Hi. I'm Diane McNelis, Award winning Texas Realtor(R) with Coldwell Banker Southern Homes. Selling and Buying homes in Southeast Texas can be complicated. I'm here to help. When we work together I become your advocate. My goal is to get you the best deal possible and to exceed your service expectations. On my blog, I share tips and strategies for selling and buying homes in Southeast Texas.

Tips for Buying a Home in Beaumont or Lumberton

If your new years plans call for a new home then you'll want to read this article.  It may be better to buy now in the winter than to wait for the traditional spring home buying season in Southeast Texas.  

Should I Wait for Lower Mortgage Interest Rates?

Should I Wait for Lower Mortgage Interest Rates? | MyKCM

Historically low mortgage rates are a big motivator for homebuyers right now. In 2020 alone, rates hit new record-lows 16 times, and the trend continued into the early part of this year. Many hopeful homebuyers are now wondering if they should put their plans on hold and wait for the lowest rates imaginable. However, the reality is, acting sooner rather than later may be the actual win if you’re ready to buy a home.

According to Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst for Bankrate:

“As vaccines become more widely available and a return to normal starts to come into view, we’ll see mortgage rates bounce off the record lows.”

While only a slight increase in mortgage rates is projected for 2021, some experts believe they will start to rise. Over the past week, for example, the average mortgage rate ticked up slightly, reaching 2.79%. This is still incredibly low compared to the trends we’ve seen over time. According to Freddie Mac:

“Borrowers are smart to take advantage of these low rates now and will certainly benefit as a result.”

Here’s why.

As mortgage rates rise, the increase impacts the overall cost of purchasing a home. The higher the rate, the higher your monthly mortgage payment, especially as home prices rise too. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macsays:

“The forces behind the drop in rates have been shifting over the last few months and rates are poised to rise modestly this year. The combination of rising mortgage rates and increasing home prices will accelerate the decline in affordability and further squeeze potential homebuyers during the spring home sales season.”

What does this mean for buyers?

Right now, the inventory of houses for sale is also at a historic low, making it more challenging than normal to find a home to buy in many areas. As more buyers hit the market in the typically busy spring buying season, it may become even harder to find a home in the coming months. With this in mind, Len Keifer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Macrecommends taking advantage of both low mortgage rates and the opportunity to buy:

“If you’ve found a home that fits your needs at a price you can afford, it might be better to act now rather than wait for future rate declines that may never come and a future that likely holds very tight inventory.”

My Final Suggestion

While today’s low mortgage rates provide great opportunities for homebuyers, we may not see them stick around forever. If you’re ready to buy a home, let’s connect so you can take advantage of what today’s market has to offer.

If you are ready to get pre-qualified but don't know the best lenders to contact, I can help.  For the past twelve plus years I have worked with some of the best loan officers in Southeast Texas.  If you want the list of the top lenders I recommend contact me here on the blog.  Getting pre-qualified is the best thing you can do when you are ready to start looking for a home. 

Sincerely,

Diane


2021 Home Values in Southeast Texas

Supply and Demand

The supply of homes for sale in Beaumont and Lumberton remains very low.  With less than a 4 month supply of homes for sale in many parts of Southeast Texas and building costs being at an all time high the demand for homes remains robust.  

Interest rates continue to drive home buying demand.  The shortage of supply continues to press prices upward.  What will happen in 2021?  

What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values?

What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

According to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, nationwide home values increased by 8.2% over the last twelve months. The dramatic rise was brought about as the inventory of homes for sale reached historic lows at the same time buyer demand was buoyed by record-low mortgage rates. As CoreLogic explained:

“Home price growth remained consistently elevated throughout 2020. Home sales for the year are expected to register above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, the availability of for-sale homes has dwindled as demand increased and coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks continued across the country, which delayed some sellers from putting their homes on the market.

While the pandemic left many in positions of financial insecurity, those who maintained employment and income stability are also incentivized to buy given the record-low mortgage rates available; this is increasing buyer demand while for-sale inventory is in short supply.”

Where will home values go in 2021?

Home price appreciation in 2021 will continue to be determined by this imbalance of supply and demand. If supply remains low and demand is high, prices will continue to increase.

Housing Supply

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current number of single-family homes for sale is 1,080,000. At the same time last year, that number stood at 1,450,000. We are entering 2021 with approximately 370,000 fewer homes for sale than there were one year ago.

However, there is some speculation that the inventory crush will ease somewhat as we move through the new year for two reasons:

1. As the health crisis eases, more homeowners will be comfortable putting their houses on the market.

2. Some households impacted financially by the pandemic will be forced to sell.

Housing Demand

Low mortgage rates have driven buyer demand over the last twelve months. According to Freddie Mac, rates stood at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020. Today, we’re starting 2021 with rates one full percentage point lower than that. Low rates create a great opportunity for homebuyers, which is one reason why demand is expected to remain high throughout the new year.

Taking into consideration these projections on housing supply and demand, real estate analysts forecast homes will continue to appreciate in 2021, but that appreciation may be at a steadier pace than last year. Here are their forecasts:What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

My Final 2 Cents

In Lumberton and Beaumont there's still a limited number of homes for sale for the great number of purchasers looking to buy them. Home prices will continue to rise, although probably at a more moderate pace than they did in 2020.  Until the supply of homes begins to increase, which is expected later this spring/summer, prices will keep going up. 

If you are thinking of selling a home in Southeast Texas, let's connect.  Waiting until spring might not be the best decision this year.  

Sincerely,

Diane


5 Reasons to Hire a Top Local Realtor

The thought of selling a home on your own so you can save the real estate commission might be tempting but before you do here's a few reasons to hire a top local Realtor.  

Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]

Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Choosing the right real estate professional to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make in your homebuying or selling process.
  • The right agent can explain current market conditions and break down exactly what they mean for you.
  • If you’re considering buying or selling a home this year, let’s connect so you can work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, negotiations, and more.

Hello, Let's Connect

If you just found my blog, hello.  My name is Diane McNelis.  I'm one of the top local real estate agents with Coldwell Banker Southern Homes.  For the past twelve years I've been helping buyers and sellers in Southeast Texas.  Before that   was a licensed Realtor in the state of Florida.  If you are starting to think about buying or selling a home in Beaumont, Lumberton, or Orange in 2021 let's connect.  

 


Is 2021 the Year to Sell a Home in Beaumont or Lumberton?

If you live in Southeast Texas and one of your New Year Resolutions is to sell your home this year, you should read this article.  

Is This the Year to Sell My House?

Is This the Year to Sell My House? | MyKCM

If one of the questions you’re asking yourself is, “Should I sell my house this year?” consumer sentiment about selling today should boost your confidence in the right direction. Even with the current health crisis that continues to challenge our nation, Americans still feel good about selling a house. Here’s why.

According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, 57% of consumer respondents to their survey indicate now is a good time to buy a home, while 59% feel it’s a good time to sell one:

“The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home remained the same at 59%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 35% to 33%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 2 percentage points month over month.”

As you can see, many still believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a house.

Why is now a good time to sell?

There simply are not enough homes available to meet today’s buyer demand, and they’re selling just as quickly as they’re coming to the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), unsold inventory available today sits at a 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from a 2.5-month supply from the previous month. This record-low inventory is not even half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory to balance out.

With so few homes available for buyers to choose from, we’re in a true sellers’ market. Homeowners ready to make a move right now have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible contracts with buyers who are feeling the pull of intense competition when it comes to finding their dream home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, notes how quickly homes are selling right now, further confirming the benefits to sellers this season:

"The market is incredibly swift this winter with the listed homes going under contract on average at less than a month due to a backlog of buyers wanting to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates."

However, this sweet spot for sellers won’t last forever. As more homes are listed this year, this tip toward sellers may start to wane. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.commore choices for buyers are on the not-too-distant horizon:

“The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.”

A Few Final Thoughts

The number of homes for sale is close to an all time low in Southeast Texas.  Take a look at how few homes are for sale in these popular towns and neighborhoods: 

  1. Lumberton 54 homes for sale
  2. Fannett 12 homes for sale
  3. Sour Lake 20 homes for sale
  4. Beaumont West Neighborhoods 90 homes for sale

If you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.  

Sincerely,

Diane

 


Westchase Village Home Sales 2020 Review

Frequent readers of the blog know that I keep a close eye on home sales in Westchase Village.  In fact, I snail mail a postcard to home owners in Westchase Village monthly to keep them up to date on home sales trends in the neighborhood.  

This month's postcard is the 2020 review.   Here's a sneak peak.  It goes out in the mail this week. 

Westchase Report_ Monthly Postcard_ Dec Year ReviewThere are currently six homes for sale in Westchase Village.  The lowest price is $279,900.  The highest is $629,900.  The average price of a home in the neighborhood is currently $448,500.   There are a few remaining lots in Westchase Village where new construction homes can be built.  Homes range in size from approximately 2,000 square feet up to 5,000 square feet.  

If you would like more information on Westchase Village in Beaumont, Texas or any other neighborhood in Southeast Texas, let's visit.  As a local, professional Realtor I'm here to help you with your home selling and buying goals.  You can reach me on the blog, my text or email. 

Sincerely,

Diane

Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes


3 Tips from a Top Listing Agent in Beaumont, Texas

Before you sell a home in Southeast Texas read this!

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCM

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.

When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.

1. Price Your Home Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCMThis is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Final Thoughts

I'm glad you found my blog and read today's tips.  I've been selling homes in Southeast Texas, as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Southern Homes for the past twelve years.  As one of the top listing agents year after year, I have the experience to help you sell your home for top dollar.  Customer service is my top priority.  If you are looking for an agent you can trust and rely on, let's talk.  Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.

Sincerely,

Diane

Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes


Southeast Texas Homes For Sale By Owner

Are you thinking about selling your home in 2021?  You might think trying For Sale By Owner in Southeast Texas is a way to save the real estate commission.  Did you know studies show for sale by owner homes actually sell for less than those homes listed by a professional local real Realtor?  

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake | MyKCM

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following items.

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your potential buyers.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Is Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process is growing dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place, potentially driving the price higher, too.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.

If you still aren't sure about listing your home with a top local professional Realtor, let's talk.  I'm glad to prepare a market analysis for your home and discuss pricing with you at no cost or obligation.  

Sincerely,

Diane 

Diane McNelis, Coldwell Banker Southern Homes


Lumberton, Hardin County Home Sales in November

If you live in Southeast Texas, then you have likely heard that the Lumberton housing market has been on fire this year.  Homes are selling fast and prices keep going up.  Here's a look Hardin County home sales for November 2020. 

Hardin Co Nov Sales

 

The key housing statistics that stand out:

  1. The median price of a home in Hardin County is $197,000
  2. 22.4% of homes that closed were sold for $300,000 and up
  3. Homes averaged 86 days on the market
  4. There is a real shortage of homes for sale.  

A six month supply of homes for sale is considered a balanced market.  In November, Hardin County had a 3 month supply of homes for sale.  Fewer homes equals more competition among buyers and higher prices.  

If you have any questions about home sales in Lumberton or any part of Southeast Texas, send me a message, call or text.  I'm here to help with all your Southeast Texas real estate needs.

Sincerely,

Diane

 


Beaumont Home Sales in November 2020

November Home Sales Highlights

  1. 95% of home sales in November were homes priced at $399,999 and below
  2. The median price of a home that sold in Beaumont in November was up 3.9% from last November
  3. Homes averaged 86 days on the market
  4. The number of homes currently for sale is down 24% from last November

Beaumont Nov Stats

 

To get more information about home sales in Beaumont, reach out to me here on the blog or text my cell.  I'm happy to help.  

Sincerely,

Diane


Southeast Texas Home Values Forecast to Increase in 2021

$8,000 gain in Value  

The average home in the State of Texas had an increase in value in 2020 of approximately $8,000.  If you are thinking home prices in Southeast Texas are getting too high you might want to read what the economists are forecasting. Home values are expected to increase again in 2021 and 2022.  In fact, the first year of a new President's term in office has been the best of the four for the housing market.  

Homeowner Equity Increases an Astonishing $1 Trillion

Homeowner Equity Increases an Astonishing $1 Trillion | MyKCM

In a year that was financially devastating for many Americans, some good news for most homeowners is the dramatic gain in home equity over the last twelve months. Last week, CoreLogic released its 2020 3rd Quarter Homeowner Equity Insights report, which reveals four major findings:

  1. U.S. homeowners with mortgages have seen their equity increase by a total of $1 trillion since the third quarter of 2019.
  2. The average homeowner gained approximately $17,000 in equity over the past year.
  3. This is a 10.8% increase in equity over last year.
  4. The average household with a mortgage now has $194,000 in home equity.

This has given many homeowners the ability to redesign their homes to meet their changing needs. Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, explains in the report:

“The housing market has remained a strong pillar in an otherwise tumultuous economic year. A sharp rise in demand, spurred by record-low interest rates, continues to bolster homeowner equity. And with many people now spending more time than ever before at home, some homeowners have tapped into their strengthening equity to fund renovations.”

This build-up in equity also gives more options to homeowners who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Today, homeowners with substantial equity are in a much better position to work out a deal with their lender if they cannot pay their mortgage. Alternatively, they also have the power to sell and walk away with their equity in the form of cash or as a down payment toward a more affordable house. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, addresses the issue in the report:

"Over the past year, strong home price growth has created a record level of home equity for homeowners…This provides an important buffer to protect families if they experience financial difficulties and is one reason for the generational-low in foreclosure rates reported."

Here’s a map showing equity gains by state:Homeowner Equity Increases an Astonishing $1 Trillion | MyKCM

This gain in home equity is a blessing for homeowners in these trying times, and it seems that the next two years will continue to reward those who own a home.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) held their 2020 Real Estate Forecast SummitAt the summit, they shared the results of a recent survey of 23 economic and housing market experts. The median forecast among the experts called for home values to increase further by 8% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022.

Bottom Line

In a year that has many of us reevaluating what “home” really means, those who own their homes have been rewarded with a financial windfall that averages $17,000 individually and totals $1 trillion nationally.

If you would like to know how much the value of your Southeast Texas home has increased this year, let's visit.  I can prepare a professional market analysis on your home at no cost to you.  You can reach me on the blog, call or text.  

Sincerely,

Diane