Report: US Home Inventory Low, Making It a Great Time to Sell

Home RelocationHappy New Year! We hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that you’re as excited and hopeful about 2015 as we are!

And if you’re a prospective home seller, a recent report from the National Association of Realtors suggests that there’s a good chance you can get a great price on your home right now.

According to the recent report, US home sales recently hit a six month low, with inventory at a low point too.

While this may seem discouraging at first blush, this actually suggests that those homes that are being sold on the market are being met with increased demand. After all, home buyers have a smaller selection of available homes to choose from than in recent months.

The key to sealing the deal on your home for sale and getting a great price is expert marketing.

A Closer Look at This Recent Real Estate Report

Here are some of the highlights from the recent National Association of Realtors report:

  • Existing home sales decreased 6.1 percent to an annual rate of 4.93 million units.
  • That figure is the lowest it’s been since May
  • Meanwhile, home inventories reached an eighth month low.
  • Home sales were up 2.1 percent from a year ago during the month of December.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. housing index was down 0.2 percent as shares in the largest homebuilder (D.R. Horton) decreased 0.4 percent. Lennar Corp fell 0.43 percent and Pulte Group decreased 0.19 percent.
  • Also, the inventory of unsold homes decreased 6.7 percent from a year ago, to 2.09 million.
  • At November’s sales pace, it would take 5.1 months to sell all homes currently on the market. A six month supply is usually considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.
  • The decreased supply of homes means that the median home price increased 5 percent from a year ago.

Experts say that fickle wage growth as well as higher home prices have kept a lot of first-time home buyers out of the market.

Still, experts also say that with job gains and wage growth expected in early 2015, more and more first-time home buyers are likely to enter the market in the coming months.

In fact, during the month of November, first-time home buyers accounted for 31 percent of all transactions, which is the biggest share they’ve occupied since October 2012.

For comparison purposes, first-time home buyers comprised 29 percent of all transactions in October.

Expert Real Estate Marketing is Key to Selling Your Home

As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity to get a good price on your home, you just have to make sure your home stands out to prospective and qualified home buyers.

That’s where working with an experienced real estate agent can help. A professional will be able to create a custom-made marketing plan for your home that will maximize its exposure to the right buyers.

This will ultimately lead to you getting your home sold in a relatively short amount of time and for a great price!

Check back here soon for more expert insight on the national housing market and how it may impact you as a seller.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015 for you and your family!

5 Predictions for the US Housing Market in 2015

PredictionAre you a current home owner who is considering listing your property on the market in 2015?

If so, then you’re likely to enjoy a lot of success!

After all, Realtor.com recently released its top predictions for the housing market in the New Year. And all of them seem to favor home sellers.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at National Housing Market Predictions

Millennials will enter the market en masse. This is something the housing market has needed for the last couple of years: More Millennials entering the market as first time home buyers. And according to projections, that’s what you can expect in the New Year, with more than two thirds of household formation being credited to this demographic. Helping matters is the fact that about 2.5 million jobs are expected to be added next year, improving home buying power.

There will be an increase in existing home sales. These sales are expected to increase 8 percent during the New Year. Meanwhile, as more people gain employment and increased incomes, distressed property inventory is expected to decline. All of this means a lower real estate inventory. This coupled with a surplus of buyers will create a seller’s market.

Home prices will rise. This generally follows when housing inventory shrinks. In fact, prices are expected to increase by an average of at least 4.5 percent in the coming year. Thus, if you’re thinking about possibly selling your home, 2015 is likely going to be a good year for doing so.

Mortgage rates will increase as well. For much of 2014, these rates have hovered around 4 percent and under. But with the previously mentioned factors and the Federal Reserve’s expected rate hike in the early part of 2015, residents can expect home loans to shoot up to 5 percent in 2015. If you have been thinking about re-financing, it makes sense to do it sooner rather than later since mortgage rates are likely to increase.

Home affordability will decline. With all of these changes on the market expected, home affordability is projected to decrease by 5 to 10 percent. This will be driven by price appreciation, mortgage rate hikes and tighter housing inventory. Again, if you’re thinking about possibly selling your home, 2015 is likely to be a good year for home sales.

See You In 2015!

We hope that as a home seller, you’ve found the above predictions encouraging.

We’ll be back in the New Year to discuss whether these real estate predictions come true and to revisit how they will impact buyers and sellers.

For now, we hope you and your family have a happy holiday season!

10 Winter Home Improvements That Are Worth The Investment

ChecklistWe hope everyone had a memorable Thanksgiving Day last week and enjoyed the long holiday weekend.

With December officially upon us, residents can expect temperatures to continue to dip as we head into the New Year.

So today, we wanted to share with you some relatively easy home improvements that you can make that will save you money during the winter months.

Home Tips for Saving Yourself Money This Winter

Here are 10 home improvements that you can make this winter that will save you both money and energy:

Caulk around windows and doors, making sure that all cracks and holes are sealed. This will keep the cold air out of your house, which will keep your heater from working overtime. If necessary, you might also consider adding or replacing weather stripping.

Add area rugs to your tile and wood floors. This creates an extra layer of insulation in your home and also makes it easier to walk around your home in bare feet during the winter time.

Install glass doors that close off your fireplace. This will not only keep cold air from coming down and through your house but it will also prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney. Also, if you use your fireplace, make sure to close the flue when you’re finished.

Insulate your attic door. For instance, you can buy covers for your attic staircases or openings. This will actually help you reduce energy costs all year long.

Cover your windows. Even if you don’t have storm windows, you can create your own with a window insulation kit. And inside your house, consider using insulated drapes.

Buy Insulated Garage Doors and Exterior Doors. Typically, the garage doors that come with most homes aren’t insulated. You can change that to save on energy costs.

Add insulation to your home throughout. This includes in the attic as well as the crawl space, garage and basement. Experts recommend that you add insulation if you haven’t done so in more than 20 years.

Reverse Ceiling fans. Some people may not be aware of this but you actually have the option of reversing your ceiling fans. Running them counterclockwise makes it cooler during the summer months but by making them clockwise, they will circulate warm air back into the room.

Replace your furnace filters. Just like with anything else, dirty furnace filters will make it work less efficiently. Generally speaking, filters should be changed every month during the heating season.

Replace your outdated furnace altogether. If your furnace is older, you might consider purchasing a newer unit that is going to produce more heat with less energy. Just make sure that you get the right size for the space you have.

If you want to take your home-savings even further this winter, you can check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s do-it-yourself energy audit on their website. Or you can call a contractor and request a professional audit.

Offering You National Home Advice You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

We hope you found this information helpful as a current home owner.

Please be sure to check back soon as we continue to provide you with useful and relevant real estate information!

More US Home Buyers Returning to Market Because of Easier Mortgage Rules, Stable Rates

US Home Buying 2More and more home buyers are returning to the US housing market because they’re noticing favorable market conditions.

Specifically, buyers are feeling more comfortable about navigating the market thanks to interest rate stabilization and easier mortgage rules, according to a recent article by Reuters.

This is fantastic news for the overall health of the housing market. After all, it suggests that the national real estate market is likely to become more stable over time.

Trends That US Home Buyers Should Be Aware Of

According to the recent Reuters article, new home builders D.R. Horton Inc and Toll Brothers Inc. are seeing jumps in home buyer demand.

And they’re not the only ones.

In fact, new home builders everywhere are reporting improved home buyer enthusiasm, which has been a great relief to many of the companies after an underwhelming spring home selling season.

And pre-owned home sales are also reflecting similar home buyer enthusiasm levels.

Here’s what else the national home buyer should know about recent trends on the housing market:

  • Interest rates decreased in October to their lowest levels since June 2013
  • In fact, these interest rates are still considered to be at historic lows.
  • The Dow Jones U.S. home construction index increased about 4 percent this year so far. And this increase came after the index already doubled between January 2012 and January 2014.
  • Meanwhile, new proposed rules will allow buyers to purchase homes with down payments as low as 3 percent.

The proposed rules are great news for first-time home buyers, who are a key part of any housing market recovery. In fact, some experts believe that the housing market recovery will speed up as soon as more first-time home buyers enter the market.

And a faster housing market recovery is good news for everyone!

Meanwhile, In Canada…

The real estate market conditions in Canada are looking just as encouraging, with Canadian resale home prices continuing to rise in October.

Prices were up 5.4 percent from a year earlier, which is right on par with September’s year-on-year gain.

What’s more, October marked the 11th month in a row that the index has increased. Still, it should be noted that prices rose in only five out of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed.

Prices rose 1.2 percent in Vancouver and rose 0.5 percent in Calgary. Toronto saw prices decrease 0.2 percent.

Your Central Source for Housing Market News

Check back here soon for more valuable updates on the current state of the national housing market and how they may impact you as buyers and sellers.

We pride ourselves on offering you relevant and reliable information that will help you make the best real estate decision possible for you and your family!

US Home Sales Rose In September, Report Shows

US Home Selling 7U.S. homes sold at a faster rate in September than any other time this year, a recent report from the National Association of Realtors said.

Evidently, sales of existing homes increased 2.4 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million.

Experts are saying that this increase is a great sign that the housing market is picking up and moving past the slowdown that started in mid-2013.

More Encouraging Signs on the National Housing Market

The National Association of Realtors provided some additional information that helps paint a more complete picture of the current state of the housing market:

  • The sales rate has dropped 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.
  • First-time home buyers comprised about 29 percent of all sales. This is below the historic average of roughly 40 percent.
  • Median home prices increased 5.6 percent over the last 12 months to $209,700.
  • September sales increased in the South and West compared to the previous month.
  • Meanwhile, sales increased slightly in the Northeast and dropped in the Midwest.
  • Nationally, the share of purchases by investors decreased from 19 to 14 percent year-over-year.
  • The report projects that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013.
  • Generally speaking, real estate experts say 5.5 million existing home sales is a healthy market.
  • Meanwhile, housing starts increased 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million homes, although much of that was new apartment buildings.
  • Apartment construction has jumped 30.3 percent over the past 12 months, almost three times the rate of growth for single-family houses.

Many Forces Are at Work to Create These Conditions, Analysts Said.

For instance, over the last year, fewer investors have entered the market. Luckily, their pullback has been offset by existing homeowners who are moving up to more expensive properties or downsizing as empty nesters.

Meanwhile, some would-be buyers have been kept out of the market because of rising prices through much of 2013, weak income growth and tighter credit standards.

Experts are now predicting that the worst of the housing market recession is over but that the economy and housing market will likely grow in fits and starts.

One development that might help with this growth is the fact that the federal regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is considering creating an option for lower down payments so more people can qualify for a mortgage.

And because the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped below 4 percent recently, experts are expecting more buyers to enter the market.

In Fact, Many Signs Suggest Now Is a Great Time to Be A Buyer

For instance, online real estate brokerage Redfin said that only 44 percent of its offers in October faced bidding wars. This is down form a high of 75 percent in March 2013.

Meanwhile, more homes are expected to become available on the market thanks to many investors’ plans to sell for tax reasons at the end of the year.

So if you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether to invest in property, now is a great time to do so!

Your #1 Real Estate Resource

We believe that knowledge is power and so we work hard to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on the national housing market. Hopefully you found today’s report helpful!

Check back here soon for more valuable insight on the recent trends on the national housing market and how they may impact your efforts as a buyer or seller!

Homestead Exemption


Let me start by explaining what a homestead and a homestead exemption is.

Homestead:

A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it, it can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.

A homestead exemption is when you remove part of the value of the property from taxation, so you lower your taxes.

Example:

If your home is worth $100,000 y and you qualify, you will get a $15,000 exemption meaning that you will only pay taxes on $85,000.

To qualify for the exemption the property should be in an individuals name (no corporations or business), it must be your primary residence by Jan 1st of the tax year (if you buy a home in July you must wait until the following year to claim it). If you are over 65 or disabled the Jan 1st deadline do not apply to you.

There are different kinds of Homestead exemptions, All residents may get a tax exemption from schools of $15,000 from the home’s value. The other exemptions depend on age (over 65), disability,100% disability for veterans,extension of exemption for a surviving spouse and exemption for manufactures (mobil) home. You must verify to see if you qualify for those.

As of September 1st 2011 a new rule came into effect, in order to qualify for any of the exemptions you must submit along with your application for homestead exemption, a valid Texas Drivers licensee (the address should be that of the property you are applying for) or a Texas state-issued identification card and a copy of their vehicle registration receipt. If you do not own a vehicle you must prove so and provide a utility bill with your name on it and the same address of course).

Note:

If you are married and have a homestead exemption on your home and you either get divorced or your hudband or wife passes you will need to submit a new homestead exemption form. If you don’t the county might come back and want you to pay 50% of that exemption. Do not leave it up to the County, do it.

If you have any questions please refer to the following links where you will find a more detailed explanation about each of the exemptions available and the form to submit them. Do not forget the deadline is April 30th.

https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/index.php

To get the form:

https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/forms/50-114.pdf