Las Vegas Real Estate News

The Quick List of First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

This list will take you through some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes. Don't do these things.

  • Talking to one lender - No one lender, either a bank or a mortgage broker, can offer you everything. Talk to at least three lenders to get competing offers. After all, you buying a service; shop around.
  • Not getting pre-approved - Every real estate can tell you about the hundreds of people who found their dream home only to have the bank say no. Know how much you can spend before you even look at a magazine.
  • Moving too fast - The house you're looking at might be great, but it's not the only great house. Take your time. This is the biggest financial decision most people will make in their lives. You shouldn't be in a hurry.
  • Too much house - If you don't need 10,000 square feet, don't buy it. It's just more to pay for and more to clean. During the house crash in 2008, there were millions of people who lost their homes because they bought massive houses they couldn't pay for.

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  • Messy credit - If you're even thinking of buying a house, take care of your credit. Lenders are going to look at it and you can save a lot of money by keeping your credit up.
  • Drain savings - You need to have three to six months of savings to survive. If you take your savings account to zero buying a house and then have a problem, you might find yourself leaving the house really early.
  • Be emotional - Don't buy a house on emotion. You're almost guaranteed to make a mistake.
  • Not noticing the neighborhood - The perfect house in the middle of a war zone is not a perfect house. Make sure you weigh the neighborhood as heavily as you weigh the house.
  • Ignoring the government - FHA, VA, and USDA homes are easier to get than most people think. Make sure you look at those programs before you settle.
  • Watching for unicorns - If you're looking to buy the Palace at Versailles for $100k, you'll never buy a house. No home is perfect, so find the one that best fits your needs.
  • Not thinking about the other stuff - It costs about $2000 a year to maintain a house. You need to have that cash or your dream home is going to fall apart around you.
  • Ignoring gift money - Family and friends will offer gift money to help you with a down payment. Look around and consider who might be able to help. There are even charities that can help you. Be sure to discuss this with your loan officer.
  • Thinking you need 20% - Most home loans don't require a 20% down payment. That's a myth. Don't wait to buy a home to have a ton of cash in the bank.

There are many other mistakes that people make, but these are among the biggest. If you steer clear of these mistakes, you'll be in pretty good shape.

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The Fair Housing Act And Your Real Estate Agent's Opinion

Many mundane, everyday words might be construed the wrong way and can get a professional in trouble. For real estate agents, there is a lot of caution when it comes to the Fair Housing Act.

First enacted in 1968, it was designed to ensure that no one was denied housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion. Disability, sex, and familial status were later added to the Act.

However, the law does allow for age restricted communities of 55+ years old. This doesn't mean someone younger than 55 can't purchase in an age restricted community to use as a rental property, it means that they may not live in it as the primary occupant.

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Ninety-nine percent of the time, this is a great thing. But there are some situations where a real estate agent might find themselves in hot water by saying the wrong thing.

For example, if you ask your agent, "Is this a good neighborhood?", they're likely to not tell you the truth or at least not the whole truth. Any answer, like "This is a great place to raise a family," might be construed as "elderly or single people not wanted."

In reality, the agent means no harm (we assume), but it can be interpreted as excluding some people. Similarly, "this is a great place to retire," might be heard as, "You're not wanted because you're young." That's a violation of the law.

The best and simplest way to get what you need is to look up these items online. A real estate agent is restricted to just the facts. They can't advise you based on age, color, sex, disability, religion, etc.

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The Attached Home Boom in Las Vegas

Attached homes are all the rage in Las Vegas for one reason: money. It's likely that that trend will continue indefinitely.

What is an attached home?

Attached homes are condos and townhouses. Typically, the home is attached to one or more neighbors in a community setting that allows for shared maintenance expenses. There is obviously no land being purchased, but there is access to a common area that all residents and take advantage of.

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What is the price difference in Las Vegas?

The price difference between a single family home and an attached home in Las Vegas was over $120,000 in April 2019, according to Home Builders Research.

This has caused a slowing of sales on single-family homes. Sales were down 4.3 percent of April 2018 for this type of housing.

Meanwhile, attached home sales rose 56 percent in the same time! At an average price of just $280,000 versus the $401,491 that single-family homes average, attached homes are much more reasonable and even below the national average home price of $300,000.

North Las Vegas, which is usually less expensive than other parts of the Valley, saw the largest surge in attached homes sales. The city had 19 percent of the signed contracts, versus 13 percent the same time last year.

Pre-owned homes have seen a huge drop with an 11 percent drop in the first four months of 2019 versus the same time last year. Only 9,280 previously owned single-family homes were sold during that period this year.

Builders are selling fewer homes in the region this year versus the same time last year.

What does it all mean?

For those who are bargain shopping, but want to own a home, an attached home in the Las Vegas area, particularly North Las Vegas is an excellent place to look.

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Repairs To Increase The Value Of Your Home

Buyers look for certain things when they go through homes to decide what house to buy.

There are a number of things that you can fix that don't cost too much, but should get done before you try to sell. All will help you get the right price for your home and some will let you make even more money.

1. Fix what the dog broke - Pets can be rough (or ruff!) on a house. If there are scratches, urine stains, or other issues that the pets left behind, fix them. Dogs will sometimes damage doors. Interior doors can be replaced fairly easily and you can get a lot more buyers with a house that doesn't have torn up doors.

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2. Regrout - We get used to our grout, the stuff between the tiles, but when you want to sell, it's a good time to grout the tiles again. Today, there are lots of colors to choose from that will make the tile look new.

3. Green grass - While lawns aren't real common here in the desert, if you do have grass, make sure it's healthy. This is another thing that we might not care about when we live there, but buyers are judging your house from the outside before they even get out of the car. A well-cared for lawn will go a long way to get them out of the car and into your house.

4. Repair screens - This one is easy to DIY. Repair and replace the screens. It will take you an afternoon and it will make the house look much better.

5. Fix flooring - If you have damaged or old carpeting or hardwood floors that need to be updated, do it. You will probably get your investment back and it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

6. Update the kitchen - You don't need to do a complete remodel, but you'll find that things like new flooring or new cabinet doors can make your kitchen look like new.

Some of these will cost you money, but selling your home will be much easier and will make you more money if you make them happen.

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Nine Ways to Save Electricity This Summer

Here's our quick list of ways to save electricity this summer.

1. Turn up the thermostat - If it's hot outside, 78 degrees can feel cool. Consider keeping the thermostat over 72 degrees and as high as 78. Combine that with fans in strategic places and you'll feel great.

2. Add lots of fans - Often, we're warm because the air is stagnant. Put fans in the rooms where people are sitting and it will keep the cool in motion. Also, you don't need fans pointing at people to work. In fact, a fan in the corner pointed at the ceiling will keep the air circulating. Pointed at the floor will help everyone to feel a cooling breeze on their feet.

3. Block the sun - If you have a lot of sunlight on the south side of the house, consider putting up white shades to white curtains. This will reflect the light and keep the heat out. Newer windows will also block the infrared heat from the sun, so make sure that your windows have the right coatings.

4. Wash in cold - As much as possible, wash in cold or warm, rather than hot. More energy goes to washing clothes than almost any other activity.

5. Cook outside - Cooking inside heats the house and will make the AC work harder. Using the grill outside will help solve that problem.

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6. Watch the heat - Putting a TV in front of a thermostat can make the AC work harder by tricking it into thinking that it's warmer than it is. The same goes for light bulbs and other heat-generating devices.

7. Turn it up when empty - When you're not home, turn the thermostat up to the eighties. Don't turn it all the way off. You don't want the house to be 90 degrees and make the AC work to cool it down fast.

8. Cool at night - Open windows at night whenever possible. The cool night is great to sleep in and you can save a lot of money on electricity by not cooling an already cool house.

9. Tune the AC - Get your air conditioner tuned. They will clean the filters and make sure that the coolant is full and working well.

There are probably a thousand other ways to save money on energy this summer, but these are among the fastest and easiest.

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Nevada Is Highly Ranked For Roads & Commute Time

US News and World Report ranked Nevada number one in transportation. While the state ranked 37th overall, Nevada was the best in commute time, public transportation usage, and road and bridge quality.

The report confirms an earlier report from Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA) that said that Las Vegas residents are mostly happy with the condition of the roads.

Bridge condition led the ranking for the state where it showed up third in the nation rankings for bridge quality. Nevada was number 22 in commute time, 16 in road quality, and 10 in public transportation.

In general, Nevadans are pleased with the condition of roads and their commute, with an average of 16 to 30 minutes per day, is reasonable and easy compared to some states. Given the significant influx of former Californians to the state, the shock of not having to be in traffic for two hours might contribute to the overall happiness of the state's drivers.

One area that drew some ire in a recent study by LVGEA was Project Neon, the state's largest-ever public works project. 12.8 percent of those surveyed rated the construction performance poor, while 34.2 percent rated it as good or excellent.

One place where everyone seems to agree is on is the need for light rail or another high-capacity public transportation system. Seventy percent of those surveyed felt that the region could benefit from some form of high impact public transportation system. A system like that might draw tens of thousands of cars off the roads and reduce commute times significantly.

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The most important transportation project that respondents ranked was better pedestrian flow along Las Vegas Boulevard. The city already has in place an underground walkway between the Park MGM and the MGM Grand. There are two more on the books that will help to move pedestrians underground and keep the traffic flowing down the streets.

On a regional, level the number one item was a high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. That would allow commuters to travel easily between these two major hubs and might even turn Las Vegas into a bedroom community of Los Angeles.

On the highways, completing Interstate 11 to Phoenix and widening Interstate 15 to LA ranked at the top. Those ideas we not far enough along to predict an outcome, but there are tentative talks going on.

Overall, the transportation system in Nevada is in pretty good shape and the state's leadership are looking to keep it that way.

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March Saw Rapid Home Price Increases in Las Vegas

Even though home prices grew more slowly in March than they have been, they still outpaced the rest of the nation by 2x. Southern Nevada home prices grew 8.2 percent over March of last year. The US as a whole only grew 3.7 percent in the same time, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index.

This growth has slowed, when it peaked August 2018, when the increase was 13.9 percent higher than the year before.

Las Vegas led the nation as the fastest growing of the 20 fastest growing markets for the 10th month in a row. The growth rate, both in Southern Nevada and the US as a whole has slowed.

Sales have slowed along with this slowing in price increases. Inventory has risen and mortgage rates are slowly rising, feeding concerns that the slowdown might be long term.

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The inventory of available homes is twice what it was just a year ago. April ended with almost 7,500 homes for sale, nearly 100% more than April of last year.

The market is off enough that home sellers are dropping their asking prices in order to sell their homes. Two years ago, home sellers could set their prices and expect to have it beat by buyer competition. Today, the sellers are retreating and buyers are finding the market favors patience and bargain shopping.

In essence, the market growth has reached the buyers' limits and sellers are needing to reel in expectations and asking prices to sell their homes. This is likely to reach an equilibrium as the region is also experiencing massive population growth, much of it from California. With home prices much higher in Southern California, Las Vegas' home prices don't produce sticker shock those leaving the LA and San Diego areas.

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Henderson Is Once Again Nevada’s Fastest Growing City

For the second year in a row, Henderson has claimed the title of the fastest growing city in the state of Nevada.

Ken Chapa, Henderson's Economic Development Interim Director observes that it's likely California's astronomical housing prices that has led to this growth.

"Most of those people are probably coming from California," Chapa told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an article on May 23. "They see they can own a very nice home for less than they were paying in rent in California, and it's a short drive away from where they'll work. That's a huge incentive."

The city has added 50,000 residents since 2010 and is the state's second largest city. The growth can be expected to continue as long as California's real estate prices as significantly higher than Nevada and the rest of the US.

Henderson grew by nearly 11,000 people between July 2017 and July 2018. That's a 3.6% population increase. The growth the year before was 3.4%, so growth is actually speeding up in the city.

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Chapa attributes the popularity of Henderson to its master-planned communities that make attractive neighborhoods that are easy to get in and out of and provide a safe environment to raise families. The proximity to businesses and great schools and parks make Henderson an ideal place to live.

During that same period, Las Vegas added 9,000 people, an increase of 1.4 percent. Only three Western cities added more people than Henderson: Denver (11,053), San Diego (11,549), and Phoenix (25,288).

Nevada also become the fastest growing state in the Union and passed the 3 million resident mark. Clark County, Nevada, saw the second fastest growth of US counties.

Henderson, Las Vegas, and the state of Nevada have finally been discovered by millions of Americans who are looking for a large, happy place to live where home prices are still within reach of the average family.

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Getting The House Ready For Summer

Remember winter? It was only a few months ago, but in many parts of the country, spring was big and exciting.

While we often talk about winterizing our homes, we don't often think about "summerizing" it, but that can be a great way to save energy and keep the house safe, clean, and efficient.

  • Clean the carpets yourself - The winter is a great time to collect pet dander, soil, salt, and more in the carpet. Now that hot weather has arrived your can rent or buy a carpet cleaner and let the warm breeze dry the carpet. It usually only takes a couple hours. Remember to put the furniture on pieces of aluminum foil or plastic so the moisture doesn't damage wooden legs. Also, move the furniture a few inches once the carpet has dried in the open spaces.

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  • The bathroom vent needs cleaning - Lots of dust accumulates in the vent. Not only will it run less efficiently, but it can harbor bacteria and even be a fire hazard. Simply take the cover off and vacuum and wipe down all the parts you can reach.
  • Dryer vents are dangerous - The good weather makes it a perfect time to clean the dryer vent. Over 15,000 fires a year start with dryer vents. Take the hose off the back of the dryer and off the wall vent and vacuum it. Be sure to clean the wall vent itself, as well.
  • Ceiling fan blades are gross - Don't look up yet, but when you're ready, you can clean the blades on your ceiling fan. It will collect dust and grime all winter. Of course, you don't see it, because it's on top. Use a paint roller with a dryer sheet wrapped around it to clean the fan blades. Otherwise, a step ladder and a rag will do the trick.
  • Your refrigerator is working too hard - Now the heat is here and the family will open the fridge more looking for cold drinks, it's a good time to give the fridge a quick cleaning and tune up. First, vacuum the coils. They collect dust and inefficient coils can cost you an extra $100 a year in electricity. Next, check the door seals for leaks. Those rubber and magnetic seals aren't expensive and are easy to replace. If they're worn or broken, they'll let the heat in and cost you a lot of money.
  • Bathroom maintenance - Now's a great time to do a little bathroom maintenance. First, pour a little bleach down the drains and wait 10 minutes. Run hot water down the drain. This will kill mold and mildew and open drains a bit. Next, clean your showerhead, Hard water build up can make it spray poorly. Put a bag of vinegar over the showerhead and let it soak overnight. In the morning, just rinse it off and let the water run through it. The lime scale should come right off. Also, be sure you using a low-flow showerhead.
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New Downtown Housing Project – Symphony Park

Southern Land Company, a real estate development firm out of Nashville, TN, has plans to build the first residential development in the city's downtown area. Located in the Symphony Park area, the project is a mid-rise, luxury apartment community. Southern Land broke ground in late May.

The project will contain 324 apartments, including studios, one and two bedrooms. The ground floor will offer approximately 14,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space for lease.

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There is no clear timeline for completion, but this marks the first residential development at Symphony Park. It will lead to a slight decompression of the rental market in the area and is a sign of strength of the commercial and residential real estate market in the city.

No estimate of the cost of the project was given nor were expected rental rates revealed.

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