2015, an Amazing Year for Kanawha Valley Realtors

The past 12 months have been the most prosperous for Kanawha Valley realtors in more than five years.

2015 wasa great year for Kanawha Valley Realtors in WV

Agents sold 316 more homes in 2015 than 2014. Stats from the Kanawha Valley MLS show steady growth from 2010 to 2015.

With low interest rates, a rebounding economy, a strong job market, West Virginia real estate seems to be thriving.

Not only did realtors sell 2,983 homes in 2015, but the amount of time it took them to sell was on average about five days fewer than 2014. Summer’s high demand from buyers played a key role in that.

It seemed like the perfect recipe as interest rates dropped and home values rose. West Virginia buyers swarmed the market to get their hands on a solid investment.

This only added to the Mountain State’s already high homeownership rate of 73.4 percent. That’s roughly 10 percent higher than the nation as whole, according to the US Census.

With 2015 wrapping up as a stellar year for both West Virginia home buyers and home sellers, the questions is: “Will this momentum continue into 2016?”

At Boggs & Associates, Inc., we’re both optimists and realists. We believe, if interest rates continue to hover below 4 percent, gasoline prices around 2 percent and job growth endures, we will see a great 2016. The numbers we saw this year were amazing, and will surely be hard to top.

However, the Kanawha Valley boasts some of the best realtors in the Mountain State. If anyone’s up for the task, it’s them.

So, as we say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016, we wish every home owner, home seller and realtor a joyous and prosperous year to come!

By Chuck Boggs & Justin Waybright

Winter 2015 is The Perfect Time to Buy a WV Home

Really?

Yes, really.

Remember how tough it was to find homes this Summer with all the competition that squeezed the best ones out of the market?

Home values rose, interest rates dropped and the Summer sun lit up the housing market, flooding it with buyers.

But now, Winter has chilled market activity. Many homebuyers are holding off to warmer months before they make a home purchase.

However, this may not be the best decision.

Competition

Imagine you find a perfect home. You tour it and meet with your realtor several times. You make your offer. Yet, at the same time, another family makes theirs. Now, you’re smack-dab in the middle of a bidding war.

The price of the home gradually rises out of your comfort zone and you lose the home of your dreams to the highest bidding family.

Do you really want to pay more than a home is worth or risk losing it to someone else? Don’t think so.

Avoid this and buy your home now, while competition is minimal.

Interest Rates

It’s December, and mortgage rates for the popular 30-year fixed loan are still under 4 percent. Actually, the current rate of 3.75 percent has been steadily dropping. We’ve predicted in previous articles, such as this one that the rate will more than likely increase by early next year. So, your window of opportunity to nab a great interest rate and save money on a home is gradually closing.

Faster Closings

We all remember how it felt to be a kid waiting on Christmas to finally arrive: sort of the same way it feels to be an adult waiting on a home loan to get approved. Take advantage of a slower housing market now, and reap the potential rewards of a faster closing.

Think about it. Mortgage Loan officers are not as busy with home loan closings as they were this summer, so logically, this should lead to a faster closing.

Renewed Economy

Yes, this time of year is expensive with Christmas gifts and such, but look at what’s not expensive right now. Gasoline. In West Virginia, most stations are offering it for under $2. The economy seems to be solid as jobs continue to grow and money continues to flow, according to the October Employment Report by the US Census Bureau.

So, if you have a solid job, then why would you want to have a roommate, live in mom and dad’s basement or live under an apartment landlord when you could own a home? After all, it’s a lot cheaper to own a home than rent one right now, not to mention all the equity you could potentially build by doing so.

Perfect Time is Now

According to a survey conducted by Realtor.com, people plan to buy homes in Spring and Summer. This typical plan may sound great, but here’s the problem: Inventory isn’t likely to be higher this coming March and April than it is this Winter.

Also, there’s the issue of supply and demand. Yes, inventory should grow with warmer weather, but will it grow enough to meet the demand?

Chances are, the number of great homes to choose from right now will be higher than four or five months from now, when every buyer floods the market.

So, if you’re waiting on Spring or Summer to get that dream home, we ask: Why? Interest rates are down and the number of quality homes are up. So, jump into the West Virginia housing market today.

By Justin Waybright & Chuck Boggs

5 Ways to Save Money This Fall 2015

Fall 2015 is coming soon and what better way to kick it off than with a list of simple ways to prepare and save some mullah?

Below, we’ve listed 5 simple and inexpensive ways to prepare for the cooler weather ahead. So let the DIY money-saving tips begin!

1.) Seal the Deal

In less than an hour, you can improve your home’s heating efficiency, while at the same time, save money on your heating bill. Windows and doors are your areas of focus. Buy a tube of caulk and re-seal any areas that need it, both inside and outside. Gaps in caulk and weather-stripping account for a 10% of your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Add weather-stripping, which is an easy way to help retain heat in your home. These black strips of rubber surrounding the opening of your front and back doors take use and abuse. Inspect and replace as needed.

2.) Mind the Gutters

Put on some gloves and get up on the roof or climb the ladder to check out your gutters. Look for obstructions, such as leaves, debris and dirt. Simply clean them out.

Clean the gutters now and you won’t be replacing them later.

3.) Heat it Up

Check your furnace’s air filter. Inspect this every few months, but it’s especially important to do it before turning the heat on. A dirty filter can hinder air flow, which not only costs you extra on your heating bill, but can pose a potential fire hazard.

Clean it (if it’s the re-usable type) or buy a new one. Spending a bit of cash now can save you a lot of mullah down the road.

4.) Blanket the Attic

Check out your attic. Place another layer of insulation in your attic and reap the benefit of better heat retention. Wear gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles.

After addressing the attic. Inspect your basement or crawl space, and you’ll see hot water pipes. Grab some pipe insulation at your local hardware store. The material is very cheap, but it can save you a lot of money and headaches later.

Wrap every hot water pipe, especially those near the outer areas of your basement or crawlspace walls. This will keep them warm during frigid temperatures, and will dramatically reduce the risk of them bursting.

5.) Program the Thermostat

There’s no need to keep the inside of your home hot all day every day. If you leave for work without adjusting your thermostat, you’re basically paying money to heat a home you’re not even using.

Use a programmable thermostat and set the temperature for a cooler setting when you’re not home and a warmer setting when you are home. Bonus: wear socks and use blankets in the fall and winter, and you won’t need to raise the thermostat’s temperature so high. This will save work for your furnace, which saves money on the heating bill.

By Justin Waybright & Chuck Boggs

Owning Vs. Renting Homes in West Virginia

Owning Vs. Renting Homes in West Virginia

It’s Summer 2015, and if Spring has shown us anything, it’s that buying a home is more profitable, affordable and economical than renting one.

Get a Hold of This:

  • One in five West Virginians is living in a home they cannot afford, according to statistics from the West Virginia Housing Trust Fund
  • A single mother needs to work an average of 66 hours per week to afford fair market rent in WV
  • Fair market rent for a 2-BR home in West Virginia hovers at $700/month
  • There are no tax deductions for renting
  • The benefits of home appreciation do not impact renters
  • It is impossible to build equity as a renter
  • It is currently more than 30% cheaper to buy than rent, according to stats from Trulia

Ready to ditch that apartment or rental unit you’re living in yet? If not, basically, you’re throwing away your money. Why pay $700 per month to live in a 2-BR apartment or townhouse when you can pay $500 per month to live in a 2-BR home you can call yours?

The Problem of Credit

  • Problem: I don’t have the credit the bank requires for a mortgage loan
  • Solution: Either build your credit or get a cosigner who has great credit

Not every home buyer has great credit. However, every home buyer has friends and family who does. If you want a home bad enough, you’ll do what is necessary to make your dream reality.

A Wise Investment

If current trends in the West Virginia housing market continue, we can expect to see values for residential dwellings rise. Having said this, buying a home is not only a good investment that can yield returns for you, but in the long run, it can save you money. How so? The answer is simple: When values rise, tenants often pay for the increase, while homeowners sit back and pay the same monthly payment they always have (+/- escrow).

In an apartment, townhouse or rental unit, you’re stuck with your landlord. If they decide to raise rent, you must oblige. Also, forget painting the home, updating the kitchen, flooring, landscaping and all the things homeowners do to personalize their home. In a rental unit (more often than not) you’re stuck with whatever the landlord desires.

Basic Reasoning

We know the economy isn’t the greatest. We know it isn’t simple to get approved for mortgage loans, however, it isn’t impossible either. Savvy home buyers will find and finance a home with a mortgage payment that is far less per month than their current rental unit is. If history holds true, rental payments will always be more than mortgage payments.

Your Steps to Success

1.) Build your credit or find a cosigner with great credit

2.) Find a home that suits your needs and budget

3.) Contact your local realtor

4.) Begin your journey into homeownership

In closing, we understand homeownership isn’t for everyone. Some folks simply desire to be renters. That’s ok. But, at River Valley Properties, llc., it is our desire to save people money and help them prosper. If we can do that by helping you find and finance a home mortgage, then we’ve succeeded.

Every person reading this deserves a place they can call home. Let us help you accomplish that goal today.

By Chuck Boggs

Owner, River Valley Properties, llc.

 

 

West Virginia Cities in Kanawha & Putnam Show Consistent Demand

Another statewide survey from a national agency ranked successful communities in West Virginia earlier this month.

This time, we learned where the best places to live in the Mountain State are. But is there more to the picture than what survey reveals?

Anytime we see a survey ranking “The best places to live in West Virginia” or “The best schools in West Virginia” or “The best places to raise a family in West Virginia,” we can almost tell you what communities will be on the list without even looking.

St. Albans, Hurricane, Nitro and South Charleston always seem to do well in the surveys. For instance, the latest survey reveals the “Top 10 Best Places to Live in West Virginia.” Below are the results.

1.) St. Albans
2.) Vienna
3.) Teays Valley
4.) Dunbar
5.) Pea Ridge
6.) South Charleston
7.) Moundsville
8.) Hurricane
9.) Bridgeport
10.) Brookhaven

Out of 380 towns analyzed, the national website concluded communities in Kanawha and Putnam counties are some of the best places to live in the West Virginia. We sorta figured as much.

St. Albans grabbed the No. 1 spot; Teays Valley the No.3 spot; South Charleston the No. 6 spot and Hurricane the No. 8 spot.

Population density, unemployment rate, adjusted median income, housing vacancy rate, education, commute time, crime and weather made up the criteria for the rankings. St. Albans ran away from the pack with its scores in population density, housing vacancy, media income and its variety of parks and community organizations.

It’s no surprise five out the top 10 best places to live in West Virginia span from Charleston to Hurricane in the latest survey. The same towns that showed up in this recent study have showed up in others, and they’ll more than likely continue to show up in future ones.

Cities in Kanawha and Putnam counties are no stranger to national and statewide recognition as being the best communities in West Virginia. During the past few years, cities and towns in these two counties have gained consistent notoriety.

Last autumn, Nerdwallet, a national website, ranked Nitro as the No.2 best place in West Virginia for home ownership. Hurricane came in at No. 3 and Cross Lanes No. 6.

Last month, US News released its list of best schools in the state. Schools in Putnam and Kanawha counties scored very well.

George Washington, Winfield and Hurricane high schools made the top 5 positions. The year before, Nitro earned a top 10 spot with its high school.

In 2013, Hurricane, Nitro and South Charleston earned honors in the “Top 10 Best Places in West Virginia for Young Families.”According to the survey, these three communities are affordable places that continue to prosper.

One thing about these random surveys we notice (other than the fact that the majority of them are conducted by folks who do not live in West Virginia) is that winning cities and towns are consistent. When one of them shows up on a top 10 list for best schools, that same community often shows up on a top 10 list for best places to live or best places to raise a family etc… Coincidence? We doubt it.

We believe this proves that successful communities in West Virginia will need to have a top-notch education system, affordable living, strong housing market, solid economy, various community events and more. These seem to be what folks consistently look for when moving to a new town or city in West Virginia.

If knowledge is power, then we should use this information to show home buyers and home sellers that the housing market in both Kanawha and Putnam counties is in demand and succesful.

Summer 2015 has proven itself to be a sellers’ market in West Virginia. Let’s give home buyers another reason to purchase a home in the Mountain State.

By: Chuck Boggs

Boggs & Associates and River Valley Properties, llc.

WV Real Estate Rebound

Our Local Market is Prospering

“It’s amazing what can happen in just two years…”

wv-real-estate-market

The WV Real Estate Market is Looking Good…

The WV Real Estate market outlook points to prosperity on all sides.
Don’t believe it? Check out these national averages:

• Last month, more homes went under contract than we’ve seen since June of 2013.

• From March 2014 to March 2015, an 11 percent increase in home buyer activity rose up, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

• March 2015 showed the third straight monthly increase in pending sales.

• Construction starts rose by 2% in March compared to February.

• March sales of previously-owned homes rose 6.1% to hit their highest level in 18 months.

• Prices for previously-owned, single family homes appreciated by 4.2% from February 2014 to February 2015

• Compared to February of last year, all regions in the U.S. saw an increase in contract signings.

These signs all do something important to the minds of home buyers, home sellers and WV Real Estate agents alike: They instill confidence. So much confidence arrived that sellers are now having trouble keeping up with the demand.

We see in the figures above that March 2015 broke records with properties selling at a faster rate than we’ve seen in over a year. Now, can WV Real Estate agents keep up with the demand and rising home prices?

“Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Simply put, housing inventory for new and existing homes needs to improve measurably to improve affordability.”

On the flip side to this, buying a home now could become a far better investment than ever before as houses continue to rapidly appreciate in value. In nearly one year, home values, on average, have risen by 4.2 percent, according to statistics from NAR.

Many would-be home buyers seem to be taking the plunge as our numbers above indicate: The sales of previously-owned homes in the last month rose to their highest level in nearly two years. What does this mean? Now could be the opportune time to turn a simple home-buying experience into an investment that’ll yield a great return.

Low interest rates, home appreciation increases and a solid economy can’t last forever. Rent prices are expected to rise by another 3.3 percent this year, according to Reis Inc., a commercial property tracker. Keep in mind: when the value of renting goes up tenants lose, however, when the value of homes goes up, homeowners win.

It’s all about jumping into the housing market at the right time so you can began building equity. We believe that limited window of time is now.

By: Chuck Boggs

River Valley Properties, llc.

WV Housing Market: Signs Point to Record Spring

This too Shall Pass

The last couple weeks, we’ve all endured arctic winter weather, cold enough to break pipes, render all-wheel-drive vehicles useless and cancel school and work for many.

At River Valley Properties, llc. we try and stay optimistic. We’re ready for Spring.

Not only will March, April and May bring with them warmer weather, grass and flowers, but these three months are predicted to shower us with a stronger-than-ever local housing market.

During the past few weeks, we’ve uncovered various trends, results and data that back up our WV housing market theories.

Storms are Temporary

We realize we’re not out of the snow yet. It’s only February and snow is blowing, peppering the frozen roadways with a slippery blanket of white. The sun is still hiding behind grey clouds.

Meteorologists predict sub-zero temperatures and more snow.

However, storms never last forever.

We believe the sun will soon kill the winter and light the path to a housing market revival unlike anything West Virginia has seen during the past decade. Not to mention all the eager, cabin-fever-laden buyers and sellers just itching to jump into the housing market at the perfect time.

Rainbow After the Storm

Our realtors are preparing for a buyer/seller surge in the next few months. Emphasis on strong marketing and heavy-hitting listings are becoming reality for many successful real estate companies.

To say we’re excited for Spring is an understatement.

Low mortgage rates, better employment rates, renewed homeownership pride and low gas prices are just a few ingredients making up a recipe for success.

The confidence remains “consistent with a modest, ongoing recovery,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “Solid job growth, affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates should help unleash growing pent-up demand and keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead.”

Overcoming the Storm

To effectively overcome any storm, one must know the adversary and how to prepare. As real estate and banking professionals, our livelihood depends on this very fact.

The sun should soon shine its face on the WV housing market.

Ask yourself:

  • “What I am doing to prepare for and ensure victory?”
  • “Am I watching TV and drinking a hot chocolate or am I studying the market, anticipating the desires sellers and buyers will pursue?”
  • “Am I building an effective marketing strategy that caters to my potential Spring clients or am I just hoping the same old strategy brings them to me by fortunate coincidence?”
  • “If I work to supply for my family, is my work effective enough now to prepare for success in Spring?”

What you do now, will greatly impact the results you receive later. Spring is coming, my friends.

Are you ready?

ByJustin Waybright, & Chuck Boggs
River Valley Properties, llc.