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Preparing to "Spring Forward"

by Melissa Dierks

Preparing to Spring Forward [INFOGRAPHIC]

Preparing to Spring Forward [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • In the majority of the country, this weekend marks the start of Daylight Savings Time as we set our clocks forward an hour on Sunday at 2:00 AM EST.
  • Whether you plan on buying or selling this spring, these tips could help you ‘spring ahead’ of your competition!
  • Spring brings two things: more buyers & more sellers! Get prepared now to stand out in the crowd!

Housing Flips Slip to Lowest Level in Years

by Melissa Dierks

Four percent of all U.S. single-family home sales in the first quarter were flips, sold for a second time within a 12-month period, according to RealtyTrac's first quarter 2015 U.S. Home Flipping Report. It marked the lowest number of homes flipped since the second quarter of 2011, when just 3.4 percent of all single-family home sales were considered flips.

Read moreHousing Flips May Start to Flop

In the first quarter, the average gross profit – the difference between the purchase price and the flipped price – for completed flips was $72,450, according to RealtyTrac’s report. That represents an increase from $65,290 in the previous quarter and is the highest level since the first quarter of 2011.

"The strong returns for home flippers in the first quarter demonstrates that there is still a need in this recovering real estate market for move-in ready homes rehabbed to more modern tastes, particularly given the dearth of new homes being built," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The challenge for flippers in 2015 will be finding inventory to flip. Flippers ideally want to buy distressed homes that provide them with an opportunity to add value in markets where there is good affordability and ample demand from buyers for the finished flip product — whether those buyers are millennials becoming first-time homebuyers, baby boomers purchasing their present or future retirement home, or buy-and-hold real estate investors looking for turnkey rental properties that cash flow."

According to RealtyTrac's report, investors saw some of the largest returns on housing flips in the first quarter in Baltimore; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla.; Ocala, Fla.; Lakeland, Fla.; Detroit; Tampa; Pittsburgh; Memphis, Tenn.; and Chicago.

Meanwhile, the following markets are where flips accounted for the highest percentage of all home sales in the first quarter:

  • Memphis, Tenn.: 10.6%
  • Ocala, Fla.: 8%
  • Miami: 7.9%
  • Tampa, Fla.: 7.4%
  • Sarasota, Fla.: 7.2%
  • Los Angeles: 6.6%
  • Detroit: 6.5%
  • Las Vegas: 6.3%
  • San Diego: 6.1%
  • Virginia Beach, Va.: 5.9%
  • Jacksonville, Fla.: 5.9%

Source: RealtyTrac

More Buyers Than Usual Enter Spring Market

by Melissa Dierks

An unusually high volume of home-buyer demand is flooding the spring market, as pending home sales rose in March for the third consecutive month and hit the highest level since June 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Pending sales rose 1.1 percent month-over-month in March and are 11.1 percent above year-ago levels, according to NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

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"Demand appears to be stronger in several parts of the country, especially in metro areas that have seen solid job gains and firmer economic growth over the past year," says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "While contract activity being up convincingly compared to a year ago is certainly good news, the increased number of traditional buyers who appear to be replacing investors paying in cash is even better news. It indicates this year's activity is being driven by more long-term home owners."

However, Yun cautions that insufficient inventory and accelerating home prices could be a drawback to sales reaching their full potential.

"Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer," Yun says. "This, in turn, has pushed home prices to unhealthy levels — nearly four or more times above the pace of wage growth in some parts of the country. Simply put, housing inventory for new and existing homes needs to improve measurably to improve affordability."

Regional Outlook

Here's a closer look at the Pending Home Sales Index across the country:

  • South: Contract signings rose 4 percent in March and are 12.4 percent above year-ago levels.
  • West: Contract signings increased 1.7 percent in March and are 15.6 percent higher than March 2014.
  • Northeast: Contract signings fell 1.5 percent for the fourth consecutive month but remain 0.6 percent above a year ago.
  • Midwest: Contract signings decreased 2.5 percent in March but are 11.3 percent above year-ago levels.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

When Renovating, Keep it Simple

by Melissa Dierks

When it comes to remodeling, it's best to keep it simple. Small cost-effective home renovations will likely get the best return on investment, according to surveys, appraisers, and real estate professionals.

According to the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, large-scale home remodeling projects are often a gamble, and aren't likely to return their full cost. Small home improvements like upgrading to a steel door, updating the garage door, replacing wood windows, and making small updates to the kitchen will recoup nearly 100 percent of their cost. Bottom line? Simple replacements cost a lot less and provide a bigger payback to homes than remodels or additions.

Top 5 projects nationally in terms of cost recouped:

1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
3. Garage door replacement—mid-range (88.5%)
4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
5. Garage door replacement—upscale (82.5%)

"The point is that the more expensive the work you do on a property, the higher the risk is that the buyer is not going to be willing to pay for it," Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a New York appraisal company told the New York Times recently. "If your kitchen is old and dated and you completely renovate it, you're gambling that the buyer is going to like your taste."

Focusing on renovation projects that improve the curb appeal of a home is a good strategy. Refinishing hardwood floors, replacing light fixtures, re-grouting bathroom tiles, giving the walls a fresh coat of paint are all simple renovations that can add big value. "A lot of these minor upgrades relate to appearance, and the first impression a buyer might get for a property," says Michael Vargas, an appraiser in Manhattan. "They're not necessarily concerned about what’s behind the wall; they're just concerned about how the property looks."

While not all remodeling jobs earn a killer payback, the Cost vs. Value survey found that minor kitchen remodels that focus on upgrading the cabinets, appliances, and countertops are often a good bet, with a national average payback of 79.3 percent.

Still, remodeling projects are not "one size fits all" and what sellers can hope to recoup from improving their home depends on many factors, including where they live, the condition of the home, the quality of the work, and if the upgrades are comparable to those in the neighborhood.

Top renovations for apartments and houses:

  1. Refinishing hardwood floors
  2. Painting walls
  3. Replacing kitchen countertops
  4. Installing new kitchen appliances
  5. Replacing kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts

Top renovations for houses only:

  1. Replacing the front door with a new steel-and-glass door
  2. Replacing the garage door
  3. Replacing siding
  4. Adding a wood deck
  5. Replacing windows with wood windows

Sources: "Small Renovations, Big Payoff," The New York Times (April, 24, 2015), "The 10 Most Cost-Effective Renovations," The New York Times (April 24, 2015) "2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value: Less Is More," REALTOR® Magazine (Jan. 2015)

A Second Chance at First Impressions

by Melissa Dierks

As a real estate professional, you make your living working with people — and making that crucial good first impression is always the most important step. If you've had encounters that made you wish you could do them over, there's good news: You probably can — and you'll have fewer of these encounters, too.

Imprinting Impressions

5 Ways to Improve Your Vocal Impact

How to Take a Good Head Shot

Relationship Management: Get Emotional

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, researcher Heidi Grant Halvorson offers the encouraging insight that "errors in reading people are highly predictable, because perception is governed by rules and biases we can identify and anticipate." As you accomplish those tasks, it's "possible to ensure that you’re making the right impression more often, and to correct any misperceptions that others have about you."

Halvorson explains that we evaluate new people in two phases: an initial assessment as your new contact assesses you quickly based on factors like appearance and body language. "In phase two—if there is a phase two—the perceiver has to work a lot harder," Halvorson says, "paying closer attention, gathering disparate data, and making sense of it to draw informed, thoughtful conclusions about you."

They accomplish that through three "lenses," Halvorson says: the trust lens, which assesses your warmth and your competence; the power lens, which determines your usefulness to them; and the ego lens, which defines the hierarchy of the people.

To create a good impression in this second phase, then, Halvorson says to project warmth and competence; demonstrate that you're instrumental to their goals; and be modest and inclusive. But what if you've already made a misstep?

Overcompensate. "Keep piling it on until your perceiver can no longer tune it out," says Halvorson, "and make sure that the information you’re presenting is clearly inconsistent with the existing ideas about you."

You can also make people want to revise their opinions of you, she says. Among the techniques you can follow:

  • Activate the desire to be fair.
  • Make yourself necessary.
  • Seize the right moments.

"You need to think strategically about encouraging and incentivizing them to see you in the best possible light," Halvorson concludes. "If you do, then it is really never too late to make the right impression."

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




Contact Information

Photo of The Regal Team Real Estate
Melissa Dierks
Keller Williams Professional Partners
7025 W Bell Road, Suite 10
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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