Real estate news and tips for homeowners that are thinking about selling or refinancing.

Meridian, Idaho Ranked in the Top 50 Best Places to Live in 2014

Money Magazine announced their rankings of the ‘Best Places to Live in America 2014.’ The magazine analyzed data for 781 cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 residents trying to find the best places for “great jobs, strong economies, affordable homes, excellent schools, and much more.”

Of the top 50 best small cities to live in, Meridian, Idaho ranked number 49. Money Magazine showed Meridian has a median family income of $70,458 and a projected job growth of 8.6%. Housing is affordable in Meridian with the median home price of $200,000 and the average property tax of $1,677.

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ITS THE PRICE THAT SELLS A HOME

A straight and to the point article written by Blanche Evans w/Realty Times . . .

You’ve heard the old saying – “Location, location, location.”

The real truth is “Location, condition, and price.” And price trumps every other factor.

Location affects the value of a home, but it’s price that sells a home.

Oceanfront, mountainside, or penthouse, the most desirable location in the world won’t sell at the wrong price.

Every property has a potential buyer, but like rock, paper, scissors, it’s sometimes hard to know which factor is going to win the showdown.

A good location will sell at a fair price. A bad location will sell at a fair price, too. It just won’t be as a high as it would be for a good location.

A home in good condition will sell for a fair price. A home in poor condition will also sell at a fair price. Again, it won’t be as high as a comparable home in better condition.

But neither location or condition will sell any house. Only one thing does that – price.

So if you’re a seller waiting for that “special buyer” who will appreciate your faded pink and black bathroom tile, your vintage orange shag carpet and is willing to help you put your kids through college because of your real estate prowess, you’re going to have a long wait.

So if your home is represented by an agent, and it’s been on the market for a long time, chances are it’s your own fault.

Maybe you didn’t listen to your agent when he said you’re pricing your home above the market. Maybe you got mad at the first few folks who looked at your home and didn’t make offers.

When the showings stopped completely, maybe you accused your agent of not doing a good enough job.

You put the blame on everyone except where it belongs – on you. It’s not about you, what you want, or how much you need for your retirement.

It’s about the price.

 

Common Mistakes When Selling Your Home

Sparked by the economic rebound, buyer demand for residential real estate is on the increase while available homes for sale have decreased. This is causing the buyer/seller pendulum to shift to the selling side for the first time since 2007.  If interested in taking advantage of the market shift and selling your Treasure Valley home, avoid these common mistakes which will negatively impact the amount of days that your home is on the market along with the selling price.

Cleaning Up:

The cleanliness of your home projects how you, the seller, have taken care of your lovely abode.  This said, it is essential to tidy up rooms, clear countertops, take out the dogs,  (etc, etc) in order for your home to be presented appropriately.  Q-tip clean typically brings an additional 2% in sales price.

Lingering During Viewings:

Potential buyers feel like they are intruding when the home owner is present during viewings.  Buyers are less likely to explore the home, look in closets and most importantly, picture themselves within it.

Overpricing:

It is essential to price your home relative to current market pricing.  The market (especially now) is changing daily making it important for home seller to heed the advice of an experienced real estate professional when establishing a pricing structure.   Call me today for a free market evaluation!

HARP Program for Underwater Borrowers Extended

The HARP program (Home Affordable Refinance Program) which enables underwater mortgage holders that are current on their mortgages to refinance at today’s low interest rates has been extended through 2015. The program had been scheduled to expire the end of 2013.

More than 2 million mortgage holders with little or no equity have used the HARP to date and obviously lenders and home owners alike welcome the news of an extension.

The program is available for those with loans backed or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac which back approximately 2/3rds of all mortgages within the United States.

Both Fannie Mea and Freddie Mac are already responsible for losses if the loan that the entity backs default and the servicers risks actually decrease when borrowers that have paid on underwater mortgages can lower their current payment.

Certain criterion does exist.  The loans must have been sold to Fannie or Freddie no later than May 31, ’09. Those who have already used HARP to refinance a home cannot do so again.  To qualify, the mortgage holder must owe more than 80 percent of the current homes value.  No payments can be missed for the last 6 months.

Go to the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac website to find out if you are eligible for HARP:

Fannie Mae:  www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

Freddie Mac:  www.freddiemac.com/corporate

The latest version of HARP has seen great success due to certain changes that were made.  Appraisal requirements were nixed, lenders are provided better legal protections and the size limit of 125% of the home’s value was lifted.  The changes opened doors for additional HARP participants.

Nearly 3 milling underwater borrowers are still eligible for HARP.  The average savings from a HARP refinance is around $200 monthly with an average interest rate reduction of 1.75%.

HARP refinance

2012 4th Quarter Rental Vacancy Rate

The vacancy rate for Ada and Canyon counties is holding firm at just 3% although a reduction of rental prices for both counties decreased 3% for single family and multifamily homes–per Park Place Property Management.   Demand remains high for single family residential homes and Park Place Property Management expects rent prices to remain the same or increase during the first quarter of 2013.  Both Ada and Canyon counties rental rates are considerably better than the national average in all areas surveyed.

View the Southwest Idaho Chapter of NARPM’s full survey report.

Information and graph brought to you by Park Place Property Management.

Improving your homes Sell-Ability

Improving your homes Sell-Ability

Houses aren’t selling like they once did even though the market is recovering.  There are, however, ways to help obtain an offer more quickly.  See below:

1)       Stay neutral:  Customizing a home is a wonderful option—if you plan to live within the home for an extended period of time.  However, extreme color choices and themed rooms may scare off a potential home buyer.  Using neutral paint colors on walls and décor will help potential buyers create their own idea for the home and will also leave the new buyer with less cosmetic work to be completed upon purchasing.

2)      Less is more:  Removing and de-cluttering your home will help obtain an offer more quickly.  Rooms which are cluttered and have an abundance of furniture will feel “cramped” and smaller than what the room really is to potential purchasers.  Renting a storage unit for the items/furniture that is not needed on a daily basis is a worthwhile investment.

3)      New house smell:  Avoid strong smells when preparing to show your home to potential purchasers.  Take the trash out, clean the refrigerator regularly, bathe your animals (if any), clean the litter box etc etc.  It is also a good idea to be mindful of what food is prepared in the days leading to a showing since certain foods have very strong aromas.

4)      Details: Making small, inexpensive improvements will go a long way when attempting to sell your home.  Replacing hardware on cabinets, updating lighting fixtures and switches along with purchasing new shower curtains are examples of relatively inexpensive improvements which will typical help an offer to be obtained more quickly. If you want to make your bathroom look bigger and brighter, you should install glass shower doors from Superior Shower Door & More, Inc.

5)      Curb Appeal:  The first thing that potential home buyers will view is the front of your home so keeping it as appealing as possible is a must.  Keep the grass trimmed, weeds pulled and trees pruned.  The walkway to your entrance should be kept clear and welcoming to a prospect.

6)      De-personalize: Most know when a home is “lived in” yet it is important to rid the viewing areas of all of the evidence. Your goal is to have your home ressemble a home in a commercial, complete with sparkling floors and totally clear surfaces. No niknaks! Rid the home of excess clutter such as mail, magazines and the local newspaper.  Tuck away laundry and shoes and limit personal items such as family photos  and awards so that the potential buyer can envision themselves within.

7)      Repairs:  Do not wait to make needed repairs.  Save time and trouble by making any needed repairs prior to the home being listed.  Not only will conducting any needed repairs  make the home more presentable, it will also negate any inspection issues  when the property is inspected by the new purchaser prior to closing. Use services of best painters in Mississauga.

The summary above is just a small list of items which will help your home sell more quickly and for a higher price.  Call me today for a free, no obligation consultation if you may be interested in placing your home on the market . . . 208-869-3469.

Home Prices Expected to Increase Nearly 10% in 2013

Home prices will be on the rise in 2013 according to expert forecasting.

Home prices are expected to rise 3.4 percent at the low and 9.7% at the high in 2013 according to J.P Morgan Chase & Co.  Although some might think that the estimate is “bullish”, standard & Poor said on Friday that it expects home prices to increase by at least 5% in 2013 which is a very good confirmation of J.P. Morgan’s estimate.

A convincing rise in “net demand” for housing this year has surpassed 2 million homes for the first time since 2006 which boosted J.P. Morgan’s estimate.  Net demand is the pace of existing homes sales less the amount of inventory of homes currently for sale.

Mortgage Giants Halt Foreclosures for the Holidays

Property owners facing foreclosure just received an early gift—they won’t be evicted from their home over the holidays.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced that they will halt all bank repossessions beginning December 17th and will not continue with evictions until January 2nd of 2013.

Fannie Mea is quoted as saying, “the holidays are a chance to be with loved ones and we want to relieve some stress at this time of year”.

Alternate pre or post foreclosure activities (notice of defaults, scheduling trustee sales, etc) will not be halted, according to a Freddie Mac spokesman.  All admin and legal functions will continue as scheduled, too.

Another mortgage services, Bank of America, will also halt evictions for loans it currently owns and those it services during the holiday season.  JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank have suspended foreclosure sale dates in past years yet have not given any indication that they will be halting the sale of foreclosures this year.

This reprieve is different from the announced moratoriums on foreclosure eviction for super storm Sandy victims which continues through February.

Do you think that the bank is doing the right thing when halting foreclosure through the holidays?  All feedback is welcome . . .

What’s Driving the Increase in Home Prices?

There are 5 significant factors behind the increase in home prices as many real estate markets begin to see significant gains.  The driving force, per the Wall Street Journal, is as follows:

1)  Housing Affordability—housing affordability is bringing more buyers to the market that are looking to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates and homes prices in comparison to a few years ago.

2)  The rise in household formation—household formation is expected to reach 1 million new households this year which his up from 570,000 over the last 5 years.

3)  The increase in monthly rental expenses—has prompted more investors to purchase homes to rent out (and more renters to “2nd guess” why they are paying so much in rent when they could realistically purchase a home.

4)  The decline in short sales and bank owned property—which has fallen drastically in 2012.  Although distressed sales are still historically high, they have fallen from their peaks in most real estate markets.  This helps to alleviate the downward pressure on homes prices.

5)  Low Housing Inventories—housing inventories are at their lowest level in nearly 50 years.  Builders have cut back on construction and numerous home owners must wait for prices to increase prior to placing their home on the market.

Whether you are interested in finding out how much your home is worth or you are looking for a home to purchase, please contact me directly to help!  208-869-3469 . . .

 

A New Housing Boom? Really??

The badly bruised and battered housing market is finally starting to mend.  In fact, some housing experts feel that we are headed in the directly of another “housing boom”.

Home pricing, sales and the construction of new homes has provided evidence that the housing market is in the midst of the recovery phase.  The Federal Reserve has kept mortgage rates near record lows and foreclosures are down.

While the majority of statistical economists feel that current housing recovery will provide only slow to moderate improvements in home prices, there is a minority of economists which believe that the rebound will be much stronger.  In fact, Barclays Capital filed a recent report forecasting that home prices (which decreased by more than ½ after the housing bubble burst in ’07) could be back to peak levels as soon as 2015.

Stephen Kim, an analyst with Barclays Capital states the following, “In our view, the housing market had undergone a dramatic over-correction during the prior 5 years, resulting in pent-up demand for housing purchases that would spark a rapid rise in housing starts”.

In addition, Barclays is “bullish” on its outlook and predicts housing prices to raise 5%-7% annually.

Numerous experts also forecast home construction to grow by at least 20% a year for each of the next 2 years. Using construction companies such as the one at www.buildcomconstructionwa.com.au, can help you save where you can and build the home you’ve been wanting.  Some believe that home building may reach its pre-bubble average of about 1.5 million homes a year by 2015—double the expected housing starts this year.

The housing recovery feels “real” this time around.  Looking across the United States economy right now, there are just a handful of industries which may achieve 20%-30% growth over the next 4-5 years and housing is an industry which may supply this type of return.

Still straddling the fence?  If so, call me directly to discuss the process of purchasing real estate.