An inside look at the residential real estate market in Southeast Texas including: the hottest neighborhoods, proven home selling strategies, home buying and negotiating tactics, median prices by neighborhood, average days homes are on the market, and professional advice on how to get the best deal when buying or selling a home.

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April 2008

Can You Guess Today's Top Five Real Estate Headlines?

High_fiveThe National real estate headlines were on the negative side today. 

That's putting it mildly.  So if you were guessing positive headlines, let me give you a second chance to guess again. 

Its all "bleakesville" but here they are:  The top five real estate headlines from a few of my favorite national sources.

  1. Home foreclosure rate continues ugly climb brought to us by our friends at MSNBC.
  2. Housing prices post record declines brought to us courtesy of CNN Money.
  3. How low will real estate go? This one is hot off the press at Forbes.com
  4. First-Time Home Buyers' Few Options, the Wall Street Journal published this one Sunday.
  5. Hundreds of Mortgage Files Found in a Dumpster.  This one was posted on Topix.  There's a video clip from a TV station in Colorado.  Luckily, it didn't happen here.

Sometimes you just have to be glad to live in Southeast Texas.  Weather like we had today is one big reason to be glad to live here.  Another great reason is our robust housing market.  Southeast Texas won't be making any headlines like these anytime soon.  Thank goodness.

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It's Under Contract: Pending Sales in Southeast Texas

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many words is a chart worth?

Here are two charts that speak at least 2,000 words about our real estate market.  When I checked the Beaumont MLS this morning, there are 299 properties under contract. 

Total dollar volume under contract is a whopping $45,755,419 give or take a few cents.  Chart 1 is the number of properties under contract in a given area.  Chart 2 is the average price of properties under contract in the area.  (Helpful hint: You might need to tip your head to the right to read chart 2.  Its my first attempt to add excel charts to the blog.)  Bare with me as I try to teach myself new skills. 

Pending_sales_by_area_3

Ccf04282008_00001

 

Do you like seeing data presented in charts?  Let me know your comments. Remember that movie saying, "If you build it they will come."?  If I create them, will you read?  For those who did read the charts today, now you know what's under contract in Southeast Texas as of April 28, 2008. 

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Home Values Climbing In Jefferson County.

Cat_on_ladderGood news for Jefferson County homeowners. 

Your home went up in value last year.  Some Southeast Texas homeowner's saw double digit increases, according to the Jefferson County Appraisal District.

As a whole, Jefferson County saw a 12.27% increase.

How did your home fair?

  • Beaumont ISD 8.61%
  • Hamshire-Fannett ISD 19.88%
  • Hardin-Jefferson ISD 32.07%
  • Nederland ISD 21.38%
  • Port Arthur ISD 13.59%
  • Port Neches ISD 7.78%
  • Sabine Pass ISD 11.83%
  • City of Beaumont 14.76%
  • City of Bevil Oaks 11.63%
  • City of Groves 20.74%
  • City of Nederland 21.40%
  • Northwest Forest MUD 20.52%

*For the complete table click here.  These increases represent the total dollar value of homes in 2007 vs. the total value of homes in 2006.  Some areas added new homes to the total tax base.  New homes help with the percentage increase because there is a greater total dollar value of homes to be taxed than in the prior year.  Other areas that didn't have as much new construction saw the values of the existing homes go up.  Overall its good news.  Our home values are increasing.  Southeast Texas seems to still be fighting off the housing slump much of the country is struggling with. 

Want to know the value of your home?  Call me for a competitive market analysis.  You might be one of those lucky homeowners with a double digit increase in your home's value.

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National Housing Market: Where are we now?

Here's an update on the National Housing Market from MSNBC.  While much of the Nation remains in a housing market slump, Southeast Texas home values continue to go up. Jefferson County Appraisal District just released the 2007 taxable value comparison and there are across the board increases in property values.  See next post for more detail.

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Home Selling Strategies: What works in SE Texas.

Girl_thinking_chessHave you heard the expression, "Location, location, location."?  When it comes to the fair market value of a home location ranks up there at the top of the list. 

If you are trying to sell your home, the last thing you can change is your home's location.  So what is there for a home seller to do?

"Price, price, price" should be a home seller's central focus.  Pricing your home too high will hurt your chances of selling quickly and for the best price.  Buyers are smart shoppers these days.  They will be looking at your home and a number of other similar "competing" homes.  Your price will need to compare favorably to all the other homes the potential buyers have looked at.  I won't spend much time on price today.  To determine the best price to sell your home, you should have a REALTOR prepare a Competitive Market Analysis for you.  Most real estate agents will prepare one for no cost. 

So, you can't change the location.  And, you have selected the best price for your home. 

What else can you do? Here's four tips.

  1. Make the First Impression Count!  Buyers will develop an opinion of your property in the first 15 seconds.  For tips on how to make the best first impression Coldwell Banker has put together a quick and easy checklist.
  2. Consider having a home inspection done upfront.  Here's how this will help.  When you know the repairs your home will need, you can get estimates of the cost.  When you negotiate an offer, you will be in a more informed position on how much you can come off your asking price and what repairs will need to be done.  For more information on home inspections, the Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors provides great information.
  3. Consider taking out a home warranty with Seller's coverageAmerican Home Shield has a warranty program for just under $400 that will cover any repairs to the heating systems, AC systems, Ductwork, Plumbing Stoppages, and more.  Almost every buyer asks for a home warranty as part of the purchase agreement these days.  For just a few dollars more a seller can take out coverage for themselves while the home is listed.  *As an added bonus, if you find repairs that need to be taken care of prior to closing, a home warranty may pay for some or most of the repairs.
  4. Exposure is crucial.  About 80% of home buyers start their search on-line these days.  You will want to make sure the company you list your home with will place your home on the major Internet search sites.  REALTOR.com and Coldwell Banker.com are two of the most widely used sites with millions of hits per month.

Don't worry about the things you can't change when it comes to selling your home.  You can't change your location. You can't control the market but you can do several things to give your home an advantage over the competition.  Take these four tips and watch how fast you can sell your home.

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Beaumont Votes To Tear 'Em Down

Home_demolitan Here's a story that caught my eyeThe Beaumont Examiner, ran an article titled, "Dilapidated structures given the old heave-ho". 

It seems Southeast Texas residents are getting tired of seeing these old dilapidated, unsafe structures around.  The Beaumont City Council has decided to do something about it. Approximately 53 buildings are scheduled to be demolished.  Apparently, hundreds more are to be reviewed in upcoming council meetings.  According to the Examiner, Beaumont Community Development Director Chris Boone said the need to remove hazardous structures has "been a constant process since (Hurricane Rita)."

Dangerous home in your neighborhood? 

Contact the City Council.  A few of you might be thinking of calling in about a neighbor's unattractive house.  Not so fast, you can't report an "ugly" home for demolitian.  They won't tear those down.  It has to be a hazard. 

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Southeast Texas Home Inventory Takes Uptick In March

Crowd_of_sheep Have you noticed a few more For Sale Signs around Southeast Texas lately?  Our inventory of homes for sale has been growing since the first of the year.  With March sales numbers just reported, here's where we stand.

Total number of homes for sale 1,388

Months supply of inventory 7.79

These numbers are tracked by the Beaumont Board of Realtors and the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.  Months supply of inventory is the number of homes for sale divided by the number of sales for the prior month.  The current supply is the highest we've had in our area in quite some time.  Right after Hurricane Rita tore through the our area, the supply of homes for sale hit an all time low with only a 4.4 month supply. 

Historically, 7.79 is less supply than was available in the mid 90's.  During those years we averaged a 8-9 month supply.  When you review detailed home inventory statistics tracked by Texas A&M, you will see in 2007 our inventory never was over 6.6 months supply.  Since January of 2008, the numbers have been slowing climbing up. 

Don't panic if you are a seller in Southeast Texas.

There are more homes listed in our MLS than ever before.  We now have listings in out lying areas that never used to be counted in the Beaumont statistics.  So the numbers can be a little misleading.  We have parts of town where it is hard to find any homes for sale.  Others streets have several for sale signs all in a row.  You need to know your neighborhood's sales.  It gets that specific.

What does the increase in inventory mean if you are thinking of selling?

It does mean it is more important than ever to price your home correctly.  The best way to know how to price your home is to speak to a REALTOR and have them prepare a CMA.  You can call me and I'll prepare one for you at no cost.

We may find this up-tick in the number of homes for sale is just a typical season adjustment.  More people list their homes in the winter right after the first of the year.  More people buy homes in the spring and summer.  In a few months we'll know if the March up-tick is a trend reflecting a slowdown in home sales that has hit the rest of the country or if its just an anomaly in what has been one of the strongest, healthiest, most resilient real estate markets around. 

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Are You Worried About SE Texas' Housing Market?

Worried_baby Yesterday, an AP Poll released some new statistics on how U.S. homeowners are feeling about the current state of the National housing market. 

  • 59% think now is a good time to buy.
  • 66% think its harder for a first-time homebuyer to buy today than it was five years ago.
  • 43% worry their home's value will drop in the next two years.
  • 14% worry they may soon fail to make their monthly payments.

How are you feeling about Southeast Texas' housing market?   

Texas has faired better than most of the country in terms of the current housing situation.  Our state continues to have one of the highest percentages of population growth.  A growing population helps keep the inventory of homes for sale at healthy levels. Forbes.com recently ranked Austin and San Antonio as two of the top ten markets in the country.  If Beaumont was a larger market we could have made the list in my opinion.

Southeast Texas has a healthy housing market, but many people hear and listen to the National press. Do you agree with the AP Poll?  Are you worried about the housing market?  Share your thoughts...

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Wait Until Next Week: New Posts

Koala_sleeping Looking for new posts?

Stay tuned.  The latest housing news and market updates will return next Tuesday, April 15th.

Until then enjoy the beautiful spring weather we are having in Southeast Texas.  Its a great time to be out looking for a new home.   

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How Much Home Can You Buy For 80k In Beaumont, TX?

8740_overhill When I first moved to Southeast Texas, from Central Florida, I found it hard to believe you could still

buy a home for less than $80,000.  Prices in Central Florida had gone up so much over the past ten years even starter homes were over $100,000.  And there weren't many around at that price.

First time home buyers and investors in Beaumont have a much better selection of homes to choose from even when working on a purchase price under $80,000.  Take the photo for example.  This cute home is on the market for $77,000.  It offers three bedrooms, 1 full bath and 1 half bath.  Its located in the West-end of Beaumont, on Overhill.  What to drive by it?  Here's how you get there. Don't you love the Google maps!


View Larger Map

Right now in Beaumont you have 21 homes to choose from priced between $70,000-$80,000.  Eight offer three bedrooms and two baths.  You can find these economically priced homes all over town.  There are nine located in the Northern part of town.  Two located in the South, and ten in the West-end.  One thing you will find with most of these affordable homes is that you may need to do a little handiwork to get them in top shape.  At least two of the 21 are bank owned foreclosures.  Foreclosures are often sold in as-is condition.  The new home buyer will have to do any repairs.  While $80,000 probably won't buy you the custom-estate home of your dreams, it will buy you a good starter home or a great potential investment/rental property.

Everyone needs a first home.     

Interested in getting more information on any of these homes?  Email me and I'll send you the list. Or call me and we'll schedule some time to go see them.   

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