Friday, February 26, 2010

Home Sales Down in January but Higher than a Year Ago; Prices Steady

Nationally, existing-home sales fell in January but are above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops dropped 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.05 million units in January from a revised 5.44 million in December, but remain 11.5 percent above the 4.53 million-unit level in January 2009.
In the greater Albuquerque metro area the housing market followed in line with the National trend but January was the fifth consecutive month where closed sales have increased over the same month in the previous year. It’s a trend that started in September 2009...
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great Time to Invest in Rental Property

If you're thinking about investing in a rental property, experts say low home prices combined with low interest rates make this the best time in years to become a real estate investor.

What's more, the real estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008, according to real estate Web site,
"We haven't seen home prices this low in so many years -- coupled with the rates being so low," says Jill Sjolin, an agent with Windermere Real Estate in Woodinville, Wash., who specializes in investment properties.  "When the money is cheap to borrow and the houses are cheap to buy, it's absolutely the best time to invest."

While the timing may be right, the following five tips can help first-time investors take advantage of what might be the opportunity of a lifetime...

1) Know your options.  Since all investment properties are not the same, it's important to determine what type of property fits your strategy, says Harrison Merrill, chief executive officer of Merrill Trust Group, a real estate investment company based in Atlanta.  Do you want to become a landlord or would you rather restore and resell properties?  Are you interested in apartment buildings and other commercial real estate or buying land that can be developed?  First-time real estate investors may want to start with residential housing, since commercial real estate and land development still face challenging market conditions, Merrill says.

2) Partner with experience.  First-time investors should find a Realtor experienced with investment property deals who can help you locate promising properties.  "Look for relational brokers who expect to do business with you again and therefore are going to be much more careful with what they recommend," says Merrill. 
A second option is to collaborate with a more experienced real estate investor and close a deal together.  In this economy, an experienced real estate investor may be willing to work with you in exchange for the capital you can provide, giving you the opportunity to glean investment knowledge and experience firsthand, Merrill says.
Even if you don't collaborate with other real estate investors, talk to them about pitfalls they've experienced.  "Go down to the general district court in your area and listen to some landlord/tenant cases so you can get a sense of what kind of challenges landlords face," says Jeffrey Taylor, author of "The Landlord's Kit."

3) Look for the right location.  If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key.  Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters, suggests Sjolin.  Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate.  "Renters gravitate to a safe neighborhood, and if they have kids they will want a good school district," Sjolin says.
Think about potential selling points for your property.  If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later.  The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters, says Sjolin.

4) Have capital lined up.  Speak to potential lenders or even a financial planner about whether you have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing.  Even if you plan to rent out the property, count on paying the mortgage whenever there's a vacancy.  "If you can have about six months of mortgage payments saved up, it's there if you need it, and you can use that money for repairs," says Sjolin.  Even if you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you may end up holding onto it for several months in the current market, Sjolin adds.

5) Build a supporting cast.  Don't wait until a rental property needs repairs to find someone to handle them.  "Line up maintenance individuals who can take care of the different challenges that occur so you can simply call the person when a particular issue comes up," says Taylor. 
Other sources you may want to have relationships with are an attorney to consult with on tenant issues, a property management firm to handle the day-to-day rental affairs and an accountant to help you understand the tax ramifications of investing.  The more support you have, the better you will be able to handle the problems that come your way.

Whatever you do, understand that buying investment property is an entirely different experience than buying your primary residence.  "When you go to buy your own home, you usually have emotions in it," says Sjolin.  "When you go to buy an investment property, you need to put all that aside and ask, 'What makes sense?'"
By: Tamara E. Holmes

What's Needed to Claim Tax Credit?

The IRS has clarified which documentation taxpayers need to submit to claim the first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit.  Read more >

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Retirement Cities Includes New Mexico

Las Cruces and Santa Fe are among AARP report listing popular spots for new retirees.  Read more >

Fourth Quarter Home Sales Surge 13.9%

Largely attributed to the first-time home buyer tax credit, most areas of the U.S. saw fourth quarter existing-home sales climb and prices pick up, according to a recent NAR survey.  Read more >

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crunching the Albuquerque Market

This number crunch article takes a close look at the inventory of homes currently for sale in the Greater Albuquerque market areas.  Information such as average list price, days on market and a breakdown of where homes are being sold will provide a clear picture of what is going on in the local Albuquerque real estate market. 

Quarter Sales Report and the 2009 Annual Sales Report, both found at

Market Conditions for Single-Family (Detached) Homes for Sale
Average Days on Market: 119
Median Original List Price:  $235,000
Current Average List Price: $315,460
Current Median List Price: $227,250
Average # of Photos (per listing): 13
% of Listings with Virtual Tours: 17%
% of all Residential property inventory: 85.10%
Breakdown of Inventory by Area:
MLS AreaArea Name% of Inventory
10-121City of Albuquerque60.54%
140-162City of Rio Rancho16.65%
210-293East Mountains/Estancia Basin7.87%
690-760Valencia County9.74%

Market Conditions for Condo/Townhomes, (Attached) Homes for Sale
Average Days on Market: 124 
Median Original List Price: $165,000 
Current Average List Price: $315,460 
Current Median List Price: $227,250
Average # of Photos (per listing): 13
% of Listings with Virtual Tours: 13%
% of all Residential property inventory: 10.5%
Breakdown of Inventory by Area:
MLS AreaArea Name% of Inventory
10-121City of Albuquerque87.41%
140-162City of Rio Rancho6.97%
210-293East Mountains/Estancia BasinN/A
690-760Valencia County4.25%

Market Conditions for All Residential Property Types (Detached, Attached, Manufactured)
Average Days on Market: 120
Median Original List Price: $219,000
Current Average List Price: $292,843
Current Median List Price: $209,500
Average # of Photos (per listing): 12
% of Listings with Virtual Tours: 16%
Breakdown of Inventory by Area
MLS AreaArea Name% of Inventory
10-121City of Albuquerque61.48%
140-162City of Rio Rancho15.28%
210-293East Mountains/Estancia Basin8.22%
690-760Valencia County10.33%

Source: Southwest MLS, Inc.  Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

January 2010 NM Market Report

Monthly Highlights
• January is the fifth consecutive month where closed sales have increased over the same month in the previous year.
• January saw 349 single-family detached home sales, up 7.72 percent from January 2009.
• Pending sales for single-family detached homes are up 29.60 percent from the previous year and
increased 55.46 percent from the previous month.
PDF File Read the full January 2010 Market Report 

4th Qtr Home Sales Surge in Most States, including New Mexico!

Strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter, with many more metro areas seeing prices rise from a year earlier, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors ® .
Sales increased from the third quarter in 48 states and the District of Columbia; 32 states saw double-digit gains. Year-over-year sales were higher in 49 states and D.C.; all but three states had double-digit annual increases.

Continue reading 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

4 Reasons to Sell Now

Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For-Sale sign.

  • Sell low and buy low. Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a home owner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.
  • Down-payment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it is easy to find down-payment assistance for lower-income and first-time home buyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “down-payment assistance programs” and the name of your region.
  • Your uncle has money to share. Besides the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.
  • Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors, and designers are available and eager for business.

Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/2010)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Freddie Mac CEO: Housing Is Near Bottom
Inventory of foreclosed homes poses the biggest risk to the markets, but overall the housing sector seems to be at or near the bottom, says Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman.  Read more.

Fannie to Offer Closing Cost Aid on Foreclosures
Fannie Mae plans to pay 3.5 percent in closing costs on purchases of foreclosed homes in its inventory.  Read more.

FHA Relaxes Anti-Flipping Rule
The Federal Housing Administration has changed an "anti-flipping rule" to try to speed up sales of renovated homes in communities with too many bank-owned and foreclosed homes.  Read more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2009 Year End Home Sales Report

The Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS® tracks sales figures and other statistical data for the Albuquerque housing market and the surrounding areas. In all, there were five months where closed sales improved from 2008 figures and six months where pending sales also increased. There were also five MLS areas in the Greater Albuquerque Metro experiencing an increase in the average sales price from 2008.
PDF File Read the full 2009 Year End Home Sales Report 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


FINALLY CLO$ED these unique buyers/preservationist after showing homes since 2007...  Offering on a few, waiting on Short Sales, arguing with prideful sellers, backing out of one that didn't appraise.  Then, after seeing every unique, beautiful, scary, stupid home around, we landed on this one that is perfectly stuck in time: . But it didn't appraise either! So, after fighting with the appraiser and lender to no avail, I told him how it could generate income from the growing film industry in NM by being a historical set. He bridged the gap with cash, and already started a website: ... whew!

Real Estate Listing Mistakes

There is a right way and a wrong way to sell a home. Here are some of the wrong ways.

I Want to List it High Because I Know Someone Will Offer Less
When a home seller interviews a real estate agent it's easy for them to get caught up in the excitement of choosing a sales price. If they can get more money for the home, it means more financial opportunities for the homeowner. Maybe it means they can afford to buy a larger, more expensive home, pay off some bills or take a vacation. Unfortunately, uninformed sellers often choose the listing agent who tells them they will list it at the highest list price. This is, by far, the worst mistake a seller can make.

Establishing Value
The reality is that it doesn't matter how much money you think your home is worth. The only person whose opinion really matters is the buyer who is going to make an offer, and of course, the appraiser. Pricing a house is part science and part art. It involves comparing similar houses in similar communities, ect... This is the same method appraisers use to evaluates a house. No two appraisals are exactly the same; they are however, generally close to one another. There is no hard and fast way to just stick a price on your home.

Is the Price Too Low?
Houses sell at a price a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to take. If a house is priced too low the seller should expect to receive multiple offers and drive up the price up to the market value. There is not much danger in pricing a home under its actual value and your competition. The danger is in pricing it too high and haveing the house sit on the market for months.

How It Starts To Go Wrong
The seller of a home didn't interview her real estate agents. She pick the first agent off the Internet because, "He looked like a nice guy." The agent priced her house at $250k. After 90 days of sitting on the market, the listing expired.

It Continues To Go Wrong
The next agent she hired listed the house at $235k. Months passed and eventually she dropped the price to just under $220k, still no offers. A few people looked at the house, but no serious buyers came forward.

More Than a Year Later
By the time she hired the last agent list her house, the seller had grown exhausted and weary. It was now more than 12 months later. The seller and her agent then priced the home at $195k and it sold very quickly. The sad part is that the comparable sales in the neighborhood fully justified a price of $220k, but the home had been on the market for too long at the wrong price, and now the market had slowed.

Protect Yourself
The question is how much money expired listings cost the real estate
owner? The financial losses often exceeds the extra mortgage payments paid and goes beyond the cost or the hassle factor of trying to keep a home spotless during the listing period. It affects the value that a buyer ultimately chooses to pay because it is no longer a “fresh” listing. It's now stale, dated, a home that was overpriced for too long. Don't let it happen to you. Don't be that seller of an expired listing. Be sure to hire a professional Realtor to price your house correctly from the beginning.