April 13 2017

New Homes Directory Adds New Amenities Filter

New Homes Directory Map Amenities Filter

New Homes Directory is always looking for ways to evolve and create a better quality experience for the homebuyers so we are excited to announce the new Amenities filter on the NHD website! Homebuyers that visit NewHomesDirectory.com currently have the ability to narrow down their new home search by filtering communities based on offered neighborhood amenities in Map View through the Filters bar. The filter allows visitors to focus on the features that are most important to them by sorting through home types, prices, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

NHD is excited about the newest addition to the filter bar which creates an even more focused search by displaying communities based on the amenities they offer such as pools, gated communities, parks, clubhouses, homes with views and golf courses to name a few. This new functionality is displayed on any “Map View” using the “Filters” bar and will create an overall greater experience for the NHD visitors.

 

 

 

 


March 30 2016

Real Estate has Heated Up in March 2016

2016 Spring Home Sales

Like the weather, our nation’s real estate market is heating up. March real estate numbers show we will not have to wait for April showers to bring May flowers for this home buying season to be in full bloom.

Prices are continuing to climb as the inventory of homes, while steadily increasing, is not meeting the demand of home buyers. The national median listing price for a home during March was $238,000, an increase since February by 3%, and 8% since March last year. While it is normal to see an increase in home sales during spring, with demand growing faster than homes being built, homes are selling at a faster pace.

Returning to the market are homebuyers that tried last year to purchase a home but were either outbid or unable to find a home within their financial desires at the time. With home prices up, current homeowners are now in place where they can sell their current home and use the equity for a down payment to move up.

When the number of homebuyers increases this home buying season, along with the lowest amount of inventory in three years, homebuyers need to be ready to be competitive. As a buyer, make sure you are pre-approved and have all your documents and funds available for the loan process so you can act quickly when you find a new home.


March 23 2016

Guide to Buying New Construction Homes

New Home Construction

When in the market to buy a home, you may want to check out new construction homes. New homes range in many price points for those looking to move up to first time homebuyers, from both large national builders to small local builders. To find out if new construction is the right fit for you, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

How to find a new home

Unlike resale, new homes usually are not listed on MLS. To cut down cost of sales, homebuilders hire on-site sales agents instead of local realtors. This means the sales agent may not be a member of the local MLS.

So how do you find new home construction? Homebuilders advertise their new communities online as well as billboards and street signs. Make sure if you are working with a realtor, you inform them you are interested in buying a new construction home, or search online for new homes in your area.

If you search for a new home online, you can take out most of the leg work by narrowing down the homes that fit your criteria before even stepping in a community sales office. You can search by price, square footage and bed and bathroom counts. Once you find a new home which fits your needs, you can fill out an interest request form right on the builder’s website, or print driving directions to visit the community.

Homebuilders may sell you a home before it’s built

Homebuilders often sell a new home before construction on the home starts. There are two reasons for this. The first is so the homebuyer can customize the home with the options they would like. Usually, as a new homebuyer, you will be able to pick out your cabinets, fixtures, appliances, and flooring, as well as other structural options such as taller ceilings, separate shower and tub and added den/guest room.

The second reason is the builder sets up a financial plan for how many homes they believe they will sell in a particular market before they break ground. This means they will need to sell as many homes as quickly as possible to make their financial goal.

How do you buy a home you have never even seen? The builder will build model homes of the floor plans they offer in that community. This allows you to walk through each floor plan and see the options that are offered to you. This allows you to get a feel of what your new home will look like. Once you pick a floor plan, you may be able to pick the lot you would like your home to be built. Most communities have certain models on certain lots in the community plan. This ensures that no two models are right next to each other and maintains the esthetics of the neighborhood.

Once you pick your floor plan and location within the community, the sales agent at that time will ask for a deposit. The deposit to hold the lot could be as little as a couple thousand dollars up to 10% of the purchase price.

New homes are sold in phases

Communities release homes available for purchase in phases. Although a home builder may build a total of 100 homes in a community, not all of the homes will be available at once.

Buying a home in the first phase can possibly save you money. If the first phase of homes sell quickly at their asking price and the real estate market is doing well, the builder may raise the price on the next phase of homes. Being the first buyers of a new community may get you the best discounts. A community may take years to sell out and the last phases of homes for sale are usually 10% more than the first phase.

Builders need to get the first set of homes under contract as quickly as possible so their community seems desirable for the next round of buyers. Plus, the quicker the first phase of homes sell, the better the community’s outcome looks for the builder’s investment.

Buying a new home in the first phase of sales does has some disadvantages. Being one of the first home buyers, you are committed to the success of the community. If the community struggles to sell and you choose not to continue with the purchase of the new home, you may lose your deposit. During the housing bubble burst in the early 2000’s, many buyers were stuck in communities that had stalled in sales.

You may be able to get discounts for upgrades

Say you missed the first phase of home sales and a community is coming to a close with only a few homes left. The builder may be more willing to negotiate to close out the community. These negotiations are not on the price, but on the upgrades. The builder will not want to have public record that they sold the last few homes at a reduced price so instead they offer the buyer upgraded packages, such as hardwood or tiled flooring or higher-end appliances. This could add up to thousands of dollars in upgrades, making it a better deal for the buyer.

Buying new construction has many perks; not only being the first person to live in a home, but having flexibility to pick your options and the peace of mind in knowing your new investment has a warranty that will keep you relatively worry free for quite some time. All in all, a wonderful option when looking to purchase your new home.


September 30 2015

Home Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4%

The aftermath of financial economic news of China combined with the Federal Reserve and housing markets, leads to a 6 point drop in interest rates, making the average thirty-year mortgage rate only 3.98%. While interest rates had stayed relatively low during the first half of 2015, this marks the first time rates dipped below 4% since June.

According to the survey released by Freddie Mac, mortgage rates fell as followed:

•    15-year fixed loan rates, on average, rates are 3.17%, down 3.21% from last week and 3.25% from this time last year.
•    5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable loan rates are 2.95%, down 2.97% from last week and 3.01% from this time last year
•    1-year Treasury-indexed adjustable loan rates are 2.52% down 2.54% from last week and 2.38% from this time last year.

Since the housing bubble burst in 2007, rates have been at historic lows, however rarely dropped below 5% until 2009. The reason for this low rate is simple; it’s the combination of the Federal Reserve’s undefended interest rate plan, China’s volatile stock market and fall in home prices by 0.7% that negatively affected the housing market.

So how long with these 2015 record low interest rates last? The Federal Reserve plans to increase rates once they see an improvement in the economy, especially in the labor market. As of right now, 30-year mortgage rates remain in the balance with their associated Treasury bond rates and monetary policy. One thing for sure, now is the time to buy before rates go up. To search for new homes in your area, visit www.newhomesdirectory.com.


September 11 2015

Homes On-Demand

Homes On-Demand

In the present age of smart phones and tablets, the world is at our finger tips. We have become accustom to on-demand service from everything from ordering food delivery to even car shopping. While the conveyance and speed of mobile-powered communication is making everything faster, a number of software companies are finding ways to incorporate the real estate industry into an on-demand service.

Apps, such as Avenue, a text based “real estate concierge “company,  are allowing homebuyers to get real time answers by realtors and experts in their area. Homebuyers can now have the tools they need to make a smart real estate transaction at the tips of their fingers. The best part is, users don’t need to commit or sign a contract with the realtor they are soliciting advice from.

AgentPair and Curb Call allow buyers to place a call to local agents when wanting to see a home for sale, again with no contract needed.

Can such tools be used in new construction? What about an app that allows a home buyer to explore a community for the comfort of their home?  How about a 3D walk through of the model home that allows a buyer to view all available upgrades? Or an app that allows home buyers to schedule model home tours and live chats with sales representatives? Maybe, should I dare say it, even the ability to use your smart phone to buy a home on-demand?


August 13 2015

New Home Feed and New Homes Directory Partner Up

New Home Feed and New Homes Directory Partnership

New Home Feed is a marketing tool that allows homebuilders to advertise their communities on the widest possible network of free and fee-based home listing websites. New Home Feed’s easy-to-use platform allows marketers to manage property listings and make updates a breeze. Once a listing is updated on New Home Feed, that update is pushed to all networks. Easy to follow reporting allows you to know where you are getting quality website traffic from and monitor budgets and spending. New Home Feed also shows you what potential buyers are looking at on your website and connects to your CRM so you can save money while selling homes. In need of a feed generator? You’re in luck, New Homes Feed’s flexible API plugs into your website to automate and customize your feed.

New Homes Directory is a New Home Feed top performer in delivering high quality traffic to home builders. That is why we saw it a great fit to partner up. If you are not currently a New Homes Directory client and list 5 or more communities you may be eligible for a package deal promotion! Customers taking advantage of this package will still be able to have access to all other features on NHF, including listing their homes on other directories. Contact Troy Reierson or Sarah Cook for details.


May 5 2015

Why Home Prices are Heating Up

Why Home Prices are Heating Up

Weather is not the only thing getting warmer this summer, so is the housing market. Starting in 2012, home prices started to rise, and by 2013 we saw double digit growth. While 2015 is at a slower pace than that of 2013, prices are still growing.

In the current market, it is common to see bidding wars and offers above asking price in many local markets. San Francisco’s current average median listed price is $1,099,000, yet 74% of homes are being sold within two months of being placed on the market. Some markets are exceeding prices of that during the housing boom, like Denver and Dallas. This may become an issue if home prices continue to rise while incomes and inventory stays stagnate.

Why are home prices increasing? The answer is simple: supply and demand. There are more homebuyers then homes available to purchase and current homeowners are not selling. In a normal real estate market, homeowners sell their homes to be able to move up or to downsize, creating inventory for first-time homebuyers. With little inventory of resale homes on the market, we see price increases in both resale and new homes for sale. 

Current homebuyers may be cautious to sell their homes for two reasons. One, they may be afraid they will not find a suitable new home available for purchase. Or, two, their current home may still be underwater or have low equity due to the housing market crash in 2008. Either way, without inventory on the existing side of home sale, first-time homebuyers are being shut out from the market.

Even if homeowners start to flood the market with “For Sale” signs, home builders are still not keeping up with demand. Builders are hesitant, and last year only one million new homes were built. A normal market will see around 1.6 million new homes.

When you combine rising prices with low inventory, you may have a formula for another housing bubble. Like in 2008, this new market is inflating from over demand and low supply. However, a major difference is, unlike the poor lending habits in the early 2000’s that allowed buyers to take on loans they could not afford, this market is backed by mortgages homebuyers can actually afford to pay off. Only time will tell if supply will be able to meet demand and if home prices will even out to a healthy market that both homebuyer and shoppers will benefit from.


March 30 2015

Home Sales Up 3% Making Spring A Great Start for the Housing Market

Home Sales Up this Spring

The housing market is in full bloom this season with pending home sales already up 3% in February. According to the National Association of Realtors, signed home contracts are up 12% from a year ago and the highest they have been in two years.

Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said, “Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents.”

The only thing currently slowing down the market is low inventory. Lack of homes available for purchase is making for a highly competitive housing market and is increasing home prices. So far we are on track for a great home buying season!


March 24 2015

Are You Ready for the Millennial Homebuyer?

It has been predicted that the millennial generation (those born from 1980’s – early 2000’s) are going to dominate home purchases in 2015, even over baby boomers. This generation is starting to shape how real estate marketing is going to look moving forward.
 
Millennials are dependent on technology. They are the first generation to have computers in classrooms, own a cell phone before a driver’s license, and some were even placed in front of iPads before they entered first grade. So it is no surprise that when it comes to looking for a new home, the first thing they will do is reach for the Internet.


Home Builders:

Millennials are smart and will do their research before hopping in a car to find new communities. Advertising on new home directories is a great way to be found and build a brand that homebuyers can trust.
 
Using social media will also drive traffic and leads to your website. Use this platform to advertise any real estate seminar or fundraiser you are hosting. If you have any blogs about your new community’s events or phase release, social media is an inexpensive way to target your audience in the ZIP codes that are beneficial for you to promote that blog.


Realtors:

Millennials will not only be searching for a new home online, they will find their realtor online as well. This makes it more important than ever for realtors to have a website, and not just the one their brokers give them. They will need an up-to-date website that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.

First impressions are everything and your website is the first contact a realtor and potential homebuyer will have. Millennials have become accustomed to fresh content and clean designs. Nothing says you are out of touch with today’s market then having a site with photos taken 10 years ago and your last blog post done around the same time. What realtor do you think a 30-something home buyer will flock to when having a choice between these two websites?

Real Estate Site Example One

Real Estate Site Example Two

 

Once a millennial partners with a realtor, please do not bombard them with emails. Millennials are smart and will most likely send you listings they are interested in seeing. They count on up-to-date new home directories and MLS listing sites to do research on homes that meet their needs. Once they find a property they are interested in they contact their Realtor on homes they would like to see.

Millennials have no problem being upfront with you during their home buying process; however there are some things they may keep to themselves. To be the best Realtor your millennial client, listen to the unsaid things they may be afraid of telling you. This, along with your great looking website, will impress them and make you the rock star real estate agent they need!


March 13 2015

Quick Tips for Home Builder Marketing and the 2015 Home Buying Season

Home Builder Marketing

As home buyers begin to search for new homes online to prepare for the home buying season this summer, it is important to have your marketing ready for action. Now is the time to capture your spring leads before your competitors do.  Here are some quick and easy tips for making your home builder marketing ready for spring.

Knowledge is Power:

Not only will great content on your site help with your internal SEO, it is also an import tool for showing your homebuilder expertise to potential home buyers. Using blogs, email campaigns and social media are simple ways to show off your knowledge on home building and design. This includes creating a weekly blog post and promoting it on your social media profiles and email campaigns.

Make sure your blog posts are not self-promoting, but informational to home buyers. Create topics that answer home buyers questions like, “When is a Great Time to Buy a Home?” or “How to Start the Home Buying Process”. When you promote the blog within social media and your emails, show just an excerpt of the post with a link to your website. This will increase traffic to your homebuilder website and hopefully some home buyer shopping as well!

Capture and Use Your Leads:

Capturing leads from your website and having a CRM system in place to make sure your sales team is in constant contact with those leads is a must.

Catching leads can be done in several easy ways, with the most simple being the “interest list” or “contact us” form on your community landing pages. Note: always make sure to test that your lead forms are working properly, especially heading into the home buying season.

Another fun way to gain leads is to offer prizes or contest (a great blog post and social media topic as well). Home buyers on your site may be more willing to give out their contact information for a contest or prize giveaway.

Now that you have your leads, it is important to utilize them. Have a CRM system in place, as well as a sales follow up process ready. There are some great home builder CRM systems out there, for example, Lasso Data Systems, which allow you and your sales team to easily manage your leads.

Make sure your sales team is well trained and in constant contact with potential home buyers by phone calls AND emails. A good rule of thumb is to always follow up a phone call with an email or vice versa.

Warning: Your Website MUST Be Mobile Friendly!!

While 90% of home buyers begin their search for a new home online, tablets and smart phones have started leading in device searches. Because of this, home builders have started to integrate a mobile friendly website as a user friendly interface. BUT on April 21, 2015, Google will be releasing an algorithm update, known as “Mobilegeddon”. This update will hurt any home buyer’s website search rankings that are not mobile friendly!

User-Friendly Home Builder Website:

Here is another area that will not only help your SEO, but may increase your leads as well. Make sure your website is easy to use for home buyers. Many times the builder is used to their website and finds it easy to navigate; however the home buyer may beg to differ. Ask a family or friend to explore your website and get their input.

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The New Homes Directory.com Corporate blog began in 2008, due to the increasing difficulty of keeping both our company personnel as well as our client base up to date with both site and product enhancements. Read more...

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