Curb Appeal

Everyone – including potential home buyers will want to see what’s inside, if your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression!

Curb AppealIf you are thinking buying a new home or selling yours, you may want to consider the power of “Curb Appeal”.  This simple fix can provide you with a sense of satisfaction every time you pull up to your home.

Even though the interior of the house is where you most of your time will be spent, updating the look of the outside will definitely increase the sell-ability of your home. Homes that have “Curb Appeal” may have an increased value, it may even help increase neighboring home values.

With a few cosmetic changes and possibly the addition of a small portico to the front will give it a whole new look which is pleasing to the eye and more enticing to a potential buyer.

Dress up the front entrance!

The focal point of your home is the front door, make a statement by adding a splash of color. Make sure your entry way is clean, the door hardware is polished and a welcoming swag or wreath that reflects the interior is hung.

PorticoInstalling window boxes and symmetrically placing flower pots near entrances and walkways is an easy and fast way to add charm to your home.  Tasteful yard art such as fountains, metal sculptures or wind chimes are good choices.

Curb appeal may be the difference between a potential buyer deciding to take a closer look or just passing by.

One of the most important factors to be considered is Curb Appeal. Creating an attractive home exterior gives the homeowner satisfaction and a sense of pride.

If you’d like more ideas for enhancing the sell-ability of your home, don’t hesitate in contacting me, I’ve got more great ideas.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


The Age of the New Home Buyer

Today’s Home Buyer Knows More Than Most Seller’s Realize

Todays Home BuyerThe recent crash of the housing market & the improvements of technology have forever changed the process of purchasing a home. If you’re considering selling your home, here are some things you should know.

Today’s Informed Home Buyer

With so much information available over the web, with just the touch of a button home buyers will know just what you paid for your home, when you purchased it, the assessed value, mortgage amount, and who your neighbors are. The internet has made it easy to access information.

Information Portals

Buyers are likely to check the online estimates of your home’s value through one of the many online Real Estate sites; unfortunately, this information is often inaccurate. They will turn to more reliable sources such as the county Assessor website to access the assessed value & property information. Buyers know when you purchased your home, purchase price and often the mortgage holder and loan amount.

Social Media

Although social media sites may not be the first place a buyer goes to search for a home, it is the place to start when profiling sellers. Finding out as much as possible about the seller,this can assist buyers in negotiating. The first element in negotiating is to understand your opponent.

Buyers Agents

Many of today’s shoppers have secured a “Buyers Agent”. This is a real estate professional that specializes in representing the buyer only in a Real Estate transaction. They can easily prepare a Brokers Price Opinion (BPO) or Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) very similar to the one the selling agent used in establishing the market value for the seller. Buyers then will have up to date information about current market conditions & know how your home compares.

On-line Videos have replaced the “Open House”

Video marketing sites like “You Tube” allow buyers to tour your home without leaving the comfort of their own. I’ve seen many buyers pull out their cell phones to share a video of a house that interests them. The tech savvy selling agent knows that visual tours have replaced the need for “Open Houses”. People are busy these days & time is valuable, by watching tours online they can select only the homes that really interest them.

Home Buyers Have Mortgage Approval

Home BuyerFor quite some time, I’ve been telling buyers to get Pre- Approved (not pre-qualified) through a lender prior to shopping for a new home.

They listened!!!

Serious buyers have already spent the time to provide their lender with the many needed documents required to get Pre-Approval. They are ready & capable of purchasing a home when they place an offer.

Bottom Line
Knowledge is Power! When buyers are coupled with an experienced Real Estate Professional & Mortgage Lender, the momentum created is fierce.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Why is Buying Real Estate So Challenging Right Now?

If you’re out there in the real estate community, either as an agent or you’re buying real estate, you can not help but notice the incredible lack of homes available.

Why is Buying Real Estate Such a Hard Thing in Todays Market?

Buying Real EstateThere are numerous factors that have contributed to this unbelievable market! Some factors including historically low inventory only serve to make this particular market one of the most challenging in my memory!

So, what are some of the contributing factors to why this is happening? Let’s take a look…


 

Homeowners Still Reeling from the Latest Correction

Simply put, most homeowners that were lucky enough to make it unscathed through the last 7 or so years of the last real estate market are just now even able to consider selling their home. With some sellers really unable financially or with the inclusion of somewhat damaged credit, many simply can not get a new mortgage that would support moving up or down.

I recently had a potential client who wanted to sell their home to downsize to a smaller residence. I had them speak to my lender and after several attempts, their ability to obtain a loan was unsuccessful and they simply opted to stay put. I’ve heard this from other agents in my sphere as well. Some homeowners would love to sell and take advantage of this market but their net proceeds alone would not be enough for them to purchase a home after they sold…so they are just not selling!

Lower Interest Rates

You would think this is a good thing however, the rates are low for folks on the refi side as well! And, that’s exactly what they’ve done! Now comfortably settled, many homeowners have no reason to sell! Couple that with those who are buying real estate and have already taken advantage of these great rates essentially eliminating a good portion of the existing inventory and Viola…you have little to no inventory of available homes for sale.

Some Homeowners are waiting it out 

As with all markets, there are ebbs and flows. Currently, some homeowners are attempting to “Time the Market”! This is resulting in homeowners holding on to their homes in the hopes the market will continue to increase the value of their home. What will happen as it has always happened, eventually, the inventory of homes will begin to increase as the number of buyers begin to decrease essentially leaving some homeowners taking less for their house as inventory of available homes goes up as the buyer base begins to retreat! HINT: Sell now before this happens!!!

Sellers Becoming Buyers

Most sellers I talk to want to make sure they have a home to buy if they sell. This is the issue! If the homeowner themselves enter into the buyer pool and can’t find a home to purchase, they’re forced to find alternate means of residency such as short term rental options which chips away at their downpayment funds!

Lastly, a Lack of New Homes

I’m sure you have noticed a terrific uptick in the number of new homes being built around your area. 2 issues with this…

  1. New home construction (starts) continue to be at an all time low as builders and banks are still feeling the impact of the last real estate market.
  2. The process from start to finish of a new home project or development is very long. From the moment land is acquired to the time you can actually purchase the home can be 2-3 years. Until this process is accelerated, new construction inventory will remain low and prices will only go up as build costs mount for the developers!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Special Report: Consumer Confidence in Real Estate According to the National Association of REALTORS

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) Report provides monthly information about real estate market conditions and expectations, buyer/seller traffic, price trends, buyer profiles, and issues affecting real estate based on data collected in a monthly survey of REALTORS®.

The September 2014 report is based on the responses of 4,067 REALTORS® about their transactions in September 2014.1

Responses were received from October 2-9, 2014. Questions about the characteristics of the buyer and the sale are based on the respondent’s last transaction for September which, on a combined basis, are viewed to be representative of the sales for the month. All real estate is local: conditions in specific markets may vary from the overall national trends presented in this report.
The Report also contains commentaries by the Research Department on recent economic data releases and policies affecting housing.
Lawrence Yun, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research
Gay Cororaton, Research Economist
Meredith Dunn, Research Communications Manager

REALTORS®’ assessment of market conditions in September and their outlook for the next six months turned less sanguine in September compared to August.

Janet SimonsThe confidence indexes for current conditions and the six-month outlook and the buyer and seller traffic indexes declined in September compared to August and the same month last year. REALTORS® continued to report about the difficulty of qualifying for a loan under more stringent credit eligibility standards. Although mortgage rates continue to be the lowest in decades and homes are still more affordable today compared to the years prior to the Great Recession, REALTORS® reported that there are fewer “affordable” homes for sale for the first-time buyer. Adding an extra financial burden is the effective increase in insurance payments for FHA-insured loans.

Obtaining FHA financing for condominiums that are the entry points for home ownership has also remained a challenge. Also, there are now fewer distressed properties on the market.
Given all of these factors, first-time home buyers continued to account for less than a third of the market. With prices rising faster than rents, the share of sales for investment purposes continued to come below last year’s levels. With more inventory from new construction, listings of existing homes stayed longer on the market. REALTOR® respondents expected a modest price increase in the coming 12 months. The uncertainty about the flood insurance rate increase continued to hold down activity in coastal states.

Market Conditions

REALTORS® Confidence Dipped in September 2014
REALTORS® increasingly reported a weakening of current market conditions across all property types in September 2014 compared to August 2014 . Respondents noted that the market typically perks up in September after a seasonal slack in preparation for the school opening, but reports indicated a flatter rebound this year. In the single family market, the REALTORS®
Confidence Index – Current Conditions for single family homes dipped to 51 (60 in August). An index above 50 indicates that there are more respondents who viewed their markets as “strong” compared to those who view them as “weak.” 
Confidence about the outlook for the next six months also broadly weakened in September compared to August. The REALTORS® Confidence Index – Six-month Outlook Index for single family homes fell to 53 (61 in August). The indexes for townhouses and condominiums, which are at levels below 50, slid further down.

Download the Full Report Here >>

What Does All this Mean?

I’ve read this information cover to cover and what I’ve always taken away for any “National Report” is real estate is a local business so an overview like this can be…and should be…looked at more from a street level perspective and less from a 30,000 birds eye view! Certainly, we are all very interested in seeing the market maintain it’s steady climb and yet none of us want to go through what we went through starting in 2007-2008!

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a normal, steady market and with the extremes over the last 7 years still fresh in our minds, my suggestion is we all take a long look at what got us here, be mindful of what it will take to keep us here and most importantly…don’t let the greed and the irresponsibility of what happened before ever happen again!!! 

All information for this post was taken from the The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) Report. I want to attribute the findings and all information exclusively to that report.

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Pricing Your Home to Sell

When pricing your home to sell (in any market)…Is a Real Estate Brokers price opinion the same as an Appraisers???

Quick answer…RARELY!!!

Pricing your home to sell is one of the hardest…and perhaps most important…tasks in residential real estate. Add to that, the misconception by some sellers that an appraised value is the same as what a (ready, willing and able) buyer is going to pay…and it’s no wonder coming up with your homes marketable value is comparable to pinning the tail on the Donkey!

I often get asked by potential sellers; “Should I get an appraisal prior to listing?” This question is not easily answered. Pricing your home to sell takes into account so many more factors than what would be considered in a normal appraisal!

Real Estate Broker Price Opinions are much Different than an Appraisal…but for very Different Reasons

Unfortunately, there are some real estate agents that will tell you what you want to hear when pricing your home to sell. This is commonly referred to in the industry as “Buying a Listing”. This practice is in use by those unscrupulous real estate brokers who (over) price your property in order to sway you to list with them. This wastes valuable market time and does not benefit the seller in anyway. I always recommend interviewing more than 1 agent when considering selling your home.

Sometimes, the Seller and the Agent might not agree on a Price.

And even if they do, the sellers might look for some “objective” method to corroborate their number. In this case, an appraisal is a great way to give a seller and/or a Real estate agent a reality check.

Keep in mind this appraisal will not be beneficial to the buyers lender as they will have to conduct their own appraisal at the buyers expense. It may not exactly match your appraisal but it will be close. Market conditions change rapidly so a pre-listing appraisal may be obsolete by the time your property sells.

Remember…true value is determined on a price of what is agreed upon between a willing seller and a willing buyer. That is free market value!

Pricing your Home to Sell is a Delicate ‘Game’

The one and only focus should be getting the most money for your home in the most reasonable period of time…without over-pricing it or worse…valuing it outside of what the market or comparable homes in your area will support!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate