From the Desk of Josh Barker
Sales in the month of January proved to be extremely strong. First, More than 250 properties went under contract in January compared to 187 in January of last year. Second, foot traffic indicators revealed that pending homes sales over the next 3 months will likely exceed last year’s pending home sales. Finally, with the extremely low interest rate environment, the cost of home ownership is extremely favorable. I am excited to see such favorable market conditions and expect that the first quarter of this year may be the best first quarter in years.
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Many sellers in Shasta County feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.
Here are five reasons to sell now.
1. Demand is Strong
Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are currently more prospective purchasers looking at homes than at any other time in the last 12 months, which includes last spring’s buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
2. There Is Less Competition Now
Housing supply just dropped to 4.4 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.
There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.
Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).
The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up
If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 23.5% from now to 2019. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to be a full point higher by the end of 2015.
5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
5 Things to consider before selling your home For Sale By Owner
Some homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are five reasons:
1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:
•The buyer who wants the best deal possible
•The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
•The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
•The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
•The appraiser if there is a question of value
2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers
Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
3. Results Come from the Internet
Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?
•43% on the internet
•9% from a yard sign
•1% from newspaper
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.