Monday, August 20, 2012

House Prices: Window of Opportunity Beginning to Close

There have been conflicting opinions as to where housing prices are headed. We want to give our opinion on this subject for the short term. We believe Evanston sellers have a window of opportunity for the next 90-120 days in which to sell their homes for maximum price. We believe there will be increased downward pressure on Evanston home prices throughout the rest of the year.

Why renewed downward pressure?
Any item’s price is determined by ‘supply and demand’.  In Evanston, existing housing inventory has dropped to historic norms in the last few months. However, an inventory of distressed properties, (foreclosures and short sales), have been coming to the Evanston market this year and will increase going into 2013. This inventory has been delayed for over a year as the Federal and state governments crafted an agreement with the five largest banks and mortgage servicers to establish a roadmap for how a foreclosure must be properly completed. That agreement, the National Mortgage Settlement, was earlier this year.

What Impact Will the Agreement Have on Foreclosures?
Brandon Moore, chief executive of RealtyTrac, explains:
“The settlement sets forth clear guidelines for lenders and servicers to follow when foreclosing, which should allow them to push through some of the delayed foreclosures from last year.”

How Many Foreclosures Could We Be Talking About?
Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities tells us:
“The settlement helps the housing market in the long run because it allows banks to proceed with millions of foreclosures that have been stalled.”

What will this mean to Evanston home prices?
Distresses properties such as foreclosures and short sales are currently at 7% of the total Evanston market. As more of this inventory comes to market, it will impact Evanston home prices in two ways:
   1. It will bring to market discounted competition for buyers
   2. It will impact the appraisal values of all homes in the area

Bottom Line
There is a window of opportunity currently which Evanston sellers should take advantage of. Waiting until later this year will not guarantee a higher sales price. If anything, in many areas, it probably guarantees the exact opposite.

Selling your Evanston home can seem like a daunting process, but we’re here to answer any questions you have about selling your home. Your home selling experience should be one that leaves you feeling satisfied. Be sure to contact us today so we can put our expertise in the Evanston Real Estate market to work for you!
*Information taken from the KCM Blog

The Thomas Team

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Chicago & North Shore Real Estate
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Top 10 Red Flags for Evanston Homebuyers

Sellers don't always disclose the whole truth to potential homebuyers, especially if they're eager to sell (or "motivated" in real estate lingo). But you can't afford to get a professional inspection of every house you tour. So before you spring for the pro, you and your Evanston Real Estate agent should narrow down your choices by doing your own pre-inspection to spot potential problems.

1.      Mass Exodus From the Neighborhood
Don't let a home's curb appeal keep you from glancing down the street. Are there several other homes for sale? Are nearby businesses boarded up or vandalized? Get the scoop from the neighbors and your Evanston agent. If everyone else wants to leave the street, maybe you should, too. Just do it before you're stuck with a bad investment.

2.      Mediocre Maintenance
Three layers of roofing and gutters with plants growing in them are signs the owners aren't big on maintaining their home. What else did they neglect?  More telltale signs of poor maintenance are overgrown lawns with weeds, cracked peeling or dirty painted surfaces, makeshift wiring or plumbing or broken fixtures and appliances.

3.      Foundation Failures
Check out the yard grading. If the yard slopes toward the house, it could cause water to run down the foundation walls or into the basement, which will be costly to repair. Scour the foundation for damage. Bulges or cracks bigger than one-third inch can mean the house has serious structural issues.

4.      Bad Smells (Inside or Outside)
Take a big whiff of the air inside and outside the house. Do you smell anything funky? If you can't smell anything but the huge baskets of potpourri all over the house, this could be a red flag.

5.      Faulty or Old Wiring
While you're probably not an electrician, make sure all the switches and outlets in the house function properly. Flickering lights, circuits that don't work and warm or hot outlets or faceplates are all symptoms of wiring problems.

6.      Fresh Paint on One Wall
New paint can really spruce up drab walls, but it can also hide bigger problems, like water damage, mildew or mold. If the room smells strange or if you see stains or saggy walls or ceilings, have an inspector look for mold and leaks.

7.      Locked Doors and Blockades
Ask about any rooms that are "off limits" during your home tour, and arrange with your Evanston realtor to see them later if you're interested in the house.

8.      Foggy or Nonfunctioning Windows
Check for water in between double-paned windows and make sure all the windows are functional.
 9.      Structural Walls or Floors Have Been Removed
Sure you love the open floor plan, but was the house always open or did the homeowners renovate? If they removed a load-bearing wall without adjusting the framing, it can shift weight to other parts of the house. Hire a structural engineer if you think any renovations are questionable.
10.  Bugs!
No one wants a house with a pest problem, be it roaches, mice or, worst of all, termites. Be on the lookout for unwelcome creatures as you tour the house. Even if no foes pop out while you're there, consider a separate termite inspection if you're thinking of purchasing the property.
BOTTOM LINE: Always get a professional inspection
Yeah, it's a little expensive, but it's worth every penny. Skipping a home inspection is not a good way to cut homebuying costs. You'll end up paying more in the long run when problems inevitably arise.
As you can see, having an Evanston Real Estate agent on your side that can help you navigate through the buying process is imperative to your success in the housing market. If you are considering buying an Evanston home or are hoping to sell your Evanston home please let us know! Our team of experienced Evanston real estate agents would enjoy the opportunity to help you reach your goals!
We look forward to hearing from you!
The Thomas Team
Chicago's #1 Real Estate Brokerage