Home Prices Continue to Soar!

Home prices continued their upward spiral even as mortgage rates climbed.  The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index was up in May 12.2% compared to a year ago.  This was the largest year-over-year jump in prices since March 2006.  Home prices have increased every month for the last 12 months.

The nation mortgage rate is currently 4.6% for a 30 year fixed mortgage.

If you are even thinking of buying or selling, I urge you to talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.  I suggest that first time home buyers start talking to a REALTOR a year before their planned purchase.

As  always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to call or email me today.

Roland

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The Sky Is Falling – NOT!

The Sky Is Falling – NOT!

If you are familiar with my articles, you will know that I have chided CNN in particular and the media in general for their reporting of the real estate market.  What CNN reported is factually correct, but their presentation gives a skewed perception of what is taking place in the real estate market these days.

Their article today reported: “Sales of existing homes stumbled in June…”  Let me make it clear, that is a true statement.  June 2013 home sales did in fact dip 1.2% from May 2013; however, June 2013 sales are up 15.2% from June 2012.  A 15.2% increase year over year is a very substantial increase, but the sky is falling mentality of many of our media outlets look for what sells, not necessarily reporting the whole picture.

There is still a lot of pent-up demand for homes and in many areas the lack of inventory is causing sales to be less than robust.  This same scenario is also causing home prices to rise in many areas.

Inventory levels are determined by the number of homes on the market in relation to the average time it takes a home to sell.  One year ago the national average was 7.6 months of inventory on the market.  Right now it is around 5.2 months – a very significant drop.

In addition, home prices climbed 13.5% in June 2013 compared to June 2012.  This was the 16th consecutive month of gains in home prices.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, I urge you to talk to a REALTOR who can give you the answers you need to make an informed decision.  First time home-buyers: I recommend starting to work with a REALTOR about a year ahead of your target day for home ownership.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com

Roland

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Picking the Right Real Estate Agent – FOR YOU!

Several years ago the doctor that I was seeing left the practice and moved to another part of the county.  I liked him as a doctor and trusted his professional approach to my well-being.  His replacement had great credentials but after the first meeting I did not have the same level of confidence in his looking out for my well-being as the previous doctor.

After a couple more visits over the course of a couple of years my wife, who is an RN, asked why I don’t change doctors.  I replied that he seems qualified, but to be honest, I just did not like him.  My wife asked if I got really sick, would I want him to be my doctor and I immediately responded with “no.”  And she said that now is the time to change.  And she was right; I found a great doctor and have all the confidence in the world of him.

Finding a real estate agent that is going to do a great job for you and instill confidence that they are doing a great job is extremely important.  And I cannot stress enough that it has to be the right agent for you.

I have read a lot of books and articles about finding the right agent and they have a list of the criteria that they believe makes a good agent, and many of the values may be important, but the questions is: Are they important to you.

All too often people pick an agent because they are the friend of a friend or they are the first agent that sent a card in the mail once you decided to buy or sell.

Let me share some of my thoughts are what is important in selecting a good real estate agent.

First of all, let me explain the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR.  For the most part, anyone who is going to sell real estate for a fee, or for another, must have a real estate license issued by that state.  There are a few exceptions to this rule; for example, an attorney who is working on an estate may sell the property and not have a real estate license.

But many real estate agents go to the next level and become REALTORS.  A REALTOR has a real estate license for that state but takes additional courses as detailed by the national and local REALTOR boards.  In addition to that, REALTORS subscribe to a strict sent of values in their dealings with customers, clients and the community at large when it comes to real estate.

That is not to say that; you can’t find a good agent who is not a REALTOR; nor does it mean that all REALTORS are perfect.  But I do believe you have a better chance of having a professional agent when you select a REALTOR.

The second area that I would advise people to watch for is what I call fluff.  By fluff I mean that agents can tell a potential client what they think they want to hear and not what is backed up by facts.  If you are selling your house, the agent will undoubtedly do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMS).  This is part art and part science.  Always talk to the agent and ask them how they arrived at the numbers.  Remember that no one can predict exactly what a house will sell for, but a good agent will be in the ball park.

The third area that I will cover in this article is to have a level of confidence that you can communicate openly with your agent.  Everyone is different and some people want to know every time someone looks at the property and others just want the offers.  It is also important that you and the agent have a discussion of how best to communicate and what times are OK

The very first house I sold was to a young couple who were buying their first house.  I represented them and I explained to them that once they wanted to make an offer, to call me on the cell phone and not to email me. (Cell phones were relatively new, and there was no such thing as a smart phone).  The young couple decided to call me just as my wife and I sat down to eat in a restaurant on a Saturday evening.  Nevertheless, I called the listing agent and we had a deal done by the time we were done eating.  (My wife is very understanding).

The last thing I will mention is to be very careful not to get pulled into advertising and equating that with “good.”  I see a billboard not far from where I live and it states “Number 1 Agent”.  The billboard never mentions number 1 of what or who decided it, but I guess he feels he is number one.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.  If you are a first time home buyer, I strongly encourage you to start talking to REALTORS as much as a year from the expected purchase date.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to call or text me at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

 

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Buying a Home – Step One

Buying a Home – Step One

Whether this is your first home or your tenth home, buying a home is an exciting and possibly nerve wrecking process.  But having the right tools in place can be a major step in making the transaction a smooth and (almost) painless process.

There are steps you can take in advance of purchasing your home to help you.  This blog is designed to discuss those steps and help in the process.  If at any time you have questions or concerns, please feel free to email or call me direct.

If you talk to a mortgage counselor they will say you should find a mortgage counselor as your first step.  Naturally, if you talk to a real estate agent, they will say you should talk to a real estate agent first.

Either way is right, and it really depends what you are most comfortable with.  But here is my take – as a REALTOR.  Talk to a REALTOR first for several reasons.  A REALTOR is going to work with you throughout the entire process and has a wide array of professionals available from mortgage counselors, home inspectors, contractors, etc. that can help you.  All too often I have seen clients talk to a mortgage officer who tells them that they cannot qualify for a mortgage.  If you hear that, don’t stop there.  There are a lot of options available and a REALTOR will work hard to get you in touch with the right people.

Regardless of who you choose, finding out how much home you can buy is clearly the next step.  There are two different avenues to go in this process.  One is a prequalification and the second one is a preapproval.

Any licensed real estate agent can do a prequalification.  This is a simple process of looking at your income and your expenses and determining the ratio and how much home you could afford.  I seldom do pre-qualifications for my clients and here is why.  A prequalification does not take into account the buyers’ payment history, their credit score or the time in their career.  Those are critically important factors when determining whether or not a client can obtain a mortgage.

It is important to remember that even in today’s real estate market there are a wide array of mortgage options available, and if one mortgage counselor doesn’t have what you need, another one may.  That is why I suggest finding a real estate agent who can get you on the right track in finding your dream home.

If you are thinking of buying – or selling, for that matter, please feel free to give me a text message or a call at 615 417-8182 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

I look forward to working with you and greatly appreciate referrals.

Roland

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