Real Estate: New First-Time Homebuyer Guide

We are excited to share the latest news from the Allen Tate Company – launch of our new Allen Tate First-time Homebuyer Guide, found at www.firsthome.allentate.com. Designed to help make the home buying process easier, the new Homebuyer Guide includes fun videos, interactive tools and great resources for beginners – as well as experienced – buyers. Do you know someone who might be interested in exploring homeownership for the first time? If you do, we hope you’ll forward this email to them, or let us know and we will contact them and offer our assistance. We hope you enjoy the new site. If you have any questions or we can help you with any homeownership needs, please let us know. Sincerely, The Lee Ann Miller Team

Real Estate: Your First Home – Maintain a Home Maintenance Budget

 Something that often surprises new homeowners is the cost of home maintenance and repairs. But the investment (both time and dollars) of routine home maintenance is minimal, compared to the cost of replacing a heating system, gutters or roof.   Professional home appraisers estimate that a neglected home can lose 10 percent of its appraised value. Appraisers determine depreciation (the rate at which a house is losing value) based on the home’s economic age (the number of years the home is expected to survive).   According to the U.S. Census, the annual cost of home maintenance costs average more than $3,300. Lending institutions estimate 1 to 3 percent of the price of the home, which means $2,000 to $6,000 annually for a $200,000 property. Your budget should increase as your home ages.   Think of your home like your body. If you treat it with preventive medicine and regular check-ups, there’s a good chance you will offset problems, or at least, catch them when they are small and manageable. Researchers at Syracuse University suggest that maintenance actually increases the value of your home of about 1 percent each year – similar to how wellness activities help improve your biological age.   An easy way to be prepared is to create a “reserve for replacements” – cash to be used strictly for home repairs and maintenance. Experts also advise regular inspections to get a jump on potential problems. Tackling one room a year is a good way to manage home upkeep. It’s also a smart idea to keep a notebook of all repairs and upgrades that can be shared with potential buyers.   Allen Tate Home Services is a great resource to help with home maintenance and repairs. It would be our pleasure to introduce you.  

Real Estate: Buying Your 1st Home – Helpful Tips

You’re buying your first home and anticipating the joys of having your own place, not to mention the nice tax benefit. And while there’s a good chance that family and friends are offering helpful “advice,” you’ve likely turned a deaf ear to them – because this is YOUR home and YOU know what you want.   But for the same reasons you are working with a Realtor to help you navigate the process, you can benefit from the mistakes of first-timers who have come before you.   Consider these suggestions from other first-time home buyers:  
  1. Ask for what you really want. If your home of choice needs renovations and the sellers are willing to help, let them know your preferences. And ask for the appliances or curtains if you want them.  
  2. Don’t overlook the details. Check for adequate storage space, electrical and phone outlets, and overhead lighting. Measure to make sure your furniture will fit in the rooms – and through the hallways.
  3. Budget for expenses AFTER closing. You’ll be surprised how much blinds, curtains, paint, furniture and accessories will add up. And no one wants to wait months to make the new place look like home.
  4. Drive the commute and explore the area. How far is the home from work or school? What’s located nearby? What’s located within walking distance? (See “Neighborly Advice”)
  5. Meet the neighbors. Neighbors can become your best friends or your worst nightmare. If you’ve found “the one,” introduce yourself and gain some insight on the people you’ll see everyday.
  6. Think before you sell. Your modestly priced first home could appreciate significantly in a matter of years. Before you sell quickly, consider hanging on to it as an investment.
  Questions about buying your first home? We’d love to share more tips with you.  

Real Estate Market: Real Estate Crystal Ball…What Would It Show?

  If we only had a real estate crystal ball. “Where are we and where are we going?”  Are questions that we get asked a lot lately.  Well, we don’t have a real estate crystal ball but here are some answers based on trends that are now becoming apparent. First, market activity has improved dramatically over this time last year.  It has been over 12 months since the stock market hit bottom.  Investor confidence is returning.  Many Americans are feeling more confident about their wealth – so long as they have stability in their job.  Allen Tate Company’s sales volume has increased 25% YTD vs. same period last year and each month is showing stronger gains. The 2009 tax credit certainly helped the market with first-time buyer tax credits.  The extension of those credits and the addition of the repeat buyer credit are helping us right now.  There remains uncertainty of what will happen as those credits expire April 30.  If you plan to take advantage, NOW is the time!  Please contact the Lee Ann Miller Team to get started and get under contract by April 30.  There will be NO better time than now to buy a home. Prices remain well below the peak of several years ago and I expect any appreciation to be slow in coming.  While many industry leaders are declaring “increases in average sale prices”, look carefully at this.  The higher-end market is beginning to see signs of activity now.  Those sales are having a positive influence on the average sale price but it is my opinion there is very little true appreciation in the market.  Nonetheless, long-term opportunities are plentiful right now. Interest rates remain at or near 5%.  Two influences will impact rates in the near-term.  The Fed is preparing to cease purchasing “Mortgage Backed Securities”, so it is likely that rates will rise slightly as the open market investors will demand higher returns.  Opposing that influence is the position by the Fed that they intend to keep rates at historical lows for the foreseeable future.  Bottom line – I expect rates to remain between 5% – 6% in 2010. So, this is very good news for you.  The buying opportunity right now is as good as it will get.  The market activity has improved dramatically.  The higher-end market activity is thawing.  Please call us if you are interested in a summary of your personal needs.  We would be delighted to assist you or your friends. Sincerely, The Lee Ann Miller Team     .

2009 Housing Market Ends on a High Note!

Extra Extra

 

 As 2009 comes to a close, we want to share plenty of good news with you on the residential real estate front.

 

First, we are thrilled to see the federal government pass the extension and the enhancements to the home buyer’s tax credit.  This will significantly help the real estate market lead the economy into stronger times.  To summarize the new program:
  • First-time buyers are eligible for up to an $8,000 credit and now have until April 30, 2010 to be under contract (and close by June 30, 2010).
  • Repeat buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five consecutive years of the past eight years are eligible for a tax credit up to $6,500.
  • Higher income limits – Both first-timers and repeat buyers may purchase a principal residence up to $800,000. Income limits to qualify have been increased to $125,000 for single tax filers and $225,000 for joint filers.
  • Credits are effective NOW – The new legislation replaces the former tax credit scheduled to expire November 30.
  • Credits do not need to be repaid – The credits for both first-time buyers and repeat buyers are true credits and do not need to be repaid unless the home is sold within three years of purchase. The credits are claimed on the buyer’s federal income tax return filed for the year they purchase their home.
  • Interest rates are still historically low and selection is excellent. The rates are likely to rise in March when the Feds will pull back on the purchase of mortgage-based securities. Act now to lock in those low rates.
In 2009, we saw a true benefit from the previous “First time buyer’s tax credit” which this program has replaced and enhanced.  We are very optimistic the new program will prove to spur even more sales activity – a true catalyst to economic improvement. Additionally, the Lake Norman market has continued to show signs of improvement.  While 2009 activity will end the year behind 2008, the second half of 2009 was stronger than 2008.  We expect this trend to continue and my forecast is for 2010 to be markedly improved over 2009.  There will be one critical impact in 2010 – interest rates are expected to rise in the second quarter as the Fed has indicated an intention to reduce their financial support for mortgage-backed securities which are keeping rates artificially low to spur economic growth.  The time to buy or trade residential real estate will never be better than now through April 30, 2010. Lastly, I expect prices to stabilize somewhat.  While foreclosure activity remains high, the demand will improve and that inventory will be absorbed.  We do not see prices rebounding to previous highs in the near future. We look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs.  Feel free to call us or visit our website at www.LeeAnnMiller.com  where you will find more than 130,000 homes searchable throughout the Carolinas. Best wishes for a very happy holiday season and New Year.

         The Lee Ann Miller Team

 

 Lee Ann Miller Team Logo w/Tate

704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com

October Home Sales Results Are In…

Cheering RE market

 

 

 Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) recently released the results for the month of October, $20 million sold and $20 million closed for the Carolinas real estate market. Also, happy to report that the sales volume is up 129% (yes more than double) from October 2008 and closed volume up 44% from October 2008.  We think we are starting to see a turnaround.  It may be a slow & gradual rebound, but let’s be thankful for the rebound!

 

Contact The Lee Ann Miller Team today to begin your journey in this positive real estate market.

 Lee Ann Miller Team Logo w/Tate

704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com       

LAST CALL!!

September 2009

I am sure you are familiar with the stimulus provision that provides an $8,000 tax credit to first-time buyers if you purchase and close on a home prior to December 1, 2009. This is an amazing opportunity for first-time buyers to take advantage of the current real estate market benefits. Just what are the current benefits? First, affordability is at an all-time high. According to the National Association of Realtors, 72.3% of Americans can afford to buy the median priced house with their median family income. This number has never been higher since we began keeping records. Second, interest rates remain historically low. So long as you have good credit and stable, documentable income, rates remain between 5% and 5.5% for a conventional loan. I anticipate these will rise as the economy continues to improve, Third, inventory levels are high, providing you with a wide choice for the home of your dreams. Builder spec models, resale homes and distressed properties are all in great supply. Lastly, the $8,000 tax credit provides you with real cash if you are a first-time buyer (or if you have not owned a home in the previous three years). Please consult with your tax advisor for details on this program. So, why is this last call? With the tax credit currently set to expire on December 1, 2009 you have a limited time to take advantage. If you already own your own home and are considering a move, I anticipate interest rates will rise and inventory levels will drop next year. This will reduce affordability as the economy improves and make your move-up purchase more costly. Pull the trigger now and take advantage of this last call! Call the Lee Ann Miller Team Today!

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                                                       704-896-5141 Office                                                      www.LeeAnnMiller.com