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What’s the Latest News From Our Baltimore Market?

Our Baltimore market is hot right now, but that doesn’t mean buyers and sellers don’t need to be mindful of a couple things before making a move.

Spring has brought us some nice weather, but what’s happening in our market right now?

Things are very busy and very hot. One thing I’ve been noticing lately, though, is home sellers thinking they don’t need to stage, declutter, and depersonalize their home before listing it. 

If you’re a seller, you still need to prep your house for the market. If you need painting or carpeting done, make sure you do it ahead of time. You can also make use of “Coming Soon” signs so that people know you’re getting ready to put your home on the market while you’re prepping it. Like I said, our market is very busy, and I don’t want you to enter into it with false expectations.

"Finding the best financing is just as important as finding the right house."

I’ve talked to our own stager about this problem and she said in today’s market, some people are skipping the staging process in the beginning because they assume their home doesn’t need it. Sure enough, these same people are calling her a month later after they see their neighbor’s house sell and their own stay on the market. 

On the buyer side, we’re seeing multiple offers on a lot of properties, so the first-time homebuyer market is very active. The move-up market above the $500,000 range is slightly slower, though. Interest rates are still very low and could possibly dip again, but we’ll see what happens over the summertime because last year they decreased during the summer months. 

If you have any more questions about our market or are looking to buy or sell a home, please give our office a call. We look forward to helping you.

Are You Paying Cash? The Importance of Home Financing in Today's Market

Unless you're one of the lucky 10% of people who can buy a home with cash, you'll need to secure financing to buy your house. Here are some of the important details to keep in mind about finding the right home loan.

When you buy a house, financing plays an extremely important role, and you have a lot of options.

Getting financing for a home is also very different than it was in recent years when the joke was that if you could fog a mirror, you could get a home loan. Now, lenders want to see all your financial records and many other things.

There are many types of home loans, including USDA, VA, FHA, and conventional loans. For example, I recently had a client's parent call me wanting to help their kid out. They wanted their kid to be able to buy their next house without having to sell their previous home first, so we discussed the parents possibly paying down the old house and some other strategies.

Finding the best financing is just as important as finding the right house.

We're always happy to answer questions about financing for you.

There is also a lot of grant money available for first-time homebuyers. Some of it is worth taking the time to obtain, but you need to be aware of all the facts surrounding them. For instance, you might get a $5,000 grant but not realize that you have to pay it back when you sell the house. Some grants, on the other hand, are forgivable after five to 15 years.

We work with an assortment of lenders, and it's good to know who has certain programs available. Of course, we're happy to provide you with any and all information you need. For instance, there might be a doctor's loan available for someone who just got out of medical school and has an income that's not yet close to where it will be in a year or two. There are also a lot of programs for first-time homebuyers. We're also seeing first and second mortgages gain popularity again as well.

Remember that obtaining the best financing is just as important as finding the right house. Make sure you speak with an agent to walk you through the process and get direction to the right people to help you find the best option. 

If you have questions for us, don't hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to help you with your real estate and financing needs!

What’s Happening in Our Investor Market?

Our investor market is super busy right now, so if you’re thinking about buying an investment property, here’s what you need to know. 

Today I want to discuss what’s happening with our real estate market in terms of investing.

Be prepared so you don’t spend time debating about whether to make an offer.

In short, our investor market is super busy right now. We’re seeing a lot of properties sell before they even hit the market and multiple offers happening on foreclosure properties.

If you’re thinking of buying an investment property, make sure you get your financing in place because you will be competing against a lot of cash offers out there. The stock market has done so well recently that it has allowed a lot of people to become cash buyers.

Due to an accumulation of multiple offer situations, you should also be prepared to make an offer that’s over the list price. If you’re not prepared and spend too much time thinking about making an offer, another investor is going to swoop in and steal the property right from under your nose.

If you have any questions about investing in real estate, feel free to give us a call. We’d be glad to speak with you!

How to Buy a Home With Propane and/or Oil Tanks

When you buy a home, you need to know everything about the propane and oil tanks. Who owns them? Have they been tested recently?

When buying a home in the Baltimore area, you need to be aware of propane tanks and oil tanks.

As a buyer, you need to know who owns these tanks and whether they've been tested. Always ask your agent who owns the tank; they can talk to the listing agent and find out.

If you have a smaller tank, it's likely just used for cooking. If you're looking at a home that uses propane for everything (cooking, hot water, and heat) then you'll likely have a much larger tank. In that case, it will likely be a 500- or 1,000-gallon tank. These tanks can either be above or below ground.

You really want to be careful with these tanks and be sure that the home seller owns them. If not, hopefully they'll have information about the company that owns the tanks. Make sure you clarify this at the settlement table.

Heating oil is used for hot water and heat. Usually, you'll have a 275-gallon tank in the basement or outside. Larger homes might even have an underground tank that's 500 or 1,000 gallons. I definitely recommend having these tanks tested. If they haven't been tested in the last five years, let the listing agent know that you wish to have them tested. You don't want to move into a house with contaminated dirt.

One thing you don't want is to move into a home with contaminated tanks.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you look for your next home. If you have any questions for us, don't hesitate to give us a call. We'd be happy to help.

How Rising Rates Impact the Baltimore Market

The market is really heating up thanks to rising interest rates and the start of the new year. If you were on the fence about buying or selling, you might want to come down. Here's why.

Happy New Year! We're already getting to the point where things are picking up in the Baltimore real estate market due to rising interest rates from December and the Fed saying they will go up in the next two quarters. We were lucky to see rates below 3% as we're now approaching 4.5%, and I think we'll be in the 5% range before the end of the year.

This has already started pushing some buyers off the fence and into the market to buy a home before rates go up again. With the holidays being over, we're already starting to see more showings and sales. If you're thinking about selling, reach out to us soon to get an appointment set up. There are also many 'coming soon' houses that will be on the market this time of year, and we're expecting a very busy spring due to the rise in rates.

Basically, a 1% rate increase raises the cost of a house by 10%. If you could afford a $350,000 house and rates went up 1%, you would only be able to afford a $315,000 house. Rates don't always change based on the stock market, but rather the bond market. If you see interest rates starting to tick up, don't be surprised. It's also predicted that in 2018, we'll see two or three more increases in rates.

A 1% rate increase raises the cost of a house by 10%.

If you have any questions about the market, interest rates, or your home's value, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to helping you.