Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Impressions

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and isn't too depressed about being back to the grindstone!

The January 2011 edition of REALTOR magazine has an excellent and concise article about cost to value for home remodeling and improvements. It also lists the top 5 projects that bring the greatest percentage of return... and you may be surprised! They aren't necessarily the big ticket items. All have one thing in common, though, and that is making the best first impression possible.

Project 1: Entry door replacement (including threshold, jambs, casings, lock set, etc.)= 102.1% cost recouped (but make sure it is in keeping with the style of the home!)
Project 2: Garage door replacement = 83.9% cost recouped (and you may not necessarily need them to be insulated -- sometimes simple is best depending on common usage for your area)
Project 3: Siding replacement = 80.0% cost recouped (make sure it is prepainted, cement siding, and ask contractors for price differences with different overlaps)
Project 4: Kitchen remodel = 72.8% cost recouped (but don't overimprove... consider painting your cabinets rather than buying new ones, do a laminate countertop instead of granite, etc.)
Project 5: Deck addition = 72.8% cost recouped (add a 16 by 20... an 8 by 8 is too small, and one the length of the home will never pay for itself)

Contact me if you would like a copy of the article -- it's GREAT information if you are considering selling anytime in the near future!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bottom Line

There is currently a window of opportunity to sell your home before the discounted properties again re-enter the market and put downward pressure on prices. If you plan to sell within the next year, now might be the time.

I know I reference Steve Harney a LOT in my blog, but the KCM Crew has sent out yet another good one. So many folks are talking about the fall of prices and speculating when they will begin to go back up, but not many people understand the reasoning why. KCMBlog.com gives an excellent illustration in today's post, likening the foreclosure crisis to water behind a dam. In short, the banks need to release just enough to stimulate the market and relieve some pressure, but releasing too many at once will flood it and cause to to spiral. Check it out yourself for more details. Good reading!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Makes Up Your Credit Score?

KCMBlog.com has posted an excellent explanation of credit scores. I encourage you to visit the website to read the information in full, but I am going to post what actually makes up the score. Very interesting!

35% is based on payment histories
30% is based on amounts owed (yikes for me)
15% is based on length of credit history
10% is based on new credit and inquiries
10% is based on the type of credit used

VERY GOOD INFO TO KNOW! Please visit http://www.kcmblog.com for more details!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mixed Signals??

There have been several reports lately concerning the real estate forecast for 2011. My favorites are the ones that say that the demand for housing will go up in 2011. Yippeee, right???? Well, yes... sort of...

Both NAR and Fannie Mae are projecting an increase in closed residential real estate transactions in 2011, but this does not mean prices will go up. Sellers, please keep this in mind! More homes will be sold, but that does not equal greater appreciation for you. We must take reports with a grain of salt. Speak with your local real estate agent for information on your neighborhood.

Info from KCMBlog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Putting it in Perspective

The KCM Crew has done it again! Without giving into the mass hysteria created byt he media, they have presented a realistic portrait of real estate as an investment over the last decade. By citing a new article in Forbes magazine, they have helped us all breathe a little easier... at least for now. Their summary Even in what many consider a sub-par decade for the housing industry, real estate proved to be an excellent investment speaks VOLUMES. Check out the latest post at www.KCMBlog.com!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Should I List During the Holidays?

It's a pretty predictable debate this time of year -- should I list my home now or wait for Spring? Great arguments can be made for both sides. The following are some reasons why you may decide now is the time to go for it!

-- Buyers that are looking now are serious. They have jobs, have their financing lined up, and need to buy now. Otherwise, they would wait til January to look when they had more time.
-- A lot of your competition will be bank owned. This means they will be cold, drab, vacant, and in less than broomswept condition. So, yours will automatically show better.
-- If you DO wait, you have done what the majority of folks have done, which means you will have even more competition than normal.

Call me to discuss the pros and cons -- different situations call for different strategies, and I can guide you through the decision making process.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Insurance Tidbit from Mike Oelz

A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars, insured them against fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company.
In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued -- and won! In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that the cigars would be insured against fire, without defining what it considered to be unacceptable fire, it was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss.
Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company grudgingly accepted the judge's ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he lost in the fires. After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson, with his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used as evidence.

This story is from Mike Oelz with Allen Tate Insurance. To share your own strange story (or just to get a quote!), call him at 336-544-4545.