Real Estate Information
Michael McGrath's Blog
Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27
So, there are INSANELY low interest rates right now. In fact, my wife and I just refinanced our home for 15 years at 3.125%! I really can't complain at all about that for sure. However, sellers are wondering why the market isn't in a frenzy with all these great interest rates. Hmmmmmm.......here's my opinion and I'm sure I'm not the first to think it.
The "normal" buyer a few years ago would look at 10-12 houses before making an offer and ultimately purchasing a home. Now, buyers are looking at upwards of 20 homes sometimes before they make a decision....OR....stop looking. They just keep hoping that the rates will get even lower and that sellers are desperate to sell which initiates "low ball" offers. I'm all for working for my clients and submitting whatever offer they would like, but don't be disappointed when you offer $25,000 less than asking price on a properly priced home.
Another thing to consider is, what would happen if interest rates started to rise? Buyers wouldn't necessarily get out of the market. In fact, I think just the opposite. It will get all the "fence sitters" to make a decision and finally purchase a home. So, unfortunately, since my wife and I have secured a great term and rate, I'm hoping for rising interest rates, both for my buyers and for my sellers!
Well, the local real estate market in reference to Queensbury, Lake George and Glens Falls IS getting better! Now........that doesn't mean that we are any where close to what it was at the height of the market a few years ago. We have to keep in mind that a slower recovery will be better for us in the long run. The market has never and WILL never sustain an out of control market, it just has to crash. Let's let our values slowly stabilize tp prepare for our next "top" of the market, it's all cyclical.
That being said, start working on your homes and putting money into the areas that buyers typically focus on. Those areas are the kitchen and baths. Some upgrades can be as simple as fresh paint, new landscaping and/or just washing your house. Curb appeal is the first thing that will grab the attention of a browsing buyer in your neighborhood. If you'd like a professional opinion on what to work on or a pricing analysis for this market, please don't hesitate to call.
The Seven Dangers of Overpricing!!!!
Most experts would advise that the best way to increase your
odds of a successful sale is to price your home at fair market
value. But, as logical as this advice sounds, for many sellers it is
still tempting to tack a few percentage points onto the price to
"leave room to negotiate". To avoid this temptation, let's take a
look at the seven deadly sins of overpricing:
1. Appraisal Problems
Even if you do find a buyer willing to pay an inflated price, the fact
is over 90% of buyers use some kind of financing to pay for their
home purchase. If your home won't appraise for the purchase
price the sale will likely fail.
7 Deadly Sins of Overpricing
2. No Showings
Today's sophisticated home buyers are well educated about the real estate market. If your home is overpriced they
won't bother looking at it, let alone make you an offer.
3. Branding Problems
When a new listing hits the market, every agent quickly checks the property out to see if it's a good fit for their
clients. If your home is branded as "overpriced", reigniting interest may take drastic measures.
4. Selling the Competition
Overpricing helps your competition. How? You make their lower prices seem like bargains. Nothing is worse than
watching your neighbors put up a sold sign.
The longer your home sits on the market, the more likely it is to become stigmatized or stale. Have you ever seen a
property that seems to be perpetually for sale? Do you ever wonder - What's wrong with that house?
6. Tougher Negotiations
Buyers who do view your home may negotiate harder because the home has been on the market for a longer
period of time and because it is overpriced compared to the competition.
7. Lost Opportunities
You will lose a percentage of buyers who are outside of your price point. These are buyers who are looking in the
price range that the home will eventually sell for but don't see the home because the price is above their pre-set
Most buyers look at 10-15 homes before making a buying decision. Because of this, setting a competitive price
relative to the competition is an essential component to a successful marketing strategy.
Take Charge When Buying a Home
Take Charge When Buying a Home
If you approach the home buying process intelligently and with confidence, you are much more likely to buy a house you'll be proud to call home.
Approaching the task of buying a home can be overwhelming; there's so much to consider:
- How much house can I afford?
- How can I find the best loan?
- Where will I come up with a down payment, and how much will I need?
- Should I buy a new or resale home, and which will go up in value?
- Should I work with an agent or look at homes on my own?
And these questions are just the beginning. Buying a home is one of the largest financial transactions in your lifetime - do your research so you know what you’re doing.
Here are the two most important things to remember no matter where you are on the road to home ownership:
1. You can and should understand everything that is happening in the home buying process.
There is nothing that is so complex that it can't be easily explained to anyone with average intelligence. Just because you don't apply for a thirty year mortgage once a week doesn't mean you have to take the first one that comes along. You'll need to learn some new terms, apply some new concepts and take the time to understand what you're getting into.
If, at any point, something happens that doesn't make sense to you, simply demand a full and complete explanation. If it still doesn't make sense, seek help from someone you trust like your CPA, your banker or maybe an online real estate columnist.
2. In the world of real estate sales, YOU are the most important person in the entire process.
It's easy to think that everyone else carries more weight than you. The agent talks fast and has an answer for everything. The lender may decline your loan application, and on and on.
But the truth is that you, the buyer, are the one person in the transaction that makes it all happen. If you decide to not buy, the entire process comes to a grinding halt.
So flex your consumer muscle and take command of this process. Surround yourself with a team of professionals that you have confidence in and make them work for you.
Approach home buying with intelligence and confidence, and by doing your homework, and you are more likely to buy a house you’re happy with and to know that you made the right decision.
This is a true story from a recent inspection with a buyer last week. When I am asked if we "need" to do inspections, I always say that my advice would be to most certainly do inspections. I realize that money is tight for everyone and it's not a small cost to have the "standard" inspections done. Those being structural, which looks at the basic construction of the house from framing to foundation, including attic space, age of windows, insulation and mechanicals. Now, a structural inspection is not a detailed look at every last tiny component in a house. It's basically a "checkup" done by a certified inspector to look for items that may not be as easily seen by an inexperienced buyer.
The pest inspection must also be done by a "certified" pest inspector. You can have it done by the company that does the structural or anybody really, but if they are not certified, you have no legal recourse based on the contract terms.
Septic inspection is probably only done 50% of the time based on my experience because people just assume that if the waste and water "go away" when you flush that everything is fine.
So, back to our story from last week. My buyer took my advice and had all three plus a radon test done.
After the structural, it was clear that the roof had some major issues that were hinted at by our initial walk around. Turns out that there were rafters that were fractured as well as mildew and rotten roof sheeting on 6-8 sheets of plywood. These were areas that may not have been known without the inspector crawling in the hot, fiberglass ridden attic. So that was money well spent.
The following day, the septic inspection was due to be done. The seller had told us that it was pointless and a waste of money because it had been pumped 3 years prior and was fine. The buyer actually considered cancelling the inspection. I strongly advised against it. The septic inspector came and dug up the caps, pumped the tank and ran some water into the leach field. Guess what? The tank was fine, but the leach field was totally plugged and collapsed and was showing water coming up out of the soil.
The lesson is simple, all in all, these inspections cost the buyer close to $900, but saved, as we're finding out, close to $10,000 in repairs that if they were not found prior to closing, you'd have a slim to none chance of recouping any cost unless you could prove that they didn't disclose those items. Bottom line is that it "pays" to have inspections done, they don't "cost" anything. All found items over $1,500 can hopefully be negotiated successfully and it's in the seller's best interest to do so because they then have to disclose those problems, by law. Learn from my experience...use an experienced agent that has your best interest in mind.
As a real estate broker, I'm often asked if we've hit the "bottom" of the market yet. Although a very locally diverse issue, I would say that we are very close. In this market, as in many, it all depends on what you're selling. The inventory of homes in Queensbury, Lake George, Glens Falls and surrounding areas is at very high numbers right now. That being said, it means that buyers have a lot to look at. In the past, buyers would look at about 11 homes on average before purchasing. In my experience, that process of searching spanned about 2-3 months. Now, buyers are taking up to 6 months and more to find that "perfect" house and looking at 20-30 homes, at least, before doing so. It makes sense, but often times what they are searching for in the beginning, is nothing like what they purchase in the end. My advice on the buying end is to have realistic requirements when searching and always keep location as the top priority for future resale.
When pricing a home to sell, accurate comparables are always the best way. As agents and brokers, we do our best to "adjust" those numbers based on current sale trends. It is not a science, but the best way to predict sales price. As a seller, also have realistic goals when pricing and understand that today's market time is about 6 months, so pricing aggressively, don't read "give it away", will ensure lots of interest and hopefully a quicker than normal sale.
Oh no, interest rates are rising! The world is coming to an end, buy up all the canned food you can!
OK, ok.....it's not that bad! Interest rates are still at historic lows but the trend is that they will continue to rise. This has to happen to help get us back to a stable market, (no, we're not there yet!) It's also imperative, if you're a buyer, that you get pretty aggressive looking at homes. Some first time buyers will be "out of the market" if the rates rise even 1/4 %.
Now is the time to get out there and find the houses you DON'T like. Sounds backwards, but that's really what it's about, figuring out what you don't like to help narrow your search to the "perfect" home. There is a lot of inventory out there right now, so start looking! If you need any help at all, I'm here when you need me. Happy hunting!
All Your Ducks In A Row
I've worked with many buyers and sellers throughout my career. One of the most important aspect to professionally working with both revolves around the issue of financing. When it comes to buyers, it is our job to make sure that they have spoken to lenders to find out how much money they are qualified to borrow. This doesn't mean that we try to find them a house that "maxes" out their finances. To me, this means finding them a home they can comfortably afford. Although it's a slow market, the attraction of well priced homes has many homes disappearing quickly to the buyers that are ready. It is crucial that buyers contact a lender and find out what priced home they can comfortably afford BEFORE they look at homes.
Concerning sellers, it is my job to make sure that the interested buyers have also been to a lender and have been pre-qualified for the sellers home at the price they are asking for. Lazy agents don't go the extra mile to find these things out and it's a disservice to their clients, whether it's the buyer or the seller. Banks are being very conservative with who they lend money to, so make sure no matter what side you're on that you do your homework and choose a real estate agent that works for their clients effectively.
If you're a buyer and you'd like a list of lenders to speak with, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a lot of preparation involved with moving. One of those things is contacting your professional movers. You need to call around to see which professional movers have the best rates and which professional movers can move your items to your new location area. Professional movers also have varying options regarding whether they will allow you to pack up your own home, or rent out their trucks, etc.
There are other details involved with moving, the biggest one being finding a new place to live. Getting a new home is a huge undertaking. It is important to know details regarding your new home before you move.
For example, if you move in to a new home that is part of a Homeowner Association it is important to know the rules before your move. HOA has a lot of rules that will be implemented in your neighborhood. Here are some common things to know about HOA.
HOA is all encompassing. What do I mean by that? I mean that there are standardized policies that involve everyone in the neighborhood. No one receives special treatment.
HOA rules are also usually strict. Every neighborhood is different. Rules are made regarding things that you can do on your property, and there are mandatory fees involved.
HOA rules usually make it hard for homeowners to make changes on their home or property. There are limits put in place about what you can and cannot do. HOA rules can be pretty nit-picky too, such as not allowing you to add a basketball hoop in your front driveway.
Fees that are involved with HOA are mandatory. The fee goes towards the HOA fund, which keeps up with neighborhood maintenance and community projects around your neighborhood. If any rules are broken there are going to be subsequent fees, that will increase with every new rule that is broken.
There are also rules regarding the types of pets you can bring in to your establishment. Some rules even are as strict as to say what breed and size of dog you can have. Learn the policies of your specific neighborhood's HOA so you will know these rules before you move in.