Considerations For Buying a Lake Home

 Lakefront homes fit a particular lifestyle choice that is
incredibly exciting for many people.
lake-homeHowever, when you are pursuing a property you really want it is more important than ever to think rationally. You can have a lakefront lifestyle, but you need to be aware of all the considerations that go into purchasing a lakefront property. Buying a lakefront home is very different on a number of levels compared to your traditional purchase. It is important to understand these differences before making the leap into lakefront living.

All things being equal homes located on a lake are typically more valuable than homes that aren’t. While your initial expense will be greater, the potential for greater appreciation is common with a lakefront home. When the real estate market drops lakefront homes also tend to keep more of their value. What you should know however when buying a lakefront property is far more involved than your typical home. What you need to think about when buying a lake house is fairly involved.

Current State of The Home

Living on a lake can be a lot of fun, but it is not without its drawbacks. The moisture in the air, the weather patterns created by the lake and the rise and fall of the water level can all lead to degradation of a property. If it is not kept in good repair with regular maintenance by professionals, the close proximity to the lake can lead to property damage. Wood, metal and stone can all be affected by the unique conditions created by the lake.

Like any other property you are going to want to go through it with a fine tooth comb. Make sure you hire a qualified home inspector who will take the time to go through the property from top to bottom. Specifically look out for the top home inspection problems especially bug infestation and water issues that can be found more readily near lakes.

Home Orientation

When living on a lake you one of things you will want to take into consideration is the orientation to the sun and how it sets. Does the home get morning or afternoon sun? If you are getting afternoon sun does the deck have any sun protection? How do the winds coming off the lake effect both your enjoyment of the property and the heating costs?

Get Specific Information About The Lake

114Lakes can vary considerably, meaning one lake might be perfect for you while another is completely undesirable. You do not want to discover that the lake you bought a home on is nothing like what you want. Find out as much information as you can about the lake.

Here are some excellent questions to ask when considering buying a lakefront home:

  • Is the bottom rocky, sandy or muddy?
  • How busy is the lake during each season?
  • What recreational opportunities are available on the lake? Kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, water skiing, waterfowl hunting? Some lakes are better suited than others for specific types of activities.
  • Are jet ski’s allowed when the lake freezes?
  • What is mosquito season like?
  • Is there any wildlife on the lake such as ducks or geese that could become a nuisance?
  • Is the shoreline sandy, rocky or muddy? How easy is it to access the shoreline from your home?
  • Does the lake maintain it’s water level or go up and down with the seasons?
  • Is the lake stocked with fish?
  • Does duckweed ever become a problem?
  • Does the lake flood? How close is your home to the flood line?
  • Are you required to carry flood insurance?
  • If you boat, how easy is it to get your boat in and out of the lake? Are you allowed to have a dock right off of your house, or is it OK to travel around the lake for an access point?
  • Are there any specific things that are not allowed on the lake?
  • Are there any local ordinances about noise or having parties in or around the lake?

These are all questions that may or may not pertain to the lake you are considering buying on but are great things to consider in the back of your mind to ask.

Is There a Lake Association?

Find out if there is a homeowner’s association or other organization that controls the lake area where you plan to buy – It is always a good idea to find out the nature of any organization you will be required to join to enjoy your property and the lake it sits on. These kinds of organizations can vary a great deal in how they handle issues.

Make sure you are able to do what you want to do and able to enjoy your property as you like before you buy into an area. The last thing you want as a buyer is to find out there are things you were counting on being able to do and are not allowed.

Having a Lake association is generally a good thing as they are formed to protect the lake’s future and resolve any issues that potentially could threaten the lake’s health. The members of a lake association meet when it is necessary to discuss lake issues and determine courses of action to remedy any problems. Often times members attend town meetings to be a voice for the lake, apply for grants to protect or improve the lake, as wells as monitor the lake for any invasive species. Most of the time having a lake association is of great benefit to those living on the lake.

Decide if This is a Vacation Home or a Primary Residence

If you are purchasing this home as a vacation property you may have different needs from the property than if it is a primary residence. The weather patterns and seasonal temperatures may not matter as much for a vacation home, because you will only be visiting during the ideal seasons. If you want to live here year-round though, you will need to pay more careful attention to what the seasons will bring – especially if you are an older buyer that may struggle with more severe weather.

Are There Modern Conveniences Nearby

Another thing to consider if you are planning to live here year-round is access to important things like medical care, grocery stores and dining options. Getting out of town into the middle of nowhere may be great for a few weeks at a time, but not everyone enjoys such isolation on a year-round basis. How easy is it to get to major routes? Will getting in and around the area be difficult during times of inclement weather?

Size is another factor that may vary based on your planned usage for the home. If you want to live in the home and have company during the high season you will probably want a larger home with extra bedrooms for guests. If you just want to bring the spouse and kids out during the summer a smaller home might be fine.

Make Sure The Home is Designed For Winter Use

Some lakeside homes are setup to be used during the warmer months of the year and to be left empty when winter comes around. If you want to use the home during the cold weather you will want it to have proper insulation and heating options so you can remain comfortable. Make sure the house is equipped for winter living if this is something you need.

Expansion Possibilities

On many lakes there is a wide variety of housing. In some lakefront locations the housing has started out as small vacation style cottages only to be expanded upon and turned into more permanent residences. Often times local zoning can vary quite a bit on a lake – sometimes the size of the lots are a lot smaller than lot sizes in non water front location. It is important to find out what you can and can’t do before purchasing. You may have grand visions of putting on a second story or adding a large addition and find out it’s just not possible. Better to find out before than after you have made your purchase.

Serviced by a Septic System or Public Sewer

Whether or not there is town sewer available is an important consideration to many home buyers. Septic systems can be very costly to replace especially when they are located so close to a lake. Many communities will at some point in the future install a sewer system do to the sensitive nature of the quality of the lake. This is an added expense you should consider planning for if public sewer is not currently available.

Legal, Conservation and Zoning Restrictions

When living on a lake there may be certain regulations that are not as strict elsewhere. Lakes are considered wetlands so they are afforded different protection under the Wetlands protection act. The local conservation board is more than likely going to want to know anything you do to the property that is within 100 feet of the lake. The vast majority of cities and towns also have strict “no disturb” rules that apply to areas directly bordering the lake  – most of the time 25 feet. In most locales this restricts building, clearing, planting, etc. The purpose is to maintain a natural buffer for the lake but could also impact any future plans you may have. Make sure you keep this in mind.

Do your own homework when you see property advertised as having “lake access” or “right of way to lake”. While these advertisements certainly could be accurate on occasion there have been mistakes made which were complete misrepresentations. When these kind of representations are made it is always smart to consult an attorney who can do a title search to check the accuracy.

Make Sure The View is Adequate

One of the best parts of living on the lake is looking out over the water every morning. Unfortunately not every home labeled as a lake home offers this kind of view. Depending on your needs or your budget, the view might not be a priority. However, if you want to get the most out of lakefront living you should make certain that the view you have from your home fits your desires.

You might also want to find out if the lake has been completely developed as well. The view you have at the time of your purchase could change if there are still building lots either surrounding the property or on the other side of the lake. At a moments notice you could be looking at something completely different than you planned on. I personally know of a few lakefront owners who have had views impaired or changed by others residing on the lake.

Determine How Easy it is to Get to The Lake

Some lakefront homes are technically on the lake, but the lots are so steep that getting down to the water can be a real challenge. If you plan on growing old with the home then you will want a flatter lot. As you get older it will become harder and harder to climb up and down a steep lot to get to the water. This is one of the considerations for buying on a lake that many people don’t think about.

Decide on How Much Privacy You Want

The closer you are to the water the easier it is for boaters and lake users to see your home. This may or may not be a problem for you but it is worth thinking about when looking at different properties. Lots with more distance between the home and the water – distance that still offers a clear line of sight to the water – are usually more expensive than those that are right on the water. The extra cost may be worth it though if you want to sit out on your front porch in your underwear and still be able to watch the sunset.

Hire a Realtor You Can Trust

Whether buying or selling a lake front home you want to work with a Realtor that understands the complexities of selling a home on a lake. Avoid picking a real estate agent randomly when you want to buy a lakefront home. Interview agents to find out how well they do at finding lakefront homes that satisfy their clients.

You want a person on your side that can find you a good home within your budget – a home you can enjoy for decades. Lakefront homes are naturally more challenging to find at a good price due to higher demand. With the right agent, the search becomes easier and you are more likely to get a good deal on a house. This is more than worth the commission an agent will charge for his or her help.

When buying a home understand that lakefront property will carry a certain premium over non-lakefront property. How much of a premium is something a qualified real estate agent should be able to help you with. There are a number of factors that come into play including the town, the type and size of lake, the size and characteristics of the lot, neighboring properties, water quality, privacy, proximity to amenities, and highway access.

When selling a lake front home understand that marketing the property well becomes vital. Choose an agent that is easily found on the internet, does an exceptional job with photography and real estate descriptions. The Realtor you select should have excellent marketing skills that can differentiate between what buyers are looking for in a lakefront property vs a more traditional property. As you can see there is a lot to think about when buying or selling a lake house!

If you are thinking about buying or selling a waterfront home I would welcome the opportunity to help you accomplish your goals.

Article by Bill Gassett

sandymueller2I look forward to helping you buy and sell your next home!!

Sandy Mueller
Baird & Warner Real Estate

How to Prepare For a Home Inspection When Selling Real Estate

Home-inspection-2-e1354403477379How to prepare for a home inspection is a thought that more seller’s should consider. Unfortunately many do not. One of the things that is quite common in the majority of all Real Estate transactions is a home inspection that is paid for by the buyer and performed by a licensed professional home inspector. When selling Real Estate a home inspection is typically done within the first couple weeks after an offer has been submitted by the buyer and accepted by the seller. The Real Estate lingo used is called a “home inspection contingency.”

This contingency is spelled out in the agreed upon Real Estate contract. The typical language in most purchase and sale agreements gives the buyer an out to terminate the contract if serious structural or mechanical defects are found during the home inspection. In some contracts there will be a specified dollar amount that gives the buyer the option of revoking the contract if issues are discovered in excess of this agreed upon figure.

In a Real Estate transaction, the home inspection is one of the biggest hurdles a home seller faces in order to have successful sale. It stands to reason that you will want to make an effort to have your home in the best possible condition before the home inspection actually takes place.  I can tell you from experience of being a Realtor for the past twenty six years, the home inspection is where most home sales fall apart.

So how do you prepare for a home inspection? It may seem pretty obvious, but making sure your home is in tip top showing condition is often overlooked before an inspection.  A home inspector is not necessarily looking at your mess but an unkempt home will give the impression of uncaring owners who possible may miss regular maintenance of items that shouldn’t be neglected.

Every home seller should keep in mind that the home inspection almost always becomes a second round of negotiations, especially when it is a buyer’s Real Estate market. The buyer may ask you to fix a long list of defects that are discovered, provide them with a credit to deal with the issues, or in a worse case just back out of the agreement all together.

So what you should do to prepare for a home inspection is to eliminate any of the known defects that are clearly visible prior to the home going on the market? Home sale preparation is one of the keys to selling Real Estate today anyways so you will to make sure your home shows it’s best.

One suggestion to make the home inspection go more smoothly is to make it easier for the home inspector to do his job.  Some simple things that may not enter your mind is to make sure the inspector can access the attic and the entire basement.

Often times I have been at inspections where the attic hatch is located in a closet and is blocked by clothes or other items. In a basement you will want to make sure the inspector can see all and move around near all the exterior walls. A clear path around all the mechanical items, including the furnace, water heater and electrical panel will be necessities as well. These are easy and simple tips you can do to prepare for a home inspection. Below you will find some of the best home inspection remedies before listing your home for sale. I will discuss a few more home inspection preparation items a bit later.

Common Defects Found at Home Inspections

One of the best ways to prepare for a real estate home inspection is to understand what some of the most probable home defects the home inspector is likely to find. There are some common defects that are found in many homes, that as a home owner you may not have even paid much attention to. After living in a home for many years sometimes we get used to things being a certain way.

Sometimes it would not even cross our minds that a small defect may be a bigger issues to someone else. I am going to review some of the more obvious and commonplace defects that I have seen at home inspections over the years. With this knowledge in hand at least you will have the opportunity to make some corrections before your home goes on the market. These important home inspection preparation tips can go a long way in keeping your real estate transaction moving along smoothly.

Ceiling Stains – one of the things in homes that troubles home buyer’s more than anything else is the fear of water. Nobody wants to have a water issue in their home. Over the years I have sold thousands of homes and the vast majority of them have had some form of a ceiling stain. In many instances the stain occurred from something innocuous like a toilet overflowing or one of the kids leaving the shower curtain open.

Buyer’s however may not assume it is something so simple. In other cases a ceiling stain could have been caused by an ice dam. The trick of course from the buyer’s perspective is to find out if the ice damming is going to occur over and over again from a roofing or gutter defect. In some instances it may be a rare occurrence where there was a twenty five year storm. In any event you will want to make sure the ceiling stains are removed.

Electrical violations – Electrical issues are most common in homes where Mr. home owner has decided to do improvements on his own and has not hired an electrician. Often times work is not done to code which creates issues. Some of the other more prevalent problems include lack of GFI outlets (Ground Fault Interrupter) if the kitchen and baths. These are outlets designed to eliminate the possibility of electrocution if water comes in contact with electricity. Double tapped electrical breakers are another example. A double tap is when a breaker in the electrical panel has more than one wire creating a hazard from too much current going through one breaker. Ungrounded outlets are another defect you commonly see along with a whole host of others.

Improper bathroom venting – years ago almost every home that had some kind of a bath fan just dumped the exhaust into the attic. Over the years it was discovered that doing this provided the perfect breeding ground for mold in attics. This makes perfect sense as you a dumping a ton of moisture into a less ventilated space. The thought of mold can easily cause a buyer not to want to proceed with purchasing a home.  Building codes have since changed and in most homes built today it is required that a bath fan vent to the exterior of a home most often through the roof. A word of advice….check your attic for mold if you have not been up there for a while. I have found that when an inspector discovers mold most of the time the owner never knew it was there.

Rotted exterior wood – Most of the time rotted wood is due to lack of maintenance i.e waiting too long to paint your home. When uncovered wood is wet for too long it tends to rot. The most common areas include exterior trim, window trim and areas around decks. While rotted wood can occur in any home, many of the homes built in the 1980’s used “finger jointed” wood work which was an inferior product.

Minor plumbing defects – It is very rare not to find some kind of minor plumbing defect. The good news on this one is that they are usually very easy to fix. Some of the more common defects include dripping faucets, loose toilets, and slow or leaky drains. Some of the other nuisance issues that are brought to light by home inspectors are leaky valves on boilers and water heaters. Most of the time these are not big issues but routine maintenance that needs to be done by either a plumber or heating contractor.

Failed window seals – A failed window seal is something you see quite often in homes. The way you know a window seal has failed is when you see a window fogging. This means the thermal seal between two panes of glass has leakage. Most homes today are built with thermal pane windows (two panes). You see more homes that were built in the 80’s that have this condition.

Chimney defects – the most common defects in chimney’s are cracks and re-pointing or mortar. More often than not these are found at the very top of the chimney and have occurred over time due to the elements. Bigger issues occur when larger cracks around found from the base of the chimney moving upward. This could indicate more of an unsafe structural issue.

Mold & Radon Remediation – Mold and radon are two of the biggest deal killers in real estate. Prior to a home inspection you should check to make sure you have neither of these issues. Preferably you should check before your home even goes on the market. Mold is something that you can not be sure of unless it is tested by someone in the mold industry. You can however, fairly easily identify what could possibly be mold. Most of the time in homes it will be a black substance that is on the walls or ceilings. The most common places to find mold are attics, basements and baths.

Radon is a gas found under the ground that enters the home through cracks in your concrete or dirt floor. It is a known carcinogen and something that most buyer’s are very cognoscente of. While there are no federal laws in place regarding radon removal, most buyer’s will request you to re-mediate it if it is found to be higher than the suggest passing limit which is 4.0 pCl (picocures per liter). Removing radon in the air is fairly easy to do. When it becomes a much bigger expense is having to remove radon from water.

Disclosure or Fixing Items Prior to Sale

Obviously if you have the money to repair the common home inspection defects mentioned above, it would make sense take it upon yourself to make sure you do! If money is tight, however, I am going to make a suggestion that I do for all of my Real Estate clients.

You should fill out a Real Estate disclosure form and have it available for a buyer to see prior to them making an offer. In this disclosure you are going to want to list in detail all the defects you know about your home. In many states filling out a seller’s disclosure form is mandatory anyways. In Massachusetts it is not but very common none the less.

It is far more difficult for a buyer to try to renegotiate after a home inspection if the defect has already been pointed out to them in black and white prior to them making an offer.

For a seller that may not be sure how to identify potential home inspection issues one suggestion would be to get an independent home sale inspection before going on the market and fixing what is identified by the home inspector. This will at least give you some piece of mind that most everything that could potentially could be raised as an issue will already have been discovered and possibly remedied. Preparing for a home inspection is a common sense activity that every seller should consider!

Prepare For The Home Inspector

One of things that you should be aware of as a home seller is that most home inspectors will arrive at your home in advance of the scheduled home inspection time. Typically the inspector will arrive anywhere from a half hour to forty five minutes ahead of time. A home inspector will do this so they have the opportunity to walk around your home making observations about the property in advance of the buyer arriving. This will give the home inspector a leg up on looking professional once the buyer gets there and starts asking questions.

It is a common practice in  real estate  for the seller not to be around while the home inspection is taking place. There are however things you can do to make the home inspectors job a lot easier before you leave your home.  Here are a few quick tips to prepare for a home inspection.

Make sure all light bulbs are working by changing them prior to the inspection. The inspector will want to be able to view all areas of your home. In addition he or she won’t need additional time to see if the receptacle is not working or if it is just a blown light bulb.
Thin out your closets of clothes so the inspector can see inside them.

Remove items away from basement walls so they can be inspected for cracks and water penetration areas.

If there is a scuttle for access to the attic in a closet make sure it is accessible.
Change the filters to your furnace and leave any service tags so the  inspector can see them.

If your home is vacant make sure the power is on and there is fuel so that the systems can be inspected.

Above all else do not try to conceal any defects you know are present  in the home. The home inspector is going to find the issue anyway but your trying to conceal things will throw up a major red flag. The  last thing you want is to have a buyer think you are dishonest. Al this will do is leave a bad taste in the buyer’s mouth and put you behind the eight ball when the home inspection negotiation process begins.

Hopefully by now you have  realized that how prepare for a home inspection is a vital part of a real estate transaction and one of the keys to keeping your sale on track!

Use these tips on preparing for a home inspection to increase the chances of getting past this important milestone in a real estate transaction.

Article by Bill Gassett.

sandymueller2I look forward to helping you buy and sell your next home!!

Sandy Mueller
Baird & Warner Real Estate

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom In Retirement

Baby-Boomers-KCMWithin the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

In a recent Merrill Lynch study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)

Crossing-The-Freedom-Threshold

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Merrill Lynch Moving In Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help with deciding your next step.

Sandy MuellerIf you are retiring and looking for a new home
or a summer home call me
!
If you are planning on retiring soon and want to find the home of your dreams I can help!  Call me at 847-494-8868.

4 Surprising Tips You Need to Know Before Buying or Selling a House

(NewsUSA) – Insider tips — who doesn’t love a good (legal) one?

And when it comes to buying or selling a house, it turns out some of the very best — ones that can translate into big bucks — are those maybe only someone with Brian Williams’ imagination would think of.

Want to know why, for example, Starbucks may be the greatest predictor of home-value appreciation? Read on.

* March is the most profitable month. For sellers, that is. According to Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow.com, who mined his site’s database of millions of homes in co-authoring the newly released “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate,” properties listed then sold faster and fetched 2 percent higher than average.

Buyers, on the other hand, catch a break in December when even New York owners are apparently so demoralized by the cold that they’re willing to part with their homes for 2.8 percent less during the second week of the month.

“You shouldn’t list your house for sale before March Madness or after the Masters (in April),” says Rascoff.

* Your real estate agent’s gender matters. Women, because they’re “more willing to negotiate,” tend to close deals faster, research suggests. But sellers take note: If you can hold out, men — stubborn devils that they are — are often better at getting the original asking price.

* A new roof is a sure-fire way to boost a home’s resale value. Forget kitchen remodeling. “You could spend a fortune, and it still might not suit prospective buyers’ tastes,” explains Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey.

Replacing an unsightly roof with a spiffy new one — better for that all-important “curb appeal” — was one of the very few projects singled out in Remodeling magazine’s new annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2015, rising a chart-topping 5.9 percent over even last year’s double-digit increase.

In fact, says O’Neill — and, sellers, pay close attention to the psychology here — if your current roof really is an eyesore, buyers will be “predisposed” to find a zillion other things they hate about your place. Ergo, those craving the look of luxury at affordable prices should check out the Value Collection Lifetime Designer Shingles from GAF (www.gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacture.

* The Starbucks Effect. Don’t laugh. When Rascoff was checking his data, he discovered that, lo and behold, homes within a quarter mile of a Starbucks had appreciated 31 percent more -; 96 percent vs. 65 percent -; over the last 17 years than others nationwide.

“Is it that Starbucks is really great at picking locations, or is that Starbucks is sort of an omen of gentrification?” he writes. “It’s a little of each.”

Buying a Home is 35% Less Expensive than Renting!

salerentIn the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country (3.9%), they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation (3.7%). “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989. 

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Sandy Mueller

Sandy Mueller

of Buying? What are you waiting for? If you are planning on becoming a homeowner, or moving up to the home of your dreams in 2015 I can help!  Call me at 847-494-8868.

 

Pending Sales Surge: Great Sign for the Housing Market

The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed that homes going into contract in February increased to their highest level since June 2013.

The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The Index is now 12.0 percent above February 2014. The index is at its highest level since June 2013, has increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and is above what is considered “the average level of activity” – for the 10th consecutive month.

Here is a graph showing the Pending Sales numbers:

Pending Home Sales | Keeping Current Matters

Here is a chart showing the Pending Sales increases by region:

Pending Home Sales By Region | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

In an article from Investors’ Business Daily, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, explained what these numbers will mean to the overall market:

“It looks like the buyers want to come out to the market and they are eager to find the right home and make an offer. Therefore, I expect the second quarter of this year to be easily ahead of last year in terms of sales activity. Pending contracts are implying that the closing activity in coming months will be quite solid.”

 

Sandy Mueller

Sandy Mueller

How Much Is Your Home Really Worth?
Let me do a comparative market analysis with recent market data to help you estimate your home value today. Call me at 847-494-8868.

Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

Healthiest-in-YearsAccording to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.

The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:

“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AK-MO
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received“just slightly negative performance rankings”.

David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.

Sandy Mueller

Sandy Mueller

Thinking of Buying? What are you waiting for? If you are planning on becoming a homeowner, or moving up to the home of your dreams in 2015 I can help!  Call me at 847-494-8868.