With Terry Story, 26 year Veteran Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker in Boca Raton, FL
Terry updates us on real estate sales in the U.S. She says the Pending Home Sales Index has essentially stayed flat in the month of October, which is unusual after two straight months of declines. She attributes this to a shortage of inventory which makes it harder to sell more homes. Surprisingly, the Northeast saw the most dramatic price appreciation and constraint on sales than any other part of the country.
Flat October sales are also surprising because interest rates were at all-time lows, the U.S. economy was doing well, unemployment was down and mortgages were easy to get, often with as little as 5% down for home buyers with good credit.
Terry also discusses the impact of new mortgage rules. Realtors had a year to prepare for this new “3-day rule” and now work a lot harder to close a sale. The good news is this hasn’t really slowed down the home buying process in any discernible manner and is a win for buyers because it offers a lot more transparency. Moreover, as realtors get used to this new process, things should get a lot easier under the new rules.
And here’s a surprising bit of new census data: More millennials now live in their parents’ house than during the Great Recession of 2008. 31% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 now live with their parents, up from 27% a decade ago. Rising prices have also cut down on first-time home buyers because of higher down payments.
In the “Ask the Real Estate Pro” segment, Terry touches on “not cutting corners on permits”. A home owner wants to put a shed in his backyard but the permit process is stalled because the city is concerned over a setback. This is the space you need to leave between your boundary and any construction, perhaps due to utility easements, etc. Terry also says that despite the added time and cost, people should get their permits in place, especially if it’s about adding to the property. Not only will this keep the city from asking you to tear it down, it will also enhance your property value. Do not bypass the permitting process.
Another listener’s question is about a branch from a neighbor’s fruit tree hanging over the fence, dropping fruit and attracting pests. The listener has repeatedly asked the neighbor to cut the branch, but the neighbor refuses. Terry’s advice is to send a written note to the neighbor, and then trim that branch in a manner that causes no damage to the tree. The same applies to roots, but it’s better to consult an arborologist before whacking an axe at it!