As you look ahead to the winter season, you’re likely making plans and thinking about what you want to achieve before the year ends. One of those key decision points could be whether or not you want to move this year. If the location or size of your current home no longer meets your needs, finding a house that better suits your lifestyle may be a top priority for you. But with today’s cooling housing market, is it really a good time to sell your house, or should you wait?
If you’re ready to make your decision, here are three reasons you may want to consider selling before the holidays.
1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers
Typically, in the residential real estate market, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their house until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.
Selling now, while other homeowners may hold off until after the holidays, can help your house stand out. Start the process with a real estate professional today so you can get your house on the market and get ahead of your competition.
2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers This Season
Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it’s still low overall. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak homebuying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”
Serious buyers will still be looking this winter and your house may be exactly what they’re searching for. If you work with an agent to list your house now, you’ll be able to get in front of the eager buyers who are hoping to make a move before the year ends.
3. Seize a Great Chance To Move Up
Don’t forget, today’s homeowners have record amounts of equity. According to CoreLogic, the average amount of equity per mortgage holder has climbed to almost $300,000. That’s an all-time high. That means the equity you have in your house right now could cover some, if not all, of a down payment on the home of your dreams.
And as you weigh the reasons to sell before winter, don’t lose sight of why you’re thinking about moving in the first place. Maybe it’s time to buy a house that’s in a better location for you, has the space you and your loved ones have been craving, or simply gives you that sense of home. A trusted real estate advisor can help you determine how much home equity you have and how you can use it to achieve your goal of making a move.
If you’re thinking about selling your house so you can find a home that better suits your needs, don’t delay your plans. Let’s connect so you can accomplish your goals before winter. You can call/text at 407-474-0600 or pick a time on my calendar to chat! CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE CALENDAR
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There are many different reasons you might be thinking about selling your home. Perhaps you want to downsize (or upsize), perhaps you want to take advantage of the market, or maybe you need to move to another area of the country for your company. Regardless of the reasons, there are many things to consider before you speak with a real estate agent.
You probably already have a good grasp of how the home-buying process goes since you’ve done it at least once before. But if this is your first time selling a home, there’s plenty more to learn. Even if you have sold a home in the past, the market is always changing.
If you’re thinking about buying a home within the next year, or buying a home after you sell your current one there are a few things that you can get started on to make the process that much smoother when you are ready to go house hunting.
Deciding To Sell Your Home: What You Should Do First
Once you do decide you want to sell your home, there are several things you can do before you contact a real estate agent. The first is to prepare your home to be sold, and that usually means a lot of cleaning and sometimes some maintenance and repairs.
Even in a seller’s market, you’ll want to make your home look as inviting and attractive as possible in order to receive a great offer. Homebuyers who will be looking at your home are more likely to make an offer right away if your home appears desirable, as they’ll be hoping to secure a home before another prospective buyer comes along.
Declutter Your Living Space
When you were a first-time homebuyer, you probably saw several houses that still contained furniture and the occupants’ belongings. This is normal when the homeowners haven’t moved out yet. But you might also recall that some homes appeared a lot tidier and well-maintained than others. Think about that when preparing your own home for future sale.
You’ll want to spend a good amount of time getting rid of any clutter and junk you don’t need. Even old, worn furniture and décor items should be removed. (You can put them in a storage unit or your garage if you have space.) The idea is to present a neat living space to prospective buyers.
Make Necessary Repairs
Truthfully, this is up to you. In a seller’s market, you can likely get away with not making some repairs, since buyers are more desperate to secure a home. However, some first-time homebuyers might want the security of a home they know is in good shape. There’s also a difference between necessary repairs and home improvements.
For example, it might be necessary to replace the hot water heater but not to renovate the kitchen or the bathroom. If you’re unsure which things you should spend your money on, focus on the most obvious maintenance issues that a home inspector will definitely point out.
Check Out the Market
Have any homes similar to yours in the area sold recently? That might give you a good idea of what you could get for your home. The online sites providing estimates can serve as a good baseline, but they don’t always know the specifics of your local area or any specific improvements you’ve made in your home. Take this into consideration before you talk to a real estate agent.
The agent will, of course, be more familiar with the current conditions of the market and how things are selling in your area. And once the agent sees your home, they will be able to give you a better idea of what it might sell for. Just remember to price it realistically. Even in a seller’s market, pricing your home too high could mean you’ll be waiting a while to sell.
Finally, Contact an Agent
Once you’ve done all of the above, you are ready to contact an agent. Unless you already know an agent who you’d like to work with, you’ll want to interview a few different agents. You’ll be working with the agent of choice for a bit, so you want to ensure you feel comfortable with whomever you choose.
Ask each agent for a comparative market analysis, as well as the details of their plan on how they will market your home. You also want to ensure that the agent will have time for you and your home.
Deciding To Buy a Home: What You Should Do First
Once you do decide you’re ready to buy a home, there are several things you can do before you contact a real estate agent. The first is to prepare your list of non-negotiables and really decide what you need from a home.
The real estate market moves quickly, so understanding the current market, interest rates, and more will be important closer to the time when you’re getting ready to purchase.
Make Your List of Must-Haves
Do you need two or three bedrooms? Are you open-minded to a townhome or do you prefer a single-family residence? We’d recommend that you sit down and think deeply about what you need from a home and make your list of things you can’t live without. This will make the house hunting process much easier, and you’ll be able to share this information with your real estate agent when the time is right!
Cushion Your Savings
Buying a home can bring several unexpected expenses your way, so the more that you can plan in advance the better. Of course, you’ll need to pay the down payment on the home, but there are also closing costs and taxes. Once you move in, you’ll likely need some furniture, and what if the HVAC system needs repair? Some experts recommend having six months of expenses set aside in your savings account, while others recommend having up to a year’s worth.
Securing a pre-approval from the bank is going to let your real estate agent and the sellers that currently own the home that you’re serious and ready to purchase. This will also give you a sense of your purchasing power and help you understand the budget that you’ll need to stay within.
Finally, Contact an Agent
Once you’ve done all of the above, you are ready to contact an agent! Unless you already know an agent who you’d like to work with, you’ll want to interview a few different agents. You’ll be working with the agent of choice for a bit, so you want to ensure you feel comfortable with whomever you choose.
Make sure to ask each agent about their local expertise, their track record in negotiating on behalf of buyers, and to take a look at their reviews.
Whether you’re a potential homebuyer, seller, or both, you probably want to know: will home prices fall this year? Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and why this matters for your homeownership goals.
Last Year’s Rapid Home Price Growth Wasn’t the Norm
In 2021, home prices appreciated quickly. One reason why is that record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make a purchase than there were homes available for sale. That led to competitive bidding wars which drove prices up. CoreLogic helps explain how unusual last year’s appreciation was:
“Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%.”
In other words, the pace of appreciation in 2021 far surpassed the 6% the market saw in 2020. And even that appreciation was greater than the pre-pandemic norm which was typically around 3.8%. This goes to show, 2021 was an anomaly in the housing market spurred by more buyers than homes for sale.
Home Price Appreciation Moderates Today
This year, home price appreciation is slowing (or decelerating) from the feverish pace the market saw over the past two years. According to the latest forecasts, experts say on average, nationwide, prices will still appreciate by roughly 10% in 2022 (see graph below):
Why do all of these experts agree prices will continue to rise? It’s simple. Even though housing supply is growing today, it’s still low overall thanks to several factors, including a long period of underbuilding homes. And experts say that’s going to help keep upward pressure on home prices this year. Additionally, since mortgage rates are higher this year than they were last year, buyer demand has slowed.
As the market undergoes this change, it’s true price appreciation this year won’t match the feverish pace in 2021. But the rapid appreciation the market saw last year wasn’t sustainable anyway.
What Does That Mean for You?
Today, the market is beginning to move back toward pre-pandemic levels. But even the forecast for 10% home price growth in 2022 is well beyond the 3.8% that’s more typical for a normal market.
So, despite what you may have heard, experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.
If you’re worried the house you’re trying to sell or the home you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know experts aren’t calling for depreciation in most markets, just deceleration. That means your home should still grow in value, just not as fast as it did last year.
If you’re thinking of making a move, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say nationally, prices will continue to appreciate this year, just at a more moderate pace. When you’re ready to begin the process of buying or selling, let’s connect so you have a local market expert on your side each step of the way. You can e-mail me at [email protected] or call/text 407-474-0600.
Home equity…Everybody wants it, but what exactly is it, and how do you get it?
Equity represents the degree of ownership an individual or entity has in an asset after subtracting any debts against the asset. To say someone shares equity in a company means they would share in any assets remaining after all debts are accounted for.
For example, if your business has sold $500,000 worth of product this year, but you have rent, operating expenses, and a business loan payment totaling $400,000 for the year, you have $100,000 of equity in your business. Equity changes as the value of your assets and debts change.
Home equity works the same way. When you take out a mortgage to purchase a home, your home is collateral on the mortgage loan, so the outstanding mortgage principal must be deducted from the value of the home to determine your home equity.
In most cases, you make a down payment when you purchase your home. That down payment is your initial home equity. If you pay a 20% down payment on a $200,000 home, you have $40,000 equity when you close on your purchase.
As time goes on and you continue to pay down your mortgage principal, your equity grows. Usually, the longer your own your home, the more equity you gain because you are paying down your mortgage. However, any debts you take on using your home value as collateral, such as a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC,) decrease your home equity.
The changing real estate market also influences your equity. If you paid $200,000 for your home, and two years later the homes in your neighborhood start selling in the $400,000 range, your theoretical equity increases. (Theoretical because you don’t realize your home equity until you sell your home and pay off all debts against it.) You can also lose equity if the market takes a dive but be patient and it should recover in time.
Equity also grows if you make improvements on your home that increase its value. Let’s say you add a swimming pool and all new appliances. You have increased the value of the home. Your equity doesn’t increase by the amount your spent on the improvements, but on the value you get upon resale. This is an important point when considering making improvements prior to putting your home on the market, and one that is often misunderstood.
Let’s say Joe spends $50,000 on upgrades to his home. He might tell his neighbor, “I have $50,000 in my home,” but when he goes to sell, the current market dictates how much he will actually get in return. If Joe ends up selling for $40,000 more than he originally paid, his $50,000 investment got him $40,000 in home equity.
Some things you can do to increase your home equity include:
1) Make a large down payment when you purchase your home. The more cash you put down, the more equity you begin with.
2) Make increased or extra payments on your mortgage principal. Adding to the principal portion only on your monthly payments, or making extra payments when you are able, helps chip away at your outstanding debt.
3) Be smart when making home improvements. Not all improvements build equity. Some improvements may be personal preferences that don’t necessarily add value for resale. Improvements such as a new HVAC system, new appliances, or a new roof are usually more reliable investments than a fountain in the front yard or surround sound speakers throughout the house.
4) Don’t borrow against your home equity unless you must. Home equity is often a homeowner’s biggest asset, and can help to build your retirement nest egg, but it can also come in handy if life throws you a curve ball and you need to borrow against it for an unforeseen emergency. Be careful not to borrow against your equity for frivolous purposes, so it will be there if you really need it.
5) Sell when the market is favorable. If you are counting on your home equity to help finance your next home, pay for your children’s education, or add to your retirement funds, try to sell during a seller’s market when inventory is needed in your area.
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