October 2011 Market Update for Baltimore and Harford Counties

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As the number 5 top real estate agency in the State of Maryland with RE/MAX– we get asked a lot of questions. Lately, people want to know how our area is performing in the real estate market. There is some good news, some not-so-good news and a few things in between but we all know that what goes up must come down and vice versa.

BRAC Resulted in Increased Renters

During the past two years our area has seen an influx of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) transfers, something that we had hoped would contribute greatly to the housing industry in our counties. Unfortunately we did not experience as much of a home buying spree, as we would have liked rather about half of the BRAC transfers ended up renting. It is our hope that these renters will soon venture into buying a home – a move that would collectively do the area a lot of good. We anticipate that as these residents spend more time in the vicinity they will feel more confident about making this area a long-term home for their families.

Homes Are Selling

In Harford County there are currently 1,600 homes on the market. Of them, anywhere from about 175 to 200 are selling each month.

Baltimore County’s listings amount to about 4,200 at the moment – and of these nearly 500 to 600 are selling every month, translating to an approximate 12% monthly absorption.

Ranchers and Colonials Are Going Fast

Not only are rancher homes selling fast but they are also selling at a good price, which is very good news for us. The other segment that is performing very well right now is colonial homes particularly in the Bel Air area. Properties priced at about the low 400s to the mid 500s are the ones that selling the quickest. Not only that – some of these properties are seeing multiple offers in a matter of days being on the market.

Inventory Levels Still Higher Than We’d Like

An ideal market is a balanced market and we are still a few months away from being balanced in terms of inventory. Currently we have anywhere from eight to ten months of inventory that must sell.

One type of dwelling where there is a higher surplus is in townhouses. There are currently a high inventory of townhomes on the market. Adding to that the fact that prices are down makes it an unpleasant time to try and sell for first time sellers, owners of these properties.

Beating This Market and Getting Homes Sold

With our years of experience in getting homes sold fast at the best price possible, we strive to help you with your home’s sale so you can enjoy maximum success. Given the condition of the market these days, we know how essential it is that you have an edge over other sellers.

To help our clients sell their homes we are focusing on getting them to work with a home stager. If you are considering putting your home up for sale at some time in the near to distant future, our team will come over to your home, go over what the expectations are and what is needed to accomplish those goals. Then, as the months leading to the sale of your home go by, you have plenty of time to work on the areas that need repair, rehabilitation or renovation.

One of the things we assist our clients in determining is how and where to distribute their funds in areas of their home needing attention before sale. Whether redoing your kitchen counter tops,  updating bathroom vanities, renovating the basement or replacing carpet and repainting the walls – we provide plenty of advice on these things so that your home will sell at the best price possible and in the least time needed.
Being in the top 5 of our state with RE/MAX, our team sells a lot of inventory in the Harford and Baltimore county area, we know what we’re doing and we are confident that the advice we give you will yield excellent results! We invite you to call us and we’ll come out to meet with you.

Five Things That Make Buying a House Today the Choice You Should Make

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We all know that interest rates have not been this low since before baby boomers were in control of things – but there is much more to it than just the rate you get when buying a home.  We wanted to share why so many people are compelled to forego the renting option and go straight to owning their own home.  When you combine the low, low prices of homes on the market these days with the interest rates that are as much as five times less than what they were a while ago – buying now makes more sense than ever.

More House for the Same Or Less Payment

Since property owners have to pay to maintain the house, the costs are usually passed onto the renters.  When you own your own home, not only can you afford a bigger house with better amenities, more space and in superior condition but considering todays’ market you can manage it with less out-of-pocket each month.

Better Neighborhood for the Same Or Less Payment

A major factor for families with children going to school, being in a better neighborhood provides added security and the presence of a better school district.  Again, considering the state of our current real estate market, the benefits of buying these days include being able to get into a far better neighborhood than if one was to rent.

Tax Advantages That Facilitate More Money In Pocket

Renters do not enjoy the tax advantages of being a homeowner.  Whether a first-time homebuyer, an energy-saving household or just through the regular homeownership tax deductions, the financial benefits of homeownership far outweigh those of people choosing to rent a home.

Fewer Total Moving Costs

With advantages provided to homebuyers in some mortgage programs allowing as little as 3.5% down or less to get into a home, the total cost to move in is often far less these days when buying versus renting.  Landlords typically expect rent for the first month plus a security deposit equal to first months rent, and pet deposits ranging from 200-2000. Most landlords are not allowing pets, and because the rental market is so busy the landlords can be very choosy.  What’s more, once you do move in there are extra charges to have pets and renters are largely limited through liability as well.

Extended Savings Through Delayed Initial Payment

When you rent a home, chances are that rent will be due immediately.  In fact, most renters cannot even move in until and unless they have paid their dues.  Conversely, depending on when the closing date is, homebuyers are able to get away with as much as 45 days without making the first mortgage payment, which is usually just the payment, real estate taxes plus private mortgage insurance if less than 20% was put down on the house.  Renters would have to pay as much as $3,500 (including security deposit and additional months’ rent as required) depending on their monthly payment amount.
With rates and home prices as low as they are, if you can afford it and if you qualify – this is a very good time to choose buying over renting.  To find out whether you can qualify for a home purchase, visit your Realtor today.