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Houston real estate expert shares 5 tips for first-time buyers

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As practically everyone who currently lives in Houston knows, this real estate market is one of the hottest in the country.

In what is referred to as the “purchase bonanza,” homes are for sale across the area, which could lead renters to think it’s time to jump on the ladder of home ownership.

Not so fast.

First-time buyers face real pitfalls. Jeremiah Jackson, Houston market retail sales director for real estate powerhouse Orchard, shares his advice on common mistakes to avoid when buying that first home to CultureMap.

Finance first

“Get educated and trained early on,” Jackson told CultureMap.

It may sound obvious, but funding is the foundation of the buying experience. Knowing what a bank approves, how a buyer’s savings match other funding options, and where to see what’s available can save you tons of headaches later.

“Develop a relationship with a mortgage broker and let them tell you about the types of products,” he says. “A realtor actually goes to a number of different companies so they can get the best prices. You can check out all of the current programs and help you educate yourself. I would also say do some self-education too. You can go to the FHA – Check the website to see what types of loans they are repaying. “

With funding in place, buyers can better understand what they can and can’t afford, which helps them focus their options.

Understand the market

According to Jackson, one of the biggest mistakes first time buyers make right now is misunderstanding the current Houston real estate market.

“The current situation is that 34 percent of homes are selling at or above list prices,” he says. “So if you want to get an offer on a house, you have to be aware that there are no deals right now, to be clear. It’s, we go strong and we go up and we pay for a majority, if not all Closing costs to get a good property. “

It’s not just Houston, he notes. It’s the same across the country. The housing stock has just gone down, which means there aren’t enough houses for people to want to buy. And while Houston has a slightly larger inventory than other cities, according to Jackson, the housing stock available here is also appalling.

“Combine that with interest rates so low that it’s exactly what the market is like right now. It’s the craziest thing there has been in about 30 years,” he says.

That means purchases should expect to pay more for homes, whether they are resale homes or new builds. Jackson says his company is working with buyers to give them some leeway to submit an offer.

“We look at your funding, your pre-approval, your budget, and start at the low end. If you’ve got a $ 400,000 permit, that’s your maximum. So we’re going to look at homes in the 320s. The $ 330s so you have this side and we can go on that cap if we need to. “

Get the right broker

Many buyers may not realize that the right broker can make all the difference. Jackson advises first-time buyers not to be afraid to interview several before deciding who will suit them best.

Buying a home can be a stressful experience, and a realtor who is able to guide buyers through the home can reduce the anxious moments that might lie ahead. He says buyers should be careful how they click with an agent because personality is a big part of it.

If a buyer’s style is only business, they might not want a broker who is super casual. If a buyer wants a lot of manual labor, a real estate agent who seems cool and aloof may not fit in. And don’t be afraid to create expectations at the beginning of the process.

“”[You can say] “Here’s our communication expectation,” he offers. “We asked a question and we need an answer within 15 minutes.”

Neighborhood knowledge is crucial

Another important factor in finding the right agent: get one who specializes in a specific neighborhood. Houston is obviously a huge subway area, and Houstoners know there’s a huge difference between Clear Lake and Garden Oaks.

Jackson says having a realtor who understands the neighborhood is important as he or she not only knows about the homes currently for sale, but also the history of the area in terms of the quantities homes are being sold for as well as how the neighborhood has grown or changed over time.

Neighborhood knowledge is also useful when it comes to restaurants, grocery stores, or other establishments. Much of this can be found in an online search, but a realtor who is involved with the community will have specific examples to help buyers visualize themselves in a particular geographic area.

Homework, homework, homework

Many buyers, especially those first time home buying, could find the process overwhelmed. And while a great real estate agent can help, Jackson wants buyers to know they have responsibilities too.

“It’s easy to work with as a buyer,” he says. “Have your must-haves, but be easy to use and understand that there will be concessions instead of a hard line. Because if you take a hard line and are not willing to give, it will . ” Translate to the listing agent and say, “I don’t know if we’re going to close because these people are unreasonable.”

He encourages buyers to have conversations early in the buying process, whether as a family, partner, or spouse, about what they want in a home.

Some new home buyers, he says, aren’t sure what to look for. There they can use the good agent they have chosen to guide them through what they really want in a home, neighborhood and their list of must-haves versus nice-to-haves in their new home .

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Housing crisis becomes an emergency as Salt Lake County home prices spike 31% in a year

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Average price climbed to $ 535,000 in May, $ 128,000 more than twelve months ago as severe supply shortages and declining sales take their toll on would-be buyers in Utah.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A home for sale in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Despite Utah housing demand at historic highs, home sales along the Wasatch Front declined earlier this year due to a lack of supply. Single-family home prices, meanwhile, continue to rise as wafer-thin deals dampen sales and buyers seek cheaper alternatives like condos and townhouses.

As the latest sign of the Utah real estate crisis, Wasatch Front real estate agents lamented the catastrophic shortage of homes in the market on Thursday as prices soar to shocking new records and sales continue to decline.

The average price of a single-family home in Salt Lake County surged the noticeable $ 500,000 mark sometime in March, then hit $ 535,000 last month, new data shows – a staggering $ 128,000 year-over-year increase of 31%.

This major damper on the price spiral pushed the volume of home sales in the five-county region in May well below the level of the same month last year, when home shopping was temporarily wiped out by COVID-19.

With the average new home supply now spanning 30 to 40 and selling in five days, real estate agents in Utah’s main metropolitan area issued a rare emergency statement saying the region was “severely undeveloped” and facing severe declines through decades of underinvestment be in terms of affordability.

“It will take more construction of all types of homes so more people can realize the American dream of their own home,” said Matt Ulrich, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, which covers Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Davis and Tooele counties.

“It’s just too tough out there,” said Ulrich in an interview. “There is simply not enough stock because the demand is so great.”

That cry for help sparked a new report released on Wednesday that estimates the country’s housing deficit at around 5.5 million units. The industry study calls for residential construction in the US to increase by 2 million homes annually over the next decade, compared to 1.3 million units built last year.

America’s housing stock has been largely neglected for nearly two decades, the National Association of Realtors report said, with a severe shortage of new buildings leading to an acute shortage, an “increasingly worsening” affordability crisis and an inventory of existing homes it is getting old and in need of repair.

Calling the magnitude of the construction delay and the resulting gap between demand and supply “enormous”, the report said the crisis will require “a major national commitment to building more homes of all kinds”.

In Utah, the housing gap is estimated at 45,000 to 50,000 single-family homes, apartments, and other forms of housing, with a particularly acute need for more affordable housing for residents with average wages.

Home builders in Utah have record numbers of units under construction but say they are not catching up given the heavily pent-up demand, lack of supply and rising prices for land, building materials and builders.

According to economists, rising prices along the Wasatch front have temporarily slowed sales since 2019, but the pandemic-induced demand for houses with more rooms and larger backyards has pushed the supply of apartments to new lows.

The resulting drop in sales worsened in May, with double-digit price gains making it more of a creep and increasing stress on the part of buyers.

Home sales in May fell to 2,396, a 7% decrease from the same month last year, which was itself a historically bleak sales month, down 19% from 2019 due to pandemic lockdowns. The average single-family home price in five counties is now $ 485,000, up $ 109,640 from the same point last year.

While these declining sales are apparently a bread-and-butter problem for the area’s 10,000 or so real estate agents working on commission, a spokesman for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors said its members are speaking on behalf of budding homebuyers.

“We are heading for California prices if we stay on this path,” warned spokesman Dave Anderton. “And that is a really difficult situation, especially for first-time buyers.”

The National Association of Realtors report blamed the crisis on “persistent underinvestment” in all major regions of the country as a result of economic conditions following the 2009 Great Recession. This downturn resulted in severe job losses in the construction sector and tightened lending standards for builders and buyers, both severe setbacks to housing construction that persisted for years.

While the report describes this as a crisis of national proportions, Ulrich noted that Utah, Nevada, and Idaho – some of the fastest growing states in the country since 2010 – had also seen the worst declines in affordability.

The Cottonwood Heights-based broker and home builder reiterated the demands of the broader Utah real estate sector, urging cities to remove “onerous” building requirements and streamline building permits to reduce construction costs. Ulrich also called for increased incentives to attract more workers to builders – such as frame builders, electricians, plumbers and roofers – who are now scarce.

The national report also pointed to potential benefits of increased housing construction for the U.S. economy, including relief for costly tenants and nearly $ 400 billion in additional economic activity.

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Loyalsock taxpayers to see real estate tax increase for school district | News, Sports, Jobs

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For the first time in three years, residents of Loyalsock Township School District will pay more property taxes next year after the school board recently increased the rate by $ 0.43 million.

This means that for every $ 100,000 of the estimated value of a property, an additional $ 43 is added to the tax bill. According to M. Dan Egly, general manager and board secretary, the new tariff will generate $ 300,000 in additional revenue for the district that would have run a $ 640,000 deficit without the additional millage. The remaining deficit will be covered by fund balances to present a balanced budget for 2021-22 with revenues and expenditures of $ 25,084,743.

“We didn’t leave a stone unturned. We are looking for all possibilities to avoid the effects of these budgets on taxpayers. said Egge.

He said the district had renegotiated contracts, installed solar panels on buildings, and recently approved the construction of a cell phone boom on district property in an attempt to find ways to reduce costs.

“The district is looking for ways to avoid tax increases in the future, but unfortunately we have to make these decisions at some point.” said Egge.

The other tax rates remain the same for the next year.

The Loyalsock Township Recreation Board budget of $ 23,994 for programs available to children in the district for the period 2021-22 was awarded to the OK.

The board also approved that

Resolution to Foreclose Homestead / Farmstead, which will allow primary residents of qualifying properties to obtain a $ 130.75 reduction in their property taxes. There are 3,020 homesteads and nine homesteads in the district that are eligible for exclusion.

In Human Resources, the Board approved the following positions at the stated salary rates: Marc Walter, Assistant Principal, $ 86,000 for the 2021-22 school year; Maria Debrody, Temporary Specialist, Elementary School Teacher, effective October 18, prorated salary of $ 49,059; Laura Kriger, part-time high school secretary, $ 13 an hour; Connie Clapper, part-time hospitality worker, $ 10 an hour; and Erika Maurer, voluntary rail trainer.

The following resignations were noted: Julia Muse, data coordinator; Eric Gerber, social studies teacher; Brandon Schrimp, school policeman; and Kimberly Bigelow, hospitality worker.

The board agreed to accept a $ 4,700 offer made by James McDermott for a 2004 bus with 72 passengers. The bus had previously been sold but the sale was not completed so the bus was offered again.

The purchase of a Cub Cadet mower from Lawn & Golf Supply Co., Inc. for $ 18,824 has been approved.

With the district’s summer programs beginning and CDC policy changes, Superintendent Gerald McLaughlin asked the board if they had any objection to making mask wear optional during the summer months. The board agreed, but stressed that it is up to everyone whether they want to wear masks or not.

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, Denise Holmes was announced as the winner of the Lauretta Woodson Support Staff Award, and Alicia Carner, a special education teacher at the high school, received an Instructor Award Acknowledgment from the group.

The next board meeting will be on July 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the boardroom at 1605 Four Mile Drive.

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Former SEC chief accountant joins real estate investment platform as CFO

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Diving letter:

  • Fundrise, a direct-to-investor real estate investment platform, has been selected as new CFO Alison Staloch, former chief accountant for the investment management division of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Fundrise, headquartered in Washington, DC, manages $ 1.5 billion in equity for more than 150,000 investors. The company has invested more than $ 5.7 billion in real estate since its inception in 2012.

  • Former Fundrise CFO Michael McCord was Fired for attempted blackmail In 2016, he denied a charge.

Dive Insight:

Staloch’s attitude follows news from earlier this month that Fundrise is a Goldman Sachs’ $ 300 million loan facility to finance the construction of new single-family houses in the Sun Belt region.

At the SEC, Staloch developed policy recommendations for regulating investment companies and advisors with regard to their disclosure and financial reporting requirements. Before that, she worked in the auditing practice at KPMG for a decade.

“Having spent my entire career in investor protection roles in our capital markets, I am inspired by Fundrise’s investor-centric mission to use technology to build a better financial system for retail investors,” Staloch said in a statement. “I am excited to work with the Fundrise team to further amplify the impact of its uniquely powerful technology to streamline conventional capital raising and capital financing on behalf of its customers.”

“Alison’s background in advocating at the highest level for the individual investor was a perfect fit for our mission at Fundrise,” said Co-Founder and CEO Ben Miller.

Alison Staloch

Courtesy Fundrise

Staloch was drawn to Fundrise to “do something more entrepreneurial,” she told CFO Dive. “I’ve spent my entire career in gatekeeping and regulation, so it was tempting to be part of building something.”

Staloch, who took up her position in late April, is the company’s first full-time CFO and characterizes her workload as typical of a late-stage company. She focuses on accounting and reporting, alongside more strategic work such as improving earnings models and managing diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

“The most important thing I’m focusing on right now is structuring the finance function to leverage the technology to automate controls and processes so the company can focus more strategically,” she said.

Fundrise is very complex and heavily regulated, but “incredibly innovative in terms of compliance”.

“That impressed me as a former regulator,” she said, adding that she supported the company’s mission to democratize access to alternative assets for retail investors.

In competition with Public Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and with regard to access to a broad investor base, the company offers its products and services directly. “There really is no middleman,” she said.

Fundrise’s assets are managed externally; To achieve efficiency gains in operating costs, the company is focusing on building its technical efficiency to better scale.

“Our technology enables us to raise investor money through an online platform that enables incredible investments,” she said. “Our operations are all done in-house, and our technology gives us real-time data and insights to help us execute an investment strategy more effectively.”

While rising interest rates could affect the value of real estate, it doesn’t determine how Staloch approaches the strategy, she said. “We’re looking for assets that we believe can create value and that we also see an opportunity to transform a current approach to create even more value for our investors,” she said.

Amid the well-documented uncertainty over commercial real estate following the pandemic, Fundrise is not changing its plans.

“We are currently investing primarily in rental properties for multi-family and single-family houses: asset classes that are not confronted with the same uncertainty as commercial real estate,” said Staloch. “One of the benefits of investing is that our real estate assets are diversified; We are not restricted by any asset class or geography. Single family home rental is something of a new industry that we are targeting and we are constantly reviewing which asset classes have value and opportunities for disruption. “

Since McCord’s layoff in 2016, Fundrise has been a Regulation A applicant and filing regulation letters for all funds and measures, Staloch said, which is “truly unique for a company at our stage”. Her own due diligence process has shown her the company has strong controls and, as a former regulator, Fundrise has been impressed by its adherence to strict regulations.

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