Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Okay. Last post of 2013 and looking forward to a busy, happy, fun 2014 with my new location at CB Prime Realty with the main office in Carbondale.

Lots of interesting data being spit out by Zillow with predictions like:

"We’ll see a rise in mortgage rates.

According to our data, mortgage rates are predicted to hit 5% by the end of 2014. While that’s still low, it’s up from the 3-4% range in 2013, making it more expensive for people to finance a home."


"Homeownership will decline.

Zillow data predicts that homeownership rates will fall below 65% in 2014, the lowest since the mid-1990s. However, the easy lending standards we saw during the housing bubble led to higher-than-normal homeownership, and in the recovery we’re seeing ownership rates normalize. Another issue impacting the decline in ownership is the large number of Gen Y-ers who are renters. This group is the next generation of homeowners, but they’re seeing high unemployment and low wages, which will reduce the number of first-time homebuyers in 2014."

I believe I've already starting seeing these trends. In 2012, with a Presidential election, sales were effected negatively with bank loans becoming harder to process. In 2013, government loans tightened their underwriting so USDA loans, especially USDA Direct, became arduous to achieve. I didn't do any USDA Directs in 2013, mostly because the guidelines became stricter and my folks that could qualify? I urged them to use bankers who could put them in a FHA product.

It has become harder and harder for the first time homebuyer and, in 2014, we're going to see more changes to USDA loans and their underwriting. For the first time, too, we might even see areas in SoIL along the Route 13 corridor excluded from these loans.

All in  all, if you're thinking of selling your home, you're going to have to be careful to screen those who wish to see it. Qualifications for loans will be tighter with more processing and underwriting delays. Even more of a reason to list your house with a Realtor. Seriously.

And for those who are buying: The inventory is still really low in SoIL. If you find a house you can see yourself living in, even if its not perfect...buy it or someone else will.

Buyers get qualified. NOT pre-qualified...I mean, go do the loan app and get qualified. I had two deals die in 2013 because the loan fell apart after these buyers handed over a pre-qualified letter.

Believe me, I will be calling bankers about "pre-qual" letters when I get them. I will be looking out for my clients best interests when I represent the seller. Contracts will stall until I get some assurances these loans are good and the banker is standing with the buyers.

And BUYERS -- don't waste a Realtor's time! If you can't buy now, say so in the first call. Tell me about it and, if I'm doing broker's views, I will call and see if you can tag along. But you are buying my gas. It is a good way to make up you're mind what you really, really want or what you won't do.

Buyer, you may also be surprised at the loan options available. That its easier to get into a house that you might "settle" for right now, live in and fix up with plans to sell it in a year or two. I can help with that as I know what sells, what's not worth the investment or what is worth the investment. As I've said before -- Some of the HGTV shows aren't all bad about what to fix and what not to bother with.

Sometimes, Mr & Ms First Timer, the closing won't give you a huge wad of cash to pay into the next house....but what you've built is credit. You might even put more money into a house and have to bring cash to the table to unload it. But you've built your credit up to the point, that now, you can get that loan for the house you want.

Look at it this way: Buy the fix-up, imperfect house; fix up the majors & make it cute. We then sell it and you're now able to get the bigger loan on the house you love. You didn't lose any money, you built your credit better and faster than paying rent plus you had the added tax benefits of home ownership.

Zillow says home prices will increase.

"Home prices will increase.

Zillow data predicts that home prices will rise 3% in 2014, building on the 5% rise in national home prices we saw in 2013. However, due to higher home prices, a rise in mortgage rates, and increased home inventory, prices aren’t expected to rise aggressively."

I'm not at all sure that's going to be true in SoIL. I am 100% sure that houses priced right for the market will sell. Overpricing your house will cause it to sit on the market longer....no matter how wonderful it is.

All-in-all, buying and selling property is one of the most stressful things you can do. Don't try and do it alone...choose me to help you. I'm fun, I'm experienced and I'm going to be on your side. And I need your listing!!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year, New Attitude


My new website is up and running....I'm chasing after it with hopes of making my web-a-tude more worthy.

I got a new Galaxy Tab 3 phone "system" with Bluetooth headset ((as here in IL after January 1, ya gots to be hands free whilst driving)).

So I took my first "selfie" with it on Xmas day. My talented niece Christa captured the other shot.

My other talented niece, Celeste, captured this one (above). I'm using it on my business cards but I've also gotten a good tip about an online site for those so I'm only getting 500 to start. Then I can refresh those photos as I go. Because as you know: I hate having that one photo out there forever. Ugh.

Christmas is still drying up. Oldest son, Alex, was here for a much-too-short visit:

He's been out in Arizona working on Cisco Systems for Maricopa County. He wasn't sure he was going to go back and wanted to cut our visit short so he could go back to Ashton IT Solutions main office.

That's okay. I have plenty of new gadgets, webinars and learning/training going on with the new move to Carbondale Coldwell Banker Prime.

And, by the way, the first week of December I finally finished up my Graduate Realtor Institute or  GRI...courses are a series of three and you must complete all three to gain the certification. http://www.realtor.org/designations-and-certifications/gri-designation/value-of-a-gri-designation
It is kind of big deal in the real estate world and it should be to anyone thinking of listing or buying property.

Especially since a lot of Realtors are not carrying any college credits except for their realtor's license requirements. GRI brings up the scale of knowledge, the credential, the ethics, and the value of that realtor's licensure: it is kinda a big deal for the consumer, too.

We only have a couple of days left of 2013; I'm so looking forward to this new year. Out with the old chaos, in with a new techno-savvy and forward-thinking management style of the Jackson office. In 2013, I sold property from Murphysboro to Mt Vernon (($1.5 million)), I sold farms and I sold in urban neighborhoods; I made my goal of becoming a REGIONAL agent. My car, my phone is my mobile office and this year, in 2014, I will expand that more than ever with the new managing brokerage and new technology like mobile hotspot and boost battery pack to take my laptop presentations to clients with ease. This broker/owner wants me more mobile and supports that 110 percent with office support staff and technology, innovative ways to capture leads, continuing education, and more advertising support: all the big, key, push/pull points to propel my goals.

It is a whole lot more than just jibber-jabber. I can do that all by myself...hee hee.

2014 will be the year of action, activity and connectivity. Using my natural skill set with new enhancements.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New work profiles and photos

Okay readers, I'm sorry for neglecting you. So I guess I need to bring you up to speed with what's what with the Reluctant Broker:

First -- I've moved my license...again. This time, though, I did stay in the brand. Just moved to a different, more progressive and more aggressive brokerage: Coldwell Banker Prime Realty. www.cbprimerealty.com

Check the website and you'll see I've moved up. We're going all mobile and touch screens, too, soon. Broker/owner is Greg and he's positive-attitude central: tech/savvy, hands-on with training and presentation, AND is pro-training outside the office. He's on board with advertising, blogging, and aggressively going mobile. I can't make any money if I'm not moving among the public...he wants all his broker/agents out there moving, networking, talking to people. Big plus for this guy? He's a gym/workout routine machine.


Now on to homework assignments from the new broker/owner: I had to profile myself on Zillow and Trulia. Never been one not to like to write about my favorite subject....me and mine. Here it is:

"Totally awesome woman who has travelled around the country with a broadcasting career doing the news/talk/morning shows in various places like Anchorage, Alaska and Buffalo, New York even some freelance voice work in Canada.
Moved back "home" to Southern Illinois in 2009...where I stumbled my way into a new life and a new career in REAL ESTATE, which, I find has a lot of the same elements of my previous occupation as it is all about the hunt.
Hunting is all about preparation. No hunter goes into the field, sits down; just waiting and hoping for game. Anyone who's ever hunted for game ((or even bargains while shopping)) knows you have to know where to look, you have scout the trails ahead of the season, and you have to plan.
In Alaska, I was fortunate enough to be included while hunting moose. Believe me, you have to have a plan to hunt an animal that big because once you shoot it, you have to pack it out of the area before the bears come take it from you.
Real Estate is about the planning. It is not just sticking a sign in the yard and hoping someone comes along. There's a campaign with advertising, networking, and diversity. It is a moose hunt.
Real Estate for the buyer is hunting a totally different animal. More like hunting geese, quail or doves. Some agents just blast away hoping to hit a bird. I take a different approach by digging into my buyers preference: likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams. Then when we're ready to take a shot we are sure to get our golden goose.
2009 - 2011 Mt Vernon Downtown Development Committee, Mt Vernon, IL
2009 - 2011 Granada Preservation Committee, Mt Vernon, IL
2011 Voted "Best of the Best" in Real Estate, Mt Vernon Registered News.
2012 - Charter Member Williamson/Jackson County Sunset Rotary
2013 Earned GRI accreditation"

I'm sure I'll be editing it. I'm sure Greg will be editing it.

But for now. For this day, for this time...this is me.