Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!

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So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” 

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality!

Karin Head Realty, LLC  | Top 1% of Agents in Forsyth County NC | Located at 380 Knollwood St, Winston Salem, NC

Stunning Greenbriar Farm Offering JUST LISTED!

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3761 Sandalwood Lane - Greenbriar Farm - Winston Salem

Gorgeous offering in popular Greenbriar Farm. Beautiful living areas for holiday entertaining! Stunning ceiling trim and accents will amaze you! Open yet cozy eat in kitchen with gas appliances. Sunny great room with fireplace. Main level master suite with jetted tub and separate shower. Basement has a playroom, full bath and partial kitchen. Lovely deck overlooks mature trees and a peaceful lake. Don't miss this beautiful must see home!

http://bit.ly/3761SandalwoodLn 

Karin Head Realty, LLC  | Top 1% of Agents in Forsyth County NC | Located at 380 Knollwood St, Winston Salem, NC

What is the Cost of Waiting Until Next Year to Buy?

We recently shared that over the course of the last 12 months, home prices have appreciated by 7.0%. Over the same amount of time, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market.

As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 4.7% over the next 12 months.

What Does This Mean as a Buyer?

If home prices appreciate by 4.7% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

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Bottom Line

If buying a home is in your plan for 2018, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your loan.

Karin Head Realty, LLC  | Top 1% Producing Agents in Forsyth County NC | Located at 380 Knollwood St, Winston Salem, NC

Pecan Ridge beauty JUST LISTED!

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760 Pecan Ridge Circle - Pecan Ridge - Kernersville

A bright and open entryway greets you in this well maintained home in Kernersville's Pecan Ridge. Comfy kitchen with eat-in area and adjacent dining room. Spacious great room with fireplace for entertaining or just watching television. Huge main level laundry room! Large master suite and master bath with separate shower and tub. This home has tons of storage! Deck overlooks fenced yard with a second patio for grilling and relaxing. Don't miss this beautiful home! Schedule an appointment today!

http://bit.ly/760PecanRidgeCir 

Karin Head Realty, LLC  | Top 1% of Agents in Forsyth County NC | Located at 380 Knollwood St, Winston Salem, NC

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

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In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” 

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

JUST LISTED in Belews Creek!

Belews Creek real estate Karin Head

This home is amazing! New 1.5 story transitional home in lovely Belews Creek is magnificent with bright, open and airy generously sized rooms. Large great room is open to fabulous kitchen. Master bedroom with tray ceiling and spacious closet are on main level, as well as 2 car garage.  Subway tile, crown moulding and millwork showcase just some of the attention to detail. Walkout basement is roughed in and ready for completion. Large lot is almost 1 acre with deck for entertaining! Don't miss this beautiful home! It won't last long! 

http://bit.ly/6510HeronPointCt

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today!

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Many people believe that selling their house during “the spring buyers’ market” is the best thing to do. Their reasoning is that there will be more buyers than there are during the winter months and, therefore, their house will sell quicker and for a higher price.

Historically, this made sense. However, today’s real estate market is not following the rules of the past.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures buyer “foot traffic” each month. It receives data on the number of properties shown to a prospective purchaser by a Realtor® (based on the number of lockboxes used). The data reveals the number of buyers out actively looking for a home, not just window shopping on the internet. NAR explains:

“Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

According to the latest Foot Traffic Report, buyer traffic is greater now than it was during this year’s spring market and there are more buyers out now than at any other time in the last five years (March of 2012).

The chart below shows that buyer activity over the last three months (blue bars) was greater than it was during this past spring market (green bars).

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Bottom Line

If you are waiting for next spring to list your home because you think that’s when the buyers will be out in force, perhaps you should reconsider. Buyers are out right now!

JUST LISTED! This beautiful Bridgefield home is waiting for you!

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Incredible main level living! This is the one you have been waiting for! Lovely 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home in Bridgefield offers an spacious open floor plan, generously sized main level master with tray ceiling, laundry and garage. Gorgeous landscaped private fenced in backyard over looking woods and HOA pond in the distance! Located near the Muddy Creek Greenway for evening walks and biking. Don't miss this amazing offering! Schedule your private tour today!

http://bit.ly/4475CheyenneCt 

5 Reasons to Sell This Winter!

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Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this winter makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 44 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.7% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

2 Charts That Show the Truth about Home Affordability

Karin Head Realty Home Affordability

There is a lot of discussion about the current state of housing affordability for both first-time and move-up buyers, and much of the narrative is tarnished with a negative slant. However, the truth is that housing affordability is better today than at almost any time in our history.

The naysayers are correct in the fact that affordability today is not as good as it has been over the last several years. But, we must remember that home prices collapsed during the housing crash, and distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) kept home values depressed for years. When we compare affordability to the decades that proceeded the crash, a different story is revealed.

Here is a graph of the National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index. The higher the graph, the more affordable homes are.

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We can see that affordability is better today than in the fifteen years prior to the boom and bust.

CoreLogic just published a report showing the National Homebuyers’ “Typical Mortgage Payment.” Here is a graph of their findings:

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It reveals that, though a ‘typical’ housing payment was less expensive in 2012 (remember distressed properties), it is currently less expensive than it was in 2000 and is still projected to be lower next year than it was in 2000.

Bottom Line

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:

“While borrowing power for the potential home buyer has fallen relative to the low point of 2012, it remains high today and will remain high next year, relative to the long run average. If you don’t want to rent anymore and are considering becoming a homeowner, even if mortgage rates rise next year, your borrowing power will remain strong by historic standards.”

Buena Vista Beauty Just Listed

1952 Runnymede Karin Head Realty

Beautiful main level living home close to downtown in lovely Buena Vista! Open layout with sunny skylights make this home bright and cozy. Living room and dining room are perfect for entertaining. Renovated chef's kitchen with honed granite countertops opens into a large great room. Other improvements include new master bath, new HVAC, new  plantation shutters and more! This stunning 3 bedroom/2 bath home is a steal! It won't last long! 

http://bit.ly/1952RunnymedeRd 

The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home

Owning Your Home - Karin Head Realty

Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Zillow recently reported that:

“In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

  • Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
  • Homeownership provides tax savings.
  • Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
  • Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
  • No other investment lets you live inside of it.

2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.

3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying a Home

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Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (29.2%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15.8%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

Be Sure Your Home Will Pass the Appraisal Before You List It

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These are some general guidelines that are meant to help you understand how an appraiser looks at your home. Please keep in mind that other items might be flagged; make sure you communicate with your Realtor and lender on the condition of your home. This will enable you to find and solve problems with your home in advance instead of at the end of the transaction. 

  • Electrical  -  GFCI outlets in the kitchen and all bathrooms; exposed fuse boxes or wires will be flagged.
  • Foundation  -  There cannot be cracks in the foundation.
  • Handrails  -  Handrails have to be on all staircases with three steps or more (this includes but is not limited to: steps outside to a deck and stairs in a basement)
  • Heating Source  -  A central heating source is required and has to be 100% operational and safe. If a home only has one source of heat and it is from a wood stove or pellet stove, it will need a central heating system. The central heating system must be able to heat the home for a minimum of 30 days without being attended to. 
  • Interior Walls  -  Interior walls must be complete. Sheet rocked walls that are unpainted will not be accepted.
  • Outbuilding  -  Garages, sheds, and/or outbuildings also have to pass the same guidelines as above and must not have chipping/peeling paint or exposed raw wood.   
  • Moisture  -  Moisture found inside of a home will be flagged by an appraiser. Basements are not an exception to this rule. 
  • Paint  -  The inside and outside of the home must be painted; peeling paint will be not be accepted. 
  • Roof  -  Shingles that are curling or missing will be flagged; if the appraiser thinks there is less than five years left on a roof, it will be flagged. 
  • Raw Wood  -  Any exposed raw wood on the exterior of the home that is untreated with paint or stain will be flagged. 
  • Septic  -  The location of the septic tank or leach field must be known, issues would arise if the septic tank has not pumped or serviced in over five years. 
  • Windows  -  If any windows or doors have cracks in them, they have replaced prior to the appraisal.
  • Window and Door Sills  -  Rotting wood, chipping or peeling paint will be flagged.
  • Well  -  The location of the well needs to be known. If its a dug well, please contact your Realtor or lender immediately. A water flow test and complete safety report will be required. 

Note: Please ensure that your home is properly prepared for an appraisal; appraisers adhere closely to the regulations that are put in place and it will assist with preventing any delays. 

Contributed by Ashley McKenzie-Sharpe  

Phone: 336-748-4599    |    ashleym@fairwaymc.com

Access is an Important Factor in Getting Your House SOLD!

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So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showings with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48-Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

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Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most “Return On Investment” (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete remodel of a kitchen are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

Fabulous Homes Hosting Open Houses Sunday, November 19

1043 Feldspar Lane

Magnificent offering in Dryden Park. Open yet cozy floor plan. Vaulted ceiling living room creates cozy and contemporary space perfect for relaxation and entertaining. Cook's dream kitchen w/vaulted ceiling. Main level MBR suite w/jetted tub and separate shower. Loaded with closets and storage. Upper level loft w/desk and additional MBR suite. Gorgeous covered outdoor patio with Pennsylvania stone. Chef's outdoor eat-in kitchen and custom fireplace perfect for entertaining. Low maintenance, manicured yard.

http://bit.ly/1043FeldsparLane

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5501 Club Knoll Road

PRICED TO MOVE!!! Gorgeous renovation on this super ranch in Pine Brook Country Club. Enjoy the convenience of low maintenance, main-level living thanks to the following renovations: 2017 roof, HVAC, quaint cooks kitchen with new appliances and cabinets, both bathrooms fully renovated, new water heater, new back deck! Stunning hardwood floors refinished, wood burning fireplace. Too many features to list. See it before it's SOLD!!! NO HOA.

http://bit.ly/5501ClubKnollRoad

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