So, are you a home buyer with $200,000 in cash laying around to buy a new home? Unlikely! Most home buyers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County pursue a mortgage to buy a home. And, now that schools are requiring financial literacy, more of us are gaining an appreciation for the three variables that impact the loan payment: principal, […]
We assist people every day in evaluating the market value of homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Home values are a critical part of understanding the likely financial outcome of selling a property.
Comparable Market Analysis
For real estate clients, we create a detailed Comparative Market Analysis (aka “CMA” that compares a property with other homes that have sold in the previous year. For example, if you want to buy or sell a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2100 square foot home on Ott Street in downtown Harrisonburg, we find sold homes near downtown of similar style, finished square feet, and other important features. Then, we adjust the sales price of those comparable properties (aka “comps) to make them more like your property on Ott Street. This gives us a very precise estimate of the property’s value. Just contact us if you’d like us to assist in determining your home value.
Another way to establish value is to hire an appraiser to do a rigorous, fact-based appraisal. Any home buyer who gets a loan actually pays for an appraisal so the bank is certain the home is worth the money they are lending. Some sellers decide to do an appraisal themselves to get an objective analysis of a home’s price.
Automated Market Values (“Zestimates”)
Many websites publish their own estimates of a home price – and they are usually wrong! These estimate come for a computer basically taking a guess. If you’re curious, here is our automatic tool for getting an idea of a property value (keep in mind, it may or may not be accurate):
Homebuyers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have similar habits for searching for homes as people in the rest of the county. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 9 out of 10 people search for homes online for at least a portion of their home search. And, they are searching for months online before ever contacting a real estate agent or seeing inside a home for sale.
By the time we meet with clients, they are usually pretty knowledgable about their particular market because they’ve been using Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com, and other sites to look for homes. But, because those websites are frequently dead WRONG about basic information like price, being on or off the market, and other information, we can sometimes correct information that could make a specific home a match or disqualify a home.
Here are 12 mistakes homebuyers in Harrisonburg and Rockingham make when they’re searching for homes online:
- Believing the Zestimates and Other Automatic Price Estimates
The big websites are totally guessing on these prices. They’re wrong a lot about price.
- Believing the Estimated Mortgage Payments
So, now they’re guessing about your credit scores, debt, and downpayment amount?
- Believing a Home is Off The Market or On the Market
Again, the big sites are wrong a lot. The only way to know is checking in with an agent.
- Deciding based on the School Ratings Scores
These scores are rubbish and however the scores are calculated is just a guess.
- Using the Walk Scores
Same. Big data creating a guess about whether your home has a sidewalk and connectivity.
- Calling the Listing Agent for Information
The listing agent works for the seller and is trying to sell the property for the highest price. Is that really the best option for more information on a home?
- Making the Search Price to Narrow
Searching in only $10,000 or $25,000 price range can restrict search results so much that a good match is missed.
- Making the Geographic Area too Small
Searching in a very small geographic area, or a specific subdivision, can also leave out potential matches.
- Being too Specific with Home Features
Do you really need to search only for homes with exactly 2.5 bathrooms? That leaves out 2, 3, 3.5, and 4 bathrooms!
- Disqualifying homes based on bad pictures
Let’s face it: not all listings have great pictures, and some pictures are just plain terrible. Whether the home looks great or like a wreck, keep in mind it always looks different in person. And, those pictures could be from weeks or months ago.
- Thinking the Big Websites are the Fastest Way to Get the Latest Information
The big websites are frequently a day or more behind. By the time the “new” listing hits Zillow, it could have really already been on the market a couple days – and be gone!
- Searching without a Harrisonburg Real Estate Group agent!
We’re here to help avoid these mistakes! In fact, we have created a FREE resources for you:
Get Our 5 Tips for an Awesome Harrisonburg/Rockingham Online Home Search
A study has concluded that 39% of buyers prefer to rent out their last residence rather than sell it when purchasing their next home. The study cites that many homeowners were able to refinance and “locked in a very low mortgage rate in recent years. That low rate, combined with a strong rental market, means they can charge more in rent than they pay in mortgage each month… so they are going for it.”
This logic makes sense in some cases. Residential real estate is a great investment right now.
However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for. Are you ready to be a landlord?
Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family. [Read more…]
Some homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers. Here are five reasons.
1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:
- The buyer who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (if applicable)
- The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream home. The spring is a great time to list your home for sale. Here are five reasons supporting that.
1. Demand is Strong
Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last 12 months which includes last spring’s buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!
Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market. [Read more…]
Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct?
Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.
You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.
Here are the top 4 demands to make of your real estate agent when buying a home: [Read more…]
This is an excerpt of the eBook Things to Consider when Buying a Home.
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic). The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense. [Read more…]
Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday (March 28, 2015), especially our sponsor, NEXUS Programs, Inc., and the food sponsor, Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Close to 100 Harrisonburg residents created a Saturday full of information-sharing and community-building around issues related to hunger and homelessness.
The conversations related to the Harrisonburg – Rockingham County 10 Ten Year Plan Homelessness (Click to Download).
One of the needs identified was information-sharing for people and organizations who either provide or need services. If enough people join and share quality information, a community listserv can be a valuable resource. For sustainability issues, the Harrisonburg Ecominds listserv has developed into a great way for people share information. So, we figured we’d try it again: [Read more…]
Are you thinking about buying a home in the Harrisonburg area and frantically checking 10 different websites and apps worried that you’re going to miss just the right one? Not sure you’re on the right websites? This post is for you.
Pros and Cons of Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com, Yahoo! Real Estate, etc
These are the most popular real estate search websites on the internet, and if you’ve even thought about buying real estate, you should already be aware of them. They aggregate as many data steams as they can, and aim to be a clearinghouse for all housing data – but they don’t always succeed. [Read more…]
This free community summit will bring together people, programs, and organizations engaged in the work to support the hungry and homeless populations in Harrisonburg. [Read more…]