Residential Real Estate Sales Volume Continues Growth; Prices Follow Suit
Inventory Continues Decline; Nears 6k Mark
CHARLESTON, SC—(May 11, 2012) According to preliminary data released today by the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® (CTAR), 831 homes sold at a median price of $183,000 in April. There were 24,213 property showings recorded by the MLS in April.
Last April, preliminary figures showed 776 homes sold at a median price of $175,000, following an almost equal number of property tours.
“The number of showings our REALTORS® are completing in 2012 is almost equal to the number of showings we saw in 2009, when the market was significantly depressed, but inventory was much higher. This tells us that the prospective buyers in today’s market aren’t just looking. They are serious buyers, making offers and closing transactions” said 2012 CTAR President, Herb Koger.
Heading into what is typically the busiest season of the year, year to date figures reflect a market that is in the midst of sustainable, healthy growth. Inventory is 29% lower than it was at this time last year; sales volume is almost 6% ahead and prices have increased a healthy 4% from this time last year.
“There has been a substantial decrease of inventory in the last 12 months and a far more serious mindset by those looking to purchase a home—there are fewer homes to choose from, prices are increasing and interest rates remain at unprecedentedly low levels. People have a renewed confidence in our market and buyers are moving much faster than they did in the past few years” said Koger.
There were 6,361 homes listed as actively for sale in the CTMLS as of May 10, 2012. On May 10, 2011, there were 8,899 homes for sale.
476 homes sold at a median price of $228,125 in Charleston County in April. This represents an increase in sales and pricing from April 2011’s 451 sales at a median price of $208,000.
Full article here on CharlestonRealtors.com
1. Your stuff is great, but it’s ugly.
Please don’t be offended. We’ve all got beautiful things collected over the years and comfortable furniture that we would never get rid of, but buyers do NOT want to see it. They want clean, uncluttered, and newish. You have to be able to give them the space to envision their things in your soon-to-be-former house. So my recommendation? Start packing. If you can’t bring yourself to put away all but a few items, then you might want to consider waiting until the market gets better.
2. Wallpaper – NO!
I’ll be short with this one. Before selling your house, unless you want to sell it at a deep discount, remove all your wallpaper. Immediately. Wallpaper is like art – it’s very personal. The same goes with very bright colored paint. And vinyl floors. And florescent lighting. And pet smell.
3. Your house may be considered a ‘fixer upper’ even if you don’t think so.
Because there are so many homes to choose from and financing for house projects is scarce, most buyers want move-in ready. Meaning – they don’t want to do more to a house than add their favorite paint color and fix minor items, unless it is priced as a fixer-upper. If you don’t have granite counter tops, if you’ve got carpet in your living areas, if your grass and/or landscaping is non-existent, if your floor plan isn’t somewhat open, then get ready to price your house accordingly.
4. Speaking of…your house will probably sell for much less than you think it’s worth.
I hate to say this but imagine the price you are thinking of for your house, then subtract 15%. That’s your number.
5. It was the worst of times…it was the best of times…
Now we all know about the mediocre state of real estate but let’s address whether or not NOW, right now, is a good time to sell. Late November, December and early January are typically the worst months to sell a house because all but the smartest of buyers are not out looking during the holidays. However, most people interested in selling their house adhere to that philosophy and so wait until the early spring to put their house on the market. Plus, all signs point to the banks unfreezing foreclosures after the holidays – read – even more houses on the market. As a matter of fact, right now we’ve got the lowest number of homes on the market in Charleston County since January of 2007. There are even a few hot pockets out there where the pickins are slim. If your house fits into one of these, you are lucky.
- Renovated houses under $250,000 in Wagener Terrace or North Central.
- Renovated houses with a garage under $500,000 in Wagener Terrace. There are none.
- A renovated 2BR condo with a stable HOA for under $500,000 south of the Crosstown.
- Renovated million-dollar houses in Harleston Village. You know how I feel about this.
- Houses over 3000 square feet and under $1,000,000 in Snee Farm in Mount Pleasant. (6 of the 7 sold since the beginning of the year sold in the last 6 months and there is only one available.)
- Any house at all in Bayview Acres in Mount Pleasant. There are only two for sale.
6. Photos photos photos photos photos.
Great photos. And lots of them. Once you decide to sell your house and have made it ready, the single most important thing besides the price, are the photos. I used to think I was a pretty great real estate photographer – I take 20 shots of each room, I stage each shot, I use a tripod, I edit for hours – until I hired a professional with a wide-angle lens. Now I’ll never go back. If you are working with another agent, INSIST that they do the same. If they won’t, I’d suggest looking for someone else. It’s that important.
To get a good laugh – check out this guys hilarious presentation on “Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photos Hall of Fame”
At any rate, I realize I wrote this post in a most un-Southern, un-passive aggressive, un-delicate way – but I know many of you are ready to move, want to downsize, NEED to downsize, or want to upsize to take advantage of the current deals. Treating this situation with kid gloves won’t help you at all. As my husband says, real estate these days is a domino effect. All it takes is one house to sell to start the ripple. Could yours be that one?
I think Fall has finally made it to the south. Our windows are open, the breeze is just grand and it’s time for block parties. Life couldn’t get much better than this ( unless my husband Mark were home – he is further south playing golf at Shoal Creek.)
Coming to you is October’s E-Newsletter. There are two articles I found interesting. “How Buyers Compete in a Seller’s Market” and “What to do Now if You are Planning On Selling This Fall”. I found the first interesting because this is clearly not a typical seller’s market – it is an investor’s market and many of the current sellers are lenders ready to make deals if an investor is ready. To be ready you to provide proof of downpayment funds, ready cash or a loan committment letter in hand, had property inspections performed, everything you can do to get a leg up on the other investors looking for that good deal.
Fell free to call me with any questions.
Happy Halloween if I don’t see you first!
Betty Poore – Realtor
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Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code is most often used in connection with the sale of real property. If you have been in the real estate market looking for a way to invest money and defer taxes, you may have heard about ‘Like-kind exchanges’ or ‘Tax Deferred Exchanges’ as a possible means to accomplish your goals. These are alternate names for what is commonly known as a 1031 Exchange.
This is a simple transaction that allows you to exchange properties of like-kind and defer the taxes. The transaction is simple, but understanding the process may not be! What property qualifies? Here are a couple of examples of what does not qualify:
- 1031(e) livestock of different sexes do not qualify for like kind exchange.
- 1031(h)(1) real property outside the United States and real property in the United States are not of like kind.
I was surprised about 1031(e) and I’m sure you are.
This might be your 1031 “Like-Kind”.
What is the difference between a second home and a vacation home? What taxes are being deferred? How long are taxes deferred? How does this benefit me? As a buyer, should I consider entering into an identified 1031 Exchange? Do qualified exchanges have to be simultaneous? If not, how long do I have to complete a qualified exchange?
There are many more questions depending on each circumstance and it is in your best interest to get correct answers to the questions for your circumstances and not depending on an overview to make your decision. Your professional Realtor® will be able to give information, but a Realtor® is only part of the resources you need. Your Realtor® will identify properties for your consideration. Another team member should be a tax attorney and a CPA who are experienced with 1031 Exchanges. They can give answers to how a 1031 Exchange fits into your portfolio, and how a 1031 Exchange fits into your estate.
If you are interested in a 1031 Exchange in on the Charleston Coast, contact Dunes Properties.
I remember my first visit to a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store when I was a child. There were more flavors than I had ever seen before all at a price my parents were willing to pay! How could I decide which was best? I was used to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but now there was mango, peach, caramel and cream, and about 27 other flavors to choose from. What was I to do?
Today’s real estate market is kind of like that. There are so many homes and neighborhoods available at great prices. How can a person decide on what to choose? If you are in the market for a new home, how can you avoid being mesmerized by the 33 flavors of homes available to you? Before you start looking, know what you need! Answer some questions before you go. The first answer you need is to the question of what you can afford. Here are a few others to consider:
- How big of a home do we need?
- Will three bedrooms and two bathrooms work? Or do we need more?
- How many square feet of air-conditioned space do we need?
- What size lot do we need?
- Do we want a large lot?
- Are we interested in a small lot?
- How much yard work am I willing to do?
- Are we interested in a townhome or condominium?
- What schools are nearby?
Once you’ve established your needs and balanced them with your wants, your Realtor® can focus the search on that target. Your Realtor® will preview a selected group of homes before spending your time in actually visiting everything in the mix. You should be able to find your home within 5 to 10 homes that you visit.
Remember Baskin – Robbins? I got sick sampling as many flavors as I could and never bought one scoop. Avoid the stomach-ache in your search by knowing what you want before you go to market.
Looking to make a change?
Spring is in the air and temperatures are rising in the Lowcountry! We are enjoying great weather and that changes our mood for the better. We get out of doors more to play and have fun. The temperature also improves the real estate market around this time of year.
Families who have planned to move will start looking for their next home now, so that they can be moved in time for the next school year. They want their children to get acquainted with their new surroundings and meet their new neighbors. We are seeing and increase in people looking for new homes.
Getting in the game early might be your best strategy if you want the best prices and interest rates. Our area, Charleston, SC, has been identified by Moody’s as one of their top 5 areas were home prices will increase in 2010, so this is a great time to take advantage of the market before price begin to rise. Mortgage interest rates are still low, but how long that will last is anyone’s guess.
As real estate professionals,we can help you find the right combination that will put you in the neighborhood you want, in a home that meets your needs, and at a price you can afford.
Can you qualify for this home?
Are you looking for a new home? Today’s real estate market can be intimidating and deciding to buy a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. For most of us it will mean that we will need to apply for a mortgage. That can be a daunting task but it does not have to be if you understand what is important.
Your mortgage broker will help you through the process and will likely help you to understand that there are some guidelines that will be used to determine how much you can borrow. Generally, there are two basics guidelines that your mortgage broker will consider:
- Will you mortgage payment fall within 25-28% of your gross monthly income? That payment typically includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI).
- Additionally, your monthly expenses should not exceed 33 to 38%.
I am not a mortgage broker, so these are general guidelines based on my personal experiences. You situation is different and your mortgage broker will help you to understand the specifics in your own case.
Other factors that will decide your ability to qualify for a home loan. Your credit history, income, assets, and the home that you intend to purchase all have a bearing on the amount of loan you can get.
Can I afford this home?
Before you start looking for your first home, or your next home, you need to be able to answer the question “How Much Home Can I Afford?” Looking for a home before you know that answer can be frustrating and a waste of your time. If you will have to take out a mortgage, you need to determine how much of a loan you qualify to make.
How much money do you have for a down payment?
What is your current income?
What is your debt?
What other liabilities do you have?
What assets do you have?
A home is likely the most valuable asset you will have. It is a big decision and a very important one. Emotions are involved, but this is a business decision and part of your investment strategy. Before you make any decisions, understand what you can afford.
Work with a reputable mortgage broker to determine what size loan you qualify to obtain. Once you take this step you will be able to focus your search on homes that are within your price range. This will save time and energy looking at properties that are beyond your means.