Let’s Talk Real Estate – December 2017/January 2018
#1. My House is Worth!—There are only two people that ultimately determine what a house is worth—the buyer and the appraiser. To determine a home’s value, many owners add up what they have spent on their house, add what they owe on their house, look on Zillow, or look at what other homes have sold for. Any of these evaluation methods could or could not yield a correct house value, but really it comes down to what the buyer and the appraiser value the home at. Currently we’re in a sellers’ market and we have an influx of retired couples and escapees fleeing large metropolitan markets, all moving to smaller rural areas such as ours. This is causing a shortage of homes available for sale in Southern Oregon. Because the demand is so high for the right properties, we are seeing the median price of homes increasing by 10% this year and we’re struggling with appraisals coming in at the sale value. If the home appraises lower than the purchase price, there are usually three options: The property is reduced to the appraised price, the buyer and seller split the difference, or the property is sold over-appraised price at the original agreed to sales price. The value at which home prices are increasing is somewhat limited by appraisals. If we didn’t have appraisals, real estate values would be increasing by more than 10%. So it is the buyers and the appraisers that have the most influence over pricing.
#2. Banks Will Take a Low-Ball Offer—There is a misconception that banks will wheel and deal on their bank-owned properties but that is no longer true. During the 2007-2012 real estate- and lending-caused recession, banks dumped hundreds of thousands of homes in the United States. They sold them off using cash auctions on the courthouse steps, or by selling them below market value. For the most part, those times are over. Banks are very disciplined and smart. They know that home values are going up in most US markets and they aren’t in a hurry to sell off their inventory as it’s worth more every day. We are now seeing bank-owned properties lingering on the market for months and the banks waiting to get the price they want. Banks never really accepted low-ball offers; they typically came on the market with an aggressive price and lowered it quickly until it sold, or they auctioned off the property to the highest bidder. We have had many clients who had to self-learn this; they get frustrated when banks reject their low-ball offers without a counter offer, but this has always been normal operating procedure for a bank. We’re not saying there aren’t some good deals that happen to be bank-owned, what we are saying is bank-owned homes are no longer the deals they once were and don’t expect an answer from them if you send in a low-ball offer.
#3. I Don’t Want a Home with a HOA—We understand that many buyers don’t want to deal with a Home Owners Association, but almost all newer subdivisions have them. In the past, cities would take responsibility for the streets, sidewalks, street lights and roads within a subdivision, but in today’s world, most cities can’t afford to maintain them so they pass the cost onto the homeowners who create a HOA that collects yearly fees to cover the eventual road and sidewalk repairs. So if you want a home in a subdivision without an HOA, your only choice may be an older 70s or 80s home.
#4. I’m Going to Wait to Buy Until Real Estate Prices Go Down—Real Estate prices are a matter of supply and demand like all other products and services. We are fortunate that our market appeals to both retirees and escapees moving here from larger metropolitan markets. Currently in the US, there are 10,000 people turning 65 every day and the number of corporations allowing their employees to work from home is also on the increase, so the number of retirees and escapees are increasing. In addition, we have a lot of demand being generated from the 35-40% of our local population that currently rents. Rental prices have increased drastically in the past few years and we’re seeing an average 2000 square foot home rent for $2,000 month and more in towns like Ashland and Jacksonville. Our demand for rental homes is at an all-time high and our supply is at an all-time low. Add in our historically low interest rates and in many cases it’s cheaper to buy than to rent. We are likely to continue seeing prices increase for the near future, until demand slows down or supply increases but this may take a long while. So prices may go up another 30-40% before they ever start to go down.
#5. I Want to Buy in a Neighborhood Without Renters—Throughout the United States, about 35% of all single family homes are rental homes. Unless there are CC&R’s restricting renters, which is not common in Southern Oregon, a large part of all subdivisions and single family homes are occupied by renters. The percentage of renters are lower for high income subdivisions and higher for low income subdivisions. In our experience, we have not seen a big difference between renters and owners in the way they take care of their homes. We all know examples of both owners and renters that keep their properties immaculate and we all know examples of both owners and renters that fall a little short.
There are many more Real Estate Myths that we will save for another day!