Pending Home Sales Reach Highest Mark In 9 Years!

Pending Home Sales Reach Highest Mark In 9 Years! | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their Pending Home Sales Index Report and revealed that it is at its highest level since April 2006.

The Pending Home Sales Index is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales.

Every region of the country has experienced year-over-year gains in pending sales as seen below:

Pending Home Sales by Region | Keeping Current Matters

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun cites job creation as a major reason that the housing market has boomed this spring, going on to say,

“It’s very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive.”

Yun went on to caution that,

“Housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home-price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages. Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there’s no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become homeowners.”

So What Does This Mean To Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home.

What Does This Mean to Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale right now and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… now is the time!

There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers.

Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price.

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.

KCM

Maine Single Family Home Prices Up 8.86 Percent and Sales Volume Up 2.53 Percent In May

SOUTH PORTLAND (June 22, 2015)—Maine home values continue to rise in most counties, further illustrating a more stable real estate environment across the state. According to Maine Listings, 1,335 single-family existing homes changed hands last month, leading to a 2.53 percent increase in sales overall. The median sales price (MSP) for those homes reached $185,000—a rise of 8.86 percent. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Nationally, sales were up 9.7 percent in the past 12 months. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national MSP increased 8.6 percent in May to $230,300. Sales in the regional Northeast jumped 11.3 percent while the regional MSP rose 4.8 percent to $269,000.

Traditionally, the summer market ushers in booming business for single-family existing home sales—which the current data confirms. Buyers hope to move and settle before school begins in the fall, and Realtors offer professional guidance to make that timeline happen. Marie Flaherty, 2015 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, said, “buyers today have access to more information than ever, but the market data needs to be properly interpreted and analyzed. A Realtor with extensive local knowledge helps buyers make educated decisions when submitting an offer on a property.”

Flaherty, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Westbrook, reminds buyers to visit mainerealtors.com to Find a Realtor . The site lists qualified, licensed Realtors by market area, and also includes a link to home listings through www.Realtor.com.
Below are two charts showing statistics for Maine and its 16 counties. The first chart lists statistics for the month of May only, statewide. The second chart compares the number of existing, single-family homes sold (units) and volume (MSP) during the “rolling quarter” the months of March 1, 2014 to May 31, 2014 and March 1, 2015 to May 31, 2015.

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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner

5 Reasons You Shouldn't For Sale By Owner | Keeping Current Matters

In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

Credit: Keeping Current Matters

Guess Where Residential Rents are Heading?

Guess Where Residential Rents are Heading? | Keeping Current Matters

Each month, many people are faced with the decision of renewing their rental lease for another year or purchasing their first home. One of the questions that must be answered before they make a decision is – “Where are rents headed?”

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article on this issue. Their conclusion:

“Apartment rental increases slowed in the first quarter from a year earlier, but the move is more likely a temporary blip than the beginning of a long-term respite for renters.”

The article goes on to quote Ryan Severino, a senior economist at Reis:

“I wish I had a better story to tell renters these days, but I think they’re in for some rent increases for the foreseeable future.”

Probably the most interesting part of the article came in the Comment Section where a proud landlord proclaimed:

“As a landlord I can tell you I don’t pay property tax. I don’t pay for repairs. The tenant pays. I get my money off the top.”

Here is a chart showing rent increases over the last 25+ years:

Median Asking Rent Since 1988 | Keeping Current Matters

 

Credit: Keeping Current Matters

 

Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Expands Presence in Los Angeles County

MADISON, N.J. (June 2, 2015) – Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced that Vista Sotheby’s International Realty in Palos Verdes and Redondo Beach, California, has merged with well-known local real estate brokerage, South Bay Brokers, with four offices across the South Bay market in Los Angeles County. The combined company will operate as Vista Sotheby’s International Realty, with six offices and nearly 200 affiliated agents.

“Vista Sotheby’s International Realty has built a solid reputation for quality service since joining the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in 2007,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “I have known Jim Van Zanten and Jack Gillespie, the owners of South Bay Brokers, for many years and have great respect for them and what they have accomplished. We are delighted to see these two fine firms join forces in this important high-end market, and are proud to support them as they expand their footprint to represent the finest luxury real estate in the South Bay.”

The newly combined company’s expanded market area appeals to a wide variety of clients. “Our market is made up of the luxury coastal area of South Los Angeles, which includes the oceanfront communities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, along with the hillside enclave of the Palos Verdes Peninsula,” says Rick Edler, president, Vista Sotheby’s International Realty. “Our world-class destination towns promote a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown Los Angeles area while maintaining close proximity to a renowned metropolitan location. This strategically sound union of two companies dedicated to quality service will appeal to our client base.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has approximately 17,000 sales associates located in approximately 800 offices in 61 countries and territories worldwide. Vista Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the sothebysrealty.com global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm’s brokers and clients will benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Enters French Polynesia

MADISON, N.J., and TAHITI (May 29, 2015) – Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced the brand’s luxury real estate services are now available in French Polynesia with the opening of French Polynesia Sotheby’s International Realty.

The firm, which is managed and owned by Jacques C. Menahem, will serve the luxury residential real estate market throughout Tahiti and the islands in French Polynesia. The first office is scheduled to open in the second quarter in Tahiti.

“Expansion across French Polynesia continues the brand’s commitment to providing access to the Sotheby’s International Realty network’s exclusive real estate services in luxury real estate destinations around the world,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “French Polynesia has a distinctive luxury residential market and is one of the most coveted vacation home destinations for Europeans and international property buyers. I am proud to welcome Jacques Menahem and his team to our global network.” According to Menahem, French Polynesia benefits from both its location in the middle of the South Pacific and its 118 beautiful islands, of which the most well-known are Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea. “As well, the few 280,000 inhabitants make French Polynesia a welcoming destination,” he said. “The luxury residential real estate market in Tahiti is beginning a period of expansive growth and we believe the Sotheby’s International Realty brand will help us meet the needs of high net-worth individuals internationally looking for luxury homes in French Polynesia and overseas using the brand’s global platform. Our focus is on providing comprehensive service at every stage of the process. The quality of our service is based on detailed knowledge of the market and its dynamic, precise and proven procedures, and a motivated, responsible and skilled team. We are delighted to become part of the Sotheby’s International Realty worldwide network, and look forward to bringing French Polynesia’s extraordinary properties to the far-reaching corners of the world.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has approximately 17,000 sales associates located in approximately 800 offices in 61 countries and territories worldwide. French Polynesia Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the sothebysrealty.com global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm’s brokers and clients will benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Homeownership as an Investment: The Role of Price Appreciation

Homeownership as an Investment: The Role of Price Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters

We recently posted on the results from the latest Home Price Expectation Survey(HPES) showing where residential home prices are headed over the next five years. Today, we want to show you what the results of the report could mean to you.

A good portion of every family’s wealth comes from the equity in the home they live in. As the value of their home (an asset) increases so does their equity. Let’s look at a possible case scenario based on the latest HPES.

Here is a chart showing the survey’s projections on annual appreciation over the next five years:

Projected Mean Percentage Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters

We then looked at the five-year impact this would have on the equity of a family that purchased a home in January for $250,000:

Home Price Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters

Their family wealth (based on increased equity) would increase by $47,772 over those five years.

Bottom Line

If you don’t yet own, perhaps you should be thinking about purchasing. If you already own, maybe it’s time to move up to enjoy your dream home and also ride the increase in equity of the larger asset.

Maine Real Estate Prices Rise Over 5 Percent and Sales Volume Increases Nearly 2% Over April 2014

AUGUSTA (May 21, 2015)— Motivated buyers and sellers led to an increase in existing home sales in April. Realtors sold 1,032 single-family existing homes during the month of April 2015, up 1.67% over April 2014. The median sales price (MSP) for those homes rose 5.33 percent last month to $178,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

The National Association of Realtors today reported a nationwide jump in single-family existing home sales of 6.5 percent. The national MSP of $221,200 in April represents a 10 percent increase from one-year ago. The regional Northeast experienced a 1.6 percent uptick in sales and a 3.6 percent increase in sales prices; the regional MSP reached $253,200.

Marie Flaherty, 2015 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, said, “Many sellers are realistically pricing their homes; Realtors advise that appropriate pricing is a major component of success in the market. Pricing, combined with great presentation, is a winning combination. To navigate through the complexities of a real estate transaction, guidance from an experienced Realtor is essential.”

Flaherty, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Westbrook, said buyers should view as many homes as possible to become properly educated on home values. “Often times, a buyer may only have one opportunity to make an offer, due to our current climate of multiple offers,” she added.

Below are two charts showing statistics for Maine and its 16 counties. The first chart lists statistics for the month of April only, statewide. The second chart compares the number of existing, single-family homes sold (units) and volume (MSP) during the “rolling quarter” the months of February 1, 2014 to April 30, 2014 and February 1, 2015 to April 30, 2015.

April 2015 Maine Housing Report_Page_2

Clean with Baking Soda

Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert, offers these tips for using baking soda to keep bathrooms clean and fresh.

Spruce up the shower. On a wet microfiber cloth, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda and a couple drops of dishwashing liquid. Work the cloth between your hands to create a lather and use the cloth to scrub shower walls. For shower floors, sprinkle baking soda across the surface, squirt dishwashing liquid over the baking soda in an “S” motion, and scrub the floor with a wet brush. Rinse all shower surfaces with warm water. Wipe down the walls and floor with a dry microfiber cloth. Clean shower curtains with a damp microfiber cloth sprinkled with baking soda; rinse with hot water.

Cleaning drains with baking soda. Keep drains odor-free and flowing with the help of baking soda. Once a week, clean sink, tub, and shower drains with baking soda. Run hot water through the drain before pouring in 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water to wash away musty smells and debris.

All-purpose scrubber. Sprinkle it on a damp sponge equipped with a scrubbing surface and scrub out tubs, sinks, and toilets.

Grout cleaner. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to create a paste for cleaning tile grout.

Kitchen Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda works well as an all-purpose surface cleaner. But, when partnered with other household liquids, it becomes a high-powered potion that breaks through greasy residue, polishes metal, and unclogs drains.

Bust up grease. “I love baking soda for so many things,” says cleaning expert Mary Findley (Go Clean), who shares her favorite method for cleaning scorched and stove drip pans. Bring vinegar to a boil in the microwave. Sprinkle baking soda on dirty pans and add the boiling vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Wipe with a wet sponge and rinse. Repeat as needed.

Mix up a miracle cure. Jill Nystul, a cleaning expert and blogger,(One Good Thing by Jillee) creates her own kitchen cleanser. She places 1/4 cup baking soda in a small glass bowl and squirts in hydrogen peroxide to create a paste that she uses to clean large and small kitchen appliances, remove water-stains from utensils, and erase greasy residue that builds up on baking pans.

Easily clean an oven with baking soda. Leslie Reichert, a home-keeping expert and author (Green Cleaning Coach), recommends brushing a paste of baking soda and water on the sides and bottom of your oven. Spray the paste with vinegar and let it foam. Repeat spraying as needed until you can easily remove baked-on food particles.

Sink cleaner. Sprinkle baking soda on a half of a lemon (or make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda) and use it to clean stainless steel sinks.

Unclog kitchen drains. Shake a few tablespoons of baking soda into the drain; pour in heated vinegar, which will make the baking soda fizz to break up clogs, and rinse the drain with boiling water.

More Household Uses for Baking Soda

Who knows baking soda better than the folks at Arm & Hammer? Here are some cleaning tips from company experts.

Painted surface cleaner. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and lightly rub the sponge on walls and painted furniture to remove dirt. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Wax-free and tile floor cleaner. Mix a half cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water, mop the floors, and rinse.

Laundry helper. Banish odors from dirty clothes and keep whites white and bright colors bright by adding a cup of baking soda to each laundry load.

Freshen the air. Sprinkle baking soda between accumulating layers in your kitchen waste can to control smells.

Carpet and upholstery refresher. Sparingly shake it onto carpets and upholstered furniture, let it sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum to remove the baking soda and the odors it has absorbed.

Shoe deodorizer. Make stinky sneakers less stinky by sprinkling baking soda inside sports shoes.

Clean with Vinegar Too

Get Customized Cleaning Tips

BHG.COM

Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty Welcomes Kathleen Shattuck

Portland and Damariscotta, Maine Real Estate (May 18, 2015 )—Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to announce that Kathleen Shattuck has joined our Damariscotta real estate brokerage office as a Vice President.  With offices in Portland, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Camden and Damariscotta Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is one of the largest real estate companies in Maine and the #1 ranked luxury property company in the state.

Kathleen Shattuck has appreciated the extraordinary Lincoln County lifestyle for over 40 years, earning Top Selling Broker awards and Customer Service awards time and time again. She is eager to share what she has learned and loves about the coast of Maine.

Prior to beginning her successful real estate career in 2001, Kathleen earned a degree in public relations from Syracuse University and a graduate degree in Administration from Northeastern University. After a decade of counseling special needs children, she created a clothing manufacturing company in Midcoast Maine.

“We are pleased that Kathleen has joined our team in Damariscotta.  Her love for the community, local market expertise and years of experience will be a great asset and a good fit for us” says Chris Lynch, President of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s international Realty.

Kathleen,  a Newcastle resident, enjoys living in coastal Maine.  She has served on the Boards of the Damariscotta River Association, Pemaquid Watershed Association, Round Top Center for the Arts and the Midcoast Children’s Theatre.

When asked why she chose to join Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, Kathleen stated “It is a perfect fit for me and the way I do business.”  She adds, “I see the Sotheby’s International Realty Brand and extensive broker network as an invaluable tool to provide more for  my clients.  Their business platform, global marketing and distribution is simply unsurpassed.”

On a personal note, Kathleen lives with her husband, John, in the home where they raised their three children Michaela, Collin and Morgan, and numerous horses, dogs and cats.  In her pastime, she enjoys rowing her wooden skiff on the Damariscotta River and around her beloved island in Webber Pond.

Kathleen Shattuck can be reached at the office at 207-563-2775, by cellular phone at 207-215-4161 and by e-mail at kshattuck@legacysir.com.

Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is Maine’s leading luxury and lifestyle property company with more than 60 agents and 5 offices serving the state of Maine.