A Great Reason to Sell Now

5.8 BlogThe price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’. If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale is still below the normal 6 month level of inventory. That means less competition.

However, a recent study revealed that 71% of current homeowners are considering selling their home this year. Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for this increased competition to come to the market might make a lot of sense.

Buyers currently in the market are motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory available in most markets, a seller will be in a great position to negotiate their best possible price.

Difference Between a ‘White Lie’ and Lying

1.22 VisualGrowing up it seemed ‘white lies’ were okay while lying was a sin. As children, we sometimes had difficulty understanding where the line was. As we matured, we realized there most definitely was a difference.

If a husband or wife asks if it is okay to invite their parents over for dinner, the spouse would probably say ‘sure’ even if it wasn’t 100% the truth. That was a ‘white lie’. If a young boy dresses up as a monster on Halloween and asks his father if he looks ‘really scary’, it was okay for his dad to say ‘YES’! That was a ‘white lie’.

In both cases, the person telling the ‘white lie’ was saying what the other person wanted to hear. In both cases, there was no harm in not telling the 100% truth. In both cases, it was a ‘white lie’. However, if we are not telling the 100% truth in order to save someone’s feelings AND IT HURTS THEM, we are lying.

What does this have to do with real estate?

We believe there are some in the real estate industry more worried about a homeowner’s feelings than they are about telling the truth about the current value of their home. These agents are not necessarily malicious. They just realize they may disappoint a seller at a listing appointment by telling the truth about what the house will sell for. They find it difficult to deliver tough news. To make sellers feel better, they lie.

Good agents can deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news.

In today’s real estate market, you need an agent that will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. You need an agent more worried about your family than they are about your feelings. You need an agent who can get the house sold!

What this means to you

If you are interviewing potential listing agents, demand they tell you the truth. Don’t hire the agent that tells you what you want to hear. Hire the agent that tells you what you need to know. Reward their honesty.

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Spring

4.8 VisualMany sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. 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 approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. 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 at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

Rethinking the 55+ Market

We are excited to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today. Nikki is considered a leading authority on seniors real estate and housing.

Mature Couple at ParkSomeone said to me recently, “Sixty-five is the new forty-five.” We chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself in full agreement.

With more and more people working beyond traditional retirement age and the advances in modern medicine, the lines between middle and late adulthood are becoming a bit blurred.

What makes this relevant in the world of real estate?

As our population ages, we will see more and more organizations dedicating their marketing efforts toward the “senior” demographic. You have read previous KCM blogs about the various designations agents can earn for this specific purpose, and undoubtedly you have already seen real estate professionals in your market professing to “specialize”.

Reality check — not all seniors are the same.

Just as with using any label, we run the risk of putting people into a category when they may or may not actually belong there. This is especially true of the senior segment.

Despite the label of “senior,” there are 3 distinct types of moves you may encounter as a real estate professional — all three involve seniors, but they aren’t based necessarily on age. You see, age is not a good predictor of relocation. Instead, people generally make changes in residence based on life circumstances.

Listed below are the three primary types of moves made by those labeled as seniors:

Move #1: Amenity-based

These individuals and/or couples are seeking a certain type of lifestyle and their home is only one component of a much larger picture. When looking to sell, they are usually transferring their equity from one home to the next and can usually either pay cash or put a significant down payment towards their purchase. Depending upon employment status, they may be moving across the country for more appealing climates or seeking a place near an airport making it easier to commute. Some are moving closer to kids and grandkids, while others are moving to destination locations where the family can enjoy visiting.

Social engagement, including quality family and friend connectedness, are key decision-making elements.

Move #2: Anticipatory / Planning

As people age, they may begin to experience changes in personal health status or become the caregiver of a spouse requiring additional care. When this occurs, people may find their current home unmanageable or no longer suited for their current situation. Moving means simplifying and making preparations for future care needs and support. With this type of move, seniors are typically looking to either buy or lease a property with minimal maintenance, accessibility features, and in close proximity to quality healthcare. Family members and adult children may be called upon at this stage to assist, and will often have some influence in the relocation process.

Access to formal and informal support, as well as low maintenance and accessibility features, are primary decision-making factors.

Move #3: Needs-based

While most people intend to live independently until they die, unfortunately, this reality isn’t always possible. As health declines to the point where more support is needed than can be provided for within the person’s home and community, relocation is necessary. This move may involve selling the personal residence and relocating to a senior living community or into the home of a family member. In many cases, needs-based moves involve caregivers and/or family members as additional decision makers. Late-life moves involving frail elderly or those experiencing illnesses or disease processes can be highly emotionally charged and necessitate a level of empathy in addition to real estate competency.

Timing, health status, and caregiver support are keys to decision-making.

As you can see from these various different types of moves, not all seniors share the same housing needs and goals. And while specializing in the 55+ housing market appeals to many, there are actually many sub-niche opportunities within the senior segment worth exploring.

Regardless of whether you choose to make working with mature home buyers and sellers a part of your overall business plan, with at least 1 in 4 home sellers over the age of 65, there is little doubt you will work with older adults in the course of your general real estate practice. When encountering these opportunities, it will serve you well to consider the three types of moves listed here and evaluate your value proposition accordingly, so that you can be the very best agent possible for your mature clients.

FreddieMac: Housing is Stronger Today

4.29 VisualIn a recent blog post, FreddieMac explained that “housing is stronger today than at any point since the Great Recession began and hit bottom in 2009”. They then gave three reasons which support their position:

  1. Home sales are up 13% since their low point.
  2. Housing starts are up 50% since they bottomed out.
  3. House Prices are up 16% since their trough.

Projections Going Forward

FreddieMac also believes that the market will continue to improve through 2014. They projected:

  1. Home sales to increase about 3% in 2014 as the purchase market continues to evolve
  2. Almost 20% growth for housing starts in 2014, which will begin to help ease tight inventories in many markets
  3. Home value increases will continue their positive momentum in 2014

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, further explained what the housing market may look like in the agency’s April 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook:

“Tight inventory may pose a significant challenge for home buyers in many markets across the country, which may result in higher home prices and sales being lower than expected. This is good news for those markets that have room to run on the house price appreciation front, but it’s also going to increase the affordability pinch in many markets, especially along the country’s east and west coasts. Two indicators that are supporting local housing activity are rising consumer confidence and declining unemployment rates.”

Bottom Line

The real estate market is improving every day. The biggest challenge is a lack of inventory in many markets. If you are thinking about selling, now may be the time to make the move.

12,575 Houses Sold Yesterday!

houses-with-cart1If you read certain headlines, you might be led to believe that the housing recovery has come to a screeching halt. Naysayers are claiming that rising mortgage rates and a lack of consumer confidence are keeping Americans on the fence when it comes to purchasing real estate. That is actually far from reality.

After all 12,575 houses sold yesterday, 12,575 will sell today and 12,575 will sell tomorrow. 12,575!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. According to the report, annualized sales now stand at 4.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 12,500 homes sell every day.

If you are considering whether or not to put your house up for sale, don’t let the headlines scare you. There are purchasers in the market and they are buying – to the tune of 12,575 homes a day.

Want to Sell Your House? Price it Right!

4.14 BlogThe housing market is recovering nicely. Prices have increased nationally by double digits over the last twelve months. Competition from the shadow inventory of lower priced distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) is diminishing rapidly. Now may be the perfect time to sell your home and move to the dream house or beautiful location your family has always talked about.

The one suggestion we would definitely offer: DON’T OVERPRICE IT!!

Even though prices have increased by more than 10% over the last year, the acceleration of appreciation has slowed dramatically over the last few months. As an example, in their April Home Price Index Report, CoreLogic revealed that home prices actually depreciated by .08% this month as compared to last month’s report. What concerns us is that Trulia just reported that asking prices are still continuing to increase.

Because investor purchases are declining and there are more listings coming onto the market, we believe that sellers should be very cautious when they price their house. The alternative might be that you could lose money by overpricing your home at the start as explained in a research study on the matter.

Bottom Line

Though it is a great time to sell your house, pricing it right is crucial. Get guidance from a real estate professional in your marketplace to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Vacation Home Property Sales Surge

The American desire to own a second home as a vacation home is alive and well!

The National Association of Realtors analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are approximately 8 million vacation homes in the U.S. Their 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey shows vacation home sales improved substantially in 2013.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said favorable conditions are driving second-home sales:

“Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” he said. “However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006.”

Here are the key findings from the report:

Raw Numbers

  • Vacation-Home sales rose 29.7 percent to 717,000 from 553,000 in 2012
  • Sales accounted for 13% of all transactions last year, up from 11% in 2012
  • The median price was $168,700, compared with $150,000 in 2012, reflecting a greater number of more expensive recreational property sales in 2013
  • 42% of vacation homes purchased in 2013 were distressed homes (in foreclosure or short sale)

Buyer Profile

  • The typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old
  • The median household income was $85,600
  • Buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 6 years
  • 33% said they were likely to purchase another vacation home within two years
  • 82% of all second-home buyers said it was a good time to buy (compared with 67% of primary residence buyers)

Reasons for Purchasing

Lifestyle factors remain the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers:

  • 87% want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat
  • 31% plan to use it as a primary residence in the future
  • 28% wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity
  • 23% plan to rent to others

Location

  • 41% of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South
  • 28% in the West
  • 18% in the Northeast
  • 14% in the Midwest

The vacation homebuyer purchased a property that was a median distance of 180 miles from their primary residence (down from 435 in 2012)

  • 46% were within 100 miles
  • 34% were more than 500 miles

Financing

  • 38% of vacation-home buyers paid cash in 2013
  • The median down payment was 30%, up from 27% in 2012