While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages. And this year, the market shows no signs of slowing down, in terms of buyer demand. With high demand and low inventory, sellers have a unique advantage. Want to know more? Read last months blog post: 7 Reasons To List Your Home This Holiday Season.
For those of you that have your home listed for sale or are ready to do so, check out these tips for selling this holiday season:
Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard.
One thing that happens to all homeowners is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. This is especially true of holiday decorations. As you begin decorating, channel your inner stager or designer. This year, for the sake of appealing to the buyers touring your home, use your best decorations as holiday accents without drawing attention away from your home’s best selling features. Your home may have large windows with a great view or an expansive kitchen fit for a chef. Whatever sold you on your home when you first bought it is most likely the same feature(s) that will sell your home during the holidays. Don’t cover up your view with an excessively large Christmas tree and avoid filling your living room in snow globes, nutcrackers, and a large nativity scene. You want to accentuate your home with holiday décor, not bury it.
Holiday décor can help prospective homebuyers imagine your house as their future home. If you have a fireplace, decorate it with garland and hang stockings from the mantle. Use candles and essential oil diffusers with iconic scents of the season, such as pumpkin spice or balsam and cedar. You especially want to keep your home clutter-free and need to clean it regularly. Belongings can easily begin to pile up during the holidays, so make sure you stay on top of it. Create an environment that makes prospective homebuyers feel comfortable and warm the moment they walk through your front door. You want them to feel at home.
Outside temperatures are well below freezing during the holiday season in most of the United States. Driveways and walking paths are blanketed in snow and ice, and icicles hang from gutters like glass curtains. A legitimate concern for home sellers in one of these colder climates is how to keep your property safe for homebuyers. The only thing you can really do is be proactive and break out that snow shovel and start clearing a path.
If you’re expecting snow on an almost weekly basis, then it might be best to hire out professionals to come by once a day and make sure your driveway, front steps, and any walking paths are cleared for people touring your home.
Make sure your home is priced right.
No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced right for the market will make buyers feel merry. Work closely with your agent, to be sure that your home is priced competitively & appropriately for your neighborhood and local market.
Make curb appeal a top priority.
Your neighborhood may actually look more appealing to homebuyers during the holiday season. You don’t want to go overboard with your exterior holiday decorations, but you want to make your house shine along with the other homes on your block. During these winter days, your lawn may not be that lush green it usually is during the summertime and your trees may currently be barren. That’s why making your curb appeal a top priority is necessary when selling your home in winter. Make sure to pick up all the sticks, dead leaves, and any other debris and that your lawn is neatly trimmed. Even during the colder months, a few weeds that poke up from the ground can make your lawn seem neglected. If you have pictures of your home at alternative times of the year when your curb appeal is burgeoning with flora, these may also be a good idea to have available for homebuyers during home tours. This way, instead of homebuyers trying to picture your house in other seasons, they can just see it for themselves.
Take top-notch real estate photos.
When the weather outside is frightful, homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo of your home available so buyers can see how it looks year-round.
Create a video tour.
You’ll get less foot traffic during the holidays thanks to inclement weather and vacation plans. But shooting a video tour and posting it on the Web may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or would rather not drive in a snowstorm. I personally offer walk-thru videos for my clients & for certain listings, professional drone videos or 3-D Virtual Tours are offered as well.
Give house hunters a place to escape from the cold.
Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
Relax — the new year is just around the corner.
The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few days away.
Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to sell their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why selling your house now, or keeping it on the market this season, is the best choice you can make. This year, buyers want to purchase homes for the holidays, and your house might be the perfect match.
1. Buyers are active now. Mortgage rates are historically low, providing motivation for those who are ready to get more for their money over the life of their home loan.
2. Purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are serious ones, and they’re ready to buy.
4. Homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers.
5. Today, there’s minimal competition for you as a seller. There just aren’t enough houses on the market to satisfy buyer demand, meaning sellers are in the driver’s seat. Over the past year, inventory has declined to record lows, making it the opportune time to sell your house (See graph below):
6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who have been searching throughout the fall and have been running into more and more bidding wars are still on the lookout. Your home may be the answer.
7. This season is the sweet spot for sellers, and the number of listings will increase after the holidays.
More than ever, this may be the year it makes the most sense to list your house during the holiday season. Let’s connect today to determine if selling now is your best move.
Equity continues to rise, helping American homeowners secure a much more stable financial future. According to the most recent data from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $9,800 in equity over the past year. In addition, experts project 2020 home prices to continue rising. With prices going up, equity gains will also keep accelerating. Black Knight just reported:
“The annual percent change in the overall median existing single-family-home price has skyrocketed in the past several months, with recent numbers at three to five times higher than rates seen in the past several years.”
Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow, just qualified recent price increases as “jaw-dropping” and “within a hair’s breadth of double-digit year-over-year appreciation.”
Knowing equity will help enable many homeowners to better survive the economic distress caused by the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to break down two key homeowner benefits of increasing equity.
Aside from the financial damage of the last seven months, there has also been a tremendous emotional toll on many people. Shelter-in-place mandates, quarantine requirements, and virtual schooling have all made us re-evaluate the must-have requirements a home should deliver. Having equity in your current house gives you a better opportunity to move-up or build your perfect home from scratch.
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, recently explained:
“As homeowners gain equity in their homes, they are more likely to consider using that equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home – the wealth effect of rising equity.”
If you need to make a move, the equity in your current home can help make that possible – right now.
An increase in home equity grows overall wealth, which can transfer to future generations. The Federal Reserve, in an addendum to their recent Survey of Consumer Finances, explains:
“There are numerous ways families can transmit wealth and resources across generations. Families can directly transfer their wealth to the next generation in the form of a bequest. They can also provide the next generation with inter vivos transfers (gifts), for example, providing down payment support to enable a home purchase or a substantial wedding gift.”
The Federal Reserve also explains another way wealth (including the additional net worth generated by an increase in home equity) can benefit future generations:
“In addition to direct transfers or gifts, families can make investments in their children that indirectly increase their wealth. For example, families can invest in their children’s educational success by paying for college or private schools, which can in turn increase their children’s ability to accumulate wealth.”
Equity can help a homeowner grow their confidence in a more stable financial future. It provides near-term move-up options and creates a positive impact for future generations. In many cases, the largest single investment a person has is their home. As that investment appreciates in value, financial options increase too.
If you would like to know more about your homes equity and how you could put that to work for you. Please fill out the form below & I will be in touch as soon as possible!
In today’s housing market, it can be a big challenge for buyers to find homes to purchase, as the number of houses for sale is far below the current demand. Now, however, we’re seeing sellers slowly starting to come back into the market, a bright spark for potential buyers. Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.com, explains:
“Seller confidence has been improving gradually after reaching its bottom in mid-April, and now it appears to have reached an important recovery milestone…After five long months, sellers are back in the housing market; while encouraging, the improvement to new listings is only the first step in the long road to solving low inventory issues keeping many buyers at bay.”
Even with the number of homes coming into the market, the available inventory is well below where it needs to be to satisfy buyer interest. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:
“Total housing inventory at the end of June totaled 1.57 million units, up 1.3% from May, but still down 18.2% from one year ago (1.92 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 4.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from both 4.8 months in May and from the 4.3-month figure recorded in June 2019.”
Houses today are selling faster than they’re coming to market. That’s why we only have inventory for 4 months at the current sales pace when in reality we need inventory for 6 months to keep up. But, as mentioned above, sellers are starting to return to the game. Realtor.com explains:
“The ‘housing supply’ component – which tracks growth of new listings – reached 101.7, up 4.9 points over the prior week, finally reaching the January growth baseline. The big milestone in new listings growth comes as seller sentiment continues to build momentum…After constant gradual improvements since mid-April, seller confidence appears to be reaching an important milestone. The temporary boost in new listings comes as the summer season replaces the typical spring homebuying season. More homes are entering the market than typical for this time of the year.”
A good time to enter the housing market is when the competition in your area is low, meaning there are fewer sellers than interested buyers. You don’t want to wait for all of the other homeowners to list their houses before you do, providing more options for buyers to choose from. With sellers starting to get back into the market after five months of waiting, if you want to sell your house for the best possible price, now is a great time to do so.
It can be challenging to find a home in today’s low-inventory environment. If more sellers are starting to put their houses up for sale, there will be more homes for you to choose from, providing a better opportunity to find the home of your dreams while taking advantage of the affordability that comes with historically low mortgage rates.
While we still have a long way to go to catch up with the current demand, inventory is slowly starting to return to the market. If you’re thinking of moving this year, connect with a local real estate professional today to better understand what’s happening in your local market. You’ll want to be ready to make your move when the home of your dreams comes up for sale.
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With a worldwide health crisis that drove a pause in the economy this year, the housing market was greatly impacted. Many have been eagerly awaiting some bright signs of a recovery. Based on the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), June hit a much-anticipated record-setting rebound to ignite that spark.
According to NAR, home sales jumped 20.7% from May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June:
“Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic…Each of the four major regions achieved month-over-month growth.”
This significant rebound is a major boost for the housing market and the U.S. economy. According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, the momentum has the potential to continue on, too:
“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown…This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”
With mortgage rates hitting an all-time low, dropping below 3% for the first time last week, potential homebuyers are poised to continue taking advantage of this historic opportunity to buy. This fierce competition among buyers is contributing to home price increases as well, as more buyers are finding themselves in bidding wars in this environment. The report also notes:
“The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $295,300, up 3.5% from June 2019 ($285,400), as prices rose in every region. June’s national price increase marks 100 straight months of year-over-year gains.”
“Home prices rose during the lockdown and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply.”
Buyers returning to the market is a great sign for the economy, as housing is still leading the way toward a recovery. If you’re ready to buy a home this year, let’s connect to make sure you have the best possible guide with you each step of the way.
One of the bright spots of the 2020 real estate market is the growth in equity homeowners are experiencing across the country. According to the recently released Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, in nearly every state there was a year-over-year first-quarter equity increase, averaging out to a 6.5% overall gain.
The report notes:
“CoreLogic analysis shows U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $590 billion since the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.5%, year over year.” (See map below):
That’s a huge win for homeowners, especially for those looking to sell their houses and make a move this summer. Having equity to re-invest in your next home is a major force that can make moving a reality, especially while buyers are expressing such a high demand for homes to purchase.
Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic addresses the potential long-term outlook and how homeowners will likely fare much more positively through the current recession than many did during the last one:
“Many homeowners will experience a recession during their lifetime, and it is reasonable to compare the current recession to those in the past. But the comparison is not apples to apples — every recession is different. Primary drivers of the Great Recession were an overbuilt housing stock, risky mortgages and the collapse of home prices, creating a massive increase in negative equity that proved difficult to recover from. Today’s housing environment has low vacancy and delinquency rates and a large home equity cushion.”
Now is a great time to consider leveraging your equity and making a move, especially while buyer interest is high. Contact me today, so we can explore your equity position and make your next move a reality.
*Informational Source: Keeping Current Matters 2020
Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs report. It revealed that the economic shutdown made necessary by COVID-19 caused the unemployment rate to jump to 14.7%. Many anticipate that next month the percentage could be even higher. These numbers represent the extreme hardship so many families are experiencing right now. That pain should not be understated.
However, the long-term toll the pandemic will cause should not be overstated either. There have been numerous headlines claiming the current disruption in the economy is akin to the Great Depression, and many of those articles are calling for total Armageddon. Some experts are stepping up to refute those claims.
In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article this past weekend, Josh Zumbrun, a national economics correspondent for the Journal explained:
“News stories often describe the coronavirus-induced global economic downturn as the worst since the Great Depression…the comparison does more to terrify than clarify.”
Zumbrun goes on to explain:
“From 1929 to 1933, the economy shrank for 43 consecutive months, according to contemporaneous estimates. Unemployment climbed to nearly 25% before slowly beginning its descent, but it remained above 10% for an entire decade…This time, many economists believe a rebound could begin this year or early next year.”
This was not a structural collapse of the economy, but instead a planned shutdown to help mitigate the virus. Once the virus is contained, the economy will immediately begin to recover. This is nothing like what happened in the 1930s. In the same WSJ article mentioned above, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has done extensive research on the depression in the 1930s, explained:
“The breakdown of the financial system was a major reason for both the Great Depression and the 2007-09 recession.” He went on to say that today – “the banks are stronger and much better capitalized.”
The nation’s collective heart goes out to all. The BLS report, however, showed that ninety percent of the job losses are temporary. In addition, many are getting help surviving this pause in their employment status. During the Great Depression, there were no government-sponsored unemployment insurance or large government subsidies as there are this time.
Today, many families are receiving unemployment benefits and an additional $600 a week. The stimulus package is helping many companies weather the storm. Is there still pain? Of course. The assistance, however, is providing much relief until most can go back to work.
We should look at the current situation for what it is – a predetermined pause placed on the economy. The country will recover as we work to continue to flatten the curve & see businesses & individuals get back to work. Barley a week into the official re-start up of Realtors getting back to work & we are already seeing the market heat up fast! Very encouraging news for anyone considering selling.
If you have any questions about the current real estate market here in Northern Michigan, feel free to give me a call or send me an email today!
*Informational Resource: Keeping Current Matters
In a recent survey by realtor.com, people thinking about selling their homes indicated they’re generally willing to allow their agent and some potential buyers inside if done under the right conditions, once local state law allows it. They’re less comfortable, however, hosting an open house. This is understandable, given the health concerns associated with social contact these days. The question is, if you need to sell your house now, what virtual practices should you use to make sure you, your family, and potential buyers stay safe in the process?
In today’s rapidly changing market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy when selling your house. One of the ways your agent can help with this is to make sure your listing photos and virtual tours stand out from the crowd, truly giving buyers a detailed and thorough view of your home.
So, if you’re ready to move forward, virtual practices may help you win big when you’re ready to sell. While abiding by state and local regulations is a top priority, a real estate agent can help make your sale happen. Agents know exactly what today’s buyers need, and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, according to the same survey, when asked to select what technology would be most helpful when deciding on a new home, here’s what today’s homebuyers said, in order of preference:
After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are ways to proceed safely. Here are a few of the guidelines, understanding that the top priority should always be to obey state and local restrictions first!
Nate Johnson, CMO at realtor.com ® notes:
“As real estate agents and consumers seek out ways to safely complete these transactions, we believe that technology will become an even more imperative part of how we search for, buy and sell homes moving forward.”
It sounds like some of these new practices might be here to stay.
In this new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for sellers may be a great option. Opening your doors up to digital approaches may be game-changing when it comes to selling your house. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate through all that’s new when it comes to making your next move.
Let’s face it, we are all going stir crazy & have been living on the ragged edge of uncertainty for weeks now. I am not sure how everyone is coping throughout their day, but I wanted to share with you a method that I use to try and keep myself balanced in a world that sometimes feels upside down. One method I use is, Meditation!
If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In addition to many health benefits that I will outline below, meditation is thought to be a wonderful exercise for strengthening your mental health & well-being.
Practicing meditation is thought to help in many different ways. It is said that it helps us to clear our mind, stay calmer, have better focus, have a greater sense of self-awareness.. Plus it helps inspires empathy, compassion & can help maintain a positive emotional balance.
Studies on the medical benefits of meditation have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
It is really as simple as that!
It is my hope that in these trying times, that although we may be apart, that we may help encourage each other and lean on one another (virtually). We are stronger together & safer apart. But I do miss you all & would like to send all my clients, fellow brokers/agents, family/friends & community members a virtual HUG & many blessings! May we all get back to “NORMAL” soon!
“Amid escalating concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Century 21 Northland, would like to take this time to speak directly to our clients, prospective clients & community members!
In real estate, like many other industries, despite the serious nature of our current events, the show must go on. Especially considering the latest drop, in prime interest rates! Home affordability may never be better.
That being said, we firmly believe that our Agents can still carry out their duties responsibly under these conditions, & are encouraged to continue to do so on behalf of buyers who believe they may have opportunity now, or sellers who are planning to list their homes.
Thus, we will be deep cleaning our offices, and continuing to do so on a regular basis, per the CDC recommendations. Our agents who tour properties with buyers or sellers will be practicing safety precautions for each showing. Alcohol/Sanitizing Wipes for doorknobs & light switches, as well as the use of hand sanitizer and/or hand washing at both the beginning and the end of the showing. To minimize the exposure to germs in general, we will be foregoing the traditional handshake at this time. Of course, we do not wish to offend anyone by politely declining a handshake but feel it necessary to take every precaution for both the safety of our clients and ourselves.
At Century 21, we already offer our clients an online experience that outshines the competition & will be ramping up our efforts to increase those areas of communications during this time! We encourage those that are currently selling your home, to share your listing online. The dramatic increase in the numbers of folks online, will leave open the possibility for possible buyers to find the home of their dreams, while they at home avoiding the public! If you are in the market for a home, please do not hesitate to reach out to us personally via our website, social media or simply give us a call. Our agents will be able to work with you remotely and share with you many of the same tools we already use in the business that can help you narrow down your search without subjecting yourself to the public until absolutely necessary!
No epidemic lasts forever, and everyone will still need a place to live when this one passes. Please stay safe, remember a panicked public often breeds more problems. We encourage you to be safe, smart and practical. But discourage any hysteria and mass assumptions. The internet can be a fantastic resource for information. But not source is credible, so be mindful of misinformation.
We are confident that like most everything else, this too shall pass! We thank you in advance for your cooperation and partnership in helping to protect the health of our communities. We are dedicated to providing a stress free, and healthy environment.
Stay Healthy Friends”
If any of my clients have any concerns or questions that you would like to discuss. Please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email. I would be happy to talk things through!
CALL: (517) 643-1834