Nine Tips for Making Home Buying Negotiations Go Smoothly

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When you’re in the market for a new home, there’s nothing quite like the search for the perfect property. It’s exciting, addicting, and fun. But, once you finally settle on a property, that’s when the real work begins. This is when the negotiations phase starts, and for most, this is the most frustrating and stressful part of the home buying process. But it doesn’t have to be so worrisome.

Here are nine tips that you can use that will help make your home buying negotiations go smoother.

Get Your Finances in Order

You want to be on the strongest ground possible when you’re negotiating for a home. So before you even start making offers, you will want to get your finances in order so your mortgage lender won’t have any misgivings about your loan before you close the deal.

Place an Offer Based on Home Value, Not List Price

A property’s list price is the price the owner is asking for. This is almost always higher than what the home is actually valued at. Find out the actual value for the home, and then base your offer on that amount.

Be Ready to Move

If you’re shopping in a competitive market, then make your first offer your best offer, or you could miss out because homes don’t last long once they hit the market. Therefore, you want to be ready to move quickly. If you’re anticipating a bidding war for a home, then let the other party bid first so you know what number you have to beat.

Listen Closely

When you’re heading into negotiations, it’s normal for most people to start talking. But you’ll want to avoid this temptation and instead, try listening. If the seller has a counteroffer, listening will help you identify their reasoning and their unique situation. This information will help you and your real estate broker to determine your next move.

 Learn as Much About the Seller as Possible

If you learn that you are going to be entering into negotiations with the seller, ask your Realtor for as much information about them as possible. For instance, why are they selling? Are they moving for a particular reason, like for a new job? Is the seller in financial trouble and trying to avoid a foreclosure? Any information you can gain about the seller and their reason for selling will strengthen your position at the table.

Check Public Records on the Property

Doing a public records search on the owners and the property can provide you with details like whether or not the home is headed to foreclosure or if the owners have recently filed for divorce. Use a resource like Homes.com to find out when the property was last on the market and how much it sold for.

Don’t Expect to Win Every Battle

In every negotiation there is give and take. You’ll win some, but don’t expect to win them all. Pick the things that are most important to you and hold steady on them while being a little more flexible elsewhere. Be ready and prepared to compromise and your negotiations process will be friendlier and smoother.

 Keep Your Contingency List as Short as Possible

The fewer contingencies you have, the closer you will be to getting the house you want. For instance, if you can afford a higher down payment and that’s what’s needed to get the house, then do it. Or, if the homeowner wants you to change the closing date in order to accommodate their schedule, then do it as long as it doesn’t affect your own schedule. The more flexible you are willing to be, the better your chances will be of holding the winning the bid.

Send a Personal Letter With Your Offer

In many cases, writing a personal letter to the seller and sending it in with your offer will help put a face and story to the process. So many home buying negotiations are sterile, with the two parties never even meeting each other. By adding a personal touch to the process, you’ll be connecting with the seller on a different, more personal level. And, when the seller feels as if they “know” the buyer, this can make all the difference in the home buying negotiations.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MORTGAGE RATE IN 2017?

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This week the Feds raised the interest rate for the first time in 2016 and it was a cautious increase. The question is where are the rates expected to go and how will buyers and sellers react?

SOME KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Rates are likely to hit 4.5 percent to 5 percent next year.
  • This could put pressure on buyers to act; there are usually options open to buyers for working around higher rates, but buyers in high-priced markets will have more problems.
  • It could also stymie the existing-home sale market as sellers decide to stay put instead of trade up at a higher mortgage rate.
  • Should get Buyers off the fence to purchase/Sellers pricing home right!

Throughout 2015 and 2016, buyers enjoyed historically low mortgage rates for many months — which finally began to increase in mid-November, despite predictions that they’d rise sooner.

With such an unusual end to this year, what should real estate agents (and their clients) be expecting in 2017? Inman interviewed seven housing and economy experts to dig into their thoughts about mortgage rates next year; here’s what they told us.

WILL WE SEE RATES GO BACK DOWN?

Short answer: Not likely.

“The day has finally come that people have been talking about for two years,” said Steve Cook, editor of Real Estate Economy Watch, “when you start seeing a steady rise in interest rates. The kind of rates we were getting earlier this year, down to 3.5 percent — those days are over,” he added.

“I don’t believe we’ll see any pullback until after the inauguration, but even the best-case scenario suggests that the historically low rates that have been in place for the last few years are firmly in the rear-view mirror, and that the trend will be toward increasing rates through 2017,” said Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s chief economist.

HOW HIGH COULD THEY GET? 

The consensus was that the 30-year fixed rate in 2017 will likely stay in the 4 percent range to 4.5 percent to even 5 percent by year’s end.

Mark Fleming, the chief economist at First American, said that his new estimate of next year’s rate movement “shows mortgage rates getting much closer to 5 percent at the end of next year.”

WHAT WILL BUYERS DO?

As rates start moving up, buyers might feel pressure to act — up to a point when their homeownership dream becomes out-of-reach. But we aren’t there yet.

“We don’t think rising rates are going to have a very noticeable effect on the housing market, either in terms of new sales or home buying activity,” said Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist.

“Mortgage rates would have to be 7, 8, 9 even 10 percent for the cost of buying to equate the cost of renting. From a financial perspective, buying a home is still a good deal over a 5 to 7 year period,” he added.

WHAT WILL SELLERS DO?

When sellers have bought a home at a low rate, and rates are rising, a phenomenon known as “rate lock” can take effect — sellers have a disincentive to move.

“When rates move dramatically in a short period of time, it’s the existing-home market that slows down,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com.

“We’ve had effectively a 30-year tailwind run of declining mortgage rates,” noted Mark Fleming, the chief economist at First American. “At this point in time, maybe they go up or down a little bit, but the long-term trend over the past 30 years has been lower and lower and lower mortgage rates,” Fleming noted.

“Think about how the housing market is composed: 5.5 million to 5.6 million homes sell per year, with an additional million new, so we’re talking somewhere on average of 6 to 6.5 million home sales a year. The vast majority of those home sales come out of the existing market, and what defines the existing market? Existing homeowners. They have to make the decision to supply that home for sale.”

HOW HOT MARKET WILL FARE

Although most buyers probably won’t be overly affected by rising mortgage rates — which are still, relatively speaking, very low — the hotter markets in the country will definitely see a more immediate effect from rate bumps.

“Even a relatively small change from 3.5 up to 4 — even that is already going to start influencing the more expensive markets,” posited Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. “So if you’re located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Miami, that might very well have an impact on you because you’re already stretching your budget as it is to get into a home that you can barely afford at historically low mortgage rates.”

“In these places where affordability is already an issue, seeing these small bumps will already have a slight dampening effect, and we’ll see that affect not on all buyers but specifically first-time homebuyers or lower income folks. People who are repeat buyers or buying higher-end homes won’t feel it so much,” she added.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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IMPORTANT WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE CHORES

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Winter has hit our town pretty hard over the last week. Not too long ago we were walking around in shorts and sandals and now we find ourselves stomping through the snow and driving carefully.

Regardless of the changing seasons there is always something to be done around the house and yard. Owning a home is a responsibility, and here are some ideas for those special winter tasks that should be considered when the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall.

 

 

WATER CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS

Water that freezes can cause major problems in your house. During the colder months frozen pipes, flooded basements or even dangerous molds can cause health concerns. Why not consider all possible water related repairs?   In order to protect your home check that your gutters are not collecting leaves and ice. You might want to also look for spot damage around your home due to leaks.

THE YARD IS GOING TO SLEEP

Winter is a great time to clean away dead leaves and twigs – help your lawn’s root system receive the spring rains. This is also a good time for making sure that hoses are disconnected and outdoor faucets are covered. It is never too early to think about your spring garden by organizing your tools and ordering your seeds. 

STAYING WARM AND YET BEING EFFICIENT

It is a waste to have hot air collecting just below your home’s ceiling. Think about fans that push warm air downwards. It might be time to get an energy audit from an expert to help you save on heat loss.

Another thing to consider are your filters. Most homes have some sort of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. These systems use some type of air filter or screen that traps large particles that flow through the system. These filters need to be changed at least every three months. On those days when you are stuck inside, changing these filters is an easy task that benefits the whole house. Here is a YouTube video that shows how to change your home furnace air filter.

WEATHERPROOFING WINDOWS

Winter is a time when you can feel cold drafts slipping in from outside through leaky windows and old doors. There are many approaches to weatherproofing your windows – you can use snakes, long decorative fabric tubes, which are placed under a door or window. A more involved approach to weatherproofing is to use film over the windows using double sided tape. Here is more information on drafts prevention from the DIY network.

A RECIPE FOR TREATING YOURSELF AND FAMILY

With all of these activities occupying your days while stuck inside – why not treat yourself and family with some decadent mocha éclairs for all of the good work you are getting done for the winter.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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Personality Traits of a Successful Realtor®

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Have you ever wondered what are the the personality traits that separate a successful realtor from a mediocre realtor.  Here are the top four traits that are extremely important, and that are worth looking for when deciding on the realtor that will best suit your needs.

Passion

Passion is one trait that the most successful leaders in every industry share. It takes passion to persevere through times that would make impassioned people quit. But what exactly are successful realtors passionate about? If you said “making money,” you’ve missed the point. Realtors® are passionate about homes. Houses, neighborhoods, architecture, landscaping, and construction are not just topics to brush up on as a means to the end of a decent paycheck. In order to be a successful agent, you must be consumed by the actual physical details of the products you are selling, and for these individuals, those products are homes that build families and memories. What could be more important? Anyone can part a fool from his money, as the old proverb says, but it takes an extraordinary obsession to become the kind of Realtor® that customers return to and recommend time and again.

Attention to Detail

What’s the difference between exclusive agency and exclusive right? Real estate agents, especially when interacting with clients, need to have all the answers and they need to have them fast. Sellers can easily sniff out a hesitation or a gap in knowledge, which undermines confidence in their realtor. Attention to detail is not just for contract negotiations, either. Paying attention to a client’s individual preferences—even something as simple as bringing a client her favorite brand of coffee to a showing—can provide an immense return on investment. Every detail counts in the real estate industry, and the most successful pros can visualize the details along with how they all fit into the bigger picture of a listing.

Persistence

Real estate, like many sales-oriented industries, can take years of dogged determination with little reward before it starts paying off. Not everyone has the capability to persevere when the fruits of labor are uncertain. That’s why successful Realtors® are always a tenacious bunch. A competitive spirit can help you remain persistent, but too much competitiveness may turn off clients and distract from their needs. Persistence doesn’t have to mean grueling hours; it can be achieved through smart planning, rigorous organization, and the willingness to go out of your way to deliver exactly what your client wants.

Curiosity

A successful Realtor® never stops learning and never stops asking questions. In order to thrive in the modern real estate industry, you must know about trends, technologies, marketing, finance, law, and so much more. For some people, keeping up with trends of just one of those topics can be exhausting. That’s why genuine intellectual curiosity combines with persistence to create a super real estate agent, capable of managing listings and updating marketing materials from a Smartphone at a conference, just before meeting a buyer for lunch. If you can’t do it, the Realtor® next to you might, and guess who gets the commission?

 If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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BEND OREGON NEWS FOR JUNE 2016

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Changes are all around us. The temperatures go up and down as summer finally finds its place at our back door, and here we are with another morning full of sunshine in central Oregon.

While changes happen all around us – it is good to stop and take stock in what we have and especially where we live. Thrillist listed Bend, Oregon as one of the nine best mountain towns in America. Tourism dollars continue to flow and a statewide study commissioned by Travel Oregon showed that the direct spending by visitors to Central Oregon in 2015 was up by a full 6 percent as compared to 2014. These tourism dollars help to create more jobs and grow our local economy. Growth happens when life is good.

A number of factors contribute to our growth and these are listed below – the information in this blog was compiled from various periodicals, market stats based on the MLS trends and data as of June 11th 2016.

PROPERTY MARKET

Good news for homeowners in Bend. The median sale price for homes in the Bend area held steady in May, equaling the April figure of $380,000. This median price is 12.5% higher than last year. The Bend area residential housing market continues to outpace year-ago sales levels as seen the following statistics with a slowing of new construction sales in Northwest Crossing.

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POPULATION GROWTH

Central Oregon population continues to increase at a measured pace. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau released 2015 population estimates for municipalities showing Bend with 87,014 inhabitants, up 3.4% from 2014. This is a 13.5% increase from the 2010 U.S. Census figure.

Other incorporated cities in the three Central Oregon counties produced population increases as well, most clustered between 2% and 3%.

Numbers are shown in the accompanying table. The Census Bureau released 2015 estimates for counties earlier in the year are shown in the table below.

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You may wonder where is this growth coming from? Other states, by and large. According to Business Insider, which crunched Census Bureau numbers, the Bend-Redmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (Deschutes County) ranked seventh among urban destinations for relocation and the only one in the top 10 not in Florida or the Myrtle Beach area.

 EMPLOYMENT

Growth needs to find balance in job opportunities and the Deschutes job count is on an upward trend. The Oregon Employment Department figures for April show much better job performance in Central Oregon than earlier predictions indicated.

Deschutes County added 5,140 new jobs since last April; this represents a gain of 7.1%. More than 2,080 jobs were added in April 2016. There are usually increases due to seasonal hiring especially in construction, leisure and retail, but there does appear to be a strong job growth in less seasonal industries such as professional business services and manufacturing.

PROJECTS

Low-income housing is planned this summer on multi-family apartments in Bend and Redmond that qualify as affordable housing. These projects are scheduled for completion next year for tenants that must meet income restrictions. Housing Works is a local housing authority in Central Oregon and this workforce house project will consist of 53 two and three bedroom townhomes in two adjacent communities.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

 

 

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What are the Pros and Cons of using an Online Service like Zillow?

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The housing market continues to be hot as summer officially starts this week. In this marketplace there are many buyers and sellers that are using services like Zillow. It is not surprising that when it comes to selling your house, you want to know how much your home is worth. There are different ways of calculating home value but usually an appraisal report by a certified appraiser is most accurate. Unfortunately, a certified appraisal report will cost hundred of dollars – whereas, it is free to turn to the algorithm based website like Zillow for an estimate. However, these “Zestimates” are not necessarily correct. Zillow calculates these estimates from public data only, and the estimates do not take into account the other information that adds value to your property like location to schools and shops, type of flooring, etc.

These online services offer additional information to potential buyers and sellers, so it is worth knowing how to use these services to get the best from them. A more detailed explanation of the pros and cons of these sites can be found here.

Some of the other reasons for using Zillow or other online sites range from the use of first-rate neighborhood mapping and search tools that use filters for open house, new construction and foreclosures to saving a home of interest while getting email updates on price changes, etc.

The disputed issues with Zillow are on home price estimates since the values are not derived from a real appraisal, a smart algorithm can just do so much! It should also be considered that in terms of finding an agent, the site allows real estate agents to place ads for zip codes without having a true expertise of those targeting neighborhoods.

There are many approaches to the buying and selling process; some are better than others and knowledge can save time and money.  If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

 

 

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8 Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

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If you’re selling a home for the first time, it’s quite a different ballgame from what you experienced as a first-time buyer.

Ultimately, even with counseling and guidance from your Real Estate agent, you’re in control of the process. You are in control on prepping your home for sale, deciding on a listing price, accepting (or rejecting) offers, and a host of other factors.

But you might want to heed the following tips:

1. Hire an experienced real estate agent
A real estate transaction is filled with complexities and nuances that a professional, skilled agent can help you navigate. Our brokers at RE/MAX Key Properties are experts in the art of selling homes and can guide you each step of the way from the preparation of the home, pricing, negotiating to the close of escrow, we are with you every step of the way.   

2. Detach yourself from the process
You’ve made memories to last a lifetime in your first home, and saying goodbye is hard. But be careful not to let your emotional attachment get in the way of making sound decisions, particularly when it comes to staging and pricing your home. Try to see your home as a potential buyer would. Pretend you’re a potential buyer and walk through your home. Make a list of what you like about each room – and the things you’d change.

3. Don’t overprice
Some sellers might think that in today’s low-inventory market they can overprice their home and get top dollar. In reality, if you price it competitively, you’ll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get in a situation where multiple offers are rolling in. Overpricing at the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale, especially if numerous price reductions are needed.

4. Declutter and stage for a quick sale
Buyers who tour your home will have a hard time picturing themselves living in it if they only see paint colors or décor that fits your own unique style. Repaint the walls with neutral, earth-tone colors, and remove excess decorations from walls. Consider renting a storage unit to store large furniture that overpowers your main living areas; rooms should appear as spacious as possible.

5. Make the necessary repairs/upgrades
Ensure that all systems and appliances are functioning properly, as these items will come up in a home inspection that might cost you more money and, possibly, the whole sale down the road. The rule of thumb is to make improvements to your home that will help the property show well, but don’t put a ton of money into capital investments such as a basement refinish or high-end flooring, particularly if such upgrades aren’t consistent for your neighborhood. You likely won’t get that money back in the sale.

6. Give your home curb appeal
Your home’s front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they drive by, and it’s likely the first photo that will appear in an online search. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, add some bright flowers to your entryway, and make sure that any cracks or major cement damage is fixed. Consider renting a pressure washer to get rid of the grime and buildup on the outside of your house, and definitely keep the yard mowed and tidy. A little elbow grease goes a long way to making a positive first impression on buyers.

7. Keep an open mind for negotiations
What’s more important to you: Walking away with your asking price (or more)? A quick closing time? Putting out as little upfront cash in closing costs as possible? All of these are considerations you’ll need to make as you evaluate offers. Also, keep in mind that you have the ability to negotiate with counter-offers. Sometimes, you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a buyer’s closing costs (if feasible), or leaving some appliances behind. A few concessions can go a long way in the negotiation process, and your RE/MAX Key Properties agent can work with you to carefully evaluate and respond to each offer.

8. Get ready for closing
Once you’ve accepted an offer and signed a sales agreement, you’ll start prepping for a closing. Also called “escrow” or “settlement,” closing is the final meeting between the buyer, seller, their agents and a loan officer (or an attorney, in some states) where the buyer pays their portion of the costs to the seller and the buyer’s new title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. The closing agent will calculate what monies are due to the owner and what credits need to be applied to the transaction, such as taxes, title fees and other closing costs.

Selling your home for the first time with loads of questions, then please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

 

 

 

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March 2016 National Housing Report

Blog17_04072016As the popular home buying season approaches, February sales saw a jump from both January and last February. The year-over-year change was 4.8% and the increase over January was 5.8%, which is in line with the 5.2% average seen in each month of February since 2009.  Over the last 12 months, the average year-over-year increase in home sales has been 5.8%, and only two months, November and October, experienced sales that were not above year-ago sales. The Median Sales Price of all homes sold in February was $198,000 or 5.9% higher than the price in February 2015. Price increases have moderated over several months, with month-over-month declines seen in 6 of the last 12 months. The inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with February seeing a level that is 13.3% lower than a year ago. At the rate of home sales in February, the national Months Supply of inventory was 4.0, down from 4.7 in February 2015.

“So far in 2016, January and February have both seen home sales at a pace higher than one year ago, and last year was one of the best our industry has seen in quite some time. Consumers are benefiting from price increases that have been moderating, but many will still be dealing with an inventory lower than we’d like to see. Serious home buyers who choose to work with an experienced agent will have a much easier time navigating this market,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. 

“A lack of inventory continues to affect home values, as eager buyers compete for a small selection of homes. Home prices continue their long march back from the big price drops experienced in the financial crash. As more and more Americans gain equity, this increases the number of homeowners who are financially able to sell their home and buy another one. We’re seeing the benefits of this virtuous cycle in rising home prices, which are also being greatly aided by historically low mortgage rates,” added Bob Walters, Quicken Loans, Chief Economist. 

 Closed Transactions – Year-over-year change

In the 53 metro areas surveyed in February, the average number of home sales was 4.8% higher than one year ago, and was 5.8% higher than the previous month. February home sales are typically slightly higher than those in January and since February 2009, the average increase has been 5.2%. This February, home sales appeared to be especially strong in the northeast, in places like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Trenton.  Across the nation in February, 38 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported higher sales on a year-over-year basis, with 16 experiencing double-digit increases, including Providence, RI +23.1%, Manchester, NH +20.5%, Augusta, ME +19.3%, Hartford, CT +18.2%, Cleveland, OH +17.1% and Wilmington, DE +16.8%.

 Median Sales Price

The Median Sales Price for all homes sold in February was $198,000, down 1.0% from January. On a year-over-year basis, the Median Sales Price has now risen for 49 consecutive months, but February’s increase of 5.9% is less than the 2015 monthly average of 7.6%. Although price increases have been moderating over the last few months, low inventory supply continues to be the most significant factor pressuring prices. Among the 53 metro areas surveyed in February, 45 reported higher prices than last year, with 12 rising by double-digit percentages: Cleveland, OH +15.8%, Tampa, FL +15.6%, Boise, ID +13.4%, Miami, FL +12.2%, Orlando, FL +11.7%, and Nashville, TN +11.5%.

 Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas

The average Days on Market for all homes sold in February was 76, up 5 days from the average in January, but 4 days lower than the average in February 2015. February becomes the 35th consecutive month with a Days on Market average of 80 or less. In the three markets with the lowest inventory supply, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, Days on Market was 38, 35 and 48 respectively. The highest Days on Market averages were seen in Augusta, ME 167, Burlington, VT 119, Des Moines, IA 114 and Chicago, IL 113. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed. 

 Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas

The number of homes for sale in February was 1.3% lower than in January and 13.3% lower than in February 2015. The average loss of inventory on a year-over-year basis in 2015 was 12.2%. Based on the rate of home sales in February, the Months Supply of Inventory was 4.0, which was lower than the 4.6 months supply January and the 4.7 supply in February last year. A 6.0 Months Supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. Burlington, VT had the highest February month’s supply at 11.1. Seven metros had a supply less than 2 months: Denver, CO 1.1, San Francisco, CA 1.2, Seattle, WA 1.2, Portland, OR 1.4, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX 1.8, San Diego, CA 1.8 and Omaha, NE 1.9. 

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

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Tax Time Approaches…

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Two months ago winter was in full force and though we knew tax time was approaching, it was still February – there was plenty of time. Today the first week of April is nearly gone, and though the early birds have already processed their taxes and spent their refunds – there are those that are only now collecting their forms and receipts, settling down and doing their taxes.

Home ownership is a big plus when it comes to tax time. The government is generous with tax deductions for homeowners, and these deductions are advantages that will reduce your tax bill. Here are a few to consider.

Mortgage interest is any interest that you pay on a loan secured for your main home or a second home. The loan can be a mortgage to buy your home, a second mortgage, a line of credit or even a home equity loan. This interest can be used as a tax deduction. Interestingly, this tax deduction applies if you pay interest on a condominium, cooperative, mobile home, boat or recreational vehicle used as a residence.

The IRS considers points on a conventional mortgage as prepaid tax. One point is equal to one percent of the principal loan amount. Either the buyer or seller or both may pay these points, and these can be used to cut your tax bill. The trick is to know if you can deduct the points all at once or if you have to spread the costs over the life of the loan. There is good information on some of these advantages in the IRS Tax Information for Homeowners guide.

Another tax break is available from paying your property tax on your home or other property that you own. You need to deduct the real estate tax for your main home or other non-rental/non-business property on Schedule A. Remember property tax is deductible in the year you paid it, not necessarily the year that the payment is due.

There have been many energy efficiency tax breaks over the years. For example, if you installed storm doors or insulation or new energy efficient windows in 2015, you can get a tax credit of $500. This credit is expiring on December 31, 2016.

The IRS offers incentives to first time home buyers by allowing the withdrawal up to $10,000 from a traditional IRA without penalty. This can be a great help with the purchase of your first home. As an added bonus, your spouse or parents can put an additional $10,000 from their IRA for a total of $20,000 without penalty.

As tax time approaches, I highly recommend that you speak to a tax professional and ask about the advantages you may have as a homeowner. A tax professional will be able to answer all your questions and guide you thereby saving you time and money.

Homeownership is a bonus in more ways than one; if you’re looking to buy a home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

 

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Easter Festivities All Over Bend and Beyond

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Coloring boiled eggs, stuffing and hiding plastic eggs, decorating baskets with grasses and bows – all of these activities are part of the Easter celebration. Easter Sunday is also called Pasch or Resurrection Sunday, and it is a festival that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a celebration of life after death.

This weekend is a time for family gatherings with brown sugar glazed ham and warm crescent rolls but there’s even more going on in our community this weekend.

Mt. Bachelor is full of Easter festivities on and off the slopes. Why not take the little ones up to the resort for photos with the Easter Bunny from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the West Village Lodge. Then explore all the Easter Bunny’s hiding places for a great Easter Egg Hunt. Mt. Bachelor has loads going on for everyone. Here are the other events for the whole family.

Wanting something a little bit different, why not try the underwater egg hunt and duck races at the SHARC in Sunriver where the kids can dive for weighted plastic eggs and redeem them for prizes.

There are brunches all over town from the McMenamins hearty Easter Brunch to Broken Top Club’s culinary delight.

This Easter weekend is not just for the kiddies but also our beloved dogs. Why not check out the 7th Easter Egg Hunt for dogs on Sunday. Your dog will have a great time finding eggs hidden throughout the East Side Bend Pet Express.

Easter weekend is more than a time of hunting for eggs and eating chocolate, it is a good time to stop and think about our community, hope and gratitude. On this note, I wish you and your family a Very Happy Easter and a fun filled weekend!

If you’re looking for more information on buying or selling your home, please reach out to me. I am here to help with any questions you have. Call my cell phone (541) 390-0595 or email me at selenamcneill@yahoo.com. You can also explore my website at www.selenamcneill.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

 

Posted in Bend Oregon, General Information, Holidays, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment