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I Love Real Estate

by Eric Bushnell

I Love Real Estate

By Eric Bushnell, Associate Broker – REALTOR, C.N.H.S.

Lee Realty, LLC

 Do you like, love, or hate the real estate market?  I love Real Estate!  Not everyone has this opinion, but everyone has an opinion about real estate.  The topic of Real Estate is a great conversation starter no matter where you are.  Consider this:  the American dream is to own a home, and buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase that you will make in your life.  The Real Estate market effects our lives in many ways. During the 2016 election polls showed 73 percent of Americans feel that housing affordability is one of the most important issues facing our nation.  So, it’s obviously going to be part of our conversation.

Real Estate is a popular topic, let me share with you a question I’m asked each week.  “Is now a good time to sell my home?  Maybe???”  Yes, that answer seems ambiguous, until you look at several factors.  Are you moving? Do you want to down size?  Do you need a bigger home?  Would you like to live in a different neighborhood?  Every person has a different reason as to why they need to buy or sell a home.  The worst one is because you have too, and there can be several reasons that you force you to sell, but we will not go into that here.  Your reason to sell, move, downsize, or upsize is a personal reason that is being caused by economic or social factors in your life.  Good advice here is to be sure this is what you need to do.  Is your reason to move based on specific needs, or an impulse?  Impulse decisions can be very expensive.

So whatever your reason is for moving, the next question is -”What will the real estate market be like this next year?” “Is it a good time to sell?”  “Is it a good time to buy?”  I get asked these questions all the time, and here’s a quick answer.  Springtime brings the highest prices of the year.  Mid-summer is when there is the best selection of homes to choose from.  Late summer and fall is when you start to see prices lowering as homeowners try to seller their home before winter, so you may get the largest discount against their original asking price (they may have overpriced the home, thus the big discount). Homes are sold during all twelve months of the year; however a majority are sold between May-August.  The home that is clean and has minimal deferred maintenance typically sells faster than any other home on the market.  People do not want to buy a money pit.  So, clean your home and make it shine like you’re having a dinner party for your companies CEO.  When buying you want the best looking house on the street, curb appeal is very important.

So back to the next question, “What is the Real Estate market going to do in 2017?” That will depend on how people feel about the local economy.  We know that the national economy is getting better, but is our local economy going to follow suit?  Fear can strangle the local real estate market, by slowing people down in making the decision to purchase.  If there’s less buyers looking, then potential sellers may not put their home on the market (in hopes of buying a different home).  The market begins to slow down.  People are motivated by fear of loss or hope for gain.  Now you see why I earlier answered “Maybe, it’s a good time to sell or buy a home”. The Real Estate market is based on everyone’s perception of the future. 

So, here’s my forecast:  The Real Estate market will be good as long as you’re buying or selling for the right reason!

Perception of the Market

by Eric Bushnell

Perception is a fickle beast.  One quote I remember from my early days in sales was:

"Perception is reality regardless of the truth"  ~Zig Ziglar

Last night I participated in a town hall round table discussion hosted by the Chugiak/Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.  As a current member of the CER Chamber and one of it's Board of directors I was the leader at one of the tables.  Our goal was to get the pulse of the community before our planning retreat this weekend.  We discussed the four topics over the course of the two hours.

We discussed why people moved to Eagle River as well as why they stayed.  We looked at the challenges of running a business in today's economy.  We discussed challenging budgets, taxes and growth.  How our community show look and feel, as well as what types of businesses we would like to see.  We also discussed threats to our way of life in Eagle River. The room was filled with business owners, residents, and many local and state politicians.

One discussion stood out in my mind and at one point became heated.  This was concerning home prices and the ability for our residents to sell their homes and move if they need to.  Our market suffered like many markets across the country, but real estate is local, and luckily we did not see the devastating foreclosures that many communities saw.  We saw some depreciation, in 2006/2007.  In my case I saw a 10% drop from the summer of 2006 to summer of 2007.

We saw this mainly in our older homes, which I written about in years past.  At the time I forecasted (speculated) that we would begin to see growth in approximately 5 years.  Fast forward to this year and our local markets saw increases of approximately 4% over a 6 month period.

The discussion that became heated was that values were falling her in Eagle River, and it was obvious because this information was on the Internet.  Which reminds me of another great quote:

"It's on the Internet, it must be true!" ~Ben Franklin

  There are forecasting websites that try to use sophisticated algorithms to determine the value of your home.  In some communities these work quite well, in Alaska they do not.  Alaska is a non-disclosure state where we do not disclose what you bought your house for.  There is no good information for the website to determine the value of the home.  This leads people to make incorrect assumptions about the value of their homes.  They need to hire a local expert who has access to this sales data.

This website showed declining values, which is the furthest thing from the truth.  What we have seen in our area is less volume, and this make a huge difference in the values you can obtain for your home.  If you home is worth $500,000 but there are only 3 buyers in the market, but they only qualify for $450,000 and they want to buy your house, that does not make your house worth $450,000.  The unfortunate part in this situation is that if there is no one who is buying in the $500,000 range the seller will have to reduce the price till the meet a level where there is a qualified buyer.  This is a complicated situation with lots of variables that affect values of the long term. 

Some sellers have to sell, while others just want to sell.  These two sellers will make different decisions when confronted with the same situation.  Many in our community move here then leave after only 3 years.  They want to own, but ownership has risks, when you have to sell so quickly.  This is a major concern in our community in which 30+% of our resident are active duty military.  They do not have a choice as to when they need to move.  Some will have to pay when they go to sell their home, some will not.  I will discuss the smart choice here in a future blog.

Owning a home is a smart move, it is not the wealth building bargain it was just a few short years ago, but it is still a better investment for most than renting.  But rest assured, home prices are not falling in Eagle River.  If you have question about this or want to know what you should do, please call me at 907-360-7471.

 

Snow, Lights, Family, and buyers looking at my house?

by Eric Bushnell

Snow, Lights, Family, and buyers looking at my house?

If you need to sell your home this is probably what you thinking about.  I've had many conversations over the years with Realtors and Sellers about the merits of having a home on the market during the holidays.  It is my belief that this is one of the best time to sell a home during the winter months. 

I understand we have holidays coming.  Next week is Thanksgiving, for some families Hanukkah is coming next, and then we have Christmas and New Years Day!  We all have events planned, relatives may be coming to visit, or you may be hosting your annual Christmas party.  Lets be honest with ourselves, we always have something going on.  Now is never a great time to change things in our daily routines.

Here's why selling your home right now is a good idea.

First - Your home will be decorated for the holidays and most likely looks very festive.  You will have bright lights, wonderful selling decorations, and the lights will be on showcasing what a wonderful home this is.

Second - By having it decorated show that this home can be lived in and that it is a fun home, it has character. 

Third - There is less competition on the market.  Many people are not reading this blog article and have pulled there home off the market, their going to be smart and wait until next spring and sell it then.  Which is when the snow is melting and your yard will look horrible.  Right now its covered with a blanket of beautiful white snow that sparkles under  Christmas lights you've installed on the exterior of your home, saying look at me, I'm Beautiful!

Fourth - Interest rates are very low right now and provide buyers incentive to purchase.  In the spring there is a good chance they will inch upwards, or worse go way up to 6 or 7%, right now rate are hovering at 4%.  If rates go up buyer budgets go down, which means less people can afford your beautiful home.

So now is the time to put your home on the market.  I am sure there might be a couple of negatives, like the buyers might want to come during your Christmas party, but worst things have happened.  You can always reschedule, or invite them to join you!  You never know what might happen!

Hears to the Holidays and a wonderful New Year!

 

If you would like to know what it would take to get your home sold right away follow this link and I will contact you shortly!  Sell my Home!  http://www.valuemyalaskanhome.com/

Mid Summer Update For Eagle River

by Eric Bushnell

Mid Summer Market update for Eagle River Alaska

I know that a lot of pople are out and about enjoying the summer.  So far this year the weather has been decent, not great but at least everyday has not been cold and rainy.  so I know that everyone is enjoying themselves.  Dip net fishing on the Kenai River has been awesome, the Eagle River Bear Paw was great and this week I know my wife is hiking the Crow Pass trail from Girdwood to Eagle River.  so there is plenty to do out there.

So with all this going on; what's the real estate market doing.  I've seen recent reports about consumer confidence being down, but that does not appear to be the case here in Eagle River Alaska.  The Mat-Su valley(Palmer/Wasilla) is holding its own compared to last year, and Anchorage is down about 9.5% in the number of homes sold.  Eagle River and Chugiak are up 16.1% so far this year. 

One difference this year is that we are selling more land for new home construction, and as a result of this new home sales are up.  This is much different then what we are seeing in the markets in the lower 48.  It should be noted that many towns in the lower 48 are doing just fine.  Middle America is surviving, even though the talking heads and Wall Street don't give us much credit.

There are tough sales out there, and there is more homes available this year than last.  the selection is good, and some homes are just over priced for their condition or location.  Remember the #1 rule in real estate is location, #2 is condition, and #3 is Price.  You can't change #1, but you can change #2 & #3. 

For more detailed information feel free to call me anytime. 

Remember to rinse your fish before you put them in the smoker, they turn out too salty otherwise, but most importantly...

Enjoy the summer!

Commuting from Wasilla, Should I?

by Eric Bushnell

"Can you believe that they drive from the Valley everyday?"

"Wow, you drive that far EVERYDAY!"  I hear this all the time from people.  A reality in most people everyday life is that they have to commute.  East Coast, West Coast, and in the Midwest, people drive to work.  Some may take mass transit, which does lessen the toll on you, maybe.  I still think the daily grind of getting to and from work is pretty consistent for everyone.  Well not everyone, some lucky people walk to work or ride their bikes.  This blog is not for you!

Its for the rest of us that spend 30-60 minutes on our way to work.

In a Alaska the commute can be quick and other days it can be horrible.  The weather dictates this as well as the moron that just cut off the guy in from of me sending him into the ditch, creating a huge snarl of traffic on the only road linking the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage.  This is a reality that effects at least 30,000 people a dozen times a year.  Yes, just a dozen times a year.  So its not really that bad, well when it happens it's that bad.

I think if you commute from anywhere it will take you time.  commute from South Anchorage and it will take you longer to get to downtown than if you live in Eagle River.  The commute from Eagle river is the same as from Wasilla to Eagle River.  I just wish more businesses would relocate their corporate headquarters to Eagle River (BTW, Corporate guru's, we have land and would love to have you).  So if the difference is just an additional 30 minutes is it worth it. 

Some say the cost is huge, but I would argue its not.  For example 30 minutes at 65 mph in a truck that get 16 mpg ( I hope your car does better) uses 2..03 gallons and costs $7.03 ($3.46 per gallon) each way, $70.28 per week for the additional miles driven each way.  I think most people get better gas mileage than this.  This adds $302 to the monthly commute bill.

If a home in the Mat-Su Valley is $90,000 less does the difference save you any money at the end of each month?  Is the extra space that you get, as most homes are on larger lots (Half acres+ compared to a 1/4 acre or less in Anchorage), worth the difference?  there are more newer homes in the Mat-Su Valley, so the energy costs of these new more modern homes possibly offset the cost of the commute?  Easier access to the trails and rivers of the Mat-Su valley, that can save on your weekend gas bill, so there is a minor trade off, unless you go to Kenai or Seward every weekend than there is an increase.

Current interest rates are 5.125% today, and that additional $90,000 will cost you $490 per month on a 30 year conventional loan.  That is a saving of $182 per month that could go towards a more fuel efficient vehicle, or maybe a new boat?

BTW, this is what I was thinking about on my way in from Wasilla today.

In the Mat-Su Valley homes can be more affordable with a majority of the homes in the $150,000 to $350,000.  The Mat-Su Valley offers larger lots and access to recreational properties that Eagle River and Anchorage do not.  You can click anyone of the links below to see the current homes for sale.

Great Compliment

by Eric Bushnell

Sorry I have been away from my computer over the last couple of weeks and have not had the time to send a virtual update to everyone. 

I did receive a compliment via another Realtor about our company and thought I would tell you about it.  In this case we had a listing next door to the other licensees, and yes they work for a different brokerage.  The sellers were of course friends and spoke to each other on a regular basis.  Our seller was telling his neighbor about the reports we were sending to him on a daily basis, which he then complained to his Realtor about.

The Realtor came to us wanting to know what we're sending and why are we making them look bad (yes we are friends with our competition).  We explained to them that we were just keeping them up to date on the local market.

Here's the real story and why is it important to you.  See here at Prudential Jack White Vista Real Estate we have a great tool called Online Sellers Advantage (OSA).  OSA keeps seller informed of all market activity near their home.  The receive daily updates on price changes and any new competitors that may have come on the market.  They can see when other homes are pended (sold ). This is a vital tool and or sellers really like this information. 

The reports also show how many people have looked for a home in their price range and then it shows them if the prospective buyers actually looked at their home.  This tool shows you when more buyers have entered the market, or if someone really likes your home and has saved it as a favorite.

Our seller was very happy with this information and was very happy with our service as we help prospective buyers find his home.  This eventually lead to a sale and a very happy seller became homeless, which in this case was a great thing.

If you have questions about Online Seller's Advantage please give me a call and I will show you why it is a tool that will work for you.

Housing Market Vs. Stock Market

by Eric Bushnell

Where should I invest?  Should I buy stocks, should I buy mutual funds, these are great questions and I ask them myself.  I hear people asking whether they should buy a home or rent, and the answer is simple:

If you are a responsible person, and will be staying stable for the next 7-10 years then Buy!

If you are a responsible person, and would like to be able to move when you want to then Rent!

A lot of home were bought and sold in the last couple of months, we have many new homeowners that took advantage of the First time Home buyers tax credit.  this was a great deal and it help most real estate markets across the country.  There were many sales because of these first timers, resulting in additional sales for move up buyers, that were able to sell their existing home.  We saw many people selling and making the switch to renting, it just made sense for them.

Whether you should buy or not has nothing to do with the strength or weakness of a market.  You do not buy stocks only when their low, No, you buy a little here a little there.  You hold for the long term and sell when it makes sense.

Buying a home is the same way.  look at you present situation and ask your self this.."Do I want to be in this home in five years?".  If the answer is anything other than a big "Yes", then you should take a hard look at renting.  It is cheaper in the short term and allows you flexibility in moving. 

Purchasing a home takes a commitment that we used to say everyone should take.  Maybe not owning a home does not make you more responsible, or more successful.  However for many people this is a wise investment.  If you are stable in your life an career then home ownership is probably the wise choice.

If you would like to receive home updates by e-mail visit www.Eagleriverhomesforsale.com to sign up.

Here we go!

by Eric Bushnell

Today is January 13, 2010.  Wow, we are two weeks into the new year and picking up speed.  The holiday season lulled everyone into a nice happy place, and now it's time to get back to work.

If you are watching the market than you know that every talking head has an opinion and very few of them are the same.  Now I going to chime in.  Just what we need right? Another talking head.  I will try to keep to what I know and what I see happening in the local real estate market.

The number of homes bottomed out in recent weeks.  The lowest level of homes available for sale this decade.  That is beginning to change, the number of homes increase by 50% last week.  23 new listings, now some of these had been on the market before the holidays and were taken off the market.  Now their back and ready for sale, and that is good news because with the number of new pending transactions; the supply dropped to just 2.4 months.

There is a enthusiasm in the market, interest rates are low, prices have been steady.  This is a win-win for buyers and sellers.  Buyers there are more homes coming on the market, although they're selling quickly.  For Sellers, if you're ready to sell, there are buyers in the market looking for good homes.

Buyers can see receive e-mails updates by registering at www.eagleriverhomesforsale.com

Sellers can receive a free CMA and marketing plan by visiting www.valuemyalaskanhome.com

 

Selling your home and Energy Efficient Lighting

by Eric Bushnell

This weekend I was replacing light bulbs around the parameter of my home.  I replaced several burned out bulbs with the new energy efficient bulbs.  First let me explain that I am not a big fan of these bulbs, and definitely not outside in the cold winter nights.  They take forever to warm up and produce good bright light, but they do not burn out quickly and they will save my family money.  It is the right thing to do.

"Save Energy, Money and the Environment with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs" This is the headline I saw online for these bulbs.  However they do take time to warm up, before they produce good bright light. Which is why I am writing this post.  You save money, they do save you money, right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong, they will cost you thousands if you're not careful.  In Alaska lighting is very important, actually it is important everywhere, but in Alaska if the buyers think your home is dark they will move on to the next one.  Staging a home, moving furniture, cleaning, and painting are just some of the things sellers do to entice buyers.  They want the visiting buyer to leave with a positive impression of their home.

So why am I concerned about these lights, a buyer should feel good about you being environmentally conservative.  Many buyers visit a home when no one is there, all the lights are turn off.  They come in turn on the lights look around the room, turn off the light and walk out.  The compact fluorescent light bulbs do not have enough time to warm up, so their light output is low and the buyer may leave with the impression that the room is under lit, or worse dingy.  They may not know why they feel this way, they're not looking at your light bulbs trying to figure it out.  They're to busy trying to find a good home, and they do not want to make a mistake.  They do not want to be next years news story.

Here's my advice:  When you leave the house turn every light on. Yes, I said it, leave every light on.  This way your lights are working for you to sell your home.  It will make a difference, the lights will be warmed up and providing maximum out put. The home will be warm and inviting. The increase in your electric bill will be minimal compared to the amount of money you will make when they make they're offer on your home instead of the under-lit home down the street.

Eagle River Market update July 16, 2009

by Eric Bushnell

Here is a brief over view of the Eagle River Real Estate Market.  In the last week we experienced some very nice weather, and the annual bear Paw festival was underway.  What we saw was a slow down in sales as well as new listings on the market as people took time out to have fun. 

The overall inventory levels fell slightly as fewer homes came on the market and nine homes closed successfully.  there have been several pending properties this week and I see many Realtors out showing property. 

The strongest sales activity has been under $350,000.  However, I have seen several buyers looking at homes in the upper $400,000.

Interest rates continue to be steady, ranging from 4.75% for 15 year mortgage to 5.375% for a 30 year mortgage.  Please contact Aaron Gray at Homestate Mortgage, (907) 689-6456, for more information on available rates and programs.

The Eagle River real estate market continues to hold steady.  Please fill free to make comments, or call me at (907) 360-7471 with questions.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

Contact Information

Lee Realty, LLC
Lee Realty, LLC.
5050 Dunbar Drive #F
Wasilla AK 99654
Office: 907-376-0119
Fax: (907) 376-4039

 

 

 

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