June 15th, 2014 Categories: Market Updates
Real Estate Update for Crofton, Maryland – May 2014
Good news for Crofton home buyers! May was a busy month for listings in Crofton, with 72 properties added to the inventory of available homes for sale. Today, June 15, there are 99 listings on the market for sale in the 21114 zip code, ranging from $109,000 (2-BR condo in The Tiers at Walden) to $800,000 (detached home on nearly 2 acres). This is the largest inventory of homes for sale in Crofton since November 2011.
By contrast, only 20 homes went under contract in the entire zip code during May. Even if you count the 24 contingent contracts (I’ll buy your house if and after my house sells), that’s only 44 offers accepted – definitely NOT in the same ballpark as 72 new listings, but it is an increase over May 2013.
What does this mean to you? When new contracts don’t keep pace with new listings, market conditions favor buyers over sellers. This usually translates into more days on market and more competitive pricing, as well. Disappointing to current Crofton home owners, but a great opportunity for home buyers.
Mixed news in “sold” statistics: Closings in May (37) were the highest we’ve seen in 2014, and an increase of nearly 6% over May 2013. The average days on market for the homes closed last month was 47, however, a 161% increase over the 18 days on market in May 2013. Average sold price to original list price was down approximately 2% from last year, but it was still a respectable 96.4%. The breakdown of attached vs. detached homes closed in May 2014 was nearly even at 18/19, compared to last year when it was 23/12.
This increase in sales of detached homes contributed to the nearly 4% increase in average sold price overall, but the average sold price of detached homes in Crofton dropped 5.6% from last year to $453,958 and the average sold price of attached homes dropped 7.05% to $251,564 from 2013.
Real estate statistics are only a small part of the story for Crofton home buyers and sellers, but they do help provide some perspective. Crofton homes are selling, but sellers and real estate agents should not be surprised if their property is on the market longer than it might have been at this time last year. Home buyers, this is an opportunity for you to take advantage of the relatively large inventory of homes on the market in Crofton while rates are hovering around 4%… chances are good that your monthly payment to own will be lower than rent on a comparable property.
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June 7th, 2014 Categories: Random Topics
Crofton home owners are busily grooming their yards, and you’ll see us throughout the neighborhood on summertime weekends. We tend to be educated people who know to “Beware of power tools,” but accidents can and do happen.
According to a 2004 Consumer Reports article, nearly 4,000 trimmer related injuries involved lacerated fingers. I couldn’t find more recent stats, but suffice it to say that I became a participant for the next set of statistics when someone updates that article again. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my finger, but there’s a lot of blood and pain when that happens, and my finger looks pretty darn ugly a week into recovery.
Even though you probably already know and practice these safety tips from that same Consumer Reports article, it can’t hurt to share these reminders with you:
1. Never use electric trimmers in the rain, on wet grass or shrubs, or near water.
2. Use an undamaged extension cord rated for outdoor use, and plug it into an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter (or use a GFCI-equipped cord).
3. Keep cords safely looped behind you.
4. Wear safety goggles, ear protection, work gloves, nonslip shoes, and clothing that won’t get caught in the blades.
5. Don’t overreach, especially on a ladder.
6. Keep both hands on the trimmer, and fingers and other parts of your body away from the blades when trimming.
7. Turn off the power and wait for the blades to stop before adding fuel or removing debris.
My accident happened so quickly that I don’t know exactly what happened, but obviously I failed to keep both hands on the trimmer (#6).
Let me add one more suggestion, in case you ever do have an accident like this: Call 911. The EMT performed initial triage, so I arrived at the Emergency Room with the bleeding controlled and the pieces more or less held together by sterile gauze. The inevitable wait to see a doctor was much less frustrating and stressful than it would have been if someone else had taken me.
No matter how many times you’ve safely used electric tools in the past, remember that’s no guarantee against an accident in the future. Take care!
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June 2nd, 2014 Categories: Crofton Real Estate
How much down payment will I need for a Crofton townhouse?
The average sold price for an attached home in Crofton in May 2014 was approximately $251,500. Using an FHA loan, the 3.5% down payment would be $8,803.00. Using a 95% conventional loan, the down payment would be $12,575. In both cases, sellers are allowed to pay some of the buyers’ closing costs if they’re willing.
In other words, you’d be a lot closer to buying a home if you just had an extra $10,000. Right?
Check out this excerpt from an article by real estate columnist, Pat Zaby:
Another Source for a Down Payment
Most taxpayers know they will pay a 10% penalty for withdrawing funds from their IRA before they turn 59.5 years old. BUT… There is an exception for first-time home buyers that allows a penalty-free withdrawal up to $10,000 per person if they haven’t owned a home in the previous two years.
This would allow a married couple who each have an IRA to withdraw a lifetime maximum of $10,000 each – $20,000 total, penalty-free for a home purchase. In many cases, the money would be used for a down payment or closing costs. However, some buyers might consider this source to increase their down payment so they could qualify for a loan without mortgage insurance or a lower interest rate.
Another interesting fact about this provision is that the taxpayer making the withdrawal can use it to help a qualified relative which includes children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.
I am not an accountant or attorney, so before using IRA funds for a home purchase you should get expert advice from your own tax professional concerning your situation.
Let’s Get Started!
Contact me today or visit my website for information about the home-buying process. No cost or obligation, just information to help you decide if you’re ready. The payoff for you will be huge: you can have the option to fire your landlord and enjoy the tax benefits of home ownership, not to mention all the other benefits of home ownership.
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May 19th, 2014 Categories: Market Updates
Real Estate Market Update for Crofton, MD – April 2014
Crofton home owners will be happy to learn that sales were up more than 34% last month over last month (March 2014) and last year (April 2013), with 31 closed sales.
There were 57 new listings last month but, fortunately, the new pending sales exceeded that number with 64 new pending contracts, up 45% over last year. About half of these were contingent contracts, so let’s hope the market continues with its annual Spring rebound to convert those contingent contracts to firm “under contract” status.
It’s interesting to note that the majority of buyers who closed in April used Conventional financing (15), in spite of the tighter restrictions in place for Conventional loans. Thirteen buyers used VA or FHA, two paid cash (probably investors), and one used “other” – perhaps an assumption or owner financing.
Average and median home prices for the properties that closed last month were down, but I wouldn’t lose sleep over that. It doesn’t mean that any one property dropped in value, just that more lower priced homes sold last month than a year ago. This is reflected in the ratio of attached/detached homes, which was 22/9 this year compared to 15/8 in 2013.
Overall, I think Crofton residents can feel good about the real estate market in Spring 2014. If you’re a prospective buyer, however, it’s time to get off the fence. When the market is good for sellers, it’s less favorable for home buyers.
This home is currently for sale in Crofton. Please contact me at 410-451-6245 for more information.
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May 16th, 2014 Categories: Random Topics
You Can See the Savings!
If you’ve considered changing your light bulbs to energy-saving LED bulbs, you’ll be glad to know that prices have come down considerably.
An initial investment now will generate immediate returns through energy costs and, because they last longer, you won’t need to replace them for years.
The life of LED bulbs is projected to be from 35,000 to 50,000 hours, compared to an incandescent bulb at 750 to 2,000 hours. For normal home use, a LED bulb could last more than 20 years.
80-90% of the energy used by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs is wasted by the heat generated. In contrast, cool LED bulbs converts 80% of the electrical energy to light energy.
- The color of LED lights is bright white, more like daylight, instead of the warm yellow of incandescent or the greenish tint of fluorescent bulbs, although soft light bulbs are available now.
- LEDs light up instantly instead of building to their intensity like some of the fluorescent bulbs.
- LEDs are more durable because they don’t have filaments or thin-glass bulbs like incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
Shop around to find the best price on LEDs.
If the LED only lasted 20,000 hours, you might have to purchase 20 incandescent bulbs during that same period of time. Using the chart below, you can see that the LED uses about 10% of the wattage without compromising on the brightness.
I purchased new light bulbs at Home Depot last week for a new listing, and a four-pack of 9-watt bulbs was only $2.98. In fact, I went back for a supply of extras for future listings.
Give LED light bulbs a try. ‘Guarantee you’ll like the savings on your electric bills and the replacement cost of your light bulbs.
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