Whether you own a home or looking to buy or sell one, here are the latest Good To Know articles for when you’re ready to take the next step in finding your Forever Home.
HOMEOWNERS, HOMEBUYERS, HOME SELLERS, HOME VALUES, HOMEBUYING ADVICE
6 External Influences That Lessen Home Values
Home prices are still near record highs, so if you’re purchasing your next home in a cheaper or unfamiliar area, be aware of outside influences that can lower your property values.
Noise. Traffic noise, sirens, construction, and other noise pollution can impact home values. Areas to avoid include next to a freeway, on a busy thoroughfare, or across the street from a school.
Danger. Crime statistics can be found at USA.gov. You can search the Office of Justice Programs for known sex offenders living in your area.
Industrial pollution. Builders often look for land in industrial areas where the parcels are cheaper and larger to construct apartments and houses. Visit The Environmental Protection Agency and enter your address to learn how emissions and releases from industry are impacting your neighborhood.
High number of rentals. If you’re buying a condominium or house managed by a homeowner’s association, you have the right to see all governing documents and financial records. High turnover rates make it more difficult to get mortgage loans and expose you to transients who may not care about their neighbors since they don’t own the property.
Bad neighbors. You’ll have to introduce yourself to potential neighbors and ask them what the neighborhood is like, but you can also tell a lot from the state of other properties near your next home. Rundown homes around your home make it less desirable.
Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional will be able to help you research the home and neighborhood.
HOMEOWNERS, HOMEBUYERS, HOME SELLERS, LANDSCAPING, CURB APPEAL, PEST PREVENTION
How to Prepare Your Outdoor Spaces for Fall and Winter
Fall and winter can be hard on your grass, trees, and flowers, so here are six ways you can make your landscaping more attractive whether you’re selling your home, moving into a new home, or simply want to protect your landscape from fall and winter weather
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, late October to mid-November is the perfect time to plant, weed, prune, and mulch, so your yard looks nicer and your plants will be protected during the winter.
- Trim trees of dead branches for your own and neighbors’ safety. From November to March is an ideal time to prune trees to give them a better shape and prevent branches from blowing against the house.
- Now is the time to get rid of leggy shrubs and plant new ones. Plant new shade trees with leaves that change color. Few fall sights are as beautiful as a maple tree with flaming red leaves or a ginkgo with golden yellow leaves.
- Clean out flower beds and re-mulch with a layer of “wood chips, tree bark, leaves or other organic material.”
- The Oklahoma State University extension office advises that October and November are the ideal times to plant bulbs before the ground gets hard. You can also plant pansies, ornamental kale, ornamental cabbage, and other cool-season annuals.
- Pull weeds from the lawn after a rain so they’ll be easier to remove by the roots. They’ll be less likely to crop up again in the spring.
MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES, HOMEBUYERS, HOME SELLERS
Should Sellers Help Buyers With a Mortgage Buydown?
In August 2023, the average 30-year mortgage interest rate hit its highest level since 2000. At 7.48%, they were nearly triple where they were during the pandemic when they reached a low of 2.65% in January 2021. Meanwhile, median home prices rose for 10 consecutive quarters beginning in fall 2020, only declining for two straight quarters to $416,100, which is still 26.4% higher than the quarter just before the pandemic.
The National Association of REALTORS® reported that existing home sales volume in July 2023 slipped 16.6% from the previous year, even as home prices rose to $406,700 from $399,000 a year ago. While many markets are still robust, others have slowed considerably. How can sellers bring more homebuyers to the table?
As a concession, the seller can offer to pay discount points to the homebuyer’s lender to help the homebuyer get a lower mortgage interest rate. Called a seller-paid mortgage rate buydown, these discount points are typically 1% of the homebuyer’s loan amount and every discount point paid reduces the mortgage interest rate by 0.25 percentage points. If the mortgage amount is $400K, a discount point would be $4,000, and the monthly principal and interest payment at 7.5% would be $2,797. A seller-paid discount point would lower the interest rate to 7.25% and a monthly payment to $2,729. Over the life of the loan, the borrower would save$24,535.
Talk to your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional about seller-paid mortgage rate buydowns and see if they can benefit your transaction.
HOMEBUYERS, MARKET CONDITIONS, HOME SELLERS
What to Consider When Selling a Home “As Is”
It’s no secret that homebuyers prefer move-in ready homes that have been repaired and updated. The Wall Street Journal reports that fewer homebuyers want fixer-uppers because of high mortgage interest rates and construction loans. Since the seller has disclaimed the home, the cost of repairs and updates are unknown. Some mortgage guarantors like FHA and VA have certain safety and home integrity requirements, which means that if the seller doesn’t make the improvements needed, the homebuyer won’t be approved for the mortgage loan.
Yet, there are times when the seller simply doesn’t have the financial or practical means to make repairs and improvements. So, what can the seller expect from the marketplace?
Selling a home “as is” means selling the home in its current condition to relieve the seller of most of the responsibilities and costs associated with selling a home. As-is sellers still need to meet minimum state and federal disclosures, such as filling out a seller’s disclosure that declares known defects and problems in the home, but this can have a sobering effect on homebuyers. A balanced market, or one in favor of buyers can reduce the selling price of an as-is home as much as 15% to 20% below market value and takes longer to sell, exacerbated by carrying costs such as mortgage payments, HOA fees, utilities, and more.
Lower offers can also be expected from investors who pay cash, as they have purchase and resale formulas that must be met before they’re interested.
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