Experts Believe the Home Shopping Season Will Remain Highly Competitive


Demand in the housing market is at the highest levels in years, and real estate agents are helping clients navigate the competition. This is true whether their clients are buyers or sellers, because each may face unique hurdles that they may not have had to deal with before.

It should come as no surprise to any agent that the dynamics in the housing market today are starkly different from what they were even a year ago, but it might take some extra effort to adapt to current conditions. Home prices keep going up, and that’s a trend that’s expected to continue for some time to come, according to the latest Case-Shiller national home price index. Moreover, prices aren’t just rising, they’re also rising more quickly than they did in the recent past, thanks to buyer enthusiasm at the start of the spring buying season.

What do these conditions mean?
The rising cost of buying a home creates some unfamiliar situations for agents. Buyers now have to contend with higher prices and mortgage rates that have risen in the past several months, resulting in additional costs that could stretch into the tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. On the other hand, some buyers are willing to take the additional hit, thanks to the improving economy. This may be particularly true of first-time buyers who are eager to get into the market.

But many current homeowners may not want to sell, due to rising mortgage rates. Many locked in extremely affordable terms with refinances in the wake of the recession, when rates fell into the range of 3.25 percent. Those historically beneficial rates could combine with concerns about buying in this hyper-competitive market to keep owners in their homes despite the huge demand they’re likely to encounter as they sell their own properties.

These are serious issues for agents to consider as they try to help clients through the real estate sales process. Consequently, it’s a good idea to reassure clients that today’s conditions are still fairly affordable in comparison with historical norms, and action as soon as possible will help them lock in better deals than they’re likely to face even a few months from now.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click


Tina Mattix named Southern Ohio Association of Realtors® 2016 Realtor® of the Year


The Southern Ohio Association of Realtors® (SOAR) named Tina Mattix as its 2016 Realtor® of the Year at its recent awards banquet. Tina, an agent with HUFF Realty’s Anderson office, has served the real estate community for over a decade, and has been a consistent top performer throughout her career. She had been a recipient of the SOAR Elite Club award since 2007, achieving the highest level of Platinum in 2016, the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® Circle of Excellence Award since 2009, and HUFF Realty’s Chairman’s Club and Leading Producer’s Club.

Tina has earned numerous industry designations including Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer’s Representative and Certified International Property Specialist. She has also served on various board committees including the SOAR Elite Club, Trade Fair, RPAC and Social Committee, and the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® Professional Standards and Diversity and Housing Committees. As an involved and well-respected member of her brokerage, she is also active in organizing and executing new agent training and buyer seminars for HUFF Realty.

In addition to her real estate career, Tina is also heavily involved in her local community. She has volunteered at Eastside Christian Church, Habitat for Humanity, Hands Against Hunger and Mercy Hospital, in addition to the Mariemont School District and the Fairfax and Milford communities. Tina resides in Milford, OH with her husband, Bradley. She has 2 sons, one grandson and another grandson on the way. In her spare time, Tina enjoys reading, traveling, boating, watching sports and, most importantly, spending time with her family.


Agents Looking at Strongest Market in Years



Across the country, real estate professionals and their clients have benefitted from the economic growth seen in the past few years. More people can now afford to buy homes, sellers enjoy ever-increasing competition that helps to raise asking prices, and many agents see business growing in a way not observed in at least a decade. The good news for all involved is that this trend could continue for some time.

Today, 90 percent of all millennial sellers and 92 percent of buyers in the same age group use agents to help guide them through the real estate sales process, according to the National Association of Realtors’ latest Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. Much of the focus in the real estate industry over the past few years has been on both millennials and boomers, but the NAR’s data suggests that it may soon be Generation X who pushes the market forward.

Alleviating the constricted inventory
It’s worth noting that many members of Gen X are already homeowners, but they had to delay their home purchases – potentially for years, and longer periods than even millennials now face – because of the student loan debt they carried, the data showed. Even now, Gen-X buyers say they’re still dealing with an average student loan balance of about $30,000. But another group of Gen Xers has an even greater role to play: selling their homes.

The average Gen Xer now selling a property has been there for 10 years, and have often been locked out of selling simply because they wouldn’t get a good return on their investment until home prices reached, and then surpassed, pre-recession norms. That’s now happening in most parts of the country, and may encourage current owners to sell in the months and years ahead.

“Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41 percent cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “More Gen X sellers are expected this year and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”

Growing demand for agents
The good news is that the market now seems to be adequately prepared for a potential glut of new buyers and sellers in the near future, according to the latest NAR membership data. Through the end of February, more than 1.21 million agents were members of the NAR, up more than 5 percent from the 1.15 million seen in the same month last year. Not surprisingly, some of the most populous regions in the country also have the largest membership numbers; California (more than 174,000), Florida (almost 161,000) and Texas (nearly 103,000) are the only three states with upwards of 100K agents. However, the state with the most agent growth on an annual basis is South Carolina, at nearly 11 percent.

With more agents, comes more competition, even as the number of sales is likely to rise in the near future. To that end, it’s important for agents to do all they can to stand out from the crowd by marketing themselves as experienced local experts.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

Organizing Your Home Maintenance Routine

Home renovation and DIY

Buying a house is only the first step in homeownership. Once you own the property, it will become your responsibility to keep it in good order through regular repairs and maintenance. It can be easy, however, to find yourself falling behind on the job and missing out on important things. Below is a list of suggestions for staying on top of home maintenance tasks.

Learn What Needs Maintaining

The first step to keeping your house in good repair is to learn what kinds of things need doing. Find a good online list of home maintenance tasks, and figure out which ones apply to your particular home. From there, you can start to get an idea of the costs and materials associated with keeping things up. Moreover, you can figure out how much of the maintenance you are capable of performing yourself and which tasks will require an outside contractor.

Make a Calendar

Once you have a solid list of maintenance tasks for your new home, you’ll need to arrange the items in a way that will help you track how often you will need to perform each task. Put it up in a common area, and make sure to mark all of the dates for maintenance clearly. Keep up on advancing the calendar, and note any tasks you need to do every month. It’s probably best to schedule these tasks towards the middle of the month. That way, when the month rolls over, you have a couple of weeks to get the necessary materials.

Use Your Electronics

Of course, modern electronics offer multiple ways to help you organize your life. You can use calendar and reminder apps for your smart devices to replace or supplement your physical calendar if you want. Having a monthly reminder pop up telling you what kind of cleaning and maintenance duties are due at your home is helpful as far as reminding you, though it can be a bit too easy to simply flick the remainder away when it goes off. Either use a redundant system to make sure you actually do the jobs or make sure to set the reminders to go off when you can do them right away.

Put Money Aside

Maintenance isn’t free, unfortunately, and one common cause of putting off what needs to be done is a lack of money when it needs doing. It’s all too easy to tell yourself you’ll just wait a week for some cash to free itself up. To prevent this, set aside a fund for home repair and maintenance tasks, and avoid using it for anything other than a true emergency. For added benefit, find an investment account that will allow you to make money on the fund while waiting to use it.

Home maintenance is not always fun, but it prevents bigger problems down the line. Spending some time now on keeping things up will pay off in the future.


Tips to Choose a New Neighborhood

Aerial Looking straight down Suburban IntersectionIf you are buying a new home, the neighborhood you choose can be just as important as the choice of home.  There are a variety of types of neighborhoods for which you can purchase your new home.  The key to finding the right one for you is to consider your lifestyle and needs.  The following tips will help you in choosing a neighborhood that is best suited for you.

Step 1:  Asses Your Needs

What is it you and your family want out of a neighborhood.  Are you looking for a quite suburban street filled with families for your kids to play with? Or would you prefer a downtown, urban vibe?  Start with making a list of must-haves and won’t haves, which are non-negotiable, and some nice-to-haves where you can compromise.  Creating these lists before you start searching for homes will help in the elimination process.

Step 2:  Think about Budgets

You may have found the perfect neighborhood for you, but can you afford the properties in it? Also, take a look at the additional expenses living in the neighborhood may bring.  Will the drive to work or places you go often add additional gas expenses?  Online mortgage calculators can help you determine what priced home you can afford.

Step 3:  Think Ahead

Think ahead to any lifestyle changes that may be heading your way.  Perhaps you’re planning to start a family in the next few years, or your kids might be ready to move out.  Consider if the neighborhood would have enough amenities to entertain a teenager or if the town’s nightlife will make it too noisy when you have young children.

Step 4: Do Your Research

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the little details.  Visit your prospective neighborhood at different times of the day to get an all-around perspective.  You may discover rush hour traffic is terrible or that you hear trains passing early in the morning.  If you see For Sale signs in the same area, find out why.  This could be a warning sign.  Try to talk to neighbors and get their thoughts on the neighborhood.

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make.  A HUFF agent can help you prioritize and make you aware of options you might not have considered.