Real Estate 2018: What to Expect

As we head into a new year, the most common question we receive is, “What’s the outlook for real estate in 2018?”

It’s not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners also want reassurance their home’s value is going up. The good news is that a strong U.S. economy, coupled with low unemployment rates, is expected to drive continued real estate growth in 2018. However, changes on the horizon could significantly impact you if you plan to buy, sell or refinance this year.

HOME VALUES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE

Get ready for another strong year! U.S. home values and sales volume will continue to rise in 2018.

Experts agree that home prices will increase in 2018, but predict a slower rate of appreciation than 2017, which clocked in at nearly 7 percent nationwide. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts a growth rate this year of 5.5 percent,1 while Freddie Mac’s September Outlook Report forecasts a rate of 4.9 percent. Either way, all indicators point towards continued growth in 2018.2

What does it mean for you? If you’re a current homeowner, congratulations! Real estate proves once again to be a solid investment over the long term. And if you’re considering selling this year, there’s never been a better time. Contact us to request a free Comparative Market Analysis to find out how much you can expect your home to sell for under current market conditions.

If you’re in the market to buy this year, there’s good news for you, too. Although prices continue to rise, the rate of appreciation has slowed. Still, don’t wait any longer. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more six months from now than you would today. Call us to setup a free, no-obligation property search and get notified about listings that meet your criteria as soon as (or before) they hit the market.

NEW CONSTRUCTION WILL MAKE REAL ESTATE MORE ACCESSIBLE

Lack of inventory in the housing market has been a primary impediment to homeownership for many Americans. “Ten years ago, the problem in the housing market was lack of buyers,” says Yun. “Today, the problem is lack of sellers. Inventory levels are near historic lows.”3

Yun also notes, “The lack of inventory has pushed up home prices by 48 percent from the low point in 2011, while wage growth over the same period has been only 15 percent. Despite improving confidence [in 2017] from renters that now is a good time to buy a home, the inability for them to do so is causing them to miss out on the significant wealth gains that homeowners have benefitted from through rising home values.”1

The good news? Yun expects a 9.4 percentage point increase in single-family new home construction starts.4

Economists at Freddie Mac make a similar prediction. “Existing home sales are unlikely to increase much going forward. Limited inventory will remain a consistent problem … Growth in home sales will be primarily driven by new home sales, which should continue to grind higher with single-family construction.”2

Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, agrees. “The markets that are going to grow are ones where builders can add that entry level product.”5

What does it mean for you? If you’ve been frustrated by lack of inventory in the past, 2018 may bring new opportunities for you to find a budget-friendly home that suits your needs. Give us a call to discuss options for new construction in our area.

 

MILLENNIALS ARE THE LARGEST GROUP OF HOMEBUYERS

Rising home prices, a sluggish job market, and an increase in student loan debt made homeownership largely unattainable for many millennials in past years. However, there’s significant evidence that this trend is turning around. For the fourth year a row, the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey found that millennials were the largest group of homebuyers.7

As millennials age, they are settling down and having families, which has prompted an increasing demand for larger but affordable homes.

What does it mean for you? If you’re a millennial who is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of neighborhoods in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs.

And if you’re a homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this growing market segment!

 BOOMERANG BUYERS WILL RETURN TO THE MARKET

“Boomerang buyers” comprise the nearly 10 million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales during the housing recession of 2006 to 2014.

According to MyFico.com, a foreclosure remains on a credit report for seven years. It takes many boomerang buyers at least that long to raise their credit score and save up enough cash to qualify for a new mortgage.8

With this “seven-year window” in mind, RealtyTrac predicts that the largest wave of boomerang buyers – more than 1.3 million – will be eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2018.9

Markets likely to see the highest influx of boomerang buyers are those that had a high percentage of foreclosures AND have remained affordable. The majority of boomerang buyers are middle-class Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Expect to see even more competition for entry-level homes in those markets.

What does it mean for you? If you’re a boomerang buyer, we understand your unique circumstances. We can help you navigate the real estate process and write competitive offers that will play to your strengths. Contact us to discuss your options.

 NEW TAX LEGISLATION WILL IMPACT HOMEOWNER DEDUCTIONS

 The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” passed at the end of 2017 nearly doubles the standard deduction, so far fewer Americans are expected to itemize this year. For those who do, however, it could mean less homeowner deductions are available than in the past.

Previously, homeowners could deduct interest paid on the first $1 million of mortgage debt, but that threshold has been lowered to $750,000 for new mortgages. (Existing mortgages will not be impacted.)

Additionally, taxpayers will no longer be able to fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. The new legislation restricts this deduction to $10,000. It also eliminates the deduction for moving expenses (except for members of the Armed Forces) and interest on home equity loans unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.10

It’s yet to be seen how the tax bill will impact the real estate market overall. While some economists predict a price reduction in certain markets, Republican lawmakers project the bill will increase take-home pay and stimulate the economy overall. According to Realtor.com Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, “Some house hunters—particularly wealthy buyers—will see an increase in after-tax income, making an already tough housing market even more competitive. This increased demand could drive prices up even higher than they are already.”11

What does it mean for you? If you’re an existing homeowner, be sure to consult a tax professional if you’re concerned about the impact the new tax bill could have on you.

And if you’re planning to buy or sell this year, we can help you determine how the tax bill could affect demand in your current or target neighborhood and price range.

 

 INTEREST RATES WILL RISE

No one knows exactly what will happen with mortgage rates this year, but the Mortgage Bankers Association anticipates the Federal Reserve will raise rates three times in 2018, with Freddie Mac’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage reaching 4.8 percent by the end of Q4, up from around 4 percent at the end of 2017.12

 Kiplinger.com Economist David Payne also predicts interests rates will rise this year, with short-term rates outpacing long-term rates as the Fed aims to curb inflation in a tightening job market. He predicts the bank prime rate that home equity loans are based on will increase from 4.25 percent to 5 percent by the end of 2018. 13

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy, act now. Rising interest rates will decrease your purchasing power, so act quickly before interest rates go up. Give us a call today to get your home search started.

And if you’re a current homeowner who is considering refinancing or a home equity loan, don’t wait. We can help you estimate your property’s fair market value so you’ll be prepared before contacting a lender.

 WE’RE HERE TO HELP

 While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big-picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market, and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood. If you have specific questions, or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, please give us a call! We’d love to discuss how issues here at home are likely to impact your desire to buy or a sell a home this year.

 

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What Is Your Homes Real Value?

Assessed Value versus Market Value

Posted in General Real Estate, Helpful Tips, House and Home, Local Topics, National Topics, Purchasers, Real Estate News, Real Estate Practices, Selling or Buying a home | Leave a comment

On a more serious note…

Now What?

puppy in shelter

On Thursday I attended a community forum about our local animal shelter, the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA. For years many local folks have been pushing to get this shelter to adopt modern practices which would save more lives. The R-H SPCA has a much higher “euthanasia” rate than many surrounding animal shelters of similar size, type and resources.

At the forum the room was packed, and stories about the shelter’s insularity, apathy, and apparent incompetence poured out. Several former volunteers spoke out, as did well-respected rescue groups the shelter refuses to work with.

The room was electrified when a former employee (who left to go to school) spoke about the dog manager. She stated that the dog manager is abusive toward many of the dogs in her “care”, cursing them and deliberately trying to incite aggression from them so she can label them “dangerous” and put them down.

Why is this being…

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Saving Red

I’m not sure when it happened,  when I knew he was the one.  The only thing I know is that day after day I look at a sea of helpless animals, abused, homeless and mentally shattered.  They are confused, scared, malnourished and unloved and every day I pray for someone to help them, to love them, to give them a home.

The day I saw Red’s picture was no different than any other day.  I sat and looked at him, he was all alone and I couldn’t help but notice the desperate look in his eyes, his poor battered body.   I read the post –   Terrified and only 2 days to find a rescue to get him out.  He only needed a ride to get him out alive.  Dear God please let someone step up and get him.  No healthy adoptable animal deserves to die in a shelter while waiting for someone to come for them.

I keep watching the post, was anyone going to commit?  For heavens sake all he needed was a ride.  Hours go by and I’m still waiting,  watching, still no one, lots of people begging for help but no one has made the commitment to go and get him..  I Google the distance to Henderson NC from Harrisonburg VA –  just in case.  And I kept waiting…. 4.5 hours and I could have him safe and sound in my car. I looked at his face again, at the horrible sores that covered his body.

Finally I posted –  I can go and get him.  There it was done!  My husband was going to kill me but I had committed to go and get this poor boy.   I am going to get Red.

I could barely sleep that night.  What in the world had I gotten myself into this time. I committed to drive  4-1/2 hours to NC to pick up a dog that I knew nothing about.  I had also heard the stories “rescue arrives to pull dog too late”  was I even going to get there in time to make a difference for this poor baby.   I got up before the alarm and was on my way by 5:30, stopping only to get some dog food, treats, a collar, and a leash.  I wanted Red to have some personal belongings  when I picked him up, I wanted him to know he was worth so much more than he had ever been shown, what it felt like to be important; to be loved and to be someones top priority.

My plan was to leave Harrisonburg at 6 am and I could be in Henderson when the shelter opened.  I wasn’t going to take any chances that I would get there and it would be too late. Sometimes messages get crossed and animals are killed simply because someone did not relay the message that a rescue was coming.   So at 6 am on Wednesday morning I leave Harrisonburg, VA heading to Henderson NC.

I hadn’t told my husband my exact plan for the day.  He knew that I was going on a “dog saving mission” but I didn’t mention the small detail that he was located so far away.  I knew he would try to talk my out of it and at I knew it would only end with one of us (him) being mad, my mind was made up and I was not going to be swayed.  I had committed to Red and I was not going to let him down…. no matter what I was going to get him.

I arrived at the shelter in Henderson NC at 10:30 Wednesday morning.  A flood of emotions and thought going through my mind.   I was happy because I knew I would be leaving with a dog that needed my help, I was sad because I would be leaving countless others behind with a very real possibility of being euthanized simply because they didn’t have a home.  I tried hard not to think about the ones that I couldn’t save, only the one that I could.

The first thing I noticed was a sign on the door, “We do not adopt out pit bulls or pit bull mixes”.  Only then did I understand the full extent of Reds predicament.   His adoption status wasn’t posted on Facebook because he was in dire need of medical and the shelter didn’t have the funds to take care of him, or the shelter was overcrowded, or any one of a dozen scenarios as to why he had to be pulled so quickly.  He was a pit bull and without a rescue he would be euthanized solely because of his breed.   Dear Lord how awful to be a pit and end up here.  I could not think about how many others were behind the doors.  I am there to get Red and I could not allow my mind to wonder- to feel the sadness that was already starting to sink in.

The first thing I noticed about Red was a gentleness that I had not expected.  He stood in front of me with his tail tucked, his eyes averted;  He did not move, just stood quietly, waiting.  The second thing I noticed was the horrible open sores on his backside.  They were about 2″ wide and I could literally see into his flesh at least 1/2 inch.   In fact his entire body was covered in scars and sores, half of his ear was missing, either torn or cut and the other one wasn’t much better.  He must have been in terrible pain.  How in the world does a dog get these kinds of wounds.  The Animal Control Officer said they were compression sores, from being kept for very long periods of time in places that were much to small for him, possibly on concrete.

I put his collar around his neck and fastened the leash.  He seemed to understand that I am there to help.  When I moved towards the door he slowly followed.  We were heading towards freedom.   Of course being an unaltered male he made several stops on the way to the car, making sure his scent was scattered between the door and the car.  No mistaking Red had passed through.

The Animal Control Officer picked him up and put him in the back of my car.  Still he made no moves, he just stood there in the back of the car, not sure what he was supposed to do, but seeming not to mind the change of atmosphere, the soft bed that I had made, and the dog treats that I gave him to chew on for the long ride we had ahead.    I started the car and we were on our way.

I did not have a crate to for our trip and I was expecting him to be up and about, trying to climb across the seats, barking, all the things that a dog in need of socialization and attention might do on a first car ride. I was even prepared if necessary to stop and buy a crate at the local Walmart if needed.  So I was really surprised to find Red sound asleep in the back of the car when I made my first stop.  He was exhausted and even the stop didn’t wake him.  I was glad to see him sleeping so soundly for probably the first time in a long time.  He needed the rest to heal,  both body and soul.

The second stop I made I got him out for a walk, a pee break and  a little lunch .  We had stopped at McDonald’s to get him a hamburger.  Every time I got to interact with this dog he totally amazed me.  As hungry as he must have been he sat quietly, waiting for me to give him his burger, not once did he beg or try to take it before I handed it to him.  He ate it in one bite but once again, his gentle nature showed through, oh my, I was in love.  As the day went on and with every stop I could tell he was opening up more and more, a little more relaxed, a little more playful, honestly I think he knew his life had changed.  He rolled in the grass, tried to be a lap dog, and enjoyed his treats and won me over heart and soul.

I knew that my time with this beautiful  boy was coming to an end.  I told myself that I would not cry, that he would never again have to worry about anything.  He would be someones beloved pet, pampered beyond anything he had ever know and I was happy for him.   Part two of his journey was about to begin.  He was going to a rescue in Ohio and there was another lovely lady ready to drive him home.  I did not want to let him go.   Red was my first rescue and I will always love him.  He will always have a special place in my heart.  Even as I’m typing this tears are starting to flow.   His body was broken but his spirit was beyond anything that I could have imagined.   

Thank you Red for being such a great first rescue.  I know you are safe and loved and cared for and I will move on.  There is another Red waiting for my help and thanks to you I will be there.

http://local12.com/m/news/features/top-stories/stories/Dog-rescued-and-soon-to-be-ready-for-adoption-102859.shtml#.VQO6dlfF-yN

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Buyers are becoming Annoyed with New Construction

Something to definitely consider when deciding to purchase a new home or buy an existing home is the timeframe in which you need to move.

According to Realtor Magazine there is an increasing labor shortage among homebuilders which is causing more new homes to be delivered late, and buyers say they’re getting frustrated that builders don’t come back to fix common issues such as sticky doors and loose floor tiles after they move in.

Builder tardiness is a growing problem  because the economic downturn drove hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and laborers away from housing and into other industries and they have yet to return to construction and according the National Association of Home Builders the labor shortage is substantially worse since last year.

As a direct result of this shortage you may also be paying higher prices for new construction. About two out of every three builders report paying higher wages due to the labor shortages and they have no other option than to pass it right along to the home buyer. According to the builders their direct labor or employee costs have risen 2.9 percent over the last six months and subcontractor costs have increased 3.8 percent.

What this means is that if you’re thinking about building you may have to be more patient. some builders may require the subcontractors who did the original work to follow-up on call backs from buyers for requested repairs. Many large builders send their own maintenance crews to handle call backs and may be able to respond more quickly to such requests so don’t forget to ask who’s going to be coming back to repair the punchlist items that you find after you move in.

So to sum it up, if you’re thinking of new construction be patient. If you have a deadline that you have to be moved by you may want to consider a newer home that is ready for a new owner. We have lots of them so check them out at http://www.LisaHensleyhomes.com.

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Popeyes favorite Restaurant

One of the best kept secrets in Harrisonburg, The Indian & American Café,  located at 91 N. Main Street is truly a must visit if your in town and looking for something a little different for  lunch. I have been having lunch there since the mid 90’s and I think quite possibly I could eat lunch there everday and never get sick of it.

It is a little hole in the wall resteraunt and if you aren’t specifically seeking it out you may very well miss it but it is well worth the effort to search it out if you love curry, indian spices, friendly people, and nothing too fancy.
IMG_8031 IMG_8029

My favorite dish is Chicken Saag, a creamy mixture of spinach, chicken and lots of curry and Indian spices served beside a generous serving of white rice and oh so good. The best part is that you can choose your spice level 1 being very mild and 4 being very hot (I usually get a 2).   Yes I know to many of you this does not sound like the spectacular, palate pleasing dish that you cannot live without, but honestly, in all of these years and the many friends that I’ve taken there to eat, I can only recall one person that didn’t get hooked. We used to joke that they put something addicting in the recipe so that you have to keep coming back.  I hear they have lots of great dishes, pasta chow chow, curried chicken, etc. but I am a tried and true Chicken Saag fan and I love it so much that I have never felt the need to try anything else.

Chicken Saag

So if your downtown and not quite sure what you want for lunch try something new. Stop in at the American Indian Cafe and try some chicken Saag or branch out and try something different and let me know what you think.

Tip:   Don’t do it if your going to go to a meeting later in the day or in close proximity to your co-workers. You will smell like curry for the rest of the day and everyone will know what you had for lunch.

One last thing- Bring cash or check because they do not accept credit cards.

Indian American Café
91 North Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Ph: 540-433-1177

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Using Pinterest to Decorate your Home

http://pinterestbutton.biz Pinterest logo gets a well-deserved design award from HOW mag- congrats! ThanksYou’ve definitely heard of Pinterest, and maybe you’ve pinned some things to your boards in hopes you’ll try a new recipe or start a project one day.  Maybe you are one of those crafty few that constantly finish projects you’ve pinned.  That would not be me so I’m thinking you are the bomb already.

No matter what kind of Pinterest user you may be, Pinterest can be a great way to organize your ideas for your home decor and help motivate you to action.  If you use Pinterest effectively, it can be your path to creating the home of your dreams.

Follow these tips to get your started on using Pinterest to decorate your home:

1.  Learn how to organize your boards for YOU.  If you are focusing on one area of your home, create a board for that area (i.e Kitchen Decor).  Separate your rooms out by creating multiple boards so your ideas are organized and easy to find.  Be realistic and authentic.

Distressed Round Country Kitchen Table

2.  Don’t exclusively use Pinterest fo find ideas.  The whole point of Pinterest is to search the web and pin ideas you find from the Internet. While browsing other users pinboards can be a fun way to discover new ideas and get inspiration, many Pinterest users end up wasting a lot of time endlessly crolling their feed to find ideas.  Look for ideas all over the Internet and pin directly from the website to save time.

3.  Use Pinterest’s  “Search” feature to find what you’re looking for.  If you can’t find something on the Internet to pin to one of your boards, there’s a good chance one of the millions of Pinterest users has found something similar.  Use the “Search” feature to see if there are other pins that match what you are looking for.  Perhaps the exact pin isn’t what you are looking for, but it may give you some inspiration or lead to another website that could help you.

4.  Prepare yourself for a lot of DIY projects.  Pinterest is the Mecca of DIY.  A lot of the ideas you find on there will be inexpensive DIY ideas.  Prepare to get a little dirty and learn to use paint, tools, and other materials you may not have used before.

5.  Narrow down your options on each board.  Don’t overwhelm yourself by continuous pinning and little editing.  Frequently visit each pinboard and clean it up by removing anything you are not going to do, or anything that is out of your budget, is unrealistic, or doesn’t really match your taste.

Ultimately, Pinterest is only helpful is you plan to put your pins and ideas into action.  Don’t make Pinterest a time waster, but rather something that motivates you and makes you more productive and creates the home you want.

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