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Real Estate Market Trends to Expect in 2015

real estate marketing trendsAs the housing market recovered following the Great Recession of the mid 2000s, home prices and real estate values in several areas the United States increased. In fact, according to RealtyTrac, the average sale price of single-family homes and condominiums in October were at the highest they have been since September 2008.

The temptation of the foreclosure housing market in addition to price appreciation created ideal real estate market trends for investors willing — and able — to pay cash. This made it difficult, if not impossible, for traditional buyers to compete.

According to real estate experts, that will soon change. 2015 is slated to be the year of affordable and balanced real estate market trends across the country as the real estate industry as a whole makes a return to post-recession normalcy. Zillow.com predicts home value growth will slow from 6 to roughly 3% per year, making real estate less appealing to investors.

“It’s been a tough market for buyers,” Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.com said. “I think it’s going to get easier in 2015. Negotiating power will move back to buyers and away from sellers. It will be a much more balanced market.” For example, too many buyers and not enough inventory, or vice versa, creates an unbalanced housing market.

The option-filled real estate market trends for 2015 means real estate agents will be busy. With more available inventory and less competition from large investors, traditional home buyers may become pickier and more willing to pass on a property they feel isn’t the best fit for them.

Also, it’s predicted that millennials (generation Y) may enter the housing market foray. Many millennials (largely college graduates between the ages of 25 and 34) have chosen renting over home ownership due to hefty student loan payments and poor credit. However, Gen Yers yearning for the stability that comes with “settling down,” may become the largest group of homebuyers in the new year, surpassing Generation X.

3 Steps to Help You Find the Best Real Estate Agent for Your Needs

real estate agentPurchasing a home is perhaps the most significant financial decision you will make in your lifetime. Buying in this housing market can be tricky and requires expert knowledge in understanding real estate market trends. As such, finding the right real estate agent who will truly empathize with your needs and is knowledgeable regarding real estate values in your area is paramount in finding your dream home. In many ways, the relationship between potential home buyers and real estate agents is similar to a romantic one in that open communication and chemistry play an essential role; home buyers and Realtors should “click” and develop a solid professional relationship.

Wouldn’t it be nice to cut through all the hype and advertisements in order to find the right real estate agent? It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of real estate advertisements online, in print, and on television. Luckily, there are a few helpful tricks of the trade. Read on to determine how to pick the best Realtor.

Speak with recent clients
Whether they’re a family, friend, co-worker, or perfect stranger it’s extremely beneficial to get an insider’s opinion of the Realtor in question. Getting a personal recommendation is perhaps the best way to determine if a Realtor is right for you. Don’t hesitate to ask agents for a list of properties they’ve sold and listed in your area within the last year including contact information. If you’re selling your home, ask the agent if they have prior experience selling properties that are similar to yours in terms of price and location. You want an agent who is knowledgeable in your specific market.

Do some homework
Many states have boards that both license and discipline Realtors and real estate agents. Check with your state’s real estate regulatory boards in order to find out if the real estate agent is not only licensed, but if they have had any previous complaints and disciplinary action taken against them. Some states may have this information available online in the form of a searchable database. Also, pay attention to peer-given awards. An example is the “Realtor of the Year” awarded by the local or state branch of the National Association of Realtors. The agents who receive this prestigious award are judged by their peers.

Review current listings
Most buyers and sellers begin their search for an agent online. Begin by reviewing the social media pages and website of the real estate agent in question in order to get an idea of the types of properties they specialize in. Just as doctors specialize in certain areas of medicine, so do real estate agents specialize in certain form of real estate. Be sure to carefully evaluate how closely the Realtor’s listing align with the property you’d like to buy or sell. Also, look for an attractive web presentation and a strong online presence.

Last but not least, remember to go with your gut. Clearly communicate your expectations and goals, and be equally receptive to feedback.

The 9 Steps of Closing and How to Find the Right Guide Through Them All

real estate companies

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’re in good company. About 63% of Americans believe that buying is better than renting, and owning your own home has long been part of the American Dream. With the market beginning to stabilize (meaning that listing prices and sale prices are closer together) as of 2013, many prospective homeowners are hoping to buy before prices go much higher. But far fewer people actually know how to wisely navigate the buying process.

Say you’ve done your research on buying in this housing market, identified real estate market trends and real estate values, and even vetted real estate companies for a real estate agent who knows your preferred location. These are all important steps. But in your focus on finding the perfect home, have you neglected to inform yourself on how to actually buy it? As Time Warner Cable News reported Oct. 26, closing is actually the most important — yet least discussed — part of buying a new home.

The Major Steps

There are many steps to closing, and they generally happen in this order:

  • Opening an escrow account
  • Waiting for a bank appraisal
  • Agreeing on financing with a lender
  • Approving seller disclosures of property concerns
  • Obtaining various inspections
  • Buying insurance
  • Doing a final walk-through
  • Reviewing the final statement
  • Wiring a down payment, signing escrow paperwork and paying closing costs

These steps are regulated by various laws and are designed to ensure a fair and transparent transfer of property.

Choosing the Right Guide

If all of those steps look daunting to you, don’t worry. One of the major reasons people work with real estate companies, aside from getting help in finding properties, is that closing can be confusing. The key is informing yourself as best you can and then working with the right agents to guide you through the process. There are a few things to consider:

  • How Communicative Your Agents Are
    One of the best indicators of whether a real estate company is right for you is whether you feel you can ask questions and receive clear, helpful answers. The process of buying real estate is confusing, and your agent’s job should be to provide you with all the necessary information, educating you without expecting you to learn all the minutia.
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  • The Type of Sale
    While there are fewer foreclosed properties on the market now than there were just a few years ago — the foreclosure inventory dropped by over 450,000 properties nationally in the year between August 2012 and August 2013 — there are still many foreclosed properties that offer great deals, especially to first-time homebuyers on a budget. But if you’re looking to buy a foreclosure, it’s wise to search out real estate companies experienced in dealing with them, since the closing process is often somewhat different from a traditional sale.
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  • Special Circumstances
    If you have special concerns, such as finding a home and closing as quickly as possible (a frequent concern both for military personnel and civilians relocating for work), ask real estate companies if they have experience in expediting the home search and closing process. There are many factors your agents won’t be able to control, but certain agents may be more adept than others at pushing things through quickly.

Do you have any other advice to share on the closing process? Join the discussion in the comments.

Three Reasons Americans Are Moving To San Antonio, Texas

luxury real estateSan Antonio, Texas is home to one of the fastest growing job markets in the U.S., and it is also one of the 10 biggest cities in the nation. Five of the most lucrative businesses in the U.S. (five Fortune 500 companies) are located in this city as well. It’s not all about work and money, however. More Americans are choosing to purchase luxury real estate in San Antonio, Texas — and it’s not always the jobs that are motivating their decisions. In fact, many people are drawn by San Antonio’s one-of-a-kind attractions, nation-famous River Walk, and family-friendly atmosphere.

San Antonio Announces The First Book-Free Library
According to Discovery News, this one-of-a-kind library looks like the Apple Store and offers patrons the opportunity to rent various e-readers for up to two weeks at a time. County Judge Nelson Wolff is not worried about theft, either: “We do have your name, we do have your address. You check it out for two weeks, just like a library book. In two weeks, your e-book goes dead, so you won’t have anything worth keeping.”

The San Antonio River Walk: Something For Everyone
Local real estate agents listing homes for sale in San Antonio, Texas always remind would-be residents about one thing: most luxury real estate in the area is located just minutes away from the nation-famous San Antonio River Walk. The River Walk has several small specialty shops, local souvenir shops, top quality restaurants, and treasured local haunts, including pubs and bars.

Kids Will Love These Local Caverns And The San Antonio Zoo
Adults and kids alike will love exploring Natural Bridge Caverns, “a rocky underground wonderland of stalagmites and columns, shimmering calcite and slimy-looking flowstone,” according to The Travel Channel. If you want to stay above ground, the San Antonio Zoo houses 750 different species — and more than 3,500 animals in total.

Many prospective home buyers view property as an investment. Make it a wise one — by choosing homes located near The San Antonio River Walk, one of the nation’s only book-free libraries, and thousands of animals that your kids will love.

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