Real Estate Information Archive


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If You Want to Do Anything in Real Estate, You Better Know the Rules

by Scheryl McDavid
Scheryl McDavid
Broker with LaChapelle Properties 


It’s an understatement to say that internet shopping has taken over the real estate industry. Who hasn’t used Zillow, Trulia or Redfin to find their next home or investment? So, my interest was definitely piqued when my mentor offered me her copy of Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate by Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries, who chronicle the rise of their powerful real estate search app and all the data that went into creating it. And that, my friends, is exactly what makes Zillow so useful, it’s the data. More than 3 terabytes of it (that’s one million million).

If you’re thinking about selling a house, here’re some pricing pointers from the book that you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • On average, sellers overprice their homes by 6.9%
  • When a home is overpriced, it tends to sell for less than market value
  • Overpriced homes can almost double the time it takes to sell them (often as long as 4 months!)
  • 47% of sellers end up cutting their list price to make a sale

Here’s the good news:

  • Houses priced at fair market value tend to sell for 2% above the asking price
  • Homes with “psychological” or strategic pricing — where you place a “9” in place of the last non-zero digit — may sell up to 4 days faster and for slightly more money than those with all zeros in the price ($299,900 vs. $300,000, for example)

Published in 2015, I think a number of Zillow’s findings are still relevant for our area today:

  • Negative equity reduces the housing supply; “under water” homeowners don’t sell when there’s no down payment for their next home
  • Low mortgage rates create higher demand because of easier financing
  • Both of these conditions create a market with fast-rising prices (North Hills, Raleigh, I’m looking at you)

 All this sounds a lot like another real estate bubble might be coming, so I appreciated, especially, the authors’ refusal to offer predictions of how the real estate market will perform following the 2008-2009 crash. Instead, they use an interesting quote from Donald Rumsfeld, “There are known knowns … there are known unknowns … But there are also unknown unknowns.” Rascoff and Humphries suggest that America has the data and the understanding to avoid another devastating bubble.

The main takeaway is this, read the data, understand the data, and get to know your area really, really well. And yes, even with Zillow, Trulia and Redfin in your pocket, this can be overwhelming. So, if you’re going to buy, sell or invest in real estate, get some help from a professional who can guide you and there will be a lot fewer unknown unknowns to hurt you.

New North Carolina Real Estate Laws as of January 1, 2015

by Cynthia LaChapelle

The new year starts out with some changes in laws affecting homeowners and potential buyers and sellers. This is going to be boring for most of you, but my investor clients (those who buy and sell a number of properties per year with me) will be very interested.

New laws as of Jan 1

Oil and Mineral Rights Disclosure   If you buy property on or after Jan. 1, the owners of that property have to furnish a mineral and oil and gas rights disclosure statement. If you have questions about severing oil and mineral rights, please ask. This is a hot topic, particularly since fracking is moving into our state and even our geographical area.

Protection between husband and wife using a Trust    A new North Carolina law provides that husbands and wives who transfer real estate which they own as "tenants by the entireties" to a trust have the same protections from each others' creditors as they would before transferring it to the trust. The protection is conditioned on the spouses remaining (1) married and (2) the beneficial owners of the property placed in trust.

Contract Changes    There have been several small changes to the Offer to Purchase and Contracts to reflect Oil and Mineral Disclosure changes as well as tightening some language so that the meaning of the contract is more obvious for those who needed help in understanding some terms.

Also in January

The cost of replacing your heating and cooling system is rising again. Federal law requires a 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit instead of 13 SEER on Jan. 26. Production stopped months ago, and the supply is dwindling. The cost difference is broadly $1000/ unit. If you are currently doing a rehab, be aware and buy it now. Also, a new gas will be required in 2025. They are currently phasing out R22 for R4-10A. Be extremely careful when doing repairs to current systems that you don't ever mix gasses!

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2