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

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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

 


#1 Reason You Should Sell Now

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The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’.  If the supply of an item is larger than the amount of people looking to purchase that item, the price will decrease.


With winter right around the corner, now may be the best time to get the best price. #KCM2014
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According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), historically there is a natural decline in buyers looking to purchase a home (also known as foot traffic) as the winter months approach. Shown in the graph below: Foot Traffic to Decline in Winter Months | Keeping Current Matters NAR goes a step further to say that there is a direct correlation between “foot traffic” and “pending contracts/closed sales one to two months later”.

Bottom Line

The real estate market has done well to recover from the slow start we experienced due in part to the inclement weather at the beginning of 2014.  But with those winter months right around the corner, now may be the best time to get the best price.


Home Sales Hit Highest Level of the Year

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WASHINGTON (October 21, 2014) – After a modest decline last month, existing-home sales bounced back in September to their highest annual pace of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  All major regions except for the Midwest experienced gains in September.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million in September from 5.05 million in August. Sales are now at their highest pace of 2014, but still remain 1.7 percent below the 5.26 million-unit level from last September.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the improved demand for buying seen since the spring has carried into the fall. “Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” he said. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in September was $209,700, which is 5.6 percent above September 2013. This marks the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of September fell 1.3 percent to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. Despite fewer homes for sale in September, unsold inventory is still 6.0 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.17 million existing homes available for sale.

All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in September, up slightly from August (23 percent) but down from 33 percent in September of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in September, up from 12 percent last month but below September 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-three percent of investors paid cash in September.

According to Freddie Mac, after falling for four consecutive months, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.16 percent in September from 4.12 percent in August. Despite the slight increase, interest rates are 33 basis points less than a year ago (4.49 percent).

“Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets, which will likely keep interest rates in upcoming weeks hovering near or below where they are now,” said Yun. “This is welcoming news for consumers looking to buy, although they could temporarily become more cautious by less certain economic conditions.”

The percent share of first-time buyers continues to underperform historically, remaining at 29 percent for the third consecutive month. First-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 17 of the past 18 months.

Distressed homes4 – foreclosures and short sales – increased slightly in September to 10 percent from 8 percent in August, but are down from 14 percent a year ago. Seven percent of September sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 14 percent below market value in September (same as in August), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (10 percent in August).

According to NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, fewer distressed sales is good news for appraisers, who have faced undue pressure since the downturn. “An appraisal is an important part of the home buying and selling process,” he said. “With foreclosures and short sales falling closer to average levels, appraisers will have fewer distressed sales in their list of comparables when determining home valuations.”

Properties typically stayed on the market in September longer (56 days) than last month (53 days) and a year ago (50 days). Short sales were on the market for a median of 116 days in September, while foreclosures sold in 59 days and non-distressed homes typically took 55 days. Thirty-five percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Single-family home sales rose 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.56 million in September from 4.47 million in August, but remain 1.9 percent below the 4.65 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $210,300 in September, up 5.9 percent from September 2013.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in September from 580,000 in August, and are unchanged from the 610,000 unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $205,200 in September, which is 3.2 percent higher than a year ago.

Regionally, September existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 680,000, but remain 1.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $249,800, which is 4.8 percent higher than a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 5.6 percent to an annual level of 1.17 million in September, and remain 4.9 percent below September 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $165,100, up 4.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 2.12 million in September, and are now 1.4 percent above September 2013. The median price in the South was $180,900, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in September, but remain 4.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $294,200, which is 4.0 percent above September 2013.

# # #

NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

4Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

Realtor.com®, NAR’s listing site, posts metro area median listing price and inventory data at: www.realtor.com/data-portal/Real-Estate-Statistics.aspx.

The Pending Home Sales Index for September will be released October 27, and existing-home sales for October is scheduled for November 20; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.


14,109 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

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There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold over the summer, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 14,109 houses sold yesterday, 14,109 will sell today and 14,109 will sell tomorrow. 14,109!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.15 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,000 homes sell every day. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen for four consecutive months.

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.