Archive for June, 2020

The Advantages Of Using REALTORS Vs. For Sale By Owner

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 30th, 2020

The Advantages Of Using REALTORS Vs. For Sale By OwnerFor Sale By Owner (FSBO) at first glance seems like it might be a good idea. After all, in an FSBO transaction, there is the saving of the commission that a real estate agent earns. Does that mean there is more for the homeowner from the FSBO sale? Not always.

One explanation for this is that FSBO homes may get less attention in the marketplace and therefore may receive fewer purchase offers.

Consider The Value Of Time

A professional worker who earns $150 per hour does not save money by doing the janitorial work accomplished by paying someone else $15 per hour. In the same way, there is a cost of trying to sell your home on your own that isn’t necessarily money out of your pocket.  Selling a home in every case takes a significant amount of time and attention to manage the process efficiently.

A REALTOR® spends time, energy, and money promoting the properties listed for sale. The real estate agent may help stage the home to get a better sales price and conducts the open house events. They also coordinate showings with other agents and prospective buyers to facilitate the sale of the home. This coordination can sometimes take months of time investment.

Consider The Value Of Professional Representation

It is easy for an amateur to make costly mistakes in a real estate transaction. A real estate agent working in a professional manner may lower the risk of these mistakes. Using a handmade FSBO sign in the front yard does not have the same impact as a professional one.

A REALTOR® pays a significant annual membership fee to belong to the multi-listing service (MLS). A property put up for sale on the MLS system, immediately notifies all the other members in the system that the property is available. A listing agent splits the commission with the agent that brings the buyer. Being on the MLS system means reaching all the agents that may represent thousands of potential buyers. A sign in the front yard has very little impact compared to this.

A real estate agent also markets properties on the Internet through a professional website, presence on social media, and various other paid advertising methods. They take attractive photos and videos of the property to use for marketing purposes. Putting these online attracts attention.

Without the help of a real estate agent, the homeowner needs to make all these marketing efforts and pay for them.

Closing The Sale

A real estate agent does all the grunt work that is necessary to work with the buyer, the escrow company, and the title company in order to have a smooth closing of the transaction.  A good agent helps to eliminate potential problems before they arise. This only comes through the experience gained in selling many homes over time.

Conclusion

For the vast majority of homeowners, with little or no experience marketing home for sale and closing a real estate transaction, working with a real estate agent is usually a better idea than trying to go at this alone. A REALTOR® does not get paid unless the home sells, so they are highly motivated to sell the home and close the transaction as efficiently as possible.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 29, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 29th, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 29, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on sales of new and pre-owned homes and reports on inflation. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims were also released.

Home Sales Results Mixed for May

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of pre-owned homes in May at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 3.91 million sales. Analysts expected 3.80 million sales as compared to April’s reading of 4.33 million sales. This was the lowest reading for sales of pre-owned homes since July 2010 and sales were 26.60 percent lower year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun,  the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said that sales were expected to rise as coronavirus-related restrictis were lifted and people returned to work. Mr. Yun said in a report that sales of previously-owned homes should surpass last year’s annual sales pace in the second half of 2020. Mr. Yun made this forecast before rising coronavirus cases occurring after the reopening of the economy started.

There was a 4.80 months supply of previously-owned homes for sale in May, which was below the six-months supply indicating a balanced market.

The Commerce Department reported 676,000 new homes sold in May on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this surpassed expectations of 650,000 sales and April’s revised annual sales pace of 580,000 new homes sold. New home sales rose by 45.50 percent in May in the Northeastern region; New home sales rose by 29 percent in the West and 15.20 percent in the South, New home sales fell by -6.40 percent in the Midwest.

The average sale price of new homes was $317,900 in May. There was a 5.60 months supply of new homes available in May, which nearly matched the six months average inventory.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as JoblessClaims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at an average rate of 3.13 percent; The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 2.59 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.08 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.50 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 1.48 million from the prior week’s reading of 1.51 million new claims. Continuing jobless claims were also lower last week with 19.50 million claims filed as compared to 20.30 million claims filed the previous week.

Rising Inflation Indicates Improving Economy

Inflation rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 8.20 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -12.60 percent Analysts expected the inflation rate to reach 9.90 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news releases include readings on pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, and labor-sector jobs reports. The national unemployment rate will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new and continuing jobless claims.

 

 

 

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The Healthy Home? Selling The Wellness Value Of A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 26th, 2020

The Healthy Home? Selling The Wellness Value Of A HomeA study by the World Health Organization says that 90% of our health comes from where and how people live. Homeowners are paying more attention to wellness. These considerations extend to the home that they want to buy. Do you want to get a great price when you sell your home?

Go green and go healthy.

Going Green

Homebuyers are looking for more than just a quality home in a safe neighborhood. They also appreciate energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency includes new appliances that use less electricity, smart-home technology that manages usage and climate zones, and better insulation as well as new windows and doors. It also includes having a solar energy system to reduce monthly electricity costs.

Wellness Living

Wellness amenities include special lighting, sound systems, interior climate monitoring, plus air and water filtration systems. Newly-constructed homes are being advertised as being more healthy and perhaps extending the occupants’ lives. Older homes can be retrofitted with wellness systems to increase habitability and make them attractive to buyers.

Here are some wellness systems to consider:

  • Water Purification — Pure water for drinking and ice cubes with soft water for other uses is high on the list of priorities. The best water purification systems have micro-filtration combined with activated carbon filters. They are able to remove up to 99.999% of any contaminants.
  • Air Filtration — Hospital-quality air-filtration systems with HEPA filters remove dust, allergens, pet dander, bacteria, mold, and contagious airborne viruses.
  • Climate Monitoring — These advanced smart home systems constantly test the interior air for contaminants. The system will inform homeowners if any toxic chemicals are detected.
  • Circadian Lighting — Advanced lighting systems provide full-spectrum lighting that comes on automatically to mimic the natural light cycles of sunrise and sunset. These systems are especially helpful to improve the moods of occupants in areas that have dreary outside weather
  • Soothing Sound Systems — Sound systems can be fine-tuned to emit white noise and noise-cancellation frequencies to provide soothing sonics for interior spaces.
  • Home Gym — Having an exercise room with large windows and a nice view of the garden is a real plus. This room can also serve as a space for meditation.
  • Sunroom — A sunroom is an excellent choice for a home addition. It can be used to relax and get some vitamin D from the sunshine as well as be filled with living aromatic flowers for quality aromatherapy.

Summary

Having a home that is designed to both be energy-efficient and improve wellness is a trend that helps sell them as a wonderful living space that promotes holistic living.

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Pros And Cons Of Completing Home Renovations Before Selling

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 25th, 2020

Pros And Cons Of Completing Home Renovations Before Selling

Whether you originally bought a fixer-upper or you’re just a homeowner who wanted to update their house, chances are you have seen your share of home renovations. Home renovations have the potential to greatly add to the value of your property, but they can also add to your own quality of life. Hopefully, you have completed your home renovations and gotten plenty of use out of them before listing your home for sale. 
If not, you may find yourself wanted to move before all the renovations are complete. What’s the best course of action? Should you put the time and money in to finish? Or should you cut your losses and list the home for sale? What are the pros and cons of completing home renovations before selling?
Pro: The Home May Sell Easier
Your real estate agent will be happier if your home is fully renovated. That’s because they know that the home may sell easier in a fully renovated condition. Of course, you could get a prospective DIY homebuyer eager to put their own “stamp” on the home, but that is nothing you can count on.
Con: You May Not Recoup The Extra Expenses
Not all home renovations equate to value-added improvements that you can count in your wallet. If your renovations are small things like replacing door hinges, patching a hole in the plaster, or stripping outdated wallpaper, you are unlikely to see an equal increase in what you can get for your home sale.
Pro: There Will Be Less Explaining
If you have finished the renovation, you have nothing to explain and no excuses to make to anyone. In the renovated condition, the home is what it is. Even if a prospective home buyer does not happen to like the new paint color you have chosen, they still can?t complain that it is old or worn looking. 
Con: You Will Need To Delay Your Listing
Home renovations can take up a lot of time, as you may know, if you have done a lot of them already. You will have to delay listing your home, which in turn will mean putting your moving plans on hold for what could be an extra month or two. Depending on your future plans, this could impact your child’s school entry date and more.
No one will force you to complete half-finished renovations. But consider these pros and cons before deciding how to proceed.

Whether you originally bought a fixer-upper or you’re just a homeowner who wanted to update their house, chances are you have seen your share of home renovations. Home renovations have the potential to greatly add to the value of your property, but they can also add to your own quality of life.

Hopefully, you have completed your home renovations and gotten plenty of use out of them before listing your home for sale. 

If not, you may find yourself wanted to move before all the renovations are complete. What’s the best course of action?

Should you put the time and money in to finish? Or should you cut your losses and list the home for sale?

What are the pros and cons of completing home renovations before selling?

Pro: The Home May Sell Easier
Your real estate agent will be happier if your home is fully renovated. That’s because they know that the home may sell easier in a fully renovated condition. Of course, you could get a prospective DIY homebuyer eager to put their own “stamp” on the home, but that is nothing you can count on.

Con: You May Not Recoup The Extra Expenses
Not all home renovations equate to value-added improvements that you can count in your wallet. If your renovations are small things like replacing door hinges, patching a hole in the plaster, or stripping outdated wallpaper, you are unlikely to see an equal increase in what you can get for your home sale.

Pro: There Will Be Less Explaining
If you have finished the renovation, you have nothing to explain and no excuses to make to anyone. In the renovated condition, the home is what it is. Even if a prospective home buyer does not happen to like the new paint color you have chosen, they still can?t complain that it is old or worn looking. 

Con: You Will Need To Delay Your Listing
Home renovations can take up a lot of time, as you may know, if you have done a lot of them already. You will have to delay listing your home, which in turn will mean putting your moving plans on hold for what could be an extra month or two. Depending on your future plans, this could impact your child’s school entry date and more.

No one will force you to complete half-finished renovations. But consider these pros and cons before deciding how to proceed.

 

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How to Pack Weird Shaped So They Are Free From Damage

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 24th, 2020

How to Pack Weird Shaped nothey Are Free From DamageIf you are like a lot of homeowners who have just sold their homes, packing up to move is the least enjoyable aspect of the whole thing. Packing is always time consuming, but it is worse when you have weird shaped items to pack. Sometimes the most commonly used items end up being difficult to pack.

Here are some tips for how to handle it.

Think Outside The Box

Many weird shaped items either do not fit inside a standard sized box or they will rattle around and get damaged. Try to think of unusual packaging materials that might fit the bill, such as egg cartons, cardboard paper towel tubes, insulated coolers and even file cabinet drawers. Often, you will be able to fit a odd or strangely shaped item into one of these. 

  • For instance, sharp knives can be tucked into paper towel tubes. Fold the two ends down and tape shut. 
  • Your kids rock or shell collection can be packed inside egg cartons, layered with newspaper and taped up.
  • A delicate light fixture such as a small chandelier can be packed into an insulated cooler and surrounded with Styrofoam peanuts.

Deal With Sporting Goods And Gardening Equipment

Sporting goods pose a particular challenge when packing. If your family engages in water sports, archery or other activities, you will be wondering how to pack things like fins, a crossbows, skis, and other expensive but weirdly shaped equipment. Here are some ideas.

  • Pack snorkeling and scuba gear into a large, new, plastic trash barrel. The fins will be able to fit on end so they get warped, and there will be plenty of room for masks, snorkels and scuba tank, if necessary.
  • Use a specially designed television box to pack a cross bow and arrows or any other item that?s flat and wide.
  • Ski poles will fit nicely into a bicycle box (along with the bicycle). You can get one from a local dealer or buy one from the moving company. Secure the poles with a zip tie first. 
  • Wrap up garden shovels and hoes with a zip tie and pack them into their own bicycle box. You can use the same box to pack rolled up tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear. 

You can see that with a little ingenuity there is always a way to pack weird shaped items. Be forewarned though – the stranger the item, the more creative you may have to get!

 

 

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5 Tips For Getting A Job In A New City When You Relocate

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 23rd, 2020

5 Tips For Getting A Job In A New City When You RelocateDid you just move into a new city? Transitioning to a new city is hard enough, but when you also need to find a job, it can be even tougher. Since everything is a bit new to you, there are definitely some strategies to implement that will make your job hunting easier. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Let People Know You are Looking For A Job

Everywhere you go, spread the word that you are in the market for a new job. In general, people love to help out other people. Someone you speak with will surely know of a job opening; either where they work or someplace else. 

2. Be Ready With Your Business Card

Once you start having conversations with people about needing a job, they will want to know what you do and how to contact you. Have some attractive business cards printed up with your contact information and area of expertise.

The more of these you can get into circulation, the higher your chances of finding a job sooner rather than later. 

3. Use Your Existing Network

Check back in with your network where you used to live and see if anyone knows someone in your new city. You might be surprised to find out how vast a network of connections can be. If you can make a new connection in your new city through your old network, they may be able to introduce you to potential employers in the area where you now live.

4. Go Through The Employment Agency

Employment agency work can sometimes transition into permanent positions. Working through an employment agency will not make you wealthy, but it can help to pay the bills until the time you can find a job that fits with your career goals.

Plus, employment agencies can often put you to work the very next day or the next Monday. It is a temporary solution, but a worthwhile use of your time.

5. Spend Time Getting To Know The Locals

Some cities are known for being harder to find a job as an outsider. A local reference can help you to pass the test and get an interview. Get to know some locals who might be willing to vouch for you as a local reference. 

These five tips will help you get a job in no time in your new city. Remember, your first job in your new city might not be your dream job, but at least it will get you in the door.

 

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 22, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 22nd, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 22, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on U.S. Housing markets, housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reports on new and continuing jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Recovers in June

Analysts cited slim supplies of available homes, tight housing markets, and low mortgage rates as drivers of new home sales. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose 21 points to an index reading of 58 in June;  builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose 22 points to 68.

Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose from May’s index reading of 21 to 43 in June. Readings for buyer traffic are typically lower than the benchmark reading of 50.

Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about housing market conditions and component readings of the Housing Market Index. Prospective home buyers continued to face obstacles of high unemployment and loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic; these factors will likely impact builder confidence for months ahead as impacts of the pandemic change.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Increase in May

The Commerce Department reported 974,000 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May as compared to a  pace of  934,000 housing starts reported in April. Building permits issued in May rose to 1.22 million permits issued on an annual basis from April’s pace of 1.07 million permits issued. Analysts expected 1.25 million permits to be issued in May on an annual basis.

 

Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low as Jobless Claims Decrease

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates that were the lowest mortgage rates recorded. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.13 percent; interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.58 percent and were four basis points lower than for the prior week. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 3.09 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 1.51 million claims last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.57 million initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell; 20.50 million claims were reported as compared to 20.60 million ongoing jobless claims reported the prior week.

 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, FHFA’s Home Price Index, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index.

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What Does It Mean To Have A Cash Buyer?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 19th, 2020

What Does It Mean To Have A Cash Buyer?Every now and then when a person is selling their home, a cash buyer comes into the equation. If you have listed your home for sale and your real estate agent has informed you that a cash buyer is interested, you will want to understand how this affects the potential sale. 

What Is A Cash Buyer?

A cash buyer is a buyer who will not be applying for a loan to buy your house. They already have the financial resources available to make the purchase without external loans.

Cash buyers do not necessarily have the whole amount in cash sitting in their savings accounts, though. They may have the money tied up in a retirement account, stocks, bonds or other commodities. 

Is A Cash Buyer Desirable?

There are many benefits to having a cash buyer. For one, the deal will not fall apart for lack of financing because cash buyers do not need financing. As long as your real estate agent verifies the legitimate ability of a cash buyer to purchase your home, a cash buyer is very desirable.

What Does The Real Estate Agent Do With Cash Buyers?

Cash buyers should submit their financial records to your real estate agent so your agent can confirm that they have the money available to pay without financing. Proof of funds might be a recent bank statement, financial records from stock holdings or something similar.

If a cash buyer refuses to submit proof of funds available, then you and your agent should assume that they may not be a genuine cash buyer.

What Are The Risks With Cash Buyers?

Sometimes a buyer comes along who claims to be a cash buyer but is not. Maybe they intend on getting private financing, or they do not want to be bothered with a pre-approval. For whatever reason, it is essential for your agent to get proof. Otherwise, a non-cash buyer who pretends to be could derail your sale.

For instance, you might have entertained other offers if you had known that person was not really as liquid as they claimed.

Your real estate agent will cover your interests if a cash buyer comes along. Just know that if you do have a genuine offer from a cash buyer, your closing will likely be very smooth.

 

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How To Keep Your Pet Safe When Moving

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 18th, 2020

How To Keep Your Pet Safe When MovingMoving with pets can be strenuous, especially for the pet. Oftentimes pets might even go missing on moving day or shortly before or after. Many pets, such as dogs and cats, are sensitive and acutely aware of when big changes are taking place within the home.

They might even sense the need to escape the source of stress by running away. Here are a few safety tips for moving with your pet.

On Moving Day

While movers are busy moving furniture and boxes, frightened cats or dogs might run out the door and go missing. On moving day, keep your pet secured in a separate room where they cannot escape. A bathroom is ideal since it will not have furniture or boxes that the movers need to get to.

Place a sign on the door to alert the movers that the pet is in there, and not to open the door. Make sure to put food, water, bedding (and a litter box if necessary) inside the room so your pet is comfortable.

While On The Road

While driving to your new home, your pet may experience fear and/or stress from being in a moving vehicle, especially after a stressful day of moving house. Cats in particular are sensitive to the unusual sensation, and may try to hide under a seat of the car or even crawl up under the dashboard. Prevent this by purchasing a pet carrier and placing it on the floor of the back seat. This will keep the carrier from tipping from excess movement or sharp turns.

If you prefer to keep your pet unenclosed, make sure they have a collar and leash on. When you open the door they may try to escape and the collar and leash will help prevent this. 

In The New Home

When you finally move into your new home, keep your pet indoors for between a few days and a week. This allows your pet to relax and build an understanding of the new environment.

If you let your pet outdoors too soon, they may get lost or instinctively try to go back “home” to the old house. 

These few tried and tested tips will ensure your pet is safe on moving day and throughout the move. Once you arrive safely in your new home, your pet will soon be able to enjoy it just as much as you!

 

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Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 17th, 2020

Should You Buy A Fixer Upper?If you’ve expressed any interest in buying a home that you can work on, your real estate agent may present you with one or two fixer upper properties for your consideration. Fixer upper homes can offer good value for certain kinds of homebuyers.

But not everyone should buy a fixer upper. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

There May Be Unforeseen Conditions

Until you actually get in there and start renovating, you cannot know exactly what is behind those walls. Fixer uppers could have unforeseen conditions that could blow away your renovation budget.

If you do decide to forge ahead with an offer, consider hiring a structural engineer, a pest control technician and a mold expert to carefully inspect the property first.

Will You Be Able To Live There During Renovations?

Sometimes a fixer upper requires a complete overhaul. Other times there are a few inhabitable rooms you can stay in while completing the rehab.

Consider whether you and/or your family can be comfortable during the work, or if you will need to rent an apartment or stay with family.

This will heavily impact your fixer upper experience.

How Handy Are You – Honestly?

This is the time to be really honest with yourself. How much of the work can you actually do? Are you a wannabe handyman, or do you truly possess the skills and experience to complete quality work? If everyone you know is astonished that you want to work on a fixer upper house, it is a smart idea to take stock of your abilities. 

Can You Afford To Hire Workers?

Just because you buy a fixer upper does not mean you have to do the work yourself, either. Maybe you have the money to hire a contractor or workers to get the job done. If hiring others is part of the plan, make sure you budget accordingly. Do not forget to budget for the unexpected because with a fixer upper, you can expect the unexpected.

Finally, if the only house you can afford is a fixer upper and you really want to buy now, then maybe you should go for it. After all, when you finish the rehab, you could be in a position to take some equity out of the house after a new appraisal.

For the right person in the right circumstances, a fixer upper can be a viable choice.

 

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