Real Estate Information Archive


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Home Prices Rise Second Month in Row, Will Uptick Continue?

Home prices in major U.S. cities increased in May for the second consecutive month, according to a closely watched index, although experts dismissed the uptick as seasonal while separate reports provided fresh evidence of a weak housing market.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 1 percent from April to May when left unadjusted for seasonal variations.

Prices often rise in spring because of changes in the types of homes selling: Foreclosures make up a higher proportion of sales during the winter as families take a break from home shopping and cash-rich investors dominate the market. Higher sales volumes also push up prices.

But compared with May 2010, home prices slid 4.5 percent, according to the index released Tuesday.

“Year-over-year, prices continue to deteriorate, although there has been a seasonal uptick over recent months,” says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at the University of California-Los Angeles. “This reflects a market that continues to be in search of a bottom.”

Chris G. Christopher Jr., an economist with consulting firm IHS Global Insight, said in a research note that the seasonal kick in prices will probably fade by October.

“Things do not look very favorable on the housing front since the employment situation has taken a turn for the worse in May and June,” he wrote. “The unemployment rate now stands at 9.2 percent, and consumer confidence is at depressed levels. Going forward, the Case-Shiller indexes are likely to post increases during the home-buying season, and then turn down again.”

One factor keeping housing weak is the high number of homes in foreclosure or headed into the foreclosure process. Then there’s the stalled jobs market, weak consumer confidence in the economy’s direction and the significant number of people saddled with mortgage debt that exceeds the value of their homes.

A separate report released Tuesday by Santa Ana, Calif., research firm CoreLogic indicated that the nation’s housing market is hampering the broader U.S. economic recovery. The report said that while several temporary factors have contributed to a slowing recovery, including high gas prices, U.S. floods and fading stimulus programs, “fundamentally, the recent slower economic growth illustrates that as the housing market goes, so does the economy.”

Housing influences the economy directly through residential construction, which typically gives a recovery a key boost. But with stiff competition from foreclosures, sales of new homes have been very weak for more than a year.

Price Reduced - Waterfront @ Claytor Lake

by Desi Sowers

Waterfront at Claytor Lake

Enjoy a vacation every weekend at this Claytor Lake home!

Nestled in a clean, quiet, deep cove with over 250 feet of water frontage.

Large mature trees and open grassy areas on the 2.05 acre lot provides plenty of room for sun, play and entertainment.

Cozy cabin is great for those summer getaways or easy access to VT games.

Enjoy the peaceful seclusion while fishing, boating or just plain relaxing.

Come See!

New Listing - Walk to VT Campus!

by Desi Sowers


Walk to VT campus, downtown Blacksburg, schools, restaurants and shopping from this well maintained family sized home.

Extensive flowering landscaping surrounds the low maintenance brick exterior creating a very private, park-like setting. More than enough living space with five bedrooms, separate office, large living room and family room with wood burning fireplace.

Many recent updates including new windows and remodeled bathroom with marble tiled shower. Abundance of closet space and full unfinished basement will more than satisfy storage needs.

Lots to offer in a well cared for home with an uber convenient location! One year home warranty for Purchaser.

Rent vs. Buy....You Do the Math

by Desi Sowers

Owning a home has never been more affordable than in today’s market, according to NAR’s Housing Affordability Index (HAI). The affordability index compares median income, median home price and mortgage rates. An index value of 100 means a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment. The index rating has fluctuated within the 180 to 200 range since the beginning of this year. An HAI of 180 means that a family earning the median income has 180 percent of the income needed to qualify for a mortgage on a median priced home.

Consider a family with an annual income of $60,000 renting at $1,000 per month. By comparison, a 30-year mortgage payment on a $170,000 home at the current rate of 4.5 percent (and a 20 percent down payment) would be $700 per month. Which would you rather pay each month?

Want more information on how you can save on your monthly house payment? Contact me today to start saving money!

Be Aware of Deed Restrictions and Covenants - Always!

by Desi Sowers, REALTOR, ABR, GRI
If you are considering buying a home or land  you need to know what CC&Rs apply. CC&Rs stands for Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. In many neighborhoods and subdivisions, CC&Rs are a list of rules that outline how the land may be used. CC&Rs may also be placed on land outside of a subdivision as well. These rules vary widely and are recorded as public deed restrictions. Once CC&Rs are placed on a property, they normally remain with the deed even if the land is sold to a new owner. Sometimes these rules are very broad and cover only a few restrictions. Sometimes the CC&Rs are very specific, and sometimes there are pages of restrictions. These rules may prohibit some uses for the land. Sanford NC Homes and Real Estate:  CC&Rs - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Examples of restrictions may include:
  • Minimum home size
  • Approval of home design prior to construction
  • Restrictions prohibiting fences or restricting their height or color
  • Prohibit above ground pools
  • Approval of paint colors for the home exterior by the HOA (homeowners' association)
  • Prohibit more than a certain number of pets
  • Prohibit parking boats or commercial vehicles
Deed restrictions are a little like the Goldilocks fairy tale: some may be too big and cumbersome, some may be too small and allow things you don't want. The goal is to find the neighborhood that is "just right" for you. Because each person is different, it is important to work with your real estate agent to make sure they know what you are looking for in a neighborhood. Let your real estate agent know if you have certain things in mind like a garden, want to add a garage in the backyard, want to add a water garden, or anything specific you want to do after you purchase the home or property. Your agent should have an idea of which neighborhoods will be a good fit for you based on your needs.
Sanford NC Real Estate:  don’t get fenced in!
carolina-trace-sunset Since CC&Rs and their enforcement vary with each subdivision and neighborhood, if you have a specific use in mind you will want to make sure any home or land you are interested in allows your use. For example, if you want to have a fence to keep your pets in the yard you will want to check the CC&Rs to make sure fences are allowed. Your agent should be able to provide you with a copy of the CC&Rs for property you are interested in. If the CC&Rs require something to be approved by a homeowners' or property owners' association, it would be a good idea to ask the association in advance if the use will be allowed. Some associations use the approval process to prevent items like fences or certain paint colors to be used even though they are not specifically prevented in the CC&Rs as written. Asking before you put in an offer to purchase a property can prevent you from buying a home or lot that you cannot use the way you had hoped.

New Listing - $60,000 BELOW Tax Assessment!

by Desi Sowers

Excitingly Different!

Stately California Style U shaped ranch is one of a kind with it's heated pool and private guest house all situated on 2.25 private acres.

The courtyard entrance welcomes you to the sprawling main house that boasts marble floors throughout and walls of windows that soak up the sun and gorgeous views.

Kitchen is a cooks delight with cherry cabinetry, double ovens, Sub-Zero fridge and granite countertops.

Garages are heated and provide excellent work space.

Outstanding value for a home perfect for entertaining with a two bedroom guest house that comfortably accommodates friends and family.

Quietly located in a very popular area near VT, restaurants and shopping.

Designed for happy living - Come See!

What Do You Want to Spend on Housing Each Month??

by Desi Sowers

Mortgage Rates Change Home Affordability

Payment is paramount in the home search because — unlike purchase price — it’s something to which homeowners must tend monthly. Irrespective of health, wealth, or family, mortgage payments are due.

Once I've helped buyer client make a budget, I have to be sure to keep tabs on it. The budget can be victimized by mortgage rates.

See, homes are more affordable today than at any time in recorded history, but it’s not because home prices are down. It’s because mortgage rates are. And every time mortgage rates change, your maximum purchase price changes, too.

Did you know that in In June 2011, mortgage rates changed every 3 hours, 23 minutes on average.

With mortgage rates changing as rapidly as they are, your home affordability can be short-lived. Consider the budget-busting impact of rising mortgage rates.

For every 1 percent rise in mortgage rates, a buyer's maximum purchase price falls 10.75%!!

For example, if a buyer has 20 percent to put down and sees a $300,000 home, today, he can borrow at 4.500% and pay $1,216 monthly. But if the buyer wants to wait for a price reduction and, 4 weeks later, he gets it — all the way to $285,000. He’s ecstatic. Until he talks to his lender and finds out mortgage rates are up 1 point.

That same home - selling for $15,000 less, now costs $1,295 to carry.  It's a $79.00 monthly increase and $28,440 extra payments over the life of the loan.

This is why it’s foolish to “time” the housing market.

Sure, Mr. Buyer, you may get that “great price”, but rising mortgage rates wipe out the savings (and then some).

So......the moral of the story is buy now while rates are low, inventory is high and prices are soft.  It just makes dollars and sense!

Fast Fact .........

by Desi Sowers

Trying to keep costs down this summer?

You can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent by raising

your thermostat two degrees and using a ceiling fan.

Kitchen Cosmetics

by Desi Sowers


Kitchen Cosmetics

Could your kitchen use a facelift? According to Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report, the average minor kitchen remodel costs $21,695. And considering the amount of time people spend in their kitchens, it could be well worth the investment: Homeowners typically recoup about 73 percent of the cost, according to the report.

     If you’re hiring contractors to do the work, make sure you do your research. Estimate how much the down payment will be (usually about a quarter of the total project cost) and be sure to discuss a schedule for the payments. Walk through and make a list of what (if anything) in the kitchen won’t be replaced during the remodel. Keep in mind that you can save thousands if your remodel allows you to keep existing wiring and plumbing in place. Still, unexpected costs do pop up, so experts recommend keeping about 20 percent more cash on hand to cover unforeseen cost overruns.

     When it comes to the details, costs can certainly add up. But there are ways to get the luxe look for less. Kitchen counter materials range in price, from a top-of-the-line expensive granite surface to a wallet-friendly durable quartz countertop that has the look and feel of granite. If you do go for a luxurious countertop, consider installing a less expensive backsplash (beadboard, DIY mosaic tiles, or faux pressed tin are some options). Refacing cabinets, painting them or just replacing the knobs for a fresh look might be a more viable option than replacing the entire set.

New Listing - Better Than NEW Townhome!

by Desi Sowers


Just like new townhome with many special features including hardwood and ceramic tile flooring, a sun-soaked open floor plan and fabulous built-in shelving around the fireplace creates an instant entertainment center.

Enjoy the spacious Master Bedroom with private bath and walk-in closet. Double garage with extra work/storage space not found in most townhomes.

Very popular location near schools, grocery, shopping and restaurants. Come See!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10




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