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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3 Real Estate Myths Debunked

June 13, 2010

Common REAL ESTATE MYTHS

MYTH #1 If I use a Realtor to help me find a home, I will have to pay more.
FALSE. As a buyer, a Realtor will save you time and money. Hiring a Realtor when you begin the process of searching for your new home is the best way to be sure you will get the most accurate information on the current market. Getting the most accurate information will help you avoid over paying for a home as well as saving you countless hours contemplating homes that are not even on the market anymore. Many websites are not up to date with the current inventory of homes, but your Realtor is!.
( for more information see my blog post.. With the Internet, why do I need a Realtor? )
And no where else can you get professional representation and not pay for it..That is right, the sellers of the property pay the commission to YOUR buyers agent.
I repeat, you get the benefit of a trained Real Estate Professional ,a Realtor, to help you search for homes, line up financing, tour properties, study market conditions, perform market research and THE SELLER PAYS FOR IT.!!


MYTH #2 If I list my house with a Realtor, I will not make as much as if I do it myself.
VERY FALSE. Many people want to sell their homes on their own and “save money”.  If saving money is your goal, cut back on your expenses and find a cheap hobby like bird watching. IF you want to make money, hire a Realtor to analyze, list and market your home.
Some people may have the time, money and knowledge ( and patience ) to list and sell their own home. But most do not. The typical scenario goes like this:
A homeowner wants to save the 6-7% commission he would pay a Realtor and do it himself.  Most homeowners are not objective about the real value of their home and naturally think its worth more than it really is. The market dictates the price point for the home, unfortunately, not the amount of  blood, sweat and tears the homeowner has into it. So they over price the home and it sits on the market as other properly priced homes sell around it. Then after months of interrupted dinners with people wanting to see the home, and tons of calls and questions about the home they get someone who says : I LOVE IT, I WANT IT ! Unfortunately, this person has no money and no credit…they are not pre -approved and could not buy the home at any price. All this is found out about 3 weeks after the homeowner stops running ads and has stopped trying to sell his house thinking it was sold….Back to square one and he has 5 months wasted..I could go on…HIRE A Realtor at the beginning, get it priced right, get the proper information,get it marketed right,  show the home only to qualified buyers and get it sold.


MYTH #3 Bank Foreclosures are the best way to get a property below market value.
FALSE AGAIN Many people assume that because its a bank foreclosure, it’s gotta be a steal. Not true. Bank foreclosures are sometimes very hard to get to settlement. Dealing with the bank and getting clear title can take more time than some buyers can afford. Additionally, just because the property was foreclosed on and is now up for sale, does not mean that is priced under market value. It could just as easily be priced over market value because the bank is owed way more than its worth. The person who determined the price may know nothing about the local market.
The best way to get the most accurate real estate information is to talk to a professional Realtor…..Most Realtors will be happy to answer your questions without any obligation.
Cal Williams
Realtor
Accredited Buyer Representative

http://www.CalWilliams.com

Home Improvements : Best Bang for your Buck is……….?

February 26, 2010

Welcome to 2010. The Vancouver Olympics are in full swing, the economy has shown signs of life and the average American still can’t get a loan to buy a home!

The factors contributing to our current economic  ‘situation’  have produced a climate where….LENDERS WONT LEND MONEY!

As we all know, the Real Estate Market is a huge part of our national economy. Until the credit crunch loosens and banks begin to lend money, the Real Estate Market will remain tight and it will remain a BUYERS MARKET. But,it’s a buyers market only in the sense that SELLERS are not getting the prices they were getting a few years ago and there are not enough qualified BUYERS to put upward pressure on home prices.

What can SELLER’S do to combat these evil forces? What can home sellers do to get the 20% appreciation they are entitled to? 

Well there are some things homeowners can do  to increase the value of their home and help them to get a fair price on their home when it is time to sell. Firstly, the days of 20% appreciation are gone, so we might as well get used to that now.  Despite the gloom and doom seen all over the news, there still are many qualified buyers searching for a home. Not all buyers are looking for distressed and bank owned properties.

With a few simple home improvements, sellers can as least know they are putting their best foot forward when getting their home on the market. ( I’ll just mention here that every homeowner owes it to themselves to consult with a Realtor before putting their property on the market…See my other blogs….and its financially prudent.)

What improvements bring the most value for resale? Typically, bathrooms and kitchens are the most secure in getting your investment back out when you sell. These items are also the most prominent for new homebuyers and can increase your sale price as well as set you apart from other homes. Finished basements are also popular but do not raise the market value of the home much.

But what about exterior improvements?

A December report released by The National Realtors Association shines the light on this very subject.

The article state “the smartest home improvement investments may also be some of the least expensive. Results from the 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report show that small-scale exterior projects are the most profitable at resale, according to estimates by Realtors® who completed a recent survey.”

Exterior Remodeling Proves Best Bang for Your Buck, Realtors® Report

In todays Real Estate market, Sellers need to keep on top of the trends and what buyers are looking for. The competition can be fierce, many sellers trying to attract fewer buyers….supply and demand..ecomonics 101..thanks Professor Bellinger…Dickinson College.

– 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


Real Estate Questions Answered- ” How do I buy a foreclosure property? “

December 13, 2009

Today, everyone wants a foreclosure. “Where can I get a list of foreclosures? ” , ” How do I go about buying a foreclosure?”, “Will I get a STEAL on a foreclosure?”

These are some of the most asked questions in today’s economy and real estate market.

There are a ton of websites that advertise lists of foreclosed homes. Most of them require a fee to view the details of the properties. Most of these sites have outdated information, bad information and are usually a rip off. All the same information is available through your local real estate agent….FOR FREE!

I have seen several sites that claim they have properties before they hit the market. Wow, sounds great to someone looking to get a good deal on a property. The truth of the matter is what they have is a list of properties that MAY go into foreclosure or may not. If they do go into foreclosure they will eventually end up on the market, listed with a local Real Estate Agent. DO NOT PAY for lists of these properties. Find yourself a good agent that has his/her finger on the pulse of the market, knows the area and is searching the market daily for new listings. Make friends with this agent. There is no need to throw your money away when every property that goes into foreclosure ends up listed, which your agent will know about immediately and get you in to see it and make an offer, if so desired.

The process of buying one of these foreclosed properties is another blog in itself. Needless to say you need a good Realtor®  AND a good real estate attorney on your team. Your Realtor® will know how to get all your paperwork prepared and then an attorney usually helps the Realtor® negotiate with whatever bank owns the foreclosure. Usually the bank has taken over the property and does not want to own property. A good Realtor and attorney can help the bank understand this and at least get the offer considered.

Whether or not you get a great deal is another matter. Despite what most people think, just because it’s a foreclosed property that does not mean it’s a steal, or that its being sold below market value. There are several reasons properties go to foreclosure. The most common one being the owners cannot keep up with the mortgage payments and the banks exercise their right to take back the property through a foreclosure action. It depends on the current market conditions, along with several other factors, whether or not you get a “steal”. A majority of the time the property will be sold for the market value. The banks are not giving properties away, but they can be shown what the market value is. Thats where your Realtor®  comes in. He/She can prove to the banks what similar properties are selling for, thus making it more likely that your offer will be accepted.

Do not expect to low ball an offer, with no supporting documentation to the bank and get properties for less than market value just because they are ‘foreclosed’.  If you are serious about buying property, foreclosed or not, go about it the proper way. Thats not to say you cannot get a great deal. You can. But it’s not easy, and it’s not the norm. There are many good deal out there that are not foreclosures. You just have to find them.

In order to cut through all the bull, get straight, honest answers, anyone interested in foreclosed properties needs to consult a Realtor® or real estate professional. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for an investment property or a primary residence, consult a Realtor®. It’s the smart thing to do.

Cal Williams

Straub and Associates Real Estate

Camp Hill, PA

www.CalWilliams.com


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


Why do I need a Realtor® or Real Estate agent if Im buying a home?

November 29, 2009

Everyone knows why a Realtor® or Real Estate salesperson, usually referred to as an agent, is vital to selling your home,  but most people do not understand the value of hiring a buyers agent. Additionally, most consumers do not realize there is a subtle but important difference between a Real Estate Salesperson and a Realtor®

What is the difference between a Realtor® and a Real Estate Salesperson?

While both Realtors® and Sales Agents are licensed in their state,  and are educated in real estate transactions and common real estate practices, the terms are not synonymous.

All Realtors® are Real Estate Agents, but all Real Estate Agents are not necessarily Realtors®. The difference is Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors® and are bound to a Code of Ethics.  The Realtor® Code of Ethics is enforceable and holds agents with the Realtor® designation next to their name, to a higher set of  ideals and professionalism than non Realtors®.

Why do I need a Realtor® or an agent to help me buy a home?

A very common scenario: The potential home buyer is driving through a neighborhood and sees a for sale sign out front and calls the number on the sign for information.  Consumers rarely realize that the name on the sign is representing the seller. They are representing the seller to the best of their ability, thats what good agents do. This means, they are using all our their skill and training to get the seller the best price with the least amount of problems and get the property sold. The listing agent is not going to do anything unethical when the potential buyer asks questions, BUT the agent is hired by the seller, has a duty to protect the sellers interests. The agent has no such obligation to a potential buyer.

Without getting into Dual Agency and other areas that are too complicated to explain now, let’s just say that the listing company, the listing agent ( names on the sign in the front yard ), are hired by the seller and have no obligation to any potential buyers, only to do what is in the best interest of their client, the seller.

Now this may not seem like such a big deal, but think about it.

 A potential buyer, who is not experienced in local market trends, who is not an expert in financing options, who does not know all the tests and inspections he is entitled to before buying a home, is not being represented in any negotiations and may not fully understand what he is doing. He is hurting his chances for getting the best possible price and the best possible conditions to ensure that he, the potential buyer, gets to the settlement table with the least amount of problems.  At this point there are so many potential problems I couldnt list them here.

The Solution:  The potential buyer should hire a Realtor® or Real Estate Agent to represent him as his Buyers Agent. 

 ALERT-FIND A GOOD ONE!

Ask friends who have had a good experience with an agent. Check out websites, testimonials, etc. Call some agents and ask them over the phone why you should hire them. Meet with a few and interview them if you have to.

The bottom line is any potential buyer needs to have a professional real estate agent acting as his/her buyers agent.

A buyers agent will earn his commission ( which is typically paid by the sellers side of the transaction ) by looking out for the buyers best interest. The advice, experience and training a good agent possesses  is priceless in negotiations, steering clients around potential pitfalls in a property,  and advising on financing issues along with many, many, other situations. A good buyers agent will actually find himself in a fiduciary relationship with the client.

Buyer agents have duties to their clients. Ask an agent what services and duties they will provide upon being hired.

Every house listed for sale has hired the list company and agent to represent them and  have the benefit of all that agents experience,training and professionalism to help get them the best possible price and terms.

Every potential buyer should hire a Realtor® or a Professional Real Estate Agent to represent them and benefit from that agents experience, training and professionalism to get the buyer the best price and terms on the property they want.

 

 


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