According to a joint study released by Google and the National Association of Realtors, 2 of 3 people searching for a prospective real estate professional research them “extensively online prior to working with them". And, that number is probably increasing every day.
Are social media channels such as Facebook really a good place to gather information about an agent before using them? If so, what should you look for?
There is a plethora of information on any subject available on social media sites such as Facebook. A recent study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 63% of Americans now even get their news from Facebook (up from 47% in 2013).
It is no different for both buyers and sellers of real estate. Yes, Facebook is a good place to gather information about the housing market and “checkout” an agent you are considering hiring to help buy or sell a home.
You want an agent that cares more about you and your family than they care about bragging about themselves. One way to determine this is to look at what they post on their Facebook page. Are they more interested in ‘hawking’ a listing or bragging about their accomplishments or are they trying to post insightful information that will help you make the best decision for you and your family?
At a recent real estate conference, Guy Kawasaki, an executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, gave the following advice to the Realtors in attendance:
“Value comes in the form of information...
Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!
The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.
A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.
In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.
Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?
If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with...
Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).
In a recent Forbes article the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.
The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:
Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings’. Every time you pay your mortgage...
With residential real estate values rising quite substantially in most parts of the country over the last few years, many homeowners are seeing a major increase in their family’s wealth as equity continues to build in their house.
A recent study by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University revealed that home equity grew nicely last year and has grown dramatically over the last five years…...
We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.
Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably at or below 4%.
The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process...
In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase ...
A recent article that appeared on Nasdaq.com addressed the issue of whether it is best to buy or rent in today’s real estate environment. The article was very fair in discussing both options.
However, there was one portion of the article that we questioned. One of the experts was quoted as saying:
“For some people, the choice is very clear: Buying a home can be more costly, given the cost of the purchase itself, plus taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs.”
This argument is often made in defense of renting. However, we don’t believe it makes logical sense. They claim that, as a renter, you won’t have the expenses of “taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs”. Do they really believe that the landlord pays all those expenses for their tenants?
The vast majority of landlords own rentable real estate as a form of investment. As any other investor would, they expect to make a return on that investment (ROI) - otherwise known as profit. In order to make a profit, the landlord needs to include EVERY expense they incur into the rent…AND THEN ADD A PROFIT MARGIN!!
We think it is incorrect to advise a prospective renter that they won’t have the same expenses that a homeowner would have. They just pay those expenses to a landlord with a “premium” built in....
According to the latest report from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly constructed home sales jumped 5.7% month-over-month and 21.6% year-over-year to an annual pace of 552,000.
Many buyers are looking to the new homes market to make up for the lack of existing home sales inventory. National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe explains:
"Today's report indicates the release of pent-up housing demand as the overall economy strengthens, consumer confidence grows and mortgage interest rates remain low. The housing market should continue to move forward at a modest but more persistent pace throughout the rest of 2015."
Regionally, the Northeast led the way with a 24.1% increase in new home sales, followed by the South (7.4%) and West (5.4%). Sales in the Midwest declined by 9.1%.
The inventory of new homes for sale currently sits at a 4.7-month supply down slightly from July (4.9) and significantly from August 2014 (5.4).
Buyers who purchased a new home were willing to spend more to get the amenities that they wanted. The median home price for new homes was $64,000 higher than existing homes in August at $292,700!
Approved applications for building permits...
It's that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don't have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.
The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 10.5% (most pessimistic) and 25.5% (most optimistic).
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.
As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure.
Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-7.7%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market.
Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 5.6%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 16.9%!
Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market....
If you are debating listing your house for sale this year or even early next year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!
According to the National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) Foot Traffic report, there are more buyers out in the market right now than at any other time in the past three years.
The graph below shows the significant increase in foot traffic experienced this year compared to 2014.
The latest Existing Home Sales report shows that there is currently a 5.2-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market and well below August 2014 numbers.
The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced so far in 2015:
A recent study by Edelman Berland revealed that of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future 33% plan to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why that would make sense to many Americans.
In a recent blog post, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, discussed the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:
Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by...