3 Common Real Estate MYTHS for 2013

February 11, 2013

  AS we move into 2013,  the question on everyone’s mind is : What’s going on with the real estate market? . Right?  That’s because we all know that EVERYONE is interested in real estate, home values, interest rates and Realtors®.  After all, we Realtors® are the most important people on the face of the earth…which is why we put our picture on everything!  But I digress..

Myth #1 :  Now is NOT the time to list and sell my house..its too much of a buyers market.

…While it might be true that the general feeling is that it’s a buyers market, in recent months statistics have shown that the inventory of homes listed for sale is starting to drop. The numbers are starting to show a shift in several key categories important to clients looking to sell their homes.

Compared to the 4th Quarter of 2011, the 4th Quarter of 2012 saw a decrease in the number of homes for sale. A 12.3% decrease to be exact.  **

Add to that the fact that the number of homes sold in the same time period  increased by 21.2%**

**Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (click for full report)

What does this mean? :  Inventories are starting to drop, and demand is starting to rise. And as we all know from ECON 1o1 , Falling supply with rising demand = $$.

With these numbers and the current interest rates, NOW is a great time to put your home on the market. A properly priced home, with the proper marketing  WILL SELL.  Additionally, if you are buying another home after you sell yours, you can take advantage of MYTH #2.

Myth #2    Interest Rates will always be this low, no need to buy now. 

In 2013 interest rates will go up. That’s just  my prediction. There are a lot of signs that interest rates will begin to rise. Mortgage professionals i talk to are saying they agree. Rates will still be low, but they might begin to tick up.2013 rates.

The reasons for this are many. The FEDs monetary policy should be kept a close eye on. Treasury Notes are of major importance. The following excerpt from ABOUT.com explains the relationship between T-notes and Mortgage interest rates.

“Treasury notes directly affect the interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages. How? When Treasury yields are higher, so are interest rates. That’s because investors who want a fixed return on their money will either shop for Treasury notes, CDs, money market funds, mortgages or corporate bonds. Treasury notes are considered ultra-safe since they are guaranteed by the U.S. government. CDs and money market funds are slightly less safe, since they aren’t guaranteed. However, that safety comes with a price – a lower return.

Investors who want a slightly higher return, and are willing to accept more risk, will buy mortgages. Instead of buying the mortgages directly, they usually purchase products backed by mortgages, called (you guessed it) mortgage-backed securities. When Treasury yields rise, mortgages also have to provide higher returns to attract investors. The result to the borrower? Higher interest rates. ”  ( see full article )

With rates still around 3.5% -4%, buyers should be thrilled and beating the streets to buy properties now. I have seen a fair number of people putting it off for one reason or another. What they should be doing is buying now rather than later.

Myth #3     I don’t need a Realtor®

You always should consult and hire a professional real estate agent. Certain things in life you should always hire a professional to handle:  you wouldn’t try to diagnose your own chest pains and you wouldn’t try to install your own in-ground swimming pool. It just makes sense, when  there is the potential to make or lose a lot of money or die, to hire a professional.  Realtors® are trained and experienced in the nuances of the real estate transaction .  We are trained to negotiate the best possible terms for our clients and we follow a strict Code of Ethics.  (see my blog post on Realtors for some great info.)

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How to Buy a Home in 5 Easy Steps

March 19, 2010

5 Simple Steps to Buying a Home – It’s not rocket science , but you could end up taking  one giant leap  if you don’t read this blog!  ..especially first time homebuyers.

Step 1:  Find a Realtor to represent you. So many consumers spend hours and hours searching the internet for properties and driving around neighborhoods wasting time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..’A good Realtor is worth his weight in gold’. Spend your time searching the internet for a Realtor, find one and call him for a consultation. You can still search for homes yourself, but your Realtor can save you countless hours searching the wrong sites and looking at properties that are already sold. 

Your Realtor will have access to an MLS service ( Multiple Listing Service) in the area you are interested in. Most websites on the internet that allow users to search for homes have outdated properties. Homes are sold and it takes time for the information to be distributed to the internet sites. In contrast, the MLS has the information immediately. The catch is only Realtors have access to the MLS.

So find a Realtor, call him or her, meet with him or her, and hire him or her. The beauty of the whole thing is your Realtor, who works for you, is only compensated when he finds you the home you want….And the compensation comes from the Sellers of the house you buy!!!  Not the Buyer!.

For information on how to find a good Realtor and what a good Realtor should do for you, see my blog post : Why Do I need A Realtor® or Real Estate Agent at all?

Step 2: Find your DREAM HOME. After you hired your agent, search the market. Your agent will provide you with time-saving tips, links to search for homes and information that will help you save time and money. By listening to your needs, a good Real Estate agent will be able to set up filters and perform accurate property searches for you. Compile a list of your 5 top homes and have your agent set up tours of your 5 favorites. When you find the home that fits your needs its time to really put your agent to work!

STEP 3: Make an offer. This is where a good agent will earn his commission and then some. Putting together an offer involves a lot of paperwork along with a fair amount of skill. Many factors need to be considered and disclosures need to be  made by both parties. Your agent will help you navigate these waters. Put your offer together with the help of your agent, taking into consideration the temperature of the current market. Once your get your property under contract….Step 4 , here we come!

Step 4: Secure Financing. Actually, if your agent knows what he is doing, you will already be pre-qualified at this point. Now its time to lock in a rate, and get your loan approved. Again, this is not difficult but you should have the advice of a Realtor. You will need some advice by someone who knows how to look at a lenders GFE(Good Faith Estimate). The GFE is where all your fees and expenses to get you in that home should be disclosed. There are rules about what a lender can and cannot change once he gives you a GFE. Your agent can help you decipher the GFE and make sure you are getting a good deal on financing.

 Step 5: Settlement on your new home.  After you have secured financing and crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s, its time to go to settlement. At settlement you will again cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s. Signing all the paperwork at a real estate settlement can be very stressful and intimidating… if you don’t have someone on your side to answer questions……..YOUR REALTOR!. You should understand everything you sign at settlement, and the settlement attorney is not representing you, so you may or may not get detailed explanations. 90% of the time settlements go smoothly, if not its in your best interest to have your Realtor there.

So that’s it!, 5 simple steps. Of course there are many small items that need addressed throughout the entire process, and thats why you want to find a good Realtor, and hire him to be your buyer representative.

-Cal Williams

www.CalWilliams.com 

 


Mechanicsburg Realtor completes Technololgy Real Estate Training

January 4, 2010

 

For Immediate Release 

 Jan 2, 2010 As more and more consumers begin their search for real estate-related information on the Internet, it is critical that real estate professionals stay on top of the latest technology for the benefit of consumers and real estate practitioners alike. The e-PROÒ Technology Certification Program fills that need.

Realizing the importance of technology training, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) created a comprehensive Technology Certification course in 2000. And now that course, e-PROÒ, has been completely updated to include information on Social Media and Web 2.0 aspects that is, and will continue, to change the real estate business.

“The real estate industry has undergone a fundamental change over the past five years,” Calvin W Williams said. “Today, more than 85% of all buyers and sellers begin their search online. As an e-PROÒ certified agent, I have knowledge and tools needed to provide my clients with the information they need and the customer service they demand. It’s both hi-tech and hi-touch.”

The all new e-PROÒ certification course — the only technology certification program offered by NAR — is designed to prepare real estate professionals to make the most of Internet technology and to identify, evaluate, and implement new Internet business models. The elite group of course graduates represents only four percent of all REALTORSÒ in the country including Cal Williams of Straub and Associates Real EstateGroup.

The PROÒ certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and interactive. It is specifically designed to provide real estate professionals with the technology tools needed to assist consumers in the purchase or sale of a home.

The exclusive e-PROÒ certification course is presented entirely online and certifies real estate agents and brokers as Internet professionals. The course is designed to help REALTORSÒ stay at the leading edge of technology and identify, evaluate and implement new Internet business models.

Once completed, the e-PRO certified real estate professional joins the ranks of a special community of highly skilled and continuously trained professionals who provide high quality and innovative online-based real estate services.  Consumers can identify the e-PRO through the exclusive e-PRO  Internet Professional logo.

Both the content and the delivery platform were created by the San Diego-based technology company InternetCrusade®. Graduates use the skills they’ve acquired to provide clients information on properties for sale, local communities, and the local real estate market.

For more information, e-mail Cal Williams at cwilliams@homefindergroup.net or call 717-612-9901


November Homesale Numbers reported

December 29, 2009

Statistics recently released from the NAR  show existing homesales numbers up again. The article below is reprinted from www.cnnmoney.com.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — After surging 10% in October, sales of existing homes jumped again in November, growing 7.4% compared with October to an annualized rate of 6.54 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“This clearly is a rush of first-time buyers not wanting to miss out on the tax credit,” said NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun

November was originally going to be the last month in which sales to first-time homebuyers would qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $8,000. However, that deadline was extended through June.

In addition, the tax credit was expanded to cover people who already own a home. They can qualify for a $6,500 tax credit if purchase a new house before the end of June. That should encourage “trade-up” buyers.

The strength of sales in November surprised the industry. A panel of experts compiled by Briefing.com had forecast month-over-month sales growth of just 2.5% to 6.25 million from 6.1 million a month earlier.

The sales total was also a huge improvement over a year ago. Sales rose 45.7% over the paltry annualized rate of 4.49 million units during November 2008.

The contribution made by first-time buyers is evident in a separate survey NAR conducted of its members. They estimate that 51% of sales in November were by newcomers to the market, up a point from 50% in October. Normally, first timers account for about 40% of sales.

Also propelling sales higher were rock-bottom interest rates. The average for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan during the month was just 4.88%, down from 4.95% in October and 6.09% a year ago.

With rates that much lower, homebuyers can save more than $150 a month on a $200,000 mortgage.

The industry expects home sales to slacken December, partially because of the tax credit’s originally scheduled demise. That caused some buyers to push up their closing, stealing sales from December.

However, sales will not fall off a cliff, though, according to Walter Molony, a NAR spokesman. “The psychology seems to be turning around,” he said. “Potential buyers, who had been staying on the fence, now believe we’re at or near the market bottom.”

One X-factor, however, is the vast numbers of homes that may come to market over the next few months. There is a large “shadow inventory” — homes owned by banks and mortgage companies — that have not yet been put up for sale. It could be as many as 1.7 million units, according to First American CoreLogic.

In addition, another spate of foreclosures could be hitting the market as a number of option-ARM mortgages are set to default.

All that may drive prices down, according to Shari Olefson, author of “Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream.” And the impact of these renewed price declines could again alter the market psychology.

“People think that prices have bottomed,” she said. “I don’t think they have. People will see price declines and that will discourage them from buying.”

Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Weiss Research has preached all through the bust that price declines are what will “fix” the housing crisis.

“We needed to see prices fall to make ownership competitive with renting again, and to restore the normal relationship of house prices to income,” he said. “That has now happened and you’re seeing buyers come out of the woodwork as a result.”

Still, they will have to come out in large numbers to offset the inventory overhang in some of the worst markets, according to Olefson. In the Florida condo market, for example, there is a 35-to-40 month supply of units at the current rates of sale, she said.

Prices still almost certainly have further to fall. To top of page


With the Internet , Why Do I need A Realtor® or Real Estate Agent at all?

December 7, 2009

In this day and age of information overload and the internet, the need for a good Realtor® or real estate agent can be diminished in many people’s minds.  With so much available on the internet, some people may think they do not need a Realtor®. The average person now has access to almost every listing in their market, thanks to sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. Furthermore, the amount of information available on these sites is remarkable and can make the services of Realtor seem unnecessary. That is very short-sighted thinking and can cause a person much financial hardship and stress.

It is true that most people are using the internet to do their own research on properties for sale, on the buying side. They may even be using the internet to help them figure out what their home is worth, on the selling side but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a real estate transaction.

Like a good attorney, doctor or financial advisor, a good Realtor® can be worth his or her weight in gold.  Realtors® do not get the credit they deserve and should be included when discussing necessary professional services. One reason for this is the qualifications for attaining Realtor status are not nearly as stringent as other professionals. Unfortunately this can lead some people astray. I believe this whole perception is changing and a good Realtor® will earn his commission several times over.

Whether you are have purchased several homes or its your first, obtain the services of a Realtor®. The services provided by a trained professional will save you money in the long run. Despite what you may think you have learned from the internet or late night television, a real estate professional is still invaluable to the transaction. Here is just a small list of the services needed in a typical transaction:

  • Needs analysis, focusing to save time and money
  • Financing- Most Realtors are trained in the details of financing or at least have the proper resources to consult
  • Market information not available oon the internet- taxes, schools, etc.
  • Up to the minute sales numbers and market availability- even with todays technology many of the websites have outdated and inaccurate information.
  • Negotiation-where money can be lost or made

This list could go on and on. Let’s not forget the mountain of paperwork that needs to be properly reviewed and processed to get you to the settlement table. Getting to the settlement table is what it really is all about. If you are serious about buying or selling your home, then your ultimate goal is to get to the settlement table. And the smartest wasy to get to the settlement table is by obtaining the services of a professional Realtor®.

Even in a buyers market, such as most markets are today, a Realtor® should be hired. Yes, hired. The consumer hires the Realtor®. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, hire a good one, because they can save you a lot of time, money and headaches. One of the most unknown facts in this whole business is that the buyers do not pay for having a real estate professional represesnt them and use all their knowledge and training to get  them the best deal possible! The Realtors commission is paid by the sellers in most transactions!!

Look at it this way. The savvy buyer will do a lot of research on  the internet. Both on properties and on which Realtor to hire. Then he or she will hire a professional Realtor, take full advantage of all the agents training,experience and knowledge. They will find a property, make an offer, get all the paperwork properly processed. Have their inspections, close the deal and go to the settlement table. The buyer will have had no headaches, got a good deal, most importantly got the property he wanted, on the terms he wanted and then the SELLER PAYS THE REALTOR!!

Cal Williams, Realtor®, ABR

www.CalWilliams.com

717-919-1614


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