Join Sign In

Date Archives: December 2011

Homesale Realty Maryland Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.

rss logo RSS Feed
Uncategorized | 16 Posts

US News and World Report

Is 2012 the year the housing market turns around? Of course, no one can say for sure, but plenty of economists say signals are pointing in the right direction. "It has become increasingly apparent that the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place," wrote Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim in a recent report.

U.S. News and World Report has released an article on the possible outlook of the housing market for 2012.

Click here to view the article

Now is a great time to speak with a real estate agent about buying or selling a home. Get in contact with a baltimore realtor or anyone of our realtors around Maryland.


Pricing your home

Homeowners tend to overprice their homes slightly even in the best of times. But in today's real estate market, many homeowners won't accept the extent to which the value of their home has fallen since they bought it. That even applies (to a lesser extent) to those who bought before the price run-ups from 2002. Unfortunately, overpricing your home will usually make a tough situation worse.

Buyers don't care whether you take a loss on what you paid for your home. While it's totally understandable that you do care (a lot), the price you paid should not be the determining factor in establishing your selling price.

If you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth ("upside down"), that opens up a whole new set of problems for you and for potential buyers. No one likes dealing with a short sale, but sometimes there's just no choice. If your circumstances dictate that you absolutely must sell, then you must deal with current market trends.

On average, a home that experiences a listing change due to unrealistic initial pricing takes longer to sell, at more of a discount, than similar properties that are priced right the first time. Make sure your initial asking price is realistic, based on objective valuations for similar homes. It isn't easy or necessarily pleasant, but an experienced real estate agent can help you make the right decision for your circumstances.

Search Baltimore real estate for sale and other maryland real estate with ywgc's real estate search


  1. Inventory is at a 5 year low in both Baltimore City and Baltimore County. This continues a trend of dropping inventory that began in the spring of 2011.
  2. Fewer people are putting their houses on the market. This trend also began in the spring of 2011 and continues.
  3. Pending sales have increased for 7 months in a row.
  4. There is less competition from other sellers, as a result of the 3 above factors.
  5. Interest rates are at an all time low range.
  6. In January 2011, 550 houses went under contract in Baltimore City and 497 went under contract in Baltimore County and in February the numbers were 576 in Baltimore City and 530 in Baltimore County. That compares with the highest volume months in Baltimore City of 661 in March and Baltimore County at 822 in March. In other words the slowest months of the year still produced 60-85% of the pending sales as compared to the best months. Houses sell every month of the year.
  7. If you don't have a sign in your front yard, no one is going to knock on your door and hand you a contract!

So remember, there are opportunities to sell every day of the year. Obviously, follow the advice of your real estate professional as there may be other factors for your particular situation. But don't just think "I'll wait until Spring" We have 7 reasons to Do It Now!

Should you need to consult with a real estate professional the associates at Yerman Witman Gaines & Conklin Realty are ready to help.


For the best Return On Investment (ROI), home owners are better off replacing and improving certain features of their homes at relatively low cost than investing in costly additions. Given current market trends in the housing industry, it's best to focus on replacing items that will provide the best return in terms of payback when you sell. Let's face it, anything that can help you get your price in the current environment is worth a closer look.

In addition, the rapid improvement in materials and technology will provide you with immediate savings in terms of energy efficiency and overall comfort in your home. Most of these projects immediately enhance your home's curb appeal and increase its marketability, and they require little maintenance once they are installed. As an added bonus, many of these types of replacements qualify for energy efficiency tax credits.

Here are the top four replacement projects, in ascending order of cost:

  • Replace the front door.

The best bang for your buck - least expensive, highest return at resale, and instant improvement in curb appeal and ultimate marketability.

  • Replace home siding.

Good return at time of sale, plus immediate return in energy savings.

  • Replace windows.

Good ROI, immediate energy savings, big improvement in curb appeal.

  • Replace the roof.

Most expensive, but it gets a good ROI. At a certain point, it will need to be done regardless; don't wait until it starts leaking.


For rent

Here are two actual examples of how two very different families in Baltimore recently rented homes that they felt they couldn't afford to sell in the current market. The neighborhoods are different, the circumstances are different, but the end result was the same. Two homes that would have sold quickly several years ago were never offered for sale, and two other families that wanted to buy a home ended up renting instead.

Family A is a retired couple, both of whom enjoy substantial state and federal pensions. They lived in a spacious condominium in an area that was normally immune to swings in the housing market. They had purchased a second home at the beach in 2005, and decided to sell their Baltimore home and move to the beach permanently. When an adjacent condo sold for $50,000 under the asking price, they realized they would never get their price - but they didn't want to keep paying two mortgages and two condo fees. The answer: they rented their Baltimore condo to another retired couple who actually wanted to buy, but thought they couldn't get a mortgage for the amount Family A wanted. So renting was a short-term solution for both families, but neither one got what they really wanted, and the process will start all over again when the lease expires.

Family B is a couple in their mid-30's with two small children. When the husband got a promotion requiring relocation out of state, they wanted to sell their home and buy another in their new location. Unfortunately, they had purchased their Baltimore home at the top of the market, and couldn't afford the significant loss that would be entailed in selling at current prices. And because they had to relocate quickly, they didn't have time to negotiate a short sale. Instead, they rented their home to another young couple who really wanted to buy, but didn't have enough cash to get the type of home they wanted at a monthly mortgage payment they could afford. So Family B solved their immediate problem, but of course without selling their previous home they had to rent at their new location - so another potential sale was lost. Plus, they are now out-of-state landlords, which they definitely didn't want to be.

These are real-life examples that illustrate what's happening to many families right now. People still want to own their homes, but some are using a rental strategy to buy time until the housing market recovers. Admittedly, it's better to have homes rented than going into foreclosure - but it's still a short-term solution - both for the families and for the housing market. Neither party on either side of these transactions got what they really wanted, and from an industry perspective at least three home sales were lost.

What could these families have done differently to get what they really wanted?

Yerman Witman Gaines & Conklin Realty is one of six complementary business units that comprise The Strata Group, which is headquartered in Baltimore, and offers specialized products and services targeting the residential and commercial real estate sectors. Other divisions offer title and escrow, mortgage funding, law, financial and home sales marketing services and support.

For additional information, visit www.ywgcrealty.com or www.mystratagroup.com.


The November market statistics for Baltimore City and Baltimore County from MRIS, as compared to same month last year, continue to show three trends:

  • Fewer properties coming on the market (new listings)
  • More properties going under contract (pendings)
  • Decreasing inventory (active listings)

Baltimore County Real Estate had 14% fewer listings come on the market in November, 23% more listings went under contract with 3,692 active listings-a 5 year low. Baltimore City Real Estate had 30% fewer listings come on the market in November, 12% more listings went under contract with 4,075 active listings-also a 5 year low.

This continues a seven month trend of decreasing inventory and increasing pending sales. Unfortunately, many properties that go under contract are not getting to the settlement table due to appraisal, buyer financing and unapproved or slow lender processing of short sales. So, in the County the settled sales gains are modest compared to last year (7% in November) and have slightly decreased in the City(-4%).

That said, all the trends would indicate that there is great interest in purchasing homes and that there will continue to be fewer homes to chose from which could set the stage for a favorable seller's market this spring.

So don't believe all the negative press you read and hear. If you want to buy, take a hard look at the inventory. Prices and interest rates are low. If you are thinking about selling, now may be the time to go to market with the least competition in 5 years. The market is still price-sensitive, so follow your real estate professional's guidance on pricing.

* * *

Yerman Witman Gaines & Conklin Realty is one of six complementary business units that comprise The Strata Group, which is headquartered in Baltimore, and offers specialized products and services targeting the residential and commercial real estate sectors. Other divisions offer title and escrow, mortgage funding, law, financial and home sales marketing services and support.For additional information, visit www.ywgcrealty.com.


Have women's changing relationships with homeownership helped define who they are?

It wasn't that long ago when women had only a secondary role in the home. They cooked for it. They cleaned it. And in some cases they ran it with an iron fist. But they rarely purchased it.

In the 50s this type of woman was epitomized by June Cleaver, the pearl-clad TV matriarch who was a 'housewife,' i.e. she lived in a home that was bought and paid for by her husband.

Mary Tyler Moore represented a steep departure from that prototype. She was a working professional woman, circa 1974, who made her own money and her own way in the world. But she also had no husband and, therefore, no house. When she wasn't working in the newsroom, she lived in a rented efficiency.

By 1981, however, single women like Mary were putting their hard-earned money to good use. They had pulled even with single men in the number of homes purchased per year.

But in the 21st Century, the tide has turned. These days young, single professional women are realizing the American Dream more often than anyone else.

According to the National Association of Realtors, last year single women purchased more than twice as many homes as single men bought. In fact, single women bought one of every five homes sold, or 1.5 million homes.

A recent article in USA Today points out that there are many demographic reasons for this change, but the biggest one seems to be a change in point of view. Women now feel like they can acquire their own homes instead of waiting for Mr. Right to buy them one.

YWGC agent Annie Balcerzak couldn't agree more. "I've helped a lot of young, single professional women buy their homes in the last couple of years," she said.

Asked if she thinks it's a trend, Balcerzak said, "I think young, professional women are savvy enough to see the opportunity. Prices are way down from where they were just two years ago. Interest rates are nothing short of extraordinary. Women understand that buying now means locking yourself into the investment of a lifetime."

Balcerzak is sure she has a handle on the trend: "Well, I'm a woman. I'm 30. And I just settled on my second home," she said, with a smile.

Search Baltimore Real Estate

Login to Saved Search

Login to Saved Search