How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture. 

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

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How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture. 

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Covenants, Codes and Restrictions?

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Covenants, Codes and RestrictionsThere is a joke about gated communities that says the walls are not just there to keep the people out but to keep the residents in. Living in a gated community that is subject to the rules of a homeowners’ association (HOA) can be a pleasant or a severely irritating experience, depending on the perspective a homeowner has about lifestyles.

The Good, Bad, And Ugly About CC&Rs

Gated and master-planned communities may have an HOA and also may have covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that are part of the property rights (or lack thereof) that a home buyer accepts when they buy a property in those neighborhoods.

The developer records a registered copy of the CC&Rs with the county where the development is. Every homeowner is subject to the rules found in the official CC&Rs. A copy of the CC&Rs may look like an old-style telephone book with hundreds of pages.

Prospective home buyers should force themselves to take the time to read the entire CC&Rs extremely carefully. This may take many nights to read because reading the CC&Rs may put a person to sleep. However, failure to read them can cause serious problems in the future and extremely stressful levels of frustration.

What Can Be In The CC&Rs?

It is not surprising to see in the CC&Rs rules that prohibit a homeowner from filling the front yard with broken-down cars or having a pig farm on the property. In a nice, gated, community nobody wants to see a neighbor’s property in that condition. The benefit of having reasonable CC&Rs is that homes, which are eyesores, because the people do not maintain them properly, are prohibited.

So far, so good. However, what about when the CC&Rs state the maximum measurement of grass before cutting it is 1.25 inches. That is an odd number to use as a measurement standard but don’t be surprised to see stuff like this in the CC&Rs. In such a neighborhood, you can be cited for a grass height violation. It may seem funny to see the enforcers in the front yard measuring the grass with a ruler until a homeowner gets a fine for a violation. This is just a simple example of the many rules potentially found in the CC&Rs that are very easy to violate.

Want to put up lighted holiday decorations? Check the CC&Rs because it may not even be allowed to put a wreath on the front door.

Think it would be a nice idea to repaint the exterior of the house? Check the CC&Rs first because there are usually severe color restrictions. If the paint is one shade lighter or darker than an approved color, this may cause the need to redo the entire paint job.

Conclusion

Personal taste differs significantly between people. When buying a home subject to CC&Rs, be sure to read them carefully and be able to live with all the details. Otherwise, a homeowner may find it really frustrating to live in a neighborhood with so many controls over personal freedom and choice.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your current financing options.

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Boom Or Bubble? – Home Prices Hit Record Highs Across America

Boom Or Bubble? - Home Prices Hit Record Highs Across AmericaThe rapidly rising home prices currently found in many parts of the United States make it seem like the Great Recession of 2008 never happened. It took approximately eight years for home prices to recover the values that were equivalent to those they had before the recession.

After reaching this point of recovery, since around 2016, real estate prices have been going up very quickly in many cities.

The Best Recovered Housing Markets

Here are the fully-recovered housing markets analyzed by ATTOM data service for the second quarter of 2019 that have exceeded the peak valuations from before the recession.

This list of winners shows the percentage that they are now above their pre-2008 peaks:

  • Greeley, Colorado (87% up)
  • Shreveport, Louisiana (81% up)
  • Denver, Colorado (80% up)
  • Austin, Texas (77% up)
  • Fort Collins, Colorado (76% up)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (72% up)
  • Nashville, Tennessee (71% up)
  • San Antonio, Texas (58% up)
  • Houston, Texas (54% up)
  • San Jose, California (54% up)

It took quite a while for homes to have this much appreciation in value, which in most cases meant that the homes, first, had to increase significantly to overcome the lowered values from pre-recession peaks.

Homeowners Waiting Longer To Sell

Homeowners, who were wise and able, waited for this to occur. This accounts for the median of eight years that homeowners waited before selling now. Before the Great Recession, the median holding period for selling a home was only four years after purchase.

Homeowners who were able to hang on to their homes after the Great Recession hit, and then ride it out until now, are, in general, being rewarded for waiting to sell.

The Hottest Markets For American Cities

Most American cities are hot real estate markets. The appreciation rate for annual increases is up 89% of all the metro market areas.

Cities showing the greatest annual appreciation rates are:

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey (16% increase)
  • Boise City, Idaho (14% increase)
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee (13% increase)
  • Mobile, Alabama (11% increase)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (11% increase)
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (9% increase)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (9% increase)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (9 % increase)
  • Columbus, Ohio (8 % increase)
  • Birmingham, Alabama (6% increase)

Summary

Whether this a continuing boom or an early indication of another real estate bubble that might eventually burst is anyone’s guess. It is a decent time to sell if selling a home is in the plans. It is a more challenging time for home buyers. However, the one thing the Great Recession taught us all is that housing prices do not always go up.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, please consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 19th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 19th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings  from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and July readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on initial jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Home Builder Sentiment Remains High

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 66 for August. Housing Market Index readings showed that builder sentiment has held steady with readings of 64 to 66; any reading over 50 indicates positive builder sentiment.

Analysts said that despite strong readings for builder confidence in recent months, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued did not reflect high builder confidence readings. Reports on housing starts and building permits issued fall one month behind the NAHB Housing Market Index.

Housing Starts Falter as Building Permits Increase

Commerce Department readings for July showed mixed results for housing starts and building permits issued as starts fell from June’s downwardly revised reading of 1.24 million starts to 1.19 million starts in July. Housing starts are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

July building permits rose from June’s reading of 1.232 million permits to 1.336 million permits issued. Analysts expected a reading of 1.287 million housing starts for July. This was the second consecutive positive reading for housing starts after a post-recession period of fewer starts.

While building permits for single-family homes traditionally outpace permits issued for multi-family housing, analysts noted that demand for multi-family housing developments is trending higher due to high prices for single-family homes.

Increasing costs for building materials, indications of  global and domestic economic uncertainty and changing consumer priorities were cited as trends impacting housing starts.

Mortgage Rates Hold Near Record Low, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.60 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.07 percent and were two basis points higher.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.35 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 220,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 211,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts expected 212,000 claims to be filed last week. Nearly 6,000 new jobless claims filed in California boosted last week’s reading for new claims.

The less volatile four-week rolling report on new jobless claims rose by 1,000 claims to  213,750 new claims filed. New jobless claims hit their highest level in six weeks, but were lower than average.

Consumer sentiment concerning current economic conditions fell 6.20 points to an index reading of 92.1 according to the University of Michigan monthly survey of consumer confidence in the economy. Concerns over trade wars and the Federal Reserve’s decision to lower its target interest rate range prompted consumer confidence to slip in August.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and previously owned homes and minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The Move

Important Tips To Help Kids Adjust To The MoveMoving takes a certain amount of adjustment. Kids of all ages may need a little help getting used to the new environment. Help kids adjust to the move by keeping the following in mind. 

Kids Are Resilient

Don’t overly worry about how your kids will adjust to the move. Kids are resilient. They tend to acclimate to new situations fairly quickly. It may even be that your kids get used to the move before you do!

Make Friends With Other Parents

You could facilitate your kids’ making new friends by making friends with parents of kids the same age as your child. To do this, attend any school functions and meetings that come up. Make a point of seeking out other parents and perhaps inviting them and their kids over to your house for lunch.

Add Bonuses To The Move

Help get your kids excited about the move by adding some bonuses they didn’t have before. Has your daughter always wanted to take ballerina lessons? Has your son always wanted to try horseback riding? Consider paying for some local lessons in your new area. This will incentivize your child and help them see how moving is a beginning, not an end.

Cut Them Some Slack

In the beginning, your child’s grades may slip at their new school. Be patient and allow them this period of adjustment until they get used to the new routines. Your child may also undergo some mood changes after the move. Let them know that you’re ready to listen whenever they want to talk about what they’re feeling about the move.

Help Them Fit In

Fitting in is very important for most kids. At their new school, kids will likely be into different things than at your child’s previous school. Even the trendy fashion may be different. Do what you can to help your child fit in with a few new outfits or a different style of shoes. Although you know how little material things matter in life, these things can make a huge difference in how comfortable your child feels as school.

Let Them Help

One reason kids feel afraid about moving is the lack of control. When you let kids help with the move, they regain some control. Let kids help with choosing new furnishings, packing belongings or other small tasks.

It’s likely that one reason you’re moving is for better opportunities for you and your children. Once your kids adjust to the move, you’ll be able to see for yourself how they are thriving in the new environment. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

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Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next Year?

Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next YearDon’t panic, a looming recession may be good news for those wanting to sell their homes. The experts say this recession may happen in 2020, so there is still plenty of time to make plans for how to deal with a potential economic downturn.

In many parts of America, especially in popular cities, the real estate markets are super hot for sellers. Home sales are coming in at prices that are record highs. For sellers in these hot markets, it might be time to sell. For buyers, able to wait until next year, the prices may come down.

What The ‘Experts’ Say

A Pulsenomics survey of 100 real estate market experts says that the pressures on the economy, which are negative, are not coming from the housing market this time. In fact, the Federal Reserve announced it will not make any changes until 2021, so the financial market supporting home loans will be coasting along pretty much as it is now.

The damage to the U.S. economy is coming from the delayed effects of the tariffs. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the tariffs is not the issue. The tariff changes that already went into effect, will have an economic impact next year or the year after.

Economists use the analogy of observing a big, slow-moving tidal wave. Scientists can see it coming from miles away. If those potentially affected by the danger pay attention to the warnings soon enough, they may have a chance to get out of the way.

Half the experts see the tariffs having a significant impact in 2020. Most of the other half see it coming in 2021. Nobody thinks the recession will hit before the end of 2019.

Summer 2019 – Selling Time

Home sales toward the end of summer are usually the strongest when compared to other times of the year. After returning from vacation, and before school starts, it is a popular time to look for a home when the weather is still nice outside.

Next Year 2020 – Buying Time

If a recession hits in 2020, then home sales prices may go down due to lowered demand. Again, this may be helpful for buyers who wait until next year to buy a home.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see that any possible recession will not be caused by the housing market this time. Real estate experts think that the housing market will price-in the effect of the recession up to one year ahead of when it hits.

If there are plans to sell a home, such as going into retirement and wanting to downsize or buy an RV for a happy retirement traveling, now may be an opportune time to consider selling.

If there are plans to buy a home and there is no rush, just take the time to work with your real estate agent to get a good deal and wait for a possible overall economic slowdown to get a better price. And be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

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A $400,000 Profit From Flipping A Single House?

A $400,000 Profit From Flipping A Single House 1Flipping homes is popular once again. It took about eight years after the Great Recession that started in 2006 for home prices to rebound to the levels seen before the recession. Then, by 2016, in many areas, home prices started to rapidly increase.

The increases in home prices caused more flipping activity due to the potential profits. CNN reports the average gross profit on a flipped home sold during the past three years was about 50%.

In 2017, one real estate speculator took nearly one million dollars ($985,00) in cash and bought a home in an “as-is” condition, sight-unseen. That is what Mr. Lin He did, hoping to make some easy profit.

The Math

Flipping properties successfully is math with a bit of luck mixed in. Mr. He had good luck with his purchase in that it was in Malibu, California. He bought the home at a price well below its market value. The home was a foreclosure that listed for sale at $1.39 million. There were no buyers at that price, so the home went up for auction in 2017. Mr. He was the high bidder at $985,000.

That price was irresistible. Simple math meant that there was about $400,000 in potential profits between the purchase price and the value of the home, once the home was back in a nice condition.

Mr. He was very happy to buy the home for that low price. Then, he went to visit the property.

The Mess

The house was a disaster. The previous owner, who lost the house to the bank, was obviously angry about the foreclosure and intentionally broke as much as possible. The condition of this home, made the most-wrecked fixer-upper look like a palace compared to the mess bought by Mr. He.

After he saw the home in person, Mr. He admits the home was in even worse condition than he expected. On top of that, there was an extended delay caused by the local building department, which took six months to issue the building permit needed for the construction. Then, renovations cost $300,000 and the comprehensive remodeling work went on for three full months after it started.

The Result

In early 2019, the home was ready and beautifully prepared for sale with expert staging. It listed with a very successful real estate agent in the Malibu area who marketed the property well as a featured listing.

The listing price was $1.97 million, which was double the price paid by Mr. He to buy the home. In less than three weeks, it sold for the full listing price, giving Mr. He about $400,000 in gross profits after the renovation expenses.

Mr. He was very lucky that the home prices rose so quickly that he got the $400,000 profit he thought was in the deal when he bought the home, even though he had to invest $300,000 in the renovation work.

Summary

With 50% average gross returns potentially possible, flipping is attractive to many; however, as Mr. He says, “It is not as easy as it looks on television.”

If you are interested in investing in a property to flip, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

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How Important Is The Land Around A Potential Home?

How Important Is The Land Around A Potential HomeWhen viewing a potential home, how much consideration should you give to the surrounding land?

In many ways, the land should be carefully regarded, since land is the thing that is hardest to alter. You can rip up carpet, paint walls and even knock down walls, but it takes a lot more effort to change land. 

Mature Landscaping 

Mature landscaping is typically cited as a benefit, but what if you’re the type who enjoys looking out at wide open spaces? It could also be that the mature landscaping – older trees – are situated dangerously near the house.

Weakened trees could lose heavy branches in storms and cause damage your roof. Mature trees also have vast root systems that can damage or destroy septic lines.

Downward Slope

It’s charming to stand at the top of the street and look down upon your future home. In the winter, your kids could have a front yard sledding hill. But if torrential rains come, your valley home will likely be prone to flooding. Even if you’re not in a designated flood zone, you should probably carry flood insurance in a case like this.

Upward Slope

Everyone envies the owner who lives atop the hill. Your home will look impressive to anyone passing by. But bear in mind that the lawn mowing will be especially tricky because you’ll be navigating that steep slant in your landscaping. 

Rocky Lawn

If you’re looking forward to starting your own home garden, pay attention to the quality of the soil surrounding your home. If it’s overly rocky, you’ll likely need to have raised beds or potted plants for your garden to thrive. Also, consider if the land around the home is very shady. If it is, you may need to remove some trees in order to capture enough sunlight for your plants.

Poor Quality Lawn

If the lawn isn’t lush green and instead it’s kind of a mottled greenish-brown, just realize that you’ll need to invest time and money to bring it back into good condition. A land treatment company can help you with this, but it will take some time before you see results.

The nature of the land around a potential home is important. But there are always steps you can take to resolve land issues. While it’s important to note the condition of the land, don’t let it stop you from making and offer on a truly awesome new home.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing you current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 12th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 12th, 2019Last week’s economic releases included readings on consumer credit, job openings and weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims.

Consumer Credit Use, Job Openings Slow in June

Consumer credit use slowed in June as credit card use lost ground. Non-revolving credit, which typically includes education and auto loans, grew at its slowest pace in three months. Mortgage loans are not included in the Federal Reserve’s report on consumer credit. Consumer credit use grew by $14.6 billion year-over-year in June as compared to May’s year-over-year reading of $16.0 billion.

Year-over-year credit use fell one percent in June to 4.30 as compared to May’s year-over-year reading of 5.30 percent. Credit card use fell by 0.10 percent in June, which suggested that consumers held off on large purchases. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said ,”households are in pretty good shape overall.” in reference to current economic conditions.

Job openings fell in June, but maintained a 15-month streak of seven million or more job openings. There were 7.35 million jobs open in June as compared to May’s reading of 7.38 million jobs open. Job openings rose in retail and real estate, but were lower in construction, leisure and hospitality categories.

Analysts said that shortages of skilled labor and fears over the effects of trade wars caused fewer hires. The trade war with China has not broken the longest period of economic growth in U.S. history, but escalation of trade disputes could further slow economic growth if trade wars aren’t resolved.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates dropped last week according to Freddie Mac. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent and were 15 basis points lower. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.05 percent and were 15 basis points lower.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages dropped ten basis points to 3.36 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent, 0.50 percent and 0.30 percent respectively.

Initial jobless claims fell last week to 209,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 217,000  first-time claims filed. Analysts expected a reading of 215,000 new jobless claims filed for last week.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on housing market conditions, housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

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