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The best resource for pricing your home

The best resource for pricing your home

You’re ready to sell your home, but you’re not sure what to ask for it. No problem … a neighbor just sold her home for $329,000, so you’ll just ask for the same amount. Wait. That was what she asked for her home. You’re not sure what it actually sold for. Oh, hey! Didn’t your coworker sell his home for $275,000 a few months ago? That’s solid information. Maybe you should ask for that. If the market hasn’t changed much since then. Sure, the coworker’s house isn’t in your neighborhood, but it has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as your home. Or maybe you should go with the asking price to the neighbor’s house. She probably sold it for close to that number. The house isn’t as nice as yours, but it’s a little larger. And it has beautiful landscaping. That adds some value, but how much? Putting those two homes aside for a bit, you go to a website that promises to tell you what your home is really worth. An actual number. Now you’re getting somewhere … if the value isn’t off by the 20% margin of error you read about in the site’s disclaimer. If only there was a way to process all this … pull in more data … make sure it’s accurate … account for differences in the properties … factor in what’s going on with real estate prices in your neighborhood. If you could just find some to do all that, analyze it, and guide you toward the highest price that will actually get an offer. Sounds to me like you’re ready to work with a Texas REALTOR®. –

See more at: https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/the-best-resource-for-pricing-your-home#sthash.AuiPslJa.dpuf

Sellers, here’s what buyers really think about your home

Sellers, here’s what buyers really think about your home

Have you ever wondered what a potential homebuyer thinks when she visits your house? Here are a few questions that came to my mind when I was searching for my first home. What’s that smell? I never realized how sensitive I am to smells until I saw eight houses in one day. The pet smells, air fresheners, mildew, and fresh-paint odors left me with a pounding headache. Some people love the smell of cinnamon apples and others might not, but get some help from your Texas REALTOR® to figure out a way to create a more neutral smelling experience. That might mean opening a few windows before a showing or temporarily moving the litter box. Will that dog bite us? As a pet owner, I know I can’t always take my dog or cat with me wherever I go. If you can take your pets with you when a buyer comes for a viewing, though, it can make for a much better home-tour experience. Why? Some people might be afraid of your pet. Other times, your pet can be a distraction. It’s hard to concentrate when a barking dog accompanies you on your property tour. Where would I put my stuff? It’s true what they say: buyers have a hard time looking past excessive clutter. When that spacious closet you’re trying to sell  is packed full, I can’t tell how spacious it truly is. And navigating through your kids’ toy maze is just as annoying for me as it is for you. It’s hard to please every potential homebuyer who will walk through your door, but there are a few simple ways to make your home a little more inviting so your house isn’t known as “the one with the cat smell” or “the one with the toy booby trap.” Talk to your Texas REALTOR® and be open to his advice about preparing your home for sale. He’ll know what attracts homebuyers to a property, and he’s on your side to get it sold. – See more at: https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/sellers-heres-what-buyers-really-think-about-your-home#sthash.GZ0q2pi8.dpuf

Three Graphs that Scream to List Your House

3 Graphs That Scream List Your House Today! | Simplifying The Market

3 Graphs That Scream List Your House Today!

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.8-month supply. This is significantly lower than the 6 months inventory necessary for a normal market.

Inventory | Simplifying The Market

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand this year has significantly surpassed the levels reached in 2014.

Foot Traffic | Simplifying The Market

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase). 

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality 69% of homeowners actually do!

Equity | Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, let’s get together to evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in our market.

Avoiding Housing Discrimination

Want to be a Landlord but have heard horror stories about discrimination but you’re not sure what it means? Below is a summary about housing discrimination.

Federal Fair Housing Act
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
* Race or color
* National origin
* Religion
* Sex
* Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents; or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)
* Disability

What housing is covered?
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, a landlord that has only a few single-family homes that were sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

At a minimum under federal law, a landlord may not do the following things based on whole or in part on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability:
* Refuse to rent or sell housing
* Refuse to negotiate for housing
* Make housing unavailable
* Deny a dwelling
* Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
* Provide different housing services or facilities
* Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
* For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
* Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

It is also illegal for anyone to:
* Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
* Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Disabilities
If you or someone associated with you:
• Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
• Have a record of such a disability; or
• Are regarded as having such a disability
your landlord may not:
• Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
• Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

Builders Increase Spec-Home Supply for Spring

hand-101003_640Builders Increase Spec-Home Supply for Spring.

 

Builders Increase Spec-Home Supply for Spring

In anticipation of a hot spring-buying season, homebuilders are increasing their building of speculative homes, those built without a buyer in place.

Builders had 218,000 homes listed for sale that were either under construction or completed at the end of December – that’s a 17.2 percent increase from a year earlier, the Commerce Department reported this week.  That also marks the highest December total of spec homes since 2009.

“It appears that builders are more optimistic, and that’s why they’re building more spec homes,” David W. Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance, told The Wall Street Journal. “But it doesn’t appear that they’re getting ahead of sales, since the number is so low historically.”

Homebuilding is still at low levels so economists and builders aren’t fearing overbuilding at this point, The Wall Street Journal reports. The inventory of new homes remains low — at a supply of 5.5-months in December, still below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy for the sector.

Builders’ optimism has been growing, as sales have picked up and more buyer traffic. In December, the pace of new-home sales was at its highest since June 2008.

D.R. Horton, the largest U.S. builder by closings, reported that it had 4,500 completed spec homes by the end of 2014 – about 1,100 more than it did a year ago. The builder also reported a 35 percent increase in sales contracts for its fiscal first quarter ending Dec. 31.

“We are in a strong competitive position for the upcoming spring sales season with a well-stocked supply of land, lots, and homes,” David Auld, D.R. Horton’s president and chief executive, said this week during a recent conference call about earnings with investors.

Source: “Builders Bet on Strong Spring with Speculative Homes,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 27, 2015)

5 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Listing

cottage-160367_12805 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Listing.

 A seller may be able to boost the value of their home by an additional 12 percent, with just a few smart pre-listing repairs, according to a new survey of 300 residential real estate professionals by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. On a median, single-family home priced at $205,000, that could be a potential gain of $24,600.

“You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home,” says Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”

Here are some of the fixes that the Consumer Reports survey of real estate professionals uncovered as being the most important:

1. Declutter

Cost range: $0 (do-it-yourself) to $2,500 (pro)

Potential return: 3% to 5%

Clear away any clutter and depersonalize the space as much as possible.

2. Makeover the kitchen

Cost range: $300 to $5,000

Potential return: 3% to 7%

The kitchen was rated as the most important room to have in top shape before selling, according to the survey. Real estate professionals recommend focusing on minor repairs that center on the function of the kitchen first, such as repairing leaky faucets, loose light fixtures, or blemishes on the countertop. Then, they recommend small enhancements, such as painting the walls, updating the cabinet hardware, adding new curtains, or light fixtures.

3. Freshen up the bathroom

Cost range: $300 to $1,000

Potential return: 2% to 3%

Make simple improvements, such as caulking the tub or re-grouting the floor or adding new bathroom fixtures to brighten up the space. Updating the mirror and lighting also can have a big impact, the real estate professionals surveyed said.

4. Paint

Cost range: $100 (do-it-yourself) to $1,000 (pro)

Potential return: 1% to 3%

Sixteen percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that interior painting is an important part in bringing about a sale of a home. But the seller likely doesn’t need the entire house repainted, but maybe just a redo of one or two rooms to curb costs. The two prime candidates for being repainted: Kitchens and bathrooms. Paint in whites and off-whites and a neutral palette – such as grays and beiges — help buyers focus on the home’s features more than be distracted by bright colors, agents note.

5. Exterior touch ups

Cost range: $150 to $7,500

Potential return: 2% to 5%

Agents recommend that their clients concentrate on basic maintenance first, such as to mowing the lawn, trimming overgrown shrubs, and applying a fresh layer of mulch to the garden beds. They also recommend making any minor repairs, such as replacing cracked siding boards or repointing brick walls. The real estate professionals also recommended taking careful note of any repairs needed with the roof: 31 percent of agents surveyed said the roof is one of the most important parts of the home to have in good shape.

The latest Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine, uncovered some of the top home remodeling projects that offer some of the largest returns at resale. Many of the biggest payback projects had to do with enhancing the exterior of the home.

The following are the top five projects nationally in terms of cost recouped, according to the Cost vs. Value report:

1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)

2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)

3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)

4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)

5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)

If you are going to rent out your home, make sure you have a lot of this | Advice for Consumers | Texas Association of REALTORS

If you are going to rent out your home, make sure you have a lot of this | Advice for Consumers | Texas Association of REALTORS.

 

12/30/2013 | Author: Marty Kramer

Everything changed when our landlord and his wife had a baby.

Previously, he came to our rental house often. He spent several summer weekends installing a French drain to address a flooding problem. He repaired a toilet. Painted the exterior. Took down a dead tree.

After the baby arrived, though, our landlord was nowhere to be found. One month he didn’t even cash our rent check for three weeks.

I learned two lessons from that situation:

  1. Babies require a lot of attention.
  2. You shouldn’t manage your rental home on your own unless you have a bunch of time to devote to it.

There is an alternative to tackling all the tasks involved in renting out your house yourself (and I’m not talking about neglecting it): Consider hiring a Texas REALTOR® to manage your rental. Your REALTOR® can advertise the property, screen tenants, collect rent, take repair requests, schedule appointments to make those repairs, and ensure you’re complying with all rules and regulations that apply to renting out a property.

With a professional taking care of all those details, you’ll free yourself up to spend time on your other priorities. Like filling out the pages of the baby book that’s been sitting on the shelf.

HouseLogic | REALTOR® Content Resource | The Costs of Renting Out Your House

HouseLogic | REALTOR® Content Resource | The Costs of Renting Out Your House.

The Costs of Renting Out Your House
By: Richard Koreto
Published: May 21, 2010
Renting out your house can be a smart financial move, as long as you calculate your costs carefully.
You have a single-family house and you are considering renting out your home. Perhaps you’re temporarily relocating for work, or maybe you inherited your childhood home from your parents, and you’re not quite ready to part with it yet.
Renting can be a profitable choice, but it requires an investment of time, money, and organization to make it work. Here’s how to determine whether renting out your house is worth the cost.
Calculate your monthly expenses
You want to charge at least enough to cover your monthly outlay. So the first step is to use our free downloadable worksheet to calculate your costs. Start with regular expenses like mortgage, maintenance, and homeowners association dues.

You may also need to upgrade your insurance coverage. Your agent can advise you about adding landlord insurance, a special type of policy that covers rental properties. As a rule, landlord insurance costs about 25% more than standard homeowners insurance.

If you’re renting the house furnished, make sure you’re covered for the personal possessions you leave behind. Jane Cline, the insurance commissioner of West Virginia, tells owners to prepare a detailed inventory of household items. If you’re renting the house unfurnished, figure in the costs of moving and storing your items.
Check out prospective tenants
As a practical matter, you’ll have to formally check out your prospective renters. MrLandlord.com, an information and service site for landlords, suggests a variety of background checks: credit reports, eviction reports, and criminal background reports. None of these is expensive, but you must get your prospects’ permission.

MrLandlord.com charges $8.95 for an eviction report. A combined credit and eviction report is $14.95. If you want to be especially careful, a countywide criminal report costs $29.95.
Account for maintenance and upgrades
Even with the most scrupulous checks, you can’t be completely sure renters will take good care of your home. Eva Rosenberg, an enrolled agent in Northridge, Calif., advises that if you’re not within easy driving distance of your rental property, you’ll need to arrange for someone else to keep an eye on the place, even if it’s just to make sure the lawn is mowed. If the tenants are neglecting upkeep, you’ll want to know about it sooner rather than later, since it could be a warning sign of trouble down the line.

Of course, even if the renters are conscientious, problems can crop up: boilers will fail; roofs may leak; washing machine hoses can burst. If household systems or appliances need repair or replacement, you’re better off spending the money up front, before the fix becomes an expensive emergency.

You may also want to invest in some of the “extras” that Sue Peters, a broker in Wellfleet, Mass., recommends adding to attract a tenant willing to pay a higher fee. She suggests spending money on air conditioning, expanded-channel cable TV, and a Wi-Fi network.
Don’t want the headaches? Hire a property manager
You can save yourself a lot of time and effort if you engage a management company to oversee the property and take care of the details. Some firms charge a percentage of the rental fee, others a flat monthly fee, based on the extent of services. Joe Aimone of GoRenter in Phoenix, Ariz., says his firm offers a variety of services, starting at as little as $50 a month, including general maintenance, rent collection, and–if necessary–eviction.

A management company can help you figure out how much to charge, find and vet tenants, and prepare a lease. It will also pay the real estate taxes on your behalf and present you with an annual 1099 form. Many management companies maintain 24-hour emergency lines and a roster of approved service people, so they can take care of plumbing or electrical problems and bill you later. A property manager will also see that driveways and sidewalks are shoveled, so you don’t find yourself with an unpleasant claim against your liability insurance.

Expect to pay a management company 8% to 10% of the annual gross rent, on average, with a $50 to $85 monthly minimum.
Keep scrupulous records
Whether or not you use a management company, you’ll have to keep extensive business records. DeDe Jones, CFP, CPA, in Lakewood, Colo., advises owners to save receipts for any expenses and to file them carefully.

The IRS treats maintenance expenditures, like a new hot-water heater, differently from capital improvements, such as a new deck or patio, so you’ll want to consult a tax professional. Meanwhile, keep the two types of receipts separate to make tax prep easier. You’ll have to file Schedule E on Form 1040, which can also serve as a template for the kinds of records you’ll need.

Finally, because of the complex tax and liability issues involved, many financial experts suggest forming a corporation when you become a landlord. An attorney can advise you about whether incorporating makes sense in your situation.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/house-rental-finances/preview/#ixzz3JLlbr4YJ
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Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Are verbal agreements valid contracts? | Advice for Texas REALTORS® | Texas Association of REALTORS

Are verbal agreements valid contracts? | Advice for Texas REALTORS® | Texas Association of REALTORS.

 

Are verbal agreements valid contracts?

My seller received a written offer to purchase his property. Instead of countering the offer in writing, the parties engaged in verbal negotiations that resulted in a verbal agreement on new terms. Before the buyer’s broker submitted an updated offer with those terms included, my seller received a written offer from another potential buyer that he chose to accept. Now, the first buyer is threatening to sue my client for breach of contract because of their verbal agreement. Is the verbal agreement enforceable?

No. A verbal agreement must be reduced in writing and signed by the buyer and seller to become valid. Since a contract was never created, nor signed, there is nothing for the buyer to enforce. While verbal negotiations of contracts can be a quicker way to reach an agreement, verbal agreements are not enforceable for the sale of real property.