WHAT MATTERS Warren – Mark your calendars for THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29th, to hear from a National Association of Realtors economic/research specialist at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown (173 Skirmisher Lane Middletown, VA).
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the country’s TOP REAL ESTATE EXPERTS as he answers “How’s the Market?” at the Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market & Economic Summit sponsored by the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors. Learn insight from speaker Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®.
Yun will present a 12-24 month economic forecast of the national level in addition to a hyper-local forecast of the Shenandoah Valley real estate market. Anyone who is thinking of buying/selling, investors, and members of the real estate industry are encouraged to attend.
Doors Open at 8:00AM for registration and the presentation runs from 9:00 to 11:00AM. Following Dr. Yun, leaders from our local Economic Development Authorities will present updates from Frederick County, Warren County, and Winchester City (including commentary on Amazon’s recent announcement).
Cost is $15.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door, with FREE admission for BRAR Members. For Reservations or more information, call 540-667-2606. This is a nonprofit event and all proceeds will benefit the United Way and the Blue Ridge Association of REALTORS Scholarship Fund.
ABOUT DR. YUN
Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®. He oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.3 million REALTOR® members.
Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and is a regular guest columnist on the Forbes website and The Hill, an “inside the beltway” publication on public affairs.
Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.
A WHAT MATTERS INITIATIVE
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Can solar panels increase your home’s value?
You’ve probably heard solar panels can reduce your electricity bill and lead to major savings over time, but can they also increase your home’s resale value? Over the last few years, researchers have discovered that in fact, they do.
While installing solar panels may seem like a costly investment, a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (the Berkeley Lab) found that Americans are willing to pay more for homes that have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The study estimates that buyers typically pay about four dollars per watt of solar power installed, meaning that a five-kilowatt system can lead to an added value of $20,000. Even given the costs of solar panel installation, the study suggests homeowners end up making money when selling their homes.
It’s less clear whether solar panels add value when homeowners rent solar power systems instead of buying them outright. Because of the upfront costs associated with solar panels, many Americans choose to rent PV systems. These leases often last for 20 years and can make selling your house more complicated. Nonetheless, a 2016 survey by the Berkeley Lab found that leased solar energy systems don’t reduce a home’s overall value and in some cases add value. Overall, real estate experts are finding that in an era when homebuyers are looking to go green, investing in solar panels — whether you buy or lease them — is likely to make your home more valuable.
Tips for getting your house ready to sell
Decided to sell your house? Before it’s listed, you’ll need to get it in tip-top shape. Here are some tips for making your home appeal to potential buyers so that you can sell it quickly.
Think about curb appeal
First impressions are important and you only get one. Check that the light fixture nearest your door works and is clean so that visitors always have a good view of your home, even in the evening. Keep your grass cut and plants tidy and well maintained.
Remove personal touches
While you may love bold walls, they won’t help you sell your home. Paint every room a light, neutral colour to appeal to the greatest number of people. Remove personal photos and cute pictures your kids drew for you. The goal here is to make your home a blank slate so potential buyers can picture themselves living in it.
Get rid of excess stuff
No matter how long you’ve lived in your home, chances are you’ve acquired stuff. Too much clutter can make even the biggest room feel cramped, so before you list your house, take the time to pack up anything that you won’t need before you move. Clean and organize all your closets to make them look bigger and emphasize storage space.
Things to disregard when house hunting
When you’re shopping for a house, it’s easy to be distracted by things that won’t make a difference in the long term. Here are a few things that you can easily disregard in your search for the perfect house.
Bad decor: don’t worry if the house has dusty pink walls or orange shag carpeting. Look past the cosmetics and make sure the house has what you need — the right number of bathrooms and good-sized rooms. Everything else can be changed.
Chic features: instead of a high-end kitchen or bathroom, look for a house that has a solid foundation with no cracks, a roof that’s in good repair and a heating and cooling system that works efficiently. Once you have all of these things, you can make the kitchen look as fabulous as your budget allows. After all, wouldn’t you rather be choosing your new kitchen counter than shopping for a furnace?
A trendy neighborhood: living within walking distance to your favorite bars and restaurants may sound like the ideal situation, but you shouldn’t buy a house based on this. Instead, find a location in a good school district — a good selling point even if you never plan on having kids.
Welcome Next Home Realty to Main Street
The Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce has welcomed another new business to our community. Next Home Realty is located at 210 E. Main St. Front Royal.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, you’ll find useful information about how to choose the “right” property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed home buying decision in today’s market on their website.
If you currently own property and are thinking about selling it, their website contains information about preparing your home for sale, selecting the right agent, pricing your home appropriately, marketing it effectively, going through the inspection process, and receiving a timely market evaluation. Check out Next Home Realty if you need more information on anything, please feel free to contact their office at 540-667-9097.
Ask the Expert: Take over payments
I would like to take over payments on my brother’s house. The interest rate is a little bit lower than I can get now. Plus, it would help him out. Can I just put my name on the loan?
The short answer is no: No mortgage allows you to just put a new name on the loan.
What you are asking about is called assuming a mortgage and it can be a more complicated matter than you might expect.
First, all conventional mortgages are not assumable. They require that the loan be paid on sale or transfer. So, in this case, you would need to get a loan and buy in the usual way.
Some non-conventional loans can be assumed, however. They are FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans.
If your brother has one of these three loans, it might be a good deal. It is at least possible that you could benefit from the lower interest rate and have lower costs. In addition, the loan would have a shorter term since your brother has already been paying on it.
If the loan is assumable, remember you would have to qualify for the loan. Your credit score, income, debt, and employment history must meet the criteria of the lender.
Sometimes even if the loan is assumable and you qualify, it might not be the best choice.
For example, if the loan is a VA loan, the veteran’s entitlement stays with the loan. If your brother wishes to buy another house, he won’t get the whole entitlement on his new house.
Lenders usually see mortgage assumptions in the case of divorce, family gifts, or estate planning. But assuming a mortgage is not always possible and may not be the best way to go.
Three unexpected red flags to watch out for when buying a home
Certain red flags are easy to spot, but others are harder to see. If you’re on the hunt for a new home, watch out for these three signs that a house isn’t as good as it seems.
1. Random walls are freshly painted: it’s become standard for real estate brokers to suggest their clients repaint parts of the house before listing it. However, you should be wary if only one one wall or patch of ceiling is freshly painted. This could be an indication that the seller is covering up a problem like mould, pests or some other major issue.
2. It smells a little too good: it’s common for sellers to bake cookies or have fresh flowers in the home to make it smell nice, but be careful of places that have air fresheners in every room. It’s possible the owners are trying to mask an odor that’s difficult to remove, like cigarette smoke or pet messes.
3. Open floor plans: this popular layout is not usually a problem, but check to see if the house was originally designed this way. If the current owners changed the floor plan in a recent renovation, it’s important to make sure any walls taken down weren’t load bearing, and that the building itself is still structurally sound.