Listing Courtesy of RIALE REALTY
Last week, The Wall Street Journal made it official: they had a slow news day. It was February 11 (that was Wednesday) when they ran the feature story, "A Gender Gap in Real Estate."
This was something Milton house hunters (not to mention those hoping to attract their attention) could certainly appreciate: an article about what men and women consider "very important" when it comes to features in homes. Author Adam Bonislawski based his story on National Association of Realtors® survey information; the results pointed to some dissimilarities between what women and men look for.
Now, I’ve had a good deal of experience helping both men and women house hunters in Milton, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise that their priorities differ. For instance, I was not at all surprised about the contrasting emphases the two put on the importance of having a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. The only surprise was that it was the men who found it much more important (38%-29%)!
What about house hunters’ feelings about the importance of kitchen appliances being new? Same phenomenon: men 38%, women 29% (possibly because appliances are gadgets, and men like the newest gadgets). How important is it that a home be single level? The sexes reverse: Male house hunters think it is very important 18% of the time; women, 31%. I’d bet that within the 18% that are masculine we’d find a disproportionate number of stay-at-home dads.
House hunters registered a big gap when it comes to rating 9-foot or higher ceilings as very important. A miniscule 8% of females agreed, while nearly three times that many of their male counterparts thought so (21%).
One harder to guess feature would have been the desirability of a kitchen island. Nineteen percent of male house hunters found it very important, versus just 8% of the females. Does this mean women are tired of entertaining? Do they no longer consider their masculine counterparts capable of sous chef action? Or is it that more men are taking over the cooking duties?
I’d have to admit, I’m less than certain that these national averages are 100% reflective of what house hunters in Milton prefer. Yes, Milton men certainly value attics (13%) more than the ladies (7%)—they do tend to spend more time up there (but neither are terribly committed to that form of high living). Basements are preferred by close to equal numbers.
Being that these findings are sort of interesting (not fascinating, perhaps, but at least sort of interesting), you might be wondering why at the beginning I thought it was evidence that the WSJ was having a slow news day. It’s because of some tiny print at the bottom of a graph, which gave the date of the NAR survey—all the way back in 2013! More up-to-date is what we find unfolding for today’s Milton house hunters: give me a call to get the latest!
Whenever the words “reverse mortgage” are uttered, any Milton TV viewer immediately makes the connection with one of several celebrity spokesmen who blanket the airwaves with commercials touting the concept. If you listen carefully, those reverse mortgage ads do actually describe the product with legal accuracy. If you have the standard degree of sales resistence most of us have developed after years of exposure to Madison Avenue pitches, you probably guess that instead of relying solely upon the celebrity spokesman’s trustworthiness, you’d better investigate further before running out and applying. Most people do.
So it was surprising when the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found it necessary to issue a special advisory on the subject. Potential Milton reverse mortgage applicants—that is, Milton homeowners who meet the minimum age requirement of 62 ½—were warned “not to be deceived” by the “late night TV ads that seem too good to be true.” Without quibbling with the CFPB about when those commercials appear (you can see them almost any time after about 3 p.m.), it is easy to see how they might create broadly mistaken impressions on at least two counts. And it’s too bad, because although a reverse mortgage can be a useful instrument, it really can have nightmarish consequences for someone who doesn’t fully understand the concept and its ramifications.
The warnings were the result of the consumer watchdog organization’s focus group study that showed many viewers coming away with misimpressions following screenings of the ads. Many did not understand that a reverse mortgage is a loan. Others got the impression that a reverse mortgage is a government benefit—and worse, some thought it guaranteed that consumers could stay in their homes for the rest of their lives.
The fact is, these loans are simply a specialized way seniors can tap into their home’s equity: the value that has built up over the years. It’s true that they are designed so that the homeowners do not have to repay the loan until he or she passes away, sells or moves out—but it’s no guarantee that other factors (like taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance expenses) might not still cause a default should the borrower run out of money.
There are other fine print details that are not mentioned in most of the ads…and they’re every bit as important as the terms of any loan. Among those that are barely touched upon are the fact that there are costs and interest provisions attached to reverse mortgages—and the CFPB finds them to be relatively expensive.
Most Milton homeowners are probably skeptical enough of any “too good to be true” pitch to automatically take a harder look—especially when it involves their Milton home’s equity. If you have questions about financial matters having to do with that equity, your best bet is to discuss the details with a trusted financial advisor or a federally-approved housing counselor. And for any other questions about Milton real estate, you needn’t hesitate to give me a call! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.