Category Archives: Home Seller

Home Prices Rebound to 2003 Levels

More good news about the real estate market came yesterday when RISMedia reported that  home prices nationally had rebounded to 2003 levels.  That is the year started its journey towards the 2006 peak.

“Single family housing starts are well ahead of last year, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing”, said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P.

The recent S&P/Case Shiller national home price index showed that prices rose for the 3rd consecutive month in all 20 major markets followed by the index.  This also marks the first month that prices were higher than they were the previous year.

While Jacksonville is not one of the 20 markets followed, two other Florida cities hard it by the real estate crises, Miami and Tampa, were noted as having made dramatic comebacks.  It appears that great pricing and low interest rates are finally helping turn the real estate market around.

Here is a link to the S&P report.

National Mortgage Settlement Fund

Wondering how our National Mortgage Settlement $ are being spent?    I found an interesting graph this morning.

National Mortgage Settlement Fund

The majority of the funds are going towards short sales.  If you are having difficulty making your payments and do not wish to stay in your present home, a short sale is nearly always the best option.  Please contact me for more information, or visit my website at AvoidForeclosureinJacksonville.com.

The Disappearing Home Inventory

It’s no secret to anyone driving through our Jacksonville neighborhoods that the number of “For Sale” signs is way down from years past.  And many of those homes that do have signs are no longer available; they are homes offered as a short sale that now have accepted contracts awaiting bank approval.

This morning I read on Zillow that we have approximately 9,500 homes for sale in our Multiple Listing Service.  That’s down from over 20,000 at the height of the recession.

Where did the homes for sale go?  Zillow graphs show a direct correlation between negative equity (percent of homes underwater) and the change in inventory of homes for sale.  Simply put, many sellers who wanted or tried to sell their homes during the recession can no longer afford to do so, because they now owe more on their home than its value.

What does this mean for a home seller or home buyer?  For a home seller, a drop in supply means an increase in demand.  Homes priced competitively are selling quickly,  frequently with multiple offers.  For a home buyer, prices are still down and interest rates remain at a historic lows.

Finally, a great time to buy or sell!

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

Here is a question that we as Realtors hear quite often:

My house has been on the market for several months with no offers.  Should I consider a price reduction?

An excellent article from the National Association of Realtors appeared on their House Logic website.  Though it was written several years ago, the principles remain timeless.  Here are 6 signs that may be telling you it’s time to lower your price:

  1. You’re drawing few lookers
  2. You’re drawing lots of lookers but have no offers
  3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes
  4. You have a deadline
  5. You can’t make needed upgrades
  6. The competition has changed

Read the entire article at House Logic.com.

Buying or Selling a Short Sale

Have you ever heard  Realtors complain about short sales?  There is endless paperwork, they take forever, no one at the bank returns their calls or answers their emails – the list goes on and on.

So, why do I love short sales?  Because in my work, there is no more satisfying way to help a seller out of a distressed situation while helping a buyer find a really great house.  Short sales are a win-win situation for both the seller and buyer.

For the Seller:

  1. Yes, there is some paperwork.  You will be asked to furnish tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, as well as a financial worksheet and a letter explaining your financial hardship.
  2. In a short sale, a seller does not take away any money at closing; nor does he have to bring any money to the closing (unless negotiated with his lender).  If someone asks you to pay in advance to help you with a short sale, don’t do it.  It is most likely a scam!

For the Buyer:

  1. Your purchase and sale agreement is negotiated between you and the seller, but will be subject to the seller’s lender approving the reduced pay-off.  The time it takes for the seller’s lender (or lenders) to approve the short sale can take between 2-3 weeks and 9 months or more!  If you need to be into a new home immediately, then a short sale may not be a good idea.
  2. It is important to work with a Realtor who understands the short sale process.  You want to be certain that once accepted, your offer will be the only offer presented to the bank.

In summary:  For a seller who wants or needs to sell and owes more on his home than it is worth, a short sale is almost always the best solution.  Quite often, the seller is able to negotiate total debt forgiveness on the unpaid portion of his loan.

For a buyer who has a flexible time schedule, purchasing a home offered as a short sale can offer a great value and instant equity.

For more information on Short Sales vs Foreclosures, please visit my website.

Market Update

Temperatures are heating up here in NE Florida, and so is the real estate market.  Headlines everywhere report the good news:

Numbers are improving in local economy
Figures show housing purchases and prices are up
(Florida Times-Union, May 19)

More Americans expressing confidence in economy and home values
(dsnews.com, May 11)

Home prices show strongest gain in 6 years
(Jacksonville Business Journal, May 23)

A few reasons for optimism:

  • Inventory is down
  • Sales are up
  • Median and average prices are up
  • Building starts are up

Our to recovery is closing tied to the broader economy, and will come one step at a time.  The recession has left many people underwater in their homes, and these distressed properties will continue to impact the market.  But it is wonderful to finally hear good news, and we are excited to be busy again!