Real Estate

My House isn’t Selling in a Seller’s Market

 

Our market is currently moving at a fast pace, especially for homes less than $200,000. Currently, as of this writing, there are 3292 active single family listings in the Multi-Listing Service (MLS) and 1512 listings sold in the last 30 days.  Meaning that we currently have 2.18 months worth of inventory. Since a balanced market is six month’s worth of inventory, you can clearly see that we have a strong seller’s market.  However during that same time frame we also had 439 homes which were removed from the MLS by expiring or being released or withdrawn. So if the market is so strong why are so many homes not selling.

I believe the expectations of sellers is that since there is so little to buy on the market and homes are going so fast that you can throw anything out there and it will sell.  The homes that are not selling are not priced right or correctly marketed in my professional opinion.  Several of these homes need repairs or a good cleaning. Most buyer’s want something that is move in ready.

Buyer’s are shopping on the internet and want to see a home virtually prior to taking their time to visit the house in person. They are drawn to properties with good pictures and aerial shots if the property warrants it. Although you need to know when to use aerials and when not to.  They want good floor plans, and updated features. And of course they are looking for a great price or at least a fair one.  If the price is out of whack they won’t make an offer.  If the home has outdated features like wall paper and a lot of gold fixtures then the buyer’s are wanting to reduce the price to compensate for the work.  And for the most part these buyer’s are over estimating the cost of these updates.  Too much HGTV in my opinion, or they just don’t know who to call to get a good price on making updates.

Sometimes Sellers seeing other homes in their subdivision selling quicker than their home start to question what their realtor is doing or not doing to get their house to sell.  They demand more open houses, another broker’s open, more fliers.  Surely more marketing will do the trick. Let me assure you that when a realtor, any realtor, enters the listing into the MLS it goes to all the different websites.  There are hundred’s of them that pick up the listing and help to market it. So if your realtor has inputted everything correctly and uploaded great pictures (I use professional ones) people are going to see it. The true issue is most likely price or condition.  And any condition can be fixed by price. Because if it is cheap enough someone will see value in it and buy it.

So if your house hasn’t sold and it is currently off the market and you would like some advise, please feel free to reach out to me. Sandi Walker 405-213-2992 or visit my website http://www.equityhomesteam.com.   This is not intended as an advertisement to list a property currently on the market with another realtor.

 

Real Estate

Can I get Down payment money?

There is a huge misnomer in the world that if you have never purchased a home before that you will get some free money to help buy a home. And if you have already purchased a home, you are out of luck. This is simply not true. Let me explain.
Down payment assistance programs were created to help low to moderate income families purchase a home of their own. If you make too much money, you will not qualify. There are two types of down payment programs referred to as —bond loans and grants. Today most of these programs do not require you to be a first time homebuyer. In addition, if you have not owned a home within the past 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer.
Bond loans generally carry a higher interest rate than the prevailing rate. While both bond and grant programs both have income guidelines, bond loans allow you to make significantly more money and still qualify. Bond loans will usually pay the buyer’s down payment only. The buyer will need to negotiate closing costs with the seller or pay them themselves. These programs require that live in the property for a set period of time generally 5 years and you are not usually allowed to refinance or rent the property during this time. If you have your own money saved for down payment, you are generally better off using it than getting a bond loan due to the higher interest rate.
Grant programs allow you to get a loan using the prevailing interest rate. They do not increase the amount of the interest premium. These programs usually require borrowers to make less than the median income or perhaps 80% of the median income for the county. Currently, the grant program in Cleveland county allows a family of 4 to make up to $51,600 a year. This particular grant program will however pay the buyer’s closing costs, down payment and up front MI. This is a fabulous help for a home buyer. These programs generally require the buyer to have a percentage of their own money invested (1% of purchase price as of this writing in Cleveland county), a home buyer education class, and a property compliance inspection. Grant programs also require you to live in the property much like a bond loan.
If you are thinking about buying a home and would like more information on grant programs in your area or you are thinking about selling and you like to know how I can help you market your home using down payment assistance, please call me Sandi Walker 405-213-2992.

Real Estate

Hiring a contractor

The majority of homeowners at one time or other are going to want to make improvements to their home. Sometimes these will be small do it yourself improvements while others may be major renovations or repairs. In Oklahoma you are almost certain to replace the roof during ownership if you live in your house long enough. So what do you need to know about hiring a contractor.
First, ask your friends, family, or realtor for a referral. Having someone who has used the contractor before and had good success with them is worth its weight in gold.
Second, ask if they are licensed, insured and bonded. You want to know whether the person working on your largest investment has the correct education and insurance prior to hiring them. If not you still want to know this information so you can assess the risks you are taking by using non licensed people.
Third, ask to see their work. Have they done a project like you are wanting them to do? Do they have pictures of similar jobs or can they take you to a project that they are currently working on or have just finished.
Fourth, do they have a crew or will they do the work themselves. If they do have a crew, how long have the members of the crew been working for the contractor.
Fifth, what type of warranty does the contractor offer, if any. Make sure you understand the contractors policies prior to them making repairs. For example, you may find a plumber warranties his services for 30 days meaning if the sewer line gets stopped up on day 31 again you are going to have to pay to have it snaked out.
Sixth, get a couple quotes. If a price looks too cheap ask for more details as to what the contractor is going to do. Understanding what repair costs should be can help you determine whether the contractor you are hiring is trying to take advantage of you or not. If you are not familiar with what repairs should cost, ask around.
I am always happy to refer the contractors I use and trust. I feel that a referral is the best way to hire a contractor. And if for any reason, you aren’t happy with the contractor someone referred you to please by all means tell them. I only want to refer contractors who are taking excellent care of my friends and clients.
If you are interested in buying, selling or investing in real estate, please contact me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website http://www.sandiwalker.com

Real Estate

Flipping Homes–What does it take?

People who take old homes and rehab them for a profit are called flippers. Flipping homes can be a good way to make money; however, like every other business there is a risk. I believe that several tv shows have made flipping look like easy money which is not always the case.
In order to make a profit on a rehabbed house you need to have enough of a spread between the purchase price and the sales price. I believe the best way to estimate this is to work backwards from the potential sales price. I am also conservative on what this price will be. Let’s face it if you sell the house for more, then it is a bonus.
Working backwards looks like this.
Example:
Sales price when house is completed………………..$150,000
Cost to sell the property (10-12%)…………………….$15,000-$18000
Cost of repairs……………………………………………………$25,000
Holding costs (interest, taxes, utilities, etc)………..$2000 Can vary depending on how long you hold it.
Break even point……………………………………….………$108,000-$112,000
Cost of property including closing costs, etc………..$90,000
Profit…………………………………………………………………….$18,000-$15,000
Sometimes people new to flipping will tell me it shouldn’t take 10-12% to sell a house, but by the time you pay an agent to sell it and the title work and give something to a buyer, it becomes this amount. And let’s face it if it is less then you put more money in your pocket.
Same thing for repairs, things come up along the way and cost more. So make sure you have a little slop in the amount and you are not figuring the cost so tight that you end up losing money.
Please know that today you are probably going to have to do more than simply paint and replace carpet to make a profit. You are going to have to update kitchen and baths, open floor plans. People will pay more for nice finishes but don’t forget to make sure the roof and foundation is good. They also want the mechanical systems of the house to function properly and be updated.
Having a realtor to guide you and helping you can be incredibly valuable. I have personally rehabbed several homes and helped several investors in flipping homes. If you are interested in investing in real estate and would like some help please contact me at 405-213-2992 or sandisellsokc@kw.com

Real Estate

The devaluation of oil and Oklahoma Housing market

A buyer asked me if I thought the price of housing would drop drastically since the price of oil has dropped drastically over  the past year or two. Oklahoma is an oil state and it does affect our economy.

The following is my response.

In the 1980’s, the Oklahoma economy was predominately dictated by what happened in the oil industry. Because of this, when the oil bust came people left Oklahoma in mass groves. The real estate market collapsed because of the exodus. Today, Oklahoma is vastly diversified its economy.  Oklahoma City is home to businesses like Dell, Boeing, paycom, Hobby Lobby, the FAA and Tinker AFB.   While the cost of oil does affect our economy it does not rule it like it did in the 1980’s.

Oklahoma with stood the real estate down turn in 2007 and lost very little in value. Depending on the size and cost of the property as well as the location we saw values remain constant without any appreciation to a few percentage points of devaluation. We never saw the real estate bubble that California did; therefore, we never had the extreme bust either. We did have our share of foreclosures and short sales but that was to be expected.

Today we are seeing moderate increases in value. We did close fewer sales in 2015 than in 2014. In Cleveland county, we sold 4098 homes in 2014 compared to 3996 homes in 2015—less than a 100 fewer homes sold. While the average sales price rose from $175.88K to $180.17K. Fewer homes were offered for sale last year which caused the prices to go up in my opinion. With less inventory we saw prices rise.

What will the next few years bring for Oklahoma?

If oil prices do not rise, I think you will find that people who may have moved will choose to not move–to remain in their current homes until the oil market corrects itself.  If fewer people move, this will cause a continued shortage of inventory thereby holding or increasing property prices.

In my professional opinion I believe we will continue to see growth in our city as employers move to the Midwest seeking lower wages and lower taxes. Regardless of what happens with oil, people are not going to be moving from Oklahoma in mass droves like we saw in the 1980s. More people coming to the state will cause housing to rise especially rents. Rents tend to go up when population fluctuates upward because there is a shortage in housing available. Currently rents are generally more than the cost of a mortgage in a majority of areas.

I also believe the government intends to continue to increase the prime rate (the rate banks are charged) which will cause the interest rates for home loans to go up. The increase in the interest rate can cost a lot more than a slight depreciation in the sales price of a house. If the interest rate increases by only 1%, it will change your principle and interest payment by 10%.

While I do not have a crystal ball, I do not believe that the devaluation of oil is going to cause the prices of homes in Oklahoma to largely fluctuate negatively—due to the fact that we have low unemployment, low cost of living, and new businesses moving into our state.

Uncategorized

A NEW Park in Moore, OK–Central Park

The new Aquatic center layout
The new Aquatic center layout
The new Recreational center
The new Recreational center

Central Park is coming to Moore, OK. The park sits on the corner of 4th and Broadway near the railroad tracks and runs south along Broadway. The park is 51 acres. It will house a 53,000 sqft recreational center and a 45,000 sqft aquatic center. In addition, there is a large amphitheater, a 2 mile long multipurpose trail, a playground (handicap accessible), and a farmers market. There will be approximately 350 parking spaces.

This is a wonderful addition to the Moore landscape. It will provide the citizens of Moore as well as those from surrounding areas with a wonderful area to enjoy time with their families or by themselves. Moore has not had a pool in their town for several years, since the demolition of the pool at the 5th street Park.   This new aquatics center replaces the old pool with a state of the art water park like pool. There is a lot of excitement regarding the pool that will be open summer of 2016.

The city is providing a lot of services at this new park. There will be fees for the use of the recreational center as well as the aquatics center. The residences of Moore will receive a discounted rate on those fees about 20%.  A Moore water bill will be required as proof of residency. The city will be selling day passes, season passes and annual passes. They will also have a 15 day pass that you can use as you want. So you can use it for 15 days in a row or over the season. They will have discounts for active duty military, families, and seniors. The city is currently selling annual passes. Stewart at the parks department told me today that they are giving a 13 month pass for the price of a 12 month pass if you purchase now, prior to the park opening.

Below are some of the features of the recreational and aquatic center:

The recreational center will contain the following:

2 Full Basketball courts

Workout room with 70 pieces of exercise equipment

2 group exercise rooms

Indoor walking trail

Meeting room with audio and video as well as a kitchen

Activity Room

Child Watch

Concession area

Locker rooms and showers

They are planning on having exercise classes like Yoga, Zumba, TRX, and Kick Boxing.

The aquatics center will contain the following:

2 Large slides

A diving pool with 2 diving boards (1 meter and 3 meter high)

A rock wall

A lap pool

A kid pool (12 inches deep) with 30 spray toys and a slide

Locker Room and Showers

The aquatics center with have swim lessons as well as allow pool parties.

I am personally very excited to see this project come to fruition. I think it will provide the citizens of Moore with a great central meeting area for picnics and other entertainment. This is a very progressive step which will make our community shine. While we have several other great parks in the community, this park is in the heart of Moore and will become the central focal point for the community.

For more information on park passes, pricing, and other information go to www.cityofmoore/central park.com

If you are looking to buy or sell, I would love to help you. I have been a member of the Moore community for over 20 years. I have watched this town grow and change over the years and am excited to see this new addition. Please feel free to contact me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website www.sandiwalker.com

Real Estate

I know you love that painting, but will the buyer?

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Staging a house for sale can make a huge difference in how  quickly a home gets sold.

While the homeowner may love certain pieces of art or sports trophies as in the pictures seen here, it could distract a buyer who may not be able to imagine their furniture and décor.   The current  art or furnishings can be obtrusive to a new buyer who does not share your same taste. The same could be said for sports trophies. While I understand that the seller may be excited to show off the buck or marlin, it could turn some buyers off.

I remember the day I showed a certain house. We walked upstairs to the bonus room and turned on a light. I thought the light switch went to the ceiling fan/light.  It actually turned on a staging light onto a large full size taxidermied elk  behind a pane of glass. My clients were not impressed and wanted nothing more to do with the house,  even though it was a wonderful home with a nice layout.  The elk would be leaving with the current owners but the image was burned into the buyers minds and they just couldn’t see past it.

I typically tell sellers that less is more. They should declutter as much as possible, remove personal photographs and any art that could be considered offensive to another person. Let’s face it, as a seller you are moving and are going to need to box your stuff up eventually anyways, so you might as well go ahead and do it now.

After you remove paintings or family photos, you may need to touch up the wall from where the wall hangers or nails were.  A fresh coat of paint will clean the room and make it more inviting.  An inviting home is one that sell’s fast and lets you move on to your next home.

If you have real estate questions or are looking to buy or sell a home, please contact me at 405-213-2992 or visit my website.  http://www.sandiwalker.net