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Friday, January 18, 2013

8 Reasons Why This is the Best Real Estate Market

For months, years now most agents have been calling out loud and clear to all buyers saying that it has been a good market. In fact, we have been able to witness a lot of changes during the past several years – with ups and downs in home prices, interest rates, average DOM and inventory levels. Well, today the marketplace has begun an unprecedented shift for the better, amounting to it being a fantastic real estate environment for nearly everyone.

Here are eight reasons why we are currently in the best real estate market that we have seen in a long time and why you should consider getting involved:

1. Lowest interest rates in the history of our market. Right now, at the end of July 2012, we are seeing a typical interest rate of about 3.65% on a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. Shorter terms can be even lower for qualified buyers.

2. Banks are eager to lend money. The stall we saw a couple years ago where banks were too cautious has now eased up, allowing most well qualified buyers the ease of a smooth financing process.

3. Very low home prices. This has been the case for a while now and it has helped buyers get great deals. But as buyers realize these interest rates may not stay low forever, the low prices work to help sellers too. Also when sellers do sell their properties they will oftentimes need to move elsewhere, making it a dollar for dollar trade up with the result of less taxes and lower borrowing costs.

4. Very low inventory. For the first time in a long time we are seeing inventory levels so low that it is encourage multiple offers and even bidding wars in some situations. Less competition is great for sellers and smoother transactions for buyers make everyone happy. Currently we are looking at a huge decline in active listings across the board.

5. More buyers have more buying power. For the first time, many potential homeowners are able to get into new homes with the availability of little to no down payment or other programs. With the expanded marketplace there is a lot more activity – a healthy indication of a recovering market.

6. Appraisers are being reasonable. Appraisers often hold the key to whether buyer and sellers can engage in a successful deal, especially since financing often depends on an accurate and acceptable appraisal. We are seeing more and more appraisers exercising less scrutiny in their process and working with agents plus lenders throughout their appraisal procedure.

7. The Presidential Election likely to strengthen the economy. One typical effect of a presidential election is the positive impact it has on the economy. This will of course generate further consumer confidence and of course increased real estate activity.

8. Rental rates are higher than ever before. Rents are probably as high as they have ever been, providing investors and secondary property purchases plenty of opportunity to embark on low cost purchases of property that will carry through rental income.

If you know someone who could use this information right now,  do me a favor and forward this email, share the message with them. It helps get the word out there and I greatly appreciated it.

If I could ever do anything to help you with buying or selling or just making decisions on what you should do with you RE whether it be to hold & sit tight for a few years or just get the property sold now please give me a call and we can discuss your situation. 

The First Buyer To Make an Offer Is Usually the Most Interested Buyer

We’ve seen it time and again. A seller eagerly lists their home, finds a buyer with a serious offer but chooses to wait things out and see if other (better) offers come along. While it can happen and it does sometimes, the problem is that there is a process usually followed by buyers and along with it a pipeline. Here is a look at how they lead up to making an offer and how by the time the first buyer seriously considers your home they are likely the most viable one.

Buyers Are More Educated
With the advent of technology, the entire real estate industry has changed. Gone are the days when buyers would rely solely on their agent to find a home to suit their needs. Today, the Internet has taken over. In fact, studies show that over 90% of buyers spend weeks online searching for their perfect home before even talking to an agent.

So by the time a buyer is at your doorstep with an offer, there is a good chance they have thoroughly researched every aspect of the local market. They are fully aware of your competition, have weighed all pros and cons of your home and are seriously interested in your property. After countless open houses and obtaining plenty of education about the real estate market in their area, they know when they see a property that suits their needs. In many cases they are waiting for the perfect one to become available so the minute it does, they make an offer.

By the Time They Make an Offer, They Are Well Into the Process
Where sellers go wrong is to want to wait for more offers. In the process, those very serious buyers that have already made their interest in your home known will likely find another home to suit their needs. Buyers today are savvier than ever before – and with that education that they so readily find and absorb from various sources (the Internet, other publications, their peers, professionals) they have an acute knowledge of the market.

In the process of selling your home, it is critical to keep all factors in mind. Factors such as the condition of the market, your agent’s recommendations, current inventory levels, the number of days most properties remain on the market before being sold and of course prices. Putting all of that into play will change how you handle that first buyer but remember – the first buyer will almost always be your best buyer.
For a consultation that is customized to your needs, contact us today. We look forward to serving you! 

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief

         The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Set to Expire on December 31, 2012

As we are on the cusp of a changing market, many homeowners continue to struggle with underwater mortgages as a result of the housing market crash back in 2007. In fact, the impact was so great that the government instituted a program called the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in 2009 to help offset some of the hardships faced by millions of Americans. Today, that program is set to expire just two short months from now. That’s why it is critical to list your home and successfully short sale it prior to the Act’s deadline so you can save from being taxed on the forgiven or discharged debt.

If you are considering a short sale – it is important to keep this in mind. A short sale entails the bank receiving less money for the property than what is owed on it due to property devaluation and the discharged (or forgiven) debt is considered “income” by the IRS. With the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, homeowners are able to write off this discharged debt and avoid paying taxes altogether on this amount. In some cases, this can amount to a very significant number, forcing the homeowner into an even deeper situation of hardship.

It is important to keep in mind that the tax relief only applies to your primary residence and as long as the short sale is completed prior to the Act’s expiration date, you will not receive a 1099 from the government, nor you will not be required to pay taxes on the amount of forgiven debt.

Since this act is set to expire on December 31st unless the government extends this yet again, you only have two months within which you need to list the home, find a buyer, receive an offer, have the bank accept the offer and make it to the closing table – all before December 31, 2012. The National Association of Realtors is working hard to extend the deadline for the Act but until there is some concrete action, the December 31st date stands.

That means you need to start the process now.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, to learn more about short sales or anything else real estate related, I invite you to contact us today! We look forward to helping.

Why Sell Now?

Why sell now? I heard prices are coming down
I can not tell you lately how many people I have had great conversations with that have told me this. If you have been waiting for the right time to sell, the time is now! We have not seen these current market conditions in decades. Read below and contact us today so that we can sit down and discuss how i can help you make the move you have been waiting to make!
Low Inventory Points to a Strong Market
The number of active listings in our marketplace is declining. To help illustrate the stark change in just two years, consider that in November 2010 we had about 6,906 homes on the market for sale. At the same time in 2011 the number of listings on the market was 5,900. But this year in October we reported just 1900 active listings! This indicates a continued dwindling inventory, which coupled with increased sales definitely points to a stronger market.

Selling Activity Is On the Rise
Our sold properties are also increasing year over year. Once again looking at October last year we had 1421 sold homes versus the same time this year with 1715 properties that sold. With half the inventory as just a year ago combined with an increase in sales, despite the winter months we are seeing some very positive things happening.

Interest Rates Continue to Be at Record Lows
Just as we are seeing dramatic changes in inventory levels and steady upward trends in sales, interest rates also keep at their record setting lows. At this point, we are reporting interest rates as low as 3.25% for a 30-year fixed rate loan and even lower for shorter termed loans.

Great Time for Sellers
A year ago – low inventory and strong interest for new homes was definitely there but today we are in an even better position. In fact, we need more inventory to sustain the number of buyers out there looking to lock in today’s amazing rates. Fewer homes on the market usually translates to the ability to negotiate better terms for sellers plus of course multiple offers and high list-to-sale price ratios.
If you would like to explore your options in today’s real estate market whether that means buying, selling, investing or just browsing the marketplace – contact us today. We are happy to help!