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September Real Estate Forecast Shows a Bigger Inventory Increase and a Slight Decline in Sales

September Real Estate Forecast Shows a Bigger Inventory Increase and a Slight Decline in Sales

The real estate market has slowed down slightly since we have rounded into the colder fall months. But even though things appear to have slowed down, September was a great month for listings, seeing one of the highest numbers in months. The Bend Real Estate market is still stronger than 4 to 5 years ago in the fall.

Benchmark Interest Rates

It was announced in September that the central bank would not raise its benchmark interest rate. The Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen made this announcement. This rate is used to set the rates of most bank loans. So how does this affect housing market in Central Oregon?

Fed Fund rates are currently at .50 percent, but they may not remain there much longer. Some economist polls have predicted that there will be an increase to .75 percentage points, sometime in the fourth quarter of the year.

The Federal Reserve hasn’t raised its benchmark rate since December 2015. Since then, conventional mortgage rates have fallen and are near three-year lows. So even if the Federal Reserve decides to increase their rate, it may not mean that mortgage interest rates will increase right away.

Some believe that the low interest rates have driven housing prices up. With a low interest rate, some homebuyers are able to afford higher priced houses, which could possibly be driving prices up.

There are so many variables associated with home buying and interest rates to accurately predict what will happen. Even with an expected rise to the Fed’s benchmark interest rate, it’s impossible to accurately predict what will happen to the housing market.

Number of Listings increases

In Central Oregon listings were up, even though there was a decline nationally. Building permits did see a rise nationally. This could indicate a growing trend of more home-building activity.

Locally listings continued to rise from August, going from 534 to 554 in the month of September. The number of listings has continued to grow even from July, with September coming in as the highest number of listings per month since before February.

Pending listings did see a slight decrease, but it’s expected that sales will continue to come through in October. Sales fell from August to September slightly, as was expected after the summer sales rush was ending. The market is still more active than prior years, and is expected to stay busier in the coming months.

Final Analysis

To keep track of the current real estate trends in Bend, Oregon, and the trends of fall as we head into colder months, keep in touch with Duke Warner Realty. We compile comprehensive market data that is available to home sellers and buyers. Learn about what we can do to help you with buying or selling real estate by visiting dukewarner.com, browsing our Facebook page, or calling us at (541) 382-8262.

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Upgrades on Homes that make them more attractive to prospective buyers

Upgrades on Homes that make them more attractive to prospective buyers

These days it’s a buyer’s market. They have plenty of homes to choose from, and they can narrow down top properties by the smallest details. If you have upgrades that are needed on your home, and you’re considering selling it in the near future, here’s what you should focus on.

To fix up or to leave as is

It can be hard to decide if fixing up your home will financially benefit you in the long run. Something to consider in today’s market is that some buyers are looking for fixer uppers. Some buyers want the challenge of doing small remodels on their new homes. Some major problems with your home, like foundation cracks or serious plumbing problems, might work as deterrents for prospective buyers. Smaller changes like an outdated bathroom, that could do with a smaller remodel and some newer tiling might not be seen as any issue to new buyers. You do need to consider if your house requires fixing in areas, that you will need to price it lower. If buyers are looking for a fixer upper, they are already expecting to put some money into the home, so they don’t want to be at the top of their budget when it comes to the listing price.

Fixing it up

Before you fix up your home, you need to consider what features or upgrades will earn you the most value when it comes time to sell your house. If the upgrade isn’t going to return the investment when you sell your house, it’s not worth it to do the upgrade.

It’s important to consider what other homes on the markets are offering. If you notice that most homes have upgraded kitchens, it may be a good idea to upgrade your kitchen. It’s up to you how minor or major you want to go with a remodel. It depends on the materials used, cost to you and what your market is like. You may not want to rip apart your kitchen, and invest in all new appliances. Maybe your kitchen would look infinitely better with a new coat of paint and new fixtures or faucets.

Replacing worn carpeting is a must. It’s one thing that sellers almost always notice and it can leave a bad taste in their mouth. If your carpet is severely worn, stained or ripped it can convey to the seller that you don’t take care of your home. They may wonder what else you’ve neglected in your home.

Damaged roofs need to be fixed as well. This is something that will harm you when it comes to home inspection time, and it will definitely turn buyers away.

Changing light fixtures and ceiling fans that are old or outdated can immediately change the feeling of a room or your home. This is a big one. It can make your home look updated without any hard work. It’s a simple fix. Fixtures can get spendy, but they will almost always return the investment.

It can be difficult to decide what you fix and what you leave, or if you even fix anything at all. Keep your eyes on the market to see what other sellers are doing. Talk to a real estate broker and see what they’re seeing more frequently. If you do minimal upgrades that guarantee a return on investment, it’s worth it to you.

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How to Stay Organized during Your House Hunt

How to stay organized during your house hunt

House hunting can be a quite stressful time. It’s also a very exciting time, looking at options for your potential future home. There are quite a lot of moving parts to house hunting, lots of paperwork to keep track of, getting pre-approved, finding properties within your budget, appraisals, etc. Here are some tips for keeping your house hunt as organized as possible.

Keeping properties straight

Touring multiple open houses can get confusing. Properties can melt together and keeping important features of a home straight can start to blur. Before you start your official hunt it can be important to sit down and list out all of the feature you want in a home. It can be easy to visit a house and say this is perfect, and forget that you’re missing out on key features that you really wanted in the first place. Take into consideration what all members of your family want in a home, backyard for the kids or pets, dual vanities in the master bath, whatever it is list it out. Then narrow the list down to a top three to five. When you visit a property, compare it to your list of wants and needs. Make sure your broker knows what your top wants a needs are, so they can be sure to show you properties that align with what you want in a home.

It can also help to make a comparison chart. Listing out what you want, and comparing it with properties you’ve seen can help you stay on track. It can also help you keep track of properties you’ve seen, if you keep a running list or chart, and prevent them from running together.

Touring homes

It can be helpful to walk through a home twice. Enjoy walking through the home the first time, enjoy the feel of the layout. Try not to get swept up in exciting features or other things. Then walk through it a second time, using a slightly harsher lense. Use your list of desired features, and think about if this home really does have what you’re looking for. It’s important to keep these things in mind, and not get swept up in dazzling features. It’s also important to note, that your first impression of the house, on your first walk through, can be the best indicator. It’s definitely important to note if it has what you’re looking for, but if your gut says no when you’re walking through a home it’s important to listen to that. Even if this home has all of the things on your desired list. Asking to take photos of a home that you like is never a bad idea. It may remind you why you liked the home in the first place. Taking a moment to visualize how you would use the space in the home to make it yours can also be helpful.

Stay organized

Keeping track of homes you liked and homes that you didn’t can make your house hunt less stressful. Keep in mind features that are deal breakers, things you definitely want, and things you don’t. Communication with your broker is key as well. Keep them in the loop as to what you like and what you didn’t. If they have all the tools they need from you, they should be able to produce a wonderful list of properties for you to look at.

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August Real Estate Forecast Shows Inventory Increase and Strong Sales

August Real Estate Forecast Shows Inventory Increase and Strong Sales

The real estate market in Central Oregon has changed slightly as we take the turn into the beginning of fall. August 2016 was a strong sales month, which showed that August is still a great month to house hunt and list new properties. In the coming months, we will continue to see an increase in price reductions to stay competitive with the market.

Pricing for the market

August saw a strong finish in sales, with a high number of pending listings that are projected to close in September. August trends indicate that it’s important to price your listing for the market. Pricing ahead of the market could cost you potential buyers or offers. A spring trend is to price a listing competitively rather than on-market, but pricing for the market is more important and more successful in the fall.

Price Reductions

Listings also saw a continued increase in price reductions, from properties that may have been priced too competitively from prior months. Heading into cooler months may hold a drop in prospective buyers, as summer months are known to include increased prospective buyers. Pricing on-market could ensure more looks at your listing, and a great offer or two.

Number of listings increases slightly

The inventory available has continued to increase through August. There were more active listings in August than in July and June. The number of sold properties rose slightly from July, from 250 to 261, but the number was still not able to top June, which came in at 287 sold properties.

Final Analysis

 The final conclusion from the real estate trend report in August is that there are still a number of great listings on the market. Some may be going through price reductions, as sellers try to price appropriately for the fall buyer. The number of available listings continues to increase in August, providing the buyer with plenty of properties to choose from.

To keep track of the current real estate trends happening in Bend, Oregon, and the trends of the fall season, keep in touch with Duke Warner Realty. We compile comprehensive market data that is available to home sellers and buyers. Learn about what we can do to help you with buying or selling real estate by visiting dukewarner.com, browsing our Facebook page, or calling us at (541) 382-8262.

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Why Sellers are Still Hesitant

Why Sellers could be hesitant to list their home

It seems that the real estate market in Bend is booming, and that it would be the perfect time to sell. But most sellers are quite hesitant to list a home, due a variety of worries.

Sellers’ Market

It is completely a sellers’ market at the moment. It’s the best time to list your house for one of the highest prices it may ever be valued at. Selling your house during the current market means you could make a considerable profit.

Unfortunately, selling your home means that you do need a place to live. And if it’s a seller’s market it’s definitely not a buyers’ market. While homeowners may be able to sell their home for a pretty penny, they’re also going to have to shell out a considerable amount to relocate. Relocation may just mean across town, to a smaller property, or a different city or state. Potential buyers are facing a lack of affordable inventory.

Financial concerns

Staying in the house they own might make the most sense for potential sellers. They may have refinanced their home, and know that they won’t make as much of a profit as they need to turn around and buy another property. Some buyers, particularly those who bought between 2004 and 2007, still may be deep into their mortgage. Their house may be worth less than the mortgage amount that they still owe.

Lifestyle

Some sellers may not be able to afford to relocate to an area that is desirable to them, whether it’s the area that they’re already living in, or one they’d like to move to. Some common retirement hotspots are seeing a surge in real estate value, making it impossible for potential buyers, like retirees, to get in.

Some potential sellers may also be facing other lifestyle problems, such as aging parents that require care or after-college age kids who still may be dependent on their parent’s home as a place to live.

Selling a home

Selling a home is a big decision, especially when there are certain factors that you take into consideration, like finances, family members that are dependent. You may not be ready to sell a house, especially if you can’t afford to buy one in the market you live in or the market you’re considering. Moving alone can be expensive, so be sure to consider all of the avenues of selling your home, to make sure you’re ready when you do. Get in touch with a local real estate broker at Duke Warner Realty, to take a look at the market trends, and what potential properties are selling for. Make an informed decision to put your house on the market and have a plan.

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Buying near schools adds value

How buying in a top school district can benefit you

It’s the time of year when going back to school is on the brains of children, parents and community members. Whether or not you have a family to consider, buying property in an area with good schools can benefit you in many ways.

Seeking good schools

If you are seeking good schools for your children, it’s beneficial to know where you school district boundaries are. Most school districts have an attendance area map that breaks down the sections of the town by school.

In the Bend-La Pine School District, there are so many students and schools, it’s important to know where you’re buying if you have a desired school that you wish for your kids to attend. Bend La Pine has 30 schools alone. Buying one or two streets over can make a big difference, when it comes to attendance areas. Check out the areas here: https://www.bend.k12.or.us/district/parents/attendance-areas

No children to consider

Even if you don’t have children to factor, buying near a well ranked school system can increase the value of your house. If there are good schools, public or private, in your area it makes that area more desirable for future buyers. It’s adding value to your house without actually having to do anything to the property. It’s the same as buying a property that’s close to amenities like restaurants, shopping, etc. You don’t have to physically do anything to the property in order for the value to be affected.

Future planning

Even if you don’t currently have children, future planning can be important to consider. If you’re considering buying a home in a new area, it is important to note whether or not there are good schools nearby. If you wind up having kids, ideally you would want to make sure you’re already in a good school system. It would be unfortunate to buy in an area, and lose value on your home when you went to sell it because you weren’t near good schools. That would also be tough if the reason you were moving was to get closer to better schools for your offspring.

Take Away

When you’re considering in investing in property or real estate in Bend, Oregon, or elsewhere, it’s important to consider what sort of school district you’re buying in. Good schools bring in much more than just educated students, they can influence local culture, arts, restaurants and more. Good schools also can mean that you’re living in a great area, which can indirectly increase the value of your property or home.

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July Real Estate Forecast Shows Changes in Pending listings and Price Reductions

July Real Estate Forecast Shows Changes in Pending listings and Price Reductions

The real estate market in Central Oregon has taken a change as we reach the near end of summer. July 2016 was a strong seller’s month, signifying that summer months continue to be a great time to house hunt, with warmer days and relocation at a high. Moving forward, this trend will start to change as we head into the fall months.

July signals a continued increase in listings

Listings have been growing continually through past four months. To date, there were 41 percent more listings at the end of July, than the end of April.

Available listings will downsize as we move into fall, and signs of slowing are evident by the number of pending listings. July finished with less pending listings than in April, 15 percent less. This real estate trend shows that more sellers list their home in the early summer months, rather than waiting until July to get it listed, because they have a better chance of selling it if they get it listed before the summer rush starts.

A July trend in price reductions

A trend that Central Oregon real estate saw in June was that sellers needed to carefully consider the asking price for their homes. Following the heels of the June trend, there was an overwhelming trend of price reductions in the month of July.

With a growing inventory in July, there was suddenly stiffer competition in better priced inventory. Sellers are attempting to chase the market by lowering prices on properties that may have been overpriced. Some homeowners attempt to lower a price before the end of the summer, while buyers are still looking for the right property. The number of price reductions did go up 254 percent from April to July.

Final Analysis

The final take-away of the real estate trends in July is that there are a decent number of buyers that are still out there. Buyers are still combing through the available listings and trying to find the right property for their needs. Perhaps a price reduction is something you should consider to spark more interest and ultimately sell your property.

To keep track of the current real estate trends happening in Bend, Oregon, and the trends heading into the fall season, turn to Duke Warner Realty. We compile comprehensive market data that is available to home sellers and buyers. Discover what we can do for you when you are interested in buying or selling real estate by visiting dukewarner.com, browsing our Facebook page, or calling us at (541) 382-8262.

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Buying vs. renting: Pros and Cons

In today’s current real estate market housing prices have grown, and in some areas rental costs haven’t kept up with the trend. In some areas, it is cheaper to rent than to buy, but not in all markets. There are many other factors to consider when you’re weighing your options on buy vs. rent.

In most popular cities and suburbs, home prices are climbing fast, which can make renting look like a better alternative. Rental prices can also climb in the same areas, if the demand exists. This makes the cost of renting vs. buying quite similar.

Renting a home or apartment

Renting is appealing because it requires less responsibility. If something breaks down in your home, you can simply call up the property management company or landlord. You’re not on the hook for unexpected financial commitments, like fixing the dishwasher or sprinkler system.

The monthly cost of renting can also be lower than a monthly mortgage payment. Typically, the cost of owning vs. renting eventually becomes cheaper, whereas the cost of renting continues to stay the same and has the potential to go up, depending on rent trends.

Buying your own home

In the long term, whether or not your real estate market is in the up and up or not, buying can save you money. Over time, the money that you’re putting into your own home is less than a renter is investing. Another point to consider, the renter isn’t actually investing any money. When you’re putting money into a mortgage payment, you’re putting equity into something, into your home. You’re adding value to your home, value that you someday could get back. It’s essentially the same as adding something on to your house that would make it more appealing to future buyers. If you added a pool, it would entice more future buyers, and therefore would increase the value of your home.

Your home can also increase in value due to the local real estate market. When you buy it, it may be worth a set sum, but then after years of market change it could be worth significantly more. In some current real estate markets, home prices have doubled in the last four years, which is great for home owners but not as great for those seeking to purchase a home.

Many home owners also have plenty of tax benefits to consider when purchasing a home. You can deduct a mortgage from your income tax bills amongst other options.

When you own your own home, you also don’t have to worry about rent increases coming out of nowhere. Your monthly mortgage payment will stay the same, unless you refinance or choose to pay more than the agreed upon amount every month.

Another long term benefit to owning your own home is paying off your mortgage. Once your mortgage is paid off your monthly housing costs drop significantly.

Take away

Renting and buying each have their own set of pros and cons. It depends on what you’re looking for a property and commitment. If you’re seeking something more long term, the advantages of buying outweigh renting. Over time, the financial benefits to owning a home can trump renting as well.

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Pet owners: How to sell and what to look for when buying

Making a home more pet friendly for potential buyers

Pets have typically been something to cover up when you’re showing your home. You’re supposed to remove all traces of them, their toys scattered all over the house, their fluffy beds in the corner, the fur balls rolling around the living room.

When showing your home

While some cleaning up after your pet is necessary and polite to do, for prospective buyers visiting your home, it might be helpful to show them how a pet has lived comfortably in your home or on your property.  Clean up the toys and the fur balls, but leave the fluffy bed in the corner to show how you arranged your living space and left room for your four-legged friend.

Leaving the pet-friendly area you’ve created in your back yard, whether it’s a dog house or a pet friendly run area for their exercise, could also benefit you.

Certainly clean the backyard or litter box, before any prospective buyers walk through. Additionally, consider carpet cleaning, to remove any lingering pet odor. While your nose may be used to it, it could be a complete turn off for a new buyer. If the odor is particularly bad, consider removing or replacing carpet.

When buying, what to consider

Consider if there are pet friendly parks nearby, or off leash areas. Depending on the level of escape tactics of your furry friends, consider the speeds and traffic of the closest major thoroughfares. Also consider: would you feel safe leaving them in the backyard, or is there an ideal space for a doggy-door? If you have previously only allowed your pets in certain areas of the house, for example having a kitchen dog, or first floor dog, make sure that the new layout of a prospective property suits your needs, and that it won’t cause an additional headache of training or re-training.

If you plan to rent out your new property

If you’re considering buying a property with the sole purpose of renting it out, consider making the home a pet-friendly rental. Pet friendly rentals in certain areas are very hard to come by, and by making a few small changes or sacrifices, you could ensure that you are never without renters. People will be lining up to live in your pet-friendly property, and you’ll have the ability to screen those pets and their owners as you choose.

Pets can make or break a property, when you take them into consideration. Many people consider their pets to be members of their family, so if a property doesn’t suit their needs and their pets, it could be a no go.

 

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Real Estate Photography: Using drones for listings

In 2016 we’re all trying to get ahead in the real estate market, by using any competitive edge we can. Playing with drones is one of many fun things to do in Bend, Oregon, but drones could also be a great tool for real estate photography. Drones are already used for law enforcement purposes, weather monitoring and more.
Drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), can be used to get unique angles of properties, showing more details to a buyer than ever before. An image taken from higher in the air can show an all-encompassing aerial view of the entire property or land for sale. It can also give prospective property buyers a look at what the surrounding neighborhood looks like, or what a child’s walk to school would consists of.
A high aerial view could also show certain amenities near the property, like walkability to parks, restaurants, shops and more. Highlighting a particular property line or survey features might also become easier.

Anyone can do it
Drone imagery removes the need for elevated photography by expensive planes and helicopters. With drones, professionals aren’t needed to fly the device. All you need is some practice, a steady hand and a little patience. Drone footage can also be shot as a video or stills, and you can typically do the editing in house, as it doesn’t require difficult programs or prior training. Even if you choose to outsource drone photography, it could be much less expensive than other options.

The Rules
It’s important to use drones legally, as there are still many rules the FAA is deciding upon. Users must be 13 years of age or older to operate a drone. Filing a petition with the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Section 333 is necessary. Your UAS must be registered with the FAA and a waiver must be obtained for every air space you have plans to shoot in. The last step is to get an FAA airman certificate for either private, recreational or sport pilot.
Operators must fly under 400 feet and the drone can’t weigh over 55 lbs. Drones must be flown only in the daytime, and only in plain sight. If you’re using a drone for real estate photography, you’ll most likely be flying it in residential areas. There are certain areas where UAS are not permitted, such as sports areas or stadium, including racetracks, the District of Columbia, forest fires and within 5 miles of any airport.
When filming for real estate, always ask homeowners before launching your drone, including private property. Try to avoid flying over large crowds of people, and having children or pets chase your drone.
Drone photography for real estate is a new idea, but it’s one that could be around for a while. The FAA has issued thousands of permits for commercial use, and nearly 40 percent of those were issued to real estate companies. So do some investigating and consider how drone footage could boost your real estate listings.