Mortgage Rates Monday, March 20: Down; Renters Less Optimistic on Home Buying

Mortgage rates today dropped for 30- and 15-year fixed loans by two basis points and one basis point, respectively, while 5/1 ARMs were unchanged, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage interest rates published by national lenders on Monday morning.

NAR: Consumers upbeat; renters wary on home buying 

More consumers, especially in rural areas and the Midwest, are growing increasingly confident in the U.S. economy and housing this year, but renters aren’t so optimistic about their ability to buy a home in the near future, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors.

In the quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey, years of positive job growth and post-election hope for more improvement this year has boosted consumer confidence in the economy to 62%, the highest share in the survey’s short history. That’s an “extraordinary reversal,” the NAR said, rising from 54% last quarter and 48% in March 2016.

» MORE: How much home can you afford?

Consumers’ confidence in the economy is also fueling a more positive outlook about households’ personal finances in the next six months. The survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index shows respondents’ optimism about their own financial situation surged to 62.6 in March,  the highest reading in the survey. That’s up from 59.8 in December and 58.1 in March 2016.

That confidence in the economy doesn’t translate to home-buying enthusiasm for renters. Just 56% of renters believe now is a good time to buy a home, a drop from 57% last quarter and an even sharper decline from 62% in March 2016. Younger families, renters and those living in the West, where home prices are highest, are the least confident, the survey found.

“Inventory conditions are even worse than a year ago, and home prices and mortgage rates are on an uphill climb,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in the release. “These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow. Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home.”

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: dkearns@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @debbie_kearns.

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Real Estate Buyers Outnumbering Sellers

The local real estate market continues hitting high marks in early 2017.

Sales are up from a year ago. Inventory is increasing. And interest rates are slowly inching up.

All three trends portend another busy year for the High Country Association of Realtors®, which represents real estate professionals in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Local Realtors® sold 118 listings in February, up 17 percent compared to the same month last year, and the busiest February since 2007. It also extended to 24 the number of consecutive months sales have surpassed 100, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The last month to record just double-digit sales was February 2015, when 94 homes were sold in the four-county area. The total value of the 118 homes sold last month was $30.28 million. The median sold price – the midpoint at which half of all listings sold above or below – was $187,000. That was the lowest median sold price recorded in a month since July 2015 ($175,000).

Unseasonably warm temperatures encouraged sellers to slowly enter the market. As of March 16 there were 1,944 active listings within the High Country MLS. That was slightly higher than at the start of January (1,886), but about 361 fewer than this time last year (2,288).

The lack of strong supply is a national trend. According to the National Association of Realtors®, some portions of the country recorded slower sales last month because, for now, buyers are outnumbering sellers.

“Sales (nationally) got off to a fantastic start in January,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “But last month’ retreat in contract signings indicates that activity will likely be choppy in coming months as buyers compete for the meager number of listings in their price range.”

Meanwhile interest rates continue to fluctuate. After hovering around 4.16 percent the first two months of the year, the average fixed-rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 4.3 March 16, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. That’s the highest average this young year. The rate was 3.73 percent a year ago. The 15-year average was 3.5 percent, up from 2.42 a year ago.

To put the increase in perspective, a $300,000 home purchased a year ago would have cost $498,940 after 30 years, with a monthly payment of $1,386. That same house purchased today would cost an estimated $534,461 with a monthly payment around $1,485.

Bankrate.com’s recently reported that 90 percent of its experts surveyed believe rates will move higher in the coming weeks.

Accolades for area Realtor, March 19, 2017

| Samantha Ballantyne

PEOPLE AND PROFESSIONS: Reported March 19, 2017 – Herald

Accreditations/Certifications

Alicia Mohr, quality coordinator, administration for Blessing Physician Services, has met the requirements to retain certification in nursing informatics from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Nursing informatics integrates nursing information and knowledge with management of information and communication technologies. Requirements for retaining certification included 75 or more hours of continuing education in the field and a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice in the specialty. Mohr has nursing degrees from Loyola University-Chicago and Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Culver-Stockton College. A 15-year member of Blessing Health System, Mohr worked in the Blessing Hospital Emergency Department, Information Systems and Informatics, before joining Blessing Physician Services. She is a member of the American Nursing Informatics Association, the National Association of Healthcare Quality, American Nurses Association, ANA-Illinois and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing-Pi Pi Chapter.

Activities

Quincy University Music Department faculty members recently participated in the Illinois Music Educator’s Conference College Fair. Christine Damm, assistant professor of music, presented a lecture to over 100 Illinois music educators titled “Clarinet Playing Made Easy: Improve Your Section in 5 Easy Steps.” In addition, Bill Machold, assistant professor of music and director of bands, performed with the Quincy Community Concert Band. The band was the only community band selected to perform.

Laura Doran has been inducted into Delta Gamma, the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. DKG is an international honor society for female educators that promotes professional and personal growth and excellence in education. Doran began her teaching career as a speech therapist in Jefferson City, Mo. While living in Quincy, she taught third grade at Berrian, kindergarten at Dewey and worked in the Parenting Program at Quincy High School.

Appointments

Dr. John Roth, MD, has joined Hannibal Regional Medical Group. He is a board-certified surgeon with over 17 years of experience. Roth has a medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his surgical residency at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. As a general surgeon, Roth manages a variety of surgical conditions affecting all organ systems. Common procedures include gallbladder removal, appendectomy, hernia repairs, breast surgery, cancer removal, abscess drainage and screening colonoscopy. Roth also is trained in robotic surgery.

Kindel Kestner has joined Bower and Associates Inc. Realtors. She has successfully completed all education and exams and has been awarded a real estate broker license for Illinois. Kindel has applied to be a member of the Quincy Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She has a master’s degree in education counseling from Quincy University.

Scott Hayes of Monroe City, Mo., was elected to a three-year term on the National Pork Producers Council at its annual business meeting in Atlanta. The council is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 60,000 pork producers.

Laura Harcharick has been named resource development and marketing associate for United Way of Adams County. She has six years of experience in marketing/graphic design and comes from Culver-Stockton College. Harcharick will strengthen and expand marketing/donor communications as well as provide staff support for the annual campaign. She is a Quincy native and a John Wood Community College graduate. Harcharick has a bachelor of fine arts degree from Stephens College and a master’s degree in business administration from William Woods University.

Honors

Heather J. Barnett, branch manager of Barnett Financial Partners Inc., associated with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network LLC, in Keokuk, Iowa, has been recognized as one of “America’s Top 200 Women Advisors” by Forbes. Barnett has over 21 years of experience in the financial services industry. She has a master of science in business administration from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a board member of the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation, a previous chairman of the Board of Directors for the Keokuk Area Community Foundation, a previous member of the Keokuk Rotary Club, and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Matt Loos, a carpenter with Matt Holtmeyer Construction, was recently recognized for 20 years of service. He was hired in 1997 and has many skills in home construction.

Jeannie Hildebrand, registered radiology tech, has received Quincy Medical Group’s most recent Experience the Difference Award. Hildebrand has been with QMG for nearly 33 years and was nominated by Dolly Little.

Montgomery County real estate briefs: Week of March 19

Sales associate receives award for assisting veterans

Scott Troxel, manager of Weichert, Realtors’ Collegeville office, announced sales associate Elizabeth “Beth” Miller was recognized by Veterans United Realty in recognition of her dedication to helping veterans achieve their dream of homeownership in 2016.

For nearly four years, Miller has been a referral agent with Veterans United Realty, which has enabled her to assist service members with their real estate needs, all while serving her Weichert clients in the Collegeville and Montgomery County area.

“I am delighted to see Beth be recognized for her hard work and dedication on behalf of veterans in our area,” Troxel said. “She is a great asset to our team and deserves this exceptional honor.”

Veterans United Realty is an independent affiliate partner of Veterans United Home Loans that offers a nationwide network of veteran-friendly real estate agents. Each year it recognizes its top agents across the country for helping veterans and military families find and purchase their next home. In 2016 alone, Miller helped 11 veterans and their families with their real estate purchases.

As an active real estate professional, Miller is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors and Montgomery County Association of Realtors. She also holds the Accredited Buyer’s Representative and Seniors Real Estate Specialist designations.

Miller has more than 11 years of experience in the real estate industry and has been a part of the Weichert organization for 10 years. The lifelong Montgomery County resident has 12 grandchildren and a son who is a member of United States Army.

For more information about Veterans United Realty, visit veteransunited.com/va-loans/realty.

Local home builder wins statewide builder of the year

Jon Sukonik of Sukonik Building Companies in Plymouth Meeting was awarded the Pennsylvania Builders Association’s Builder of the Year during the Installation Awards Banquet at the Sheraton Valley Forge in King of Prussia Feb. 24.

This is one of the association’s most esteemed honors, having been presented to members since 1963.

“Jon is one of the most respected builders in our association. His opinion is constantly sought out when key decisions need to be made. He is our ‘go to’ guy,” said Dottie Fawcett, who nominated Sukonik for the award. “I also know that many of our builders and associates seek his opinion on industry, professional and personal issues.”

Sukonik was recognized for his impact on the home building industry and his service to PBA, the National Association of Home Builders and his local association, the HBA of Bucks Montgomery Counties. He was unanimously awarded the PILLAR — Builder of the Year Award in 2015 by members of the HBA.

In more than 15 years as a member, Sukonik has served the federation in multiple capacities, including HBA president, HBA Life director, chair of the PBA Construction Liability, Risk Management Building Materials Special Committee, chair of PBA Uniform Construction Code Special Committee, member of PBA Statewide Licensure Special Committee, Southeast Region PHRC representative, regional vice president and regional legislative officer.

“He truly embodies the things that PBA stands for,” Fawcett said. “He is a firm believer in giving back … He believes that all members must support each other so that together we can move our industry forward. He embodies what it means to be Builder of the Year.”

Century 21 agent receives President’s Producer Award

Brian Slater, broker/owner of Century 21 Norris — Valley Forge, announced that in recognition of their outstanding sales production and commitment to quality service, Century 21 Real Estate LLC recently honored Lynne Norris, sales associate with Century 21 Norris — Valley Forge, with the Century 21 President’s Producer Award.

The annual award is bestowed upon those Century 21 System sales affiliates who earn the Century 21 Centurion Award and the Century 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Producer Award in the same calendar year.

The Centurion Award honors Century 21 System sales affiliates who earn $225,000 in sales production or 65 closed transaction sides within the calendar year.

To earn the Century 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Producer Award, a sales affiliate must receive completed customer surveys for at least 30 percent of their transactions from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 with an average survey score of at least 95 percentage or better for two consecutive years.

“We are thrilled to recognize Lynne’s work for this momentous achievement,” said Rick Davidson, president and chief executive officer, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “This is an outstanding honor since only a small percentage of affiliated agents in the United States received this award for sales.”

Berkshire Hathaway congratulates Breakfast of Champions

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox Roach, Realtors recently honored Montgomery County sales associates for their sales performance for January at a monthly Breakfast of Champions.

Sales associates honored were Linda Gedney and Pat Pezick, of the Blue Bell office; Kerry Boccella, Janet Cribbins, Michael Sivel and Barrett Stewart, of the Chestnut Hill office; Linda Downey, Joe Dudek and Megan Goldstein, of the Collegeville office; Lisa Grater and Jackie Smith, of the Harleysville Home Marketing Center; Joe Dougherty, Mike Murphy and Cindy Wollman, of the Jenkintown Home Marketing Center; and Angel Farrell, Fred Hencken and Lou Krosskove, of the Spring House Home Marketing Center.

High Country Realtors February Report: Real Estate Buyers Outnumbering Sellers Nationally

The local real estate market continues hitting high marks in early 2017.

Sales are up from a year ago. Inventory is increasing. And interest rates are slowly inching up.

All three trends portend another busy year for the High Country Association of Realtors, which represents real estate professionals in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Local realtors sold 118 listings in February, up 17 percent compared to the same month last year, and the busiest February since 2007. It also extended to 24 the number of consecutive months sales have surpassed 100, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The last month to record just double-digit sales was February 2015, when 94 homes were sold in the four-county area.

The total value of the 118 homes sold last month was $30.28 million. The median sold price – the midpoint at which half of all listings sold above or below – was $187,000. That was the lowest median sold price recorded in a month since July 2015 ($175,000).

Unseasonably warm temperatures encouraged sellers to slowly enter the market. As of March 16 there were 1,944 active listings within the High Country MLS. That was slightly higher than at the start of January (1,886), but about 361 fewer than this time last year (2,288).

The lack of strong supply is a national trend. According to the National Association of Realtors®, some portions of the country recorded slower sales last month because, for now, buyers are outnumbering sellers.

“Sales (nationally) got off to a fantastic start in January,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “But last month’s retreat in contract signings indicates that activity will likely be choppy in coming months as buyers compete for the meager number of listings in their price range.”

Meanwhile interest rates continue to fluctuate. After hovering around 4.16 percent the first two months of the year, the average fixed-rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 4.3 March 16, according to loan giant Freddie Mac. That’s the highest average this young year. The rate was 3.73 percent a year ago.

The 15-year average was 3.5 percent, up from 2.42 a year ago.

To put the increase in perspective, a $300,000 home purchased a year ago would have cost $498,940 after 30 years, with a monthly payment of $1,386. That same house purchased today would cost an estimated $534,461 with a monthly payment around $1,485.

Bankrate.com’s recently reported that 90 percent of its experts surveyed believe rates will move higher in the coming weeks.

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Use these tips for spring cleaning

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STAFF VIDEO BY JOE MARTINO

WASHINGTON – When springtime approaches, it’s time to open the windows, let in some fresh air and clean the house from top to bottom. This month’s article, “The Best, No-Sweat Ways to Spring Clean Your Home” spotlight from Houselogic.com, the comprehensive website for homeowners from the National Association of Realtors, features six articles helping homeowners get and keep their homes clean.

READ: East Brunswick entrepreneur to francise cleaning business

READ: Eliminating odors can save you embarrassment

READ: Trump budget plan has major ramifications in New Jersey

Here are a few tips from HouseLogic on how to freshen up a home this spring as quickly, simply and cheaply as possible.

You can’t detect these four odors, but your guests can. When a smell is a constant presence in a home, it is easy to become ‘noseblind’ to it, but that doesn’t mean visitors won’t have their olfactory senses offended by any unpleasant scents to which the homeowner has become accustomed. Look at HouseLogic’s suggestions for eliminating some of the most common smelly offenders, including using an onion to deodorize a musty room.

Eight storage tips to help you clean better, faster. For many homeowners, cleaning the house – the whole house – is a bit of a drag and usually takes much longer than expected. However, with the proper organization, the job can be done quickly and with minimal headaches. Check out HouseLogic’s tips for organizing cleaning supplies, including using a shoe caddy as a cheap, convenient way to store products out of sight behind a door.

Ten clever uses for hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is cheap, nontoxic and the Swiss Army knife of cleaning supplies. HouseLogic lays out just 10 of the many cleaning uses for H2O2, including spraying a hydrogen peroxide-water mixture on plants to ward off fungus.

Eight tips and tricks to keep your home cleaner longer. How can homeowners make their spring-cleaning efforts last into summer and fall? By following HouseLogic’s list of tips to keep a home clean with less effort and with less frequency, such as using rain repellent designed for cars to eliminate soap scum buildup in the shower.

The dirty places in your home your guests see – but you don’t. Sometimes a home’s harshest critics are not the ones who live there. Guests look at a home with fresh eyes and often notice the dust bunnies and cobwebs that homeowners miss. HouseLogic asked a cleaning expert to share the top seven spots that often go uncleaned, such as the refrigerator icemaker to keep it from absorbing food odors.

How to achieve a minimalist home. This month’s spotlight also features a comprehensive infographic on how to live like a minimalist and achieve an organized, clutter-free home with tips such as borrowing instead of buying one-time use items. These suggestions can help homeowners save money and decrease clutter.

For more information on making a home spick and span, visit HouseLogic.com.

HouseLogic is a free source of information that helps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by Realtors®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

[Charts] NAR survey breaks down problems plaguing appraisal industry

Not only does the appraisal industry have problems, but there is also a lot of disagreement around what exactly those problems are.

One of the biggest problems, and yet still highly debated, is the industry’s lack of future workforce and the lack of effort to fix it. 

HousingWire’s most recent webinar brought together four experts in the appraisal industry to try and address what the future looks like for appraisers. But the webinar is a great example of the diverging opinions in the appraisal industry, with more than 100 questions coming in during the QA. 

This new survey of appraisers from the National Association of Realtors should help give more insight on the feelings of the industry.

NAR conducted the study to determine whether a shortage of appraisers exists and to what extent, as well as to further explore the other issues facing the appraisal profession, interviewing more than 2,000 appraisers.

In its summary, the association pinpointed the following three results, which will be highlighted further in charts below.

1. Training is a real issue.

Few seasoned appraisers are doing it, and those who do often do so for no pay. One challenge highlighted is the unwillingness of lenders to accept appraisals performed in part by a trainee, as well as concerns with liability. Fewer than 20% of appraisers train others.

2. Appraisers are working to address turnaround time:

But there’s less willingness to perform FHA/VA loans. Appraisers also complained of lower compensation from bank-owned asset management companies, or AMCs, as opposed to work done for law firms, lenders, and independent AMCs.

3. Dissatisfaction with the profession is high as challenges with FHA, others persist:

The average tenure of an appraisal hovered around 22 years, but roughly 10% of respondents said they may leave the field within 5 years. Frustrations with regulatory burdens and insufficient compensation are the top two reasons cited for a desire to leave. NAR has worked with FHA closely to address some of these concerns, and those conversations are ongoing.

National Association of Realtors President William Brown commented on the results saying: “The work of an appraiser is indispensable to our industry. Appraisers provide the credible, outside opinion on a property value that agents, lenders, and ultimately the consumer depend on to guide them through a transaction.”

“If the regulatory burdens holding appraisers back go unaddressed, the challenge of providing that timely appraisal will only get worse,” he added. “We have to work together as an industry to clear the way for appraisers to continue doing their good work while building an environment that encourages talented newcomers to get in the game.”

This first chart shows the average age of the industry is older since 22 years is the average time most of the appraisers interviewed have been in the industry.

Click to enlarge

(Source: NAR)

This next chart breaks down the reasons to leave the appraisal industry, with the two top answers being excessive regulation and insufficient compensation.

Click to enlarge

(Source: NAR)

In addition to this, few appraisers are training future appraisers, as the chart bellow depicts.

Click to enlarge

(Source: NAR)

This final chart explains why there is reluctance to accept trainees. Notice that the No. 1 reason is lack of compensation.

Click to enlarge

(Source: NAR)

Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks for Homeowners from HouseLogic

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — It is springtime: the time to open the windows, let in some fresh air and clean the house from top to bottom. This month’s The Best, No-Sweat Ways to Spring Clean Your Home spotlight from Houselogic.com, the comprehensive website for homeowners from the National Association of Realtors®, features six articles helping homeowners get and keep their homes clean. 

Here are a few tips from HouseLogic on how to freshen up a home this spring as quickly, simply and cheaply as possible.

Minimalist Home Countertops

Minimalist Home Countertops


You Can’t Detect These 4 Odors, But Your Guests Can. When a smell is a constant presence in a home, it is easy to become ‘noseblind’ to it, but that doesn’t mean visitors won’t have their olfactory senses offended by any unpleasant scents to which the homeowner has become accustomed. Look at HouseLogic’s suggestions for eliminating some of the most common smelly offenders, including using an onion to deodorize a musty room.

8 Storage Tips to Help You Clean Better, Clean Faster. For many homeowners, cleaning the house – the WHOLE house – is a bit of a drag and usually takes much longer than expected. However, with the proper organization, the job can be done quickly and with minimal headaches. Check out HouseLogic’s tips for organizing cleaning supplies, including using a shoe caddy as a cheap, convenient way to store products out of sight behind a door.

10 Clever Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is cheap, non-toxic and the Swiss Army knife of cleaning supplies. HouseLogic lays out just 10 of the many cleaning uses for H2O2, including spraying a hydrogen peroxide-water mixture on plants to ward off fungus.

8 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer. How can homeowners make their spring-cleaning efforts last into summer and fall? By following HouseLogic’s list of tips to keep a home clean with less effort and with less frequency, such as using rain repellent designed for cars to eliminate soap scum buildup in the shower.  

The Dirty Places in Your Home Your Guests See – But You Don’t. Sometimes a home’s harshest critics are not the ones who live there. Guests look at a home with fresh eyes and often notice the dust bunnies and cobwebs that homeowners miss. HouseLogic asked a cleaning expert to share the top seven spots that often go uncleaned, such as the refrigerator icemaker to keep it from absorbing food odors.     

How to Achieve am Minimalist Home. This month’s spotlight also features a comprehensive infographic on how to live like a minimalist and achieve an organized, clutter-free home with tips such as borrowing instead of buying one-time use items. These suggestions can help homeowners save money and decrease clutter. 

For more information on making a home spick and span, visit HouseLogic.com.

HouseLogic is a free source of information that helps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by Realtors®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website.  

MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS

For further information contact:
Jane Dollinger, 202/383-1042
jdollinger@realtors.org

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/spring-cleaning-tips-and-tricks-for-homeowners-from-houselogic-300425149.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.realtor.org

Spring home sales already in full bloom

As spring comes into bloom, REALTORS® are predicting more homes will pop up on the market after existing-home sales stepped out to a fast start in 2017.

According to Realtor.com, spring is the busiest and best season to sell a home.

Reasons range from parents wanting to move when their children are not in school to buyers wanting to move when the weather is most accommodating.

Fayette County is following the same trend for spring home sales, according to Jackie Fiano, president of Fayette Board of REALTORS®.

She said the number of homes listed on the market typically rises after winter as well as the number of inquiries.

“We’re very busy right now,” said Tom Simon, real estate broker and owner of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in Belle Vernon.

According to Simon, 50 percent of homes on the market typically sell between March and July.

Real estate experts stress that pricing in the spring is just as important. If you overprice, the home may sit and you could risk losing out on the best buyers.

“It’s all based on supply and demand,” said Simon.

In Washington and Greene counties the largest months for home sales (closings) are June thru August, with most buyers making offers 45 to 60 days prior, reports Mike Podolinsky, president of Washington/Greene Association of REALTORS® board of directors.

Podolinsky said he uses figures from the Pittsburgh agency West Penn Multi-List Inc., which provides multiple listing services and state of the art programs to broker subscribers and their agents.

The agencies service Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Clarion, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Indiana counties.

While the largest supply of home buyers tends to be in the spring real estate agents find this generates the most competition from other listings.

During that time, it’s important for clients to understand which upgrades can add value and result in a faster sale.

“If a seller is thinking of putting their home on the market, I would suggest taking time to declutter the house, paint rooms neutral, if needed, spruce up the front lawn and look objectively at their home as a buyer would,” said Podolinsky.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), believes competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range.

He stressed the combination of higher interest rates and prices led to households in over half of all states last month being able to afford less of all active inventory on the market based on their income.

“There is always a constant pool of buyers looking to purchase a home, they know the market and are very educated due to the Internet,” said Podolinsky.

He said real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com provide buyers a host of information to make educated decisions before they set foot in a house. “That’s why when a home is priced correctly, it sells in days, not weeks, not months,” said Podolinsky.

In Washington and Greene counties, Podolinsky said realtors are finding that some open house tours are generating between 10 to 20 buyers on a given day.

“This is not the norm, but it shows that buyers know a good bargain when they see it. These are homes that are priced correctly, good condition and staged properly,” Podlinsky added.

Despite the rise in interest rates that are predicted to hover in the four percent range, financial advisors say it’s still a good time to lock in a low mortgage rate.

In many places across the United States, BankRate reports it continues to be a seller’s market with more potential home buyers than sellers.

Additionally, entry-level homes have been kept off the market because so many owners owed more on their homes than they were worth.

According to Podolinsky, most realtors provide a free “comparative market analysis” of your home as well as other tips and staging ideas. You can also hire a professional to help stage our home.

Realtor.com provides the following tips to help homeowners during the pre-selling preparation process.

1. Address the exterior of the home.

Winter can be harsh on a home’s exterior, so as winter winds down, homeowners who want to sell their homes should make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect their homes’ curb appeal.

2. Conquer interior clutter.

3. Eliminate odors. Conduct a thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair that accumulated over the winter to help remove odor. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home.