Posts Tagged ‘Homes for Sale’
Photo: Courtesy of Realtor.com
As we research the types of buyers that will be looking for homes in 2017, an interesting trend continues to come to the forefront. In years past, we have always looked to the move up buyers to stimulate the market. They bought the new and larger homes and sold the home they were living in. The new wave of buyers that are entering the market though, seem to be first time home buyers that have been cautiously waiting to purchase and now for a variety of reasons find this to be the time. While inventory of homes for sale is still a major concern, interest rates remaining at all time lows is still an attractive reason to consider buying now. With the unknown of when those interest rates will rise, buyers are wisely moving into the market now. It will be interesting to keep our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the local Whidbey Island real estate market in comparison to the national market. I will keep you informed as we move forward.
The short answer is “yes,” but know what you’re signing up for.
In a seller’s market it seems like most homes should sell — given enough time and exposure on the market. But there are some situations where a home MUST sell: the owners need to move for work or because of a job loss; or, the home was left in a will and proceeds need to be split among the inheritors; the sellers are experiencing divorce, or any number of other reasons a home needs to sell quickly.
With a quick sale required, sellers may be temped to go for an agent’s offer that sounds too good to be true: The agent will “buy your home if it doesn’t sell!”
According to Angie’s List, such offers are not scams. They are, in fact, marketing tactics that might work for you in your situation — a win-win — or, might be a really bad deal. Before signing on the bottom line, make certain you know what you’re agreeing to.
Home sale guarantees
Real estate professionals may offer a variety of types of guarantees. Each has its own value to both the agent and the seller:
- “If I don’t sell your home, I’ll buy it” — Often, this type of guarantee offer comes from agents that work with investors. An investor wants to buy a home either to rent or to sell at a profit. In this scenario, you should plan to part with a chunk of your equity. This program may work for you if you need to sell quickly but don’t need top dollar from your home, if you need to sell to settle an estate, or if you’ve found a new home at a substantial discount and just can’t afford the two mortgages at once. Just know that you will see less return on this type of sale. If your agent only sells under this program and not to the general public, you’ll end up with less in your pocket.
- “If I don’t sell your home in X months, I’ll buy it” — When a program has time stipulations, it usually also has price stipulations. You’ll most likely be agreeing to a schedule of markdowns (monthly, bi-weekly or weekly) so that by the “I’ll buy it” date it reaches the price the agent will pay for it.
- “We guarantee you X% of the value” — In this approach, the agent offers a specific discounted price if your home doesn’t sell. Often, this is about 90% of its fair market value, plus fees and commissions.
The bottom line
Before you agree to any home sale guarantee plan, know that if the agent does not sell your home outright and the plan goes into effect you’ll be accepting far less for your home than on the open market. While this seems like a lose-lose for the typical home seller, it can be a win-win if the sale is urgent or the sellers have extenuating circumstances.
The best scenario
When selling your home, the best scenario is to work with a real estate professional that knows the home’s market, can advise you on the best way to prepare your home and create curb appeal, and offers all marketing resources (online, offline, print, local, signage, MLS, etc.).
Compliments of Virtual Results
I thought that I would share a couple of interesting graphs with you today. These are graphs of the sales and active listings for North Whidbey Island January 2013 – Sept. 2014. As you can see, the sales have continued to increase and the number of active listings has decreased, leading us into a good seller’s market. This is really unique though, since interest rates continue to stay low, probably not being raised until mid 2015, and our prices continuing to stay relatively stable. These conditions still make it very affordable for buyers also. In fact, we are seeing quite a few first time home buyers entering the real estate market. I will write another blog in the near future with complete stats and a video for the third quarter.
You know that curb appeal is important to buyers of single-family homes, but you are selling a condominium in a large building full of similar units. How do you make yours stand out? Here are a few tips for prompting that positive first impression that makes your home memorable:
- Make sure the entry way is clean, clear and clutter free. Relocate bulky furniture that makes the entry seem smaller. Avoid coat racks and umbrella stands that jut out from the wall as well.
- Consider placing a fresh potted plant inside the doorway to bring the outside in. Make sure the plant is healthy and in an attractive pot, does not block the walkway and does not shed or drop leaves.
- If you have a mail slot and your home is likely to be shown after delivery, make sure to place a basket under the mail slot.
- Make sure the insides of your windows are clean. If your HOA is responsible for the outside windows, request that they be cleaned before showing your home or having an open house.
- If you live in a bug prone area, be sure to have your condominium treated for pests—and make sure you sweep up any dead bugs.
- Make sure the hallway or walkway to your unit is clean. If you need, to, sweep it yourself. Make sure to pick up any junk mail or papers cluttering the outside.
- When your home is likely to be shown, turn on the lights and have soft music playing. This may raise your utility bill slightly, but will give a warm greeting to visiting homebuyers.
- As with any home, make sure the countertops and floors and clean and personal effects are out of sight. Consider placing a bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers on the table to add some color and interest.
- If you have pets, consider boarding them while your home is being shown, or ask a neighbor to collect them before the potential buyer shows up.
Most of all, call your real estate agent to learn what features to play up (or down) in your unit to place it in the best light.
If you want to make improvements to your home, you may want to take a second look at Houzz.com. Cited as a source for inspiration and collaboration and research for home owners everywhere, Houzz is also a source for hiring local contracting professionals, too.
With more than sixty categories of home related projects to choose from, including interior remodeling contractors and outdoor living space professionals, Houzz is more than just a place to get great ideas for your home. Houzz is also a great source for you to find the interior designers, architects, and landscapers for your home who created and constructed those designs in the first place!
Increased home values often result in homeowners deciding to make changes in their homes, whether due to a potential sale or just a quality of life improvement, and technology makes this process so much easier.
“Homeowners and professionals alike are telling us that they are moving forward with more building, renovation and design projects this year,” said Liza Hausman, VP Community at Houzz. “Houzz provides homeowners with the absolute best resource to find the right professional for their project.”
As a homeowner, ideas for improving your home may come in many forms, but Houzz.com is definitely a resource to be considered. Another resource to consider when determining whether a home improvement will add to your home value is your local real estate expert.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released this week confirmed other recent reports of growth in the real estate market. Spurred on by historically low interest rates in the final quarter of 2012, home buyers saw more housing affordability and relatively stable home pricing throughout the United States, making it possibly the right time for you to buy your home.
According to the HOI, gains in home affordability rose from 74.1 % to 74.9% in the final quarter of 2012, making homes affordable to median income earners in the United States. The current median income is $65,000.
North Carolina Home Builder and NAHB Chairman Rick Judson explained why this was good news for potential home buyers. “The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers,” Judson said. “Because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path.” Judson also shared results of the recent NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index which noted that 259 out of 361 metro real estate areas qualify as improving.
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe also remarked on this news, saying, “It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values.” Crowe shared that the median price of new and existing homes in that same quarter was still up, at $188,000.
The top housing markets for affordability included Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida.; Syracuse, New York; Fairbanks, Alaska; Cumberland, Maryland; Springfield, Ohio; Monroe, Michigan; and Mansfield, Ohio. As you consider your home buying options, these areas may be of interest to you.
Find out more and see housing market updates online at the National Association of Home Builders.
If you are considering investing in real estate in the new year or in selling your home that was recently purchased, you’ll be excited to know that the Federal Housing Administration has agreed to a temporary extension on the waiver on home flipping.
At one point in time, home owners were required to hold title for more than 90 days before selling their property. Now, however, you can buy your home, fix it up, and resell it without time restrictions, per the original policy put into place in 2010 by the Obama administration. Since 2010 the extension has been granted on a yearly basis, but this announcement extends it for two years.
The renewal of this policy, announced at the end of November, will remain in force until December 31, 2014 to allow security to buyers and lenders who wish to engage in these practices. The waiver is subject to certain restrictions, and may result in an increase in available home inventory.
According to Carol J. Galante, Acting FHA Commissioner, the extension was granted to increase resales of foreclosed properties in struggling neighborhoods. He said, “FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and stability and we must make every effort to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”
Learn About How the Extension Affects Your Home and Neighborhood
To read the actual waiver and restrictions placed on anti-flipping regulations, such as the need to show renovations and an inspection to support a sales price increase of greater than 20%, click here. If you are interested in learning more about investing and how this change can impact your home, give me a call.
This article is written by one of our experienced agents, Gil Daigle.
I got a flu shot last week. Because it was a workday, I was wearing my nametag, which advertises me as a Realtor®. The nurse who was giving me the shot started to talk about real estate. The conversation started out like all of these conversations do with the nurse asking me “How’s the market?” I gave my stock answer that it could be better and then went on to say what a great time it is to buy real estate. I talked about the depressed prices and the low interest rates. When I was finished, he told me a story.
A Remarkable Story
Last November he and his wife started to invest in real estate. Between November 2011 and April 2012 they purchased four condominiums in Kirkland for $300,000 cash. He went on to tell me that all four are rented and they generate $4,000 a month. After condominium fees and other expenses, the monthly net is $2,500. A very quick and basic calculation indicates this is a 10% return on his investment per year. You might be asking yourself “so what?” The simple answer is where else can you get 10% interest on an investment that will increase in value.
What Other Investments Are Available?
I searched the Internet and discovered the best interest rate you can get for a certificate of deposit is 1.1%. The big catch is you must deposit $25,000. The stock market might be the answer. Unfortunately, the average gain of the Dow Jones Industrial average since 2000 is only 2.57% with the big catch being its wild fluctuations. In 2003, the Dow gained 25.32%; however, in 2008 it lost 33.84%.
Do we all have $300,000 cash on hand to invest? I’m guessing the answer to that is no. However, interest rates are very low even on investment properties. Check with your banker for rate information. Talk to me about the availabilities of property. Whatever your circumstances it make good sense to think about investing in real estate.
If you are a renter, take the plunge and buy. If you have a good credit rating, there are multitudes of financing opportunities available. Talk to your banker and see what works for you. Then talk to me, I’m sure I can find you something you will like.
We Are In A Unique Period of History.
We are in a unique period of history. Since World War I interest rates have been this low only once, between 1933 and 1950. Remembering your U.S. History that was the Great Depression and World War II. Currently the US economy is down and the government is doing everything it can to bring about a recovery. These real estate conditions will not last. Get your piece of the American Dream while is it at its most affordable!
Each day technology becomes even more impressive as new tools, products and apps are rolled out that truly have a place in your daily life. It can be exciting and exhausting to try to find the ones that will benefit you. As a homebuyer, it can be overwhelming to narrow down all the choices. With that in mind, I’ve made my real estate website tech and mobile friendly in the hope that you will find the results you need in your search, however, when it comes to buying a home, these apps may of benefit to you as well.
Many of these apps are even offered free of charge, although they may request your location information in order to produce the results you desire. If you want more specific information or ideas on specialized apps for your tech devices, please give me a call so we can brainstorm on how I can help meet your real estate needs. In the meantime, though, check these out!
Not sure where you want to live?
- Nabewise Get to know neighborhoods in-depth, complete with pictures, reviews and ratings ond rankings on the things you care most about.
- GreatSchools Get to know local school options and read reviews by staff and parents of children attending the schools. Schools are also scored based on scores and ratings.
- Yelp Find the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in the area you are researching directly from the people who live there. A true “insider’s view.”
Trying to keep track of everything?
- Evernote Keep track of your buying process, including the information on homes you have seen, complete with your personal notes!
Want to compare?
- House Hunter This tool allows you to set priorities on your wants and needs and match them to homes you are considering with the feature list and also has a mortgage calculator built in.
- Trulia – Easy to use and even includes a help button! Depending on your mobile device, you can check and compare listings and even search by feature using your voice.
Looking for actual numbers?
- Zillow Zestimates and make me move allow you to get an idea of what homes cost on any street and even permit you to make offers to home owners who do not have their property for sale.
- Realtor.com Get stats on new homes, sold homes, and homes for sale easily and quickly, including price changes in any neighborhood.