These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.
1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.
2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving.
3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.
4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.
5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.
6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.
One of the million dollar questions for this year is what’s going to happen with the real estate market? Many wonder if home prices will still decline, plateau or actually rise?
My thought for this coming year, especially in the first couple of quarters is that we will see a slight increase in home sales. With the extension and expansion of the Home Buyer Tax Credit till April 30, 2010, I think those who are buying are doing it now rather than later this year.
Traditionally the winter months tend to slow down, however home buyers, especially those that can qualify for the tax credit cannot wait till this spring to start looking for a home. They need to be doing it now.
In the Grand Junction area we have seen 5 consecutive months of declining inventory. Meaning less homes are listed on the market. It certainly is still a buyers market, however the market is not as saturated as it once was. If this trend continues we will start to see a balanced market in our area.
Below are some comments about what 2010 will bring for home prices. I don’t know about you, but I’m a glass half full kind of person, so I expect to see great things for 2010!
Some real estate researchers are forecasting that home prices will fall again in 2010.
· Fiserv Lending Solutions, a financial analytics firm, predicts that prices will decline an average of 11.3 percent in 342 of the 381 markets it covers.
· Moody’s Economy.com foresees another 8 percent drop, with Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada feeling even more pain.
· Shari Olefson, author of Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream, predicts a national average decline in prices of about 10 percent in 2010.
· Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital and the most bearish of the bears, says real estate prices could possibly fall another 30 percent before they hit bottom.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun sees it all differently. He predicts home prices will rise more than 3 percent in 2010.
“The headwind we face is rising mortgage interest rates,” Yun says, “but the compensating factors will be the home buyers tax credit in the first half of the year and increased job creation in the second half.”
Source: CNNMoney.com, Les Christie (01/01/2010)
No matter if the market is hot or cold it is important that your home shows well. Below are some great tips for helping your home show better.
1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash
fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.
11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.
16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
If you have questions about real estate in Grand Junction, CO, e mail Andrea with any questions. The market is stable in Grand Junction, but it is still importatnt to make your home stand out amongst your competition.
If you need some staging tips, let the Real Estate Super Diva come by and give you some pointers on your home. ;o)
Andrea Haitz, Broker Associate
“Taking Real Estate to New Heights”
Keller Williams Grand Junction Realty LLC
Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.