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RMLS Market Action, Coos County - January 2018

by Jan Delimont

The Complete Guide to Getting Your House Ready to Sell

by Jan Delimont

 

You're ready to sell your home and start a new chapter in your life! It's exciting, but it can also be stressful and emotional. Here's how to get started.

Take a step back

Try to look at your home without your normal sentimental lens. The place where you marked your children's height against the wall suddenly become something that needs to get painted and the clutter in your den goes from cozy to messy. If it's not something you think you can do, ask a friend or hire a professional home stager or real estate agent to tell you what needs to be done. 

Declutter

If you're like most of us, you probably have a lot of stuff in your home that's just collecting dust. Getting your house ready to sell is the perfect time to declutter and there are lots of ways to do it. If you haven't been living under a rock in 2016, you've probably heard of the KonMari Method where you touch each object to see if it sparks joy and use that emotion to dictate what stays and what goes. If that's not your style, you can do a whirlwind purge of each room, ruthlessly throwing out anything that you no longer need. Or you can make neat piles of keep, sell, donate. It doesn't matter what method you use for decluttering your house, as long as you declutter it. It's a crucial step recommended by all the home staging experts. Plus, you have the added benefit of fewer things to move once the time comes. If you truly can't get rid of anything, we still recommend decluttering. Just rent a storage unit to hold some of your off-season clothes, knick knacks, and unused holiday decorations so that your closets seem less full (and bigger) and your potential buyers aren't overwhelmed by everything you have in your home. 

Clean

When you live in a home, things like crumbs on the counter or grime on the windows are your own business. But no one wants to move into a house that has someone else's mess in it. so, when you're getting ready to sell that means cleaning all the obvious places and all the places you haven't cleaned in awhile. We recommend hiring a professional cleaner at first. A professional is likely to get your home a lot cleaner than you would get it--and they'll do it a lot quicker. Be sure to ask if they'll deep clean the bathroom and kitchen because these are the areas that potential buyers will pay the most attention to. 

Fix all the broken things

Over the years things break. Draw pulls fall off, the HVAC system doesn't get serviced, and the windows collect a fine layer of pollen. Now's the time to take a survey of everything that's broken or hasn't been maintained in your home and to take care of it. The person buying your house understands that it's not brand new, but they're going to expect most things to work like new. Unfortunately, this is one of those tasks that really stands out if you don't do it, but goes relatively unnoticed when you do. Not sure where to get started? Check out our first-time buyers guide to home maintenance for the tools and tips you'll need to get started. 

Stage

Once your house is clean and in working order, it's time to stage it. This is another job you can hire a professional to do, or you can get some expert home staging tips and try to do it yourself. The key here is to make the home look inviting and personal, but not too funky. And you'll need to do it without breaking the bank. 

Enlist the neighbors

You know the woman three doors down who always wins Yard of the Month? Her rose bushes are to die for and her landscaping is always spot on and changes with the season. Let her know that you're planning on moving and want to spruce up the front of your house. Ask her if she has any recommendations for the types of plants you should buy or other things you can do to increase your curb appeal. And if you have a question trying asking your neighbors through the HOA Facebook page or your NextDoor app. Your neighbors have a vested interested in you selling your house at or above market value to keep their own property value up. and to someone who cares about a well-kept home. 

Sure, it takes a little elbow grease and a lot of planning, but if you're willing to do the work your home will be ready to sell in no time! 

 

One Big Reason Millennials Are Buying Homes? For Their Dogs

by Jan Delimont

Millennials are now leading the pack of home buyers, and what’s one incentive driving them to take the mortgage plunge? Their dogs.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage found that 33 percent of millennial home buyers’ decision to buy a home was driven chiefly by their dog. Furry friends outranked wedding bells (25 percent cited marriage as their top motivator for buying a home) and kids, too (only 19 percent said birth of a child was their prime incentive).

And even those millennials who don’t yet own a home but are planning to are prioritizing pups, with 42 percent of those surveyed by SunTrust saying a dog — present or future — is a key factor in their home purchasing decisions.

Oh, the Inhumanity of Apartment Dog-Dwelling

Certainly, this was true for 25-year-old Gwen Werner and her husband. They just bought a house so they could get a dog and not feel guilty about the pup being cooped up in an apartment all day.

"It felt inhumane having a dog live in a third-floor apartment without any space to run around," said Werner. "I'm glad that was our route, as we have a dog who has way too much energy for an apartment setting."

Werner adds that she and her husband bought their house in May. They rescued their pup, a German Shepherd mix in June.

The desire to give one's dog the best life possible is one that real estate brokers see frequently among their millennial clientele.

"All the time they mention their dogs," said Lee Fowler, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Triad in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, adding that just under half of his clients are millennials. "A lot of times they'll go into the house, through the kitchen, and then walk right into backyard and say 'This will work perfectly for my dog.' Or they'll look to see whether there's a fence, or if they can make one for their dog."

High-Maintenance Pooches?

Sure, yards are great, but what about a dog-washing station? Millennials may also be on the hunt for a home that has deluxe amenities for their dog.

“Our sales center has found that millennials are particularly attracted to dog-related amenities,” said Marilyn Osborn Patterson, marketing director and legal counsel for Norton Commons in Louisville, Kentucky, which she says has about 1200 residences. "Demand has been really strong, so we just completed our third dog park. All of them include entry vestibules for safety, fresh running water, and seating for pet owners. Millennials favor parks and walking trails and an active lifestyle alongside their dogs, so we added pet waste stations to keep things looking good. In new home builds, we see a lot of people putting in dog-washing stations.”

It could sound a bit over the top. But it's actually not that ridiculous when you consider that millennials tend to regard their pets as family members — arguably more so than any generation prior.

Related: Social Media Users Post About Their Dogs Six Times a Week

"Millennials have grown up in a different world than boomers and Gen-Xers, and it has impacted the way they see dogs," said Laura Schenone, author of The Dogs of Avalon: The Race to Save Animals in Peril. "For one thing, this generation is more educated than any before: 27 percent of millennial women have a bachelor's degree, compared with 14 percent of boomers and 20 percent of Gen-Xers. There is research to show that the college educated are more aware of the environment and the natural world, which includes animals."

Perhaps it's the popularity of animal shows like The Dog Whisperer, or just being able to access so much information on the web — whatever it is, millennials have evolved past boomer thinking about what makes Fido a good boy.

"Back in the '70s, my parents thought they were being good and responsible [dog owners by using] punishment and choke collars," said Schenone. "Now, as behavioral science has advanced, we know that dogs respond better toward positive training and rewards-based punishment."

Still Cheaper Than Kids

And while more and more millennials are becoming parents, there are still quite a few who are waiting to have kids, or who have decided not to have children. And not even the fanciest digs for your dog come close to the cost of bringing up baby: A dog is flat out cheaper than a kid.

"Some millennials say they are having dogs [instead] of children," said Schenone. "That's a leap, but not hard to believe; after all, they are less well off than boomers and Gen-Xers were at their age, and more burdened by student loans and debt. Everybody needs love and a family: dogs are cheaper, easier, and provide love."

What Home-Buying Dog Owners Need to Know

Everybody needs love and also, everybody needs a place to live. Anyone with a dog who has rented knows that the odds are stacked against them. Property managers tend to lump on fee after fee, along with tons of restrictions, if they’re even so generous as to allow a dog. The millennial who is ready to buy a home has possibly become sick and tired by the pricey rigmarole that goes along with renting with a dog. They want a place to hang their hat — and their pup's leash — without a big fuss.

But buyer beware: If you're purchasing a condo or an apartment, Home Ownership Associations can present similar obstacles for your pooch.

"Most HOAs will allow dogs but have weight limits (around 25 pounds), which excludes many breeds," said Jeffrey A. Hensel, a real estate agent and the sales and marketing director at North Coast Financial.

A millennial and a devout dog owner, Hensel says it took him a year to find his current condo in San Diego — all because of the “dog requirement.”

Related: Five Millennial Jobs That Parents Will Never Understand

Prospective home buyers with pups should certainly check to see if an HOA is involved, and what it requires. Beyond that, buyers must also disclose to their home insurance agent information about their dog.

Lovable as your mutt is, it could be considered high-risk based solely on its breed.

"I recommend being open and honest with your insurance company," said Ava Lynch, a licensed insurance agent who works at The Zebra, and a volunteer for Austin Pets Alive. "A lot of times, your insurance company won't deny you coverage because of the dog you own; they might just charge you a little extra for what they see as an increased risk (i.e., your "dangerous" dog), or they will simply not cover your dog in your liability portion. But if you lie and you need to file a dog bite claim, you risk being denied coverage and forced to cover any damages your dog causes out-of-pocket."

Looks like not even owning a home can eradicate all the annoying fine print and fees of having a dog. It's a dog eat dog world, indeed.

 

Your kids will have fantastic memories of vacations spent running around outside with their cousins, unplugged from their phones. Meanwhile, you and your siblings can recreate your childhood vacations, only this time with more alcohol and less fighting in the backseat. Sounds like a little slice of paradise, right?

Before you jump in, you'll want to get some things straightened out. 

How will you pay for it? 

Unless you all have cash, actually paying for the house can be tricky. Will your sibling with the best credit rating and lowest debt to income ratio apply for the mortgage? Or will you be applying for a joint mortgage?

Will you rent it? 

Renting your vacation home when no one’s using it can be a great investment. But if having strangers in his space gives your brother the heebie-jeebies and your sister wants to be able to use the house on a whim, renting might not be the best option. Make sure you talk about all that upfront so no one is blindsided by something they thought everyone agreed with them on. If you do decide to rent it you open up a whole other discussion. Who will be responsible for the landlord duties? How much of the year will you rent it? Will you split the money or will you put it toward upgrades and repairs on the house?

What if someone wants to sell?

You absolutely need to get this one in writing before you finalize anything. Maybe your sister moves to the other side of the country and can’t  use the house as much. Or maybe your brother made some bad investments (you told him pet rocks were not making a comeback) and the house is looking like his Get Out of Jail Free card. Make sure you all agree on when, if, and how someone can back out. After all, a forced sale won’t improve your relationship with anyone.

How will you split time?

Sure, you love your siblings. But does that mean you want to commit to spending every single vacation with them? Probably not. Talk about how much time each family will have at the house. Draw names, throw darts, or wrestle for your weekends. It doesn’t matter how you come to an agreement. You just have to agree.

How will you split expenses?

This is your second home. So you know expenses don’t stop with the mortgage. You still have to worry about insurance, utilities, repairs, and a whole heck of a lot more. Will you split everything evenly? Will one sibling have more financial responsibility than the others? Make sure everyone is on the same page with this one and you’ll be able to avoid a lot of squabbles in the future.

Now the only thing that's left to discussion is if you'll buy in the mountains or the beach!

Invest or Pay Off Your Mortgage? How to Decide

by Jan Delimont

Invest or Pay Off Your Mortgage? How to Decide

Should you invest extra cash or use it to pay off your mortgage?

It’s a heated debate that rivals French press versus pour-over coffee and “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.” But while all three topics might get passionate believers on both sides all worked up, investing or paying off your mortgage is a choice with serious financial consequences.

Here’s how to know which way to go.

The six variables to consider

To decide between the two, Justin Goodbread, a certified financial planner in Knoxville, Tennessee, suggests you consider six variables:

  • Your home’s current market value
  • Your mortgage interest rate
  • Home appreciation in your area
  • Your income tax rate
  • Expectations for inflation
  • An assumed rate of investment return

In an analysis on his blog, Financially Simple, Goodbread used national averages for these six parameters to compare different scenarios between investing and paying off a home loan early.

The math on each of these what-ifs favored investing over paying off a mortgage.

But, of course, Goodbread says the real answer to the question “Invest or pay off your mortgage?” depends on your situation. When pressed for a rule of thumb, he offered two:

Pay off your mortgage early if:

  • You’re a conservative investor, in a low tax bracket with a high mortgage interest rate

INVEST IF:

  • You’re an aggressive investor, in a high tax bracket with a low, 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rate
  • You’re younger than 50

» MORE: The pros and cons of home equity lines of credit

5 reasons to keep your mortgage

According to Goodbread and Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Services in Philadelphia, the primary reasons for carrying a mortgage — and not accelerating payments on the principal — include:

Homeowners need to maintain liquidity. If you have a financial emergency, cash reserves are essential. Homeowners who pour every dime into paying off their mortgage early might not have a cash cushion. You’ve essentially “buried the money in the walls of the house,” Edelman says.

A mortgage doesn’t affect a home’s value. “The house itself doesn’t care if it has debt on it or not,” Goodbread says. Over the long term, it’s likely to appreciate regardless of the amount you owe on it, he adds.

Mortgage interest is inexpensive. Because the mortgage is secured by the value of the home, interest rates are much cheaper than for credit cards and personal loans — and the interest you pay is tax deductible. It’s likely the cheapest money you’ll ever borrow, Edelman says.

Mortgage payments get easier with time. They’re often a budget stretch for young homeowners, but with a 30-year fixed mortgage, time is on your side. As the effects of inflation and a growing income take hold, “that monthly payment gets easier and easier to make,” Edelman says.

Investments will outperform the interest cost of the mortgage over the long term. “That scares some people,” Edelman concedes, because of the stock market crash of 2008. However, he’s not advocating 100% stock investments, but rather a diversified mix of investments built for a 30-year time frame. That period matches the term of a fixed-interest rate mortgage.

“Wealth is created by investing,” Edelman says, not by paying down debt.

Considering ‘debt-free homeownership’

But what about noted author and radio host Dave Ramsey’s advocacy of debt-free homeownership?

“I’m right; he’s wrong!” Edelman laughs. He’s quick to add: “Dave and I are talking to two very different groups of people.”

Edelman says Ramsey often advises people who in the past “have demonstrated an inability or an unwillingness” to properly manage their personal finances, particularly debt.

“And Dave correctly recognizes that for these folks, credit is a drug,” Edelman says. For them, “abstinence is essential. And elimination of debt and avoidance of debt is necessary.”

But for homeowners who manage debt responsibly, “Getting a big, long mortgage and never paying it off is the smartest, safest strategy to use,” he says.

With one caveat:

“Many people buy homes they simply can’t afford,” Edelman says. He advises limiting your mortgage to a payment that is no more than 30% of your income, before taxes and deductions.


The article Invest or Pay Off Your Mortgage? How to Decide originally appeared on NerdWallet.

RE/MAX NATIONAL HOUSING REPORT for March 2017

by Jan Delimont

March 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report

Home Prices at New High in February Amid Record Low Inventory
 
March 17, 2017
 

DENVER – February home prices reached a new high as steady demand combined with record low inventory drove prices up, according to this month’s RE/MAX National Housing Report that surveys 53 metro areas.
 
Last month saw a negligible decline (-0.02%) in home sales from February 2016, which posted the most sales in the nine-year history of the report. Less than half of the markets experienced an increase in sales year-over-year.
 
Meanwhile, active inventory reached a record low for February, dropping 17.9% year-over-year. This marks the 100th consecutive month of year-over-year declines dating back to October 2008.
 
As a result, the Median Sales Price of $212,000 – another February record – was up 6% year-over-year. This is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
 
Homes sold faster last month, with average Days on Market dropping from 75 in February 2016 to 68 last month. 
 
“Inventory, not the rise in interest rates, remains the principal constraint on home sales,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder“The resale market is driven dramatically by the availability of new homes. Most U.S. markets have a high demand for new home construction, and although it’s good to see housing starts trending upward, we still need more.”
 
Closed Transactions
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in February 2017, the overall average number of home sales decreased 0.02% compared to February 2016. Of the 53 metro areas, 23 experienced an increase in sales year-over-year, with nine experiencing double-digit increases.  The markets with the largest increase in sales included Trenton, NJ +26.2%, Nashville, TN +19.4%, Las Vegas, NV +18.2%, Wichita, KS +14.6% and Birmingham, AL +13.3%.
 
Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In February 2017, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $212,000, up 1.4% from January 2017 and up 6.0% from February 2016. Only six metro areas saw year-over-year decreases or remained unchanged, with 16 rising by double-digit percentages. The largest double-digit increases were seen in Fargo, ND +19.9%, Burlington, VT +18.4%, Tampa, FL +15.9%, Indianapolis +14.3% and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX +13.9%.

Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in February 2017 was 68, up two days from the average in January 2017, but down seven days from the February 2016 average. The three metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were San Francisco, CA at 32, Omaha, NE at 34 and Denver, CO at 38. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, ME at 147 and Chicago, IL at 109. 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 2017 was down 2.2% from January 2017, and down 17.9% from February 2016. Based on the rate of home sales in February, the Months Supply of Inventory was 3.6, compared to January 2017 at 3.8 and February 2016 at 4.0. A 6.0-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In February 2017, 45 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply of less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. The remaining eight saw a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory continued to be in the west, with both Denver, CO and Seattle, WA at 1.0 and San Francisco, CA at 1.1.
 
Contact
For specific data in this report or to request an interview, please contact newsroom@remax.com.

Is a Home Equity Loan Your Best Option?

by Jan Delimont

 

A Home Equity Loan Is a Smart Choice as Rates Rise

In recent years, home equity loans have gone the way of boy bands. So last-century. In an era of low interest rates, home equity lines of credit and cash-out refinances have been the equity-tapping products of choice.

Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, have been popular because they usually are built with low introductory rates, which have been scraping the bottom. Cash-out refis have been sought because with mortgage rates at a historical floor, millions of homeowners have been refinancing to lower their rates and tap the equity in their homes.

Plain-and-simple home equity loans, with the security of a locked-in interest rate that never changes, have been yesterday’s news. But as the economy improves and interest rates rebound, you may have to go throwback if you want to access some of your home value.

Regulation stalled home equity loans

At least some of the blame for the missing home equity loans can be placed on regulation. Dodd-Frank, the wide-ranging financial reform act instituted in 2010, mandated that lenders revise statements and disclosures for home equity loans, but not for HELOCs.

It required lenders to implement extensive system changes, and as a result, some companies decided to eliminate home equity loan products. Besides, low interest rates and rising home values kept lenders busy with refinance demand and HELOCs. Banks and borrowers had no interest in the additional paperwork required on home equity loans.

Rising interest rates may change demand

Mortgage rates were under 4% for all but two months for 2015 and 2016, according to Freddie Mac. But the sun appears to be setting on the sub-4% mortgage rate.

Logan Pichel, head of consumer lending for Regions Bank, believes that as rates rise, more people may back down from a move-up mentality. He says homeowners in 2017 and beyond may consider remodeling their existing house — with its already low mortgage rate — instead of buying a bigger home at a higher interest rate.

In that scenario, a home equity loan may be the right solution.

Pichel predicts many homeowners will say, “I am not going to move up into the next bigger house because I’m sitting here today on a 3 1/2% mortgage rate, and if I were to sell my home and go buy another one, I now have a 4 1/2% mortgage rate.” A home equity loan would allow those homeowners to upgrade a kitchen, add a bedroom or build an outdoor living area, for example.

And with rates expected to climb in the months ahead, the relative advantage of a HELOC with a low introductory rate is not as clear because it’s likely to increase when periodic rate resets kick in.

“Our opinion is, we’re going to see fewer move-up buyers and we’re going to see more home equity business as a result of the increase in interest rates,” Pichel says.

Johnna Camarillo, manager of equity lending at Navy Federal Credit Union, agrees.

“I think we’re going to see a shift back to fixed equity loans,” Camarillo says. “Our members tend to be more fiscally conservative, and so they like the security of knowing that ‘my payment is always going to be X number of dollars.’ Especially if they already know that they’ve got a specific purpose for their loan.”

» MORE: Check mortgage rates now.

Fix it and forget it

After that decision, Pichel says, the next move is to choose between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit. HELOCs usually begin with a slightly lower rate than fixed-rate home equity loans.

But HELOC rates are commonly adjustable and subject to the ups and downs of short-term interest rates, at least at the beginning. Many lenders allow borrowers to carve out a portion of their balance owed and put it into a fixed-rate loan.

“As you see an increase in interest rates, you’ll have a set of individuals that will say, ‘You know what, I’m going to lock in at a fixed rate,’ ” he says.

And some customers, Pichel says, appreciate the discipline of a fixed-rate loan for reasons including:

  • They know exactly what their monthly payment will be, which helps with budgeting.
  • Tapping home equity with a lump sum rather than through a line of credit removes the temptation to pay down and then draw money from the line again.
  • With a set number of payments, borrowers knows their payoff date.

Some customers like knowing the exact numbers. Navy Federal’s Camarillo says there’s a comfort level with knowing the specific amount you’ll owe, how long it will take to pay the loan off and what your payment will be each month.


The article A Home Equity Loan Is a Smart Choice as Rates Rise originally appeared on NerdWallet.

RMLS Market Action - Coos County February 2017

by Jan Delimont

2016 RE/MAX National Housing Report

by Jan Delimont

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Licensed in the State of Oregon
Jan Delimont, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX South Coast 1750 Sherman Avenue, North Bend OR 97459
(541) 297-7507 office
Jan Delimont provides information on real estate and homes for sale
in the Southern Oregon area.

 I list and sell residential real estate including freestanding homes, condominiums and townhomes
as well as investment properties, vacant land and lots for sale in the Southern Oregon real estate area.