New– REAndLiving.Tumblr.com

Introducing my new Tumblr page! I like to keep my social media to a minimum nowadays so that I have enough time to devote to each one. But I’ve found that I love amazing ideas and beautiful photography so much that creating my own Tumblr page started to make more and more sense.

There is no particular theme to mine. When I find something that catches my eye or evokes something in me, I like to share it. Please browse through my collection.. I hope to connect through your Tumblr and hear from YOU!

REAndLiving.Tumblr.com

“Existing Home Inventory is Up 12.1% Year-to-Date on April 29th”

Via the much-respected blog, Calculated Risk:

“Weekly Update: One of key questions for 2013 is Will Housing inventory bottom this year?. Since this is a very important question, I’m tracking inventory weekly this year.

In normal times, there is a clear seasonal pattern for inventory, with the low point for inventory in late December or early January, and then peaking in mid-to-late summer.

The Realtor (NAR) data is monthly and released with a lag.  However Ben at Housing Tracker (Department of Numbers) has provided me some weekly inventory data for the last several years. This is displayed on the graph below as a percentage change from the first week of the year (to normalize the data).

In 2010 (blue), inventory mostly followed the normal seasonal pattern, however in 2011 and 2012, there was only a small increase in inventory early in the year, followed by a sharp decline for the rest of the year.

Exsiting Home Sales Weekly data

Click on graph for larger image.

Note: the data is a little weird for early 2011 (spikes down briefly).

In 2010, inventory was up 15% by the end of March, and close to 20% by the end of April.

For 2011 and 2012, inventory only increased about 5% at the peak and then declined for the remainder of the year.

So far in 2013, inventory is up 12.1%. This is well above the peak percentage increases for 2011 and 2012 and suggests to me that inventory is near the bottom. It is possible that inventory could bottom this year – especially if inventory is up 15% to 18% from the seasonal lows by mid-to-late summer.

It will probably be close.  Inventory might have already bottomed in early 2013, or might bottom in early 2014.   This will be important for price increases … once inventory starts to increase (more than seasonal), buyer urgency will wane, and I expect price increases will slow.”

4 Tips for Buying Properties at Auction

Auction

I went with an investor client yesterday to the auction house to buy a property. If you’re considering buying properties at auction, here are some key takeaways for you.

#1) Research, research, research. The property my client wanted ended up being saved and came off the auction block. He was prepared though. He brought all the paperwork needed, his checks were ready, he was mentally open to buy.. However, there was NO way he was going to bid on the properties that were coming up, good deal or not, and there was NO way I would advise him to do so.

Before stepping foot into an auction house, know the EXACT property you want and find out everything you can about it. Speak to real estate attorneys, enlist the help of an agent, do your research on the property. Find out about the title, taxes, occupancy, location, eviction laws, neighborhood, layout, old listings that may clue you in on what it looks like inside, etc.

#2) Be prepared. As with most things, being prepared will only help you. Register first online to save time. Call before the auction begins and before you leave your house to see if it they can tell you if the property you want is still available. Bring your photo ID, any required paperwork (bank statements, pay stubs, etc), your checks in incremental amounts, and an iPad or laptop for on-the-fly research. Most importantly get plenty of rest the night before, eat well in the morning, and leave early enough to arrive on time and get settled in. It may be a long day.

#3) Select several properties to bid on. My client wanted a specific house and it had a good opening bid amount. He was hoping to win it. He knew what neighborhood it was in and had even driven past the house. He did all his research, it was going to be a good buy. Fortunately for the homeowners, but unfortunately for my client, the property came off the block and he had no more to bid on. We watched as other properties came and went, but knew that was all we would do.

We are going again next week, but this time, my client is opening up his selected areas and choosing a handful of properties that he would really like to bid on. This will ensure that he has a chance to walk away with something. And if he doesn’t, like I always say to my clients, he will get the property he’s meant to have, and we will go again.

#4) Know what you are bidding on. When you are at a property auction, it is very important to understand that you are not bidding on the property itself, but on the outstanding loan amount on the house. This is why I say to research heavily. Yes, there is a property in front of your eyes, but what you are bidding on is the debt amount plus fees on that property. There may also be additional liens on the house that will preclude you from obtaining clear title.

Know the facts on the property, enlist help from agents and attorneys, and best wishes on your real estate investment adventure!

Feel free to call or write me with any questions. Best, –Vanessa 🙂

Short Sales, Foreclosures, and the Horizon

A New Day

Recently I had a client who faced the unthinkable – her house went into foreclosure. It was going to be sold at auction. There was no way to stop this.

As an agent – as a person – it is a very tough situation to witness. I had advised repeatedly that we should start short-sale procedures but it fell on deaf ears. That was okay though. I understood. What I say all the time is that buying or selling a home is an emotional process. It is one of the biggest purchases we will ever make, and one of the most poignant. Not only is it a structure where we take shelter, but it houses our love and dreams of the future.

However, if there is one thing I can ever suggest… please pay attention to the warnings. Foreclosure is not a pretty process. It is heartwrenching to face, but please do not ignore the notices that come. Don’t go it alone either – enlist the help of an agent. Let someone in the field help take weight off your shoulders. There is HOPE. There are solutions out there. Take action before the impossible happens. Most importantly, remember that while the situation may be difficult and painful now… a new day will come.

Call or write me with any questions you may have. My best, –Vanessa

 

 

“Are Real Estate Agents Dinosaurs?” – Wall Street Journal

This article was published on the Wall Street Journal online – “Are Real Estate Agents Dinosaurs?”

It definitely caught my eye and I’ve wanted to blog about it for some time now. The gist of the article is that with the boom of the Internet, buyers and sellers are more informed now and have the equal marketing tools available to them as real estate agents do..

This is true. But is it realistic?

Below is the comment I posted in response to the article. Let me know your thoughts!

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Selling or buying a home – that’s the fun, pretty part – the REAL work is in the contracts and a dinosaur can’t do it 😉

Sure, the Internet makes information available to learn about buying and selling a home, but is one really prepared for what happens behind the scenes to make people’s dreams come true?

This is a VASTLY different real estate climate. And yes, not all agents are created equal. There are many questionable ones out there just like in any other profession – teachers, doctors, lawyers, chefs, school administrators, CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CPAs, city officials.. Shall I go on?

Fortunately, I have a large background in digital marketing and business which I apply to real estate in terms of professionalism, marketing, and being technologically savvy. What I pride myself on is my integrity, the way I conduct myself, and how respectful I am – to other agents – and buyers/sellers alike. At the end of the day, if you’re my client, I will go the distance. And I have.

Just as in any industry, clients have to find the best ones out there.

7 Reasons to Own Your Home

“1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity. “