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If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time

If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time | Simplifying The Market

If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time

If you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, in a recent article revealed that:

“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers. We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster. So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

Over Half of Americans Planning on Buying in the Next 5 Years

Over Half of Americans Planning on Buying in the Next 5 Years | Simplifying The Market

Over Half of Americans Planning on Buying in the Next 5 Years

According to the BMO Harris Bank Home Buying Report, 52% of Americans say they are likely to buy a home in the next five years. Americans surveyed for the report said that they would be willing to pay an average of $296,000 for a home and would average a 21% down payment. The report also included other interesting revelations.

Those Looking to Buy

  • 74% of those looking to buy a new home will consult with a real estate agent
  • 59% said they will visit online real estate websites
  • 37% will seek recommendations from friends and family
  • 78% plan to get pre-approved before seriously searching for a home

 Those Who Already Own

  • 75% of current homeowners set a budget before looking for a home, and 16% ended up spending less while 13% went over their budget.
  • 63% of American homeowners spent under six months looking for a new home before they made a purchase.
  • 8% bought their home without participating in an active real estate search - or even any plan to buy at all - because a specific property caught their attention.

The last point is very interesting: Of those who purchased a home, 8% bought “without any plan to buy at all”. A property caught their attention and they acted on it.

Why Are More People Not Planning Their Next Move?

Why are people that are considering a move not putting their home search to a plan, and instead, buying only when a property catches their attention? An article by Fannie Mae reveals evidence that a large number of homeowners are dramatically underestimating the equity they have in their current home. The report explains that:

“Homeowners may be underestimating their home equity. In particular, if homeowners believe that large down payments are now required to purchase a home, then widespread, large underestimates of their home equity could be deterring them from applying for mortgages, selling their homes, and buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

Let's meet up to determine the actual equity you have in your house and to take a look at the opportunities that currently exist in the real estate market. This may be the perfect time to move-up, move-down or buy that vacation home your family has always wanted.

Real Estate: 2016 Will Be the Best Year in a Decade

Real Estate: 2016 Will Be the Best Year in a Decade | Simplifying The Market

Real Estate: 2016 Will Be the Best Year in a Decade

A few weeks ago, Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist at realtor.com, exclaimed“All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006.”

Now, Freddie Mac has doubled down on that claim and is saying that 2016 will be the best year that the real estate industry has seen in a decade. In their March Housing Outlook ReportFreddie Macexplained:

“Despite the challenges facing the housing market, we expect this to be the best year for housing in a decade. Home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest level since 2006 according to our latest forecast…Challenges remain, with low housing supply and declining affordability being a key concern in many markets, but on balance, the housing markets in the U.S. are poised for the best year since 2006.”

The key indicators that have given Freddie Mac such a positive outlook are:

  • Low interest rates
  • A resilient labor market
  • An increase in household formations
  • A projected increase in newly constructed homes

Bottom Line

2016 looks to be shaping up as a great year for residential real estate. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, we should meet up to discuss the new opportunities that are arising in your market.

 

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage

There are some renters that have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.

Don’t Wait! Move Up To Your Dream Home Now!

Don’t Wait! Move Up To Your Dream Home Now! | Simplifying The Market

Don’t Wait! Move Up To Your Dream Home Now!

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of. Prices are still below those of a few years ago and interest rates have stayed near historic lows.

Sellers should realize that waiting to make the move when mortgage rates are projected to increase probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs. 

Here is a chart detailing this point:

Don’t Wait! Move Up To Your Dream Home Now! | Simplifying The Market

According to Freddie Mac, the current 30-year fixed rate is currently around 3.75%. With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, by $10,000).

Freddie Mac predicts that mortgage rates will be closer to 4.7% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.

Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months

Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months | Simplifying The Market

Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced that the February Pending Home Sales Indexreached its highest reading since July 2015.

What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR’s PHSI is “a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings”. The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales. February’s Index rose 3.5% month-over-month to 109.1.

What does this mean for the market?

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist explained:

"After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory."

"Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what's being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau."

So What Does This Mean For Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home.

What Does This Mean For Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… don't wait!

There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers.

Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price.

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner | Simplifying The Market

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner

In today's market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising, some homeowners might 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 of those 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 89% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 20% 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?

  • 44% on the internet
  • 33% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 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 8% over the last 20+ years.

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

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 $210,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $249,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $39,000 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.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let's meet up so we can discuss the difference having an agent can make.

 

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

Two weeks ago, we posted a blog which explained that current increases in home prices were the result of the well-known concept of supply & demand and should not lead to conversations of a new housing bubble. Today, we want to look at home prices as compared to current incomes.

Here is a graph showing the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home in the U.S. over the last 25 years:

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage payments are currently well below the historic average over that time period. Purchasers are not overextending themselves to buy a home like they did on the run-up to the housing crash.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently explained in a Forbes article:

“Even though home prices are climbing far above people’s income, exceptionally low mortgage rates have permitted people to buy a home without overstretching their budget. For someone making a 20% down payment, the monthly mortgage payment at today’s mortgage rates would take up 15% of a person’s gross income. During the bubble years, it was reaching 25% of income. The long-term historical average is around 20%. Therefore, a middle-income household does not need to overstretch their budget much if at all to buy a typical home.”

Bottom Line

Due to low interest rates, demand for housing has dramatically increased. This has caused a jump in home prices. However, low interest rates have also allowed the monthly cost of buying a home to remain well below historic norms. We are in a strong housing market, not a housing bubble.

 

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Simplifying The Market

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.4-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month inventory necessary for a normal market.

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Simplifying The Market

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand in February significantly outpaced the last six months.

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Simplifying The Market

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report tells us that 72.6% actually do!

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, let's meet up to evaluate the equity you have in your home, as well as the opportunities available in your market.

 

The Importance of Using an Agent To Sell Your House

The Importance of Using an Agent To Sell Your House | Simplifying The Market

The Importance of Using an Agent To Sell Your House

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

 

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online, but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%), or to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, let's meet up to discuss the process!

 

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