Appreciating home values in the bottom third of the market helped pull more homeowners out of negative equity this year, but condos were more likely than houses to be underwater, according to the Zillow Negative Equity Report.
The U.S. rate of negative equity among mortgaged homeowners continued to drop in the second quarter of 2015, to 14.4 percent, but condos were more likely to be underwater than single-family homes. Nearly 20 percent of all condos with a mortgage are upside down.
Condo owners were in far worse shape than single-family homeowners in Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas. And in only three markets (Detroit, Memphis, and Pittsburgh) single-family homeowners were more likely to be underwater than condo owners.
In 2015, Facebook passed 1.49 billion monthly active users, 874 million mobile users, and 728 million daily users. Combine those staggering numbers with recent NAR stats that show that more than half of all homebuyers learn about houses on social media sites, and you’ll quickly understand why establishing a Facebook network to interact with clients is necessary for success.
Here are four ways to turn those Facebook followers into clients:
1. Utilize Facebook Analytics. Facebook offers a series of free tools for real estate pros to measure the effectiveness of their Facebook marketing efforts. In addition to a business page, Facebook also offers insights, analytics and targeted advertising as a way to improve your branding presence and increase your conversion rate. Analytics can tell you which of your posts are engaging followers, allowing you to create similar content for more interaction. Also, use your Facebook insights to determine the type of audience most frequently interacting with your posts, and then tailor your content and marketing accordingly.
2. Target a Custom Audience. Another way to interact with potential clients through Facebook is by creating customized ads and targeting them to reach a custom audience, specifically users who have visited your website. This Facebook tool allows you to reengage with these users to make your ads more impactful. Creating this custom audience involves adding a Facebook-generated code to your web pages, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. View the Facebook help page for more details.
Applications for fixed-rate mortgages climbed to the highest level in nearly a year as borrowers rushed to lock in interest rates before they jump higher.
“Mortgage application volume rebounded strongly,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.
Applications for home purchases are now 15 percent higher than a year ago. Refinance applications still remain nearly 5 percent below last year’s levels.
“These increases really help the home buying market,” Matt Weaver with PMAC Lending told CNBC. “It really gets buyers to understand that ... rates are at an all-time low — let’s react before they go higher.”
If a home has more than five bathrooms, putting in an extra half-bath can do more to raise the price of the property than adding a full bathroom, according to a number of recent surveys.
The median listing price per square foot for homes with two full bathrooms was 15 percent more than for homes with only one full bath, while homes with 1.5 bathrooms commanded only a 10 percent premium over those with just a single full bath, according to the data. But the median listing price for homes with 6.5 bathrooms was 10 percent higher per square foot than for homes with seven bathrooms—suggesting that once a property has a certain number of tubs and showers, the added convenience of an extra toilet may make a bigger difference.
“You get to the point of diminishing returns with the full bath,” says Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders. A half-bath, also known as a powder room, on the first floor of a house may get more use than any of the home’s other bathrooms, he notes.
And in high-end homes, extra half-baths are often included with luxury features such as pool houses, catering kitchens and home theaters that contribute to the price of the property.
Remember all that equity lost during the downturn? It’s back, or much of it, anyway.
In 2015, single-family homes and condos sold for more above their original purchase price than at any time since prices peaked during the real estate boom.
Homes sold for an average of 13 percent above their original purchase prices, the highest average percentage in home price gains realized by sellers since 2007, when it was 30 percent, according to RealtyTrac.
“Home price appreciation has settled into a nice groove over the past few months, and ought to remain there going forward. This is still more proof that the for-sale market, while certainly not yet fully healed, is continuing to return to normal,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.
But experts warn that a few bumps remain on the road to full recovery.
“While improving, inventory is low and the housing market is still very much out of balance, particularly on the rental side, where rapid rent increases and tepid wage gains are contributing to a deepening rental affordability crisis. This will make it more difficult for current renters to save up and make the transition into homeownership, particularly for younger would-be buyers the market so sorely lacks and needs,” said Humphries.
Americans traditionally have chosen to downsize in retirement, but that may no longer be the case. A wave of retirees are choosing to upsize and enjoy the best home of their lives in retirement, according to a recent Merrill Lynch and Age Wave retirement study of more than 3,600 respondents. In fact, 65 percent of retirees recently surveyed say they’re currently living in the best home of their lives.
Within the next decade, the number of age 65-plus households in the U.S. is expected to bloom by nearly 11 million.
As more Americans move into retirement, they are also looking to move into a new home. The study found that 64 percent of retirees are likely to move at least once during retirement. For retirees who do move, only half have downsized, and many are moving into larger homes, according to the study.
Indeed, the study showed that 49 percent of retirees say they didn’t downsize in their last move, and 30 percent ended up moving into larger homes. Retirees’ top reasons for upsizing were wanting a home large and comfortable enough for family members to visit (33 percent) or even live with them (20 percent). One out of six retirees — or 16 percent — says they have a “boomerang” child who has moved back in with them, according to the study.
Ninety-five percent of real estate firms are confident that their net income will increase or stay the same in the next year, according to the NAR Profile of Real Estate Firms.
Commercial firms are the most optimistic, with 75 percent expecting their net income to rise and 22 percent saying it will likely stay the same. Sixty-nine percent of residential real estate firms expect their income to increase next year.
“The improving economy continues to fuel job growth, and while some markets are still recovering, the demand for real property is back, and prospects are looking good for the real estate industry,” says Chris Polychron, NAR’s president.
In 2014, an average residential real estate firm’s brokerage sales volume was $5.6 million, while the average commercial real estate firm’s brokerage sales volume was $4.4 million, according to NAR’s survey.
The size of the firm had a large impact on its sales volume. For example, real estate firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million, while firms with four or more offices had a median brokerage sales volume of $250 million. Firms with one office averaged 18 real estate transaction sides in 2014, while firms with four or more offices had 900 real estate transaction sides.
Let’s face it, blogging for your real estate business is like another part-time job. It takes continued investment of time and creative energy. Is it worth the effort?
Blog readers value education. People who read blogs are generally looking for detailed information. They want in-depth explanations as well as niche neighborhood data. They want to understand as much of the process as they can before they contact an agent. If your blog provides that information, there’s a far greater chance you will be the one they contact when they are ready to act.
Blog readers are usually methodical and patient. Consistency is the key to successful blogging. As you write week after week, explaining terms and concepts, and sharing stories and tips, you can trust that your readers are taking it in and educating themselves — or even better, both.
Blog readers are usually already sold on you before you even meet them. They have been reading your content, watching your videos and absorbing your expertise for a few months, sometimes longer. Most often, you don’t have to do a song-and-dance presentation to win them over when you meet them the first time; they already consider you a local expert. They often even feel like they know you.
Emotional mistakes are common among homebuyers, particularly first timers. Here’s a list of common errors and tips on helping your clients navigate the unfamiliar terrain.
Always looking for a better deal.
Every market has its up and downs, but many homebuyers make the mistake of thinking there’s a better deal just around the corner.
The antidote is to help your buyers do their homework, understand value in their neighborhood and let them know that in the current upbeat market, today’s purchase will be more expensive tomorrow.
Falling in love at first sight.
The rush to buy is understandable for those waiting to get out of a less than perfect situation. But buyers who purchase the first property they see may overpay, minimize serious condition issues or become remorseful later on when they take off the rose-colored glasses and see what else is available around them. None of the outcomes will reflect well on you, and you may end up losing a valued referral source or worse, gain an anti-referral.
The solution is to make sure buyers look at no less than five properties before signing any contracts and to maintain a realistic attitude in the face of their enthusiasm.
Overpaying for perfection.
In the remote chance that a buyer does find perfection, the emotional attachment will sometimes become so high that the buyer will overpay or overextend themselves financially.
Yes, professional staging can cost several thousand dollars. Is it worth it? You decide:
1. A professional stager knows how to make a home appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers. Sure, sellers can spruce up and declutter. But it’s difficult for them to be objective about how a prospective buyer will see their home and possessions.
2. You’ll have better photos. Today, 43 percent of home buyers look online for properties before they ever contact an agent. Better photos = better exposure for your listing.
3. Staging helps buyers visualize themselves living there. Especially with a vacant home, buyers might have problems visualizing how their furniture will fit.
4. The Real Estate Staging Association reports that professionally staged homes spend 72 percent less time on the market.
5. Staged homes sell for more. A 2014 survey found that more than half of professionally staged homes received 10 percent more at sale than neighboring unstaged homes. Even if staging costs 1 percent of the value of the home, if it sells for 10 percent more than it would have otherwise, you’re still ahead!