Home-Buyers Beware: Your Decisions Today Can Cost You Tomorrow!

July 27, 2010

by christiborden

Today is the day! You have spent hours and hours looking for and now think you have found the perfect home, right? Who cares if your Realtor has maybe mentioned a few aspects of the property that might have a negative affect on your market value when and if you sell. You love the home, the price is right and you are certain that any issues mentioned will be minimized in the future. No need to worry about that now, right?

Before you make that leap, please keep in mind that your Realtor should be an expert in the area you are purchasing and should be aware of conditions that could negatively impact your home’s value and marketability. I am not speaking of state required disclosures but simple items that historically have made a difference between identical homes selling quickly and at market value or languishing on the market and selling for far less than the competition.

Why is it that two homes can be in the same community, be of similar size and age, maybe even the same floor plan, and still differ widely as to market value and marketability?

First and foremost, the old mantra of “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION” still stands true. There are simply some location features or benefits that buyers will pay more for and conversely, there are negative features that will drive future buyers away forever. These factors can differ from area to area and what turns off a buyer in the suburbs is simply an unavoidable fact of life in urban environments and visa versa.

Adjacent communities could vary widely in average sales price depending upon the amenities they offer, actual builders constructing the homes and the developer’s reputation for upholding their resident’s market value. A Realtor’s knowledge of the community is crucial to making an informed decision.

In Katy, TX – We have communities that back to one another yet the same home by the same or similar builder will cost thousands more on one side of the fence than the other? Why is that? Strength and reputation of community can affect sales values. And guess what? If the home costs more at purchase, chances it may sell for more than the competition in the future. This is not a given but should be considered if you think saving a little money today is your only consideration.

Items to consider with regard to your lot location that can have a direct negative impact on your future market value: power lines in backyard, backing or siding to a busy roadway, backing to MUD water storage facilities, backing to commercial developement, etc.

Alternatively, favorable features that could be a positive in the future: backing to green space, golf course, lake or water, wooded areas, etc. Most builders or developers will charge a premium to purchase a lot with these positive features but you usually recoup this expense when you go to sell.

So what is a buyer to do? Just take a step back and consider carefully that it is not only the home you purchase but your surroundings as well. And it is far easier to change things you may not love about the home itself than to change things that might be an external detriment down the road.

Ask your Realtor their opinion… and happy House Hunting!

Realtors working hard for homeowner’s rights! Tax Credit Deadline extended and Flood Insurance issue resolved!!!

July 1, 2010

by christiborden

Last night, the Senate passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5569), an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2010. This will allow transactions to move forward. The bill is retroactive and covers the lapse period from June 1, 2010, to the date of enactment of the extension. National Association of Realtors members sent more than 250,000 letters to Members of Congress encouraging them to extend the program.

Additionally, Congress passed an extension of the closing deadline for the Home-buyer Tax Credit, the Home-buyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623). The extension applies only to transactions that have ratified contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, that have not yet closed. The legislation is designed to create a seamless extension; the new closing deadline for eligible transactions is now September 30, 2010. There will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law. Extending the tax credit closing deadline will help provide additional stability to real estate markets across the nation.

This was crucial as we all worked so hard for our buyers to help them write contracts before the April 30th deadline… only to find ourselves out in the cold when it came to making the closing deadline of midnight, last night. Underwriting restrictions and backlog simply made that deadline a fantasy rather than reality for many. Another reason for delays in closing was inability to purchase flood insurance across the nation. For many of those in areas that mandate this purchase, their hands were tied and their transactions were unable to close.

Our political action committees across the nation (whether at a national, state or local level) worked hard to get our members motivated to send emails, letters and phone calls to our legislators to show them how important it was to our clients and fellow constituents, to get these matters taken care of NOW!

Looks like they listened….

First Time Home Buyer Market Heating Up!

November 11, 2008
Houston and Katy market update:

Overall, the October home sale market continued to show softness as the market pivoted away from some of the higher end homes.  Rentals once again were red hot – up 36% from this time last year with increasing rental rates. Inventory continues to decline the fewest homes available on the market for the last 18 months. This is good news, considering the smaller buyer pool we are currently seeing in our area.

Sales to first-time homebuyers are at their highest in seven years. Over 40 percent of homes recently sold went to first-time buyers, according to a 10,000-person survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Other survey findings include:

  • a record 32 percent of buyers found their houses first on the Internet;
  • almost 90 percent looked for information online during their home search;
  • almost 80 percent were concerned about commuting costs;
  • 43 percent said heating and cooling costs were very important factors when they made their purchase; and
  • more than 40 percent of sellers had to offer incentives to buyers, including assistance with closing costs and home warranty policies.

What does this mean for Katy, TX? It means that homes in the lower spectrum price ranges: $ 250,000 and under are experiencing the most brisk activity in our area. Our current months of inventory of the South Katy area is 4.6 months. This means if homes sold at last years’ pace, it would take this long to sell all available homes if no more homes were added to the market. Our current average days on the market is running 70 or more days – and this will differ when we break down the various price ranges. Homes on the high end are experiencing over 9 months inventory – and that is a lot of homes to compete with. Custom homes over $ 1 million have over 16 months of inventory and must be very competitive on price and ready to wait for a very special buyer.

Our market is so diverse and so fast paced, market information changes constantly. If you would like to receive my video newsletter from Realty Times, post your request here or email me at christi@christiborden.com.