Archive for August, 2013Posted on: August 15th, 2013 No Comments
Whether you’re a seller with an eye to the future or a buyer in need of a little direction, it helps to know what’s popular in today’s homes. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most highly regarded home features:
- Energy efficiency – energy star rated appliances, energy efficient windows, highly rated insulation. Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.
- Home office – most buyers prefer to have a place dedicated to their laptops, printers, and work related items. Depending on the number of bedrooms, some will create a home office with built-in desks, shelving and cabinets.
- Open floor plan – the kitchen, family room and dining room share one space where family members can see and talk to one another.
- Kitchen island – more people are making the kitchen the focal point of their family and social lives. It also helps serve as the division between the kitchen and the living/dining space of an open floor plan.
- Walk-in pantry – warehouse club memberships are wildly popular, and buyers need a place to store all that stuff.
- Walk-in closets – consistently ranks first on most buyer studies.
- Outdoor living space – whether it’s something as expansive as a wraparound porch or as simple as a stone paver patio, most people studied prefer having a usable outdoor space.
Real estate data specialist RealtyTrac recently revealed that property prices across the country are up 5 percent year-over-year.
Meanwhile, home sales are up 8 percent.
And the news just keeps getting better for national home sellers!
More Information on Recent National Housing Market Activity
RealtyTrac recently released a report that offered some encouraging figures for interested home sellers:
- The national median sales price was $168,000 in June, up 3 percent from the month before.
- Existing home prices in the country have increased by 13.5 percent in the last 12 months.
- The median price of a distressed sale (or a property in foreclosure or bank owned) was $120,000, about 24 percent below the median price of a non-distressed home.
- Those markets that saw sales increase in June tended to be those states where there was a lingering distressed home inventory.
- Meanwhile, those markets that saw sales decrease tended to be those in which the majority of the distressed home inventory had already been absorbed.
- Cash-only home purchases accounted for 30 percent of all sales in June, down from 31 percent of all sales in May.
- Metropolitan areas with the highest percentages of cash sales were: Cape Coral-Fort Myers in Florida (70 percent), Miami (64 percent), Las Vegas (62 percent), Sarasota in Florida (59 percent) Tampa (58 percent) and Detroit (56 percent).
- Sale of bank-owned properties made up 9 percent of all residential sales in June, down from 10 percent in May 2013.
- Those top metro areas where bank-owned sales accounted for higher percentages of total sales were Detroit (24 percent), Modesto, California (24 percent), Stockton in California (24 percent), Las Vegas (22 percent) and Akron, Ohio (21 percent).
- Short sales accounted for 14 percent of all residential sales in June, up from 8 percent in June 2012. Although it was also down from 15 percent in May 2013. Those states with the highest percentage of short sales in June were Nevada (30 percent), Florida (29 percent), Maryland (21 percent), Tennessee (19 percent), and Arizona (19 percent).
- Those metro areas with annual increases in median prices of 20 percent or more were: Sacramento (35 percent), San Francisco (30 percent), Los Angeles (27 percent), Las Vegas (26 percent) and Phoenix (25 percent).
- Those states with the largest distressed sale discount were Ohio (58 percent), Michigan (48 percent), Illinois (47 percent), Massachusetts (46 percent) and Wisconsin (45 percent).
Keeping Our Eye on National Housing Market Trends
Just consider us your real estate market experts!
As more develops on the market, we’ll keep you posted on those trends and how they may affect home sellers.Posted on: August 10th, 2013 No Comments
The first food trucks in North American were the chuckwagons of early pioneers. Though the food was just good enough to sustain life, they set the stage for what was to come. Panko fried pork cutlets, wood fired pizzas, chicken ‘n waffles, fried caprese sandwiches can now be found all around Tallahassee in modern day chuckwagons.
Between 6 and 10pm every Thursday, the finest food trucks in all the city converge on 330 W. Tharpe Street for what has become known as Food Truck Thursday. Locals delight at the fare being prepared by Street Chefs, MoBi, Fired Up Pizzas, Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery, Big Easy Snowballs, Cravings Truck and more!
Bring your favorite folding chair, a blanket, “beverages” and some good friends. More information and parking recommendations can be found at the Food Truck Thursday Facebook page.
Posted on: August 8th, 2013 No Comments
St. Marks Trail is a 20.5 mile paved trail used primarily for biking, walking, running and rollerblading. It runs between downtown Tallahassee and the community of St. Marks. To enjoy the most scenic part of the trail, there’s a parking lot near Capital Circle on Woodville Highway with water fountains, bathrooms and a picnic area. From there, you can run or bike south on the trail for nearly 15 miles in a more wooded, rural setting.
St. Marks Trail sees quite a bit of activity. It’s common that the parking lot on Woodville Highway will be full on cool, sunny days. The Tallahasse Marathon runs along the trail almost exclusively, starting downtown and running just south of Woodville before coming back (“out and back” course). If you’re a runner and in Tallahassee on Christmas Eve, you can’t miss the Run To Posey’s. People start at various points along the trail, with the finish line being the Riverside Cafe on St. Marks (Posey’s was the restaurant finish line when the run started over 30 years ago and the name stuck).Posted on: August 8th, 2013 No Comments
One of the most powerful tools for both selling and buying homes is your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database of residential properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, vacant lots, and rentals in your area. It’s maintained by Realtors, with a wealth of information about properties that are for sale and years worth of information regarding past sales. If you’ve worked with a Realtor to buy or sell a home, then there’s a very good chance that home was in the MLS.
There are numerous websites that consolidate listings from the thousands of MLS databases across the country into a form that internet users can search themselves. Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo! Homes, Homes.com, and LoopNet (commercial listings) are just a few online property search websites that are available to users for free. These websites can also be setup to email you whenever new listings that meet your criteria come up for sale.
There are several shortcomings of the online real estate websites. For one, the information is not always up to date. Several of the websites don’t recognize the sales status between “Active” and “Sold” (i.e. contingent, pending). In those cases, a home will show as available but only later do you find that it’s actually under contract. Another problem is the lack of search criteria. If you want to find a home in a certain school zone or one with a 2 car garage, there may not be a search field for you.Posted on: August 6th, 2013 No Comments
When a real estate market gets hot, it’s common for a seller to receive multiple bids on their home. If this happens, the sellers’ agent will let the buyers’ agents know that they are in a competitive situation. The agent will request all buyers bring their highest and best offer. For the seller, a competitive situation will likely allow them to garner the highest possible price for the home, accelerate negotiations, and get them favorable contractual terms.
Though this isn’t necessarily a good thing from a buyer’s perspective, it isn’t a bad one either. Buyers need to be aware that the best offer isn’t always the one that is the highest price. Price figures most prominently with sellers, but contingencies, financing terms, time frames, and other contract conditions are also taken into account. For example, a buyer without any contingencies would certainly be more attractive than one that must sell their own home first. A cash transaction will be placed ahead of a similarly priced offer that requires financing. A $5000 binder looks better than a $500 binder.
Competitive situations can result in offers that exceed the list price. Buyers in this situation aren’t going to necessarily be overpaying. It’s also possible that none of the offers comes anywhere near the list price. An appraisal will tell the buyer if they’re overpaying or not. Most contracts will allow them to exit the transaction with their binder if the appraisal is low and they can’t negotiate a better price with the seller. It’s said that a buyer can’t overpay for a home unless they choose to.Posted on: August 6th, 2013 No Comments
Does your homeowners insurance policy cover flood damage? The answer is most likely “no”. The vast majority of flood insurance is written separately through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and writes or renews flood insurance for 5.6 million property owners nationwide. It’s important to know that a lender will require a home in a flood zone have flood insurance before it will write a loan.
Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property:
• The insured building and its foundation
• Electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances, such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors
• Clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
• Portable and window air conditioners
• Portable microwaves and dishwashers
• Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
• Clothing washers and dryers
It’s also important to know that, unless you’re getting flood insurance the day of a home closing, there’s a 30 day waiting period for the coverage to start. This is to prevent a stampede of homeowners from applying for insurance when severe weather (i.e. hurricane) threatens an area.