Archive for March, 2012

Harry’s Monthly Real Estate Insight

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Welcome to Spring! The time for flowers and home buyers. Our market is better, but it is hard for the average buyer or seller to see the change. Maybe the right term is “headed in a better direction”. Certainly not fixed yet, but here is why I know it is better. The overall absorption rate has dropped from a high of 9.27 months to clear the inventory last August to 7.5 months in January 2012. This is good news, means that there have been sales and the number of listings is starting to come down. We would like to see 5-6 month absorption rate for a more balanced market. That is probably not going to happen this year.

Distressed sales, which are bank owned, foreclosures and short sales are still too much a part of the market. In January they were 37% of all sales in the Hampton Roads area. There is a difference in the median sales price of distressed sales at $125,000.00 and non-distressed sales at $182,000.00. The upper priced market continues to suffer from lack of demand.

Over all the market feels better to me and we have seen a spike in sales in January and February at Cross Realty. Now lets see if this will last!

My son, Lee and I have been doing business together for a few years now. So, if you are using us, you get two award winning brokers, high tech tools and expert negotiation skills on your side. You will see some of our new ads (see below) and billboards out and about. So, let us help you and your friends get the most you can for your property. Price it right the first time and it will sell. We know where that is, call us 726-SOLD (7653) and thanks for your referrals.

Lee & Harry Ad0001

Sellers: Don’t Let Emotions Get In The Way Of Your Sale

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

In addition to preparing your home for sale, there is another thing sellers can do to get ready for when that first offer comes in. Come from a place of reason not emotion when it comes to pricing the home and responding to that first offer:

Most people love their homes. It’s where they’ve lived, loved, laughed, created happy memories, raised their family. But when it comes time to sell, it’s important that they distance themselves from those emotions. Failing to do so can wind up costing money in the end.

This is a really important part of your Realtors job — to bring objectivity into what is an extremely emotion-filled transaction.

First, it’s crucial that the price is based not on what the owner “feels” the home is worth, but rather on what is going on in the local market. Overpricing the home from the start often leads to longer time on the market and ultimately a lower sale price.

Similarly, some sellers want to reject an early offer, “hoping” that a better offer will come in. If the home is priced right, an educated buyer, that is, someone who’s been looking for a while, will know it. Homes that are new to the market get the most activity in the first two weeks. If an offer comes in during that time, it is unlikely that a higher offer will come in later.

It’s also important that sellers do not take personal offense at an offer. Sometimes the initial, emotional reaction may be to reject an offer because it is too low. But its the Realtors job to remind the seller that it’s not personal, and that a counter-offer, rather than a rejection, is more productive for reaching their ultimate goal – the sale of their home.

While selling a home is, in the end, a business transaction, it is also an extremely emotional process. It requires a careful balancing of the emotions and objectivity.

February HUD Housing Scorecard Shows Both Inventory and Prices Down

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012


The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the February edition of the Obama Administration Housing Scorecard. The latest data shows that the housing market is slowly getting stronger. The scorecard also highlights a situation that is showing as well, that the inventory is declining in some markets with fewer new and existing homes listed. Home prices were down for the fourth month in a row.

According to the scorecard, at the current rate, it would take 6.1 months to turn over the supply of existing homes currently on the market and 5.6 months to turn over the stock of new homes. This is the lowest months’ supply since 2006. Existing home sales also continued to improve, reaching their highest pace since May 2010. In a press release HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic pointed out that one in five Americans still owes more than what their home is worth and said that this is “a clear sign that we are not yet out of the woods.”

The Administration also released the “Making Home Affordable Program Performance Report”. For the Program to date, homeowners in permanent modifications have saved an estimated $11 billion in monthly mortgage payments. The report states that 85% of eligible homeowners entering a HAMP trial modification since June 1, 2010 have received a permanent modification, with an average trial period of 3.5 months. Since the beginning of this program, the Treasury has required loan servicers to improve their processes. Servicer Assessments rate the performance on key metrics such as identifying and contacting homeowners; homeowner evaluation and assistance; and program reporting and governance. For the fourth quarter of 2011, a total of nine servicers were found to need moderator minor improvement with respect to the specific metrics tested but no servicer was found to be in need of substantial improvement this quarter. The standards established by this program were also a guide for the $25 billion settlement announced in February.

The full Housing Scorecard is available online at

Recipe of the Month

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
One-Dish Chicken Pasta
One-Dish Chicken Pasta Recipe
  • 1 (12-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (8-oz.) package fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Toppings: toasted sliced almonds, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Remove from Dutch oven.
  2. Melt remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Stir chicken, sautéed vegetables, and hot cooked pasta into sauce. Add cheese, pepper, and salt. Serve with desired toppings.

Southern Living-October 2011

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

4000 Manning Rd Front

4000 Manning Rd   Suffolk, VA 23437

This home is move-in ready. Offers 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, fresh paint, attached garage & detached garage with heat & air.  Built-in electric stove with cook top. Fireplace has wood burning stove insert. All situated on approx 5.28 acres.

Listed by: Phyllis Evans

Family Rm Back 4000 Manning Rd Detached Garage View

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

pics 01916303 Morgarts Beach Rd   Smithfield, VA

47 acres of peaceful farm land on the James River. Original plantation home from the 1750’s. Possibility of subdividing the acreage (county permission & rezoning required).

Listed by: Lee Cross

new pics 093 new pics 081new pics 021 new pics 038

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

new pics 004

8.6 AC Pike St    Suffolk, VA 23435

Great investment opportunity. 8.675 acres composed of 3 tax maps. Seller has conceptional drawing showing eight lots. Property scheduled for sewer upgrade phase II Crittenden/Eclipse water & sewer.

Listed by: Marion Grigg

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