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How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House

Posted: 18 Nov 2015 04:00 AM PST

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House | Keeping Current Matters
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize the financial reward when selling their home. But, how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to insuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actually, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house. (see chart) Impact of Price on Visibility | Keeping Current Matters Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house. In a recent article on, they gave this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. Yet, studies have shown that typically homes sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional. Recent research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed:
“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”
Median Selling Price FSBO vs Agent | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price it at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on November 24th, 2015 8:51 PMLeave a Comment

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November 16th, 2015 11:18 AM

Why You Should Sell Now… Before Winter Hits

Posted: 16 Nov 2015 04:00 AM PST

Why You Should Sell Now... Before Winter Hits | Keeping Current Matters People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every Fall. We ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year-round weather or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait. If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to do it now versus the dead of winter.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now! As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still well under the 6 months’ supply necessary for a normal market. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference). The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market in recent times has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. 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 over 18.1% from now to 2019. 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 below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on November 16th, 2015 11:18 AMLeave a Comment

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November 10th, 2015 4:26 PM
Homeownership Builds Wealth and Offers Stability

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 04:00 AM PST

Homeownership Builds Wealth and Offers Stability | Keeping Current Matters
The most recent Housing Pulse Survey released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the two major reasons Americans prefer owning their own home instead of renting are:
  1. They want the opportunity to build equity.
  2. They want a stable and safe environment.

Building Equity

In a recent article, John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, explained that those who lack the opportunity to become homeowners have a weakened ability to reinvest their wealth:
“We traditionally have been huge supporters of homeownership. We see it as a way to provide stability for households but also as an asset-building strategy. If you continue to be a renter, locked out of the homeownership arena, increasingly those things are further and further out of reach. They’re joined at the hip. They perpetuate each other.”

Family Stability

Does owning your home really create a more stable environment for your family? A survey of property managers conducted by last month disclosed two reasons tenants should feel less stable with their housing situation:
  • 68% of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%.
  • 53% of property managers said that they were more likely to bring in a new tenant at a higher rate than negotiate and renew a lease with a current tenant they already know.
We can see from these survey results that renting will provide anything but a stable environment in the near future.

Bottom Line

Homeowners enjoy a more stable environment and at the same time are  given the opportunity to build their family’s net worth.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on November 10th, 2015 4:26 PMLeave a Comment

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6 Things All First-Time Homebuyers Should Consider

Buying a home is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s almost an American badge of honor—but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking at an investment that takes most people three decades to pay off. Before you start filling out those change of address cards, make sure your investment is a smart one by keeping in mind these six things most new homeowners overlook.

 1. Hidden costs. When you take possession of your new home, you also take possession of a slew of new expenses you may not have considered. In addition to costs like homeowners insurance and property taxes, you should also be prepared for the less-obvious incidentals that come along with home ownership. Setting up new utilities may require a deposit or large up-front payment. Contact your utility companies in advance to find out about any fees and get an idea of average utility costs for your home. If you’re moving far from your employer or school, you need to factor in gas and vehicle upkeep. And don’t forget about all those unexpected problems your landlord used to handle, like clogged plumbing, a broken furnace, or storm damage, not to mention the purchase of appliances such as a refrigerator, washer, or dryer (and fixing them when they break down).

 2. Non-traditional funding sources. It’s always a good idea to have your funding in place before looking for a home in earnest. But if you’re worried about getting financing, remember that in addition to traditional FHA and conventional loans, there are also grants and other funding sources available for first-time homeowners. These can come with low interest rates, and some don’t even require repayment. Look for grants or programs related to your profession. For example, teachers and farmers have several programs to choose from. You may also find funding sources related to the area where you plan to purchase. Rural areas, high-poverty areas, and up-and-coming regions often have incentives and grants available. You may be surprised at how easy it can be to qualify for any of these funding sources, even if you’re afraid your income would automatically exclude you. As a final note, you might want to consider an online real estate marketplace like, where you may be able to find homes at a substantial discount, including many that are financeable.

 3. Using a real estate agent. It may seem like a cost-savings strategy to buy a house without using a real estate agent or Realtor®, but the protections that come with hiring an agent are well worth the cost. Real estate agents are held to certain ethical standards that require them to look out for the best interest of the buyer and the seller. They also know what to focus on during negotiations and can help you avoid getting stuck with a house that looks pretty on the outside but is getting ready to crumble on the inside.

 4. Inspections. Some loans and states require home inspections, but even if it isn’t mandatory for you, you should still do it. An inspection will give you peace of mind that you’re not walking into a money pit. Home inspections check out everything from the condition of your roof to whether or not each electrical outlet is working. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she should be able to recommend a reputable company to do the inspection. If not, ask other recent homebuyers for suggestions.

 5. Resale value. Now is not the time to be shortsighted. When you’re looking at investing in a home, you need to think long-term and resale value. Beyond the specifics of your home (number of bedrooms, baths, etc.), consider the neighborhood, school district, local crime rate, and access to local activities and amenities. Houses in good school districts and low-crime areas have better chances of holding onto and increasing in value. But even if it’s in a nice neighborhood, a three-bedroom home with just one bath might be difficult to sell, especially to a growing family. The biggest home in a neighborhood full of smaller houses could be harder to sell if you need to move. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve considered how your investment will hold up in the long run.

 6. Investing in the right upgrades. It can be exciting to jump in and start turning your new home into your dream home. But use caution before taking on an expensive remodel that might not give you a good return on your investment. Not all home upgrades are equal. In fact, many of the most expensive projects don’t increase your home’s value enough to make them worth the money. Remodeling an office, adding an expensive master suite, or expanding the bathroom won’t get the same return on investment as smaller, less expensive upgrades. By keeping the same footprint while updating existing areas of your home, you’ll get far more bang for your buck when it comes to home value and resale. Pools and sunrooms often seem like surefire ways to increase value and attract buyers, but the appeal of these items varies from market to market. A pool will rarely see a return of better than 11% of the money spent to put it in. Choose upgrades that make sense financially; change out countertops, update flooring, paint, and fixtures, and (whatever you do) don’t convert that closet into something else—storage is real estate gold.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on November 5th, 2015 7:34 PMLeave a Comment

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House Hasn’t Sold Yet? Take Another Look at the Price

Posted: 04 Nov 2015 04:00 AM PST

House Hasn’t Sold Yet? Take Another Look at the Price | Keeping Current Matters
The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007. Demand remains strong going into the winter. Many real estate professionals are reporting that multiple offers are occurring regularly and listings are actually selling above listing price. What about your house?

If your house hasn’t sold, it is probably the price.

If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prospective buyers that will even see your house. (See Chart) Proper Pricing Pyramid | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on November 4th, 2015 3:26 PMLeave a Comment

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2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter

Posted: 26 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT

2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter | Keeping Current Matters
Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400). In a recent Forbes article the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater. The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction: Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Put Your Housing Cost to Work For You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings’. Every time you pay your mortgage you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth. The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 80% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:
“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you through homeownership, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on October 27th, 2015 4:56 PMLeave a Comment

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Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home!

Posted: 27 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home! | Keeping Current Matters
Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if you are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”. A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes. Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family? If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on October 27th, 2015 4:45 PMLeave a Comment

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October 22nd, 2015 8:58 PM
Applying For A Mortgage: Why So Much Paperwork?

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Applying For A Mortgage: Why So Much Paperwork? | Keeping Current Matters
We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago. There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
  1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again
  2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business. Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.
However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably at or below 4%. The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of <4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on October 22nd, 2015 8:58 PMLeave a Comment

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October 22nd, 2015 8:35 PM
4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits | Keeping Current Matters
It's that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don't have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 10.5% (most pessimistic) and 25.5% (most optimistic). The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on October 22nd, 2015 8:35 PMLeave a Comment

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October 8th, 2015 2:16 PM
Pending Home Sales Remain Steady

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Pending Home Sales Remain Steady | Keeping Current Matters
The National Association of REALTORS’ just released the results of their latest Pending Home Sales Index, which showed a small 1.4% decline in signed contracts in August. Pending sales remain strong year-over-year as they were 6.1% higher than August ’14 and have now risen for 12 consecutive months. 

What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR’s PHSI is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales. In every major region of the country, pending sales are up year-over-year as shown by the graph below: Pending Home Sales By Region | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean for the market?

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR explained:
"Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget."

There is no need to worry

Yun went on to say, “Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago."

So What Does This Mean To Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home. 

What Does This Mean to Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… don't wait! There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers. Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price. 

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on October 8th, 2015 2:16 PMLeave a Comment

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