As parents we teach our children to never take candy or get into a car with a stranger. Yet everyday around the world strangers call into real estate offices and ask the eager 100% sales commission based real estate agent to meet them at a house so they can see it. What happened from childhood to adulthood that we forgot the lessons our parents taught us?
Over the last several months many people have asked me if home sales have been picking up for the Raleigh real estate market. While we have seen an increase in appointments scheduled to view our current inventory of Triangle area homes for sale, we have not seen them turn into equal sales. Home sales around the Raleigh region are still very sluggish and the luxury market has been hit the hardest.
The Biggest Real Estate Problem We Have in the Raleigh Region
is that we are not seeing many move up buyers. This is causing many sellers to compete for a sold sign and has driven home prices down. The listing inventory of homes for sale is still high and many sellers have reduced their home prices several times and still are not sold. The average home list price to sales price is 96% if sold in the first 30 days and 89% if price reductions occur. With declining home values, low interest rates and tax credits you would think real estate here in the Greater Raleigh area would be booming but, it isn’t. Everyone is busy showing a lot of houses but, the truth is Triangle real estate home sales are still lower in 2009 than they were in 2008.
Let’s Look At Some Contributing Housing Market Factors
As many of you know I help people in the Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs area all of the time who are behind in the mortgage, facing foreclosure and need help. Many times when I meet with people they tell me of scam companies and representatives who have contacted them saying they can help them, but instead charge upfront fees, etc and become a nightmare to deal with.
This week I came across a video by the Federal Trade Commission that gives helpful advice about what you need to do if you see you are starting to fall behind in your mortgage payments. It also tells what you need to look for if you are approached by people who may in turn be scammers. If you are anyone you know of need help, please help them get the real facts about what options homeowners have. Visit www.hopenow.com, www.raleighrealestateforeclosures.com or call 1-888-995-4673.
Every day in the Raleigh area I meet with perspective home sellers. However, in the current real estate market I find myself practicing “tough love” and being more of a counselor and consultant. I try to educate my home sellers to make sure they have realistic expectations so they do not end up with regrets in the end. Many times during the initial consultation I talk sellers out of putting their homes on the market and encourage them to wait until a better time. I show Raleigh area sellers the absorption rates for their location, age, square feet, architectural style, features and price range. I explain experimenting just to see what happens in a buyers market is another real estate listing about to fail.
Yesterday I called one of my clients and she was in an absolute panic. She had lost her wallet and was on the phone trying to cancel all of her credit cards. If this has ever happened to you then you know the fear, stress and dread she was feeling.
Here is a quick tip that will help ease your mind and take some of the work and panic out of the process.
Go to your nearest copy machine today. Open up your wallet and copy the front and back side of everything in it. Put the copies in a safe place such as a locked file cabinet or safety deposit box. If you lose your wallet it won’t be fun but, you will be able to protect yourself quickly and rebuild the contents without losing sleep over what you may have forgotten.
If your wallet or purse is stolen or lost for an added measure of protection you can also do the following:
1. File a police report in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc were lost or stolen. This prove to the credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first stip toward an investigation if there is one.
2. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizatons to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the social security fraud line. Placing this alert means all creditors will have to contact you before they can authorize new credit.
I hope this never happens to you but, sooner or later it probably will. I have had a car stolen with my purse in it and my car broken into on vacation and my purse was stolen out of it. I’ve learned the hard way to never leave my purse in the car and I have a copy of my wallets content locked in a safe place just in case I drive off from a gas station pump and leave my wallet on top of the car like one of my employees did last week.
I remember when my daughter Kelly attended Wake County schools and the fun we had shopping for new clothes and school supplies each year. Today preparing for back to school has become more complicated. There are so many things to keep up with and many of you have children in elementary, middle and high. 3 schedules, 3 schools. WOW, I only had one to keep up with!
Because of all the frequent school changes that take place every year I have updated my website to provide one stop shopping for parents looking for information to balance a hectic schedule. We have the latest in school information and childcare. If you know of anyone else that could benefit from this resource please pass it on.
Many people are asking me about what they need to do to refinance their home. Today I thought I would share a few things to think about before you make the decision to talk with a mortgage lender about refinancing your home.
How to Start the Refinancing Process
To refinance your home in Raleigh, Cary or anywhere in the Triangle area you will have to reapply for the mortgage just like any new home buyer would. You will have to demonstrate solid credit history, prove to the mortgage company that you still have adequate income to quaify for the lower payment by providing tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense if you have been paying your mortgage on time and are refinancing your Raleigh home to have an even lower monthly obligation but, never the less, your have to provide documents and be approved all over again.
The Next Step in Refinancing: The Appraisal
Last week during a listing appointment at my office I met with someone who tried to refinance her home in order to lower her monthly mortgage payments. Like many people she had a first and second mortgage and contacted a local lender thinking she would not any problem refinancing. However, her home did not appraise for what she owed. She was stuck unfortunately in a cycle many homeowners in our Raleigh area are facing.
In order to refinance North Carolina homes have to be professionally appraised at a high enough value to provide the lender with adequate security. This is where many Raleigh homeowner’s are hitting a brick wall on refinancing. Appraisal guidelines have signifacantly tightened and Raleigh real estate has not gained value the past 24 months. This is keeping many home owners from being able to save money each month by taking advantage of a historical opportunity of low interest rates.
To get an idea of your real estate value in the Raleigh, Wake County area visit www.Wakegov.com Type in your address and a search of recent home sales around your address will be displayed. You can also experiment with www.zillow.com to get a zestimate. However, the best way to determine your Raleigh real estate value is to call me or a professional appraiser.
My team meets every Tuesday to keep our skills sharp in this ever changing Raleigh real estate market. Each department gives an update on current business, we discuss new listings coming to the market, what our current home buyers are looking for, and then we train on different topics. Sometimes the topics are new rules and form changes from the Real Estate Commission. Other training topics are economic, mortgage and appraisal issues affecting the Raleigh, Cary and Triangle market. Last week we focused on practical applications that can help us be more efficient by managing our time better. Each Team member started with making a list of the 5 worst time wasters and their 5 best time saving ideas. I thought I would share some of our team’s top tips with you:
The Linda Craft & Team’s Top Time Saver Tips:
If you are working on a project or in an appointment let incoming calls go to voicemail until you complete the task. This will help you stay focused and be proactive instead of reactive.
Check Voice Mail at regular times during the day, not after every call. It takes time to dial into voice mail so pick up several messages with one call.
Follow a schedule and stick to it. Everything is important but, very few things are urgent. Plan your day the night before and protect your schedule.
Text Someone verses Calling Them. This can save up to five minutes of idle conversation and alot of voice mail tag.
Make your coffee the night before and schedule it to brew the next morning when you get up.