constant drive to be involved and help others.

We’d like to thank Heath for always leading by example and congratulate him on being named our April 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Spring Cleaning Life Hacks

Spring Cleaning Life Hacks

Spring has sprung! As you’re enjoying your morning coffee with the windows open, the sunlight hits just perfectly and you notice glittering speckles of dust floating through the air. You look around and the baseboards have dust bunnies and the blinds and ceiling fans have a visible layer of filth. No one wants to buy a dirty house – time for some SPRING CLEANING! You’re in luck – we’ve got a few Life Hacks to make the most common cleaning conundrums a bit more bearable. Your prospective buyers will appreciate the cleanliness and comfort these hacks bring!

Life Hack #1 – Use lemons to remove stains from faucets and other hardware so prospective buyers don’t inherit grimy fixtures.

Life Hack #2 – Use two common kitchen sponges – cut a slit in the middle section and attach them to kitchen tongs. Use these to clean dust from vertical/horizontal blinds and ceiling fans so prospective buyers aren’t fixated on dirty housewares.

Life Hack #3 – Scrub baseboards with a magic eraser sponge and then wipe down with a dryer sheet to repel future dust/hair from clinging to them. Make those important details and accents spick and span.

Life Hack #4 – Eliminate greasy and grimy cabinets by scrubbing with a toothbrush coated with vegetable or coconut oil and baking soda. Your potential buyers will love the freshly shined finishes.

Life Hack #5 – Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and secure it over your shower head with a twist tie. Eliminate those unsightly hard water stains to make your bathroom look like new again.

Life Hack #6 – Oil and grease stains on your concrete and garage floors are an eyesore. Use some coca-cola to soak them and remove the presence of stains so your buyers see this property has been well cared for.

Life Hack #7 – Coffee filters are the perfect dusting tool for televisions, monitors, and other screens. Your screens will be so clean the prospective buyers will be able to see their smiling reflection as they take in the beauty and charm of your home.

Life Hack #8 – Streak free windows enhance your home’s appeal. Use some crumpled newspaper and window spray (or make your own using 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar, ½ teaspoon liquid soap) for a streak-free shine.

Be sure to reach out to Gateway Insurance Group to learn more about simple tips that can make all the difference for the value of your home. Visit us at

Home Value Cooling Is More About Changes in Demand Than Supply (March 2019 Market Report)

Home Value Cooling Is More About Changes in Demand Than Supply (March 2019 Market Report)

The market has begun to cool, with the median home value nationally climbing in March by less than 7% annually (to $226,700) for the first time in more than two years.

Home values are growing especially slowly in some markets that until recently were among the country’s hottest. While values in most major metros continue to climb, but slowly, an exception is pricey San Jose, Calif.: Its home values fell year-over-year in March for the first time in seven years, falling 0.2% from March 2018 (the median home in the San Jose area was worth $1,209,700 in March, down from $1,212,100 a year ago).

While long-term housing demand continues to look strong, we’re seeing our first set of significant local housing slowdowns since the nationwide downturn in 2007. Other formerly white-hot markets that are jamming on the brakes include: San Diego, where home values grew just 1.3% annually in March (down from 8.6% year-over-year growth in march 2018); San Francisco and Los Angeles, both growing at 2% year-over-year, down from 9.5% and 7.6% last year; and Seattle, growing at a 2.6% annual pace, from 11.8% a year ago. Judging by their trajectory, it is possible home value appreciation will continue to soften and go temporarily negative in these markets as well.

It’s not surprising that the total inventory of homes available for sale during the month is simultaneously climbing. March was the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year inventory gains—the first time that’s happened since 2014.

However, these sister trends—home values falling and overall inventory climbing—are not a result of builders or homeowners putting more houses on the market, although it may feel that way to new buyers checking on available listings and seeing more from which to choose.

In fact, for the past four months, new for-sale inventory – the number of homes listed in a given month that were not on the market during the previous month – has fallen on an annual basis. In March, there were 6.1% fewer new listings than in March 2018; in February, 7.7% fewer; in January, 3.6% fewer; and in December, 2.8% fewer.

Although there have been months with annual increases—notably October, when new listings rose 13.4% from a year earlier—the trend is downward, a sign that even sellers are retreating from the housing market.

Without an influx of new listings, the boost in total inventory has been largely a result of changing demand:

  • Buyers are more willing to wait: February was the first month in four years (since February 2015) that the average number of days listings are on the market has risen. In February, listings nationally were on the market for an average of 96 days, up from 92 days a year earlier.
  • They’re also less willing to pay sellers’ asking prices: In March, 14.6% of listings had a price cut, up from 12.7% in March 2018.

This kind of slowdown story is typified by markets like Sacramento, Chicago, Riverside, Calif., Tampa, Fla., Dallas-Fort Worth, and Los Angeles—major metro areas where home value appreciation is significantly slower this year than last and overall inventory is up despite a drop in the number of new listings this March versus last March.

Slowdowns driven by an influx of new supply can be welcome news for certain types of housing markets, like rain after a long drought. And there are metros having that kind of breather–San Jose and Seattle, the two metro areas with the most abrupt slowdown in home value appreciation, are experiencing swells in overall inventory bolstered at least in part by increases in new listings. Denver, Boston, Detroit, and San Antonio have similar profiles, but with more gradual softening in price growth.

The Atlanta metro is an odd exception. Like the above, overall inventory and new listings are significantly higher, up 13.8% and 14.8% respectively, yet home value appreciation remains on par with last year, growing in the double digits.

On the other end of the spectrum, Indianapolis, Virginia Beach, and Austin continue to experience both increasing appreciation and declining inventories—a good reminder that the national trend no longer typifies all markets’ experience.

Non-coastal metros take off

While expensive coastal markets experience a home-value slowdown, values in inland markets including Indianapolis, Atlanta and Las Vegas are posting double-digit growth. Annual growth in Indianapolis has been climbing in the double digits for eight months, and rose 12.8% in March to $167,000, the fastest of any major market. Atlanta’s median home value grew 10.7% in March to $220,000, which puts it just shy of the $226,700 national median. And Las Vegas posted 10% median home value growth in March to reach $280,600. While most major metros have by now reclaimed their housing bubble peaks, it will still be a while before Las Vegas reclaims its June 2006 peak of $316,800.

Rents keep climbing

The median rent nationwide rose 2.5% ($36) in March to $1,474 a month. Among major metros, rents climbed fastest year-over-year in Las Vegas, where they rose 7.6% ($98) to $1,396; Phoenix, where they were up 6.7% ($91) to $1,446; and Orlando, Fla., where they grew 6.5% ($93) to $1,531.

Rents rose 2% or less in nine of the 35 largest metro areas. Baltimore grew the slowest, climbing 1% from March 2018 ($18) to $1,753. It was followed by San Jose, Calif., and the New York metro area, where rents rose just 1.5 percent from a year ago (to $3,553 in San Jose and $2,419 in New York).