Don’t Forget These Costs When Buying A Home

Just came across this post below about the expenses involved with buying a home and thought it was worthy of sharing for those of you who are thinking about buying a home in the near future.

Speaking of which, if you are considering buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia and surrounding areas our team would love the opportunity to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.

We work with a lot of folks here in the area and together offer over 40 years combined experience and have participated in closing thousands of real estate transactions over the years. We are committed to providing excellent service with proven results and realize this can only be done by taking terrific of our customers and clients the first time around!

To discover more about our team and to see how we can be of support to you, please visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com, call me at 540-725-7727 or email me at christycrouch@aol.com.

Here is the post I wanted to share with you:

Don’t Forget These Costs When Buying a Home
By: Anne Miller

Dont Forget These Costs When Buying a Home photoYou’ve crunched the mortgage rates, estimated your tax payments, and taken a realistic look at how much house you can afford. You’ve stuck within your range when scouring the realtor.com® listings, being careful not to bust your budget.

But there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the property costs. And those additional payments, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to derail your conscientious planning.

Home-Buying Expenses: Add Them Up

Here are the line items you should keep in mind.

Buying Costs

You’ve got your mortgage pre-approved, but that’s not all you will need to fork over to get the keys to your new place. Services that need paying:

Your buyer’s agent fee
An appraisal to confirm a reasonable market price for the property
Inspections of structural, mechanical, pest or other potential issues
A real estate attorney to review all contracts (depending on the state)
Property taxes vary widely, up to 4.2% of a home’s value in some states, according to a CNN map published in 2013. Depending on when you buy, you may owe the previous owners for property taxes they have already paid. You may also need to pay fees to a local association, such as a homeowners association.

Moving Costs

Moving into a home can involve major expenses for packing, storing and transporting your possessions and yourself. If you are moving across the country, the costs could be significant. Even moving across town can cost more than you planned for truck rental, movers and equipment.

Utilities

Setting up your telephone, electricity, gas and water—did you budget for these expenses? They could cost more at your new place, especially if you’re moving to a larger home or from a rental.

New Stuff

You may need to purchase appliances or furniture for your new home. Some items, like your old particle board bookshelves, may not be worth the cost of moving. Again, if you are sizing up, you face the potentially fun, but possibly financially draining, challenge of filling the new place.

Maintenance and Renovations

Trees fall on roofs. Gutters need cleaning. Driveways need repair…. A standard rule of thumb is to budget at least 1% of your home’s purchase price each year for home maintenance costs.

Maintenance can include things such as painting, replacing roof shingles, fixing or upgrading plumbing and wiring. The amount you will need to pay for maintenance can depend on the age of the home, the previous owners’ upkeep and the climate.

Homeowner’s Insurance

You won’t be able to obtain a mortgage without homeowner’s insurance covering both the property and its contents. However, the standard insurance may not cover natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and earthquakes. Depending on where you live, you may want to consider taking out additional insurance to cover such risks.

Private Mortgage Insurance and Title Insurance

If the down payment on your home was less than 20% of the purchase price, you will have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects your lender in case you default. It’s standard, and fees vary. The rules are complicated, but usually once you have paid down the mortgage so you owe less than 78% of the purchase price, you can drop the PMI payments.

Title insurance offers protection for you (and your lender) if you later discover that someone else could lay claim to the title, and therefore ownership, of the house.

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid paying for PMI, you find a low-cost attorney you can trust, and you have a modern, energy-efficient house, these expenses can still add up to thousands of dollars. That prospect should not scare you away from homeownership, but it always helps to be prepared.

Updated from an earlier version by Ben Apple.

What’s The Difference Between A Listing Agent & A Buyer’s Agent

This is a question I think more and more consumers are facing as the real estate business continues to evolve.  There is so much more information available online than we ever imagined having access to a couple of decades ago.  Having been in the business personally now for almost 24 years I can say that it’s an entirely different business today than it was when I first started.  That’s with anything in life though and as I always tell the agents I coach and train; the only constant is change!

While having instant access to so much information is great in many aspects, it can also get a bit overwhelming and even confusing at times.  I just had a first time buyer reach out to me on Zillow.com as a result of seeing our references and reviews from past customers and clients and wanted to interview with us to be their buyers agent.  As we were emailing back and forth and I was giving information and answering questions she said exactly that, wow this is all a bit overwhelming which prompted me to write this post.

So here is a quick overview of what a listing agent does:

1.  Market and advertise the home

2.  Generally they provide a professional sign and a lockbox for other agents to be able to access and show the home

3.  Generally they place the home in a multiple listing service that other local agents have access to so that they can see all the homes that are currently for sale.

4.  They should give the seller tips and advice on things that can be done help the home show best and explain the entire home selling process to them

5.  They should go over comparable properties and values and help the seller choose a list price

6.  They should explain all disclosures that will need to be signed and what this means

7.  They should coordinate showings with other agents and hopefully follow-up to get feedback from the showings that takes place and then communicate that with their seller

8.  If feasible they will help the seller negotiate acceptable price and terms when an offer comes in.  There are agency issues to be considered and this is something I can talk further about if you have questions please give me a call at 540-725-7727 or an email at christycrouch@aol.com and I’ll explain the different types of Agency and the impact it can have.

9.  They should help facilitate the closing process and keep the seller informed along the way as things occur which could include but not be limited to scheduling inspections, walk through, repair work if applicable, appraisal walk through, closing time, coordinating funds, transfer of utilities, etc.

10.They should have the seller sign a listing agreement specifying the above tasks being done generally for a specified time period.

While many sellers think the listing agent they hire may be the one showing the home and ultimately selling it, this is generally not the case.  In fact, other agents and companies will likely show the home way more often than the listing agent simply due to the numbers factor.  In the Roanoke, Virginia area we have just over 1,000 active Realtors so obviously 1,000 Realtors will have access to more buyers than just the listing agent.  If the listing agent has a buyer then it behooves them to show it and sell it if at all possible as they’ll get paid more money that way in more cases.  And it costs an agent time and money to carry a listing so it’s really an investment on their part and the sooner they are able to turnover their inventory the better off for both them and the seller.

This is just a brief overview of what a listing agent does as each individual agent and company have their own marketing plan with different things they do to gain maximum exposure for a home and to provide service to their clients.

Here is  quick overview of what a buyer’s agent does:

1.  They should explain the entire home buying process to the buyer so the buyer goes into it with eyes wide open knowing exactly what to expect

2.  They should encourage the buyer to get pre approved for a loan up front so the buyer knows exactly what price range to be looking under in order to keep their payments where they’re comfortable.  Many times a buyer qualifies for more than they really want to spend so having the lender work the figures backwards to ensure payments stay where they want is ideal.

3.  They should have a conversation with the buyer to determine what type of home and what locations are of interest and then research the entire market to ensure the buyer has access to all homes that are available and then keep the buyer posted as anything new comes on the market based on what they’re looking for and show them any homes that are of interest.

4.  If feasible they will assist the buyer in making an offer once the buyer finds the right home. Again there are agency issues here to be considered as well.

5.  They will help the buyer schedule their formal loan application, home inspections, closing time, walk through, utilities, and coordinating funds for closing.

Many buyers are shopping online nowadays and then driving by the outsides of homes before they ever schedule a time to see the inside.  Truly it’s become almost like a two step elimination process where they’ve already seen everything about the home online and driven by in most cases before they ever walk through the front door.  This saves the buyer, seller, and Realtor time but more importantly it brings better quality showings for both the buyer and the seller.  It’s a bit frustrating for sellers because they’re not seeing the same level of activity and showings as what they did years ago before buyers had access to so much information online.  I do think it’s much more productive for both buyers and sellers nowadays.  Buyers don’t have to be drug into house after house that doesn’t meet their needs just because the Realtor thinks it’s the home for them as now they get to choose which homes they look at, and sellers don’t have to deal with buyer after buyer traipsing through their home just for the sake of looking at it.  It’s much better quality time spent for all parties involved.

In fact, over the last year we’ve sold two homes to buyers from out of the area who never saw the property in person.  It’s amazing where technology has brought us.  I just closed on a home today with some first time buyers who only actually walked into 5 or 6 homes but shopped through literally hundreds online and driving by as our market still holds over an 11 month’s supply of inventory for buyers to choose from.  They were able to view hundreds of homes from the comfort of their own home in privacy and then choose the ones that best suited them for us to go see.

I hope this helps to give an overview of what the difference between a listing agent and a buyers agent is.  If I can answer further questions for you or you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia and surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity for our team to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.  Together we have over 40 years combined experience and have participated in closing thousands of transactions during the course of our career.  For you this means we’ve come across almost every possible scenario that can arise allowing us to hopefully provide you with a headache free experience when buying or selling a home.

We’ve been blessed to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from RE/MAX, inducted into The RE/MAX Hall Of Fame, recognized in the top 10 for the Central Atlantic Region, recognized in the top 100 by The Roanoker Magazine, and are in the top 2.3% of our market for production.  We offer a fully staffed team to ensure no detail is overlooked and that all your needs are taken care of.  We’ve been blessed to help 50 families buy and sell already this year and will be sure to take excellent care of you should you given the opportunity.  To put one of the highest recognized teams to work for you today simply call The Crouch Team 540-725-7727 or email us at christycrouch@aol.com or you may learn more about us on our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Trulia, Zillow, YouTube, Realtor.com, RE/MAX.com, and The Real Estate Book.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great News For First Time Buyers.. An Award for Roanoke Being One Of The Most Livable Cities, And A Successful Blue Ridge Marathon

So I just read the below quick posts from The Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors and instantly wanted to share the good news!  Wow what a great opportunity for first time buyers to have a new way to save for their down payment.  And what an honor to know that we live in one of the most livable cities.  People truly come from all over the world to see the mountain views we enjoy every day here in Roanoke, Virginia!

I was truly excited to read how well our Blue Ridge Marathon did this year as well both with attracting runners from all over the world and for having such a positive economic impact for Roanoke at the same time.  From having personally ran and completed it :) it 2013 I can say first hand, its one of the toughest courses you can run.  It was also breathtakingly beautiful and a huge success for me to have been able to complete my first marathon ever right here in my own home town with some very dear friends.  We crossed the finish line together within only seconds of each other and stayed together throughout the course.

I love being able to help home buyers and sellers find just the right home here in the Roanoke Valley.  If you are thinking of buying or selling here in our area, our team would love the opportunity to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.  Our goal is to create customers for life and we realize this can only be accomplished by taking excellent care of you every step of the way.  To discover more about our team and to see the homes we currently have for sale please visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com.

Here are the three articles I wanted to share:

New Law Addresses First-time Homebuyers
On July 1, 2014, a new law takes effect that makes it easier for Virginians to save for their first homes. Thanks to theVirignia Association of REALTORS’ 2014 signature legislation, Virginians will now be able to invest up to $50,000 in financial institutions like credit unions and banks or directly in mutual funds, brokerage accounts, or almost any other financial vehicle and declare them first-timehomebuyer savings plans.The gains or earnings on the investment are free of state taxes, and the funds can be used for down payments and closing costs on first home purchases in the Commonwealth. Whether it’s a grandparent opening an account for a newborn or a recent college grad looking to the future, first-time homebuyer savings plans will reinforce the idea that setting a little something aside today will make it easier to buy a home tomorrow. Click here for more information.
Roanoke Named One of America’s Most Livable Cities
The City of Roanoke received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, marking it as one of the country’s most livable cities.The winners were chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants by an independent panel of judges, and recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities.In Roanoke’s case, it was the City’s Parks and Art program that earned it the award. The program brings various performance and visual arts to neighborhood parks throughout the City.Four other cities in Roanoke’s size category received the award.
Blue Ridge Marathon Brings Largest Economic Impact to Date
More racersfromout of town brought more money into the Roanoke Region’s economy during the fifth annualFootLevelers Blue Ridge Marathon, half marathon and Anthem Star 10K. “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” hosted 1,594 runners who generated over $521,000 in economic impact according to a new report released by the Roanoke Regional Partnership. Over the past five years, the race has contributed more than $2 million to the local economy.The economic impact is larger this year as a result of increased participation by runners from outside the Roanoke Region. The race drew runners from 38 states plus the District of Columbia — and six countries: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.The race course started in downtown Roanoke and climbed to the top of Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain along sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a total elevation change of 7,430 feet.

Home For The Holiday?

Here’s a fun read from RE/MAX International that I wanted to share for the 4th! If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia or surrounding areas our team would love the opportunity to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.

We’ve helped 45 families buy and sell so far this year and with over 40 years combined experience I feel we have the expertise and experience you deserve when making one of biggest purchases and / or sales of your life.

To discover more about our team, see the homes we have for sale, and to see what our past customers and clients had to say, please visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com or call us at 540-725-7727.

Home: As American as Apple Pie
Mon, June 30, 2014
Happy Birthday, America!

In the spirit of celebrating the Fourth of July, we turned to famous Americans for their thoughts about home, homeownership and the feeling of sanctuary that comes with having your own place.

Private property was the original source of freedom.
Walter Lippmann

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
Robert Frost

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.
Charles M. Schulz

The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou

I’d rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
George Washington

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
Benjamin Franklin

There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.
Rosalynn Carter

Where thou art, that is home.
Emily Dickinson

A man’s home may seem to be his castle on the outside; inside, it is more often his nursery.
Clare Boothe Luce

I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she said, “Get the [bleep] off my property.”
Joan Rivers

Monday Morning Success Tips from RE/MAX International

I just saw this post on one of our RE/MAX sites and thought it was worthy of sharing if you are looking at things you can do to have a successful week then you will not want to miss this.  
 
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia and surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity for our team to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.  With over 40 years combined experience and having participated in closing over 1,000 transactions I am confident we have the experience and expertise you deserve.  
 
Please visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com to discover more about our team, see what our past customers and clients had to say, and to see the homes we currently have for sale.  
 
15 Things Successful People Do on Monday Mornings

 

Those first few hours after the weekend are critical. Start your week off right.
 
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Monday mornings are the most critical time of the workweek, as they set the stage for the day and week ahead.

“Because you’ve stepped away for a couple days, these back-to-work mornings are the most memorable for the rest of the week,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. “They influence your mindset in a positive or negative way, depending on what actions you decide to take.”

Most successful people are keenly aware of the typical Monday morning workplace dynamic of unanticipated events, overflow of communications, and general chaos. “But after weathering hundreds of them, they realize they must gain control and stay upbeat,” Taylor explains. “They take extra steps to compensate for this busy time of the week, and apply their best management skills to ensure that the day unfolds as smoothly as possible.”

Here are 15 things successful people do on Monday mornings:

They wake up early and exercise.

This gets your circulation going and helps you stay alert, putting you at an advantage for a productive week ahead. “You’ll get your endorphin rush, which will help your mood, too,” Taylor explains.

They eat a healthy breakfast.

On Monday morning, you want to handle everything you have control over. Eating breakfast is one of those things. “You don’t want to be staring at the clock, awaiting lunchtime as your stomach growls at morning meetings,” she says.

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They arrive early.

Do not succumb to the snooze button. “Commutes are bad on Monday, so beat the odds,” Taylor says. Plus, getting in earlier than others will help make Monday morning seem more like the afternoon, because you’ll have had a chance to breathe before responding to the barrage of people and issues. “Being an early bird will give you some wiggle room for the unexpected at work, not to mention any important personal matters that may arise,” she says.

They clear their desk and desktop.

“Hopefully you already did this before you left on Friday,” Taylor says. “But if you didn’t, get this out of the way, or you might add to Monday stresses in a sea of disorganization.” Organize and prioritize your files. Put aside unimportant paperwork, and keep critical files easily accessible. You want to be prepared when you, your boss, or colleagues need something at the last minute.

They carve out time for unexpected projects and tasks.

Successful individuals expect the unexpected on Monday, she says. “Your boss, team members, or staff may have remembered some loose ends over the weekend,” she says, “so you’re wise to build in some extra downtime on Monday morning.”

They greet their team and boss.

This is important to do first thing every morning to keep morale high, but on Monday it’s particularly valuable, as your team needs a special boost. “Ideally, you’ll spend an few extra minutes with your colleagues on Monday mornings,” Taylor explains. “It reinforces a sense of purpose and community for everyone, including you.”

They update their to-do list and goals.

“Get yourself current on priorities and tasks,” Taylor suggests. Then set five to eight goals for the week.

“Accomplished professionals have several goals in mind for the day and week,” she says. “They know that if all goals aren’t achieved, they can take pride in accomplishing most of them, and there’s next week to achieve additional objectives.”

They visualize the week’s successes.

By envisioning the positive outcomes of various projects at hand, you can work backwards and determine the necessary steps to get your desired results.

They screen emails for urgent requests.

You can sink into email oblivion if you don’t scan your inbox for urgency, Taylor says. “Star emails that are priorities, and think quality, not quantity,” she says.

They tackle the tough challenges first.

The least desirable but critical projects are easy to put off, but your energy is stronger in the morning, so that’s the ideal time to confront the most difficult assignments.

They make an extra effort to smile.

“It might be the last thing on your mind, but overcompensating for the pressure-cooker morning will help you get through it,” she says. You may well stand out in the crowd, but your smile will likely be contagious, helping both you and team members relax.

They add a “blanket of humanity” to their emails.

It’s tempting to power through all your emails in the most efficient way on Monday mornings. But before you hit Send, read them over to ensure that they’re friendly and clear. “Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes,” Taylor says. “It’s relatively easy to appear curt when you’re in a hurry, along with the impersonal nature of emails and texts. You want to mitigate false starts and misinterpretations.” One way to do this: Start the email by saying “Hi” and “I hope you had a great weekend.”

They’re able to say no.

“On Monday mornings, there will be many distractions–from people to emails to calls, meetings, offers for meeting in the break room, and so forth,” Taylor explains. “Successful people can diplomatically and politely say no to colleagues by offering to engage at a later time.”

If your boss needs you, that is clearly an exception. However, if you have crucial calls to make or meetings to attend, give your boss the heads-up. “It’s stressful to be a people pleaser, particularly on Monday mornings,” she says. “Generally, no one ends up being pleased, as you can’t do your best work with conflicting priorities.”

They stay focused.

Successful people don’t dwell on any challenging events that occurred over the weekend or other frivolous thoughts. “Compartmentalize by putting them in a separate box as you start your week,” she says.

They remember that there is Tuesday.

“In all the chaos, it’s easy to believe that the world will cave if you don’t solve all Monday’s problems on Monday,” she says. “But when the dust settles at the end of the day, you may realize that certain tasks could have waited.” Sometimes, you obtain more information over time that enhances your decision-making process. Or you may find that certain problems you’re pondering will resolve themselves.

Monday morning can challenge even the most industrious, successful business leaders. “But if you compensate for all the anticipated distraction and intensity by remembering to focus, plan, and stay calm, you won’t relive Monday all over again on Tuesday,” Taylor concludes.

Top 100 Realtors in Roanoke

I am honored to have been selected as being in the top 100 Realtors for the greater Roanoke, Virginia area and wanted to share this with you. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia … Continue reading

Realtor.com Hack Attack

Realtor.com operator Move Inc. says it received a ransom demand in conjunction with a “distributed denial of service” cyberattack that has disrupted realtor.com and other Move Inc. websites for two days running, and which could take several more days to fully resolve.

Move said it did not respond to the ransom demand, and is working with its network service providers and Internet security experts including the Prolexic division of Akamai Technologies Inc. to mitigate the attack and restore operations. On Thursday night, realtor.com appeared to be functioning, while Top Producer was still affected by the “DDoS” attack.

Move said it’s migrating its Internet services to a different network architecture — a complex plan that “will take several days to complete.”

The distributed denial of service attack “is driving massive amounts of traffic from external sources to Move’s data center, making realtor.com, Top Producer services and Move’s other Internet services available intermittently,” the company said. The attacks have also “targeted and impacted the redundant aspects” of Move’s systems.

Federal law enforcement officials are working to determine the attack’s origin, Move said.

Unlike a precisely executed hack job, cyberattackers employing a distributed denial of service attack assault websites with massive amounts of “zombie traffic,” which can bog them down and ultimately flatten them. It’s an attack by broad sword, and it’s on the rise.

According to security firm Arbor Networks, the number of distributed denial of service attacks larger than 20 gigabytes per second increased by eightfold from 2012 to 2013, Forbes reports, and continues to rise.

To put together an attack like this for this long, someone has to care.”

Although the average DDoS attack is still in the 1 to 5 GB per second range, some recent attacks have measured up to 300 GB per second, enough to flatten a corporate network, Forbes noted.

Other recent victims of distributed denial of service attacks include Evernote, Twitter’s popular messaging app TweetDeck, RSS reader Feedly, video site Vimeo, project management platform Basecamp, and inbound marketing tech firm Moz.

According to a scan conducted by Arbor Networks for Inman News, the following Move sites were not affected by the attack: Doorsteps.com, Moving.com, HomeInsight.com, SeniorHousingNet.com, HomeFair.com, Relocation.com, ListHub.com and TigerLead.com.

The scan did not reveal what country the attack originated from.

Questions still outstanding:

  • How big was the attack in terms of gigabytes per second?
  • Did the attack occur at the network, domain name server, application or another level?
  • Why did it take so long to recover? Was this a sophisticated attack? In what way?
  • Had Move taken steps to prevent a distributed denial of service attack, either internally or through a vendor like Arbor Networks, Prolexic or Cloudflare?
  • What will be done to mitigate further attacks?

Move says it’s “consulting with appropriate federal law enforcement officials and other technology companies that have been targets of DDoS attacks in recent months to review best practices for responding.”

Distributed denial of service attacks have been around for years, said Dan Holden, director of the security engineering response team at Arbor Networks.

Unlike simpler (undistributed) denial of service attacks, which generate traffic from a single source, distributed denial of service attacks involve two or more “botnets.” In a distributed attack, a botnet computer or server co-opts other computers and servers to direct traffic to specific sites. It’s a coordinated series of attacks, Holden said.

Holden compared the botnet-controlled computers and servers in a distributed denial of service attack event to zombies.

There are a number of reasons why such attacks are on the rise, Holden said. First of all, it’s a relatively cheap and easy cyberattack to coordinate, he said. In addition, more hackers have learned how to use techniques like amplifying and replicating traffic to create larger distributed attacks, he said.

According to a scan Arbor Networks conducted for Inman News, the first distributed denial of service attack hit realtor.com at 4:58 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday. A series of other attacks occurred shortly after, some at the same time, the scan revealed.

Move brought in Arbor Networks competitor Prolexic on Tuesday soon after it learned of the attack, said Robert Morten, director of public relations for Akamai Technologies, which owns Prolexic. Since then, Prolexic has been working to help Move get its affected sites back up and running.

Real estate portals are not typically a high-priority target for distributed denial of service attacks, said David Fernandez, head of Prolexic’s security engineering and response team, who’s been helping Move with its attack.

The are three primary motives for DDoS attacks, Fernandez said. They are conducted to:

 

  • Gain a competitive advantage over a competitor.
  • Extort a company, forcing them to pay up or risk a a distributed attack.
  • Make a political point or advocate for a cause as in hacker activism, “hacktivism.”
 

Arbor Networks maintains a website that shows distributed denial of service attacks by country of origin in real time.

According to Forbes, other security experts say distributed attacks are often a diversionary tactic used by thieves who are after credit card numbers or other sensitive data.

Move said it had no evidence that the attack “includes or has resulted in any compromise of data or other content on its websites.”

Holden characterized the attack on Move’s websites as serious. “To put together an attack like this for this long, someone has to care,” he said. “The motivation is serious.”

A distributed attack “is not a complex action to take,” Holden said. “The complexities lie in the motivation (of whomever coordinated the attack).”

Move has defended itself from DDoS attacks before, but this week’s attack was large enough that it had to bring in Prolexic, the company said in a statement.

Both Holden and Fernandez say it’s becoming standard practice for firms to engage their companies as insurance against distributed denial of service attacks as they become larger and more common.

 

Why Isn’t Your Home Selling?

home isn't selling

I just read this from Realtor.com and wanted to share it.  In the Roanoke, Virginia area the housing market has slowed tremendously and is undeniably frustrating for those trying to sell their home.  I talk about it often and see here in this article they are saying the same about the importance of price and condition.

If you have questions or are thinking of buying or selling a home in the Roanoke, Virginia area our team would love to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.  We work with a lot folks here in the area and offer over 50 years combined experience with a fully staffed team to support you throughout the home buying and selling process.  Please call me at 540-725-7727, email me at christycrouch@aol.com, or visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com to discover more about our team and to see the homes we currently have for sale.

If the listing for your home hasn’t been attracting buyers for a few weeks in a fast-paced real estate market, or for a few months in a slower one, you certainly have good reason to be worried.

A home doesn’t sell due to a variety of factors, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.

Let’s start with the things you can control, which also happen to be the most important elements of any home’s appeal to buyers: price and condition.

Price Your Home Right, From the Start

A good REALTOR® will help you determine the correct price for your home based on a thorough comparative market analysis (CMA). The reason it’s so important to price your home appropriately from the beginning is that a home that’s priced too high will languish on the market without any offers.

Even if you lower the price later, you will have lost the momentum of the initial listing period and buyers will assume there’s something wrong with the home. Eventually you may sell it, but more than likely the final sales price will be lower than your correct initial price would have been. Price your home too low and you have lost out on potential profit.

Your price should be based on current local market conditions, not on what you need to pay off your mortgage, what your neighbor sold her place for a year ago, nor your guesstimate of what your home is worth. Your REALTOR®’s CMA will look at recent sales, homes that didn’t sell and were pulled off the market, and current listings to guide your price decision.

Condition of Your Home

Regardless of your local market conditions, buyers have high expectations for your home, beginning with the exterior. While you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money, you do need to raise the level of your home’s curb appeal with some sweat equity. Pull weeds, trim the grass, plant a few flowers and perhaps paint your front door to make sure prospective buyers don’t decide to drive away.

Inside, your home needs to be consistently clean, neat, decluttered and depersonalized so that buyers can visualize themselves living there. Your REALTOR® should be able to suggest ways to  prepare your home for a sale, which, by the way, is nothing like the way you live in it. Your kitchen counters should be cleared, your bed always made and your dishes always put away in case a buyer wants to visit.

Marketing Your Home

When you choose a REALTOR®  to list your home, make sure you ask about photos and a marketing plan. The majority of buyers look online first at properties so it’s crucial that your home has multiple professional-quality photos that make it look as enticing as possible, and that your home appears on multiple websites so buyers can see it. A listing without a photo or with one badly lit photo isn’t likely to generate many offers.

Make Your Home Available

One of the more challenging aspects of listing your home for sale is that you must make it available to buyers as easily as possible. Buyers prefer to see a home without the owner there, so make sure there’s a lockbox at your property and that you allow nearly unlimited access to prospective buyers.

 

Sharing an email with you to my sellers

I wanted to share the below email that I sent to my sellers this morning in case you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Roanoke, Virginia and surrounding areas.  This gives a little insight to how things are doing as well as revealing our year to date housing market statistics for Roanoke, Virginia.
 
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, our team would love the opportunity to interview with you and apply for the job of helping you.  Please call us at 540-725-7727, email us at christycrouch@aol.com  or visit our website to discover more about our team and to see the homes we currently have for sale.
 
As we are now into the first of June, I wanted to share our year to date market statistics with you.  I’ve included each individual area so you can see exactly what’s going on in your area and then a summary of our market at the end that reveals the average of all.
 
The market continues to be much slower than I ever imagined it would be at this time this year.  I have recently had conversations with lenders, other Realtors both in our area and in other locations around the US, my broker, our title company, and several other small business owners who’s business is directly impacted by the housing market.  Unfortunately, it is slow all around, we are dealing with an over supply of inventory right now and it’s taking much longer for homes to sell than what we anticipated for this year.
 
Please rest assured that we want your property to sell just as quickly as you do.  Our goal is to create customers for life and we realize this can’t be done without doing a great job for you and at the same time getting results.  We also don’t get paid unless and until it sells and we are all in this business full time and it’s what feeds our kids :).  
 
I know it’s very frustrating for you as a seller in today’s market.  Things have changed so much and we have much less actual showings due to the internet, you don’t get to see what we’re doing behind the scenes here and you probably get tired of hearing about the websites and to pay attention to those reports but just like most of you probably do more shopping online than you did ten years ago, home buyers are no different.  We’re actually working with a buyer right now who’s relocating with a job transfer and has to be here to start by mid July, they are buying their new home sight unseen from the internet and all the information they are able to gather from there.  
 
We have to accept that the market and how business is done has changed and will continue to change even more as we head further into this decade.  The only constant in this world is change and to resist it is to make it worse.  Open houses don’t work anymore, it’s not safe and it’s primarily nosy neighbors, professional open house goers, people looking for decorating ideas, or simply people with nothing better to do.  I can assure you that if a buyer is serious about finding a home and is qualified to buy a home, they are NOT not going to buy your home because there wasn’t an open house.  They are going to ensure they’re aware of ALL homes that are for sale based on what they’re looking for not just those holding an open house.
 
Print advertising is becoming less and less effective as well.  Buyers are on their smartphones not browsing through the Roanoke Times anymore.  I would venture to say the newspaper won’t be in print for too many more years.  
 
I am paying a small fortune to be a premier agent on the various websites that we use and while there are technical difficulties with them and they aren’t perfect, I can assure that more and more of our business is coming from the internet everyday and this is what’s working to sell homes and gain the most exposure.  After exposure you have to really look at your curb appeal, condition, and price.  In the end it boils down to price, condition, and location that determine what a buyer will choose to look at and ultimately make an offer on.
 
Last week I blogged about student loan debt and just yesterday I had a first time buyer inquire about buying and when we had her speak with our lender, sadly she can’t qualify until the student loan debt she has is either paid off or lowered significantly.  
 
Hopefully financing will continue to open up for home buyers again. I am afraid that the threat of home interest deduction being taken away, and the whole health care reform nightmare that we’re dealing with are having an impact on the market as well.  Whether you agree or disagree with the health care reform it’s been a lot of change and stress for many in many different ways.
 
As I mentioned in my email last week forecasts are showing that the market is supposed to continue to pick up and I’m holding out and praying for that.  I don’t mean to be the barer of bad news this morning but want to educate you on what is truly going on out here in the housing market.
 
Please let me know what questions you have and what further information I can provide that would be helpful to you.  We will continue to keep you posted as we proceed with things.  Here is the market statistics I mentioned above.

 

Property Type Year to Date Activity Report

For 01/01/2014 To 6/3/2014

Property Type
Area
Current Active
New
Pend
Sold
Sold Volume
Average Sales Price
DOM
CDOM
% Of List
Coop Sales
Coop Volume
Expr
Withdrawn
Residential
0110 – City of Roanoke – Downtown
13
7
4
1
640,000
640,000
196
208
85.3
1
640,000
3
0
Residential
0120 – City of Roanoke – South
75
89
23
43
14,139,202
328,819
154
194
95.4
38
13,305,202
15
4
Residential
0130 – City of Roanoke – SW
186
264
59
123
20,718,710
168,445
94
135
95.6
110
19,302,593
53
3
Residential
0140 – City of Roanoke – NW
146
169
27
80
6,251,812
78,148
129
176
93.5
66
4,872,462
52
8
Residential
0150 – City of Roanoke – NE
203
264
40
115
12,002,992
104,374
110
179
95.5
102
10,704,642
55
6
Residential
0160 – City of Roanoke – SE
51
55
7
25
1,401,051
56,042
112
182
93.1
23
1,255,051
13
3
Residential
0170 – City of Roanoke – Garden City
28
38
7
19
1,366,000
71,895
105
133
93.3
15
1,125,300
10
1
Residential
0210 – Roanoke County – North
187
262
68
137
25,439,376
185,689
111
168
97.2
113
20,729,926
55
6
Residential
0220 – Roanoke County – East
57
93
26
49
8,286,069
169,103
95
153
97.0
46
7,793,569
21
3
Residential
0221 – Roanoke County – Town of Vinton
51
62
9
27
3,342,079
123,781
114
169
96.2
24
2,973,079
17
0
Residential
0230 – Roanoke County – South
324
406
104
158
35,655,389
225,667
108
154
96.9
140
31,385,275
95
7
Residential
0240 – Roanoke County – West
122
131
26
48
10,359,019
215,813
121
201
97.0
43
9,601,519
29
1
Residential
0300 – City of Salem
196
247
37
91
15,285,669
167,974
103
175
95.9
79
13,618,419
77
5
Residential
0400 – Franklin County
760
594
84
187
43,669,336
233,526
198
305
94.0
165
38,322,236
191
20
Residential
0600 – Bedford County
541
461
77
154
34,690,311
225,262
189
274
93.5
128
30,212,935
123
12
Residential
0601 – Town of Bedford
43
38
5
14
1,676,500
119,750
170
218
92.8
11
1,256,500
13
1
Residential
0700 – Botetourt County
322
334
64
113
24,901,707
220,369
139
191
95.5
100
22,457,207
97
3
Residential
0800 – Craig County
30
18
5
10
1,770,950
177,095
214
251
89.9
8
1,689,950
2
3
Residential
0900 – City of Radford
5
5
0
0
 
 
46
46
 
0
 
0
0
Residential
1000 – Montgomery County
26
40
34
9
912,900
101,433
112
126
96.6
8
847,900
10
0
Residential
1100 – Floyd County
68
55
8
16
2,516,250
157,266
181
219
92.2
9
1,155,250
24
3
Residential
1200 – Patrick County
5
6
0
0
 
 
174
189
 
0
 
4
1
Residential
1300 – City of Martinsville
6
3
0
2
144,500
72,250
158
158
97.7
1
122,000
3
0
Residential
1400 – Henry County
32
39
3
10
926,400
92,640
120
123
90.7
7
756,500
20
1
Residential
1500 – City of Danville
4
8
1
2
100,100
50,050
89
89
90.5
2
100,100
2
0
Residential
1600 – Pittsylvania County
54
48
8
12
1,339,790
111,649
179
238
90.5
8
898,790
15
1
Residential
1700 – Halifax County
3
3
0
0
 
 
52
52
 
0
 
0
0
Residential
1800 – Charlotte County
0
1
1
0
 
 
68
68
 
0
 
0
0
Residential
1900 – City of Lynchburg
13
12
4
5
738,900
147,780
193
207
95.6
4
616,400
3
1
Residential
2000 – Campbell County
15
20
2
5
805,500
161,100
141
142
90.8
4
591,500
6
0
Residential
2100 – Appomattox County
2
2
0
0
 
 
143
143
 
0
 
1
0
Residential
2200 – Amherst County
4
3
1
1
78,000
78,000
139
139
86.8
0
 
2
0
Residential
2500 – Rockbridge County
14
10
1
3
712,000
237,333
182
195
100.6
3
712,000
7
0
Residential
2600 – City of Covington
1
2
1
0
 
 
136
136
 
0
 
2
0
Residential
2700 – Alleghany County
10
19
3
8
1,040,900
130,112
113
147
89.0
3
111,000
13
0
Residential
2800 – Giles County
1
1
0
0
 
 
11
11
 
0
 
0
0
Residential
3000 – Pulaski County
6
7
1
2
132,400
66,200
97
97
98.6
1
49,900
0
1
Residential
3100 – Wythe County
2
2
0
0
 
 
79
79
 
0
 
0
0
Residential
3200 – City of Galax
0
0
0
1
48,000
48,000
138
138
98.0
1
48,000
0
0
Residential
3300 – Carroll County
4
2
0
2
165,000
82,500
376
376
94.7
2
165,000
2
0
Residential
9900 – All Other Counties/Cities
7
7
1
3
218,387
72,796
100
109
95.4
3
218,387
2
1
Subtotal
3617
3827
741
1475
271,475,198
184,051
143
208
95.2
1,268
237,638,591
1037
95

 

 

 

How Student Loans Are Impacting The Housing Market

I just read another interesting article about home buyers and wanted to share this one also.  This saddens me a bit as it’s becoming harder and harder for our younger generations to get off the ground.  With high student loan debt, less than desirable job opportunity, and tighter underwriting guidelines, the dream of owning a home is seemingly distant to some.

I hope together our country can figure out a path that will not leave our future generations drowning in student loan debt, credit card debt, and a tax deficit that may never reach a reasonable level.

Our local housing market here in Roanoke, Virginia has an 11.29 month’s supply of inventory up from 8.09 in 2013.  Yet the forecasts continue to say the housing market is picking up.  I’m holding out faith and hope on that one and realizing more now than ever that if you want to sell your home it truly boils down to three major factors, price, condition, and location.  Since we are able to control the first two we certainly should if trying to sell in today’s market.

If you have questions about buying or selling a home in the Roanoke,Virginia and surrounding areas our team would love to help.  Please call me at 540-725-7727 or email me at christycrouch@aol.com or visit our website at http://www.thecrouchteam.com to discover more about our team and to see the homes we currently have for sale.  Here is the article I mentioned above:

By Amy Cuculo

I have worked at Embrace for six years. I stay on top of market trends and relevant data. I understand the home-buying process well. With the spring buying season upon us, I have seen many recent news articles about the difficulties faced by first-time homebuyers. It got me thinking: I am exactly the type of customer people in the industry need to tap in to and empower to purchase – late twenties, fiscally responsible, steady job, good credit. I even have a leg up on my peers because I have an understanding of the mortgage process. But what’s holding me back? Like so many others, the answer is student loans.

The growing student loan burden carried by millions of Americans undermines the housing recovery’s momentum. It discourages potential buyers, like me, from purchasing their first homes. While the aspiration to own a home has remained unchanged – it is the American dream after all – consumers want to be responsible. First-time buyers are the foundation of the housing market but they are not stepping up to fill the void. In a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, of the 20% of buyers who said it was difficult to save for a down payment, 54% said student loans made it tough to save money.

First-timers have accounted for nearly a third of home purchases over the past year, which is well below historical norms. Student loan debt trumps other debt and it is going to have a profound effect on a younger generation’s ability to borrower. The lending climate has become less forgiving with the introduction of QM. New federal rules have given lenders some legal protection as long as they do not approve loans for buyers whose total monthly debt exceeds 43% of their gross monthly income. Creating yet another hurdle, FHA, a popular choice for first-time buyers, currently allows lenders to ignore student debt that is deferred for a year or more when assessing a borrower’s eligibility. There has been indication that the agency may alter this rule,

Last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducted an analysis of the impact of student loans and the results were dramatic. From 2009-2012, the homeownership rates fell twice as much for 30-year-olds who had a history of student loans than those without the added debt. So the question is not do we want to own a home, but how will we own a home? How do we as a society build a finance system that supports homeownership?