Category: Buying

9 Aug 2010

Mythbusters: The Secret to Remodeling

The other day, I received my IRA statement in the mail. I won’t lie, I considered weeping. But instead I started to think about the returns on my investments. I realized that none have been as good to me as the returns I have received from homes I have sold.

Real estate is one of the best, if not the very best, investment you can make.

Even with less risk, you can still gain a big return on your investment.  Generally speaking, there are several factors that impact whether (and how much) a home will appreciate in value.  The economy and the region of the country you live in are just two of these factors, ones we have no control over. What we can control, however, are things like:

  • How long to own the property and when is the best time to sell
  • The money we decide to put into our home
    • How much and what improvements we decide to make can determine whether or not there is a gain in our investment
8 Aug 2010

Renting v. Buying: The Low Down

The concept of renting vs. buying is becoming an increasingly common theme in our Relocation business.  With major group moves to the area as well as corporate transfers, clients are often finding themselves weighing the advantages and disadvantages of renting or purchasing first when they arrive to the Carolinas. What appears to be a simple question is actually very complex, so be sure to explain your situation to your real estate professional who can help you understand all the benefits and consequences to either choice.

3 Aug 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

Well, the first half of the year is over.  Can you believe how quickly this year is moving, it’s hard to believe that it’s already August??  For real estate in the Triad, the spring season proved to be an incredible few months.  The tax credits really worked and as a result, sales in the region abounded.

The million dollar question is where do we go from here?  Here are some thoughts on where we are now and where we are going:

  • Sales for the first half were overall strong.  The tax credit shifted our median price down between 8 to 10%, which means that a large number of buyers were purchasing homes at lower price points.  For the Triad Region, the median price was $135,000.  Now that the tax credit has ended, Demand for Entry Level Houses will remain flat for the 2nd half of the year.
  • All those folks who sold their homes this spring are looking and we expect Demand for Move-up Homes to remain strong for the next few months.  In fact, the numbers locally for May and June prove that as sales in the $250,000 to $750,000 range picked up!  So Demand for Upper-End Homes should slowly gain strength.
26 Jul 2010

Deed Restrictions Can Predict The Future!

Pay attention and take a few minutes before you agree to purchase a home. Why? Because it is important to understand the “goal posts” or “boundaries” of the deed restriction as they not only dictate how you can and cannot use the property but also determine the integrity of the respective neighborhood.

In the current market economies, deed restrictions can be your best friend or your worst nightmare.  Deed restrictions spell out, in most cases, the MINIMUM standards that the developer sets when he/she develops a piece of land.

  • Examples: minimum square footage requirements, brick on one side or all around, the parking of utility vehicles like RVs/boats on or near the property, etc.
  • Some restrictions can be very specific, such as roof pitch, mailbox types, and the governance for maintaining common areas.
19 Jul 2010

What Baseball Can Teach Us about Real Estate

The Carolinas are rich in baseball lore.

South Carolina produced major league standouts like Camden’s Larry Doby and Anderson’s Jim Rice. North Carolina brought us Williamston’s Gaylord Perry, Hertford’s Catfish Hunter, and Raleigh’s Josh Hamilton. And while the Carolinas do not have a major league baseball team (yet), minor league teams such as the Durham Bulls, Charlotte Knights, Carolina Mudcats, Burlington Royals, Greensboro Grasshoppers, and Winston-Salem Dash keep the game relevant and thriving.

30 Jun 2010

The School House At The End of The Street

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.

29 Jun 2010

Finding the Right Agent For You

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.

26 Jun 2010

Buying at the Housing Bottom

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.

25 Jun 2010

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

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.

24 Jun 2010

Making the American Dream a Reality

Carl Sandburg told us that “nothing happens unless first we dream”.  A fundamental dream that is as American as apple pie is the dream of owning a home. 

That dream just got a boost earlier this month with the launch of a workforce housing program that will educate the public about affordable housing options.  It will also prepare REALTORS to lead the way when they complete a Workforce Housing Certificate Program.

Why put a program like this in place? The bottom line is that it just makes sense!

First time home buyers accounted for almost half of all home sales in 2009 and are projected to be the fastest growing segment of the housing market through 2012.  When we help our everyday heroes, like police, firefighters and school teachers join the ranks of homeowners we are building communities, stabilizing our neighborhoods and putting their dreams within reach.

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