Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vacation- and Investment-Home Shares Hold Even in 2010

The market share of vacation- and investment-home sales1 held steady in 2010, although the sales volume declined with the overall market, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR’s 2011 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2010, shows vacation-home sales accounted for 10 percent of transactions last year while the portion of investment sales was 17 percent, both unchanged from 2009.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “Despite extraordinarily tight credit conditions for purchasing a second home, the market share for vacation and investment homes held steady,” he said. “A sizeable number of buyers made deals with all-cash offerings.”

All-cash purchases have become prevalent in the second-home market in recent years: 59 percent of investment buyers paid cash in 2010, as did 36 percent of vacation-home buyers.

With an overall decline in home sales during 2010, the volume of 543,000 vacation-home sales was down 1.8 percent from 553,000 in 2009. Investment purchases fell 7.8 percent to 867,000 in 2010 from 940,000 the previous year. Primary residence sales declined 5.6 percent to 3.81 million from 4.04 million in 2009.

Foreclosure or trustee sales accounted for 17 percent of investment purchases and 11 percent of vacation-home sales in 2010, compared with 5 percent of primary purchases. “Second home buyers purchased more distressed homes at discount than did buyers of primary residences,” Yun said.

The median vacation-home price was $150,000 in 2010, down 11.2 percent from $169,000 in 2009, while the median investment-home price was $94,000, which is 10.5 percent below the $105,000 median in 2009. By contrast, the median primary residence price declined a relatively modest 4.5 percent to $176,700 last year from $185,000 in 2009. 2

The typical vacation-home buyer in 2010 was 49 years old, had a median household income of $99,500 and purchased a property that was a median distance of 375 miles from his or her primary residence; 31 percent of vacation homes were within 100 miles and 41 percent were more than 500 miles.
Investment-home buyers had a median age of 45, earned $87,600 and bought a home that was fairly close to their primary residence – a median distance of 19 miles.

“The fall in home prices has opened opportunities for more families to enter the second-home market – the median income of investment buyers today is lower than it’s been in recent years,” Yun said. While the median income of vacation-home buyers in 2010 is slightly above 2007 when it was $99,100, the median income of an investment-home buyer is 5.7 percent below $92,900 in 2007.

“Even if purchases are delayed due to economic circumstances, the underlying long-term demand – the desire for purchasing second homes – remains because people in their 30s and 40s will reach the prime age for buying and will drive the second-home market in coming decades as conditions permit,” Yun added.
Currently, 40.7 million people in the U.S. are ages 50-59 – a group that dominated sales in the first part of the past decade and established records for second-home sales. An additional 43.8 million people are now in the primary buying demographic of 40-49 years old, while another 40.4 million are 30-39.

Lifestyle factors continue to be the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers, with the desire for rental income driving investment purchases. Vacation homes were more likely to be located in a rural area, while investment homes were more likely to be in a suburban location.
“Vacation-home buyers want the property for their own personal use, with 84 percent saying the primary reason for buying was to use for vacations or as a family retreat,” Yun said. “Rental income generation was the primary motive for investment buyers. At the same time, nearly half indicated they sought to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity.”

Thirty-four percent of vacation-home buyers said they plan to use the property as a primary residence in the future, as did 10 percent of investment buyers.
Twenty-one percent of investment buyers and 14 percent of vacation buyers purchased the property for a family member, friend or relative to use. “Some of these buyers purchase a home for their son or daughter to use while attending school,” Yun explained.

Vacation-home buyers plan to keep their property for a median of 13 years while investment buyers plan to hold their property for a median of 10 years.

Thirty-six percent of vacation homes purchased in 2010 were in the South, 27 percent in the West, 19 percent in the Northeast and 15 percent in the Midwest; 3 percent were located outside of the U.S.
The distribution of investment properties differed from vacation homes: 32 percent were in in the South, 24 percent in the West, 21 percent in the Northeast and 20 percent in the Midwest; 3 percent were purchased outside the U.S.

NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 7.9 million vacation homes and 41.6 million investment units in the U.S., compared with 74.8 million owner-occupied homes.

 Original Article

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate
St. James Plantation

Monday, March 28, 2011

Freshen up! Update your whole house for spring!

Many years ago, T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruelest month, but today it seems like March holds the sadistic spot on the calendar. With its alternating bursts of winter and spring, March leaves you anxious for the cold to depart permanently. And although there’s nothing we can do about Mother Nature’s stubborn grip on winter, we can freshen up our homes for the spring that will eventually arrive -- and help us feel better while we wait.

Start in the living room
Banish all those dark-colored throws and pillows and add a bright spark of color. Feeling ambitious? Remove heavy drapes and replace them with light voile sheers that let in more light and brighten things up.
Replace candles on the fireplace mantle with vases of brightly-colored flowers or a fresh green plant. Don’t forget to remove
the fireplace screen, and if your fireplace is empty, add some accents like a stack of white aspen logs or a lush plant. Lighten up the seating area with a sisal rug that harkens to days at the beach. Cover dark ottomans with bright throws and replace dark lampshades with light-colored examples.

Refresh the bedroom
With the departure of winter, stash heavy blankets and down comforters back in the closet in favor of lighter spreads. Consider adding a splash of paint color behind the bed. With only one wall to cover, the job will be quick and easy, yet make a big impact. Pull heavy accessories off the nightstands and replace them with glass bowls filled with seashells, sea glass, or bright silk flowers.
To give your bedroom that springtime scent, add potpourri with a light fragrance to make the room smell fresh. Drop some lightcolored throw pillows on the bed. Remove drapes in favor of a light-colored valance and patterned sheers to draw more light into the room. Next, take a tip from 4-star hotels
and add a spring-inspired throw rug on each side of the bed.

A springtime kitchen
Painted cabinets are back in style, and if you want to give your kitchen a dose of spring freshness, all it takes is a coat of paint in a soft celery hue. Nothing says spring like green! Remove as much as possible from the countertops -- and the refrigerator door, a notorious clutter magnet. A neat kitchen looks cleaner and brighter.
To complete the makeover, add one or two bright-colored accessories, such as a vase or covered cake plate filled with decorated cookies in springtime shapes of leaves, rabbits or flowers. Hang some pretty botanical plates on the wall bring the outdoors in. Be sure to add some springtime freshness to your table, too, with napkins and placemats in spring colors, or that feature leaves or plants. Hang some pretty new dishtowels and you’re all set.

Original Article

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate
St. James Plantation

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Real Estate Photos: Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

When you are interviewing for a job, you want to put your best foot forward. You wear nice clothing, carry a briefcase, and make sure every hair is in place. Your resume is in pristine condition and you sell your smile to every person you meet. Selling your home is very similar; you want to put your best foot forward.
Many people have begun to rely solely on the Internet to find their next home. According to the National Association of Realtors, nine out of ten home buyers search for their next home on the Internet. With those kinds of odds, you need your home to have a strong presence on the Internet. How can you do that? With great real estate pictures.
On the Internet, your St. James Plantation will be almost entirely judged based on its photographs.  If a potential home buyer is turned off by your photographs or the fact that you don’t have any, you can bet they won’t take the time to come check out your home.

Implement the following suggestions when taking photos of your real estate:
  • Invest in a decent camera and use a tripod for sharp photographs.
  • Stage your home effectively. Use flowers and limit the clutter in your home.
  • Use as much natural lighting in your photographs as possible.
  • Choose flattering angles. Corners and hallways are usually a good spot to take your photos.
  • Take as many photos as possible. Experiment with lighting and angles to get the best shots. Review your photos and choose the best ones.
  • When you are reviewing your photos, it may be necessary to implement some photo editing tools to brighten pictures or crop unflattering photos.
By showcasing your home on the Internet you can gain exposure and allow potential home buyers to preview your St. James Plantation Real Estate before they see it in person.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate
St. James Plantation

Friday, March 18, 2011

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

When selling your home, it is necessary to get a home inspection. While it may not be something you immediately think to do, it is very helpful in identifying any problems you may have before you even put your St. James Plantation home on the market.
A home inspection can last anywhere from two to three hours and involves the inspector going through every part of your home from top to bottom. The following are some of the things an inspector will pay close attention to during an inspection:
  • Operation of plumbing
  • Operation of heating
  • Operation of air conditioning
  • Electrical systems
  • Appliance systems
  • Structural integrity of the roof
  • Structural integrity of the foundation and basement
  • Structural integrity of windows and doors
The purpose of a home inspection is to identify any flaws or structural damage that may be an issue when you attempt to sell your home. It is important to remember though, that home inspections do not necessarily detect every conceivable flaw. They only inspect areas that are clearly visible; there could be problems hiding beneath the surface that remain unidentified.

Having an inspection before you put your home on the market can help you fix any major problems before you try to sell, and it can also help remove any nagging questions about the condition of your home for potential buyers.
Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate
St. James Plantation

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Price Your Home Effectively

Determining your selling price is probably one of the biggest problems associated with selling your home. You don’t want to price it too low and lose valuable money, but you also don’t want to price it too high and lose potential buyers. So how should you go about determining the magic starting value for your St. James Plantation Home!

Don’t start too high

While that is easier said than done, initially pricing your home too high can have a variety of negative consequences in the long run. Not only will you lose buyer interest, but pricing too high can make competing properties in your area seem like better deals. It can also lead to mortgage rejection once the appraisal is in. So how do you avoid this common mistake?
  • Get a professional appraisal of your property

  • Purchase an online pricing report

  • Find similar homes for sale in your area

  • Always set your price slightly below a whole value (Ex. $89,000 instead of $90,000)

Don’t start too low

The reasons for not pricing your home too low are fairly obvious. Not only will you be losing out on money, but you will not be factoring in the negotiations that take place between buyer and seller. Most home buyers aren’t going to accept the asking price; they will attempt to barter a slightly better offer. You need to compensate for this in the initial pricing of your home.

A quality real estate agent can help walk you through the process and work with you to develop a starting point where you feel comfortable. Remember, the real estate market experiences frequent changes, so be sure to re-evaluate the price of your home every few months.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate
St. James Plantation

Monday, March 14, 2011

Year-To-Date Statistics for St. James

 I thought it would be a good time to update everyone on single family sales in St. James Plantation year-to-date.

Homes Sold: 6
Average List Price: $368,117
Average Sale Price: $344,583
Average Days On Market: 145

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm off to GenBlue!

 Hello Everyone,

I'm leaving today for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue Conference in Las Vegas today. Hopefully it will be a great time and experience, with some new tricks of the trade to be found. The conference focuses on modern marketing techniques from the Generation Blue, lots of social media and video information i'm sure. Have a great week everyone!

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Incentives that Help Seal the Deal for Home Buyers

As a home seller, it is your job to make your St. James Plantation home seem so desirable that a potential home buyer can’t turn away. If you can tell you have a home buyer that is close to making an offer or that is contemplating your counter-offer, there are a few ways you can help sweeten the deal for them.

By offering little incentives for the home buyer, they will be more likely to commit to making the purchase. Sometimes, it really are the little things that count and if you make the extra effort, you will be more likely to seal the deal!

Consider offering potential home buyers one of the following incentives:

  • Offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs associated with the sale.
  • Offer to leave home furnishings you might have otherwise taken, for example, a porch swing you had built specifically for the home.
  • Offer to pay for any inspection fees associated with the home.
  • Offer to pay the property taxes the new homeowner will have to pre-pay when signing the deal.
  • Offer to pay for any moving services or moving expenses that will be involved for the new homeowner.
In comparison to the cost of the home these simple incentives are nothing, but it could be something this simple that gives the potential home buyer the push they need to commit to buying your house.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top 10 Home Staging Tips

Staging, which can be often overlooked by home sellers, is a necessary part of the selling process. Home staging involves cleaning, decorating and de-cluttering your home. Your goal is to highlight your Southport NC home's best features and get potential buyers to picture a life in your home.
  1. De-personalize your home by removing all family photos and memorabilia.
  2. Set your dining room table and include a new, eye-catching centerpiece.
  3. Only include 50% of what is usually in your closet to give the allusion it is larger and add bright lighting.
  4. Clean your entire home from top to bottom.
  5. Include lots of plants, greenery and fresh flowers throughout the house.
  6. Use minimal window treatments to showcase the views outside and the natural lighting.
  7. Make the house a comfortable temperature, which means turning on the heater or air conditioner as necessary.  68-70° F is usually comfortable for most people.
  8. Make sure your home smells fresh and clean, especially if you normally have pets in the house.
  9. Don’t neglect your patio or deck outside. Make sure it is clean and inviting.
  10. Offer potential home buyers candy or fresh cookies to give them a feeling of warmth and comfort in your house.
You can do home staging yourself or you can invest in a professional home stager for around $1500 to $2500. Using a professional home stager can help you sell your home faster, and in such a competitive market it may be worth the extra cash. Whatever you decide, be sure you take the time to make your home presentable for potential home buyers.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Best Time to Sell Your House

You spent months researching St. James Plantation new homes and you spent months trying to get your home ready to sell, but when is the right time to put it on the market? Should you wait until spring? Should you sell in the summer? While it may just come down to when it is most convenient for you, there are actually times during the year when it is more profitable to sell your home.

Traditionally, spring is the best season for real estate. Sales begin to reach their peak in April and May and can stay consistent through July. What’s the reason? These times usually provide the best weather to purchase a home, especially in areas that have challenging winters. It is also the most convenient time for families to move because school is out. Spring also means that people have just received their tax funds which can be helpful in making a down payment.

If for some reason you can’t sell your home during the warmer months, it may actually make the most sense for you to choose winter. While that may not seem like the most convenient time to place your home on the market, you will probably not run into a lot of competition during this season and your home is probably clean and de-cluttered from the holidays. Obviously, it would be easier to sell a St. James Plantation home in the winter than it would a hosue in Ohio, but selling your home in the winter does have its perks.

When you are ready to sell, make sure you call me, so I can walk you through the home selling process, so you can maximize profits and minimize frustration.
Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobile
Email Me
Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate