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Friday, November 30, 2012

Selling During the Holidays Could Give You an Advantage

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Many sellers are unsure whether or not to wait until next spring before listing their home. The confusion comes with a combination of age-old schools of thought that predict the spring season as being almost the only season for homes to sell successfully. Not true.

A lot of homeowners are under the impression that homes are not selling at all, whereas in our own experience, time and again we continue to see complete opposite results. So much so, that we are defying the myths of never ending days on market statistics with many properties going under contract in approximately two weeks. Here’s why.

There are so many buyers in the marketplace right now that are eager to lock in the phenomenal interest rates and market conditions that continue to allow a very significant amount of buying power. The interesting thing is that while it is a strong buyers’ market in that sense, sellers are still enjoying an edge with the lower inventory that comes with it being this time of year.

Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, either way you look at it the market is strong. People are out there buying. If there are fewer homes available on the market, then that only means that there is less selling competition. This of course translates to top dollar and incredibly quick, hassle-free transactions in which everyone comes out a smiling winner.

So to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I am getting these days, it IS a great time to sell your home. Sure, you could wait till spring. But keep in mind that so will countless other sellers and by the time springtime blooms are back out, so will equally as many more “for sale” signs, competing with you.

By listing your home now, you can harness the power of the buyers that are striving to find that perfect property before the holidays kick in.

Contact us today if you’d like a custom, home valuation report detailing exactly what we expect your home will sell for in today’s marketplace. Our team looks forward to hearing from you and helping your real estate goals come to fruition.

Check out some of our market stats to see how our Bucks County area has been doing lately.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Warren Buffett Just Made a Huge Bet on the US Housing Market

Perhaps the most bullish indicator for U.S. housing is Warren Buffett.
The legendary investor has been buying up real-estate brokerages around the country as he bets on a housing turnaround. Now, he is partnering with Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian real-estate investor, to more than double the size of his brokerage business.
Berkshire’s HomeServices of America Inc. unit will be the majority owner of the venture to manage a U.S. residential real-estate affiliate network, according to a statement on the new company’s website. The firms plan to offer a new franchise brand, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, starting next year. Brookfield’s network has operated under the Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate brands.
Berkshire’s managers have been positioning the firm to benefit as the U.S. home market recovers from its worst slump in seven decades. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has bought a brickmaker, won the loan portfolio of bankrupt mortgage lender Residential Capital LLC at auction and built its HomeServices unit by agreeing to acquire real-estate brokerages in states including Oregon and Connecticut.
The press release says the brokerages that will make up the new company did a combined $72 billion in sales in 2011. That's more than twice the $32 billion in sales that Berkshire did in 2011 without the new brokerages.
The combined networks of more than 53,000 Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate agents generated in excess of $72 billion in residential real estate sales volume in 2011, and operate across more than 1,700 U.S. locations.
“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is a new franchise brand built upon the financial strength and leadership of Brookfield and HomeServices,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand.”
“The strength of the Berkshire Hathaway name, coupled with the operational excellence of HomeServices and the franchising experience of Brookfield, positions Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
® as a leading real estate franchise in the U.S., building on our traditions of exceptional client service and innovation. Brookfield is excited to be a partner in creating a home for the best real estate brokers and agents in the country,” said Bruce Flatt, Brookfield Asset Management CEO.
Buffett has been public about his bullish housing call for a while as he's built his residential real-estate brokerage business, but this is a big addition.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Invest in Homes Today"- Warren Buffet

The news spread like wildfire.  No, it’s not another politician’s sex scandal or the latest (definitely not greatest) gas prices.  It is the monumental statement made by Warren Buffett that he would buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single-family homes.  The catch is that he would do that if it were something he could practically manage. He may not be able to practically manage it but individuals certainly can.

Think about that.  For months, if not more than that, countless Realtors have been urging their clients and potential clients that now is the perfect time to buy.  Now that it comes from one of the biggest investors of our time, it brings new light to the subject for many investors and has generated widespread industry buzz from the moment the billionaire uttered those words.

In an interview where he discussed several topics, soon into the discussion with Becky Quick of CNBC’s Squawk Box, he said that in addition to equities, single-family homes are probably the most attractive investment there is out there right now.  With the low rates that seem to be heading further down still, he suggests buying at these low interest rates and then for homeowners to refinance if and when the rates dip even more. 

He cited that the only reason he has not purchased as many homes as he would have liked is because of the practicality of managing the transactions and properties.  Apartment units might have been more manageable and in his words, he said he would “load up on them” had that been the case. But for the everyday investor it makes perfect sense to seize this opportunity and Warren Buffett highlights this repeatedly in his most recent discussion on CNBC.

Mr. Buffett shared his perspective on the idea of buying homes at distressed prices, fixing them up and renting them out as an ideal way to get a solid return on investment.  Referring to the changing trends and attitudes within the housing market, he also said this is the perfect way to “short the dollar” because with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage it can go two ways; either the interest rate is too high down the line after which you can go and refinance or if it’s too low the other guy’s stuck with it for 30 years.  Could this be the return of the house-flipping craze that we saw boom in the mid 2000s?

Mr. Buffett’s statement brings new light to something that so many agents and mortgage consultants have been saying all along.  Buy now.  At a time when stocks are just now rebounding after four years of inching their way back up, he says that consumers should acquire 30-year fixed rate mortgages and then refinance when rates go down further. 

If homeowners can hold on to their property for a long time after purchasing it at the lowest rates the industry has to offer they are sitting on the best investment possible of our time.  Of course equities are still very strong but they have come up quite a bit and Warren Buffett says owning a home is a “leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset”, making it quite possibly the most attractive investment that you can make.