Welcome to our BLOG - Community News, DIY, Maintenance Tips and Information for Sellers & Buyers

Feb. 27, 2023

Is It Time to Sell Your Second Home?

During the pandemic, second homes became popular because of the rise in work-from-home flexibility. That’s because owning a second home, especially in the luxury market, allowed those homeowners to spend more time in their favorite places or with different home features. Keep in mind, a luxury home isn’t only defined by price. In a recent articleInvestopedia shares additional factors that push a home into this category: location, such as a home on the water or in a desirable city, and features, the things that make the home itself feel luxurious.

A recent report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) explains just how much remote work impacted the demand for second and luxury homes:


“The unprecedented ten-fold increase towards remote work since the pandemic is an historic development that will continue to fuel second home demand for many years to come.”


But what if you bought a second home that you no longer use? If you’re now shifting back into the office or are seeing your priorities and needs change, you may find you’re not utilizing your second home as much. If so, it may be time to sell it.


And if you own what’s considered a luxury home, buyer demand for it may be even greater. In another report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing explains:


“. . . the last few years have left their legacy for the luxury market. While it might only represent a small percentage of the overall real estate market, luxury homeownership’s influence is growing. Not only has the purchase of homes valued over $1 million (a figure considered by the National Association of Realtors to be a benchmark for luxury) tripled from 2.6% to 6.5% since 2018, but demand for multiple luxury properties has soared over the last two years.


This phenomenal increase has been driven by a growing affluent demographic who consider owning a luxury property a necessity in their asset portfolio. All indications are that this trend is here to stay, albeit that demand is set to return to a more sustainable level.”


If you own a luxury second home that isn’t being used as much anymore, now’s the time to sell. There are still buyers in the market who are looking for a home like yours today.

Bottom Line


Let’s connect to explore the benefits of selling your second home this year.



Feb. 13, 2023

Mortgage Rate Drop Creates a Homebuying Window, but How Long Will It Last?

Mortgage rates have dropped yet again—could this spell an opportunity for homebuyers?

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan fell to 6.09% for the week ending Feb. 2, according to Freddie Mac. That’s down nearly a full percentage point from October’s 20-year high of 7.08%.

Meanwhile, the number of homes for sale is soaring, flying 71% higher for the week ending Jan. 28 compared with this same week a year earlier, according to a recent analysis by Realtor.com®.

This dip in mortgage rates, combined with plenty of homes on the market, adds up to a potential win for homebuyers.

“The less competitive market may have created chances for first-time homebuyers who are looking to become homeowners in 2023,” says Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale in her analysis.

We’ll break down what the latest real estate statistics mean, and how homebuyers can use them to their advantage, in this latest installment of “How’s the Housing Market This Week?”

Inventory is booming and homes are lingering

Not only are there more homes on the market, but buyers can take their sweet time checking them out. In January, homes typically sat on the market for 75 days. And for the week ending Jan. 28, listings lingered 17 days longer compared with that same week a year earlier. That’s 27 weeks straight of time on the market increasing.

“This slower market pace is a welcome relief to shoppers, particularly first-time homebuyers who need more time to think through their buying options,” says Hale.

But what homebuyers don’t have is fresh listings, which were down for the week ending Jan. 28, by 9% from a year ago. The number of new properties hitting the market has been on the decline for 13 consecutive weeks now.

“As mortgage rates remain high, homeowners looking to sell and buy at the same time—who are likely to have a good rate on their current mortgage—may be pausing their moving plans to see if the market improves before putting their home up for sale,” explains Hale.

Home prices are normalizing

In January, home prices clocked in at a median of $400,000, down from June’s peak of $449,000. Yet home prices for the week ending Jan. 28 are still up by 7.7% compared with this same week a year earlier.

So even though prices are still growing annually, they’re tapering off from the double-digit growth that characterized much of 2022.

“The overall price growth in January continued its downward trend as we move into 2023, suggesting that the normalization continues in price growth,” notes Hale.

The affordability factor still looms

Despite the trifecta of positive news in the housing market—more homes for sale, lower mortgage rates, and stabilizing prices—the affordability challenge remains a persistent issue for many prospective homebuyers.

Plus, Hale predicts, “The Fed’s determination to fight inflation may keep mortgage rates remaining at high levels in the short term.”

But she also notes that rates could fall in the second half of the year, so home shoppers who aren’t able to afford a home now can take heart that 2023 looks bright overall.

“For buyers looking at a housing market with a rising number of home inventories and retreating prices, there is hope that 2023 will offer more opportunities,” says Hale.

Source: By Margaret Heidenry  https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/mortgage-rate-drop-creates-a-homebuying-window-but-how-long-will-it-last/

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 16, 2023

Don’t Get Duped! 5 Common Real Estate Scams and How To Avoid Them

What’s one thing buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords all have in common? They can all fall victim to a real estate scam.


In fact, home-related hoaxes are on the rise. Losses from real estate cybercrimes have gone up nearly as fast as home prices—totaling more than $350.3 million last year, an increase of 64%, according to the FBI’s most recent Internet Crime Report.


Wire fraud is the most common kind of real estate scam. Other crimes include fake real estate transactions, business email compromise schemes, and criminal use of cryptocurrency.


Simply being aware and on the lookout for common fraud is essential if you want to hold on to your cash and your peace of mind. Read on for insight into the most common real estate frauds happening now, and advice on how to avoid them.


1. Rental scams

Rental scams come in many forms and can have far-reaching consequences for your financial future.


“More than 5.2 million renters in the U.S. lose money in a given year because of rental scams,” says Theresa Raymond, a real estate broker at Tennessee Smoky Mountain Realty.


Fake rental advertisements are on the rise. In this scenario, the con artist or a group posts a false rental ad and asks a potential tenant for a deposit or lease payment.


Be on the lookout for rental posts that seem suspiciously idyllic, or otherwise untethered to reality.


“It starts with an online listing for a rental property that is too good to be true,” says Shaun Martin, owner and CEO of Denver Real Estate Solutions in Colorado. “The rent is significantly lower than market value, and the photos look amazing. When you contact the ‘landlord,’ they will say they are out of town and unable to show the property in person. They will ask you to wire the deposit and first month’s rent sight unseen. Of course, once you send the money, you will never hear from them again.”


Raymond advises against working with any landlord or agent who requests money or wire transfers before you see a place.


2. Wire scams

Real estate wire scams come in many different forms, but most involve a fundamental fake-out.


“This is basically a scam where someone pretends to be your real estate agent by hacking into or copying their contact information and calling you to deposit good-faith money or an earnest deposit into a fake bank account,” says Ron Wysocarski, a real estate broker based in Port Orange, FL.


To avoid this, Wysocarski says you should always meet your real estate agent face to face to ensure everything is on the up and up before fulfilling any request for a money transfer.


3. The bait and switch

The bait-and-switch trick is as old as time, but it is getting new legs as more inexperienced buyers try to sort out the ups and downs of the real estate market.


“This is one of the most common scams I’m seeing, especially in large metropolitan areas,” Martin says. “The scam artist will advertise a property for sale or rent at an unbeatable price. When you call or email to inquire about the property, they will say it has already been sold or rented, but they have others that are just as good. They will try to get you to tour the other properties, which are usually overpriced or in poor condition.”


To avoid this scam, Martin recommends researching the agents and making sure they have legitimate business experience before agreeing to see any listings.


4. Faking interest

Hyping up a property’s appeal is usually par for the course and relatively innocent, but there is a line that is increasingly being crossed by fraudsters intent on unloading less-than-loved homes.


“The overhyped or pressurized offer process is happening with more regularity for some properties,” says Doug Greene, owner of the Philadelphia-based Signature Properties Philly. “In fact, I sometimes even see this for homes that have been sitting on the market for months on end. I’ll call and ask about the listing and current situation only to find that apparently there’s tons of activity and offers being drafted from multiple buyers. How can that be? Why all of a sudden is it a popular property?”


If you get the feeling you’re being oversold, Greene says you should “stick to your gut. Don’t feel pressured by what you hear from a listing agent and don’t change your plan based on the stress of the ‘in the moment’ offer process.”


5. A lockout clause

Fraud involving a lockout clause is particularly pernicious because so much is on the line.


“Home sellers in financial straits are a common target of this con,” says Robin Antill, director at Leisure Buildings. “A buyer, aka the con artist, who seems to be in a hurry to close the deal may pressure you into a contract with a hold clause that bans you from selling your home to anybody else. The con artist gambles that you will pay any amount to get the deal done quickly, and uses that knowledge to his advantage by asking for admin fees or even a drop in the agreed-upon price. ”


To avoid the scam, read every contract carefully and realize that when you sign, you’re on the hook for anything in there. And if your buyer is impatient and demanding, consider that a big red flag.


If you do suspect you’re being targeted for fraud, let your bank know immediately. Then, contact your local FBI office.


By Kathleen Wilcox


Source: Realtor.com


Jan. 1, 2023

Happy New Year!

Posted in Community News
Dec. 19, 2022

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Community News
Dec. 5, 2022

8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property

8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property



There are many reasons one might want to find out who owns a property or piece of land. Suppose you’re on a walk in Nashville, TN, and you pass by a home that you instantly fall in love with and want to buy – perhaps an antique Victorian home or a beautiful abandoned carriage house. Or maybe you’re just curious about who owns a house in your neighborhood or a piece of land on the edge of town. Well, the good news is that you can usually track down this information pretty easily. 


In most cases, property ownership information is available for free online (just ensure the website you use is legitimate). If that doesn’t work, or if you’re looking in more rural areas, you’ll have to go to a local government agency, title company, or broker. 


We’ll break each of these methods down to help you find out who owns a property.



1. Try searching online

The easiest way to find out who owns a property or house is to search for the address or property number online. Websites like Whitepages offer reverse searching services, and brokerages like Redfin have ownership information at the bottom of most listings. Keep in mind that information may be incomplete and inaccurate. 


Another option is to go to your county’s website and look for a property that way. Many counties have online portals with all of this information in one easy place. If that doesn’t work or if you’re looking for more details, your next best option is to reach out to your county’s tax assessor. 


2. Check the local tax assessor’s office

A majority of people who own private property must pay property tax on it (often excluding churches, libraries, schools, and religious buildings, among others). They pay these taxes to their county, which are collected by the county treasurer (often called the collector’s office). The county assessor determines a property’s true and fair value and retains a record of them. 


So, if you’re wondering who owns that property next door, the best place to start is by going to your local tax assessor’s office. Assessors provide free, easy, and comprehensive ownership data for every registered property in their county. You’ll also get to see any special assessments associated with the property, like loans and other financial information. However, the information may be outdated depending on when it was registered. 


Check with your local government office, call their information line, go to your city hall or meeting place, or email the office if you have any questions. 

3. Contact the county clerk 

Some properties aren’t listed with tax assessors for numerous reasons – perhaps it’s unregistered land, there was an administrative error, or nobody has ever paid taxes on it. If the county assessor couldn’t help, your next step is to contact the county clerk, sometimes called the register of deeds or recorder’s office.


The county clerk often has a record of property deeds. When you find the deed, it should have the signature of the property owner, as well as the address and contact information. Depending on how long ago the deed was recorded, it may be out of date. 


Most of the time, the information is available online but varies by location. 


Do research in the registry of deeds

Depending on your locality, you may be able to manually search through the local registry of deeds. This isn’t available everywhere, so contact your county if you have questions. 


4. Use a local title company

If the county can’t help you figure out who owns a property, your next step is to go to a local title company. “Title companies are experts at locating property information,” says Reid Hayton-Hull, Principle Counsel for Title Forward, a Redfin company. “They don’t typically become involved with a transaction until the property is under contract to be sold, at which point they search the property’s title and identify any issues with the current owner’s title. However, some companies may offer pre-contract searching services for a fee. Check with local title companies to see if they offer such services.”


5. Pay for an online service

If you’re committed to buying an abandoned property or empty lot, paid online property search services can be a great option for finding the owner. Many property data tools can pinpoint the current owner and even provide contact details and information about the land registry. You may also discover any existing liens or debts, which may help guide your next steps.


Online services can be expensive and are often complicated and full of jargon. If you take this route, prepare to invest a significant amount of time and money. 


Mailing list brokers

Mailing list brokers are an online information-gathering service that is ideal for bulk information gathering and outreach. People use them for various reasons, real estate being a common one. Mailing list brokers gather detailed contact information for homeowners, property owners, businesses, and more and send them to their clients. 


If you tell the broker what you’re looking for, you can have them look up property ownership for any number of properties or homes. They will provide you with lists containing every property’s information and contacts. Keep in mind that these services can be expensive and incomplete. 

6. Reach out to a real estate agent or real estate investor

Agents or real estate investors may already have access to informational lists you would otherwise have to pay for. If you have a friend or family member that is a real estate agent, ask for a favor. They also can provide advice if you’re navigating an online service. 


7. Talk to a real estate attorney

If the other options here haven’t worked yet, ask a real estate lawyer for help. They may have ideas for where else to look and might have contacts within the county. 


8. Walk by and leave a note

When all else fails, try knocking on the door of that perfect house you want or leave a note if nobody is home. You may end up face-to-face with the current owner or talk to someone who knows the owner. If nobody answers, consider leaving a message with your contact information. 


This can be the riskiest and most direct method, however, you may get your answer quickly and easily.

Final thoughts

It can be confusing to find out who owns a property, so let’s recap: 


Most of the time, you can easily find the information by searching online 

Many governments have resources that are free and easy to use 

If this doesn’t work, the next step is to contact your county clerk’s office; they often have tax, title, and deed records for as long as the house has been registered 

Counties can often be slow to respond to requests. If it’s taking a while, ask a brokerage, title company, or paid online service to find the information 

When you search for properties, always be cautious about misinformation and companies that use bad practices. Try not to be intrusive, and talk to the county if you have any questions. 


Discovering who owns a property is usually simple and has many advantages. You can guarantee that you’re talking with the legal owner of the property, and you may be able to convince them to sell even if it’s not on the market.


By Jamies Forbes


Source: Realtor.com


Nov. 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sending love and gratitude from the entire team at Full Circle Real Estate Group!

Posted in Community News
Nov. 7, 2022

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year


Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.


Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.



To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:


“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”   


Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.


Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.


Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.


Source: keepingcurrentmatters.com

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 24, 2022

7 Fall Decor Tips for When Your Home Is On the Market

7 Fall Decor Tips for When Your Home Is On the Market



Autumn provides home sellers with unique opportunities for staging and decorating. But does fall decor actually help sell your home, or make it more difficult to attract buyers?


As you consider the best way to sell a house, one thing to keep an eye on is the season. Depending on what time of year you choose to list your property, you may run into some unique challenges or opportunities, including some distinct concerns involving your staging and home decor. The fall season is a good example of this. Many homeowners deck their listings with pumpkins, scarecrows, and other seasonally festive ornamentation.


But it’s worth stepping back to ask whether fall decor actually helps you get the place sold, or whether it makes it harder to get a buyer on the line.


Considering Fall Decor

Ultimately, most staging experts agree that staging your listing with fall decor is valuable – as long as you do so judiciously. Remember that the point should be to make your property feel warm, cozy and inviting. If you decorate to the point that it feels cluttered or overwhelming, that’s when you’ve gone too far.


While the end of the year holidays are exciting for some, whether it's for the spookiness at Halloween or the family bonding at Thanksgiving, it’s always wise to consider that your prospective buyer may not share your enthusiasm for the season, even if your decor depicts more of a general harvest scene than alluding to any particular holiday.


You don’t want your autumn decorations to be the focus, or to distract attention from the best selling points of your house. Instead, you want them to accentuate the space and help house hunters see your home’s possibility and charm. To that end, a “less is more” approach is usually the right way to go as you decorate for the season but also prioritize getting your home sold.


Here are some additional tips for staging your home in fall decor:


Think About a Fresh Coat of Paint

Take a look at your interior walls and ask yourself if they could benefit from some fresh new hues. You don’t ever want to do anything too garish, and neutrality is always recommended, but something rich and bright can really help the accent pieces, such as pillows and art, pop. Consider shades like light caramels or creams to establish a classy and upscale setting.


Get the Lighting Right

Another important aspect of seasonal staging is managing your natural light. During the autumn, as the days get a little shorter and a little darker, you’ll probably want to open up all the blinds, curtains and other window treatments, letting in as much natural illumination as possible.


Emphasize Coziness

When selling your home during fall, it’s generally wise to make your home feel as warm and comforting as possible. Create an atmosphere that feels cozy and accommodating – sometimes that’s as simple as using plenty of plush pillows and generous throw blankets in your home decor. Also, lighting some decorative candles is a great way to give the home a cozy ambiance.


Accentuate the Fireplace

Does your home have a fireplace or hearth area, perhaps in the living or family room? If so, make that a focal point of your decor. Surround the fireplace and mantel with some tasteful seasonal decor, subtly but unmistakably drawing the eye. When it comes to conjuring a home-like atmosphere, a clean fireplace can truly be a stirring sight.


Don’t Forget Seasonal Scents

Fall staging isn’t just about colors and furniture. Scents matter, too. During autumn, you’ll want to conjure pleasing, sentimental memories of home, something you can do by putting some apple cider on the stove or burning a cinnamon-scented candle. Even baking some cookies will do the trick. Whenever you can, opt for natural scents instead of artificial plug-ins – buyers can smell the difference.


Remember That Curb Appeal Matters, Too

Fall decor isn’t just a matter of what’s going on inside the home. The exterior of the home can also benefit from a seasonal touch-up. Make sure your landscaping is fall-ready, even if that’s as simple as removing old, dead plants, raking leaves and doing your best to keep the lawn edged and properly watered. Accentuate your front stoop with tasteful elements of autumnal decor, like a harvest-themed wreath or a nice pumpkin or two.


Don’t Go Too Far

Remember, your goal should always be to accentuate your space, and to help buyers imagine themselves making their home in it. You want to aim for cozy without ever teetering into busy or kitschy. Make sure you exercise some restraint in choosing fall-themed decor, and don’t ever invest in so much ornamental stuff that it makes the house feel too cluttered or claustrophobic.


By Deanna Haas


Source: USNews.com


Oct. 10, 2022

So, Where’s the Tub? A Close Look at the Dumbest Bathroom Trend to Date


Tune in to HGTV these days, and it’s more than likely you’ll spot some flipping duo ripping out a home’s humble bathtub to make space for a large, luxurious shower.


This got me wondering: Why?


Sometimes, these flippers go so far as to remove the only tub in the house, all for the sake of a spacious shower. I was truly baffled. For starters, what about the hordes of homebuyers with young kids? You can’t very well bathe a baby in a shower.


And while most adults might shower more often than they bathe, I, for one, enjoy sinking into a tub on occasion. And I’m hardly alone. A recent survey by Bath Fitter found that around half of Americans take a bath at least once a week, and that 54% would bathe more often if they had the time.


Because let’s admit it, a long soak is a beautiful thing. Why remove that possibility from your house?


Apparently, flippers have their reasons.


Why banishing the tub from the bathroom is a big trend

I get it from an aesthetic point of view: There’s nothing glamorous about a workaday tub with a ho-hum curtain pulled across it—or worse, a shower door with dated, opaque glass that rattles on the track.


“A walk-in shower turns a bathroom from an eyesore room into one that’s more aesthetically pleasing,” says Kara Harms, a design blogger at Whimsy Soul. That luxe spa feeling you get when you’re at a fancy hotel is exactly the vibe that folks want every day, especially after a years-long COVID-19 pandemic and other grave uncertainties in the world.


For flippers, the drive to remove tubs is all about the money, honey.


“Flippers know that a large, well-designed shower is more of a selling point than a master tub with a small shower or a shower-tub combo,” explains Briana Ellis Hoag, owner of Ritual Architecture.


“Bathroom remodels usually have the highest return on investment in a home, and a big shower can help your home’s resale value,” adds Carolyn Gagnon, a real estate agent with Compass in New York City.

And while families might be turned off by no tub, that’s OK, since many flippers are more interested in attracting buyers who are either younger (who don’t need a tub) or older (who don’t really need a tub either) and wealthier to boot.


“People who are remodeling homes, though specifically flippers, are keen to remove tubs because of how they perceive their target buyer,” says Hoag.


But it’s not just the moneyed set that expects to see the “shower only” amenity.


“There’s also a good portion of homebuyers in the midrange market that don’t utilize tubs, especially in the master bathroom,” continues Hoag. “They’d rather have that space for a large shower that’s used on a daily basis.”


Another perk to showers? They’re better for older folks.


“Walk-in showers are rising in popularity because they’re more accessible—a tub means you have to step in and out, which not everyone can do easily,” notes Harms.


We’re aging as a nation, with the number of folks aged 65 and older slated to more than double in the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. What’s more, many are choosing to age in place in homes that they then must retrofit to meet their needs. Swapping a shower for a tub fits perfectly into this trend.


But here’s why banishing the tub may be a bad idea

Yet many architects and real estate agents alike urge homeowners to keep at least one tub somewhere in the home for practicality’s sake.


“We always suggest keeping at least one tub in the house since it’s great for kids, grandkids, and pets and also for resale,” says Pamela O’Brien, principal designer at Pamela Hope Designs.


“I don’t think it’s wise to remove all the tubs from the bathrooms of the house, as there are many families entering the market with young children who will need a standard bathtub,” adds Hoag.


For homeowners who are determined to have their shower, there is a workaround.


“You can buy a shower tub for kids that goes on the bottom of the shower floor,” says Harms. That way, “there’s no need to build an entire room around bathing a child.”


Plastic tub inserts certainly do fix the problem. Still, this problem wouldn’t exist in the first place if you had just kept your tub.


If you’re willing to hold on to a shower-tub combo you own, there are other bells and whistles to consider in a bathroom remodel that could earn you back some money.


“Newer, high-end amenities like radiant flooring, vanity mirrors, better lighting, tiling, faucets, and countertops are just a few examples of additions that could bring more to your wallet,” says Gagnon.


I, for one, will never trade my tub, and chalk this up to a rage that, like so many others, will one day have multitudes shaking their heads and clucking, “Remove the tub! What were they thinking?”


As all trends tend to do, this one will eventually disappear down the drain of home design fads where, in my mind, it belongs.



By Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Source: Realtor.com