They say timing is everything in life. And that’s particularly true when it comes to real estate. If you’ve been thinking about selling your home but are not sure if this is the right time, think again: There may not be a better time to sell than right now.
We are experiencing a severe shortage of homes for sale in our area. Our inventory of listings is at the lowest level it has been in many years. Buyers are out there each weekend scouring the neighborhoods for homes to buy; buyers are ready to make a move when they find a house to buy.
With so few homes available in this market, if you were to sell your home now you could potentially get the highest price since the downturn of the housing market. With buyers far outnumbering available homes for sale, sellers are often getting multiple offers – sometimes a dozen or more – often closing at a price that is significantly more than their asking price.
We’re not alone here in the Sacramento/Tahoe region. The low inventory of for-sale homes is creating a seller’s market throughout the country, according to an article by the National Association of Realtors®. NAR reported that “Buyers and Agents are literally waiting for the next house” to come on the market in many cities.
According to NAR, the supply of existing homes for sale reached nearly an eight-year low in January. Nationwide, there is a 4.2-month supply of existing homes for sale and it could take some time before we reach a more balanced market. There are a number of reasons for the shortage of listings. The number of distressed houses for sale is decreasing as the foreclosure crisis recedes. New home construction is improving but still at low levels in most areas of the country. And many homeowners still believe they are too underwater on their mortgage or may not have enough equity in their property to buy their next home.
But you may be surprised at how much the tide has turned in the last year.
Multiple offers and bids over the asking price are pushing up home values in many areas. Properties that looked like they would have to sell as a short sale have ended up pricing out as a traditional equity transaction with homeowners walking away with cash from the sale. We are experiencing this change in the market every day.
In a recent Money magazine article, reporter Beth Braverman said homeowners might be wise to sell now rather than hold off. “It’s tempting to postpone selling to hold out for a better price,” she said. “But if you want to move to a larger place, act sooner rather than later.”
While you might be able to sell your home for more if you wait, there’s no way to tell what the future will hold. When more homeowners eventually decide to come into the market, the balance of supply and demand could change in favor of buyers once again. And even if prices go up in the future, the appreciation on a trade-up home could be even greater.
As we travel through life, housing needs evolve. You may have outgrown your starter home and need more space now that you have children. Perhaps you want to move to a similar home on a quieter street. You’ve decided to downsize now that the kids are on their own and you are empty nesters. Or you’re just tired of maintaining that big yard in your current home.
Whether you’re moving up, across or downsizing, whatever the reason for your move, it’s important to work with a well-qualified professional Realtor® who can help make the transition a success.
In order to get the best possible price for a home, you must expose it to the largest number of potential buyers. Start by hiring an Agent from a reputable firm who specializes in your local area.
Your Agent must be able to showcase your home in a variety of traditional and online media including professional photography, direct mail, property flyers, listing syndication, social media, and electronic communication to area Agents.
Additionally, your Agent should also identify the key selling features of the home and actively promote the property to other Agents during the brokers’ tour and to potential buyers during an open house.
Your best choice is to start by hiring the Sacramento/Tahoe region’s leading real estate services company, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Our proven marketing plan will showcase your home to the widest possible audience of qualified buyers and net you the best price possible for your property.
Selling your home can be a complicated and stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be, especially when you are working with the best. As a full-service company, we are with you every step of the way, keeping you informed about the entire transaction.
As your professional Realtor®, I can help you navigate through the process of selling your home and even help you find your next home that fits your current situation. Contact me today for a private consultation and to learn more about my comprehensive marketing program.
As they say, timing is everything.
This Reality Check is brought to you by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Northern California. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is home to more than 3,600 Sales Associates of the region’s most successful real estate professionals.
These are some great suggestions. Additionally, remember to ensure your home is clean! Take the time to mop your hard surface floors and vacuum the carpets- buyers love vacuum lines! You should also pay attention to scent. It’s a good idea to place “plug-in” type air fresheners in each room. Consider alternating scents that compliment each other so that potential buyers notice a pleasant smell in each room as they enter it, instead of adjusting to the same consistent scent. Need more ideas? Give me a call- I can help! Good luck 🙂
An open house can be the selling point for potential buyers, and most sellers understand the importance of staging a home properly. However, few homeowners want to spend a great of money redecorating their homes. The good news is, there are several ways for sellers to stage their homes beautifully without reaching too deeply into their pockets.
Do some research
For homeowners who are unsure how they should stage their homes, speaking with a real estate professional is the first step. Real estate agents have most likely attended several open houses and have unique insight into what buyers may be looking for. In addition, homeowners themselves may benefit from venturing out to staged model homes or open houses in the area, and examining the techniques other sellers are using.
Sellers should first rely on what they have
Before going out and purchasing a new living room set, sellers should focus on decluttering their homes, cleaning it until it’s spotless and making any necessary repairs or alterations before purchasing new items. They may find that they already have all the items they need to stage their properties. If not, all the legwork will be done and sellers will have a better idea of what they are lacking before they seek out accent pieces, plants and other popular staging products.
In addition, rearranging a room to highlight certain areas or making the room feel more spacious can also have a great effect on a home staging. For example, framing a living room around bay windows and adding a bookcase or two to a home office can make a room look more appealing.
Focus on subtle changes
Homeowners who still feel their home needs sprucing up should explore small changes that may change the look of a room. For example, adding a fresh coat of paint (many suggest a neutral shade), purchasing updated kitchen appliances and putting in new lights, doors or window treatments can have a profound effect on a room. Purchasing small items, such as colorful picture frames, books and lamps may also make a staged home appear more warm and lived-in.
Lastly, homeowners who are staging on a budget may also consider borrowing small accent pieces from friends and family to cut the costs of purchasing new items.
View My Website | CaliforniaMoves.com
Home buyers face dilemma with shortage
Published 3:28 pm, Saturday, March 9, 2013
The home at 2334 Clipper Street in San Mateo that received dozens of offers and sold for far above the asking price.
Photo: Courtesy Claire Haggarty / NBT, NBT Realty Services
The sharp drop in homes for sale poses a tough choice for buyers: Jump in now and compete with hordes of others or wait until inventory improves.
If you buy now, you might have to pay above asking. But if you wait, you could end up paying an even higher price and a higher interest rate if you need a loan. That’s because inventory won’t improve until prices rise enough to get more homeowners to sell and more builders to break ground.
The inventory shortage is especially acute in California. Of the 30 largest housing markets, the four with the biggest drops in homes listed for sale on Zillow in February compared with February of last year were Sacramento (48 percent), Los Angeles, San Francisco (41 percent) and San Diego.
Although listings are increasing on a month-to-month basis as the busy spring season gets under way, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko predicts they won’t start rising on a year-over-year basis for a year or more.
An example of that: “In all of Millbrae, there was one listing two months ago. There are about a dozen now,” says Roger Dewes, a Coldwell Banker agent on the Peninsula. In a normal market, there might be 20. “We are not there yet, but going from one to 12 is quite a leap,” he says.
Experts cite five factors contributing to the inventory shortage:
— Fewer foreclosures are hitting the market. “California did a good job of disposing of its backlog” of distressed properties, says Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.
In California, where most foreclosures are handled out of court, the process is taking about 11 months on average, according to RealtyTrac. In New York and New Jersey, where foreclosures go through a court proceeding, the process is taking 36 and 32 months, respectively.
— Many people still owe more than their homes are worth. If they sold now, they would have to come up with extra cash to pay off their loan. Although prices have rebounded from their lows, 23.3 percent of homes with a mortgage in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were still underwater in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Zillow.
— Even if they are not underwater, many owners won’t sell for less than they paid. If they bought near the peak, it may take a while before they are ready to budge.
The median price paid for a new or resale home or condo in the nine-county Bay Area was $415,000 in January. That’s less than halfway between its low of $290,000 in March 2009 and its high of $665,000 set in June/July 2007, according to DataQuick.
— Many people, even if their homes are worth more than they paid, won’t sell because they are afraid they won’t be able to buy another house. “It becomes a game of musical chairs; they are afraid to get out because they can’t get back in,” Humphries says. This becomes “a self-reinforcing cycle” that keeps homes off the market.
— The housing bust put new construction on hold.
The shortage comes at a time when demand is rising in the Bay Area, not just from regular buyers but from investors, second-home buyers and foreign buyers, especially from Asia.
‘Heck of a wreck’
The result is stories like this: A 1,500-square-foot home on Clipper Street on San Mateo’s east side, advertised as a “heck of a wreck,” attracted 97 offers in the first eight days, says listing agent Claire Haggarty of NBT Realty Services.
The home was listed in mid-January at $375,000, which Haggarty considered “a little under market.” It sold for $510,000 in an all-cash deal with no inspections, no contingencies and a 10-day close.
At some point, prices will rise enough to shake lose more inventory, but it won’t happen immediately.
Based on what’s happening around the country, Kolko says inventory tightens fastest in the first 12 months after prices hit a bottom. “Everybody wants to buy at the bottom and nobody wants to sell at the bottom,” he says.
About 12 months after hitting bottom, inventory continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace. But it won’t increase on a year-over-year basis until at least two years after hitting bottom, he predicts.
If you adjust for the mix of homes sold, Kolko says prices bottomed in February 2012 nationwide and in most parts of California and the Bay Area. (The San Jose metro area bottomed earlier, in June 2011.)
Although DataQuick shows Bay Area home prices bottoming in 2009, that’s when most homes being sold were low-priced. The middle and upper end of the market bottomed in early 2012, says DataQuick’s Andrew LePage.
If you believe Kolko’s two-year rule, inventory won’t begin increasing on a year-over-year basis until at least early 2014 in most areas.
Humphries says it might improve earlier, by the end of the year, but “this spring will still be challenging from an inventory perspective.” If you wait until next year to buy, the market may be cooler but prices are likely to be higher. There’s also a risk that interest rates will be higher, he says.
The sweet spot for buyers might be this summer. Even though inventory is falling year-over-year, “the seasonal pattern means there will be more homes on the market in the summer,” Kolko says. “Search traffic peaks in the spring, but inventory peaks in July.”
Many buyers also go on vacation in July and August, Dewes says.
The decision to buy or wait “really comes down to a fundamental decision about how long you will be in a home,” Humphries says. “If you want to be in a home long enough to make buying better than renting, make that decision as soon as you can.”
In the city of San Francisco, the breakeven point where it makes more sense to own is 3.7 years, Humphries says. “If you will be there more than 3.7 years, I’d say buy now.”
Home inventory drops steeply
Change in the number of homes listed on Zillow in the largest 30 metro areas, February 2013 vs. February 2012.
Los Angeles -45.7
San Francisco -40.9
San Diego -39.4
Minneapolis-St. Paul -36.7
Kansas City -32.4
Las Vegas -32.1
Dallas-Fort Worth -20.7
New York -18.9
San Antonio -18.7
United States -16.6%
St. Louis -13.2%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale -6.9%
You’ll notice that Sacramento is at the top of the list with 48% fewer available properties year over year. We’ve seen a sharp increase in home prices as a result of this supply shortage. What are your thoughts on the matter?
|A new homebuyer/Agent sentiment survey by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s parent company has found a growing sense of optimism among buyers as the nation’s housing market continues to improve. In particular, buyers are becoming more confident about the stabilizing and increasing value of home prices.The annual homebuyer survey, which drew 5,865 responses, was designed to discover what was behind the recent increases in buyer demand. The key finding here seems to be a growing optimism about improving prices, which appears to be driven by an extreme shortage of homes for sale in many markets.
While low interest rates and change in life situation were cited as the two highest factors motivating buyers, expectation that home prices will rise – a very new sentiment among buyers – came in a very close third. This optimism over values grew the most over the last 12 months (61 percent) closely followed by “increased optimism around selling” (51 percent).
Dan Barnett, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s parent company, said there is a very clear correlation between a growing optimism over prices and buyer frustration over the lack of homes for sale. The graph below depicts results by various NRT local operating companies:
|Despite increased buyer and seller optimism overall, there still does not seem to be a big increase in move up buyers. About 42 percent of Agents said move-up buying was increasing “modestly” and only 7 percent said it was increasing significantly.Below are the results of the survey:
What is motivating buyers to look now (factor is “very motivating” or “motivating”):
83% Low interest rates
Which factors have become more important now than a year ago:
61% Expectation that home prices will rise
What are buyers complaining about:
How do buyers cope with limited inventory (Agent could pick more than one):
What is happening in the overall market:
So what does all this mean for you? Every day, both buyers and sellers are growing more confident as the housing market continues its steady rebound. If you have been thinking about buying a home, you shouldn’t wait too long. We have a good window of opportunity right now when interest rates are low and prices are still very affordable. But that won’t last forever, as history has shown us. Even a small jump in mortgage rates could significantly change how much you’ll end up spending on a home. If you’ve been considering buying a home, there may not be a better time than now. I’m ready to help you find the home of your dreams today. Let’s get started!
|©2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office Is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. DRE License #01908304|
Many sellers have anxiously counted down the days to the end of 2012 and the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act which prevented sellers from having to pay income tax on debt forgiven in a short sale. They watched in horror as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve and panicked because their sale hadn’t yet recorded and no deal had yet been struck! Was it too late to cancel the contract? I mean it’s better to have a foreclosure than a $20,000 tax bill, right? Can you even file bankruptcy on tax debt?! Let the spiral continue.
Well, never fear because The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (affectionately referred to as the Fiscal Cliff Deal) which passed late last night has upheld the debt forgiveness law as suggested in this Housing Wire article excerpt:
“One of the more watched provisions of the fiscal cliff was the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.
The fiscal cliff deal extends it for another year, meaning homeowners who experience a debt reduction through mortgage principal forgiveness or a short sale are exempt from being taxed on the forgiven amount.”
Good news for sellers and great news for our economy!
See the full article here. The settlement will also extend a law that expired in the end of 2011 which allowed for the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums. Additionally, capital gains rates are to rise from 15% to 20% for high-income earners. However, capital gains rates on the sale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples.
Most importantly- Don’t freak out! It’s probably not going to affect you (or the sale of your home). Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way you can check out the short video below and the National Association of Realtors’ “Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax” for more specific details.
See original article here
Learn the most important takeaways for REALTORS® when it comes to the 3.8% tax that’s part of health care reform:
- When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.
- The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.
- You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.
- If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.
- The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).
- The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.
- In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.
- The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.
- It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.
- The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.
One of the ultimate buzz kills of a backyard BBQ is having party crashing, ankle biting, blood sucking mosquitoes as your “uninvited guests”. In addition to leaving their gift of an itchy bite in the most uncomfortable and hard to reach places their bites also leave a possibility of disease transmission. Take a look at these helpful hints for limiting their habitat on your property and other repellent options.
Remove Standing Water
Mosquitoes LOVE water because they require it to breed. This is why a rainy spring often leads to a mosquito filled summer.About.com suggests these four tips:
Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.
Keep gutters clean and unclogged. Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.
Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use. Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a veritable mosquito hatchery.
Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained. Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, footbaths, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.
Choose Your Lighting Wisely
Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to mosquitoes. Products such as tiki torches, citronella candles, and lanterns will keep the pests away from the immediate area where you’re dining al fresco. (ivillage.com)
Guard Your Body
While some prefer to spray mosquito repellant others prefer an all-natural pest repellent. If you aren’t a fan of sprays like Off or Repel there are many natural DIY alternatives you can make yourself. One trick that has worked for me is sticking a Bounce® brand dryer sheet in each pocket. Something about these fabric softener sheets repels them…and bonus…it smells awesome!
Don’t Bother Trying These
According to Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor in Entomology at Rutgers University, these often-touted mosquito solutions are not worth your time or money.
Bug zappers. Though the satisfying sizzle you hear from this modern day insect torture device will convince you it’s working, don’t expect much relief from backyard mosquitoes. According to Crans, biting insects (including mosquitoes) generally make up less than 1% of the bugs zapped in these popular devices. Many beneficial insects, on the other hand, do get electrocuted.
Citrosa plants. While citronella oil does have proven mosquito-repellent properties, the genetically-modified plants sold for this purpose do not. In tests by researchers, the test subjects bitten as often while surrounded by the Citrosa plants as without them. In fact, mosquitoes were observed landing on the leaves of Citrosa plants during the study.
Bats and/or purple martins. While both bats and the colonial purple martins will consume mosquitoes, the offending insects make up a small percentage of their natural diet. Assertions about these insectivores being effective mosquito controls grew out of misrepresented and misinterpreted data from unrelated studies. While providing habitat for bats and purple martins has its value, don’t do it if only to reduce your mosquito populations.
Electronic devices that transmit sounds to mimic male mosquitoes or dragonflies do not work. Crans goes so far as to suggest “the claims made by distributors border on fraud.”
Learn the Facts
Every kid remembers an adult trying to console them in the midst of an itching episode with “they like your blood because you are so sweet” but I always wondered if mosquitoes actually have a preference for their victims. I found this Are You A Mosquito Magnet Infographic pretty interesting and hope you do too!
What steps do you take to keep mosquitoes away from your yard?
A Mother loves right from the start.
She holds her baby close to her heart.
The bond that grows will never falter.
Her love is so strong it will never alter.
A Mother gives never ending Love.
She never feels that she has given enough.
For you she will always do her best.
Constantly working, there’s no time to rest.
A Mother is there when things go wrong.
A hug and a kiss to help us along.
Always there when we need her near.
Gently wipes our eyes when we shed a tear.
So on this day shower your Mother with Love.
Gifts and presents are nice but that is not enough.
Give your Mother a day to have some peace of mind.
Be gentle, be good, be helpful, be kind.
Happy Mothers Day.