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Monday, June 2, 2014

6 common pitfalls for home sellers

There are many great Grass Valley area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 273-0073 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Everyone’s main objective when putting their home on the market is to sell it as quickly as possible and for the highest possible amount. It doesn’t always work out this way because homeowners make simple mistakes that hinder their home’s market value. I want to share with you today a list that I have come up with of 6 common home selling mistakes that sellers make. All of these mistakes are totally avoidable and fixing them could be the key to your home selling quickly.

1. Overpricing
  • Trying to maximize the profits on your home sale is not always the answer. There is a very fine line between what is determined as overpricing for your home’s listing and what is deemed a fair price. Overpricing can take a home and immediately ruin its chances of being sold.
2. Inability to Show the Home
  • It is of utmost importance to make your home as accessible as possible to both your agent and prospective buyers. Each showing of your house greatly increases the chances of your home being sold.
3. Decluttering and Depersonalizing
  • Organizing your house into a neutral setting is also key for getting prospective buyers interested. It is important for the prospective buyer to see themselves living in the home and can visualize adding their own flair to the living space.
4. Unpleasant Odors
  • Each home has its own distinct scent. If you have been living in your home for more than a few months, you probably don’t smell it, but others do. Having a pleasant, inviting aroma in your home will make potential buyers more comfortable in any setting and put them in a better mood.
5. Negotiability
  • You most likely will not be selling your home for your initial asking price. Buyers want to feel like they got a deal on a home, so the ability to negotiate a price comes into play.
6.Unwillingness to Make Repairs
  • While it is not expected of you to make every single thing in your house perfect, fixing things like plumbing leaks, electrical hazards, and broken windows will put potential buyers more at ease with purchasing your home.

If you would like to learn about some more common mistakes, or are in the market for buying or selling a home in Nevada County, please contact me at kurt@kurtcongdon.com or at (530) 273-0073. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beautiful Craftsman Estate Available in Nevada City

There are many great Grass Valley area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 273-0073 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Beautiful Craftsman Estate Available in Nevada City
If you're looking to find a great home at a fabulous price, then look no further. This home is Craftsman-style built in 2000 with 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, and has over 3,700 sq. feet.  It is also situated on a 7-acre lot. Every aspect of its build was highly considered and it is an absolutely gorgeous home. This property features high ceilings, heated wood floors, and lots of natural light. There is a large fireplace with a spot to store extra wood, and this makes the living room all the more inviting and cozy.

The kitchen features cherry cabinets and a large granite island to accommodate all of your cooking and entertaining needs. There is also a cozy breakfast nook attached to the kitchen that makes the perfect place for a family meal or a romantic dinner.

The sublime master suite, with a private seating area, leads into the resort-style bathroom. The bathroom features marble flooring and a marble double vanity, and there is also a steam shower and soaker tub under a moon window looking into a private garden.

The upstairs family room and office lead into a guest bedroom with a pullout bed for added storage.

The beautifully manicured 7-acre lot showcases ponds, multiple patios, and outdoor lighting. There is also an oversized 3-car garage that houses a workshop with a bathroom that could easily be converted into a guest room.

This home is nestled into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will delight any buyer looking for a beautiful home in a pristine natural setting.

If you are interested in this property or other Nevada City properties, then please do not hesitate to contact me. I am always willing to sit down with you and discuss your needs

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's a Great Time to Sell in Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Penn Valley

There are many great Grass Valley area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 273-0073 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Spring 2014 Real Estate Market Update for Nevada County
I'm going to take this opportunity to give you an update for the 1st quarter of 2014. I'll be focusing my review on Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Penn Valley. 
  • There were 248 sales in the first quarter compared to 285 sales in the first quarter of 2013, so sales are down.
    • The silver lining here is that the average sales price has risen.  
    • Average sales price for this quarter is $345,000, which is a 12% increase from last year.
  • We have an inventory of 455 homes, and an additional 146 homes in Escrow today. 
    • Bottom line is that inventory is very low, and is sitting right around 2.5 months' worth of homes.
  • If you're thinking of selling, there absolutely could not be a better time to do so.
    • With inventory so low, you will sell fast and for top dollar.  
    • If you're unsure about selling, you'll probably be surprised at how much your home is worth, so contact me or utilize our free home value tool. 
If you would like to sell, I would urge you to contact me and we can plan some ways to maximize the value of your home, as well as come up with a road map for getting it sold in a timely fashion. 

Feel free to call me at (530) 273-0073 or email me at kurt@kurtcongdon.com

Friday, February 21, 2014

11 Expert Real Estate Predictions that Point to a Fantastic 2014

There are many great Grass Valley area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (530) 273-0073 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

This past weekend I went to a real estate retreat where the top real estate expert in North America shared with me some things he expected to see in 2014. In total, he gave me eleven points in his forecast and I'm going to share them with you now:
  1. Home prices will continue to rise, bringing a certain amount of normalcy back into the market.
  2. Interest rates will remain low, so buyers will see both great prices and great rates.
  3. Inventory will also remain low, which will bring better prices because of increased demand.
  4. New Home starts will go up 15-20% in the United States.
  5. The real estate market will stabilize for the first time in 6-7 years as supply & demand balance out.
  6. Realistic pricing will generate multiple offers on appropriately priced properties.
  7. This new-found confidence in real estate will motivate buyers and sellers.
  8. Home sales are expected to rise by 3-5% throughout the nation.
  9. New Lending Policies will be put in place to help prevent the relapse seen in 2006.
  10. Homeowners will continue to build equity.
  11. Fewer 'under water' properties will translate to more equity for homeowners. This will create a move-up and a move-down market.
There you have it. The eleven expert predictions for real estate in North America for 2014. The great thing about all of these predictions is that they're all good news!

Contact me if you're ready to take advantage of the best market that we've seen in eight years. I can be reached at (530) 273-0073 or you can reach me by email at kurt@kurtcongdon.com

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How Will the Trends of 2013 Affect You in the New Year?

Happy New Year! It's 2014: are you wondering where the real estate market is headed? Where will interest rates go? Will the average housing price change? Before we launch head first into a forecast of the future, let's take a look back at 2013, and see how those trends will affect us going forward.

As you may know, we had historically low inventory numbers in 2013, and this led to a big 24% rise in appreciation. Nevada County also had 1,500 sales which is comparable to our peak in 2006. So what does this have to do with 2014? There are buyers on the market now and we have low inventory. In fact, right now inventory is at 363 homes. Take advantage of a seller’s market and sell now. There may be more buyers in the spring, but the buyers looking right now have a lot less options. And less competition will give you a higher return.

If you or anyone you know is thinking about selling, give me call at 530.273.0073 or send me an email at kurt@kurtcongdon.com Let’s talk about what your home is worth and how we can get it on the market now!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Market Update November 2013

Welcome back to my video blog! Today I wanted to give you an update on what’s happening in our market.

If we look at the end of the third quarter of 2013, we saw property values had increased by 20 percent from 2012. Homeowners all benefited from the appreciating market. 

Right now there are 470 homes on the market. This time last year there were about 600-650 homes listed. That means there are 200 fewer homes in inventory. 

In the past 30 days, from Oct. 6 – Nov. 6, 93 new homes came on the market, 100 homes went into escrow and 106 closed escrow. With that information, we calculate we have about a 4.5 month absorption rate. That means if no new homes came on the market, the entire current inventory would be sold in 4.5 months. 

With such a low inventory, we can expect little selection in the spring. If you are thinking about buy, now is the time. Give me a call so I can help you get into your new home for a great price.

Thanks for watching!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Government Shutdown Risks Hurting The Housing Recovery

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/10/01/heres-how-the-government-shutdown-will-affect-housing/

By:  Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff

The government shutdown is here. Whether it’s not being able to get a new Social Security card or visit a national park, Americans will immediately feel the effects. But there’s one bright spot of the economy that stands to be affected as well: housing.

One of the biggest questions regarding the shutdown and how it will affect housing has revolved around the mortgage market, specifically prospective buyers’ access to new home loans. After all, more than 90% of all loan activity is underwritten, insured, or owned by the government and its affiliated entities.

Initially at least, the mortgage market is likely to be only minimally impacted. New loans will continue to push through most government agency pipelines. What will change is how long the process takes, as many agencies expect to experience delays.

Mortgages purchased and securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be unaffected because their operations are paid for by fees charged to lenders. And the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to guarantee mortgages for Americans that have served in the military since these loans are funded by user fees as well.

But if the government shutdown of 1995-1996 is any indicator, the process will take longer than usual. “Loan Guaranty certificates of eligibility and certificates of reasonable value were delayed,” the VA warned in its September 25th contingency plan.

Where there has been mounting concern is the Federal Housing Administration, which currently endorses about 15% of the entire single-family mortgage market. Several media outlets recently reported that the FHA would be unable to endorse any single-family loans and that no staff would be available underwrite and approve new loans.

That prospect would be somewhat worrisome – if it were actually true. The FHA’s Office of Single Family Housing will indeed remain open for business, albeit with a smaller staff. “FHA will be able to endorse single family loans during the shutdown. A limited number of FHA staff will be available to underwrite and approve new loans,” the report now states. In other words, other lenders’ loans will continue to be insured and some in-house lending will continue to take place at a reduced rate.

The reason for that mix-up: the initial draft of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s contingency plan mistakenly stated that single-family loan operations would cease. The report was amended over the weekend.

The FHA’s single-family loan operations are funded through multi-year appropriations, meaning their budget is not tied to the government’s standoff over funding for the new fiscal year that starts in October. On the other hand, what will be more affected is the agency’s Multifamily Housing Office, which is funded through yearly appropriations.

“Because we are able to endorse loans, we don’t expect the impact on the housing market to be significant, as long as the shutdown is brief,” continues the HUD report. “If the shutdown lasts and our commitment authority runs out, we do expect that potential homeowners will be impacted, as well as home sellers and the entire housing market.”

One government lender that will indeed suspend its home loan activity, however, is the Department of Agriculture. The USDA says that no new housing loans or guarantees will be issued through its Rural Development programs in a shutdown. The department also warns that such a scenario could cause “a setback in construction start-up,” and if the shutdown lasts for an extended period, “a substantial reduction in housing available in rural areas relative to population.”

“The government doesn’t generally approve loans, they basically just insure them,” says Don Frommeyer, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and a vice president at Amtrust Mortgage Funding. “For the most part you aren’t going to see much of a hit in the mortgage market unless it goes for a long period of time.”

If it does stretch on, he adds, the worry will be what mortgage rates do in a market shrouded in fiscal uncertainty and how that will affect the home buying, especially in light of recent rate spikes.

Home lending aside, many economists and real estate experts are keeping a close watch on how Americans will react to this shutdown. “Administratively everything should keep moving along, but it’s more about the confidence of consumers and whether they perceive that the government shutdown could lead to a recession,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi recently told the Senate Budget Committee that a partial shutdown could shave as much as 1.4 percentage points off of fourth quarter economic growth if it drags on for several weeks.

Americans’ confidence in their ability to buy and sell homes hit a record high in May, according to a Fannie Mae survey. Since then, as mortgage rates jumped more than a percentage point, that confidence level has plateaued.  If prospective homebuyers fear that the country’s economic recovery will stall, or worse slip back into recession, they will pull back on purchases, worries Yun.

“Home sales is always the first housing variable that changes so one would see sales declining and that would naturally lead to more inventory on the market and eventually put pressure on prices,” he says. But that would be a worst-case scenario based on a long-term shutdown.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia TRLA +6.43%, notes that if the shutdown lasts longer than a few days, the first places to feel the impact will be local economies with large concentrations of federal government workers. Metro areas like Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Md., where 19% and 13% respectively of total local wages go to federal employees, would be the feel the negative effects of unpaid furloughs and with them, tightened consumer spending and weakening local economic growth. Though not all will be equally affected, other metro areas like Virginia Beach, Va., Honolulu, Hawaii, and Dayton, Ohio are areas that Kolko is keeping an eye on: “Whether there is a big effect depends on how long the shutdown lasts, how long people think the shutdown lasts, and whether people get back-pay. All those things matter for the impact.”

Still others are worrying even more about the next fiscal standoff, in  mid-October, surrounding the debt ceiling debate and its accompanying threat of debt default by the U.S.  ”With the threat of an impending partial government shutdown and yet another battle over the nation’s debt ceiling, in particular, we are really messing with fire right now—even if it doesn’t seem to bother some legislators,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.

“But the effects of a government default associated with the impending debt-ceiling deadline would be more pronounced because of its greater impact on domestic and international markets. This will rattle consumers and investors alike, slow down the overall economic recovery and further slow the housing recovery, which is already undergoing a moderation in the pace of home value gains due to rising mortgage rates,” he warns.