North Shore Views
Archive for the 'Real estate' Category
Yesterday I wrote about how your credit rating affects your mortgage and how you can improve it. But what if you’ve filed for bankruptcy or been foreclosed on? Those situations are not so easily remedied, and people who have experienced the credit damage that comes with these events wonder if they can ever be eligible for a mortgage again.
It’s true that after a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy there is a significant waiting period for mortgage eligibility but you are not locked out of homeownership forever. Betsy Hanrahan of PHH Home Loans provided the useful chart below to clarify wait times for mortgage eligibility, depending on the type of financing you are going for. If there are extenuating circumstances the wait time may actually be shorter than what’s shown in the table. An extenuating circumstance would be a temporary event beyond the borrower’s control, like loss of a job, medical bills or death of a wage earner. Unfortunately, however, divorce or the inability to sell a home after a job relocation do not qualify as extenuating circumstances.
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There are lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding credit scores, how they are used and how to improve them. I recently attended a lunch and learn session at my brokerage put on by National Credit Care and learned some little known secrets to improving your score that I’d like to pass on.
But first things first. Let’s do a little Credit 101 to set the stage:
What is a credit score?
In a nutshell, your credit score is a three digit number that represents the risk that you will default on a loan, using your past payment history as a benchmark. Your score will determine IF you can get financing and AT WHAT RATE. Insurance companies, credit card companies and mortgage lenders all use different models to calculate creditworthiness. Since we’re talking about home loans here, we’ll focus on the FICO (Fair Isaac and Co.) score. A high FICO score means you will have an easier time getting a mortgage at a low interest rate.
How is my FICO score calculated?
There are five components of your score:
- Payment history: Do you pay your bills on time? Yes, it matters.
- Balances on revolving accounts (you don’t want your balance to be too high as a percentage of your credit limit)
- Length of credit history: Longevity is good, so don’t cancel that credit card you’ve had since college
- Types of credit accounts (you want to have a variety)
- New credit: you lose points when you open a new account
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Here’s a look at the three year real estate trends for New Trier Township. The data is single family homes in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe and Northfield. It does not include the small part of Glenview that is in New Trier.
While fewer homes sold in December 2011 than December 2010 or 2009, total year home sales of 680 were 5% ahead of 2010 and 32% ahead of 2009.
When it comes to sales price, December’s average price was at its lowest level in two years, down 21% vs. 2010 and down 21% vs. 2009. Year to date the average sales price for New Trier was down 3% while the median price was down 1% from 2010.
Inventories of homes for sale have been declining over the last couple of years, ending 2011 at 350. This was 21% fewer homes than were on the market at the end of 2010 and 27% fewer than at the end of 2009. This equates to an 8 month supply of homes in December, which is an improvement over both 2009 and 2010. (Months supply means how many months it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market, at the current rate of sale). In early 2009 the months supply of inventory reached as high as 32 months. The current 8 months supply is very close to a balanced market (6-7 months), which means neither a seller’s nor a buyer’s market.
The implications of these trends: people are buying houses again, driven by affordability and low interest rates. As a result, inventories of active listings are down, and in some price ranges there isn’t much for buyers to choose from at all. This will change as more homes come on the market in the spring, so if you are planning to sell, now is an ideal time to list your home, before you have much competition. But don’t expect prices to rebound to 2007 levels. It’s going to be a long slow climb out of the trench.
Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.
Brett Lotsoff of 1st Advantage Mortgage talks to Paula Weiss of Come Home North Shore about how to avoid having a low appraisal derail your real estate transaction.
A good Realtor will always accompany an appraiser and provide him with her analysis of comparable properties. Most appraisers will welcome this input ans take it into consideration when they are writing up the appraisal. This is a much more effective strategy than trying to challenge the appraisal number after the fact.
If you would like more information on finding a lender or understanding the role of appraisals in the mortgage process, give Brett a call at 847-239-7810 or email him at email@example.com.
The other day I posted the market data for 4th quarter 2011. Today I’m taking a look at North Shore stats for the entire year. Home sales were up a modest 1% for the year, while the median price for a single family home on the North Shore dropped 2%. What’s happened is that, over the course of the year, sales have picked up while prices have continued a gradual decline. Looking back at the 1st half of the year, sales were down 11% and prices were up 4% over 1st half 2010, so sales activity has gained some real momentum in the second half of the year.
Glencoe has had a particularly strong year, with volume up 31%. Glenview and Kenilworth also posted gains. Highland Park finished the year behind 4%, but that is actually a good number compared to where it was at the end of June, which was down 27%. Wilmette finished the year down 2%, but that is at least partly due to lack of inventory for sale in the key $600K-$800K price range.
Lake Forest and Kenilworth were the only towns with positive price trends, but keep in mind that Kenilworth is a very small community and the numbers can easily be skewed by one or two large sales.
North Shore Market Update
2011 vs. 2010
Wondering what your neighbor’s house sold for? Just email us with the address of the property and we’d be happy to send you that information (caveat: only if the transaction has closed. Until then the information is not available).
Given the low level of market activity during the holiday season, I decided to forgo doing an update for December. Instead I opted for a 4th quarter update, which is a better indicator of what’s really going on.
Overall, North Shore home sales increased 3% over last year, driven by stronger sales in Glenview, Lake Forest and Highland Park. Unfortunately, pricing trends were not as positive, as the median price for the North Shore fell 9% from last year, to $500,000. The greatest drop was felt in Northfield (-32%) and Wilmette (-21%). Market time averaged 5.8 months for homes sold in the quarter, down 8% from 2010.
The two bright spots were Glencoe and Highland Park, the only two communities with increases in both sales and median price. In fact, this is probably the best performance we’ve seen for Highland Park in a while. It is the North Shore community that has suffered the most from the market downturn.
North Shore Market Update
4th Quarter 2011 vs. Year Ago
A New Twist on the Agent Team Concept
It seems only fitting that my first post of the new year should be one that introduces my new real estate team, Come Home North Shore, which officially launches today, January 1, 2012 (though we have been hard at work for the last couple of months getting our ducks in a row).
Come Home North Shore was formed by three agents in the Winnetka office of Coldwell Banker (Paula Weiss, Daverille Sher and me). As the real estate market has changed and morphed over the last several years since the meltdown, we have realized that the traditional ways of doing business need some re-thinking.
Every transaction is more complex. The lending environment is more difficult to navigate. Short sales take longer to close. Buyers are cautious. Pricing a property for sale is more challenging than ever. And the Internet has changed the way buyers shop for homes.
In this environment we agents are finding that it is nearly impossible to go it alone and do it all well: listing homes, marketing homes, analyzing the ever-increasing amount of market data, managing transaction details and maintaining regular communication with clients, all the while actively trying to generate leads and market ourselves. So, in many markets, agents are forming teams to be able to service their clients while growing their business.
Most agent teams have a head honcho with one or more minions who fill roles as admins, buyer agents or closing coordinators. We decided to go a different route and combine the specific skills that are most important to our clients.
All of us have broad real estate experience and skills, but each also brings specific expertise to the team: Paula has deep experience in the new construction market. Her knowledge of architecture, design, building materials and remodeling have proven invaluable to her clients. Daverille capitalizes on her financial and accounting background to help investors analyze deals and to correctly price properties for maximum profitability. I apply my 20+ years of consumer marketing experience to getting maximum exposure for our clients’ properties. There’s one thing we can absolutely guarantee to our clients: no one will do more to market their home than we will.
We are very excited to start the new year with our new team. You can find out more about Come Home North Shore here. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you buy or sell a home, give us a call at 847-881-6657 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact one of us directly:
Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive 2012!
It’s not every day that an opportunity comes along to work with award-winning HighGate to build your dream home. 1212 Westmoor is almost an acre of gorgeous property on a street of upper bracket homes in Winnetka.
You can either work with our architect or use your own to create your plans for a custom home ranging from 6,000 up to 11,500 square feet (not including lower level). There is a wide range of options to add amenities, including swimming pool, tennis courts, sports court or multiple garages.
HighGate is one of the North Shore’s most versatile and respected builders. You can see some of HighGate’s other magnificent homes below:
If you would like more information about this terrific opportunity, please give us a call at 847-712-0049 or email us at email@example.com.
Ever since the meltdown of the housing market, getting a home loan has been considerably more challenging than before. In the video below Brett Lotsoff of 1st Advantage Mortgage shares some tips on how to be successful in obtaining a mortgage in today’s environment:
If you would like more information on finding a lender and qualifying for a home mortgage, give Brett a call at 847-239-7810 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team has three ready, willing and able buyers who cannot find a home to buy. And we know that some of the other agents in our office are having the same problem.
The data supports what we are seeing: Wilmette’s inventories are at their lowest point in over two years. At 6.3 months supply of homes, we are actually in what is considered a “balanced” market (neither a buyer’s market nor a seller’s market). And at some popular price points there is almost no inventory. For example, there are currently only three homes for sale between $700,000 and $799,999 and only five between $800,000 and $899.999 in Wilmette.
Which made us wonder how many potential North Shore sellers are out there who are waiting until the beginning of the year to put their homes on the market or who are not even considering listing their homes because they don’t think anyone is buying.
Here are the types of homes our buyers are looking for:
- In Wilmette: A three bedroom (plus office), 2+ bath home east of Ridge Rd. around $750,000.
- In Harper School neighborhood of Wilmette: a newer construction, 4+ bedroom home between $1-1.5 million.
- In Winnetka, Kenilworth or Wilmette: a large, newer construction home between $1.5 and $2.5 million.
- In Wilmette or nearby: a 3-4 bedroom condo or townhome to rent for six months.
So if you have a home that fits one of these descriptions, and you would like to sell, please let us know! We might just have a buyer for you. We can be reached at 847-881-6657 or by email. If you are looking to buy, you can search for homes here.