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I'm John Askins of Royce Realty in Houston, or text me directly at (832) on my blog I'll keep you updated on the latest trends and info about our local and state real estate market. Member - HAR Technology Advisory Group
The longer a home for sale sits on the market, the more likely buyers will begin thinking something’s wrong with it. Seller's can avoid a long wait for the right offer by considering these six factors that may be telling you it’s time to lower your price.

You’re drawing few lookers

You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think it’s overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

2. You’re drawing lots of lookers but have no offers

If you’ve had 30 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes

Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 30 and you’re pushing 45, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

4. You have a deadline

If you’ve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or you’ve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: It’s not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, it’s how much money a buyer is willing to spend.

5. You can’t make upgrades

Maybe you’re plum out of cash and don’t have the funds to put fresh paint on the walls, clean the carpets, and add curb appeal. But the feedback your agent is reporting from buyers is that your home isn’t as well-appointed as similarly priced homes. When your home has been on the market longer than comparable homes in better condition, it’s time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesn’t show as well as others.

6. The competition has changed

If weeks go by with no offers, continue to check out the competition. What have comparable homes sold for and what's still on the market? What new listings have been added since you listed your home for sale? If comparable home sales or new listings show your price is too steep, consider a price reduction.



Real estate professionals say incentives to sweeten a real estate deal are certainly good ways to generate buzz about a property, but the asking price is the real key to getting a home sold. 

Incentives to get home buyers’ attention have gotten lavish. Recent examples include a new BMW, season tickets to football games, a boat for waterfront properties, $3,000 gift cards at interior design studios, and even the home owners’ pet. 

"We're in a price war and a beauty contest," Tony Vehon, broker and owner of Weichert Realtors Lake Realty in Gold Canyon, Ariz., told Fox Business News. "Every home has to be priced right and look perfect. After that, a special incentive might drive traffic, especially if you offer something that grabs attention, something a little beyond the norm."

Martha Thorn, a real estate pro with The Thorn Collection at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Tampa, Fla., told Fox Business News that one of her sellers for a home priced less than $200,000 tried to lure home buyers by offering up season tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ football games.

"The buyers were thrilled with the tickets, but that certainly wasn't the reason they bought the house," Thorn told Fox. "The most important thing is always the price."

Price is still key, agrees Linda O'Koniewski, broker-owner of RE/MAX Heritage in Melrose, Mass.

"An offer to pay condo fees for a year or so will definitely create some buzz, and at least get a buyer to take a second look at a property," O'Koniewski says. But she says sellers must realize that "no amount of marketing will make a dent if the price is not right. If you are not competitive on the price, you cannot sell your house."

source:  Fox Business News


Land prices rose a median of 4 percent across the country for the 12 months ending in June, according to the 2014 Land Markets Survey of more than 600 members of the REALTORS® Land Institute.

About half of the most recent land sales were located in the heartland, including Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. About 26 percent of recent sales were also centered in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

About three-fourths of recent land sales were recreational (21 percent); timber/ranch (25 percent); and for agricultural uses (27 percent), according to the report.

Some additional findings from this year's report:

  • On average, 31 percent of the land value was financed by purchasers.
  • Fifty-eight percent of buyers in land sales transactions are individuals and families; 17 percent are corporations/partnerships; 17 percent are investors; and 10 percent are expansion farmers. Individuals and families tend to buy land for agricultural or recreational purposes, whereas corporations are more strongly motivated by development and commercial purposes.
  • Pricing for agricultural land is $5,600 per acre but can vary widely among states. For example, irrigated land vs. non-irrigated land shows a big difference in price, with irrigated land highest in California and Iowa.
  • The median time on the market for land sales was 120 days, but that also varied considerably. Agricultural, irrigated land tended to have much lower time on the market, at 60 days, compared to commercial, which averaged 237 days.

source:  National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog


The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it wants housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide greater support to low-income mortgage borrowers and refinancers.

FHFA, which is the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, outlined goals for 2015-2017 aimed at advancing that goal. It wants to ensure that low-income families account for 23 percent of the GSE’s purchases of single-family home mortgages. Also, the agency seeks to ensure that the firms raise the share of their purchases that back mortgages in low-income areas with large minority populations. FHFA has charged the firms with raising the share of their mortgage refinance operations that target low-income Americans, Reuters reports.

More specifically, FHFA has charged Freddie Mac with gradually expanding the number of loans it backs for low-income multifamily buildings, such as apartment buildings. It wants Freddie Mac to expand such loans to 230,000 by 2017; currently it’s target for this year is 200,000.

Some lawmakers may view FHFA’s move as controversial, with critics saying that boosting the support of mortgage access for low-income borrowers is what led to the housing bubble that burst in 2006, Reuters reports.

source:  Reuters


Two-thirds of baby boomers say they want to help their children or grandchildren with a home down payment, according to a study of more than 1,000 baby boomers age 45 and up conducted by Meredith Research Solutions for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. 

In fact, one in five boomers surveyed say they've already loaned their children money, cosigned a mortgage, or given a cash gift for a down payment on a home.

Even baby boomers not considered wealthy are willing to offer help on down payments. While baby boomers who make more than $75,000 a year were found to be the most willing to offer help, 46 percent of baby boomers who make less than $75,000 per year say they also plan to help their child with a future home purchase, according to the survey. 

So why are baby boomer parents so willing to help their children out with a home down payment?

About 75 percent of boomers said they believe owning a home is a good investment for their children, and 58 percent said they think it’s still part of the American dream. 

source:  AOL Real Estate

A lot of retirees are looking to stay near big cities and near their families, but not in the city, by seeking more affordable options nearby.

“One day our children will leave the nest and naturally, as parents, we want them to soar,” says Charlie Young, ERA Real Estate president and CEO. “We also want to stay in touch and visit with them as much as possible without giving up our own lifestyle.”

ERA identified the following places as good retirement hot spots that retirees can enjoy but still stay closer to family in the city:

  • Richmond, Va.: Less than a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., RIchmond is filled with outdoor activities and near the beach and mountains, and has average home sales price of $206,000.
  • Cape Cod, Mass.: With direct flights to and from Boston, Cape Cod boasts retirement communities, a growing healthcare network, golf courses, and a beach getaway, and homes are selling on average for $457,000 (but condos are available for under $100,000).
  • Door County, Wis.: Less than an hour's direct flight from Chicago, Door County, Wis., is known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” boasting fishing, boating, and plenty of shorelines. The average sale price is about $172,000.
  • St. George, Utah: Less than a two-hour flight from Los Angeles, St. George, Utah, is known for its red bluffs and close proximity to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Homes sell for an average price of $225,000.

source:  RISMedia

The Houston construction market is firing on all cylinders.  In addition to the hot market segments such as office and light industrial, now k-12 and healthcare are gaining momentum as well.  With the Affordable Care Act somewhat more “known”, the delayed construction of many medical facilities is now being planned or is underway.  Under the direction of their leader Dr. Robbins at the Texas Medical Center, Houston is poised to become one of the leading research parks in the world.

In the school market, there seems to be a strong resurgence.  On the heels of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD passing their massive $1.2 billion bond in May, Katy ISD has announced plans for a $748 million bond and Fort Bend ISD for a $495 million bond, both to be on the ballots this November.  In addition, Klein and Conroe are rumored to be joining the ballot as well.  Should these bonds all pass, that could bring in more than $3 billion this year to be spent over the next 3-5 years for new school buildings, renovations and additions.  When you add in the other school districts, including HISD, the k-12 market is finally looking good again.

CBRE’s third quarter preview shows continued growth in the Houston markets with retail and light industrial both continuing to have positive metrics.  In looking at the office market, there are currently over 100 proposed office projects being tracked, of which CBRE has targeted 38 they expect to be built.  This is in addition to the 47 projects under construction in the second quarter, the majority being delivered in 2015.  If the rumored layoffs from one of the big oilfield companies are true, there could be a temporary cool down of the office market until that space is absorbed.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) had a strong rebound in July, with all their indices turning positive.  This signifies that the rest of the nation has pulled out of the recession and is catching up to the prosperity Houston has been experiencing.  The City of Houston permits continue to outpace 2013 (by over 40% as of July) with no signs of slowing.  If these numbers hold, that would put Houston on pace for about $5.7 billion in non-residential permits, and nearly $2.8 billion in residential permits for a total of roughly $8.5 billion.  $8.5 billion would be over 45% higher than 2008’s $5.7 billion, the highest year for permits since we began tracking them in 2002.  As you may have noticed, that would mean this year’s non-residential permits would equal all the permits of 2008.


Summer wrapped up on a high note for the Houston real estate market, as August delivered gains in both sales volume and prices. Housing inventory held steady month-over-month, but is tracking slightly below year-ago levels. While prices were the highest for an August, they fell short of the all-time records set in June.

Single-family home sales totaled 7,505 units, up 1.1 percent versus August 2013, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). Months of inventory, which estimates how long it will take to deplete current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales activity, matched July’s 3.0-months supply, but was down slightly compared to the 3.3-months supply of last August. It is significantly below the current national supply of 5.5 months of inventory.

The average price of a single-family home rose 6.4 percent year-over-year to $275,369. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—jumped 10.4 percent to $206,000.

August sales of all property types totaled 8,953 units, a 1.7-percent increase compared to the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 6.8 percent to $2.3 billion versus $2.2 billion a year earlier.

“The Houston housing market is going strong as we transition from summer to fall, and enough new listings have hit the market over the past month to keep inventory levels stable,” said HAR Chair Chaille Ralph with Heritage Texas Properties. “One of the factors that continues to fuel real estate and our local economy in general is the ongoing creation of jobs. Houston is definitely a desirable destination for many people across the country.”

In its September 2014 Economy at a Glance report, the Greater Houston Partnership stated that the Houston metropolitan area created 112,200 jobs in the 12 months ending July 2014, which represents a 4.0 percent annual growth rate. That puts Houston ahead of the nation’s major metros for job growth, ahead of Dallas-Ft. Worth (3.9 percent) and Miami (3.3 percent).

August Monthly Market Comparison

The Houston housing market saw growth in all measurement categories in August, with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up when compared to August of 2013.

Month-end pending sales for all property types totaled 4,360. That is statistically flat compared to last year and may potentially signal a slowdown in sales activity when the September numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of August was 29,574 and is 9.9 percent lower than last year.

Houston’s housing inventory, while slightly lower on a year-to-year basis, has held steady at a 3.0-months supply since July. It is down from the 3.3-months supply of August 2013 and below the current 5.5-months supply of inventory across the U.S. reported by the National Association of Realtors.

For a complete statistical market analysis, click HERE.

source:  HAR 


Some home owners turned into reluctant landlords and rented out their homes to earn extra income while the housing market was sluggish. But now some of these home owners are ready to sell. 

However, real estate agents often caution clients that trying to sell a home when a tenant still lives there can be tricky since many renters — who have no financial stake in the matter — aren’t always so eager to help market a home and keep it tidy and neat on their landlord’s behalf.

Nevertheless, “it’s pretty common in this market to be selling a home with a tenant in it,” Chris Hager, a real estate professional with Long & Foster Real Estate in North Bethesda, Md., told the Washington Times. “There are lots of reluctant landlords out there who opted to rent their property rather than sell it, and now they want to put it on the market. There’s the potential for conflict between the tenant and the landlord, especially if it was not made clear to the tenant from the beginning that the owners wanted to sell.”

Landlords should make a point to clearly communicate their intentions to sell, and not “sneak” the house on the market without telling the tenants first, real estate professionals say.

Landlords might want to offer a concession on the rent to tenants in exchange for them keeping the home in clean, good condition while it’s on the market — such as 10 percent off each month’s rent while it’s on the market. But be sure to communicate expectations for cleanliness, such as keeping the dishes out of the sink and making the bed. Experts also suggest setting established hours for showing the property to make it easier on the tenant. 

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it is particularly important to have the place in strong showing shape on the first and second weekends on the market,” says Nick Pasquini, broker-owner of Century 21 Redwood Realty in Washington, D.C., and Arlington and Ashburn, Va.

source:  Washington Times


The Millennial generation is about 90 million strong—forming the largest demographic wave in the country’s history—and some reports suggest they’re readying for home ownership. 

Millennials’ entrance into home ownership has been delayed due to the recession, high unemployment, and high student loan debt. They’ve been living in their parents’ homes, as well as delaying marriage and having children, surveys show. But the pent-up demand from this generation is starting to surface, says Fred Ehle, vice president for PulteGroup. 

Homebuilders, like PulteGroup and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, recently revealed surveys of what Millennials want in their future homes. In general, the surveys reveal that this generation isn’t wowed by luxury and prefers technology and flexible space. 

Pulte Homes found in its research that more than half of Millennials who decided to buy a home last year from the homebuilder said their main reason was to invest and build equity. 

As for what they’re looking for in a home, they appreciate an efficient use of space, an open layout for entertaining, ample storage space, and outdoor space that extends their living areas, according to the Pulte survey of 531 adult renters between the ages of 18 and 34.

"What may be different about this buyer is that they may have more stuff," says Fred Ehle, vice president for PulteGroup. "It's different kind of stuff: technological gadgets, gaming. They also do work from home."

The Better Homes and Gardens survey of 1,000 adults ages 18 to 35 found that Millennials don’t like traditional floor plans and prefer unique spaces. They like to do home improvements themselves and are “fix-it” types. 

One in five said that “home office” is a better suited name for their dining room, according to the Better Homes and Gardens survey. What’s more, 43 percent said they want to transform their living room into a home theater. 

The survey also showed they’d rather have extra space in their kitchen for a TV than a second oven. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed say they wouldn’t purchase a home without up-to-date tech capabilities. 

source:  USA Today