Category: Buying

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.

21 Jun 2010

Why is Now the Time to Buy?

If you are in the market for a home or are thinking about purchasing a home…let me tell you now is the time to buy.  Interest rates are at a 25-year low and the inventory of homes available is high, which means the advantage lies with the buyer. So there is a perception that buying a home in today’s market can be an easy decision if you have a steady job, good credit and don’t have a home to sell.

Let’s take a closer look at that statement.

Historically, we could win on both sides of the transaction because America’s housing values were appreciating.  Within the past three year’s however, we have seen depreciation creep in, especially where acute price increases were enjoyed.  Like the stock market, we are recalculating our market values to reflect the new norm.

14 Jun 2010

What’s Up with the Upper End Market?

There has been a lot of conversation recently about the first time homebuyer’s tax credit and its effects on the market. But what about the upper end of the market, specifically homes priced at $750,000 and above?

To understand the current status, we need to review what impacts buyers and sellers in this part of the market:

  • Ability to get mortgages
  • Inventory of homes on the market
  • Consumer confidence

While the same 3 factors affect all buyers and sellers regardless of price point these trends affect the high-end buyer a little differently. Let’s take a look at how this group specifically has been affected.

10 Jun 2010

Taking a Look at the Triad

I’m often asked how the real estate market is doing in the Triad Region.  In fact, one person recently commented that if the real estate market is improving, then everything thing else will too.  Housing normally leads the economy and I have to say the last 60 days have been fun again!   The first quarter was a promising start for 2010 real estate sales in the Triad market. March was especially strong and the federal government’s tax credits helped stimulate more April sales.

For those who are trying to sell their home, just remember that selling a home is dependent upon numerous conditions, especially price and maintenance. If your home is priced correctly and is in great condition, it will take approximately 4 months to sell a house in the Triad.  The average number of days your home will spend on the market will also slowly decline as the spring market continues to accelerate.

7 Jun 2010

What Does Quality of Life Mean To You?

The long term health of a real estate market is impacted by several factors. Previously, I discussed the importance of supply and demand. Another factor that plays an equally important role is quality of life. Unlike supply and demand, quality of life is not objective.   What does it really mean?  How would you measure it?  How could it be impacted positively or negatively?

A recent survey from Portfolio answered all of these questions by comparing the performance of the country’s 67 largest metro areas in 20 statistical categories.  The highest scores went to well-rounded markets with healthy economies, moderate costs of living, light traffic, impressive housing stocks, and high powered education systems.  And…drum roll please….

Raleigh, NC ranks #1 and Charlotte, NC ranks #16.  Our only 2 qualifying metros and they are both in the top 20.