Real Estate Trends
In many large cities, home prices have outpaced income at an incredible rate. In Miami, for example, incomes have risen 16 percent, while home prices have increased 58 percent since early 1998. Boston home prices have gone up 89 percent, while incomes have increased only 22 percent.
Even with a downturn in the real estate market looming on the horizon, home sales are still headed for another record year.
The first sector to show slowing is the high-end home market. Because of big-ticket properties, house auctions nationwide have surged.
Low interest rates are the only continuing positive trend of the housing market. Low rates average now less than 6 percent for 30-year fixed-rate loans, the lowest since the 1960s.
How to Increase Your Home's Value
Project (average cost recouped, national) according to Realtor Magazine:
Minor kitchen remodel (88%). Bathroom remodel (85%). Major kitchen remodel (81%). Family room addition (80%). Deck addition (77%) Master suite (75%). Attic bedroom (74%). Siding replacement (73%). Window replacement (69%). Home office (55%)
Get Your Home Ready To Sell
l Practice thorough yard maintenance. l Reseal cracks in concrete areas. l Power-wash the exterior. l Clean and align gutters and downspouts. l Clean the chimney. l Remove oil stains from driveway and garage. Sweep walks and driveway. l Wash windows. l Thoroughly clean the interior. l Repair damage to all indoor surfaces. l Repair drippy faucets and showerheads. l Unclog slow drains. l Shampoo carpets, scrub and wax linoleum and wood floors. l Clean out the fireplace. l Mend torn screens. Clean out window tracks. l Replace burned-out light bulbs. l Renail creaking boards or stairs; lubricate squeaking doors. l Clean all appliances. l Replace toilet seats and shower curtains. l Clear away all cobwebs. l Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.
If you’re in the process of selling a home, be mindful of laws covering the issue of disclosure. While they vary from state to state, there are federal laws as well, the most notable of which is regarding lead-based paint. The best thing to do if you’re unsure what to disclose is to consult a real estate attorney who knows your state’s disclosure laws.
The general rule of thumb is that anything that lowers the perceived value of the property or anything that would affect the buyer's decision to purchase or the price and terms the buyer offers should be disclosed. Some tips: Answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but make sure you disclose everything that you’d want disclosed to you if you were the buyer.
How To Buy A HUD Home
l You must use a HUD registered real estate broker.
l You must be pre-approved for a mortgage.
l Owner-occupied bidders receive the first priority.
l HUD offers three types of properties: FHA insurable homes, FHA insurable homes with a repair escrow and homes hat are not insurable with an FHA loan.
l You do not have to finance a HUD home with an FHA loan.
l HUD homes are sold "as-is."
l Before making a bid, you must provide your HUD registered real estate broker with the appropriate earnest money in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.
l Your earnest money check should be made payable to the escrow account of your HUD registered real estate broker.