Thursday, August 23, 2018

August Market Update

As we enter the second half of 2018, I wanted to share with you my perspective on a few key economic metrics and how they are affecting home buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market.

Mortgage interest. Rates are edging up, and many in the industry expect average mortgage rates around 5 percent in the near future. If you are in the market to buy a house, remember that interest charges have been much higher (up to the high teens in the early 1980s) and 5 percent is still historically low.

·         Why it matters: Buyers’ purchasing power diminishes when borrowing costs rise. With an ongoing shortage of homes on the market, it can take a while to find the right place to buy. Additionally, home prices are on the rise. If you are actively looking, working with a real estate professional (like me) and my mortgage partners can help expedite the process and potentially save you money.

Builder confidence. New homes sell quickly, with residences in the first-time-buyer range selling in the least amount of time. The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly survey of builder confidence was unchanged in July, at 68. Anything over 50 is favorable for growth.

·         Why it matters: Inventory levels are low and we need more homes to sell, so we generally view sentiment levels this high as a good thing. Will a new tariff structure compound issues that are squeezing builders’ margins, such as lumber and steel costs? It remains to be seen, but my team at Long & Foster and I will continue to track this important metric and keep you updated.

GDP. Real GDP is expected to end the year at 3 percent growth. In the second quarter, it rose by 4.1 percent, compared to 2.2 percent in the first quarter. This is the strongest growth in years.

·         Why it matters: Consumer spending is fueling expansion; people spend money when they feel confident and have more to spend. Unemployment is at 3.9 percent which is at its lowest in years, so more people have incomes. Private-sector employers are also on a 101-month hiring streak.

Consumer confidence. Sentiment rose slightly in July, showing fairly strong optimism.

·         Why it matters: Consumers report strong confidence levels when they are secure in their jobs and feel optimistic their situations are improving. This metric bodes well for the housing market, because making the biggest purchase of your life requires a sense of security in your financial future. Another number we are watching is the National Association of Realtors’ affordability index, which has declined to 134.8 in June from 162.4 in January. This essentially says a family with the average income can afford an average-priced home – for now. In our current low-supply, high-demand environment, buyers in more expensive areas could eventually be priced out if current trends continue.

As you can see, conditions are favorable for buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market. A professional Realtor like me, can help you get the most for your property if selling, and find your perfect place to call home if you are looking to buy. 

Reach out to me any time to discuss your situation further or get a free analysis of your home’s potential market value.

I look forward to hearing from you!

"Oh by the way… I’m never too busy for any of your referrals"!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August Home Maintenance Checklist

August generally brings the hottest time of the year. Despite the warm weather, there always seems to be plenty to do in the garden this month. Whether you’ve planted a large plot of fruit and vegetables or just have a simple flower garden, August is the time to enjoy its bounty. With this month’s checklist, you can take care of your garden and be back to enjoying your barbecues and pool trips in no time.

Prune: Clear dead twigs and branches to make room for new growth. Trim perennials that have finished blooming down to four inches in height and divide groups of plants, such as irises, that are overcrowded, and plant the extras elsewhere.

Water Wisely: Prevent mildew by watering during the cool early morning, when roots can absorb water but excess moisture will evaporate as the day warms.

Mowing Tips: Set your lawn mower blade on the highest setting. Taller grass grows deeper roots, provides shade to the soil and prevents weeds from germinating. Don’t worry if parts of your lawn turn brown this time of year – it usually bounces back in a few days with ample water.

Control Weeds: Pull weeds for a few minutes each day to keep them from competing with your plants for water and nutrients. You’ll also avoid having to spend a few hours later removing overgrown weeds.

Prevent Insects: Eliminate standing water that has collected in empty flower pots or other containers as they can be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Wasps become more aggressive in late summer, so if you see a wasp nest, you’ll want to spray it as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to take pictures or make notes of plants you like while they are all at the peak of their growth.
Stay cool – enjoy your garden and the simple pleasures of summer this month.
Let me know if I can refer any of my top rated contractors… these are people I trust!
30+ years’ experience in The Triangle Area Real Estate Industry

“I’m Never Too Busy for Any of Your Referrals”
Eddie Brown

Friday, August 3, 2018

How To Create an Arcadian and Stress-Free Experience For Your Clients

When working with Buyers and Sellers you want to keep the experience you provide exciting yet stress-free…. Impossible you say?  Try these tips to help keep you and your clients in a state of ZEN.

ZEN (Wikipedia): sometimes used to refer to an individual who teaches or practices, usually implying longtime study and subsequent authorization to teach and transmit the tradition themselves.

So what does it take to become a ZEN Master in Real Estate? Well the first step is to know what causes the most stress in a transaction and eliminate it. For 92% of homebuyers the thing they fear most about purchasing a home is the mortgage process… some have even compared it to having a “financial colonoscopy”!

As real estate professional we coach and council our clients through a very emotional, and sometimes stressful, period of their lives. What can we do to change stress into a new level of excitement?

#1. Be a great listener and find them the perfect house:
I know you’ve heard the old axiom of “buyers are liars and sellers are too”… but I feel this saying was created by a poor listener with even worse questioning techniques. Asking the right questions, and listening with intent, will educate you to helping your buyer clients find their dream home. What are their non-negotiable items or “must haves”? Big back yard, garages, first level bedrooms, etc an all be on a must have list… our job is to make sure the must haves are realistic. If a buyer wants a 5 bedroom home, with 3 garages, a 2 acre lot with an in-ground pool all for $175,000, they may have to adjust their must haves to their budget.

Also set expectations for current market conditions, if they know what to expect and all the steps of the process beforehand, the stress melts away and the excitement takes hold.

#2. If a loan is needed, make sure the clients know their credit limitations before you start showing homes:
Most clients will have access to checking their credit score before sitting down with a lender. It might be a stress reliever to have them get their scores prior to meeting with your preferred lender. But warn them the scores they see on some reporting sites might be higher than those the lender will use for qualification. Make sure their score resource pulls from all three bureaus for the most accurate picture of credit worthiness.

If there are credit issues or disputes it is better to know before an offer is written so they will have the time to correct or repair the credit. This will help minimize any unnecessary surprises or delays at the lenders office.

#3. Justify income, cash deposits, and gifts:
Any large sums of money deposited into a buyers account 60 days prior to closing has to be verified through written documentation. The banks have to protect themselves against a buyer borrowing money from other sources for down payment and closing cost expenses. If a family member gifts $5000 to the buyers, a gift letter stating is does not have to be repaid will be required
Self-employed or complex income buyers will also have more hoops to jump through to get a mortgage. Knowing this upfront and explaining and educating the buyer to the process will take the stress level down a few notches as well.

Make sure you are referring your clients to a local qualified and professional lender who fully understands the complex financial profiles of today’s buyers.

#4. Manage Emotions:
Emotions can induce clients into making poor decisions which can affect them for years to come. Building a client’s confidence and situational awareness can help in clearing the transactional fog which sometimes surrounds the buying or selling process.

By first making sure a client is properly educated to the entire process they are about to enter, and though constant communication, you will help keep emotions at bay. Reducing stress is all about the prep work you do with your clients before starting the process. It will mean less sleepless nights and panic attacks for your clients, and a calm and Zen-like closing for you!

For more information on 1-on-1 Realtor Rescue Coaching visit