What Fed Rate Hike ACTUALLY MEANS for Home Buyers and Sellers

If you haven’t yet, you’ll very soon be hearing about this famed Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

And like most people, it might sound like “industry jargon” to you which tunes you out completely! I get it. You actually have no idea how much I get it.

But it’s important. And because it’s important we dropped what we were doing to produce this video AND focused our entire “St. George Real Estate Morning Drive” radio show on the topic this morning on 890 KDXU.

Check out my detailed video here



Here’s what you need to know:

1.     The sky isn’t falling. Not at all. More below.

2.     The rate increase is the first of its’ kind in 9 years. NINE YEARS!

3.     It’s actually a sign of a HEALTHY economy! The Fed will only raise rates when the economy is stable enough to do so.

4.     Housing is STILL SO AFFORDABLE it’s almost nuts! Like the fact that you can actually afford 200% more home today as you could 30 years ago.

5.     It’s going to become MORE DIFFICULT to both buy and sell real estate, over time, due to rising rates. What does that mean for YOU?

6.     If you’re considering buying or selling in the next 12 months, you’re going to want to do that NOW. Housing will become more expensive, hurting BUYERS. The increased cost of housing will hurt SELLERS.

That’s it! Check out the video, share with friends, and give us a call at 435-215-4533 or shoot us an email: sales@gostgeorge.com

The #1 Reason Home Buyers' Dreams May Be Crushed



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​

What if a small change in mortgage interest rates caused you to COMPLETELY MISS the opportunity to purchase a home?! That could be happening. And soon.

Today, Jeremy Larkin & Host Chantry Abbott from Guild Mortgage Company discusses an upcoming change in the national and St. George real estate markets that will majorly affect every single Buyer’s ability to get the home they want….as well as home SELLERS’ ability to sell those homes.

An article released by the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that mortgage interest rates will top 5% in 2017. What does this mean for you and your St. George real estate?  

Nearly 7% of buyers who apply for a mortgage during the first half of the year will have trouble qualifying for a mortgage if rates go up by 0.5%.

Rates affect buying power immensely. As a result, some buyers won't be able to qualify for a mortgage down the line. For example, Chantry has had clients get pre-qualified for a $200,000 house. Three or four months later, they came back to get approved but, since rates have been on the rise, they actually can only afford to buy a $185,000 home. DANGIT!!

Doc, Marty and Buying a House in 1985….

Was it really more expensive to purchase a home in 1985? You’d be surprised. Watch this:

Let's say you want a $1,000 monthly mortgage payment. Back in 1985, assuming typical down payments and credit scores, you could only afford a $100,000 home.
In 2015, you can afford a $210,000 house and still have that $1,000 monthly payment! Why? Because rates have dramatically decreased since 1985. Even with homes being MUCH more expensive today, you can afford twice as much.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_-r0tyO6zFs/VnH8cLcjJ3I/AAAAAAAAjjs/c0_anP-lubI/s400/Jermey%2BLarkin%2B-%2Bpull%2Bquote%2B12.16.15.jpg

Rates will be on the rise in 2016, and Sellers will also feel the squeeze.  

It’s not just Buyers who could miss out on the home of their dreams. Home SELLERS will feel the sting also sometime in 2016 or early 2017 according to our estimates. If Buyers can’t buy, it’s awfully tough to sell. This is the primary reason we’re having very serious home-selling discussions TODAY with folks who had previously considered waiting 2-3 years. 

If you have any questions about the mortgage process, call Chantry Abbott of Guild Mortgage at (435) 674-1090. Chantry has been in the mortgage business for a long time, and many of our clients have purchased or refinanced their homes through Guild Mortgage Company. He can definitely help you out. As always, give us a call or send us an email with your real estate questions.

If your questions are more of the BUY or SELL real estate nature, give us a ring directly! (435) 215-4533, or sold@gostgeorge.com

The TRUTH About Selling Your Home During The Holidays

Friends and clients,

First off HAPPY HOLIDAYS and THANK YOU for working with, referring to, or following the Larkin Group! We appreciate it more than you might know.

Second, may I separate fact from fiction today on the topic of holiday home sales?

People often think that the real estate market freezes up during the Holiday season, and every time they ask a Realtor they get a standard Realtor answer: “Of course you should list, buy, invest, etc during the Holidays. You should do it all the time!.”☺ Easy for us to say, right?

Let’s eliminate “opinion” and just look at the facts shall we?

In today’s video, I actually show you FACTUAL PROOF of 2 things:
  1. Sometimes the Holidays are actually the best time to sell a home if you’re looking for a quick and profitable sale. Homes are selling in December and they always do. Many. 
  2. A little known fact that most folks don’t consider is what January competition looks like, and how that will affect your ability to sell a home at that time. 
Check out that video right here



Apart from the actual facts I shared in the video above, I came across a great article with 11 reasons to list your home during the holidays. It's written for real estate agents but it applies to any home seller and I think these four are the most important for you.

1. Buyers looking for homes during the holidays are serious about purchasing. They’ve often been transferred for a job, or are in a situation where they need to buy a home quickly. This means a quick, profitable sale for you!

2. Supply usually falls during the Holidays, so if you’re selling your home then you’ll face much less competition.With fewer homes on the market, you’ll have the upper hand in negotiations with a buyer.

3. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays, and you can use this to your advantage when you place a price on your home.

4. Your home will look more inviting during the Holidays, and it will show better. What’s more inviting to a buyer than walking into a warm home with a fire lit and cookies baking in the oven? They’ll instantly feel at home!

These are only a few of the reasons why you should consider selling your home this Holiday season, or at least why you might not want to “blow off” the idea entirely. If you’d like to see al 11 reasons, read this article.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!

Looking to buy a home this holiday season? Click here!

Looking to sell your home this holiday season? Click here! 

Until next time, a very Happy Holiday season to you and your family!

Your St. George Real Estate Partners,

Jeremy Larkin & The Larkin Group
(435) 215-4533
larkingroup@gostgeorge.com

How Boomerang Buyers are boosting the St. George Real Estate Market



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling con

Today, we're going to talk about “Boomerang Buyers” and how they affect the real estate market both locally and nationally. A “Boomerang Buyer?..What is THAT?” Great question.

A boomerang buyer is someone who lost their home in a foreclosure or short sale in the housing crash, and who needed time to improve their credit in order to purchase another home. Now that their credit is back in shape, it's really affecting the market. 


Starting in 2006, over 7 million homeowners went through short sales or foreclosures. In 2015, 350,000 homes were sold to return buyers. A.K.A. “Boomerang Buyers.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, up to 1 million consumers have restored their credit, and 2.2 million consumers are expected to restore their credit in the next five years. That means that there will be up to 2.2 million buyers coming back into the market over the next five years. 

In spite of going through a foreclosure, nearly all of these consumers say they want to buy a home again. They see the value of owning a home vs. renting. After all, if you're going to pay a mortgage, it might as well be your own!


The “boomerang effect” has sustained the St. George real estate market through the heat of summer – a time when we almost always see a fairly strong dip in St. George real estate sales.

During summer (June-August) 2014, 919 residential sales too place in Washington County versus 1136 during the same time period in 2015…an extra 217 home sales! That’s $54 million in total value, a serious figure. And we believe that boomerang home buyers had a strong part in that increase

If you have questions about this video, or about your home value, please give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to help you!

I have my Washington County Property Tax Notice…Now what?



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​

You've probably received your Washington County Property Tax notice in the mail by now. It’s one of those things that gets tossed aside into the “I’ll deal with that later” pile, right? I get it.

But since you’re inevitably going to wonder if they’ve overcharged you for property taxes at some point, I’m going to address it with you now! Here are the 3 key points you’ll want to consider:


1. Is the assessment accurate? You have to keep in mind that the value you see on your assessment is not the value of your home. This number is not what someone would pay you for your home if it were on the market. I would actually go so far as to say that 90% of assessments are probably a bit low. Meaning that your home is actually worth MORE than they’ve assessed you for....SHHH…I won’t tell the County if you don’t!

2. What should you do if it's inaccurate? If you think your assessed value is too high, get on a home evaluation site (Dixiehomevalue.com) and compare their value to what you received. If the difference is too great, you can contest it. Reach out to us and we can produce a price analysis that you can take to the assessor's office when you appeal. If you need to appeal, go to the Washington County website:(http://www.washco.utah.gov/assessor/boe.php).

3. What is the benefit to you financially? If you appeal and the county assessor accepts your appeal, for every $1,000 that they have over-assessed you, you will get $12 back in the form of a credit. So, a $10,000 over-assessment will get you $120 in credit.

Most of you don't need to worry about these things, but if you have any questions about your property tax notice, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to resolve any issues you may be having.

Until that time, or our NEXT video – onward and upward!

Do You Know How to Account for Your Personal Property When Selling?



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​

Hello, and welcome back! 

This video features us helping our client Leslie deal with some personal property items after she had moved away prior to closing. And we are very thankful to her for letting us help with the sale. We did it in just 60 days, start to finish!


The Seller moved fairly far away prior to the close of the transaction which brought up a challenge: "What do I do with my personal property when I sell my home? Both the pieces I want to give away to charity, as well as those items the Buyer wants to purchase?”

This is a great question, and an important one to know the answer to since transferring furnishings to your home Buyer actually has a proper legal “method” to it.

Often, sellers think they can include personal property as part of the contract. However, per Utah real estate law, you have to convey personal property, outside of fixtures, via what is called a “bill of sale.”

This confusing language is why it's so important to work with a good Realtor and title company; they can help you understand the jargon and avoid making any moves that may have legal ramifications.

Fixtures, as mentioned above, include your sink, oven, dishwasher, and other affixed items in a home. 

Personal property, on the other hand, includes things like TVs, couches, beds, and other movable things. You need to work with a good real estate professional and title agency to work on conveying that stuff via a bill of sale, or you will run into an issue with the title company.  

We hope this tip helps you avoid unnecessary stresses when making your move. If you have any questions about this topic, or if you need real estate assistance of any kind, give us a call or shoot us a quick email. We would love to hear from you! 

How Does Your Home’s Value Compare To the “Peak?”



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​


Welcome back to another edition of GoStGeorgeTV, we have a really exciting episode today. We are going to talk about, and actually show you, where home values are in Utah and across the Country compared to 10 years ago at the “peak” of the real estate bubble.

A lot of crazy things have happened with the economy in the last 10 years - Ponzi shemes, government bailouts, and even a major recovery of home values across the Country.

Before we can even talk about where values are TODAY, understand the following:

  •  St. George area home values fell an average of 35% from 2006 to 2011. “Average” meaning that in some St. George neighborhoods values fell as much as 50% or more!
  •  As implied above, 2011 was the absolute “rock bottom” of the market in terms of home values. Yes, you can now consider 2011 the “good old days” of buying.. :)


In the video above, you will see that home values in the states colored dark blue have actually climbed back to peak levels seen 10 years ago. States like Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, and Nebraska all fall into this category.

On the other side, in the States marked by the color orange home values are still 15-20% below their peak. Nevada is 35% below their peak and Arizona is at 27.4% below peak home value ranges.

As for Utah, we are still 9% below our peak values, which is actually a very healthy number. If you want more info on “why” it’s a healthy figure, give us a ring!

An example: If you have owned a home in St. George that was valued at the peak for. Say, $400,000…the home is probably worth more like $360,000 now. If your home was valued at $200,000 in the “peak”, it’s probably closer to $180,000 today. Now these are not EXACT figures, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

However, we are starting to notice a much larger increase in home appreciation as of late. In the last year, homes have appreciated by 5.5%, and they have appreciated by 1.5% in the last month alone.

The most important thing to remember when interpreting this data is this….

 All real estate is local!

So local, in fact, that each neighborhood right inside of a single City could be experiencing different home value “symptoms.” Many factors can affect home values on your street so don’t be shy about reaching out for assistance! Trusting Zillow or Google to give you a clear view of your home’s true market value is, well, not reliable. We produced a previous episode about it HERE.


If you've got questions about your home’s value or anything else real-estate related, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to offer you a free, no-obligation home value assessment!

What’s Going on in the St. George Real Estate Market?



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of GoStGeorgeTV – the place where all of the “Smart Kids” are going to get their St. George Real Estate information! It’s April already and folks are asking, “what’s going on with the St. George Real Estate market this year? We’ll answer just that. Today's video comes to you from the beautiful Ballantyne resort in Charlotte! A few times a year, I travel across the country to receive intensive training, so I can continue to improve my service. I learn how to better market our clients' properties and how to better grow our business! One key element of being out here is having conversations about helping you, your family, or your friends find a great Real Estate Agent anywhere – and I mean ANYWHERE in the United States, even overseas! More on that later.

What's going on in the St. George Real Estate market?

The current market conditions would described, (in super boring terms), as “balanced.” 

There are currently 6.5 months of inventory (total real estate for sale) which indicates a neutral or balanced market. What does this mean? That OVERALL- when you average out every single St. George home sale, the market doesn’t necessarily favor Buyers OR Sellers. But remember that’s an average. The $200k market, for instance, is more of a Seller’s market. Whereas over $500k it’s definitely a Buyer’s market. 

But the current market is very active as we've seen 1,500 home sales in the last six months. At a $250,000 average sales price, that’s a LOT of St. George real estate changing hands. In fact, we were recently ranked the fifth fastest growing marketplace in the entire country! 

So how can we make you look really good with your friends and family across the globe?  

If you’ve got friends or family buying or selling anywhere on the planet where Real Estate Agents are actively available, we can connect them with the very best. Just let them know that your friends at The Larkin Group have a referral partner in that locale and we can save them the pain and drama of interviewing 10 agents!

If you have any specific questions about the St. George Real Estate Market, or if you need real estate assistance of any kind, give me a call! I would love to sit down and discuss your particular situation! We hope to hear from you soon!

Do More Homes Sell During the St. George Parade of Homes?



Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​

Recently, I've been asked repeatedly whether more homes sell during the St. George Parade of Homes. Ok, we’re actually getting this question around EVERY Parade of homes, not just recently. Let’s take a look at what the numbers tell us. And the numbers never lie. 

During parade season, people from Southern Idaho and Northern Utah flee the inversions to capture the beautiful 60-70 degree weather in St. George. Over Presidents' Day weekend, soccer and softball tournaments overrun the area, and people from up north come to enjoy our community. If you were around, you saw that the town was absolutely BOMBED. I tried to just stay at home at not get involved in St. George’s version of “traffic.”

And every year about this time, homeowners in our area pull their dusty For Sale By Owner signs out of storage under the assumption that they'll be able to sell their home during the parade and many assume they can do so for more than it's worth. Why not? A bazillion people in town looking at homes, why wouldn’t it help?

But is this line of thinking true?

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE to see the actual REAL DATA about St. George home sales between the months of February and March in recent years.

NOTE: You’ll see that we used numbers from 2010-2012. That’s because:
  • We actually completed this analysis back then!
  • We don’t have enough data for 2015 yet.
But guess what? Trends are trends.

CONCLUSION? The Parade of Homes does not cause more homes to sell immediately in Washington County, but is probably the impetus for many home sales several months to several years later.

HOW CAN WE PROVE IT? We look at how many St. George homes sell directly AFTER the parade.

People who visit the area in mid-February and find a home they’d like to purchase can’t realistically close until March, more likely April.

Here’s a look at percentage INCREASE or DECREASE in home sales in Washington County in the 2 months after the Parade.
    • 2010: +9%
    • 2011: -1%
    • 2012: -8%
No compelling case that a huge increase happens after. It even went DOWN 2 of those years!

My conclusion? The Parade of Homes does not cause more homes to sell immediately in Washington County. It's a beautiful marketing pitch, as it showcases the kind of homes we have here, what the builders are capable of, and why they should move here. 

If you have any questions about selling your home during the Spring season in St. George, or if you’d just like to chat about how amazing this area is, don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me a quick email. I would love to hear from you! 

Is It Possible to Predict the Future of the Real Estate Market?




Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.​
  
Is It Possible to Predict the Future of the Real Estate Market? 

As always, we're here to give you some quick tips to help you make informed decisions in the St. George marketplace. Today, we share 3 tips to help you make accurate real estate predictions in our area.

1. You can't (technically) predict the market!! Wait...what? It's true, there is no crystal ball you can look into and get all the answers about a given market. Markets are inherently unpredictable, but there are certain things you can look at to get a general idea of how things will shape up.


2. Follow affordability trends. When the housing market gets really affordable, it's going to crank up. When it hits an affordability ceiling, you'll see market activity crank down. If this happens, you'll either see prices fall off or sales slow. TIP: Affordability is suffering again in Washington County, so watch that closely.

3. Follow people who study real estate FOR A LIVING! Follow the Warren Buffets and Donald Trumps of the world, and read about entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And yes, you should follow us and our blog, radio shows, etc! After helping families buy and sell over 600 homes, (nearly 100x what the average homeowner will do on their own), it’s quite possible that we have some pretty darn solid perspective on where the St. George Real Estate market is going! 

Specifically, If you want to hear our take on where the St. George market is heading, check us out on KDXU 890 AM radio Thursdays at 8:30 AM. You can hear myself and Mike McGary talk about what's happening in our market, trends we're seeing, and other data to help you make informed buying and selling decisions!

If you have any questions, or would like real estate assistance of any kind, we're always available via phone or email, and we would love to hear from you! Thanks, and remember: We know this town!