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Quick Stats from The Jonesboro Board of Realtors

3/6/2012

Quick Stats

Average DOM:

February 2011: 90

February 2012: 97

Average Price of Active Listings

February 2011: $124,700

February 2012: $137,624

Number of Active Listings:

February 2011: 735

February 2012: 675

Number of Listings Sold:

February 2011: 94

February 2012: 91

Average Price of Sold Listings:

February 2011: $118,609

February 2012: $132,257

MLS Sold Volume (YTD):

January 1, 2011 February 28, 2011

$33,088,488

January 1, 2012 February 29, 2012

$34,396,271

Looks like the Real Estate Market in North East Arkansas is really moving.  Let us help you with your next move, Call The Williams Team today, 870.219.8821.

These statistics were provided by the Jonesboro Board of Realtors in the March Newsletter.

Let the Spring Cleaning Begin!

2/22/2012
Now is the time to prepare your home to put on the market! If you've been wanting to buy a new home while the interest rates are at an all time low, now is the time to make those preperations to put your current home on the market.

  • Make the Most of that First Impression! A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted - or at least freshly scrubbed - front door.
  • Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends. Clean Up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, "with a little work."
  • Check Faucets and Bulbs. Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks and suggest faulty or worn-out plumbing. Replace burned out bulbs. Don't let little problems detract from what's right with your home.
  • Make Room for Space. Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They're looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basment are clean and free of unnecessary items.
  • Consider Your Closets. The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now's the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
  • Make Your Bathrooms Sparkle. Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine!
  • Create Dream Bedrooms. Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
  • Open up in the Daytime. Let the sun shine in!
  • Lighten up at Night. Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights-both inside and outside-when showing your home in the evening.

All of these, along with many others, make your home more desirable. For a one on one consultation with a RE/MAX Professional, call a Williams Team Agent today. We are Full Time Agents that get you results you expect! Call Today! 870-219-8821.

A Great Reason to Buy than Rent

11/30/2011
From Wall Street Journal:

Home prices and mortgage rates have fallen so far that the monthly cost of owning a home is more affordable than at any point in the past 15 years and is less expensive than renting in a growing number of cities.

 

The Wall Street Journal's third-quarter survey of housing-market conditions in 28 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas found that home values declined in all but five markets compared with the second quarter, according to data from Zillow Inc. Meanwhile, rent levels have risen briskly across the country and mortgage rates, hovering around 4%, are the lowest in six decades.

As a result, monthly mortgage payments on the median priced homeincluding taxes and insuranceare lower than the average rent levels in 12 metro areas, according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Marcus&Millichap, a real-estate brokerage that tracked 27 metro areas. It remains less expensive to rent than to buy in 15 cities. But affordability hasn't done much to lift the sagging housing sector because many would-be buyers are unwilling to purchase a home or unable to qualify for a mortgage.

"It's one of the most striking developments of the housing downturn," said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics. "The initial building blocks for a recovery are in place, but the legacy of the recession is really preventing households from taking advantage."

In Atlanta, which had the most favorable values for owning versus renting, the monthly payment on the average home was $539 assuming a 20% down payment during the third quarter. By contrast, the average asking rent stood at $840, according to the Marcus & Millichap data.

But real estate agents and economists say the trend hasn't boosted demand. That is because affordability alone hasn't been enough to overcome the obstacles in the way of a housing recovery. Some homeowners who would like to move up to larger properties are stuck because they can't sell their homes.

Also, while the monthly carrying costs on a mortgage are lower than average rents in some cities, home ownership carries other costsincluding taxes, insurance, homeowner association dues and maintenancewhich may dissuade some potential owners.

Other would-be buyers can't qualify for mortgages because lending conditions are tight or because they don't have enough equity in their current homes to use as a down payments. "The reality of coming up with the down payment and the loan-qualification standards makes things much different than the raw numbers suggest," says Hessam Nadji, managing director of Marcus & Millichap. And even those who may qualify remain skittish about buying property in a market where prices could fall amid foreclosures and weak job growth.

Ryan Young illustrates the point. He is under contract to buy a three-bedroom home in Washington Grove, Md., that will have monthly mortgage, tax, and insurance costs for around $150 less than the $1,900 he is paying to rent a slightly smaller house in Bethesda, Md. He qualified for a 30-year mortgage with a 3.95% fixed rate. Still, Mr. Young says he is cautious about owning his first home with the prospect of future price declines. "Buying a house is not a good financial decision, per se, but we needed a bigger place," said the 35-year-old scientist, "and we don't want to move every couple of years into a new rental."

Other cities where owning is now cheaper than renting include Detroit, Minneapolis, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, St. Louis, Chicago and Phoenix.

 

Home ownership is also looking more affordable because after several years of declines, apartment rents will rise by around 4% this year, says Mr. Nadji. He says rents are poised "to pick up even more momentum across the country next year."

Even cities where it is still cheaper to rent than own have seen big boosts in affordability. In San Diego, the monthly cost of owning a home has averaged around 83% more than renting over the past two decades. During the third quarter, owning was 22% more expensive than renting, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. 

A new development in Canonsburg, Pa. The inventory of homes on the market has fallen from levels seen a year ago, as prices and mortgage rates continued to decline.

Mortgage rates are a big reason why affordability continues to improve. In 1991, a $1,700 mortgage payment allowed a borrower to take out a $200,000 mortgage. Today, it gets that homeowner a $350,000 loan, a 77% increase in borrowing power, says Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage, in Cincinnati. At the same time, low mortgage rates aren't spurring sales because few analysts expect rates to rise anytime soon. The Federal Reserve in August said it would keep rates at ultralow levels for two years. In a normal interest rate cycle, "when they go low, they don't stay for very long, and people jump in," said Mr. Dales. "This time, there is no urgency."

Affordability could continue to improve as prices slide even lower in coming months. Price declines are likely because the share of "distressed" sales, including bank-owned foreclosures, tend to rise in the winter, when traditional sales activity cools. Banks are often much quicker to cut prices to unload properties quickly, which means that the greater the share of "distressed" sales, the more prices tend to fall.

One hopeful sign is that inventories have fallen from their bloated levels of one year ago. All 28 cities in The Wall Street Journal's latest survey saw homes listed for sale fall from one year ago, when markets were reeling with a substantial overhang of properties amid a big drop in demand. Visible inventory was down sharply in several markets, including by almost half in Miami and 40% in Phoenix.

Low inventories have spurred more bidding wars at the low end of the market as investors compete for homes that they can convert into rentals. In Sacramento, it would take just 2.5 months to sell the listed inventory at the current sales pace. Las Vegas has a 4.3 month supply of inventory, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. But the potential supply of homes is much bigger because banks have yet to process hundreds of thousands of potential foreclosures.

Housing as an Investment

6/17/2011

Housing as an Investment

The last thing most people are thinking today is that real estate is a good place to invest.  Certainly the main stream media consistently relays to the public on a daily basis that real estate prices are continuing to fall everywhere except perhaps Washington, DC.

All of us who are in the real estate industry cannot argue that fact because we live daily with the reality that the values of real estate in general have been on the decline for approximately 4 years now.  But does that preclude real estate from being a good investment today?  Lets take a look at another popular investment choice by millions of people stocks.

Professional investment advisors, stockbrokers, accountants and most anyone involved in financial planning warn us not to try and time the stock market.  What they are suggesting is that it is impossible to buy at the lowest point or sell at the highest.  Anyone attempting to do that usually misses out on the positive trading days that long term investing provides.

I believe we may very well be in that same situation today with real estate.  We may not be at the absolute bottom of the market but the price corrections that have already taken place have been pretty dramatic at 30-40%. 

So what should we do? If one is looking at a home for long term shelter, now may be an excellent time to purchase a larger or newer home for the family.  There are many great homes that can be bought at below replacement costs.

If one has an aptitude for dealing with renters, there are hundreds of excellent opportunities for long term cash flow and equity buildup through loan amortization.

Land prices in many states are at fire sale levels.  Buildable lots, while out of favor currently, will more than rebound nicely in the future due to the fact that little land development has taken place in the past 4 years.

The population in this country is still growing.  Nationally, 5% of the housing stock goes away every year just by attrition.  Sooner or later, those folks are going to need to have a place they call home.

So, while the horizon for real estate appreciation may seem cloudy at the moment, today may very well turn out to be at or near the bottom of the market.  If you plan to be in this business for the foreseeable future, it just might be wise to educate your clients as well as yourself, that timing the bottom of any market is usually an exercise in futility as well as a missed present opportunity.

One thing is for sure todays reality will be a distant memory 5 years from now.

Spring Real Estate Market

5/9/2011

As our general board heads into our strongest selling season of the year, I am reminded of several key items that our sellers need to consider when placing their homes on the market in 2011:

1) provide great curb appeal to potential buyers by cleaning up the yard of any tree limbs, leaves and other winter debris

2) "spruce up" the shrubs and flower beds by trimming and mulching where possible

3) paint any front doors or shutters which may have faded during the winter months

4) place decorative pots with flowers around the front door to draw attention to the entrance and to provide an inviting appearance

5) take care of any repairs necessary to dormers, roofing , and garage doors which will also enhance drive-by curb appeal

6) arrange your grill, benches, flower pots, and other decorative items on rear patios or porches for a relaxing atmosphere for family and friends to gather

Remember, the idea is to get your potential clients interested enough to go inside the house you have listed and not to just drive on by. Providing great curb appeal can mean all the difference in the world. Once your clients have crossed the threshold and are inside your wonderful listing, there are a few key ideas to help them focus on the home:

1) all rooms should have plenty of light, and that means opening the blinds and using bright wattage bulbs in all light fixtures throughout

2) providing clean rooms which are clutter-free can also help potential buyers to focus on the amenities of the home. Cleanliness often equates to "well taken care of", and every buyer would like to experience less repairs as time passes.

3) don't use strong air sprays, incense, candles, etc. to "mask" smells, especially pet odors. The only way for a room to smell clean is to actually be clean. Someone once told me that if you can smell it, you can't sell it...

4) if there are too many personal items such as family pictures, collections of trophies, doll or curio collections, etc., potential buyers are unable to picture their own furniture and personal items in this house. This suggestion includes cleaning off the front of the seller's refrigerator since few buyers need to see the sellers' appointments and other personal pictures and keepsakes.

5) clear out any furniture which may be too large for a particular room or perhaps too much furniture. "Less" is definitely "more" when it comes to staging a room. Extra furniture and personal belongings can always go in the garage or into storage so the home will show larger and uncluttered

6) if the carpet needs to be cleaned , stretched, or even replaced before putting the house on the market, take care of those details. Retouch or paint any rooms that need neutral colors and remember, "carpet or paint allowances" are often not as effective as just taking care of the problems before potential buyers see that something needs to be done

Marketing a home in today's competitive market takes a little more time and effort, but there is still a great market for homes that are priced right, taken care of properly and show a little personality for the neighborhood.



   -Ken Helman, Board President, Jonesboro Board of Realtors

Re Claim your Garage

4/7/2011

Reclaim Your Garage, $1,000
Many homeowners have a no-car garage because it's so full of stuff that there's no room to park a vehicle. Look for a slatwall system that uses molded plastic panels with slots from which you can hang hooks, shelves and baskets. Fasten the panels to your garage walls via one of several methods, such as drywall screws into studs.

You can order a starter kit directly from manufacturer storeWALL ($529 at www.storewall.com). The kit includes six panels (4 feet by 15 inches) totaling 30 square feet, plus two shelves with brackets, two shoe shelves, six hooks, two baskets, trim, caulk and screws. At www.mygaragestore.com you can buy individual storeWALL components (six 4-foot panels totaling 30 square feet for $189, or four 8-foot panels totaling 40 square feet for $283), as well as hooks ($6 to $19), baskets and shoe shelves ($18 to $59), and shelving ($49 to $60).

MyGarageStore.com also sells kits for different applications, such as the WorkCenter kit, with an assortment of shelves, bins and racks for tools and hardware ($130), the Golf Sports kit ($72) and the Bike Sports kit ($39). And put the overhead space to use, too. Lift and store bicycles, canoes and bins of gear using a Harken ceiling hoist. A manual hoist ($29 to $180 at www.mygaragestore.com) can lift from 45 to 250 pounds; an electric one, from 70 to 220 pounds ($169 to $229).


Spring

3/14/2011

Next Sunday March 20, 2011 is the first day of Spring.  This means we will soon have new growth outdoors and beautiful colors in bloom.  I have already started to see the blooms on the trees. What a great time to do a little spring yard work and get your house ready to sell. THE WILLIAMS TEAM IS READY TO WORK FOR YOU, give us a call at 870.219.8821

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

3/7/2011
DONT FORGET!  SUNDAY, MARCH 13, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.  SET YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD ONE HOUR........

Curb Appeal

2/28/2011

Stunning Curb Appeal

   Can make buyers fall in love with a home from the moment they pull up in their car.  But equally important in todays web driven world is ensuring that your properties curb appeal transfers to online photos. 

 

Here are a few simple, no cost ways to get curb appeal in property photos.  Ask your agent to maximize the properties appearance on line.

 

  1. Remove Window Screens.  A homes exterior with brick r shingles generally looks dull.  Some home owners try to add shine with door knobs or lighting fixtures. But those subtle objects often dont show up in a photo.  Molinari says one of the best ways to add vitality and dimension in photos is removing screens (temporarily) from the windows in the front of the home.  Window screened can make windows look filmy and dark. Windows are the eyes of a home and you want to show off a healthy pair of eyes Dont throw the screens away keep them in the garage and place them once you go under contract or at closing.

 

 

  1. Water the Mulch   Black mulch is a favorite for creating a clean polished look that helps curb appeal.  But you can steal the look even if your mulch is brown.  Before a showing or photo, water the mulch in the front of the house.  The mulch alone will take on a darker tone, which will go a long way in making the greenery around it pop and look more vibrant.

 

  1. Show off the path to a doorway.  Use the red carpet effect to bring the homes walkway front and center.  With too many homes, you have to park the car and get out before you eventually see the path the leads up to the home, Make your walkway stand out.  Besides making sure the path is clear, make it prominent.

 

 

 

 

Michelle Molinari founder of Curb Appeal Concepts

 

   - Melissa Dittman Tracey

 

Creating Maximum Value in Your Property

2/21/2011
It is wise to think of your home as one of the biggest investments you are likely to make. As such, we would all do well to put thought into the ways in which we can improve our properties. Not all home improvement projects add the same value to your home. Some projects can actually lower your home value, or make a resale more difficult.

The subject of datedness is an important one. You may have grown accustomed to the light fixtures in your house because you live there every day--but when prospective buyers come into a home with 30 year old fixtures, it gives a negative impression. Take advantage of your local home improvement store showrooms to see what fixtures are popular today.
Paint colors can reflect datedness as well. Take the time to tour some open houses of new construction and see what paint schemes are popular today and compare these to what is in your home. Be realistic when you look at your paint and decor. The wall mural of angels sitting on clouds that you took a month to paint may be very satisfying to you, but in reality, it may be an obstacle to potential homebuyers. Don't make the mistake of thinking "the new owners can repaint". Yes, they can--but do you want to create an obstacle to a purchase when other homes in the neighborhood may be move-in ready? And in the short run, paint is too cheap for you to not keep your home updated.
Wall paper is an issue in many homes today. Frankly, wallpaper is not popular like it was in the 80's. If your home has the kitchen, dining room, and a couple of bedrooms covered floor to ceiling with wallpaper, it screams "out of date". And NOBODY likes to strip wallpaper! This is a serious obstacle to a potential purchase that you would do well to avoid by stripping the wallpaper yourself and painting your rooms in modern, neutral colors.
Flooring is a higher ticket item that can make a significant impression on potential buyers. Stained carpets reflects badly on your entire house. Professional carpet cleaners can be hired relatively cheap, and can sometimes do wonders on badly stained carpets.
Laminate flooring has grown popular in recent years because it is relatively cheap, and it is easy to lay with a minimum of tools and training. However, be aware that the very cheap grades of laminate do not show well and certainly do not wear well. Many potential buyers will enter a home that has recently had a cheap grade of laminate flooring laid, and ask right away how much it would cost to tear up the floor and start all over. There are better grades of laminate that lay flat and wear more like real wood. I recommend going with the better grades of laminate or not making the change at all.
Tile in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry is always a good investment. My recommendation is that all areas are done with the same tile because it gives a better impression than different tile in every room.

Construction improvements can help, but also can sometimes hurt the value of your home if not done wisely. Your home was most likely built by a set of plans that an architect drew up, considering functional items such as traffic flow and heating and air requirements. If you go to the expense of adding a room, or changing the architecture in some way, make sure you are not losing functionality in the process.
For example, many homes with a single carport have enclosed the area to use for a second living area or extra bedroom. That may be beneficial to you while you are living there if you need the extra living space. But the home has lost the functionality of covered parking, and you should know that you have not necessarily improved the home. The home may have gained square footage, but not necessarily value.
Other examples of home improvements that suffer from a lack of functionality include:
  • Adding a bedroom that can only be accessed by walking through another bedroom
  • Adding a room that does not have a heating and cooling system.
  • Converting two small bedrooms into one large suite--the home has lost a bedroom.

Examples of home improvements that usually improve a home's function include:

  • Adding a bathroom
  • Remodeling the kitchen
  • Adding covered parking

If you are considering making improvements to your property in anticipation of putting it on the market, don't be afraid to talk to your local real estate agent for insight into what home buyers are looking for today. We work with the public on a daily basis, and have a very good feel for what sells and what doesn't sell. Nobody's home is perfect, but with some thought and elbow grease, you can always improve your home in a way that pays off financially.

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The Williams Team
Susan Williams
Sales Associate & Team Leader
Cell: 870-926-8845
Team Phone: 870-926-4166
Leah Pillow
Sales Associate
870-530-3299
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre
1823 Grant Avenue Suite A
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Office: 870-933-6919
Ashley Heath
Administrative Assistant
870-974-7374
JoAnna Kelso
Billing Specialist
870-974-7374

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