Roadmap with Irina - July 2022

Roadmap with Irina - July 2022


Hi <<First Name>>, 

Looks like the seasonality in the real estate market is more noticeable this year than in the past two years: spring was very hot, and summer shows fewer sales, longer days on the market, and lower sale prices. The median sale price in June of this year was $1.8 mil vs $1.9 mil just a month before. But the median price for June of this year is still higher than in June of the past two years, so the properties are still appreciating but the appreciation rate is lower.

Growing interest rates is a major concern for buyers, and many of them have been putting their buying plans on hold. With the Federal Reserve planning to raise the rates another 0.75% in the second half of July, more buyers will be taken out of the real estate market. And, despite this,  I still think that now is a great time for buyers due to less competition, longer days on market, and more available homes for sale. I would seriously consider ARM loans: interest rates for these types of loans are lower, and you will have a few years to refinance when the rates go down. 

Also, I think this is a great time for those who are thinking about upsizing or downsizing. I see more offers contingent on the sale of the buyers’ current homes that the sellers are willing to accept, so I would encourage these buyers to use the market in their favor, get a great realtor on board, and get more of what they want.

If you are thinking about buying or selling, let’s connect, talk about your options, run some numbers, and see if this is the right time for you. Call me, I am always here for you.

I don't need to tell you that gas prices are high. While electric car owners are rejoicing at their good fortunes, and hybrid owners aren't experiencing the spike in prices quite as hard, gas car owners are definitely feeling the burn. But you don't have to accept inflation as a lost cause—there are ways to save money on fuel, both by taking proper care of your car and changing your driving habits. 

According to theU.S. Department of Energy, poor driving habits alone—aggressive speeding, braking, and rapid acceleration—can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic.

Here are eight things you can do to save money at the pump, both during times of peak gas prices and everyday. 

Don't Drive Aggressively and Follow the Speed Limit 

Perhaps you've heard that driving the speed limit keeps you safer, reducing your risk of losing control of your vehicle. But driving the speed limit—and less aggressively—is "perhaps the biggest change a person can make to improve their fuel economy," says Ronald Montoya, senior consumer advice editor of Edmunds, an online consumer resource for automative inventory and information. To practice more fuel-efficient driving habits, glide to the traffic light instead of rushing to it only to slam on the brakes. Pick a lane and stick with it. And when you're on the highway, try to use your cruise control, as it will optimize your driving speed.

"These habits require patience and budgeting of your time to arrive a little later than normal," says Montoya. He adds that these choices may only contribute to an increase of a couple of miles per gallon, "but all together they could add up to a significant difference."

Use the Correct Oil and Change It at the Right Time

"Performing an oil change and using the correct oil can improve fuel economy," says Montoya. This is because oil lubricates the moving metal pieces inside the engine of your car, and having too little, too much, or the wrong type of oil can all impact how efficiently the engine runs. 

For oil changes, it's important that you follow your manufacturer's recommended intervals, rather than the sticker in your windshield, or the interval that you used on your last vehicle. You can find the maintenance schedule inside your owners manual—where you can also find specific recommendations for the type of oil to use. The manufacturer designed the manual specifically for the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and its specific requirements—so following this will ensure that you're making the right choices for your car. 

Change Your Air Filter

When you press the accelerator, your vehicle ignites a mixture of air and fuel. It needs to be a very precise ratio of air to fuel and all of that air filters through the engine air filter. The approximately $15 filter collects dust, dirt, pollutants, and anything else in the air to prevent damage to the engine. If the filter isn't changed when it fills up, it starts preventing the right amount of air to filter through, which can impact the fuel economy of your vehicle. This issue is most applicable to older vehicles, as newer ones are typically better optimized so that a clogged engine air filter makes little impact. 

Make Sure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated

Properly inflated tires are critical to safely operating your car, and as an added benefit, directly impact your fuel efficiency. Since late 2007, tire pressure sensors—which warn users when air pressure drops below the manufacturer's recommended level—have been required in all vehicles sold in the United States.

"Keeping your tires at the recommended tire pressure not only helps improve fuel economy but is also safer and helps prolong [your tires'] lifespan," says Montoya. 

Proper tire pressure also helps prevent premature and uneven tire wear. While tire pressure sensors are helpful, they aren't always enough to rely on entirely. To get all the benefits of properly inflated tires, check and adjust your tire pressure once a month if you have tire pressure sensors that work, or twice a month if you don't have sensors, or they aren't working. 

Fix Your Car When Your Check Engine Light is On

"If your vehicle has a check engine light that has gone unattended, there's a good chance this is impacting your fuel economy as well," says Montoya. FuelEconomy.Gov reports that a car that fails an emissions test or is "out of tune" can cause a 4 percent drop in fuel efficiency. Additionally, a  study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory observed that a faulty oxygen sensor reduced fuel economy by 40% in the vehicles it tested. If those benefits weren't enough, fixing a problem that's causing your check engine light early on can also prevent your repair cost from going up by letting the problem worsen over time. 

Don't Warm Up Your Car

A pervasive myth from the times where carbureted engines were the norm, many car owners think that they need to "warm up" their vehicle, especially in the wintertime. But this is entirely unnecessary. Doing so is a waste of fuel, bad for the environment and wholly ineffective. "Most modern vehicles should be ready for driving after 30 seconds or so," says Montoya. Usually, that means if you start the car as soon as you get into it, then put your seatbelt on, you'll be ready to go by the time you're done. 

Stop Using Premium Fuel 

"If your vehicle 'recommends' premium fuel rather than requiring it, you can safely switch to regular octane fuel without harming the engine and save money," says Montoya. "Just be aware that it may generate less power, but not enough to affect your daily driving." In fact, a 2016 AAA study found that Americans wasted 2.1 billion dollars on premium fuel, which provided little to no benefit, and certainly the tiny benefit it did provide didn't even come close to what it cost consumers.

Find Cheaper Gas Options

When gas prices are high, getting gas at the lowest price in your area can save you significant cash, but only if you plan for it. If you have to drive 20 minutes in each direction to get to the low-cost gas, you probably won't be saving much. Instead, try grouping your errands and planning to stop at the less expensive gas station on the way. 

If you're headed on a road trip, you can also plan your fuel stop to optimize for the best prices. For example, when I'm driving from Milwaukee to Chicago, my goal is to fill up in the Racine Kenosha area in Wisconsin, since gas costs more as soon as you cross the Illinois border. 

To identify the lowest gas prices near you, Google Maps and Waze both have pricing information built in, and there are other apps that are specialized for this purpose as well. GasBuddy is one of the more popular apps, but Wirecutter reports privacy concerns, so do your due diligence before downloading it.

When kids are little, you dedicate all your time to them. It’s hard in the beginning, then you get used to it, and then you don’t see how it could be different. Kids take a lot of space and time.

When kids get older and move out of home temporarily, for college, for instance, it feels weird in the beginning, and it’s not separation anxiety. Of course, you worry about them living independently, cleaning after themselves, eating the right food, hanging out with good people, etc. But also, it feels weird that you unexpectedly got free time that you usually spent on cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. Sometimes the kids come home for school breaks, and then you find yourself in your usual routine, but you know that you will get your free time back again.

When kids move out of the house completely, you realize that with free time also comes free space. No more bulky toys everywhere, stuffed closets, stinky pets, and cute decorations that do not match your house. You just realize that you can leave your cup of tea and a book on a table without worrying that someone will take the book and drink the tea. You find time for your hobbies and projects that you always wanted to do and kept postponing for later, you can spend more time in the shower and stay longer in bed (till 6:30 instead of 6 am), cook something delicious and eat it all by yourself without feeling guilty. Getting older doesn’t look so scary anymore! In fact, I feel like I am getting back to my younger self!

Don’t take me wrong, I love my kids and all that came with them, lots of happy moments, stories, discoveries, lessons, etc. And we have a few more years until our kids move out completely, but I already know that we are going to live a great, happy, and full life when the house is an empty nest. Until grandkids are here. :) 

Stay active, healthy, and enjoy your free time just for yourself!
Always yours,
Copyright © 2022 Sereno Group, All rights reserved.

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Work With Irina

Working mainly by referrals, I do my best to provide excellent real estate services to my clients, always exceeding their expectations. Whether they are buying or selling, I walk them through every transaction step, making it transparent and smooth. My relationships are always based on open communication, loyalty, and true commitment.

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