Selling Your House: Here’s Why You Need A Pro In Your Corner!

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand still strong, some sellers may be tempted to try to sell their homes on their own rather than using the services of a real estate professional. Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation while, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families. Here is a list of just some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate with if they decide to For Sale by Owner (FSBO): The buyer, who wants the best deal possible The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interests of the buyer The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country) The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house The termite company, if there are challenges The buyer’s lender, if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation The appraiser, if there is a question of value The title company, if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits The town or municipality, if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above The buyer’s buyer, in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling Bottom Line The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s…

5 Reasons Why Millennials Buy a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.” The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%. Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins

Last fall, some predicted that the 2019 residential real estate market would be a disaster. There was even belief we might experience a housing crash like the one that occurred during the last decade. However, according to two separate reports*, buyer demand dramatically increased over the last three months, leading into this spring buyers’ market (the March data is not yet available). Both the ShowingTime Showing Index and the National Association of REALTORS Buyer Traffic Index show that buyer demand has increased in each of the last three months. Why the increase in demand? Increased buying power. According to the National Association of Realtors’ Economists’ Outlook Blog, purchasing a home has become more affordable, which has led to increased demand. “Due to the combination of falling home prices and mortgage rates, the income needed to make an affordable mortgage payment (mortgage no more than 25% of income) on a median-priced home with 10% down payment and 30-year fixed rate mortgage decreased from $60,425 in June 2018 to $53,783 as of February 2019, and the difference of $6,642 represents a gain in buying power because one can afford a home purchase at a lower level of income.” Bottom Line It appears the spring buyers’ market is going to be much stronger than many had projected. Whether you are selling or buying, this is important news.   *The methodology behind the indices: The ShowingTime Showing Index “The ShowingTime Showing Index® tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on…

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week! This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say, “Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.” To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019. Bottom Line If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House

Every month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases their Seller Traffic Index as a part of their Realtors Confidence Index. In the latest release, NAR reported that homeowners have been reluctant to sell their houses. This is reflected when broken down by state. Only 11 states have a stable level of seller traffic compared to the remainder of the country, which came in with a weak rating. As we can see in the following table, the number of people who moved last year is half of what the rate was in the 1980s. This does not come as a surprise, as tenure length (the number of years someone owns a home before moving again) among existing homeowners has increased. It has risen from an average of 6 years from 1985 to 2008, up to 9.5 years over the last few years. This is shown in the graph below: As we can see, there is a pent-up seller demand! What led to this change in behavior? Falling prices during the housing crisis led to many homeowners having negative equity in their home, meaning they owed more on their mortgage than the home was worth. Others were able to secure a low interest rate on their mortgage and have not been quick to obtain a new mortgage with a higher rate. Will this trend continue? Recently NAR reported that “69% of people believe now is a good time to sell a home.” With a strong economy, low interest rates, and wages…

3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market. Ask yourself the following three questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market. 1. Why am I buying a home in the first place? This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money. For example, a study by realtor.com found that “73% said buying in a good school district was “important” in their search.” This report supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. The actual reasons are: A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education A place where you and your family feel safe More space for you and your family Control of that space What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not. 2. Where are home values headed? According to…

Slaying the Largest Homebuying Myths Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%! Mortgage interest rates have been on the decline since November! Hop in now to lock in a low rate! 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months! The average credit score on approved loans continues to fall across many loan types!  

Home Value Appreciation Stops Falling, Begins to Stabilize

The percentage of home price appreciation on a year-over-year basis has decreased each month for over a year. The question was how far annual appreciation would fall. It seems we may now have the answer. In a recent post on the National Association of Realtors’ Economists’ Outlook Blog, it was revealed that Realtors are starting to sense that home values are beginning to stabilize and that we may see appreciation beginning to accelerate again: “About 3,000 REALTORS® who responded to NAR’s February 2019 REALTORS Confidence Index Survey had more optimistic— although modest— home price growth expectations over the next 12 months. Respondents expect home prices to typically increase by 1.9 percent nationally, up from 1.4 percent in the January survey.” The thinking that home appreciation has bottomed-out was also confirmed in two additional housing reports recently released: CoreLogic Home Price Index – The analysts at CoreLogic increased their projection for home appreciation for the next twelve months to 4.7% as compared to the 4.6% they projected in their previous report. The Home Price Expectation Survey – In the 2019 first quarter survey, the nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists increased their projection for home value growth in 2019 to 4.3% compared to the 3.8% increase they had projected in the fourth quarter of 2018. Bottom Line Agents working the business every day, one of the premier data companies in the real estate space, and one hundred housing experts all agree: home…

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come

There has been a lot written about millennials and their preference to live in city centers above their favorite pizza place. Some have even gone so far as to say that millennials are a “Renter-Generation”. And while this might be true for some millennials, more and more research has surfaced that shows for the vast majority, owning a home is a major part of their American Dream! New research shows that 66% of millennials who currently rent are determined to buy a home! Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by Pulsenomics plan to buy a home in the next five years, with 40% planning to do so within the next two years! “Millennials want to own a home as much as prior generations,” Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at Meyers Research says. “We saw millennial shoppers scooping up homes in 2018—and 2019 will be no different.” Bottom Line Are you one of the millions of renters who are ready and willing to buy a home? Let’s get together to determine your ability to buy now!

Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand

One of the many benefits of owning your own home is the freedom to find your ‘furever’ friend. By pointing out the aspects of your home that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract these buyers, rather than alienating the 68% of American households that have a pet! If you are one of the many homeowners looking to list your home for sale, how do you stand out to the millions of pet parents searching for their dream home? Whether a dog person, a cat person, or someone who prefers the company of another pet species, 99% of pet owners say that they consider their animal to be family. When finding a home, 95% of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals. A study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are many aspects of the home buying, selling and owning experience that have been greatly impacted by our love for our pets. This should come as no surprise, as $72 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2018. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search. “It is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership. REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part…