Think You Cannot Afford to Buy in the Bay Area – Think Again…

When the SF Chronicle published that in order to buy a home in the Silicon Valley a buyer needs to earn a minimum of $150,000 a year, the groan was heard across the Bay Area as 1st & 2nd time homebuyers cringed when they looked at their w-2’s.  Trust me – I know the feeling.  Born and raised in beautiful San Carlos I knew it was only a matter of time before our property values would tip $1,000,000.  Of course I was just 16 when I made this prediction and sadly no one listens to the young.

Now that I am a professional Realtor, going on 11 years in this competitive industry, people start to listen.  Finally!

Yes, in order to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath home on a 5000 sqft lot in just about any town on the peninsula it is going to take a lot of pretty pennies.  But before the 1st and 2nd time homebuyers give up – lend me your ear for just a second.

As a 2nd time homebuyer myself.  (Just sold my 1st place last year), I’ve been saving my money like crazy – and it doesn’t seem to add up to much when homes in the area are selling for over their listed price with multiple offers.  Trust me, I feel the sadness so many buyers are feeling right now.  However there is hope!  We just need to change our goals.

So the Silicon Valley is getting very very pricey.  When clients think about buying their first place, they often think of buying the home they plan on living in for the next 10 years.  Which is a wise plan, but if you are not raking in the $150,000 income – don’t think you cannot buy.  Just think outside the box.

I recently sat down with my broker to chat about my plans to buy another property and the sentiment I’ve heard from prospective home buyers around the peninsula.  His advice – buy investment properties.  Maybe not in the immediate area, but down South or the East Bay where there are MANY well-priced opportunities to buy.  So you might not be planning to live in Antioch – but there are many people who are and buying an investment property gets your foot in the Real Estate door.  Yes, you will become a landlord with home responsibilities.  But then again, if you wanted to buy a home in the first place you are pretty much signing up for a lifetime of being your own landlord and caring for any property you purchase.  So the flip side here is – you are the landlord and you reap the benefit of INCOME on your investment property.

That income can be used to buy another property.  Once you become an investor, you can 10-31 exchange one investment for another, convert it to a primary residence (consult with your tax advisor for restrictions) or simply continue to pay the mortgage and keep collecting your income.

Don’t have enough money to invest by yourself?  Find other like-minded individuals with capital and form an investment group.  There are some restrictions so I do advise you consult a Realtor (I am always available)  and a Real Estate Attorney to draft an investment agreement.

The benefits of buying your first investment property are similar to buying your own home.  There are tax incentives and there are headaches.  But in the game of Real Estate – the only way you can advance is to become a player in the game.

What are your thoughts on investing in Real Estate or forming an Investment Group – I’d love to hear YOUR opinions!

I wrote this article – thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

 

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 01499008

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10 Things Today’s Buyers Look for in a Home

I love sharing interesting articles I’ve read along the way.  As a full time Realtor, and almost a Millennial – I enjoyed learning what my clients are looking for and why.  Enjoy!

10 Things Today’s Buyers Look for in a Home

While David Letterman’s Top 10 lists generally culminate in a No. 1 ranking, the following list includes in no particular order 10 things that are important to buyers today, especially Millennials who represent a significant buyer niche in today’s market.

Quality of the neighborhood – The National Association of Realtor’s 2012 Profile of Buyers and Sellers revealed that neighborhoods are really important to buyers, but that neighborhood choice varies by household composition.

Convenience to job – Commuting is a necessary evil, but homes that are close to work enhance work-life balance, a growing priority for many Americans, especially Millennials.

Overall affordability of homes – With job markets tight and retirement funds depleted or eroded thanks to the Great Recession, it has never been more important to keep housing related costs as low as possible, ideally no more than one third of your pre-tax income.

Quality of schools – A recent survey by realtor.com revealed that nearly 45 percent of today’s buyers are willing to pay a premium for quality schools

Homes suited for the next 15 years – Just five years ago, buyers were looking to stay in their home about 10 years. Today, buyers expect to stay closer to 15, so it’s important to find a home that can support lifestyles as they evolve through that time period.

A mortgage – In today’s tight credit environment, getting a mortgage can be a challenge. Buyers should be willing to consider homes below what they may quality for in order to bump up the loan to value ratio.

Energy efficiency – The National Association of Homebuilders surveyed buyers to see what was most important to them in new home construction and energy efficiency topped the list. Four of the top most wanted features involve saving energy: 94 percent of home buyers want energy-star rated appliances, 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the whole home, 89 percent want energy-star rated windows, and 88 percent want ceiling fans.

Open floor plans – Spaces that are great for entertaining mean quality time with friends and family, something especially important to Gen Y.

High ceilings – Taller ceilings are not only aesthetically pleasing in that they impart a grandness to the home, they also promote greater air circulation and more natural light than lower ceilings.

Technology – Can you run your home from a cell phone? Then market to a Millennial, who prizes a homes’ technological amenities prized over curb appeal.

This post was originally published on the ERA Real Estate blog, Owning the Fence

I read this article at: http://rismedia.com/2013-10-15/10-things-todays-buyers-look-for-in-a-home/2/

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

Selling season is coming upon us – if you are thinking about selling your home – contact us sooner than later.  Much to do!  650-568-5522 or info@TheCatonTeam.com

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are good that you’re seeking a lifestyle level-up: you want to bring your home’s size, shape, features, location, maintenance and financial obligations into better alignment with your life – or your future. Making sure that you execute a home sale that actually does align your home with your life requires a lot of prep work.

For most home sellers, it’s the property preparation work that is top of mind. You’ve gotta pick an agent, let them come and tell you all the junk that has to go, pack up that stuff and then let the painters and housekeepers do their job. Then, and only then, the stagers can begin, telling you to pack up all the rest of your stuff so they can create a really clutter-free, updated, neutrally-chic vignette of an irresistible life in your home for the next folks. (Be forewarned – sellers have been known to love their post-staging house so much they question their decision to move!)

But there are a number of financial prep steps that also need to happen to ensure your home’s sale actually does improve your life the way you hope it will, without creating any surprise dramas or burdens. Here are four of those money-do’s to add into your list of home sale prep steps:

1. Get clear on your current credit status. I know, I know – checking credit is an ever-present item on a home buyer’s prep checklist. But if you’re selling a home, chances are good that you’ll want to buy a replacement one. The best time to spot credit glitches and hitches – bills you need to pay down, rogue errors and the like – is not when your current home is on the escrow countdown. If you’re thinking you want to sell your home this year, now is the time to check your credit, spot issues and begin fixing them.

Some credit rehabilitation projects take months, even a year, to complete – so the earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have on your side. And this advice is for everyone – even if you think you have stellar credit, check your reports far enough in advance that you can spot and dispute any erroneous information that might have found its way there. Get started by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – and revisit this post for an even deeper dive into what you’re looking for, and what you need to do.

2. Scope out your minimum desired decrease – or maximum tolerance for increase – in housing costs. Often times, we eyeball these things: rates are still good, you just got a raise, you can well afford your current payment, looks like your home is worth more now and those houses up the hill don’t cost that much more – time to move up, right?

Maybe so. But maybe no. There’s a lot more to account for in this equation. You need to factor in what the actual increase in your mortgage payment will be, but also how much you’ll net on your home, how much cash you’ll need to close on your next one, and how much your utilities, property taxes, insurance and other home-related expenses might increase if you move up.

Same with downsizing: if you downsize from a home you’ve live in for decades to a brand new, but smaller, condo – you could actually see an increase in property taxes in some areas and get an HOA bill you never had before, to boot. By no means does that mean it’s not the right move to make: the increased bills might be offset by decreased heating, cooling and maintenance, and the fact is that the smaller, new place might just be the right size and style for the next stage of your life.

But you can’t know that’s the fact until you have clarity about how much you can truly, sustainably, wisely afford to spend on your next move. To get this clarity before you list, you’ll need to enlist

▪   your agent – who can help you understand what sort of downsize or move-up property you can get at various price points

▪   your mortgage broker – they can help you understand various financial scenarios for purchase prices, down payments and monthly payments – including property taxes

▪   your tax advisor – who can help you understand the differential impact of various next-home scenarios on your income tax situation, and

▪   your financial planner – if you don’t have one, it might be worth engaging one to help you make a wise financial move as you carry out your next home move.  A fee-based financial planner can help you get clarity around your current income and expenses, your debt, as well as your savings and investments – this insight allows you to wisely time your move vis-a-vis your other life and financial goals.

3. Get inspections and key reports in advance (then read them). The potential for big, bad financial surprises is the scariest element of any real estate transaction. And when you’re selling your home, that potential comes in the form of surprise property problems that complicate your sale, surprise liens and taxes that must be paid to close the deal and even surprise HOA problems that don’t manifest fully until the buyer gets HOA disclosures.

One way to limit your financial exposure to these sorts of surprises is to simply decide not to wait to gather this information until a buyer is on the hook. In many markets, it’s now standard operating procedure for sellers to actually have home, pest and/or roof inspections – and any governmentally-mandated inspections – conducted before the house even goes on the market. This empowers you, the seller, to either begin conducting repairs or to fully disclose what needs doing and list your home in as-is condition. You might not get the same price for it as you would have without the reports, but you will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations and falling out of escrow – things that are common when a buyer gets a mid-transaction surprise of negative property condition reports. Ask your agent for advice about whether obtaining any or all of these inspection reports in advance makes sense in your situation.

Additionally, work with your agent to get early copies of your home’s preliminary escrow report and HOA disclosures. If you have outstanding liens or there are HOA issues that will make it difficult to carry out a sale, better to know – and solve for – them sooner than later.

4.  Create a financial plan for your home’s sale. “It takes money to make money,” they say. What they didn’t say is that it also takes money to turn your home into the cash your equity represents. So I’ll say it:

  • When you bought your home, the seller paid both agents’ commissions. Now that you’re selling, it’s your turn – make sure you calculate the average 5-6% of the purchase price that you’ll need to cover your listing agent’s work, and the buyer’s agent’s, too.
  • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand getting it market-ready, whether you decide to do a DIY-fix-it sweep or to hire the best stager in town to showcase your showplace.
  • Depending on how much financial margin you have – or need – and on what your advance inspections revealed (if you did them – see #3, above), you might want to build in a line item for a repair credit to offset the cost of any repairs that come up during escrow.
  • Your agent can help you project other costs of selling your home, like property transfer taxes and paying for the buyer’s home warranty – costs customarily covered by the seller vary widely state-by-state, and even across counties within the same state.  Your escrow holder and agent can also get you up-to-speed on precisely how much of your home’s sale price will go to pay off your mortgage(s), property taxes and any other liens.

Your final money-do is to actually document your financial plan and budget for selling your home. Many agents will sit right down with you and help you do this; if yours will, take them up on the offer. It also creates a perfect time and space to get educated about the flow of the home selling process and standard bargaining practices in your area. The goal is to get a clear, concrete understanding of the dollars that will flow in and out during this major life change, so you can make clear, calm decisions throughout the process that set you up for success long after closing.

SELLERS: What money-dos did you fail to do before you sold your home?  Any advice for sellers-to-be?

I read this article at:  http://www.trulia.com/tips/2014/01/4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home/?ecampaign=cnews201401C&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home%2F

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

Check us out on Instagram

I love snapping photos and having a great camera on my phone has made it even easier.  I truly enjoy using Instagram to share personal photos and find inspiration.  So I thought I would combine my love of Real Estate with my love of photos and make The Caton Team Instagram page.

So far I’ve posted pictures of some of the lovely homes I’d have the joy of participating in as a Realtor.  I plan on posting photos about the community, favorite restaurants and a hashtag of #onlyin_____ to highlight local points of interest.

I will also post some photos from my personal collection under #sabrinacaton and my Instagram collages under #sabrinacatoncollage – so make sure to download the Instagram App (It’s free in the App Store on your iThing) and enjoy!

Enjoy my journey through pictures at http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 0149900

Open House Saturday 1:30-4:30 – 25 Southgate Street in Redwood City

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Open Saturday March 22, 2014 from 1:30-4:30 by The Caton Team

From curb appeal to the interior this charming 3 bedroom home boasts timeless architecture & design elements built in 1937 on a 7800 SF lot and offering 1420 SF of living space Natural light beautiful beam ceiling refinished hardwood floors elegant trim and molding freshly painted good sized remodeled kitchen w/granite counters and breakfast bar formal living room w/fireplace separate dining room

Offered at $998,000 by Diane Viviani with Prudential California Realty
25 Southgate Street Redwood City CA

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 01499008

Adjustable Rate Mortgages – Making a Comeback

When I read this article, I knew I had to share it. After the real estate bust – so many people turned conservative. But now with prices steadily rising on the San Francisco Peninsula – we’re seeing the adjustable rate mortagage make a comeback – enjoy this article…

Adjustable-rate mortgages regain popularity as prices, rates rise
In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages. That’s double the rate of a year earlier.

When Michael Shuken recently bought his family’s first home, a four-bedroom in Mar Vista, his adjustable-rate mortgage helped them stay on the pricey Westside.
For now, his interest-only loan costs him about 35% less per month than a 30-year fixed mortgage, he said. But he’ll have a much bigger monthly bill in 10 years, when the loan terms require him to start paying off principal at potentially high rates.
“What is going to happen if I can’t restructure my loan and extend it? Are interest rates going to be 7%, 8%?” the 43-year-old commercial real estate broker said. “The home is big enough for me to grow into. The question is, will I be able to?”
Adjustable-rate mortgages, which all but vanished during the housing bust, are again gaining popularity. Home prices and interest rates rose last year, and adjustable mortgages can help keep the monthly payment affordable — at least temporarily. Such mortgages offer a lower initial rate, but that rate can rise over time with market changes.
More homeowners in Southern California were willing to take that risk last year. In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. That’s double the rate of the same month a year earlier, according to San Diego-based research firm DataQuick.
“You saw a big swing in people taking adjustable versus fixed rates” when prices and rates shot up last year, said John Ciolino, a senior loan consultant with Luther Burbank Mortgage.
With interest rates expected to rise this year, the proportion of ARMs could increase further.
“Generally, as rates increase ARMs become more popular,” said Guy D. Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.
Last week, lenders offered, on average, a 3% interest rate for a 5/1-year ARM — which means a borrower receives that rate for five years, before the loan starts to adjust annually with the market. That’s compared with 4.48% for a 30-year fixed loan, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Mortgage brokers say borrowers who plan to move after a few years, or those with considerable, but irregular, income could be well-suited for an ARM.
“A big percentage of my clients are freelance employees in entertainment,” Ciolino said. “So they are going job to job, and they are concerned with having a higher mortgage payment.”
ARMs have been most popular in the region’s higher-priced communities, such as Newport Beach, La Jolla and Pacific Palisades.
That’s a contrast to last decade’s housing bubble, when lenders flooded working-class communities with extremely risky mortgages. One such product — known as the option ARM — allowed borrowers to pay even less than the interest owed, swelling the size of the loan as unpaid interest was added on to principal.
In the first three quarters of 2006, the 16 ZIP Codes with the most ARMs were all in relatively affordable, working-class communities in the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire, according to DataQuick. Many borrowers bet home prices would continue to rise, allowing them to easily refinance or sell before the first adjustment. Many got burned when home prices plummeted, preventing any refinancing.
It’s unclear whether such thinking has changed, but the loans have. The crash stung lenders as well, making them skittish about offering the riskiest products.
Largely gone are option ARMs and loans with very low “teaser” rates that quickly exploded into payments that borrowers couldn’t afford. Lenders during the bubble years also qualified borrowers based on teaser rates, increasing the likelihood of default.
“The ARM products that remain in the marketplace today … are really venerable, long-dated products,” the most popular of which is the 5/1-year ARM, said Keith T. Gumbinger, vice president of financial publisher HSH.com.
New federal regulations taking effect this month should further curtail some of the riskier ARMs, including interest-only products and those with balloon payments.
Adjustable-rate loans may work for some buyers, such as a family in which one parent will return to work after staying home with the kids, said Gary Kalman, an executive vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending.
“I don’t think the product, in and of itself, is inherently a bad product,” he said.
Of course, rates could adjust downward in favorable market conditions. But ARMs are still riskier than fixed-rate loans — especially when rates remain at historical lows but are expected to rise.
Shuken, the Mar Vista borrower, says he understands the risks. He plans to pay down some principal before such payments are required, he said. And he’ll start planning years before the interest rate adjusts to either restructure the loan or sell the house.
“If people aren’t thinking about that,” he said, “they need to.”

By Andrew Khouri
I read this article at:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-arm-loans-20140102,0,3920478.story#ixzz2pdrofw8K

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.
Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com
Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200
Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App: http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp
Visit our Website at: http://thecatonteam.com/
Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834
Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city
Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw
Check out my photos on Instagram: http://instagram.com/sunshineagogo
Check out our pins on Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/
Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro
Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com
Thanks for reading – Sabrina
The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors
Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

Want to Sell Your Home? The Spring Selling Season May Be Coming Early This Year

I enjoy sharing articles instead of writing my own just so I’m not stuck up on my soap box.  But this article really got my blood pumping.  The local San Francisco Peninsula Real Estate Market has been amazing to watch this year.  San Carlos is one of the hottest cities on the Pen and it’s amazing how quickly homes are selling right now.  So if you are thinking of selling – give The Caton Team a call, and if you’re thinking about buying – we’re here for you as well.  Enjoy this and let me know your thoughts!

 

Want to Sell Your Home? The Spring Selling Season May Be Coming Early This Year

 

If you’re considering selling your home in 2014, now is the time to get ready. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now.

Why? Because buyers are already on the hunt.

The Internet is the new curb appeal
Last month will likely be remembered for polar vortexes, widespread snow, and historic traffic jams. Lost in the shuffle is that while American’s were sitting inside trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.

Experian Marketing Services released its monthly most visited real estate website rankings earlier this week for web traffic in January. The results are eye popping.

Web traffic to real estate websites was up 25% from December to 364 million visits. Zillow (NASDAQ: Z  ) led the way with over 57 million visits and Trulia (NYSE: TRLA  ) limped into second at over 30 million visits.

If you’re considering selling and your home is not yet online, then every day you’re missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.

Even more incentive for buyers
Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.

Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.

For example, a traditional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738.

For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $22 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. Over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower $7,963!

For buyers, the time is now!
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.

According to CoreLogic and reported by Realtor.org, home prices in 2013 saw the largest percentage increase across the board since 2005, north of 11% as of December. The appreciation was most pronounced in the states that were hit hardest in the real estate collapse: Nevada rose 23.9%, California 19.7%, and Michigan 14% rounding out the top three.

Buyers are ready. Are you?
The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you’re planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don’t miss out on the perfect, well qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long.

 

I read this article at:  http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/15/want-to-sell-your-home-the-spring-selling-season-m.aspx

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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