Columbus #12! — 20 Markets With Strongest Kickoff to 2017

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The time it has taken for homes to sell nationwide in January has decreased at a rate of 4 percent compared to a year ago, despite record-high housing prices, according to realtor.com®’s latest housing report.

“We saw evidence of a stronger-than-normal off season starting last September and October due to pent-up demand and surging interest from first-time buyers,” says realtor.com® chief economist Jonathan Smoke. “The downside to this strong off season is that we have started 2017 with a new low volume of available homes for sale and a new high for prices.”

Listing inventories are down 11 percent in January compared to a year ago. Also, the median list price for the month is an estimated $250,000 — 10 percent higher than January 2015, realtor.com® notes. Nevertheless, “the threat of rates approaching multiyear highs in the months ahead is creating a sense of urgency [among buyers],” Smoke says.

The following are the top-performing markets this month:

  1. San Francisco
  2. San Jose, Calif.
  3. Vallejo, Calif.
  4. Dallas
  5. San Diego
  6. Sacramento, Calif.
  7. Yuba City, Calif.
  8. Denver
  9. Stockton, Calif.
  10. Fresno, Calif.
  11. Oxnard, Calif.
  12. Columbus, Ohio
  13. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  14. Nashville, Tenn.
  15. Detroit
  16. Modesto, Calif.
  17. Los Angeles
  18. Tampa, Fla.
  19. Santa Rosa, Calif.
  20. Fort Wayne, Ind.

Source: “The 20 Hottest Markets for U.S. Real Estate in January 2017,” realtor.com® (Jan. 26, 2017)

 

3 reasons why winter is a smart time to buy a home

BPT) – Don’t give up on buying a home as winter nears. In fact, December through February may be better for buyers than the busy season in spring and summer.

Enjoy less competition and lower prices.

Fewer properties are typically available during the winter, as sellers and buyers aim to complete transactions before the school year begins. You can turn that to your advantage.

“In winter, there are fewer properties, but it’s less competitive, with fewer buyers per property,” says Greg Jaeger, president of USAA Residential Real Estate Services Inc., and former real estate agent.

The more favorable supply-demand balance can lower prices. In the winter, “negotiations are slower-paced and there is more negotiating room,” Jaeger says. Also, winter sellers may be more motivated, especially if they’re forced to sell by divorce or by corporate or military transfers.

In January and February, homes cost 8.45 percent less on average than in June through August, according to NerdWallet research conducted using Realtor.com data from 2014 and 2015. That’s in line with what Jaeger sees, particularly in competitive real estate markets where supply is limited.

Lower prices help at closing – and over the life of your mortgage.

A lower price eases your home purchase in many ways, Jaeger says. It lowers your down payment, any closing costs that are calculated as a percentage of the home’s sale price and your mortgage payments. There’s also less of a seller’s agent commission bundled into the sales price. These savings help when you buy, and they add up over the life of your mortgage.

The right agent can help.

When supply is limited, the right agent can help you get a jump on other buyers. Agents who are well connected learn about properties before they are listed.

The right agent understands the market where you are buying. That includes doing competitive market analysis so you understand what the house is worth.

Look for an agent who suits your style. For example, if you’re a statistics geek, you need an agent who’ll provide them. “Just having access to statistics doesn’t mean they have analytical skills and will use them,” Jaeger says. He recommends USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network as a source for seasoned agents who deliver great service to USAA members.

Many resources are available to help consumers find the right agent, including USAA Real Estate Rewards Network, a free program that gives members access to USAA’s network of real estate agents and rewards when they buy or sell.

New neutrals dominate the color trends of 2017

Home decor: The hottest colors of 2017

(BPT) – From furniture to walls, new homes to remodels, cool grays have dominated home design palettes for the last five years. Look to 2017 to gently shake things up with a focus on fresh neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create versatile color with timeless appeal.

One of the most notable trends of the year is the transition of neutrals from monochrome gray to warmer hues, including complex taupe, beige, khaki and brown colors. These warmer tones create an inviting feeling, and while grays will continue to be popular, look for hybrid hues that blend the best of gray with warmer undertones for colors that are unique, yet familiar.

The perfect example of this trend is Poised Taupe (SW 6039), the Sherwin-Williams 2017 Color of the Year. Earthen brown combines with conservative gray resulting in a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that fits well in virtually any room.

“Poised Taupe celebrates everything people love about cool gray as a neutral, and also brings in the warmth of brown, taking a color to an entirely new level,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “Not cool or warm, nor gray or brown, Poised Taupe brings a sense of coziness and harmony that people are seeking.”

If you’re looking to refresh your space with this new color trend, there are countless opportunities. Here are four stunning home decor themes using this up-and-coming color:

Cornflower hues

With its cool-yet-warm vibe, Poised Taupe is an ideal complement to cornflower hues. For example, when paired with the faded indigo of Stardew (SW 9138), it creates a charming palette ideal for French countryside aesthetics. This fun twist on a classic is sure to produce timeless results in the kitchen or living spaces.

Organic re-imagined

Create an updated nature-inspired palette in your home with citrus green, weathered bronze, mustard yellow and light, cool-toned blue paired with earthy neutrals like Poised Taupe. This contemporary organic look is perfectly re-imagined for the modern world with just the right amount of visual appeal.

Wine and taupe

Saturated color pairings that evoke deep moods are gaining popularity. Taking cues from baroque and romanticism designs, the Sherwin-Williams Noir palette is rich with colors that are reminiscent of vine-ripe fruits, dramatic wine colors and deep blues. Balance this mysterious palette with a neutral like Poised Taupe and you’ll have a look that is unexpected and gorgeous.

Yellow pop

Gray tones always provide a clean, modern base, but contrasting these hues with vivid colors allows you to transform any room into a contemporary paradise. Try using the deep teal of Marea Baja (SW 9185) and sunny hued Bee (SW 6683) alongside Poised Taupe to create a graphic look perfect for the office or kids rooms.

Ready to make this the year you update your house with fresh designs and stunning colors? To learn more about top trends for 2017, visit www.sherwin-williams.com.

Builders Predict Big Expansion in Construction

Construction of single-family homes is expected to gradually rise this year, as a growing economy, solid employment gains, and rising household formation buoys builders’ forecasts.

Last year, the National Association of Home Builders projected 1.16 million total housing starts in 2016, which was up nearly 5 percent from the previous year. Now NAHB is forecasting a 10 percent increase in single-family production for 2017 and a 12 percent rise for 2018.

Still, there will be pressing challenges as builders look to increase their supplies this year. “While positive developments on the demand side will support solid growth in the single-family housing sector in 2017, builders in many markets continue to face supply-side constraints led by the three Ls — lots, labor and lending,” says NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. Sixty-four percent of builders reported “low” or “very low” lot supplies. “The industry needs to recruit more workers and get more land in the pipeline, but it will take time.”

Builders are particularly facing challenges building $200,000-range entry-level homes. Regulatory requirements comprise nearly 25 percent of the cost of a new home, which has made construction on lower-cost homes more difficult, Dietz says. Nevertheless, townhome construction, which tends to appeal to younger buyers, is already showing significant growth, comprising 12 percent of all single-family starts, Dietz says. “As millennials age, that is a big potential base to expand the home buyer market,” adds Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s chief economist.

While higher mortgage rates may soften demand this year, builders remain upbeat. NAHB forecasts mortgage interest rates to average 4.5 percent in 2017 and then 5.3 percent in 2018. “Higher mortgage rates will be offset by stronger wage gains and job growth, which suggests that housing demand will increase this year,” says David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. “The question is: How much will supply go up?”

Many metro areas nationwide are seeing solid job growth, dropping mortgage delinquency rates, and strong housing price gains, Berson notes. He says demand has been exceeding supply and likely will continue to do so in 2017. That could put more pressure on home prices, however. “If there aren’t enough homes on the market, that will be a problem,” Berson syas. “Price gains need to moderate. We can’t have 6, 7, or 8 percent gains. That is not sustainable.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Which Is Cheaper: To Buy or Build New?

MP900202134[1]On the surface, buying an existing home seems like the most affordable route to go. After all, the median cost of an existing single-family home is $223,000. On the other hand, the average cost for building new construction averages $289,415.

Obviously, there is quite a bit of variations in sorting out those costs. Plus, the price you pay upfront is only part of the equation when deciding to buy an existing home or build a new one.

A recent article at realtor.com® laid out some of the pros and cons financially of buying a new versus an existing home. Make some of these considerations when weighing the best financial decision:

Square footage: New-homes tend to be more spacious than existing ones at a median size of 2,467 square feet. As such, when you take the average cost of a new build, it breaks down nationally to about $103 per square foot, which is actually lower than the cost of existing homes.

Finishes: With an existing home you inherit all the features and finishes, even if you don’t want them. That may mean you need to budget in some renovations if you’d like to redo anything. With a new home, you’ll be able to choose all the features and finishes yourself and have it set in the price from the get-go. 

Maintenance: Older homes tend to require more maintenance. The cost of upkeep can be pricey too, depending on what needs to be done. For example, the average furnace tends to last about 20 years. When it needs replacement, expect to pay about $4,000. Not to mention, that shingled roof will likely need replacement after about 25 years at a cost of at least $5,000. On the other hand, newer homes tend to need less maintenance because all of the major appliances are brand new and under warranty.

Energy efficiency: Older homes tend to have dated windows and appliances, which can result in less energy efficiency and pricier energy bills. New construction tends to nearly always trump older homes in energy efficiency, according to Kyle Alfriend with the Alfriend Real Group RE/MAX in Ohio. Indeed, homes built post-2000 consume 21 percent less energy for heating than older homes.

Landscaping: Older homes tend to have mature landscaping already in place. And that landscaping can up a person’s property value by thousands. Further, those trees can save an estimated 56 percent on your annual air conditioning bill, according to the U.S. Forest Service. With newer homes, you’ll have to likely pay thousands to install landscaping and may have to wait years to get it to the point you desire.

Appreciation: With an older home, you can see the trajectory of prices based on previous sales prices and of comps nearby. New homes can be a gamble since they do not come with a proven track record of plentiful comps that have been tested over time.

Source: “Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a House? Compare the Pros and Cons,” realtor.com® (Jan. 5, 2017)

Tech tools that can help you find a mortgage and home faster

23482146(BPT) – Whether you’re a first-time or experienced homebuyer, chances are a good portion of your real estate journey will take place online. In fact, four in 10 homebuyers start their house-hunting with an online search, according to the National Association of REALTORS. It’s easy to understand why: Online tools and apps can make the homebuying experience — including finding a mortgage — easier and more enjoyable.

If you’ll be shopping for a home this fall and winter, use the tools homebuyers find most useful, according to the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report:

* Mortgage calculators — It’s important you’re as comfortable with your mortgage terms and lender as you are with the home you’re paying for. An affordable mortgage helps homebuyers reap the full benefits of home ownership, including building equity and long-term financial security, and a mortgage calculator can help you understand what you would pay each month, as well as estimate monthly mortgage payments and rate options. As the Homebuyer Insights Report revealed, more than half of Generation X homebuyers and 46 percent of millennials and baby boomers use mortgage calculators during the home shopping process.

* Finance websites — Home shoppers can learn a lot about mortgage options and a bank’s customer service through websites that feature reviews of mortgage loan officers and lending institutions. More than a third (36 percent) of first-time homebuyers and over a quarter (28 percent) of experienced homebuyers use bank apps or websites to research reviews of lenders and loan officers.

* Loan status portals — Applying for a mortgage can sometimes be overwhelming, but real-time loan status information is transforming the process. For example, Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator allows mortgage applicants to securely upload, submit and sign documents, get real-time status updates on their application and loan, receive important documents and disclosures and even communicate with experts via secure messaging.

* Mobile real estate listings — With many home listing websites available, it can be difficult to narrow down online searches to homes that meet all your criteria in your location of choice. Using a bank’s online real estate center can help you refine your home search or, if you’re selling, it can help you determine your home’s estimated value. And some even provide the ancillary information you’re looking for – like school data and walkability scores — to make a home purchase decision.

* Down payment sources — Saving for a down payment can be one of the most challenging tasks of buying a house. It’s sometimes difficult to know how much you’ll need for your down payment, or to figure out how to fit the extra savings category into your monthly budget. You can find numerous down payment calculators online, but Bank of America’s Down Payment Resource Center goes a big step further than most by offering a searchable database of more than 1,000 local and national assistance programs that may be able to save you money on your down payment.

* Social media — Decorating your home is one of the most enjoyable aspects of home ownership. Many buyers turn to social media resources like Pinterest for home decor inspiration. In fact, 49 percent of millennials use Pinterest, 37 percent Facebook and 33 percent Instagram for home decorating ideas, while 32 percent of Gen Xers use Pinterest, 37 percent like Facebook and 11 percent favor Instagram, according to the Homebuyer Insights Report.

* Home design apps — With inspiration in hand, homebuyers can use home design apps to put their ideas into virtual reality. These apps allow you to take and store room measurements, make notes on design ideas and see virtual representations of what your decor plans will look like in your home. From white walls to fully-furnished, many design apps can help you visualize your dream interior for free, and more robust versions are available for purchase.

To learn more about home buying and mortgages, visit Bank of America — Home Loans.

An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment

(BPT) – For ma30200199ny Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down payment mortgages account for a significant amount of home buying annually.
Families with down payments as low as 3 or 5 percent have been able to purchase a home thanks to private mortgage insurance (MI) for 60 years. Since 1957, MI has helped 25 million families become homeowners. In the past year alone, MI helped more than 795,000 homeowners purchase or refinance a mortgage. Nearly half were first time homebuyers and more than 40 percent had incomes below $75,000.

How MI works

Mortgage insurance is simple. In addition to the other parts of mortgage underwriting process — such as verifying employment and determining the borrower’s ability to afford the monthly payment — lenders traditionally required 20 percent down to ensure the borrower had some of their own money committed before the bank would provide a loan. This is where MI enters, bridging the down payment divide to qualify borrowers for mortgage financing.

Benefits of MI

* It helps you buy a home, sooner. For the average firefighter or school teacher, it could take 20 years to save the typical down payment. Private mortgage insurers help borrowers qualify with as little as 3 percent down.

* It’s temporary, leading to lower monthly payments. MI can be cancelled once you build 20 percent equity, either through payments or home price appreciation — typically in the first five to seven years. This is not the case for FHA loans, the federal government’s form of MI. The majority of which require MI for the life of the loan.

* It provides several flexible payment options. Your lender can offer several options for MI payment; the most common is paid monthly along with your mortgage.

* It’s tax-deductible. Subject to income limits, MI premiums are tax deductible — similar to interest paid on a mortgage. In 2014, 4 million taxpayers benefited from this deduction with the average being $1,402.

MI is a stable, cost effective way to obtain low down payment mortgages, and offers distinct benefits to borrowers. It’s been a cornerstone of the U.S. housing market for decades, providing millions the opportunity to own homes despite financial barriers. Ask your lender for low down payment options using MI. Visit www.USMI.org for more information.

Are You Thinking About Buying a Home?

fall-buying-guideThe process of buying a home can be overwhelming at times, but you don’t need to go through it alone.

You may be wondering if now is a good time to buy a home…or if interest rates are projected to rise or fall. The free eGuide below will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you didn’t even know you should consider when buying a home.

Check it out, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

http://www.teresabutler.com/BuyingaHomeFall2016.pdf

Are You Thinking About Selling Your House Soon?

fall-seller-guide-jpgIt’s difficult to know when is the best time to sell, or how to get the most money for your house, but you don’t need to go through the process alone.

You may be wondering if prices are projected to rise or fall…or if you should rent your house instead of selling it. The free eGuide below will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you haven’t even thought about yet.

Check it out, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

http://www.teresabutler.com/SellingYourHouseFall2016.pdf

Fast fixes to boost curb appeal for a quick home sale

(BPT) – It takes just seven seconds to form a first impression after meeting someone new. The same psychology applies to the first impression people get when shopping for a new home. Within seconds of arrival, home buyers are forming positive and negative opinions about the property.

This is invaluable to home sellers. If you want to sell your home fast and for a premium price, you can’t afford botching the first impression. Fortunately, revamping the facade doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. In just one weekend you can boost your curb appeal with a few simple updates.

Enhance the garage door

A garage door accounts for up to 40 percent of a house’s facade. Often ignored, a bland or ugly garage door is a turnoff to home buyers. However, there’s no need to buy a costly new one. Instead, upgrade your current door with simulated window overlays and decorative handles and hinges from Coach House Accents for upscale appeal at a fraction of the cost.

Start by adding a fresh coat of paint to the garage door. Then to get a custom carriage house appearance, add the window panels made from lightweight, durable automotive-grade plastic resin. Finish with hinges and handles that mimic high-end forged metal. Coach House Accents can be purchased online at www.coachhouseaccents.com, www.amazon.com and at select Lowe’s stores nationwide.

Update the entryway

The entryway is the focal point of the front of the home. Start by clearing clutter and cleaning stairways. A new coat of paint on the stairs and door is essential. You might also consider investing in a new door handle and other hardware to modernize the space.

In addition to keeping the area clean, add attractive elements to the entryway. A potted plant or two offers a welcoming touch that reflects seasonal style. Toss worn welcome mats for fresh, new options. If you have space, a comfortable chair paints an inviting picture for potential home buyers.

Liven up the landscape

Sprucing up the yard goes beyond pulling weeds. Start by trimming hedges and trees to create a tidy appearance. If you don’t have much greenery, adding flowers and other plants can have a dramatic visual impact. Finally, a new layer of mulch will help your landscape features pop and makes any property look instantly fresh again.

In addition to clearing brush and updating plants, enhance outdoor spaces with thoughtful use of landscape lighting. Pathway lights on walkways, accent lights in planters, and garden lights around the porch make a space more stylish and useful. Plus, when home buyers view the property in the evening, beautiful lighting will impress them the moment they pull in the driveway.

Impressive curb appeal doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. From garage door enhancements to landscape lighting, these quick fixes can capture the attention of buyers and hopefully even start a bidding war.22940926

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