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This Month in Real Estate – April 2012

04/18/2012
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Market Update-April 2012

Now three months into 2012, both the housing market and the overall economy are improving at modest rates. These improvements have inspired confidence in consumers, demonstrated by a 9.2% increase in pending home sales in February from the year prior.

Both home prices and sales are expected to increase in 2012.  Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, stated, “Falling visible and shadow inventory [bank-held properties], combined with a dearth of new-home and apartment construction during the past three years, assure that rents will continue to rise, with likely home price increases in 2012.”

As rents continue to rise, buying becomes a more and more attractive option as home affordability, or the percent of income it takes to pay the mortgage, continues to be among the most favorable in history. Trulia’s Winter 2012 Buy vs. Rent Index, which measures the relative cost of renting compared to asking prices of homes found that in 98% major metropolitan areas sampled, it was more affordable to buy than to rent.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Home Sales – in millions

Home sales dipped 0.9% in February to 4.59 million units, yet are 8.8% higher from a year ago. A strengthening economy is improving consumer confidence with an increasing amount of people in the market. Additionally, as the market shows signs of improvement, more people are feeling the urgency to buy while prices and interest rates are still at some of the most affordable levels in history.

Home Price – in thousands

After slipping a bit at the beginning of the year, median home prices rose to $156,600, up 0.3% from a year ago. NAR President Moe Veissi said, “People realize that home ownership is an investment in their future. Given an apparent overcorrection [dropping prices as an overreaction to market conditions] in most areas, over the long term home prices have nowhere to go but up.”

Inventory-in months

Housing inventory rose 4.3% in February to 2.43 million homes, representing a 6.4-month supply, up from 6.0 in January. There are several factors driving this increase in the inventory of homes. First, banks have settled major lawsuits regarding fraudulent foreclosure practices with state governments, which has enabled them to start moving many foreclosures off their balance sheets and into the market.  Pending sales are up, and home building is starting to show signs of life again after three years of low new-housing construction.

Source: National Association of Realtors 

Interest Rates

30-year fixed mortgages continued to improve home affordability by dropping to 3.89% in February, the lowest on record since 1971. Indications are that these rates may have begun to find a bottom as well, as they have shown rising levels in Freddie Mac’s weekly index, adding to the urgency to buy a home now while these rates continue at record lows.

 

This Month’s Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp3f1egg_vs&feature=youtu.be

Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers

Home buying is often exciting, but packing up and moving is almost always stressful. Below are a few tips to help make the move a smooth one.

  • Special Boxes for Special Items. Dish barrels help protect dishware, and long flat boxes help protect artwork. Wardrobe boxes, which have a metal bar to hang clothes on, can simplify and speed up packing your closet.
  • Paper, the Secret Weapon. Packing paper, or unprinted newsprint, can be used several different ways. Use it to protect fragile items or crunch it up to use as padding. Remember, ink on regular newspaper can rub off and stain. Use Bubble Wrap for extra- delicate items.
  • Tape It Securely. Masking and duct tape don’t stick to cardboard as well as brown packing tape.
  • Tape It Quickly. Tape guns help you assemble boxes faster.
  • Mark It Clearly. Clearly label boxes. Marking the sides instead of the top is best as the tops are covered when boxes are stacked.
  • Protect the Big Items. Protect furniture with pads and put mattresses in plastic bags to prevent damage during the trip.
  • Lighten the Load. The help of a dolly or handcart can save your back and speed up the moving process.

Brought to you by KW Research. The opinions expressed in This Month in Real Estate are intended to supplement opinions on real estate expressed by local and national media, local real estate agents and other expert sources.  You should not treat any opinion expressed on This Month in Real Estate as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of opinion.  Keller Williams Realty, Inc., does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind.  All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only.  Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice.  You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision.  All investments involve some degree of risk.  Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in This Month in Real Estate.

Call or email me today for more information about what is going on in your area.

Debby Braun

debbybraun@kw.com

404-372-9556

 
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When Mother Nature Strikes…….

04/18/2012
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What to do when mother nature strikes…

So what does one do when a tree falls and it’s not in the forest?

Storm season is upon us. I can say that with confidence because Mother Nature has recently reminded us of her immense power when a neighbor’s tree fell near our family home in Dunwoody. Power lines came down with the tree. The fall yanked several power poles down the street causing them to sway toward the fallen tree. The impact was so forceful it snapped power lines away from our house three doors down. Georgia Power finally arrived hours later and thankfully power was restored before the ice cream melted in the freezer. However, the Georgia Power technicians failed to insure that the neutral wire was properly connected before re-establishing power to the house. Essentially that had the same effect of a lightning strike and everything (AC, appliances, PCs, TVs, games, alarm clocks, etc.) got zapped. After sharing this story with several individuals I realized that many people had no idea what to do when Mother Nature strikes and wanted to pass along some tips from our experience in hopes of saving you time and energy during the spring/summer storm season.

Q. What do you do when a tree falls across your street preventing exit via car and entry for emergency vehicles?

            a. Grab your chainsaw

            b. Enjoy the fresh tree smell

            c. Let the neighbors figure it out-you don’t need anything from the store anyway

            d. Call 911

If you chose “d” you are correct. Emergency services will remove the portion of the tree that is blocking egress. The homeowner is responsible for removing the rest of the tree.

Q. What if the tree pulls down power lines?

           a.  Make a sculpture with the wires

           b. check for copper to sell

           c. Call the power company

           d. Pull out the candles and flashlights

NEVER go near downed power lines; you could be in for an even worse shock than what you experienced when the tree fell. Call the power company immediately; which you would probably do anyway because you have no electricity. And if it’s dark outside have fun telling ghost stories by candle light or flashlight while you’re waiting for the power to be restored.

Q. What if a neighbor’s tree falls on your house?

          a. Send the kids out to play on the tree

          b. Expect the neighbor’s insurance to pay for any damage/repairs

          c. Call your insurance company

          d. Cut firewood

The answer is to call your insurance company; this is why we have hazard insurance. The only instance when the neighbor is responsible for the damage is if negligence can be proven, which requires documentation. If you’re concerned about a neighbor’s dead or diseased tree(s) falling on your house talk to them about it first. It that doesn’t work, document your concerns in writing and keep copies for your files. Still no action? If your neighborhood has a Homeowner’s Association, share your concerns with the Board.

Q. What if power lines are pulled from the house and everything gets zapped when the power is reconnected?

           a. Slap the Georgia Power employee

           b. Call your insurance company

           c. Call the power company

           d. Buy new appliances

The answer is everything except “a”. Slapping the Georgia Power employee will only add to your problems. It would also take too much time away from shopping to replace zapped household items. However, you’ll want to make a claim with the power company before making a claim on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. BTW, always recommend saving claims on your homeowner’s insurance for major stuff because the more claims one makes the more it works against them in terms of premiums and insurability. We are working our way through a negligence claim with Georgia Power; to say they are non-responsive would be generous. If you’ve ever experienced anything like this I’d love to have your tips on negotiating claims with Georgia Power. I’ll gladly share any new tips I learn as the process continues and keep you posted on the outcome.

On other fronts, it’s like lightning has struck the local real estate market. There are 30% fewer active listings than in 2011. Even better, sold homes & listings under contract have increased by 30% from last year at this time. Case in point, one of my listings in Dunwoody received 4 offers and went under contract after only 6 weeks on market. If you would like to take advantage of the awesome opportunities in today’s real estate market and wondering how you can achieve the same results selling your house? Contact me TODAY for the answer!

Can’t wait to get started searching for your perfect, dream home? http://www.debbybraun.com/search_atlanta_mls_listings.asp

All the best,

Debby


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