There have been a lot of requests that the information in our newsletter be available so you don't have to search through your email to locate them. Here is the May, June, July, and Mid-July Newsletters with quick explanations as to the content. If you are not getting the newsletters please text JCAR to 22828 or contact JCAR.
Intro to upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and hours/services at JCAR.
We followed up with INTERACTIVE MAPS from the NCDOT(Linked), Pictures from Bowling for RPAC
In July we followed up with Cooper Elementary (link attached) & showed REALTORS at the Miracle League Game (Video attached)
Mid-July we had Residential Form Changes (Doc Attached), TMLS ShowingTime/New Subscriber info, NCAR Election (Linked)
Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to buy a house, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors®. That’s great news for anyone hoping to sell their home this spring.
“Seasonal patterns can differ somewhat depending on climate and where you are in the country, but generally speaking, spring is the busiest season for home buying and selling,” said Laura Howell, Preside of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “The weather is pleasant, days are longer and curb appeal is at its peak, making it an ideal home shopping season.”
However, one disadvantage for sellers in some markets is housing inventory: it tends to skyrocket in the spring. So how can you make your home stand out amongst all the others? Here are some tips from Johnston County Association of REALTORS® to help you sell your home for the best price this season:
Clean, clean and clean some more. It may be cliché, but make sure that your home is ‘spring clean’ throughout the entire selling process. “When potential home buyers walk inside, they should see a well-organized, sparklingly clean house,” said Howell. “If you can do nothing else, keep floors and windows scrubbed clean, take out trash and recycling frequently, and keep any clutter stored and out of the way.”
Bring fresh flowers indoors. Springtime brings fresh flowers which, when brought inside, can be used as low-cost decor and fragrance. “Many people prefer natural to artificial scents, making this a perfect staging technique for open houses,” said Howell. “Just be aware that some buyers may have allergies, so avoid flowers with high pollen counts like daisies, chrysanthemums or sunflowers.”
Improve your curb appeal. How your home looks when buyers walk up to it can be just as important as how it looks when they walk into it. “It is important to make sure that your home’s exterior is kept clean and well maintained throughout the season,” said Howell. “At the very least, keep the grass trimmed by mowing regularly, make sure your shrubs and flower beds are well-tended and scrub or paint over any stains or chipped paint on your home’s exterior.
Let the light in. Take advantage of the longer, warmer days by opening up your windows and brightening up your home. “Keep your blinds open and your curtains pulled back to let in as much natural light as possible,” said Howell. “If a room doesn’t receive much sunlight, a well-placed mirror can help capture and reflect light from other rooms to brighten a space.”
By following a few tips and making a couple of simple improvements, you can make your home more appealing to buyers and hopefully help sell it quickly this spring.
If you are interested in selling or buying a home this spring click the Find A Realtor tab to speak with a Realtor.
As the deadline to file taxes begins to approach, Johnston County Association of REALTORS® wants to remind homeowners of the many tax benefits, savings and deductions they can take advantage of simply by being homeowners.
“There are many social and personal benefits of owning a home, but some of the most significant financial benefits only become apparent at tax time,” said Laurie Howell, President of JCAR. “Many new homeowners, and even those who have owned their home for years, may be unaware of some of the fantastic tax breaks that come with owning a home.”
Here are some deductions, credits and tips of which many homeowners may not be aware:
Mortgage interest deduction. “If you took out a loan to pay for your primary or a secondary home, you can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage up to $1 million,” said Howell. “These savings can add up very quickly.”
Property tax deductions. A large part of a homeowner’s monthly loan payments is taxes, which can be deducted annually. “If you bought your home during this tax year, remember to pull out the settlement sheet you received at closing for more tax deduction data,” said Howell. “When you purchased the property from the seller, the year's tax payments were divided so that you were responsible for paying the taxes during the portion the year you owned the home; and your share of those taxes is deductible.”
Energy efficiency tax credit. This provision allows homeowners to claim a tax credit (or a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes) of up to 10 percent of the amount spent, up to $500, for many green improvements one to their home that year. “If you installed energy-efficient windows or solar panels in your home, make sure that is reflected in your tax returns,” said Howell.
Home improvements. When it comes to taxes, home improvement expenses are not something homeowners can generally deduct on their taxes. However, improvements done to meet a medical need can be deducted. “If you installed a wheelchair ramp or added handrails, you can deduct these projects as medical expenses,” said Howell. “Still, you cannot deduct the entire cost of the equipment or renovation, only the amount left over when the added value to the home is subtracted from the cost of the improvement. Also, be prepared to document that the improvement is medically necessary by having at least one letter from a physician stating the need.”
The holidays have arrived and so has the time of year when home sellers wonder whether they should keep their properties on the market or take them off. Or if owners haven’t listed their home yet, they may be asking themselves if they should wait until spring or brave the winter real estate market?
Trying to sell your home during the holidays can be daunting to many homeowners. The season can be extremely busy for families, and the idea of taking on the additional stress of selling a house could be a turnoff to some people.
“Many people consider the holiday season the worst time to sell your home; it’s the time of year when homeowners are hosting family members, putting up favorite decorations and planning vacations,” said Laura Howell, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “However, listing a home during the holidays can be extremely advantageous to homeowners, and it doesn’t have to ruin any holiday cheer.”
Here are a few reasons why homeowners should consider listing their homes this winter:
Less Inventory. For many homeowners, selling their home during the winter holidays seems like too much of a hassle, and they will either take their home off the market or wait until the warmer months to list. “This creates an inventory shortage, which is good news for a seller,” said Howell. “And since there are limited choices for buyers, the homeowner could have a higher asking price.”
Control Your Showings. Homeowners do not need to let their homes be constantly available for showing. “Let your real estate agent know if there are certain days and times that won’t work for your schedule,” said Howell. “You can have blackout dates where there are absolutely no showings, or create a daily schedule outlining when exactly potential buyers can come through the home.” Your agent is there to help make the process go smoothly.
Staging. “Staging your home during winter can be as easy as decorating for the holidays,” said Howell. “Just be careful not to overdo it, as décor that is too large or over the top can distract buyers.” Sellers can also avoid offending potential buyers by using general fall and winter decorations rather than using religious themes.
Motivated Buyers. People hunting for homes during the holidays often have a reason for doing so, meaning that they are more motivated buyers. “Most buyers who aren’t incredibly motivated will put off a home search during the holidays and pick things up again in the spring,” said Howell. “If someone is touring homes instead of celebrating the season with friends and family they likely need to buy a home quickly and could be willing to pay more.”
And of course, the most important thing that you can do to give yourself an advantage is to hire a RealtorÒ, a member of the National Association of Realtors®. “RealtorsÒ have real insights and unparalleled knowledge of your local market and can help you sell your home this winter so that you and your family can get back to celebrating the holidays,” said Howell.
Contact Johnston County Association of REALTORS® by visiting www.JCRealtors.org for more information about selling or buying a home in your area.
Many people grew up with the idea that one day we would all be living in homes like the Jetsons’, the 1960s cartoon family living in the future, with a closet that showers and dresses you and a robot that makes your breakfast. While homes aren’t yet quite there, smart home technology has advanced leaps and bounds in recent years and has become more popular than ever.
“Technology has changed the way we live in and interact with our homes,” said April Stephens, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “Smart homes can be programmed to react to their owner and tailored to fit with a person’s lifestyle – homeowners can even design the home to meet their specific needs.”
Here are a few ways smart home technology can be utilized:
Security. New products allow homeowners to monitor their homes from a distance—even internationally. Owners can lock doors and windows from their portable computers, or access security camera recordings from a mobile device. “It’s not just about keeping the property safe, it’s about keeping you and your family safe, too,” said Stephens. “Fire, carbon monoxide and gas leak alarms that connect to your smartphone can give you peace of mind that everything is all right in your home even when you aren’t physically there.”
Energy Savings. Smart thermostats allow homeowners to program their home’s temperature and adjust it even after they’ve left, avoiding any needless heating or cooling of an empty house. Automated lighting programs let people turn the lights on and off in their home from their smartphone or laptop from anywhere in the world. “Smart green features have been in high demand for years now,” said Stephens. “These products not only help the environment but also bring your electricity and water bills down, saving you money.”
Convenience. One of the main appeals of smart homes is that they can make the home owner’s life easier. A garage door opener connected to your smartphone and a sprinkler system that syncs with the weather forecast so the lawn is never watered when it’s raining are all features that simplify day-to-day life. Soon, instead of having to check the refrigerator to see if anything is running low, a homeowner will receive a text message from their smart kitchen reminding him or her to buy eggs.
Although the benefits that these technologies provide are numerous, it is important not lose sight of the risks smart homes can pose to the owner’s privacy. As smart technology becomes more established in homes, it becomes even more important that the necessary precautions are taken to protect data and privacy. That’s why the National Association of Realtors® worked with the Online Trust Alliance, a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust, to create the Smart Home Checklist. The checklist offers guidance to home buyers and sellers about how to stay in control of the privacy and security of their smart home technology. You can find this list at https://otalliance.org/SmartHome.
For more information on the value or smart home technology and how to protect your privacy in your home, contact a member of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS® or visithttp://www.jcrealtors.org/ and click Find A REALTOR®.
People buy and sell homes for many reasons. Perhaps they need to relocate for a job, or maybe they simply want a change of scenery. However, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, if you are 50 years old or older chances are you are selling your home to downsize.
The reasons for downsizing can vary depending on what stage of life the person or family is entering. For younger baby boomers, those born between 1955-1964, the reason to downsize might be that all of their children have moved out, or maybe the home has just become too expensive to maintain. For older baby boomers (born between 1946-1954) and members of the Silent Generation (between 1925-1945) who are entering or are in retirement, downsizing can help increase a nest egg or decrease the amount of work needed to keep up the home.
“For many people it is as simple as one day realizing that there are rooms in your home that you never go in, or that keeping the house clean has become a full-time job,” said April Stephens, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “When that time comes, looking into buying a smaller home is the next logical step.”
Some of the benefits that come with downsizing are:
Saving money. Not only is a smaller house less expensive to purchase, the ancillary costs of the home are also reduced. “You will likely use less electricity to heat, cool or light a smaller home. This could bring down your utility bills,” Stevens. “Less house also means less to maintain, meaning costs for repairs, gardening, etc., will go down as well.”
Less to clean and maintain. If you decrease the size of your living space, logically you decrease the space you need to clean. “Downsizing can also force you to re-examine your ‘stuff’ and how much of it you actually need, helping you to declutter,” said Stephens. “And owning fewer things also means less to dust.”
More free time. With less to clean and take care of comes more time for other things. “What would you do with an extra five-to-ten hours a week?” said Stephens. “For those starting their retirement, this is more time to start a new hobby, spend time with your family or to simply relax and enjoy. Who wants to spend their retirement making sure the rooms no one uses are clean?”
If you are considering or in the process of downsizing, the most important thing you can do is hire a Realtor®. Realtors® can provide valuable counsel, discuss listings, show you homes in person and negotiate on your behalf, and Realtors® are experienced and knowledgeable in meeting the specific needs of all buyers. Contact Johnston County Association of REALTORS® at www.JCRealtors.org for information on working with a Realtor®.
Your home’s curb appeal is the first chance to impress potential buyers. Whether buyers are wowed by a beautiful and well-maintained yard or are repelled by dirty exterior walls and an overgrown lawn can significantly impact your home’s sales price if you're thinking of selling it this spring.
“When buyers pull up to a house, they want to be able to picture themselves living in and coming home to it. Dead grass and chipped paint can make that all the more difficult to visualize,” said April Stephens, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “Making sure your home is prepared ( both inside and out ( before you put it on the market could help it sell faster and for top dollar.”
Here are a few tips to make sure your curb appeal is making the best impression on potential buyers:
Clean your house. “It’s not only the inside of your home that needs to be kept clean of dirt and grime, the outside of your home should be just as spotless,” said Stephens. “Clean your outer walls with soapy water and wash your windows inside and out.” According to Johnston County Association of REALTORS® washing your house can substantially raise the sale price.
A new coat of paint. After you’ve cleaned your home’s exterior, the next step is to apply a fresh coat of paint. “A new coat of paint is like a face-lift for your home,” said Stephens. “But don’t try to make a statement with your home’s color. If your home is a wildly different color from the other homes in your neighborhood, it could negatively affect a buyer’s perception of the home’s value.”
A well-manicured yard. Your front yard creates your home’s first impression to prospective buyers, so make sure that your lawn is green and trimmed and your shrubs and flower beds are well tended. “It is important to keep your yard neat, raking any fallen leaves and pulling any weeds,” said Stephens. “If there is a barren tree in your front yard, cut it down and replace it with grass.”
Repair the roof. If your roof is damaged, dirty or missing shingles, it can have a negative impact on the value of your home. If your neighbors’ roofs are well maintained or have been recently replaced, it will make yours look especially ragged. Sometimes a good cleaning is all you need to have your roof look like new. However, that isn’t a project you will want to take on yourself without the proper equipment; hire a professional with the right tools and training, who will be able to clean your roof without damaging it.
By making a few simple changes to your home’s exterior, you can increase your home’s value and hopefully help it sell more quickly this spring.
Real estate agents across the country have been waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to release guidelines permitting the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as marketing real estate. Last month, the FAA released its proposed rules, which would allow realty professionals to use drones to aid their clients in marketing and selling properties.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, are aircrafts without a human pilot aboard. The applications for this new technology are varied and numerous. Property managers are interested in drones’ property inspection applications while real estate agents hope to use drones to capture videos and pictures that help visualize and market clients’ residential and commercial properties.
"New drone technologies can help real estate agents market homes and properties in ways that were cost-prohibitive in the past,” said April Stephens, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “Aerial photography and video could someday be an added value that Realtors® provide for all of their clients, creating eye-catching listings that stand out to potential buyers.”
The new rules provide guidance on the various permits and registrations operators will need to obtain, when and where the drones can be used and the requirements for reporting accidents or injuries. It will likely take two years for the rules to be finalized and go into effect.
Some of the requirements included in the proposed rule are:
Commercial drones’ flights would be restricted to 500 feet in altitude, 100 miles per hour of speed and daylight hours.
All flights would need to be within visual line of sight of the person operating the drone.
Operators of commercial drones would be required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test be issued a permit to fly, which must be renewed every two years. This would be different from receiving a pilot’s license.
While drones are exciting new technology, until the rules are finalized Johnston County Association of REALTORS® reminds sellers that real estate professionals cannot use drones to aid in the selling and marketing of properties.
“Currently, using drones to market and sell either residential or commercial property can result in heavy fines for agents,” said Stephens. “But when the rules are finalized, drones will hopefully become an exciting, new tool to help sellers make their property even more attractive to buyers.”
For more information and updates, as they become available, please visitwww.realtor.org/drones.
Realtors ® from across the country have rated several home improvement projects that will not only add value to your home but will also recoup most of their costs upon resale. The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report helps owners decide if a project is worth the time and financial investments.
“Deciding to take on a home improvement project can be overwhelming for many homeowners, and especially if they are trying to choose a project that will give them the biggest bang for their buck,” said April Stephens, President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®. “Realtors ® know that features will be most attractive to potential buyers and this report provides homeowners with that insight.”
Curb appeal has always been important, so makes sense that the top five remodeling projects from the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report that will give you the highest return on investment are all smaller, exterior improvements.
Steel Entry Door. For the second year in a row, Realtors ® have named the steel entry door the number one home improvement project when it comes to seeing a return on your investment. It is also consistently the least expensive project in the report, costing about $1,200 on average; it was also the only project on this year’s list to recoup more than 100 percent of its cost at resale on a national level.
Manufactured Stone Veneer. This decorative building material is made to replicate the look of natural stone for a substantially lower price. This is the first year manufactured stone veneer has appeared in the Cost vs. Value report. On average, the project will cost around $7,150 and will recoup 92.2 percent of your investment.
Garage Door Replacement. Upgrading your garage door can update the entire exterior of your home, not to mention enhancing curb appeal. “The garage door is one of the first things a potential buyer will see,” said Stephens. “It is part of the first impression your home gives, so it is important that it looks its best.” A midrange steel garage door averages $1,595 and will recoup you 88.4 percent of your investment.
Fiber-Cement Siding. This high-end siding is resistant to termites, rot, moisture and fire. It is also incredibly stable and does not flex, meaning you’ll save money on less frequent repainting. This project will average you $14,014, and you can expect a return on investment of 84.3 percent.
Wood Deck Addition. An outdoor entertaining space is a large draw for many buyers. A deck provides a large amount of living area and at $30 per square foot it is a fraction of the cost of an indoor addition. The average cost for this project is $10,048 and recover 80.5 percent of your investment.
Before taking on any of these projects it is important to remember that all real estate is local. According to Johnston County Association of REALTORS®, every neighborhood is unique and the popularity and resale value of a specific remodeling project varies from community to community. “This is why it is so important to work with a Realtor®,” said Stephens. “Realtors® have unparalleled knowledge of local market conditions and can help you decide which projects will deliver the most return on investment in your area.”
The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report is published by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC and is done in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors®. Additional data from the report can be found at NAR’s consumer website, HouseLogic.com.
Johnston/Harnett County REALTORS® Selected for the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy Class of 2015
Jenna Hinman of Neighbors and Associates and Lucia Turlington of Turlington Real Estate Group, who are members of The Johnston County Association of REALTORS®, have been accepted in the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy.
Recognizing that leadership development is an essential element in the process of improving the real estate profession, the NCAR Leadership Academy seeks to identify and train local REALTOR® leaders for positions in their community, workplace and association.
The participants who were chosen will work together in an intense program that will help them identify their individual leadership skills and provide them with instruction on goal setting, network building, and improving communication. Both participants are active in the Johnston County Association of REALTORS® and their respective communities.
Johnston County Association of REALTORS®
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