Tuesday, September 25, 2018

October Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update


     Surveillance Systems
With the progression of inexpensive technology; many homes now have video and audio surveillance systems that record the information to a local hard drive or a remote server.  The ease and convenience of these systems can go a long way toward providing peace of mind about keeping your home safe and secure.  They are also a great way for second homeowners to keep an eye on their property.  If you are a homeowner who has your home for sale; can it also be a great way to see what buyers think about your property?
     Before you choose to do this, please consider the laws in your state.  I am not an attorney and what is legal versus illegal when recording people without their knowledge differs from state to state.  You should consult an attorney with specific questions before you do anything along these lines.  I will share with you a summary of what I have researched regarding these laws in Missouri.

  1.      Per The Digital Media Law Project:  Missouri's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law. Missouri makes it a crime to intercept or record any "wire, oral, or electronic communication" unless one party to the conversation consents.  In Missouri, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get prior consent from one party to the conversation, unless you are doing so to commit a criminal or torturous act.  Missouri also prohibits the disclosure or use of the contents of any wire communication obtained in violation of this section. Violation of the Missouri law is a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment and fine.  In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Missouri wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.  

     This law only extends to oral communications which are "uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.".  You may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy without consent.
     My opinion from researching the law and taking ethics into consideration is that a buyer should be made aware if a home they are viewing has recording devices.  I think any advantage you may gain is not worth the possible repercussions.  I also believe disclosing this to the potential buyer is the honest and right thing to do.
     My suggestion to buyers and their agents is to be mindful that homes may have recording systems and be conscious of your conversations while viewing a home.  You can also make a habit of inquiring whether a home you are considering has such a system.
     Disclosure of surveillance systems should be easily accomplished by posting a sign at your entrance stating that this home has an audio and video recording system.  I also believe that this disclosure should also be made to other agents conducting showings either via the MLS or other form of communication.  If the system is to be included in the sale of your home, this could be a plus to the buyer.  If you would prefer not to disclose this information, I suggest turning off the devices during showings.  The reason owners are asked to leave during showings is so buyers can have privacy and feel comfortable while looking at a home.  To record them without their knowledge seems like an invasion of privacy and lack of respect, in my opinion, even if it is your home.  
    Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, contact him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com

Thursday, August 23, 2018

September Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update



Data obtained from the Lake of the Ozarks MLS for January 1, 2015 thru July 9, 2018.
Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, you can reach him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com

Friday, July 20, 2018

August Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update



Home Warranty Plans
Frequently in the home buying or selling process, buyers encounter homes whose sellers are offering home warranties.  Both buyers and seller (and some agents) are frequently under the impression that these warranties cover most, if not all, costs to repair or replace things that fail in the home.
A home warranty is a contractual agreement provided to an owner of a house by any of a number of different types of entities. In the case of this article, I am referring to “home warranty” companies.   The home warranty industry was founded in 1971 by American Home Shield.  In the strictest legal sense a warranty of any kind must adhere to guidelines set at the states' and federal government's levels. But the word “warranty” is not always used explicitly to mean a legal warranty is being conveyed. Usually, a home warranty is not a warranty at all but rather a home service contract that covers the repair and/or replacement costs of home appliances, plumbing, heating and cooling and electrical systems, and possibly other components. Coverage and costs vary significantly across home warranty companies and home warranty contracts do not cover all home repairs.
Some home plans are more expensive and cover more items while others are more limited.  Most require that you pay a service fee, around $50 to $100 per incident and also have a maximum amount that they will pay per covered item and a limit on what they will pay in total.  Be sure that you are aware of what the coverage exclusions are and if the company pays the full cost of replacing an item or its depreciated value. 
Some common complaints that home warranty clients have about warranty companies are:            1. Deny the claim citing homeowner's maintenance negligence or “pre-existing problem”
2.  Repair the equipment even when it is in such bad shape as to be replaced (which may keep it running until your warranty ends)
3.  Utilize sub-standard service providers (the warranty company chooses the provider), this issue is often attributed to the fact that they have negotiated lower rates from these providers
Most warranty companies have a “Sample” Coverage Terms document that outlines what is included and excluded as well as some other terms.  These generally look pretty good.  Many have fine (miniscule) print that references a cover/front page that details specific coverage on the particular home.  Make sure you have all information before making a decision.
One of the best preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of nasty equipment failure surprise after closing is to schedule a thorough home inspection (by a reputable, knowledgeable company).  Your purchase contract should allow for an inspection and have a date by which you must complete and report any issues to the seller.  If their response is that the home warranty will cover it, look over the coverage terms AND make a call to the warranty company to verify this.
A great resource for home warranty information and reviews of existing companies as well as a list of ones no longer in business (some reportedly still selling warranties) is the website;   www.HomeWarrantyReviews.com .
A home warranty can be a great asset, you just need to do a little homework to make sure you know as a seller what you are offering and as a buyer what you are receiving.  

Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, you can reach him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com



Thursday, June 28, 2018

July Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update


Understanding Earnest Money

Make sure you fully grasp what an earnest-money deposit is—namely, proof that a buyer is committed to completing a sale by having skin in the game. The earnest-money deposit is a negotiable amount between the buyer and seller, but usually about 1% to 2% of the purchase price (although it can shoot up to 10%). This money is generally held by the seller's broker or a title company, to be used as a credit toward the down payment and closing costs.

In an aggressive seller's market, many homes receive multiple offers from anxious buyers. One of the ways to make an offer stand out is to offer a considerable earnest money deposit.  If a high earnest-money deposit scares you, remember you'll have to come up with the down payment 30 to 45 days after making an offer, anyway.  For example, on a $500,000 mortgage, a 15% down payment is $75,000.

One mistake buyers make with their earnest-money deposit is agreeing to remove contingencies   they may legitimately need.  For instance, if buyers agree to remove a loan contingency and their loan falls through, they'll lose their earnest money.  Other contingencies, such as a home that's uninsurable, inspection issues, a problematic title search, or if a house doesn't appraise—also protect a buyer by allowing the penalty-free canceling of a contract.  Make sure you are aware of all deadlines and contract requirements and stay on top of the timeline for completion or termination of the contract for valid reasons.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's easy to get swept away by a home's cool features when you first see it. Also, in a rapid paced market, you can become overly anxious about buying.  A buyer may put in an offer only to realize days later that granite counters and stainless appliances are incredible but the overall floor plan just doesn’t work for your needs.  Make sure that you're 100% serious about buying a home before making an offer.  If you get cold feet and back out, it's likely that you won't get your money back.

Know when to let it go.  I have worked with clients who have had major life changes during the midst of purchasing a home.  Unless you are working with an extremely understanding seller, they will most likely expect to keep the earnest money deposit.  After all, they have taken their property off the market in order for you to proceed with the purchase.  There will also be other expenses that would normally be paid at closing that your deposit will need to cover.

Personal problems may be very serious to you, but they're not a valid reason to cancel a home purchase. And if you're bailing on a deal with no legal justification, fighting for your earnest money deposit is probably a waste of time.    

Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, you can reach him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com


Thursday, May 17, 2018

June Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update


     A Look at National Home Sales
     Existing-home sales grew for the second consecutive month in March but lagging inventory levels and affordability constraints kept sales activity below year ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
     Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in March from 5.54 million in February. Despite this month's increase, sales are still 1.2 percent below a year ago.
     Closings in March eked forward despite challenging market conditions in most of the country.   Per Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist:  "Robust gains for March in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million," said Yun. "The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford."
     The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $250,400, up 5.8 percent from March 2017 ($236,600). March's price increase marks the 73rd straight month of year-over-year gains.
     Total housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.7 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.2 percent lower than a year ago (1.80 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 34 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.8 months a year ago). 
     In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in March, but are still 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $192,200, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
     Properties typically stayed on the market for 30 days in March, which is down from 37 days in February and 34 days a year ago. Fifty percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.  Throughout the country markets are seeing the seasonal ramp-up in buyer demand this spring but without the commensurate increase in new listings coming onto the market.  As a result, competition is swift, and homes are going under contract in roughly a month, which is four days faster than last year and 17 days faster than March 2016. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

May Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update


     Spring was slow in it’s arrival this year and although sales have continued to be strong I feel that the market was diminished by the late appearance.  Many of the sellers I work with were reluctant to get their homes ready for the season and on the market before the wet weather let up.  The lake real estate inventory is still tight, and this has contributed to what I feel would have been an even stronger first quarter.
     A five-year comparison of first quarter sales shows continual increase each year over year with few exceptions.  The following data shows the sales in only the first quarter of each year.
     Lakefront homes sold in 2018 totaled 267.  This is down slightly from 2017 which had 278 sales.  Sales in 2016 were 202.  Sales in 2015 were 196.  2014 sales were 181.
     Non-lakefront home sales in 2018 were 199.  This category of homes has continued to increase in sales each year.  2017 sales were 186.  2016 sales were 181.  2015 sales were 152.  2014 sales were 139.
     Condo sales have also increased each year.  2018 sales were 147.  2017 sales were 131.  2016 sales were 111. 2015 sales were 77.  2014 sales were 76.
     Lakefront lot sales are coming on strong compared to previous years.  27 lots sold in the first quarter of 2018.  Last year, in 2017 we had 18 sales.  2016 sales were 9.  2015 sales were 13.  2014 sales were 12.
     Low inventory and, finally, the strong buyer demand, is driving sales prices up as well as bringing the lakefront lot market back.  If you are intent on selling, I feel that 2018 and 2019 will continue to be a Seller’s market. 
     My advice to buyers is to be on top of the properties coming on the market either via a real estate agent or an online property database.  When a property that is well priced in conjunction with its condition becomes available, it is very common for it to be under contract within a week of coming on the market.  If you are intent on buying, you need to be positioned to know as soon as a property meeting your criteria is offered.  You will also need to be ready to view the property and make a strong offer.  Price is not the only items you need to consider when making an offer.  Earnest money, financing, inspection and other contingency times and closing date are just a few items to consider.
     Sales data obtained from the Lake of the Ozarks MLS comparing the time frame from January 1st to March 31st, 2014 – 2018.      
Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, you can reach him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

April Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update


     Lakefront lot sales are on the rise and I expect 2018 to see more sales than in any of the previous 10 years.  In 2017, waterfront lot sales were up 46% over the previous year.  This year, January and February lot closings were double and triple that of any of the previous 10 years closings in a month to month comparison.

     Over the previous 15 years, 2005 had the largest number of lakefront lots sales with 290 lot sale closings.  The low point was in 2011 with just 35 sales closed.  Since 2009, lakefront lot sales have stayed under 100 closings per year.

     The lakefront home market continues to have an inventory shortage and existing home prices keep rising.  The demand for homes will drive an increase in building and we are beginning to see this come into play. 

     Over the previous 5 years, the available lot inventory has hovered mostly in the low to mid 500s range.  The highest lot inventory was in September of 2015 with 566 lots and the lowest inventory was January of 2014 with 429 lots available.  Currently, there are 440 lakefront lots on the market.

     Nationwide building permits reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for privately owned housing units increased in 2017 by 4.7% above the 2016 permits issued.  The Midwest area showed building permits increased by 9.2% in 2017 compared to 2016.

        The lakefront home market continues to be a strong seller’s market.  The lakefront lot market is currently transitioning to a neutral position between buyers and sellers.  Looking at existing conditions, I believe we could very well see this shift further to a strong lot seller’s market by Spring of 2019.      

     Sales data obtained from the Lake of the Ozarks MLS comparing the time frame from January 1, 2004 to March 5, 2018 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
      
Michael Elliott has been selling real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1981.  He is one of the most respected brokers in the area.  If you have interest in a career in real estate or would like Michael’s assistance in the sale or purchase of property, you can reach him at 573.365.SOLD or cme@yourlake.com  View thousands of lake area listings at www.YourLake.com $1 million plus homes at www.LakeMansions.com   You can also view each months’ article, ask questions and offer your opinion on Michael’s real estate blog, www.AsTheLakeChurns.com