Your "Local" Specialist Blog

April 23rd, 2015 11:06 AM
Home Sales Skyrocketing!!

Posted: 23 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Home Sales Skyrocketing!! | Keeping Current Matters
Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report. The numbers shocked many analysts as they revealed a 10.4% increase over the same month last year. This is the highest number of sales since September 2013. Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and the 10.4% increase is the highest annual increase since August 2013. March's sales increase was the largest monthly increase since December 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, explained:
"After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March. The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."
Here is a graph showing home sales so far this year: Existing Home Sales | Keeping Current Matters An increase in sales occurred in every region of the country even the Northeast that experienced one of their roughest winters in years: Existing Home Sales by Region | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Houses are flying off the shelves. This may be the perfect time to sell yours.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on April 23rd, 2015 11:06 AMLeave a Comment

Is Getting a Mortgage Getting Easier?

Posted: 09 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Is Getting a Mortgage Getting Easier? | Keeping Current Matters
There has been a lot of discussion about how difficult it is to get a home mortgage in this market. There is no doubt that the process is not as easy as it was eight to ten years ago and that’s probably good news. However, it does appear that availability to mortgage money is increasing with each passing day. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association publishes the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their site the index is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time”. As we can see from the graph below, mortgage availability has been increasing dramatically over the last six months. Mortgage Availability | Keeping Current Matters Accompanying the latest index was this comment from Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist:
"A number of factors contributed to a loosening of credit in March: Freddie Mac's introduction of their 97 LTV program (Fannie Mae's was implemented in December) [and the] additional loosening of parameters on jumbo loan programs… Although credit remains tight by historical standards, this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring."

Bottom Line

If you have remained on the sidelines regarding homeownership because you were concerned about your ability to qualify for a mortgage, it may be time to get into the game.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on April 17th, 2015 10:23 AMLeave a Comment

April 17th, 2015 10:17 AM
Selling Your House in 2015? Don’t Miss this Opportunity

Posted: 15 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Selling Your House in 2015? Don’t Miss this Opportunity | Keeping Current Matters
Every seller wants to get the best price for their house. We learned in high school that the best price for any item will be determined by the demand for that item relative to the supply of that item. We have reported that the inventory of houses for sale is well below normal numbers. There is historical evidence that the demand for housing is about to increase dramatically. Each year, more homes sell in May, June, July and August than any other four months of the year. Here is a graph of homes sales last year by month: 2014 Home Sales | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

You want to make sure your house is available for sale during peak selling season. If you are thinking of selling this year, contact a local real estate professional today.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on April 17th, 2015 10:17 AMLeave a Comment

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 
Industry Experts Agree: Housing Supply Too Low | Keeping Current Matters
Last week, we reported on the lack of housing supply and how that was impacting the real estate market. Today, we want to let you know what other industry experts are saying. Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac Vice President:
“It’s kind of a seesaw right now between supply and demand. One of the reasons for fewer sales is not so much a lack of demand but a lack of supply, especially in the price range the majority of buyers were looking for.”
Diana Olick, CNBC’s Realty Check:
“Total sales are still running below expectations for the year. Don't blame winter weather, though. Blame the lack of supply.”
Bill McBride, Founder of Calculated Risk:
“Inventory is still very low (down 0.5% year-over-year in February). This will be important to watch over the next month at the start of the spring buying season.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors:
“Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices to near unsuitable levels. Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity.”
Realtor.com
“The National Housing Trend Report shows that inventory has decreased 10.9 percent year over year.”

And some experts are actually calling it a “seller’s market”

Forbes.com
“Tight inventory is a main reason the ball is still in the sellers' court.”
Bill Banfield, VP of Quicken Loans:
“We’re a bit low on the supply-side which could force prices up for buyers, further hammering home that we’re in a seller’s market.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. The amount of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact a local professional in your area to get the process started.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on April 1st, 2015 11:12 AMLeave a Comment

March 30th, 2015 3:07 PM

Why You Should Sell Now!


Why You Should Sell Now! | Keeping Current Matters

As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream home. Inventory is still below historic numbers and demand is strong. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for you and your family.

Here are five reasons to list your home now.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last 12 months which includes last spring’s buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 4.6 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, 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. 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. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

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 19.3% 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 under 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase by about three quarters of a percent by the end of 2015.

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 in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 30th, 2015 3:07 PMLeave a Comment

NAR'S Existing Home Sales Report [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights of the Report:

  • Existing Home Sales are up 4.7% from sales last year, and up 1.2% month-over-month
  • The Percentage of First-Time Homebuyers increased for the first time since November when it climbed to 29%
  • The Median Home Price is up 7.5% over last year marking the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 27th, 2015 11:14 AMLeave a Comment

March 25th, 2015 4:08 PM
5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent

Posted: 24 Mar 2015 04:00 AM PDT

5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current Matters
The busy spring real estate season is here. Are you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant. You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one. Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank. The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan. This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with the buyer.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving. You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!


Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 25th, 2015 4:08 PMLeave a Comment

March 23rd, 2015 11:09 AM
Freddie Mac’s New 3% Down Program

Posted: 23 Mar 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Freddie Mac's New 3% Down Program | Keeping Current Matters
Today, Freddie Mac is scheduled to start buying mortgages with down payments of only three percent – the first time down payments have been this low on Freddie Mac loans in nearly five years. The program is called Freddie Mac Home Possible AdvantageSM. In a recent Executive Perspectives, Dave Lowman EVP, Single-Family Business Freddie Mac, explained the potential impact this program will have on the housing market:
“There's a new reason Realtors and lenders may expect more qualified borrowers at the closing table during this spring's home buying season. In addition to low mortgage rates and rising job growth, the down payment hurdle is starting to shrink for creditworthy borrowers, including first-time homebuyers.”
And the mortgage industry agrees with Mr. Lowman. In a recent survey of mortgage originators by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it was revealed that most loan officers believe the move to a lower down payment will increase access to mortgage credit. Here are that survey’s findings: Down Payment Survey | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Many potential buyers are “ready and willing” to buy a home but have been afraid they may not be “able” because of a lack of adequate savings for a down payment. Check with a local real estate or mortgage professional to understand what the new rules may mean to you.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 23rd, 2015 11:09 AMLeave a Comment

March 17th, 2015 3:52 PM

Is the Housing Market Back? Ask Lowes & Home Depot!


Is the Housing Market Back? Ask Lowes & Home Depot! | Keeping Current Matters

A recent Bloomberg Business article reports that both Lowes & Home Depot experienced fourth quarter profits that beat revenue projections by the most in six quarters. So what does that mean to the housing market?

Consumer Confidence

Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock said,

“Consumers are feeling better about their jobs, their wages and certainly feeling better about the value of their home, they are re-engaging in projects that they have put off.”

Sales to professional contractors have increased significantly as well, and were a driving factor in the quarter. Home Depot’s Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome calls this a “sign of health. If they are putting more items in their basket, it means they have work coming at them.”

Home Values Rising

In a quarterly consumer survey conducted by Lowe’s since 2007, the percentage of respondents who said that the value of their home is rising increased to its highest value ever, at 50%.

Whether Americans are finally adding that man-cave they’ve always wanted, or renovating a master suite, an increased confidence in the value of one’s home often sparks homeowners to invest in big-ticket projects.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the median price of an existing home (for all housing types) rose year-over-year for the 35th consecutive month.

Not all who are renovating are planning on staying in their home. The Demand Institute reports that “nearly half of American households plan to move at some point in the future.”

For those who are planning on listing their home this spring, spending the time and money needed to update that 1950’s bathroom or kitchen can fetch higher prices in today’s market.

Bottom Line

Meeting with a local real estate professional can give you insight into the small (or big) improvements your home could use to draw the highest price and return on investment this spring.


Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on March 17th, 2015 3:52 PMLeave a Comment

February 27th, 2015 9:20 PM

Home Sales are NOT Collapsing!


Home Sales Are NOT Collapsing! | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) just released their Existing Home Sales report and some have taken the results and ran with headlines like:

“Existing home sales collapse in January despite low mortgage rates”.

Let’s take a closer look at what the report really shows. There is a seasonality to home sales that happens every year, with a decline in January, (as shown in the graph below.) But in reality 200,000 more homes (3.2%) sold this January over last January.

Existing Home Sales Year-Over-Year | Keeping Current Matters

The demand for housing hasn’t been a challenge.

Current buyer demand, as shown in the graph below, is actually 3x greater than that of January 2014.

Buyer Activity | Keeping Current Matters

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun points to the real issue at hand:

“Realtors® are reporting that low rates are attracting potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some to delay decisions.”

Months Inventory Homes For Sale | Keeping Current Matters

Even though buyers are out looking for their dream home, they cannot find it! Inventory levels increased slightly since December, but are still below historic norms and unable to keep up with the elevated demand.

Bottom Line

If your plan for 2015 includes selling your house, waiting till the Spring may not be in your best interest. Meet with a local real estate professional in your market who can explain the opportunities available now.


Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on February 27th, 2015 9:20 PMLeave a Comment

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