10 Way to give nack to the community this holiday season
Thursday Dec 03rd, 2020
10 Ways to Give Back to Our Local Community This Holiday Season
This year has demonstrated, perhaps more than ever, the importance of our family, friends, neighbors, and community. And with the holidays right around the corner, December offers the perfect opportunity to give back to the place we call home.
Let these 10 ways, both big and small, inspire you to do good in your town.
GIVE BACK NEAR HOME
1. Attract local wildlife. By making your neighborhood more wildlife friendly, you’re helping to create a balanced and healthy ecosystem. Plus, many of the animals you can attract help with pest control and pollination. 
- Create a rain garden to attract wildlife and filter out local pollutants.
- Use native plants to provide food and shelter for birds, bees, and butterflies.
2. Clean up our community. Besides beautifying the area, picking up trash keeps it out of our local waterways, which means a cleaner water supply for all of us.
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood, at a local park, or elsewhere in our community.
- Clean your home’s driveway and sidewalks, where water runoff can carry debris into the local sewer system. 
3. Organize or join a neighborhood watch. According to a recent report, neighborhoods with Neighborhood Crime Watch programs experience roughly 16 percent less crime.  Keeping an eye out for each other instills a sense of safety and security in your neighborhood.
- Join or launch a neighborhood watch program.
- Share crime information via a neighborhood Facebook group or apps like NextDoor.
HELP OUT LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
4. Boost your civic engagement. Get more involved as a citizen to make a positive difference in our community.
- Sign a petition to make needed community changes.
- Attend community meetings to understand (and have a voice in) local issues. 
5. Support local businesses. Because the pandemic has negatively impacted many businesses, help keep money in our community’s economy by shopping local.
- Look for unique gifts (like handcrafted soaps or small-batch wines) from the small businesses that dot our community.
- Purchase tickets to attend live-streamed holiday concerts and shows.
6. Donate to local charities. Nonprofits could always use your financial support, so consider making a monetary donation to help them carry out their mission. Then think beyond just donating dollars.
- Donate new or used books to our community library.
- Pick out toys to give to a charity that caters to families. 
CARE FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS
7. Organize a holiday food drive. This year, in particular, people are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table.
- Round up a few friends or coworkers to collect groceries to donate.
- Partner with a local food bank, soup kitchen, nonprofit, or community organization that feeds people in need.
8. Adopt a family or an individual. The holidays can be a financial struggle for some families. Make a difference by “adopting” a family (or even just one child) to help make their holiday special.
- If you know a needy family, help them buy a Christmas tree, presents for their children, or turkey for a holiday meal.
- If not, ask a community group for the name of a family or individual in need.
9. Volunteer. Depending on your schedule and your preferences, you might be able to volunteer in-person or from home, whether it’s a one-time effort or ongoing project.
- Give your time to a cause that really matters to you, such as your local animal rescue organization or mental health awareness group. 
- Tap into a skill you already have (like creating videos) or learn a new skill (like fundraising) to benefit your cause of choice.
10. Perform random acts of kindness. You can make a big difference one small act at a time.
- Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor.
- Thank your child’s teacher for all their hard work this year.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU?
As real estate experts in our local community, we’re tuned into the unique needs of the place we all call home. Reach out to us today to discuss more ways to make a positive impact in our community—this holiday season and beyond. And we want to make sure you’re taken care of, too. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home now or in the near future, let us help you!
- Redfin -
- The Groundwater Foundation -
- The Globe and Mail -
- Parade -
- MentalFloss -
- Together We Rise -
The New Normal: A Strong Housing Market Expected to Continue into 2021
Most of us would have expected the housing market to suffer from circumstances like a once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic and historic inventory shortages. But, rather than a slowdown, we are continuing to experience a surprisingly robust real estate market across the country. And experts estimate that these conditions are likely to last well into the new year.
Market conditions like fewer available listings, changing criteria for desired homes, and record-low mortgage rates are changing the way people buy and sell homes, most likely in a lasting way. But this sustained activity, even in the uncertainty that is 2020, proves that our country still views real estate as a sound investment.
The only question now is how you can take advantage of the housing market’s “new normal.”
FEWER LISTINGS EQUALS A SELLER’S MARKET
Inventory (e.g., number of homes for sale) has been dwindling in the country’s top 100 metro markets since early 2020. It is currently about 1.47 million units, which is a decline of 19.2% from one year ago—and the lowest point since 1982.
Fewer listings creates an advantageous housing market for sellers right now because buyers have to act fast to snap up available homes. As a result, most properties only stay on the market for about 21 days before they are sold.
And thanks to tough competition for homes (often resulting in bidding wars between buyers), sellers are enjoying higher net returns on their listings. The nationwide median home price in September rose to $311,800, which translates to about $40,000 (15%) more than just a year ago.
LOW MORTGAGE RATES, BIGGER PLAYING FIELD BENEFIT BUYERS
People used to base their next home purchase on commute times and school districts. Now, thanks to the pandemic shifting the locus of jobs and work, they are free to consider how and where they truly want to live. Surveys show that quieter neighborhoods, home offices, updated kitchens, and access to the great outdoors are preferred.
The search for these criteria is driving residents out of densely populated metropolitan areas and into the suburbs, which opens more inventory possibilities than buyers could consider pre-pandemic.
Now that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped to 2.81% in mid-October, buyers are afforded the opportunity to buy nearly $32,000 more home than they could one year ago. Similarly, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage can be had for as low as 2.35% compared to 3.15% a year ago. So even though home prices are high now, it’s more affordable to buy a home now than it was last year.
RECORD-SETTING YEAR FOR HOME SALES IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Despite the seemingly adverse buyer conditions, 2020 experienced a 14-year high number of home sales, NAR reports. Existing-home sales (including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) rose 9.4% across the nation in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million. That’s a 21% increase from a year ago!
All of the aforementioned factors indicate that the housing market is poised to remain strong as we head into the new year. And experts believe they could “buoy the housing market for years to come.”
REAL ESTATE IS A SAFE BET
Today’s housing market is competitive and strong, which makes it a sound investment for your future. If you’re considering buying or selling a home before the new year or in early 2021, contact us now to schedule a free consultation.