St George Area House Hunting

St George Area House Hunting can be challenging. Most people have a general idea of what they would like in a home, and some have a very specific list of “must haves”. Personally I like the challenge of helping people find their dream home. In the last few months the inventory of homes in the St George real estate MLS has increased. This makes it a great time to get a good deal on a new home. When people compete for business it usually translates to better prices for the consumer. The best analogy for this is the automobile industry. When people are shopping for a car, if they only have 2 to choose from they may not get a very good deal. If they have 20 to choose from they can be very selective, and get dealers to lower their price out of fear of losing a sale. This is true in the St George Real Estate market also. With the number of houses nearing 2000 in the Washington County MLS buyers can be selective and offer lower prices.

St George Real Estate Market Forecast

May was a good indication of the current trend in our local market. There were about 30 price decreases every day in May. The reason people typically reduce their price is, they are area realizing that they may not be able to sell at the price they have their home listed at.

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Another factor to consider when evaluating the overall St George Real Estate market is what is known as the absorption rate. This is the number of houses it would take us 6 months to sell at our current monthly sales rate. The graph shows the dramatic increase in homes for sale, and the absorption rate. The St George Real Estate market typically hovers around 6 months inventory. While it looks like a fairly small increase on the graph it is a fairly substantial increase in inventory.

These two graphs tell a story. People that study numbers for a living believe we are headed for more of the same. This may sound a little scary, especially given the recent history and the devastation created by the real estate bubble. Many people suffered financial devastation when the last real estate bubble popped. The difference with this slow down and the big crash is the spike preceding the slow down is not as large. The gradual increase we have experienced over the last few years appears to be sustainable.

Pricing Homes For Sale

In the last few months we have priced homes anticipating that the growth and increase in values would continue. I believe we will need to be a little more conservative moving forward to avoid building false hopes in the clients who list with us. The statistics don’t lie and I believe it is the agents responsibility to stay informed of trends, and to educate those we work. Personally, I would rather lose a listing than have it expire because it was priced too high from the beginning. Pricing a home is easy, pricing a home to sell is a little more of a challenge.

Short Sale Changes

Short Sale Changes

“Effective December 31, 2013 – Short Sales no longer have an automatic waiver of the deficiency.  It is even more important now for agents to recommend sellers get advice from their accountant or legal counsel.”

This statement was sent to all agents  in our Local St George Real Estate MLS recently. Basically what it means is, up until now if a person entered into and sold his or her home short (for less than they owed) there was no tax penalty. This was because the Federal Government had passed a bill allowing people that sold their homes in a short sale to be forgiven of the tax liabilities associated with it. This is significant not only in our St George real estate market, but across the nation.

Hire A Professional

You my be wondering, “what tax liability? I am struggling right now and had to give my house away and mess up my credit”. Exactly now according to the above statement, if a person sells their house for less than they owe, they will be taxed on the amount they benefit from. If you owe $300,000 on your house and were only able to sell it for $250,000, you would be sent a 1099 tax form to notify you that you will be taxed for $50,000 as if it were income. There are some exceptions to the rule, one of which is proving that you have had some type of hardship that contributed to the short sale. At any rate this is something that requires the help of a trained CPA.

Short Sale Specialist

I work closely with a short sale specialist in the St George Real Estate market. Her expertise is unsurpassed when it comes to helping with a short sale. It is like anything, when someone specializes is something they become better at it than people who dabble in it. She has knowledge of how the various lenders operate, and the nuances of each of them. Armed with this additional knowledge she can expedite the process as much as possible. There is really no way to hurry the bank as they work through their tedious, slow and drawn out process. The St George Real Estate market short sale specialist assures that the bank is never waiting for the person listing their home.

Short Sale May Not Be a Good Idea

In our St George Real Estate market it may be a good idea to wait for the market as it continues to climb. Many people have been fortunate enough to see their home values climb to where they can sell and put a little money in their pockets. In spite of the slow economy, real estate values continue to climb. There is a difference in the climb we are currently experiencing and the bubble that burst a few years ago. The increase in the St George Real Estate market values this time is more gradual and consistent. Professionals in the real estate industry believe that this increase will be sustained and more consistent. All of that being said it might be a good idea to hang on a little longer, if at all possible, rather than short sale. This is even more important given the new tax penalty. Of course it is impossible to guarantee consistent growth.

Agents And Agency

Many people do not understand all of the hoopla that agents make about Agents and Agency. Agency is a legal term that basically means you have hired someone to work with and for you. Associated with the term agent are terms like Fiduciary Responsibility. This big term means that your real estate agent has certain duties that he or she must perform to help you as you buy or sell your home.

In the St George Real Estate market and throughout the state Agents representing the seller have the following responsibilities. The description below comes from a form created by the Utah Association of Realtors. It explains that the Listing Agent has a responsibility to help you the St George Real Estate market home seller, and the agent also is expected to be honest and fair with potential buyers.

SELLER’S AGENTS AND AGENCY

A real estate agent who lists a seller’s property for sale (“Seller’s Agent”), acts as the agent for the seller only, and has fiduciary duties of loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality and reasonable care to that seller. In practical terms, the seller hires a Seller’s Agent to locate a buyer and negotiate a transaction with terms favorable to the seller. Although the Seller’s Agent has these fiduciary duties to the seller, the Seller’s Agent is, by law, responsible to all prospective buyers to treat them with honesty, fair dealing, and with good faith.

When you are looking for a home in the St George Real Estate Market the agent you choose to work with is bound by similar terms. Here is the description from the same Utah State approved form.

BUYER’S AGENT

A real estate agent that acts as agent for the buyer only (“Buyer’s Agent”) has the same fiduciary duties to that buyer that a Seller’s Agent has to the seller. In practical terms, the buyer hires a Buyer’s Agent to locate a suitable property and negotiate a transaction with terms favorable to the buyer. Although the Buyer’s Agent has these fiduciary duties to the buyer, the Buyer’s Agent is, by law, responsible to all prospective sellers to treat them with honesty, fair dealing, and with good faith.

As you can see St George Real Estate agents and agents everywhere are expected to assist home buyers and sellers, in an honest and forthright way. If you are looking for a home, it is a good idea to make sure the home you are interested in is still available. You can easily do this by visiting our local MLS. This link provides up to date information about the homes in the St George Real Estate market. Many people like to use Zillow and Trulia, which is fine. After you have identified a home on one of these sites check here to make sure it is still available.

Washington Fields

A popular location in the real estate in St George area and southern Utah is Washington Fields. The area is relatively new and has some nice homes that are reasonably priced. Like many areas, Washington Fields has struggled with foreclosures, and short sales. The real estate market in St George has finally turned, in the fields, and homes prices are increasing. This is good if you have been waiting to sell, not so good if you are interested in purchasing in Washington Fields. Homes are currently selling for anywhere from $95 a square foot up to $140. There are still some distressed properties available, but they typically are gone days or even hours after they hit the market. In order to get a “good deal” in Washington Fields the buyer has to have a plan and be included in real time as houses come available. Real Estate in St George and in Washington Fields are both currently great investments.

Good Deals in Washington

In order to get a good deal in Washington a person needs to develop a plan. It is a good idea to understand how houses become available. The local St George Real Estate MLS is one of the best resources to view new listings. Another source for good deals are the government foreclosure websites. There are several to connect with. We have direct feeds from most of these sources, making it easy for us to forward them on to you. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac type foreclosures require the person purchasing to use an agent. There is really no incentive to take the time to set up your own notifications from them. If you are interested in a distressed property give us a call we can help you establish a plan to increase your chances of obtaining a lower priced house. It is important to understand that searching for a great deals in the Real Estate market in the St George area takes quite a bit of time, and is not for a person that needs a house right away. It is also important to consider that housing prices are increasing while a person may be spending time chasing the illusive great deal. In other words if you dedicate 9-12 months looking for a great deal you could have purchased a house and enjoyed the appreciation currently taking place. It might be a good idea to solicit the help of a real estate professional when looking for deals in Real Estate in St George.

Short Sales in Washington Fields

The number of short sales in the Real Estate market in St George have reduced greatly over the last few years. This has made searching for short sales much more difficult. Like foreclosures, when a short sale hits the market in Washington Fields, or the entire St George Real Estate market for that matter, they are usually gone in less than a week. Most have multiple offers on them. Multiple offers on St George short sales means that many times the house sells for more than the asking price. Multiple offer sales on real estate in St George are basically what they sound like. The seller, and the bank will have several offers to choose from.  In some cases the seller is totally disengaged and doesn’t care what the house sells for, they just want to move on. They may accept a low offer, but the lender who is “coming up short” has the final say on how much the property will actually be sold for. Making an offer on a short sale on St George Real Estate needs to be carefully researched to assure that you are not paying more than you need to. Care should also be taken to offer enough to beat the competition trying for the same property. The appraisal is also a factor to be taken into consideration. If a person offers too much for a house there is a chance it may not appraise for the sales price. Short sales, in the St George Real Estate market can be a good deal. You might want the help of a real estate professional especially since it won’t cost you, the home buyer, to use one.

List It With Me

Every Real Estate Agent will say the same thing, “List it with me.” With the market shortage of new listings, most agents are spending the majority of their time trying to find houses to sell. Many people have been waiting for the market to turn around, with the hope that their home will return to the value it was purchased at before they sell. It is important for home owners to have an understanding of how their home value is determined. There is a process that is used by real estate agents in Southern Utah called a CMA. This is the acronym for “comparative market analysis”. The process is accomplished by researching houses that are currently for sale in the St George area, and houses that have sold in the St George area.

“Sure You Can Get That For Your House”

Since the home seller actually sets the price their home will sell for, their is a lot of room for error. If a real estate agent really needs a listing he may allow the home owner to believe their home is worth more than it might really be. This may truly be unintentional. It is difficult as the majority of home owners believe their home is worth more than it really is. After their home has not had any interest for a few months, the agent will general suggest they reduce their price. It is almost a law of nature that anything will eventually sell, once it reaches the price that it is really worth.

St George Home Values

The price of homes in St George are definitely moving upward. This can lead the highly optimistic agent and anxious home owner to “over price” a home. This creates a problem later down the road, if the homeowner actually gets an offer on the home for more than it will appraise for. Unless the home appraises for the sales price, the deal will usually not fly. This is because most of the people buying homes will be getting a loan, and loans require an appraisal. Appraisers use the same database that real estate agents use to gather data to determine the value for a property. This means that an agent should be able to estimate fairly closely what a house will appraise for.

Can Your House Compete?

A good analogy for home values can actually be illustrated by a look at the auto industry. When a person prepares to purchase a car they will research what kind of cars are available in the price range they are interested in. With access to home values on the Internet, potential home buyers have a good idea of how much they will need to pay for the type of house they want. If they are looking at houses in the same price range as yours,  these homes, are your homes competition. In other words if your house is very similar to another house priced at $250,000, and you are asking $275,000, chances are your house will not sell. Home buyers in Southern Utah are extremely savvy when it comes to house prices. This means that a home needs to be priced properly to sell in today’s market.

Welcome To St George Home

St George Utah

If you are new to St George you will soon recognize why so many people are coming home to St George. The beautiful red rocks, and sunny warm days attract many new residents every year. St George is famous for several events including the St George Marathon. This annual event brings thousands of runners and their families to southern Utah each year. An interesting phenomena that is currently taking place in Southern Utah is the increase in activity in the Real Estate market. Unique to this part of Utah, St George is experiencing a serge in real estate sales. It is estimated that 35% of the new growth is taking place with new construction. A person doesn’t have to travel very far around the valley to find new houses springing up. Building permits are up 50% over last year.

Short Sales and Foreclosures

The short sale and foreclosure properties are becoming more and more scarce. These factors are allowing real estate values to move upward. People that have been waiting for property values to increase are beginning to realize some positive equity in their homes. There are still a few distressed properties available, but it is a tricky process to nail something down. The ever elusive “great deal” may not be through a short sale at all. Some people try and try to find a property through the short sale market only to find that they have wasted several months with nothing to show for their time. Some people discover that while they were trying to find that great deal they missed out on some good deals that have already increased in value while they were chasing the short sale.

We Can Help

If you have time and are not in a hurry, we can help you zero in on any potential short sale properties that are still available. If you are desirous to move a little quicker we can also help you find a “sleeper” property that is priced to sell. In some cases these types of properties are a better deal all the way around. The biggest advantage of this type of property is the fact that the buyer knows exactly when he or she can close on the property, and that they are not waiting for a bank somewhere to give them a green light.