Home Buying in Six Steps

by Team Member 7. October 2014 09:49

The home-buying process can seem daunting to potential homebuyers, but a qualified real estate professional who understands the entire process can help ease many of these worries. Be prepared with these useful tips - http://buff.ly/1x9dWtL




Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Agents

5 Reasons to Sell BEFORE Winter Hits

by Team Member 22. September 2014 11:19
People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every Fall. We ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year round weather or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait. If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to do it now versus the dead of winter. Click here to read more: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/09/03/5-reasons-to-sell-before-winter-hits/?utm_content=buffer0014b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer


General | Selling Your Home

Millennials and the American Dream

by Team Member 18. September 2014 11:34

by  on September 16, 2014

In the next five years, 8.3 million new millennial (Gen Y) households will form. It is predicted that millennials will spend $1.6 trillion on home purchases and $600 billion on rent. The generation is optimistic: 79% expect their financial situation to improve and 74% expect to move within the next five years.

Read more here: http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/09/16/millennials-and-the-american-dream/#sf4672543


Buying A Home | General | Research

5 Best Ways to Research Your Property History

by Team Member 8. September 2014 13:26


Property history research gives you a picture of how the history of your property developed through the years. The history may purely serve to staunch your curiosity.

But you may also learn why some things were built as they were and—potentially—learn more information to help you fix or update your home.

If you’re embarking on a remodel, for example, you’ll need to understand the genesis of your home, how it was built and possibly added on to, and what might lie behind the walls or under the carpeting.

Plus, sometimes it’s just fun to know the provenance of your abode. You can start by asking your REALTOR®, and if you want to go deeper into the property history, there are these resources as well.

Click here to read about the various research methods: http://www.realtor.com/advice/5-best-ways-research-your-property-history/?sf4186933=1


Buying A Home | General

July Existing Home Sales Data Release

by Team Member 2. September 2014 12:35

It's easy to see the value of an open house. REALTORS® and homeowners who think outside the box can increase the number of prospective buyers who see the home. Here are 6 creative open house ideas to sell homes fast:

  • Last week, NAR released a summary of existing home sales data, showing that July’s existing home sales continued to improve with the highest sales pace of the year.  July marks the fourth consecutive month of increased sales. Sales improved by 2.4% from last month but declined 4.3% from a year ago.
  •  The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $222,900 in July, up 4.9% percent from July 2013.
  •  All regions showed growth in prices – the Northeast had the lowest gain at 2.4% from last year. The West continues to maintain the biggest price gain  (up 6.3% from a year ago).
  • July’s inventory figures increased by 5.8% from a year ago and it will take 5.5 months to move the current level of inventory. It takes approximately 48 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market.
  • Distressed sales have hit a low point, representing a lesser portion of the homes being sold. All cash buyers are representing 20% of the home purchasing population. Price appreciation is decelerating, loans are performing well and mortgage rates are still low so there are some key positives for housing recovery.
READ MORE - http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/08/27/draft-july-existing-home-data-release/#sf4390172


Buying A Home | Research | Selling Your Home

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: July 2014 Highlights

by Team Member 25. August 2014 14:26

In July, REALTORS® continued to hold a modest assessment about the existing home sales market. REALTORS® reported an inventory uptick in some areas, but in many areas supply remained tight, especially for "lower" and "middle-priced" homes. http://bit.ly/1ttz36T



Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Future | Research

HUD Training Webinar

by Team Member 18. August 2014 18:44

Watch our HUD Training Webinar @ Platinum Realty recorded on 7/12/2014! 



General | HUD Training | Webinar

REALTORS® Expect Modest Price Growth in Next 12 Months, Based on June 2014 REALTOR® Survey

by Team Member 5. August 2014 18:32

Posted by  on July 31, 2014

REALTORS® generally expect home prices to increase in all states and the District of Columbia over the next 12 months, according to the June 2014 REALTORS® Confidence Index. The median expected price increase is 3.6 percent [1].

Expected price movements depend on local conditions relating to housing demand and supply, demographics, and job growth. Difficulties in accessing mortgage financing, and modest expectations about overall economic and job prospects are factors underpinning the modest price expectation. The expected price growth was highest in FL, TX, CA, and OR, where inventory remains tight, and where there are strong growth sectors (e.g., technology, oil) and cash sales (FL).

SOURCE: http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/31/realtors-expect-modest-price-growth-in-next-12-months-based-on-june-2014-realtor-survey/#sf3945804#sf3964415


Real Estate Future | Research

Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do It Now!

by Team Member 28. July 2014 10:38



Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. Demand is Strong

There is currently a pent-up demand of purchasers as many home buyers pushed off their search this past winter & early spring because of extreme weather. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of buyers in the market, which feel off dramatically in December, January and February, has begun to increase again over the last few months. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by the end of next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market and pricing it so it sells. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

SOURCE: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/07/21/selling-your-house-5-reasons-to-do-it-now-2/


General | Real Estate Future | Selling Your Home

Taking the Long View on Recovery

by Team Member 21. July 2014 16:21


No industry is more cyclical than the housing sector. Changes in job growth and mortgage rates can have a big impact on whether home sales rise or fall. Today, after two years of solid growth, home sales appear to be hitting a soft spot. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the recovery is over.

Compared with previous cycles, hitting a soft spot only two years into a recovery is unusual. That’s because the country’s steady population growth typically boosts demand for home sales after a  downturn. We saw this in the three housing recoveries since 1970. These recoveries were multiyear phenomena of seven, five, and 14 years (the boom).

This time, the expansion seems to be sputtering after only two years. Why? It doesn’t appear to be a lack of demand. We’ve seen a build-up of potential buyers from the creation of 2.4 million jobs over the past 12 months, as well as continuing low interest rates (4.2 percent as of early summer), and the pent-up demand from young adults living at home longer or doubling up with friends.

The difference between this and previous recoveries is on the supply side. There simply isn’t enough inventory to keep the market growing. Just to keep pace with the growing U.S. population, we would need to see about 1.5 million housing starts a year, but since the downturn, we’ve seen the construction of new homes at levels well below half that.

Fortunately, we’re starting to see more homes being listed for sale. March and April inventory levels were higher this year compared with last year, and homebuilders are increasing their activity.

To be sure, the affordability side continues to face pressure. Home prices have been rising throughout the recovery, and credit standards remain tight. But there’s good news on both fronts. As more homes come on the market, the pressure on prices should moderate, and we expect future price gains to be in line with income growth. And we see signs lenders could dial down credit standards to more normal levels, in part because of the strong performance of mortgages originated in the last few years.

Therefore, all in all, a multiyear housing market recovery is still in the works if we discount the modest slowdown for this year.

SOURCE: http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2014/07/taking-long-view-recovery#sf3767236


Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Agents | Real Estate Future

National Association of REALTORS® Existing Home Sales Report

by Team Member 16. July 2014 13:00


Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Future | Selling Your Home

Price Expectations by State in Next 12 Months

by Team Member 7. July 2014 11:21

Posted in Did You Know, by  on July 1, 2014

REALTORS® generally expect home prices to increase in all states and the District of Columbia over the next 12 months, according to the May 2014 REALTORS® Confidence Index. The median expected price increase is 4.0 percent (same as in Feb-April 2014) [1].


Expected price movements depend on local conditions relating to housing demand and supply, demographics, and job growth. The difficulty in accessing mortgage financing and modest expectations about overall economic and job prospects are factors underpinning the modest price expectation. The expected price growth was highest (red) in states with low inventory levels, strong cash sales, and strong growth sectors (e.g., technology, oil).

[1] The median expected price change is the value such that 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change above this value and 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change below this value. A median expected price change is computed for each state based on the respondents for that state. The graph shows the range of these state median expected price change. To increase sample size, the data is averaged from the last three survey months.

SOURCE: http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/01/realtors-price-expectations-by-state-in-next-12-months-based-on-may-2014-realtor-survey/#sf3511861#sf3514930


Buying A Home | Real Estate Future | Selling Your Home

Pending Home Sales Surge in May

by Team Member 30. June 2014 13:30

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2014) — Pending home sales rose sharply in May, with lower mortgage rates and increased inventory accelerating the market, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four regions of the country saw increases in pending sales, with the Northeast and West experiencing the largest gains.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 6.1 percent to 103.9 in May from 97.9 in April, but still remains 5.2 percent below May 2013 (109.6). May’s 6.1 percent increase was the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010 (9.6 percent), when first-time home buyers rushed to sign purchase contracts before a popular tax credit program ended.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, expects improving home sales in the second half of the year. “Sales should exceed an annual pace of five million homes in some of the upcoming months behind favorable mortgage rates, more inventory and improved job creation,” he said. “However, second-half sales growth won’t be enough to compensate for the sluggish first quarter and will likely fall below last year’s total.”  

Despite the positive gains in signed contracts last month, Yun cautions that affordability and access to credit is still an area of concern for first-time home buyers, who accounted for only 27 percent of existing-home sales1 in May and typically carry student loan debt and lower credit scores.

“The flourishing stock market the last few years has propelled sales in the higher price brackets, while sales for homes under $250,000 are 10 percent behind last year’s pace. Meanwhile, apartment rents are expected to rise 8 percent cumulatively over the next two years because of tight availability,” said Yun. “Solid income growth and a slight easing in underwriting standards are needed to encourage first-time buyer participation, especially as renting becomes less affordable.” 

The PHSI in the Northeast jumped 8.8 percent to 86.3 in May, and is now 0.2 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 6.3 percent to 105.4 in May, but is still 6.6 percent below May 2013.

Pending home sales in the South advanced 4.4 percent to an index of 117.0 in May, and is 2.9 percent below a year ago. The index in the West rose 7.6 percent in May to 95.4, but remains 11.1 percent below May 2013.

Yun expects existing-homes sales to be down 2.8 percent this year to 4.95 million, compared to 5.1 million sales of existing homes in 2013. The national median existing-home price is projected to grow between 5 and 6 percent this year and in the range of 4 to 5 percent in 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

SOURCE: http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/06/pending-home-sales-surge-in-may#sf3492319


Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Future

Existing-Home Sales Heat Up in May, Inventory Levels Continue to Improve

by Team Member 23. June 2014 17:13

Media Contact: Adam DeSanctis / 202-383-1178 / Email

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2014) – Existing-home sales rose strongly in May and inventory gains continued to help moderate price growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million in May from an upwardly-revised 4.66 million in April, but remain 5.0 percent below the 5.15 million-unit level in May 2013. The 4.9 percent month-over-month gain in May was the highest monthly rise since August 2011 (5.5 percent).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said current sales activity is rebounding after the lackluster first quarter. “Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year,” he said. “Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.” 

Total housing inventory2 at the end of May climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down slightly from 5.7 months in April. Unsold inventory is 6.0 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.15 million existing homes available for sale.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in May was $213,400, which is 5.1 percent above May 2013. “Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability, but the amount of homes for sale is still modestly below a balanced market. Therefore, new home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run,” Yun added.  

Earlier this month, NAR reported new home construction activity is currently insufficient in most of the U.S., and some states could face persistent housing shortages and affordability issues unless housing starts increase to match up with local job creation.

Distressed homes4 – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 11 percent of May sales, down from 18 percent in May 2013. Eight percent of May sales were foreclosures and three percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in May, while short sales were discounted 11 percent.

The percent share of first-time buyers continued to underperform, representing less than one- third of all buyers at 27 percent in May, down from 29 percent in April; they were 29 percent in April 2013.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.19 percent in May from 4.34 percent in April, and is the lowest since June 2013 (4.07 percent).

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, said housing fundamentals are showing slight improvement in markets across the country. “Many potential buyers were left on the sidelines beginning last summer as affordability declined amidst rising home prices and interest rates,” he said. “The temporary pause in rising interest rates and more homes for sale is good news – especially for first-time home buyers – who likely have a better chance in upcoming months to make a competitive offer that’s in return accepted by the seller.”

The median time on market for all homes was 47 days in May, down from 48 days in April; it was 41 days on market in May 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 125 days in May, while foreclosures typically sold in 57 days and non-distressed homes took 44 days. Forty-one percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

All-cash sales comprised 32 percent of transactions in May, unchanged from last month and down from 33 percent in May 2013. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in May, down from 18 percent in April; they were 18 percent in May 2013. Sixty-eight percent of investors paid cash in May.

Single-family home sales rose 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.30 million in May from 4.07 million in April, but remain 5.7 percent below the 4.56 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $213,600 in May, up 4.9 percent from May 2013.

Existing condominium and co-op sales remained unchanged in May from April (as well as May 2013) at an annual rate of 590,000 units. The median existing condo price was $212,300 in May, which is 6.6 percent higher than a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 620,000 in May, but are 3.1 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $256,700, down 0.9 percent from May 2013.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 8.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.13 million in May, but are still 7.4 percent below May 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $165,900, up 4.0 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 5.7 percent to an annual level of 2.05 million in May, but are down 0.5 percent from May 2013. The median price in the South was $184,800, up 4.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.09 million in May, and are 11.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $297,500, which is 8.4 percent above May 2013.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single- family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

3The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single- family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

4Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

Realtor.com®, NAR’s listing site, posts metro area median listing price and inventory data at: www.realtor.com/data-portal/Real-Estate-Statistics.aspx.

The Pending Home Sales Index for May will be released June 30, and existing-home sales for June is scheduled for July 22; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

SOURCE: http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/06/existing-home-sales-heat-up-in-may-inventory-levels-continue-to-improve#sf3402872


Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Agents | Real Estate Future

KC Makes List of Top 20 'Cool' American Cities!

by Team Member 17. June 2014 10:49

, Staff Writer- Kansas City Business Journal

Whether for living in or visiting, Kansas City ranked No. 14 in a list of America's coolest cities, organized by ranker.com. Sandwiched between fellow metros Los Angeles and Miami, Kansas City was less recognized than its neighbors but received more total up-votes.

The list of 50 cities was ranked by a combination of user votes, listings and rankings. San Francisco, New York City and Seattle sat at the top three of the list.

Of course, everyone has a different definition of "cool," and if this survey is any indication, Kansas City is most popular with the up-and-coming crowd. Among users younger than age 30, Kansas City ranked much higher, at No. 6. Users ages 30-49 ranked the city at No. 30, and those ages 50 and up ranked Kansas City at No. 18.

SOURCE: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/blog/2014/06/kansas-city-top-20-cool-american-cities.html


General | Real Estate Future

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

by Team Member 10. June 2014 06:51

by The KCM Crew on May 14, 2014

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you toward your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and Internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened in recent months due torising interest rates & home prices as the market recovers.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Not only is it important for your home to be priced correctly from the start, to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market, but you also need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home, to give you the truth as to your home’s value.

According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the Internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to, to tell you how to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” – Dave Ramsey

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.


SOURCE: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/05/14/5-reasons-to-hire-a-real-estate-professional-3/

To-Dos: Your June Home Checklist

by Team Member 3. June 2014 08:55
June is here, and it’s time to get in the swing of summer. Whether you are watching your kids say goodbye to another year of school, scheduling a major home improvement project (like painting the house), or just looking forward to some much-deserved time hanging out on the porch, these to-dos will help get your home and yard in shape so you can fully savor the months ahead.


Home Maintenance

4 Things Homebuyers Should Never Say

by Team Member 19. May 2014 13:26

By Chris Birk

You don’t need to be a world-class negotiator to nab a great deal on your dream home.


More often, it’s a matter of knowing what not to say. One errant comment or paperwork misstep can compromise your negotiating position. Playing it close to the vest around home sellers and listing agents is critical.

So is flexibility. Homebuyers who conflate wants and needs can cost themselves big time.

Here’s a look at four messages and mindsets buyers should avoid broadcasting.

1. “I’m Not Pre-Approved”

Prospective homebuyers who shop for homes before getting pre-approved can put themselves at a disadvantage from the outset.

Real estate agents and home sellers prefer strong buying candidates who are likely to make good on their purchase offer. Agents and sellers will often want to see a copy of your pre-approval letter alongside your offer. A pre-approval letter signals that a potential buyer has the credit, income and assets necessary to stir confidence in a mortgage lender.

A homebuyer without that confidence is a total wildcard. There are no guarantees when it comes to pre-approval and purchase offers, but the buyer who looks like a better bet will often reap the rewards, especially if there are competing offers.

2. “I’m Pre-Approved for This Exact Amount”

That pre-approval letter is a critical document. But what exactly it details is also incredibly important.

Homebuyers can shop with more certainty when they know how much a lender is willing to extend. But that ceiling isn’t a figure that sellers need to know. In fact, you can squander goodwill and compromise your negotiating position by including a pre-approval letter for more than your offer.

Market and specific property notwithstanding, buyers will often make a first offer below the list price. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes: Imagine getting an offer at or below your $150,000 list price from a buyer who’s been pre-approved for $250,000. You’re practically begging the seller to push back hard.

Instead, submit a pre-approval letter that matches the amount of your offer, or refrain entirely from using a dollar amount. Lenders can tailor these for specific properties and amounts up to your max. There’s little benefit to telling sellers you can pay more than you’re offering.

3. “I Can’t Live Without This Home”

Falling in love is easy when you’re shopping for homes. But fixating on one and only one property is likely to hurt your chances of landing a good deal. It’s not even so much a concern about sellers or their agents catching wind (although that’s certainly a reason to stay silent if you’re touring homes when a seller or listing agent is present).

It’s more that being inflexible is bad for business. Buyers who say they “must” have a certain home can have a tougher time being objective. That can lead to big-time imbalance at the negotiating table.

4. “This Is My Forever Home”

This is a sweet sentiment, and you very well may intend to spend the rest of your life in your new home. But lives, circumstances and finances all change. People get divorced or lose their jobs.

Only about a quarter of homebuyers in 2013 planned to stay in their home for at least 16 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. More than four in 10 said they didn’t know their expected tenure.

Resale should always be a consideration regardless of your best intentions. A day may come when you have to put your forever home back on the market.


Keep this in mind with unique properties or homes with uncommon features, which could become hurdles down the road.

SOURCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4-things-homebuyers-never-113047714.html?sf2989138=1


Buying A Home

Home Sales Struggle, But Improvement Seen

by Team Member 19. May 2014 13:24



Two years into the economic recovery, residential home sales are struggling. But because of demographic and other trends, long-term growth prospects remain good, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said Thursday at the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo.

At the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum, Yun forecast 4.9 million existing-home sales this year, a roughly 3 percent drop from last year and a signal that the recovery in home sales that started two years ago is flagging.

Weakness in the broader economy is part of the problem. Economic growth turned negative in the first quarter of 2014, by about a percentage point, in part because severe winter weather hampered consumption. The rest of the year should be better, Yun said, but growth will remain tepid: only about 2.1 percent rather than the 3 percent that analysts would like to see.

Home sales were hit by the cold weather, too, although a portion of the stalled activity is expected to return now that the weather is improving.

The more fundamental problem is the continuing tough time households face getting financing and the lack of inventory, which is hurting affordability by keeping prices rising at a time when interest rates are going up as well.

Yun is forecasting a national median home price of $209,000 for this year, up from $197,000, and an average rate of 4.7 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan. The rate remains historically low, but the days of an accommodative Federal Reserve interest-rate policy are ending and the rate could get close to 6 percent next year.

What’s needed is a ramp up in new-home starts to about 1.7 million a year, the historical average, from about 1.1 million now, Yun said. Until there’s more inventory, sales volume will remain low and prices will keep rising.

To get more starts, community banks—the traditional sources of credit for small builders—need to pick up their lending. Although there are lagging signs that lending might be poised to head up, uncertainty over banking regulations enacted after the financial crisis is contributing to the status quo.

For the long term, the picture is much brighter, because there is a lot of pent-up demand from young adults who can’t overcome income and financing hurdles to buy and increasing interest from international buyers who want to purchase in the United States. As the broader economic recovery strengthens, with the creation of more and better-paying jobs, the gap between the country’s growing population and flat-lining home sales will narrow.

For 2015, Yun is forecasting 5.2 million existing-home sales, 710,000 new-home sales, up from 510,000 this year, and a home-sale dollar-volume increase of 11 percent from the year before.

Looking further ahead, as the global population nears the 9 billion mark at the beginning of the next decade, destination cities including New York, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, and Miami, among others, will see ever-increasing home values as global buyers stoke demand.

—Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

SOURCE: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/05/16/home-sales-struggle-improvement-seen#sf2963413#sf2964457


Buying A Home | General | Real Estate Agents | Real Estate Future

Why the Nation’s Hot Housing Market Is Cooling, Slightly

by Team Member 13. May 2014 12:21

The housing market showed signs of cooling in the first quarter as the supply of homes for sale expanded and lofty prices put a damper on demand in recent months.

The median price of an existing U.S. home was $191,600 in this year’s first quarter, up 8.6% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtorsexamination of multiple-listing service data in 170 metro areas. That compares to a 10.1% year-over-year gain in the fourth quarter and 12.5% in the third.

A key driver of the price slowdown was an increase in the supply of existing homes listed for sale in the first quarter, which expanded by 3.1% from a year earlier to 2 million, the Realtors group said Monday. More sellers have listed their homes as rising prices in the past year have provided them enough positive equity to do so.

Many economists and housing-market observers forecast that home-price increases will abate this year after posting strong gains since late 2012. That’s due partly to more listings of homes for sale, which increases competition for buyers. It’s also due to a decline in the number of foreclosed and otherwise distressed homes on the market, which often sell for low prices.

Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist based in Leesburg, Va., who spent 22 years at Fannie Mae, predicts prices gains will cool to low-single-digit advances by the end of this year.

“One of the reasons that demand appears to be slowing is that the pace of previous home-price increases has negatively affected affordability,” Mr. Lawler said. “And some of the previous year-over-year gains were from depressed levels when there was a lot of distressed inventory on the market.”

Economists have differing opinions on the extent to which price increases have made homes less affordable for buyers. Interest rates are higher, with the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage now at 4.21%, up from 3.42% a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. Mortgage-insurance fees also have increased.

However, the Realtors association argued Monday that homes remain affordable, noting that a buyer purchasing a home at the first-quarter median price with a 5% down payment would need an income of $44,200 to land a mortgage. With a 20% down payment, the necessary income is $37,200, the group said.

Economists who find homes still affordable note that continued big price gains were threatening that. “It’s probably a good thing that house-price gains will slow,” said Paul Diggle, a property economist specializing in U.S. housing for Capital Economics Ltd., based in London. “If they do continue at double-digit rates, then in another 12 to 18 months housing will start to look overvalued.”

Mr. Diggle forecasts that, by the end of this year, gains in existing home prices will slow to 4%.

Though it was gathered from multiple-listing services, the Realtor association data comes with a caveat: It doesn’t account for the mix of homes sold in each quarter. In other words, the price gains tallied in the Realtor data might be partly due to sales of more large, high-priced homes now than a year ago. Other data providers factor out such “mix shifts” by focusing on the prices of a limited pool of the same homes through the years. Even so, many of those indicators also have shown a slowdown in price gains of late.

The Realtors association found that, in this year’s first quarter, 74% of the 170 metro areas it studied showed gains from a year ago in prices at closing. That’s nearly the same as in the fourth quarter, when 73% of metro areas posted gains. But it is down from last year’s first quarter, when 89% of metro areas recorded gains.

Lawrence Yun, the Realtors association’s chief economist, cautioned Monday that supply remains constrained in some markets, and that continues to push prices up. “Limited inventory is creating unsustainable and unhealthy price growth in some large markets, notably on the West Coast,” Mr. Yun said in a statement outlining the first-quarter data.

SOURCE: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/05/12/why-the-nations-hot-housing-market-is-cooling-slightly/


General | Selling Your Home

KC Among Most Affordable Places to Buy Homes

by Team Member 7. May 2014 10:41

by Reporter- Kansas City Business Journal

Kansas City is the nation's seventh most affordable large metro area for buying a home.

That's according to a new study byNerdWallet, a consumer advocacy site. The study analyzed recent data related to home prices and household incomes to formulate home-price-to-income ratios for the most and least affordable places nationwide.

The study found that:

  • The disparity between most affordable and least affordable metro areas is increasing.
  • Differences in local home prices, not gaps in household income, determine whether an area is affordable.
  • The most affordable metros for homeownership are primarily in the North Central and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Cleveland was rated as the most affordable place to buy a home. It's 2.4 home-price-to-income ratio was based on a median home price of $117,700 and a median household income of $48,952.

Kansas City's seventh-place 2.7 ratio was based on a median home price of $154,800 and a median household income of $58,826.

RELATED: Report: Buying a home vs. renting a 'no-brainer' in KC

Among medium metro areas (those with populations between 300,000 and 1 million), Wichita ranked No. 9. It's 2.4 home-price-to-income ratio was based on a median home price of $122,200 and a median household income of $50,511.


Among small metro areas (those with populations of less than 300,000), Topeka ranked No. 6 with a 2.2 ratio, based on a median home price of $109,000 and a median household income of $49,780.

SOURCE: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2014/04/29/most-affordable-places-to-buy-homes.html


Buying A Home | General

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

by Team Member 2. May 2014 13:55

HCRBL102_main-yard-3-house-exterior-after_s4x3_al.jpg (25.91 kb)

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General | Home Maintenance

Real estate experts are predicting this will be the strongest market in years. Are you ready to join in?

by Team Member 1. May 2014 13:52



Just like May flowers, every spring the housing market blossoms as buyers come out ready to purchase their dream house. This spring, we believe we are going to see the strongest purchasing market we have seen in a decade.

Why are we so bullish on the housing market this spring?

Here are a few reasons:


Contrary to many reports, this age demographic is READY, WILLING and ABLE to become homeowners. As a matter of fact, the latest National Association of Realtors’ gender study revealed that the Millennial generation has recently accounted for a greater percentage of all buyers than any other generation.


As prices have risen, so has the equity in many homes across American. Homeowners, having been shackled to their house because of low or negative equity for the last several years, are again free to make a move without worrying about bringing cash to a closing table in order to sell. We believe this new-found freedom will release a pent-up demand of sellers who want to move-up to the home they’ve always dreamed of or want to downsize their primary residence and also purchase a second home they can use for vacation, retirement or both.


As the economy improves, more and more Americans are regaining faith that their own personal finances are headed in a positive direction. With this new confidence, they want to take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself with real estate still undervalued in most parts of the country and mortgage rates being well below historic numbers.

SOURCE: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/04/17/real-estate-this-spring-will-be-different/

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General | Real Estate Future

Are you considering if now is the right time to sell your home?

by Team Member 23. April 2014 20:12

Here are 3 reasons why this Spring is a great time to list your home!

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition - For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

SOURCE: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/04/08/3-reasons-you-should-sell-your-home-this-spring/


General | Selling Your Home

The Internet Has Not Changed What Defines A Great REALTOR®

by Team Member 23. April 2014 20:10

Last night I was alerted by Laurie Davis to a post on Motley Fool titled, Will Real Estate Agents Be Necessary In The Future.

The article featured an interview with Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow. He was being asked to explain why Zillow had decided to work with real estate agents instead of attempting to replace them as he had done with HotWire. He correctly outlined the critical difference between the travel transaction and the real estate transaction and went on to describe why he felt there would always be a real estate agent involved.

There will always be a real estate agent in the transaction because, for most consumers, it’s just too important and too expensive and too infrequent and complex to screw up, so they need an agent.

Now, what is changing though — and Zillow is undoubtedly accelerating the change — is what type of agent can be successful in 2014. It’s quite different than the type of agent that was successful before the Internet.

Today, a good agent has to be an expert negotiator. They have to be a great marketer. They have to have deep local expertise. They have to be a transactional guide to a client.

Whereas, before the Internet, a great agent just had to be an information gatekeeper; someone who had access to the secret database that you and I didn’t have access to. Those days are long gone. Now we have access to all the same information as a real estate agent because of mobile devices and the Internet, so the role of the agent is changing.

I have a fundamental disagreement with the statement, “before the internet, agreat agent just had to be an information gatekeeper.” Spencer is a bright guy, likely brighter than I am and decidedly more successful. So, I don’t actually think he believes what, for me, is an obviously incorrect statement. My bet is that if Spencer were pressed, he’d agree that being a GREAT agent has never had anything to do with gatekeeping.

My Pre-Internet Experience With A Great REALTOR®

In 1984, I purchased my first house. This, of course, was long before we all received “access to all the same information as a real estate agent.” And, as a result I was forced to find an agent before I could really even begin searching for my house. But access that information was certainly not all I expected from my agent. In fact, the notion that I would spit out some criteria and they would give me back a list of houses wasn’t even a part of my thinking at the time. I now know that this is what I should expect from a search engine, but at the time, I would never have imagined that would be the value of a great agent.

I’ve told this story many times from the stage, but I’ve never written about it before. I had a truly great first experience with a REALTOR®. She came to my apartment to meet me and discuss what I was looking for in a home. I told her I wanted a single family home. I wanted a one story house, with two bedrooms, and a basement. And I discussed my budget with her at length. She gave me a strong sense of confidence that she understood my desire and my limitations.

My pre-internet agent was far from being a simple gatekeeper to information.

The following day I receive a phone call from my agent and she began to tell me about a few homes, but the one she really wanted me to see was a duplex in Speedway, Indiana. I had not considered either a duplex or Speedway and I objected to going to look at it. She then explained that I would really enjoy the neighborhood, that it was close to my work and that the wood floors would match my Mission Oak furniture. I collected Mission Oak furniture at the time and she made note of that while she was at my apartment, but I thought nothing of it. She then went on to say that the renter had a two year lease, were very nice and that rent would more than pay for the mortgage, even though the price was slightly out of the range I had told her I could afford.

Reluctantly, I went to visit the home, met the renter, saw the wood floors and made an offer the following day. My agent in 1984, far from being a simple gatekeeper to information, was listening to my needs, had unique local knowledge, handled the entire negotiation for me, keeping in mind my specific financial goals, and held my hand through the entire transaction, teaching me along the way. It is by far the best real estate purchase I have ever made. And she was the best agent I’ve ever worked with inside a real estate transaction.

The Internet Has Not Changed What Defines A Great REALTOR®

If anything, what the Internet has really done is time-shift the point at which a great agent gets called upon to display their real value. If I had Zillow or Trulia or realtor.com at my disposal in 1984, I might never have seen that home. I would have pre-filtered my search and taken a list of homes I wanted to see to a real estate agent. I might have even expected them to simply “unlock the doors” for me. But I would have been making a huge mistake. The same would be true now.

What I have personally witnessed over my years of working in and around the real estate space, is that the most productive, highest earning agents in the majority of offices have operated their businesses with little to no regard for the shiny objects offered at technology focused real estate conferences. They are not early adopters, but they are not afraid of to use proven technology either.  And they have paid little attention to the warnings of their impending disintermediation at the hands of third parties. They can do this because they know that their success has never been directly associated with the tools at their disposal. Their success has always been predicated on their ability to do the very things Spencer says must change to make them great agents today.

Those skills have always been what has differentiated a simply average agent from a GREAT agent. Zillow (and  I’d argue, Trulia and realtor.com)  has certainly played a role in accelerating the change in the way consumers interface with the real estate transaction at various points, but they have not played a role in accelerating any truly meaningful change in what defines a great agent in 2014.

Or what made an agent great in 1984.

SOURCE: http://www.jeffturner.info/the-internet-has-not-changed-what-defines-a-great-realtor/?utm_content=buffer11f42&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer&sf2607083=1


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