Real Estate Market Statistics

How to Successfully Buy a Home in a Tight Seller's Market

If you’ve decided to buy a home this fall, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other homebuyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

By Teresa Mears, Contributor, U.S. News & Report

The number of homes for sale is low, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. 

That means if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want.

Get your finances in order first. Before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses and get a preapproval letter or proof of funds to show the seller.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means making a decision to purchase new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house.

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. Unfortunately, sometimes pictures don’t tell the true story, you have to be willing to look past them.

Be realistic about the inspection and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. 

Start with your best offer. A competitive market is not the right environment to negotiate a bargain. You may get only one chance to make an offer, and your offer may be one of several the seller will choose from. You need to come in with your highest and best. Remember that the offer includes not only the price, but also your financing package and other terms such as the closing date and contingencies.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer.

Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

Consider waiving or shortening contingencies. Most offers are made contingent on the buyer getting a mortgage, the appraisal being equal to the purchase price and the buyer approving the inspection. Waiving any one of those contingencies can be risky, but may be the right move in some circumstances.

15 Predictions For The Real Estate Market In The Second Half Of 2020

This year has been a rollercoaster for every industry. With global economies expecting to shrink significantly throughout the end of the year, it's the best time to take stock of what real estate can expect as the year closes. What can we expect for the latter half of 2020?

 

By Expert Panel® Forbes Councils Member

The unpredictability of this year is forcing real estate professionals to reassess the future of the industry.

Expert Panel asked 15 entrepreneurs from Forbes Real Estate Council their opinions on the current state of the market and what they expect to see in the closing half of this year. Here's what they said. (Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for senior-level executives in the real estate industry).

     

Members of Forbes Real Estate Council share their predictions for the industry in the latter half of the year.

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Demand For Housing Will Remain Robust

I expect demand for housing to remain robust as millennials and baby boomers power through to keep the economy moving. Many homeowners will fall behind on their mortgages, creating distressed property sales. As developers assemble and develop new homes, old architecture and decaying mechanical systems in 1960s, 70s and 80s homes will be replaced by a new home revolution. - Gary LanhamGary Lanham Group

2. Home Sales Will Get Closer To 2019 Levels

Existing home sales will return closer to levels seen in the second half of 2019. White-hot summer activity due to pent-up demand will work its way through the system and pandemic-inflicted economic challenges will come home to roost. - Craig CheathamThe Realty Alliance

3. Refinance Demand Will Continue

We'll likely see the flood of new refinance demand continue while ongoing Covid-19 fears will force mortgage originators to shift most of their process to being fully digital. This means that getting and closing on a mortgage will finally start to become more of an instant experience for consumers, mirroring other industries like groceries, prepared meals, transportation and even medical care. - Max SimkoffStates Title

4. Substantial Increase In Foreclosures

There will be a substantial increase in foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned properties. This will happen toward the end of the year and the beginning of next year as banks start foreclosing on delinquent mortgages. - Lex LevinradThe Distressed Real Estate Institute

5. Remote Work Will Affect Home-Buying Decisions

The ability to work remotely will weigh heavily in home-buying decisions over the next six months. Remote work expands a lot of buyers’ geographic options and influences the features buyers are looking for. Unsurprisingly, home offices are becoming more important, but our research shows that people are also looking for a quiet location, an updated kitchen, a large backyard and an open floor plan. - David DoctorowMove, Inc.

6. Mass Adoption Of Tech To Limit Human Interaction

Covid-19 is speeding up the mass adoption of technology in order to limit human interaction. We’ll see the real estate space increasingly implement tools like keyless entry systems, voice-activated appliances, etc. to minimize anything face-to-face or anything that requires physical touch. This also includes using automated messaging solutions to send emails noting amenities in-property, check-in instructions and more. - Vered SchwarzGuesty

7. Virtual Tours With Human Guidance

Virtual tours are here to stay. Although there’s clearly a shift in consumer behavior toward a more digital homebuying experience, the human element remains a critical piece. The vast majority of buyers, especially those in higher price ranges, want to see a home in person—with the guidance of a skilled agent—before they put in an offer. - Adam ContosRE/MAX Holdings, Inc.

8. Capital Reallocation Between Real Estate Classes

We expect capital reallocation between real estate classes and a surge of capital deployment for multifamily and industrial assets. These classes have shown their resilience and weathered the storm of Covid-19 well, and should attract capital previously designated for retail and office. Couple this with the low-interest rate environment and we’ll see a wave of deal activity the second half of this year. - Carlos VazCONTI Organization

9. More Preferred Equity Fund Offerings

I see more preferred equity fund offerings. Investors are more risk-averse in this environment and are interested in higher fixed income with lower risk. Multifamily apartment operators are seeing new tighter lending restrictions with Covid-19 limiting their ability to finance deals. More funds are coming out of raising capital from investors to fill the gap by providing the funding for preferred equity. - David ThompsonThompson Investing

10. Class B Multifamily Properties Will Remain Solid

Class B multifamily properties will remain solid with stable cap rates as occupancy and around 95% of rent collections nationwide remained high during Covid-19. Class C properties and workforce housing naturally has more exposure to Covid-19 implications as many tenants work in the service industry. Hence, I expect Class C prices to slightly drop, especially those with delinquency issues. - Ellie PerlmanBlue Lake Capital LLC

11. More Opportunity To Acquire At A Discount

The end of 2020 will likely see certain sellers willing to accept a lower price for their assets. While some owners will hold on and weather the storm, others will no longer want nor have the flexibility to wait and will decide to liquidate their holdings. This means investors on the buy side will have an opportunity to acquire assets at a discount from their current price. - Todd SulzingerBlue Elm Investments

12. Commercial Real Estate May See A Slowdown

While residential sales remain strong in many markets, mainly due to the still-pent-up demand for inventory, commercial real estate may see a slowdown. With more and more companies allowing or even insisting employees work remotely, a rise in commercial vacancy rates is a distinct possibility. - David BolingerThe McDevitt Agency

13. Warehousing Market Will Continue To Grow

The industrial warehousing markets will continue to see growing demand as warehouse users look for distribution and last-mile delivery locations near major population centers. In many areas, office markets will be in a holding pattern due to changing Covid-19 guidelines and mandates of local and state governmental officials. - Josh GopanSimone Development Companies

14. Growing Interest In Suburban Or Rural Living

Right now, homeowners are adapting to a new lifestyle and realizing what doesn't work in their current home. The global shift toward remote work—and lack of commute—may cause homebuyers to reconsider suburban and even rural living. They’ll also desire more square footage and outdoor space, which is more readily available and affordable in suburban and rural areas. - Jennifer AndersonAnderson Coastal Group

15. More Interest In Properties With Fitness Amenities

With people spending most of their time at home, the value of on-site dining, fitness and leisure options in multifamily properties has never been greater. As leases expire during the second half of the year and renters seek new apartments in which to live, work and stay entertained, people will be drawn to properties with amenities and easy access to outdoor activities like parks and beaches. - Salvador GarciaMAS Development Group

 

Inventory on the Way: New Homes Post Big Gains

Housing is giving a boost to the economic recovery and housing inventories. Single-family and multifamily construction jumped nearly 23% last month, the Commerce Department reports. This marks the highest production rate since February.

Broken out, single-family construction jumped in July by 8.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 940,000. The multifamily sector, which encompasses apartment buildings and condos, rose 58.4% to a 556,000 pace, the Commerce Department reports.

“The market is being buoyed by historically low interest rates, a focus on the importance of housing, and a shift to the suburbs as more buyers are seeking homes in suburban communities, exurbs, and more affordable low-density markets,” says Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist.

New construction for single-family and multifamily units now nearly matches pre-pandemic activity from the first quarter. “Such growth is needed to steadily relieve the housing shortage,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®. “This kind of growth is also a major contributor to local economic recovery.”

However, Yun cautions that the increase in multifamily units may lead to an oversupply of apartment buildings, notably in city centers where there has been some shift in consumer preference for single-family homes in the suburbs during the pandemic.

On new-home construction, buyers may face higher prices. Builders caution that an increase in lumber prices—by more than 110% since mid-April--is adding about $14,000 to the cost of building each new single-family home.

Nevertheless, high buyer demand is still increasing the construction of single-family units, a sign Yun says is “welcome.” Housing inventory nationwide for homes for sale is down by 19% from a year ago. “There is intense buyer competition in the market as a result,” he notes. In particular, the Western region of the U.S. is seeing competition, as new-home construction is not rising as much and the inventory shortage is most pronounced.

Combined single-family and multifamily starts saw the largest jump last month in the Northeast, increasing 9.3% annually, followed by a 5.9% increase in the Midwest and a 5.2% uptick in the South. The West saw the lowest increase but still rose 1.4% annually.

Despite the recent increases in new-home construction, Yun predicts inventory shortages will remain problematic for the remainder of the year but sees an opportunity for a more balanced market with housing supply in 2021.

Housing permits, a gauge for future construction, rose 18.8% to a 1.50 million unit annual rate in July, the Commerce Department reports. Single-family permits jumped 17% while multifamily permits increased 22.5%. Housing permits were highest in the South, up 5.4%, and the Midwest was up 3.2% annually, but permits were down 6.2% in the Northeast and by 1.6% in the West.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® and National Association of Home Builders

 

1 in 5 Americans Have Moved During the Pandemic

Millions of Americans have relocated this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Pew Research Center. New data released this week shows that 22% of Americans either moved or know of someone who did.

From Realtor Magazine

The reasons vary, researchers say, such as college students moving out of dorms as schools closed abruptly, homeowners and renters leaving communities perceived as unsafe, and people moving from housing they could no longer afford. The findings are based on a survey conducted in early June of nearly 10,000 people.

 

Infographic on moving during pandemic. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© Pew 

 

 

Young adults have been the most likely to move. Thirty-seven percent of those ages 18 to 29 said they either moved, someone moved into their home, or they knew someone who moved because of the pandemic.

Overall, 28% of those who have moved during the pandemic say the most important reason was to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. An additional 23% say it was because their college campus closed, 20% said they wanted to be with family, and 18% said it was a financial decision driven by either a job loss or another money-related reason.

 

Source: “About a Fifth of U.S. Adults Moved Due to COVID-19 or Know Someone Who Did,” Pew Research Center (July 6, 2020)

 

What Greener Homes Are Made Of

TIMBER! Structures are being made from engineered wood known as mass timber. The wood is fire resistant and 80% lighter than concrete or steel but just as strong. 

What Greener Homes Are Made Of

By Joy Choquette

Tune in to the materials and practices fueling resilient, eco-friendly construction. “Being green” has become more than a catchphrase. It’s a filter through which some people, including real estate buyers, are making life choices.

As consumer interest grows in the benefits of eco-friendly, resilient commercial and residential properties, ­REALTORS® are getting the message. In the 2020 REALTORS® & Sustainability Report, 70% of residential agents and 74% of commercial practitioners found that promoting energy efficiency in their listings was somewhat or very valuable. Almost 60% of commercial pros said they are comfortable answering questions from clients about building performance.

In addition to finding properties that meet clients’ wants, savvy real estate pros are paying attention to construction practices and materials that are being used for sustainability features in both new and older structures.

Which green building practices should you showcase? Which cutting-edge and resilient materials are most popular now? And what’s the potential return on investment? As you share information with clients, consider three factors: location, consumer priorities, and building trends.

Know Your Area

While some things—like low-VOC paint and energy-efficient lighting—are important no matter where one is located, other aspects of green building are more location-specific. Considerations differ for building in, say, Alaska versus Alabama.

As an example, the majority of homes in Tennessee have ­below-ground crawl spaces rather than full basements, notes Alan Looney, president of Castle Homes in Brentwood, Tenn. They can be damp and musty despite vents to the outdoors.

To prevent moisture and increase efficiency, Looney says, owners should seal crawl spaces and floors and then place foam around the foundation. Likewise, it’s useful to bolster the insulation in attics. “By foaming the roof deck and having your mechanical systems in an air-conditioned space, the system doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the entire house,” Looney notes. The bottom line: When you’re serving green clients, you need expertise on the housing stock, as well as the green practices and materials, common in your area.

Priority Setting

Providing a cost-benefit analysis can help determine the payoff for homeowners keen on adapting efficient systems. Looney notes that while underground rain harvesting, geothermal, and solar systems are all options, it can take years to see a return on investment. For instance, a recent geothermal project cost approximately $85,000, Looney explains, whereas a standard air-source HVAC system would have been closer to $45,000. The EPA estimates that homeowners save 30% to 70% on heating bills and 20% to 50% on cooling costs by choosing geothermal over conventional systems. With a 30% tax rebate (a federal incentive that drops to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021), the system will take an estimated 12 years to see a financial benefit.

With so many environmental considerations, how do you help clients sort through competing priorities? Kate Stephenson, a partner at Helm Construction Solutions in Montpelier, Vt., believes the top concern for both residential and commercial ­clients should be air quality. Why? It affects all aspects of life, from the quality of sleep one gets at home to an employee’s ­ability to concentrate at work, says Stephenson, whose com­pany focuses on sustainable project management.

Air quality issues should be addressed when older buildings are retrofitted. “As air leakage is reduced to save energy and improve comfort, adding mechanical ventilation brings in fresh air,” Stephenson says. These systems are most important in kitchens and bathrooms, where air can be stale or moist.

Castle Homes targets another overlooked part of homes for air cleaning: closets. Installing exhaust fans in closets clears the air of chemicals used by dry cleaners.

Eyes on Mass Timber

An up-and-coming construction material with potential to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint is known as mass timber. This category of engineered wood is gaining attention in the U.S. for its resiliency and efficiency—so far, mostly for large-scale construction projects. Mass timber products consist of fibers, shavings, and other thin layers of wood bound together using resin or industrial glues to make large slabs that fit together easily. The layering process makes an engineered wood stronger than traditional wood, as well as fire- and earthquake-resistant.

Though mass timber, also known as cross-laminated timber, was introduced in Europe in the 1990s, the U.S. construction industry is still learning about it. Projects using the material are moving forward, especially in the multifamily sector, but building code and supply issues remain impediments to major expansion. At the start of 2020, the U.S. had 784 mass timber multifamily, commercial, or institutional projects constructed or in design, according to the Wood Products Council.

Industry observers say as familiarity increases and materials become more available, mass timber has the potential to replace masonry, concrete, and even steel as a go-to material for flooring, walls, or entire buildings. It’s also cost-effective, as large prefabricated panels can be assembled quickly at a building site. Akin to giant Lego pieces, the panels are constructed to fit the precise dimensions needed for a project.

“We had to find a way to build smarter with science and innovation to create engineered wood products,” says Scott McIntyre, North American business director for performance materials manufacturer Hexion. The company creates resins for engineered wood products that are environmentally responsible and thermally stable. “In building and construction, we manufacture resins that allow you to use a solid tree,” notes Sydney Lindquist, sustainability leader at Hexion. “Prior to engineered wood products, only about 60% of the tree was used and the rest would be waste.”

A common environmental question around mass timber is whether forests are being cleared to produce it. Lindquist says that’s not an issue. “Sustainably harvested wood is grown very quickly. It’s not a well-known fact that sustainable forestry helps increase new growth,” she says.

 

Joy Choquette is a freelance writer based in Swanton, Vt.

 

Real Estate transactions are now included in New Hampshire's list of "essential businesses"!

 

 

Yes, we are open for business!

Following an appeal by NH Realtors, real estate transactions are now included in the state’s list of essential businesses allowed to function as a result of Gov. Christopher Sununu’s stay-at-home order. 

In our effort to abide by the guidelines in the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, we request the following:

 

  • Call us at 603-569-4488 if you wish to speak with an Agent.  

  • Meetings: Meetings between brokers/agents and clients (or prospective clients) cannot take place at a real estate brokerages’ physical offices, but may take place with social distancing or remotely by phone, video or other electronic means.

  • Virtual Tours: If you wish to schedule a showing of a property, you can do so by calling us and we can set up a viewing via virtual tour or Facetime.

  • Closings: Real estate closings can continue either through remote means or with social distancing for any in-person transactions.

  • Inspections: Property inspections and appraisals may continue with appropriate social distancing.

  • Delivery Personnel: You may enter our lobby area but we request you keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between yourself and our Agents and Administrator. 

 

Please follow these preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Stay home and avoid public places as much as possible

  • Avoid close contact through social distancing, at least 6 feet from anyone.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve then immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands as soon as possible.

 

Stay Healthy & Safe Everyone!  We're all in this together!

 

Melanson Real Estate, Inc.

www.melansonrealestate.com

Mobile: 603-651-7228

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Build Home Equity

As we head into April and the weather starts to warm up a bit, now is a great time to think about home improvement projects to build equity in your home and make it more beautiful. Building equity in your home is usually a process that takes a lot of time, money, energy, and patience. 

Following are some helpful tips to turn your neighborhood into a community and how to get ready for a home inspection. 

Maintenance

Before you start thinking of ways to create equity, consider what you can do to maintain your current equity. Keeping up with routine maintenance and fixing problems as soon as they arise will help your home stay in good shape so that you don’t lose out on existing home value.

Landscaping

Nice landscaping increases your home’s curb appeal, which can add thousands of dollars to your home’s value. Investing in quality landscaping is often the quickest, easiest way to earn a home equity boost. 

Outdoor upgrades

Replacing torn window screens, updating the paint on your porch, replacing your front door, and other small projects can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal. This, in turn, can be a quick and easy way to improve your home’s value and the equity you have in it.

Indoor updates

Some projects like a full kitchen or bathroom remodel will add a lot of value to your home, but they’ll also cost a lot of money. Some simpler projects like repainting your cabinets, updating your appliances, or checking your attic insulation can improve your home without emptying your wallet.

Raise your payments

Another way to build equity in your home is to pay down your loan. Add extra money to pay down your principal loan or make additional payments on your loan to earn additional home equity.

 

By Christopher Kelly, RE/MAX Bayside, 208 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, NH 03253

 

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling!

If you're thinking of buying your first home, forever home or are ready to sell your current home? Don't go it alone! Melanson Real Estate is one of the oldest and most respected firms in town. Our experts know the Lakes Region and will assist you every step of the way, from showing to closing. We provide the care and personal service you deserve from day one to minimize surprises and make your buying and selling experience as stress free as possible. Call or stop-in today to speak with one of our experts! 

Buyers and sellers are on separate sides of the fence when it comes to home sales. What one is trying to achieve is often diametrically opposed to what the other wants to see happen—the first usually wants to steal the property while the other wants top dollar. And yet, they share the same ultimate goal. They want a sale.

Both sides can benefit significantly from hiring a real estate agent to assist them, but their reasons can be different. 

1.  It's All About the Money... 

Consider this if you're contemplating going "FSBO"—for sale by owner—when listing your home. Of course, you want to get as much for their home as possible, and you might think that means not parting with extra commissions. But a 2017 study indicated that FSBOs fetched about 30% less for their owners than agent-listed properties. 

And you're probably going to have to pay a commission anyway if your buyer is represented by an agent. The buyer's agent's commission is typically factored into the deal—although you'll still save on the commission you would otherwise have paid your own agent.  

And why not use an agent if you're the buyer? After all, the seller is paying the commission, not you. Of course, there's always a slim possibility that the seller will refuse to do so, but you can probably move on and look at other properties if it appears that this will be the case, although it can depend on whether you're shopping in a buyers' or sellers' market and who has the upper hand. 

2. ...And Attention to Detail 

You might be far out of your element when it comes to reviewing and understanding the multiple documents involved in a real estate deal, and you should have a thorough understanding of what you're getting into regardless of whether you're buying or selling. Purchase agreements alone can top 10 pages in 2019, not to mention federal, state, and local document requirements. 

Luckily, your agent will be far more familiar with all this paperwork than you are. Consider this if you're still thinking about saving money: Some mistakes or omissions in these documents can cost you as much as that commission you were trying to avoid paying—or even far more. 

Here's an example: Maybe a buyer makes an offer on a home, but it's contingent on getting a mortgage. There's no possibility that the buyer could purchase the property without first securing financing—but there's no such contingency or escape hatch built into the purchase agreement to let the buyer out of the deal if financing fails. The buyer is obligated to go through with the sale or be sued if it turns out that a mortgage isn't happening. 

Consider hiring a broker for a smaller one-time fee to simply review your contracts before signing if you're still dead set against hiring an agent to take care of all this. 

3. Privacy, Confidentiality and Fiduciary Duty 

Your real estate agent has your back whether you're a buyer or a seller. Agents have what's known as a "fiduciary" responsibility to their clients. They legally obligated to put their clients' best interests first. 

This duty imparts a very high standard for confidentiality. As a buyer, do you really, really want to turn over your most intimate financial details to a FSBO seller who's under no legal obligation to keep the information confidential? The same goes for turning any and all information over to the seller's agent, who has no fiduciary responsibility to you but only to the seller. Your own agent would know whether any information the other agent is requesting from you is reasonable. 

You do have recourse if you're the buyer and the seller's agent has lied to you, misled you, or disclosed confidential information. You can report it to the agent's professional association, such as the National Association of Realtors. But again, this assumes that the seller has an agent. You'll have far fewer options if the property is FSBO. 

4. Agents Know What to Look For 

Buyers usually have a pretty firm idea in mind of what they want in a property, from number of bedrooms to an attached garage to any number of other must-have and must-not-have factors. You'll probably feel pretty comfortable looking at homes with that list tucked firmly in the back of your mind.

But your agent will be alert for issues that might not cross your mind, such as furnace issues, leaks, roofing problems, and mold and insect issues. An agent will recognize the telltale signs of these problems and know how best to approach them. Again, this experience and knowledge can end up saving you thousands down the road. 

You know exactly how much you want for your home if you're the seller, but is the price you've arrived at reasonable? You might only know for sure if you're able to identify comparable sales that confirm that you're in the right range—or not. Agents can do comparative market analyses in their sleep. 

An agent can hand over researched, current, and reputable data regarding a neighborhood's demographics, crime rates, schools, and other important factors. That's a lot of time-consuming research to do on your own, particularly if you don't know where to start. 

5. Agents Have Superior Negotiating Skills 

You might not be a negotiation shark if you don't happen to be an attorney, mediator, union rep...or a real estate agent. Remember that fiduciary responsibility your agent has to you. It's your agent's job to get you the best possible price for your home, or to see to it that you get the best possible deal on the property you want to buy. 

Agents are trained to negotiate well, if only from experience. They know what normally works and what does not. Most have tried-and-true techniques all their own. And, most importantly, they have no emotional stake in the outcome that can cloud their thinking. 

You, on the other hand, might be willing to come up with $10,000 more to purchase that to-die-for home, never realizing that it's really not necessary because you possess certain bargaining chips. It's just more money saved if you have an agent who prevents you from taking an unnecessary financial plunge. 

The Bottom Line 

Henry Ford once said that it proves that you're smarter than they are when you hire people who are smarter than you. The trick is to recognize when you need help and to find the right person.

BY ELIZABETH WEINTRAUB (Click to read more about the author)

 

4 Tips for Home-Buying During the Colder Months

Are you in the market or thinking about purchasing a new home? Well, here are some handy tips from Meghan Belnap for just that... best of luck with your search!

Are you planning to move? Is it going to be cold when you relocate? Here are four ideas to help make the home search process faster and more convenient during the colder months:

Attend cozy open houses

Use the time you're looking for a home to mingle and fight the winter blues. Go see what's open in your area, check out a new location or inspect a home you really want. Open houses provide many opportunities including the chance to mingle and network. Even if you don't like the house you visit, you may hear of others nearby. You'll find many houses for sale in the winter that have open houses, and checking them out in person can show you exactly what the house will be like during the colder months.

Read the home inspection reports

While it's chilly outside, pull up a comfy chair and a mug of hot chocolate or coffee and do some research. With the bad weather and cold air that come with the season in some areas of the country, it's easier to sit inside and get the monotonous part of moving out of the way first. Plus, getting some of the boring stuff done early gives you more time to spend on the fun things like getting open house gifts.

Look for drafts and other leaks

There's no better time than winter to check out houses for sale. With the home working at the highest level, potential buyers can easily check out windows and doors for air leaks. Gaps are easier to find because drafts are often present when the winter wind is blowing hard outside. Plus, going to showings in the winter lets you see the property during the drab months of the year, allowing you to envision it in the nicer weather.

Check out the parking in bad weather

When you need a parking spot close to home in the winter, it's best to go for showings during this season. Looking at houses when there's snow on the ground lets you see where the problems occur in the area. You can avoid houses that have access problems, drainage issues or are last on the list for the snowplow.

Many people think winter is a bad time to look for a new home; however, several advantages make this season better than most. For example, if you don't want to go out in the cold weather, then chances are neither will your neighbors. Second, a home will show all its problems in the winter because the systems have to work extremely hard to keep up with frigid temperatures.

 

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She finds happiness in researching new topics that expand her horizons.

 

2018 Quarter 1 Real Estate Market Statistics for Carroll County

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Spring has finally sprung! Let's take a look back at Carroll County's 2018 Quarter 1 Real Estate Market Statistics.

In Quarter 1 of this year, 162 single-family residential homes were sold in Carroll County. That's a 9% decrease from Quarter 1 of 2017. The median sales price showed an increase of 13.7% at $227,250 over a price of $199,950 in 2017. The average days on the market for homes sold was 123 days, down 15.2% from the previous year's average of 145 days. Here's how Carroll County compares to the statewide statistics.

Statewide, 2018 Quarter 1 saw a total of 2,772 single-family homes sold. That's a decrease of .1% over the previous year's total of 2,775. Median sales price was $260,000 up 6.1% from the previous year's price of $245,000. Average day's on the market in Quarter 1 was 85 down 6.6% from last year's 91 days.

Visit nhar.org for additional information regarding real estate marketing statistics by county.

Inventory is low and buyer's are out there, looking for their first, forever or vacation home. We have been in the business over 30 years. Real estate is our profession and we have the experience you need to make a sound and informed real estate decision. Contact us today!

*Market statistics provided by New England Real Estate Network/NHAR