Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Leaving Personal Hygiene Items Out
A common staging tip relates to storing all personal items out of site, and the reason for this is so that home buyers can see themselves living in the home as opposed to feeling as though they are in someone else's home. However, some homeowners will leave personal hygiene items out, such as a razor, shampoo, a toothbrush and other items. These are highly personal items that can easily make a home buyer feel uncomfortable walking through the home.
Allowing Controversial Items To Be Seen
In addition, some homeowners will leave controversial items out, and these can distract a buyer, annoy them or even infuriate them if the items are controversial enough. Home buyers should feel welcome in a home and should leave without any negative feelings. Everything from posters to refrigerator magnets that may be even slightly tainted with controversy should be removed.
Leaving Valuable Items In Plain Sight
For homeowners who have some valuable possessions, it may be best to store these away or even to remove them entirely from the home. Keep in mind that buyers will be negotiating with sellers at least once and often several times during the process, and the last thing a seller wants is for the buyer to have the impression that the seller can afford to make concessions and to negotiate more freely
Keeping Closets And Cabinets Cluttered
Closets and cabinets are common storage areas that are used to hide much of the clutter that most people keep on dressers, counters and shelves when staging a home, but storing items in these areas can backfire. Buyers will open closets and cabinets to inspect storage space, and a home can appear to be lacking in storage space when these areas are cluttered.
Properly staging a home is an important step to take to prepare a home for sale. A trusted real estate agent can provide a homeowner with additional staging tips customized to his or her home. Consider setting up a consultation with your real estate professional to discuss staging ideas before listing a home on the market.
Monday, June 29, 2015
New and Existing Home Sales Exceed Expectations
According to the Commerce Department, new home sales reached 546,000 on an annual basis for May. This surpassed expectations for 525,000 new homes sold and April's revised reading of 534,000 new homes sold. Expectations were based on the original reading of 517,000 new homes sold in April.
Existing home sales rose by 5.10 percent in May to a seasonally-adjusted annual reading of 5.35 million sales and hit their highest level in five and a half years. The National Association of Realtors reported that this was the fastest pace of sales for previously-owned homes since November 2009. Expectations were based on an April's original reading of 5.04 million sales, which was later revised to 5.09 million existing homes sold.
With wages and hiring picking up, more first-time buyers are expected to enter the market. Economists said there are signs that mortgage credit is becoming more available as lenders gain confidence in stronger economic conditions. A larger supply of available homes was also cited as driving sales of previously owned homes higher
FHFA: Home Prices Show Steady Growth in May; Mortgage Rates Mixed
The Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA), the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that home prices related to mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held steady with a growth rate of 5.30 percent year-over-year reported in May. This was the same year-over-year home price growth rate that the agency posted in April.
Freddie Mac reported mixed developments for mortgage rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 4.02 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.21 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage also fell by two basis points to 2.98 percent. Average discount points were 0.70, 0.60 and 0.40 percent respectively.
Last week's economic reports ended on a high note with June's Consumer Sentiment Index reporting a reading of 96.1 as compared to expectations of 94.6 and May's reading of 94.6. All in all, last week's economic news provided further indications of stronger economic conditions that should provide the confidence to ease mortgage credit requirements and enable more first-time buyers to purchase homes
What's Ahead This week's economic reports include date on pending home sales, Case-Shiller's Home Price Index reports and construction spending. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also release the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report and National Unemployment reports. No economic news is scheduled for Friday, July 3 due to the Independence Day holiday.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Many people look forward to the long, relaxed, sunny days of summer, but they also dread opening up their energy bills throughout the summer months. Cooling a home can be costly, and many are searching for convenient ways to lower cooling costs without sacrificing on comfort inside the home on the warmest days of the year. These are just a few of the cost-effective and convenient options that can help homeowners to reduce cooling costs throughout the summer.
Keep The Blinds Closed
A significant amount of heat can enter a home through the windows, and blinds and curtains provide an extra layer of insulation between the window glass and the interior of the home. Some types of blinds and curtains are more effective at blocking heat than others, and homeowners may consider making an upgrade for the best results. For example, wood blinds can block significantly more heat than thin, almost translucent sheers.
Run The Ceiling Fans
Another way to keep cooling costs lower throughout the summer months is to run ceiling fans regularly. Ceiling fans help to circulate the air, and this helps the central cooling system function more efficiently. In addition, ceiling fans also can make those who are in the room feel cooler, and this may mean that homeowners can keep the home's thermostat set at a slightly higher level than it otherwise would need to be set at for comfort indoors.
Use Heat-Generating Features At Night
There are numerous appliances and types of equipment that may be used indoors throughout the summer that can generate a considerable amount of heat, and running these at night can reduce the need to run the central cooling system as much during warm days. Consider that everything from running the washing machine and dryer to using the dishwasher and oven or range can emit heat in the home, and these serve to counteract the work that the cooling system is doing. When possible, limit the use of these features to cooler nighttime hours.
Keeping the home cool throughout the summer is a top priority for most, and the good news is that there are easy ways to reduce the cost associated with keeping a home cool. These ideas all can be beneficial in a homeowner's quest to reduce energy costs during the summer.
If your current home is a real energy hog and you are ready to move into a more energy efficant option, make sure to speak with your trusted real estate professional for a look at newer energy efficant homes in your area.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Focus On Storage Space
There are few things that can make home life more miserable in the coming years than a lack of storage space. When a large family does not have adequate storage space in closets, the attic, the garage and cabinets, their items will likely find a home on the counters, on the floor and in other undesirable locations. Home buyers can consider looking for a home that has more storage space than is needed right now to ensure that the new home can accommodate growing needs over the years
Think About Function Over Size
Many people who are looking for a new home will focus on finding a home that has a specific minimum square footage or a minimum number of bedrooms, but function is generally more important. For example, if a home has bar-style seating at the kitchen counter, the family may not need as large of a breakfast room to accommodate its needs. The family may also get more use out of a home that has a second living area, such as a game room, rather than a formal dining room that may rarely be used.
Choose The Right Floor Plan
In addition, consider reviewing the floor plan of the home carefully. Many prefer to have the kids' rooms away from the master room, a study placed away from the kids' game room or an open area where the kitchen and family room are connected so that a parent can oversee the kids while making meals. Home buyers should consider how they live and their likes and dislikes about their current space to determine which floor plan is best for them.
Deciding which home to purchase is rarely easy to do, but your trusted real estate professional can assist home buyers with this process. Those who are searching for a new home for a large or growing family can call their local real estate agent for further assistance.
The Perfect Place For Relaxation And Entertainment
Many homes provide ample space for basic living, but they often lack an extra space that is well-suited for personal relaxation and for entertaining family and friends. An in-ground swimming pool can enhance a backyard area and can create the ideal space for everything from spending quiet, lazy afternoons alone to hosting a backyard get-together with family and friends. This can be a true extension of the home that improves its functionality in a number of ways.
Beautification For The Backyard
More than that, a backyard swimming pool can beautify the yard tremendously. This is a feature that enhances ambiance as well as function through its tranquil, serene water and the general décor of the pool itself. While additional landscaping can be improved around the pool, the pool itself can create a luxurious, relaxing look to a backyard.
Enhanced Appeal When Selling The Home
A trusted real estate professional will likely tell the average homeowner that a swimming pool will not have a direct impact on property value, but it can improve desirability. Some home buyers may not want a pool, but many will choose a home that has a swimming pool over one that does not have one in a head to head comparison. Therefore, a swimming pool installation project now may give a property enhanced appeal later when the homeowner decides to sell it.
There may be a number of different home improvement projects for homeowners to consider completing this summer, but many will want to place the installation of a backyard swimming pool at the top of their list. With so many benefits associated with having an in-ground pool, this is an option that most homeowners should take a closer look at. Those who want to learn more about how an in-ground pool can improve their property's value or re-sale appeal can speak with their trusted real estate professional.
Clean Up The Back And Front Yards
Young families may spend as much time focusing on the interior of the home as the exterior of the home. While a real estate agent may have made suggestions for sprucing up curb appeal in general, making the area kid-safe and friendly is also a smart idea. Remove any dangerous areas that may be concerning to parents of young kids, and define play areas in the backyard or show off how much space there is for kids to run and play.
Define Family Areas
Inside the home, spend ample time staging family or communal areas, such as the family room, game room and kitchen. Adding a few kid-friendly features to stage these areas can go a long way toward appealing to young families, and one idea is to add kid-sized sitting chairs in the family room. Parents should be able to envision themselves as well as their kids living in the space when an area has been properly staged.
Make The Space Safe And Tidy Young parents are finely attuned to the dangers all around them, and some may instantly and actively seek out danger areas in the homes they tour. This can distract them from focusing on the many wonderful benefits and attributes of the home itself, so removing these distractions is imperative. Remove sharp objects, glass table tops, small choking hazards and more throughout the home so that parents with young children can feel more at home in the space.
While other basic staging steps should also be taken when preparing to list a home on the market, these are steps that can help a seller create a family-friendly ambiance that appeals to home buyers who have young children or who may be planning to have children soon. For those who need more information about selling their home or who want personalized staging advice, contact your trusted real estate agent for a consultation.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Last week's economic news included National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo (NAHB) Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on Housing Starts and Building Permits, the post-meeting statement of the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and Fed Chair Janet Yellen's scheduled press conference.
NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Hits 9 Month High
Home builder confidence in housing market conditions is growing in spite of a planned merger between two builders and related cost-cutting efforts. According to the NAHB's the home builder index posted a reading of 59 in June as compared to an expected reading of 55 and May's reading of 54. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are confident about housing markets than those who are not. June's reading was the 12th consecutive month for readings above 50.
The NAHB index is composed of three assessments of market conditions. The reading for current market conditions was seven points higher at 65; builder confidence in current market conditions rose by 6 points for a reading of 69 and the reading for buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose five points to a reading of 44.
Regional results for builder confidence were also positive, with three of four regions posting gains in the three-month rolling average of builder confidence. The South posted a gain of three points to a reading of 60; the Northeast region also gained three points for a reading of 44. The West gained two points for a reading of 57 and the Midwest's reading dropped by one point to 54.
Housing Starts Drop, Building Permits Increase
According to the Commerce Department, Housing starts fell in May while building permits rose. The reading of 1.04 million housing starts was lower than the expected number of 1.08 million starts and April's reading of 1.17 million housing starts. Analysts note that apartment construction is heating up as fewer families are buying homes. Tight lending standards and concerns about stable job markets continue to keep would-be home buyers from buying homes.
Building permits in May rose from April's reading of 1.14 million to 1.28 million permits issued. This report includes all types of building permits. David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders noted that the demand for rental units in large metro areas was fueling the pace of permits for multi-family housing.
Fed: No Date Set for Rate Hike; Analysts Predict Rate to Rise in Fall
The Federal Reserve's FOMC statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen's press conference did not provide a date for raising the target federal funds rate, but suggested that most members approved of a rate hike before year-end. While Chair Yellen characterized a rate hike as positive in terms of providing better yields on savings accounts, a rate hike would also lead to higher rates for consumer loans and mortgages.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Lower
Weekly jobless claims fell to 267,000 new claims filed, a reading much lower than expectations of 275,000 new claims filed and the prior week's reading of 279,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts said that the lower reading indicates a healthier labor market.
Mortgage rates fell across the board last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 4.00 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by two basis points to 3.23 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped one basis point to an average rate of 3.01 percent. Average discount points were 0.70 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, 0.50 percent for a 15 year mortgage and 0.04 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage.
This week's scheduled economic news includes reports on new and existing home sales and FHFA's monthly home price report. Reports on consumer spending and consumer sentiment will also be released along with Freddie Mac's mortgage rates survey and weekly jobless claims.
Friday, June 19, 2015
House fires can break out for a wide range of reasons, and these include everything from grease fires while cooking in the kitchen to lightning striking the home. They can cause a significant amount of property damage as well as personal injury or even loss of life, so preventing them and knowing how to properly respond if a fire does break out are important. Whether buying a new home or residing in an existing home, everyone can benefit from learning more about fire safety rules.
Have An Exit Strategy
Fires can break out whether residents are awake in the living room or kitchen, taking a bath or sleeping in the bedrooms. It is important to have a fire exit strategy for every floor of the home and every room of the home. In addition, it is equally important that all residents in the home understand the strategies and know how to get out.
Invest In Fire Safety Ladders
Fire safety ladders are designed to give residents a safe escape route from second story windows, and they should be placed in a convenient location in every second floor room in the home. Residents should know how to attach them securely to the window as well as how to get down the ladder safely.
Purchase A Fire Extinguisher
Generally, it is safer for residents to get out of the home in the event of a fire rather than to attempt to put the fire out, and personal safety should also come before thoughts about saving the property. However, in the event a very small fire has broken out, a fire extinguisher can provide a homeowner with a safe way to put the fire out. It is best to keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location on each floor of the home.
Place Fire Detectors In Strategic Locations
There are codes regarding the placement of fire detectors in a home, and your trusted real estate agent can provideyou with more information about this. In many cases, homeowners may benefit from having additional fire detectors placed in strategic locations throughout the home in addition to the locations required by code.
Check Fire Safety Equipment Regularly
Fire safety and prevention equipment is only useful if it works, so it is important to test the equipment and supplies regularly. For example, a homeowner may test the batteries in a fire detector monthly and may take extinguishers to the local fire department for testing annually. These steps will help to ensure that residents have access to functional safety equipment regularly.
Residents should also know what to do if a fire breaks out in a home, and in most cases, the answer is to get out of the home quickly and to call the fire department. Attempts to save personal belongings should not be made, and all residents should know where the family will meet outside of the home in the event of a fire. Those who want to learn more about safety features in a home or about the required placement of smoke detectors can contact your trusted real estate professional for further assistance.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve did not move to increase the Fed's target federal funds rate, which is currently 0.00 to 0.250 percent. Although the committee acknowledged further progress toward achieving the Federal Reserve's dual goal of maximum employment and an inflation rate of two percent, committee members indicated that they want to see further improvements in both areas before raising the federal funds rate.
In its customary post meeting statement, the FOMC said that it may not raise rates when both goals have been achieved. This statement may have been meant to calm ongoing speculation that the Fed will soon raise rates. The statement also said that FOMC members may "elect to keep the target federal funds rate below levels the committee considers normal in the longer term." This stance suggests that the Fed wants to be very sure that economic improvement is on a solid track before it raises rates.
The statement further indicated that the FOMC is not completely influenced by the Fed's goals of maximum employment and two percent inflation; instead, the committee said that it will consider ongoing domestic and global news and economic reports along with readings on financial and economic developments as part of its decision to raise or not raise the target federal funds rate.
Analyst reactions to the decision not to raise rates suggests that the Fed is likely to raise rates at its September meeting and possibly again in December.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen's Press Conference
Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a scheduled press conference after the FOMC statement was issued and answered questions on a variety of topics. Ms. Yellen noted that retiring baby boomers are expected to take up slack in employment lags; as boomers retire, they drop out of the work force and reduce the number of people actively seeking employment.
Ms. Yellen also noted that when the Fed does raise rates, seniors and retirees could benefit from higher yields on savings.
In response to questions about when the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate, the Fed Chair said that the Fed has not decided when to raise rates and said that unfolding economic developments would play a role when the Fed does decide to raise rates.
Ms. Yellen encouraged emphasis on when the Fed will make its first rate hike. She recommended focusing on "the entire trajectory" of rate increases, which some analysts took to mean don't panic about the first rate increase.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Many people make the decision to move from the country or the suburbs into the heart of the downtown area for a number of reasons, such as to enjoy proximity to work or to enjoy the urban lifestyle. With the higher cost of real estate in central urban areas and with real estate space at a premium, many who make the decision to relocate will need to downsize from a larger house to a smaller condo or apartment. While this can be challenging, it can be accomplished by following a few steps.
Choose The Right Pieces To Keep
When downsizing from a larger house to a smaller apartment or condo, it is often necessary to get rid of some furnishings. It is important to select furnishings that are best suited for the size of the new space as well as the individual's needs. Items that will not have a place in the new home can be donated, stored in a storage unit or given to a family member or friend.
Think About Storage
When living space is downgraded, storage of everything from dishes to linens and clothing becomes a concern. Storage features in downtown apartments and condos is often minimal, and this means that those moving into these units may need to invest in special storage features. For example, storage bins that can slide under the bed, pull-out features for kitchen cabinets and various other types of storage features can all be put to use to improve organization and to maximize the limited amount of space available in the property.
Get Back To The Basics
While storage features can be useful, the fact is that most people who are making this transition will need to get rid of some of their items or store them in a storage unit. A smart idea is to consider only the basic items that are truly necessary for living as a first step. If space permits, additional luxury items can be added to the space provided there is room in the apartment or condo.
Downgrading from a larger home to a smaller living space can be frustrating and stressful, but eliminating the unnecessary items and improving storage and organization can go a long way toward streamlining this process. Those who are searching for a new place to live in the city can request personal assistance from their trusted real estate professional.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Finding the perfect home to purchase is easier said than done, and savvy home buyers understand the importance of researching the neighborhood as well as the home. All home buyers have unique things that they are looking for in an ideal neighborhood, and these factors will play a major role in how enjoyable a homeowner's living experience is. Those who are shopping for a new home this summer may focus on a few points to find the perfect neighborhood to live in before deciding which home to purchase in that community.
Get A Feel For The Ambiance And Energy Of the Neighborhood
Some home buyers want to find a lovely home in a quiet, mature community. Others may be searching for an active community with kids playing freely in their yards and people taking walks of jogging in their free time. Home buyers can get a great feel for the ambiance and energy of the neighborhood by driving around at different times of the day during the week as well as on the weekend.
Look At Neighborhood Amenities
The amenities in the neighborhood are important for many home buyers, and you can easily research amenities by driving through the area. Look for everything from a fitness center and community swimming pool to parks and hike and bike trails. Home buyers may research this aspect of the neighborhood further online to determine if the neighborhood regularly hosts community events or special activities.
Focus On Security
Security is a top concern for home buyers, and it is possible to research crime rates online or with assistance from a real estate agent. However, home buyers can also gauge the general feeling of security that residents have by looking for home security features on various homes in the community and by paying attention to how many people are outdoors on nice weather days. Many will find comfort in selecting a neighborhood where the residents feel safe and secure on a daily basis.
A primary factor to take into consideration when buying a home is its location. While the area of town is important to consider, the neighborhood is a more localized environment that will have a greater impact on a homeowner's living experience. Those who are in the market to purchase a new home can begin researching neighborhoods with the assistance of your trusted real estate agent.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Retail Sales, Consumer Confidence Up
Retail sales rose for the third consecutive month. May sales increased at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.20 percent according to Commerce Department data. Auto and gasoline sales led the charge to higher retail sales, but analysts said that most retail sectors posted gains. Upward revisions of March and April's retail sales provided evidence of stronger economic conditions.
Consumer sentiment jumped nearly four points from May's reading of 90.7 to 94.6 in June. This appears to be great news compared to the year before the recession, when consumer sentiment averaged a reading of 86.9.
Weekly Jobless Claims, Mortgage Rates
Weekly jobless claims rose last week and were also higher than expected. 279,000 new jobless claims were filed against an expected reading of 275,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 277,000 new jobless claims. This was the fourteenth consecutive week that new jobless claims remained below 300,000, an accomplishment that hasn't occurred in 15 years.
Mortgage rates rose sharply last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumped from 3.87 percent to 4.04 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 2.08 percent to 3.25 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage increased by five basis points from 2.96 percent 3.01 percent. Average readings for discount points were 0.60 percent for 30 and 15 year mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Higher mortgage rates may sideline some home buyers as they wait to see if rates will drop or are priced out of the market. Expectations that the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate this fall may be fueling higher rates.
Next week's economic news schedule includes more housing-related readings. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, the Commerce Department's reports on Housing Starts and Building Permits along with the weekly reports on new Jobless Claims and Freddie Mac's mortgage reports are set for release. On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will release its post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will also give a press conference. These events are important as they may shed light on the Fed's intentions for raising rates. When the Fed raises the target federal funds rate, mortgage rates and interest rates for consumer credit are expected to rise as well.
Friday, June 12, 2015
It can be frustrating to deal with dead zones with your wireless and cellular coverage while you are out and about. However, overcoming dead zones in public areas may be as simple as relocating to a different area in a building or walking to a new location. Dead zones may also be present in residential homes and apartment buildings. If you have a dead zone in your home, this issue can easily cause you considerable frustration on a daily basis, and you may be wondering what steps you can take to overcome the problem.
Invest in a Better Router
If your router is not hard-wired and receives a wireless signal, it can be difficult to connect to the Internet or to use your mobile devices in your home. Your router may not be strong enough to pick up a wireless signal, and you may benefit from investing in a better router. You may also consider repositioning your router or placing it in another location of your home. For example, you may get a better signal when you place it near a window on one side of the home rather than in the middle of the home.
Purchase a Wireless Repeater
Another idea is to invest in a wireless repeater. This is a special product that is designed to pick up weak signals and to magnify, strengthen and expand them. A repeater can give you far superior coverage inside your home, but keep in mind that there does need to be at least a small signal available for it to pick up. If your carrier or service provider does not offer coverage over your home area, this will not be a suitable option for you.
Think About a Wired Connection
Another idea is to consider a wired connection. Your goal is to bring the wireless signal into the home, and you may be able to do this through cable. Then, your router can give you wireless coverage inside the home through the hard-wired connection.
Nobody wants to deal with dead zones inside their home. After all, most people will use a wireless connection numerous times a day from morning until bedtime, and you want to enjoy this convenience inside your home. When you are dealing with a dead zone, you can consider following some of these tips to see an improvement in your coverage or signal strength. If these ideas do not work, you can always reach out to your service provider for additional assistance and support.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Create A Cash Flow Sheet
Buyers who are searching for a rental or investment property are looking for a return on their investment in most cases, and they also may want to see how large of a down payment is needed in order for the property to realistically turn a profit. A real estate agent can work with a property owner to create a cash flow sheet that details all of this information for a buyer.
Show Comparable Rental Properties
A real estate agent can also research comparable rental data to help a property owner determine what a realistic rental rate may be. Property buyers want to know that the information provided to them in the cash flow sheet is realistic, and comparable rental data can give buyers the details they are looking for. More than that, this information may also show the average number of days similar properties stay on the market for rent and how many similar properties are available for rent in the vicinity.
Appeal To Agents Specializing In Real Estate Investments
Some real estate agents specialize in assisting investor clients, and some have standing clients that they actively seek great properties for. A skilled real estate agent may announce the listing to these agents so that they can bring the property to the attention of their clients. This focused marketing effort can yield considerable returns, but the real estate agent generally must take the initiative to contact these agents.
Some properties may be marketed as family homes or vacation homes, but others are well-suited for being rental or investment properties. Homeowners who are preparing to sell their home can work with a real estate agent to learn more about who their target audience is and how to market specifically for them. Those who are interested in learning more about how to sell their home quickly can set up a consultation with their trusted real estate professional.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
When The Property Has Been On The Market For A While
Most homeowners will learn about the average listing time for similar properties in the market through their trusted real estate agent, but some homes will remain on the market for longer than average. When this happens, a homeowner may begin to get concerned, and the real estate agent may even bring up the idea of reducing the asking price. When an offer is received below asking price in this situation, a homeowner may need to consider the offer.
When There Is A Question About Property Style Or Condition
There are many factors that will play a role in the desirability of a property in the marketplace, and some of these factors relate to the property style and condition. Some similar homes in the local area may be selling more quickly or for a higher price than others due to better overall condition or improved style. If the homeowner has concerns about this or if the real estate agent or others who have toured the property have voiced concerns about style or condition, accepting an offer below asking price may need to be considered
When The Homeowner Needs To Sell Quickly
Even if property has not been listed on the market for a long period of time or the property style and condition are desirable, the owner may consider accepting the first offer received regardless of the asking price in some cases. For example, a homeowner may need to sell the property quickly due to financial issues, because of a job relocation or to take advantage of other financial opportunities. Unless the offer is unreasonable, the homeowner may consider accepting a lower bid in these situations.
Homeowners often wonder if they should wait for a higher bid or accept the offer that has been presented to them. Each situation is unique, so there is not a catch-all answer to this question. Those who are thinking about selling their home in the near future can contact their trusted real estate professional for further assistance.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The properties that are located next to the home for sale are critical to the property value. For example, a home that is located next to a park or a beautifully maintained home may have more appeal than a home located next to a strip center or a gas station. Even with homes that are located just a block or two apart, this difference in adjacent properties can have a dramatic impact on properties values.
When a home is located in an unsafe area or an area that is riddled with crime, safety concerns can lower property values. Many home buyers will review crime statistics about a location before making a buying decision, and high crime areas are far less appealing to buyers. Properties are ultimately only worth what someone will pay for them, and buyers may overwhelming opt to purchase homes in safer locations unless the sales price is lowered.
Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic
There are some advantages to being in an area with heavy vehicular or pedestrian traffic, such as if you live in an urban area and are searching for a property that offers this lifestyle. When a home is located in heavily trafficked areas in a suburban or rural location where a quieter way of life is desired, these can be drawbacks that impact the selling price. If one home is located on a busy street corner and another similar home is located a few blocks away removed from traffic, the home with a more desirable location will typically have a higher selling price.
Desirability is often directly related to property location, and homes in more desirable locations will therefore have a higher selling price than those in an undesirable location. For those who are thinking about selling a property soon and who want to learn more about its value, a consultation with your trusted real estate agent can provide you with helpful information.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Construction Spending Jumps
The Commerce Department reported that construction spending reached its fastest annual pace since November 2008. Most of the momentum was caused by construction of apartments, commercial projects and roads, and construction of single family homes. Builders spent 2.20 percent more in April than they did in March, which equated to an annual outlay of $1.01 trillion for all types of construction spending. Analysts said that increased spending in construction indicated that the housing sector could see improvement as construction provides more jobs.
Mortgage Rates Mixed
Freddie Mac's weekly survey of mortgage rates reported that average mortgage rates were mixed last week. Average rates were reported as follows: 30-year fixed rates were unchanged at 3.87 percent with discount points also unchanged at 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 3.11 percent to 3.08 percent with discount points unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by six basis points to 2.96 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.50 percent.
Employment Reports Suggest Stronger Labor Market
Several labor-related reports released last week suggest that job markets are gaining strength as they continue to improve. ADP, a private-sector payrolls company, reported 201,000 new jobs in May against April's reading of 165,000 new jobs. The Labor Department released its Nonfarm Payrolls report for May and reported 280,000 new jobs against expectations of 210,000 new jobs and April's reading of 221,000 new jobs.
Average hourly wages rose by 0.30 percent and surpassed expectations of a 0.20 percent increase and April's reading of 0.10 percent. Although incremental, this suggests that labor markets are strengthening to a point where employers are comfortable with increasing wages.
Weekly Jobless claims were reported at 276,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 278,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 284,000 new jobless claims filed. The national unemployment rate for May ticked up to 5.50 percent from the prior month's reading of 5.40 percent, but this reading remains below the Federal Reserve's original benchmark of 6.50 percent for potentially raising the target federal funds rate. The Fed has not moved to change the rate, but analysts expect that this could occur by Fall if economic conditions hold steady.
Next week's scheduled economic reports include job openings, retail sales, consumer sentiment along with the usual weekly reports on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims.
Friday, June 5, 2015
One of the easiest factors for you to research about different school districts and individual schools is achievement data. This may include the percentage of students graduating high school versus dropping out, the enrollment percentage for college, SAT and ACT scores and other relevant data. This is typically published online, or a call to the district's office may provide you with the information.
Student to Teacher Ratio
The student to teacher ratio can vary drastically between school districts. This will impact how much personal attention your child receives as well as how crowded the classrooms are. Generally, the lower the number, the better overall experience your child may receive.
A Safe Location
The last thing you may want is for your child to be exposed to safety issues or to feel threatened or intimidated in school or while getting to or from school every day. You can research crime statistics online for the area surrounding the schools, and you can visit the school personally to visibly inspect the area.
The school age years are a time for kids to experience many new things. Everything from a drama and art club to a wide range of sports can benefit kids. Consider reviewing extracurricular activities available for younger and older students alike so that you can get a better idea for the experiences that a child may have outside of the classroom.
A Positive Environment
A final important factor to consider is the environment in the school. You will need to set up a tour of the school to experience this yourself. The staff members and students should be happy and positive. Remember that this is a place where your child may spend many long hours each day.
Where you choose to live will impact what school your child attends. Therefore, it is important to review the schools carefully before you make a final buying decision for a new home.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
What Is an Escalation Clause?
It can take a considerable amount of effort and time on your part to locate the perfect home to purchase, and the last thing you may want to do is to lose the home that you have fallen in love with during a bidding war with another buyer. However, you also do not want to make an offer that is so high that it is not attractive or beneficial to you. Ideally, you want to get your dream home at the lowest price possible.
An escalation clause essentially permits you to make an offer, but it has a built in option for a higher offer that will go into effect if the seller receives an offer higher than what you have offered. Essentially, it serves as an immediate response to a second offer to protect you in the event you are involved in a bidding war.
How to Use an Escalation Clause
An escalation clause can be highly beneficial, but you do need to understand how to use it. First, your initial offer should be competitive enough so that the seller shows interest in it. Second, your escalation clause offer should serve as your maximum offer. This offer ideally will remain in the limits of the market value of the home. It also should still be affordable for you to purchase. If you are not comfortable making a higher offer or if your higher offer would price it out of market value range, you may consider not using the escalation clause.
The ability to automatically raise your offer with an escalation clause can be beneficial when this clause is used properly. You can speak with your agent more about the interest in the home by other buyers as well as the overall market conditions to determine if using an escalation clause would be beneficial for you when you are structuring an offer to present to a seller.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
You can employ a few different tips and techniques to save money for a down payment more quickly, and these are some of the options that others have successfully used to save money for their home purchase.
Make Saving Automatic
One idea that works well for many people is to make saving for your new home automatic. This may be as simple as scheduling a regular draft or transfer from your checking account when your paycheck is deposited into your savings account. Some employers may even facilitate this process by contributing some of your funds into a savings account on your behalf. With this option, the money would go directly into your savings account without you having a chance to spend it.
Take Advantage of Retirement Accounts
If your employer provides you with the option of investing in an employer-sponsored retirement account, you should take advantage of this option. Many will offer a dollar-for-dollar matching program, and this may essentially double the amount of money that is saved in the account.
More than that, the funds from many retirement accounts may be withdrawn without penalty if they are used for a first-time home purchase. There are some rules and regulations regarding this, so you should research this option more thoroughly.
These are among the two best options for saving money for a down payment for your first home purchase. There are other ideas that you can consider as well. For example, you may borrow from a whole life insurance policy, obtain a gift from a family member or even sell some of your personal belongings that you no longer need or use. When you combine many of these ideas together, you may be surprised how quickly your down payment fund can grow.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The Legal Forms Used With A Typical Transaction
The majority of real estate contracts will be written using standard legal forms. These are legally binding forms with clauses that protect buyers and sellers alike. While they are standard forms, you do want to read the forms in their entirety and understand your obligations before signing the contract. Keep in mind that you are not required to use these forms, and you can request an attorney to prepare a separate contract for you. However, these are commonly used forms that real estate agents typically will use.
The Services Of A Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is not a legal professional, and your agent likely will not be licensed to practice law in the state. However, the agent can explain your obligations with a standard contract so that you have a better understanding about what you are committed to. Your real estate agent may refer you to a real estate attorney if you require a special contract to be drawn up or if you are not comfortable with different clauses in the standard forms.
When Special Situations Arise
The standard real estate contracts will typically be feasible for use with most transactions, but there are special situations that may arise from time to time. For example, you may only want to purchase a portion of a large estate. While the seller would need to subdivided, your attorney would need to review special documents to ensure the transaction is legal. Perhaps you want to purchase real estate in a corporation or under another entity, or you want to protect your rights when purchasing property with a partner who you are not legally married to.
While real estate agents are not legal professionals, they are able to prepare standard contract forms for you and explain them to you. Because of this, many people will not need to pay for additional legal services, but each situation is unique. When you speak with your trusted real estate agent about your upcoming purchase, he or she can help you to learn more about services an attorney may provide that the agent is not able to.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Home Prices Dip in March, Pending Home Sales U
According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Housing Market Index, the national reading for average home prices dipped in March. The 20-City Index moved from February's year-over-year home price growth of 4.20 percent to an average year-over-year home price growth rate of 4.10 percent in March. San Francisco, California reclaimed the top spot for home price growth of 10.30 percent year-over-year.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported results that mirrored the Case-Shiller report. The FHFA House Price Index tracks purchase-only transactions for homes connected with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The March reading for home price growth slipped to 5.20 percent year-over-year as compared to February's reading year-over-year growth rate of 5.50 percent. Lingering winter weather conditions were seen as a contributing factor to lagging home prices.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department provided some good news for pending home sales. April's pending sales reading increased to 3.40 percent from the March reading of 1.20 percent. Pending home sales are considered an indicator of future closings and suggest that the peak home selling and buying season is gaining momentum.
Sales of new homes in April brought spring home sales to their highest level in seven years. New home sales rose to an annual rate of 517,000 homes sold in April as compared to expected sales of 490,000 new homes sold and March's reading of 484,000 new homes sold. The Midwest led the charge where new home sales surged by 36.80 percent. The latest readings for pending and new home sales suggest that 2015 can expect a healthy sales activity during the spring and summer.
Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise
Average mortgage rates rose last week according to Freddie Mac. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by three basis points to 3.87 percent; discount points dropped from 0.70 percent to 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by six basis points to 3.11 percent with discount points lower at 0.50 percent than the previous week's average of 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 2.90 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent.
Weekly jobless claims rose to 282,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 270,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 275,000 new claims filed. In spite of the higher reading for new jobless claims, analysts said that layoffs are few and far between. New jobless claims hit their highest level in five weeks, but remain close to a 15-year low. The four-week rolling average of jobless claims increased by 5000 new claims to a reading of 271,500 new jobless claims filed. The four-week average is considered a more reliable source for tracking unemployment trends as it evens out highs and lows that occur in weekly readings.
This week's economic reports include Construction spending and several labor-related news topics including Non-Farm Payrolls, the National Unemployment Rate and Average Hourly Earnings. Analysts expect improving labor conditions to further bolster housing markets.