Industry

Bounce Back in Pending Home Sales a Welcoming Sign

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After declining for three straight months, pending home sales reversed course in June as all major regions, except for the Midwest, saw an increase in contract activity, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index, a measure of housing contract activity, climbed 1.5 percent to 110.2 in June from an upwardly revised 108.6 in May. At 0.5 percent, the June index increased annually for the first time since March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the bounce back in pending sales in most of the country in June is a welcoming sign. “The first half of 2017 ended with a nearly identical number of contract signings as one year ago, even as the economy added 2.2 million net new jobs,” he said. “Market conditions in many areas continue to be fast paced, with few properties to choose from, which is forcing buyers to act almost immediately on an available home that fits their criteria.” Added Yun, “Low supply is an ongoing issue holding back activity. Housing inventory declined last month and is a staggering 7.1 percent lower than a year ago.”

Couple Cheering 02Yun noted that there could potentially be a sliver of increased hope in the months ahead for prospective first-time buyers, who continue to struggle reaching the market. Sales to investors last month were the lowest of the year (13 percent), which helped push all cash transactions to 18 percent – the smallest share since June 2009 (13 percent).

Source: National Association of Realtors

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

 

How To Hire a Mover

Moving - 2When moving, there’s a million small details to juggle. Hiring a moving company can save you a bundle of stress, but it’s important to note that not all moving companies are the same, and you want to make sure your items are safe and secure in the hands of your movers.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking to hire a moving company:

Hire a licensed company – Be sure to only use a licensed moving company and check for a valid U.S. Department of Transportation number on the main DOT website.

Find reassurance in valuation – Even if movers are bonded and insured, verify if belongings are covered during the move. Some states require a valuation of 60 cents per pound of coverage but in many cases additional valuation can be purchased for the move.

shutterstock_28772560Avoid imposters – Visit the official site of the moving company and ensure there is a local address and the office is staffed.

Get a real quote – Inspect the website to ensure they will not sell personal information to other movers to provide the quote and avoid sites that feature multiple quotes from different companies. Never pay for an estimate and consider an on-site estimate to ensure accuracy for larger moves.

Inquire about the movers – Be careful if choosing to move forward with a company that employs temporary or day laborers and does not have Workers’ Compensation coverage should anything happen.

moving - 3Research options – The Internet is filled with reviews and comments on social media pages, so take the time to read about pros and cons of a potential company. Learn from customers’ experiences and look into complaints on the Better Business Bureau website, as well. Understand, not every move can be perfect, but if the company is taking time to respond to customers comments and work toward resolution, it is a good sign.

Don’t fall for a too good to be true price – If the price seems like it is too good, it probably is going to cause headaches and problems down the line. Moving is expensive – even if completed without movers – be sure to look at all of your options as it’s best to go into the process prepared. Also, never move forward with a company that only accepts cash.

Check for hidden fees – When asking about pricing, be sure to understand what is included and if there are cancellation fees or a nonrefundable deposit. Most companies will refund a deposit if within a certain amount of days before the move, and see if there are extra fees for stairs, mileage or large items. Some movers will offer complimentary padding and stretch wrap to protect furniture, but not all companies will.

Movers - 6Reputation is important – Many reputable movers belong to the American Moving and Storage Association. Identify if a prospective company is a member before booking a move.

Ask for references – Get advice from friends and family who have had a good experience with movers. Did they feel like they were communicated with throughout the process and were told a window of time for the movers to arrive? Don’t forget to ask questions to feel confident with booking a company.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. It’s highly beneficial to have a professional knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side. Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

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Keller Williams Dallas Metro North is outperforming NTREIS!! Look at our figures: We’re selling $25,552 higher per home, taking 3.2% more listings and selling them 20 days faster in June 2017. Call us today for help with your real estate needs!

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Existing Home Sales Up 1.1%

business - growth 8Existing-home sales rebounded in May following a notable decline in April, and low inventory levels helped propel the median sales price to a new high while pushing down the median days a home is on the market to a new low, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. Last month’s sales pace is 2.7 percent above a year ago and is the third highest over the past year.

House _Transparent.pngLawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity expanded in May as more buyers overcame the increasingly challenging market conditions prevalent in many areas. “The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” he said. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

Inventory is currently at a 3.8-month supply. Existing homes averaged 29 days on market in April, five fewer days than in March and 10 fewer days than one year prior. Non-distressed homes took 28 days to sell. All told, 52 percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than one month.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

It’s highly beneficial to have a professional, knowledgeable, local real estate agent by your side! Call Keller Williams Dallas Metro North today to help you with your real estate needs!

For Millennials, Homeownership Is a Waiting Game

shutterstock_282602042Millennials have their sights set on homeownership – but a new report makes a case that their dreams could be years from becoming reality.

According to a recent survey, though 80 percent of millennial renters aspire to become homeowners, 72 percent are held back by an inability to afford a home, with saving for a down payment the most challenging obstacle to overcome. Sixty-eight percent have less than $1,000 saved for a down payment; 44 percent, decidedly, have no down payment savings at all, and 40 percent have no savings plan in place to start.

Older millennials – those aged 25-34 and now in their prime home-buying years – are struggling to save for a down payment, as well: 42 percent have set aside nothing.

millennial-moneyThe down payment goose egg suggests millennials grossly miscalculate how much savings they need to afford a down payment, whether 20 percent – ideal to avoid monthly mortgage insurance and obtain better mortgage loan interest rates – or less. (In fact, when controlling for a 10 percent down payment, only 36 percent can save enough in three years.)

Another snag? Millennials who are saving up for a home have a long wait ahead of them. According to the survey, most will need to save for more than five years to accumulate enough for a 20 percent down payment, with those in the hottest housing markets – think ATX, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley – needing to wait roughly 20 years.

Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches“Our analysis shows that the lack of savings by millennials, combined with the extreme shortage in affordable entry-level homes, means that a large share of millennials may be stuck renting for years,” according to report authors Andrew Woo, director of Data Science and Growth, and Chris Salviati, senior growth associate, at ApartmentList.com.

All’s not doom and gloom, however. Millennials saving for a home in Kansas City, Mo., will need to squirrel away money for just five-and-a-half years, while those in Las Vegas, Nev., and Miami, Fla., will need about 6 years.

Millennial - indecisiveThere are other, less intimidating influencers keeping millennials from entering the housing market, too. Forty-five percent are “not ready to settle down” yet, and 36 percent are simply waiting to say “I do.”

“These results underscore the long-term crisis that homeownership in the United States may face, as millennials delay buying a home until later in life,” the authors state. “One of the outstanding questions for the housing market has been whether or not the nation’s largest generation – millennials – will purchase homes at rates similar to their parents or if they will continue to rent long into adulthood, or even indefinitely.”

For now, millennials are playing the waiting the game.

5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home NOW

summerWe’re heading into the dog days of summer here in North Texas. The days are longer, the pool water is warm, and ice cream sales are up!

Yep, we’re sitting right in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. And there’s no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing’s hottest season – as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

1. Prices aren’t necessarily higher

“A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true,” says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let’s be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it’s a seller’s market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home’s asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes also for sale in a given area, interest rates, and the job market.

“What is true, however, is that there are more homes on the market in summer than in the winter, and there is also a higher number of sales in the summer than the winter,” Chhina says.

Which leads us to our next summer-buying advantage.

2. Inventory is broader

shutterstock_1638721You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer with only two models for sale, so why limit your options when it comes to picking a house? The open-plan kitchen you’ve been yearning for or a home in a stellar school district is much more likely to pop up in a busier marketplace.

“The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. Buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week.”

In some less competitive markets, knowing that there are plenty of homes for sale can give you more leverage for price negotiation, and peace of mind knowing that if you have to walk to away, another home will be just around the corner.

3. Buying and selling at the same time could be easier

If you need to sell your current home before you can buy another, you’ll likely have an easier time with the balancing act during the summer. Rather than getting trapped with two mortgages, you could have a more seamless transition in a busier market.

“If the client needs to sell a home before buying, the home will be more likely to sell, and potentially at a good price, allowing the client to purchase their new home sooner,” says Joe Lopez of Connect Realty.

But remember, these transactions take time, so if you’re planning on pulling off a double act, get ready as soon as possible so you can capture as much of that golden season as you can.

4. School’s out for summer

kidsAny beleaguered parent can tell you why this factor is crucial. By waiting until summer to make your move, you can minimize disruption to your kids’ lives. Plus, their schedule is clear to bring them along to showings. (Beware, though, not all agents appreciate young kids underfoot.)

“House hunting during the summer break from school means that kids can more readily attend showings— important when offer time is of the essence and parents want each member to approve of the new family home,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals.

And if the sellers have kids, they might also be trying to cement a sale in time for the new school year—and will likely be more motivated toward the end of the season.

“Sellers who find their properties still on the market as summer draws to a close and the ranks of buyers thin out may be more open to price negotiation,” Elliott says. “In addition, those buyers who were unable to secure a home after months of looking and making offers may become fatigued and drop out of the hunt.”

5. You’ll get to know the lay of the land

It’s easier to do a little detective work on your potential home when the weather’s nice and the days are longer. Trees and flowers are in full bloom, so you’ll get a better idea of your prospective new yard. You can step out on that back porch and envision what it will really, truly be like to live there and host your long-anticipated Margarita Mondays. Plus, everyone’s more active, so you’ll get a better feel for the community.

“Summer brings people out of their homes, so while you are home shopping with your agent, you will get the chance to take the pulse of the neighborhood and see your potential neighbors,” says Kyle Springer of South Central Homes.

“Families can often get a feel for the neighborhood’s kid population during the day in the summer,” Elliott says. “Here in Orlando, where daytime temperatures reach the high 90s and so many homes have pools, buyers listen for sounds of shouting and splashing.”

But beware! Sometimes the romance of summer can distract you from some red flags.

cellphone tower“It is fine to stop and smell the roses, but also pay attention to what lurks behind them,” says Jerry Grodesky of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate.

For example: the eyesore of a junk pile in your neighbor’s yard. Or the giant cellphone tower you didn’t see through those beautifully full trees—that now you can’t unsee. And make sure that foliage isn’t blocking any potential problems with the home, such as foundation issues or peeling roof tiles.

You should also use this opportunity to test how the property holds up in warm weather. See how well the air conditioning works when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, and open all the windows to see if any stick or simply won’t open. Of course, your home inspector will check these things, but it never hurts to get a jump-start.

Source: Realtor.com

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today for assistance with your real estate needs!