February 2011

27 Feb 2011

The Envelope Please….

We are pleased to announce that Allen Tate Company has earned the Website Quality Certification (WQC) for the 2ndyear in a rowLeading Real Estate Companies of the World will officially present the award at its 2011 Conference on March 9th in Las Vegas.

Every aspect of allentate.com was evaluated to ensure standards were met in 6 key areas including design, content, human interactivity, and search engine optimization.  The award was introduced in 2009 to recognize and encourage superior websites among its 600 member firms.

24 Feb 2011

Don’t Bang Your Head Against the Wall

I like creativity and crafty projects to help spruce up my home. Surfing the internet and browsing magazines are great ways to get inspiration but nothing beats hearing ideas from my friends. Recently, a creative girlfriend of mine told me a great story about her quest to update her bedroom on a budget.

She had been looking for a new bedroom set off and on for a few years. She was frustrated because she either found something that she loved for more than she wanted to spend or something that matched her price range but not the look and feel she was hoping to achieve.

24 Feb 2011

The Government’s Future Role in Mortgage Financing

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of discussion about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with the direction of FHA.   This is important to all of us in the Housing Industry, as currently the US Government either insures/guarantees or purchases about 90% of all Mortgages originated today. I think we are all in agreement that we would like to see Private Capital come back into the marketplace, but at this time that is coming very slowly.   There is no doubt that some changes should take place, but timing is going to be critical.   Having the Government pull back to soon and the Housing Recovery would be slowed even further.

23 Feb 2011

Revaluation in Mecklenburg County

Revaluation (aka reassessment) seems to be the talk of the town lately and the questions it has raised are plentiful:

  • Should I appeal my property revaluation or not?
  • Am I being treated fairly?
  • Is it true that Fair Market Value, Appraised Value, Insured Value and Assessed Value can be the same? If so, isn’t that a rare occurrence?

Let me start with the last question first. I want consumers to know that the Insured Value is probably the highest and should be given that replacing something is the most difficult task to complete.  Insured Value is all about replacement costs, not fair market value.  If your home burns to the ground, you need to replace and rebuild.

Now, let’s talk revaluation.

22 Feb 2011

Sold Data Becomes Available in Upstate South Carolina

Ok, I will admit it. I went to college before computers where required. If I had to write a paper, I borrowed my roommate’s word processor.  Any research I had to do was pulled during many painstaking hours at the campus library.  I don’t remember using email or “surfing the net” until my senior year of college.

How our world has been transformed in 15 years.  If I had to sum it up, I think I’d use the lyrics to the Black Eyed Peas hit song “Now Generation: “What is it that we want now? Information– plain and simple.”

We don’t want to wait to find answers. Thanks to the fast access of Smartphones, we can literally find answers to anything we want in seconds regardless of where we are, and regardless of our generation.

21 Feb 2011

Health Care Reform Law

The rumors are flying again about the 3.8% Medicare tax in the health care reform law. The messages say the tax is imposed on unearned income that includes the sale of a principle residence. But what you need to know is that the tax is actually far narrower and the $250,000-$500,000 capital gains exclusion for primary residences remains in place.

Understand that this tax WILL NOT be imposed on ALL real estate transactions, a common misconception. Rather, when the legislation becomes effective in 2013, it may impose a 3.8% tax on some (but not all) income from interest, dividends, rents (less expenses) and capital gains (less capital losses). And the tax will fall only on individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 and couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 AGI.

18 Feb 2011

Good Old Consumer Confidence!

Am I upbeat that our new homes division has had its best 4 months in the past two years…you bet! I interact with a lot of builders, developers, banks and real estate companies in our region and the number one question that I always get is, “So how’s business?” Then it is invariably followed by, “What do you think is causing the increase?” I know I am expected to deliver a credible response with justifications of how I arrived at my answer; however my response lately is “I just don’t know!”

I like to make sure that I’m keeping up with as much industry news as possible (although, let’s be honest, the news can be confusing, conflicting and contradictory leaving me feeling bogged down and overwhelmed!). On most days, I read two or three newspapers, several online real estate news wires and review all of the “leading economic indicators.” Combine that with my subscriptions to housing statistical reports in 3 markets and you’d think that I would have answers to just about any question thrown in my direction.

17 Feb 2011

2011 Triad Real Estate Forecast

The Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race of the year, kicks off the NASCAR season this month. As the race-car drivers take “the turn”, the driver’s focus is to hit it just right in order to accelerate into the straight-away.  That way, the driver can either stay in the lead or take the lead using the advantage of the turn.

In many ways, it feels like we are in “the turn” right now in the Triad too. Whether we are talking about consumer confidence, the state of the economy, or the real estate market in general, we are in “the turn” getting ready to accelerate to hit that straight-away.

16 Feb 2011

What Did You Say? Now Is the Time to Buy?

What did you say? Now is the time to buy real estate?

It seems like everyone is talking about the fact that now is the time to buy real estate:

  • “With home sales starting to improve, and with prices now possibly forming a bottom, real estate could well be the asset class that represents… the best low-risk buying opportunity out there today.” – Wall Street Journal 1/26/2011
  • “Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys.” – Gallup 1/17/2011
  • “I’m pretty sure this is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say,”You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump.” – Donald Trump January 2011
  • “If you don’t own a home, buy one.  If you own one home, buy another one.  If you own two homes, buy a third.And, lend your relatives the money to buy a home.” -John Paulson November 2010
  • “For people with a realistic version of the American Dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.” – Karl Case of Case Shiller New York Times 9/1/2010

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