Real Estate In The Conway Area

Monthly Market Reports

Each month I will update this blog to bring you market statistics and information.  The Conway real estate market changes, just like everywhere else.  One month we may be in a seller's market, the next it may shift to be more of a buyer's market.  If you are in the beginning stages of selling your home in the Conway area and trying to figure out the best time and price to put your home on the market, check back to this site often.  

Information And Advice

There are many important things to consider when selling your home.  Should I make some upgrades?  Should I go ahead and have a new roof put on? (You know it leaks because every time it rains, you place buckets under the drips!)  

If you are thinking about buying a home in the Conway area, it can get stressful!  There are many sources online for home buyers but I want to be your go-to REALTOR so I will be posting useful information for first time home buyers and people that may have bought and sold several times.  

So, if you need any advice, useful information, or updates on the Conway area real estate market, contact me at any time.  Shane Cato (501) 733-3479.

Aug. 12, 2016

First Time Home Buyers In Conway AR

Conway has been ranked in the top ten housing markets for first time home buyers!

 

I remember being a first time home buyer, long before I got into the real estate business, and how excited my wife and I were.  I also remember all of the questions and concerns we had.  What is a CMA? What is this Zillow thing? How to choose the best Realtor in Conway?  What is a pre qualification letter? How much money do we need as a down payment?  How many bedrooms will we need?  Who is this Earnest fellow and why does he need money? How much land do we want?  Do we want to be in a subdivision or out in the country?  How do we know that our neighbors won’t be crazy people?  Will we qualify for a rural development loan?  What is an FHA loan?  Where do we even want to live?

 

These are all great questions to ask and hopefully I can help!

 

  • A CMA is short for “Comparable Market Analysis” It’s what Realtors use to figure the value of a specific property. So if a home you are interested in is listed for $180,000 and I find that is really only worth around $150,000, I will quickly let you know!

  • That Zillow thing (as you may already know) is a third party site that allows users to search for homes online.  Although somewhat useful, it often has incorrect data.

  • How to choose the best Realtor is easy. Choose me!   

  • A pre-qualification letter is one of the first steps you need to get before seriously looking at homes. Get pre qualified first Go to your bank or a local mortgage company in town and simply tell them that you are thinking about buying a home and want to get pre qualified for a home loan.  They will be able to tell you exactly how much you can afford and approximately how much your monthly payment will be.  Getting this step in the home buying process done will also let sellers know that you are serious about buying a home and that you are prepared to make an offer once you find the perfect home!

  • How much money you will need for a down payment will typically depend on how much the purchase price of the home is.  For FHA Loans that is about 3.5%.  So on a $100,000 home the down payment will be around $3,500.  There are loans that require NO MONEY DOWN!  (See Rural Development Loans Below)

  • How many bedrooms seems like a no brainer but of course can differ based on your needs.  It is a good idea to plan this out before seriously looking at homes.

  • This Earnest fellow I refer to is actually “Earnest Money”.  It is not used as much anymore but is used to show a seller that you are truly interested in buying their home.  This can later be applied to the down payment or given back to the buyer at closing.

  • How much land you will need is another question you need to sit down and figure out.  Do you have outdoor pets?  Will you eventually need to add on to your home?  

  • Subdivision vs. something out in the country is one of those questions that my wife and I had.  We really wanted something more out in the country but as first time home buyers, we decided (at that time) that a subdivision was the best for us.  Again very important to think about though.

  • How do you know that your neighbors will not be crazy people?  Well that is a tough one.  The only thing Realtors can really say about the area and the people is to visit the site for registered sex offenders. I suggest riding around the block at different times of the day and night of the house that you are interested in and get a feel for the neighborhood that way.

  • Will we qualify for a Rural Development Loan?  That is a question for your bank or Mortgage Professional that you choose to get pre qualified with.  Conway city limits do not qualify for “rural development”.

  • An FHA Loan is a loan that is offered by the Federal Housing Administration.  Many first time buyers use this loan.  

  • Where do you want to live?  Conway, Greenbrier, Vilonia? This again is one of these questions that will need to be decided early in the home buying process.  Think about your drive to work, where you want your kids to go to school, how far away you need to be from you in-laws, etc. haha!

There are a lot of other myths about first time homebuyers and the process.

This is simply a brief question and answer post.  There are of course many more questions that you may have.  Give me a call/text any time if you have any questions!  Shane Cato (501) 733-3479

June 16, 2016

Home buying tips in Conway

Tips for buying a home in the Conway area

Get pre approved for a home loan

Before you start looking at homes for sale in Conway, one very important step is to get pre approved for a mortgage.  The mortgage lender will run your credit and look at income and other criteria to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home.  It is not a good idea to browse the internet, looking at $200,000 homes for sale, and come to find out that you can only afford to buy a $150,000 house.

A good place to start the pre approval process is the bank where you already do business.  Most banks have mortgage lenders on location to speak with.

Having a pre approval letter is a critical part in the home buying process.  The seller of a property will not take any offer seriously without a pre approval letter and most Realtors will not even begin to show you properties without being pre approved.  If you are serious about buying a home in the Conway area, get pre approved first!

Find a great Realtor

The internet has made searching for homes pretty easy.  With the click of a button you can get a good idea of what the inside of a house looks like and it's features.  While this is good for browsing around and very convenient, when you get serious about your house hunt, it is a good idea to find a professional Realtor to help guide you in the right direction.  Naturally, I hope that you would give me the honor of helping you find your dream home but as long as you find a great Realtor early in your home buying journey, the process will be a lot easier!

Don't put much faith in other home search websites

Conwayareahomesforsale.com is updated every 5 minutes with the latest listings from CARMLS (Cooperative Arkansas Multiple Listing Service) the same exact listing service that Realtors in the Conway area use is where my site gathers it's information.

Other 3rd party sites can take days to update and often have the wrong information.  I get phone calls all the time with people asking about a home for sale (after finding it on a 3rd party site) and when I look it up, it has already sold like 3 weeks ago.  It is a good idea, if you haven't already, to register on this site to receive all of the latest homes for sale and updates in Conway and the surrounding area.  You will receive email notifications as soon as a home that meets your criteria hits the market.

Know what you are looking for and where to look for it

While in the beginning stages of your home search, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.  Thinking about moving? Who you are going to get to help you move?  Where am I going to put my fifteen foot sectional and 55 inch flatscreen?  How many rooms am I going to need since I have 6 kids?  What am I going to do with my pets?  What school do I want my 6 kids to go to?  How far of a drive am I willing to make to work and back everyday so I don't spend too much money on gas because my 6 kids have to eat?!  Where am I going to park my bass boat?  Am I going to have enough cabinet space to fit all of my great grandmother's antique china???  These are all very important questions you must ask, consider, and soon have an answer to, before looking at homes!  

Take a drive through the neighborhood

Once you have registered on this website, you will be able to browse the latest homes to hit the market.  Since you have already taken my advice and have your pre approval letter form your mortgage professional, you can now seriously begin your home search.  When you find a home in your price range, like the photos and features, go ahead and take a drive by the house (do not pull in the driveway and peek through the windows) and get a feel for the neighborhood.  Most people can take a look at a home from the road and tell if they can really picture themselves living there, without having to take a look inside.

Take your time but not too much time

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.  You certainly do not want to rush in to anything!  At the same time, homes for sale in Conway and the surrounding area usually don't take long to sell!  That is all the more reason to be prepared with your pre approval letter and a great Realtor by your side, to be ready to make an offer when you find the perfect home.  Chances are that if you have found a nice home in a nice area at a good price, other buyers have found it as well so it's best to be prepared!

Many more tips

There are many more tips that I could share on this post but I just had another visitor register on my site so I am going to see how I can best help them to find their new home!  For more useful tips and information check back here often or give me a call/text at 501-733-3479!

Posted in Tips
June 1, 2016

Sell my home quickly in Conway

Need to sell your home in Conway fast and for top dollar?

 

Posted in Tips
May 26, 2016

Greenbrier is the safest city in Arkansas

 According to THV 11 and based off of FBI data Greenbrier is the safest city in Arkansas!  My wife and I (and now little 3 month old baby girl, Karley) have lived in Greenbrier for about 4 years and even in that short amount of time, it seems to have grown quite a bit.  It seems like the perfect place to raise a family with great schools, and many of the same convenient shopping and restaurants, that Conway has to offer, without losing that “small town” feel!

Take a look at homes for sale in Greenbrier!

Contact me at any time with any of your real estate needs!

Posted in Tips
May 26, 2016

Homes for sale with a storm shelter

Conway area homes for sale with a storm shelter

View Conway Area Homes With a Storm Cellar

 Click on the city name to view:  Conway | Greenbrier Mayflower | Vilonia 

Spiders vs. Storms

I remember as a kid, my great aunt lived in an old house that had a storm cellar and I remember being scared to even go near it.  It seems like she stored canned tomatoes (that she made herself) pickled okra and the like and for whatever reason it seems like there was always a bunch of wasp nests and spiders and stuff around it and I just stayed away.  I do remember hearing her talk about having to go in there when it “came up a cloud” (what her and my Grandma called storms).  I guarantee you though, I would have been quick to forget about the spiders, if I was there and a storm came rolling through!

Arkansas Shelter Rebate Program (Not Yet)

The Arkansas Dept of Emergency Management (ADEM) Shelter Rebate Program will remain postponed until funding becomes available through the Arkansas Legislative process. If funding is made available, ADEM will notify the public of when it will start receiving applications. Shelter Rebate applications that were received prior to December 9, 2011, but were not funded on the July 2012 cycle, will be honored first when funding is made available.

Recent Tornadoes

We all remember the tornado that hit Vilonia and Mayflower on April 27th 2014.  The tornado was on the ground for an hour, from 7:06 p.m. to 8:06 p.m.  and traveled along a 41.3 mile path. Sixteen people lost their lives in this tornado, making it the deadliest in Arkansas since 1968.  One person was killed, even though she was in a storm shelter because a sub standard door on it was struck by debris, opening the door and exposed her to the tornado.

Local Storm Shelter Companies

Here is a list of local companies that install storm shelters.  I cannot personally vouch for any of these so I would call around and do as much research as possible.

If you have any questions about Conway area homes for sale that have a storm shelter, contact me anytime!

Posted in Tips
May 18, 2016

5 House Features That Save Arkansas Homeowners Money

Everyone wants to save money on energy bills every month. But did you know that having today’s popular energy-efficient features in your home can also save you time and stress when you sell your home in Conway?

two home buyers surrounded by moving boxesMore and more first-time home buyersare searching for homes in the Conway area, so there is more of a demand for move-in ready homes or homes with certain features.

As Millennial Magazine notes, what buyers are looking for in a home include open floor plans, homes with great cell service, and energy-efficient features.

Having the best energy-efficient home features now means you won’t need to upgrade your home later when you sell. Plus, these features may also add value to your home.

5. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats let you control when you want the heat and air conditioning to be running in your home, saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Some thermostats, such as Nest Learning Thermostats, even let you control the temperature remotely on your phone, an appealing feature for today’s home buyers.

upgraded kitchen with bright spring flowers4. Energy-Efficient Appliances

There are plenty of cost-saving options for the appliances throughout your home. Energy Star offers many appliances and equipment from kitchen appliances to water heaters that are popular energy-efficient home features.

3. Green Home Construction

Materials involved in home construction can be also be energy-efficient. Different types of insulation and energy-efficient windows, such as low-emissivity (low E), can be installed to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

2. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

A way to save money on your water bill is to replace your toilet, faucet, or shower head with a low-flow toilet and water-conserving features.

LED light bulb on a white surface1. LED Lightbulbs

A simple switch from incandescent lighbulbs to LED bulbs will not only brighten your home but save you money on your energy bill.

Using these bulbs can also help you as you’re selling your home, too; brighter rooms are more appealing to buyers who are scrolling through online listing photos and viewing homes.

Today’s Buyers are Searching for Your Home

Not all home buyers are searching for new construction homes in the area. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders found that less than 9% of Millennials and only 12% of older home buyers bought a new home.

Today’s home buyers may be searching for a home that is similar to yours, and if you have the energy-efficient home features they are looking for, they may value your home more.

But Before You Upgrade Your Home…

person using an iphoneAs the real estate experts in this area, we know what features home buyers are looking for. So before you completelyupgrade your home with these features or other home improvements, talk to us about whether you need to spend the time and money installing them.

All your home may need is expert marketing to attract buyers.

 

I’d be happy to talk with you about the best energy-efficient home features and what today’s buyers are searching for in Conway and Central Arkansas. Just give me a call.

Posted in Tips