Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Information’

What You Need To Know About Easements

Monday, October 21st, 2013

As you search for a home, you may have come across the term easement in a listing and wondered what it means. An easement is a legal arrangement by the owner of the property and a non-owner to use the property in some fashion. You may see this term used in listings where a home is located near a public recreational area. For example, the property may come with a walking easement to the nearby lake.

If there are any existing easements between the current seller and a neighbor, the seller’s attorney or the seller’s agent needs to advise the buyer. It’s important to know if easements exist and how they affect the purchase or usage of the home being bought. Easements often allow the use of a pathway between adjacent properties or a pathway to reach a common play area, yard or even a fish pond.

The most common easement is called the right of way, allowing people to pass through. Easement of support refers to excavations of property. Delivery people and meter readers all have the right to step on your property by easement of right of way. Less common are easements of light and air and rights regarding artificial waterways. Easements can be hotly contested, especially where rights to oceanfront property or conservation land are in dispute.

Easements are mostly created by a binding written document. As a rule, courts base the allowance to have an easement on intention of the original parties in each situation. Courts prefer written easements and also consider account customs, habits and practices for the property.

A real estate attorney working  for a home buyer can investigate any current easements connected to the property. The attorney will explain the ramifications to the buyers. Because easements are a property law issue, they are usually straightforward. An easement can be canceled in writing, by expiration date, in estoppel and even by death. For further clarification about your specific situation, consult with a real estate attorney on what easements mean to your home purchase. 2013

Home Repairs To Do Before You Refinance

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Property values have come roaring back. Many can now refinance their loans by virtue of having additional home equity. And increased property values can also put homeowners in a better financial position to sell their home without entering short sale territory. But the fact remains: Everyone wants to attain maximum value for their real estate and home repairs can help. So what’s the best barometer of a home’s true worth? Simple: the amount a ready, willing and able buyer is willing to pay at any given point in time. Unfortunately, appraisal estimates can be skewed, especially when not all the home repairs and improvements are taken into consideration. This is why you should weigh all home improvement decisions carefully before you commit.

When You’re Refinancing

Unlike in years past, the weight of an appraisal to determine the home value for the purposes of refinancing a mortgage is based upon the facts (which are primarily based on other homes that have sold) and what the property description is.

Improvements that may help a refinance valuation:

  • Additional bedroom or bathroom
  • Addition to the lot size
  • Addition to the garage
  • Improvement that expands the “use” of the home

When it comes to improvements such as landscaping, painting, any home improvement more “cosmetic” in nature, realize that the primary benefit is for the enjoyment of the property, not for trying to influence value.

When Selling

A home buyer is going to take into consideration all of the facts associated with the property, location, lot size, square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as additional cosmetic improvements that have been done that add to the look and feel of the home.

Improvements that may help a sale price:

  • New paint job
  • Freshly maintained landscaping
  • Remodeled and/or upgraded interior
  • Deck and/or patio addition
  • Additional bedroom or bathroom
  • Addition to the lot size
  • Addition to the garage

What’s the Biggest Bang for Your Buck?

These include the high-ticket items that increase square footage. An additional bedroom or an additional bathroom increases the square footage, which in turn allows an appraiser to make higher adjustments when determining valuation against other comparable homes around the subject property.


Let’s say you have funds ready for possibly improving your home for long-term enjoyment. Instead of using the funds to make home improvements in an attempt to enjoy your home more, you might actually see a greater benefit if you used that money toward a refinance. Over time, the money you save from refinancing could then be put toward those home improvements down the road.

Selling in the Near Future

Typically, you won’t get a dollar-for-dollar recapture on the home improvement cost, even when selling. Because the weight is given to improvements that expand the use of the house (i.e. bedroom, bathrooms, etc.), it’s more common to expect 20 cents on the dollar, or maybe 30 cents on the dollar, depending on the improvement in such a scenario. Because the market is the strongest indicator of price, the market will dictate sales price followed by additional improvements and subsequent marketing of the home. 2013

Top 3 Real Estate Myths Debunked

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

There are many myths and urban legends in the real estate market, some of which can actually hurt your home sale if you believe them.

Myth #1:  Sellers should still price their home higher than market value to allow for negotiating room.

Truth: Pricing too high in a buyers’ market is a big mistake.  If your home is overpriced in this current market, then agents showing your home will use your property to sell one of the other properties currently listed and in competition with your home.

Three important things to keep in mind when pricing your home:

1. Is your home updated?

2. Does it need cosmetic touch ups like fresh paint and new carpeting?

3. Is your home in a location that will attract buyers or does it back up to a major highway?

These are all items that the buyers’ lender will use when doing an appraisal on the property.  The bottom line is this:  you can price your home at any value you feel is appropriate, however, it still needs to appraise for the selling price in the contract in order for the bank to approve the loan!

A well-trained real estate agent who looks out for your best interests will consult with you on your home’s fair market value and guide you accordingly.  Remember, agents do not set the price of a home, sellers do.  Agents are here to give you current market information in order for you to make an informed decision to price the home in line with what is currently selling.  The worst thing to do is price it higher than what is selling—all you end up doing is chasing the market from a losing position.

Myth #2:  The carpet needs replacing.  Why can’t I offer a credit at closing for new carpet?

Truth: Today’s buyers are looking for houses online and first impressions are critical!   More than 87 percent of today’s buyers are searching for homes online.  They are quite Internet savvy and know what they are looking for.  If your home looks great in the pictures, then chances are good that they will linger on your home’s listing a bit longer.  When they see worn carpeting (and yes, it does show up in the pictures) or outdated appliances they immediately proceed to the next home for sale. They don’t read anything beyond that.

Before your home’s initial debut online, it is important that it show well to draw the potential buyers in—not turn them away!  What seems like a savings for the seller in the beginning of your home’s market time might end up costing much more in the long run.  Remember, buyers are comparing your home to other homes that are currently on the market.  Your home should be inviting so that everyone who looks at it can see themselves living there.

Myth #3:  Updates are not necessary.  Let’s just list the house and see what happens.

Truth: Buyers probably won’t make it to your doorstep if your home doesn’t appeal to them online.  Again we need to be mindful of first impressions.  In today’s market, your home’s online presence is vital to drawing in buyers.  If the pictures of your home look great but the cabinets are circa 1970 and your appliances are old, then chances are good that they will be on to the next listing without batting an eye!  You don’t always have to replace the cabinets.  Sometimes a coat of paint and some new hardware will add life to your home and freshen up its appearance.  This is where a good agent’s expertise comes in handy.

Beware of agents who will not share constructive criticism with you.  They are probably not all that interested in getting your home sold as they are in getting the listing.  Your agent is the professional here and his/her real estate advice should be aimed at getting your home sold as quickly as possible and in the shortest amount of time…”

Selling Your Home, How To Set A Fair Price

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

When talking about setting a price to sell your home, we have to talk about setting a “fair” price. One that will make buyers feel that they are indeed getting a good deal, and one that will enable you to move closer toward your goal.

Home Equity Loans
Many homeowners have tapped into the equity of their homes for one reason or another; to make improvements, to pay off expenses, or to make it through tough times. If you have gone this route you must understand clearly, you have already taken the equity out of your house. You cannot expect to collect twice on that sum.  If you have taken out a home equity loan to make home improvements within the past year or two you most likely will not get back the entire amount in your sale price. There are exceptions and an appraiser or real estate agent can advise you based on your particular situation.

Your real estate agent through a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) will go over with you what properties similar to yours are currently on the market.  Those are important, but more important is what sold and what did not sell. Those tell the story of the tolerance of the buying public.  After all it is the buying public that will set the final sale price. Pay particular attention and ask the agent to tell you about the history of the sold and expired properties.  What was their original sale price compared to the last sale price and ultimate sold price? What were the total Days On Market?  (Sometimes people change Realtors or take their homes off the market to stop the DOM meter from running.) Ask for the true number. This information will demonstrate to you what buyers looking in your particular area are expecting and willing to pay.

Based on the information you now have, you want to create an atmosphere of excitement about your home. Set an impression that will inspire buyers to come to see it and most importantly make a decision.  Buyers who are simply looking are not motivated or they have a sense that this house will be around for awhile. You want to create in essence a frenzy that will lead to multiple interested buyers.

Pricing Confidence
Many times sellers worry about under pricing their home.  The market has your back. If you under price the home you are selling, you can have multiple interested buyers. This will ultimately drive the price up.  Have you ever noticed that once a popular product hits the shelf and is immediately sold out, very often the price goes up? Marketing strategists employ this tactic.  As a home seller you can tap into this approach. Since you only have one shot at selling your house you need to price it to create that frenzy. Overpricing will lead to longevity on the market and ultimately a lower sale price than if you priced it correctly in the first place. A home that remains on the market will lead buyers to assume that there is something wrong with the house or that you are a difficult seller. Neither of which may be the case. Be prepared for low ball offers.

While the current market is one that presents a scenario of an over abundance of homes for sale and not enough buyers to go around, the outcome can still work in your favor. If you present your “product for sale” as one that is more desirable than the competition and priced at or just below market value, you can create a flurry of activity among interested, serious buyers.  And yes you still can have a bidding war for your house. Wouldn’t that be a nice dilemma to have–which offer to accept?

Surefire Ways to Get Top Price for Your Home

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Yes, your home is beautiful, and it is where you have lived for the past several years, so who wouldn’t want to buy it? However, it is not enough to simply put a home on the market in order to get the best price.

“Price does indeed rule when it comes to selling a home. However, there are some ways to make sure you are getting the most money for your home you can reasonably expect. In order to get that, you must spend some time planning.

Realize selling your home is all about the buyer. If you want to sell it for top price, you must know who your buyer is, and convince them it is worth that. The seller is already convinced of the home’s value.

Learn who your buyer is and what is important to them. The practical step to #1 is to learn about your buyer and what they want in a home. Find out where they live, why they want to move, and what features they will want.

Market to your target buyer specifically and not to everyone. Most people are not interested in your particular home, but a subsection of buyers is. If you can market to them you will drive more buyers to your home than if you market more broadly.

Have an appealing MLS listing designed for your target buyer. Emphasize the features that are important to your buyer, and have lots of pictures. One picture is plain lazy in this day and age. Homes with 20 pictures or more get much more looks and visits than those with less.

The most important part of your home is the first impression. When they drive up to the house, and walk through the front door, they should already be positive about the place before they walk in. Any issues they see past that point they are more likely to brush off then if they had a negative view before they opened the door.

Selling a home is more of an art than science, and price is still king. But these are some actual practical steps you can do to get your home noticed by the right buyers. The more real competition you can get for your home, the higher the home will sell for. Focus efforts not just on getting bodies through the door, but on getting actual quality buyers making offers. To do this you must learn who those buyers are and you must market and sell to them.”

Four Ways To Set The Mood When Showing Your Home

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

In some ways shopping for a new home can be a little like online dating– when you go from pictures and descriptions to a real-life encounter, first impressions are everything. When you are selling your home you want the prospective buyer to walk in the door and have an instant positive reaction. Here are four tips for setting the mood when showing your home:

When buyers walk into your home, they should feel comfortable, they should feel welcome, and they should feel at home. Although your house, its features and your staging techniques will go a long way to accomplish these goals, it also never hurts to help set the mood. Here’s what you can do:

  1. If the weather is warm, make sure the house is cool and the windows are closed. A quiet, cool home is a welcomed change on a hot day with outside noise. In fact, buyers are more likely to stay longer if they feel comfortable in your home! If weather permits, light the fireplace and create instant ambiance, or if the weather is fair, take the opportunity to open the windows and let the fresh air circulate throughout your home.
  2. Make sure your home is bright and inviting. Therefore, open the blinds and throw open the curtains to let the sun shine in. Turn on lights throughout the home so your home appears brighter, larger and more inviting. Light a few candles (make sure you inform the Realtor you have done this) and, if the showing is during the evening, turn on all outdoor and landscape lighting.
  3. Don’t overwhelm your buyers with strong scents, but do consider lightly scented candles and potpourri to sweetly scent the air. Make sure the trash is emptied and the cat’s litter box is hidden to eliminate any undesirable scents. And, by all means, don’t smoke in the house! Many sellers have also considered baking chocolate chip cookies or similar treats before a showing to fill their homes with a scent that appeals to the masses.
  4. Stay seasonal and get buyers in the mood with seasonally inspired touches. During the summer, set glass bowls with sea shells in the entry and fill a kitchen vase with summer blooms. In the fall, create a centerpiece with acorns and pine cones and bring in sprigs of late-blooming bushes for an added touch of autumn.

3 Tips for the First-Time Home Seller

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Today’s buyer-take-all bonanza is a bon for fence-sitters and buys with great credit and deep pockets. But sellers are steeling themselves to new realities that include paying (rather than making) money at the closing table, providing extras to sweeten the deal, and spending more time and cash making the home camera-ready.

For first-time sellers who have never been through the process, its a different world. One where the value of the house isn’t measured in the profit made on the sale, but by the enjoyment the owners had from living in the home.

Here are three things experienced sellers would tell you, if they could.

Price it Realistically

Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks. The multiple listing service systems and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings. Many buyers are plugged in electronically, so the minute something new pops up that meets their criteria, they want to see it. Take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing the house competitively right out of the gate.

Be Prepared to Lose Some Money

Want to sit with a house that won’t move? Be the first-time seller who insists you can get the appraised value, the tax assessor’s estimate or whatever you paid a few years ago. “it seems like there’s no relationship between your assessed value, taxable value and the actual market value of your house,” says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS. The truth is that your house is worth what buyers are willing to pay.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

One question to ask yourself and pose as you interview agents: How will you reach the home’s target market? You have to consider who your most likely buyers are for what you’re selling and cater to that group of people.

Real Estate Magazine – July 2011

America’s Top 10 Emptiest Cities of 2011

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Vacancies, empty homes, zombie subdivisions, foreclosures, and REO. This is the real estate story of 2011 and as usual some cities are fairing better than others. The city of Orlando takes the crown as the emptiest American city with an amazing 23 percent of their apartments empty and 4.3 percent of their homes unoccupied.

The recession is just magnifying the problem in these cities, as their is not enough demand for housing and the relocation market is restricted. Add in an overabundance of inventory and you have these cities sitting empty.

America’s Top 10 Most Empty Cities in 2011

  1. Orlando – Home Vacancy – 4.3% Apartment Vacancy – 23.6%
  2. Las Vegas– Home Vacancy – 5.5% Apartment Vacancy – 13.5%
  3. Memphis – Home Vacancy – 4.7% Apartment Vacancy – 16.1%
  4. San Bernardino – Home Vacancy – 6.4% Apartment Vacancy – 10.4%
  5. Dayton – Home Vacancy – 3.3% Apartment Vacancy – 26.4%
  6. Phoenix – Home Vacancy – 3.4% Apartment Vacancy – 15.5%
  7. Houston – Home Vacancy – 2.6% Apartment Vacancy – 14.5%
  8. Jacksonville – Home Vacancy – 3.1% Apartment Vacancy – 10.4%
  9. Tampa St. Petersburg – Home Vacancy – 3.7% Apartment Vacancy – 9.4%\
  10. Detroit – Home Vacancy – 2.9% Apartment Vacancy – 15.6%

via Forbes

Homebuyers Find It Cheaper To Go Old vs. New

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The dream of many would-be buyers is a new home, but it makes less and less financial sense in many places.

A wave of foreclosures has driven down the cost of previously occupied homes and made them even more of a comparative bargain. By contrast, new homes have become more expensive.

The median price of a new home in the United States is 48 percent higher than that of a home being resold, more than three times the gap in a healthy housing market. Such a disparity can be a drag on the economy.

New homes represent a small fraction of sales, but they cause economic ripples, bringing business to construction and other industries. Sluggish new-home sales deprive the economy of strength. The gap is widening because prices of previously occupied homes are falling fast, pulled down by waves of foreclosures and short sales.

The median price of a new home has risen almost 6 percent in the past year to $230,600, even though last year was the worst for sales in nearly a  half-century. Slowed by those higher prices, new-home sales have plummeted over the past year to the lowest level since records began being kept in 1963. By contrast, sales of previously occupied homes have fallen almost 3 percent in the past year. Prices have dropped more than 5 percent. In February, the median price for a resale was $156,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. That adds up to a price difference of $74,500, or 48 percent, the highest markup in at least a decade. In healthier markets, a new home typically runs about 15 percent more, according to government data.

In some areas, older homes were more expensive before the housing market bust. That was especially true in urban neighborhoods with little or no room left to build on. But now, buyers get their pick even in some of the trendiest places.

Homebuilders have taken notice. Residential construction has all but come to a halt. Builders broke ground in February on the fewest homes in nearly two years. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, sank to their lowest in more than 50 years. Many builders are waiting for new home sales to pick up and for the glut of foreclosures and other distressed properties to be reduced, but with 3 million foreclosures forecast this year nationwide, some analysts do not expect a turnaround for at least three years.

Home Sales Drop 9.6 percent Nationwide in February 2011

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Remember that housing recovery that was supposed to happen this spring? Well, according to the numbers released by the National Association of Realtors, it is not going to happen very soon.

The numbers reported for February, 2011 were rough to say the least. Experts were predicting a drop of 4 percent however we saw the number plummet 9.6 percent. This is the lowest number of homes sold in 9 years. The inventory of homes for sale jumped to 8.6 months.

Overall, the numbers are even rougher to the experts than they appear. The reason why, interest rates. The Federal government is doing everything it can to keep interest rates low including having the Federal Reserve buying up the debt they accumulate. This can only go on so long and then we will see a big bump of interest rates. When that bump hits housing costs will skyrocket removing even more people from the marketplace.

This was the window the economists and the government was expecting housing to improve and help pick up the economy. It looks that that is not going to happen in the near future.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday sales fell 9.6 percent month over month to an annual rate of 4.88 million units, snapping three straight months of gains.
The percentage decline was the largest since July.

The median home price dropped 5.2 percent in February from a year earlier to $156,100, the lowest since April 2002.

“If the price declines persist, even with the job market recovery, that could hamper recovery in the housing market,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Compared with February last year, sales were down 2.8 percent.

Oversupply of homes and a relentless wave of foreclosures are pressuring prices, holding back recovery in the sector, whose collapse helped to tip the U.S. economy into its worst recession since the 1930s. Foreclosures and short sales, which typically occur below market value, accounted for 39 percent of transactions in February, up from 37 percent the prior month. All-cash purchases made up a record 33 percent of transactions in February.

Entries (RSS)