I think people are curious about real estate, but I think their curiosity is fueled by the fact that the current national average of equity in mortgaged homes is $216,000, nearly 40% of all homes nationally are owned free and clear, and people are recognizing that they may finally have the leverage to sell, after many years of being upside-down or unable to break even. Some of the most interesting things I overhear are things that I really wish I could clarify or correct for people, to make sure they have a full understanding of the market, so I thought I would summarize a few of them here and hope that you will spread your knowledge to others who may not know or interact with us.
- It is NOT impossible to find a home to buy. There ARE great homes out there (albeit in small spurts and for very short periods of time!) but the quality of homes that do go up for sale is still solid.
- You do NOT have to have all cash to win a bidding war in this market. That being said, there is some creativity required to secure great homes, and it does take a lot of market knowledge and negotiating expertise to overcome less-than-ideal terms, but do not be deterred if you don’t have cash.
- You MIGHT be willing to consider a transition period between homes. I hear people say, “I don’t want to sell now because I would have nowhere to buy, and I don’t want to move twice.” As much as I understand the desire to avoid a period between homes, I would always implore people to really look at that “non-negotiable’ and decide if it’s real. If you could sell your home for $25,000 more, or $50,000 more than expected right now, would you REALLY not consider staying with a family member short term, or storing your large belongings for a few months and staying in an AirBNB or a short-term rental? If this is the one objection that is holding you back, I would invite you to talk to us to help understand the potential risks vs the potential reward, as well as options we have been able to come up with for people who might be in a season of life that would make this an option.
- It does NOT have to be hard to sell a house and buy a new one concurrently. Roughly 50% of our sales this year as a company were for clients selling and then immediately buying their next home (sometimes all in the same afternoon), without resulting in being homeless, stuck in transition, or scrambling in between houses. Most of the transitions are 100% smooth and the buyer moves from their home they are selling directly into the one they are buying and the timeline is seamless. Does this take advance planning and market preparation ahead of time and a completely flawless roll-out of the home you are listing? Yes. Is it totally do-able? Yes.
- It is NOT a smart time to be searching for homes on your own and thinking you will “call an agent once you see a house you like”. If you haven’t heard, our local MLS has a “Coming Soon” section. This is a section where homes are marketed as final preparations are being done, such as landscaping, paint touch-ups, power washing, etc. Homes in this section are visible to agents and to people who are set up in direct searches with agents, but they do not populate to Zillow or Realtor.com until they move into ACTIVE status and showings begin. If you are only finding out about homes once they are in active status, you may be missing extremely important days when other competing buyers are learning about the home, getting their ducks in a row to list their own home for sale, lining up their finances, getting their showing scheduled, and preparing the strongest offer possible before you even know the home is available. Sometimes this lead-time that people have will place them in a better position to write a cleaner offer, and this could easily become the deciding factor if you are competing for a home. If you are just casually browsing the market and are finding you aren’t seeing much of anything you like, this could also be why- you may be missing out on homes completely, since many of them may ratify the morning they hit “active status.”
- It is NOT too late to re-finance. If you haven’t refinanced in the last 5 or so years, even as rates creep up slightly, it still may be a VERY sounds financial decision to refinance your home. Again, please don’t hesitate to call and ask us about this, as we can refer you to someone great and can also talk to you about whether it is worthwhile in light of the closing costs you may pay or your upcoming real estate plans.
- It is NOT necessary to make a lot of the repairs or renovations to the home that you may have thought needed to be completed before you list it for sale. It might be smarter to sell right now than to do some of these “projects” around the house, as some of them may not truly improve the value you can get for your home and can result in loss of valuable time during a hot market.
- You do NOT have to do it all yourself. I hear lots of people sharing major fear over packing up, organizing, selling off belongings, removing clutter, disposing of junk, and handling repairs and paint and prep work to list their home. Again, I ask those people to consider if an extra $25,000 or $50,000 in value might make it worthwhile to call an organization company, an estate sale company, a professional painter, or a handyman to help knock these items out in order to get your home as marketable as possible as quickly as possible to take advantage of this strong sellers market. Our team is happy to coordinate all of these companies for you, along with cleaning, landscaping, repairs, inspections, etc so that you can focus on your next stage of life.
I hope that you all will share these little tidbits with people who might not fully understand what is happening in our market, and we would absolutely welcome a call to talk to anyone about any of these concerns and the pro’s and con’s that might be at play for their home and their future plans. This market is an extremely lucrative one for many sellers, and according to the consumer price appreciation index, should also still be a very solid investment time for many buyers. I hope that we continue to have the opportunity to spread the above information to those who are curious, so that people can be making well-informed decisions for themselves and their families.