The market’s moving fast and our Realtor and lender partners are busy trying to help as many people as possible with low inventory and low interest rates. It’s busy and exciting and GCS has news too: We’ve moved our offices and we’ve got a lot of amazing new people. Our internal staff is amazing and we’ve featured some of the new faces. We wanted to let you know about some of the other folks who are likely to walk into your office to say hello – if you don’t know them already.
All of us at GCS Title are here to help – whether you’re a Realtor, lender, homeowner or renter. We can refer you to great resources and answer your questions. What’s on your mind in this busy market? Let’s talk! ~Charlie
The Spring-Summer market is underway and everywhere you read and watch, you’ll find comments about the real estate market, interest rate movement, shortages of homes for sale in certain areas and price ranges. People outside the real estate and mortgage industries may wonder what it all means – and if they don’t, they should. It’s so easy to draw a conclusion about how the market’s doing, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell, if mortgage interest rates are good and so on. The problem with that is, it’s virtually impossible to know whether or not that conclusion is true without information from a real estate and mortgage professional that was researched and prepared specifically for an individual or family. Here are some questions consumers should NEVER try to answer by reading the news or surfing the net alone:
- Can I afford and qualify for a home?
- Can I get enough money for my home to buy a different one?
- Are interest rates good or should I wait to see if they’ll go lower?
- Is it a good time to buy a home or are prices going to hold steady or go down?
These are just a few typical questions that should be verified with a review of your personal situation. Drawing the wrong conclusion based on general information or statistics can cause you to miss an opportunity. Don’t worry – you don’t have to “sign your life away” to get a professional, specific opinion. We at GCS Title work with many experienced professionals and can connect you with people who can answer your questions with no obligation or pressure. Let us know what questions are on your mind – we’re happy to help you get them answered. ~ Charlie
On the House
Bulls & Bears in the House
There seems to be a difference of opinion between people who own homes and people who would like to buy them. The National Association of Realtors puts out what they call the Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey every quarter and the latest one shows different attitudes between homeowners and potential buyers when it comes to timing. Check out the differences:
75% of potential buyers believe now is a good time to buy a home
56% of current homeowners believe now is a good time to sell a home – down from 61% during Q4 2015)
These numbers indicate a bigger appetite for buying homes than selling, but confidence is also slipping a bit regarding the economy:
48% of households feel the U.S. economy is improving – down from 50% in Q4 2015
To make a lame Wall Street reference, you could say that the bears own houses and the bulls are renting; but the last stat from the survey seems to show that everyone seems a little uneasy about the economy which is not uncommon in an election year (and this one is turning out to be a doozy). Lack of inventory (homes for sale) in certain price ranges has been an issue and widely reported and discussed for some time. The important takeaway for the public not to make assumptions because market conditions vary – even by neighborhood. We as real estate and lending professionals need to make sure we arm potential buyers and sellers with the latest local information so they can decide whether or not it is in fact a good time for them to buy or sell. ~Charlie
On the House
Charlie Lawson – GCS Title
Trendy – Not Spendy
Minneapolis got a big shout out from Realtor.com by being included in their recent list of “The Top 10 Trendiest Cities That You Can Still Afford to Buy In.” They made the list based on different things that appeal to and impact hipsters (their word – not mine) – which I’ll interpret as the group the rest of us refer to as Millennials. Minneapolis came in at #5 in this list that boasts a high number of yoga studios and bike shops per capita. Don’t laugh – there’s more to this and good news for the normal folk too.
Outside of Minnesota, the entire Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan area is referred to as “Minneapolis” and while it’s not fair to Saint Paul or the other cool spots in the ‘burbs, it’s unavoidable. Just like the pro sports teams use the concept of “community benefit” to get us to pay for stadiums, publicity like this is great for our whole metro market that extends far beyond the Minneapolis city limits. (And we are getting a new stadium soon too.) The key word in this list is “afford” though. The idea that jobs, salaries and home prices fall into a range where a significant number of people can become homeowners is great news not just for real estate professionals, but for our communities at large. Think about pride of ownership in neighborhoods, the likelihood that people will live, work and volunteer close to home and the long term boost to people’s financial health that owning a home can bring.
Every week my research team and I bring you news, facts, stats and ideas that boost not only our business, but the reason most of us got into it in the first place: To help people achieve the American Dream. So, let’s make sure we claim some bragging rights and spread the word. ~Charlie
The whole list: 1. Salt Lake City 2. Richmond, Va. 3. Asheville, NC 4. Pittsburgh 5. Minneapolis 6. Ann Arbor, 7. Cincinnati 8. St. Louis 9. New Orleans 10. Charleston, SC
Ever hear anybody say this – “If I knew then, what I know now….” – ? A lot of us can apply that to many situations in our lives (and not all are suitable for business blogging). I’d love to know – how was 2015 for you? Whether you made your goals, exceeded your goals, fell short of or didn’t make any goals, a new year always brings new opportunity. There’s always business opportunity out there, but the flipping of the calendar is an opportunity for us to mentally hit a reset button and put the bad part of the past behind us, learn from mistakes, figure out how to expand what we did well and basically organize our thoughts and plan to do better. And it’s exciting!
I attended a business planning workshop this fall and am working with other MN real estate and MN mortgage industry professionals to hold ourselves accountable for the goals we set and the way we plan to achieve them. Are you teamed up with anyone to get and stay on track? It doesn’t take much time – but it brings a ton of benefit. I can help you get the planning tools, help and accountability pieces together to make 2016 a great one.
Let’s take steps now so we can celebrate the decision to do so at this time next year!
Here’s to a great 2016!
Owner & President
What would have to happen for you to say “I feel the best I have in 10 years!”? That’s basically what the nation’s builders said heading into the third quarter this year. According to the October National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence is the highest it’s been in a decade. The number of buyers visiting models and projects hasn’t increased, but all four regions in the U.S. where this gets measured saw an uptick in builder confidence regarding current sales conditions and expectations for the next six months. Oddly, builders are struggling with availability of lots and labor.
So, what does this mean to MN consumers, lenders and Realtors? It’s a good idea for us to find out how our local MN builders are doing – and how they’re feeling now and about the immediate future. C
Coffee meetings? Some tours? Let’s get together and talk about what they have and how we can work together to find the best value and options for our clients with MN builders!
Owner & President
Millennials…we hear this group mentioned so often, I’m starting to feel like Jan from the Brady Bunch – “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” But I can’t deny how important they are to the MN housing market and economy, so I’ll get over myself to share some important news: The use of FHA loans (and other low down payment programs) to purchase homes is up 23-percent from the first quarter of this year according to RealtyTrac and the interpretation is that more MN first time home buyers are getting into the market. That’s great because we need them! Millennials have been lukewarm about MN homeownership for the last few years, so the real estate community really needs to reach out and share the news that FHA made some changes that make payments more affordable. There’s also other low down payment programs – even MN down payment assistance – so we all need to make sure that we promote all the great options to help people buy MN homes – Millennials or not.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling, I can put you in touch with great real estate and mortgage professionals who specialize in your area and situation. Message me!
Owner & President
Who doesn’t love to be appreciated? Guess who’s getting a ton of appreciation right now…MN homeowners!
RealtyTrac says that “U.S. sellers so far in 2015 are realizing the biggest gains in home price appreciation since 2007. In June, sellers sold for above estimated market value on average for the first time in nearly two years.” It’s time to reach out to these MN homeowners, our past clients and update them on what their MN homes are worth. Is it possible – or time – to move up, move on or downsize? MN homeowners may have options they didn’t know they had. We know that MN housing inventory is tight in many areas and price ranges, so these latest numbers may be game changers.
Let’s mobilize to help people get moving!
Owner & President
I’m really excited! We’re just a few weeks into publishing my blog and I’ve already been getting requests for topics to cover. Call or email me any time if you have any special requests and my team and I will make sure we address your question here in the blog – and personally if you want or need more specific details. My first question came from Peter, who wanted me to talk about “different types of title – warranty, personal representative” because he needed to explain them to a client. What Peter is referring to are actually different types of deeds. For the consumers out there, deeds are instruments for conveying property from one party to another. The most common types of conveyance deeds are warranty deeds, grant deeds and quitclaim deeds. Depending on what state you live in, the first two are the most common deeds used when a home seller transfers a property to a buyer – in Minnesota, we use warranty deeds. A quitclaim deed is used when one or more parties on title to a property relinquish their interest to one or more people also in title. A bummer of an example of a common use of a quitclaim deed is in a divorce when one spouse “quitclaims” to another as part of their settlement. The other deed Peter asked about is a Personal Representative deed which is used most often when a property owner is incapacitated in some way or in situations where there’s an estate involved.
This is a very simplified version of types of deeds, so please understand there are many factors to consider when deciding what type of deed or method of conveyance you will use. Your real estate and mortgage professionals can help identify special circumstances you may have, but like the title companies, they cannot give tax or legal advice. Be sure and ask questions and get advice from the proper resources.
Thanks for the questions – and keep them coming!
Owner & President
GCS Title – Global Closing & Title Services
Who doesn’t love to be appreciated? Guess who’s getting a ton of appreciation right now…homeowners! RealtyTrac says that “U.S. sellers so far in 2015 are realizing the biggest gains in home price appreciation since 2007. In June, sellers sold for above estimated market value on average for the first time in nearly two years.” It’s time to reach out to past clients and update them on what their homes are worth. Is it possible – or time – to move up, move on or downsize? People may have options they didn’t know they had. We know that housing inventory is tight in many areas and price ranges, so these latest numbers may be game changers. Let’s mobilize to help people get moving!
Got questions? We know a lot of great people in the real estate and mortgage lending in Minnesota and we’d love to connect you! Let us know how we can help!
~ Charlie Lawson, GCS Title
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