The home you’ve cared for and loved might seem incomparable to you, but when you sell (or get a home equity loan), someone is going to have to find a comparison.
In the language of real estate and mortgage that is called comps.
Comps help answer the biggest question on your mind and a lender’s mind when you look to sell your house:
What’s my home worth?
The answer? It depends.
It’s important to note that home values boil down to educated — and sometimes uneducated — guesses. They are merely opinions, with the one that truly matters being the bank’s. Toward the end of the process, the buyer’s bank needs to approve of the purchase price in order for the loan to be approved.
Before then, however, you have a few ways of gathering information. The best is to consult with a real estate professional who can provide you with a figure based on “comps” — comparative sales. The agent will conduct a comparative market analysis, or CMA, and give you their professional opinion on your home’s potential sales value. This is generally a far better option than relying on your neighbor’s or your uncle’s opinion, as the agent is trained and experienced at comps.
What goes into a CMA? The agent will find recent sales of similar properties in your location; the best comps are within 90 days or less, though if you live in an area that’s less populated, you’ll likely use comps from six months back and sometimes longer.
If your home is ranch style, it should be compared to sales of other ranch homes. A cape or a contemporary is different. Comps also take into consideration the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the acreage, whether there’s a garage and a basement, and things like central air and the type of heating.
The key is to work with someone who understands your specific market and who has a track record of accurately providing figures. Top-selling agents (not necessarily top listing agents) are generally the ones who do best at this.
As a seller’s agent, they know how to price your home to move while also getting you a fair price; as a buyer’s agent, they typically understand how to negotiate well.
5 questions to ask when choosing a neighborhood
Before you start shopping for a new home, it’s a good idea to consider what neighborhood you want to live in. Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering location.
1. Are the schools good? If you have young kids, this is a top priority. Do some digging online and consider visiting the more promising schools in person.
2. Is it safe? Ensure that the neighborhood doesn’t have issues with crime. You can often find information about crime rates on the web. Another option is to make inquiries with the local police department.
3. Where can I go by foot? Consider what shops, services or amenities are within walking distance. This includes grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, daycares, clinics, parks and gyms.
4. What will commuting be like? Take into account how close the neighborhood is to your workplace and your children’s school. If you intend to take public transportation, see how accessible and convenient it is.
5. Do I like the atmosphere? To better understand the overall vibe of the neighborhood, the best thing to do is scope it out in person. Walk the streets, chat with the locals and visit the area’s shops and restaurants.
In addition to asking yourself these five questions, it’s worth discovering what trends are emerging with respect to home values in the neighborhood. This will indicate whether buying in the area will prove a good investment if you choose to sell the property down the road.
Warren County Market Report – July 2019
Welcome back to school, Warren County!
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for July 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- New Listings are up 15%. This is a significant increase over last year. Good news is that we are selling what we list and hopefully will continue to do so. Closed Sales are up 9%.
- Average Median Sold $241,000.
- Average Days on Market 76.
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated July 2019
Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
Fixed versus variable rate mortgages: what you need to know
Fixed or variable rate? It’s a question every homebuyer is faced with when obtaining a mortgage. If you’re unsure about which option is best for you, this primer should help.
What are fixed and variable rate mortgages?
Fixed rate mortgages are straightforward and involve paying the same monetary installments and interest rate for the duration of your term.
Variable rate mortgages, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. They’re tied to your bank’s prime rate, which may change over time.
Your bank’s prime rate is based on the target federal funds rate or the rate banks charge each other when they lend funds overnight. A quoted prime rate is typically the average of the prime rates charged by the major banks.
The target federal funds rate can increase or decrease several times per year. For example, in 2018, this rate changed four times. It rose by 0.25 percent each time, climbing from 1.25 percent in March to 2.50 percent in December.
Should you choose a fixed or variable rate mortgage?
Variable rate mortgages typically have a lower interest rate than fixed rate mortgages and historically, they’ve saved people money. However, fixed rate mortgages have the benefit of offering certainty and predictability. They make budgeting easier and take away any trepidation around potential interest rate hikes.
To better determine which mortgage type will cost you the least, see what leading economists are forecasting for the target federal funds rate. Just keep in mind that no one can reliably predict future fluctuations.
Right of first refusal: what it is and why it’s useful
A right of first refusal (ROFR) in a real estate contract is a clause that gives an individual first dibs on buying a particular property. If someone other than the specified individual makes an offer, they’re notified by the seller and given the opportunity to match the bid.
Who can arrange an ROFR?
An ROFR clause can be arranged between a tenant and a landlord, between family members or between neighbors. An ROFR can also be offered to a tenant via a homeowners’ association or condo board.
Advantages for tenants
This type of agreement can benefit all parties involved. If, for instance, a tenant is interested in eventually buying the home they’re renting, an ROFR clause gives them the assurance that so long as they have the funds, they’ll be first in line.
Advantages for landlords
On the landlord’s end, he or she maintains the right to sell to the highest bidder and always has at least one interested buyer. As an added bonus, it’s likely to be someone who can purchase the place with little hassle.
If you sign a right of first refusal agreement, make sure that the specifics suit you. Look at details such as the deadline to match an offer and the expiry date of the clause. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer before entering into any legal agreement.
What are junk fees?
Junk fees are extra charges a mortgage lender tacks on when you close on a home. Paying some closing costs when finalizing a mortgage is expected. However, certain charges are unnecessary or excessive.
Junk fees may be labeled as an application fee, a mortgage rate lock fee, a processing fee, a courier fee, an administrative fee, a documentation fee or something else entirely. While such fees may represent actual work that was done, they tend to be basic services that the lender is expected to provide.
If you think you’re being charged junk fees, press your lender for details. If you find that the fees are in fact unjustified, you could ask the lender to waive them or simply state that you’re unwilling to pay. When pressured, the lender is likely to reduce or eliminate these charges.
Meet Ray Bramble from AireServ
Ray Bramble, President of AireServ, was in our studios recently and spoke with our publisher, Mike McCool, about high utility bills and what we can do to get them under control.
Ray is the President of AireServ, a heating and air-conditioning company in Front Royal. Bramble said, “We want you to stay comfortable and breathe clean air all year round.”
Ray, along with his son Ryan, also discussed a new technology called Aeroseal. Bramble says that duct leakage robs you of comfort, energy and peace of mind. Cracks and holes in your home’s air vents and duct system allow heated and cooled air to escape before reaching your rooms, ultimately leaving you with stuffy, uncomfortable rooms and wasted energy.
Watch as Ray and Ryan explain the Aeroseal process: