The residential housing market is finally experiencing an upswing across most markets. Even relatively stable regions like Texas and the Carolinas have begun to gain traction. Real estate experts are fond of saying all markets are local. Indeed, that is why it's so important to understand, not just national leanings, but property value trends in your own specific geographic area.
CoreLogic Regional Home Value Trends
Whether buying, selling, or refinancing, you must be able to estimate a home's value. To do so accurately, it helps to scrutinize graphs like this one from mortgage data cruncher CoreLogic. Insight into current price data enables you to fine-tune your approach, no matter your goal.
For example, if you're buying a house and trends suggest the market is strengthening, then if you find a place you love, it may be wise to lead with a strong opening offer. Likewise, be prepared for a bidding war; even before one erupts, settle on a strategy. Will you participate or walk away?
Adopt an equally aggressive strategy if you are selling in a neighborhood with rising prices. Set your asking price ahead of the market, but not so far ahead that your buyer's lender rejects the price. By closely observing regional shifts, you can push the limit without stepping over the line.
Refinancing? Your lender is going to require an appraisal, and the appraiser will need hard evidence to value your house at top dollar. Help him out by furnish documentation of the maintenance and improvements you have overseen as homeowner.
If you are launching into a major home improvement project, be sure that you are spending with an awareness of what's happening in your local market. Don't spend more than is likely to be supported by a property value increase, and try to focus your investments on the types of upgrades preferred in your neighborhood.