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Monthly Archives: November 2018

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise Values

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise ValuesThere are many home renovation projects that can increase the comfort and visual appeal of a dwelling. Owners who plan to sell their home in the future, however, prefer to focus on projects that will return a healthy profit at closing. Here are 5 renovation projects that positively impact a home’s resale value.

Conversions

It’s easy for real estate agents to convince buyers to bid higher on properties with more bedrooms. Redesign the attic to easily add an extra bedroom without committing to a major construction project. This strategy works well for smaller homes or those in neighborhoods with multiple homes for sale. Converting a basement into a bonus room or den is another way to use extra storage spaces to increase property value.

Floors

Outdated, stained, or damaged flooring repels potential buyers. High-quality, stain-resistant carpets in neutral colors are the best options for those looking to sell. Other alternatives include hardwood floors and easy-to-clean laminates. Avoid shag carpets, bright colors, or unusual patterns so the property appeals to a wide variety of potential buyers.

Kitchens

For real estate agents, kitchens rank high on the list of value-building remodeling projects. Most home shoppers base their decision on the condition of the kitchen. Update stale or out-of-fashion paint, install new cabinet doors, refresh countertops, and replace old appliances to encourage a higher sale price. Renovators with limited funds should focus the majority of their dollars on kitchen projects.

Bathrooms

After the kitchen, bathrooms have the greatest impact on home values. As long as the plumbing is in working condition, bathroom renovations don’t require a large investment to add value to the home. Refurbish dingy sinks and bathtubs, refresh existing grout, and update fixtures for a quick boost before putting a home up for sale.

Landscape

The exterior of a home is just as important as the inside. Investing in landscaping increases curb appeal and can make a home more interesting to certain buyers. For example, adding a dog run in the backyard is an excellent perk for pet parents. In neighborhoods with older residents, a small deck or hot tub can be an eye-catching extra.

Strategic use of home renovations can improve living conditions and increase property values. Your trusted real estate can guide you through the process of prioritzing which improvements will geet you the best bang for your buck in your area.

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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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NAHB Reports Lowest Builder Confidence Reading Since 2014

NAHB Reports Lowest Builder Confidence Reading Since 2014Obstacles facing home builders have caught up with high builder confidence according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for November. Builder confidence dropped eight points to an index reading of 60, which was the largest month-to-month drop in builder confidence since 2014. November’s decline in builder confidence was greater than the largest month-to-month decline during the housing crisis.

Housing Market Index readings over 50 are considered positive, but analysts said that long-standing headwinds caught up with home builders’ outlook on housing market conditions and sub-categories used to comprise the overall Housing Market Index reading.

Obstacles Impacted November Home Builder Confidence in Housing Market

Builders have long cited shortages of buildable lots, rising materials costs and labor shortages, but builder sentiment appeared strong until November. Recent tariffs on building materials and rising mortgage rates further added to builder concerns. Buyer traffic indicated that would-be home buyers may be waiting for home prices and mortgage rates to fall. Less demand for homes would increase inventories of homes for sale and potentially reduce extreme buyer competition that caused rapid price gains in high-demand metro areas.

Components of November’s NAHB HMI also declined in November. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions fell seven points to an index reading of 67. Builder confidence in housing market conditions within the next six months dropped ten points to 65. The reading for buyer traffic in housing developments dropped eight points to 45. Readings for buyer traffic seldom exceed the HMI index reading of 50.

NAHB Housing Market Index: Things to Know

Housing and mortgage industry pros view the HMI as an early indicator of construction pace and for measuring supplies of homes for sale. The National Association of Home Builders HMI is based on survey of NAHB members; the sample size varies according to the number of responses received from builders each month. Analysts noted that November’s reading was impacted by fewer builder responses in November; 315 responses were received in November as compared to 360 builder responses in October. Fewer responses increase the volatility of index readings.

Approaching winter weather typically reduces home construction and plans for new construction; 2018 has seen natural disasters and catastrophic wildfires that destroyed many homes. While these factors did not impact November’s home builder confidence, readings they will likely affect home builder confidence readings in the coming months.

Your trusted real estate agent can help you navigate the sales trends in your area.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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5 Creative Ways To Buy A Foreclosure

5 Creative Ways To Buy A ForeclosureBuying a foreclosed home is easy, right? After all, they sell for pennies on the dollar, right? Well, that could be a false assumption. Buying a foreclosed property appears easy on TV, but in reality, it can be overwhelming. 

Foreclosure sales continue to decline in the market from 38.6 percent in 2011 to 14 percent in 2017 but ticking up a bit in 2018 according to Attom Data Solutions, a national property data company. As foreclosure sales drop, competition for these properties become stiffer and more complex. And as home prices increase in most cities, buyers often turn to foreclosures as affordable alternatives for landing their dream home

Foreclosures usually occur when homeowners can no longer pay their mortgages and the mortgagees seize the properties. Once former owners vacate the properties, lenders typically put it on sale at discounted price or auction to the highest bidder. 

Foreclosures give homebuyers the opportunity to get great deals. While foreclosures can save you thousands of dollars, it may come with risks. Having a stomach of steel can help when pursuing a foreclosure.  

To mitigate the risks involved, keep the following hacks and tricks in mind.  

Budget Carefully 

Don’t allow a small price tag to entice you into a quick deal. Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have sufficient dollars for extensive repairs? 
  • Do you have a team ready for any required repairs or are you handy at doing them yourself? 
  • Can you find a tenant if you intend to rent?

If you conduct thorough research, you’ll minimize the risks. 

Get A Home Inspection 

Though foreclosures are usually sold “as is”, you need to know the property deficiencies. The home seller can allow you to bring in a competent home inspector. Your inspector will give you a list of what the property lacks and the cost estimates needed to complete the renovations. You may even want to hire a home inspector after purchasing a foreclosure just to get a thorough review of the property.

Ask For Vacancy Duration  

Ask how long the house remained vacant. In most cases, long vacancy means more damages. For example, plumbing seals may dry out, bugs get into the house and sewer gases back up. 

Don’t Ignore The Landscaping 

Neglected landscaping contribute to house deterioration. Tree seedlings grow roots into the foundation and vines crawl into the windows. Small trees can also mess up pavers, and dead branches can break and crash into the house.  

Be Cautious With Auctions 

Although auctions are common with foreclosures, it’s best to avoid them. And if you can’t, be vigilant when bidding. Competitive bidding can raise the value so high that you end up losing money after the cost of repairs. 

It’s always best to work with your trusted local real estate professional to find foreclosure properties. They are experienced in determining the quality of the properties and can help you through the tenuous foreclosure purchase process.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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How To Stage A House For A Faster Sale At A Higher Price

How To Stage A House For A Faster Sale At A Higher Price“Staging” a house means to prepare it for sale in ways that make it more attractive to potential buyers. Homeowners can do much of this staging work themselves and should get suggestions from their real estate agent. They can also hire a professional to do the staging work for them.

Value-Added Staging

A study of 4,200 sold homes, conducted by Home Staging Resource (HSR), found that 85% of the staged homes sold for 6% to 25% more than a home that was not staged.

Forbes reports that 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. This is 87% faster when compared to the time it takes, on average, to sell a home that is not staged.

An average home sells for 10% to 20% less than the asking price. It may be even more beneficial to stage a home that would otherwise have to sell as a “fixer-upper.” When listing a home, which is in disrepair, the asking price must be at a steep discount from the market value of a similar home that is in a better condition. This steep discount may be reduced by staging the home properly.

The general rule-of-thumb is that every $100 dollar invested in staging may return up to $400 in a higher sales price.

Staging Priorities

The National Association of REALTORS® published the 2017 Profile of Home Staging, which says the staging priorities are:

  • Declutter: Decluttering a home creates more open space that makes the home look bigger. Remove at least half of the items in the home and two-thirds of the stuff in the closets. De-personalize the home by removing photos, kid toys, items for pets, etc.
  • Cleaning: The entire house needs to be immaculately clean, inside and out, to the level of a five-star hotel.
  • Carpet Cleaning/Replacement: Carpet needs to look and smell like new or it should be replaced.
  • No Pets or Children: Do not have children or pets in the home, when showing it to potential buyers.
  • Renovations: Repairs, re-painting, and re-decorating should be done tastefully and by using neutral colors that appeal to most people.
  • Rooms: Priority staging concentrates on these rooms, in this order: 1) Living Room; 2) Kitchen; 3) Master Bedroom and Bath, and 4) Dining Room.
  • Vacant Home: A vacant home will probably sell much easier when staged using rented furniture.

Conclusion

Staging a home for sale makes perfect sense and is worth the investment of time, energy, and money. The benefits are that the home usually sells for a better price, probably sells more quickly, and the investment in staging usually makes a profit for the home seller. Consult your trusted real estate professional for guidance in selling your home quickly for a great price.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 26th, 2018

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 26th, 2018Last week’s economic readings included readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, National Association of Realtors® report on sales of pre-owned homes and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Housing Market Challenges Catch Up to Builder Sentiment

According to the National Association of Home Builders, overall builder sentiment fell six points to November’s reading of 60. This was the largest decline in builder sentiment since 2016. Ongoing concerns over lot and labor shortages and rising costs of building materials were cited along with recently rising mortgage rates.

Demand for homes eased as potential buyers were sidelined by rising rates, shortages of homes for sale and approaching winter weather and holidays. Any Housing Market Index reading over 50 is considered positive, but steep drops in builder sentiment is considered a predictor of stabilizing market conditions.

National Association of Realtors®: Sales of Pre-Owned Home Sales Rise in October

Sales of previously-owned homes rose in October to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.22 million sales as compared to September’s reading of 5.15 million sales. Analysts estimated a reading of 5.18 million sales. While this reading suggests that buyers are active, an increase in home sales signals easing demand as compared to recent months when many buyers were sidelined due to extreme buyer competition for short inventories of homes for sale.

Mortgage Rates First-Time Jobless Claims Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.81 percent, which was 13 basis points lower than the previous week. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.24 percent and were 12 basis points lower.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 4.09 percent and were five basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 224,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 215,000 claims. The prior week’s reading was 221,000 new claims filed.

Whats Ahead

Economic readings set for release this week include Case-Shiller home price indices, new home sales and pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2018 in Financial Reports

 

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How To Choose Between Laminate And Hardwood Flooring

How To Choose Between Laminate And Hardwood FlooringPicking out a new flooring can be exciting. After all, as anyone knows, new flooring in a home or business property can completely change the entire atmosphere. A common question asked by commercial and residential property owners is “Should I go with laminate or hardwood flooring?”

If you have found yourself asking this question, understand that both types of flooring materials each have their own pros and cons. For the most part, hardwood flooring tends to be more expensive than laminate but this isn’t always the case.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits and disadvantages of laminate and hardwood flooring.

Pros And Cons Of Laminate Flooring

Most times, laminate flooring will be about 50 percent less expensive than hardwood flooring. It has a beautiful finish and can give the appearance of a real hardwood floor. Also, being that it is made of pressed wood, it tends to be a bit more durable than hardwood as well as more scratch resistant.

Although it’s usually easier to clean, if you don’t invest in high-quality laminate, you’ll end up with flooring that looks as if it has fake wood grains. In all actuality, this is what cheap laminate flooring is; cheap wood grains pressed together.

Pros And Cons Of Hardwood Flooring

Although hardwood flooring is more susceptible to scratching, you may like this characteristic because it gives it a more natural look. When it comes to beauty, nothing beats real hardwood flooring, and best of all, it tends to last many years longer than laminate. Because of this, even though such flooring is a bit more expensive than laminate, being that it lasts longer, it’s considered to be a very good investment.

Think About The Lighting In Your Home

One very important aspect to think about when choosing flooring for your home is whether or not your floors see a lot of daylight. The sun and its UV rays will cause real hardwood flooring to fade. Laminate on the other hand is usually made with UV protection. If you like to keep your blinds open and let natural sunlight in, it’s usually best to invest in laminate flooring.

Don’t let choosing the perfect flooring material for your home stress you out. With a bit of research, you’ll be well on your way to deciding whether laminate or hardwood is a better investment for your lifestyle and personal needs.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to enlist the help of your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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3 Important Factors That Affect Your Real Estate Transaction

3 Important Factors That Affect Your Real Estate TransactionThe real estate market is quite different from other markets and can be confusing for even the most experienced buyers and sellers. You will need the help of a real estate agent whether you are an experienced buyer or doing it for the first time.

Even with the help of an agent, you can educate yourself on some of the basic elements of a real estate transaction in order to make yourself more comfortable throughout the process.

Here are 3 things that you should be aware of before you start a real estate transaction:

Market Demand And Sales Price

There are many factors that determine the appropriate sales price at which you sell or buy a piece of property. Among them is the market demand and other recently sold homes in the immediate area that match the characteristics of your home. Real estate agents can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help you understand the recent activity in your market and the best price to list your home at.

If you’re a buyer, you can ask your agent to run a property listing report to show you all of the comparable homes that are currently listed in your area. You can even get set up on an automatic email update of any home that meets your criteria as soon as it comes on the market or there is a change in the listing price.

A professional real estate agent can be of great help when it comes to finding customers for your property. As a buyer, you can seek for the services of a real estate agent that will help you in getting a property at affordable prices.

Absorption Rate

This term is quite common among real estate agents, however a lot of consumers haven’t ever heard of it. It is the amount of time taken to sell a piece of property that is listed in a particular market based on the total housing inventory and the average monthly properties sold. The absorption rate can guide you if you are planning to make investment in a particular area or if you are planning on selling your home.

For instance, if you know the average time on the market for a home similar to yours is 90 days you can plan approximately when to list your property in order to move at a specific time. It’s important to understand that many factors determine whether a particular home sells within the average time frame, but it can be useful as a guide. A professional real estate agent is your best resource to find out the details on your local market absorption rate.

Escrow

There are many buyers and even sellers that have seen funds mishandled when making a private real estate transaction. The best way to prevent this from happening is by opening an escrow account. This account is virtually always opened with an independent third party on behalf of the buyer and seller at the beginning of the transaction.

Some escrow companies also handle the title research and title insurance elements of the real estate transaction. They hold all of the documents and money until the transaction has been completed. At the end of the transaction they balance all of the expenses and deposits and ensure that each party is compensated appropriately.

As always, working with a team of real estate professionals is the best way to navigate all of the elements of your next real estate deal. 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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