Today's housing market is different than it was just a few months ago. And if you're thinking about selling your house, that may leave you wondering what you need to do differently as a result. The answer is simple. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately and create a solid plan can help bring in the greatest return on your investment.
Here are a few simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.
One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That's because the price sends a message to home shoppers. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer. On the flip side, pricing your house too low may make buyers worry there's some underlying issue or something wrong with the home.
Your goal in pricing your house is to gain the attention of prospective buyers and get them to make an offer. And with price growth and buyer demand moderating, as well as a greater supply of homes available for sale, pricing your home appropriately for where the market is today has become more important than ever before.
But how do you know that perfect number? Pricing your house isn't a guessing game. It takes skill and expertise. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to determine the current market value for your home.
It may sound simple but keeping your house clean is another key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As realtor.com says in the Home Selling Checklist:
When selling your home, it's important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour.
Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any clutter. Doing these simple things can reduce potential distractions for buyers.
For more tips, check out this checklist for preparing your house for sale. Ultimately an agent is your best resource for tailored advice, but this list can help get you started.
Finally, it's important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items, like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. It's also a good idea to remove any excess furniture to help the rooms feel bigger and make sure there's ample space for touring buyers to stand and look at the layout.
If you're unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run. As a recent article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.
Today's market is at a turning point, making it more essential than ever to work with a real estate professional. Not only will a trusted real estate advisor keep you updated and help you make the best decisions based on current market trends, but they're also experts in managing the many aspects of selling your house.
Here are five key reasons why working with a real estate professional makes sense today.
With higher mortgage rates and moderating buyer demand, conditions are changing and staying on top of the latest market information is crucial when you sell.
Working with an expert real estate advisor helps ensure you can stay updated on what's happening. They know your local area and follow national trends too. More importantly, they'll know what this data means for you, and as the market shifts, they'll be able to help you navigate it and make your best decision.
Your agent's role in bringing in buyers is important. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. Investopedia explains why it's risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:
You don't have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.
Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you'll need to juggle is growing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains it best, saying:
Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there's a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the fine print means, and how to work through it efficiently. They'll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.
If you sell without a professional, you'll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you'll have to coordinate with:
In today's changing market, buyers are regaining some negotiation power as bidding wars ease. Instead of going toe-to-toe with all the above parties alone, lean on an expert. They'll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone's concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.
If you sell your house on your own, you may be more likely to overshoot your asking price. That could mean your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high for where the market is now. Today, pricing a house requires even more expertise to ensure you get it right. NAR explains it like this:
A great real estate agent will look at your home with an unbiased eye, providing you with the information you need to enhance marketability and maximize price.
Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your home. These steps are key to making sure it's set to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.
If you're following today's housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let's take a look at each one.
This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.
While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve's decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:
. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .
While their actions don't directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:
As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.
Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):
The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.
Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:
As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.
Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:
Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .
While there's no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that's connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what's happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.
Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, let's connect.
The real estate market is on just about everyone's mind these days. That's because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.
Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:
U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.
She continued on to say:
Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.
The term LTV refers to loan to value ratio. For more context, here's how the Mortgage Reports defines it:
Your ‘loan to value ratio' (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.
You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you're borrowing 80% of the home's value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.
This is yet another reason we won't see the housing market crash. Home equity allows homeowners to be in control. For example, if someone did need to sell their home, they likely have the equity they need to be able to sell it and still put money in their pocket. This was not the case back in 2008, when many owed more on their homes than they were worth.
Homeowners today have more financial strength than they have had since 1983. This is a combination of how homeowners have handled equity since the crash and rising home prices of the last two years. And this is yet another reason homeownership in any market makes sense.
If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you've missed your chance to sell, here's what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn't disappeared, it's just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.
During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):
The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):
This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there's still demand if you sell your house today.
The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It's not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn't mean the opportunity to sell has passed.
While things have cooled a bit, it's still a sellers' market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market value, the demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.
It's clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it's also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.
If you're thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that's a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.
The good news is you can navigate today's housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.
If you've been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that's starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven't considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:
Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.
Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:
A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.
Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.
There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is downpaymentresource.com. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:
Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.
Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.
Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what's available in your area.
In a market that's shifting as fast as it is today, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be renovated before they sell their house. That's where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today's market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn't – do before selling your house.
Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through.
Since the supply of homes for sale has increased so much this year, today's buyers have more options than they had last year. That may mean you're not able to ignore some of those repairs or cosmetic updates you could have skipped in previous months. As a recent article from realtor.com says:
To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.
The key word here is selective. Since it's still a sellers' market, focusing on a few key areas may be enough to make your house stand out from other options. And since inventory is still low overall, it's also possible buyers may be willing to handle the renovations themselves once they move in. It all depends on buyer demand and the available inventory in your local area. For advice on what's happening in your market and what to do to make your house show well, lean on a professional.
In addition to making sure your house makes a good first impression, you'll also want to consider the return on your investment (ROI) for any renovations. According to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are the projects that could net you the best return when you sell your house (see visual below):
Again, your real estate advisor is your best resource. When your agent comes to your house for a walk-thru and consultation, they'll use their expertise to offer any insight into what you may need to repair, replace, or refinish. They also know what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades to help steer you in the right direction. As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR, explains:
This year, the winner was hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor refinishing and putting in new wood flooring had the most significant value, . . .
For any projects you've already completed or for those you plan to do before listing, make sure your real estate professional knows. They're not just an advisor to help you decide where to focus your efforts, they're also skilled at highlighting any upgrades in your listing. That way, potential buyers know about the features that may help sell them on the house.
No matter what, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.
In today's shifting market, it's important to spend your time and money wisely when you're getting ready to move. Let's connect to find out where to focus your efforts before you sell.
There's no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows. But that shift actually gives you some unique benefits when you sell. Here's a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.
One of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale. Housing inventory has been increasing since the start of the year, primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, that actually could benefit you.
If you're selling your house to make a move, it means you'll have more options for your own home search. That gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you've put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.
Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers' market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there would need to be a six months' supply of homes. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in July, there was only a 3.3 months' supply.
While you'll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. That's why the most recent data from NAR also shows the average home sold in July still saw multiple offers and sold in as little as 14 days.
The home price appreciation the market saw over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:
Home owners trying to decide if now is the time to list their home for sale are still in a good position in many markets across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion . . .
If you've been holding off on selling because you're worried about how rising prices will impact your next home search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.
Owning a home is a major financial milestone and an achievement to take pride in. One major reason: the equity you build as a homeowner gives your net worth a big boost. And with high inflation right now, the link between owning your home and building your wealth is especially important.
If you're looking to increase your financial security, here's why now could be a good time to start on your journey toward homeownership.
A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) details several homeownership trends, including a significant gap in net worth between homeowners and renters. It finds:
. . . the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000 while that of a renter's was $8,000 in 2021.
To put that into perspective, the average homeowner's net worth is roughly 40 times that of a renter's. This difference shows owning a home is a key step in achieving financial success.
The net worth gap between owners and renters exists in large part because homeowners build equity. When you own a home, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month. As a renter, you don't have that same opportunity. A recent article from CNET explains:
Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you’re building equity in your home . . . When you rent, you aren’t investing in your financial future the same way you are when you’re paying off a mortgage.
But on top of that, your home equity grows even more as your home appreciates in value over time. That has a major impact on the wealth you build, as a recent article from Bankrate notes:
Building home equity can help you increase your wealth over time, . . . A home is one of the only assets that have the potential to appreciate in value as you pay it down.
In other words, when you own your home, you have the advantage of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account that grows in value as your home does. And when you sell, any equity you've built up comes back to you. As a renter, you'll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.
Owning a home is an important part of building your net worth. If you're ready to start on your journey to homeownership, let's connect today.
One of the top stories in recent real estate headlines was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. With so many buyers looking to purchase a home and so few of them available for sale, fiercely competitive bidding wars became the norm during the pandemic – and it drove home prices up. If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced this firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way.
But here’s the news you’ve been waiting for: data shows clear signs bidding wars are easing this year.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined considerably over the past few months (see graph below):
The graph shows homes were seeing a high of around five offers earlier this year. But the latest data shows that average was down to just shy of three offers per recently sold home. This shift is happening largely because rising mortgage rates moderated buyer demand and slowed home sales, resulting in a growing supply of homes on the market. Essentially, more choices for buyers.
If you put your home search on pause because you were outbid last year or because you didn’t want to deal with the peak intensity of bidding wars, you can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. While it’s still a sellers’ market, an uptick in inventory gives you a window of opportunity to jump back in. You may still be competing with some buyers, but it likely won’t be anything like it was just a few short months ago.
If you put your plans on pause because of intense bidding wars in recent years, it may be time to kick off your home search. Today, bidding wars are easing and that may mean less competition for you as a buyer. If you’re serious about buying a home or making a move, let’s connect to get started today.