Jan 27

Are You Covered If Winter Weather Damages Your Home?

Heavy snow and ice can cause major headaches for homeowners, from collapsed roofs to fallen trees and flooded basements. Depending on your insurance policy, you could be liable.

By Stephanie Reid, Avvo attorney and NakedLaw contributor

In addition to the health and safety dangers of sub-zero temperatures, blinding snowstorms and inconspicuous ice sheets, winter weather can also be incredibly dangerous to your home. Homeowners must consider a number of winter weather issues, including legal liabilities to watch out for and knowing whether your homeowners insurance policy has you covered.

Winter damage culprits

The two main causes of wintertime home damage are snow and ice. The weight of snow can collapse a roof or damage an automobile. And when snow inevitably melts, it can cause major flooding and problems with home septic systems.

The major problems with ice, from a homeowner’s legal perspective, include slip-and-falls and frozen pipelines. Ice accumulating on trees can also cause damage if a tree branch falls on your home — or even worse, your neighbor’s home.

What is generally covered

A homeowners insurance policy typically covers damage that results directly from winter weather events. Direct damage includes trees falling on homes, roof collapse due to snow accumulation, wind damage during a blizzard, displacement due to a major power outage, and frozen or burst pipes (subject to exception).

What is probably not covered: negligence

A curveball factor can affect the damage your insurance policy covers: homeowner negligence, which means neglecting the standard care that allows your home to withstand normal winter weather. This may include factors such as:

  • Pipes. If the insurance company believes that pipes broke because they were neglected — if the heat was off, or the pipes were not drained, for example — you may be denied coverage.
  • Trees. If a homeowner knew that a tree or its limbs were at risk of falling but took no steps to trim or remove them, the homeowner can be held liable if they do fall and cause damage.
  • Snow. If your home is damaged due to melting snow seeping through the roof, and the adjuster determines that the roof is in disrepair or is improperly installed, you will be footing the bill on your own.
  • Ice. Laws vary by location, but there may be rules regarding prompt snow and ice removal. InNew York City, rental lease agreements generally stipulate that either the owner or the renter must clear sidewalks within four hours after snow stops falling.
  • Storms. Evidence that a homeowner could have done more to protect the property before or during a storm will be taken into consideration and could result in a denial of coverage.

What is definitely not covered: flood damage

The big issue to watch out for is flooding, which is not covered by a homeowners insurance policy. A major snowstorm followed by a warm snap often results in overworked drainage systems and flooding. If you live in a climate where this is likely to happen, flood insurance is a must.

Also within this category is the damage that can occur when an overburdened septic system backs up into your home, causing raw sewage to flow from the drains. A flood insurance policy will likely cover this scenario, whereas a general homeowners policy will not.

Good neighbors

One common question involves damage occurring to a home caused by a tree or flooding from a neighbor’s property. In those cases, the insurance company will first look into whether the neighbor was negligent or otherwise blamable in the event. If there’s no evidence of negligence, the owner of the damaged structure is then responsible for repair to that structure, but their policy will cover the damage.

However, if the neighbor is found to be blamable in the event, the case may result in a civil lawsuit if the parties can’t reach a workable solution. Consult with an attorney if you find yourself at such an impasse.

Making a claim

Insurance companies advise making a claim as soon as practically possible following a major weather event. This will allow the adjuster the best opportunity to assess the damage and make a factually solid determination of whether the issue is covered under the policy.

If your damage is minimal, you may want to consider forgoing a claim to your insurer since making multiple claims can raise your premiums. If it seems likely that your issue won’t cost much more than the deductible, it may be wise to cut your losses and complete the repairs without involving your insurance provider.

 

http://www.zillow.com/blog/winter-weather-damage-167960/

Jan 26

Home Buyers: 3 Signs It’s Time to Enlist a Real Estate Pro

The growth of online real estate listings means consumers are equipped with information very early in the home buying process. A generation ago, to get listing information and access to historical data, home buyers needed to connect with a real estate agent much sooner — sometimes even prematurely. But today’s home buyers can do a lot of the legwork themselves, conducting research online and using home search and research applications independently, in addition to attending open houses.

But this access to information doesn’t mean home shoppers can entirely go it alone. Buying a home is a major transaction, and all the data in the world can’t replace a knowledgeable and experienced local real estate agent.

Here are some signs that you are ready to engage with a buyer’s agent:

You think you’ve found the home of your dreams, and you don’t know what to do next.

If you’ve been looking at homes for some time, you likely have a good feel for what you get for the money. You’ve gone to some open houses and have a few homes or searches saved online. Home shopping has become a hobby. But once you find the home of your dreams, it becomes a part-time job.

Independent shoppers get comfortable with the market until their dream home hits them like a ton of bricks. The house is the motivator to take things up a notch. Reaching out to an agent will take you out of the dreaming phase and move you in the direction of actually buying a home.

You’ve found a home that appears too good to be true, but you can’t figure out what the problem is.

Suppose you stumble upon a house that seems like a great deal. It’s priced accurately for the neighborhood, but has been sitting on the market for weeks, if not months. You may have reached out to the listing agent to see the home in person or asked some questions of the agent at the open house. But that agent represents the seller, so you are not sure what the story is.

In this case, you don’t know what you don’t know. That uncertainty, coupled with your curiosity about the home, is the best reason to pair up with a good local agent. They may know the house, its market history or, via their network, have access to information about the home.

The house may have some major structural issues. Or the agent might point out that it is on a less desirable road or in a tough school district. These are the types of things that new, uneducated buyer wouldn’t know on their own.

You’ve been hit by a major life or financial event and need hard information to make a decision.

Sometimes you get news that changes your life’s course. Your landlord is selling your building, and you have 60 days to vacate. You’ve received the job opportunity of a lifetime or a huge increase in pay. Or you’ve done some tax planning and realize you are paying so much in taxes that you need to take advantage of the benefit realized by homeownership.

When you need information fast, rather than taking the time to study the market independently, it’s easier to go right to the source. In a 30-minute phone call or in-person meeting, a local agent can get you up to speed on the market, pricing, timing and what to expect. You can quickly marry this information with your personal financial situation and start to devise a plan.

A generation ago, potential home buyers, curious about getting into the market, had access to little information about homes for sale. They might have checked the open house section of the Sunday paper to get started. Or they simply called a local agent and engaged them. They may not have been quite ready to pull the trigger at that point, but they needed an agent to get them in the game, many times well before they were ready to purchase. While that agent is still an integral part of the process, today’s buyers can hold off a bit longer — as long as they know when the time is right to enlist help.

 

http://www.zillow.com/blog/when-to-contact-real-estate-pro-168239/

Jan 10

West Hartford Market Insider

West Hartford Market Insider

Price Trends – Sold vs. Listed

Understand the difference between “listing prices” (what sellers are asking for) and “sold prices” (what buyers are willing to pay).

By comparing these price trends, you’ll have a good idea of where the market is heading. The median listing and sold property prices are calculated based on the market activity each month.

Some sales are not immediately available from public records. As they become available, the data are updated.

Chart Temporarily Unavailable
Market Inventory Trends

The number of active listings in West Hartford (06107) dropped by 12.5%from the previous month.

The median number of days active properties have been listed is 88. This is significantly shorter than the national average.

The number of sales in October dropped by 35% from the previous month.

Chart Temporarily Unavailable
Property Ownership

The percent of unoccupied properties is very low in West Hartford (06107) . It is -11.45% below the national average.

The percent of owner occupied properties in West Hartford (06107) is17.02% above the national average.

Chart Temporarily Unavailable
Additional Statistics for Single Family Homes and Condos in West Hartford, CT
$353,070
Median Listing Price
88
Median Days on Market
79
Active Listings
1.3%
Distressed Listings
(foreclosures and short sales)

107 CLIFFMORE RD
WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107

$2,962,500

10/16/2014
Single Family
2
2
Address
City
Price 
Beds
Baths
107 CLIFFMORE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $2,962,500 2 2
82 WATERSIDE LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $866,518 4 2
70 UPLANDS DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $750,000 4 3
146 GARFIELD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $720,000 5 2
146 GARFIELD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $720,000 5 2
51 HUNTER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $675,000 4 3
29 JILLIAN CIR #29 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $660,000 2 3
32 GIN STILL LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $650,000 4 3
27 VAN BUREN AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $644,000 6 3
17 WOODROW ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $639,000 5 2
2 GRENNAN RD #2 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $596,000 2 2
8 CREEKSIDE LN #8 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $590,000 4 3
37 STONER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $588,900 3 3
33 FULTON PL WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $580,000 4 5
11 CREEKSIDE LN #11 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $575,000 4 2
81 WALDEN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $575,000 4 2
39 MIDDLEFIELD DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $569,900 4 3
12 JILLIAN CIR #12 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $565,000 2 2
55 N MAIN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $564,000 5 4
48 HIGH FARMS RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $560,000 4 3
34 WATERSIDE LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $549,000 3 2
258 S MAIN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $549,000 4 3
87 WOODROW ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $535,190 4 2
62 STONER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $530,000 4 4
22 NEWPORT AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $525,000 5 2
26 BERWYN RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $520,000 3 3
2 LINBROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $520,000 4 2
98 N MAIN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $505,000 6 3
89 MEADOW LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $505,000 4 3
66 LEMAY ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $504,000 5 2
351 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $499,000 3 2
50 WOODRIDGE CIR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $495,000 4 2
10 SPRUCE LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $476,000 4 2
1 GLENDALE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $472,000 3 2
64 EMILY WAY #64 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $470,000 2 3
26 BROOKLINE DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $470,000 4 2
12 PINE BROOK LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $468,000 4 2
102 WALDEN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $467,000 4 1
71 HIGH FARMS RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $466,000 3 2
3 PINE BROOK LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $465,000 4 2
126 HUNTER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $462,500 5 3
17 GARLAND RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $456,000 4 2
6 LONG VIEW RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $452,500 3 3
17 WYNDWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $434,900 3 2
1807 BOULEVARD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $431,000 4 2
40 NEWPORT AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $425,000 5 2
114 MONTCLAIR DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $415,000 3 1
18 GALLAUDET DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $400,000 5 2
52 NEWPORT AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $400,000 3 2
21 SUNRISE HILL DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $395,000 3 2
33 WALTON DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $379,000 3 2
115 MOUNTAIN RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $378,000 3 2
37 BONNY VIEW RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $375,000 3 1
33 BROOKLINE DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $374,900 3 2
41 BROOKSIDE BLVD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $374,000 4 2
21 BRAEBURN RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $370,000 3 1
25 FAIRLEE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $370,000 3 1
90 BENTWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $367,500 3 2
64 WESTMINSTER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $360,000 4 2
93 LEMAY ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $360,000 3 2
69 GLENWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $360,000 3 2
12 GARLAND RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $360,000 4 2
155 CLIFTON AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $355,000 3 1
92 STONER DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $350,000 0 0
17 CLIFFORD DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $350,000 3 2
150 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $350,000 3 2
25 CASSANDRA BLVD #105 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $350,000 2 2
1028 FARMINGTON AVE #2F WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $347,039 2 1
18 SANDHURST DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $345,000 4 2
18 ROCKWELL PL WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $340,000 4 2
8 FAIRWOOD FARMS DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $340,000 4 2
188 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $336,000 4 2
72 BROOKMOOR RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $336,000 3 2
100 WEBSTER HILL BLVD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $335,000 3 1
20 CRAIGMOOR RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $335,000 3 1
29 BURR ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $335,000 4 1
29 CHERRYFIELD DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $335,000 3 2
54 THOMSON RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $335,000 3 1
175 CLIFTON AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $333,000 4 1
63 WESTLAND AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $330,000 3 1
60 CASSANDRA BLVD #311 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $330,000 2 2
552 FERN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $330,000 3 1
48 CRAIGMOOR RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $329,900 3 1
182 RAYMOND RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $325,000 3 2
25 ROCKWELL PL WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $325,000 3 2
359 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $323,000 2 2
101 GRENNAN RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $322,000 3 1
558 FERN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $322,000 3 1
51 OVERBROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $320,000 3 1
24 MILDRED RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $320,000 4 2
42 OVERBROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $315,000 3 1
18 GLOUCESTER LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $312,500 3 2
64 ARGYLE AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $310,000 2 1
14 THOMSON RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $310,000 3 1
10 E NORMANDY DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $309,900 3 2
5 CLIFFORD DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $307,000 3 2
159 CLIFFMORE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $305,000 2 1
7 BROOKLINE DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $303,000 3 2
37 CRESTWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $300,000 3 1
25 RACE BROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $295,000 3 2
573 PARK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $293,000 3 1
1 GLOUCESTER LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $290,000 3 2
4 OWINGS RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $285,000 3 1
3 WYNDWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $283,000 3 1
9 GREYSTONE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $282,000 3 1
64 BRIARWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $280,000 3 2
25 CASSANDRA BLVD #311 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $276,490 1 1
5 BRIDLEPATH RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $275,000 3 1
54 HILLTOP DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $270,000 2 1
141 WALDEN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $270,000 3 1
1204 FARMINGTON AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $270,000 3 2
153 WALDEN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $269,000 3 1
1 RESERVOIR AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $266,750 4 1
16 GREYSTONE RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $262,000 3 1
81 BROOKMOOR RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $260,000 3 1
334 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $257,000 3 1
25 HAMMICK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $253,000 3 2
18 MILDRED RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $252,000 3 2
34 E NORMANDY DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $250,000 3 2
46 CROSSHILL RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $250,000 4 2
41 BROOKMOOR RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $250,000 3 1
11 WARDWELL RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $248,000 4 2
5 HIGH GATE LN WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $242,000 3 2
33 GALLAUDET DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $240,000 3 2
28 ROCKWELL PL WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $240,000 3 2
112 OVERBROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $238,000 4 1
20 WESTBROOK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $237,900 3 1
48 MEADOW FARMS RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $236,400 2 1
73 CLIFTON AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $235,500 2 1
118 BRUNSWICK AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $235,000 4 1
511 FERN ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $227,500 2 2
5 PLEASANT ST #A WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $220,000 2 1
147 WHITMAN AVE WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $220,000 3 1
385 RIDGEWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $220,000 3 2
73 PHEASANT HILL DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $205,000 4 3
163 SEDGWICK RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $205,000 3 1
253 BEECHWOOD RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $202,000 2 1
183 LOOMIS DR #110 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $200,000 2 2
199 WEBSTER HILL BLVD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $199,900 2 1
8 DEER RUN DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $187,000 4 2
10 HILLTOP DR WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $174,000 2 1
10 BRIDLEPATH RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $150,000 2 1
42 N MAIN ST #64 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $118,300 1 1
42 N MAIN ST #69 WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $93,000 1 1
54 MOUNTAIN RD WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $88,000 3 1
2 RUMFORD ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $63,750 3 1
55 LEMAY ST WEST HARTFORD, CT 06107 WEST HARTFORD $33,500 3 1

Jan 10

Signs Suggest Looming Opportunity for First-time Buyers

  • CoreLogic reported Thursday that the number of underwater homes, properties worth less than what is owed on them, fell from 6.3 million to 5.3 million between the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2014. This change is large and important for the health of the housing market.

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  • The decline in negative equity reduces the number of owners that are susceptible to foreclosure in the case of a health issue or loss of work. Distressed sales damage their owner’s credit scores and can weigh on local home prices and confidence as well as banks’ willingness to lend.
  • According to the report, negative equity and “near negative equity”, those with less than 5% equity in their home, are heavily concentrated at the lower end of the price spectrum. This trend holds back supply from potential entry-level buyers who have competed with well-healed investors for several years. Tight lending conditions, weak labor markets, and student debt issues have compounded the issue for first-time buyers.

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  • The majority of states have negative equity of 10% or less, but a stronger majority have a near negative equity share of 2% to 4%. Steady price appreciation in a historic range of 3-5% should push more owners into a position where they could trade up, unlocking inventory that is disproportionately entry-level. This would help to alleviate supply conditions at the lower end, while providing support at the upper end of the market where investors have not been as active.
  • Investors’ share of sales in August, as measured by NAR’s Realtor Confidence Survey, fell from 16% in July to 12%. As investors pull back and inventory comes on line, an opportunity opens for potential owner occupants, a change that could help to stabilize the downward trend in homeownership.

 

http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/09/26/signs-suggest-looming-opportunity-for-first-time-buyers/

Jan 09

Housing Outlook 2015: 11 Predictions From The Experts!

It’s been an odd year for the housing market. It kicked off with the ‘Polar Vortex,’ blamed for slowing home sales in the early part of the year. As 2014 draws to a close, the National Association of Realtors expects sales of previously owned homes to fall short of 2013’s total, while the latest monthly data on new homes show sales were up just 1.8% in October from a year earlier. Meanwhile, price gains for previously owned homes have slowed significantly. Still, builder confidence in the market for newly constructed, single-family homes has been high for six straight months.

What’s going on? The confusing signals actually have a straightforward explanation: the housing market has been shifting out of rapid recovery and into a more stable phase that economists are calling the new normal. Here are 11 things housing experts expect to see in housing in 2015:

1. Prices will rise more slowly
Housing price gains slowed dramatically in 2014 and are expected to continue on that trajectory in 2015. Price growth for previously owned homes decelerated for nine straight months from January through September 2014. To get a sense of just how much has changed in a year, compare December 2013’s 10.8% year-over-year price growth with September 2014’s 4.8% year-over-year change (S&P/Case-Shiller data). Easing housing inventory levels and the exit of investors from the market are helping to put the brakes on home price escalation. At a deeper level, this change represents a fundamental shift in the market: we’ve moved out of the rapid recovery phase and into a new normal. Nationally, prices are near their spring 2005 levels; the 20 cities Case-Shiller tracks are about 15% to 17% off their mid-summer 2006 peaks. “During the early years – roughly 2012 to 2014 – the rebound effect drove the recovery,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. “Now, though, the rebound effect is fading.” Zillow predicts home prices will rise just 2.5% in 2015; Realtor.com predicts an annual gain of 4%-5%.

2. Affordability will worsen
Unfortunately, slowing prices don’t mean that home ownership will become more affordable. In fact, Kolko predicts quite the opposite. “Even though prices won’t rise as fast next year as they did this year, they will probably rise faster than incomes,” he says. (Incomes in 2013 rose just 1.8% in nominal terms, he notes.) “At the same time, higher mortgage rates also erode affordability.” By Kolko’s estimate, homes are just 3% undervalued now, leaving little room for them to rise without becoming overvalued. Realtor.com predicts that home affordability will decrease by 5%-10% in 2015.
3. The buying frenzy will fade
Good news for regular people: the homebuying process should get a little less hectic in 2015, thanks to eased inventory and credit plus the exit of investors from the market. We’ve already begun to see the shift. As prices rose in 2014, more people put their homes up for sale. (In October, the stock of available housing stood at a 5.1-month supply, 5.2% higher than a year before.) Rising prices mean that fewer bargains are left on the market, which makes housing less attractive to investors, and they are indeed exiting the market. (The latest numbers from the National Association of Realtors show that in October, individual investors purchased 15% of homes, down from 19% in October 2013.) “Since the recovery began in earnest in late 2012, buyers have really taken it on the chin, forced to contend with low inventory, tight credit, bidding wars and intense competition from investors and all-cash buyers,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. “But next year we’ll start to see things really turn around. More inventory will continue to come online, putting the competitive pressure on sellers for a change. This more balanced market will be smoother sailing for everyone, both for buyers in search of a competitive advantage, and for sellers who turn around and become buyers themselves.”

4. Mortgage interest rates will rise
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association predicts that rates will rise to 5% by the end of 2015; Freddie Mac’s chief economist Frank Nofthaft expects a more cautious average of 4.5% in 2015. With the Fed signaling that QE3 (the third round of quantitative easing since the recession) is over, the MBA says there is plenty of reason to believe a short-term fund rate hike could come by mid-2015, pushing mortgage interest rates up with it. Still, last year economists predicted that mortgage interest rates would hit 5% by the end of 2014—and yet the average rate for a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage stood at just 3.93% last week, compared to 4.42% one year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. For most of 2014 interest rates were flat or declining. A great reminder that economists can make their predictions, but we wouldn’t recommend that anyone bet the farm on them.

5. Millennials overtake Gen X as homebuyers
By the end of 2015, Millennials (those under the age of 35) will overtake Gen X (35-50 years old) to become the largest group of homebuyers in the U.S., predicts Zillow’s Humphries. “Roughly 42% of Millennials say they want to buy a home in the next one to five years, compared to just 31% of Generation X,” he says. “The lack of home-buying activity from Millennials thus far is decidedly not because this generation isn’t interested in homeownership, but instead because younger Americans have been delaying getting married and having children, two key drivers in the decision to buy that first home. As this generation matures, they will become a home-buying force to be reckoned with.”
6. Rent increases will outpace home value growth
In 2015 many 25- 34-year-olds (again, those Millennials) will form new households, but instead of buying they’ll rent, predicts Trulia’s Kolko. In part, this forecast is based on demographic factors (marriage, kids, cited above) and in part it’s because many of them will still need to save for a down payment. These factors will continue to push the demand for multi-family housing (see below)–and rents will keep rising. In fact, Humphries forecasts that rents will rise 3.5% in 2015, outpacing his predicted 2.5% for annual home price gains. This, in turn, may push some of those Millennials to become buyers (see above). “As renters’ costs keep going up, I expect the allure of fixed mortgage payments and a more stable housing market will entice many more otherwise content renters into the housing market,” Humphries says.

 

7. Multifamily will reign
This year we’ve seen a boom in multi-family construction (especially in the latter part of the year). Meanwhile, 2014′s single-family construction (at 677,000 for the year) and new home sales (at 458,000 for the year) are both just above half their normal levels, Kolko points out. Forecasts predict a boost in 2015 on groundbreakings of new single-family homes (NAHB: 837,000, Fannie Mae: 783,000, and Wells Fargo: 770,000), as well as new home sales (NAR: 620,000; NAHB: 547,000). But Kolko warns that next year’s numbers for both new construction and new home sales could disappoint. Trulia’s research indicates that more people will try to sell their homes next year (and Realtor.com predicts that existing, or previously owned, home sales will grow 8% in 2015). The entry of these previously owned homes onto the market could suppress the demand for more expensive newly constructed homes. As mentioned above, many Millennials forming their own households will need to save for a down payment before buying, so they’ll rent instead of buying new homes. Finally, Kolko points out that the vacancy rate for single-family homes is still near its recession high, which is likely to further depress construction of new single-family homes. So builders will continue to meet the demand for apartments–and multifamily housing could have another strong year.

8. Builders shift to cheaper homes
In recent years, builders have chosen to build fewer, more expensive homes instead of more, cheaper homes. The trend—driven in part by a limited supply of land during the recovery–has left a price gap between more expensive new homes and less expensive existing homes, keeping new home sales around or lower than the 450,000 per year mark since the recession. “In 2015 I expect builders to try to push above that ceiling on new home sales,” says Humphries. Most analysts agree that new home sales will top the 500,000 mark in 2015. “In order to do that they’re going to have to sell less expensive homes,” Humphries argues. Eased credit conditions, with more lenders willing to lend to people with credit scores below 640, should help some of these cheaper homes find buyers.

9. Foreclosures will match pre-recession levels
From January through November 2014, there were 1,256,070 foreclosure filings in the U.S., according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac, down about 17.2% from the same period the prior year, when there were 1,516,332 filings. “Every month so far this year we’ve been down from a year ago,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. Only scheduled foreclosure auctions have seen a recent uptick, up 5% in November compared to one year earlier. The majority come from homes that have long been in the foreclosure process, with just a few newer properties in the mix. In 2015, watch for foreclosures to abate to pre-crisis levels, Blomquist predicts.
10. Markets driven by fundamentals
Next year the housing market will be driven more by underlying economic fundamentals–job growth, incomes, household formation–than by macro-economic factors such as national price crashes. Mortgage interest rates and price recovery have driven the housing market nationally for a long time now, notes Richardson. “Now we’re seeing that those factors aren’t nearly as important as local economics: how is the economy doing in Detroit, Baltimore, Denver,” she says.

11. The wildcard: global geopolitics
Right now geopolitical factors outside the U.S. are helping keep mortgage interest rates down at home. “Weakness in China and Europe have led to higher than normal interest in the dollar,” says Humphries, adding that concerns over the Russia-Ukraine situation as well as with Iran and nuclear diplomacy are pushing the yield on the dollar. Before 2008, the 36-year average mortgage interest rate was 9.2%, and never below 5.8%, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman has said. And though the Fed has already scaled back its buying of mortgage-backed securities–which could affect interest rates–mortgage rates remain very low compared to historical rates. “Broader geopolitical risk turns out to really help the average American homeowner,” Humphries notes.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2014/12/18/housing-outlook-2015-11-predictions-from-the-experts/

Jan 09

Stronger Economy Drives New Home Buyers!

The strengthening of the economy and the labor sector is prompting more young professionals to gradually return to the real estate market.

Since the housing turnaround started in 2012, many first-time home buyers have been shut out, with a poor labor market and low wages forcing many young professionals to move back with their parents or to rent. Last year, the number of first-time buyers plunged to a 30-year low, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

 

“Credit tightness has been an issue for the housing market but demand weakness has been a bigger one,” says Douglas Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The improving economy is going to put renters in a better place to buy.”

Duncan predicts a 6.3 percent jump in mortgage lending this year – that would follow a 9.6 percent drop in 2014. Growing confidence in the job market is the strongest indicator that home sales will improve, Duncan says.

With added jobs, more consumers see their wages growing too. Overall, consumers expect a 1.7 percent rise in their incomes this year, the highest increase since 2008, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment poll. Americans under the age of 45 years old are expecting the largest gains in incomes at 4.7 percent.

“Young renters have wanted to keep their living situations flexible because they didn’t know if they were going to have to move for a job,” Duncan says. “More of them are going to be willing to put down roots if they feel more confident in the labor market.”

The economy added more than 2.7 million jobs in 2014, the highest amount since 1999, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Household formation is a key measure of real estate demand. Household formation is expected to increase to 1.1 million this year, the highest in three years, according to IHS Global Instight Inc. forecasts.

“If the first-time buyers aren’t in the market, the sellers can’t move up and buy their next houses,” Bill Banfield, vice president of Quicken Loans Inc. in Detroit, told Bloomberg News. “The real estate market needs an increase in entry-level demand” for it to fully recover.

 

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/01/07/stronger-economy-drives-new-home-buyers

Jan 08

NAR: Home Sales Only Going Up From Here!

Existing-home sales will likely rise about 7 percent this year, as a strengthening economy and job growth leads to a healthier market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 housing forecast.

 

“Home prices have risen for the past three years cumulatively about 25 percent, which boosts confidence in the market and traditionally gives current home owners the ability to use their equity buildup as a down payment towards their next home purchase,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Furthermore, first-time buyers are expected to slowly return as the economy improves and new mortgage products are made available in the marketplace with low down payments and private mortgage insurance.”

Still, Yun points to several “speed bumps” that could jeopardize the pace of the housing market’s recovery, particularly the anticipated rise in mortgage rates expected to arrive this year. Yun points out that many home owners who have locked in some of the lowest mortgage rates in history in recent years may be more hesitant to give up their low financing rate to move. Lenders are also being slow to ease underwriting standards to more normalized levels.

Still, in a preliminary analysis, existing-home sales appeared to finish out 2014 around 4.94 million, a drop of 3 percent from 2013. But Yun anticipates that sales will rise to 5.3 million in 2015.

Yun is also forecasting growth in home prices, but at a more moderate pace than seen in recent years. The national median existing-home price for 2014 will likely near $208,000, up 5.6 percent from 2013, but it’s expected to moderate between 4 percent and 5 percent growth in 2015.

 

 

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/01/08/nar-home-sales-only-going-up-from-here

Dec 29

Top 5 Home Design Trends for 2015!

Today, Zillow Digs announced the top five home design trends for 2015 — and the four soon-to-be forgotten fads of 2014. The results were published in the 2015 Zillow Digs Home Trend Forecast, a one-of-a-kind report that combines data from a survey of leading interior design experts and an analysis of the most popular photos on Zillow Digs.

Curious to see what trends made the list? Check out the results below!

Top five home design trends for 2015

1. Gold fixtures

1. Gold Fixtures

This retro statement hardware color will make a comeback in 2015 with a new modern twist: bright gold with a sleek finish for extra shine. In 2015, homeowners will no longer be limited to silver or stainless steel fixtures, and will feel free to mix and match finish colors, or go bold with all gold.

2. Cowhide

2. Cowhide

Cowhide is the ideal accent texture for 2015’s modern, yet approachable design aesthetic. Elements of cowhide will find their way into pillows, rugs, throw blankets and even artwork this coming year.

3. Wallpaper

3. wallpaper

“Wallpaper is coming back in a big way,” says Zillow Digs designer Jamie Beckwith of Beckwith Interiors. From digital prints to textured wall coverings, this trend is primed and ready to take off in 2015.

4. Blue accent colors

4. blue (2)

Blue will be the most popular accent color and is the perfect complement to Marsala, the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year. “Pops of indigo blue or deep navy will become a staple in home design this year, as their deep natural hues become extra vibrant against warm earth tones like Marsala,” says Zillow Digs home design expert Kerrie Kelly.

5. Modern/mid-century modern elements

5. Modern

Mid-century modern elements will weave their way into 2015 home decor — from architecture to furniture — and will be one of the biggest up-and-coming design styles for 2015. Zillow Digs experts advise homeowners to be careful when integrating into homes — the trend is great for inspiration, but shouldn’t take over the house.

Four 2014 fads to replace

1. Chevron print

1. Chevron

From home decor to fashion, chevron prints became one of the most overused trends in 2014, and designers say it’s time for the infamous zigzag pattern to take a breather.

2. Bright colors

 

2. bright colors

Coral, purple and teal are on their way out with 2014. “It’s hard to work with such saturated colors,” says Zillow Digs designer Jamie Herzlinger. While these cheerful hues are certainly fun, they are not built to last.

3. Solid painted accent walls

3. accent walls

Expect to see solid accent walls, especially in red, fade away as wallpaper and textured wall coverings take the stage in 2015.

4. Matching furniture

4. matching

If you didn’t hear us in the Zillow Digs Fall Home Design Trend Report, you better listen up now, as design experts have made it loud and clear: eclectic, multi-era decor is here to stay, and polished, matching wood furniture is a thing of the past.

Want to get started on your 2015 home design inspiration? Check out some of our favorite photos of the trends on  Zillow Digs today!

 

http://www.zillow.com/blog/top-home-design-trends-2015-166522/

Dec 27

Marsala: Using Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year in Your Home!

Over the past month, some of our favorite paint manufacturers have announced their top colors for the new year. Kelly Moore touts the vibrant blue of its Coast Surf, Sherwin Williams goes preppy and powerful with Coral Reef, Benjamin Moore brings on the soft organic tone of Guilford Greenand Pittsburgh Paints flaunts bold and bohemian Blue Paisley for 2015.

Meanwhile, Pantone, the design industry’s color authority, has chosen its own Color of the Year for 2015: Marsala, an earthy reddish-brown shade.

Marsala “has an organic and sophisticated air,” says Pantone’s Leatrice Eiseman. The color imparts “a vintage but neutral feel, which evokes pleasant memories.”

Eager to apply this hot new color to your interior? Here are a variety of ways to incorporate it.

As an accent

A splash of Marsala’s earthy hue may be just the trick for freshening your interior space. Consider a pillow, lamp or side chair to put you right on trend for the new year. Marsala’s soft lipstick-like shade is effortlessly set off by gray, white and navy blue backdrops.

Source: Zillow Digs

As an anchor

With a more neutral interior, Marsala can be used to anchor a space by incorporating an area rug or upholstered wall in a room. The rich, yet unpretentious shade can warm a space that may otherwise feel uninteresting.

Source: Zillow Digs

As a complement

To tie in some of the other colors of the year, consider pairing Marsala with a washed denim or even a turquoise shade. The unique combination sounds intimidating, but actually creates an interesting approachability in a living room or bedroom.

Source: Zillow Digs

As a contrast

When contrasted against white, Marsala’s ruddy tone can be as dramatic as shades of gray. White trim and ceilings contribute the perfect amount of contrast to balance a well-designed space.

Source:  Zillow Digs

As a backdrop

With the popularity of wallcoverings and graphic images on walls, Marsala can offer the ideal backdrop to a traditional, transitional or more modern room. A wallcovering with varied shades of Marsala can create texture and interest that pairs easily with metallics, too.

Source: Zillow Digs

 

http://www.zillow.com/blog/using-pantone-marsala-in-your-home-166624/

Dec 23

Selling a Home in 2015: 5 Resolutions for Success!

If you’re considering selling your home in 2015, you should know that a lot has probably changed in the real estate market since you last sold. Knowing what works today — and resolving to put the tips and advice of the past to rest — will help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

1) Appeal to mobile buyers

Today nearly all home searches begin on a smartphone or tablet — not on the Web, and not using the newspaper.

If you want to get the right kind of buyer activity on your home, you need to make sure that you optimize your listing and your photos for mobile devices. If you use the tips and tricks of a generation past, you may miss out on today’s generation of buyers.

2) Be ready to separate your “home” from your “investment”

Many sellers make the mistake of letting their emotions get the best of them. Selling a home is not like selling a used car — it holds memories and occupies a special place in your heart.

When it comes time to sell, however, it’s important to realize that your home is also an investment. Being able to change your homeowner hat to your investor hat is crucial.

If you are too sentimentally attached to your home, you may reject a good price or fail to negotiate with a serious buyer. Don’t let your emotions sabotage your sale.

3) Don’t list your home until you’re serious about selling

Many homeowners think they’re ready to sell, but they haven’t fully gone through the emotional process of the decision. Do you have a place to go if you sell? Have you fully cleaned and de-cluttered your home? Have you taken your agent’s advice on staging and pricing?

Many sellers list their home before they are truly ready to sell, only to shoot themselves in the foot by overpricing it or not presenting it to the market in its best possible light.

4) Don’t hire just any agent

The agent you used to purchase the home 15 years ago may seem like the logical choice for listing your home this time around. But are they really the best option?

With access to so much information online and so much at stake, sellers should talk to a few agents before committing. Get a referral from someone who recently sold, and use online resources to research agents’ sales activity and expertise.

The right agent makes all the difference and if you have any doubt about an agent’s abilities, hold off on establishing a relationship.

5) Make the best impression online

Nothing frustrates an active and aggressive buyer more than getting an email or mobile notification alert for a new property listing only to get to the listing and not see any photos.

Buyer first impressions today are on the Internet. If you list your home without complete information — including photos, description and accurate data — not only will you turn them off, but they may simply not come back later.

 

http://www.zillow.com/blog/selling-home-resolutions-2015-166767/

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