Who Needs A REALTOR® ?
By Michael
May 31, 2017

Why Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference | Simplifying The Market

Why Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference

CentSai, a financial wellness online community, recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and found that 75% of respondents would use a local real estate agent over an online agent, and 71% would choose a local lender.

Survey respondents cited many reasons for their choice to go local, “including personal touch & handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge, and amount of hassle.”

Doria Lavagnino, Cofounder & President of CentSai had this to say:

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings. We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent—particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend—could provide peace of mind.”

The findings of the CentSai survey are consistent with the Consumer Housing Trends Studywhich found that millennials prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

When it comes to choosing an agent, millennials and other generations share their top priority: the sense that an agent is trustworthy and responsive to their needs.

That said, technology still plays a huge role in the real estate process. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of home buyers look for prospective homes and neighborhoods online, and 91% also said they would use an online site or mobile app to research homes they might consider purchasing.

Bottom Line

Many wondered if this tech-savvy generation would prefer to work with an online agent or lender, but more and more studies show that when it comes to real estate, millennials want someone they can trust, someone who knows the neighborhood they want to move into, leading them through the entire experience.

How does an option period affect the sale?  What if there are unexpected repair issues with the house?  What if the financing doesn't pan out?  How do I know that the title will be clear when I purchase the home?  How do I arrange for inspections?  What fees on top of the purchase price will I pay?  How do I know my family and property are safe while the house is being shown?   If you don't have 100% confidence in your ability to answer those questions and a hundred more, you need a REALTOR®.  I'd love to help.

Latest Tarrant County Home Sales Report
By Michael
May 17, 2017

NTREIS is the multilist service for our area.   Tarrant county home sales meidan prices have risen 13.9% over the past year from a combination of tight supply (a decrease in new listings) and heavier demand with new buyers coming into the area as a strong local economy continues to generage jobs.   Wellers are still in control.   Homes are selling for 99% of list price, so only overpriced houses are eventually selling at a discount to the list price.   Days on the market is another indicator of how hot our market is.   As a general rule, having three month's supply of inventory or more is considered a buyer's market.  We are firmly in seller's market territory with our supply of inventory down to 1.7%.   Here;s a chart of Tarrant Counting activity for the latest month available, April of 2017


So what does it mean to you?

BUYERS:  Use your owner buyer's agent and let them help with your search.   An agent can set up a search that will update you much soonner than most consumer sites with information when a new home is available.  Guess what?  In most cases, you pay the agent NOTHING for the service.  The listing agreement the seller signed provided for payment of the agen't commission.  So why not use a professional that represents, YOU, not the seller to locate the home, negotiate the terms and navigate the schedule of inspections, appraisals, title review and closing?  Be prepared to compete for the home you find that fits your needs.   Contact a lender for a preapproval.  Determine how much home you can afford.  Have the preapproval letter in hand from the lender and be prepared to work with your agent to make an offer on the home you want quickly.  Don't be surprised if there are multiple offers for the home when you decide to make a move.   Discuss the ways you can make your offer attractive to the seller in terms of closing times, minimal seller expenses and as few conditions as possible.

SELLERS:  Have your agent run a Comparative Market Analysis that helps determine an accurate market value price for your home.   Discuss ways to make your home attractive to buyers in terms of condition, availablity and price.   There's a saying, "If it isn't compelling,, it isn't selling."  Don't leave money on the table when a small investment in a storage unit to let you remove clutter in the house or inexpensive landscaping that give the home it's best possible curb appeal.  It's temping to just say, "It's such a hot market right now, I don't have to do anything."  And you're right IF you are willing to trade 1,000 in expenses for 5,000 to 10,000 in returns on your property.   Ask the agent you interview how the agent intends to market the property.  What websites will he use (since 70% of buyers find their home there.  Will he do mailings, open houses, direct marketing to individuals?   One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see sellers make is to get hung up on a commission amount for the listing.   If the listing agent is cutting the commission, be sure the listing agreement pays the Buyer's agent a competitive rate with other homes on the market.  If most homes will pay a buyer's agent a 3% commission, why would they bring a buyer to see your home if it is paying 2%?   You're not hiring ONE agent when you list a home.  You're hiring every agent that is a member of the MultiList to bring buyers.   I recently spoke to a seller who was proud of the fact he sold his home himself and saved all that commission.  (6% is a pretty common listing percentage and the buyer's agent gets half that.)  He had sold his home for $ 180,000, and had a gain of more than 40,000 from the time he bought the home a few years ago.  I congratulated him on getting the deal he wanted.   When I got back to my office, I ran a Comparative Market Analysis for the property.  Homes of the same type in the same subdivision built within two years of his home averaged $ 198,750.   Even after paying a 6% commission, my estimate was that he received nearly $7,000 LESS than he would have using an agent.  Not to mention the hassle of several people who called, made an appointment and never showed and the call he got at 12:30 AM from someone who saw the sign.

BUYING AND SELLING SIMULTANEOUSLY:  Follow the seller's advice above and have your home ready for the market.   Work with the agent to get the work done you agree would  bring a better return, have PROFESSIONAL photography done and all listinging information in the system and ready to turn on.   NOW do the hard part:   Find your new home and get it under contract.  As soon as you have an executed offer, immediately implement the marketing plan for you current home.   

It's a challenging time in a hot market when you're shopping for a home.  The good news?  With the continued growth of jobs in our area, ongoing construction to modernize and update infrastructure and the resulting predicted growth in market prices, your new home can be a great investment!   Let's talk and see if it's right for you!

What's the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home?
By Michael
May 15, 2017
Do You Know the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home? | MyKCM

Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue renting! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Zillow recently reported that:

“With Rents continuing to climb and interest rates staying low, many renters find themselves gazing over the homeownership fence and wondering if the grass really is greener. Leaving aside, for the moment, the difficulties of saving for a down payment, let’s focus on the monthly expenses of owning a home: it turns out that renters currently paying the median rent in many markets could afford to buy a higher-quality property than the typical (read: median-valued) home without increasing their monthly expenses.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. The latest Rent Vs. Buy Report from Trulia pointed out the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

  • Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
  • Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
  • You can build wealth without paying capital gain.
  • A mortgage can act as a forced savings account
  • Overall, homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters.

2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 45x greater than that of a renter.

3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family buying an average priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment –along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.

Homeowner's Today Can Sell High But Buy Low
By Michael
May 9, 2017

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market | Simplifying The Market

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market

The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

"Sellers are in the driver's seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen."

Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO

“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.

This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia

“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”

Freddie Mac

“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

Families selling their existing home to upgrade to new construction are finding they often can purchase a brand new, more energy efficient home and fund the down payment for their new home entirely from the cash they receive when they close on the sale of there present house.   Often there is additional cash left over to pay down debt or increase retirement savings!   As a REALTOR®, I'm happy to provide you with a Market Analysis that gives you a fair market price for your home so you can decide if that makes sense for you.  New construction prices are rising more slowly than the pre-existing home market.  That's rare and it provides a window for you to take advantage of the hot market for the house you own now and pay less thatn you might as builders face increased costs, particularly from rising land prices for future additions.   The Fort Worth area is one of the best markets in the country to buy or sell a home.   And the North Tarrant County area that takes in the Summerfield, Park Glen, Heritage and Villages of Woodland Springs, Saginaw, Watauga, North Richland Hills, Keller and Roanoke are seeing tremendous increases in home prices.  But nearby new construction homes are available and additional homes at reasonable prices are coming available before price increases.  Is it time for you to act?

Homes Are Selling FAST All Across The Country -- And Texas is Among the Hottest Markets!
By Michael
April 28, 2017

Homes are Selling Fast Across the Country [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their monthly Confidence Index.
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in 60 days or less in 36 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.
  • Homes typically went under contract in 34 days in March!