It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces, but we can have deep sentimental attachments to the homes we’re leaving behind, too. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale, depending on how we manage them.
When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes. Being mindful of these things and prepared for the process can help you avoid some of the most common mishaps when selling your house.
1. Overpricing Your Home
When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask for when we price our homes. Believe it or not, that’s far from the truth. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraisal to determine the fair value for your home. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be mindful that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you to set the true value of your home.
2. Letting Your Emotions Interfere with the Sale
Today, most homeowners have been living in their houses for an average of 10 years (as shown in the graph below):
This is several years longer than what used to be the norm, since many homeowners have been recouping from negative equity situations over the past 10 years. The side effect, however, is when you live for so long in one place, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought after you got married or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.
For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate, separating the emotional value of the home from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations in the process.
3. Not Staging Your Home
We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own personalized homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your home with the buyer in mind. Buyers want to envision themselves in the space, so it truly feels like their own. They need to see themselves in the space with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter your home so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through your house. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.
Today’s seller’s market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, sit down with a local real estate professional to help you navigate through the process while avoiding common seller mistakes.
This coming year the housing market will be defined by 3 things- inventory, interest rates, and appreciation. But the biggest issue the housing market will face in 2020 is an inventory shortage. There aren’t enough homes on the market for buyers, especially on the lower end of the market. This is a topic that has come up frequently within the past several months.
Based on what is forecasted, we know that interest rates are projected to remain low and that appreciation is expected to continue as we move into 2020. Additionally, the upcoming election will provoke many unique perspectives on the health of the US housing market. The challenge will be understanding what is actually happening and how you can best position yourself if you are thinking of buying or selling your home.
Here are several perspectives to consider on the inventory issue facing housing next year:
According to realtor.com:
“Despite increases in new construction, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage that has plagued the housing market since 2015. Inventory could reach a historic low as a steady flow of demand, especially for entry level homes, and declining seller sentiment combine to keep a lid on sales transactions.”
Diana Olick at CNBC:
“Inventory has been falling annually for five straight months, after it recovered slightly toward the end of last year, due to a spike in mortgage rates. Rates began falling again by spring of this year. Homebuilders have been increasing production slowly, but it’s not enough to meet the increasingly strong demand.”
George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com
“As millennials — the largest cohort of buyers in U.S. history — embrace homeownership and take advantage of this year’s unexpectedly low mortgage rates, demand is outstripping supply, causing inventory to vanish. The housing shortage is felt acutely at the entry-level of the market, where most millennials are looking to break into the market for their first home.”
The most important thing you can do is understand what is happening in your local market by connecting with a real estate professional. You may not be able to avoid some of the issues brought on by low inventory, but you can be educated and prepared.
Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today’s low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here’s a look at three of them:
- Refinance: If you already own a home, you may want to decide if you’re going to refinance. It’s one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save substantially over time, but it also means paying upfront closing costs too. You have to answer the question: Should I refinance my home?
- Move-up or Downsize: Another option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you’ve likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that’s truly a perfect fit for your family.
- Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you’re considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying
Why 2019 Was a Great Year for Homeownership
Last year at this time, mortgage rates were 4.63% (substantially higher than they are today). If you’re one who waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today’s low mortgage rates combined with increasing wages are making homes much more affordable than they were just one year ago, so it’s a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.
The chart below shows how much you would save based on today’s rates, compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a house exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance.
If you’ve been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership, or to find a house that better meets your needs, today’s low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss how you can benefit from the current rates.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of VA Home Loan Benefit offerings through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill.
Facts About VA Home Loans:
- Nearly 24 million home loans have been guaranteed by the Veterans Administration.
- Nearly 82% of VA home loans are made with no down payment.
- The VA also provides grants to help seriously disabled Veterans purchase, modify, or construct a home to meet their needs. Last year the VA provided 2,000 grants totaling $104 million.
Benefits of a VA Home Loan:
- No down payment
- No Private Mortgage Insurance
- Lower credit score requirements
- Limitation on closing costs
- Lower average interest rates
Since 1944, this program has created opportunities for those who have served our country, ranging from vocational training to home loans.
Millennials have waited longer than any other generation to become homeowners, but the wait for this cohort is just about over.
According to National Mortgage News,
“Millennials, those young adults now aged 23 to 38, are now entering their peak household formation and homebuying years.”
If you’re a Millennial, you’re already well aware that you’re among a generation of those who favor fast-paced, real-time answers – and results. When you’re ready to make a decision, it’s go-time, and you probably want the latest technology at your fingertips to make it happen.
National Mortgage News agrees, stating,
“Millennials are different than previous generations—not only in their delayed homebuying but also in how they approach interactions with financial institutions, including mortgage lenders. Taking a picture of a check on their phone and depositing it without visiting a branch is not novel, it’s the way Millennials learned to do banking. They expect real-time access to account and transaction data and are frustrated when it’s not available.”
Here’s the catch – the overall speed of the homebuying process can take some time, and it might feel like it is slowing you down. When you’re ready to buy, you can make an offer and go under contract quickly, but the rest of the process might take a little longer. The same article explains why:
“When Millennials apply for a loan, the mortgage lender must qualify the borrower and determine who owns the property, how much the property is worth, and the property’s risk profile. Traditionally, this has been one of the most time-consuming and fragmented parts of the mortgage process…There are many moving pieces, each data point being sourced from a different provider, which can ultimately lead to a lengthy or delayed process.
What has historically been accepted as the process norm does not align with the expectations of the most prominent generation in the home buying market today. Millennials have come to expect rapid, digital workflows in their daily purchase decisions, and in their mind, the home buying process shouldn’t be any different.”
So, where do you go from here?
If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, that will help speed things up. But the steps it takes and the time to finalize a loan with most traditional lenders may feel like an eternity to you and your generational peers. Don’t worry, though – it’s well worth the wait when you finally get the keys to your new castle!
The financial benefits of homeownership, like increasing your net worth by building equity, and the non-financialbenefits, like being able to customize and improve your space, will ultimately set you on the course to happiness, success, overall satisfaction, and much, much more.
If you’re feeling like it’s go-time, let’s get together and get the process moving to determine if homeownership is your next best step.
Buyers are out in full force this fall, increasing the demand for homebuying in all four regions of the country.
According to the latest ShowingTime Showing Index,
“Home showing activity was up again nationwide with a 4.6 percent rise in traffic, as the traditionally slow fall season began with a marked boost in buyer interest.”
Buyers clearly have the right idea, as mortgage rates have dropped over a full percentage point since the fall of 2018. They’ve hovered in a historically low range since this summer, making the overall cost of homeownership significantly more attractive and affordable.
Here’s the breakdown of how ShowingTime reports current buyer traffic patterns across the country:
“The West Region, which until August had experienced 18 consecutive months of flagging home buyer traffic, lead the four regions in year-over-year improvement with an 8.9 percent increase in buyer activity.
The South followed with a 6.4 percent increase, the largest such improvement in the region since April 2018, with the Northeast Region’s 5.6 percent increase the next largest among the four regions.
The Midwest’s more modest 0.8 percent year-over-year growth rounded out the nation’s promising month.”
With ShowingTime reporting “nationwide growth for the second consecutive month, a first since December 2017 – January 2018”, it’s one more reason why selling your house this winter is the way to go. List while buyers are on the market before the competition with other sellers pops up in your neighborhood.
If you’re thinking of waiting until spring to sell, think again! Let’s get together to discuss listing your house now while buyer traffic is actively surging throughout the country.