Today’s Topics: Charades for Kids | Cisco Compatible USB to RJ45 Console Cables, When DB9 is not an Option | Can I Buy or Sell a House in 2021? – Dave Ramsey Blog | News to Start Your Day
Happy National Thank a Mail Carrier Day! I think all of our mail carriers deserve lots of “thank yous” for surviving the holiday season! Let us know how you show your mail carrier some love throughout the year!
Hey, friends. I hope you enjoyed Jason’s message yesterday. So many people we know are moving right now. The real estate market is very active, due in no small part to interest rates being so low. I love seeing people get into new homes.
How’s your week been? I had a really productive day yesterday, which felt great. Hoping for more of those as February rolls on.
We decided to go on our camping trip this weekend. It is going to be cold and maybe windy, but no rain. We decided we could deal with that for some quality time with great friends. I’m looking forward to a change of scenery for a couple of days.
Our daughter’s birthday celebration was fun! She and her sister dressed up like princesses for cake (after sister followed through and woke her up by singing Happy Birthday), and she loved her gifts. One of her gifts was Charades for Kids. I have to tell you, it is doubly funny playing charades with an early reader. “Baby bottle” becomes “baby battle” and you wonder what in the world your child is doing, haha. Great memories being made!
Wishing you a happy Thursday.
Product Spotlights & Updates:
Today’s Product Spotlight brings you to the CAB-CONSOLE-USB-RJ45 Cable. This is a USB to RJ45 console cable that essentially replaces the older DB9 to RJ45 console cables. Most laptops and PCs today don’t even come with DB9 ports and in the past, you had to end up cobbling together a bunch of adapters or a USB to DB9 and a DB9 to RJ45 Console cable together. Once connected you would say a small prayer and cross your fingers in hopes that it might work. Well with this cable you can leave those worries behind. We essentially eliminated the need for adapters and combined the RJ45 and USB connectors into one unit. This will allow you to interface with your switches, firewalls, and routers with ease. Did we mention this cable is plug-and-play? It doesn’t require any drivers to work, no more tiny CDs or searching endlessly on the web for the right download!
One reviewer said this cable “Works like magic!” Check out their review and the other glowing reviews here!
Need to learn more about Console Cables and what they are used for? Check out our console cable guide!
Can I Buy or Sell a House in 2021? – Dave Ramsey Blog
So you want to buy or sell a house, but, well . . . coronavirus. This pandemic has probably kept you from doing a lot of things you want to do: You can’t go to a concert, you can’t watch sports live (in most places), you can’t travel for fun (without quarantining)—you can’t even hug your grandma!
If you’ve already got all your ducks in a row and don’t want to put your housing goals on hold for yet another year, all those restrictions might have you asking, Can I buy or sell a house this year?
The quick answer is yes. Before the start of 2021, the number of home sales across the country hit nearly 7 million in one month—that’s over 25% more sales than the year before! So did those home buyers and sellers experience any challenges you should prepare for? We’ll walk you through what to expect.
Buying or Selling a House this Year
It’s true that the pandemic outbreak caused many buyers and sellers to hit pause on their housing plans in 2020. In fact, existing home sales dropped to their lowest point of the year during what’s usually the hottest time for real estate—by May 2020, home sales took a plunge of nearly 27% compared to May 2019!
On the bright side, it was only a temporary drop. By the end of 2020, there was such a surge of home sales that it more than made up for the number of losses during the spring. Crazy, right? It was probably thanks to real estate agents learning how to practice social distancing guidelines, which eased buyer and seller worries. And now, the housing market forecastshows no sign of home sales slowing down in 2021.
Takeaway: If you’re determined to buy or sell a home this year, there’s a really good chance you can make it happen.
Home Prices During COVID-19
Let’s get right down to it. While some might have expected home prices to drop in the wake of the coronavirus, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, as of December 2020, the national median home price actually went 13% from last year to $340,000. And experts believe2021 home prices will grow by 8% overall.
So, whether you’re buying or selling, it seems like prices are holding steady. But there’s still a lot that can happen, especially in different areas of the market. That’s why it’s so important to know how to find a real estate agent who has experienced the ups and downs of market changes so you can get the best deal whether you’re buying or selling.
Mortgage in 2021
The good news for home buyers right now is mortgages are being offered at rock-bottom interest rates. For example, the annual average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan in 2020 was only 2.61%—the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac started reporting nearly 30 years ago!
But keep in mind, dozens of factors go into how a lender decides what interest rate you qualify for—there are no guarantees. At the height of the pandemic, some lenders raised their down payment and job history requirements. That’s why you might’ve heard how some buyers were pulling teeth just to get approved last year. Lenders had to be extra careful to avoid taking on too much risk. In fact, some lenders might still request proof of a buyer’s job security as late as one day before closing so they can cancel financing if the risk is too high.
Don’t let a strict lending requirement get you down—it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, you might want to buy a house ASAP, but if your job and income aren’t stable, you still have debt, or you don’t have a down payment of at least 10–20%, buying a house isn’t a good idea—coronavirus or not.
Viewing a home during the Pandemic
Forcing us to wave to grandparents from behind a window isn’t the only way social distancing has interrupted our lives. It’s also added some new challenges to buying and selling a home.
In fact, in the spring of 2020, a few real estate agents said social distancing made home buying and selling nearly impossible or that it was postponing deals from getting done. But most agents said wearing masks and gloves or doing remote deals worked just fine. Again, your situation might be different. But if you’re determined to buy or sell right now, there are ways to close the deal while still following social distancing efforts. Here are some tips:
Last year, most home sellers made changes to how people interacted with their home—including stopping open houses, doing virtual showings, or requiring buyers, home inspectors, and appraisers to pretty much put on a hazmat suit before entering. Then again, some sellers went the traditional route, despite the coronavirus frenzy. So your experience will really depend on what you’re comfortable with and where you live.
As a buyer, you might have the option to view inside a house through a virtual showing. Watching a video tour has become a popular way to work around social distancing efforts during home deals. And with easier access to video technology, this pandemic might just make virtual showings the new norm as a no-hassle resource when searching for a home you love.
As you get ready to make an offer on the perfect house, you might also come across a COVID-19 addendum. In response to the crisis, some home deals include addendums that allow the buyer and seller to extend the closing process or cancel the contract if issues related to the coronavirus make it impossible or unlikely to close. No harm, no foul.
When it’s time to close the deal, don’t be surprised to find yourself doing a “drive-by closing” where you pull up to the curbside of a title company’s office as if you were ordering takeout. A legal professional will probably come out to you decked in a mask and gloves to drop off a mountain of paperwork for you to sign in your car for a few hours. (Again, this may be different depending on where you live.)
This article is from the Dave Ramsey Blog.
Today’s News to Start Your Day:
- As of this morning, in the US, there are 9,781,749 active COVID cases, 16,906,778 have recovered and there have been 461,930 deaths.
- Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. Chung has made it clear, mobility is the future of the company. That’s important because that Apply Car will be fully autonomous.
- Toyota will air a 60-second ad titled “Upstream” in the second quarter of Sunday’s game to tell the story of Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long. The company said it wants to share an “uplifting message of hope and strength.”
- Merck CEO Ken Frazier will retire effective June 30, the company announced on Thursday. Frazier will be replaced by the company’s CFO Robert Davis and will continue to serve on Merck’s board of directors as executive chairman.
- Amazon unveiled new renderings of its northern Virginia headquarter, which included plans for a 350-foot-tall tower dubbed “The Helix.” The tower is part of Amazon’s proposed development plans for the second phase of HQ2, which the company hopes to complete in 2025. HQ2 plans submitted to Arlington County, Virginia, to provide a closer look at what the new campus could look like. Check out a video of the building design here.
- Zoom has come up with a way to let people visiting offices check in with a receptionist without physical contact. It involved starting a Zoom call. The development shows Zoom recognizes it must make sure its products remain valuable after people return to the office, after a month of working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.