Retiring? Don’t make these real estate mistakes

President’s column

By Beth Shearon, President

GRANBURY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 May 2018

 Retiring? Don’t make these real estate mistakes

Looking forward to retirement? It can be an exciting transition. Unfortunately, some people find themselves in tough circumstances due to unwise real estate moves. Here are some mistakes to avoid.

Don’t make impulsive decisions

If you’ve been planning to sell your current home to downsize or move to a new location, you’ve likely done research and given some thought to the idea. If not, though, a quick decision right after you retire could lead to disappointment or financial difficulty. Take time to explore all the factors that go into any move you’re considering. You can also discuss your ideas with a Realtor. He or she has experience helping many others who have made the same kinds of moves you’re now contemplating.

Remember that retirement isn’t the same as a vacation

You may have loved going to your favorite vacation spot each year and dreamed about one day retiring there. But vacationing in a place is not the same as living there. Before you make that move, spend time in the area and imagine it as your permanent home. Does it have the year-round amenities, weather, and lifestyle that work well for you? Also, can you afford the kind of home you want and the ongoing cost of living there?

Don’t forget your health and mobility

Whether you want to remain in your current home or sell it and buy something else, think about how your life could change as you age. Does your location provide access to the medical care you may need? Is the home itself navigable if you become less mobile? Planning for these possibilities now may save you from having to move again if your health declines.

Keep the costs in mind

Whether you’re thinking about buying a second home or selling your current house and buying something nicer, be sure to carefully run the numbers. It’s easy to underestimate all the costs of homeownership. Can you really afford the homeowners association fees, insurance, maintenance, and taxes without depleting your retirement money too quickly?

Have a plan for your sale proceeds

If you make a sizeable profit from downsizing, what will you do with that money? A new car and lavish vacations may be tempting, but soundly investing your proceeds may be just what you need to shore up your retirement nest egg.

Learn more about real estate transactions and search for a Texas Realtor at texasrealestate.com.

How federal tax reform impacts Texas real estate

By Beth Shearon, President

GRANBURY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

President’s column

January 2018

How federal tax reform impacts Texas real estate

If you’ve ever bought, sold, or leased property using a Texas Realtor, you know that we are always watching out for your best interests. But Texas Realtors don’t just advocate for you during transactions—we also advocate for you at all levels of government to ensure lawmakers support public policy that benefits you.

This was especially true during the debate at the end of 2017 that led to federal tax reform.

The bill that was signed into law has made several changes to the tax code that directly impact current and prospective homeowners, including changes to popular tax deductions.

For example, homeowners previously could deduct an unlimited amount for the state and local property taxes you pay each year. With the new law, this deduction is limited to $10,000. Unfortunately, homeowners across the state are seeing increasing property taxes—even some in our market—with many already exceeding that $10,000 limit.

And if you paid interest on a mortgage, you can now only deduct the interest on a loan of up to $750,000 for new loans taken out after Dec. 14, 2017—a decrease from the previous $1 million limit.

In addition, if you have a home equity loan, you will no longer be able to deduct the interest paid unless you meet certain requirements. And the deduction for moving expenses has been repealed, except for members of the Armed Forces.

But these are just a few of the changes. The new law has many other implications for property owners and those who may become property owners, so it’s best to consult a tax professional for details about your specific situation.

Lawmakers often rely on Realtors to educate them on the local impact of proposed legislation, and the tax reform debate was no exception. The legislation went through an intense process with new proposals and compromises, and Texas Realtors were there every step of the way, urging Congress to protect homeowners.

The Texas Association of Realtors actively engaged in the tax reform discussion, conducting research to analyze the various proposals’ impact on Texas homeowners. When the bill was being debated, Texas Realtors sent thousands of messages to Congress and visited the U.S. Capitol in person to educate lawmakers on the bill’s impact back home.

Visit texasrealestate.com/tax reform to learn more about the new law’s effect on property owners.

1st Quarter Analysis: Granbury and Hood County Housing Market Remains Good Going into 2018

1st Quarter Analysis: Granbury and Hood County Housing Market Remains Good Going into 2018

However; More Inventory is Needed

The Granbury and Hood County housing market remained good during the first quarter of 2018. 284 homes were sold in Q1-2018, a 9% decrease from Q1-2017. The Median sales price for homes remained relatively flat, at $216,625, compared to first quarter 2017.

The Median Price Growth for the two primary zip code areas in Hood County were somewhat different. The Median Price Growth in 76048 was down -1.4% compared to first quarter in 2017. 113 homes were sold and the Median Price was $181,370. The Median Price Growth in 76049 was up 6.2% over Q1 2017. The Median Price was $240,000 for the 164 homes that were closed.

Monthly housing inventory continues to decline. Hood County had 2.5 months of inventory compared to 3.1 months in the same quarter last year. This is well below the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s benchmark of 6 to 6.5 months of inventory as a balanced/robust housing market. Active listings are also down 17.6% when compared to first quarter 2017.

Homes spent an average of 49 days on the market in 2018 Q1, which is 21 days less than 2017 Q1.

Price distribution between the 2 quarters, in 2017 and 2018, remained very similar.

There is planned and current development underway. A planned development near Meander Estates. will have an “Austin Farmhouse Style”, with approximately 30 units. Building should begin the end of 2018. Another Development, at Old Granbury Road and 167 has begun. Approximately 15 – 20 units are planned.

Ashley Oaks is expanding, with another 20 units planned and Phase III in Gemstone Estates has been opened.

Building continues in Harbor Lakes and Indian Harbor.

By: Denise Huber, Association Executive

GRANBURY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

ae@granburyrealtors.com

(817) 326-2530

What Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection

After an inspector has finished a home report, buyers may feel overwhelmed by any flaws that might have been found. That’s why it’s important they take the opportunity to learn more so that they can move forward confidently in the transaction.

A recent article at realtor.com® recommends home buyers ask their inspector clarifying questions like: “I don’t understand this; what does it mean?” or “Is this a major or minor problem?” and “Do I need to call in another expert for a follow-up?”

Home inspectors are bound to uncover something in a home; no home is perfect. But the majority of the problems they uncover will likely be minor. Have the home inspector clarify which problems fall within the “minor” or “major” categories.

Keep in mind: “The inspector can’t tell you, ‘Make sure the seller pays for this,’ so be sure you understand what needs to be done,” Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told realtor.com®.

If the inspector identifies a potentially major problem, consumers will want to follow up whether they should call an additional expert in to investigate further. For example, consumers may need to bring in an electrician to take a closer look at potential electrical issues that were flagged or a roofer if a roofing problem is suspected. Those specialists can then give an idea of the cost to fix it, which the real estate agent can take to the seller to request a concession, if the seller doesn’t want to fix it prior to the sale.

Also, Lesh says that the list of items a home inspector identifies are issues the new buyer may need to address as soon as they move in. He says it’s like a “to-do list” for those items that did not get repaired by the seller prior to the sale.

5 Ways Sellers Can Prepare for a Home Inspection

David R. Leopold, owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspection in Fairfield County, Conn., says home sellers and their real estate professionals have an important role in preparing for a home inspection to help ensure it goes smoothly. Leopold offers up some of the following tips in a recent article in RISMedia, including:

  1. Don’t hide what isn’t working: If an appliance isn’t working, leave a note that indicates what isn’t working and how you’re getting it fixed. Don’t try to conceal defects because it can make the inspector start to view you as dishonest and wonder what else you’re hiding.
  2. Make things accessible: Ensure the location of the attic and crawlspace are identified and easy to access. Don’t make a home inspector move your belongings in order to gain access.
  3. Check the lightbulbs: If a lightbulb isn’t working, the inspector will need to determine if the fixture is inoperable. Save them time by making sure all the lightbulbs in the home operate, including those in the crawlspace, attic, and furnace rooms.
  4. Note septic systems: If you have a septic system in the yard, be sure to leave a sketch that includes the location of it. It’ll avoid home inspectors, buyers, and real estate professionals having to conduct prolonged searches for it, Leopold says.
  5. Keep appliances clear: Don’t leave dirty laundry in the washing machine or dryer because the inspector will need to test the appliances, and he doesn’t want to have to pull out dirty clothes in front of everybody, Leopold says. “Also, make sure your oven and stovetop are clear and clean, so we can easily test them without setting off the smoke alarm,” he adds.

What you should know about Home Inspections

President’s column

By Beth Shearon, President

GRANBURY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

September 2018

What you should know about Home Inspections.

When buying a house, you want to know as much as possible about the property – it’s a big investment. Hiring a home inspector is a great way to learn more about the condition of your potential home.

What’s a Home Inspection?

It is a visual examination of a house’s structure and systems by a trained inspector.

What does a Home Inspection cover?

The inspector usually looks at the foundation, roof, attic, walls, ceilings, windows, doors and any attached decks or porches. He will also inspect the electrical, heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems.

Keep in mind the inspector examines only what is visible and accessible. He is not moving appliances or climbing onto a steeply pitched roof. He will report cracks in a wall but won’t be able to examine a slab foundation underneath wall-to-wall carpet or hardwood floors. Your inspector may find an issue that you would like inspected by a specialist, such as a structural engineer or plumber.

Does the Inspector Repair Defects?

No. The inspector’s job is to report the condition of various parts of a home. For example, the inspector may report that the water meter still runs when nothing in the house is using water, which could indicate a leak. However, you need to call a plumber to investigate the problem.

Does Anyone Regulate Home Inspectors?

Yes. Home inspectors are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Inspectors are required to use a common form and follow certain standards of practice.

A Texas REALTOR® can help with the timing of your inspection and next steps, once you get the results.