Home Price Change Expectations Flat

Many homeowners have enjoyed a return to positive equity in recent years, with home prices on a consistent upward trend in most markets. How high will values go?

Potentially not much further, according to consumers in the June 2017 Survey of Consumer Expectations by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who held firm on their expectation of a 3.5 percent change in prices—the same expectation given in May.

Consumers, in addition, anticipate the median inflation rate to be 2.5 percent in one year and 2.8 percent in three years. The likelihood of finding a job, based on their perceptions, grew to 59.2 percent in June, and the likelihood of losing a job shrunk to 13.5 percent. The share of consumers surveyed with improved finances over the last year soared to 34.8 percent—a record.

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Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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Real Estate Reigns as Americans’ Preferred Investment

Real estate is the long-term investment of choice for Americans, who in a recent survey by Bankrate.com placed it ahead of bonds, cash, gold and stocks as the best method of building wealth over time. Real estate is now the chosen vehicle for the third consecutive time in the survey:

  • Real Estate (28 percent)
  • Cash (23 percent)
  • Stocks (17 percent)
  • Gold/Other Precious Metals (15 percent)
  • Bonds (4 percent)

Stocks have never been highly favored in the survey, despite their tendency to produce significant returns for investors who have a wide enough window to weather swings.

“We’ve begun to see rising yields on savings accounts,” says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “However, the preferences for cash and real estate indicate that too many people are leaving money on the virtual table by failing to be sufficiently exposed to the stock market, where higher long-term returns are found. This is especially the case for younger investors, who are in the best position to weather the inevitable short-term market volatility.”

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Source: Bankrate.com

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Understanding the Role of the Real Estate Agent

The road to homeownership can be bumpy, and it’s often filled with unexpected turns and detours. That’s why it makes sense to have a real estate pro help guide the way.

The road to homeownership can be bumpy, and it’s often filled with unexpected turns and detours. That’s why it makes sense to have a real estate pro help guide the way.

While real estate websites and mobile apps can help you identify houses you may be interested in, an experienced agent does much more, including:

1. Guide. Before you tour your first home, your agent will take time to learn more about your wants, needs, preferences, budget and motivation. A good real estate agent will help you narrow your search and identify your priorities.

2. Educate. You should expect your agent to provide data on the local home market and comparable sales. The home-buying process can be complicated. A good agent will explain the steps involved – in a manner that makes them understandable – and provide counsel along the way.

3. Network. An agent who is familiar with your target neighborhoods will often know about homes that are for sale – even before they’re officially listed. Experienced agents tend to know other agents in the area and have good working relationships with them; this can lead to smooth transactions. Your agent may also be able to refer you to trusted professionals including lenders, home inspectors and contractors.

4. Advocate. When you work with a buyer’s agent, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. If you find yourself in a situation where the same agent represents both the buyer and seller, things can get trickier, advises Scottsdale, Arizona-based real estate agent Dru Bloomfield.

“A lot of people think they’ll get a lower price by going straight to the listing agent, but that’s always not true,” she says. “If I was representing both the buyer and seller, I’d be hard-pressed to take a low-ball offer to the seller. But, as a buyer’s agent I’d do it, because I have no emotional ties or fiduciary responsibility to the seller. Buyers should work with an agent who can fully represent them.”

5. Negotiate. Your agent will handle the details of the negotiation process, including the preparation of all necessary offer and counteroffer forms. Once your inspection is done, the agent can also help you negotiate for repairs. Even the most reasonable consumers can become distraught when battling over repair requests; an agent can do “the ask” without becoming overly emotional.

6. Manage minutia. The paperwork that goes along with a real estate transaction can be exhaustive. If you forget to initial a clause or check a box, all those documents will need to be resubmitted. A good real estate agent understands the associated deadlines and details and can help you navigate these complex documents.

7. Look out. Any number of pitfalls can kill a deal as it inches toward closing; perhaps the title of the house isn’t clear, the lender hasn’t met the financing deadline or the seller has failed to disclose a plumbing problem. An experienced real estate agent knows to watch for trouble before it’s too late, and can skillfully deal with challenges as they arise.

Professional real estate agents do so much more than drive clients around to look at homes. Find an agent you trust and with whom you feel comfortable working; you’re sure to benefit from their experience, knowledge of the local market and negotiation skills.

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Originally published July 21, 2014.

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‘Game of Thrones’ Queen Lena Headey Lists LA Home for $1.9M

Winter is coming, even to this lush Los Angeles home.

Fresh off her show’s much-anticipated return for Season 7, “Game of Thrones” actress Lena Headey is parting ways with her home in Sherman Oaks.

The 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom mid-century modern house is far from the castles of Westeros Cersei Lannister frequents in the popular HBO series. Reclaimed wood floors are laid out in a herringbone pattern, and the ceiling features prominent exposed wood beams in a charming rustic gray color.

Photos courtesy Todd Johnson of LA Light Photography.

The mid-century modern aesthetic carries throughout the 2,900-square-foot house, with a prominent gold chandelier hanging above the living room space.

Photo courtesy Todd Johnson of LA Light Photography.

An open kitchen features a mirrored backsplash and blue-and-white patterned tile, for a touch of SoCal life.

Photo courtesy Todd Johnson of LA Light Photography.

A child’s playroom opens up to the backyard, where lines of warm lights are strung above a saltwater pool.

Photo courtesy Todd Johnson of LA Light Photography.

And in case you’re wondering how Headey cared for the home’s environment when she’s spending every day on set: She’s installed a low-maintenance vertical garden of succulents and drought-tolerant landscaping, according to the listing.

Photo courtesy Todd Johnson of LA Light Photography.

No word on whether the home — currently listed at $1.945 million — also comes with a knight in shining armor.

Zoe Rudolph of the John Aaroe Group holds the listing.

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House of the Week: Tiny Home With 100-Mile Desert Views

Get the best of both worlds: sleek minimalist living on a rustic ranch. This tiny home near Santa Fe is the perfect escape from city life.

Giddy up.

You don’t need to be a certifiable cowboy to appreciate this gentleman’s ranch about an hour outside of Santa Fe.

Photos courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

The homeowners rounded up more than 1,000 acres of land in Villanueva, NM, and built a modern, 500-square-foot home of steel and glass to shelter them from the desert sun. The house incorporates contemporary touches, with an outdoor kitchen, skylight and large windows to let in the warm sunlight.

Having a minimalist living space on a grand piece of land is almost poetic for a place deeply rooted in big views and an outdoor lifestyle.

Photo courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.  

“When you come out to New Mexico and you’re in a place where you don’t see anything that’s man-made as far as the eye can see, it really clears your brain,” said Gary Bobolsky, the listing agent. “It’s just kind of a way to look at the world — the way you’re meant to be.”

“You don’t see anything that’s man-made as far as the eye can see.”

Photo courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

The home has a modern feel, and the exterior is made entirely of steel, making it resistant to the elements, Bolbosky said. The interior features a fireplace for when the temperature dips at night. There’s also a full outdoor kitchen for al fresco dinners and stargazing at night.

Photo courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

Hardwood floors anchor the bedroom while sliding glass doors provide bedside views of the desert landscape. A stone path meanders from the home to the Pecos River, where a private dock provides waterfront space for afternoon picnics or siestas in the sun.

“The stars and the Milky Way are going to be out of this world at night. It’s so vast and the air is so clear.”

Photo courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

The property also includes a 4,000-square-foot shop, perfect for storing hay, rounding up horses, or keeping farming equipment safe from the elements.

Photo courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

But it’s those nighttime views, Bobolsky said, that truly make this a retreat for modern-day cowboys looking to escape city life.

“It’s in an area that’s so rural that the stars and the Milky Way are going to be out of this world at night,” Bobolsky added. “It’s so vast and the air is so clear.”

“You’ve got 100-mile views,” he continued. “It’s kind of special like that.”

Gary Bobolsky of Sotheby’s International Realty carries the listing.

Video courtesy Marshall Elias Photography.

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