Archive | June, 2010

The School House At The End of The Street

30 Jun

Everyone who owns a home or aspires to own a home has a vested interest in the quality of education being delivered at their neighborhood school.  We hear so much today about staging and making your home memorable; doing everything possible to make sure it stands out in a crowd so that it will sell.

Truth be known, we can have the most appealing home on the market, but if the perception or the reality is that the children can achieve a better education somewhere else property values could be negatively affected. Homes associated with top-notch schools typically sell faster, in good and not-so-good market conditions. If and when a market goes south, areas with excellent school systems are still sought after areas to live. As a result, these regions usually retain their values better than the overall market. Continue reading

Finding the Right Agent For You

29 Jun

I bought my first home before I began my career in real estate.  It did not occur to me that I should be the slightest bit picky about who would represent and help me make one of the biggest investments of my life. Instead, I just picked up the phone and called my best friend’s step-mother who I knew was in the business. I trusted my best friend with my life, and therefore assumed those qualities would be reflected in her step-mother.

Luckily, she did a good job for me. But what if I had been wrong? Knowing what I now know about real estate, it scares me to think about that.

Just because someone has been in the business for years, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the best agent for you. While experience is certainly a plus, the best agent is also one who will listen to you, knows the ins and outs of your target market and asks questions.

Here are some questions that will help you find the right agent. Continue reading

Buying New? Here’s the 411 on Home Inspections

28 Jun

Here’s a question buyer’s ask a lot: “Do I need a home inspection if I’m buying new construction?

The short answer is, it depends. If you a purchasing a home from a reputable builder that offers a long term warranty, has a pre-closing inspection process, has a warranty service department with a defined program and has allowed you access to the home during construction, I would say not. However if the answers are no or the house was in inventory and has been “standing for a while”, I would probably hire an inspector.

I can’t say that builders welcome inspectors with open arms, since in their mind it questions their reputation, quality and integrity. However they have learned to accept the practice and in most cases have a policy and procedure in place to accommodate the inspection process. Some builders have their policy in writing and as a part of their contract. If there is no written policy be sure to discuss and include an addendum if you intend to hire an inspector. Continue reading

Buying at the Housing Bottom

26 Jun

When I was an investment banker, we used to say “Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered.” It was a catch phrase explaining the realities of trying to “time” the bottom or the top of any market. If you were close and hit the market before the turn, even if you didn’t hit the EXACT bottom or top, you were the Pig: fat and happy. If you tried to hit the bottom and missed it, you were usually a Hog: dead in the water and wondering what happened.

It is really the definition of a bottom that makes it absolutely impossible to hit it precisely. A bottom is only recognized when it has two sides: the down turn and the upswing. If anyone waits until the bottom is announced, they have by definition missed the bottom.

In today’s market, so many people are focused on the bottom of housing prices, but, for buyers, the current focus should be on the bottom of the interest rate curve. Continue reading

Summer Is Here – What’s Next For Residential Housing?

25 Jun

As the historic residential “spring market” comes to a close and we enter the transition period following the expiration of the tax credits, I am often asked questions such as, “where does the real estate market stand?” and “what is next in the recovery plan?

Let’s look at the first half of 2010 to understand what we can expect moving forward.

Overall, the trends have been very favorable in 2010.  I can best illustrate what is happening by examining one of our regions. In May, 2,537 homes were sold and the average closing price was $212,454.  This was the largest number of closings and the second highest average sales price in the past 12 months.  This is indeed good news and is reflective of most of the Carolinas. Continue reading

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