Staging-your-Home-to-Sell

Staging Your Home to Sell

1. Clean like you mean it!
Spring cleaning has nothing on you when you’re getting ready for a showing! A clean home suggests to the Buyer that the current owner has taken good care of the property. If you don’t have the time or have already moved, consider hiring a cleaning service. When your home is on the market, it’s important to keep everything tidy and in “show ready” condition at all times as you never know when a potential Buyer may schedule a last minute tour.

2. Clear out the clutter.
Clutter takes up space and space is what sells. You want Buyers to focus on how great your space is, not how messy it looks. Banish that pile of shoes from the entry, that stack of mail on your dresser, and all the extra small countertop appliances from the kitchen, and other areas that collect clutter. By editing down to the basics, you will make your home look bigger.

3. Go neutral.
You may love a certain bold accent wall color but bold colors can distract from a room’s assets. Repaint your rooms in neutral tones like tans, grays, and whites that allow Buyers to focus on the spaces themselves, not the color of the walls.

4. Give each room a purpose.
If you have a spare room that has been serving several purposes (or has been collecting extra stuff ), now is the time to give it a purpose. Pick a use (office, guest room, crafts room) and stage the space to showcase that purpose.

5. Let there be light!
A home’s lighting can make a big impact on a potential Buyer’s first impression of the home. Brighten up your rooms by replacing the light bulbs with daylight bulbs, open up all the windows to let in natural light (make sure those windows are sparkling clean!), and add floor or table lamps to areas that are dim. A bright,
cheery room looks bigger and more inviting.

6. Focus on fresh.
Track down any odors in your home and eliminate them. Adding in a scented plug-in or air freshener can help. Just don’t overdo it. Scents can be overwhelming and that may turn off Buyers when they step in the house. The goal is a nice, neutral, and clean smell. Keeping a dryer sheet on a new air filter is a great way to do this too!

7. Get rid of personal items.
Buyers want to be able to see themselves in your home, so remove anything overly personal, like family photos, toys, kids’ artwork, and personal collections. Don’t overlook the bathroom – clear bathroom counters of personal items,
like toothbrushes, other hygiene items, and makeup.

8. Organize your closets.
Storage space is a huge selling point. If your closets are stuffed to the brim, Buyers will think you don’t have enough of it. Give your closet some breathing room by removing items you don’t need immediately from your closet and
store the rest in the garage, attic, or in a pod/storage. Then stage your closet with just the necessities.

9. Make an entrance.
If your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression, potential Buyers will want to see inside. Small fixes can make a huge difference. Plant some colorful flowers in your flower beds, fix any peeling paint, and keep the walkway clear. Adding a row of potted plants along the walkway or a cheerful wreath to your front door can make a big difference. Also, keep your shrubs trimmed and grass mowed the whole time your house is on the market.

10. Finish any projects.
Walk through your home as if it is the first time and make a list of all of the small projects that need finishing. Is there a cabinet that doesn’t shut quite right? Are there scuffs that need to be removed from the wall? Paint that needs touching up? Keep an eye out for areas that could use some extra TLC, then repair as necessary. Not only does this make your place look nice, it shows potential Buyers that you’ve put effort into maintaining the property.

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8 Benefits of Using a Realtor

8 Benefits of using a REALTOR When Buying or Selling a Home

1. REALTORS® are experts in their local real estate market.
REALTORS® understand the area that they work in including market knowledge, utilities, zoning, school information, and the neighborhood background.

2. Real estate is a full-time job.
When selling, your REALTOR® will spend their time pre-qualifying potential Buyers, answering phone calls with questions, marketing your home, and scheduling and attending home showings. When buying, they will find homes that meet your criteria, spend time previewing homes to make sure they are a good fit for you, schedule and accompany you on showings, and write and submit offers. Hiring a REALTOR® is a smart choice for this reason alone. 

3. REALTORS® are professional negotiators.
There are many factors up for discussion in a real estate transaction and negotiating directly with the Buyer or Seller on the other side can be
difficult. A REALTOR® will both fight for your interests and keep the deal from falling part.

4. REALTORS® understand all the complex processes during a real estate transaction.
Buying and selling a home comes with a lot of paperwork. Your REALTOR® will draft contracts and addenda on your behalf and explain these documents to you. They are trained to know all of the important documents needed throughout the buying and selling process.

5. REALTORS® always have your back.
Your REALTOR® has your back whether you’re a Buyer or a Seller. A REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and are legally obligated to act in their client’s best interest.

6. REALTORS® have access to a vast network of experienced industry professionals.
Through your REALTOR® you will have access to a vast network of experienced industry professionals including inspectors, home repair companies, and title companies like Republic Title. Instead of going it alone, they can connect you with their trusted network.

7. REALTORS® know what to look for when pricing homes to sell and viewing properties to buy.
REALTORS® know what to look for when viewing properties for sale. They are trained to notice things that the average person might not see like foundation issues or floor plans that don’t flow. When selling, your REALTOR® does research to learn about your home and the neighborhood to price it to sell all while getting you the most money possible.

8. When buying a home, a REALTOR® is FREE.
When you hire a REALTOR® to help you purchase a home, it doesn’t cost you anything. The Seller will be paying for all of the commission fees while you get a quality representative to help you during the process. 

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Important-After-Closing-Reminders-for-Sellers

Important After Closing Reminders for Sellers

1. Cancel your homeowners insurance with your insurance agent
once the transaction has closed, funded and your personal items have been removed from the home. There may be a prorated refund of your homeowner’s policy, based on the latest renewal date, owed to you. If you are remaining at the property after closing, you should notify your insurance agent of this change.

2. Cancel your automated deduction
for your house payment with your current lender if applicable.

3. Your lender will refund all monies left in your escrow account
approximately 15 to 30 business days after receipt of the payoff funds. The lender will mail a package containing your original Promissory Note marked “PAID” and other loan documents. Retain these for future reference. When you receive this confirmation, you may also receive a “Release of Lien” document from your lender. If the release has not already been recorded with the County Clerk’s office, please forward it to your closer at the title company and we will send it to the county to be filed, thereby releasing the lien of record.

4. Refer to your closing statement
Depending on what time of the year you sold your property, the Taxing Appraisal District may not have updated the account to show a change in ownership. If you receive a Tax Bill for the property that you sold, refer to your closing statement and send the bill to the new owners.

5. Important to note
You will receive a Substitute Form 1099-S from Republic Title within 30 days of closing. In addition, retain your closing statement, it serves as a Substitute Form 1099-S for tax purposes.

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Stats Video June 2021 Thumbnail

June 2021 DFW Area Real Estate Stats

June 2021 North Texas real estate stats are out and we’ve got the numbers! Our stats infographics include a year over year comparison and area highlights for single family homes and condos broken down by MLS area. We encourage you to share these infographics and video with your sphere.

New listings are almost exactly where they were in June 2020 and down an average of just 3% in all five counties. Interestingly, the number of sales are up in only Collin and Dallas counties and down an average of 8% in Denton, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. The average sales price has risen to an average of over 25% across all counties. As it’s been all summer long, it is a great time to be a seller in the North Texas real estate market, so now is the time to list if you’ve been on the fence.

For more stats information, pdfs and graphics of our stats including detailed information by MLS area and condo stats, visit the Resources section on our website at https://rttprod.wpengine.com/residential-resources/

For the full report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, click here. For NTREIS County reports click here.

Housing-Insight-May-2021

Texas Housing Insight – May 2021 Summary

Total Texas housing sales increased 2 percent in May but continued to normalize from elevated levels the last few months of 2020. Single-family housing permits rose for the third consecutive month, although housing starts stumbled as lumber prices skyrocketed. Overall, sales were persistent despite rising costs and limited supply for homes priced less than $300,000, pushing sales activity toward higher-priced homes. Mortgage rates inched down after rising during the first quarter, but double-digit home-price appreciation chipped away at housing affordability. The unprecedented low level of inventory available for sale is the greatest challenge to Texas’ housing market. The state’s diverse and expanding economy, favorable business policies, and steady population growth, however, supported a favorable outlook.   

Supply*

The Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction levels, elevated nationally and within Texas due to improved industry wages, employment, and construction values during May. The Texas Residential Construction Leading Index, however, decelerated as building permits (weighted by market value) and residential starts decreased, and the ten-year real Treasury bill increased. Still, the overall upward trend indicated stable future activity. Houston and Austin reflected statewide fluctuations in weighted building permits and residential starts. Houston’s leading index declined, while Austin’s metric remained on an upward trajectory. The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and San Antonio indexes also suggested steady construction in the coming months.

Single-family construction permits maintained steady growth of 4.8 percent in May, trending upward for more than a year. Houston topped the national list with 4,909 nonseasonally adjusted permits despite registering a seasonally adjusted decrease. DFW posted double-digit monthly growth to 4,880 permits. Meanwhile, Austin and San Antonio issued 2,283 and 1,383 permits, respectively. Texas’ multifamily sector registered a steep contraction as issuance shifted from five-or-more units to duplexes, triplexes, and four-unit structures. The metric, however, remained up 6.1 percent year to date (YTD) relative to the same period last year.

Despite strengthening economic conditions and ample housing demand, total Texas housing starts decreased 6.1 percent per capita as lumber prices skyrocketed 60 percent on a monthly basis to a record high. Similarly, single-family private construction values declined 8.7 percent in real terms as the metric trended downward in Texas’ major metros. San Antonio registered a steep plummet in values during May but was still the exception as values extended a yearlong upward trajectory due to strong growth at the beginning of the year.

Texas’ months of inventory (MOI) sank below 1.2 months for the first time in series history as sales activity picked up and the number of homes added to the Multiple Listings Service decreased. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. Inventory for homes priced less than $300,000 was even more constrained, dropping below 0.9 months. Even the MOI for luxury homes (homes priced more than $500,000), the price range at which inventory was least constrained, slid to two months.

Inventory in the major metros also declined during May. The supply situation in Austin was most critical with the MOI slipping to just 0.4 months. The metric in North Texas decreased to 0.9 and 1.0 months in Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively, while San Antonio inventory matched the statewide average. Houston’s MOI, although slightly greater than the other metros, ticked down to a record-low 1.4 months. The severe lack of inventory is unsustainable and is the main headwind to the health of Texas’ housing market.

Demand

Total housing sales increased 2 percent in May as mortgage rates inched down, stabilizing at its yearlong average. Most of the slowdown is attributed to declining activity for homes priced less than $300,000 due to dwindling inventories. On the other hand, the number of sales for homes priced more than $400,000 improved for the third straight month.

Housing sales also rose on the metropolitan level but extended a downward trend from peak activity a few months earlier. Similar fluctuations across the price spectrum resulted in total sales growth of 2.3 percent in both Austin and Dallas. In San Antonio and Houston, the metric elevated 1.9 and 1.8 percent, respectively. Fort Worth sales, however, flattened amid a severe drop in activity for homes priced less than $250,000. Moreover, the metric dropped 16 percent YTD compared with the statewide contraction of 7.1 percent.

Texas’ average days on market (DOM) fell to a record-breaking 34 days, confirming that demand for housing is still robust, and the YTD decrease in sales is more due to restricted inventory. Austin’s DOM shed more than five weeks off its year-ago reading, plummeting to 18 days, while the average home in North Texas sold after just 25 days in Fort Worth and 26 days in Dallas. San Antonio’s and Houston’s metrics also registered steep declines but hovered closer to the statewide average, falling to 35 and 36 days, respectively.  

Amid low expectations of additional fiscal and monetary stimulus, economic growth forecasts for the rest of the year cooled as the initial and strongest stage of recovery likely reached its peak, and inflation pressures are believed to be temporary. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield stabilized at pre-pandemic levels of 1.6 percent** for the third consecutive month, while the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate ticked down to 3.0 percent. The median mortgage rate within Texas increased in April*** to 3.0 and 3.2 percent for GSE and non-GSE loans, respectively, but, similar to the national headline metric, remained below year-ago levels. After mortgage rate hikes, Texas home-purchase applications declined for the second consecutive month in May, falling 22.1 percent YTD. Refinance applications improved on a monthly basis but were still down 28.8 percent over the same period. Lenders adding more requisites and the shrinking pool of households able to refinance is likely impacting refinance activity as well. (For more information, see Finding a Representative Interest Rate for the Typical Texas Mortgagee.)

In April, the median loan-to-value ratio (LTV) constituting the “typical” Texas conventional-loan mortgage dropped from 87.6 a year ago to 83.8. The debt-to-income ratio (DTI) declined from 36.9 to 34.4, while the median credit score jumped 18 points in the last year to 757. The LTV and DTI for GSE borrowers also decreased from 86.5 and 35.9 last April to 85.7 and 35.3, respectively. Overall improved credit profiles reflect the fact that only the most qualified housing applicants are able to outbid their competition for their desired homes amid exceptionally tight inventories and robust demand.

Prices

The ongoing shift in the composition of sales toward higher-priced homes due to constrained inventories at the lower end of the market supported home-price appreciation. The Texas median home price rose for the fifth consecutive month, accelerating 21.6 percent YOY to a record-breaking $292,100 in May. The share of luxury homes sold in Austin more than doubled to two-fifths compared with this time last year, contributing to the 42.1 percent YOY surge in the median price ($447,200). The Dallas metric ($361,900) increased 25.8 percent while annual price growth in Fort Worth ($298,300) shot up to 24.0 percent in May from 14.4 percent the previous month. Houston’s ($291,700) and San Antonio’s ($271,900) metrics elevated 20.6 and 16.1 percent, respectively.

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index accounts for compositional price effects and provides a better measure of changes in single-family home values. Texas’ index corroborated substantial and unsustainable home-price appreciation, soaring 14.8 percent YOY. The metric skyrocketed 38.4 percent in Austin, followed by North Texas with 18.2 and 16.2 percent home-price appreciation in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. San Antonio posted a 15.4 percent annual hike, while Houston’s index registered double-digit growth for the first time since the series started in 2014, elevating 11.4 percent. Increasing home prices pressure housing affordability, particularly in an environment of low wage growth.

Single-Family Forecast

The Texas Real Estate Research Center projected single-family housing sales using monthly pending listings from the preceding period (Table 1). Only one month in advance was projected due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of reliable and timely data. Texas sales are expected to recover 2.9 percent in June after two consecutive monthly declines. The metric is estimated to rebound 5.3 and 5.2 percent in Austin and San Antonio, respectively, with more moderate increases of 3.0 percent in DFW and 2.2 percent in Houston. Sales through the first half of 2021 should surpass activity during 1H2020, but the rate of growth has decelerated. On the supply side, inventory should improve slightly, possibly reaching a trough, with the forecast predicting a rise in both active and new listings. Constrained inventory has curbed sales during the past few months.

Household Pulse Survey

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, the share of homeowners behind on their mortgage payments flattened at 5 percent nationally and within Texas (Table 2). Houston reflected the statewide average, while the metric in DFW hovered higher at 6 percent. The share of Texas respondents who were not current and expected foreclosure to be either very likely or somewhat likely in the next two months ticked down from 26 percent in April to 19 percent (Table 3). The proportion of delinquent individuals who were at risk of foreclosure also declined in North Texas, falling from 33 to 24 percent but increased five percentage points to 20 percent in Houston. Both the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s foreclosure and REO eviction moratoria for properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal eviction moratorium were recently extended through July 31, 2021. The latter is not expected to be renewed again. Continued stability in the housing market is essential to Texas’ economic recovery.

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* All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data, and percentage changes are calculated month over month, unless stated otherwise.

** Bond and mortgage interest rates are nonseasonally adjusted. Loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and the credit score component are also nonseasonally adjusted.

*** The release of Texas mortgage rate data typically lag the Texas Housing Insight by one month.

To see the previous month’s report, click here. For the report from a year ago, click here

Previous reports available: 

2021: January, February, March, April , May, June

2020: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

2019: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, Paige Silva, and Griffin Carter (July 13, 2021)

https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/technical-report/Texas-Housing-Insight

 

How-Does-RON-Work2

How Does RON Work?

Remote Online eClosing (“RON”) is a new, technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents.

Step 1 Identity Verification

RON uses the latest identity verification technologies to make notarizations more secure.
A. Signer passes a knowledge-based identity quiz
B. Signer submits ID for review
C. Third-party software performs forensic test on ID

Step 2 Audio-Video Conference

The notary and signer talk to each other over a webcam in real-time and observe the necessary digital documents.

Step 3 “Tamper-Sealed” Documents

The notary adds a “tamper-seal” to date/time-stamp the notarized documents.  The seal will indicate whether any of the documents are altered in the future.  The signer downloads a PDF of the completed, digitally signed and digitally notarized, document.

Step 4 Audit Trail and Notary Records

Like with traditional notarizations, the notary keeps a journal logging the basic details of the notarization.  The journal can be kept in a secure digital format that includes a video of the notarial act, which can be used to prove who actually digitally signed the document.

Click here if you would like more information on our digital settlement services.

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