3 Important Factors That Affect Your Real Estate TransactionThe real estate market is quite different from other markets and can be confusing for even the most experienced buyers and sellers. You will need the help of a real estate agent whether you are an experienced buyer or doing it for the first time.

Even with the help of an agent, you can educate yourself on some of the basic elements of a real estate transaction in order to make yourself more comfortable throughout the process.

Here are 3 things that you should be aware of before you start a real estate transaction:

Market Demand And Sales Price

There are many factors that determine the appropriate sales price at which you sell or buy a piece of property. Among them is the market demand and other recently sold homes in the immediate area that match the characteristics of your home. Real estate agents can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help you understand the recent activity in your market and the best price to list your home at.

If you’re a buyer, you can ask your agent to run a property listing report to show you all of the comparable homes that are currently listed in your area. You can even get set up on an automatic email update of any home that meets your criteria as soon as it comes on the market or there is a change in the listing price.

A professional real estate agent can be of great help when it comes to finding customers for your property. As a buyer, you can seek for the services of a real estate agent that will help you in getting a property at affordable prices.

Absorption Rate

This term is quite common among real estate agents, however a lot of consumers haven’t ever heard of it. It is the amount of time taken to sell a piece of property that is listed in a particular market based on the total housing inventory and the average monthly properties sold. The absorption rate can guide you if you are planning to make investment in a particular area or if you are planning on selling your home.

For instance, if you know the average time on the market for a home similar to yours is 90 days you can plan approximately when to list your property in order to move at a specific time. It’s important to understand that many factors determine whether a particular home sells within the average time frame, but it can be useful as a guide. A professional real estate agent is your best resource to find out the details on your local market absorption rate.

Escrow

There are many buyers and even sellers that have seen funds mishandled when making a private real estate transaction. The best way to prevent this from happening is by opening an escrow account. This account is virtually always opened with an independent third party on behalf of the buyer and seller at the beginning of the transaction.

Some escrow companies also handle the title research and title insurance elements of the real estate transaction. They hold all of the documents and money until the transaction has been completed. At the end of the transaction they balance all of the expenses and deposits and ensure that each party is compensated appropriately.

As always, working with a team of real estate professionals is the best way to navigate all of the elements of your next real estate deal. 

What Does A Home's Energy Rating ImplyYour home’s energy rating is an evaluation of your home’s overall energy efficiency. If your house’s rating is high, it means your potential for energy loss is also high. Bringing your rating numbers down means that your home is becoming more energy efficient. 

Your home’s energy rating is based on several things. When your energy company does a home energy audit, they are looking for ways that your home or its components are wasting energy. A low rating means that a home is more energy efficient than one with a higher number. For example, if a home is rated at 70 on the HERS Index, it is approximately 30% more energy efficient than a home built in 2006. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when determining a home’s energy rating.

Here are several things you can do to bring your numbers within an acceptable range. 

Energy Efficient Appliances

All new appliances manufactured within the United States must now carry an energy rating label that states its efficiency and how much energy is required for it operate. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that, in order to save as much energy as possible, appliances are to be manufactured to certain specifications that will allow them to be operated using as little energy as possible.

HVAC System

One of the biggest energy drains in your home is your HVAC system. With regular maintenance and prompt repairs, your heating and cooling system can operate at maximum efficiency for many years to come. Changing the filters every month and keeping the ductwork and vents properly cleaned can also help your HVAC system to function efficiently and may reduce any type of energy waste.

Insulation, Windows, And Doors

Other areas where energy can be lost is through the roof and the windows and doors. Adding more insulation to your attic may prevent energy from being lost through the roof. It can help to keep your home cooler during the summer months and warmer during the winter months. Replacing older windows with newer, more energy efficient windows can dramatically reduce energy loss and improve your home’s energy rating. The same is true for older doors that may have worn weatherstripping.

The government offers rebates on your federal taxes for each home improvement you make that improves your home’s energy rating. If you are interested in learning more about energy ratings, contact your local utility company to have an energy audit performed. They will provide you with the answers you’re looking for.

If you are in the market for a new energy efficient home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 19th, 2018Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, core inflation and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Inflation, Retail Sales Rise in October

Commerce Department readings for October showed higher inflation and retail sales. Consumer Price Index rose by 0.30 percent and met expectations. September’s CPI reading was 0.10 percent. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also met expectations with a reading of 0.20 percent growth. September’s reading was 0.10 percent. Analysts attributed the highest reading in nine months to higher costs of fuel, rent and used cars.

Retail sales recovered from September’s negative reading of -0.10 percent and surpassed expectations of 0.60 percent growth with October’s reading of 0.80 percent. Higher fuel prices prompted the jump in retail sales after August and September readings were revised to negative readings. Recent declines in oil prices were expected to stabilize gas prices for consumers.

The reading for retail sales excluding autos also exceeded expectations with a reading of 0.70 percent. Analysts expected growth of 0.50 percent based September’s revised reading of -0.10 percent. Looking forward to the holiday shopping season, analysts expected robust readings for retail sales. Increased wages and a strong labor market were expected to help consumers during the holiday shopping season.

Mortgage Rates Stabilize

Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged last week, which provided a reprieve for home buyers. Freddie Mac reported that rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.33 percent and was unchanged from the prior week. Mortgage rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages rose three basis points and averaged 4.36 percent.

Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 4.14 percent and were unchanged from the prior week. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were 0.30 percent on average.

First-time jobless claims were higher last week with a reading of 216,000 new claims filed as compared to expectations of 210,000 new claims filed and the prior week’s reading of 214,000 new claims filed New jobless claims remained near historic lows despite last week’s increase in claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® will release its report on sales of pre-owned homes. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.