Two Things You Don’t Need to Hear from Your Listing Agent

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You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

  1. Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
  2. Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
  3. Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust.  Make sure this is the case.

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

  • Bragging about their success
  • Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house. However, you first need to know they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.

Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home. Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

Keeping Current Matters, September 16, 2014


Nebraska Furniture Mart “Grandscape” – Restaurants/Hotels

Nebraska Furniture Mart

Nebraska Furniture Mart Inc. officially has made its foray into the development world, signing hotels and restaurants to its $1.5 billion, 433-acre Grandscape project — even as it stocks shelves with furniture, appliances and electronics.  This is the first time the 77-year-old Omaha, Nebraska-based furniture retailer has developed its 1.9 million-square-foot furniture showroom and distribution center as well as the entire “entertainment destination” surrounding the furniture store at the southeast corner of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and Plano Parkway in The Colony.  “We had a chance to be thoughtful in how we recruited tenants for that area and how we will continue to recruit tenants,” Jeff Lind, chief strategy and development officer with Nebraska Furniture Mart and president of Grandscape told the Dallas Business JournalLind and other city officials held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the new retail tenants of Grandscape, which include Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Cheddar’s Casual Cafe, Hard Eight BBQ, Mi Cocina and Rock & Brews.  The Nebraska Furniture Mart is expected to be one of the largest grossing retail stores on the planet, which is why the developer is being particular when selecting tenants for Grandscape.  Construction is underway on the infrastructure that will support Grandscape’s new tenants. Cheddar’s and Rock & Brews plans to open in summer of 2015, with Hampton Inn, Hard Eight and Mi Cocina following in the fall. Homewood Suites plans to open in late 2016The Nebraska Furniture Mart showroom and distribution center is on pace to open in spring 2015.

  • Dallas Business Journal, October 28, 2014

Think you should For Sale By Owner? THINK AGAIN… [INFOGRAPHIC]

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1st-quarter home resales have first drop in 3 years

In 2013, D-FW prices jumped by almost 12 percent. At the end of March, fewer than 19,500 houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas — a 12 percent drop in number of homes for sale from a year earlier. There’s only a 2.6-month supply of pre-owned houses on the market. One of the things we are hearing in the market is buyers are pushing back a little bit on pricing — it’s an affordability issue. This spring we are not seeing as strong a pricing power we should see appreciation this year well above our longer trend, but not as strong as last year. In other words, if you are thinking about selling now is a great time.

Check out the full article here:

Sales of pre-owned homes in North Texas fell slightly in the first quarter — the first such decline in three years.  Pre-owned home sales were down 2 percent in the first three months of the year, a turnabout from the 16 percent rise in 2013 single-family home purchases that were handled through real estate agents’ multiple listing service.

Real estate agents sold 7,116 homes in March – down 4 percent from year-earlier totals, according to data released Tuesday by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.  The Dallas-Fort Worth home market may have hit a ceiling after two years of sharply increasing sales and prices.

Real estate analysts credit the leveling in activity to a shortage of houses on the market and slightly higher mortgage rates, which have made financing a home purchase more expensive.  “With the inventory being so low, demand may not have really fallen that much — we just can’t satisfy the demand,” said Dr. James Gaines, economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. “We’ll be very lucky to get a 5 or 10 percent increase in sales this year over last year.”  And that will not happen at all unless the supply of houses on the market improves, he said.

At the end of March, fewer than 19,500 houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas — a 12 percent drop from a year earlier. There’s only a 2.6-month supply of pre-owned houses on the market.

Gaines said investors have cut back on their purchases of properties, in part because of the shortage of houses for sale. That’s also reduced the volume of transactions.  And tougher mortgage lending standards are making it harder for first-time and moderate-income buyers.  “There were some minor weather issues in the first quarter, too,” he said.

Gaines said that in 2013, the D-FW area had the second-highest volume of home sales ever.  “This year if we can get enough inventory we’ll do better than that.”  The shortage of houses continues to drive up prices.

Median home sales prices in North Texas rose 9 percent in the first quarter and were up 8 percent in March from March 2013.  In 2013, D-FW prices jumped by almost 12 percent.  “The long-term average rate of increase is only about 4.5 percent,” said Gaines. “2014 is going to be another year of double-digit price increases.”

But sharp gains in residential prices over the last two years could become a drag on sales, analysts worry.

“One of the things we are hearing in the market is buyers are pushing back a little bit on pricing — it’s an affordability issue,” said David Brown with housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. “If you are not making more money, you can’t pay more money.  “This spring we are not seeing as strong a pricing power,” he said. “We will see appreciation this year well above our longer trend, but not as strong as last year.”  Brown said that the Dallas housing market has mostly recovered from the recession.  “Activity levels are back to where they were in 2008, but they are still below where they were at the peak of the market in 2006,” he said. “The demand from buyers is strong.

“But buyers are going out there and the product is not available or priced significantly higher than it has been.”


3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Spring

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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.


Moving-Up? Do it NOW not Later

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A recent study revealed that the number of existing home owners planning to buy a home this year is about to increase dramatically. Some are moving up, some are downsizing and others are making a lateral move. Another study shows that over 75% of these buyers will, in fact, be in that first category: a move-up buyer. We want to address this group of buyers in today’s blog post.

There is no way for us to predict the future but we can look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait instead.

Assume they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $400,000 (putting 10% down they would get a mortgage of $360,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by 13.8% over the last year (national average based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home would now be worth $341,400. But, the $400,000 home would now be worth $455,200 (requiring a mortgage of $409,680).

Here is a table showing what additional monthly cost would be incurred by waiting:

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Area Home Sales

Home sales in the Dallas area rose about 9-10% in 2013. Are you curious about the statistics for your area of town? Click on the link below to see an interactive map of the North Texas area year over year home sales data for all four quarters of 2013. Some areas lost value and some gained value more than others.

Just click on your area for the data.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/databases/20140122-area-home-sales.ece

 


Be Quiet Chicken Little. The Sky is NOT Falling

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There has been much speculation about what is causing the falling sales numbers in the most recent Existing Home Sales Reports (EHS) from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Some have claimed that rising interest rates have scared buyers out of the market. Others have claimed that consumers are just losing confidence in the housing recovery fearing a new bubble may be forming. We want to look at the validity of these two assumptions.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

ASSUMPTION: Rising interest rates have forced buyers back onto the fence. Evidence offered up by those in this camp comes directly from the EHS Report from NAR. Three of the last four reports revealed that sales were below sales from the same month the previous year.

THE REALITY: Though it is true year-over-year sales have fallen nationally, a closer look at the report reveals major regional differences. Sales in the West Region are down 10.7% versus the same month last year. Sales in the Midwest Region are also down but by less than 1%. The Northeast Region is up 3.2% and the Southern Region is up 4.6%.

If the issue is interest rates, why is one region virtually unchanged and two of the remaining three regions up in sales? We don’t believe rates are the challenge.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE in REAL ESTATE is ERODING

ASSUMPTION: The pace of the recent price increases has caused many to fear the emergence of a new housing bubble. Similar to the first assumption, evidence offered up by those in this camp comes directly from the less than enthusiastic EHS Reports from NAR.

THE REALITY: As we mentioned before, sales in the Midwest Region are down but by less than 1%. The Northeast and the Southern Region have both shown increased sales as compared to the year before. Are only the consumers in the Western Region afraid of a possible bubble forming?

The fear of a new housing bubble is vastly overstated. Forty states have not yet returned to home values they experienced seven to nine years ago. Nineteen of those forty states still have home prices 15% or more below peak prices. We believe home values will continue to increase but just at a slower rate of appreciation.

It is not just us that believe this is the case. The over 100 housing experts recently surveyed by Pulsenomics revealed that they believe prices will continue to appreciate at historical annual numbers (3-4%) for at least the next five years.

THEN WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?

If the lack of sales is not the result of increasing interest rates or decreasing consumer confidence, what actually is happening? We believe it can be broken down to three words: LACK of INVENTORY.

Inventories of foreclosure and short sale properties are falling like a rock in the vast majority of regions across the nation. These two categories of homes have driven the market for the last few years. As foreclosures and short sales sell, they are not being replaced because the economy has gotten better and more families have regained control of their finances. All fifty states have seen a decrease in the number of homeowners who are seriously delinquent on their mortgage payments with thirty nine states seeing the number shrink by over 20%.

This inventory has not yet begun to be replaced by the non-distressed properties in the country. Just this month, NAR revealed that the months’ inventory of homes for sale has dropped to only a 4 month supply. A normal market has between 5-6 months’ supply.

This is the main reason home sales are declining in certain regions – there are just not enough houses for sale.

BOTTOM LINE

With the economy improving and with homeowners gaining back some equity they lost when prices fell, we believe there will be many homes coming unto the market this spring. A recent survey revealed that 71% of homeowners are at least considering selling their home in 2014.

If you are thinking of selling, beating this increased competition to the market before spring might make sense – and might enable you to get the best price possible for your home.


Home Sales Up in 3 of 4 Regions

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Some industry gurus are questioning whether the housing momentum we saw early in 2013 began to dissipate later in the year. The more dramatic have claimed the housing sector is still on shaky ground. Others have blamed the slowdown in sales on a lack of consumer confidence or rising interest rates.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their 2013 4th Quarter Housing Report. The report revealed that home sales numbers barely outperformed (an .08% increase) those in the 4th quarter of 2012.

We believe the leveling in home sales is directly attributable to a lack of salable listing inventory; specifically in the West.

Three of the four regions in the NAR report had an increase in sales: Northeast (+7.1%), Midwest (+2%) and South Regions (+3.6%). A big fall-off in sales occurred in the Western Region. The dramatic fall-off in the West (-8.1%) can be directly linked to a shortage of inventory in their hottest markets.

If the decrease in sales was caused by an eroding of consumer confidence and/or rising interest rates, we believe each region would have seen similar decreases.


5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

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We are often asked if it makes sense to hire a real estate professional when buying or selling a home. We always emphatically answer – YES!

Here are five reasons why:

PAPERWORK

An agent will help with all disclosures and paperwork necessary in today’s heavily regulated environment. This helps remove much of the liability a buyer or seller could face.

EXPERIENCE

Navigating today’s real estate and mortgage processes can be like walking through a minefield of challenges. Real estate professionals are well educated in and experienced with the entire sales process.

NEGOTIATIONS

Negotiating such a large financial transaction can get tricky. Agents act as a ‘buffer’ in negotiations with all parties throughout the entire transaction.

PRICING

Real estate professionals help buyers and sellers understand the true real estate value of a property in today’s market. This is crucial when setting the price on a listing or on an offer to purchase.

UNDERSTANDING OF CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS

There is a plethora of housing information available today. The challenge is that some information appears to be in direct conflict with other pieces of information. A true real estate professional can simply and effectively explain today’s real estate headlines and decipher what they mean to you.