Prepare to Sell Your House

Millions of existing homes are sold each year and, while each transaction is different, every owner wants the same thing: the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle and aggravation. 

The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. This means you want to put on the market a home that fits with the neighborhood but is not over-improved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 square feet of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and would be more difficult to sell.

Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, reflects community preferences and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale.

Cosmetic improvements, paint, wallpaper, landscaping, etc., help a home show better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs that ensure all systems and appliances are in good working condition are required to get a top price.

More info on Realtor here

Mortgage Rates Hover Around Yearly Low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent this week, remaining near its 2015 low and offering "positive news for potential home buyers in the market this spring," Freddie Mac reports in its mortgage market survey.

The low rates are helping to provide a boost to loan demand. Mortgage applications for home purchases in 60 of the 100 markets that Freddie Mac tracks in its index are up compared to the same point last year. Twenty markets alone are showing double-digit increases in applications.

Read more here

Buyers Still See Brooklyn—Hip or Not—as the Manhattan Alternative

Great article on Realtor.com

My favorite points: 

Despite Brooklyn’s reputation as a hipster mecca, Robertson believes the stereotype is a bit played out. And new buildings soaring (along with some repurposed warehouses) in Williamsburg have helped price some of the “groovy” elements out of the neighborhood.

“There’s the stereotype of the hipster,” she said. “But there are a lot of young people who are professionals who work hard and are trying to make a name for themselves. They would be in Manhattan, but they can’t quite afford it yet. A lot of my clients are entering that stage in their careers where they can now afford their first homes.”

But there is a ray of sunshine behind the tired trope. Robertson believes the publicity and hype around the borough is a net positive.

“The stereotype can play to the advantage of Brooklyn,” she said. “Having that glamorized aura around the city is great—because investors and developers become interested. Brooklyn’s proved to be a trendy hub for young people, and developers say, ‘We should probably start investing.'”

 

 

 

8 surprising real-estate tips

  • The Starbucks effect. Take two identical homes sold in 1997. One near Starbucks would have sold for an average of $137,000, while the same home without a Starbucks would have sold for $102,000. Fast-forward 15 years: the average US home appreciated 65 percent to $168,000, but the property next to Starbucks skyrockets 96 percent to $269,000.
  • All renovations are not created equal. The greatest return for your investment is a mid-range bathroom remodel, a $3,000 job that returns $1.71 for every dollar spent. The worst home improvements for value are kitchen remodeling and finishing a basement. A top-of-the-line kitchen reno will cost you $22,000, and you’ll only get about $0.51 back for every $1 you spend.
  • Use the right words in a listing. Avoid “unique,” “TLC,” “investment” and “potential” — these could lower sale prices by as much as 7 percent. But words like “luxurious” for bottom-tier homes and “captivating” for top-tier homes could add 8.2 percent to your home’s value. Longer, more-detailed listings often sell for more.

5 Remodeling Projects That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

Whether you’re looking to boost the sale price of your home or you simply want it to look its best, see if any of these options fit into your budget and your plans.1. Entry door replacement (steel)

Average cost: $1,230
Average ROI: 101.8%

2. Manufactured stone veneer exterior

Average cost: $7,150
Average ROI: 92.2%

3. Garage door replacement

Average cost: $1,595
Average ROI: 88.4%

4. Siding replacement (vinyl)

Average cost: $12,013
Average ROI: 80.7%

5. Wooden deck addition

Average cost: $10,058
Average ROI: 80.5%

Full Article on Realtor.Com

Still Looking to Refinance? Better Act Fast

A “Bouncy” Ride Ahead

That doesn’t mean you have to run out right now before rates skyrocket: Yun predicts that by December 2015, rates will be at about 5%.

However, it won’t be a neat, gradual ascent. Instead, rates will climb and fall over time.

“It won’t go from 4.1, to 4.2, to 4.3 [each week],” Yun noted. “It will be bouncy.”

Consumers will see the increase as soon as the first quarter of 2015, where rates are predicted to rise to about 4.4% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, according to NAR’s 2015 economic forecast. Mortgage rates for the rest of 2015 are predicted as follows:

  • Second quarter: 4.7%
  • Third quarter: 5.1%
  • Fourth quarter: 5.4%

More on Realtor.com 

15 Financial Resolutions for Your Clients

Check out 15 Financial Resolutions on Relator.com: 

"Roughly 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each January, with many of their pledges being financial in nature," says Raz Daraban, communications manager for personal finance site WalletHub. He says his company engaged a panel of financial and consumer psychology experts to create 15 resolutions "in order to help progress-minded people improve their money management in the New Year."

Read all 15 reasons here

 

    What Does It Cost to Sell Your House?

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    'If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may be counting the profits based on your estimated home value and the balance on your mortgage statement. Before you get too excited, remember that putting your home on the market comes with its own costs. However, homeowners can use some creativity and comparison shopping to reduce their costs and boost their bottom line. While you may feel as if you’d rather spend money to buy your next property rather than to sell your house, remember that careful spending on the marketing of your home can result in a higher profit at the end of the transaction.' - Realtor.com

    Top three things to remember:
    1. Get Your Home Ready for Market for Less
    2. Limit Spending During the Marketing Phase
    3. Reduce Your Closing Costs 

    Full article here

    First Home Buyers, Ready to Buy a Home?

    For first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike, the decision to make an offer on a home is both exciting and a little scary. If your offer is accepted, the place you’ve chosen will be your home for the next several years. Not only should you feel emotionally satisfied by your choice, but you should also feel financially comfortable that you’re buying a home that you can afford and that you feel confident will hold onto its value or hopefully increase in value over the years.

    While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you make the choice to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities you’ll be happy to live in it for years to come.

    Neighborhood or Home Amenities

    For some homebuyers, living in a particular neighborhood takes precedence over all other priorities, but for others, the home itself matters more. Ideally, you’ll find the perfect home in the neighborhood you love at a price that’s below your budget, but realistically, most people have to make some compromises.

    You (and your spouse, partner or family) should make a list of what features you want in a home, such as the number of bedrooms, a fenced yard, granite counters in the kitchen, and then rank them in terms of priorities. Think about whether the house or the community matter more to you, and whether it’s worth it to you to make a longer commute in order to live in a home with a larger lot.

    When to Compromise

    Once you’ve determined whether the location or the house itself matters most, you may have to compromise on some of your priorities. If the location is the most important factor for your home choice but you find that homes are priced above your budget, you can compromise in several ways:

    ·         Look for a different home type within the community, such as a smaller single family home, a town home or condominium. Decide if you can live with one less bedroom or other features on your list.

    ·         Consult with a lender or a financial planner to discuss your options for increasing your budget. While no one should overspend on a home, you should recognize that going $10,000 above your price range when you’re financing your purchase with a 30-year fixed-rate loan will actually add only about $30 to your monthly payment.

    ·         Lower your expectations about the condition of the home. While everyone prefers a move-in ready home, you can often get a better deal on a home that needs some cosmetic repairs. Be careful, though, to have a home inspection and to evaluate the structure of the home to see that it meets your needs. Moving walls and adding a bathroom are costly renovations, while painting and replacing appliances are more reasonable.

    If you have your heart set on a specific home style or a home with a larger yard for your children or to garden, your compromise is more likely to be in the location. If you’re willing to commute farther or perhaps choose a home in a community next to the ‘hot’ neighborhood, you can often find a more affordable home that fulfills your wish list.

    An experienced Realtor can help you determine when and how to compromise and should take the time to show you a variety of alternatives so you can make an informed decision about when to make an offer.

    -Realtor.com