In This Issue
· Casper Real Estate News
· Interest Rate vs. Purchase Power
· Buyers Agency
· Cold Weather Tips
Homes for Heroes
340 W Collins Dr,
Casper, WY 82601
Meet our Agents
Lisa Engebretsen, Broker
Forrest Tobin, Agent
Tammy Britton, Agent
Jim Minter, Agent
Top Ten Red Cross
Cold Weather Safety Tips
As temperatures drop this winter, the American Red Cross offers ten steps people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.
1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a costlier repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
For more information on how to stay safe during the cold weather, visit winter storm safety.
Happy Holidays & Welcome to the Forefront Newsletter!
The Holidays are a busy time for all of us and winter is upon us here in Casper. We of Forefront Real Estate would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please take your time when traveling in our beautiful state. Your life and the lives of your loved ones matter to us here at Forefront Real Estate and to your family. Remember- Slow and Steady wins the Race!
Casper Real Estate
Casper Real Estate has continued to be a strong market. Casper is the second largest city in the state and has been named one of the highest-ranked family friendly small cities in the West, as well as “one of the best small cities to raise a family” by Forbes magazine. Although Casper is relatively small by national standards it is a regional hub for banking and commerce. Since oil was discovered in the region over a hundred years ago, there has always been at least one refinery in operation nearby. The development of coal and uranium fields have also helped to make Casper the center of the energy industry in the state.
Casper, WY Housing Market
$255,837 Median Listing Price
$113 Average Price per Square Foot
There are 461 homes currently listed in the greater Casper market.
Set up your own Market Report here
The Tale of Two Interest Rates
As we think of all the wonderful things we hope the new year brings such as time with the family, a new job, or a new home. One of the things we may not think about is how the current rise in interest rates could affect our ability to purchase or refinance our home. We have enjoyed a remarkable period of low Mortgage Interest Rates but as you may be aware that appears to be changing.
The nation's leading mortgage trade group, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts rising rates in 2017. Unemployment is down, wage growth (and therefore inflation) are on the rise, and consumers are spending more on goods and services. These trends are great for the economy but bad for mortgage rates.
MBA says to expect a rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December 2016. This will add to upward pressure on mortgage rates. The Chicago Federal Reserve bank president stated he expects three such rate hikes by the end of 2017, according to MarketWatch.
As you can see in the chart above the interest rate in 1985 was at 11.5%, in 2000 it was around 7.5% and today we are just under 4%. Even if we break 4% that is still a great rate especially in comparison to the historical data but pay close attention to the way it affects how much home you can afford.
With a mortgage payment under $1,000 dollars you could afford to purchase a $210,000 home while at 7.5% you will be in the $140,000 range, a difference of nearly $70,000! If you have been shopping for a home recently I am sure you know the difference the extra $70,000 makes.
Below is another example how Interest Rates can hurt your buying power. Here a change from 3.25% to 4.25% can decrease your buying power by nearly $50,000 in the example below.
Truthfully it is hard to guess what will happen and Interest Rates still remain extremely attractive. Remember it wasn’t very long ago when 5% was considered too good to be true and we are still hovering under 4%. However, if the time is right, you might want to move quickly to lock in a low rate to maximize your purchase power.
Buyer Agents: Working for You Free of Charge
By Chrystal Carothers
Home buyers should always have their own agent. Buyer agents work to negotiate the best terms and price for the buyer. Best of all, the buyer agent’s services are free to the buyer.
Most people think they have to pay a sales commission. The truth is this: only the seller pays the commission.
Whether a buyer uses an agent or not, the seller still pays the commission. The only person that wins when buyers are not represented is the listing agent.
Most buyer agents will have their clients sign an agency agreement, an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. It outlines their services, how they are compensated, and how the two parties will work together.
Remember, you wouldn’t hire your spouse’s attorney to represent you in your divorce. The same goes for real estate. Why use the seller’s agent to negotiate your best interest? There is an inherent conflict of interest.
The home buying process is stressful enough without worrying about who you can and cannot trust. Your buyer’s agent is your trusted advocate.
Buyer Agents and the Agreements
According to most buyer agency agreements, the buyer’s agent must do these things:
- Protect their client’s financial information
- Negotiate the best possible price for the buyer
- Must disclose to the buyer if they are working with another buyer interested in the same property
- Show all properties the buyer is interested in that fits their criteria and budget
- Connect you with the service providers inspectors, lenders, home warranty companies to best suit your needs
The buyer also has some responsibilities to their buyer’s agent:
- Buyers must work with their buyer’s agent exclusively
- Buyers should never give personal information to any other agent
- Buyers should not call other agents to see properties, even if they think they are saving their agent some time and effort
- Buyers should clearly define their must haves and deal breakers to help their agent streamline the showing process
Home buyers are at a premium in today’s housing market. Buyers should interview agents just as seller’s interview listing agents.
Make sure the buyer’s agent you select is familiar the type of property you want to purchase, the area you want to purchase in and the particulars of your situation. An agent is only as effective as the information they are given. Clients relocating from one city to another require a different set of skills from a client moving within the same area, for example. Buying real estate is a big decision. The best advice is to find a REALTOR® who will guide you through the local market conditions.