Last week The Northrop Team announced we sold 122 homes for the month of June, and it was also announced that new home sales increased for the third straight month, along with an increase in existing home sales. The Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS, the local MLS) has just released their Mid-Year ’09 Trends in Housing Report which outlines several trends in both the residential and commercial real estate markets.
Below is a video highlighting the noteworthy points of the report.
Download the full Trends Report
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Want to get top dollar when you sell your home? Listen to what professional appraisers say.
Their job is to determine the true market value of homes so they know what makes a property sell for the greatest amount and can tell you how to best ready your home for market now and later.
“A few years ago, houses were selling quickly with little effort. Now many homeowners actually have to make improvements before they can sell their home,” said appraiser Mike Evans, a Fellow of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).
In the term, cosmetic touch ups can help a home sell a faster. They include:
- Updating the paint and carpeting. A fresh coat of paint (preferably white) inside and out and new floor covering give the home the look and smell of “new.” With the facelift treatment, gone are the wrinkles of cracking paint, the sags of aging wallpaper and the dark age spots of stains and spills. When in doubt, nothing works better than a fresh coat of white paint.
- Heighten the curb appeal. How you home looks upon approach is its first impression. The idea is to make that first impression one that invites visitors inside for a longer look. At least work on the front yard, the backyard can wait, if necessary. Improve the landscaping, fix cracks and stains in the driveway and remove extraneous clutter.
- Clean house. Cleaning house means mop, pail and elbow grease action, but also clearing clutter. Put stuff in storage if that’s what it takes to rid your home and garage of that unorganized look. Less is more when it comes to the appearance of larger looking rooms.
If you won’t sell your home for some time, but know that possibility looms, do the right improvement things, including:
- Adding square footage. Appraisers say an addition provides more returned value to your home than most other improvements. While that doesn’t necessarily mean the buyer will pay the cost of the work in terms of a higher price, you likely will attract more buyers.
- Build out your garage. All that clutter you cleared? The new buyer will want to put his or her junk right back in there. Buyers also want a comfy room for their cars. Add, expand or improve your garage and you’ll also increase the value of your home.
- Think before you sink money into a pool. You may love the idea of having a pool, but a young family with small kids may see it as a potentially fatal accident waiting to happen. Other buyers don’t want the upkeep and costs that come with a pool. A pool will limit your buyers pool to only those who want a pool.
- When you buy, think location. The best locations sell faster. Proximity to good schools, jobs, shopping and attractions and away from crime, heavy traffic, business, commercial or industrial locations helps homes sell faster and for more. Buy a home in a good location. Then you’ll have a home to sell in a good location. Location rules.
“It pays to plan to make home improvement decisions strategically if you may be selling a home in the next few years. Think in terms of increasing the value of your home and not just about design and decor,” said Evans.
Written by Broderick Perkins
CNN predicts that 2009 will be “The Year of the Thaw” anticipating a slow but steady recovery. According to Forbes.com there will be a “Real Estate Resurrection” in 2009. Unlike the stock market, the real estate market is really thousands of mini-markets spread out across the country. While making long-term predictions about prices and sales in specific areas is difficult, there are rays of hope emerging for real estate.
Prices adjusted over the last year and 2009 is set to be a much better year than 2008 with home prices balancing out at more normal levels. The government is helping by getting rates to the lowest levels in 37 years, making homes more affordable. Consumer confidence is coming back.
I anticipate the first time homebuyer market will become more active in 2009 as the new generation of buyers recognize this market as an opportunity to build wealth in real estate. This will in turn help more “Move Up” buyers make their next purchase.
Homes will continue to sell in 2009 with the increased help of lower interest rates. The Baltimore Washington/DC market fared well in 2008 and will continue to do so. There’s an unprecedented sense of “starting over” with the new administration which should also boost confidence among buyers and sellers.
With BRAC right around the corner (Base Realignment And Closure), and the influx of buyers moving into this area, demand will be high, and the appreciation for the future looks bright.
For many sellers who’ve experienced lots of showings but no offers, you may see the buyers who toured your property returning for a second look ready to purchase in 2009. Ask your agent to begin quizzing the buyers or their agents to find out what their objection was to the home, if you find a common theme — fix it, and sell it.
In general home buyers are driven by key motivators that remain unchanged such as jobs, schools, affordability, lifestyle, and health care. The Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area offers home buyers incredible opportunities and amenities in these areas and we are set to outperform the general market in 2009.
A recent study release by the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows that home values for the Baltimore Metropolitan region rose over 60% in the past five years!
According to the third-quarter survey released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, out of 292 metropolitan markets, 273 showed positive net home values in the last five years. Only 19 percent were negative.
Curious about you home’s value? View the local real estate trends in your neighborhood now!
Source: The Washington Post Writers Group, Kenneth R. Harney, (12/06/08)