Local Real Estate News

 |  August 2017

Shopping for Interest Rates

While interest rates have remained at low levels, many analysts are predicting that mortgage rates will be heading upward. With this in mind smart homeowners are rushing to lock in the low rates. The following tips will help interested homebuyers in shopping for the best rate.

How to shop: If you simply call up and ask a lender for interest rates the lender can tell you almost anything. One lender might offer a “floating” rate, while the next would offer you a forty day rate. Instead, before you call up you need to know two things: how many points you want to pay and how long you want to lock in the rate. You also want to call all the lenders on the same day. This way you will get a common basis of comparison for the different quotes.

Getting a reliable quote: Beware of lenders who promise unreasonable low rates. This does not mean that lenders are unreliable; however there is an incentive for the lender to fudge the quote in order to gain your business (the bait). Then when you go in to fill out the paper work the lender will change the rate on you (the switch).

How to Really Shop for a Lender: The best way is to get a referral, then shop other lenders. Do it properly, telling the lenders how much you are willing to pay in points and how long you want to lock in the rate. Make all your calls on the same day. Tell the lender you have filled out an application and that you will fax it in, so the rate has to be something he can deliver.

Exposure is the Name of the Game

Exposure is the key to selling your home fast and getting top dollar. With good exposure your home will be viewed by more people, thereby increasing the chances of an offer on your home. If you are looking to sell your home quickly then it is definitely in your interest to contact a REALTOR®, as it is unlikely that you will be able to generate as much exposure as an experienced professional.

Why is it that a REALTOR® is able to generate so much more exposure than the average homeowner? Part of the explanation can be found in the fact that most REALTORS® have marketing plans that consist of print ads, an online presence, and a network of clients interested in real estate. A second reason is that for many REALTORS® this is a full time job and they are willing to put all their experience and time to the sale of your home. The final reason is that the REALTOR® has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and through this is able to network with every agent in your market area. As soon as you list your home with a REALTOR® this information is disseminated to all agents in the market, who are then able to match it to buyers that they are working with – maximizing your exposure and minimizing the time it takes to sell your home.

Choosing the Right Roof

Keeping a roof over your family's heads is the single most important responsibility apart from keeping them fed. As a home owner, it is inevitable that at some point in your life that roof will need to be replaced. Fortunately, unless caught in a natural disaster, your roof will not need replacing often. Nevertheless, replacing a roof is a major undertaking with many options to keep in mind.

One of the first decisions you will need to make is which type of roofing material is going to be used. This decision takes some time and consideration and it is important to be aware of the different options available to you. With this in mind, I have provided some information about the different options available to you and some non aesthetic considerations you will want to acknowledge.

Types of roofing available:

Asphalt - This type of material is very versatile and is considered to be architecturally correct for almost any type of home across the country. Asphalt is one of the most common types of roofing material used and comes in a variety of colors.

Wood Shakes and Shingles - Wood shakes are generally made of cedar. Wood roofs are often seen on older homes and would probably not be considered practical for most modern homes. Wood is popular because it has an attractive rustic appearance and is a natural insulator.

Clay Tile - Clay tile is most prominent in Southwestern architecture. This style of roofing is generally found on homes that incorporate Spanish and Italian designs.

Slate - Slate roofing never really caught on in the West Coast. It is usually found on older building in the East Coast located close to the quarries from which it was mined. Modern builders tend to stay away from slate because it does not fit most contemporary architecture styles and it is unwieldy to work with. Renovators interested in retaining historical authenticity will generally use slate and some custom homes are still built with slate roofing.

Metal - Metal roofs are mainly used for utilitarian purposes such as protection from strong winds and excessive moisture. Metal roofs were popular on Victorian-era homes and some contemporary home designs.

Fiber Cement - This material is durable and available in a variety of textures and colors. The hardiness of fiber cement roofing makes it a good fit for homes situated close to an ocean or in hot, humid climates. Other roofing material tends to break down more quickly when exposed to the moisture, salt, wind, and heat present in such areas.

Features to consider:

Ease of Installation and Repair - Asphalt, wood, and metal roofing are easy to install, comparatively lightweight, and fairly easy to repair. Unlike asphalt and metal, wood roofing needs to be laid over open planks. Clay, slate, and fiber cement are all heavy, therefore requiring strong supports, and they are difficult to install and repair.

Longevity - A new asphalt roof should last anywhere between 12 and 25 years, depending upon climate conditions. This is also the approximate lifespan for cedar shingles as; however wood shakes are more durable and last anywhere from 25 to 75 years. A fiber cement roof should be expected to last 20 to 30 years, steel roofing will last 20 to 50 years, clay tiles will last about 50 years, and slate should last 50 to 100 years.

Cost - What effect will each of these options have on your checkbook? A roofing project is comprised of two cost elements, materials and installation. The heavier roofing materials (slate, fiber cement, etc…) are generally more expensive to purchase and install. Asphalt is generally the most affordable option with wood shanks or shingles following a distant second.

Existing-Home Sales Retreat 1.8 Percent in June

Existing-home sales slipped in June as low supply kept homes selling at a near record pace but ultimately ended up muting overall activity, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million in June from 5.62 million in May. Despite last month's decline, June's sales pace is 0.7 percent above a year ago, but is the second lowest of 2017 (February, 5.47 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the previous three-month lull in contract activity translated to a pullback in existing sales in June. "Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that's straining their budget," he said. "The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines."

Added Yun, "The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year's pace despite these persistent market challenges."

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined for the third consecutive month, dipping to 3.90 percent in June from 4.01 percent in May. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

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