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Market Report Update: Mecklenburg County's September 2019 Stats

by Mayes Harris Team

We have exited Summer and now are turning the page on yet another month on the calendar. This time we begin by reviewing Mecklenburg County's September 2019 Stats.

Let's dive a little farther than this starting with the Median Sales Price in SEPTEMBER. If we look back at 2017, we see a median sales price of $230,000. The following year, 2018, that price increased by +7.3 percent to $246,750. In 2019, we increased again by +9.4 percent to a median sales price of $270,000 in Mecklenburg County.

 

Next, we are going to review the number of New Listings that came on the market in Mecklenburg County in SEPTEMBER. We start with 2 years ago, 2017, and see that there were 2,189 new homes that came on the market. The following year, 2018, there was a decrease of -12.4 percent with 1,918 new homes coming on the market. This year, 2019, there was an increase of -+6.3 percent with 2,039 homes coming on the market.

The next statistic we will review is the SEPTEMBER Median Days on Market. Starting in 2017, we saw 10 median days on the market and then the following year, 2018, we increased by +20 percent to 12 median days on the market. In 2019, we increased by +8.3 percent to 13 median days on the market.

So there you have it. A quick overview of what is happening in our local market of Mecklenburg County. If you have questions or need real estate assistance than please reach out to us. We would love to help you!!

Home Sales Slip As Summer Winds Down

by Mayes Harris Team

The brokerage I work for, RE/MAX,  has taken a look at the national real estate trends for August. I thought I'd share that with you today.

Here's the full report -

August 2019 existing home sales slipped 1.6% from a year ago, despite buyer demand exceeding available housing supply, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. Following July’s year-over-year sales increase of 2.3%, the slight August decline marks the sixth month of 2019 that produced fewer sales than 2018.
 
Buyer demand outpaced homes listed for sale in August, causing the largest inventory decline in 13 months. An analysis of the report's 53 metro areas shows August inventory shrank 5.5% year-over-year, the largest drop since 7.8% in July 2018. August’s inventory contraction followed July’s year-over-year inventory decline of 1.5% after nine consecutive months of year-over-year inventory growth. Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.8 compared to 2.9 in July 2019 and eclipsed the previous August low in the report’s 11-year history.
 
“The modest inventory growth that started last fall has been swallowed up by demand as buyers have returned to the market, likely spurred on by attractive interest rates,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Home sales dipping at the same time inventory falls suggests there may have been some reluctance on the part of sellers to list their homes. Nevertheless, demand is again ahead of supply, extending the favorable seller’s market that has been in place for several years.”
 
Inventory has remained below four months in 39 of the last 42 months, dating back to March 2016. Six months is considered a market balanced between sellers and buyers.  
 
Homes moved quickly and August saw a year-over-year price increase of 5.7%, further evidence of buyer demand. The August Days on Market total of 44 represented the second-fastest pace of August home sales in the report’s history. The previous record was set last August, when homes sold in an average of 43 days.
 
August weighed in as the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price growth as the Median Sales Price rose to $263,000. Going back to February 2012, prices have increased year over year in 89 of the past 91 months.
 
Despite the favorable conditions for sellers, there were still a few encouraging signs for buyers in the last of 2019’s peak months for home sales:  

While home prices typically decline from July to August, the decrease of 3.6% was the steepest drop-off in report history from July to August.

Despite August’s significant year-over-year inventory shrinkage, the seasonal decline in inventory from July-to-August of 3.9% is on par with the 3.7% average since the RE/MAX National Housing Report began in August 2008.

 
Closed Transactions
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in August 2019, the overall average number of home sales is down
4.2% compared to July 2019, and down 1.6% compared to August 2018. Leading the month-over-month sales percentage decrease were Miami, FL at -13.5%, Dover, NH at -13.1%, and Washington, D.C. at -10.3%.
 
Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In August 2019, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $263,000, down 3.6% from July 2019, and up 5.7% from August 2018. Two metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price: San Francisco, CA at -3.2% and Wichita, KS at -1.2%. Six metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Birmingham, AL at +13.2%, Milwaukee, WI at +11.3%, and Manchester, NH at +11.2%.
 
Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in August 2019 was 44, up one day from the average in July 2019, and up one day from the August 2018 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 19, Cincinnati, OH at 25, and Nashville, TN at 28. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 95, Miami, FL at 79, and Hartford, CT at 75. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
 
Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in August 2019 was down 3.9% from July 2019 and down 5.5% from August 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in August 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory was 2.8, a decrease compared to 2.9 in July 2019 and 3.5 in August 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In August 2019, of the 53 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, FL, at 6.9, reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Phoenix, AZ and Manchester, NH, both at 1.5.
 

What does Move In Ready really mean?

by Mayes Harris Team

If you’ve been searching for a new home no doubt you’ve seen the term, “move-in ready.” This description sounds very appealing, but understanding what it actually means is important so you have the right expectations when arranging your home listing tour.

First, it’s important to remember that the descriptions in real estate Listings are written by the listing agent or broker. There is no set industry standard for what agents can say in their listings. While there are guidelines and rules which prevent blatant lying, most home buyers have become aware of the fluffy language used to market a home for sale.

The meaning of “move-in ready” is fairly straightforward; it means that the home is in a condition which is acceptable for immediate occupancy. The home meets the standards of living and assures the buyer that the essential elements needed to occupy the home are present and in running condition. For example, the home should have working plumbing, appliances, sound roof, electricity, gas and locking doors and windows.

What “move-in ready” does not necessarily mean is that the home is in pristine condition. A home that is “move-in ready” might still need significant updating and while systems are assumed to be operational, they might still be old or outdated.

“Move-in ready” is a common phrase in real estate Listings. Understanding that the home might still need quite a bit of work to suit your taste and lifestyle, you can approach the listing with realistic expectations and determine if the property is the right fit for your needs. Contact us if you have questions or need real estate assistance.

How To Lower Closing Costs

by Mayes Harris Team

Closing costs help facilitate the sale of a home and both buyers and sellers pitch in. Some closing costs can be paid before the home is officially sold and others are paid at the end.

However, closing costs aren’t set into stone and they can be negotiable. You can ask your real estate agent or lender with help in estimating your actual closing costs. Look over everything to make sure all the numbers are right and then you plan accordingly in how you’re going to lower them.

Loyalty Programs

Some banks offer assistance to buyers when they use them to help pay for the purchase. It’s a way for a bank to reward loyal customers.

Closing at the End of the Month

Schedule your closing at the end of the month so you don’t have to pay the per diem interest for so many days.

Get Multiple Quotes

Get estimates from different lenders because you’re looking for the best package of closing costs and interest rates. There might be something better out there.

Junk Fees

There may be some fees a lender charges that may be negotiable, such as origination fee, processing fee, or application fee. Make sure to ask if what you are being quoted is the best they can offer.

Title Costs

Sometimes title insurance and settlement are bundled together. You may be able to find a title and settlement company that is less expensive.

Negotiate With the Seller

You can try to negotiate with the seller in paying for some of your closing costs. Buyers can ask for credit or to cover lender expenses during the offer and negotiation process.

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

by Mayes Harris Team

If you’ve been looking for a new home, finding the right one is exciting. Now that it’s time to write the offer, however, you might be wondering what you can do to make sure the seller is impressed with your offer. Of course the easiest way is to offer cash significantly over asking price, but fortunately in the real world there are still great ways to ensure the seller takes your offer seriously and improve your chance of acceptance.

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

1. Pre-Approval Letter – A pre-approval means your lender has done their due diligence and has all the documentation needed to close the loan.
2. Contingency Removals – Certainly you should not remove any contingencies which could put you at risk, but the contract is full of some which you can safely remove. Consider removing or shortening contingency periods to provide peace of mind to the sellers.
3. Sell Your Home First – One red flag is the buyer who needs to sell their own home before closing. Sell before you write the offer whenever possible.
4. Escrow Period – Working with your agent, offer a longer or shorter escrow period based on the seller’s moving needs.
5. Win-Win – Show the seller that you want to create a win-win. Negotiations are part of a home sale, but avoid seeming unreasonable or demanding.

While price is always important to the home seller, there are other valuable concessions or offers which can mean as much. Work with an agent who views the transaction as a win for all sides and learn what’s important to the seller before you write the offer. By accommodating their needs as much as possible, you are more likely to have your offer accepted.

Appraisals Explained

by Mayes Harris Team

Appraisals are one of the most confusing aspects of buying or selling real estate for the consumer. When a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, it can be frustrating to hear that the appraisal came in with a value too low. It’s not enough for the principals to agree to the price, the appraisal is the lender’s way to ensure they are not loaning money over the actual market value of the property.

The appraised value is reached by a licensed professional who looks at the real estate market in which the target property is located. They start with the target property and then look for recent sales in the area of comparable properties. These comparable properties will be located within a short distance of the target home, normally within a 5 mile radius. They should also be of comparable size and often fall within the same housing development.

Once these homes are identified, the appraiser will adjust for the specific differences. For instance, does the target home have an upgraded kitchen or swimming pool? They add or subtract value based on such things as location, view, lot size, upgrades, additions, condition and many other factors. They can then arrive at a valuation for the target home.

Once the appraisal has been completed, the lender is notified of the value. At this point, the loan amount is either confirmed or declined. If the appraisal comes in too low, the principals can choose to make up the difference in sales price, lower the sales price or cancel the transaction.

Appraisals are not as complicated as they appear. By learning about recent sales in your area ahead of time, you can price your home appropriately up front; then the appraisal should come back as expected.

Tips to Save for a Down payment

by Mayes Harris Team

Are you thinking about buying a new home? Gone are the days of 100% financing with zero down payment. So if you are not sitting on a pile of cash, the idea of finding the money to pay the down payment might feel daunting. But there are simple ways to raise the cash needed to get into a new home.

Assess Your Current Assets - The first step is to determine what cash you might have available right now. Do you have a savings account or perhaps a 401k*? Are you nursing a pet project, like a vintage car or motorcycle, which could be sold for additional cash?

Explore Loan Options - Not all home loans require the typical 20% down payment. FHA and VA loans are available for qualified buyers which allow a very low/no down payment.

Ask For Help - Some loans allow you to use gift funds from relatives for the down payment. There are also local and state programs which offer down payment assistance and second loans.

Employment Incentives – Some cities and counties offer help with buying a home for teachers and first responders. If you fall into one of these categories, speak with your lender about options for down payment assistance.

Buying a new home is a great way to add to your financial security. Building equity with a property is one way to build wealth while providing for you and your family. Finding the down payment might be easier than you think. If you are ready to explore home ownership, meet with a lender and discuss your unique situation.

Qualifying for a Loan – What do I need to qualify?

by Mayes Harris Team

Before you start searching for your new home, the first step is to speak with a lender and determine your budget. This is being pre-qualified for a loan. Once you find the right home, then your lender will order an appraisal of the property and complete your financing. If this is your first home purchase, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve purchased, understanding how to prepare for the qualifying process is the first step to success.

What do I need to qualify for a home loan?

When preparing for your meeting with the lender gather all the pertinent documentation and bring them with you. Generally speaking, your lender will want to see 2 months of employment pay stubs and bank records as well the past 2 years of tax returns. After reviewing your income and savings, the lender will also order a credit report which shows all your recurring debt and payment history. This will be used to determine your ability to pay the proposed mortgage.

How does credit, down payment and income affect my ability to get a loan?

There are a variety of loan programs available and your lender will review all your options with you so you can determine the best program. Some government guaranteed loan programs, such as the VA or FHA, are more lenient with your credit score requirements as well as other qualifications, such as savings and income ratios.

Qualifying for a home loan might feel overwhelming, but your lender can walk you through the process and requirements. After learning your options, you can make the best financial decision for your new home loan.

Market Report Update: Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats

by Mayes Harris Team

It is time once again to take a look back at yet another page on the calendar. This month we begin by reviewing Mecklenburg County's April 2019 Stats.

Let's get started with the Median Sales Price in April. If we look back at 2017, we see a median sales price of $330,296. The following year, 2018, that price increased by +10.1 percent to $363.784. In 2019, we increased again by +2.4 percent to a median sales price of $372,512 in Mecklenburg County.

Next, we are going to review the number of New Listings that came on the market in Mecklenburg County in April. We start with 2 years ago, 2017, and see that there were 1,953 new homes that came on the market. The following year, 2018, there was a decrease of -3.5 percent with1,884 new homes coming on the market. In 2019, there was a slight increase of+2.7 percent with 1,934 new homes coming on the market.

The next statistic we will review is the April Median Days on Market. Starting in 2017, we saw 6 median days on the market and then the following year, 2018, we saw an increase of -16.7 percent with 7 median days on the market. In 2019, we increased to 11 median days on the market.

So there you have it. A quick overview of what is happening in our local market of Mecklenburg County. If you have questions or need real estate assistance than please reach out to us. We would love to help you!!

Priority Tasks When Moving In

by Mayes Harris Team

You did it. You moved into a new home you love and now you’re dreaming of how you’re going to decorate it. But before getting into all of that, there are still some other tasks that need to be at the top of your priority list.

Changing the Locks
Double check them even if you’ve been told that there are new locks installed. It’s better to take safety measures and know that no one else has keys to your home. Call in a locksmith if you want to spend a little money or it can be done yourself.

Call an Exterminator
A great exterminator can take care of any pests that have been lurking in your home.

Get the House Cleaned up
If it isn’t already, clean out the refrigerator, wipe down counters, cabinets, oven if needed, and plumbing fixtures. Prior occupants might have had pets or young children so it’s best to steam clean. This will free your floors of any junk or allergens.

Mechanical Equipment Cleaned
Getting your heating and cooling systems cleaned is crucial and make sure to get a service contract just in case it stops working suddenly.

Get some Closet Organizers
Keep in mind where everything is going to get placed so it can be accommodated in your closet space. A shelf or a coat hook can go a long way for making room for organization.

Meet the Neighbors
You want to reach out to your neighbors as soon as possible. It’s good to establish yourself within the community and you can get advice on some home repairs like which plumber to use.

Having these as priorities will help you move into a clean, working home. And then, you’re ready to move in with all your belongings and start making it yours!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 46

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