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As a real estate professional, we are in and out of houses every day with pets of all kinds. On a regular basis, 6 out of 10 people in the United States come in contact with cats or dogs every day. Currently, the pet population is more than 100 million, or about four pets for every 10 people.
Yet, allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. Between 15% to (2 comments)
For those of us who have grown up around the Boy Scouts of America program, there was a motto often times repeated: "Be Prepared". As the Spring market continues to heat up through the United States, there's definitely one action that many Realtors can take to insure the best outcome for their listings. Simply put, Be Prepared. Granted many Realtors already heed the call. I can't tell you the number of times that my appraisal team calls on a listing agent for a property that is currently on the market, maybe it's a short sale, or a bank-owned property, but (2 comments)
How low can Chicago real estate prices go? Based on the Case-Shiller index, a Standard & Poor's affiliate, the index dropped another 2.5% to end the first quarter 2012 and has hit its lowest level in 12 years. On an annual basis, Chicago housing prices are 7.1% lower than a year prior. These are prices levels not seen since March 2000, according to S&P Case-Shiller data. Guess we may not yet have hit bottom. Does anyone else smell the 'buying' scents?
Michael Hobbs, PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy
Getting Into A Bubble Is Easy...Getting Out, That's A Different Story - 05/28/12 02:53 AM
For so many reasons, some noble and some quite far from it, our country and it's economy are still struggling with the financial morass that has ensued since the great recession of 2008. Similar, but far less grand, than the bust that occurred around Y2K, things are not good and are not showing signs of quickly getting better. Yet different than previous economic downturns is the magnitude and severity of this 'bottom'. At the time, so many things seemed so easy...the stock market was setting new highs, the bond markets were setting new records (both in volume of issuance and diversity (1 comments)
Messy Homes Sell For Less - 05/27/12 07:21 AM
You probably heard it hundreds or thousands of times growing up, "Clean up your room". Yet, now that you are an adult and you own your residence, who says you have to clean up? In this case, it is probably going to be your Realtor because tidy, de-cluttered, and open spaces generate more money for the seller, either by an increase in price or a faster sale. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, the average for homes which had been staged sold in 42 days after they were re-listed, compared to those homes which had not. More specifically, in an article in (5 comments)
What If Google Maps Is Inaccurately Placing Your Property? - 05/26/12 06:22 AM
You get ready to go visit the property, possibly for a listing appointment, an appraisal, or even a showing request for your buyer. You are going to an area you know of but likely don't know as well as your own neighborhood. Upon arriving where you believe you are supposed to be based on your directions from Google Maps, and you clearly realize, "this is not the right place". While uncommon, this is a problem that does happen from time to time. And given the massive shift from books and paper to electronic media, you may have no backup to your (3 comments)
Employment Matters - 05/25/12 06:25 AM
For anyone who thinks employment doesn't matter, take a look at the graph below from Calculated Risk. In the following graph, the loss of jobs in recessions since World War II is mapped out. Depending on what you focus on, the recession of 2001 was the longest to date (not counting our current scenario) and the recession of 1948 was the deepeest with the recession of 1957 being a close second.
Yet, when you look at the current 2007 / 2008 recession, you see a markedly different trend. An negative employment trend that is much deeper for a much (0 comments)
Bye, Bye Ms American Real Estate Agent?! - 05/24/12 06:24 AM
Don McLean had it right when he sang that soulful reminiscent song about life that used to be. But did Don McLean have the foresight to contemplate Realtors would go the same way as those yester-years? Probably not, but surely it can be applied. In an article by Eric Wolff, published in the New York Times, Real Estate Agents have been leaving the profession in droves....as seen in the graph from CalculatedRisk blog on 5/20/2012.
So, what is one to make of all this activity? Or lack thereof? Well, if you are one of those individuals who was chasing (5 comments)
If you like numbers, here's one for you: 928. 928 is the number of banks on the FDIC unofficial 'watch list'. The OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) released its recent report which indicated that unofficially there are 928 institutions with assets of $361.9 billion that are at risk. Some good news...a year ago, this same unofficial list indicated that there were 988 institutions with assets of $423.8 billion. So this is positive movement. Of course, some of that decline was direclty due to banks failing or getting taken over. Michael Hobbs, PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy (1 comments)
According to Marcus & Millichap, investment specialist, there is positive net absorption of apartment units and there is not enough supply of housing units yet to meet increasing demand.This is a far cry from just three to four years ago when apartments and multi-family housing were being badly bruised declining vacancies. In the 1st quarter 2012, Chicago saw a decline in vacancy rates and a rise in average rents. Marcus and Millichap when on to predict that growth will stimulate new demand and reduce marketwide vacancy to its lowest annual level in five years by the end of 2012. (0 comments)
Chicago Condo Sales In A Deep Slumber - 05/21/12 06:26 AM
Hey Chicago, "Wake Up". That was possibly the message from the most recent Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based real estate consulting firm. According to Gail Lissner, vice-president of Appraisal Research Counselors, in an article in Crains Chicago Business Real Estate section, the downtown Chicago condominium market didn't seem like it could slow down much further, but in the first quarter it did. According to the report from Appraisal Research Counselors, developers sold 113 downtown condos in the first three months of 2012, down from 156 in the fourth quarter and 189 in the first quarter a year earlier. “There hasn't been (0 comments)
More good news in the economy: industrial production rose 1.1% in April. This was the largest gain since December 2010. Additionally, consumer sentiment rose to its highest reading since January 2008 in May, according to the University of Michigan.
But wait there’s more, good news from the home construction industry. Housing starts rose to an annualized rate of 717,000 homes in April. This annualized rate is well above the market consensus forecast. Additionally, construction of one-family homes increased to its strongest pace in three months.
Again this week, Freddie Mac reported that the average fixed mortgage rates again reached historic record lows. This time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, are at 3.79% and continue to remain well below 4%.
For those that can swing it, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are brushing up against the 3%, moving down to 3.04%, another historic mortgage rate low.
Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.61% per Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®; a year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.80 percent.
If you are in the market for an ARM, adjustable-rate (0 comments)
This was an interesting scenario to consider: Imagine your business' monthly electric bill arrives and it reads, "total cost: $0 or, better yet, total cost: -$150 (meaning you are owed money)". This could conceivably also be the case for a jumbo residence.
Based on an article I just came across, a 5,000-square-foot building under construction on St. Petersburg's Central Avenue is set to become the city's first commercial space to produce more of its own electricity than it will use from the power grid. What does that mean in layman’s terms? It means that the property does not (4 comments)
Some more good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the past 12 months has increased only 2.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Some more good news, the gas index fell. Thank goodness, paying nearly $5.00 per gallon for gasoline in Chicago gets awfully costly in a gas-engine automobile.
On the front of some not so exciting news the indexes for shelter, used cars and trucks, medical care, airline fares, new vehicles, and apparel all increased in April, but the overall reading was still generally better than (2 comments)
Who Is Driving The Appraisal? - 05/15/12 07:58 PM
This is definitely a pressing question these days: Who is driving the appraisal process these days? If you answered the answered the appraiser, unfortunately you are wrong. If you are answered the lender, ding, ding, ding, you're right.
There are many reasons why the lender is calling all the shots these days, not the least of which is they are still licking their wounds from the bad decisions they made in the prior decade. Additionally, there's an old adage in banking: Bad loans are made in good times and good loans are made in bad times. It is fair to (4 comments)
Today, there are 8.7 million American workers on the U.S. disability rolls. So what, you may ask. Well, this is an important part of the social safety net.
Why you ask? Well, since the recession began in 2007, the number of American workers has risen by a record number of people seeking disability benefits.
So, in a time of weaken economic condition, the prospect of increasing numbers of individuals seeking assistance begs the question, can this program remain solvent and if it does how will it impact the prospects for U.S. economic growth.
Spring is the in air. Spring is a time of new growth. Spring is a time when the winter blahs get melted away and it is a time hope springs. And there’s no better place to look for hope than the residential housing market.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that the median price for an existing, or previously owned, home rose in 74 of the 146 markets during the first quarter. After nearly 6 years of price declines, this is a good sign that the residential real estate market may holistically finding bottom so that it (1 comments)
Wisconsin isn’t just for Cheeseheads. Based on a recent article profiling trends in Wisconsin, Firearms-related businesses in Wisconsin say that guns are hot.
Yes, you heard it. Wisconsin firearms dealers say they’re having a difficult time meeting demand from rising gun sales in the state. Of course that begs the question, is it only happening in Wisconsin? The answer is no. Wisconsin's gun sales follow a national trend.
The rising demand is being driven by various factors, from Wisconsin's concealed carry law to presidential politics. "It's incredible," said Steve Lauer, owner of Lauer Custom Weaponry, which manufactures (4 comments)
Imagine having to pay off a debt equal to your first home just so you can actually buy your first home. You finally graduated college and are beginning to lay down some roots as you begin your working career, except you have trouble establishing any roots because your finances are so constrained due to your debtload. No, not credit card debt, but student loan debt.
Granted, college graduates experience an unemployment rate that is 50% less than the national unemployment rate which is very good news, but at what cost?
Outstanding student loan debt now totals more than (5 comments)
Many times truth is better than fiction. For a growing number of Realtors, clients are paying all cash for purchases and from time to time they desire additional 'support' beyond the information of the Realtor/Broker for the contract they are writing. In many of those cases, we receive a time-sensitive request to perform a real estate appraisal for residential property under contract so that the buyer can 'be sure' that they are paying a good price. In these cases, the work of the real estate appraiser is to convey the market value of the property while fulfilling the request of (2 comments)
They say three times is a charm, but it surely has been more than three times that you’ve heard someone report that mortgage rates have once again hit all-time lows. Yes, again. According to Freddie Mac, a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.84% for the week ending Thursday, which is all-time-lowest rate ever recorded. At what point do consumers just become numb? Of course, it would be more impressive if with such regularity. As quoted in Jessica Huseman’s article, “Can you just hear the frustration in reporter Justin Hilley’s lead? ‘Fixed mortgage rates hit new all-time lows this week as (2 comments)
Maybe Kermit the Frog had it right when he sang, "Some day we'll find it, the Rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me..." because he was thinking about the housing market being akin to rainbows. This past week, S&P Case Schiller released their price index data for the United States housing market. And much like Kermit's optimistic musings that remind us that someday we'll find it, S&P Case Schiller reminded us that we didn't find it this time. The Chicago-area detached housing prices have fallen 37.5% since the peak of September 2006. Furthermore, the prices declined another 2.5% (1 comments)
I think I can, I think I can...said the housing market, but once again it did not.
The S&P Case Schiller price index for the Chicago-area detached housing indicates that prices have fallen 37.5% since the peak of September 2006. Furthermore, the prices declined another 2.5% from January to February and the decline was 6.9% when measured on a year over year basis.
“While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvement in many annual rates of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the (1 comments)
Public Speaking Does Not Have To Be Scary - 05/02/12 08:42 PM
At the request of a fellow real estate professional, I joined him for a panel discussion at East Bank Club on the topic of the Housing Market and Mortgages. Granted, I'm not a Realtor or Mortgage Broker, but I've come to know an awful lot about both. Therefore, I regulary receive requests to speak at event on the state of the housing market in Chicago and Northern Illinois. For me, the opportunity to speak is an opportunity to share what I know (and have learned) with others so that they can be better informed. I think of it like volunteering (which (2 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.