Wednesday, December 25, 2013


The McLeod Group 
wishes you a 
Merry Christmas 
and a 
Happy New Year

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Serious Housing Conversations Happen Over the Holidays


Hi Friends!

As we enjoy the holiday season I want to share with you an article I came across about some things we should keep in mind as we celebrate.  


"As the holidays approach, families will be gathering all across the country to share meals, exchange gifts, and take part in activities and traditions passed down through the generations.

And while this time of year is typically reserved for celebration and remembrance, it is often a time for serious conversations and decision making for those with elder parents and relatives."


To continue reading:  Serious Housing Conversations Happen Over the Holidays

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 Reasons to Buy A Home Now Instead of Spring


Hi Friends, 

During my reading I came across this article and I want to share it with you. It has some great points explaining why now is the time to buy!


"Based on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five major reasons purchasers should consider buying:

Supply is Shrinking: 

With inventory declining in many regions, finding a home of your dreams may become more difficult going forward. There are buyers in more and more markets surprised that there is no longer a large assortment of houses to choose from. The best homes in the best locations sell first. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy.

Price Increases Are on the Horizon: 

Prices are projected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

Owning A Home Helps Create Family Wealth: 

Whether you are rent or you own the home you are leaving in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Fed, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

Interest Rates are Projected to Rise: 
The Mortgage Bankers Association
, the National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the end of 2014. That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates.

Buy Low, Sell High: 

We would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy."

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is Your Home Winter-Proof? 

Hi Friends, 

With the winter months upon us, I wanted to share with you some tips for protecting your home that I came across during my reading.

Don’t let your home get the winter blues. As the cold weather approaches, home owners can do the following maintenance checks to ensure their properties are ready for the winter months. The real estate Web site Zillow offers some of the following tips: 


- Check the weather stripping along your door and door frame to ensure there are no gaps that can let cold air seep into your home. Also, you may want to add weather stripping or caulk to your windows to prevent any drafts and wasting energy.

- Sweep out those chimneys. The National Fire Protection Association advises home owners to sweep out the chimney at least once a year to help prevent house fires. 

- Service those furnaces at least once a year too. It’ll cost about $100 and can help avoid costly repairs later or a malfunction of carbon monoxide pumping into the home, which can be deadly.

- Prevent frozen pipes, such as by using heating tape to wrap any exposed pipes on the home’s exterior and turning off the water as well as draining any water remaining inside the valves."


Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Down Payments Continue to Decline in Third Quarter



Hi Friends, 


I'm eager to share with you this article I found during my reading today. 

"The average down payment on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan in the third quarter of this year was 15.73 percent, according to Charlotte, North Carolina-based Lending Tree
 an online marketplace connecting potential borrowers with lenders.

The third-quarter average is down 2.74 percent from the previous quarter, according to Lending Tree, which suggested in a press release that the drop is due to a slight loosening of standards by lenders across the nation."

To Continue Reading: 
Down Payments Continue to Decline in Third Quarter


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bills


Hi Friends,

Here is an article I came across in my reading. With the winter months quickly approaching I thought you may appreciate the information found in this article.



"Now that temperatures are dropping across the country, its time to think about how you can slash your heating bills for the season. Here are five low-cost and/or no-cost moves to help you save money while staying comfortable at the same time."


To continue reading: 5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bills

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mitigation Can Soften Flood Insurance Hikes

Hi Friends!

During my reading today I found this article and thought you may have some interest in it.


"REALTORS® are reporting dramatically rising flood insurance premiums because of recent changes to the National Flood insurance Program. But while some home owners could see big increases in their costs, the changes are likely to be less dramatic for many — and some increases can be reduced by taking steps to mitigate flood risk, federal officials and private-sector experts said at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo."


To continue reading: Mitigation Can Soften Flood Insurance Hikes
Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Neighborhood Preferences 

Are Changing 



Hi Friends,

Here is an article I came across in my reading today that I thought you may have some interest in
.

"Americans are increasingly showing their desires for walk able neighborhoods that combine a mix of homes and stores. In fact, a new survey shows that the least popular neighborhood is a suburban one with just houses in it.

Sixty percent of Americans surveyed say they favor neighborhoods with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to over neighborhoods that require greater driving among home, work, and recreation, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2013 Community Preference Survey of 1,500 Americans."

To Continue Reading:
Neighborhood Preferences Are Changing


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Home Value Appreciation Set to Ease Over the Next Year


Hi Friends,

I wanted to share with you this article I found during my reading today.

"The recent fast-paced home price appreciation across the country led some markets to the brink of a bubble, but deceleration over the summer months has Zillow analysts breathing a sigh of relief as the bubble threat deflates.

Home value appreciation has declined steadily for three months, according to Zillow, and half of the nation’s 20 largest metros experienced negative appreciation in September."

To Continue Reading:

Home Value Appreciation Set to Ease Over the Next Year


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Should I Buy a Home Now
or Pay More Later?

Hi Friends,
I came across this information in my reading today and I thought you may have some interest in it.

“With mortgage rates creeping up toward 5% as 2013 draws to a close, potential home buyers have some decisions to make — and soon.
The danger for potential home-buyers isn't that mortgage rates are nearing 5.00%; the real threat is that rates could go higher, to 5.50% or even 6.00% in 2014.”


The article spells out the financials consequences a buyer would face by waiting. ($67,746 on a $300,000 mortgage).
They went on to identify four things a buyer should take into consideration before delaying a decision to purchase.
  1. Rates will likely rise — and soon with 5% interest rates right around the corner.
  2. The Federal Reserve will stop “tapering” causing rates to return to historically normal levels (6-7%).
  3. Home values are rising
  4. The autumn buying season is underrated as you can take advantage of year-end tax breaks and the fall weather makes it an ideal time to move”.
Bottom Line
The financial advice Forbes gave to their readers was rather simple. Buy now or pay more later!!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional



Hi Friends,

Today during my reading I came across this article that I thought you may have some interest in.

"The real estate market is a place where most people will make their largest investment ever. It is a place where fortunes can be, and often are, made.  It is not a place, however, for you to “wing it”.

While the myriad TV shows about real estate make the process look so simple – it’s not really that simple… they make it seem like all you need to do is slap a for sale by owner sign in the yard, have one open house with fresh flowers and fresh baked cookies and bam! SOLD! in one day.  Well I can tell you that in New Hanover County, North Carolina it takes an average of 121 days to sell a home. An average means that some houses take much longer to sell and some much less than 121 days to sell."

To continue reading:  5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


The Price of Real-Estate

Experience: $25,000




Hi Friends,

Did you ever wonder if it matters who you use to sell your house?  If you have, then I think you may find this article interesting.

We’ve said it before; “Experience Matters,” and especially in these times, an agent who’s seen the market in the Up’s and the Down’s
is worth their weight in gold.

If you’re considering buying or selling, consider the value of Experience, and call The McLeod Group.  We’ll bring you home.

"Can you put a price on experience? In real estate, you can. It is about $25,000 for the average house.Veteran agents sell homes for an average of 12% more than their less experienced counterparts, says Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. Veteran agents also tend to list more new properties, more townhouses and condominiums and larger properties."

To continue reading: 
The Price of Real-Estate Experience: $25,000


Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for the Housing Market?



Friends,

Everyone has questions about the Government shut-down and it's effect on the housing market. Please see the attached article for a bit of clarification. I don't see anything here that panics me and I would encourage you to go on with life!  

Call me if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trulia: Owning Remains Significantly Cheaper than Renting




Hi Friends,

During my reading today I came across this article and I want to share it with you!

"Despite rising interest rates, owning a home is still significantly cheaper than renting at a national level and in most large metropolitan areas, according to Trulia’s Summer 2013 Rent vs. Buy Report. While rising interest rates are closing the gap between renting and owning, owning is still 35 percent cheaper than renting nationally. A year ago, the difference was 45 percent."

To continue reading:
Trulia: Owning Remains Significantly Cheaper than Renting

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Redfin Predicts Volatile Housing Market




Hi Friends,

I came across this article in my reading today and want to share it with you. It has some information I thought you may have some interest in.
 
"The housing market has lost some of its momentum recently according to a new study by the Redfin Research Center. Pent-up demand and low mortgage rates contributed to a robust real estate market since the beginning of the year, but higher prices and higher rates have diminished demand in recent months."

To continue reading: 

Redfin Predicts Volatile Housing Market


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why Do American Families Buy A Home?



Hi Friends,

I came across this article today in my reading and want to share it with you. It has some information that I thought may be of interest to you.

"There is a plethora of opinions voiced by real estate gurus as to why the dream of home ownership is so important to most Americans. However, study after study reveals the same five reasons families decide to buy a home."


To continue reading: Why Do American Families Buy A Home? 

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do Remodeling Projects Pay?


Hi Friends,

I came across this interesting article in my reading today and want to share it with you! 

"We all love to see the before and after on home remodeling shows and the biggest appeal seems to be updated kitchens and master baths.  It’s all about the “wow” factor!  But when you are selling your home, it’s important to consider (in business terms), the ROI, which is Return On Investment.  Cost versus value is clearly a tricky thing.  According to the National Association of Realtors, “A house that sparkles on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well-maintained… Buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained."

To continue reading: Do Remodeling Projects Pay? 


Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Should I Wait for Interest Rates to Come Back Down?


Hi Friends,

I came across this article in my reading today and wanted to share it with you.

"Some buyers are waiting to see if interest rates will come back down before making a decision about buying a home. Though no one can guarantee where rates will be in a few months, we don’t believe waiting is a good strategy."

To continue reading: Should I Wait for Interest Rates to Come Back Down?

Please let me know if you have any questions! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Cost of a Home: Last Year, This Year & Next Year

Hi Friends,

Here is an article I came across in my reading today that I thought you may have some interest in.

"The cost of a home is determined mainly by two components: price and mortgage rate. Today, we want to show how the monthly cost of purchasing a median priced home has changed over the last twelve months and how it might change over the next twelve months. For the first two examples, we will be using the National Association of
 Realtors(NAR) Existing Home Sales Report to establish median price and Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey to establish mortgage rate. We also assumed a 20% down payment in all examples."


To continue reading: The Cost of a Home

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Monthly Market Stats

Hi Friends!

I thought you might have some interest in seeing these recent market statistics!






Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Selling a House? Don't Overprice it!




Hi Friends,

I found this article during my reading today and thought it may be of interest to you!


"There is no doubt that the housing market is coming back nicely. What, if anything, could slow down the current momentum? We believe it may be sellers’ over exuberance when it comes to pricing. There is little doubt that house prices have appreciated over the last twelve months in most regions of the country. However, with both the inventory of homes for sale and interest rates increasing, we have to be careful to not over judge what the market can bear."

To continue reading: Selling a House? Don't overprice it!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Renters Thinking More About Owning a Home, Say Homeownership is a Top Priority



Hi Friends,

Here is an article I came across in my reading today. I think it may be of interest to you. 

"WASHINGTON (July 25, 2013) – Americans overwhelmingly believe owning a home is a good financial decision and a majority of renters say homeownership is one of their highest priorities for the future, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. The 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that renters are thinking more about purchasing a home now than in past years, while the number of people who say they prefer to rent has declined."

To continue reading:
Renters Thinking More About Owning a Home

Let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fixed Rates Inch Up


Hi Friends, 

I came across this article during my reading today and wanted to share it with you.

"Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following the Federal Open Market Committee’s affirmation that it intends to stay the course on its bond purchasing policy.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.39 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending August 1, up from 4.31 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.55 percent."


To continue reading: Fixed Rates Inch Up

 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eight in 10 Americans Say Owning Is a Good Financial Decision


Hi Friends,

During my reading today I came across an article that I thought may be of interest to you.

"Americans hold a more positive view of the housing market, while an increasing share of renters plan to own, according to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Of those surveyed, 80 percent said they believe buying a home is a good financial decision, up by 8 points from 2011.
Over the last two years, the market has also seen an increase in renters who are interested in owning."

To continue reading follow the link provided:
Eight in 10 Americans Say Owning Is a Good Financial Decision

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

June Existing- Home Sales Slip but Prices Continue to Roll at Double Digit Rates



Hi Friends,

During my reading I came across this article that I thought may be of interest to you.

"WASHINGTON (July 22, 2013) - Existing-home sales declined in June but have stayed well above year-ago levels for the past two years, while the median price shows seven straight months of double digit year-over-year increases, according to the National Association of Realtors."
Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Administration Warns Delinquencies Remain High Despite Decreases





Hi Friends!

In my reading today I came across this article. It has some points I thought might be of interest to you. 

"Foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies may be declining, but that doesn’t mean the industry should let its guard down. In the Obama Administration’s latest housing scorecard, which provides an overview of the housing market based on private and public sector data, officials continued to warn of a “fragile” recovery despite improvements."


To continue reading follow the link provided: 

Administration Warns Delinquencies Remain High Despite Decreases


Let me know if you have any questions! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shadow Inventory Falls 34% from 2010 Peak



Hi Friends,

I came across an interesting article that I thought might be of interest to you! 

"Fewer than 2 million homes remain in shadow inventory as of April, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.This puts shadow inventory at a supply of 5.3 months and represents an 18 percent year-over-year decrease. The data provider also reported shadow inventory is 34 percent lower than the 2010 peak of 3 million. For its estimate, CoreLogic counts unlisted properties that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure, or held as REOs as shadow inventory.Currently, serious delinquencies make up the bulk of shadow inventory. Out of the total for shadow inventory, about 890,000 homes are seriously delinquent, while 761,000 are in some stage of foreclosure, and another 336,000 are REOs."

Follow the link to continue reading: Shadow Inventory Falls 34% from 2010 Peak

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Price Gains to Slow But Recovery Will Continue



With strong price gains continuing to make headlines, industry analysts are quick to assure us we are not in the midst of another bubble. The current pace of price appreciation will not endure much longer, they say. However, Capital Economics also assures us a deceleration in price gains does not mean an end to the housing recovery.

CoreLogic, Zillow, and other industry observers concur prices appreciation is set to slow, and Monday’s US Housing Market Update from Capital Economics reinforces this prediction. Furthermore, it is not the first time Capital Economics has expressed this view.

Please continue reading this article and the link posted here: Price Gains to Slow But Recovery Will Continue

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Are Mortgage Rates Too Low to Threaten the Recovery?

The recent rise in mortgage rates is not enough to pose any real threat to the housing recovery, but that’s not to say the increase doesn’t come with any risk, according to a recent analysis from Capital Economics.

Freddie Mac’s most recent survey showed the 30-year fixed rate is almost back at 4 percent, while the Mortgage Banker Association reported the 30-year was up to 4.15 percent, the highest since March 2012.
To put things into perspective, Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics, noted that on a long-term view, rates are still “exceptionally low” as they return to levels seen in late 2011 and early 2012.

Please continue reading this article at the link posted below.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Buying a House: Is Now the Time?



The real estate community is often criticized for always seeming to have a Pollyanna attitude about the housing market. Many believe that the industry’s current call ‘to buy now’ is nothing more than a scare tactic with the sole purpose of creating more commissions for the industry. Let’s take a look at whether or not that advice was good advice over the last year.

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. According to the most recent Case-Shiller Home Pricing Index, home values have risen over 10% in the last year. If we look at Freddie Mac’sWeekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, the 30 year mortgage rate has increased from 3.67% to 3.91% during that same period.

Please take a moment and continue reading this article at the link posted below.















Friday, May 31, 2013


Obama Administration Extends Making Home Affordable Program

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced today that Treasury is extending the Making Home Affordable Program for another two years. The new expiration date is now set for December 31, 2015.
The program offers help to homeowners through solutions including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), and the Second Lien Modification Program.
As of March, an estimated 1.1 million struggling homeowners have received a permanent modification through HAMP.
The move aligns with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFAextension for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was first announced in April.
Developing story.

Thursday, May 9, 2013



HomeVestors: Market Constraints Keep Housing from Another Bubble


Gains in home prices over the last year haven’t provided enough lift to offset the headwinds holding the recovery down—and that’s a good thing, says David Hicks, co-president of Dallas-based HomeVestors.

While reluctance from lenders, sellers, and appraisers has become something of a drag on sales and price improvements, Hicks asserts the market’s slow growth has kept the country away from another housing bubble.

“At the price point of the market we generally service, typically at or below the median price, securing a fair appraisal and financing are typically the major challenges our franchisees face when selling a property,” Hicks said. “Since we focus on ‘ugly houses’ that owners are anxious to sell, we’re not as affected by seller reluctance as is the general market. Everything our franchisees have for sale is selling quickly and in fact, the first quarter of the year was one of the best ever.”

You may continue reading this article at the link posted here: HomeVestors: Market Constraints Keep Housing from Another Bubble

Thursday, May 2, 2013





We Want Our Clients to Know the Facts Behind the Numbers!


While some might be rejoicing at the recent rising home prices and rising home sales seen across the nation, Fitch Ratings “still views these gains cautiously.” In fact, the agency predicts price gains will slow and perhaps even reverse over the next year.



Fitch expects a price “trough in the middle of 2014” but suggests inflation will keep prices from falling more than 3.5 percent.
“While rising prices and sales volumes suggest a recovery, they are not moving in sync with key economic indicators that would otherwise support a sustainable price level,” Fitch stated in its most recent quarterly report.
Fitch points to unemployment as one of these “key economic indicators.” Unemployment has declined from its high of 9.9 percent in 2010 to 7.7 percent.
However, the bulk of this decline is the result of fallout in labor force participation, not an improving employment situation, according to Fitch.


If you would like to continue reading this article, please click on the link posted below.