Valdosta Real Estate Ramblings

 

June 19, 2018

Take Some of the Stress out of Listing With These 5 Tips

Today let’s review five easy tips for a stress-free listing experience.

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Want to sell your home? Click Here

Listing your home for sale can be a taxing process. Today I’d like to share a few key things you can do to eliminate some of the stress involved with selling a home.

 

   The moving process presents a great opportunity to purge items you no longer want or need.

 

  1. Get a pre-listing home inspection. By ordering an inspection before your home hits the market, you will be able to address and repair any problems before buyers ever set foot in the door. This can save you money and hassle when you go under contract.

  2. Declutter the home. Make sure kitchen drawers, closets, and surfaces are cleared. Buyers won’t be able to visualize themselves in a home if it’s overly crowded with space-consuming belongings. The moving process presents a great opportunity to purge items you no longer want or need.

  3. Freshen up interior paint. Neutral colors open up rooms and will appeal to far more buyers than other, more adventurous choices.

  4. Touch up your landscaping. Pull weeds, edge your lawn, and mow the grass to make sure your property looks as neat on the outside as it does on the inside.

  5. Pressure wash the home’s exterior. The humid conditions we have in our area make mold and mildew a common problem. Pressure washing can help eliminate these unsightly issues.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Posted in Selling
June 6, 2018

Meet Signature Choice Realty's Newest Team Member: Tanika Christopher

Our newest team member, Tanika Christopher, is here today to share why she’s so excited to join us on the Signature Choice Realty team.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

Today we’re excited to introduce the Signature Choice Realty team’s newest member: Tanika Christopher. Tanika is a licensed Realtor and is excited to become one among our many helpful, experienced, and knowledgeable agents. Having proudly served in the United States Air Force prior to joining us, Tanika is now proud to serve her community as a Realtor. To see Tanika’s full introduction, watch this short video.

Posted in Home Buying
May 22, 2018

The Latest Real Estate Numbers in Lowndes County and Valdosta

The latest numbers are in for Valdosta/Lowndes County. Here is what they mean to buyers and sellers.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

I have a quick market update to share with you today. These numbers are for single-family homes in the Valdosta/ Lowndes County area for May 2018.

From May 1 up until today, we have had 52 new homes come on the market, giving us 557 active listings and 69 listings under contract.

   Our absorption rate of 6.13 months puts us in a healthy, balanced market.  

So far this year, we have seen 371 total sales for an average price of $170,304. The average days on market for these homes was 92 days.

Our absorption rate tells us how much inventory we have. It also tells us how long it would take to sell off all of the current inventory if no new homes came on the market. Our absorption rate right now is at 6.13 months, putting us in a balanced market. Anything below four months is considered a seller’s market and anything above seven months is considered a buyer’s market.

I hope these numbers are helpful for you. If you have any questions about them or any questions about real estate in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

 

Posted in Market Update
April 27, 2018

Answering Questions From Our Home Buyer Audience

Buying a home is a process with many moving parts, so today we’re answering some important questions homebuyers have asked us.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

 

If you’re a homebuyer, what does it take to purchase a property? Today in our homebuyer Q&A session, we have the answer to that question and many more.

 

   Make sure you sit down and budget wisely for your home purchase.  

 

Here are the highlights of our conversation in timestamped form:

 

1:21 - Where’s a good place to start when buying a home? Who do you talk to first?

2:16 - The lender’s role in the home buying process

3:11 - What happens once you’re ready to start looking for homes

4:36 - The importance of knowing your monthly utilities beforehand and budgeting wisely

5:38 - How does bankruptcy affect buying a home?

7:19 - How long does it take to close on a home?

9:17 - What credit score do you need to qualify for a loan?

10:50 - Ways to improve your credit score

 

If you have any more questions about the home buying process or you’re thinking of buying a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.

 

 

Posted in Around town
April 16, 2018

The Best Time of Year to Sell Your Home Is...

The best time of year to sell your home might not be what you think it is. Here’s what we mean.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

There's a bit of a controversy brewing among real estate experts. The topic is the best time of year to sell a home. On one hand, real estate agents across the country agree: Spring is the best time to sell your home.

However, do the facts actually support this view? The folks at real estate web platform HomeLight wanted to find out, so they crunched the numbers on actual home sales in different markets to see when the best time to sell a home actually was.

In general, spring did come out on top in many situations. However, there were also many exceptions.

For example, in Greenville, SC, the best month was July, beating out the average sales price by 150%. In Breckenridge, CO, February was the winner, with a 106% increase over the average. In Tomball, TX, homes sold in October for 133% more than the average for the year.

 

   It’s not as simple as saying that spring is the best time to sell your home.  

 

What does this all mean for you? If you want a broad recommendation for when to sell your home, then simply listing your home now at the very start of spring is a recommendation that can't be beat.

There are plenty of other details that go into the optimal decision. Weather is a big one. Recent real estate trends in the area would be another. The specifics of your own home and the kinds of homebuyers it is likely to attract is a third and crucial aspect. There are fewer homebuyers in the fall and winter, but they tend to be more serious and eager to find a home before the holidays. In the summertime, there might be added pressure to buy a home before the school season starts.

In short, it's not as simple as saying spring is the best time to sell your home. If you have any questions for me, give me a call or send me an email and we can discuss all the unique attributes your home, put them in the context of recent trends in the Valdosta real estate market, and come up with a winning strategy of when you should list to get the best price. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

Posted in Home Tips
March 26, 2018

4 Things You Should Demand of Your Real Estate Agent

Are you in the process of hiring an agent to help you purchase your next home? If so, there are four demands you must make.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

Whenever you begin working with an agent on the purchase of your next home, there are four demands you should make: 

1. Make sure they will be honest about price. It’s so important that you have an agent who cares enough about you that they will be honest. The right Realtor will be candid with you and properly guide you on the issue of pricing. Someone with a lot of experience would be ideal. 

2. They will be understanding of your timeline. Your agent needs to understand and respect your time frame. The right agent will get you into the right home when it works best for you. An agent should always be proactive about meeting your needs and your schedule. 

 

   A good agent knows how to deliver the good news, while a great agent knows how to deliver the tough news.  

 

3. They can remove as many challenges as possible. Something I’ve been humbled by in my career is that no two transactions are alike. Every transaction is a learning opportunity. I have hundreds of home sales under my belt, but there is always something new to learn. An agent with a lot of experience will be able to use everything they’ve learned in their career so far to remove as many challenges from the transaction as possible. 

4. They can find you the right home. As a buyer, it is your right to demand that any professional you work with will be able to find the best fit for your needs. Still, you have to be realistic. A good agent knows how to deliver the good news, while a great agent knows how to deliver the tough news. 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

 

Posted in Home Buying
March 8, 2018

Where Are Interest Rates Now and Where Are They Heading?

Interest rates are creeping up. Here’s how people are taking advantage of the market now.

Looking for a Valdosta/Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

 

We're in for a very competitive stretch in the real estate market.

First off, mortgage interest rates have started increasing. For the first time since last summer, the 30-year average mortgage rate is now over 4%.


This latest increase might be more than just a temporary bump. Some experts, including Freddie Mac’s Deputy Chief Economist Lynn Kiefer, predict that we've seen the last of sub-4% mortgage rates, thanks to strengthening inflation and broad-based economic growth.

Second, mortgage applications are also increasing. Applications were up in January by 4.1% compared to last year. This has been led by people looking to refinance their homes, while mortgage applications by homebuyers remained at steadier levels.

Third, housing supply continues to be increasingly tight, with 10% fewer homes on the market than a year ago.

 

   Homebuyers are looking to lock in the current low rates.  

 

What do all of these numbers mean for you?

The growth in mortgage rates shouldn't affect the number of eager homebuyers very much because there is so much more demand than supply right now. However, this rise in mortgage rates might actually reduce the number of homes for sale even further.

Homebuyers should be looking to lock in the current, still fairly low mortgage rates. When mortgage rates increase further, homeowners will have less of an incentive to sell their current home and buy a new home, which will require a mortgage at a new, higher rate.

 

Does this mean you should worry about mortgage rates? Not necessarily. For example, if you’re looking to buy, the biggest impact will still be the number of homes in the Valdosta market. Fortunately, a number of great homes have recently come onto the market. You can check those out on signaturechoicerealty.com.


If you have any questions about where the current rates are at or you have any real estate needs we can assist with, please don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Market Update
Feb. 23, 2018

4 Questions to Ask Before Making an Offer

If you plan on purchasing a home in the future, there are a few questions you must keep in mind before writing any offers.

Looking for a Valdosta/ Moody home? Click Here

Want to sell your home? Click Here

 

 Prior to making an offer on a home, there are a few questions you need to address. Answering these questions for yourself will help ensure that you are making the right decision as a buyer.

 

   Before settling on a home, you should be well-informed about the surrounding area.  

 

1. How’s the neighborhood? Before settling on a home, you should be well-informed about the surrounding area. Do your research on the school district, crime statistics, and on other aspects of the neighborhood. Consider speaking to a few people who already live there about what it’s truly like.

 

2. How much are the utilities? If you are upsizing from a smaller house to a larger house, the utility bill will likely increase as well. Homes with pools will also have higher utility costs. Ask the current owner for recent utility bill receipts, or contact local utility companies to ask about average yearly costs for the area.

 

3. When was the house last updated? Old paint and appliances are easily identifiable, but it may not be as easy to tell if items such as the roof, HVAC system, or water heater are in need of repair. At this point, you may want to ask for a home warranty to defray the costs of future replacements.

 

4. What’s the seller’s timeline for moving? The more you know about the seller and their motivation for moving, the more easily you will be able to write them an attractive offer.

 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Home Buying
Jan. 3, 2018

2017 Profile of Home Staging

2017 Profile of Home Staging

Posted in Selling
Sept. 13, 2017

Why Do Real Estate Agents Ask If You’re Pre-approved?

Have you ever walked into an open house, or called a real estate agent about a listing, and within minutes, they’re asking you if you are “pre-approved” for a mortgage? If you haven’t, then you have never walked into an open house or called an agent. Or at least enough of them... Just wait. It’ll happen. And you’re going to feel like it’s pretty pushy for them to ask that.

It’s like a joke.

It makes you feel like telling real estate agents this knock-knock joke… You: Knock-knock. Real estate agent: Who’s there? You: Nunya. Real Estate Agent: Nunya who!? You: Nunya business if I’m pre-approved or not! Just show me the house, and I’ll get pre-approved if I even like the house. I can definitely get approved for a mortgage. Probably way more than this stupid house anyway. So, stop asking if I’m pre-approved. Try it...maybe the agent will laugh! Or, maybe not. Depends...

But it’s no joking matter.

It depends on the agent. Agents have different personalities. They all come across different ways. They all handle how they meet, greet, and chat with consumers in different ways. There’s no one way to “be”, as a real estate agent. But every single real estate agent should be asking you if you’re pre-approved. But many do not. Because they feel like it is a bit pushy and forward. Because he or she worries about offending you. But they should ask… ...because it’s entirely relevant for them to know. ...because it’s entirely important for you to be pre-approved. It might come across as a pushy, or invasive question. Maybe that is because of how an agent asks the question. Or when the agent asks the question. Or, simply because you don’t know that it’s a question that should be asked. But it is not a joking matter. And you should expect the question, be prepared to say that you are pre-approved, and...you should actually want the agent to ask you that question.

It’s not like a first date.

If you were going on a first date with someone, and one of the first things the person asked about was how much money you make, and can you afford the date, you’d feel like that was pushy and weird. Rightfully so. You don’t go in for a kiss the minute you meet each other, let alone ask for a hand in marriage. There’s some build-up. Beyond that, there’s some time that needs to be spent together before probing questions about finances are asked. That kind of stuff comes way after even the first kiss, because finances are a pretty private, intimate subject. Even more intimate than a kiss... Which is why it seems so invasive when an agent you’ve just met asks you if you’re pre-approved. It feels like they’re asking you some pretty private, intimate stuff that’s none of their business. But asking for a pre-approval isn’t like going in for a kiss. It isn’t a marriage proposal. And it isn’t probing on the part of the agent. It is a necessary question, and an important piece of information for the agent to know. And for you!

Why does an agent ask you if you’re pre-approved?

Agents aren’t asking you if you’re pre-approved because they’re looking to size up how much you can spend. (At least not most agents…) They want and need to know that you are serious, and qualified to buy a house. And they certainly have their reasons for wanting to know…

  • Real estate agents need to make sure they’re working with someone who can actually buy a house. They don’t get paid until and unless the person they’re working with buys a house. So, this is a matter of being careful about who they spend their time with. It might sound selfish…but you can’t fault them for that. They’re in business. Nobody cuts them a paycheck. And showing people houses is not a public service or charity work. Even working with someone who is pre-approved doesn’t guarantee them that they’re going to make any money. But at least it’s an indication that the person they are working with can do something.

  • Agents also need to know how much you’re pre-approved for in order to advise you as well as possible. Picture an agent showing you houses for weeks, and months. You finally find “the one”! You get all excited about the house, and you want to make an offer, only to find out then that there’s no way you could afford the house. This leads to heartbreak and aggravation...for both of you. It doesn’t do either of you any good to go through all of that only to find out you can’t afford the houses you were looking at...or even buy one at all.

  • And, to a degree, this is a safety precaution. You might not believe this, but agents are in a pretty risky position. If they just say OK to every person who calls and asks to go see a house, with absolutely no proof or verification of who the person is, that puts them at risk. Sure, a pre-approval won’t necessarily stop an evil person from doing something, but this is a pretty basic precautionary request.

Why you should want an agent to ask if you are pre-approved.

Even if you have just started browsing for a home just a little bit, and haven’t gotten pre-approved (yet)...at least expect the question. Don’t be offended when you’re asked if you are. In fact, pay closer attention to the agents who do ask if you’re pre-approved! The ones who ask make it easy for you to find a great agent to work with. Because if they’re asking that question, it’s a good sign that they are thorough and thoughtful about how they do their business. That’s the type of agent you want to have on your side when you’re buying a house — one who’s careful from the get-go. One who pays attention to the details. One who isn’t going to waste your time any more than their own. Or allow your heart to be broken when you fall in love with a house you can’t do anything about. And if you want to get some really good attention and service from the best agents you come across, don’t even let them have to ask if you are pre-approved… Get pre-approved before you even start looking. And let the agent know you’re pre-approved before they even ask. You’ll set yourself apart from almost every buyer the agent has ever met.

Posted in Home Buying