Your "Local" Specialist Blog

The Impact of Rising Prices on Home Appraisals

Posted: 01 Jul 2015 04:00 AM PDT

The Impact of Rising Prices on Home Appraisals | Keeping Current Matters
The fact that residential home prices are increasing substantially in most regions of the country is music to the ears of homeowners. However, if you are in the process of selling your home, make sure you realize the major challenge a hot real estate market creates. Each house must be sold twice; once to a buyer and a second time to an appraiser who represents the bank that will grant the purchaser a mortgage to buy the home (unless it is an “all cash” purchase). In a real market with escalating prices, the second sale may be the more difficult. And a recent survey by Quicken Loans reveals that the gap between what a homeowner believes is the value of their home compared to an appraiser is widening. Appraisal vs. Homeowner Value | Keeping Current Matters This could lead to an increase in the percentage of real estate transactions being challenged by a ‘short’ appraisal (where the appraiser value is less than the contracted price of the home).

Bottom Line

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you must be prepared for this possibility as it may result in a renegotiation of the price of the home.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on July 1st, 2015 4:10 PMLeave a Comment

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Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth?

Posted: 24 Jun 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Buy vs Rent: What Really Creates Family Wealth? | Keeping Current Matters
There has been recent press regarding whether or not it makes better financial sense to rent rather than buy in today’s housing market. As an example, the recently released June Summary of the BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index reported:
“…as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, the housing market in the U.S. and all cities in the index are trending either closer to renting being the superior option or strictly favoring renting over purchasing a home.”
The summary goes on to explain that:
“The index conducts a “horse race” comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.” (emphasis added)
Though the math may be correct, we are not as sure of the conclusion. Even if you check the methodology offered by the BH&J report itself, you will find that they realize:
“…any extra savings from renting might be spent on non-wealth enhancing goods resulting in any benefits from renting versus owning disappearing in a cloud of consumption spending rather than savings.”

The Concept of ‘Forced Savings’ and Wealth Accumulation

Many believe the wealth accumulation of homeowners is tied into the concept of “forced savings”. The New York Times late last year published an editorial entitled, Homeownership and Wealth Creation, which discussed this concept. The article explained:
“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.” “Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”
Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research done by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which agrees that “forced savings” is a major advantage of homeownership. In a paper, The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America, they concluded:
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The Truth is in the Historical Data

Edwards Deming once said: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” Let’s look at the data on this subject. The Federal Reserve has conducted a study titled: Survey of Consumer Finances. The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

Bottom Line

The New York Times editorial articulated it best:
“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth…As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.”
If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, sit with a local real estate professional who can explain the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on July 1st, 2015 10:55 AMLeave a Comment

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First-Time Homebuyers Lead the Way in May

Posted: 23 Jun 2015 04:00 AM PDT

First-Time Homebuyers Lead the Way in May | Keeping Current Matters
The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report revealed that first time homebuyers made up 32% of all sales in the month of May; marking the highest share since September 2012 and up from 27% the same time last year. NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, cited “strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low down payment programs,” as contributing factors to the increase in first-time buyers. Existing-home sales rose 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million. Total housing inventory for sale remains under the 6.0 months needed for a historically normal market at a 5.1 month supply. Homes sold quickly in May, as 45% of homes sold in less than a month. May also marked the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median existing home price rose 7.9% above May 2014 to $228,700. Below is a chart showing the breakdown of price increases by region: Existing Home Prices by Region | Keeping Current Matters Yun went on to say,
"Solid sales gains were seen throughout the country in May as more homeowners listed their home for sale and therefore provided greater choices for buyers." “However, overall supply still remains tight, homes are selling fast and price growth in many markets continues to teeter at or near double-digit appreciation. Without solid gains in new home construction, prices will likely stay elevated — even with higher mortgage rates above 4 percent."

Bottom Line

“More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise." If you are a homeowner considering a move this year, meet with a local real estate agent who can show you the opportunities available right now! Don’t miss out on the influx of new buyers entering the market every day.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on July 1st, 2015 10:53 AMLeave a Comment

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Two Graphs That Scream List Your House Today

Posted: 29 Jun 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Two Graphs That Scream You Should List Your House Today! | Keeping Current Matters
The spring and summer months have always been known as a very popular time for homebuyers to start the search for their dream home. This year is no different! We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand. If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…


According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity this year has far outpaced the same months in 2014. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers. Foot Traffic | Keeping Current Matters According to NAR, “Foot Traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”


The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the current supply of housing inventory is at a 5.1 month supply, which remains below the 6-months necessary for a normal market. Inventory of Homes for Sale | Simplifying The Market

Buyer demand is far outpacing the supply of homes available for sale.

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on July 1st, 2015 10:24 AMLeave a Comment

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Rose & Womble Named a Top 500 Real Estate Company

Top 500 Broker

Rose & Womble Realty Company is pleased to announce that it has ranked as a top 500 Power Broker in the United States in sales volume, according to RISMedia’s 27th Annual Power Broker Report. In 2014, Rose & Womble reported a total sales volume of over $1 billion dollars, representing 4,016 closed residential transactions.

“We had an outstanding 2014,” said Rose & Womble Resale President Ron Foresta. “The dedication of our entire team, from the agents to our corporate staff, is what sets our company apart in the marketplace. We’re only as good as the people who work for us, and we have the best agents in Hampton Roads.”

This year’s Power Broker Report is based on responses to RISMedia’s 2015 Power Broker Survey, distributed in early January. More than 1,000 real estate firms from across the country completed the Power Broker Survey, reporting a collective 3,203.736 closed residential transactions in 2014, accounting for a total of $972,888,910,471 in sales volume.

Rose & Womble Realty Company is the largest, independently owned real estate firm in Virginia, and continues to dominate the Hampton Roads real estate market which runs from North Carolina to Williamsburg.

RISMedia President & CEO John Featherston congratulated Rose & Womble for their prestigious ranking in this year’s Power Broker Report. “The firms represented are the nation’s most elite brokerage firms serving literally millions of consumers with their real estate needs,” Featherston said. “2014 was a growth year for many real estate firms across the country, as low inventory created a ripe environment for home sellers and move-up buyers, and continued low interest rates and rising rents enticed more new buyers to take action.”

RISMedia’s Annual Power Broker Report ranks firms by closed transactions and sales volume for the prior year. The Top 500 rankings appear in the April issue of Real Estate magazine and online at The complete ranking of all firms that meet the criteria will be available in the 2015 Power Broker Report publication, available both digitally and print this summer.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 27th, 2015 12:05 PMLeave a Comment

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June 26th, 2015 12:50 PM

Why No Two CMAs Are Ever The Same 


When you interview real estate agents to choose which one to list your home, each of them may each give you a snapshot of the local market known as the competitive or comparative market analysis or CMA. The first thing you notice is that the CMAs are all different and that the suggested listing prices can vary by thousands of dollars. Is it that the real estate professionals don't know what they're doing? Not necessarily, but a few may be dumb like foxes. Some agents will cast a deliberately wide net in a CMA to get you to list at a lower price so the home will sell quickly. They could also use large parameters if they're unfamiliar with the neighborhood you want to help them get your listing. What you want are homes within a few streets of yours, not the whole zip code.

CMAs are generated from multiple listing service software. They are only as accurate as the search criteria. If an agent puts in an entire zip code, the results are going to be quite different from a two-block radius. So take a good look at the area parameters.

Market conditions are what CMAs report. They're composed of property listings, sales and pending home sales for the purpose of helping buyers and sellers understand the marketplace better.

Buyers use CMAs to help them make the lowest offers possible and still get the homes they want. Sellers use CMAs to help them choose a listing price so their homes will sell quickly and for the highest dollar possible. They use comparisons that are supposed to be based on the most similar homes available, using size, age, features, amenities, condition and location.

Even so, the selected properties can vary greatly depending on the search parameters used by the real estate professional. These can include the type of home (detached vs. attached), the name of the street, number of bedrooms, baths and living areas, square footage, and numerous other fields of information. The CMAs also tell you which homes have recently sold - six months, three months, one month, and which homes are currently on the market in the area and within the price range you're interested in.

As many fields of information as there are, some criteria simply can't be listed in a CMA. If the MLS has a field for "ocean views," you'll know. But if not, you'll have to learn more in the remarks section that is filled in by the listing agent or simply sort through the listing videos and photos.

CMAs results may vary even between identical homes. One property may simply offer better drive-up appeal or is in better condition than the other, and that will be reflected in the sales price.

Sellers should know that there is one major thing that can't be quantified - buyer and seller motivation. You don't know why a seller agreed to take less for their home or why a buyer overpaid for another home. Family problems, corporate relocations and other reasons all play a role.

What you can learn from the CMA is how long the home took to sell. If it was quick, the seller was highly motivated. If it didn't, it was probably overpriced, in poor condition, or in a bad location.

Your real estate professional will suggest a pricing strategy for you based on the CMA, but the asking price will be up to you.

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Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 26th, 2015 12:50 PMLeave a Comment

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man in hardware store shopping

Many common repairs are easy to solve, inexpensive, and can be tackled in a weekend. 

    Anticipating any problems the home inspector or buyer may have with your home — and fixing these problems — will save you money.

    If you’re planning to list your home at the start of summer, it’s time to tackle all the necessary repairs. These repairs can save you money in the long run — money spent on improvements now will be far less than the cost of that first price reduction if your house sits on the market.

    Even if your home doesn’t linger on the market, you run the risk of a buyer asking for concessions and credits for items you didn’t fix, and the quotes from experts doing the work will almost certainly be higher than your own out-of-pocket cost.

    If you still need convincing, here are 10 reasons to make repairs before you put your house on the market.

    1. You’ll have to fix problems anyway — or make concessions

    Your buyers are going to do an inspection, and the inspector will be able to identify all the issues and suggest needed repairs. There’s no avoiding it. You will have to fix any problems, credit money back to the buyer, or drop your price to compensate.

    2. It will save you money

    Many common repairs are easy to solve, inexpensive, and can be tackled in a weekend. They’re likely to be the things that were already on your list of weekend projects for the past year, and if they bother you, they’ll also bother a buyer. Leaky faucets, ripped window screens, ceiling stains, cracks in the plaster — they may seem like minor issues, but when you’ve got a whole house full of problems like these, they add up to one big seller headache.

    3. Your home — not its flaws — will be the focus

    Eliminating distracting drawbacks will allow buyers to have a positive experience as they tour your home. That means open-house visitors will be able to focus on your home’s positive, not negative, features.

    4. A well-maintained home gets better offers

    Getting your home completely prepped and ready will increase its perceived value because you’re showing buyers that your property is well maintained.

    5. You can hold firm on your price

    You won’t have to do a price reduction to reflect the estimated (and often overinflated) cost of repairs!

    6. Rush jobs cost more, every time

    Last-minute repairs done on a tight timeline are almost always more costly since you don’t have time to shop around for estimates. Plus, your time crunch begs for tradespeople to charge higher rush fees for squeezing the work into their schedule.

    7. Actual costs and estimates don’t always match

    Your actual cost to fix an item will almost always be less than a buyer’s estimate after their inspection — but since you won’t necessarily have time to fix everything before closing, you risk losing the sale if you don’t agree to the estimate.

    8. You won’t risk losing the deal

    You’ll avoid credits back to the buyer for problems identified during the inspection and haggling that drags on and on over minor issues, possibly costing you the deal. (You’d be surprised how ugly things can get when you’re down to the wire negotiating the added cost of repairing the cracks in the chimney.)

    9. You’ll get more potential buyers in the door

    Your real estate agent will love showing off an impeccable home, and buyer’s agents will be dying to get their clients in the front door. That brings in more potential buyers — which equates to more chances of finding the right one willing to pay your sale price.

    10. You’ll sell your home faster

    And for a higher price. Ka-ching.

    Posted in:General
    Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 22nd, 2015 2:20 PMLeave a Comment

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    June 22nd, 2015 2:02 PM
    4 Reasons to Buy NOW!

    Posted: 22 Jun 2015 04:00 AM PDT

    4 Reasons to Buy NOW! | Keeping Current Matters
    Summer is here! The temperature isn't the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today 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 projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.8% (most pessimistic) and 26.7% (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

    Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have started to inch up, most experts predict that they will begin to rise even more over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next 12 months. 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.

    Posted in:General
    Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 22nd, 2015 2:02 PMLeave a Comment

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    June 19th, 2015 11:16 AM

    How to Sell Your House with Kids

    How to Sell a Home with Kids Rose & Womble Realty Company

    Getting your home ready for showings is difficult enough, but if you have small children in the home it can add additional complications. You probably have read that the real estate market is heating up, but you may have reservations about putting your house on the market if your children are messy because of the amount of work it takes to keep a listing showing ready. Here are ways you can deal with small children and keeping your home show ready.

    Prep Your Home

    Like any other listing, you will need to focus on good staging. This means depersonalizing your home as much as possible – even with children. You need to start thinking about your home as a house – not as the place you live. A home holds memories, personal mementos, and feels like a family live inside of it. A house on the market will be neutral, and ready to showcase to potential buyers that they could love living there.  Think about the following options:

    • Removing children’s photos and artwork.
    • Clearing as much clutter out of the home as possible.
    • Keeping the toys in one room or area – this will make it easier to coral the kids’ stuff when a showing comes up.
    • Neutralizing paint colors and decorations- even in children’s rooms.

    Work with your listing agent to come up with a staging plan that will make your home appealing to as many buyers as possible.

    Once You’re On the Market

    It’s important to keep your house looking ready for showings as much as possible. While this may seem impossible with messy children, there are things you can do daily to make sure you’re ready for any showings that day:

    • Do the dishes after every meal.
    • Make the beds every morning and after naps.
    • Clean messes immediately.
    • Wipe out the shower and tub after you’ve used them – this will prevent soap scum.
    • Get the kids and yourself dressed every morning- don’t linger in your pajamas in case of last minute showings.

    For every showing appointment make sure you do the following:

    • Empty the trash cans – especially any diaper pails.
    • Keep a bucket in every room that you can use to put items that have been left out – then put the buckets in your car trunk when you leave for the showing.
    • Have a wax warmer you can turn on to safely fragrance your home – these are inexpensive and have some great fragrances that smell like baked goods, which many REALTORS® claim helps give the listing a homey smell.
    • Turn on all the lights – this is a good job for older children.
    • Consider having showing-only materials like bath mats and towels. This way they look fresh and inviting.

    What Happens if You Can’t Leave the House?

    If your REALTOR® calls you for a showing, but your child is napping, you can wait until the potential buyers come before leaving the house. Many people think they need to leave the house for hours at a time, but you can try to arrange a tighter showing window. See if the buyer’s agent could call before they are on the way. If you can’t arrange that, and if weather permits, you could take the kids on a walk around the block or even out in the backyard once the potential buyers arrive.

    Posted in:General
    Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 19th, 2015 11:16 AMLeave a Comment

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    5 Demands You Should Make on Your Listing Agent

    Posted: 16 Jun 2015 04:00 AM PDT

    5 Demands You Should Make on Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current Matters
    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.

    Posted in:General
    Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 16th, 2015 3:18 PMLeave a Comment

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