Sevierville Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Oct. 17, 2019

Market Movement 10/14/2019

Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, staying historically low.  Consumer credit expanded less than expected.  New purchase mortgage application submissions declined, and refinance mortgage application submissions increased.  Job openings are down, but still exceed the number of people classified as unemployed.  Initial jobless claims declined, and continuing claims increased.  The consumer price index was virtually unchanged from month to month.  The consumer sentiment index climbed.

Mortgage Rates Currently Trending lower

This Week's Potential Volatility

  • Could this tax break help first-time home buyers?  Read More >>
  • Experts predict mortgages will be bright spot of Q3.  Watch Now >>
  • Alert: New Leadership at Ginnie Mae.  Read More >>

  • Total consumer credit expanded by $17.9 million at an annual growth rate of 5.2%.  Weaker credit card spending constricted growth, revolving credit fell 2.2% in August.  Nonrevolving credit, like car loans and student loans, increased 7.8% in August. 

  • For the week ending 10/4, new purchase application submissions declined 1.0% and refinance application submissions jumped 10.0% for a composite increase of 5.2%. 

  • Job openings fell slightly in August, down to a level of 7.051 million.  August’s figure marks at 8% decline since the start of the year.  However, the number of open jobs still far greater exceeds the 5.8 million Americans classified as unemployed.  The voluntary quits rate fell to a level of 2.3%.

  • For the week ending 10/5, initial jobless claims declined to a level of 210,000 and continuing claims increased to a level of 1.68 million.  Jobless claims continue to come in historically low, continuing claims have been below 2 million since 2017. 

  • In September, the consumer price index was unchanged month-over-month and up 1.7% year-over-year.  Excluding food and energy costs, the core CPI was up 0.1% month-over-month and 2.4% year-over-year.  Prices for food, rent, healthcare, and airlines increased and the cost of gasoline and used vehicles declined. 

  • The consumer sentiment index jumped to a level of 96 in October.

This week's important economic reports include:
  • MBA applications
  • Retail sales, retail sales ex-autos
  • Home builders’ index
  • Beige Book
  • Weekly jobless claims
  • Housing starts and building permits
  • New home sales

Week of october 14, 2019

Oct. 7, 2019

Selecting an Agent

Selecting an agent

When a whole lobster was presented at the table of a restaurant, the customer noticed there was only one claw on it.  He asked what happened to the lobster and the waiter said, maybe he lost a fight with another lobster.  The customer replied to the explanation by saying "then, bring me the winner."

There are approximately 1.3 million REALTORS® in the U.S.  The July 2019 Existing Home Sales annualized about 5.4 million units with a listing side and a selling side that totals 10.8 million transactions.  That means that the average number of units sold per agent is 8.

In any given market, 20% of the agents are selling 80% of the homes.  260,000 agents are selling 8,480,000 or an average of 32 transactions sides.  Some markets are dominated by 10% of these successful agents selling 90% of the market.  If that were the case, 130,000 agents are selling 9,720,000 or an average of 75 transactions sides.

The question you should ask yourself is who do you want representing you in the purchase or sale of the largest asset that most people have?  Do you want an average agent, or do you want a powerhouse agent who can provide you the best advice, avoid issues that can cost time, and maximize the results that you expect and deserve?

Finding the right property is listed as the most difficult experienced by buyers (56%), according to the Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, together with the paperwork (20%) and understanding the process and steps (16%) makes these the most important areas of expertise needed when evaluating your agent.

An agent provides valuable services for buyers and sellers during the transaction that can make a difference in finding the "right" home or buyer, negotiating the best terms, and closing on time.  The answers to the following questions can help you decide who to work with in your next purchase or sale.

  • Describe your experience in real estate?
  • What are your personal sales stats compared to the market? (For sellers, list price to sales price ratio, days on market; for buyers, average # of houses shown and closure rate)
  • Describe your strategy to accomplish my needs?
  • Do you have references and/or reviews?
  • What makes you different than your competition?
  • Can you help me find the other professionals and vendors?
  • What is your fee and who pays it?

 

For more information, download the Sellers Guide and Buyers Guide.

Oct. 2, 2019

Price is Right?

Price It Right the First Time

The Internet has empowered all buyers with information and home buyers are no exception.    The amount of information available to public includes details on size, condition, sales history, current inventory, recent sales, photographs, videos, school info, drive-times, entertainment and much more.

When a seller realizes that buyers are educated with facts, it becomes unlikely that they will pay more than a home is worth. 

If a home is priced too high in the beginning, it may stay on the market longer than normal which could adversely affect the ultimate sales price.  It is a natural reaction from people, personally or professionally, to assume that something must be wrong with a home that doesn't sell in a reasonable time for that market.

The seller is entitled to maximize the equity in their home and pricing it properly in the beginning is the best way to achieve that.  Overpricing can reduce buyers activity because they assume that the best homes are purchased soon after they are offered for sale and if one has been on the market longer than normal, there must be a problem with it.  Similarly, sales associates may come to the same conclusion.

After buyers have seen a few homes in a certain price range, they begin to expect similar amenities in each home they look at.  If a home is overpriced, it will not compare favorably with the other homes that are being viewed.  Sometimes, the buyer may even think that another home could be a bargain because it offers much more for the same price as the overpriced listing.

Shopping the market means looking at the homes that meet a buyers' wants and needs and selecting the one that gives them the most, whether it is in price or amenities.  The overpriced listing doesn't compete well, and it extends the market time.  There is a documented study that shows that the longer a home stays on the market, the lower the price will be.

It is essential that a seller receive factual information to price their home to compete favorably in the current market.  Some of the obstacles can include:

  • Failure to objectively compare the current and sold homes with theirs
  • Neighbors who mislead the seller as to how much they got for their home
  • Fear of making a mistake and thinking they can start high and always lower the price
  • Loss of perspective because the seller is emotionally involved
  • Expecting the home to sell for more than fair market value because they need the money
  • Agents who will accept a listing at any price in order to tie up the property until the seller realizes the price is too high

What a seller paid for the home or the cost to rebuild it today do not affect market value.  Neither does the amount spent by sellers on certain improvements that were made for their own pleasure and enjoyment.

It is unrealistic to expect a buyer to pay more than market value for a home.  The seller sets the price of a home but the buyer determines the value.  If the home is priced properly in the beginning, it is more likely to sell for a higher price, in a shorter period and with less problems

Oct. 2, 2019

Market Movement 10-01-2019

Average mortgage rates are still historically low, despite trending slightly upwards this week.  Home price appreciation continues to slow down.  The consumer confidence index declined.  Mortgage application submissions dropped off.  New home sales jumped.  The weekly jobless claims report was mixed.  Second quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) revision was unchanged.  Pending home sales activity increased.  Both personal income and consumer spending are up.  The consumer sentiment index improved. 

Mortgage Rates Currently Trending lower

This Week's Potential Volatility

  • Home flippers enter the market as prices and competition heat up.  Read More >>
  • Last week’s mortgage rate increase temporary, rates fall again.  Read More >>
  • Philadelphia Fed President says Fed should hold interest rates.  Read More >>

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index tracks was unchanged from June to July, and up only 2.0% year-over-year.  14 of the 20 cities measured saw increases, led by Phoenix and Las Vegas up 5.8% and 4.7% respectively.

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index appreciated 0.4% month-over-month in July. 

  • In August, the consumer confidence index fell to 125.1, a three-month low. 

  • The weekly mortgage application survey declined a composite 10.1% for the week ending 9/20.   New purchase application submissions declined 3.0% and refinance application submissions dropped 15.0%. 

  • In August, the new home sales report increased 7.1% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000.  Year-over-year sales were up 18%.  New home sales data can be volatile from month to month, but August’s figure is almost a 12-year high. 

  • For the week ending 9/21, initial jobless claims increased to a level of 213,000.  Continuing claims declined to a level of 1.65 million.  The General Motors strike may have influenced this week’s data, jobless claims in Michigan nearly doubled. 

  • GDP is a country’s most comprehensive economic scorecard.  The revision for second quarter showed the economy expanded at a rate of 2%, unchanged from the previous estimate.  Consumer spending was strong, but business investment has declined. 

  • The pending home sales index increased 1.6% month-over-month and 2.5% year-over-year in August. 

  • In August, personal income increased 0.4% month-over-month and consumer spending inched up 0.1% month-over-month.  Core inflation is up 1.8% year-over-year, below the Fed’s targeted 2% rate. 

  • In September, the consumer sentiment index increased to a level of 93.2, a rebound from August’s three-year low. 

This week's important economic reports include:
  • Construction spending
  • MBA applications
  • ADP employment
  • Weekly jobless claims
  • Nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, average hourly earnings

Week of SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

July 15, 2019

Measuring Square Footage

MEASURING SQUARE FOOTAGE

 

 

Square Footage Measurement

 

 

 

 

Square footage is commonly used to determine if a home will fit a buyer's needs.  The price per square foot can be used to compare the costs of different homes and even, determine the value of a property.

The challenge is what is the source of the square footage measurement and how was it done.

County records use square footage to determine assessed value for property tax purposes.  They are assumed to be reliable but there can be inaccuracies in their tax rolls.  Another source of square footage could be from the house plans but the problem there is that the builder may have made modifications, or a subsequent owner could have made additions.

Appraisers are required to measure the home to determine square footage and they generally, adhere to a standard method which leads to uniformity in the industry.  The ANSI, American National Standards Institute, guidelines are considered the standard but there are no laws governing the process.

Because basements are below grade level, regardless of whether they are finished, they are typically not counted toward gross living area.  Attics because they are above grade level can be included in gross living area if they are finished to the same standard as the rest of the home and they meet the minimum height requirement of seven feet.

Unfinished areas are usually not considered in the square footage because it is not livable.

For detached properties, it is common to measure the perimeter of the house but to only include the living areas, not porches, patios or garages.  Gross living area includes stairways, hallways, closets with minimum height and bathrooms.  Covered, enclosed porches would only be considered if they use the same heating system as the house.

By contrast, condominiums, generally measure the inside area of the unit. Some appraisers may add six inches to account for the wall thickness.  If you were to compare the total of the interior room measurements of a detached home, it would be far less than the stated square footage using the normal method.

If the county records are significantly different from the appraisal or the plans, it will be necessary to determine which one is more accurate.  This may require getting the home measured by an appraiser which should be less than paying for a complete appraisal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 9, 2019

Why shop for a Mortgage?

Why shop for a mortgage

May 20, 2019

Tennessee Pests

 

Common Pests in Tennessee and How to Keep Them at Bay

 

Tennessee has stunning rivers, gorgeous mountains, and year-round temperate weather. However, we also have bugs — and lots of them. A few of the most common pests in the area include brown recluse spiders, cockroaches, and mice. For the most part, we have learned to live with these critters, but there has to be a balance. This is especially important if you have out-of-town visitors heading in for summer, as the site of a lone spider or the scuffle of mouse paws is a sure way to send them scuttling off to the nearest hotel.

 

Non-Human Roommates

 

Brown recluse spiders and cockroaches are perhaps the two most concerning pests in Eastern Tennessee: cockroaches because they carry diseases and brown recluse spiders because they are one of two poisonous arachnids in the area. The National Capital Poison Center explains that while brown recluse spiders strive to avoid human contact, they bite when threatened. This can cause a serious injury that may require surgical debridement and weeks of antibiotics. Bed bugs, mice, and ants are other unwanted house guests that require an eviction notice.

 

General Advice

 

Regardless of the kind of pest you are trying to avoid, there are a few things you can do to cover all of your bases. Start by cleaning and organizing your home, especially the dark areas such as the garage, basement, attic, and closets. Get rid of clutter by purging duplicates, taking out as much paper as possible, and storing important documents in the filing cabinet. You will also want to eliminate excess electronics, such as old radios and televisions, as bugs can climb inside them and live happily without human interference. Old furniture also has to go.

 

Food is another factor that attracts many pests, including cockroaches, mice, and ants. Any time you leave food accessible, you are writing an open invitation for an infestation. Planet Orange, a California-based pest control company, also notes that strong odors from garbage can attract unwanted visitors. So, make a point to clean up after each meal and do not leave food in an open trash can. Utilize your garbage disposal as much as possible, and clean your pantry regularly. Open packages, such as cereal or cookies, are an easy meal for bugs and mice, so transfer these items to a rigid plastic container once they have been opened.

 

Once you have the inside taken care of, you will need to turn your attention to the exterior of your home. All pests enter from outside, and blocking their access can significantly cut down on the number of intruders in your interior. Check the foundation and exterior walls for cracks, holes, and crevices that might allow bugs and mice inside. Keep in mind that mice are smaller than they look and can fit into openings the width of a pencil. Seal these issues with caulk, and make sure to install weather strips on doors and windows.

 

Banish Bed Bugs

 

These bothersome little biters can hitchhike from one location to another by way of moving boxes, luggage, and clothing. If you have guests coming, check the bed for signs of an infestation, keeping in mind that bed bugs can live for several months to a year without feeding, so there is no guarantee an unused room will be free of them. Your best bet at this point is to completely clean and sanitize the room and invest in a new mattress and bedding. A waterproof mattress cover and regular vacuuming will also help keep these creatures at bay.

 

Sharing your home with pests can be hazardous to your health. That said, cleaning, preventing access, and eliminating food sources can help reduce the number of rodents, insects, and arachnids that call your house home.


Image via Pixabay

May 7, 2019

Home Buying and Selling

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2019 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

May 2, 2019

Prepare Now for Future Major Home Repairs

 

Forward, Storm Damage, Roof, Roofing Tiles, Tile

Prepare Now for Future Major Home Repairs

 

Home-ownership can bring many joys, but it can also bring many headaches.  One of the most stressful aspects of owning a home is dealing with major repairs.  Whether the repairs are from expected wear and tear or the result of an unexpected event, the cost can be large and overwhelming.  Let’s discuss a few things to help you prepare for these potential circumstances.

Routine vs. Major Home Repair

Routine home care and repair ensures that your home is in proper working order, and prevents future damage from escalating.  Better Homes and Gardens has a helpful checklist of various things to inspect and clean in your house.  Routine care ranges from changing your HVAC air filter to inspecting your roof for damaged or missing shingles.  While regular maintenance can help ward off future issues, there are still unexpected damages that can arise and need immediate attention.  Your old roof may finally need to be replaced, or a pipe can burst and flood your home with standing water.  When these problems arise, you’ll have hopefully set aside enough money to cover the damage and repair.

How to Save for the Big Cost of Repairs

Unfortunately, most major repairs cost a considerable amount of money.  The national average cost of a major home repair or renovation is $10,580, and that can be difficult to come up with if you haven’t been putting money aside already.  Begin saving for a home repair fund now so that you will be prepared when these major repairs are needed. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10% of your mortgage each month to build up the fund in a high yield savings account.  With that account already established, you will be able to cover repairs – routine or major – along the way.

Contact Your Insurance Company

In addition to starting a home repair fund, whenever major damage has occurred to your home, it is important to first contact your insurance company.  Some incidents are covered under your insurance policy, in which case you would only be responsible for your deductible. Other causes of damage, such as water damage from a flood or sewer back-up, are not covered.  In some cases, there are supplemental insurance policies that you can buy to help extend coverage to include specific circumstances.  For example, if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it would be highly encouraged to purchase flood insurance to supplement your existing homeowner’s policy.

Hire a Professional

Once you have sorted out the financial aspect of the repair, it is important to select the right contractor to fix the damage.  US News suggests taking recommendations from friends or family, and interviewing at least 3 contractors to discuss their experience and proposed bids.  While you may feel a panicky need to get the job done as quickly as possible, it is important to take the time to get the right contractor for the job.  Unfortunately, in the contractor industry, there may be individuals who are trying to scam you and take your money.  There is a desired balance between spending a reasonable amount while still getting quality work done.  You can feel confident in the decision you’ve made with careful research and confirmed references.

 

Major home repairs are an inevitable reality of home-ownership, whether the damage is from mother nature or just old age.  Taking steps to prepare for major damage will save you time and stress when that day comes. Start your home repair fund as soon as possible, and review the coverage on your home’s insurance policy.  When the day comes that you need to fix your home, choose your contractor wisely. Following these simple steps will ensure that the damage will be repaired effectively and affordably, keeping your home sturdy for many more years to come.

 

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Jan. 27, 2019

Helpful Tips for Buyers Whose Dream Home Needs Structural Work

 

Helpful Tips for Buyers Whose Dream Home Needs Structural Work

 

As someone on the market for a new home, you’ve quickly realized that finding the perfect home is nearly impossible. There are certainly homes that come close to ticking off all those boxes, but some need extra work to turn the house into a home. The best part about a house is that it can be changed to meet your needs and preferences, becoming a full-on or partial fixer-upper. If you want an open kitchen, tear the down the wall. If you’d prefer a garage rather than parking your car in the elements, build on an attachment. If structural changes are on the agenda for your future home, here are a few things to consider.

 

Include the Costs in Your Budget

 

If you know you’ll be making some changes, you’ll need to factor remodeling costs into your budget. Before you start drawing up plans, ask your home inspector to pinpoint any problems or serious issues so the homeowner can fix it or negotiate the price. If everything checks out, bring in a contractor to give you an estimate for the work you’d like done. For example, you’ll find that tearing down a wall in your kitchen that isn’t load-bearing is a lot cheaper ($300 to $1,000) than bringing down a wall that is load-bearing ($1,200 to $3,000). Work closely with your real estate agent to negotiate a price and ensure you aren’t over-paying. Your agent can also help you decide what improvements are worth the investment and will offer a hefty return by comparing similar homes nearby. You don’t want to sink money into a remodel that will price your home way out of the market that is typical in that area, as this will make it hard to sell in the future.

 

Be Smart About Saving Money

 

Remodeling can get pricey, so you might be looking for any possible way to cut costs. However, don’t save by forgoing a contractor and doing it yourself or sacrificing quality and good workmanship. Instead, look for smart savings such as hiring a contractor outside of the peak seasons (spring and summer), handling small tasks yourself, and sticking to your plan rather than adding on here and there, as this adds up. Another way to save is with low-cost finishings. For example, if you need extra space, consider adding on a steel garage as opposed to the traditional wood, which tends to come with a higher price tag. Steel garages are sturdy and sleek, and can be made to match your home, providing the benefit of extra space for your car, yard tools, and miscellaneous items, all without shelling out the big bucks. The same concept of using more cost-effective materials can be applied to all areas of your home, such as using laminate instead of granite when refurbishing or installing new counter-tops.

 

Get All Your Ducks in a Row

 

Home remodels aren’t a DIY project unless they are minor, so you’ll need to put together a dream team. Get quotes and consultations from at least three different contractors, and do your research to make sure they have the proper licenses and are insured. In addition to having the necessary paperwork and certifications, consider whether you both have the same vision and a full understanding of what you want and expect. Don’t forget to discuss permits, as most structural changes, such as adding or removing walls, additions, and demolitions, will require one to ensure the work is done safely and in compliance with building and neighborhood codes. If the contractor insists they don’t need a permit, move on to someone else.

 

 

Finding your dream home is possible, but it might need a few updates and changes. Structural changes sound intense, but with the right plan and contractor, your home is in good hands. Budget accordingly, cut costs the smart way, hire a team, and watch your home receive new life.