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8 Exit Strategies for the Clutter in your Home

  
  
  

Many of us have a problem with clutter. It can just be so hard to get rid of things! But if you are selling your home, clutter is not an option.  One of the most important things you can do before your home goes on the market is to de-clutter.  Houzz.com offers some great tips for getting the clutter out of your house for good.de-cluttering home

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Financing a New Construction Purchase

  
  
  

Financing a New Construction Purchase – the Advantages of Using a One Time Close Construction Permanent Mortgage

If you’re considering building a new home, how you finance the project is one of the most important considerations.  We get many questions about how a Construction Permanent Mortgage works, and so Renee Bevan of Townebank explains 3 main advantages of their one time close product:new construction financing

1.  Reduces the purchase price of the home, usually by the amount the builder does not have to pay in closing costs and interest carry.  This is offset by the increase in closing costs and interest carry for the buyer.

2.  The buyer does have the ability to reduce their federal and state tax burden if they itemize their deductions.  A buyer is allowed to deduct interest paid to construct or acquire a home for use as a primary or second residence.  If your typical buyer is in the 28% or higher federal bracket and the 5.75% Virginia tax bracket, then the tax savings is estimated to be $1,300 for the buyer who borrows $300,000 in the example above.  Please have your clients consult with their tax advisor for actual savings based on their income and tax bracket for both federal and state taxes. 

3.  It eliminates duplicated closing costs by combining the construction loan closing and the permanent loan closing into one.  Savings include one settlement fee, not two, saving approximately $400-800.  The title insurance cost would be reduced, as there would be only one title insurance policy, saving approximately $250.  There would only be one origination fee, not two (one charged when the bank does the builder’s construction loan and one charged by the permanent lender doing the mortgage loan.  Savings would be $3,000.  Estimated total savings by doing one closing rather than two on a $300,000 transaction would be $3,650 to $4,050.  Total savings in closing costs and tax breaks is estimated at $5,000 to $5,400 on a typical $300,000 loan amount when compared to a construction loan to the builder and a permanent loan to the buyer. 

Visit LizMooreNewHomes.com today for more info, and drop me an email at liz@lizmoore.com if you would 

Tell us a little bit about your dream home, and we’ll arrange for a complimentary consultation with a new homes expert who can point you in the right direction!

Meet with a New Homes Expert

 

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Predictions for the 2015 Real Estate Market on the Virginia Peninsula

  
  
  

By Donna Moyer, Newport News Office Managing Broker

2014 was an interesting year in local real estate.  After a strong bounce back year in 2013, this past year was relatively flat for much of the year after a slow start in January.  As we predicted last year, the market performance was not surprising, given an economy that continues to struggle, taking a step forward followed by a few steps back. peninsula real estate market

Here on the Peninsula, closed sales finished up about 1% higher than last year.  Closings were pacing a 12% increase coming into the fall, but last quarter slowed down which caused the year to finish up pretty flat.  The good news is that the average sold price was actually up just slightly to $217,000.  Activity was also up in November and December – higher than we typically see during the holiday season.  I believe that bodes well for kicking off the New Year with a strong start for closings.

The market is still definitely favoring sellers who are positioned properly – those who are aggressively priced and in move in condition are selling in less than 3 months on average.  There is currently slightly over 7 months of inventory available on the Peninsula, which underscores the importance of being sensitive to the competition – both in terms of price and condition.  This is particularly true in the luxury market, where market time is always longer.

Here is what I see in the coming 12 months:

Consumer confidence continues to be our biggest challenge as the economy struggles to regain momentum.  Activity levels over the past few months suggest that there is definitely a pent up demand on the buyer side.  My expectation is that there is also a segment of sellers who have been waiting for more favorable market conditions to list – and that should begin to happen as we move toward Spring.  We are already seeing heightened listing activity in January.

As prices begin the inevitable rise, consumers will realize that moves need to be made ASAP in order to take advantage of a 6 year streak of historically low rates and home values. It’s important to note that the market can shift quickly, and the pendulum is likely to continue its swing toward lower inventory levels, creating a more competitive environment than we’ve seen in recent years.

However, pending economic factors such as the proposed reduction of 4200 troops at Fort Eustis and current world events could definitely throw a kink in a market rebound, and remain the wild card in the forecast.  Weather can also be an issue, and a snowy or Icy winter can hold a lid on the sales start to the year.

Interest rates are a big question mark this year.  Interest rates are crazy low again, with a 30 year conventional fixed rate a full percentage point below the same time last year.  Our friends in the mortgage industry have different takes on the likelihood of a rate hike in 2015:  some predict an increase for the 3rd quarter of this year, subject of course to a continuing improvement in the economy.  Others feel that they will remain low for at least another year. 

We recently got some great news for home buyers as FHA lowered mortgage insurance premiums, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering low down payment mortgage products (3%) in order to compete with their government counterparts.  That, combined with underwriting restrictions which are finally beginning to ease, should encourage first time buyer activity that was priced out of the market last year.

Prices will finally begin to show improvement in many neighborhoods.  Prices are neighborhood specific, and some areas are definitely improving faster than others resulting in less than an 8% overall increase in average sales price.  I expect the market to continue to trend toward more normal appreciation rates in 2015.

My overall message here remains the same as last year:  If a home purchase is on your New Year resolution list, buy early in the year, as interest rates have a much greater impact than most realize.  For instance, waiting for prices to drop 5% to save $12,500 on a $250,000 purchase may cost you an extra $225 per month in payments; if rates increase from 4% to 5.5%, then your payment increases from $1194 to $1419.  For most buyers, the affordability index of monthly payments is a more critical consideration.

If you’re a seller who has been wondering if it might finally be time to sell, email us at concierge@lizmoore.com, or click below, and we can prepare a complimentary analysis of market value for you – you just may be pleasantly surprised. 

How Much is My Home Worth?

 

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*All stats based on Broker Metrics for REIN, MLS areas 101-112 residential home sales in 2014

Why Didn't My House Sell?

  
  
  

Do you find yourself asking, "why didn't my house sell"?  One of these 10 reasons could be standing in your way.why didn't my house sell

1.       Price.
Probably the top reason that listings expire is that they are priced too high relative to other available listings in the same neighborhood or price point.

2.       Terms.
Is your listing appealing to first time buyers, but you are unwilling to assist with closing costs?  This is a market specific issue, and it’s critical to package your home to attract the right buyer.

3.       Location.
The proverbial holy grail of real estate is location, location, location.  Listings that are on busy roads, or next to unkempt neighbors often languish on the market until they are priced as a “deal.”

4.       Pets.
Some of us are dog/cat lovers.  Others are not.  For those who are not, often the thought of owning a home whose previous inhabitants were fuzzy and four legged is a total turn off.

5.       Access.
If a prospective buyer is relocating here, and has just the weekend to house hunt, a property that is not easily shown may not make it on the list.  Serious sellers make showings easy.

6.       Condition.
Not all buyers are handy, or can see past simple cosmetic upgrades or repairs.  They may choose a higher or similarly priced alternative that is move-in ready.

7.       Clutter.
How we sell a home is not how we live.  Prospective buyers can’t buy what they can’t see.  Personal effects can be so overwhelming and distracting that buyers can’t appreciate the bones of a home.

8.       Photos.
First showings take place online.  Buyers review listings on REALTOR.com and other websites, shortening their list to their favorites, and eliminating – all based on the photos.  Staging and professional photography are essential.

9.       Exposure.
Some markets require multiple MLS systems to create a broad enough exposure to reach the target demographic.  Listing with an agent who does not have access to the right MLS can mean you’re invisible to the marketplace.

10.   Marketing
Not all marketing is created equal.  Properly defining the target audience, and then building an effective strategy to reach them is part art and part science.  If an agent simply put a sign in the yard and waited for a buyer, it most likely didn’t happen.

Would you like a professional opinion of why your home didn’t sell, and what you should do about it?  We’d love to help.  Email concierge@lizmoore.com or click below for a free comparative market analysis on your home!

 

How Much is My Home Worth?

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Are You Having a Hard Time Figuring Out All of the “Realtor Speak”?

  
  
  

Are you searching for a home, and have a hard time figuring out all of the “realtor speak” and common MLS (multiple listing service) abbreviations on your agents printouts?  What the heck is a FROG, anyway?buying a home

We have just the resource for you!  Download our handy MLS cheat sheet, which gives you a list of definitions for common MLS abbreviations in both the Virginia Peninsula (REIN) and Williamsburg MLS’s.

Oh, and by the way, a FROG is a family room above garage (more commonly known as a “bonus room!”)

Even though we may call it your “dream” home, finding it doesn’t happen just by wishing for it. To discover the home that’s a perfect fit for you is much like a treasure hunt, an adventurous search that begins with identifying and evaluating your specific wants and needs.  Contact us at concierge@lizmoore.com to get started on the home buying process!

Download Our Common MLS Abbreviations Cheat Sheet

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Wayne Harbin’s Showcase Home Featured in Southern Living Magazine!

  
  
  

We are just thrilled to announce that Southern Living magazine has featured four differentSouthern Living Showcase Home photos of Wayne Harbin’s Showcase Home (109 Fords Colony Drive, Williamsburg, VA) in the February issue of the magazine!  If you didn’t get to see it during the show, we are open on Friday through Monday every week from 1-4.  You can also check out WilliamsburgShowcaseHome.com to see all the photos and special features of this fabulous home!

"Harrison Place" is 3,540 square foot home built by Wayne Harbin Builders and boasts three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a spacious media room, beautiful outdoor kitchen and countless other breathtaking features.        (photo by Sara Harris Photography)

 

For more information on the Southern Living Showcase home, email us at showcasehome@lizmoore.com, or click below to download the brochure and floorplan.

 

Download the Harrison Place Floor Plan & Brochure

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Liz Moore and Associates Love Where You Live Photo Contest

  
  
  

Snap it to Win it!  Cheers to the winners of the soft launch of the Liz Moore “Love Where You Live”  Online Photo Contest!  28 agents submitted 191 photos in 8 different categories, and there were some FUN shots.  You can check them out at lizmoore.com/photocontest.  10 lucky amateur photographers took home a total of $400 in sales meetings this week for their efforts.

Liz Moore photo contest

The contest is part of a marketing strategy to build robust  local website content as well as engage our past clients and colleagues in sharing why they love living in Coastal Virginia.  The public contest launch will take place early this Spring, and includes over $4,000 in cash and prizes!  Keep your eye out for contest details as we get closer to the launch. 

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Liz's Predictions for the 2015 Real Estate Market in Williamsburg

  
  
  

By Liz Moore

2014 was an interesting year in local real estate.  After a strong bounce back year in 2013, this past year was relatively flat for much of the year after a slow start in January.  As we predicted last year, the market performance was not surprising, given an economy that continues to struggle, taking a step forward followed by a few steps back. 

Here in Williamsburg, closed sales finished down about 12% lower than last year.  Closings took an unprecedented dip in July and August, which accounted for the majority of the year over year deficit.  The good news is that the average sold price was actually up just slightly to $327,000.  Activity was also up in November and December – higher than we typically see during the holiday season.  I believe that bodes well for kicking off the New Year with a strong start for closings.

The market is still definitely favoring sellers who are positioned properly – those who are aggressively priced and in move in condition are selling in less than 2 months on average.  There is currently slightly over 7 months of inventory available in the greater Williamsburg market, which underscores the importance of being sensitive to the competition – both in terms of price and condition.  This is particularly true in the luxury market, where market time is always longer.

Williamsburg real estate market

Here is what I see in the coming 12 months:

Consumer confidence continues to be our biggest challenge as the economy struggles to regain momentum.  Activity levels over the past few months suggest that there is definitely a pent up demand on the buyer side.  My expectation is that there is also a segment of sellers who have been waiting for more favorable market conditions to list – and that should begin to happen as we move toward Spring.  We are already seeing heightened listing activity in January.

As prices begin the inevitable rise, consumers will realize that moves need to be made ASAP in order to take advantage of a 6 year streak of historically low rates and home values. It’s important to note that the market can shift quickly, and the pendulum is likely to continue its swing toward lower inventory levels, creating a more competitive environment than we’ve seen in recent years.

However, pending economic factors such as the proposed reduction of 4200 troops at Fort Eustis and current world events could definitely throw a kink in a market rebound, and remain the wild card in the forecast.  Weather can also be an issue, and a snowy or Icy winter can hold a lid on the sales start to the year.

Interest rates are a big question mark this year.  Interest rates are crazy low again, with a 30 year conventional fixed rate a full percentage point below the same time last year.  Our friends in the mortgage industry have different takes on the likelihood of a rate hike in 2015:  some predict an increase for the 3rd quarter of this year, subject of course to a continuing improvement in the economy.  Others feel that they will remain low for at least another year. 

We recently got some great news for home buyers as FHA lowered mortgage insurance premiums, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering low down payment mortgage products (3%) in order to compete with their government counterparts.  That, combined with underwriting restrictions which are finally beginning to ease, should encourage first time buyer activity that was priced out of the market last year.

Prices will finally begin to show improvement in many neighborhoods.  Prices are neighborhood specific, and some areas are definitely improving faster than others resulting in less than a 1% overall increase in average sales price.  I expect the market to continue to trend toward more normal appreciation rates in 2015.

My overall message here remains the same as last year:  If a home purchase is on your New Year resolution list, buy early in the year, as interest rates have a much greater impact than most realize.  For instance, waiting for prices to drop 5% to save $12,500 on a $250,000 purchase may cost you an extra $225 per month in payments; if rates increase from 4% to 5.5%, then your payment increases from $1194 to $1419.  For most buyers, the affordability index of monthly payments is a more critical consideration.

If you’re a seller who has been wondering if it might finally be time to sell, email us at concierge@lizmoore.com, or click below, and we can prepare a complimentary analysis of market value for you – you just may be pleasantly surprised. 

How Much is My Home Worth?

 

Are you interested in hot real estate topics, tips and trends?  
Click below to subscribe to our blog

 

Subscribe!

 

 

*All stats based on Broker Metrics for WMLS, 23188, 23185, and 23186 residential home sales in 2014

5 Ways to Prep Your Outdoor Space for Winter

  
  
  

Winter weather has already arrived in many parts of the country.  If it hasn't hit you yet, it is on its way!  Now is the time to make a final pass around the exterior of your property to make sure your home will be safe and accessible all winter.  According to Houzz.com, there are five things that should be on your to-do list when preparing your outdoor space for winter.prepare your home for winter

1. Walks, Patios and Driveways
Cracks, loose pavers and missing mortar are not a huge problem in the summer.  But when winter comes and they are covered with snow, it isn't easy to see these hazards when walking.  Any crack or hole where water can pool and freeze in your hardscaping is going to become bigger when water, which expands when it freezes, settles in for a cold night.  Reset loose pavers and fill in holes now so your small problems don't become larger when the weather changes.

2. Garages and Sheds
If you have a garage or shed where you store tools and supplies, a couple of housekeeping tasks are in order.  Make sure you are stocked with winter necessities — shovel, snowblower, rock salt — and arrange those items so they are easily accessible. Look for liquids stored in the garage that will be harmed by freezing temperatures, such a latex paint, and move them indoors.  Turn off the water supply to exterior hose bibs and open the spigot outside in case there is water left in the pipe. Detach hoses from the spigot, then coil and store them in the shed/garage.

3. Hand Tools
The most important tip for tool maintenance is to clean any dirt off the metal parts.  Store tools somewhere dry, and they’ll be ready to go when the ground thaws.

4. Decks
Even if you swept your deck at the end of fall, there will probably still be built-up organic material between the boards. This can lead to rotting of the boards and the structural framing.  Clean the stuff out with a stiff bristle broom or a pressure washer. Check your outdoor lighting, too. Replace bulbs as needed. 

5. Bird Baths and Other Water Features
Any birdbath, bucket, kiddie pool or chiminea that collects water can be damaged when that water freezes, so turn items over or cover them up.

Have you thought about selling your home this season but decided to put it off until the spring?  Winter is actually a great time to sell!  Email us at concierge@lizmoore.com, or click below, and we can prepare a complimentary analysis of market value for you – you just may be pleasantly surprised. 

How Much is My Home Worth?

 

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Where Did Buyers Find Their Home in 2014?

  
  
  

The 2014 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports on where buyers found the home they purchased.  In 2014:

Internet - 43%
The number has consistently increased year after year, starting at just 8% in 2001.

Real Estate Agent - 33%
Ranging between 38% and 33% since 2004, this number was at its highest in 2001 (48%) and its lowest last year and this year (33%).

Yard Sign/Open House Sign - 9%
This number stayed between 15% and 16% from 2001-2008, and started to drop in 2009.

Friend, Relative, Neighbor - 6%
Jumping back and forth from 7% to 8% from 2001-2008, this number dropped to 6% in 2009 and has stayed there.

Home Builder or Their Agent - 5%
This number has stayed the same for the last four years.

Directly From Sellers - 3%
This number has remained between 2% and 3% since 2005.

Print Newspaper Advertisement - 1%
This number started at 7% in 2001 and has consistently dropped year after year. 

where buyers found their home

Are you looking to start the home buying process?  Email us at concierge@lizmoore.com, we'd love to help! Or, click below to download our free Home Buyer's Handbook.

Download Our FREE Home Buyer's Handbook

 

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