What is the Market Doing in Your Neighborhood?



This week, we attended the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors yearly convention. We were pleased to have Dr. Lawrence Yun who happens to be the Chief Economist from Washington D.C. and he went through some great information and statistics. You also may be wondering why we’re behind these microphones. If you weren’t aware, we host a weekly radio show here in Albuquerque on AM 1600 KIVA The Rock of Talk and also 95.9 FM on Saturday mornings at 10am. In our show, we go over market updates and what is going on in residential Albuquerque and thought it would be a treat to record our video blog for you here.

After finishing our show for the week, some statistics that were interesting are that the market prices have stayed flat and Dr. Yun’s overall national statistic is that there has been a 10% national increase in overall sales. Some markets have seen substantial price increases while we’ve only seen 1-2% increases. However, the number of homes sold in our local board has increased by 15%. We have certainly felt this as well; we have been very busy since the summer months and even frantically selling homes through Thanksgiving week.

Thanks and have a great day!

What Can You Expect From Lenders?



Today I wanted to talk to you about interest rates, lending programs and the state of the finance world these days. I am with Sarah Gmyr-Maez at the New Mexico Mortgage Advisors Office. Sarah has been one of trusted lenders for quite some time when she came through on a loan for us. Since then, she’s done a few more “pull a rabbit out of a hat” loans. Sarah is a broker where she can work with many lenders giving her the ability to take loans that other lenders aren’t able to do.

Part of Sarah’s expertise comes from years of experience learning the ins and outs of how the process works. Sarah also offers interest rates that are lower than her competitors giving her the edge for people who need that extra buffer. She uses many different investors to ensure she can find you the perfect loan. Sarah offers conventional loans, FHA, VA and jumbo financing. They also offer asset-based loans for those who don’t have a lot of income but have money in the bank and portfolio products for people with multiple properties.

The minimum credit score for FHA is 580 because they have an investor that allows for the lower credit score and VA and conventional loans are 620 and above. You can expect to put a minimum 3.5% down payment on FHA, VA has no down payment requirement and conventional has a minimum of 5% down payment. A 20% down payment on a conventional loan will avoid having to pay mortgage insurance. Jumbo loans are beginning to come back with more competitive rates as well and there are still strict guidelines on lending.

The misconception that there are not a lot of loans available is false; they’re able to do some credit repair and also refinancing as well. Interest rates are still very low and you can reach Sarah at (505) 319-0622 and (505) 898-4800.

Thanks and talk to you soon!

Learn How We Make Relocating Easy for You!



No matter where we go, real estate is always a hot topic. You may even know of someone who is relocating to our area or out of the area (whom we’d love to help). Relocation can be stressful and we have experience. We work with a lot of people relocating into Albuquerque for Kirtland Air Force or Military PCS.

If you wanted to get familiar with the area before you moved, we utilize technology like webcams and Apple’s Facetime to act as a virtual tour. This allows us to cover a lot of groundwork well before you even step foot in the area; educating our clients is key. Our goal is to provide as many resources as possible so you’re able to get your bearings quickly and find the right house for you and your family. We provide a relocation packet that offers information about the city, surrounding areas, different neighborhoods and price points and some of our favorite lenders.

If you or someone you know is relocating, let us know and we can email the packet right out to you. Give us a call at (877) 933-6881. We look forward to help you and your friends. Thanks and have a great day!

4 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall



Autumn is in full swing, you can feel the crispness of the air and now is the time to tackle those home maintenance projects. I have put together a few tips to get your home ready for fall. First and foremost, many of us have evaporative coolers (or swamp coolers) and it is important that they are serviced in the fall. When they’re serviced, you need to drain the water, take the belt off (if you leave the belt on, a bump will arise and will knock every time it turns when used in the spring) and take the pads out. By doing these simple tasks, you will increase the life and usability of your cooler.

The second tip I have is in regards to your roof. We’ve received a lot of rain this late summer/fall and you probably know if you have leaks. However, it is still important you get up on your roof and do a quick check. You should probably do this twice a year because you don’t want to wait until you have a leak to service your roof. Another thing to point out with our tar gravel or pitch flat roofs is that leaves tend to build up in the canales and should be cleaned regularly.

Also, checking the batteries in smoke detectors is a quick and very easy thing to do while maximizing the safety of your family. Another important area to give attention to is your driveway, sidewalks, stucco or brick to make sure there are no cracks because winters tend to freeze and melt moisture frequently which causes expansion and contraction. Make sure if there are any cracks, they are sealed tightly.

Remember, your house is most likely your biggest investment. With these simple tasks, it will give your home the longevity you want and will also prevent most major home repairs. Hopefully these helped and have a great day!

Will you give your home the attention it deserves?


Many people have been asking me how the market is trending as we enter the fourth quarter towards the end of 2013. As much as I wish I could give one definite answer, there are many factors that determine how the market will play out in your specific situation. Interest rates have been slowly inching upward but historically they are still fantastic as they hover below 5% (buyers were happy to receive a 16-18% rate in years past).

For buyers who are looking for homes priced in the $150,000-250,000 range will see a shortage in available inventory and this is not allowing buyers to find the perfect house. So if you’re thinking about selling, don’t wait until spring to do so! If you need to sell and you’re in that sweet spot, we can sell it.

Buyers who are ready to move up to the $250,000-500,000 range, prices haven’t increased and the market is fairly steady. There are great opportunities to move into your next house. Our luxury market has many houses that are priced to sell and our lenders have informed us that “jumbo” are great and there are many good options available.

As a reminder to sellers, now is a great time to have your home on the market. People tend to pull their homes toward the end of the year because of the approaching holidays, but that does not mean the market stops. If you need to sell and your house is still on the market while everyone is taking theirs off, you will be able to get a great price for your home. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any specific questions by email at info@welcomehomeabq.com or to call/text (887) 933-6881

Things to do in Albuquerque



Hey, guys! Welcome back to our video real estate blog.

Today, I am here enjoying this beautiful view from Sandia Peak. Many of you probably know about the Tramway that travels up the canyon to where I am sitting now.

Well, today I wanted to talk about all the wonderful things you can do in Albuquerque; whether you’ve lived here all your life or are considering moving here, it’s always nice to be reminded of fun things you can do in the area!

Sandia Peak is only one attraction that helps you appreciate nature here.  If you love to walk, run, bike, or hike Paseo del Bosque Trail is a 16 mile long paved trail that passes through the Rio Grande Valley State Park.

Or maybe you enjoy history and museums. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History offers a wealth of cultural and historical artifacts.’

We also have the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, the nation’s only congressionally charted museum in its field.

As you can see there’s so much to do here and our neighborhoods are located right in the mist of all these! In fact, the homes come right up to the edge of the mountains.

So, if you know of someone interested in moving to the Albuquerque area, forward this video to them.

Give me a call if you have any real estate questions, I’d be more than happy to help!

3 Great Tools for Your Home Value and the Real Estate Market




Hello everyone. Today, I’m with Meredith Stumpf, our listing team manager. Many of you have probably met her.

We have some great tools to help homeowners find out what the value of their home is and I’m going to let Meredith tell you about them.

Thank you! One of our programs is the Guaranteed Sale Program and it is a free online estimate. It gives a starting price range of what your home is worth; all you do is put in your street address and you find a quick market look.

Now, we have a tool that’s a little more in depth and it’s called a Market Snapshot. This snapshot gives you an update of what is going on in your neighborhood; you can choose to get it weekly or every six months, whichever your preference is.

If you are really thinking of selling, the best thing to do is call Meredith or I and we would be happy to give you a free market analysis.

So, that’s three ways to find the value of your home: two online or have one of us come out. So give us a call at 877.933.6881.

Advice and Tips on Home Maintenance




Hi everyone! Today we are standing outside of a home center because we wanted to talk about home maintenance. When preparing a home for the market, some things are often overlooked! So, we thought we’d remind you!

One of the most commonly overlooked repair is the roof. We understand, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Almost every home inspection I have been on, though, there is always some neglect to the roof. Remember to get your roof checked once a year; this sun can really eat away at it!

What else? Leaky faucets, slow drains and leaking toilets are often forgotten. Although this might not seem like a big issue, it might throw up a red flag for the buyer. They may think, ‘what else have they not taken care of?’

While you’re in the bathroom or kitchen, how is that grout or sealant? A lot of the time we see dark and dirty grout. Getting it fixed is a fairly inexpensive task!

A final thing to look at is stucco. Are there any cracks? Again, our intense sun can cause damage. You might wonder how big a crack does it have to be to be a problem. We’ve heard if you can fit a quarter in it, it’s time to get it fixed! Just remember to keep an eye on it!

We hope those are some helpful tips and if you have any questions please call us at 877.933.6881!

Thanks for watching!

Five Traits of a Smart, Savvy Buyer in Today’s Seller-Controlled Marketplace



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Everyone knows the basic law of economics – when supply is down, demand goes up and that’s exactly what is happening with our real estate market. It’s actually happening across much of the nation and buyers everywhere are finding they need pull out all the stops to get the home of their dreams. That doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot more but it does mean you need to be smart. Here are five things successful buyers in today’s real estate environment do when there are a lot fewer homes and many more buyers.

Compare Renting Vs. Buying
Many people don’t realize how much more feasible it is to buy rather than rent a home. The only way to really know where you stand is to evaluate all your options. Savvy buyers know that it is not a dollar for dollar comparison. There are tax advantages to owning a home plus the intrinsic value of home-ownership is also a big plus. Why pay someone else’s mortgage if you can build equity in your own home?

Hire a Professional To Assist in the Purchase
Now that you have decided that purchasing a home is the right decision for you, it’s time to find a good Realtor® to help support you. Not only will they be able to share their industry knowledge and market trends that will help you make informed decisions but also you will have an advocate. He or she will help you achieve your goals, acting on your behalf and in your best interests. Contrary to popular myth, there is hardly any “deal” to be made by going directly to a listing agent. Smart buyers know they need a professional on their side.

Complete a Needs Analysis

To buy a home in a market where there are fewer homes than there are sellers, means that you must know what you want, what you are willing to forego and what you absolutely don’t want. To accomplish this it is a good idea to put together a list of those items in an in-depth needs analysis. That way when a good home that is priced right and located in a great location becomes available, you’re ready to weigh its pros and cons. Successful buyers these days are focused and are able to discern deal breakers from the smaller things.

Line Up Financing
With sellers in control and often receiving stacks of offers on their homes, they expect them to be accompanied by proof of your financing. Whether that means a proof of funds letter showing you have the cash on hand, or a preapproval letter from your lender demonstrating they are willing to lend you money – offers that get sellers’ attention are the ones with all ducks in a row. Additionally, you may or may not realize your options and a conversation with a lender will help you clarify which loan options work well for you.

Evaluate the Market Objectively

Finally, it’s important to be able to evaluate the market with an objective perspective. View properties and analyze the data with an open yet critical mind. Look at market trends and understand how they can potentially shape your own home buying experiences. Your Realtor® will be able to help by providing easy to read, useful market reports that point to current trends in your marketplace.

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If you are looking for your next home – we invite you to contact us today. We support many buyers’ home purchase endeavors and look forward to the opportunity to help you with yours!

Albuquerque Real Estate Market Presents Great Opportunities for Buyers and Sellers



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Each year, throughout the year we visit various conventions and events where we are given the opportunity to meet with our peers from others markets throughout the country. We compare notes, share what works for each of us, learn how to provide the best client experiences and we continuously improve as a result of these events.

Much of the US Market Experiencing Inventory Shortages
With these conventions also comes an in-depth look into how other real estate markets are performing and the insight greatly helps many of us to project what we can expect moving forward. Right now, the local Albuquerque real estate market is lagging about a year behind many other pockets throughout the US.  Low inventory and housing shortages have got buyers pulling out all stops to get the homes of their choice.

Interest Rates Continue to Hover at Low Rates; Home Prices Reasonable
But even then, low interest rates and reasonable home prices offer good opportunities for buyers with the added bonus of a fairly good selection of homes to choose from. Sellers on the other hand are able to get top dollar on their homes when priced right, in good condition and in great locations.

More Buyer Demand Expected Moving Forward
As we look ahead, the Albuquerque market can expect to follow in the footsteps of its neighbors and other areas in the country that are experiencing shortages of inventory, resulting in multiple offers, bidding wars and achieving at or above selling price. We will continue to see increased demand as buyers are eager to lock in the low interest rates that still hover at all time lows.

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If you’ve been on the fence about buying, selling or investing in a property – now is a great time to jump off and consider taking it on. And when you do make the decision to take the plunge – we’ll be right here to assist you with your real estate goals. Contact us today!

Six Ways Buyers Can Turn Up the Heat and Make an Offer Sellers Can’t Resist



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When you’re in the midst of a seller’s market there really is very little you can do but just watch the market, find the right home and jump on it! Because if you don’t, there’s a good chance someone else will beat you to it. But if you are making an offer, there are some ways you can make it one the sellers can’t refuse. Here are six key strategies to use as a buyer making an offer on a home in a very competitive seller’s market.

Prove Your Ability to Pay
Gone are the days when you could present an offer on a home with the expectation that you would apply for a loan after it’s accepted. Even when we’re not in the midst of a seller’s market, sellers today expect to see proof of your financing or funds. They want to know that your offer is a viable one and having a preapproval from a lender gives them the peace of mind needed to proceed. Unlike being prequalified, preapprovals entail a credit pull and a look at your financial position, including things like debt-to-income ration, job history and more.

Make It Reasonable
As you may already know, an earnest deposit accompanies an offer. So as you decide the amount to put toward your earnest money deposit, be sure to be reasonable. Typically 1% of the purchase price, you can go up or down depending on your interest but generally, you should stay at or above 1%.

Don’t Lowball the Offer
There was a time when buyers could get away with making lowball offers but those days are long gone. Contrary to popular belief, making a reasonable offer will increase your chances for stronger negotiations. A higher offer is the better offer because you won’t offend the seller.

Go Easy on the Contingencies

When buying a home there can be a lot of contingencies in place ranging from waiting for the sale of another home, to inspection results to mortgage contingencies as well. Some are unavoidable but whenever possible if you can reduce the length of time for some of these processes or better yet, eliminate the contingency altogether – the seller will be more inclined to accept your offer.

Keep It Simple
Rather than bog down your offer with complex language that is hard to read and complicated to understand, make it as simple as possible. There is no need for legalese and if you can, put things in bullet point form to really make it easy for the seller. Less is more but be sure not to leave out anything important.

Make It Personal
Sometimes multiple offers will come in and they are all very close to one another in price, terms and contingencies. Believe it or not, these are the opportunities for buyers to turn on the charm – literally. Write a personal letter explaining what you love about the house. Introduce yourself to the seller and do it in a handwritten note or card that will be memorable to them when they are considering all offers.
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Keep in mind, no two offers are the same and no two situations are the same – so you will benefit from having a strong Realtor® by your side, working in your best interests. Contact us today so we can work to getting you the home of your dreams!

What’s Cooking?

 

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Although it took twice as much work as they anticipated, a family of four turns a generic, cramped kitchen into the kitchen of their dreams. The project took over 10 days, but it looks amazing with great style and so much more space.

Winter Pruning Tips Courtesy Handy Girl’s Grounds Keeping



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There is more to pruning trees than merely snipping branches where they seem to be too long. In fact, for those that may not realize it, there is a specific way to prune a tree in order to get the maximum use of the tree and its fruit in case of fruit-bearing trees.

To help demonstrate some useful tools, tips and tricks on how to prune a tree – we invited one of our preferred partners to show you.

Learn All You Can About the Tree(s)
Before you begin, we suggest to do is to research more about the tree and find out general care instructions. Your research will also likely point you toward additional pruning tips that may be specific to the type of tree.

Remove Dead, Damaged and Diseased Branches
The first step is to survey the tree for any dead, damaged or diseased branches plus any branches that are badly crossed. Using the appropriate tools depending on the size, thickness of branch and height – remove as necessary.

Allow for Light and Air for Optimum Growth
When pruning the tree, be sure to allow enough air and light to flow through the tree, particularly in the center of the tree which will help the fruit to ripen. It is important that in the first step when branches are removed, that no more than one third of the entire tree’s volume be taken off in any given year. This will ensure proper growth of the tree.

Trim To Avoid Growth Toward the Center
Finally, when you are trimming branches it is important to do so away from the buds. By shaping it so that the branches spread outward rather than toward the center, you will avoid the tree branches from being too overcrowded.
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It’s also vital to have a set of quality, well-maintained tools for the cleanest cuts and the least amount of hassle or injury. As explained and shown in the video, you will need hand pruners, a pruning saw, loppers and a pole saw.

To contact Gail Jenkins directly, here is her information:

Handy Girl’s Grounds Keeping
505 804 1403