Friday, April 3, 2015

The Difference A Year Can Make

The Difference A Year Can Make [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters
The Difference A Year Can Make [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Important Points To Consider:

  • The latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reports the 30-year fixed rate at 3.7%.
  • Freddie Mac's projection for Q2 2016 is that the rate will be 4.7% (a full percentage point higher)
  • The Home Price Expectation Survey predicts that home prices will appreciate by 4.4% during this same time

The impact waiting a year to purchase your dream home can make on your monthly payment is significant. Contact a local real estate professional today to discuss your options before the experts' predictions become reality!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Housing Inventory Slowly Disappearing

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National
Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Existing Home Sales Report this week.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Amidst reporting on the fact that sales of existing homes rose 1.2% from January, and outpaced year-over-year figures for the fifth consecutive month, was the news that total unsold housing inventory is at 4.6-month supply.
This is down 0.5% from last February and remains below the 6 months that is needed for a historically normal market.
Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still under 4%, new programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.
Buyer demand for housing remains twice as high as this time last year.

Prices Rising

February marked the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $202,600 (up 7.5% from 2014).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.
Impact of Inventory on Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:
"Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices. Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity, but it continues to be an obstacle for current buyers looking to close before (interest) rates rise."

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. The amount of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact us and we explain the process!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baby Boomers: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…
other generation during that same time period, according to the
In Merrill Lynch’s latest study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.
The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)
Crossing The "Freedom Threshold" | Keeping Current Matters
As one participant in the study stated:
“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.” 

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.
The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.
Reasons for Moving in Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with less children at home that they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.
Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.
"Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations."

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help with deciding your next step.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Home Buying Tips for New Parents

Many expectant parents, or parents of a newborn,  upgrade to larger homes when baby’s on the way. If you’re thinking of buying a new home to accommodate your growing family, it’s important to assess certain factors you may not consider otherwise, including:

Master Bedroom Proximity – Is the master bedroom on a separate floor from the others? Will you want to be adjacent to your baby’s nursery, or are you comfortable with sleeping down the hall? Always consider the layout of the bedrooms before buying.

Pool Safety – If you’re seeking a home with a pool, keep in mind that your child will likely venture outside before he or she knows how to swim. Is the pool appropriately gated, with no holes or gaps in fencing? Are all latches and locks in proper working order? Is the door leading outside secure?

Property Hazards – Evaluate the home for any potential dangers, including stairs, tree roots or uneven pavers. These can be easily overlooked by a curious child and lead to unnecessary injury.

Street Location – Take into account how far your home is from a busy area. Is the home located on a congested street? What is the posted speed limit in the area and how fast do cars typically drive through the neighborhood? Are there streetlights and crosswalks nearby?

Friday, January 23, 2015

10 Things That Will Absolutely Kill Your Home Sale

When you're selling your home, you need every advantage you can get. And there are few homes that are magically market ready without a little help. If your home needs a touch more than a little help, it's time to get focused. After all, listing your home when it's not in the right condition to sell will probably only end in frustration. And, in this case, frustration means: your home sitting on the market for months with no offers or the errant, offensive, lowball.
If you want to make sure you get home sold quickly and for the right price, you'll want to avoid listing it with the following:
1. Excessive damage
Maybe the home you're selling was used as a rental and trashed by frat boy tenants, or maybe you just haven't kept it up as you should. Either way, those holes in the wall that look like the living room was used as a boxing gym, the scratched-up wood floors on which dinosaurs have clearly been racing, and the yard that's barren except for those two-foot-tall patches of weeds are not what buyers are looking for. Unless you're planning to offer your house for a price that will make buyers emphasize the good and ignore the bad and the ugly, it's going to need some attention.
2. Carpet in the bathroom
It's just gross. And everyone who walks into that bathroom is thinking one of two things: 1) There's gotta be mold under there; 2) There's gotta be pee on the floor around that toilet. This is one update you'll want to do before you list. Or, if you're already listed and your home's not selling.
3. Big, nasty stains
A buyer shouldn't know where your dog likes to mark or where your kids spilled the entire bowl of holiday punch. If the stains on your carpet are that bad, potential buyers will stroll in and run right back out. No one wants to buy a pigsty. Invest a few bucks in new carpet. You'll make the money back since you won't have to drop your sales price.
4. Pet smells
Speaking of pets…they smell. You probably don't notice since you live with them everyday, but buyers will, and it might be enough to turn them off. Deep clean the carpets and the upholstery, invest in some air fresheners, and remove cat boxes from the house for showings. The last thing you want is a potential buyer referring to your house as "the stinky one."
5. Loud dogs who bark every time someone approaches the home
One last word on pets. Barking happens, whether it's your dog or one that belongs to a neighbor. But you don't need that on the day of your open house. Offering to pay for doggie day care for a neighbor's pooch can eliminate the issue and help create the serene setting buyers want.
6. Your dead lawn
Lack of curb appeal won't necessarily kill a deal. In many cases, you won't even get potential buyers to get out of the car. If the front yard is a mess, buyers will naturally think the mess continues inside.
7. A bad agent
Face it. Not all of them are winners. If your agent is: rude, uninformed, lazy, uncommunicative, belligerent, or unwilling to take your opinions into consideration, get a new one. An agent who isn't giving their client the right type of attention probably isn't going to get the job done.
8. Your sloppiness
Those drawers and cabinets you shoved everything into when you cleaned off your kitchen and bathroom cabinets could be a deal breaker for picky buyers. We all know buyers open stuff. They look in drawers, they open cabinets, they examine closets. If these spaces are messy and overstuffed, they may assume there's not enough storage space.
9. Unreasonable sellers
Big problems in your house can be deal killers, but they can also be deal sealers, if you are reasonable. If your inspection uncovers plumbing, electrical, or roofing problems (or all three!) and you're unwilling to negotiate, you can kiss that sale goodbye.
10. Bad Taste
Your poor decorating choices and failure to keep up with trends from this year—or century—may haunt you when it's time to sell. If it's true that many buyers have no vision—and all you have to do is watch House Hunters and observe a buyer getting hung up on a paint color to know that's true—then you are really in for it with your crowded house full of ugly, outdated crap. A few simple updates can help it to look fresh and give buyers something to fall in love with. Not sure where to start? Check out FrontDoor's 15 Updates That Pay Off and HGTV's 10 Best-Kept Secrets For Selling Your Home.
Courtesy of Realty Times

Friday, December 26, 2014

5 Real Estate New Year's Resolutions You Should Make

At the end of every December, people make all kinds of resolutions for the coming year. Typically, these are things they want to improve about themselves, ways to make their day-to-day personal or work life better, or ideas to put them on track for a change. Many times these surface as a result of mistakes made in the past 12 months.

When it comes to real estate, resolutions don't necessarily apply as it's unlikely that you do a real estate transaction each year. Furthermore, you can't actually resolve to buy your neighbor's house or sell your $350,000 home for $1 million. Well, you could, but you'd probably be setting yourself up for disappointment right from the start.

Some things are simply out of a would-be buyer or seller's control. But, as a would-be buyer or seller, you can learn from and make resolutions based on those who have gone before you. There exists a former buyer who, if he could, would resolve to have done more legwork before buying. Conversely, there's a current seller who resolves to take the next under-asking-price offer from a buyer more seriously.

Whether you plan to buy or sell, there are some real estate resolutions that buyers and sellers can -- and should -- make. Here are five to get you started.

Buyers: Resolve to Get Your Financial House in Order

Planning a home purchase takes time and effort, so you should consider meeting with a mortgage professional early in the year. Know your credit score and understand what your financial situation looks like from a lender's perspective. If you have credit issues, identify what they are and the necessary steps to correct them. Sometimes, it can take six months to see your FICO score move up the much-needed 20 points to get you a better mortgage rate. A good real estate agent can recommend an experienced, local mortgage professional. Local is always important, because many real estate deals are made on relationships, and being able to meet face-to-face with your mortgage professional can be a big plus.

Sellers: Resolve to Think of Your Home as a Product

Start clearing out old stuff now. If there are things deep in your closets that you don't think you'll use between January and the time you move, consider a storage locker or making space in the garage. Does your real estate agent suggest that the basement needs a paint job? Get some painting bids now. Have you always hated how the bathroom vanity takes up so much space? Consider changing it now so buyers will perceive your bathroom as bigger. This will also help you spread out the costs of home repairs and changes over several months.

Buyers: Resolve to Start Feeling Out the Market Early

You may think you only need to go to open houses once you're ready to buy. But in reality, a buyer needs a couple of months learning the marketing, understanding home values, the prices per neighborhood and the market in general. Going to open houses in the neighborhoods where you want to buy will allow you to start feeling out the market. It may also be the best way to meet your future real estate agent. Many agent/buyer relationships are forged at open houses.

Once you engage an agent, you may make several offers before you get into your dream home. Having your agent along for the ride will allow you to compare and contrast homes you've visited to the home you eventually buy. The homes you see and your experience feeling out the market will serve as the building blocks toward becoming an informed buyer and making your best offer.

Sellers: Resolve to Understand Your Timing and Exit Strategy

One of the biggest stresses on a seller is trying to plan a purchase and a sale at the same time. Can you afford to close on the new home before selling? If so, for how long? Do you need to sell the property first? If so, will the potential sale price support a home purchase in the neighborhood you want to be in? If not, what other areas should you be looking in? Selling and buying at the same time brings up all kinds of financial, emotional and physical stress.

Uprooting yourself from your home is not easy. What if you have to go into short-term housing? How will you get that set up and how long would you need to commit for? If you can afford to purchase and then sell, do they need to happen quickly? Are there things you can be doing in your current home so that once your new home closes, you'll be ready to list? It's a lot to think about and plan for, and it helps to have a strategy in place well before you have to take action.

Buyers and Sellers: Resolve to Engage a Real Estate Agent Now

Planning a home purchase or sale takes time. Engaging a real estate agent early in the process will allow you to have an expert on hand as you start to put the pieces together. A good real estate agent doesn't just show and sell homes: They can be your strategic adviser, even well in advance of any actual transaction.

On the seller side, if you pulled a permit to install some new windows or replace some dry rot in 2005, likely the contractor issued a permit. But did he close it out? A good agent will figure that out and clean it up before it becomes a transaction issue. You should use your agent to literally get your house and listing in order.

For buyers, having an agent with you from the start is like having an experienced second set of eyes and ears. Having so many transactions under the belt and years of market knowledge in their head, a real estate agent's opinions, thoughts and ideas can save you a lot of time and money. What's more, they can keep you on the right path toward identifying the best home, and they'll see you through the process all the way to the closing.

Article courtesy of