Cache Valley Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

June 12, 2024

Home Prices Aren’t Declining, But Headlines Might Make You Think They Are



If you’ve seen the news lately about home sellers slashing prices, it’s a great example of how headlines do more to terrify than clarify. Here’s what’s really happening with prices.

The bottom line is home prices are higher than they were a year ago at this time, and they’re expected to keep rising, just at a slower pace.

But a recent article from Redfin notes,

“Price Drops Hit Highest Level in 18 Months As High Rates Dampen Buyer Demand.”

And that might make you think prices are declining.

Now, while it’s true the latest report from Realtor.com also shows 16.6% of homes on the market had price reductions in May, which is up from 12.7% last May, that doesn’t mean overall home prices are falling.

The key is knowing the difference between the asking price and the sold price.

Understanding Asking Price vs. Sold Price

In essence, the asking price, also known as a listing price, is the amount a seller hopes to get for their home when they list it. In reality, sellers can’t just put any price tag on their house and expect it to sell for top dollar. Today’s buyers are savvy customers, and when they aren’t willing to pay a premium for a home because their budgets are strained by higher mortgage rates, sellers need to adjust. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Based on market factors and what offers that seller receives, that asking price can change. If a seller isn’t getting much foot traffic, you may see them revise the price and make an adjustment to reignite interest in the home – and sometimes that’s because they’ve overpriced it from the start. That’s where price reductions come in, and when you see “price drops” in a headline, it sounds like declining home prices.

Mike Simonsen, CEO and Founder of Altos Researchsays:

“Not only is the share of homes with price cuts elevated compared to one year ago, but more price cuts are happening each week than last year.”

On the other hand, the final sold price is the amount a buyer actually pays when the transaction is complete.

Here’s the most important thing to noteActual sold prices are still rising, and they’re expected to continue to do so at least over the next 5 years.

What Does This Mean for Home Prices?

So, while there's been an increase in price reductions recently, this doesn't mean overall home values are declining. Instead, it’s a sign that demand is moderating. And, as a result, sellers are adjusting their expectations to align with today's market reality.

Even with more price reductions, home values are still growing on an annual basis, as they do nearly every year in the housing market. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), home prices went up 6.6% over the last year (see below):No Caption Received

 

This map shows how prices rose just about everywhere in the country, indicating the market is not in decline.

So, while seller price reductions are often a leading indicator that prices may moderate in the months ahead, which experts have been saying for a while is expected to happen, they aren’t necessarily reason for alarm. The same article from Redfin also states:

“. . .those metrics suggest sale-price growth could soften in the coming months as persistently high mortgage rates turn off homebuyers. For now, the median-home sale price is up 4.3% year over year to another record high. . .”

And with inventory as tight as it is today, price moderation is much more likely in upcoming months than price declines.

Why This Is Good News for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers, more realistic asking prices mean a better chance of securing a home at a fair price. It also means you can enter the market with more confidence, knowing prices are stabilizing rather than continuing to skyrocket.

For sellers, understanding the need to adjust your asking price can lead to faster sales and fewer price negotiations. Setting a realistic price from the start can attract more serious buyers and lead to smoother transactions.

Bottom Line

While the uptick in price reductions might seem troubling, it’s not a cause for concern. It reflects a market adjusting to new conditions. Home prices are continuing to grow, just at a more moderate pace. 

Posted in Market Updates
June 4, 2024

What To Expect if You Buy or Sell a Home This June



June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year. So, if you’ve got a move on your mind and you’re looking to make it happen this month, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know to make sure you’re ready.

If You’re Buying This June

A lot of homebuyers with children like to move after one school year ends and before the next one begins. That’s one reason why late spring into summer is a popular time for homes to change hands. And whether that’s a motivator for you or not, it’s important to realize more buyers are going to be looking right now – and that means you’ll want to be ready for a bit more competition. But there is a silver lining to a move this time of year. This is also when more sellers will list – so you should find you have more options. As an article from Bankrate says:

Late spring and early summer are the busiest and most competitive time of year for the real estate market. There’s usually more inventory listed for sale than other times of year . . . This is a double-edged sword for a buyer, as you will be met with more opportunities but [also] much more competition.”

During this busy season, it’s extra important to work with a trusted real estate agent. Your agent will help you stay on top of the latest listings, share expertise on how to make a strong offer in a competitive market, and give you insight into things like what the home is actually worth so you can make an informed decision when you buy. As Forbes says:

Approaching the market confidently, armed with good information and grounded expectations will take you far. Don't let the hustle of the market convince you to buy something that’s not in your budget, or not right for your lifestyle.”

If You’re Selling This June

Because there are more buyers this time of year, you’re in a great spot as a seller. Many of those buyers are highly motivated to make their move happen before the next school year kicks off – so they’ll likely put in strong offers to try to make that possible. That means, if your house shows well and is listed at market value, you could see your house sell faster or for a higher price. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Warmer weather and the end of the school year encourage more people to buy and sell, respectively. Buyers are looking to move and settle before the new school year begins, contributing to increased competition and, consequently, higher prices.”

You want to be sure you’ve got a great agent on your side to help you with the contingencies on those offers and any negotiations that take place so you can pick the best offer. Make sure you go over closing dates with your agent. Buyers trying to time their move with the school year may need to delay a bit or move faster. This can depend on the school calendar where you live. As U.S. News Real Estate explains:

“ . . if your house goes under contract in early summer, the buyer may ask for a delay in closing or move-in until the school year finishes or their current home has sold. Alternatively, a buyer later in summer may be looking to close quickly and move in under a month. Remain flexible to keep the deal running smoothly, and your buyer may be willing to throw in concessions, like covering some of your closing costs or overlooking the old roof.”

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to make a move this June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you.

Posted in Market Updates
June 3, 2024

More Than a House: The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership



With all the headlines and talk about housing affordability, it can be tempting to get lost in the financial side of buying a home. That’s only natural as you think about the dollars and cents of it all.

And while you ultimately need to be able to afford a home you buy, don’t lose sight of why homeownership was so important to you in the first place. That’s because buying a home is so much more than just a financial transaction. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The benefits of purchasing and owning your place of residence are both financial and emotional – pride in homeownership and the feeling of security are huge intangible benefits.”

Here’s a look at just a few of those more emotional or lifestyle perks, to help anchor you to why homeownership is one of your goals.

A Sense of Satisfaction

Owning a home is often associated with better mental health and well-being. That’s probably because buying a home is a big milestone. And the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with achieving that goal just feels good. A recent article from the Mortgage Reports says:

“By and large, homeownership brings more satisfaction than renting. . . Surveyees scored the overall happiness level of homeowners at 88% compared to 67% for renters.”

More Stability for Your Family

Another thing that may make homeowners feel more satisfied is that they’re finally able to put down roots. Think about it. If you’re used to moving each time your lease renews and your rent climbs, staying put for a while would be nice not just for you, but for any loved ones that live with you.

A home can provide more predictability and the chance to make long-term friends. That should reduce everyone’s stress too. As NAR explains:

“Families also benefit from homeownership, with studies proving that parents are able to spend less time in a stressed state, therefore spending more time with their children. The ability for parents to feel stable has a huge impact on children’s behavioral issues, educational success, and future economic success.”

A Stronger Feeling of Community

And if you’re also looking for a sense of belonging for yourself, homeownership can help with that too. As FinHabits says:

“Homeowners tend to be more involved in their local communities, leading to a stronger sense of belonging . . .”

It makes sense. Your home connects you to your neighborhood and, by extension, your broader community. That’s because owning a home gives you a stake in that community’s future. So, becoming more involved and wanting to do what you can to help improve the area while making long-term relationships with neighbors is only natural.

The Ability To Make the Space Your Own

And don’t forget, your home is a place that’s all yours. Unless you’ve got specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit.

So, if renting has been cramping your style, it’s time to express yourself and jump on the latest trends (if you want to). Whether that’s small home improvements or full-on renovations, your house can be exactly what you want and need it to be. And as your tastes and lifestyle change, so can your home. Picture coming home each day to a place that feels like you. That’s a feeling like no other. 

Bottom Line

If you want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in where you’re living, let’s have a conversation to go over what you need to do now to make this future happen for you.

Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2024

The Biggest Mistakes Buyers Are Making Today

 




Buyers face challenges in any market – and today’s is no different. With higher mortgage rates and rising prices, plus the limited supply of homes for sale, there’s a lot to consider.

But, there's one way to avoid getting tripped up – and that’s leaning on a real estate agent for the best possible advice. An expert’s insights will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes homebuyers are making right now.

Putting Off Pre-approval

As part of the homebuying process, a lender will look at your finances to figure out what they’re willing to loan you for your mortgage. This gives you a good idea of what you can borrow so you can really wrap your head around the financial side of things before you start looking at homes. While house hunting can be a lot more fun than talking about finances, you don’t want to do this out of order. Make sure you get your pre-approval first. As CNET explains:

“If you wait to get preapproved until the last minute, you might be scrambling to contact a lender and miss the opportunity to put a bid on a home.”

Holding Out for Perfection

While you may have a long list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, you need to be realistic about your home search. Even though your ideal state is you find a home that checks every box, you may need to be willing to compromise – especially since inventory is still low. Plus, a home that has everything you want may be too pricey. As Investopedia puts it:

When you expect to find the perfect home, you could prolong the homebuying process by holding out for something better. Or you could end up paying more for a home just because it meets all your needs.”

Instead, look for something that has most of your must-haves and good bones where you can add anything else you may need down the line.

Buying More House Than You Can Afford

With today’s mortgage rates and home prices, there’s no arguing it’s expensive to buy a home. And while it may be tempting to stretch your finances a bit further than you’re comfortable with to make sure you get the house, you want to avoid overextending your budget. Make sure you talk to your agent about how changing mortgage rates impact your monthly payment. Bankrate offers this advice:

“Focus on what monthly payment you can afford rather than fixating on the maximum loan amount you qualify for. Just because you can qualify for a $300,000 loan doesn’t mean you can comfortably handle the monthly payments that come with it along with your other financial obligations. Every borrower’s case is different, so factor in your whole financial profile when determining how much house you can afford.”

Not Working with a Local Real Estate Agent

This last one may be the most important of all. Buying a home is a process that involves a lot of steps, paperwork, negotiation, and more. Rather than take all of this on yourself, it’s a good idea to have a pro working with you. The right agent will reduce your stress and help the process go smoothly. As CNET explains:

Attempting to buy a home without a real estate agent makes the process more arduous than it needs to be. A real estate agent can give you professional legal guidance, market expertise and support, which will save you time, money and stress. They can also increase your chances of finding the right home so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for listings.”  

Bottom Line

Mistakes can cost you time, frustration, and money. If you want to buy a home in today’s market, let’s connect so you have a pro on your side who can help you avoid these missteps.

Posted in Market Updates
May 29, 2024

How an Agent Helps Market Your House



You’re ready to sell your house. But what do you need most from your real estate agent? Well, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) asked that very question to recent sellers and found one of the top things they were looking for is help marketing their house to potential buyers. Maybe that’s what you need the most help with too.

You expect your real estate agent to write a great description of your house for the listing and pair it with some high-quality photos. But that’s not all you’re going to get when you partner with a great agent.

They’ll do a lot more to make sure your house stands out. Here are some of the most common methods real estate agents use to market homes according to that same report from NAR (see graph below):

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So, how can you benefit from your agent using these methods?

  • Listing on the MLS – By listing your house on the MLS, it will get more visibility from other real estate agents and buyers. This could lead to more traffic, which could ultimately help you see an increase in offers and ultimately a better price.
  • Using a Yard Sign – A yard sign catches the eye of people driving or walking by. This method drums up local interest since people who live nearby might have friends or family looking to move into the area. It also prominently displays your agent’s contact information, so interested buyers can get in touch easily.
  • Having an Open House – When your agent advertises and hosts your open house, buyers see others are interested in your house, too. This competition can lead to stronger offers. An open house is also easier for you since you only need to leave once for many buyers to visit. Plus, your agent may get useful feedback on what people like or don’t like, which can help you make improvements to attract more buyers later, if needed.
  • Showcasing on Your Agent’s Website – Having your house visible on your agent’s website allows for a professional presentation of your property. Additionally, people visiting your agent’s website are more likely to be serious buyers who are ready to make a move.
  • Social Networking – Your real estate agent works hard to have a wide-ranging social media presence. Marketing your house this way allows them to reach a large audience. It also makes it easy for people to share your listing with friends and loved ones who might be interested.
  • Providing Virtual Tours – Virtual tours are extremely convenient for buyers, especially those who are relocating from out of town. This method allows them to tour anytime, day or night. It shows your agent is using the latest technology to market your house.

There are many tools that can be used to market your house. As NerdWallet sums up:

A good real estate agent will have a robust plan to promote your listing in an effort to find the right pool of buyers. Adding your home to databases of available homes called multiple listing services (MLS), open houses, 3D virtual tours, professional photography and broker tours for buyers’ agents (particularly for luxury homes) are all factors that may go into a marketing plan.”

As a seller, it’s smart to work with a creative local real estate agent who can maximize them to make sure you get as many eyes on your house as possible.

Bottom Line

When it comes to marketing your house, working with a local real estate agent has tons of benefits. If you’re ready to sell, but don’t know where to start, let’s chat.

Posted in Market Updates
May 28, 2024

How Do Climate Risks Affect Your Next Home?



Climate change is impacting where people buy homes. As the experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explain:

“Sixty-three percent of people who have moved since the pandemic began say they believe climate change is—or will be—an issue in the place they currently live.”

If you’re planning to move, climate change is something you might want to consider, no matter where you are. A recent study from Realtor.com helps put the growing impact climate change is having on real estate into perspective (see below):

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So, how can you be sure your investment is safe from the elements?

For starters, work with a local real estate agent to understand the likelihood of your future home being exposed to hazards like wind, floods, and wildfires. Your agent will know the area and be able to tell you about the risks you’ll most likely face.

Beyond that, there are two important factors to think about: the quality of the home you want to buy and the insurance you’ll need to protect it.

A Home Built to Last

If you’re planning to be in your home for many years, you want to know it’s going to last. One way to think ahead is to work with your real estate agent to ensure the home you buy can withstand environmental hazards. They’re up to date on the most common building and remodeling techniques—like a secondary water barrier on the roof or noncombustible, fire-resistant exterior walls—used to protect homes from the effects of climate change.

And if the home you’re interested in doesn’t have the features you’re looking for, they can help you determine what you may be able to negotiate in the contract or what work it might require in the future.

Insurance To Protect It

Once you’re confident the home you’re looking at is well built, the next step is finding out what it’s going to take to insure it. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogicsays:

“. . . homeowners are going to become increasingly more aware of risks of living in some areas as it becomes prohibitively expensive or very difficult to obtain hazard insurance.”

In areas where climate risks are having a bigger impact, the right home insurance can make a big difference. And the price of that insurance is an important factor when thinking about your budget and the true cost of buying and protecting your home. Get an insurance quote early in the process because you may want to compare multiple quotes and it can take several weeks to get them.

While this may feel like a lot to consider, don’t worry. An agent can help. Your real estate agent will be your go-to resource on the homebuying process, what to look for and consider, and how climate change may affect your next home. With the right planning and an agent's expert advice, you can make this happen. Homeownership is worth it. And with a great agent by your side, you can make sure the home you find is the right fit.

Bottom Line

Climate change is an important factor to think about when buying a home. After all, your home is a huge investment, and you want to be ready for anything that might affect it. Let’s chat so you can find the perfect home.

Posted in Market Updates
May 23, 2024

Questions You May Have About Selling Your House



There’s no denying mortgage rates are having a big impact on today’s housing market. And that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house and make a move.

Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

If you’re thinking about waiting to sell until after mortgage rates come down, here’s what you need to know. So are a ton of other people.

And while mortgage rates are still forecasted to come down later this year, if you wait for that to happen, you may be dealing with a lot more competition as other buyers and sellers jump back in too. As Bright MLS says:

“Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.”

That means if you wait it out, you’ll have to deal with things like prices rising faster and more multiple-offer scenarios when you buy your next home.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

But that doesn’t mean no one is moving right now. While some people are holding off, there are still plenty of buyers active today. And here’s the data to prove it.

The ShowingTime Showing Index is a measure of how frequently buyers are touring homes. The graph below uses that index to show buyer activity for March (the latest data available) over the past seven years:No Caption Received

 

You can see demand has dipped some since the ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). That’s in response to a lot of market factors, like higher mortgage rates, rising prices, and limited inventory. But, to really understand today’s demand, you have to compare where we are now with the last normal years in the market (2018-2019) – not the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years. 

When you focus on just the blue bars, you can get an idea of how 2024 stacks up. And that gives you a whole new perspective.

Nationally, demand is still high compared to the last normal years in the housing market (2018-2019). And that means there’s still a market for your house to sell.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

And if you’re worried about how you’ll afford your next move with today’s rates and prices, consider this: you probably have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained record amounts of equity over the past few years. And that equity can make a big difference when you buy your next home. You may even have enough to be an all-cash buyer and avoid taking out a mortgage altogether. As Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“ . . . those who have earned housing equity through home price appreciation are the current winners in today's housing market. One-third of recent home buyers did not finance their home purchase last month—the highest share in a decade. For these buyers, interest rates may be less influential in their purchase decisions.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve had these three questions on your mind and they’ve been holding you back from selling, hopefully, it helps to have this information now. A recent survey from Realtor.com shows more than 85% of potential sellers have been considering selling for over a year. That means there are a number of sellers like you who are on the fence.

But that same survey also talked to sellers who recently decided to take the plunge and list. And 79% of those recent sellers wish they’d sold sooner.

If you want to talk more about any of these questions or need more information, let’s connect.

Posted in Market Updates
May 22, 2024

How Many Homes Are Investors Actually Buying?



Are big investors really buying up all the homes today?

If you’re trying to find a house to buy, this may be something you’re wondering about. Maybe you’ve read about it or seen reels on social media saying investors buying all the homes is making it even harder to find what the average buyer is looking for. But spoiler alert – there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To clear things up, here's the scoop on what's really happening. A lot of the big investor activity is actually in the rearview mirror already.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) explains:

“Investors of all sizes spent billions of dollars buying homes during the pandemic. At the 2022 peak, they bought more than one in every four single-family homes sold, though more recently their activity has slowed as interest rates rose and supply became tighter.”

The key here is investor activity has slowed significantly, and even during the peak of investor buying, 3 out of every 4 single-family homes purchased were by regular, everyday buyers – not investors. And of the investors who bought over the past few years, most weren’t the big investors you may be hearing about. The vast majority were small mom-and-pop investors – people like your neighbors who own only a couple of homes, maybe even just their main residence and a vacation home.

But let’s focus on the giant, mega-investor firms since that's what is being talked about so frequently on social media right now. Mega investors are those who own 1,000+ properties. You may be surprised to see that, according to the Wall Street Journal, they don’t buy all that many homes (see graph below):

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This graph tells us two things. First, institutional investors were never buying a large percentage of available homes. During the peak in 2022, they bought about 2% of available single-family homes. Second, that percentage has gotten even smaller recently (so small the number rounds down to 0%).

In an effort to understand why that percentage is trending down, private lender RCN Capital asked investors about the challenges they’re facing. Here’s what Jeffrey Tesch, CEO of RCN Capital, found out:

“Investors are already facing many challenges in today’s housing market – rising prices, limited inventory, and higher financing costs.”

Understanding these challenges is important because they show big, mega investors aren’t taking over the housing market.

So, don't fall for everything you hear. They aren't snatching up all the homes and making it impossible for regular people to buy

Bottom Line

Big investors aren’t buying all the homes out there. If you've got questions about what you're hearing about the housing market, let's chat. I can help you understand what's really going on.

Posted in Market Updates
May 20, 2024

What’s Next for Home Prices and Mortgage Rates?




If you’re thinking of making a move this year, there are two housing market factors that are probably on your mind: home prices and mortgage rates. You’re wondering what’s going to happen next. And if it’s worth it to move now, or better to wait it out.

The only thing you can really do is make the best decision you can based on the latest information available. So, here’s what experts are saying about both prices and rates.

1. What’s Next for Home Prices?

One reliable place you can turn to for information on home price forecasts is the Home Price Expectations Survey from Fannie Mae – a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.

According to the most recent release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise at least through 2028 (see the graph below):

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While the percent of appreciation varies year-to-year, this survey says we’ll see prices rise (not fall) for at least the next 5 years, and at a much more normal pace.

What does that mean for your move? If you buy now, your home will likely grow in value and you should gain equity in the years ahead. But, based on these forecasts, if you wait and prices continue to climb, the price of a home will only be higher later on. 

2. When Will Mortgage Rates Come Down?

This is the million-dollar question in the industry. And there’s no easy way to answer it. That’s because there are a number of factors that are contributing to the volatile mortgage rate environment we’re in. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“Every month brings a new set of inflation and labor data that can influence the direction of mortgage rates. Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates.”

What happens next will depend on where each of those factors goes from here. Experts are optimistic rates should still come down later this year, but acknowledge changing economic indicators will continue to have an impact. As a CNET article says:

“Though mortgage rates could still go down later in the year, housing market predictions change regularly in response to economic data, geopolitical events and more.”

So, if you’re ready, willing, and able to afford a home right now, partner with a trusted real estate advisor to weigh your options and decide what’s right for you. 

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to make sure you have the latest information available on home prices and mortgage rate expectations. Together we’ll go over what the experts are saying so you can make an informed decision on your move.

Posted in Market Updates
May 16, 2024

The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing



There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up.

There are more homes up for grabs this year. The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show in April 2024 there were more homes for sale than there were over the last few years (2021-2023):

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As Realtor.com explains:

There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.”

But does this growing inventory make house hunting easier? Yes and no.

Using the latest weekly data from Calculated Risk, the graph below shows, that even with the growth lately, there are still way fewer homes for sale than there were in the last normal year in the housing market:

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What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don't expect a huge selection.

To check out your growing options, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you're interested in. Bankrate explains:

“In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.”

Bottom Line

Let's team up so you have someone who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

Posted in Market Updates