by Todd Ellner
April 12, 2017 Home Building

Are you looking to buy a home but you are not sure if this is the right time to make an investment?

With over 25 years of experience in customer management and home building, Gialluisi Custom Homes partner, Todd Ellner, shared his thoughts on the real estate market changes in 2017.

Read the interview below and find out if now is a good moment to purchase a home or renovate your existing home.

Real estate trends to know in 2017

Gialluisi Custom Homes: How are current interest rates affecting the real estate environment?
Todd Ellner: To be honest, no one can tell exactly what directions the interest


Todd Ellner – Gialluisi Custom Homes partner

rates are heading to. Nor how the economy is changing. Still, in 2017, people will continue to sell homes, as they will also buy properties and pay mortgages.

As a general rule, mortgage interest rates do not drive or block the real estate market. People buy and sell their homes regardless of the interest rate environments. Some families grow, and they need a larger house. Other families need a smaller house because the kids are leaving for college.

GCH: Is this a good time for families to purchase or renovate a home through a bank loan?
Todd Ellner: The housing market is in a sweet spot. If you are looking to buy a larger home, I would tell you to go for it. The spring of 2017 is a particularly good time to make an investment.

From my latest research, I learned that the US housing starts will increase by almost 30%. The Federal Housing Administration announced that it will lower fees for first-time buyers. This means that what began under Obama administration will continue.

GCH: Do you think the lower interest rates will convince people who are currently living in New York to purchase a house in a small suburb, such as Westfield?
Todd Ellner: Younger folks are moving to smaller cities because housing is more affordable. Allow me to explain:

The economic recovery brought many changes. Thus, big cities such as New York have seen an increase in the properties’ value. This is a result of a large number of people who moved there for high-paying jobs. Therefore, new construction may be unable to keep pace with the increasing housing demands. Which makes young people, couples, students or those living on their own to consider moving in an apartment in the suburbs.

GCH: Are home builders able to keep up with the growing demand of new constructions?
Todd Ellner: As a homebuilder, it is important to be realistic in this situation. Building a home takes time and resources. Keeping up with the increased home building demand is a challenging task.

It is crucial for the home builders to continue delivering high-quality services. Gialluisi Custom Homes collaborates with Westfield’s top notch suppliers, thus every home is built with high-quality materials.

GCH: Why do people prefer to buy a new home instead of a resell?
Todd Ellner: Almost 48% of homebuyers are looking at a new construction. The reason why has a lot do with their personal preferences. They want to be the first ones living there, want to put their personal touch in the new home they will move in, and so on.

On the practical side, new homes offer more possibilities. Besides the modern look and feel, the homeowners can customize them to their liking. When I ask customers what they like about newly built properties, they point out:

  • affordability
  • location
  • appealing home features.

GCH: Speaking of which, do you think millennials a key target in home buying?
Todd Ellner: Yes. 42% of today’s homebuyers are young adults under the age of 34. I would say millennials are currently in their main home buying years. They are definitely a key target in the real estate market.

GCH: From your experience, what are buyers looking for in a home?
Todd Ellner: By far, the two most important features that buyers are looking for in a home are:

  • Affordability
  • Location in a safe neighborhood

The list continues with:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Customizing options
  • Community amenities
  • Commuting time

GCH: With second-time buyers, do you think the buying process is easier for them?
Todd Ellner: Having in mind that they have already been through the buying process before, I would say second-time buyers look at things differently. They know more about homeownership and they try to avoid the mistakes they made the first time they bought a home.

Second-time buyers develop a more specific idea of what their home should look like, thus making the search process slightly more difficult.

For example, they avoid buying a house that needs costly repairs or additional investments. Or they think about how the cooling and heating systems will affect their bills… This is a good approach and something that first-time home buyers should also take into account.

This is why it is so important to work with someone who lives, eats and breathes home building. Someone who is trustworthy – and who will be there to assist you years after you move in.

GCH: On average, how many homes does a potential home buyer see before making a decision?
Todd Ellner: There is no magic average for this, as every homebuyer is different. There are buyers who fall in love with the first house they see. Others get stuck between two homes
or more that they like. There are also buyers who need to see 20 houses before making a decision.

Again, it depends on the customer’s needs and priorities.

From my experience, the average decision time for a homebuyer is four months. Less that 50% of them buy the first home on which they make an offer.

GCH: What is your number one piece of advice for future home buyers?
Todd Ellner: I would tell them to take their time and be patient. Searching for the perfect home can be a long process that requires a serious investment. See as many homes as they need to see and ask as many questions because every detail counts.


If you are looking to buy a home, this particular period of the year is a good time to do it. Fees for first time home buyers are still affordable this spring, but they are about to go up soon.

Therefore, it should be easier to get a home now rather than a few months from now. You will enjoy:

  • Affordability
  • Safe neighborhoods
  • A good school system
  • Great commute time

Take a look at our homes for sale available in Westfield and the surrounding areas.

Build your dream home with us

Enjoy the benefits of our Built To Suit program:

  • Build your home on a lot you already have (or we can help you find the perfect one)
  • Customize everything about your home
  • Enjoy reduced downpayment (only 10% upfront)
  • Get assistance in finding the best financing solution for your needs

 Call 908-206-4659 for any additional information. All initial consultations are free at Gialluisi Custom Homes. Schedule yours and get in touch with one of our dedicated team members.


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