According to the National Association of REALTORS®, there are more than 3.7 million homes for sale this month. If your home is among them, are you doing what it takes to stand apart from the crowd?
This 4-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show pulls no punches. It’s titled “5 Mistakes Sellers Can’t Afford To Make” and it covers falling home prices, buyer mentality, and the need to be smart when faced with that first offer.
Some of the tips include:
- Why you should list your home at a price within 5 percent of its “true value”
- How to turn “low-ball” offers into legitimate ones
- How to interview and select a real estate agent to sell your home
In addition, based on the truth that “people shop with their eyes” and then review home details, the video includes advice on using great photographs and making the most of an online listing.
It can be tough to find buyers in any market. But if you follow the tips outlined above, you can get more showings, and do more with them.
In today’s Naples homes, front-loading washing machines are a popular choices as compared to traditional, top-loading machines for 3 main reasons:
- They wash more clothes per cycle, lowering household energy costs
- They’re environmentally-friendly, using less water per cycle
- They’re gentler on clothes, preserving colors and fabrics longer
They also require more care in the “cleaning” department.
Because of the way most front-loading washers are built, they tend to pool water in their drums, which can be a breeding ground bacteria and mildew.
Whether your front-loading washer smells “dirty” or not, you’ll want to follow proper procedures to keep it clean.
First, only use High Efficiency detergent. High Efficiency detergent is super-concentrated and creates fewer suds than traditional laundry detergent. Fewer suds means more soap is drained in the rinse cycle, leaving fewer chemicals and fragrances to sit in the drum.
High Efficiency detergent is also sold fragrance-free. This is the preferred variety for a long-term, stink-free washing machine.
Next, at least once weekly, take a dry cloth and wipe the inside rim of your front-loading washer. There, you will find a wide plastic tube in which water settles between loads of laundry. If you find stains or grime, remove it.
If your washer has a drain filter on its front-lower edge, remove the filter and allow the water to drain — preferably onto a towel or into a bucket.
Then, lastly, consider running an empty cycle with just bleach and water. This is optional, but can help remove lingering stench.
Once your front-loading washing machine is cleaned, going forward, after each load runs, try leaving your washer’s front door open. This will allow fresh air to circulate through the washer and help drum-settled water to evaporate.
With less water and humidity in the drum, bacteria growth is slowed.
Home improvement projects are on the rise, according to the BuildFax Remodeling Index. For the 19th straight month, May’s index rose, suggesting that homeowners in Naples are remodeling more frequently than in the past.
Do-it-yourself projects are on the rise, too.
If you’re among the many homeowners forgoing paid contractors, be sure to follow basic safety precautions because, as this 5-minute video from NBC’s The Today Show points out, a home remodeling “accident” could cost you more than the money saved on the project itself.
The interview gives several key tips:
- Use “expandable” earplugs to prevent hearing loss from power tools.
- Don’t wear sneakers or sandals. Wear construction boots.
- Never stand on the top 2 steps of a ladder.
In addition, we’re reminded to wear safety glasses always. Eye issues are the number one injury as reported by home remodelers, and accidents can happen anytime.
Watch the full video at the NBC website. And, f you feel your next home remodeling project is beyond your personal expertise, seek a professional’s help. Call or email me for local recommendations.
The FHA is insuring a greater percentage of loans than during any time in recent history. In 2006, it insured roughly 5 percent of the purchase mortgage market. Today, it insures one-quarter. “Going FHA” is more common than ever before — but is it better?
The answer — like most things in mortgage — depends on your circumstance.
Like its conforming counterpart, an FHA-insured mortgage is available as a fixed-rate loan and as an adjustable-rate one. Payments are made monthly and come without prepayment penalties.
That’s where the similarities end, however, and decision-making begins. For homeowners and buyers across Marco Island , FHA mortgages carry a different set rules as compared to conforming loans through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that can render them more — or less — attractive for financing.
- FHA mortgages can be assumed by a subsequent buyer. Conforming loans may not.
- FHA mortgages require mortgage insurance, regardless of downpayment. Conforming loans do not.
- FHA mortgages do not have loan-level pricing adjustment. Conforming loans do.
FHA mortgages also require smaller downpayment requirements versus a comparable conforming mortgage. FHA calls for a minimum downpayment of 3.5%. Conforming mortgages often require 5 percent or more.
And, lastly, FHA mortgages are priced differently from conforming ones. Since 2005, the average FHA mortgage rate has been below the average conforming mortgage rate more than 50% of the time, meaning that an FHA mortgage’s principal + interest payment is lower than a comparable Fannie/Freddie loan.
Today, conforming mortgage rates are lower.
So, which is better — FHA loans or conforming ones? Like most things in mortgage, it depends. FHA-insured loans can be big money-savers or money-wasters. To find out which is best for you, ask your loan officer for today’s market interest rates and study the results.
With less than 20% equity, the answer is often clear.
Buyers are writing contracts at a furious pace nationwide.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the Pending Home Sales Index rose 2 percent last month to reach its highest level since March.
A “pending home sale” is a home under contract to sell, but not yet closed.
The forward-looking Pending Home Sales Index is up 11 percent from its low of the year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, and well ahead of its rolling 6-month average.
Unfortunately, national data isn’t always helpful for buyers and sellers in Naples and nationwide. To help make data more relevant, therefore, the official Pending Home Sales Index report includes a region-by-region breakdown.
Between May and June 2011, results were mixed:
- Northeast Region: -0.4%
- Midwest Region : -3.7%
- South Region : +4.4%
- West Region : +6.4%
However, even the value of regional data may be dubious.
The West Region, for example, which showed big gains in June, is comprised of multiple states containing thousands of cities and towns. Some of those areas outperformed the region, and some of them underperformed. The Pending Home Sales Index doesn’t show which towns did which. It can’t.
For everyday buyers and sellers , it’s the local data that matters.
The Pending Home Sales Index shows that more contracts were written in June than in April or May — a good sign for housing overall. And because 80% of all contracts close within 60 days, we can expect the summer’s home resale activity to be high.
This leads home prices higher.
With mortgage rates low and home sales spiking, now may be the best time to buy a home in 2011. Home prices appear to be rising and mortgage rates should, too.