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Posted on February 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Everett, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Real Estate

Who Are Homeowners?

 

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Real Estate

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

 

  

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Homeowner News, Real Estate

5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now Instead of Spring

  

Happy Family SoldBased on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five reasons purchasers should consider buying before the spring market arrives:

Supply Is Shrinking

With inventory declining in many regions, finding a home of your dreams may become more difficult going forward. There are buyers in more and more markets surprised that there is no longer a large assortment of houses to choose from. The best homes in the best locations sell first. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy.

Price Increases Are on the Horizon

Prices are projected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

Owning a Home Helps Create Family Wealth

Whether you are rent or you own the home you are living in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Fed, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

Interest Rates Are Projected to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of RealtorsFreddie Macand Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the this time next year. That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates.

Buy Low, Sell High

We would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy.

 

 

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Real Estate

5 Ways Home Sellers Can Prepare For the Spring Market

 

HuffingtonPost.com posted Jan. 14, 2014

With spring being the busiest time for real estate, homeowners planning to put their homes on the market shouldn't wait for flowers to bloom before getting ready to sell. Having a few months to prepare can make for a much smoother selling experience.

If you're a prospective home seller, here are five things you can do now to get ready for a spring sale:

Start Packing

It may sound crazy to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you'll eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. We're not suggesting you pack up your kitchen and eat off paper plates, but you can sort through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell. Boxing up items will make your space look larger and neater when it's time to show your home. You can also get an idea of whether you need to rent a storage facility while your home is on the market.

Clear Away the Clutter

If you visit model homes or open houses of homes that have been staged, you'll never see a stack of unread magazines, children's artwork loosely hanging on the refrigerator, or a cluster of unpaid bills on a table. While everyone has clutter, buyers want to see a fantasy version of your house, in which they can envision living. Once your home is on the market you'll need to keep it as neat as possible. One way to make that easier is to reduce the amount of clutter you have on your shelves and surfaces. Put away items that are regularly on your kitchen sink and pack away the family photos that gather dust.

Improve Your Home

While you don't necessarily want to do a major, expensive renovation project before you sell, you can make minor repairs and improvements that will make your home look fresher to buyers. Try things, such as replacing the caulk and grout in your bathroom, updating old or rusted ceiling fans and light fixtures and changing switch plates, doorknobs and other hardware for a clean and neat appearance. Consider painting your front door, and trim even if your rooms don't need new paint.

Interview Realtors

Your choice of a listing agent will make a big difference in how quickly your home sells and how much of a profit you'll realize. Get recommendations from friends, and interview several listing agents to see which ones have the right experience with similar homes in your price range and area. A realtor with a great marketing plan and deep local knowledge is extremely important. Don't just go with the one who tells you they can sell for the highest price; choose someone who can present you with a detailed market analysis.

Research Your Market

If you plan to buy another home, an important decision to make is whether to sell your home first or make an offer on a new home before putting yours on the market. A knowledgeable realtor can help you evaluate how fast homes are selling in your market, and help you estimate how long it will take you to find a home. This decision also depends on your financing, so you may want to consult with a lender to see how you can finance the transition from one home to another if you choose not to sell your home first.

If you spend the winter months preparing for spring, you'll find yourself ready to move fast when buyers come out of hibernation.

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Real Estate

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

 

  

1.20 VisualIf you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.

There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.3% in 2014.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 28% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 16.8% by 2018.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of RealtorsFannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Homeowner News, Real Estate

THE TOP 5 SIMPLE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR HOME’S VALUE

 

Written by Stacey Waxman on Thursday, 09 January 2014 9:33 am Realty Times

If you're like most people, your home is the biggest financial investment you'll ever make. Even small improvements to your home can equal big returns later when you are ready to sell.

Here are a few easy and (mostly) inexpensive ways to increase your home's value and improve its marketability, whether you are looking to sell next week, next month or next year:

1. BathroomRemodeling is a great way to increase your home's value, but chances are you do not have the time or money to remodel every room of your home. If you are going to remodel only one room in your house, the outdated bathroom is a good choice. And if you can't completely remodel your bathroom, there are still small changes you can make on a small budget. Minor updates like getting new light fixtures, stripping old wallpaper and replacing your shower curtain can dramatically improve your bathroom's overall appeal.

 

2. Go for Green. Energy efficiency is one thing that will never go out of style. Younger buyers are increasingly attracted to homes that are environmentally friendly and all buyers are intrigued by the prospect of low home energy bills. There are many ways to increase your home's energy efficiency, including programmable thermostats and water-saving faucets.

If you aren't planning to move for a while, you may want to plant a few tall trees in your yard. The shade provided by trees can actually decrease your home's cooling costs by as much as 40% and can also help improve your home's overall curb appeal. If you are in more of a hurry to sell, you can instantly improve your home's energy efficiency by swapping your old windows for heat-trapping windows.

 

3. Kitchen. Right after your bathroom, your kitchen is the next most important room you can update. It is particularly important to make sure your cabinets look clean and polished, since they can strongly impact a buyer's perception of the entire room. If you have a larger budget, consider replacing old cabinets with new ones. And if you are working on a smaller budget, a fresh coat of paint on your cabinets can make a world of difference.

 

4. Landscape. You've probably heard it before, but the curb appeal of your home is hugely important. If new buyers notice that your yard has been ignored, they may assume there are other aspects of your home that have been neglected. This might cause them to lose confidence in the value of your home.

5. Lighten Up. Good lighting in your home can make a big difference. It is especially important to invest in bright lights for smaller rooms in your home; bright lighting can make small rooms look more spacious. If you want to avoid a higher energy bill, a sun tube (a hole in your ceiling that funnels in natural light) can be a great way to brighten up a room without adding to your home energy costs.

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Real Estate

The #1 Reason You Should Sell Now

  

Home For Sale Sign in Front of New HouseThe price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’. If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring. Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for the increased competition of the spring might make a lot of sense.

Buyers in the market during the winter months are truly motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory available in most markets currently, a seller will be in a great position to negotiate.

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Real Estate

History of Mortgage Rates

 

Since 1971, when mortgage rates first started being tracked, they have ranged from a high of 18.63 percent in the early 80′s to a low of 3.20 percent in late 2013. Currently, rates are still relatively low and for many prospective home buyers, low rates can greatly affect the affordability of a home and themonthly mortgage payment. But, what will the future hold?

“After dropping to all-time lows at the end of 2012, rates have steadily rebounded throughout 2013. Now that the Federal Reserve has announced plans to begin winding down its stimulus program, which has helped keep rates low while the economy was still fragile, we expect rates will rise above 5 percent in 2014 as the economic recovery gains steam. Although those who missed out on mortgages in the 3 percent range may be disappointed that they missed that historic window, rates are still extraordinarily low by historic standards,” says Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

 

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Home Improvement, Real Estate

The Impact of Increasing Mortgage Rates on Prices

  

Many pundits are warning that there will be a drop in real estate values because mortgage rates are beginning to increase. The logic makes sense. However, history shows that increasing rates have not negatively impacted home values in the past.

Four times over the last 30 years mortgage interest rates have dramatically increased. Here is the impact the increases had on home values at the time:

Dates

Mortgage Rate

Home Values

May ‘83 – July ‘84

12.63 – 14.67

+ 6.6%

March – Oct ‘87

9.04 – 11.26

+ 5.2%

Oct ’93 – Dec ‘94

6.83 – 9.2

+ 1.2%

April ’99 -May 2000

6.92 – 8.52

+ 10.9%

Perhaps the impact of increasing rates on future home prices won’t be as dramatic as some are predicting.

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Category: Economics, Home Finances, Homeowner News, Real Estate