August 23rd, 2011 by Yigdigs
Let’s do a little refresher course.
Today’s housing market is a huge industry, involving several different groups of realtors, banks, and customers. It can be daunting to think about selling your home yourself, or “for sale by owner” (fsbo) as it is widely known, but thousands of people do it every year and save money.
According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBO home sales accounted for nearly 10% of the market in 2010. The other 90% were agent-assisted. For sale by owner real estate has been a growing market and increasingly puts pressure on realtor agencies to sell at competitive prices and get the best deal for their clients. Here are the top 3 reasons that fizbo’s (slang for “for sale by owner” home sellers) decided to do the hard work without the assistance of a realtor and brave the housing market themselves.
Take Your Time and Avoid Stress
More often than not, homes sold through realtors are priced higher than homes sold FSBO. This is due to pricey commission rates for buyer/seller agents. Although they know the industry, using agents increase home prices which in turn increases the time it takes to sell. When you are your own realtor, you are free to market and sell your house at your own pace and with a more reasonable asking price. Agents also have the disadvantage of dealing with several properties at once, so they might be inclined to sell a home even though it isn’t selling for what its really worth in order to increase their turnover.
Typically in 2010, realtors were juggling several different properties on any given week. Realtors only have so much time that they can devote to your property, and depending on the asking price and how much they’re guaranteed on commission, certain homes could remain lower on realtor radars than others. Selling your home For Sale by Owner allows you devote the time and put in the extra effort to showcase your home in its most attractive light. After all, who knows your home better than you? The homeowner is the best seller.
Perhaps the biggest and most tantalizing reason to sell your house For Sale by Owner is the amount of money homeowner stand to save by avoiding paying agent commissions. Statistics show that agent-assisted homes typically sell for more than FSBO homes, and that is because realtors factor their commission into asking prices. If you’re working with a realtor who stands to get a 3% commission off a $250,000 home, that’s $7,500 dollars going to their pocket. Why not price the house lower, sell it faster, and save thousands of dollars by selling your home yourself?
Though the incentives are great, home sellers have to be prepared to do the work in order sell their homes successfully. Plenty of market research is necessary when determining an asking price, as that’s the biggest reason why certain homes don’t sell and others do. Several services are available online specifically for For Sale by Owner home sellers. Flat Fee Multiple Listing Services are cheap and get homes into databases of available homes and in front of the eyes of buyers. There are also services available to help with price negotiations, the sometimes confusing paperwork involved, and closing the sale. Yigdigs has several much-needed services to help FSBO’s sell their home fast and save thousands.
August 19th, 2011 by Yigdigs
According to a recent post on the Austin American-Statesman Business Blog, central Texas home sales are leading the charge in the country wide struggle for housing recovery.
The stats say it all:
- 1,973 homes in 2011 compared to 1,499 in 2010
- Sales price down 11%
- 20% fewer homes on the market in July 2011 than in 2010
Folks in central Texas are looking for bargains, according to Shonda Novak, author of the ever-informative blog.
This news comes largely in contrast to what economists are seeing on the national front with sales more than 1.5 million behind a healthy, sustainable rate.
Here’s the full post.
August 17th, 2011 by Yigdigs
It’s tough out there. Even though mortgage interest rates are sitting at historic lows, millions of homeowners are still struggling to make those mortgage payments.
In an effort to inoculate this predicament, two economists are proposing a government sponsored refinance program to help struggling homeowners.
The benefits of refinancing your 7-9% interest rate down to the 3-4% level would echo throughout your personal finance and the larger economy, however, a lot of banks and financiers aren’t allowing people to take advantage of such a “refi”.
Low interest rates aren’t always available to homeowners. Although there aren’t any hard, fast restrictions on refinancing your mortgage, banks aren’t opening the door for current homeowners in trouble. Increased requirements are preventing millions of refi’s. Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance spoke with NPR’s Chris Arnold on the nature of acquiring a refi in this market. “We’re not picking up anybody who’s been sitting on the fence for three years.”
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to attain a mortgage refinance in this market. In order to qualify, homeowners need good credit and plenty of equity on their home, approximately 20% more than what they owe, and in a market where under water mortgages are more common than the cold, the number of eligible homeowners is miniscule.
It makes sense. Banks don’t want to take on more risk, but what are under water homeowners supposed to do? With no real improvement in sight for the housing market’s price depression, the incentives to walk away from their mortgage and ruin their credit are ever growing.
So two economists have suggested that the government sponsor mortgage refinances. Under Chris Mayer and Glen Hubbard’s plan, around 25 million families could benefit from lower interest rates and increased savings in their pocket.
By lowering the interest rates for homeowners under a government backed and sponsored program, millions of homeowners will no longer have such strong incentives to walk away, and they’ll have more money to spend month to month, thus helping our ailing economy.
For the full story, much of which has been paraphrased here, you can click >>HERE<< and listen to it over at NPR.org.
August 10th, 2011 by Yigdigs
I just read this article and had to do a little post about it.
In the midst of our jobs slump, the housing crisis, that whole “debt-limit” thing, it seems that some people are finding ways to act advantageously to U.S. economic conditions.
In a report by the Vancouver Sun’s online edition, it appears that Vietnamese Organized Crime syndicates have their eye on American real estate. Apparently our record low interest rates and low property values could save these marijuana cultivating business moguls a whole heap of money – enough, in fact, to move south, away from British Colombia where the weather is beautiful, economy is strong, and drug law is relatively lax.
It just goes to show you that Bernanke’s insistence on record low mortgage rates is enticing people to buy. Only, they’re Vietnam-born Canadian drug king pins. Oh well…
Read the full article.
August 9th, 2011 by Yigdigs
In the aftermath of the great debt-ceiling debate in Congress and the House, in which a default on the country’s credit was narrowly avoided, the financial assessment firm Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s historically opulent AAA credit rating down to (deep breath) a mediocre AA+.
This means several things. Most importantly, it means that America’s debt is no longer perceived the strongest investment on the global market by a huge credit rating firm, Standard & Poor. The downgrade is a result of S&P’s lack of confidence for our government to absolve its spending to be congruent with the country’s capital. In reaction, markets fell yesterday and the price of gold reached an all time high.
As far as how this will affect everyday life here in America, I have yet to hear any apocryphal stories from my various well-informed news sources. I regularly listen to NPR, read the NYTimes on occasion, and am quite often perusing the Austin Chronicle’s local politics section. Nothing to report here. If any of you know of a story covering the result of the country’s downgrade on everyday Joe’s, by all means share.
However, it is important to examine how the downgrade will affect the ever-struggling housing market.
Early on in May of 2011, the debt ceiling debate was a hushed issue on Capitol Hill. There were signs that the GOP were considering not raising the debt ceiling which would have caused the country to default and send the economy into the “double dip”. The American Progress blog detailed just exactly what would happen in a post earlier this summer.
Should the country default on its debt, interest rates across the board would rise. Because U.S. debt wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed, those who invest would have to take on more risk to invest. This risk comes in the form of raised interest rates, and the mortgage interest rates would rise dramatically, thus preventing the housing market recovery by depressing the ease of paying off a mortgage, preventing jobs from being created to construct those houses, and reducing homeowners’ current equity.
But, as of last week, the U.S. government managed to avoid default at the risk of a decreased credit rating. Thanks, S&P.
So how does this affect housing? Well for starters, even with a downgrade in our nation’s credit rating, U.S. Treasury bonds are still one of the safest investments in the world. In fact, after the S&P made their announcement last Friday, interest rates for U.S. Treasury bonds have dropped as investors took their money out of the market and put it into bonds.
It seems, the more I read about the downgrade, the more I’m seeing that this move on behalf of S&P is largely symbolic; a result of the tawdry display politicians put on while solving the debt crisis and their inability to do what must be done or come to a mutual agreement. Standard & Poor’s, while having no insider information about markets, was merely voicing its opinion on the matter, and in fact, according to NPR’s Planet Money blog, most investors do their own research and base their investments on more than S&P’s rating.
However, the AA+ credit rating will inevitably have an affect on the perception of consumers and how they will invest their money. This is what will inevitably hinder further growth of our economy, and in turn, the housing market. The more uncomfortable people are about spending their money, the slower the recovery will be.
In respects to housing, it looks like a lot more of the same: a veritable crawl back to healthy levels and overall stagnancy.