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Housing market readjusting to normal balance

ALLISON SIMSON AND JOYCE NENNINGER

Question: What is the state of the real estate market, both locally and nationally?

Answer: That’s a great question. For as long as I can remember, the Summit County real estate market has run contrary to national trends. One reads a lot about the softening of the national market. In contrast, the Summit County market is remarkably strong, with some areas experiencing a shortage of inventory and healthy appreciation.

Nationally, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a lower level of home sales expected this year will create a more level playing field for buyers and sellers on the heels of a five-year sellers’ market.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said the number of homes on the market has been improving nicely. “The cooling from overheated sales conditions in recent months is helping to bring inventory levels up to the point where buyers have more choices than they’ve seen in the last five years,” Lereah said. “Annual price appreciation is still running at double-digit rates, but the cause of those sharp increases is going away. As the market readjusts, price appreciation should return to more normal rates of growth this year.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types is projected to rise 5.8 percent in 2006 to $220,300. The median new-home price should increase 5.4 percent this year to $250,200.

Existing-home sales are expected to fall 5.7 percent to 6.67 million in 2006 from the record 7.08 million last year. At the same time, new-home sales are forecast to decline 7.7 percent to 1.18 million from a record 1.28 million in 2005 ” each sector would be at the third highest year following the tallies for 2004 and 2005. Housing starts are likely to total 1.98 million this year, down 4.3 percent from 2.06 million in 2005.

NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said some home buyers and sellers have unrealistic expectations. “Some sellers in markets that have had rapid appreciation are listing the price of their home too high, but those homes are just languishing on the market,” he said. “At the same time, some buyers who have believed hype about a housing bubble are hoping prices will drop, but that’s not happening either.

“Consumers need professional assistance to understand and negotiate the current market realities. Sellers should listen to their agent’s advice to competitively price and show the home, and buyers may want to choose a buyer’s agent to represent their interests and help them negotiate favorable terms. Today’s market has changed a lot from the conditions we’ve seen during the last five years.”

Question: I want to sell my house and know that I need to do some things to get it ready for sale. I really don’t want to pay anyone. Do you have any advice?

Answer: Sellers shouldn’t look at the cost of staging a home. Instead, they should consider how much more it will allow them to make on their house, says Peggy Selinger-Eaton, who has recently published a book and DVD entitled, Stage Your Home for Profit.

Here are Selinger-Eaton’s suggestions for do-it-yourself stagers:

Remove clutter except for a few wisely chosen accessories (candles, fresh flowers, crystal).

Bedrooms should have beds: If you’re a bed short, use an inflatable mattress and some boxes to create a faux bed.

Light and more light: Raise window blinds and remove screens from windows to let in as much natural light as possible.

Modernize fixtures: Replace boring or tarnished light fixtures. Trade in old lampshades for new ones. Replace sink and tub fixtures with modern, shiny ones.

Deep-six shabby furniture. Selinger-Eaton recommends buying cheap-chic replacements at Target.

Create life: Set the table, leave on the big-screen TV, play background music.

Homeowners don’t have to spend a fortune on decorating to impress potential buyers. Los Angeles decorator Jonathan Fong says there are many easy and affordable ways to transform a home from dull to dashing.

For those on a tight budget, he offers these four decorating ideas that are sure to boost the “wow” factor of any home:

Eliminate those white walls. The bolder the better. And don’t forget to paint the ceiling. Carrying the color scheme throughout the house makes the rooms look bigger.

Place a new area rug over an existing carpet or floor. Remnant pieces from carpet or home work just fine. Or paint a faux area rug over a wood floor with latex or acrylic paint, and then seal it with several coats of varnish.

Light up the room. Make sure it shines day and night with lamps, wall lights, hanging fixtures or a combination. A ceiling fan with a light kit will be selling point for some buyers.

Don’t underestimate the power of accessories. Votive candles, plants and even colorful switch plates for lights can add a flourish to a plain room.

For answers to your real estate questions, call JOYCE NENNINGER or ALLISON SIMSON at (970) 468-6800 or (800) 262-8442. E-mail Info@SummitRealEstate.com or visit their website at http://www.SummitRealEstate.com. Summit Real Estate ” The Nenninger/Simson Team is located in the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Both are Certified Residential Specialists (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.


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