Let’s Talk Real Estate in Westchester County

The American Dream Forecast For 2017

Will Housing Become Better under Trump? Half of Americans Think So

 RisMediaENews

Will Housing Become Better under Trump? Half of Americans Think So

Americans are “cautiously optimistic” about the housing market, with 69 percent recently surveyed by ValueInsured believing 2017 will be a better year for real estate than 2016, and 52 percent believing housing will become more favorable under the Trump Administration.

The outlook is primarily felt among millennials who are not homeowners. According to the survey, 62 percent of millennials believe the housing market will turn in their favor this year, while the level of confidence held by millennial non-homeowners has gone up the most in the past quarter, to a score of 61.3 in the ValueInsured Housing Confidence Index. (The Index is based on a 100-point scale.) The Index overall, however, has trended downward to 68.0 since September 2016—the first decline since March 2016, driven largely by homeowners.

The sentiment comes in contrast to the drop in share of first-time homebuyers who plan to purchase a home during the spring real estate season this year. A recent report by realtor.com® reveals the percentage of first-time homebuyers who plan to enter the housing market this spring has gone down 10 percent since October 2016—before the presidential election—due to concerns over higher mortgage rates. Mortgage rates rose for the first time in 2017 last week, after falling since the start of the year. 

Forty-four percent of millennial non-homeowners in the survey are also confident they can afford a down payment, and 41 percent are expecting it to be easier to buy a home. Research out of Freddie Mac bears out a related trend, showing 40 percent of millennial non-homeowners are making saving for a down payment a priority. (Affording the ideal 20 percent—which ensures better mortgage loan terms—remains elusive.)

Attitudes toward home value, as well, have shifted, with homeowners feeling less confident home prices in their market will rise and their homes are worth what they paid for them, according to the survey. Zillow reports home values grew at an annual rate of 6.8 percent in December 2016.

Still, with the new administration, more than three-quarters of those surveyed believe owning a home is essential to the American Dream, and buying a home, ultimately, is better than renting one.

LOW INVENTORY EQUALS A SELLERS BENEFIT

Forget What You Know: This Year, Sellers May Benefit From Listing Early

| Jan 13, 2017

Conventional wisdom in real estate holds that sellers should time the market to maximize their price. Why? Because home sales are extremely seasonal: They peak in spring and summer, when prices peak as well. That’s why in most markets, most years, the optimal time to list is in the spring, so that the maximum number of potential buyers view the home.

But we’re in an era in which conventional wisdom is becoming an ever-sketchier concept. So why should real estate be immune from all this topsy-turviness? This year, the conventional wisdom of buying and selling may need to change.

Inventory levels at the beginning of 2017 are at multiyear lows. Sellers now face very little competition.

The Agent your choose works for you

Let’s talk Selling your home in Westchester

Renee S. Stengel
Associate Real Estate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence
Licensed in New York State and the State of Connecticut
www.rstengel@houlihanlawrence.com

Signs Your Selling Agent Is Wrong for You

By Ryan Tyson

5 Signs Your Selling Agent Is Wrong for You

A world of difference lies between a good selling agent and a bad selling agent. Unfortunately, for first-time home sellers, determining the difference can be difficult. You might have to interview several real estate agents before you find someone who works for you, so be sure you’re asking the right questions before you start.

No References
You should always check references before signing on with a selling agent. Talk to people whose homes the agent recently sold, not the best sales of their careers that may have happened years ago. You don’t need to talk to everyone the agent sold for in the past year (in fact, many of them won’t give out their information to strangers) but the agent should have a couple people willing to give them a good reference. If not, look elsewhere.

Part-Time Work
Your selling agent should be a full-time real estate agent. Doing everything required to sell a house well is a full-time job. A lot more goes into it than just showing it to a few potential buyers and determining a good listing price. A part-time agent will have divided attention between selling real estate and another job. Hire someone who spends their entire work week in the real estate industry.

Unrealistic Advice
A good selling agent will have advice for you about improvements your home needs before you list it for sale. Unless your entire home has been renovated in the last year, you must take care of some things. Outdated appliances have an impact on how potential buyers see your home. If your agent tells you, for example, that repairing a 20-year-old AC unit instead of replacing it is adequate, they’re not giving you the best advice about preparing your home for sale.

Lowest Commission
Commissions are not like interest rates. You don’t necessarily want to go with the person who offers you the very lowest. Most agents in your area work for the same commission percentage. Commissions are negotiable, but if someone is willing to negotiate down too readily, they might not have the negotiating chops to represent you well while selling your home.

A Friend or Family Member
It’s often better to go into business with someone you don’t know personally. If problems arise or you have disagreements with your agent, do you want this to turn into a fight that could damage a friendship or a relationship with a family member? You can certainly interview your friends or family members to see if they’re the best for the job, but they need to understand that you’ll pick the agent that’s right for you, and not choose them because of your existing relationship.

With the wrong selling agent, your house might sit on the market for too long. Choosing your agent is an important step in selling your home, because the right selling agent will get you the right price on a timeline that works for you.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

Let’s Talk Real & Adding To Your Homes Value

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 Let’s Talk Real Estate Values In Westchester County

By Mike Putnam by Ris Media

increase valueNo matter what the real estate industry is doing as a whole, you want to get the most value out of your home when you sell. While you can’t control the housing market, you do have control over maximizing your property’s worth. Here are five ways you can get more money out of your home.

1. Get a Home Inspection

Don’t wait for the buyer to request a home inspection after you’re under contract. Hire an inspector before you list your home to find out about any problems. It only costs a few hundred dollars, and you would have time to fix any issues that could lower your property value. You can ask your trusted real estate agent to recommend someone.

Many hidden problems can lead to serious damage, which will result in a lower price for your home. Hidden water leaks, pest infestations and electrical problems should all be checked out and dealt with before you put your home on the market.

2. Paint the Walls

It sounds too good to be true, but adding a new coat of paint to the walls of your home can enhance the value. Paint makes a room feel fresh and new, and buyers are willing to pay more for real estate that doesn’t require any work.

Select neutrals for your walls to appeal to a larger audience. If you have brightly colored walls, make sure you paint over them to improve the way your home shows to buyers.

3. Improve Energy Efficiency

Buyers like the idea of saving money over the long-term, so they will pay more for a house that is energy efficient. You can find ways to do this regardless of your budget. Install new appliances that require less energy to run. Replace old windows with new ones that are better sealed to prevent air leaks.

You can ask for an audit of your home from your local utility company to find out where you can make improvements. They will show you areas that need to be repaired, enabling you to make changes before you list your property.

4. Work on Curb Appeal

Landscaping can improve your home’s value. This is another area where you can make changes regardless of your budget. Start with trimming overgrown bushes and trees. Clean up your lawn and re-sod any patchy areas. Add interest by planting flowers, shrubs and other greenery.

If you don’t consider yourself a creative person, hire a landscaper to design your outdoor area. They can select plants that are low maintenance and enhance your space.

5. Update the Bathroom and Kitchen

It’s often been said that the kitchen sells a home. A bathroom is also a high priority for most buyers who expect an updated space. Whether you can afford to do a major remodel or only have the budget for a few small changes, these two areas are where you should place your focus.

Even something as minor as updating the hardware on your cabinets can yield positive results. If you can’t afford to replace your cabinets, purchase new doors or paint your current ones. If you’re working with a limited budget, focus on the areas that will get the most attention. This includes the lighting, faucets, countertops and cabinets. A coat of paint will make the rooms look and feel brand new as well.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to increase the value of your home. Focus instead on spending what you can afford wisely. When you make the right changes, you will find buyers who are willing to pay more for your home, and that is key in any real estate market.

News You Can Use About the STAR Program

STAR rebate to undergo major change

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ALBANY — New homeowners in New York will receive a rebate check for a portion of their school-property taxes instead of receiving it as an upfront savings in their tax bill.

The change was a compromise on the issue reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature as part of the state budget deal last week.

“STAR is a tax-relief program so this change is to achieve consistency with how other state tax cuts are provided,” said Cuomo’s budget spokesman Morris Peters. “There is no change to the amount of the STAR credit for taxpayers, only the mechanism used to claim the credit.”

Originally, Cuomo’s sought to require new homeowners to pay their taxes upfront and get the STAR rebate on their school taxes when they file their income taxes.

In the budget deal, new homeowners or people who move will get a rebate check each fall for the portion of their school taxes covered by STAR. Then they would have to claim the money on their income taxes the following year.

The move is expected to save the state about $180 million a year when fully implemented in 2018, and the Cuomo administration has argued that the plan would better streamline the process of getting the STAR rebates.

The program costs the state $3 billion a year and comes as an upfront break when people pay their school taxes each September. Then the state reimburses schools for the cost of the rebate.

Lawmakers opposed the proposal, but the measure made into the final budget agreement — which included $24.8 billion in school aid, a higher minimum wage and a 12-week, paid-family leave program.

The Legislature was successful in beating back some of Cuomo’s other proposed changes to STAR, such as a freeze in the rebate rather than let it grow 2 percent a year for STAR and Enhanced STAR, which is for senior citizens.

Households with income under $500,000 are eligible for STAR. They get an exemption from the first $30,000 of the full value of their primary home from school taxes.

Homeowners 65 and older get a larger tax break for Enhanced STAR: The first $65,300 of their home value is exempt from school taxes.

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, Rockland County, said he was disappointed the budget included the changes. He said he will look to beat back the plan before the legislative session ends in mid-June.

“We preserved the increase, and we prevented it from being an income-tax deduction, but it did morph into a check for new homeowners,” Zebrowski said. “We felt we were able to protect the program, but I’m not happy.”

The state has sought to crack down on abuses in the program, such as people getting the break on more than one home and if they exceed the income limit.

The change from a credit to a rebate check is more aimed at helping the state’s ledger to pay for new spending in the state budget, such as a $1 billion income-tax cut, said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, an Albany-based conservative think tank.

“Every year, it’s actually going to steadily erode the apparent cost of STAR because every year, as houses change hands, more and more of STAR will shift from the spending side to the revenue side of the budget,” he said.

New York already gives out rebate checks to homeowners through several programs: There a rebate on the growth in property taxes and a rebate check this fall based on home values.

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Gap Between Homeowner’s & Appraiser’s Opinions Widen

Let’s Talk Real Estate Your Home’s Value in Today’s Real Estate
www.reneestengel.com

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank…
simplifyingthemarket.com

Thinking about selling your house

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House

The spring marke is here …. for market knowledge in Westchester County contact;  http://www.reneestengel.com

 

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counter intuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.

“You only get one chance to make a good first impression in real estate.”

Scraping off old wallpaper; Shutterstock ID 2562697

Scraping off old wallpaper; Shutterstock

Prepare Your Home Now If You Plan to Sell It This Spring

Put these four tasks on your to-do list for a quick and painless sale.

Selling a home doesn’t happen overnight. To maximize your sale price, stand out from the competition and sell quickly, your home needs to go on the market in tip-top condition.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression in real estate. Once your home’s listing goes live, the days on market start ticking. In the Internet age, with access to so much information, buyers will punish a seller whose home has been on the market for many months.  If you can’t make the effort to get your home in it’s best condition, hold off on listing it.

Prepping the home rarely happens in one weekend. It takes time and thoughtful planning. If you intend to sell your home this spring, here are a few steps you need to take now.

Inspect

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a property inspection, but you need to know about your home’s condition. If there are issues — big or small — you need to address, it is better to know about them early so you can either remedy them prior to going to market or account for them with a lower listing price.

The last thing you want is for the buyer to uncover flaws once they are under contract. You will get stuck paying more under those circumstances than it would cost you to address the issues now.

Stash

As you prepare to sell, think of your home as an investment and start to see it through the eyes of potential buyers and the market. When you’re trying to sell your home, the less-is-more approach applies.

Put away big furniture and personal items. Store or put away all the things you won’t be using until you move into your new home. In the kitchen, make space in the cabinets for items you will need to use daily, but will want to put away for showings.

Improve

It’s common for sellers to make cosmetic improvements before they list. Kitchens and bathrooms sell your home. Plan to have the bathroom grout cleaned and have some parts of the house painted to give it a fresh look.

Consider cleaning rugs, refinishing hardwood floors or painting kitchen cabinets. If you plan to list in the spring, you likely have a good local real estate agent on your side by now. Get their advice and ask for referrals to do the work. There are lots of inexpensive contractors who can help spruce up your home quickly.

Research

Today’s buyers have research in their DNA and will investigate all they can. Check with your local building department and ensure there are no outstanding issues with your home.

Verify that property records reflect your home accurately, and prepare to remedy any discrepancy. Make sure your title report is clean, and talk about potential disclosure items with your agent. Banks won’t lend if there are outstanding issues, and you don’t want to jump through hoops at the eleventh hour. Researching now will keep you one step ahead of the buyers.

The sale of your home is likely one of your biggest financial transactions. Get a real estate agent on your team early, and make a list of all the tasks you need to complete before listing this spring. Now is the time to have those discussions. Smart planning and a good strategy will ensure a quick, painless and profitable home sale.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

About the Author

Brendon DeSimone is a nationally recognized real estate expert and author of the book, Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling. A fifteen year veteran of the residential real estate industry, Brendon has completed hundreds of transactions totaling more than $250M. His expert advice is often sought out by reporters and journalists, and he is regularly quoted in local and national press. Brendon is a regularly featured guest on major television networks and programs including CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, ABC’s 20/20 and HGTV. Brendon is the manager of the Bedford and Pound Ridge Offices of Houlihan Lawrence, the leading real estate brokerage north of New York City.

Spring Forecast For Selling Your Home

 The bottom line is buyer demand is high and with inventory low, yes, now is the time to list your home in Westchester County. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, contact;

www.reneestengel.houlinanlawrence.com

www.ilysebauer.houlihanlawrence.com

Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country | Keeping Current Matters

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report, homes were on market for an average of 58 days in December. This was slightly longer than the 54 days in November, but still better than the 66 days experienced in December 2014.

32% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month!

Colorado, Utah and Delaware led all states as home are selling in 30 days or less on average. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtor Confidence Survey.

Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Buyer demand remains strong. The inventory of homes available for sale remains low. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you take advantage of current market conditions!