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Where is the Real Estate Market headed in 2019?

by Lorna Calder

As we begin another year, everyone wants to know: “Where is the housing market headed in 2019?”

It’s not only buyers, sellers, and homeowners who are impacted. The real estate market plays an integral role in the overall U.S. economy.  Fortunately, key indicators point toward a stable housing market in 2019 with signs of modest growth. However, shifting conditions could impact you if you plan to buy, sell, or refinance this year.

HOME VALUES WILL INCREASE

The value of real estate will continue to rise. Freddie Mac predicts housing prices will increase by 4.3 percent in 2019.While the rapid price appreciation we witnessed earlier in the decade has slowed, the combination of a strong economy, low unemployment, and a lack of inventory in many market segments continues to push prices higher.

"Ninety percent of markets are experiencing price gains while very few are experiencing consistent price declines," according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.2

Yun predicts that the national median existing-home price will increase to around $266,800 in 2019 and $274,000 in 2020. "Home price appreciation will slow down—the days of easy price gains are coming to an end—but prices will continue to rise."

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy a home, act fast. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more the longer you wait. If you’re a current homeowner, real estate has proven once again to be a solid investment over the long term. In fact, the equity level of American homeowners reached an all-time high in 2018, topping $6 trillion.3

SALES LEVELS WILL STABILIZE

In 2018, we saw a decline in sales, primarily driven by rising mortgage rates and a lack of affordable inventory. However, Yun isn’t alarmed. "2017 was the best year for home sales in ten years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we've been experiencing over the past few years."2

Yun and other economists expect home sales to remain relatively flat over the next couple of years. Freddie Mac forecasts homes sales will increase 1 percent to 6.08 million in 2019 and 2 percent to 6.20 million in 2020.1

“The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand,” explains Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist for LendingTree. “With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.”4

What does it mean for you? If you’ve been scared off by reports of a market slowdown, it’s important to keep things in perspective. A cooldown can prevent a hot market from becoming overheated. A gradual and sustainable pace of growth is preferable for long-term economic stability.

MORTGAGE RATES WILL RISE

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates three times this year, resulting in a rise in mortgage rates.5 While no one can predict future mortgage rates with certainty, Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale estimates that the rate for a 30-year mortgage will reach 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, up from around 4.62 percent at the end of 2018.6

While mortgage rates above 5 percent may seem high to today’s buyers, it’s not out of line with historical standards. According to Hale, “The average mortgage rate in the 1990s was 8.1 percent, and rates didn’t fall below 5 percent until 2009. So for buyers who can make the math work, buying a home is likely still an investment worth making.”7

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy a house or refinance an existing mortgage, you may want to act quickly before mortgage rates rise. To qualify for the lowest rate available, take steps to improve your credit score, pay down existing debt, and save up for a larger down payment.

AFFORDABILITY ISSUES WILL PERSIST

Although the desire to own a home remains strong, the combination of higher home prices and rising mortgage rates will make it increasingly difficult for many first-time buyers to afford one.

“Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive,” according to Hale. “Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid-to-higher-end price tier, not entry-level.”6

What does it mean for you? Unfortunately, market factors make it difficult for many first-time buyers to afford a home. However, as move-up buyers take advantage of new high-end inventory, we could see an increase in starter homes hitting the market.

MILLENNIALS WILL MAKE UP LARGEST SEGMENT OF BUYERS

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand,” according to Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American. "Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.”4

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, predicts the trend will continue. “Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.”6

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market for a starter home, prepare to compete for the best listings. And if you plan to sell a home in 2019, be sure to work with an agent who knows how to reach millennial buyers by utilizing the latest online marketing techniques.

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2019, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

START PREPARING TODAY


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Freddie Mac Economic & Housing Research Forecast –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/pdf/201811-Forecast-04.pdf
  2. National Association of Realtors 2019 Forecast –  
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/2019-forecast-existing-home-sales-to-stabilize-and-price-growth-to-continue
  3. Bankrate 2018 Year in Review –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/year-in-review-for-housing-market/
  4. Forbes 2019 Real Estate Forecast –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2018/12/06/2019-real-estate-forecast-what-home-buyers-sellers-and-investors-can-expect/#a98b80a70d9a
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association Forecast –
    https://www.mba.org/2018-press-releases/october/mba-forecast-purchase-originations-to-increase-to-12-trillion-in-2019
  6. Realtors.com 2019 National Housing Forecast –
    https://www.realtor.com/research/2019-national-housing-forecast/
  7. FOX Business –
    https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/where-mortgage-rates-are-headed-in-2019

 

 

How's The Market? What Lies Ahead...

by Lorna Calder

“How’s the Market?”
What’s Ahead for Real Estate

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue in many parts of the country.

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.

CONTINUED GROWTH IN HOUSING MARKET

There’s good news for homebuyers! In many markets across the country, prices have begun to stabilize after a period of rapid appreciation. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory.

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

“The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates,” according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.”3

INVENTORY TO REMAIN TIGHT, NEW CONSTRUCTION MAY HELP

Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.

“Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

"The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth."4

With so much demand, why aren’t more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

Still, there’s evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area.

AFFORDABILITY REACHES LOWEST LEVEL IN A DECADE

According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

"We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace," said John Egan, Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

Fortunately, economists aren’t concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. “Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession.”4

MORTGAGE RATES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE RISING

The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

The good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate ... before rates climb higher.

"Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again," said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. "Well, they will be waiting forever."9

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR ME?

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

And if you’re in the market to sell your home, there’s no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller’s market.

LET’S GET MOVING

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, let us know! We’re here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.

Sources:

  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release -
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/766551_cshomeprice-release-0828.pdf?force_download=true
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report -
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20180827_strong_economic_growth.html
  3. DSNews -
    https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/08-28-2018/freddie-weighs-in-on-housing-market
  4. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realtors-chief-economist-reflects-on-past-recession-whats-ahead-for-housing-300702632.html
  5. CNN Money -
    https://www.keyt.com/lifestyle/where-is-the-us-housing-market-headed-4-things-you-need-to-know/787471572
  6. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-housing-starts-to-rise-2-4-yearly-to-2022--300711989.html
  7. Business Insider -
    https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-affordability-slowing-market-sales-2018-8
  8. Value Penguin -
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  9. Times Free Press -
    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/aug/14/despite-prospects-higher-mortgage-rateshousin/476979/

Heart-Healthy Neighborhoods? Yes, they exist...

by Lorna Calder

Living in a friendly neighborhood may be good for your heart, according to a study by psychologists at the University of Michigan. In fact, the more social connections you have among your neighbors, the less likely you are to die from a heart attack. 

 

The study analyzed the social connections of more than 5,000 adults in urban, suburban and rural areas over a four year period. Researchers controlled for factors like age, race, income, marital status, education, mental health, optimism and other known health-risk factors associated with heart attacks, such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. By the end of four years, 148 of the individuals studies had suffered heart attacks. 

 

Maintaining friendly relationships with your neighbors may be good for your health because neighbors are more likely to check on each other and notice any potential health problems, share resources and health information, and lend money. They can also offer emotional support, which can be a buffer during times of stress. 

 

Conversely, other studies have shown that negative aspects of a neighborhood can have a detrimental effect on a person's health. For example, living in areas with violence, noise, poor air quality and access to too many fast food restaurants can have a negative impact on a person's health. Further, a study at the University of Pennsylvania finds that living in areas with abandoned buildings can lead to isolation and hamper social relationships, which can lead to poor physical health of residents who live nearby.

 

Being helpful and neighborly is not only good for your health, it's good for the health of the neighborhood! 

 


Source: Certified Residential Specialist Magazine "Your Home"

9 Reasons you need an Agent to help you Buy or Sell a home!

by Lorna Calder

Whether you're selling your first or fourth home, buying  an existing property or building a new home, there;'s one thing you need: a reputable agent. While some may say you can buy or sell a home on your own, if you're not familiar with the whole process, it will lead to more frustration and aggravation than it's worth. Why go at it alone when you can have an experienced professional by your side to help you every step of the way?

 

 

1. An Agent will represent you.

When you buy a home, you may be tempted to work with the seller's agent, but that agent is loyal to their client - the seller or builder. A buyer's agent will keep you best interests in mind. They'll explain the process, negotiate with the seller or builder and help you purchase the home of your dreams. Likewise, if you're selling, make sure you're working with a trustworthy agent who can expertly represent you with the buyer's agent.

 

2. An Agent will guide you through the process.

Since agents deal with the buying and selling process every day, they understand its nuances. They can explain often complicated contractual language, handle requests from the other side and spot potential issues before they become problems. 

 

3. An Agent knows what to look for.

They'll see things you may not know to look for, such as wear and tear, issues or the condition of the roof or wiring. If you're buying a home, they'll help you assess the state of the home you're viewing. If you're selling a home, they'll help you decide what updates to make before you list. 

 

4. An Agent is objective.

If you're selling your home, an agent can offer advice about how to position your home in the local market to attract the right buyers. If you're buying a home, they can offer objective insight into the homes you're viewing and help you find the one that's right for you. 

 

5. An Agent is an expert in your local area. 

If you're moving to a new area, an agent can give you the scoop on the best schools and neighborhoods, as well as warn you about areas prone to flooding, located near busy roads or are future hot spots for city redevelopment plans. Similarly, they understand the local market and can give you tips to help your home stand out and sell quickly. 

 

6. An Agent offers advice based on experience. 

Agents rely on their experience to give you tips in regards to inspections, price reductions and other issues that may arise during the course of the transaction. 

 

7. An Agent works on your behalf. 

Whether it's negotiating the sale, handling challenges or objections that may arise, or acting as a liaison, an agent uses their expertise and skill to communicate your best interests with the other party. 

 

8. An Agent will continue to serve after closing. 

Sometimes issues arise in the first year following a home purchase, An agent will help you resolve these issues and connect you with reputable tradespeople in their networks. 

 

9. Going at it alone may end up costing you!

Sellers often make a big mistake when trying to sell their own home by pricing it too high. A home that's not priced well will sit on the market for weeks. Enlisting the aid of an agent will help you price your home to sell so that it piques the attention on the right buyers. 

 

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Are REALTORS® still needed to help Sell your home?

by Lorna Calder

 

Short answer, YES! If you're thinking about selling your home, don't do it alone! Although some sellers may initially try to sell their home themselves, they soon realize they need an experienced professional on their side to help them through the process. Here are 10 reasons you need a Real Estate professional to work for you!!

 

1. UNDERSTAND THE LOCAL MARKET

The internet gives you access to more information now than ever before. An experienced real estate professional, like me, is able to help you understand this information in the context of the local market and interpret what it means to sell your home. 

 

2. PRICE YOUR COME COMPETITIVELY

When you list your home, you want it to sell quickly and for top dollar. Having professional assistance will help you do both, especially in competitive markets. 

 

3. OPTIMIZE ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGIES

Buyers are savvier than EVER! To find the right buyer, we have to go where they are. We'll do more than put a sign in your yard to attract buyers; we'll utilize the latest online marketing tools to show your home at its best and entice buyers to learn more. 

 

4. TARGET THE RIGHT BUYERS

A marketing strategy means nothing if you're not targeting the right buyers. The first few weeks a house is on the market are vital. The longer a home remains on the market, the more likely a seller will have to reduce their listing price and/or offer incentives, such as a home warranty policy or assistance with closing costs, to attract buyers. A real estate pro has the experience and connections to find the right buyers for your home. 

 

5. GET MORE MONEY FOR YOUR HOME

All sellers want their homes purchased at the listed price, if not more. Studies show that enlisting the aid of an agent to sell your home will net you more money than trying to sell it yourself. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average for sale by owner (FSBO) sold $210,000 compared to an agent-assisted home sale which sold for $249,000.

 

6. NEGOTIATE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST

Buyers are looking for a deal on a home, and they'll hire an experienced agent to negotiate the sale for them. Having a real estate pro on your side will even the playing field and help you negotiate the terms of the sale with your best interest in mind. 

 

7. SPOT POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

Every real estate transaction is different. While we hope the transaction goes smoothly, setbacks and other hiccups often occur, and at the most inconvenient time. Sellers who have listed their homes themselves may not have the experience and know-how to deal with these issues as they arise; however, a real estate agent pro can tap into their experiences to handle potential problems, such as issues with a home inspection or problems with title, and mitigate their impact. 

 

8. OFFER TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME'S VALUE AND MAKE IT MORE ATTRACTIVE TO BUYERS

​Seller typically update their homes before they list. While some simply paint each room a neutral color and do a thorough cleaning, others may do a kitchen or bat h remodel to boost their home's value and/or help it sell faster in a competitive market. What should you do to boost your home's value and give it the competitive edge in our market? Ask me!

 

9. TAP INTO A NETWORK OF AGENTS

I work alongside other local real estate professionals, and have a database of thousands who may have clients looking for a home just like yours. Marketing your home to other agents is another way to help us find a qualified buyer. 

 

10. TAP INTO A RICH NETWORK OF SERVICE PROFESSIONALS

Real estate professionals work with a variety of service and tradespeople, including contractors, landscapers, movers and more. There is an average of 26 services involved in a real estate transaction in the 30 days before and after it has closed; however, you may need to tap into these services long after the ink has dried. From a plumber to a gardener, a real estate pro can refer you to a reputable trades person in your local area. 

 


 

 

Here is a PDF version of our Flyer with all of this information if you want to share!

 

 

 

 

 

© 2016 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JUNE MF S

Do you have a Plan for Disasters?

by Lorna Calder

 

More than 80% of Americans live in counties that have experienced a weather-related disaster.1  However, only 39% of Americans have created an emergency plan for their households.1  While it's almost impossible to predict when an emergency or natural disaster will occur, creating a plan may help keep your family safe in the event of one. The better prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be if you have to put your plan into action. 

 

KNOW THE RISKS

No matter where you live, your region may be susceptible to one or more emergency situations or weather hazards, including: earthquakes, wildfires, fooding, tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards. Although some of these events - like hurricanes - may provide some advanced warning, other - like earthquakes - are hard to predict. Most of these occurances may lead to extend power outages; however, if you live in an area where they are likely, having a plan will help you prepare for the next event. 

Other emergencies can happen at any time, such as a house or building fire. Common causes include faulty appliances, electrical components and smoking. In fact, cooking equipment was the cause of 45% of home structure fires from 2009-2013.

 

DECIDE ON AN EMERGENCY MEETING PLACE

Emergency situations are chaotic. In the midst of the confusion, it can be difficult to get in touch with loved ones. Decide on a meeting place with your family ahead of time to reduce some of the initial stress. Choose three locations: one in the neighborhood, one in your town and one out-of-town, and make sure everyone knows how to get there. Your safe area may vary depending on the emergency - for example, in the event of a tornado or hurricane, stay away from windows and take cover in an interior room of your home or building, on the lowest floor. 

 

MAKE A PLAN

Make a plan that outlines all the information you'll need to know in the event of an emergency. Not only will it help you get to a safe location, it'll also allow you to let your loved ones know you're safe.

1. Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Names and nicknames of each family memeber
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Names of doctors
  • Places of work
  • School

2. Plan a safe evacuation route

If you're home when an emergency occurs, you may have to evacuate with little to no notice. Select several safe evacuation routes, and make sure everyone is familiar with them. 

3. Assign roles

Have someone turn off the utilities, like water and electricity, while another person packs the important documents and another grabs pets. Giving everyone a responsibility will ensure nothing important is left behind. 

 

Check out the PDF link below for MANY ideas on how to prepare for any emergency, including how to plan for your Pet!

 

PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY - PDF

 

Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan to download an emergency plan template you can tailor to your family's needs!

 

©2016 Buffini & Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission. RMNK MAY MF S

 

 

 

Basic Home Improvements YOU can do to save money!

by Lorna Calder

 

Are the rise of water and energy costs taking a bite our of your wallet? Don't fret, there is hope! You may be able to save on your Utility Bills with these simple home improvements.


WATER

1. Go Low Flow - Low Flow faucets and shower heads can help reduce your water consumption. You may be able to cut usage by 50% and save as much as $145/year!

 

2. Fix Leaks - That seems like an easy one! These leaks will rack up some serious cash if not fixed immediately!

 

3. Go Tankless - Going tankless can be a great upgrade to help save on costs! And as a bonus you will never run out of hot water!


ENERGY

1. Rethink your insulation - You can reduce your cooling and heating by up to 20% with good insulation. 

 

2. Manage the temperature automatically - Imagine this; Coming home to a perfectly cooled or heated home...yes sounds wonderful and you can have this! A programmable thermostat will save you money and help keep you comfortable.

 

3. Seal up drafts - Does your home get hot in the summer and cold in the winter no matter what your thermostat is set to? This could be due to drafts around doors, windows and other openings in your home. Caulk it up and apply weather stripping where needed! Drafty windows and doors cause up to 30%-40% of heat and cooling loss!

 


You can download or open this PDF, BASIC HOME IMPROVEMENTS, to get more in depth percentages, numbers and solutions to help save YOU money!

You may miss out on Low Interest Rates if you wait...

by Lorna Calder

 

Waiting to Buy a Home? 

You May Miss Out on Low Interest Rates!

 

In December, the Federal Reserve raised the key interest rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%, the first rate increase in nearly a decade.1 While some experts expect the Fed to raise rates gradually this year, some economists expect rates to increase three or four more times this year.2 Increases are anticipated to amount to a quarter -point each time, and when they do occur are sure to impact mortgage rates.What's a homebuyer to do?

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY!

Quarter-point interest rate increases may not seem like a whole lot but it could mean the difference of hundreds of dollars!

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  • Narrow down your search criteria
  • Get hunting

 

Check out the image below or upload our PDF for more details on these bullet points and to gather more important information on why NOW is the time to buy!

1. CNN Money, December 16, 2015

2. The Guardian, January 6, 2015

                                                

Lorna Calder with The Lorna Calder Team in Kingwood, Texas has earned the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation in recognition of her experience, knowledge and expertise in the luxury home market. “Lorna Calder is an example of a real estate professional who has worked to develop market knowledge and the special skills and competencies necessary to provide exceptional service in the fine homes and estates marketplace,” said Institute President Laurie Moore-Moore, upon announcing Lorna’s designation. “Affluent buyers and sellers can turn to sales professionals who have this designation and be confident that they have special expertise and experience in the luxury home marketplace.”

 

“I am committed to providing outstanding service to my clients,” said Lorna “The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation is evidence of my ability to meet the needs of affluent buyers and sellers. My membership in The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing also provides me with marketing tools and networking capabilities that benefit my clients.”

 

Lorna Calder is an award-winning real estate professional who has gone through special training and met performance standards in the upper tier market. She has been in Real Estate since 2008 and specializes in the Kingwood and the surrounding area’s markets.

 

Lorna has also earned the Million Dollar Guild® for her extensive training in high end luxury markets. The million dollar+ transaction requires sophistication and knowledge over and above that of an average agent. Rather than selecting an agent who is using your transaction to learn, consider an experienced professional who not only has the credibility of the CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST® designation, but has also earned Million Dollar Guild® recognition. A smart choice. 

 

“Being an excellent Kingwood Texas Real Estate Agent and Realtor® - involves having integrity, in-depth community and knowledge of the real estate market in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble TX area. Marketing, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network are all valuable tools for any real estate professional and are all hallmarks of my real estate practice.
 

My focus as a KINGWOOD TX Realtor®, ATASCOCITA TX Realtor®, and HUMBLE TX Realtor® is about putting my clients first. This means staying accessible, listening to the needs of my clients and communicating in a way that is tailored to each client’s needs. Being able to respond quickly to client concerns is a core value of my real estate practice. Bringing forth both competence and caring ensures that I maintain a high level of client satisfaction. Staying on top of the latest real estate technologies allows me to extend the range and quality of services I provide to my clients in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble Texas.
 

As a true professional, I am committed to continuing real estate education so that I am well positioned in the real estate community. As a Graduate of the Texas Realtor® University, I hold the GRI designation. I have specialized knowledge including legal issues, finance, marketing, real estate investments, professional standards and environmental law, and brokerage. Fewer than 10 percent of 90,000 Texas Realtors have earned their GRI designation. The association is dedicated to increased professionalism in the real estate industry and is affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.
 

 "The GRI designation is a mark of excellence that signifies the graduate is a cut above," said Dennis Patillo, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. "It represents the knowledge and professionalism needed to perform successfully in today’s complex real estate field."   
 

Buddy Wall, Broker of RE/MAX Associates Northeast in Kingwood added, "In today’s market, simply being a good agent is not enough. Lorna’s continued pursuit of educational excellence in her field coupled with her non-stop commitment to customer service singles her out "Above the Crowd".”

 

For current information on the upper tier market, contact Lorna Calder at The Lorna Calder Team of RE/MAX Northeast at 281-361-2280 or email Lorna at lorna@lornacalder.com.

 

The Lorna Calder Team

RE/MAX Northeast

2940 Oak Street

Kingwood, TX 77339

(281) 361-2280

lorna@lornacalder.com

www.LornaCalder.com

Buyers CAN help their Agents, here is how...

by Lorna Calder

 

Sure, buying a home is very exciting but there is a lot more than just home tours and paperwork! Your Agent is working tirelessly behind the scenes, day and night, week and weekend to make sure you are getting a great home, for a great price and checking off as much as they can on your "Must Have" list.

 

Here are a few things that YOU as the Buyer can do to help make your Agent's job a bit easier. 

 

1. Try not to get too caught up in aesthetics.

Many items that may bother you as the Buyer are easily fixed! Don't sweat the small stuff, remember that your Agent can always negotiate repairs and the price of the home but most of the things that you want done, can be done in a weekend! Try to look at it in a more positive way, "yes, there are a few things that I would like to have done BUT this home is in the perfect neighborhood and for a great price!" Sometimes separating "wants" from "needs" helps.

 

2. Being too focused on the money can hurt your experience.

Of course money is a very important part of the buying process, we get that but exhausting all of your thoughts on the financial aspect will hinder your ability to focus on anything else. The Seller doesn't always accept the highest offer, most often they will accept the best offer which is a combination of price and terms. Sometimes a Buyer's financial qualifications come into the decision making process as well, for example; cash buyer versus FHA buyer.  You really need to trust your Agent when it comes to structuring a good offer that combines the right mix of timing, price and reasonable contingencies. 

 

3. Don't sit on it too long!

If you're in love with it, you haven't found anything like it, you can't live without it, MAKE AN OFFER. In this market it is VERY important to make an offer if you find the "right one". Houses don't sit long and before you know it the house you fell in love with has been sold to someone else! Not fun.

 

4. Talking to the Listing Agent...probably not a good idea!

The Selling Agent is there to get the most money for the SELLER not the BUYER. For example when calling a Listing Agent on a property, a buyer many sometimes share details about their situation, scenario, possible relocation and financial qualifications that the Listing Agent is duty bound to share with their client who is the Seller. This places the Buyer in a disadvantageous negotiating position. It's best to leave this communication to your Buyer's Agent, they've got this!

 

5. Low-balling offers is a no no!

Take this for instance: The seller declines the first offer and the buyer then makes another unreasonable offer. This is going to frustrate the Seller, cost the Buyer the house and tie up the Buyer Agent's time on a home in which the offer will be refused. Please listen carefully to your Agent, they know best what Sellers likely will and won't accept. After all, you hired them for a reason, they are pretty good at their job!

 

Source: "7 things Buyers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate," realtor.com® (Jan. 18, 2016)

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