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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Presidential Election and It's Impact on Housing

The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Every four years people question what effect the Presidential election might have on the national housing market. Let’s take a look at what is currently taking place. The New York Times ran an article earlier this week where they explained:
“A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years — particularly ones like this when there is such uncertainty about the nation’s future — industry becomes almost paralyzed. A look at the last several dozen election cycles shows that during the final year of a presidential term, big corporate investments are routinely postponed, and big deals are put on the back burner.
The research is even more persuasive on the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate inevitably will become president.”
We are seeing this take form in the latest economic numbers. However, will this lead to a slowdown in the housing market? Not according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the National Association of Realtors.

The Impact on Housing Throughout 2016

Let’s look at what has happened and what is projected to happen by these three major entities.

National Association of Realtors

“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”

Freddie Mac

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”

Fannie Mae

“Consumers and businesses showed caution at the end of the first quarter…(but) Home sales are expected to pick up heading into the spring season amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans.”

Bottom Line

Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right!

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right! | Keeping Current Matters
In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.
John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered their price. His article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price, published in Real Estate Economics revealed:
“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”
Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.
Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!
One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.
Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right! | Keeping Current Matters
A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.
Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Look for an agent that will take the time to simply and effectively explain what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home. You need an agent that will tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. This will put you in the best possible position.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Buyer Cheat Sheet for a Seller's Market


In a seller's market, home buyers need to be willing and able to act fast to snag the home they want. This spring, areas across the country are facing a limited number of homes for sale. Realtor.com® offers up a cheat sheet for surviving a seller's market.
  • Be on call. "If you're only looking now and then when it's convenient, you're probably wasting your time," says James Malmberg, a real estate professional in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He suggests treating house hunting like job hunting. If someone calls with a lead, follow up promptly to gauge whether it could be a good fit and don't linger.
  • Bring the paperwork. To be taken seriously, buyers would be wise to get a mortgage pre-approval letter as well as a "proof of funds" form from their bank to show they have enough to cover a down payment. They'll be able to act quicker when they do find the right house.
  • Limit the contingencies. In a seller's market, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies to score the house. Sellers prefer the fewest number of hurdles to closing as possible. If your buyers come in with several contingencies — such as "if" they secure financing — the sellers are more inclined to bypass their offer and take another with less hassle. Also, "don't waste your time lowballing a seller," advises Sean Kelley, a real estate professional with Howard Hannah in Pittsburgh, Pa. "Always put in an aggressive offer."
  • Cast a wide net. Search for homes outside prime locations if faced with limited or high-priced choices. Buyers need to carefully consider what they're willing to compromise on. "Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller's market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away," such as some renovation work that may need to be done, Malmberg says. Those "flaws," however, might not be a big deal to your buyers. "Finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face," Malmberg adds.


Source: “Surviving a Seller’s Market: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet,” realtor.com® (April 7, 2016)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stella Got Adopted!!


Adopt a loving pet today from the South Utah Valley Animal Shelter in Spanish Fork. There are several more that need forever homes!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

10 Trends Driving the Next Decade of Home Design


More than 500 residential architects offered their insights into what will be the most significant home design elements over the next 10 years. From the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, here are the 10 residential design trends to watch for over the next decade:

Over the next 10 years, expect functionality, accessibility, and sustainability to be major themes guiding the look of homes. That could include everything from embracing healthier building materials and furnishings to homes that are designed to be more resilient to bad weather.

1. Smarter homes: Technology will become more prevalent in the operation of homes, including via automated controls for temperature, security, and lighting.

2. Healthier homes: Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental health issues that will likely lead to greater use of low or no volatile organic compounds of paint and composite wood, natural fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing, and air purification systems.

3. Disaster-proof: Home owners will call for homes that can hold up better against natural disasters, which may mean elevating residences, windows with impact glazing, dedicated safe rooms, and backup power generation.

4. Energy efficiency: Sustainable design elements that increase a home’s energy efficiency — such as solar panels, water reclamation systems, and tankless water heaters –- will likely grow in demand.

5. Age-in-place: Universal design elements will grow in popularity to help an aging population stay in their homes longer. These design elements will likely include wider hallways, added handrails, and one-level living spaces.

6. All about the kitchen: Kitchens will be the focal point of the home, fueled by open design concepts that allow it to stay front and center.

7. Outdoor living spaces: More home owners will look to invest in sprucing up their outdoor living spaces, beyond just outdoor grills or decks. Instead, look for more home owners adding outdoor kitchens and fully furnished outdoor rooms.

8. Home offices: Home owners, due to changing work patterns and a growth in telecommuting, will likely place a greater emphasis on the need for a space devoted to a home office.

9. Smaller but better designed homes: As home owners demand to be closer to jobs and public transportation, architects will have to build in more accessible locations that are typically more pricey. This will likely bring about smaller but more innovative designs and more personalized design features.

10. Urban influence: With growing calls for an urban lifestyle from younger adults, architects will adopt some of these urban characteristics into their projects, such as with a focus on higher-density development that offer more amenities to residents and offer closer to commercial.

 By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Check Out the New Website!

GoDaddy.com was the BEST customer service department I've dealt with in my 45 years of life!
As I was building my website I had to call them several times with questions & they were AMAZING.They answered each call right away, with a live, English-speaking rep that was highly skilled in computers & took great care of me. I would recommend them 100%!
Check out my website when you have a moment & let me know what you think!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sell your home in 25 days!

The market is strong for sellers right now. Homes are staying on the market an average of only 25 DAYS!! Call me to sell yours today.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Roscow found his forever home!

Roscow was adopted from the shelter last week. Here is the quote from the new owners. "Roscow is loving it with us. He is a great addition to our family! Thank you for letting me adopt him."

This makes me so happy!

Adopt an animal at South Utah Valley Animal Shelter today! 

I'm listing this on Monday...schedule a showing now, before eveyone else does!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SOLD in Spanish Fork!

I can help you sell your home for top dollar too! Call me today. 

Hey, Homeowners! These Little-Known Tax Deductions Can Save You Thousands

Tax forms, calculator
You probably already know that owning a home comes with some sweet tax benefits, like the mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions. But did you know there’s a whole list of other homeowner-related tax breaks that you might be leaving on the table?
We’re not talking chump change, either. Homeowners already save an average of $3,000 a year in taxes from mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions, according to the National Association of Realtors. When you add in some of the lesser-known homeowner tax breaks, you could really be amping up the savings—and beating the IRS at its own game.
Back in December, Congress passed the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which extended many exemptions that were about to expire and made others permanent. But to reap the benefits, you first have to know about them.
So, here we go! Check out these common—and not-so-common—homeowner deductions that you should take advantage of this year:

1. Mortgage interest deduction

If you’ve taken out a loan to buy a house, you can deduct the interest you pay on a mortgage, with a balance of up to $1 million. To access this deduction, you will have to itemize rather than take the standard deduction. The savings here can add up in a big way. For example, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket and deduct $10,000 of mortgage interest, you can save $2,500.
Of course, there are some limitations. For example, if you’re helping a family member pay his or her mortgage, you can’t deduct that interest on your tax return.

2. Private mortgage insurance

Qualified homeowners can deduct payments for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, for a primary home. Sometimes you can take the deduction for a second property as well, as long as it isn’t a rental unit. Here’s the catch: This only applies if you got your loan in 2007 or later.
Another restriction: This deduction only applies if your adjusted gross income is no more than $109,000 if married filing jointly or $54,500 if married filing separately.

3. Property taxes

You can include state and local property taxes as itemized deductions. An interesting note: The amount of the deduction depends on when you pay the tax, not when the tax is due. As a result, paying property taxes earlier could have a positive impact on your return.

4. Capital gains on a home sale

The dreaded capital gains tax can be avoided when the gain from selling your personal residence is less than $250,000 if you are a single taxpayer or $500,000 if you are a joint filer. To qualify, you must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two years out of the five years leading up to the sale.

5. Medical improvements

If you’ve made improvements to your home to help meet medical needs, such as installing a ramp or a lift, you could deduct the expenses—but only the amount by which the cost of the improvements exceed the increase in your home’s value. (In other words, you can’t deduct the entire cost of the equipment or improvements.)
“A lot of this comes down to fact and circumstance,” says Gil Charney, director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “For example, if you’ve recently installed a heated therapy spa or hot tub in your home, you may be able to deduct the expense if there’s also evidence that, say, a physical therapist visits your home three times a week and you’re over a certain age.”

6. Home office

If you have a dedicated space in your home for work and it’s not used for anything else, you could deduct it as a home office expense.
“It doesn’t have to be an entire room,” Charney says. “It can just be a dedicated space.”

7. Renting out your home on occasion

If you rented out your home for, say, a major sports event like the Super Bowl or the World Series, or a cultural event such as Mardi Gras, the income on the rental could be totally tax free—as long as it was for only 14 days or fewer throughout the course of a year.

8. Discount points

Discount points, which are paid to lower the interest rate on a loan, can be deducted in full for the year in which they were paid. In addition, if you’re buying a home and the seller pays the points as an incentive to get you to buy the house, you can deduct those points, Charney explains.

9. Energy-efficiency tax credit

You can take advantage of an energy-efficiency tax credit of 10% of the amount paid (up to $500) for any green improvements, such as storm doors, energy-efficient windows, and air-conditioning and heating systems.

10. Loan forgiveness deduction

If you’re the owner of a foreclosed or short-sale home, you can take advantage of mortgage-debt forgiveness. For example, if you make a short sale of your primary home at $250,000 but owe $300,000 on your mortgage, the lender will forgive the extra $50,000 owed—and you don’t have to pay taxes on that amount.

~Realtor.com