In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.
There is no “later.”
Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.
John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered their price. His article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price, published in Real Estate Economics revealed:
“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”
Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.
Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.
Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.
Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!
One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.
A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.
Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?
The Price is Right
Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Let's get together to discuss what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home.
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.
As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.
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.”
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.
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 Report, Freddie 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
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.
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:
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.