Great news for sellers!

New Survey: Buyers More Likely To Buy Existing Homes Vs. New Construction

Many people believe that when it comes to real estate, buyers want something brand new. But according to a recent report, the vast majority of buyers end up purchasing existing homes.

According to the New Construction Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018, only 38% of buyers in 2018 even considered purchasing new construction. And the percentage that ended up buying a brand new home? Only 11%.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, now is a great time to make a move. With 89% of buyers ultimately purchasing existing homes, your property is exactly what a huge portion of buyers are looking for.

What makes a home sell during winter?

Many homeowners believe attempting to sell their places during winter is a losing proposition. Real estate agents, however, know any season is the right one when a property is attractive and represents a great value.

With inventory typically lower during the cold weather months, it’s actually a perfect time to put a home on the market. It also doesn’t hurt to set the stage — or sweeten the pot, if you will — by evoking a warm and welcoming vibe that makes would-be buyers want to hang up their coats, kick off their boots, and stay a while.

There’s no denying it’s cold out there, so why not embrace it? The following are amenities that prove winter really can be the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Fire pit

Create a covetable outdoor space with the help of a fire pit. Whether it’s made of stone and serves as a permanent fixture or is a movable and affordable centerpiece for backyard S’mores-making, adding the element of fire ups the charm factor immediately.

2. Hot tub

Wait, is this a home or a five-star resort? Watching steam rise from a frothy hot tub on a chilly afternoon or evening makes anyone want to move right in! Giving a place the spa treatment, will remind home-shoppers that with this luxurious item on the premises, winter can last as long as it likes.

3. Home theater

Especially during the winter, and particularly in cold weather climates, playing up the ability to have a blast indoors does wonders for buyers’ peace of mind (moreso if they’re parents). A home theater, even on a smaller scale (think flat screen and an old-fashioned popcorn maker), helps visitors envision themselves and their families surviving those endless snow days in style.

4. Fireplace

It’s almost impossible to resist the hypnotic allure of a roaring fire. According to the National Center for Real Estate Research, fireplaces have a positive impact on the selling price, with each fireplace adding about 12 percent. If a home has this feature, by all means, strike a match and watch that property heat up!

5. In-home wine bar

Baby, it’s cold outside — so why leave the house? This wine bar is one way to keep spirits merry and bright. It also conjures up thoughts of hosting holiday parties and gatherings as new owners envision celebrating and showing off their place.

6. Hot cocoa bar

On the other end of the spectrum, but no less festive, a hot cocoa bar offers a sweet welcome all ages can enjoy. Placed in the kitchen, dining room, family room, or foyer, this treat station makes you feel comfortable and right at home.

7. Wood-burning stove

Wood-burning stoves represent a delightful throwback to bygone days. Their timeless appeal will charm visitors at the same time they warm up a home. Thanks to advancements in technology, these old-fashioned heaters are more energy efficient than ever.
8. Home sauna

Calling all athletes and anyone who could use a haven from the stresses of the outside world! (So, OK, everyone!) An in-home sauna is the oasis you’ve been seeking. Steam away those cares while enjoying health benefits that include improved circulation, detoxification, and even sinus relief.

9. Storm survival kit

Throwing in a highly-desirable item often increases interest from buyers. In a snowy climate, there are few tools as sought-after as a snowblower once that white stuff starts falling. Want to keep the enticement more affordable? Heavy-duty snow shovels, high-end gloves, rock salt, and de-icer all come in handy as well. First-time home-buyers who may be snow-removal newbies will appreciate this gesture.

10. Highlight energy efficient upgrades

via GIPHY

In addition to being comfortable temperature-wise, if a home is as energy-efficient as possible, that’s something buyers will definitely want to know — and remember. Creating a list of any upgrades to windows, doors, HVAC units, and the roof, as well as the installation of energy-saving appliances, means more money in buyers’ pockets and less going out the window.

A Whopping 77% Believe Now Is A Good Time To Sell

The current market conditions in the US have been a classic study in the effects of supply and demand; the supply of homes across the country have been low and demands have been high, causing competition—and prices—to skyrocket.

And thanks to the low supply and high demand, most Americans believe there’s never been a better time to sell their home than right now.

According to the 2018 Q3 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey from the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 77% of Americans surveyed believe that now is a good time to sell (a record high for the survey). And most of the people surveyed also believe that market conditions will continue to favor sellers (53% believe prices will increase in the next six months).

The Takeaway

Three out of four Americans firmly believe we’re in a seller’s market. So if you’ve been thinking about selling, now is the time to make a move.

More Than 19 Million Millennials Across The US “Mortgage Ready”

When someone uses the term “millennials,” most people don’t immediately think of financial stability or homeownership. But according to a new study, more millennials than ever are ready, willing, and able to purchase property in today’s market.

A recent study from Urban Institute, which analyzed data from the 31 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that 19 million millennials across the US are “mortgage ready,” which is defined as being no older than 40, not already having a mortgage, and having ample credit to qualify for a traditional loan (which includes a credit score of 620 or above and no recent credit issues, like bankruptcy or major delinquencies).

Why haven’t these millennials made a move? The report cites misconceptions about down payments as a major contributing factor for mortgage-ready millennials not making the jump into homeownership. (According to a survey released by Laurel Road earlier this year, 46% of Americans were unfamiliar with alternative lending options, and many millennials aren’t aware they can leverage these alternative lending options to purchase a home with as little as 3% down.)

The Takeaway

If you’re a mortgage-ready millennial but haven’t made a move because you’ve been struggling to save a large down payment, it’s time to start exploring alternative lending options. In today’s market, you don’t need 20% for a down payment—you might already have everything you need to purchase a home.

Use a REALTOR and save money!

One of the main gripes that people have with real estate agents is their commission. Many homeowners (mistakenly) think, “Why should I pay a real estate agent to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing myself?”

The reason people avoid working with agents is because they think it’s going to cost them money. But in reality, working with a qualified real estate agent is worth far more than what you’ll pay in commission. In fact, working with a real estate agent can actually make the process of selling your home less stressful, less time consuming, and less expensive.

Here are three ways real estate agents more than earn their commission — and can actually save you money — during your home sale:

1. They know the right people

via GIPHY

As the old real estate saying goes, when it comes to selling your home, it takes a village. And if you don’t have the right villagers in your corner, the process of selling your home can get expensive, fast.

During your home sale, there’s all sorts of vendors you’ll need to work with: contractors, landscapers, inspectors, tradesmen, professional stagers, movers… depending on your needs, the list can be lengthy.

Finding all of those vendors on your own will take a lot of time — and there’s no way to ensure you’re getting a good deal when you hire them. But when you work with an agent, they have professional contacts across the board and can recommend the right vendors at the right price.

Having access to your agent’s network is a huge time and money saver during the sale of your home.

2. They know exactly how to price your home

via GIPHY

Pricing your home is tricky business. If you don’t price it high enough, you’ll be kicking yourself when you get less than what you believe your home is worth. But price it too high and you won’t get any offers, leaving your house on the market — possibly stigmatized as “having something wrong with it” — and costing you money in the process.

When you try to sell your home on your own, pricing your property can feel like a guessing game. But when you work with a qualified real estate agent, their deep market knowledge will help you price your home in a way that works for both you and potential buyers.

It’s an agent’s job to know what’s going on in your market. They know how much homes are selling for, how long homes are sitting on the market, and exactly how you need to price your home if you want it to sell quickly and profitably. This information will significantly speed up the process of selling your home AND help you fetch a higher price — both of which put money right back into your pocket.

3. They give you your time back

via GIPHY

Many sellers who try to manage their home sale on their own start the process thinking that it’s going to require a minimal time investment. They think posting a few ads on home listing sites, hosting an open house or two, and signing a contract are all it takes to get a house sold.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Selling a home is a full-time job. That’s why there’s an entire industry built around it! Homeowners who go the sale-by-owner route in an attempt to save money often find their time, and lives, completely monopolized by the process.

And, as they say, time is money.

If you’re spending all of your time trying to get your house sold, it’s taking you away from your life — your family, your job, your hobbies. And there’s no price tag for what that’s worth.

Working with a real estate agent takes all that time burden off of you. Selling your home is their full-time job, and they can devote the time and attention necessary to get it done quickly. The amount of time and hassle this will save you is invaluable.

Not working with a real estate agent to save money on commission fees makes sense… in theory. But in practice, working with a real estate agent saves you immeasurable time, energy, and cash. Any good real estate agent will more than earn their commission — and then some — before the time comes to sign the closing papers.

Real estate apps and why you need a REALTOR

Listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Craigslist have become the go-to source for many buyers and sellers (particularly people attempting to buy or sell property on their own) to get information about the market, view properties, and connect with property owners.

But while most people believe these listing sites are a reliable source of information, there’s actually quite a bit of misinformation that can throw a wrench in your home search or sale.

Here are the three things real estate apps commonly get wrong (and how you can avoid them while selling or buying your home):

1. Not all postings are real

via GIPHY

One of the biggest problems on most real estate apps is that they don’t require any verification from the people placing listings. So essentially, anyone with an internet connection can post any listing they’d like — including listings that are completely falsified.

There are an immeasurable number of fake listings on these sites; posters either use the “bait and switch” method, posting photos of one property when they’re really selling another (one New York real estate company was caught red-handed using celebrities’ properties in a highly publicized bait and switch scam in 2015), or create a completely fake listing in hopes of gathering people’s personal information for marketing purposes or, in some extreme cases, identity theft.

For these reasons you may waste a lot of time and energy looking through and engaging with fake listings, which can keep you from finding real listings — the kind that could end up being your dream home.

2. Not all postings are up-to-date

via GIPHY

Another big issue with these sites is that often times, listings aren’t updated. So a listing you see for sale might have actually been sold the previous week or a listing that reads “sale pending” might actually be back on the market.

This failure to update is a bad situation for both buyers and sellers. As a buyer, it means you might get excited about a home only to find out it’s already been sold or you might pass on an amazing home, thinking it’s already been sold… only to find out after the fact it actually was available. If your listing is out-of-date as a seller, it means you could miss out on potential buyers thanks to inaccurate information.

Without up-to-date information, it’s impossible to effectively manage either the search or the sale of your home. But unfortunately, when you work within these types of real estate listings sites, you’re pretty much guaranteed out-of-date information.

3. Property information is often incorrect

via GIPHY

On top of fake listings and out-of-date listings, many listings on these sites are just flat out incorrect. And this can be a big problem for both buyers and sellers.

As a buyer, you want to know what you’re getting into when you look at a property. But if the information is incorrect — for example, the listing states the property is 4 bedrooms when it’s really only three or that the home sits on 2 acres when it’s really only 1 — you’ll end up wasting a lot of time looking at properties that don’t actually fit within your parameters.

As a seller, not only will incorrect listing information waste time by connecting you with buyers who are looking for something different from what your property has to offer, but it can actually affect the price of your offers. Zillow, one of the top real estate apps, offers a popular feature called “Zestimate” which estimates how much a property is worth whether it’s on or off the market. Anyone can access this information, including potential buyers. And buyers use Zestimates as a way to come up with offer prices.

Unfortunately, Zestimates are often inaccurate. In fact, they’re off by an average of 8% nationally, which is a pretty shocking disparity.

Apps and listing sites readily admit their information might not be accurate; most all have a disclaimer page stating that information on their site may be inaccurate and encouraging potential buyers or sellers to verify all information independently. 

Moral of the story: when you deal with real estate apps, you’re also going to be dealing with a lot of misinformation, which can derail your home sale or search.

What to do instead

via GIPHY

As you can see, real estate apps aren’t your best bet when it comes to buying or selling a home. You’ll end up wasting time and energy on fake or out-of-date listings or inaccurate information. That’s why it’s always best to work with a real estate agent. Agents have access to the most up-to-date, accurate information through the MLS, which will ensure that as a buyer, every home you see is exactly what you expect it to be, and as a seller, every potential buyer that comes to tour your home will know exactly what they’re getting into.

Buying your first home? Read on!

Buying your first place can be an exciting but often overwhelming experience. From finding “the one” to figuring out how you’ll pay for it, you’ll face many choices along the road to home ownership. 

Before you box up your belongings and prepare to put your new welcome mat in place, you’ll have to do some serious soul searching. Let’s explore the most common decisions first-time homebuyers face. 

1. Location vs. square footage?

via GIPHY

When it comes to real estate, the first thought that flashes through most minds is the old “Location, location, location!” But if you want a home in a coveted spot, you may have to make certain sacrifices in order to afford it. 

For example, if you’re seeking waterfront property, a swanky pad in the city, or a colonial in a top school district, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll get a lot less room than you would in an area that’s off the beaten path. It’s a tough decision to make, so put together a list of priorities and choose accordingly.

2. Turn-key vs. fixer-upper?

via GIPHY

Buying a place that needs a little TLC can save you a bundle — if you’re handy and capable of working a little DIY magic, that is. Taking care of renovations yourself also gives you a chance to redecorate to your own specifications and taste.

On the flip side, if you select a home that’s in turn-key condition, all you have to do is put your feet up and enjoy. Of course, you’ll probably pay more for that, but you can entertain right away rather than waiting for the paint to dry and the new carpeting to arrive. Both sides have their pros and cons.

3. Big loan vs. big down payment?

via GIPHY

Having a nest egg saved for a down payment is a blessing, but figuring out how to divvy it up can feel like a curse. While putting 20 percent down typically saves you from springing for mortgage insurance, it can feel like a heavy hit. Throwing as much toward a mortgage as possible also means you’ll pay less interest over the life of your loan, but it leaves you with less in your pockets to put toward any emergencies that may pop up. Still, deciding how to spend your money is never a bad problem to have.

4. Starter home vs. forever home?

via GIPHY

Moving typically ranks high up there among the most stressful life changes a person can experience, so it makes sense that someone might not want to do it more than once. 

Choosing between a starter home and forever home can be a real conundrum. If you’re hoping to live out the rest of your days in the same space, chances are you may have to save up a little (or a lot) longer to afford it, delaying your purchase by a few months or years. Once you’ve got that down payment ready, you’ll probably put a lot more time into your search. Starter homes can offer an affordable way to stop paying rent, just be sure to choose one you won’t outgrow too soon. 

5. Condo vs. free-standing home?

via GIPHY

If you love the idea of owning a home but dread the thought of doing all the not-so-little things that go with it, such as landscaping, snow removal, and other routine headaches, er, maintenance, you may be better off in a condo or townhome where, for a fee, those issues are handled for you.

Of course, there are times when you may see -— and hear — your neighbors more than you’d wish, making you feel like you’re back in your college dorm. 

Also, if you want to make significant changes to your place, you’ll probably have to run everything past a condo board first.

6. Single family vs. duplex?

via GIPHY

Do you treasure your privacy or would you rather play the role of landlord to defray the cost of your mortgage? This is a tough choice. Rents go up over time while your mortgage stays the same, making the thought of buying a duplex an attractive one. 

But remember, if you live right next door and anything goes wrong, your tenant knows exactly where to find you the split second there’s an issue. But, there is good news for owner-occupants in that they often have more options when it comes to mortgage loans.

7. Urban vs. suburban?

via GIPHY

If you love easy access to mass transit, cultural happenings, and a bustling world just beyond your doorstep, city living may be for you. If you prefer a quiet, residential area where you can hear crickets as opposed to blaring horns, you might want to put down roots in a suburb. 

Consider how you feel about your commute and what you value most. The cost in living in a city is typically higher than it would be in a suburb because of additional amenities and a superior infrastructure. So you’ll have less space, but if you find that you’re rather be out and about exploring, that may suit you. If you’re more of a homebody who cherishes peace and quiet, a suburb could be the right move.

Do I need a pre-approval?

Ever had an agent deny to show you a home because you weren’t pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s not because they’re mean, or they don’t value your business… it’s actually because they’re looking out for your best interests.

Let’s face it, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. You may have the desire to buy, but you lack the ability. Let’s cover some basics…

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history. So let’s look at the 6 reasons you should get pre-approved.

1. It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.

pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.

2. You’ll know how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.

3. It adds clout to your offer.

In many markets, homes attract more than one offer. If the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they may lean towards the one accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.

4. It could increase your negotiating power.

In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you the upper-hand when negotiating the price. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home. 

5. It saves time.

Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between contract to close — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.

6. Without it, most agents won’t work with you.

Makes sense, too. Right? Think about it: when you hire an agent, he/she will invest countless hours showing you homes over the course of your house hunt. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want assurance that your hard work would lead to a favorable outcome for both you and your client?

Time to apply for your Homestead Exemption!

If you purchased a property last year that is your principal residence, you can now file for your homestead exemption. A Homestead exemption is an application filed with the county appraisal district that removes part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.

For example, if your home is appraised at $35,000, and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption, you will pay taxes on the home as if it was worth only $20,000.


Effective September 1, 2011, in order to qualify for a residential homestead exemption you must provide the following to the Central Appraisal District when submitting your application: 

• Texas Drivers License or State ID Card
The address on your driver’s license or state ID card MUST match the physical address of the residence for which you are applying.

If you are in Guadalupe County click here for more information:

http://www.guadalupead.org/index.php/Homestead_Exemption

Simple modifications to increase your homes appeal today!

Check this link out for some great ways to add appeal to your home today!

https://www.bestrealestateblog.com/23-modest-home-upgrades-thatll-wow-buyers?m=hHjKYSVOivoObOFpPPTA