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It’s a Seller’ Market on the Eastern Shore

It’s a Sellers’ Market

It’s a Sellers’ Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Over the past year, homeowners have gained an unprecedented opportunity to sell with great success while buyer demand is soaring.
  • With homes selling twice as fast as they did last year at this time, getting multiple offers, and rising in price, homeowners are in the driver’s seat.
  • Let’s connect today if you’re ready to learn about the leverage you have as a seller in today’s housing market.

What’s the Difference between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?

Home Inspection versus Appraisal

What’s the Difference between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?

If you’re planning to buy a home, an appraisal is an important step in the process. It’s a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. It’s also a different step in the process from a home inspection, which assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.

Home Appraisal

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”

When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.

This is especially critical in today’s sellers’ market where low inventory is driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.

However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the value of the home. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.

Home Inspection

Here’s the key difference between an appraisal and an inspection. MSN explains:

In simplest terms, a home appraisal determines the value of a home, while a home inspection determines the condition of a home.”

The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.

Bottom Line

The appraisal and the inspection are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Let’s connect today so you have the expert guidance you need to navigate through the entire homebuying process.

A Quick Note From Judy Niemeyer

Welcome Fall, Judy Niemeyer

A quick note from Judy Niemeyer ~

Welcome to our Fall!  Mornings are beautiful with lower temperatures and beautiful skies.  Of course, you have to imagine fall leaves because in the South, our leaves stay green.  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is around the corner?

What a year 2020 has been. It has been a tough year for all of us.  It reminds me of a very bumpy road, smooth in sections, and then a rut comes and bumps us off our path. Covid-19 was the first issue that bumped us. Masks became the new norm. Then Sally struck us with unbelievable winds and destruction. Now, we sit back and see what is next. Is it another Covid-19 burst or just the flu? Who knows?

Thank goodness, our real estate market has been very active. Interest rates continue to be very low. It is a great time for people to sell and buy. A lender last week quoted a 30-year interest rate of 2.8% which is hard to believe. Even with these low interest rates, buyers are still very opinionated. Selling a home is not as easy as the general public thinks.

 

 

Let’s compare 2019 to 2020:

Presently we have 523 active homes on the market from Spanish Fort to Point Clear with 460 homes under contract.  If all of these homes close, 2020 will be an incredible real estate year.

If you have questions, please feel free to call me. I always love to hear from you!

 

Tax Advice if You Sold Your Home

Tax Implications of Selling a Home

Did You Sell Your Home After Making Improvements?

Keeping track of the cost of capital improvements to your home can really pay off on your tax return when it comes time to sell.

Tax Implications of Selling a Home

It’s no secret that finishing your basement will increase your home’s value. What you may not know is the money you spend on this type of so-called capital improvement could also help lower your tax bill when you sell your house.

Tax rules let you add capital improvement expenses to the cost basis of your home. Why is that a big deal? Because a higher cost basis lowers the total profit—capital gain, in IRS-speak—you’re required to pay taxes on.

The tax break doesn’t come into play for everyone. Most homeowners are exempted from paying taxes on the first $250,000 of profit for single filers ($500,000 for joint filers). If you move frequently, maybe it’s not worth the effort to track capital improvement expenses. But if you plan to live in your house a long time or make lots of upgrades, saving receipts is a smart move.

What Counts As a Capital Improvement?

Although you may consider all the work you do to your home an improvement, the IRS looks at things differently. A rule of thumb: A capital improvement increases your home’s value, while a non-eligible repair just returns something to its original condition. According to the IRS, capital improvements have to last for more than one year and add value to your home, prolong its life, or adapt it to new uses.

Capital improvements can include everything from a new bathroom or deck to a new water heater or furnace. Page 9 of IRS Publication 523 has a list of eligible improvements.

There are limitations. The improvements must still be evident when you sell. So if you put in wall-to-wall carpeting 10 years ago and then replaced it with hardwood floors five years ago, you can’t count the carpeting as a capital improvement. Repairs, like painting your house or fixing sagging gutters, don’t count. The IRS describes repairs as things that are done to maintain a home’s good condition without adding value or prolonging its life.

There can be a fine line between a capital improvement and a repair, says Erik Lammert, former tax research specialist at the National Association of Tax Professionals. For instance, if you replace a few shingles on your roof, it’s a repair. If you replace the entire roof, it’s a capital improvement. Same goes for windows. If you replace a broken window pane, repair. Put in a new window, capital improvement.

One exception: If your home is damaged in a fire or natural disaster, everything you do to restore your home to its pre-loss condition counts as a capital improvement.

How Capital Improvements Affect Your Gain

To figure out how improvements affect your tax bill, you first have to know your cost basis. The cost basis is the amount of money you spent to buy or build your home including all the costs you paid at the closing: fees to lawyers, survey charges, transfer taxes, and home inspection, to name a few. You should be able to find all those costs on the settlement statement you received at your closing.

Next, you’ll need to account for any subsequent capital improvements you made to your home. Let’s say you bought your home for $200,000 including all closing costs. That’s the initial cost basis. You then spent $25,000 to remodel your kitchen. Add those together and you get an adjusted cost basis of $225,000.

Now, suppose you’ve lived in your home as your main residence for at least two out of the last five years. Any profit you make on the sale will be taxed as a long-term capital gain. You sell your home for $475,000. That means you have a capital gain of $250,000 (the $475,000 sale price minus the $225,000 cost basis). You’re single, so you get an automatic exemption for the $250,000 profit. End of story.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Had you not factored in the money you spent on the kitchen remodel, you’d be facing a tax bill for that $25,000 gain that exceeded the automatic exemption. By keeping receipts and adjusting your basis, you’ve saved about $5,000 in taxes based on the  15% tax rate on capital gains. Well worth taking an hour a month to organize your home improvement receipts, don’t you think?

The top rate for most homesellers remains 15%. For sellers in the 39.6% income tax bracket, the cap gains rate is 20%.

Watch Out for These Basis-Busters

Some situations (below) can lower your basis, thus increasing your risk of facing a tax bill when you sell. Consult a tax adviser.

  • If you use the actual cost method and take depreciation on a home office, you have to subtract those deductions from your basis.
  • Any depreciation available to you because you rented your house works the same way.
  • You also have to subtract subsidies from utility companies for making energy-related home improvements or energy-efficiency tax credits you’ve received.
  • If you bought your home using the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers, you’ll have to deduct that from your basis too, says Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Services.

Spring is Here!!

Fairhope is shining with beautiful spring flowers and gorgeous sunsets.  Our market is extremely healthy.  Buyers are out and inventory is down.  Since January we have had 574 homes to close with 391 presently under contract.  These stats are from Spanish Fort to Point Clear.  As you know this is the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay.

It is a great time to sit back and enjoy this time of the year.  May 9th is ladies day in downtown Fairhope.  Shops will be open late with specials for all the ladies.

Don’t forget Live at Five–concert series at the Community College Outdoor Stage–4/26 will be the The Modern El Dorados, 5/12 Wet Willie and Magnolia Bayou and 5/17 The Tip Tops.  These concerts are free–just bringing your blankets or chairs.

16789 River Road, Bon Secour, AL

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Met a client early this morning and walked this magnificent property. 3 acres with 247 front feet on Magnolia River. The main house was built in 1850 with tons of Southern charm. The guest house is 1/1 with a wide glassed in porch. As we walked the property, birds were chirping and shrimp boats engines were humming. Serenity were the views of Bon Secour River.

A Beautiful Time of the Year..

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This is the time of the year that most areas experience coloring of the leaves, but in our area we experience vivid sunsets. Have you noticed?  Some nights, the colors in the sky after the sunsets are as vivid as the actual sun setting.  We live in a beautiful area and I know you will agree.

The market has been very interesting this year. Prices have not increased much but we are seeing some bright spots out there.  Presently there are 772 active listings in the Spanish Fort to Point Clear area.  The average price is $393,911.  Average time on the market for the active listings is 155 days.  Since January 1, 2015, our area has experienced 1540 homes to close with an average list price of $282,974.  The average sold price was $273,611. Presently,  there are 212 homes under contract. As you can see, these stats are showing great improvement in our market.

The upper price point is still struggling.   We have had great sales but we would like more.   I do expect this to change as we go into 2016.  Eventually buyers will get less opinionated on their expectations.  When this day arrives, all of us will celebrate.

The great news is people are eagerly shopping on the internet. One of our listings just sold via internet without the buyer visiting.  Photos are so important in marketing.  As you know Allison Ashurst, my daughter –in-law is our photographer and she is excellent.

Before you know it, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving dinner. Sellers sometimes think this is the worst time of the year to sell a home.  I disagree because this is the time of the year that we think home, good cooking and great family gatherings.  Just remember if you are going to be out of town, please let us know.

Any questions about the market, give us a ring and we will try to answer.

Happy Holidays

Judy Niemeyer & Lucy Sundbeck

 

 

 

Finest Day –

Is closing a Special Listing on Mobile Bay in Fairhope, Alabama.

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Brilliant Sunset Sky

This is why I love living and selling Fairhope, Alabama.  Night before last, our sky was brilliant from the setting sun. The above pictures shows the beginning to the end. Each night is different, but this night was special. Our little town of Fairhope is getting ready for downtown trick and treat. This will be Saturday from 10-2. Please stop by our downtown Ashurst and Niemeyer office.

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Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

How this saying fits with real estate but also in all walks of life. This past Friday was of course the first Friday of the month but in FAIRHOPE it is “Art Walk”. Ashurst and Niemeyer’s downtown office on Section was open to our many clients as well as public. Music was provided by Jeff Farrow, who was incredible. Thank you for all that dropped by. This night was a tremendous success.

If you have not attended Art Walk, please put it on your calendar. You can start at the Art Center and stroll throughout the town. Be sure to make reservations for dinner to top off your evening. Fairhope is a truly wonderful place to live.