4 Expenses You Avoid When Working With a Seller’s Agent

It might be tempting to sell your own home. You might think you are saving by not paying an agent’s fee and only have to hold an open house and deal with some paperwork. However, statistics have shown that sellers tend to make more money when they hire a Realtor. According to the National Association of Realtors®, an agent-assisted home sale has a 13 percent higher sales price than a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).

Here are a just a few ways you save with an agent.

1. The price is right
Pricing your home is one of the most challenging parts of selling. A Realtor is highly experienced in this area and can help you avoid pitfalls. For instance, over-pricing may leave your home languishing on the market and if you start dropping it, you can be seen as desperate and bring in low-ball offers. On the other hand, if you price too low, you’re leaving money on the table that could be in your hands – something you probably don’t want to do when selling your most valuable asset.

2. Marketing
Let’s face it, you have to spread the word about your property. Paying for online listings, mailers and signs can be expensive. Most Realtors already have a plan in place for marketing as well as the connections to spread the word quickly and efficiently and usually at no added cost. This can also relieve a lot of stress off the seller.

3. Negotiations
No matter how well your home is priced, you will likely find yourself negotiating with the buyer. This is where an agent’s skill and experience will really help you get a fair price. Not to mention the fact that most buyers think they can negotiate a real deal if you are selling the home yourself. Do you know what your home is really worth in the current market to back up your price?

4. Time is money
Let’s face it, life is busy. Adding tasks like creating marketing materials, arranging showings, finding contractors, negotiating, reviewing documents, etc will cost you both time and money, as well as add a lot of stress. Let a Realtor that performs these duties daily and has resources at his/her fingertips do the work for you and help you open your schedule and sell your home faster.

Reconsidering your FSBO status? Contact Gwen at 972-824-6466 or gwen@gwenwood.com

— article adapted from ABOVE, The Re/Max Magazine —


2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report: Less is More

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Are you considering selling in 2015?  It’s important to know which home improvement projects will bring you the most return on your investment. Visit the 2015 Cost vs Value Report (see Dallas specific info here) which compares the 36 most popular remodeling projects and the value those projects retain at resale.  If you’re making updates or just thinking about selling, let’s talk about how it will affect the value of your home!

The Cost vs. Value report is an annual collaboration between Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® Magazine, which breaks down the estimated cost of various remodeling projects and the estimated return on investment for those projects by region and by city, as well as by midrange and upscale projects. In general, the 2015 report boasts that “less is more”.  It’s the smaller improvements that will give you the most bang for your buck.

 

 

According to the January 2015 issue of REALTOR® Magazine:

As a general rule:

  • Simpler, lower-cost projects tend to return greater value. The national average cost for a steel door replacement was $1,230, for example. That’s the least expensive project on the list, and it ranks highest on the payback scale, returning 101.8 percent nationally on average. In fact, in 43 of the 102 markets surveyed, REALTORS® said the new door would recoup more than 100 percent of its cost. Other projects expected to top 100 percent payback in multiple markets: the midrange garage door replacement, the upscale garage door replacement, the midrange wood window replacement, and the minor kitchen remodel. Notice a pattern? With the exception of the kitchen job, they’re all replacement projects. In general, replacements cost less and provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions.
  • First impressions are important. The replacements that offer the greatest payback are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view a house in person or online, such as new door or garage door. Siding replacement also provides great value at resale—particularly this year’s one new project, manufactured stone veneer,  which is expected to recoup 92.2 percent of its cost nationally on average.
  • Kitchens still offer the most remodeling bang for the buck. The only remodeling job breaking into the top 10 in terms of payback is the minor kitchen remodel with a national average cost of $19,226 and a national average payback of 79.3 percent.

Top 5 projects nationally in terms of cost recouped:

1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)
4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)

Click here for the full article from REALTOR® Magazine.

 

From the January 12, 2015 article in Remodeling magazine:

It’s no surprise that replacement jobs—such as door, window, and siding projects—generated a higher return than remodeling projects. That’s been the case since at least 2003. But the gap between the two categories widened by 3.8 percentage points this year even as both declined in value: Replacement projects showed an average return of 73.2% in this year’s report, just a smidgen below its 73.7% last year, while the cost-value ratio of remodeling projects sank to 60.8% in this year’s report from 65.1% last year.

When grouped by job type, siding jobs fared better than most, perhaps because of a rising perception nationwide of the value of curb appeal. Midrange vinyl siding replacement jobs were one of only five projects to rise in value, to 80.7% from 78.2%. A replacement job involving foam-backed siding slipped just half a point in value, to 77.6%, while the cost-value ratio for a fiber-cement replacement job dipped to 84.3% from 87.0%. Similarly, window jobs were no more than 2.1 points lower this year than in the 2014 report, and they ranked between ninth and 16th in overall payback.

In contrast, kitchen remodels declined as much as 6.6 percentage points, while the drop for bathroom additions and remodels was more modest, slipping 3.8 points or less.

As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio. Three of the four projects that cost less than $5,000 for a pro to do were ranked in the top five for cost recouped, and the other two were in the $5,000-to-$25,000 price range. No project costing more than $25,000 ranked better than 14th.

Click here for the full article from Remodeling Magazine.


Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007

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There is no doubt that the housing market has recovered from the meltdown that occurred just a few short years ago. However, in some states home values still have not returned to the prices we saw in 2006 and 2007. Here is a breakdown showing where current prices are in each state as compared to peak prices.

HPI-Price-Since-Peak

– Keeping Current Matters; December 22, 2014


#1 Reason to Sell Now

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If you are one of the many homeowners out there who are debating putting their home on the market in 2015, don’t miss out on the opportunity that currently exists. There will be significantly less competition in the winter months than in the spring.

According to the National Housing Survey released by Fannie Mae, 45% of homeowners “say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months.”

What Does This Mean?

Homeowners are unaware that interest rates are projected to go up by all four major reporting institutions – This is big news for move-up buyers reflecting the overall amount of housing inventory that will be on the market.

If existing homeowners believe that mortgage interest rates are not going to increase, then they won’t be inclined to make a move by putting their home up for sale, meaning less competition for sellers who list now.

Don’t Wait!

The study also revealed that:

“Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 68%” & “the share of respondents who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today decreased by 3 percentage points.”

As Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae explains:

“We expect consumer attitudes toward housing to improve as the pickup in the overall economy lifts employment and income prospects.“

Bottom Line

There are buyers out there who are ready to make a move. If your goal this year is to move up to your dream home, what are you waiting for?

– Keeping Current Matters; January 5, 2015


The Importance of Using a Professional When Selling Your Home

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When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past two years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2014 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that for the second year in a row 96% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%) or negotiate the terms of the sale & price (31%) or understand the process (63%).

Stephen Phillips, the Chief Operating Officer for HSF Affiliates LLC, put it best:

“Home buyers are more informed than ever with their Internet searches and ongoing research; however, there’s a critical need to transform that information into analysis and advice that helps consumers make the best home-buying and selling decisions.”

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. 

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

– Keeping Current Matters; November 19, 2014


Dallas-Area Home Appreciation in 2015 to be Twice the National Average

Dallas-Area Home Prices Reach Record

Prices of preowned homes in the Dallas area were up 7.4 percent in the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  The gain in September from a year ago was the fourth highest in the country – significantly ahead of the 4.9 percent nationwide increase.  Home price increases nationwide have slowed in recent months, but in the Dallas area, the year-over-year price increases have remained steady.  Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas continue to have price increases considerably above the national average.   Dallas-area home prices are now 12 percent higher than they were before the recession and at record level in the Case-Shiller index.

  • Dallas Morning News, November 26, 2014

 

Dallas-Area Home Appreciation in 2015 to be Twice the National Average

Get ready for 2015!  “I expect the appreciation to stay in the high single digits,” said David brown in the Dallas office of housing analyst Metrostudy Inc.   “Our forecast is for homes to appreciate in the 7 percent to 8 percent range in 2015.”  “This is still about double the long-term average rate of increase.”  It is also about double what is expected around the country.

  • Dallas Morning News, November 26, 2014

prosper the name says it all

Prosper: The Name Says it All

Prosper got its start as a railway whistle-stop is on the verge of a building boom that will forever change the once rural community.  Homebuilders are plowing up thousands of acres of former farmland to create housing to serve growing employment centers to the south in Frisco and West Plano.   And on the south edge of Prosper along U.S. Highway 380, surveyors are laying out sites for new shopping centers, office buildings and medical complexes.

 

“It’s been a whirlwind summer,” said Robert Winningham, who heads the Prosper Economic Development Corp. “We have 15,000 residents and are getting ready to double to 30,000.  We will hit close to 500 new homes this year,” Winningham said.

With Frisco’s neighborhoods quickly filling up with new homeowners, Prosper is next in line to benefit from North Texas’ need for more housing. It’s already the second-fastest-growing community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to recent census reports.  The town couldn’t be in a better location, straddling Preston Road and the route of the Dallas North Tollway.  Prosper stretches about 9 miles east to west and 3 miles north from U.S. 380 to the Celina city limits.  “We’re like a big net catching everything that comes up from Frisco,” said Winningham, who came to Prosper about two years ago after a stint as Allen’s top economic officer. “As Frisco fills up along the tollway, that leaves us next.”

 

Two major residential projects in the works in Prosper will eventually add more than 15,000 residents.  The 2,000-acre Windsong Ranch community on the west side of Prosper opened this summer and has seen sales of dozens of new houses. The development by Terra Verde Group will eventually have about 3,000 homes.

  • Dallas Morning News, November 21, 2014

DFW Area on Track for 2015

new construction

DFW Area on Track for Increased Homebuilding in 2015

The Dallas-Fort Worth area should be the second busiest homebuilding market in the country in 2015, according to a new forecast.  MetroStudy Inc predicts that only Houston will have more single-family home starts next year in a comparison of the country’s top building markets.  D-FW home starts are forecast to top 28,000 units next year, compared with the Houston area’s more than 37,000 starts.

“Most of the other starts leaders in 2015 will be markets where builders can secure the raw material—labor, land, and materials—to start new projects,” MetroStudy reports. “Builders in Dallas are pushing their capacity as well, as they assemble more lots and struggle to find enough skilled workers to keep up with demand.”

  • Dallas Morning News, November 10, 2014

Texas the Best State for Future Job Growth, Forbes says

Texas is the top state for its current economic climate and future job growth in Forbes’ annual Best States for Business study released this week.  Texas has added 2.1 million jobs since 2000, more than twice as many as any other state, Forbes reports. Moody’s Analytics expects Texas to have an annual job growth rate of 2.7 percent over the next five years — the fastest in the nation — ranking it No. 1 on Forbes’ “Best States for Job Growth” list.  Naturally, Forbes cites Texas’ pro-business environment and the energy industry for its impressive job growth.  “Texas has done well primarily because it is an energy center. You really can’t get around that,” Edward Friedman, an economist who tracks Texas for Moody’s Analytics, told Forbes. “Every major energy and oil company has realized over the last 15 years that the only place to be is Houston.”   Outside of Houston, Forbes cites Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) new campus in Plano, Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) moving jobs to Austin and El Paso, and Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) expansion in Austin as other examples of the massive business investments in Texas.  In addition to Texas’ impressive job growth, it also is expected to have the second-fastest economic growth rate over the next five years: 4.1 percent annually.  However, the education rate of Texas’ workforce hurts it in the overall ranking. It has the second-lowest percentage of adults with a high school degree: 82 percent.

  • Forbes, November 14, 2014