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Keep Your Cool – Here’s What Really Happens at Closings

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Article shared from House Logic

After all of the components of the home buying process — negotiations, appraisals, inspections, and insurance — it’s very exciting to (finally) get to closing. But do you know what really happens during this final appointment? Closing on a home can be nerve-racking simply because many first-time buyers don’t  know what to expect or what to bring along.

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2 Ways To Get The Most Money From The Sale Of Your Home

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photo courtesy of KCM

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?

Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

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Buying Or Selling In 2018? 5 Reasons To Resolve To Hire A Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

Over on Keeping Current Matters, we found this handy Infographic that is short and sweet.

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Buying A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In 54% Of US Counties

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Buying A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In 54% Of US Counties (Photo courtesy of Keeping Current Matters)

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2018 Rental Affordability Report, “buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 240 of 447 [or 54% of] U.S. counties analyzed for the report.”

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Home Design Trends That Defined 2017

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From techniques to make listing photos pop to methods for staging small spaces, these were the design crazes that made the biggest difference in home sales. We strived to offer both news and practical advice in our home and design section throughout the year, but we also kept an eye on forthcoming trends. As you can see, our roundup of 2018 design trends—which was published only this month—quickly became our most popular design article of the year.

What’s Hot: Trends in the Pipeline for 2018
The housing trends on tap next year center around integrating technology and creating healthy and connected living environments. Here are the need-to-know products and services promising to transform homes and your clients’ lifestyles over the next year or so.

Staging for a Cozy, Minimalist Look
Real estate agents often have to work with either barren rooms or sloppy, overstuffed spaces. But what’s truly attracting the most buyers is a deft balance of tidy austerity and a comfortable, lived-in feel. Here are five recommendations to strike the right tone.

How to Make a Big Statement With a Small Yard
Not everyone dreams of a lush and sprawling backyard, so playing down diminutive outdoor space in your listing could be a missed opportunity to connect with a buyer who sees a postage-stamp lawn as a plus. Here’s how to make a splash with the most compact outdoor spaces.

4 Surefire Tips for Better Listing Photos
Interior shots pose a variety of photographic challenges that are difficult for amateur photographers. Real estate pros shouldn’t be expected to transform overnight into professional camera wielders, but you can benefit from a few tricks and some decent equipment.

These Doors Can Modernize Your Listing’s Look
The front door has always had a starring role in a home’s curb appeal. But lately, the doors inside a home are getting a closer look for their ability to add style and address design challenges. Consider these simple yet elegant options for dividing a space while earning design points.

—REALTOR® Magazine/DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

 

 

Appealing to Investors: ‘Emerging’ Markets Show Strength

Downtown Nashville Tennessee Skyline

Housing markets in the three largest metropolitan areas—Chicago, Los Angeles and New York—have always attracted capital, eagerly handed over by investors recognizing profit potential, safety and security. Now, according to new research, other major metro areas are diverting the flow, drawing increased investment in real estate.

The common denominator? Economies flourishing with jobs and skilled workers.

“The growing interest in smaller cities by real estate investors is influenced by their relative affordability, coupled with a concentration of young, skilled workers,” says Mitch Roschelle, co-publisher of “Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2018″ by PwC and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and partner with PwC. “The diverse, robust economies of these smaller cities make them very desirable to investors.”

A barrier, for one, has been eliminated. Investors have become knowledgeable about markets outside the usual vehicles, according to PwC and the ULI. These other markets, also, have been less saturated with supply.

Additionally, cities with growth are ideal for investors because returns could parallel their trajectory. The cities with high interest from investors, “Emerging Trends” shows, are (in order): Seattle, Wash.; Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Los Angeles, Calif; San Jose, Calif; Nashville, Tenn.; and Boston, Mass. While Los Angeles appears in the top 10, the real story is in the others.

For No. 1 Seattle, challenging conditions exist.

“The booming employment market in Greater Seattle has brought multiple years of double-digit [home] price growth and less than two months’ [housing] inventory available,” says Sam DeBord, managing broker of the Seattle Homes Group and vice president of Strategic Growth with Coldwell Banker Danforth. According to Zillow, home prices in Seattle have soared 12.4 percent year-over-year.

The influx of newcomers, DeBord says, is piling onto the severe shortage.

“Since our building hangover from the last downturn, the region just hasn’t been able to keep up with growing demand for more housing units,” says DeBord. “Seventy-thousand-plus people are moving into King County every year, while we’re only permitting 10,000 new homes per year. The demand will continue to make rents and prices rise.”

Constraints in housing are not just plaguing Seattle. In Raleigh (No. 4), homebuyers are facing a fast-moving market.

“The Raleigh-Durham area is and has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. thanks to the economic growth, weather, affordability and quality of life,” says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner of Raleigh Realty. “The growth in Raleigh-Durham has translated to a real estate market with home prices appreciating at a fast rate, especially in the high-demand neighborhoods and locations.”

Fitzgerald says Raleigh-Durham is mirroring another market ranked by PwC and the ULI: Austin.

“If you have watched how Austin, Texas, grew in the last 20 years, you will notice that Raleigh-Durham is following a similar trend,” says Fitzgerald. “The rougher neighborhoods with great locations are exploding with relocating millennials, who are willing to sacrifice neighborhood identity for convenience, location and affordability—and their bets are paying off. As a relocating millennial myself, I targeted the East Downtown Raleigh area for my first home purchase, and my property has doubled in value in two years.”

In nearby Nashville (No. 9), however—newer to the scene—inventory is largely keeping pace.

“Land is a precious commodity [in Nashville], but it’s being used and we’re selling it like crazy,” says Carrie Zeier, CEO and owner of RE/MAX Elite. “I think Nashville has done a great job of staying ahead of the curve and planning for that [demand], because prices of homes are very healthy.”

Nashville has advantages both economically and location-wise, Zeier says.

“We’ve always been known as Music City—[in 2016] at least 6,000 employees made up the entertainment and music industry here,” says Zeier. “Healthcare is another driver, as well as manufacturing and tourism and hospitality. For years, we would lose out on big corporations that went to Atlanta, Austin or even Charlotte. We’re winning those now, and that’s because of our low cost of living and the ease of doing business here.”

All told, investors have not been deterred—and, despite high prices and limited supply, the forecast is sunny. According to PwC and the ULI, the investor outlook for the markets in the top 10 has risen 12 percent in four years.

“There’s no financial indicator that says Seattle is in a bubble,” DeBord says. “Unlike the last bubble, buyers today are paying cash, have good jobs, large down payments and high credit ratings. Even with high prices, interest rates have remained low. Seattle’s job market will continue to attract people from all over the world, and our housing crunch will continue. We’ll likely see a slight slowdown in appreciation with high single-digit price growth, and a continued focus on building more housing units of all varieties to accommodate our growing population.”

There is the chance for a downturn, but one investors can withstand if they get in early and at a good price.

“There’s always a correction in the market in real estate—there always has and always will be,” Zeier says. “Nashville was the last to go into that recession and really one of the first to come out of it.”

“Real estate investors should be keeping a close eye on Durham,” Fitzgerald says. “This city is a few years behind Raleigh and offers many opportunities that might have already passed in other areas. You can still buy a great home in walking distance to all Durham has to offer for under $150,000—[but] the city offers too much for these prices to stay this low much longer.”

Overall, investor focus is shifting. Cities like Nashville, Raleigh, Seattle and others are establishing precedent.

“The trend of smaller markets displacing larger ones as investment hubs is setting a new course for urban development that is reshaping cities across the nation,” says Patrick L. Phillips, global CEO of the ULI. “These cities are positioning themselves as highly competitive in terms of livability, employment offerings, and recreational and cultural amenities.”

article written by Suzanne De Vita as RISMedia’s online news editor.

Borrowers More Cautious as Rates Rise

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Mortgage rates inched higher last week, prompting more buyers and homeowners to retreat from taking out loans.

Total mortgage application volume, which includes refinancing and home purchases, dropped 2.6 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The index is now 20 percent lower than a year ago.

Refinancing saw the largest drop last week at 5 percent. Refinancing applications are 38 percent lower than the same week a year ago, when interest rates were lower.

Mortgage applications for home purchases dropped 1 percent during the week. However, purchase applications are still 10 percent higher than a year ago.

The average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level since July last week at 4.22 percent, the MBA reports.

“Rates increased last week as speculation over the next Fed chair continued, and the European Central Bank announced plans to taper its asset purchase program, signaling increased confidence in the euro zone economies,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist.

However, investors are feeling confident the Fed won’t move rates at its next meeting and will instead choose to do so at its December meeting, writes Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. Instead, investors are more closely watching President Donald Trump’s pick to replace current Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. He’s expected to make his announcement on Thursday.

Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Fall 2.6% as Rates Move Even Higher,” CNBC (Nov. 1, 2017)

article written by DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS and shared from RealtorMag

Double-Digit Growth in the Wild West: Is a Bubble Next?

Row of new houses painted various colors in Seattle WA

Demand is forcing home prices out West to keep ticking up, even though the home-buying and -selling season is winding down, according to the September Zillow® Real Estate Market Report. Appreciation is highest in the San Jose, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., metropolitan areas, where prices have rocketed (in order) 10.3 percent, to a median $1,052,500, and 12.4 percent, to a median $455,800, year-over-year. Appreciation nationally is 6.9 percent, to a median $202,700.

Rents out West are also on a swift upswing. Rents in Riverside, Calif. have climbed 6.0 percent year-over-year—the most of the metro areas in the report—to a median $1,833. Rents in Seattle have gone up 5.5 percent to a median $2,189; rents in Portland, Ore., have increased 4.7 percent to a median $1,863; and rents in Los Angeles, Calif., have risen 4.5 percent to $2,714. Appreciation nationally is 2 percent, to a median $1,430.

“In these West Coast markets, heightened demand is being met with limited supply of homes for sale, which naturally causes prices to rise,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “That limited supply and high demand dynamic is a widespread phenomenon impacting high-growth metros like Seattle, as well as slower-moving markets, like Indianapolis.

“It might be easy to assume another bubble is emerging, with home values growing 10 or 12 percent per year, but don’t worry—the market is reacting to basic economic laws, and is behaving exactly the way we would expect it to given good overall growth, limited supply of homes for sale and decent housing affordability thanks to low mortgage interest rates,” Gudell says.

Nationally, there are now 12 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago, the report shows.

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article written by Suzanne De Vita, RISMedia’s online news editor.

5 Smells That Sell Houses

Winter wreath in entrance door

What’s that smell? The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect buyers to a home. While a bad smell can really deter buyers, a good smell can tempt buyers to a sale. From “green” scents to seasonal scents, discover the right smells for triggering positive emotions and home sales.

  1. Clean Smell
    Most of us associate “clean” with strongly scented cleaning products and disinfectants. It can even make buyers nostalgic. But remember, a little goes a long way. You should dilute your cleaning solutions so buyers don’t get overwhelmed.
  1. Citrus
    Using actual fruit is one way to get a clean smell without all the cleaning products. Lemon, orange and grapefruit scents are best. One great tip is to grind up lemon or orange rind with a few ice cubes in the garbage disposal. This will freshen up the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house.
  1. Natural Smell
    Sometimes the best scent is no scent at all. Try using “green” cleaning supplies, baking soda and other non-scented products that neutralize odors. The idea is that simpler is better, so you want to avoid complex, artificial smells from potpourri, sprays and plug-ins, which can actually distract buyers and turn them off.
  1. Baked Goods
    Nothing can make a house smell more like home than freshly baked goods, but be sure to stick to simple smells like vanilla, cinnamon and fresh bread. You don’t have to really bake anything. One trick is to boil some water and throw in a few cinnamon sticks an hour before a showing.
  1. Pine
    Don’t we all love that fresh pine scent? Especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s a great scent to greet buyers when they walk in the door. If you don’t want to put up a live tree, you can simply hang a wreath of tree trimmings or some fresh garland. You can’t go wrong with setting a holiday mood to inspire a sale.

article written by American Home Shield and shared from RISMedia

Solutions To Saving Money On Your Next Move

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. There’s no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.

1. Don’t take it all with you

Furniture you’re no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money (and time and hassle) by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you don’t have to pay to haul it to your next place.

2. Leave the flat screen

If you have a mounted flat screen TV that’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it’s a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.

3. Negotiate everything

If you’ve been looking for a house or have bought one before, you’re probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.

“Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but don’t stop there,” said Bankrate. “When you receive your good faith estimate  of closing costs, or GFE, the negotiation hasn’t ended.” This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lender’s fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.

“The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Don’t guess. Ask the lender or broker.”

Bankrate advises that while “some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves,” negotiating on others that can “be waived or reduced” can save you money.”

4. Barter for services

Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture you’re getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what you’ve already got.

5. Move Smart

Once you’re out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself (or with a few good friends) seems less than desirable. But if you’re willing to sweat a little (ok, a lot) you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.

If you don’t want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move:

  • Do the packing and unpacking yourself
  • Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
  • Pare down. Maybe you don’t need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.

6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options

A company like PODS  or U-Pack  might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor – just not the driving.

7. Take advantage of special offers

Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers – one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.

8. Don’t rush the renos

Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If you’re planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI and shared from RealtyTimes