April 27, 2012
The first quarter has come to an end and the real estate market is showing noticeable patterns of recovery. If you happen to sift through news headlines on your smartphone, or have NPR as your morning companion on the way to work, youll likely see and hear something like this: Pending Home Sales Near 2-Year Highs, or Number of Homes Subjected to Foreclosure-Related Filings Fall Nationwide, and, of course, one of the splashiest headlines of all Banks Make $25 Billion Settlement. This, of course, is referring to the renowned settlement with the major 5 banks to assist victims of the robo-signing debacle.
Gray clouds above the residential market seem to have parted, letting steady, bright light through. This metaphor applies on more local levels, as well. Our markets in the northeast completed a strong first quarter, with unit sales rising in nearly all locations, as well as an increase in average sales prices in some areas.
The charts below give an in-depth look at real estate indices in the northeast. Tweet us -@williamraveis and let us know if youre seeing these patterns in your local market!
Want an even closer look at how your local market fared in the first quarter? Check out our local housing data.
Do you think this will be a strong year for the real estate market in your area?
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/04/26/quarterly-market-update/
April 25, 2012
Olga Bruce of Stamford is the newest winner of the William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance annual drawing for a trip to the Bahamas. Bruce won by attending a public open house hosted by Dorothy Darlington, a Greenwich Raveis agent, at a condominium in Riverside on May 22, 2011.It was a total surprise, Bruce said of when Darlington told her she had won. I thought it was a solicitation call at first.
Customers become eligible for the trip by filling out an entry form at any Raveis open house throughout the year. A longtime contest, its hosted by William Raveis Real Estate as an incentive for buyers and sellers, as well as a marketing tool for agents.
The winner may opt for the trip or its cash equivalent. The drawing for this years trip was held in March.
Bruce said she is taking the cash equivalent of the trip and using the money to continue her master of business administration classes. As the first member of her family to go to college, as well as work at attaining an advanced degree, Bruce could not be happier for the opportunity this win has afforded her. William Raveis has provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity that I wouldnt have been able to take advantage of otherwise.
In addition to helping pay her tuition, Bruce is referring to a unique overseas study program her university, Colorado State, provides as part of its MBA curriculum. In July, she will be traveling to Berlin, Frankfurt and parts of China to see how major corporations overseas, such as Siemens, operate. This program lets MBA students get a feel for business on the other side of the world. It is a huge resume booster and aid for graduates once they begin vying for jobs, said Bruce.
Perhaps what is most admirable is Bruces ability to balance responsibilities between her full-time job at a private equity firm, MBA courses and her family-her husband and her 2-year old daughter. I do find myself going to the library quite often, but I am able to manage it all.
Bill Raveis, Chairman CEO of William Raveis, commented on the significance of the Bahamas contest for the company. This contest is a thank-you to the communities we serve for choosing our services, said William Raveis, Chairman and CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage Insurance. Congratulations to Ms. Bruce on the win, and much success with her studies and her future house hunting.
Hesitant at first about putting her information on the contest form, Bruce said shes glad she did; this is the first time she has won such a prize.
Its great to know that it actually happens, she said of the contest win.
Bruce said she had been looking at homes during last years spring market, when she happened across Darlingtons open house, just looking to see what was out there.
While she hasnt yet bought a home, Bruce said, Eventually were going to get back out there.
April 19, 2012
My last post addressed the basics of buyer representation and emphasized how important it is for consumers to understand their options for representation in a real estate transaction. Since most states require agency disclosures, consumers might confuse the disclosure with a contract. It should be noted that the disclosure is NOT A CONTRACT and consumers should never assume that a real estate agent works solely for them, unless they have a signed listing or buyer representation agreement.
When a buyer signs a representation agreement or a seller signs a listing agreement, an agency relationship is established between the buyer or seller client and the real estate company (broker), not the real estate agent. Because the contract is between the company and client, the agency relationship runs between the company and client. The real estate agent acts in the capacity as an authorized agent for the real estate broker, and like their broker, has fiduciary duties that include Confidentiality, Obedience, Accounting, Loyalty and full Disclosure (COALD) along with Reasonable Care and Diligence. What exactly do these fiduciary duties mean to a buyer or seller client?
- Confidentiality The agent may not disclose any information about their client or any information that may compromise their bargaining position. For example, a buyers agent may not disclose to the seller that the buyer is financially able to pay more than what was offered for the property. This duty does not obligate the agent to withhold any materials facts about the condition of the property that could materially affect a buyers decision to purchase.
- Obedience The agent is obligated to obey the instructions of his/her client as it relates to their agency relationship. They are not, however, obligated to obey unlawful instructions such as a violation of fair housing law.
- Accounting The agent is obligated to account for all money, property and documents entrusted to them by their client.
- Loyalty The agent is obligated to act solely in the best interest of their client, excluding the interests of all others, even their own. For example, a buyers agent would be violating his/her duty of loyalty by only showing the buyer properties where the agent would have the potential of making a higher commission.
- Disclosure The agent must disclose any information they know that is relevant to their agency relationship. This would include information about the other party, such as their ability to obtain a mortgage, bargaining position or personal circumstance such as divorce. This should not be confused with the agents obligation to disclose any known material facts about the property or their duty to treat all persons honestly.
- Reasonable Care and Diligence The agent must use reasonable care and diligence when working on behalf of their client. The agent is duty bound, as a competent real estate professional, to use his/her skills and knowledge to gain an advantage for their client. If there is a need for services outside the scope of the agents real estate license, then the agent should direct their client to seek out the advice of professionals best suited for the task.
It is important to note, that the fiduciary duties that the broker and agent have to their clients continues beyond the termination of any listing or representation agreement. As such, the broker and agent may not disclose any information about a former client (unless agreed to in writing by the client), even if the former client is a party to a real estate transaction involving the broker or agent.
Next time, well explore the different types of real estate agency relationships.
April 17, 2012
With everyone looking for the next great deal during these tough economic times, its important to realize what you have, what its really worth and how much you can get for it. These days everyone in the real estate industry is working in overdrive to get the same results as in years past. Keeping in mind the state of the economy, homes that at one time were worth a certain price may now be worth something else. If sellers are serious, they must be realistic.
Despite the ups and downs of real estate, the longtime mantra of Location, Location, Location still holds true. If a home is in a desirable area, its likely to sell faster than a similar home in a less desirable area that is not rocket science. Being close to transportation, schools, shopping, beaches and more is definitely a plus!
But, while the placement of a property seems to be key to determining its value, location can only be a piece of the pie.
A home that is well maintained is worth more than a similar home that its owners let deteriorate season after season. When it comes time to sell, the condition will be reflected in the list price something to make clients aware of when consulting about listing a home for sale. While every homeowner may think their property is worth a certain price, a Realtor must do his or her due diligence to get it right. Look at the comparables!
The layout of a home does it have good flow? as well as the size of the home are also factors to keep in mind when figuring out what the value range is.
Environmental forces are also important in the determination of a homes value. If a home is in a flood zone, for example, that may deter some potential buyers. If a property is full of wetlands, the potential to improve the land is limited and therefore the value not as great as a property that is free and clear to be built on. Realtors must be aware of upcoming municipal projects the installation of a cell tower near a property, for example, or future work on a nearby railroad could affect the value of a home for sale now.
The bottom line when it comes to determining the value of a home, personal sentiments must be set aside. Business is business and what works for one might not work for the other. Line your ducks in a row and sell, sell, sell!
April 10, 2012
William Tierney, an associate in our Scituate, MA office and one of our tech superstar agents, discusses 5 key concepts for homebuyers to ponder. Buying a home can be daunting process. However, some of the key steps for homebuying preparation are more intuitive than you think. Well let William take the floor and discuss some of the key steps in homebuying prep. For more buying and selling tips, please visit Williams blog.
Any good real estate professional who has ever spent time with a prospective home buyer would more than eagerly work with a buyer who is candid and methodical with their approach to the home search process. Here are 5 Concepts For Home Buyers To Ponder that will improve your relationship with your REALTOR, increase communication, and simplify the home search process. While none of these concepts are the least bit new, but if put in practice during your home search, youachievea better experience.
Here is my Home Buyer Check List:
For many home buyers, the purchase of a home can be one of the largest financial decisions that one will make in their lifetime. If you are about to make a large financialdecision, you shouldundoubtedly educate yourself on both the process and the local market, or markets, in which you are searching for a home.
When it comes time to educate yourself on your local market, it may make sense to sign up for a service that will email you a daily or weekly update on the new listings that that have arrived on the market in your price range and specific criteria. In time this will help you gain a sense of value. You canClick Here to sign up and receive daily/weekly updates from me. Next you should understand the local metrics of the market you are searching within. How many homes sell each month? And what to they sell at on a relative basis? Is this basis price per square foot? Or is it in relationship to the taxassessment? There are a number of ways to price out a homes valuation. AtWilliam Raveis Real Estate we offer a monthly newsletter to inform you of these metrics so that you can be the informed consumer. Click Here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter for your particular town or towns.
Give Honest Feedback.
In all but a few cases, the REALTOR who has shown you a particular home does not own the home you have seen. As real estate professionals, we dont get offended by your opinion. There is nothing more productive that you can do in the home buying process than to becompletelycandid with your real estate professional. Do not be bashful, you will only confuse your real estate professional by misleading them about your home tastes and desires. Heck, dont be afraid to tell your REALTOR you think the home, or some of its features, are ugly! The more your real estate professional understands your tastes, wants, and needs, the better your real estate professional can hone in on the home that is the one for you. I have always said, I dont help people find a home, I help them eliminate them Said differently, the more your real estate professional knows about your tastes, the better they can pair down the list of choices, and then shorten up the list of home that you preview. Thus you only see the homes that truly match your own personal unique criteria.
Keep an Open Mind.
Being a bit open minded while search for your home can do both the home buyer and the real estate professional a world of good. When I say open-minded, I dont intend for thecontemporarybuyer to consider an antique. However, often the ideal home is one street out of target area. Or, the ideal home is found in the next price point, but it just so happens that the ideal home is over-priced, so it didnt hit your search radar. Many good real estate professionals can often find that ideal home because they know what you want, but sometimes the search criteria needs a simple tweak to find the home that meets the home buyers ideal criteria.
Be Prepared to Act.
How many times have you heard, Well we werent really looking, but this home came on the market so There will be those times that you will find the home of your dreams, the very unique one that fits all of your criteria. There is nothing morefrustratingfor a home buyer to have to go through the home search trying to find the one that is good as the home that got away because the home buyer was not prepared to act at the time their dream home came on the market. Being prepared to act means having your financial affairs in order Or if you have a home to sell, could it go on the market quickly so that you could move up, or downsize to, your dream home?
Know Your Budget.
Howeverknowledgeableone can be about their market, or ready to act on the rare opportunity to acquire your dream home, the one, the ideal home you need to know how you are going to pay for it. Knowing in advance how much home you can afford, and how much home you can afford using different financing programs will lead you to the homes best suited for your budget.
In todays market, the one item that nearly all sellers want demonstrated is how will the buyer fund the purchase, and is there documentation to back it up. One way to best understand how to determine how much home a home buyer can afford is to sit with a mortgage professional and have them issue you a Pre-Approval Letter. A reputable mortgage professional, like the ones atWilliam Raveis Mortgage, can meet with you, discuss your financial goals, and help you determine the best financing choices for you. These choices will enable the home buyer learn what price point is appropriate relative to their financial goals. And combine this knowledge with a pre-approval letter issued from the mortgage professional and the home search process goes much more smoothly.
Knowing your budget will enable you to avoid the stickysituationof having to back out of an accepted offer due to the inability of the buyer to be able to finance the transaction. Neither the buyer nor the seller really enjoy when an transaction does not come tofruitiondue to financing. As a home buyer, it is very difficult to have to down in price range after envisioning yourself, and shopping at a higher price point. Hence, getting a handle on an appropriate price budget will do wonders forsimplifyingthe process.
The above is a simple, not so new, but often over looked Home Buyer Check List. When these Five Concepts to Ponder are practiced in concert, your home search process will proceed in a much smoother and productive fashion.
April 6, 2012
Cant end your week without it.here are Raveis.coms most viewed homes for the first week of April!
Listed By: The Clark Bjorklund Realty Partners
Listed by: Patricia Ford, William Raveis Duxbury
Listed by: Barbara Blitstein, William Raveis Chappaqua
Listed by: Barbara OReilly, William Raveis Newport
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/04/06/this-weeks-most-popular-homes/
April 4, 2012
When venturing out into the world of homebuying and selling, you will likely hear many finance-y terms that you may not be entirely familiar with. One of them is mill rate. Investopedia defines the mill rate as Theamount per $1,000 that is used to calculatetaxeson property.Millage rates are mostoften found inpersonal property taxes, where the expressed millage rate is multiplied by the total taxable value of the property to arrive at the property taxes due. To put this simply, the mill rate is the amount of tax paid for each dollar of a homes assessed property value.
Mill rates will vary depending on location. This is why it is important for you to gather information from the town in which you live regarding the rates. The mill rate is a key component in determining the taxes you pay on a property.
Chris Sigg, head of the Chris Sigg Team with William Raveis in New Canaan, goes into more detail on mill rates and provides a list of them in his local area. While he focuses on Fairfield County, the items he discusses will apply in the majority of towns across the country. Take a look at what he has to say below, and check out his blog for more information, http://chrissigg.raveisblog.com/
The property tax rate is expressed in mills or thousandths of a dollar. A tax rate (mill rate) of 11.74 mills is equivalent to $11.74 of taxes per $1,000 of assessed value. In Connecticut, the property assessment is equal to 70% of the fair market value of the property as established by the municipal Assessor. Each town sets its own mill rate; some municipalities have different mill rates for different districts within that town. Assessment dates for property on the Grand List must be assessed by October 1st of the preceding year. So for property taxes due July 1st, 2010 and January 1, 2011, they are determined from assessments computed by the town assessor prior to October 1, 2009. Typically, in the majority of Connecticut towns, real estate property taxes are payable for the current tax year on July 1st and January 1st. This is the same as the states fiscal year. But, in some towns, payments are made quarterly- so check with town hall first.
For Fairfield County, Connecticut here are property mill rates for individual towns. This information is provided by the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service, please verify with each town hall.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CONNECTICUT PROPERTY MILL RATES
Article source: http://blog.raveis.com/2012/04/03/what-the-heck-is-a-mill-rate/