How Much House Can You Get for $250,000?

March 7, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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February 28, 2013 ·

Each week we take a look at how much house you can expect to get at a specific price point. This week, we’re looking at homes priced around $250,000.

Atlanta, GA

2070 Delano Dr NE, Atlanta, GA
For sale: $250,000

Atlanta GA
From a rich red and mahogany dining room to a cyclist-friendly home office and a high-contrast bathroom, this quaint Kirkwood neighborhood home is packed with style. The 1920s house has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, plus a newly updated kitchen.

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Kalamazoo, MI

1518 Henderson Dr, Kalamazoo, MI
For sale: $259,900

Kalamazoo MI
This 1922 colonial has great curb appeal with dark shutters flanking a bold, red door. Inside, the traditional style continues with noticeable architectural details including hardwood floors, an elegant banister and crown molding.

Lake Peekskill, NY

108 Tanglewylde Rd, Lake Peekskill, NY
For sale: $259,900

Peekskill NY
Sometimes street names are particularly fitting, but through a tangle of trees on Tanglewylde Road emerges this picture-perfect New York getaway. With access to three beaches and prime bird-watching, this home offers a quiet respite from the city.

Lynden, WA

1377 Colony Ct, Lynden, WA
For sale: $245,000

Lynden WA
With 3 bedrooms, 4 baths and a home office on a fenced lot, this 1,680-square-foot suburban home is suitable for a growing family. As a cost-saving bonus, the home got a fresh coat of exterior paint last summer.

South Jordan, UT

11718 Bluerock Ave, South Jordan, UT
For sale: $245,000

South Jordan, UT
Built in 2006, this single family home has a spacious interior totaling 2,546 square feet. Four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a playful exterior color scheme make this home a great addition to the South Jordan neighborhood.

Source: Zillow

Housing Recovery Hovers at 50% Mark

March 7, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
March 1st, 2013

Trulia’s Housing Barometer slipped back a bit in January, but the recovery is not in jeopardy.

Each month, Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.”  We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR), and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.

In January 2013, construction starts slid, while home sales and the delinquency + foreclosure rate both improved slightly relative to December:

  • Construction starts fell monthly, but were still up sharply year-over-year. Starts were at an 890,000 annualized rate, down 8.5% month-over-month but up 24% year-over-year. The month-over-month decline was relative to a December spike in multifamily housing starts, which tend to be volatile. January starts were at their second-highest level since July 2008, and single-family housing starts were at their highest level since that same month. Furthermore, residential construction employment was up 2.6% year-over-year in January – outpacing employment overall, which rose 1.5%. Construction starts are now 40% of the way back to normal.
  • Existing home sales edged up. Sales rose slightly to 4.92 million in January from 4.90 million in December. Year-over-year, sales were up 9%. But the mix of sales is shifting from “distressed” sales — foreclosures and short sales — to “conventional” home sales. Excluding distressed sales, conventional home sales were up 29% year-over-year in January. Overall, existing home sales are 66% back to normal.
  • The delinquency + foreclosure rate improved. After holding nearly steady for three months, the share of mortgages in delinquency or foreclosure fell in January to 10.44%, from 10.61% in December. The January rate is the lowest level since December 2008. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is 43% back to normal.

Averaging these three back-to-normal percentages together, the housing market is now 50% of the way back to normal, down from 52% in December. That’s the first setback since June. Cause for alarm? No: the Housing Barometer reached 52% in December thanks to what looks like a temporary spike in multifamily housing starts. Even with this backward step in January, 50% back to normal represents steady progress. But January’s figures are a reminder that housing indicators often have monthly swings, and the longer-term trend is a better guide to the shape of the housing recovery.

Trulia Housing Barometer Jan 2013

Trulia Housing Barometer Line Chart Jan 2013

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist

Jed leads Trulia’s housing research and provides insight on market trends and public policy to major media outlets including TIME magazine, CNN, and numerous others. Jed’s background includes a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and more than 15 years of publications and research management in economic development, land use and housing policy, and consumer technology adoption.

Time To Sell..Asking Prices Increase 7%! | Real Estate Coaching and Training

March 7, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 10.43.55 AMSAN FRANCISCO, March 5, 2013 – Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) today released the latest findings from the Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor, the earliest leading indicators available of trends in home prices and rents. Based on the for-sale homes and rentals listed on Trulia, these monitors take into account changes in the mix of listed homes and reflect trends in prices and rents for similar homes in similar neighborhoods through February 28, 2013.

“Housing inventory is scarce across the country and will probably be even tighter this time next year,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “However, inventory is declining more slowly now than it did a year ago, when prices bottomed. The inventory turnaround depends not only on how fast prices are rising today, but also whether prices have been rising long enough to encourage homeowners to sell and builders to build.”

Asking Home Prices Up in 90 Out Of 100 Major Metros
Since bottoming 12 months ago, national asking home prices rose 7.0 percent year-over-year (Y-o-Y) in February. Seasonally adjusted, asking prices also increased 1.4 percent month-over-month (M-o-M) and 3.0 percent quarter-over-quarter (Q-o-Q) – marking two post-recession highs. Asking prices locally are up in 90 of the 100 largest U.S. metros, rising fastest in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Oakland.


February 2013 Trulia Price Monitor Summary
% change in asking prices # of 100 largest metros with asking-price increases % change in asking prices, excluding foreclosures
seasonally adjusted
1.4% Not reported 1.6%
seasonally adjusted
3.0% 92 3.5%
Year-over-year 7.0% 90 7.4%

Meanwhile, rent increases are slowing down. In February, rents rose just 3.2 percent Y-o-Y. This is a notable decrease from three months ago, in November, when rents were up 5.4 percent Y-o-Y. Among the 25 largest rental markets, rents rose the most in Houston, Oakland, and Miami, while falling slightly in San Francisco and Las Vegas. See here for the full list of price and rent changes in the largest metro areas.


Inventory Will Not Turn Around in 2013 Even Though Decline Is Slowing Down
Inventory falls most sharply just after prices bottom, creating an “inventory spiral”: rising prices reduce inventory as would-be home sellers hold off in the hopes of selling later at a higher price, and falling inventory boosts prices further as buyers compete for a limited number of for-sale homes. Nationally, the annualized rate of inventory decline was 23 to 29 percent from March to September 2012, the months after home prices first bottomed one year ago, but has softened to a 14 to 21 percent rate since October [1] At the local level, metros still caught in the “inventory spiral” are where prices bottomed around one year ago and inventory is down sharply, such as in Sacramento, Riverside-San Bernardino, and Seattle.

“As the spring home season begins, buyers face a dilemma between buying now, before prices rise even more, or later this year, when they’ll have more inventory to choose from,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Inventory follows a strong seasonal pattern, peaking in the summertime, so buyers can look forward to more inventory in the coming months even though there will be less inventory this summer than last summer.”

Longer term, however, higher home prices add to inventory as more homeowners decide to sell and home builders increase construction activity. Metros where prices bottomed closer to 2 years ago, like Phoenix, Miami, and Detroit, are seeing milder inventory declines today, but still not increases.

U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % change in asking prices, Feb 2013 Months since asking prices bottomed Y-o-Y % change in inventory, Feb 2013[2]
Sacramento, CA 18.1% 12 -68%
Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 14.9% 13 -50%
Seattle, WA 13.1% 12 -38%
Detroit, MI 13.7% 21 -27%
Phoenix, AZ 24.9% 22 -12%
Miami, FL 14.0% 25 -10%

For the U.S. overall, an inventory turnaround in 2013 is unlikely. Since national asking home prices bottomed in February 2012, it may be at least another year before national inventory starts expanding. Inventory will make a turnaround first where asking prices bottomed earliest, such as in Phoenix, Miami, Detroit, Houston, and Oklahoma City. The inventory turnaround is a longer way off in metros where prices have bottomed more recently, such as in Sacramento and the Inland Empire.

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To view the full methodology and 2013 release schedule, see here.  The next release of the Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor will be Thursday, April 4, at 10 AM ET.

Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) gives home buyers, sellers, owners, and renters the inside scoop on properties, places, and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can’t be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime, commute times, and even ask the local community questionsReal estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations, and top-rated mobile real estate apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco. Trulia is a registered trademark of Trulia, Inc.

Own a Home? Check Out These 8 Tax Breaks

February 10, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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Tax time clockTaxes are due April 15, which means it’s time to start gathering your W2s, 1099s, child care receipts and bank statements.

But before you sit down with your accountant, it’s important for you to know that merely owning a home could mean you qualify for tax breaks. In most cases, you need to itemize your taxes in order to take advantage of these deductions. Yes, it makes the tax-filing process seem impenetrable, but the benefits may outweigh the complications.

Here are a few of the tax breaks you’ll want to investigate:

Mortgage interest paid at settlement

Take a look at your closing statement; one item that’s generally listed there is home mortgage interest. On a mortgage of up to $1 million, you can deduct the interest that you pay at settlement if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). This amount should be included in the mortgage interest statement provided by your lender.


Did you pay points in order to obtain your home mortgage? These fees are included on the income tax deductions list and can be deducted as long as they are associated with the purchase of a home. If you refinanced your home, these points are still deductible, but it must be done over the life of the mortgage.

Property taxes

As long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property, you can deduct your state and local property taxes. However, if your money is being held in escrow for the purpose of paying property taxes, you cannot claim this deduction until the money is actually taken out of escrow and paid. If you do this, check your Form 1098 for the amount you may deduct. Be aware that if you receive a partial refund of your property tax, the amount of the deduction you can claim will be reduced.

Selling costs

If you sold a home in the past year, you may be able to reduce your income tax by the amount of your selling costs. These costs can include things such as repairs, title insurance, advertising expenses and broker’s fees. The IRS only allows the deduction of repair costs associated with selling if the repairs were made within 90 days of the sale. It’s also crucial that the repairs were made with the intent of improving your home’s marketability. Selling costs are deducted from your gain on the sale.

Home office

If you use a portion of your home exclusively for the purpose of an office for your small business, you may be able to claim a deduction on your taxes for costs related to insurance, repairs and depreciation. You may only claim this deduction if the space within your home is used exclusively and regularly as either your principal place of business or a place where you meet and deal with customers or patients. You may also be able to take advantage of this deduction if a portion of your home routinely is used for storing items (product samples, inventory, etc.) used in your business.

In tax year 2010 (the most recent year for which figures are available) nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed the home office deduction.

Mortgage insurance premiums

You may be able to deduct the premiums paid for private mortgage insurance for your principal residence and for a non-rental second home.

The deduction begins to phase out once your adjusted gross income reaches $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately). In general, you can deduct the premiums paid for the current tax year only. A qualified tax adviser can provide information about rules for mortgage insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Rural Housing Service.

Home improvement loan interest

If you’ve taken out a loan to make improvements on your home, you may be able to deduct the interest on this loan. Qualifying loans are those taken out to add “capital improvements” to your home, meaning the improvement must increase your home’s value, adapt it to new uses or extend its life. New carpeting or painting are not considered capital improvements, while adding a garage, installing a water heater or building a deck are all examples of capital improvements.

Construction loan interest

If you take out a construction loan to build a home, you may qualify to deduct the interest. The IRS only allows a deduction for mortgage interest if the loan relates to a “qualified” home, which means it must either be your principal residence or a vacation home that you will use for personal purposes. You can only use this deduction for the first 24 months of the loan, even if the actual construction takes longer.

Tax codes can be confusing. You may want to consult the IRS website for information concerning deductions and credits. Additionally, consider meeting with a professional to ensure you’re not missing any deductions for which you’re eligible.

Source: Zillow

Kate Spade Lists Southampton Summer Home for $4.75 Million

February 7, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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It’s fitting that designer Kate Spade’s summer home once functioned as the boarding home for an art school. The Southampton residence, which was previously listed for $5.45 million, is now back on the market with a new price tag of $4.75 million, according to Curbed.

Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art, started in 1892 by impressionist painter William Merritt Chase, still stands today as a collection of buildings on a 2.9-acre parcel in Southampton. Coined “Art Village,” the centuries-old structures are still originals, with shingled sides and leaded glass windows.

The main home at 9 Studio Ln, Southampton, NY 11968, measures 6,700 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms and has been updated with modern features, including a new roof, kitchen, baths, heating and electrical system, while still maintaining the original character.

Nods to Spades’ designs — her line of accessories are often preppy and colorful — can be found throughout the home, including one room with a bright blue ceiling and the dining room, which has light pink walls.

The listing is held by real estate agent Lylla Carter of Saunders. A monthly payment on the property would be $17,047, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year fixed mortgage and calculated with today’s mortgage rates.

Source: Zillow

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Continues to Rise for Third Consecutive Week

February 7, 2013 by Collette · Comments Off
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Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 3.44 percent, up from 3.42 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered between 3.43 and 3.48 percent for the majority of the week, dropping to the current rate this morning.

“Despite an unexpected increase in the unemployment rate, rates ended the week essentially unchanged,” said Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. “This coming week, we expect rates to remain fairly flat with limited economic news that might change the consensus that the economy is recovering, but at a slow and cautious pace.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.7 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.35 percent.

What are the rates right now? Check Zillow Mortgage Marketplace for up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state.

02-05-13 09-45-00AM

*The weekly rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

3.8% Transfer Tax On Real Estate Transactions..Truth or Myth?

July 18, 2012 by Collette · Comments Off
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Did the Affordable Health Care Act (AKA Obama Care) include a 3.8% tax on real estate transactions?

Read on…

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the health care legislation, all of its major provisions remain in effect, including the new tax that was designed to affect upper income taxpayers.  The 3.8% tax is imposed ONLY on  those with more than $200,000 of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) ($250,000 on a joint return).  The tax applies to investment income, defined as interest, dividends, capital gains and net rents.  These items are all included in an individual’s AGI.  A formula will determine what portion, if any, of these types of investment income would be subject to the tax.

The tax is NOT a transfer tax on real estate sales and similar transactions.  Not long after the tax was enacted, erroneous and misleading documents went viral on the Internet and created a great deal of misunderstanding and made the tax into something far more draconian than the actual provisions.

The new tax does NOT eliminate the benefits of the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion on the sale of a principal residence.  Thus, ONLY that portion of a gain above those thresholds is included in AGI and could be subject to the tax.

REALTORS® should familiarize themselves with the tax, but should not advise their clients about the application of the tax.  The amount of tax will vary from individual to individual because the elements that comprise AGI differ from taxpayer to taxpayer.

How Much House Can You Get for $300K?

July 18, 2012 by Collette · Comments Off
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You may know where your dollar will stretch more when buying groceries or filling up your gas tank. But do you know the places where you can get more house for your buck?

$300,000 is a large sum of money, but in some cities — think San Francisco or New York — it’ll barely cover a 1-bedroom apartment. However, in a few other places, $300,000 can be the final bid on a brand-new 4-bedroom place. See what we mean below:

Spokane, WA

130 W 28th Ave, Spokane WA
For sale: $299,000
Square footage: 2,724

The second-largest city in Washington, Spokane sits on the eastern side of the state, nestled next to Idaho. Built in 1932, this Spokane house for sale underwent a full renovation in 2007 and has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths.

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Dallas, TX

18671 Gibbons Dr, Dallas TX
For sale: $299,000
Square footage: 3,216

Boasting over 3,000 square feet of living space, this Dallas home for sale is the largest on the list with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a 2-car garage, not to mention additional space in a huge media/game room. Built in 1998, the home is situated just two minutes from the nearest highway.

Nashville, TN

929 Bresslyn Rd, Nashville TN
For sale: $299,900
Square footage: 2,604

The current owners of this Nashville home have owned it since 1965 and have kept the property in pristine condition. The brick split-level has 5 bedrooms, one of which could be used as a mother-in-law suite.

Atlanta, GA

1579 Gilstrap Ln NW, Atlanta GA
For sale: $299,900
Square footage: 2,301

This 2004-built home for sale in Atlanta has an open floor plan centered around a large kitchen with granite countertops, island breakfast bar and stainless steel appliances. The 3-bed, 3-bath home has hardwood floors and crown molding details throughout.

Pittsburgh, PA

109 Heidcrest Dr, Pittsburgh PA
For sale: $300,000
Square footage: 2,300

This colonial-style home for sale in Pittsburgh has a large wrap-around porch and sits on a quarter-acre lot. Inside the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home features hardwood floors in the main living areas and wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms.

Wall Street Journal: The Housing Market Has Turned..AT LAST! (Video)

July 18, 2012 by Collette · Comments Off
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According to the Wall Street Journal…the housing market has turned—at last.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing “experts” that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. “We finally saw some rising home prices,” S&P’s David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.

From here on, housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further. It will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy: The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses. “Manufacturing had led growth and construction had lagged,” JPMorgan Chase economists said last week.”Now the roles are reversed: Manufacturing growth has slowed as private construction comes to life.”

Plenty could go wrong. The biggest threat is a large shadow inventory of unsold homes, homes which owners won’t put on the market because they are underwater, homes that will be foreclosed eventually and homes owned by lenders. They have been trickling onto the market, slowed in part by government efforts to delay foreclosures; a flood could reverse the recent rise in prices. Or the still-dysfunctional mortgage market could get worse. Or overly zealous regulators or a post-election change in government policy could unsettle mortgage lenders or home buyers.

But the housing bust is over.

Kelly Clarkson Lists Mansfield Ranch for Sale

July 17, 2012 by Collette · Comments Off
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Singer-songwritier Kelly Clarkson could live anywhere in the United States, but since her “American Idol” win in 2002, her primary residence has been in Mansfield, TX, just 25 minutes outside Burleson, TX, where she grew up.

However, it looks like Clarkson is ready to spread her wings; she has listed her Mansfield ranch for sale for $1.495 million.While Clarkson did own another property in Nashville, she reportedly was only there part time and hoisted the home on the market in 2010.

Clarkson rocketed to fame after her win during the first season of “American Idol.” The two-time Grammy winner has a slew of hits under her belt and is currently a host on ABC’s show “Duets.”

Clarkson’s property for sale at 5986 Bennett Lawson Rd., Mansfield, TX 76063, sits on 14 acres and is not only home to Clarkson but also her menagerie of rescue animals, which include several dogs, horses, miniature horses and a few pigs.

Built in 1993, the home’s grounds were largely customized by Clarkson and feature a man-made pond in the backyard, lap and diving pools, treehouse, dog runs and walking trails.

Inside, the 4-bedroom, 6-bath home has 6,880 square feet of living space, including dual master suites, theater room and gym.

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