So What’s Your REALTOR® Doing Behind Your Back?

Have you ever wondered what on Earth your real estate agent is doing behind your back?

In the sometimes confusing, occasionally hectic, and always stressful world of buying and selling, what are your agents really doing behind the scenes?

For every hour a knowledgeable and experienced REALTOR® spends in your presence, she will spend an average of nine hours behind the scenes working on your behalf. If you’ve wondered what that 6% commission is actually going toward, here is a list of things the Brandee Kelley Group team members do that is relatively hidden from client’s eyes.

YOUR AGENT SHOPS PROPERTIES ONLINEcomputer search

REALTORS® market research goes beyond oohing and ahhing over online listings in their free time. A diligent agent typically spends about two hours each day researching potential properties.

Listings come and go fast in the real estate world, so agents need to check their multiple listing service database constantly, or else they’ll miss out. The process of matching up properties with specific client needs can take a long time. They are also looking up zoning codes, proposed new development in neighborhoods, schools changes or previewing homes for out-of-state clients.

THEY PROSPECTnetworking phone call

An established REALTOR® has a vast contact list of insiders in the industry and they network with each other about new listings. They’re ears are always open to new opportunities coming into the market, which gives their clients a huge, inside advantage of properties before they hit the market.

The Keller Williams Arlington office is comprised of many active agents and they exchange listing information for their own upcoming listings, and other listings that match their client’s needs. These pro-active agents truly are a step ahead of the market—yet another strong reason to partner with an experienced agent with a get-it-done attitude!

THEY SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY ON MARKETING

In addition to not getting paid until a deal is done, selling agents also spend their own money on marketing: ads, fliers, hiring a photographer, glossy prints, premium placements on listing sites, direct mailing materials and promotional email campaigns to their extensive database of qualified buyers.

The Brandee Kelley Group employs a professional Internet Marketing Specialist, who is tasked with promoting the Group’s listings in social media and online marketing venues, as well as generating educational information about all matters real estate. In the rapidly-expanding realm of real estate internet marketing, a responsible agent must constantly be open to new online endeavors in order to enhance her services and skills for her clients.

REALTORS® WRITE OFFERS AND COUNTEROFFERS

Woman at office desk signing a contract

Woman at office desk signing a contract

Offers and counteroffers are an extremely important part of the transaction, as they can save or net you thousands of dollars on a sale. Yet getting to the right price requires written offers and counteroffers and skillful negotiation every step of the way.

It’s a time-consuming endeavor to write a carefully crafted offer, and then presenting it to the client and offer suggestions on how to counteroffer, with all the potential ramifications if accepted. It’s a delicate balancing act just to keep track of it all.

REALTORS® AND THEIR STAFF TRACK AND MANAGE INSPECTIONS

Lucretia_Fotor_Collage_FotorThe benefits of working with a highly-trained real estate group, with experienced administrative staff, is almost a necessity in an industry loaded with forms, deadlines, and rules and regulations. In today’s world, to bring a transaction to a successful closing, every “I” must be dotted, and every “T” crossed!  The Brandee Kelley Groups experienced administrative staff is on top of every detail—from a variety of required inspections, to the closing countdown.  Our staff interacts with title companies, lenders, attorneys, inspectors, subcontractors, other agents, etc. to make certain our closings are as stress-free as possible and on time.

REALTORS® SMOOTH BUMPS IN THE ROAD

Not every sale goes smoothly but effective agents try to shield their clients from the high drama unless there’s a reason to fill them in. Little snags create the need for agents to put out fires—fixing issues that many times buyers and sellers need never be aware of.

Buying and selling real estate is usually an emotional situation for clients, and when an issue arises that requires an agent/client solution, a seasoned and skillful agent is a problem-solver. She will keep a positive approach and come up with a positive solution.  It doesn’t always take a lot of time to fix problems, but it does take emotional energy.

For expert representation by a real estate team backed with years of experience, you can trust the team members of the Brandee Kelley Group to go to work for you! Read a few of our testimonials here: Recommendations.  Our clients say it best!  Call us today about your real estate needs at 817-635-1141.
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6 Reasons To Buy A Home in 2016

6 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2016
Courtesy of Realtor.com, Kimberly Dawn Newman author

As we move into the New Year, there is a lot to celebrate. A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to make the jump advantageous right now!

#1: Interest rates are still at record lows

low mortgage ratesEven though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

It’s entirely possible we won’t see interest rates this low again. While housing prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

#2: Rents have skyrocketed

This one luxury apt downtown dallas_FotorNationally, rental rates going up, up, up, encouraging renters to get into the home buying market. In many metropolitan areas, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment.  Apartment dwellers are choosing to invest those monthly chunks of money a home of their own, and enjoy all the benefits that home ownership offers. 

#3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets. Local markets vary across the nation, but in general, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on stabilizing pricing.

#4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

down paymentProbably the biggest hurdle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment and saving funds for closing costs. However, there are a variety of programs to help home buyers with that obstacle, like the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program, which allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

#5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

mortgage insuranceIf you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance. A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

#6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

Give Brandee Kelley a call at 817-635-1141 to discuss this advantageous set of circumstances and how we can help you with that new home purchase!

Don & Bank card with borderPlease feel free to contact Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank to discuss the various loan programs and lower down payment options that may pave the way for you to enjoy the American Dream of home ownership!

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5 Trends That Will Shape Real Estate in 2016

5 Trends That Will Shape Real Estate in 2016
Adapted from an article by Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of REALTOR.comreal-estate-2016

Realtor.com predicts that 2016 will be a great year for housing.  Nationally, economic growth is slowly improving and employment will increase, which means that more people will have more income and enable them to upgrade to a new home.

Here’s a closer look at the trends that will have the greatest impact on the housing market in 2016.

  1.  We’ll return to a more normal housing market

The year ahead will see healthy growth in home sales and prices, but at a slower pace than in 2015. This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy.

Indications of a more normal market means we’ll see less distress sales, new construction will return to more traditional levels, and home prices will increase at more normal rates.

2.  Generational shuffle will make 2016 the best year to sell in the near futuremillenials buying house

Millennials emerged as a dominant force in 2015, representing almost 2 million sales.  This pattern will continue in 2016 as their large numbers, combined with improving personal financial conditions, will enable enough buyers between ages 25 and 34 to move the market yet again. The majority of those buyers will be first-time home buyers.

older_couple_front_houseTwo other generations will also affect the market in 2016: financially recovering Gen Xers and older boomers thinking about or entering retirement. Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers. Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods.  Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living.

Assuming that most of these households will both sell and buy, it is important to recognize that 2016 is shaping up to be the best year in recent memory to sell. Supply remains very tight, so inventory is moving faster. Given the forecast that price appreciation will slow in 2016 to a more normal rate of growth, delaying will not produce substantially higher values along with higher mortgage rates.

3.  Builders will focus on more affordable price pointsnewconstruction2

One aspect of housing that has not recovered yet has been single-family construction. Facing higher land costs, limited labor, and worries about depth of demand in the entry-level market, builders have shifted to producing more higher-priced housing units for a reliable pool of customers. That focus caused new home prices to rise much faster than existing home prices.

We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices.  Credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders. We’re looking for the strong growth in new-home sales and single-family construction as builders offer more affordable product in the year ahead. Consumers of all types should consider new homes, but availability will be highly dependent on location.

4.  Higher mortgage rates will affect high-cost markets the most

house vs percentThe recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should result in a more reliable upward trend in mortgage rates.

Higher rates will drive monthly payments higher; therefore, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher. Markets with the highest prices will see that higher rates will result in fewer sales.  However, the effect will be minimal as the move to higher rates will spur more existing homeowners to sell and buy before rates go even higher.

5.  Already unaffordable rents will go up more than home pricesThis one luxury apt downtown dallas_Fotor

The housing crisis that politicians are ignoring is that the cost of rental housing has become crushing in most of the country.  Rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices.

Because of this, it is more affordable to buy a home in many areas in the U.S.  However, many renters are facing the reality that buying is not an option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income required to qualify for a mortgage today.

This trend does not bode well for the health of the housing market in the future. It will only improve if we see more construction of affordable rental housing as well as more financing programs available for renters to become homeowners.Don & Bank card with border

For questions or concerns about mortgage finance in 2016, you can get expert answers from Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.

The Brandee Kelley Group’s first priority is serving our client’s needs for real estate within the DFW metroplex.  We also stay current on national real estate and mortgage trends to provide our clients with the professionalism and knowledge they deserve.Brandee & KW Logo 2

 

 

 

 

How Long Will Your Home Be on the Market?

How long will your home be on the market?
Adapted from Trulia

thinking about selling your homeSo you’ve decided to sell your home!  One of the first questions you’ll have is how long it will take for your home to sell.  Listed below are six factors to consider in estimating how fast your home will sell.

1.  THE PRICE

House_Dollar-Sign

The best way to predict how fast your home will sell is by the price you set.  Your home gets the most attention in the first few days it’s listed in the MLS.  If your home is priced correctly, you can expect it to receive a lot of showings, followed by offers. 

The Brandee Kelley Group knows how to price homes to sell, and our track record proves it!  From March 2015 thru August 2015:  70% of our listings sold AT or ABOVE the listing price and 65% of our listings sold in LESS THAN 10 days

Our Group’s goal is to ensure our Sellers receive the highest price in the shortest amount of time possible and we accomplish this with a correct listing price.

2.  YOUR WILLINGNESS TO NEGOTIATE

negotiating

If you won’t accept a penny less than full asking price, expect your house to take longer to sell.    Usually, the two primary reasons a house stays on the market longer than average is: 1) your home is priced too high; and 2) you are reluctant to negotiate the price with a qualified buyer.  A skilled and experienced agent will guide you through the negotiation phase with ease.


3.  LISTING PHOTOS

listing photos collage_Fotor_FotorWant your home to sell fast? Besides making it look spiffy on the outside and staging interior rooms, your listing must appear in the MLS with good quality photos.  The Brandee Kelley Group uses a professional photographer to take high quality photos of our listings that show these homes in the best possible light.  Buyers are attracted to homes that have clear and attractive photos.  (And the above “Theirs” photos?  Yes, these are actual listing photos from the MLS!!!)

4.  CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
crunching-numbers-650x336

If you love statistics, you’ll appreciate this method to determine how long your house will sit on the market. It involves inventory levels, median market time, median sales price, and percentage of list-to-sales prices.

If the inventory of homes is low in your local market, your house will sell faster.  Our team members know the average number of days it takes for similar homes in your area to sell, and the median sales prices. Pricing below or above affects how long the house will sit.

The percentage of list-to-sales price is another indicator of how much a buyer is willing to pay relative to the market value of your listed home.  If the percentage of list-to-sales price is over 100%, homes often sell for more than list price. Less than 100%, and homes sell for less.

5.  A GOOD AGENT
Trio with namesIt’s important to choose an agent with experience in selling the type of home you have and is familiar with the area.  The team members of the Brandee Kelley Group knows the north Texas housing market intimately.  We can help you predict how long it will take for your home to sell based upon right market value we establish for your home.  We’ll also help you stage and prep your home for showings, we’ll market your home extensively through social media marketing, print/direct mail marketing and marketing your home to our extensive database of qualified buyers.

6.  WORKING WITH YOUR AGENT
USE THIS
It’s important to develop a trusting and open relationship with your REALTOR®.  Let your agent know your pricing considerations, your time requirements, or any other pertinent information that can effect pricing and marketing of your home.

 

 

The Brandee Kelley Group serves our clients with professionalism and integrity.  Contact us today at 817.635.1141 to discuss your housing needs.

 

 

 


For mortgage information, please contact our preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank.

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3 Home Amenities Likely To Grown In Demand

Three Home Amenities Likely to Grow in Demand
Courtesy of NAR/Better Homes and Gardens

Certain features that home buyers now consider “nice-to-have” may soon move into the “must-have” category in the near future.

According to a recent blog post by BH&G Real Estate, the following three amenities will most likely grow in demand among home shoppers.

1. ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES
Energy-Efficent-Appliances

Home owners are spending more of their income on utility bills and that will motivate them to want to find homes with more energy efficient, cost-effective appliances. Energy Star-qualified appliances are on the rise, as are smarter appliances like dishwashers and washers.  Homebuilders say that energy efficient homes and appliances are a top priority of new home buyers.

2. STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCE ALTERNATIVES
slate this oneStainless steel appliances have dominated the market, but home owners seem to have a love-hate relationship with them, primarily because they are difficult to keep clean. White ice and slate are increasingly growing in popularity.  Slate is being touted as an easy choice to blend in with other black, white, or stainless steel finishes. It also resists fingerprints and washes easily.  Classic white appliances offer a bright and fresh appearance, pairing well with white cabinetry and contrasting beautifully with darker woods. 
White-Appliances-And-White-Cabinets-600x398

3. SMART HOMES
SmartHomeGraphic
More homes are expected to be controlled via mobile devices in the coming years. Appliances and home systems can be turned on, off, or programmed via phones and tablets.  Smart refrigerators are emerging that have built-in apps that can create grocery shopping lists and smart ovens can be remotely controlled to start dinner or check on the status of what’s cooking. Surveys reveal that more home owners want the ability to control and monitor their appliances from anywhere.

The Brandee Kelley Group LOVES houses and each team member strives to keep up-to-date on all matters pertaining to real estate, including housing trends.  Please feel free to contact us to discuss your housing needs.


Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit

UNDERSTANDING HOME EQUITY LINES OF CREDIT (HELOC)
Adapted from REALTOR.com

#1 lead photo

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) isn’t the easiest type of loan to understand.

And there are some misconceptions about HELOCs that can get homeowners in trouble, or deter them from using the loan at all. The following are some common myths about HELOC’s that will help you understand how they work:

Myth #1 – A HELOC is not a second mortgage

2A HELOC is a second mortgage UNLESS you use it to refinance your first mortgage. A HELOC comes with a lot of paperwork and closing costs, although not as involved as those associated with your first mortgage. Just be clear about the terms—you are putting your house up as collateral in order to access a line of credit.

Myth #2 – Once I get a HELOC, the line of credit can’t be lowered

3Your HELOC’s credit line is not a guarantee, even if you already have it. If your house value plummets and you lose equity, your lender has the right to modify the agreement to adjust for the drop in value. And if your credit score drops significantly, the lender can reduce your credit limit.

Myth #3 – My HELOC works as cash reserves

4A HELOC is significantly different from cash reserves:

  • You have a limited draw period in which to take out funds.
  • The bank can change the agreement if conditions change.
  • The bank can freeze or cut back your HELOC amount.
  • You must pay interest on any funds you withdraw.
  • Your HELOC will come with specific terms and conditions from your lender that you need to evaluate.

Myth #4 – I can pull out all available equity from my home5

Most lenders do not offer 100% financing. A common loan-to-value (LTV) financing with a HELOC is 85% and other lenders may cap it at 70%. Each lender is different, and how much of a credit line you will have access to depends upon the terms of the HELOC given to you by your lender.

Remember that the more you draw from your home, the more you have to pay back, with interest.

Myth #5 – It won’t cost me anything, so I’ll get one just in case6

A HELOC is not free. You will have closing costs, and while they are small compared to those for your primary mortgage, that doesn’t mean they’re cheap.

With most HELOCs, there is a minimum draw required at the closing. And there is often a certain average balance required, which requires you to pay something in interest each month. Most HELOCs come with an annual fee as well as a cancelation fee. These fees, while not large, should be considered. You should know how much you are paying to access your home equity.

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In conclusion, a home equity line of credit is a valid option for generating extra funds, as long as you are aware of all the terms and conditions.

Don & Bank Collage_FotorAs always, consult with an experienced mortgage professional for questions about financing that involves your home. Don Kelly at Affiliated Mortgage is our preferred lender, and he will provide you with the correct information about all matters pertaining to home financing.


Real Estate by the Numbers

Real Estate By The Numbers
Adapted from an article by Realtor.com

MAIN pic by the numbersWhether you currently own or are planning to buy a home, you may wonder how you stack up to everybody else when it comes to looking for and buying a house. Realtor.com compiled data that tell the story of today’s average home buyers—-from how much people pay to how long they stay. Check them out, and see where you stand.

64 new_Fotor

32 new_Fotor

10 new_Fotor

292700 new_Fotor

51 new_Fotor

32141 new_Fotor

3_Fotor

2679 new_Fotor

13 new_Fotor

88 new_Fotor

Affiliated Bank w Don Kelly Info

Contact the Brandee Kelley Group’s preferred lender, Don Kelly at Affiliated Bank for up-to-the-minute accurate mortgage rates and information.

To turn the above numbers to your advantage, contact Brandee at 817-635-1141.