Archives for the month of: November2013

Thanksgiving comes late this year, which means a shorter-than-usual holiday shopping season. If you’re not the type to buy gifts throughout the year, getting an early start on holiday shopping can help ensure you have enough time to find gifts for everyone on your list, and perhaps, most importantly, save money.Shopping frenzy

Here are three things to do now to save money and time this holiday season:

Create a list (and budget) for everyone on your list

Greet the holiday season with cheer by keeping an organized list of names of everyone you need to shop for and an estimated budget for each. From family and friends to hair stylists and teachers, more names will likely appear on your list than you originally planned. Holiday shopping can be overwhelming, but if you approach it with an organized plan, you’re likely to avoid overspending and can better stick to your budget. Gift cards are a great option this year, since they are the top gift people want to give and receive, according to a recent shopping survey from Discover.

Savvy shopping tip: Look into your credit card rewards programs to see if you can cash in your accumulated rewards for gift cards, some of which are offered at a discount. Redeeming rewards for store gift cards is one of the easiest and most valuable ways to save cash, which means you won’t need to reach as deep into your pockets this season.

Do your research on sales and promotions

From gifts to groceries, holiday shopping includes a wide range of items, so it’s important to try to find the best prices on everything. According to the survey, Americans are most influenced by sales and promotions when it comes to their holiday spending plans. In fact, 70 percent of consumers are planning to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Whether you’re brave enough to face the crowds on Black Friday or prefer the convenience of Cyber Monday, shopping these big sales is a great way to stick to your budget and make a large dent in your holiday shopping list.

Doing your homework before making holiday purchases can also help you save even more. Price monitoring sites, like PriceGrabber, can compare and contrast prices for more than 1 million items, including electronics, appliances and clothing, and can be accessed right from your mobile device. If you’re shopping online, your credit card may offer extra rewards on online purchases this season that’ll help you save money on holiday gifts.

Savvy shopping tip: Mark your calendars with the dates of big sales and keep coupons in your wallet so you can use them at a moment’s notice. If you’re shopping online, do a quick search for coupon codes that provide extra discounts, as well as free shipping or gift wrap.

Use credit card benefits and rewards to save extra cash

Whether you prefer to shop in-store or online, credit cards can enhance your savings and provide added value to your shopping. Many credit card companies provide rebates, rewards and discounts on holiday essentials – at no added cost. Once the hustle and bustle of the season is over, you might find an item you want to return, but what happens if your purchase is no longer eligible? You won’t have to write it off as a loss if the purchase was made with a credit card that offers a return guarantee.

Savvy shopping tip: Use a credit card that provides added security and purchase protection including warranties and return guarantees that will help you save in the long run.

Taking a little extra time to shop smart and plan ahead will help you save and stay organized while shopping for holiday gifts and essentials. You may be surprised by how many resources are available to help stretch your budget further this holiday season.

If you’re shopping for a home this holiday season, contact a professional NEW HOME RESOURCE agent for all of your needs!  Let Broker Joanna Piette, Realtors Denise Moreno Thrasher, Evelyn “Beng” Kern, Jessica O’Brien, Lance Partin or Kathy Paterniti be your guide!

ChristmasFireplace_ClipArtThe holidays are near and we’re spreading the cheer with some simple decorations that can brighten up your home for the holiday season.

For your windows, hanging wreaths with red-berries or lights can brighten up the room and can be used all year long! It’s a cost-efficient way to showcase large windows and the front of your home without the hassle of standing on ladders or using lots of power tools.

For the halls, attaching garland over entryways or along stairways can accent the room. Another tip is to use tiny branches, small lights, bells or ribbons to bring life and create a focal point for the room. Similarly, you can also outline mirrors or doorframes with these accents.

The fireplace can be showcased with your favorite holiday figurine, a basket of pinecones, and greenery to create a winter wonderland for you and your guests to enjoy.

The outside of the home sets the tone for your house. Whether you like to have Santa Claus riding a Harley or a showcase of lights set to music, it’s important to consider having a succinct theme and not to overwhelm the outside of the house. Sticking with simpWreath_ClipArtle decorations are not only more cost efficient, but you also don’t risk the chance of something getting broken or damaged.

So here’s to the holidays and to homes that make us feel like we are living in our own winter fairytale.

If you’re looking for a new home or wanting to sell your current one, contact a NEW HOME RESOURCE professional Realtor® today at 702-365-1000. Broker Joanna Piette, Denise Moreno Thrasher, Evelyn “Beng” Kern, Jessica O’Brien, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are at your service!

ForSale_ClipArtThe economy has been on the road to recovery and this past April, United States home resales rose to the highest they have been in three and a half years. The National Association of Realtors® said that existing home sales increased nationally by 0.6 percent equating to an annual rate of 4.97 million units. This is the highest level that has been reported since November of 2009.

It appears that sellers are entering back into the market and are attracted by the rising prices.  This is a strong indicator of the economy’s upheaval and it is predicted that it will only continue to get better and to grow. Even with the rising prices in housing, more sellers have been entering the market and lifting the inventory of unsold homes by nearly 11.9%.

Although these increases are signs of a healthier economy, the National Association of Realtors® says the national statistics still fall short of what is considered to be a “healthy balance” in the market. In April, it reached a 5.2 months’ supply. To be considered a healthy balance in supply and demand, the housing market needs to be at 6.0 months’ supply. A monetary policy put in place by the Federal Reserve is helping the housing market back up to its healthy state.

Our agents are here to assist you in making your home buying or selling a seamless and easy process. With the housing markets on the rise, having an agent you can trust and rely on will be more important. That’s where we come in: to get you there first!

If you’re looking for a new home or wanting to sell your current one, contact a NEW HOME RESOURCE professional Realtor® today at 702-365-1000. Broker Joanna Piette, Denise Moreno Thrasher, Evelyn “Beng” Kern, Jessica O’Brien, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are at your service!

Recovery to Continue in 2014, Says NAR; Rates and Home Prices Predicted to Rise

By Nick Caruso

NAR.jpg (426x640)

The real estate market will continue its road to recovery in 2014, with home prices rising 6 percent and mortgage rates hitting 5.4 percent. In addition, demand is predicted to plateau, all according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of Research for the National Association of REALTORS®, who presented his 2014 market forecast during last week’s REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

Other factors aim to set the market back on the right path. Although there could be a possible negative impact due to rising mortgage rates, job creation and loosening underwriting standards should balance out 2014’s sales volume.

“There were two million jobs created in the past few months and we’ll see the same next year,” says Yun. “These people could potentially enter the market.”

Yun does not see, however, an increase in unit sales nationwide, as inventory levels remain an issue to keep an eye on. Currently, the nation is under one million and this number needs to increase 50-60 percent in order to get back to normal numbers.

“I don’t foresee that next year, but maybe we can at least make up half the needed gain to steadily reduce the inventory pressure,” he says.

While existing home sales are expected to remain flat at roughly 5.1 million units, new homes could rise by 25 percent from 430,000 to 510,000 next year.  This part of the market is still in recovery due to the difficulties for smaller builders to obtain financing. This should continue easing throughout the next year.

When prompted further about how the rising mortgage rate will affect sales and the market, Yun responded: “Assuming nothing changes further, I believe it takes about 10 percent right off the top in terms of people who qualified this year versus the same people who would qualify next year. If need be, NAR will be pushing for new legislation to clarify what QM and QRM are so that we don’t get hit by that 10 percent.”

With the housing market is recovering for most Americans, homeowners will be more concerned than ever about their home values in 2014. Actual price increases for 2013 was 11 percent, which is now expected to be a six percent rise next year. The way to relieve home price pressure is for more inventory to come into the market, says Yun.

“We were surprised by how fast inventory would decline, but there was always a fresh set of inventory trickling in as it went out,” he says.

Overall in 2013, investor activity has been normal, but numbers slightly declined. Though, more small-time investors entered the market, staying one step ahead of the population, consistently punching numbers to see what transactions made the most sense for them. “If investors remain active, it implies that housing is a good buy,” says Yun.

Despite some cautionary areas, the real estate market has its beacons of potential. The industry may not be back to its best numbers yet, but we are still heading in the right direction and making our way down that road to recovery.

“We’ve had a decent year this year and next year will be roughly the same.”

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Are Dated Appraisals Holding Back the Recovery?

By Andrew King

Some of the most beaten down real estate markets are finally experiencing that long-awaited bounce back from the crash. Cash offers are yielding more sales. Pent-up demand is driving prices higher. But something’s missing.
Brokers in the faster markets, such as Nevada, California and Florida—where the soaring prices almost defied gravity leading up to the crash five years ago—are finding it hard to move all these homes, even though there are plenty of willing buyers. While the homes are available, the mortgages are not. More specifically, they say, the appraisals are not.
While a would-be buyer could be more than qualified to pay back a $1 million loan for an Arizona McMansion, in many cases, the banks can’t sell them that mortgage—even if the loan officer wants to—because the appraiser won’t sign off on that $1 million valuation.
“It happens a lot in an escalating market,” says Gino Blefari, president and CEO of a brokerage in the red-hot San Francisco Bay area. “You have to go back to the appraiser and say, ‘look, there were 27 offers on the property. Now that we’re having more sales, we’re better.’”
It’s becoming a heated issue across the country as low appraisals continue to squash real estate deals that already have the blessing of would-be buyers, sellers and banks.
At the heart of all the tension are the comparable properties, or “comps,” that appraisers use to base their valuation. The system is designed to keep everything fair and square for the buyer and seller while limiting the banks’ risk. However, conservative appraisals based on the most recent sales—deals made prior to the bounce—can inadvertently stall an otherwise healthy recovery.
To get around these appraisals, more and more buyers are using cash for the purchase and paying more than what they could have gotten with a mortgage. The practice has caught on so drastically—with cash deals accounting for 40 percent of all sales—that the latest national data shows a major reversal in the price of cash deals as they relate to mortgages.
This influx of cash deals, however, doesn’t always make it into an appraiser’s comp pool, skewing market realities and becoming a point of controversy.
“Cash investors are very aggressive,” says Mark Stark, CEO of a real estate group that has seen a huge increase in all-cash deals in Arizona and Nevada. While all-cash deals have usually comprised 7-10 percent of his business, he says that over the last 18 months, they have grown to 21.5 percent. A lot of this, he says, is due to institutional investors who have come into the market to take advantage of the low prices.
Speculation, bidding wars and rising home prices are generally seen as signs of a healthy economy, but Stark thinks that too many borrowers are being left out of the market due to overly conservative appraisals. The problem, he says, is that many appraisers are not taking these cash deals into account when they determine the value of a property—even though they are perfectly valid comps.
Appraisers will often throw out unrealistically low sale prices, such as those that result from a foreclosure or an arm’s-length transaction, when conducting an appraisal. They also throw out prices that are unrealistically high. But many real estate agents don’t think this should include cash deals from institutional investors.
John Brenan, director of appraisal issues at The Appraisal Foundation, a private nonprofit recognized by the government as the source for appraisal standards and recommendations, says that while the appraisal industry is regulated, there are still a lot of gray areas when it comes to comps.
He says that high comps should be thrown out only if they don’t truly reflect fair market value. An institutional investor should not be disqualified as a comp just because they’re a fund or someone who is looking to lease or flip the property. Brenan says an unusually high cash sale would get thrown out if someone paid significantly higher than what others recently paid for surrounding properties without a good reason.
“If someone paid an extra $50,000 on a property because it’s the exact color they wanted,” says Brenan, “that would not be a realistic example of the market and shouldn’t be counted as a comparable property in the appraisal.”
On the other hand, appraisers shouldn’t be using foreclosures or REO properties as comps either, Brenan says. Still, a block full of short sales can’t just be ignored when gauging the marketplace. “That (bad) sale in and of itself does not make a market, but it does play a role,” explains Brenan.
Brenan adds that appraisers should be looking at the most recent data available, but that might not necessarily include current events. Part of the tension has to do with the fact that appraisals represent a fixed point in time—what a house is worth on a particular day. It doesn’t always leave room for the greater economic trend.
“The appraiser is working off historical data,” Blefari says. “If it’s a cash deal, they should use it as a comp.”
Blefari emphasizes that the market has so much pent-up demand right now that it will drive prices higher through the end of the year and beyond. He says the recovery is completely genuine and appraisals need to reflect that.
Andrew King is an award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience with the Gannett newspaper company, appearing in The Journal News (Westchester, N.Y.), Asbury Park Press and USA Today. He also contributes to The Real Deal, and

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved

Since September was National Home Furnishings Month, let’s take a look at some of the hottest trends in home furnishings for the fall and winter.

Lifestyle blogger Amy Henderson says keeping things eco-friendly is a growing trend as more people look to reduce their carbon footprints. Henderson says look for furniture composed of repurposed materials to limit the amount of waste you’re contributing to the planet.

She notes that the farmhouse look is falling back into style among many homeowners, but combining different decor is still a popular theme among professional interior designers. Whether you want to go more rustic in your contemporary kitchen or insert vintage decor into your modern bedroom, Henderson says take this concept to heart as you work.

Then there is the color – she says the right hues can instantly transform your space from looking dated to fresh. That being said, bright and vivid colors are the name of the game.

Specifically, she says, these tones are being seen in furniture – not just wall paint – which gives flair and visual interest to living areas that could use it. Henderson says before you dismiss paint swatches in bright blue or mellow yellow, think about what these hues could do for your home.

When it comes to furnishings, the folks at Stony Creek Furniture say smaller scaled furniture is very hot right now. And while it’s small on size, it’s huge on style and functionality.

They are also loving accent chairs – and advising clients to go a little wild on the pattern – maybe a dramatic black and white graphic. Designer Comer Wear of Century Furniture told Furniture Today magazine earlier this year that today’s market offers an accent chair for every setting.

“Chairs are a perfect way to include a fabric that you don’t want to show in a big way,” he said. “We style and put together our showroom settings so our dealers feel comfortable with mixing and matching, but we also push the envelope at market to show unusual pairings of fabrics and frames.”

Office furniture and desks, are also very popular since so many people work at home need a functional and stylish desk. The marketplace has answered with myriad choices in every style imaginable.

If you’re looking for a fabulous new home of your own, call a professional NEW HOME RESOURCE agent today at 702-365-1000!     Joanna Piette, Denise Moreno Thrasher, Evelyn “Beng” Kern, Lance Partin, Jessica O’Brien and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

By John Voket

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved