Blog :: 04-2014

Homeownership?s Impact on Net Worth

Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.

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Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100

Bottom Line

The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.

 

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Is The Customer Always Right?

Real Estate is a service oriented business, where our job is not to make the decisions about buying and selling a home, but to help guide our clients in making the best decision for themselves. Sometimes this involves giving unpopular advice but I consider my job to try to keep my clients objectively focused on their ultimate goal - buying or selling a home.

My philosophy has always been to offer the best service that my 28+ years of real estate experience allows me to share. William Raveis Real Estate shares the same philosophy, that our client comes above all else. I take pride that at the end of our transaction when William Raveis sends the customer satisfaction survey, the majority of my clients take the time to fill it out and send it back. The feedback is invaluable and I'm happy to say that I was just honored to receive the "2013 Excellence in Customer Service Award" for our Stamford offices.

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So, is the customer always right? I defer to Stew Leonard, who has a big sign at the entrance to his stores that says:

Rule #1 The Customer is Always Right

Rule #2 If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1

stew leonard

Call me and let me help you make the right decision!

 

 

Off-Market Listings Only Reduce Profits for Home Sellers

What is a "Pocket Listing"? This is a listing where a homeowner lists with an agent but they do not put the home out to the whole brokerage community through the multiple listing system, literally keeping the listing "in the pocket of the listing agent".

Shhhh!

Off-market, private, or pocket listings are becoming more commonplace. Some sellers are being persuaded to keep their properties off of the Multiple Listing Service during what is starting to become a hot real estate market with low inventory. Generally sellers are being told that by keeping their property listing "private" their privacy will not be invaded by troops of public gawkers traipsing through their homes, and that they will not have to hassle with signs, lock-boxes, and agents showing their homes, etc. Whatever the rationale being sold to some sellers, it is unfortunate because they are unknowingly leaving large percentages of potential profits on the table. It seems that some brokers/agents whose integrity might be called into question, are playing coy and first gaining the sellers' confidence and then encouraging them to keep their property off the Multiple List Service ("MLS").

Let's look at what an agent's motivation might be. The claim that some brokers and agents are using to convince sellers to have a “private†or “pocket†listing/sale is to guarantee buyers to their clients. However, in a lot of instances those guaranteed buyers are coming from the broker’s and agent’s own offices or circles of close friends which dramatically reduces exposure to the marketplace, but allows for the brokers and agents to possibly double-end the transaction, or “keep the whole deal in the office.â€

What they also fail to tell unsuspecting sellers is that exposing the property on the MLS places it in front of over 8,000 local networked broker and agent members, all of whom then have the possibility to work with the property. Limiting exposure to the MLS is by definition limiting the marketability of the property. And coincidentally these “private†or “pocket†listings are common when the real estate market heats up and there is limited inventory.

It is a violation of a listing broker's fiduciary duty to the seller to keep the home off the MLS unless the homeowner, after being fully and faithfully informed, has a legitimate reason for not marketing the property to all brokers and agents in the MLS. It is always in a seller's best interest to have a massive advertising of a home, which encourages and promotes bidding wars and greater sales prices. Sellers who are convinced to have an “off-market†listing probably do not recognize the advantages of placing their home on the MLS, so they acquiesce and go along with their broker or agent’s recommendation based on guarantees from their broker/agent that they will get either equally as good a sale price by doing so with less hassle.

Brokers and agents have the duty to exercise care, integrity, fair-dealing, and loyalty for their customers. This task consists of performing their best possible acts and conduct to acquire the greatest sales price for the home. Recommending “private†or “pocket†listings is typically NOT in a seller’s best interests. There are however exceptions or rare occasions where these type sales make sense for sellers, but they are extremely rare.

The MLS was designed to subject properties to maximum exposure leading to a maximum sales price for the specific timeframe. Leaving a property off of the MLS dramatically limits exposure – doing exactly opposite of what a seller should be doing.

The brokers and agents who recommend “private†or “pocket†or “off-market†listings should be held to answer with specific reasons and factual details for this recommendation and be asked to provide verifiable proof that their recommendation will lead to a maximum sales price for the seller. The bottom line is that a broker or agent will never be able to prove that limiting exposure of a home by preventing the listing on the MLS will maximize the sales price.

 

Adapted from a post by Shelly Roberson Alain Pinel Realtors, Palo Alto, CA

Is It Time For You To Spring Into Action...Low Inventory + Low Interest Rates = The Perfect Time to Sell!

 

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Why do so many sellers remain hesitant about putting their homes up for sale, especially with us experiencing the lowest inventory levels in recent memory? Here are some reasons you may want to consider if you've been on the fence about selling:

Buyers are in the market NOW and are just waiting for the right house at the right price to come along. Many buyers have been looking since early in the year hoping that inventory would increase as we get into the traditional " spring market" which runs from now through May. Some have lost multiple offers, which has inspired them to be more aggressive on properties that meet their pricing expectations.

Less available homes means less offers being accepted and the process (inspection through mortgage commitment) should move along at a good pace with fewer backlogs at the banks.

Prices have seen just a small increase over the past year. Interest rates remain under 4.5%. Therefore, it is still a "perfect storm" - buyers' dollars are still giving them good purchasing power, and as a seller, its a double bonus. You can capitalize on a buyers ability to pay and take advantage of this scenario for your future move.

Finally, if you're thinking of selling, you've subconsciously made a decision that's it time to move on to a new phase of your life. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of the situation by pricing your home to guarantee it sells. The time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

The first step is always finding out your current value... Call me and let's talk.