facebooktwittergoogle plus google plusReal Estate Blog YouTube My Escrow(800) 336-3629

HomeContact UsCommunity InfoNews & EventsEn Espanol

Category Archives: home-ownership

Good News for Buyers and Sellers This Spring Selling Season

Whether you’re planning on buying or selling a home, there’s good news to report as the spring selling season approaches. Slowing sales and growing inventories benefit buyers while record prices benefit sellers, according to data in this February’s RE/MAX National Housing Report.“Trends of five months or more often indicate significant shifts, and the year-over-year trends in declining sales and rising inventory have both reached that length now,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The big picture supports an ongoing return to more balanced conditions, which is beneficial to buyers and sellers.”

Inventory Bounces Back
Inventory grew 5.8 percent over February of 2018, marking the fifth consecutive month of growth following a decade-long trend of shrinking inventory. Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in February 2019, the overall average number of home sales is down 4.2 percent compared to last February.

Rising Median Sales Price
Bucking downward trends, the Median Sales Price increased to $240,000, a year-over-year gain of 5.5 percent and a February record in the 10-year history of the report. Four metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Boise, Idaho; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Wilmington/Dover, Delaware.

Home Sales Down
Home sales in the 54-market report have declined year-over-year for seven consecutive months, though February’s downturn of 4.2 percent was the smallest since the 1.1 percent drop that started the streak in August 2018. Leading the month-over-month sales percentage increase were Houston, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

“The next few months will determine whether the shift brings a wave of buyers into the market for the spring selling season,” added Contos. “Members of our network are reporting high local demand along with a need for even more inventory. The optimism for a solid spring exists — and a more balanced market certainly contributes to it.”

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

4 New Year’s Resolutions to Help You from Prep to Purchase

If you’re on the hunt for a new home in the new year you don’t have to wait for the ball to drop – you can start acting on your new year resolutions now to prep for one of the biggest purchases of your life! RE/MAX has put together some top tips if your goal for 2019 is to become a homeowner.

  1. Pinch Those Pennies
    Saving for a down payment on a new home is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. It’s important to plan out your savings now if your goal is to purchase a new home in the future. The median sales price of a home in the U.S. is now $235,000 – you may need at least 20 percent as a down payment or close to $50,000.
  2. Check Your Credit
    Make sure there are no surprises on your credit report. One of the first things your mortgage lender will do is check your credit to determine your debt-to-income ratio to determine how much of a mortgage loan you qualify for. According to credit-rating company Equifax, a score of 690 or higher is considered “good.” If your credit needs clean-up, start working on it now so that your score is up to par before you start the pre-qualification process.
  3. Lock in Your Pre-Approval
    Sitting down with a mortgage lender now can save you time later. Securing pre-approval on a mortgage will usually lock in an interest rate for 90 days and allow you to focus on homes that are in your price range. 
  4. Hold Off Hefty Purchases
    Curb any shopping sprees you may have planned. Big purchases like a new car or a family vacation before buying a house can affect your debt-to-income ratio and can affect how much money a lender is willing to lend to you.

Working with the right real estate agent who has experience in your local area can make all the difference. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you – and your kids. Find an agent today at remaxallpro.com.

Should You Sell Your Home Or Rent It Out?

Sometimes, you decide exactly when you’d like to move. Other times, life swoops in and decides for you. Your company might transfer you, a family emergency might require relocation, or you might finally find the love of your life—three states over. Should you sell your house or hang on to it as a rental property? Here are 5 important considerations.

1. Are you gone for good?

Or do you need an exit strategy? If there’s a good chance you’ll return to your current home in a year or two, the money and time you spend selling your home and then buying a new one might make renting it out a smarter option.

2. How’s the rental market?

Look at online rental sites to see what properties in your neighborhood and in similar condition to yours are renting for. Are there a lot of listings? Think about what you might charge and what you might have to do to bring your property up to the market standard. You can then get an idea whether your potential rental income will cover your expenses.

3. Where’s the neighborhood heading?

A lot of factors feed into property values, from national trends to long-term construction plans. An agent can help you understand your property’s potential for appreciation and whether or not it might pay to hang onto it.

4. How much is the hassle of being a landlord worth?

Unless you pay for a property management company (about 10 percent of the rental income), dealing with issues, emergencies and uncooperative renters (sometimes all at once, often in the middle of the night) can be trying. Ask yourself if it’s worth the stress.

5. What are the tax implications?

Each situation is unique, so before you decide to rent out your home consider talking with a tax professional. They can help you figure out how much you can expect to pay in taxes on the rental income.

If you’re ready to sell, a RE/MAX All-Pro agent is ready to help. Find an experienced professional to work with – visit RemaxAllPro.com.

6 Decisions to Make Before Your Home Search

 

In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

1. What’s your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.

2. What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids? How many cars need covered parking? It’s critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.

3. Do you want a condo or single-family home? Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won’t be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you’ll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

4. How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

5. What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don’t have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you’d like to live in.

6. Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you’re willing to put into a home – or how much you’ll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you’ll want to figure out your renovation budget before you start your home search. A203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you’re not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can’t or don’t want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that’s move-in ready might be right for you.

After considering all these factors, you’ll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you’re headed. When that time comes, let a RE/MAX agent guide you all the way there.

Five Things to Know: Millennials and Home Buying

Millennials are now major players in the home buying arena, according to the recent Home Buyer and Generational Trends report released by the National Association of Realtors:

1. Millennials accounted for 35% of buyers in 2015. This is up from 32% in 2014, and is the third year in a row Millennials have composed the largest group of recent buyers.

2. In 2015, the number of Millennials purchasing in an urban or central city area decreased to 17% from 21% in 2014. Suburbia-phobe? Perhaps not.

3. They have help getting their foot in the door. Twenty-three percent of Millennials used a financial gift for (or toward) their down payment.

4. An online search was the first step for 56% of Millennials, whether they were looking for properties or searching for information about the home buying process.

5. Almost 90% worked with a Realtor to buy their home.

Are you a Millennial looking for your next home? Work with an agent prepared for the changing marketplace. Find one here.

6 Reasons Why Autumn & Early Winter Might Just Be the Best Time to Purchase a Home

5 Tips for a Safer Backyard

Every year in the U.S., more than 50,000 kids are rushed to the emergency room for home playground equipment-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To keep kids safe, remember the following tips when it comes to creating and maintaining play space in your yard.

1. Soften the fall
If you have a play set in your yard, consider upgrading the ground around and below it, as kids will inevitably be landing on it from a tall height or at high speeds. About 60 percent of all playground injuries are caused by falls to the ground, and a more shock-absorbent surface can reduce the risk of serious injury. Consider sand, wood chips, pea gravel or shredded rubber.

2. Keep a safety zone
If you install equipment like swings or a trampoline, be sure to place them a safe distance from fences, trees or your house in case kids accidentally (or not!) launch themselves in that direction.

3. Go with a pro
While it’s great to have friends or family members offer to help assemble and secure your backyard play equipment, it can pay to invest in professional installation. This will help ensure the fort doesn’t collapse during your kid’s birthday party or the jungle gym doesn’t go sailing the next time the wind kicks up.

4. Inspect your equipment regularly
Standing up against the weather – and kids – can take its toll, even on the highest quality play equipment. Check the hardware and wood to make sure bolts and screws remain secure and rot (or splinter-causing flaking) doesn’t begin.

5. Beware of lawn treatments
Know what’s in any lawn treatment to make sure it’s safe for kids and pets to roll around in.

Wondering how much value your backyard adds to your home’s potential sale price? An expert who knows your local market can help calculate what your land may add to the listing price. Find one here.

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Home Offers

20162903-DecideBetweenOffers

What a splendid dilemma! You’ve received several offers on your property. Which one should you choose? It’s not always the highest one.

Here are just some of the areas your agent could ask you to pay particularly close attention to as you’re weighing the options.

1. Do the math
This goes beyond simply calculating the dollar difference between the various offer prices. Before you do that, be sure to do all the math. Subtract things like closing costs, fees and potential repairs to determine the net proceeds of each offer.

2. Consider the financing
Can the buyer provide proof from the bank that there are funds to back the offer? Your agent can help verify this – and help you understand the terms of the buyer’s financing.

3. Motivation
Do the buyers have a baby-sitting parent in the neighborhood? A new job just around the corner? Buyers with extra motivation to purchase your home are less likely to press for concessions and more likely to work harder to close the deal. Some buyers even include a personal letter with their offer to explain why they want the home. These letters can be particularly helpful in multiple-offer situations.

4. Timeline
Note the closing date each offer proposes. You’ll want a closing date that best meets your needs. You can always counter a closing date, too, if the best offer doesn’t quite meet your timeline.

Weighing the pros and cons of each offer can be tricky. An experienced agent can help you clarify, calculate and secure the very best deal for you. Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.

3 Ways to Separate Wants from Needs in a New Home

3-ways-to-separate

Rolling Stones fans and savvy homebuyers both know you can’t always get what you want. At least not everything you want. You should, however, have some sense of what you want and what you need when you start your search for a new home. Distinguishing between the wants and needs can be tricky because so much emotion can swirl around visions of your “dream home.”

But making two separate lists of wants and needs will save you hours and energy in the long run. Here are three things to do to help you decide how to assign home features to your lists:

1. Ask yourself if you can truly live without it.

“Wants” are features that would be nice to have. “Needs” are things that you really must have to function. Be honest, can you truly live without shiny new stainless steel appliances? If yes, put them in the “Wants” column. On the other hand, an additional bedroom may belong in the “Needs” column if you’re expecting twins. Creaky knees? A ranch layout is a “need.” Occasional desire for a nap by the hearth? That fireplace is a “want.”

2. Determine if a feature could be changed or added later.

No matter how ambitious you are, some things may remain beyond your control to change, like proximity to public transportation, or quality of the local school district. If these features are critical to you, they go on the “Needs” list. On the other hand, things like patios and hardwood floors can be added later. List them as “Wants.” Your agent can probably help you talk through potential future costs of renovations and additions to accommodate your wants. Changing the bus routes, on the other hand, is probably beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced Realtor.

3. Talk it through with your agent.

A trusted Realtor can bring a much-needed dose of objectivity to your decision-making. He or she can help you visualize the day-to-day reality of living with (or without) a certain feature, as well as guide you through the math that may help you separate wants from needs.

A Realtor you can trust always goes on the “Needs” list. Find a RE/MAX All-Pro agent who can guide you through the homebuying process.

April 2015 RE/MAX National Housing Report

March home sales rose a significant 33.9% over sales in February. This marks the third largest single month increase since the RE/MAX National Housing Report began in August 2008. The total number of home sales in March was the largest total of any previous March.