Monthly Archives: May 2009

Near Record Reached for Housing Affordability

Great News for the housing market. Buyers are out there taking advantage of their first time home buyer credit. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity in time. Rates are still great, inventory is high, and prices are affordable. Thinking about it? Go for it!

This is what the NAR (National Association of Realtors) had to say:

Pending Home Sales Rise, Housing Affordability Near Record

Pending home sales rose with many first-time buyers taking advantage of historically good housing affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,1 a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, increased 3.2 percent to 84.6 from a level of 82.0 in February, and is 1.1 percent higher than March 2008 when it was 83.7.

NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said the increase in buying power is quite remarkable. “Compared to a year ago, the typical family can pay much less in mortgage costs for the same home, or buy a better home without necessarily increasing their monthly payment,” he said. “For buyers who’ve been on the sidelines and have good jobs, the market has never looked more favorable. Homeownership has always offered immediate benefits and long-term value, but the advantages in today’s market are unique.” ”

Previous Posts:

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info


First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Details

The Missing Toilet

Well I went back to the interesting old home that my investor was considering. So it was my chance to get a photo of this unique situation. Check out the photo. I had to squeeze in.

Ok so sellers here is a tip:Â Always make sure you have a toilet in your only bathroom, because bathrooms and kitchens with the right features are key selling points of the home.

Refer to my previous post:Â The House That was Missing Something

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Make Buyers Bite

HGTV came up with a list of several things that make buyers bite. Here are some key things to consider when getting your home ready for sale.

1. Have A Nice Entryway – This is your chance to have a great first impression. What are the buyers seeing when they first come in.

2. Hardwood Floors -  Many Realtors have found the buyers want hardwood floors.

3. Fabulous Fixtures – Fixtures can change the whole look and mood of a room

4. Beautiful Baths -Great Bathrooms and Kitchens sell homes. Buyers love fancy upgrades such as marble counters, spa tubs and tile flooring.

5. Countertop Considerations – Try to get away from counter tops with grout lines. Buyers do not like them and they are hard to keep clean.

6. Stainless Steel – Buyers love the commercial look of stainless appliances in the kitchen

7. Pre-Organized Closets – Organizing your closets goes a long way. If buyers see the organization, they think the home is well taken care of.

8. Light Up – Make sure dark areas are lit up with lamps or natural light. Buyers do not like dark rooms.

9. Built-Ins – Buyers will look at built in furniture as an added perk.

10. Flat Yard – Families love wide open yards for picnics, the jungle gym, and the trampoline.

Read the full article

The House That was Missing Something . . .

With real estate, every day something pops up that you have never seen or done before. Even for agents that have been in the business for years. My, you would be surprised too of the kinds of things we have to see or deal with. Funny thing is you can run into very interesting properties when looking at bank owned properties, foreclosures, and HUD properties.

Last week, I showed one of my young investors a property in an area that neither of us were sure about. Both of us showed up with companions and it was a good thing we did. We got a good taste of the neighborhood with a bunch of about 15 to 20 kids or young adults hanging on the street right near the house. They were eying up the cars. The plumbing was gone to say the least. My buyer quickly passed on that.  A key thing I always tell my buyers is to come and watch the neighborhood or talk to the neighbors. That was an easy one that night.

So today, we looked at another property. Pretty good price for what you are getting. The lot alone is worth the asking price. It has been on the market quite some time. So we go and and check it out. Hmmm . . . plumbing is all here, wiring is all there. Toilet in basement – common for this area. Keep in mind this is a very old home. Probably about 100 years old. Now usually homes of this age have some kind of updating over the years, but with a quick look, it was from an era gone by except for maybe a bit modernized because electricity was installed. LOL I say this too because the original gas pipes for gas lights in the home were still there with the fixtures. Often I have seen the capped pipes but never the actual fixtures still installed – How funny.

Also, the wall paper literally looked 80 to 100 years old. The original pocket doors to the living room were still there. The ceiling in the pantry area was waynes coating. No cabinets in the kitchen – now it did not appear that there ever were any cabinets. The whole kitchen was tiled to ceiling and had a circular florescent ceiling light. There was Wool carpet that was not wall to wall. Even original windows were still there.

Next we went up to the second floor. There was some nice hard wood. The rooms were ok. Some of the walls needed repaired. Although really not bad considering the age. So I checked out the one and only bathroom on the second floor – but wait there was a toilet in the basement – hmm . . they must not be counting that. I am thinking that the bathroom is kind of small. It has a claw foot tub and all . . .  And then I think hmmm . . . something has to be missing.  Well I look behind the door in the cramped room and . . . there was no toilet. And it appeared that there never was. I have never in my life seen a bathroom with no toilet. Now how strange is that? The one and only bathroom in the house (the only one that there ever appeared to be) and it only had a sink and tub – Crazy.

If my buyer decides she likes it I will have to go back and get a photo.  I am going to have to find a way to perch myself in the corner with a superwide angle lens and get you a shot of this funny room. The house could be great with the right touch and a toilet in the bathroom. :) I hope there is a happy ending for the house and the buyer.

Property Evaluations

Recently I went out to a clients home to help them gather some info on the value of their property. It is a very pretty setting with a stream running along one end of the property and a small barn. This particular client lives on 15 acres with a cute country style brick home.  They have done some amazing an extensive remodeling in the last 1 1/2 to 2 years of ownership. Now if you are living in the country as these clients are and have a unique property, in many cases, it can be tough to compare. Land can add value but how usable the land is also a key factor.

As a real estate agent, I can pull comparables and even do a CMA (Comparitive Market Anaylsis) and come up with a price range. In most cases, if you live in a town with similar surrounding properties it is going to be pretty common to find other properties like your own. If your property is unique, then the best thing to do is to get an official appraiser to come in and evaluate the property. They may end up having to use the cost approach. This is when appraiser would add up how much the house would cost today to build and the value of the property that it sits on. The cost for a regular appraisal on average might be $300. Now in recent weeks I have seen this fee go up to an average of $475 on some closing cost estimates due to housing market changes.

Sometimes you need and evaluation for a sale, refinancing, legal matters, or just peace of mind. Keep in mind most real estate agents are not appraisers. You will find some agents that are. Only a licensed appraiser can give you an official appraisal.