Buying a new home? Why wait???

Buying a new home? Why wait???

You’ve been waiting for the housing market to bottom out. You’ve been waiting for a very long time. You don’t want to buy before prices hit bottom. After all, you want an amazing deal on a house. Besides, your cousin Bob basically stole his new home and he thinks you can get an even better deal. So, who are you going to listen to? Cousin Bob, Katie Couric, or a real estate professional, that follows every aspect of the housing market? Sure you say, the agent just wants to make a commission. They don’t really care if I get a deal. In some cases, you may be right. But, with a good, experienced agent, that truly cares about their buyers, they have your back.

 So why buy now? Why not wait a little longer? It’s the perfect time to buy and you may just miss the boat if you wait any longer. In our area of North Carolina, prices have been steady and even rising over the last month or so. Inventory is just plain amazing, so you will find your dream home. Sellers are willing to negotiate. You will get a bargain now. Finally, interest rates are on the rise. Just a few months back, rates on a thirty year fixed rate mortgage were at 4.25%. Now they are around 4.75%. Fannie Mae and National Association of Realtors predict rates rising to 5.4% to 5.8% by 2012. That’s a big chunk of change out of your pocket.

 So, wait for home prices and mortgage rates to rise? Why?

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A one year journey through Real Estate: Weeks 13-14

A one year journey through Real Estate: Weeks 13-14

The last two weeks have whizzed by for me.  I’ve been busy at home and at work. 

I have been attempting to wrap things up for a buyer purchasing a foreclosure.  The buyer is out-of-state and I did much of the leg work for them.  All has gone well, but the bank took close to a month to get the signed paperwork back to us.  I suppose it’s just the way things go these days with short sales and foreclosures.

I had been working with another first time buyer, who had become somewhat frustrated, since the properties she liked best were out of her price range.  At the advice of my broker in charge, I suggested she revisit her lender and explore a 5/1 arm, rather than the thirty year fixed she was approved for.  She wound up with a rate of 3.75%, versus the thirty year rate of 5.2%.  She was so excited that we wound up looking at several more homes and she found one she loved.  We made an offer which was accepted and she wound up with an excellent deal.

Both will close by the end of April.

I continued with farming my neighborhood, mailing out the third round of postcards in three months.  I was attempting a blitz before the spring selling season.  So far, no results, but I’m hopeful.  It just takes one listing to be worthwhile.

I also did an e-mail blitz of local builders.  The market for new homes is still slow here, especially with upper end custom homes.  Earlier this week, I attended a webinar by Builder Magazine.  There are several areas of the country with very healthy markets for new construction.  Charlotte, NC and Raleigh, NC were in the top ten, with Charlotte being number three.  Greensboro is in the middle geographically, but not in the top twenty list.  It’s only a matter of time.

Trends showed successful builders changing and adapting to the times and the newest generation of buyers.  Smaller is in.  Buyers are not concerned with keeping up with the Joneses any longer.  In these economic times, it’s all about value.  Green is in, especially with younger buyers.  Several communities even included ports in the garage to plug-in an electric car.  Formal areas are out!  No more formal living rooms or dining rooms.  They are considered wasted space.  Large open areas, suitable for entertaining at home and keeping the family together at home are the future.

This past week also had much positive economic news.  Consumer spending is up considerably, which should create more jobs.  Consumer confidence is up and the stock market had some major gains. Finally, the media has been reporting positive economic news.  The CBS Morning Show did a report on real estate, saying “Now is the time to buy.  Don’t wait”

That’s it for this edition.  Stay positive and take advantage of the moment.

Jeff

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A one year journey through Real Estate: Weeks 11-12

A one year journey through Real Estate: Weeks 11-12

I have discovered over the last month, that blogging weekly is not quite as easy to do as I thought.  Yes, I again missed last week’s blog.  So, I’m going to attempt bi-weekly blogs.  We’ll see how that goes  :-)

It seems like business has picked up a bit for most of the agents in our office.  But, it is clearly focused in the $100,000 to $200,000 range, with $150,000 being the sweet spot.  I believe this is mainly first time buyers wanting to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, before the April 30th deadline.  I’m sure the warmer weather has also brought buyers out.

Last evening, I attended the Greensboro Southern Ideal Home Show preview.  The attendees were mainly builders, real estate agents and show vendors.  I was able to speak to many custom builders and to one production builder.  The general consensus was basically the same.  Under $200,000 was selling, but not much else.  Several of the custom builders have begun doing remodeling as well, to fill in the gaps for now. 

Green building was one of the main agendas at the show.  From appliances, HVAC and recycled materials to Energy Star nad Green homes, all were represented.  This is certainly the wave of the future as so many buyers are focused on the environment, but I don’t believe “green” has reached it’s true potential.  Buyers are concerned with the bottom line and if “green” equates to a higher cost, they are not interested.

I attended a seminar on social media marketing at the show.  It was very informative and for me, satisfying to know I am already doing most of the social media marketing and doing it correctly.  Of course there’s always something new to learn.  I was surprised at the reluctance of many in the room to embrace the newer marketing methods.  It is clear that those who don’t embrace it will fall by the wayside.

Any sellers in the Greensboro area should be getting their homes ready to list very soon.  The trees and flowers will be in full bloom over the next couple of weeks, so take advantage of the curb appeal.  If you’re not sure what your home is worth, call me for a free comparative market analysis and staging ideas.

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A one year journey through real estate, Week 10

A one year journey through real estate, Week 10

Week 10 finds me at my computer very early on a rainy Friday morning.  I have a home inspection for one of my buyers, which I’m trying to coordinate.  It’s an older home, built in the mid seventies, bank owned and in obvious need of TLC.  My buyers are moving from upper New York state to get away from the snow, high taxes, heavy traffic and live in a quieter, peaceful, warmer environment.  It will be their retirement home.  So, we’re hoping the inspection does not turn up any major issues. 

I spent a great deal of time this past week on phone duty at our office.  Some of our agents prefer not to do phone duty and some of the more experienced agents really don’t need to do it.  They are quite busy these days.  I, on the other hand, being fairly new to general brokerage, need every opportunity possible for picking up new clients.  I did in fact pick up a referral from another Coldwell Banker agent located in another state.

One issue I am trying to deal with is, potential clients that contact me, I work with and then they just vanish.  I’m not sure if they are too busy to get back to me, or they have simply changed their minds about buying or selling.  I call and e-mail, with no response.  I don’t want to be a pest, but it would be nice to know what their status is.  I’d be interested in comments from other agents on how they handle these situations.

I sent out a second round of post cards earlier in the week, to my neighborhood.  I expanded the farmed area a bit and continued my theme of living in the neighborhood and being very knowledgable of the area.  While at my vets office this week, one of the techs approached me and said “Hey, I got a post card from you.  It’s on my fridge”.  That’s what I like to hear.

Overall, it seems like business is picking up slowly but surely.  I think the warm spring like weather we’ve had here recently has people ready to get off the fence.  Also. I believe the approaching deadline for the tax credits has many people finally taking action.

As always, I appreciate comments and suggestions from those in the business.

Jeff

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A one year journey through real estate, Week 9

A one year journey through real estate, Week 9

OK, so you’re saying “Week 9.  What happened to week 8?”  Yes, you’re correct.  I missed my week 8 blog. 

It was a crazy weekend or me, starting last Friday.  On a personal note, I have three dogs.  A Whippet and two rescued racing Greyhounds.  I love my dogs.  They are like kids to me and my wife.  But, my dogs are accidents waiting to happen.  Our vet, last week said she ought to be issuing us frequent visit points.

On Friday, our Whippet went out in the backyard for about ten minutes.  he came in limping.  We checked his foot for cuts or a splinter and found nothing.  As the day went on, it seemed to get worse, so we took him to our vet early Saturday morning.  He had torn his ACL.  he goes in for surgery Monday.

That was not enough excitement for the weekend.  Saturday afternoon, one of our Greyhounds, Chloe, started acting strange.  She was very lethargic, would not eat or respond to us. By Sunday morning, her lymph glands were very swollen.  So off to the emergency vet with her.  They did blood work and told us it was either sudden onset lymphoma or abcessed teeth.  Of course we were extremely worried.  She started on antibiotics that day.  On Monday she was seen by our regular vet, and samples were taken and sent to Raleigh for cancer tests.  The great news is she does not have cancer.  She will have to have teeth pulled this coming week.

I am less stressed now and able to concentrate on work.  It has actually been a fairly busy week in real estate.  I and others in my office have seen an increase in activity, from buyers and sellers.  Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a strong spring season.  I have picked up a couple of new buyers and a new seller.  Phone duty paid off with two new buyers and my web site was how I gained a seller.

I have been putting quite a bit of effort into social networking sites and posted my first video on YouTube.  It can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/coldwellbanker?feature=pyv&ad=4919220957&kw=coldwell%20banker%20on%20location.  I strongly believe that video is the next big thing in real estate marketing.  It can be used for self promotion, showing properties or instructional.  I think it will replace virtual tours on listings.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Greensboro/Guilford County area, please contact me.  If you are an agent in another part of North Carolina or the country, let’s help each other out with referrals.

Until next week,

Jeff

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A one year journey through real estate, Week 7

A one year journey through real estate, Week 7

It’s Friday again and I’ve just come from a closing.  A long overdue closing I might add.  It was originally scheduled for january 27 and postponed three times since.  Who’s to blame?  Well, Id say the mortgage lender.  The loan originally started out as FHA and was for a condo.  My buyers qualified with no issues.  So far, so good.

Two days before the original closing, the underwriter said the condo complex was not FHA approved.  This seemed odd to me, since it’s a fourteen year old complex, with many first time buyers.  Also, why was this discovered two days before closing and not sooner?  After many calls and much going back and fourth, I was told this was all due to new FHA regulations that went into effect january 1.  It would supposedly take “weeks” to rectify.  At this point my buyers decided to switch to a conventional loan.  This meant a new appraisal was needed and all of the paperwork changes with the lenders.  result, we missed another closing date earlier this week.

So, was there a lesson learned?  For me, it was to convince my buyers to use one of several trusted lenders I have worked with.  Also, try to explain why I think going with a mortgage broker is unwise.  For my buyers, I believe they learned not to use “family friends” for business and to listen to their real estate professional.

Earlier this week I started farming the neighborhood I live in.  I sent out 250 postcards, using a different approach than I have seen from others farming the same neighborhood.  This was the first of three mailings over a six week period.  I hope it will be effective, but only time will tell.

I have also been approaching builders, hoping to represent one.  Most builders in the area are facing some difficult financial times right now.  I hope to convince them that my extensive new construction background is just what they need to boost sales.

That’s my week in real estate.  As usual, I encourage comments.

Jeff

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A one year journey through real estate, Week 6

A one year journey through real estate, Week 6

Another fairly quiet week has gone by.  Once again, weather has wreaked havoc in many parts of North Carolina and the eastern states.  Greensboro was lucky in dodging more snow, but suffered the effects of high winds.  Many trees were down and as a result power lines were down as well.  A church steeple in town still hangs precariously off the roof of a local church.  At least the local school children did not miss any days this week.

There was some good real estate news this week.  Home prices rose last month and are expected to continue this trend.  This is a very positive sign of economic recovery and in particular, a healthier real estate market.  This should give confidence to those considering listing their homes.  The biggest concern I hear from potential sellers is the decreased value of their homes.

With this positive news and spring being just around the corner, prospective sellers should be getting their homes ready for the selling season.  It can be hard for some with snow still in their yards to think about spring, but here in North Carolina, the warmer weather could arrive at any time.  So, it’s time to get out in the yard and start cleaning up all the fallen branches and making sure the yard is spruced up as much as possible.  If needed, replace that old mail box and put some new house numbers up.  Give the front door a fresh coat of paint and plant some pansies next to the door.

While it’s still cold out, take the time to start sprucing up the interior.  Fresh paint makes any room shine.  Empty out all of the closets and get rid of anything you truly don’t need.  Wash the windows, dust off all thew cobwebs, rearrange the furniture to make the room more spacious and if the carpet has stains, get it steam cleaned.  There are so many ways to make your home look better and to appeal to buyers and most cost little to nothing.  By the time you’re ready to put your home on the market, it will be ready to show off.

I am happy to come to your home to give you staging ideas and tell you what is needed to make your home stand out.  So, think warm, sunny thoughts and give me a call.

Jeff

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