From time to time, the housing market undergoes changes that may affect my clients. It’s my responsibility to pass along industry news and keep clients informed.
As of April 1, 2013, annual mortgage insurance premiums for most FHA loans will increase by 10 basis points. The increase is one of a series of changes to be issued to allow the agency to better manage risk and further strengthen the health of the MMI Fund, the FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The changes also state that the length of time the borrower is required to pay mortgage insurance will be extended if the loan is applied for on or after June 3, 2013. At that time, borrowers with a Loan to Value (LTV) that begins above 90% will pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.
The changes are being made to protect FHA’s single-family insurance programs and to make sure the FHA remains a vital source of affordable mortgage financing for future generations of homebuyers. Borrowers that have already been preapproved for FHA financing that file their case numbers prior to these changes will not be impacted. However, buyers in the market now may want to act quickly before the changes take place. Spring is here and new inventory is cropping up every day.
If you have any questions regarding the HUD changes or other specific financing concerns, please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of my team. Whether you are in the market today or in the future, we are always here to lend a hand and continually yours to count on.
As a home buyer or seller, when it comes to your home, you expect your Midtown Direct real estate professional to be up to date on the latest technology. You want us to have an active web presence and list your Midtown Direct home on social media in order to get the most exposure possible.
But are you aware that many single-family home builders and remodeling professionals are tech savvy, too? Do you research the contractors you hire to complete your home renovation projects online before having the work completed? These days you absolutely can.
In a recent study from the National Association of Home Builders, more than 80 percent of construction professionals utilized smart phones and computers and most, over 70 percent, used laptops to conduct business operations and manage projects as well.
Many of these service providers seek ratings and pay attention to client satisfaction, but only about 20 percent allow customers to track project progress through technology. Still, this is one area where technology has experienced huge increases in the last two decades.
As consumers have become more comfortable with their technology, they’ve come to expect it from their construction professionals, many of whom they even connect with on Facebook and LinkedIn. In fact, the study revealed that it may be possible for some remodelers and small builders to double their share of business by using downloadable brochures and sharing new home buying details on their websites.
As a consumer, do you agree? Do you want and need technically proficient builders and remodelers? Do you enjoy looking through website portfolios when deciding on your contractor or do you make your decision on a face-to-face meeting?
I’m sure it’s much the same as being a real estate agent. My clients love searching for homes on my interactive website, doing their own research on my communities and calling me as they have questions or are ready to actively pursue home buying and home selling. Still, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting! So in today’s world we are lucky to have both.
If you are curious about how technology has changed the construction and home building industry, see the full report here. And, of course, my team can answer any questions that arise in your search for reputable contractors.
One of my primary responsibilities is to share the latest trends and offer tips to help buyers and sellers in every way possible. This month KCM’s (Keeping Matters Current) blog features a post by Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D., Florida International University & Editor of the Journal of Housing Research, well worth sharing and some food for thought for my community clients and friends.
The good news — the housing market is on the upswing and starting to show signs of recovery. This means that sellers often think they can list their property at a higher price and then adjust when necessary. But is that really the best strategy? Are there adverse effects from changing the listing price of your home? This is an age-old question that has been troubling real estate professionals as well as sellers almost every day. Research scientifically conducted by John R. Knight, has no clear results or consensus, but his conclusions certainly ring true.
Knight’s findings are very interesting as he investigates changing a property’s listing price. The research indicates that, on average, properties which experience a listing price change take longer to sell and suffer a greater price discount in the end than similar properties. What’s more, the bigger the price change the longer the marketing time and ultimately even greater price reductions. Finally, as for which properties are most likely to experience a price change, Knight concludes the greater the initial mark-up; the higher the likelihood that this property will experience a listing price change.
Bottom Line Implications
Sellers as well as Brokers/Agents must be aware of the importance of getting the price correct from the start. That’s where my team and I can help – we have our pulse on this market and the experience and knowledge to get your home sold quickly and profitably. At our initial consultation, we will give you all the information needed about the market in your particular neighborhood; discuss timing and a personalized marketing strategy. After all, according to Knight, sellers wanting to over list will have a house sitting longer on the market that will end up selling for less.
Interestingly, Mr. Johnson’s research shows that changing the listing price up or down both lead to similar results found in Knight’s work – longer marketing times and lower selling price. Count on my team to get the price right at the start and to work incredibly hard to get your house sold.
The holiday season is a time of peace and joy, however for home sellers it can be a rather stressful period trying to balance open houses and showings with family time and holiday traditions. Therefore if you plan to relocate during this time of year, I offer friends and clients in my neighboring communities — Short Hills, Millburn, Summit, Chatham, Madison, Maplewood, South Orange, Livingston, Westfield and New Providence — a few ideas and tips to enjoy the seasons cheer.
First of all, remember you are not the only one with a busy schedule and that your potential buyers may also be in a hurry. Be as flexible and available as possible — the more showings, the greater the chances for a potential fast sale. Make the necessary time for family and holiday traditions, but you’ll also need to make compromises. This means that this year you might have to put those big house parties on hold and keep holiday decorations to a minimum. Decorations can actually affect a buyer’s decision so best to keep it simple and tasteful. Take a look at holiday home décor magazines — they are full of great decorating ideas and examples. Simple scented candles with wintertime fragrances and winter fresh flowers can really go a long way. We have many wonderful trendy stores and flower shops right here in our communities where you can find one-of-a-kind items that add just the right touch to any room.
Plan fun and interesting activities outside the home this year while your house is being listed. Take the family to a festive restaurant, to a holiday movie or a winter activity like ice skating. No matter how much you wish to sell your home, do not miss out on the holiday spirit and enjoy special family time. Our towns — Short Hills, Millburn, Summit, Chatham, Madison, Maplewood, South Orange, Livingston, Westfield and New Providence — are full of holiday activities, boutique stores for shopping, special community events and a host of holiday spirit.
Selling a home implies emphasizing its best features and drawing attention to the positive aspects of your residence. It’s important to take a great winter time photograph to make a lasting impression on potential buyers. After all, a good photograph is worth a thousand words, and that can really help with the sale. Take advantage of the snow and the natural beauty of winter.
The holiday season is a much anticipated time of year, and with a few compromises it will not be impossible to sell your home. Take the necessary steps to prepare your home and allure potential buyers to make it their own. Our communities have so much to offer.
This article is very timely given that we are in a very low inventory market. Many people think they need to wait til spring to sell in their homes in the communities of Millburn, Short Hills, Chatham, Summit, Livingston, Maplewood and Westfield to get the best price, but that’s not always true… you will have more competition in the spring, but the buyers who are out there right now are very serious and will jump on that perfect house.I am happy to meet with you for a consultation and discuss timing with you. Feel free to call me on my cell. 973-200-6261 There’s no obligation whatsoever, I just want to help you weigh your options and make the best decision for your family. CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE
KCM (Keeping Current Matters) is a great source for timely real estate information that helps prepare agents to assist and guide buyers and sellers. This week they posted a blog that I felt really hit the nail on the head and I wanted to share it with my friends and clients in our Midtown Direct and neighboring communities.
We so often use the terms COST vs. PRICE, but what exactly is the difference? As a seller, you will be most concerned about “short term price” or where homes values are headed during the next six months. Buyers must be concerned more about the “long term cost” of the home more than price. Here’s a little clarification….
Yesterday, KCM reported that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is projecting mortgage interest rates will slowly increase over the next 12 months. And earlier this week, they indicated that experts are projecting home prices to increase as well over the next year.
This will have an impact on a buyer’s mortgage payment as home prices increase over the coming months. To better explain, we’ve put together this simple demonstration on a home selling for approximately $600,000 today:
Impact of Interest Rates on Payments
PRICE $570,000 $600,000 $630,000
What is comes down to is return on investment or where do we stand to gain the biggest profit and the greatest long-term benefits. And that’s where my team comes in – our years of experience and understanding of the housing climate can help both buyers and sellers navigate the market and get the biggest bang for their buck.
Keller Williams Realty Awarded the Highest Ranking in Customer Service Satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates
The news is out and it’s official….J.D. Power and Associates released its 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study ranking Keller Williams Realty, Inc. as the leader in both the home buyer and home seller segments resulting in the highest J.D. Power Circle rating among all its competitors.
J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based from millions of consumers annually.
The study, now in its fifth year, measures customer satisfaction amongst the largest national real estate companies within both the home buyer and seller segments. To determine scores, the company examines three factors of the home buyer experience including agent/salesperson, office and other additional services available. For the home seller segment factors are agent/salesperson, marketing, office and other varied services.
J.D. Power and Associates stated, “The uncertain economic times present a challenge for the real estate companies to really work closely with the customers and really hold their hand through the entire process to make them feel more comfortable in the decisions. Keller Williams has set itself apart by performing high in all the areas that are most important to customers specifically with the agent, the offices, and the services that they provide.”
I am honored to be amongst peers whose commitment and dedication to service in our communities is always first and foremost. Even in today’s challenging real estate market, the Keller Williams family continues to put our customers first meeting and exceeding their every need. The integrity and strides being made to stay one step ahead of the competition and keep doing better in both the buyer and seller markets is a source of pride for all involved in this dynamic company and a direct result of this recognition. I am so proud to share this distinction with so many talented, hardworking people.
As we look forward to 2013, the Sue Adler team is planning ahead and looking at new ways to further surpass last year’s goals by continuing to have a true command of our marketplace and a real understanding of the needs of all our clients.
As we look ahead to the new year, some vital changes will occur in our tax laws. For instance, one that will affect real estate is President Obama’s new Medicare Tax on unearned investment income on secondary properties. Those of us trying to sell a vacation or non-primary residence will definitely want to take a closer look at this change and make some quick decisions if contemplating on selling a secondary home.
The new tax structure, which goes into effect on January 1, 2013, may seem a little complicated, but in summary applies to the “unearned” income of “high income” tax payers. For example, those who file “single” returns will be subject to the new unearned income tax if they have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $200,000. Married couples filing jointly with an AGI of more than $250,000 will also be subject to the new tax.
You might ask why it’s called a Medicare tax? That’s because the revenues generated from the tax will be allocated to the Medicare Trust Fund that is part of our Social Security System. Jeff Quintin, who specializes in South Jersey real estate, does a superb job in summarizing the new tax initiative. Please refer to his video for specific examples by clicking here. Although Jeff feels strongly that the tax will indeed affect his marketplace, anyone thinking of selling a vacation home should absolutely watch his video and act quickly to avoid the possibility of an additional burden before the close of the year.
As always, my team and I are available to assist you in every way. Whether you are thinking of selling your secondary home, need to bounce off ideas or have specific questions, we are here to make your sales experience a pleasant and profitable one.
Look ahead and plan wisely to make the most out of your secondary home sale.
Often times when we are getting a house ready to sell we forget about one of the most important parts, the exterior. This particularly includes the front door and the yard. It is statistically proven that homes that are staged properly will sell 50% quicker than those that are not, and often times at a 10% higher profit. Typically it is believed that only 10% of the potential customers that are looking at your home can visualize the potential that it has and this is why you need it looking its very best.
The curb appeal is pivotal to this. Many statistics show that as high as 70% of the homes bought were based upon initial impressions. Unfortunately people do judge by appearances and you want yours to sell your home the best way it can.
Take It to The Curb
If you want to give a good first impression one of the best approaches is to start by just walking up to your house. Take notes as to what it looks like and how it makes you feel. Don’t look at the potential you want it to be, look at it as it truly is and then see what needs to be done to reach that potential you are striving for. Take the time to look over the way your lawn or front landscaping looks, and the porch or front of your home. Does it look in order and clean, or does it need work? What about your front door, does it look inviting but strong, or is it dirty and old?
If you feel that any of these are not where they should be take a look online or at some home improvement magazines and see where others have succeeded. They say that imitation is the best complement, and taking this approach to getting the front of your home up to par is a really effective method to achieving a higher buying potential.
The Front Door
There are many stagers who will tell you to keep your front door the same color as the exterior of your home to keep things subtle but for anyone who has ever seen an accent door, such as a red door on a dark brick home, you know what power this can have. The important thing when it comes to the door is that it is clean and well kept. If needs be it may be a good idea to purchase a new energy efficient door. This is a good selling point and the extra investment can have a good pay off in the end.
Adding Numbers Can Add Punch
One of the final recommended pieces of advice given by stagers is regarding the numbers on the outside of your home. This can seem a bit obvious, but you may be surprised as to how many people neglect to take care of this part of their home. It is critical that you have clearly marked street numbers and not only because this give some strength to the look of your home, if it is done right it will also ensure that those coming to see your home can find it.
For many homeowners these days, an outdoor space with a surface free from the ground is a necessary component to achieve their desire for outdoor living at home. Patios and decks can fill this need provided they are properly planned. Like any home improvement project, they require careful consideration to prevent the sort of headaches that ill conceived efforts often bring. Selecting a plan and determining how to carry it through will be the hallmarks for success in such a venture. Failure to make the right choices can result in spaces that are left unused and unwanted. What began in hope ends up in despair, and the homeowner will be left with a negative that detracts from the property’s overall worth. Read more