Fall house staging has to be sharp, because your listing has to sell if you want to close the year out on a high note and leave your sellers feeling satisfied.
Here five ways to help your clients make their real estate listing stand out and get their home sold before the holiday season hits!
These days many sellers are selling to move on to another property. Chances are, your listers have a vision for both the property want and the new furnishings to make the new space into their dream. For sellers who have the budget, encourage them to shop ahead. The dream furniture and non-permanent fixtures for their new space may help their current property sell faster.
Before you bring up house repairs, find out what your seller’s always wanted to do with the home and never got around to completing. This, sometimes emotional, trip down missed-out memory lane can help you make the case for improvements you know will make the home move.
Sometimes helping sellers revisit their dreams for a property can unlock easy ways to market it as the dream home for someone else.
Decluttering always sounds good to an agent, but many sellers need incentive to part with their stuff.
Well, little motivation can compete with money in these situations. If you’re asking your sellers to let go of large amounts of stuff, trying selling them on the idea of a big tax credit for donating their extras. Take inventory and tally up the value of the items you think they should part with. Showing them the tax savings using the Salvation Army or Goodwill donation calculators, especially in extreme situations, may be the motivation to help them let go.
For your relocating or downsizing clients, your professional photos can do double duty. To help motivate your clients to stage, agree to help them list the contents they need to get rid of on Craigslist or in yard sale advertising. If they know the photos are going to get a lot of mileage and will end in some easy cash, they may be more apt to clean up for the photo shoot and showings.
Last but not least, the real downside of staging for many is the cost and the effort. You can help clients overcome this hurdle. Search discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for deals on the cleaning, painting, and other tedious to-dos to be done. The ability to affordably outsource the un-fun projects may get you closer to showing-ready home a lot faster.
by The KCM Crew on September 23, 2014 in For Buyers
In a recent survey, How America Views Homeownership, it was revealed that 68% of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home and 95% said they want to own a home if they don’t already.
Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo home mortgage production, explains:
“Although the home buying process has changed in many ways in recent years, our survey found Americans still view homeownership as an achievement to be proud of and many believe that now is a good time to buy a home.”
However, the survey also reported that many are afraid to purchase a home because of uncertainty about “qualifying for a mortgage or navigating the home buying process”. Though 74% said they “know and understand” the financial process involved in buying a home, they also gave answers that suggest otherwise. For example:
In actuality many of these beliefs are unfounded. Let’s look at the question of down payment:
Freddie Mac, in a recent blog post addressing the issue, confirmed that there is misinformation regarding the amount necessary when determining the down payment for a home purchase:
“Did you know 40 percent of today's homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10 percent? And how about this: since 2010, the number of people putting down less than 10 percent for conventional loans has grown three fold. So, not only are low down payment options real, they represent a significant portion of today's purchases.”
In a separate Executive Perspectives, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management explained further:
Boyle talked about the importance of educating potential buyers:
“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”
“It is important for prospective homebuyers to feel empowered to ask lenders and real estate agents questions about available options, such as down payment assistance or FHA loan programs or VA loans for veterans.”
If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.
by The KCM Crew on September 22, 2014 in For Buyers
Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth.
The Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances, every three years, and just released their latest edition this past week.
Some of the findings revealed in their report:
The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.
by The KCM Crew on September 3, 2014 in For Sellers
People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every Fall. We ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year round weather or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait. If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to do it now versus the dead of winter.
Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!
As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.
There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.
Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).
The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.
If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. 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 in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.
by The KCM Crew on September 10, 2014 in For Buyers
In Trulia’s 2014 Rent vs. Buy Report, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States; ranging from an average of 5% in Honolulu, all the way to 66% in Detroit, and 38% Nationwide!
The other interesting findings in the report include:
Even though prices increased sharply in many markets over the past year, low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting.
Some markets might tip in favor of renting later this year as prices continue to rise faster than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to the strengthening economy and Fed tapering.
Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.
Buying a home makes sense. Rental costs have historically increased at a higher rate of inflation. Lock in a mortgage payment now before home prices and mortgage rates rise as experts expect they will.
Selling your home requires a lot of prep work. After all, you want to impress as many potential buyers as possible. You can spend lots of time and money adding new upgrades, improving your curb appeal, or staging your home. But if you make one wrong move, it can lower your sales price, or even worse, prevent a sale at all.
Make your home a serious contender and steer clear of these buyer turnoffs.
1. Dirty or cluttered homes: OK, you’ve probably heard this one before so it’s not that surprising, but it’s a big deal. It can’t be overstated how important it is to keep your home spotless for a showing. No visible dirt or disarray, and above all, no smells. Keep buyers focused on your home, not on your messes.
2. Wallpaper: Universal truth: Homebuyers hate wallpaper. And if that wallpaper is outdated, brightly colored, or themed, it can be hard for an otherwise serious buyer to look past it. Replace wallpaper with a neutral paint to create a fresh, new canvas that buyers will be eager to make their own.
3. Hovering sellers: Don’t attend your own open house or private showings. Prospective buyers may not feel comfortable talking openly with their co-buyers or agents with you there, and may not open doors and drawers in front of you—potentially missing some of your home’s best features. Sure, you know what makes your home shine and can answer questions, but so can your agent. Trust him or her to communicate what makes your home special.
4. Misleading listing photos: A wide-angle camera lens can be a homebuyer’s biggest enemy. There’s little worse than seeing pictures of a great new listing with a huge kitchen, closets made for kings, and a spacious playroom — and then show up and find that each room is the size of a postage stamp. Use photos that show your home in its best light, not a deceptive light.
5. Overpricing: You want your home to be priced so buyers feel like they’ll get a good value, not so they’ll sit on the sidelines waiting for a price reduction. It’s even worse if buyers tour your house and think, “Great place, but way overpriced. They must not be serious about selling, so let’s move on.” Work with an agent who uses comps to competitively price your home, and keep the serious buyers coming in.
by The KCM Crew on August 27, 2014 in For Buyers
In a recent press release, Zillow stated that the affordability of the nation’s rental inventory is currently much worse than affordability of the country’s home sale inventory. The release revealed two things:
Furthermore, renters pay more than the average of 24.9% that was paid in the pre-bubble period while buyers actually pay far less than the 22.1% share homeowners devoted to mortgages in the pre-bubble days.
If you are currently renting you could get caught up in a cycle where increasing rents continue to make it impossible for you to save for a necessary down payment. Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries explains:
"The affordability of for-sale homes remains strong, which is encouraging for those buyers that can save for a down payment and capitalize on low mortgage interest rates… As rents keep rising, along with interest rates and home values, saving for a down payment and attaining homeownership becomes that much more difficult for millions of current renters.”
Perhaps you already have saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire recently reported that analysts at Nomura believe:
“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)
“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.
It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)
Freddie Mac came out with comments on this exact issue:
Don’t get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible to get a mortgage.
by The KCM Crew on July 22, 2014 in Foreclosures
According to the latest CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report, “approximately 660,000 homes in the US were in some state of foreclosure as of May 2014”. This figure is down 37% from the 1 million homes in May of 2013. May marked the 31st consecutive month in which there were year-over-year declines.
Mark Fleming chief economist for CoreLogic revealed:
“Significant gains have been made in the last year to reduce the foreclosure stock. Yet, these improvements are occurring disproportionately in non-judicial states. The foreclosure inventory in judicial states is averaging 2.1% which is more than twice the 0.9% average that is occurring in non-judicial states.”
The foreclosure process in the twenty-two judicial states can take, on average, anywhere from 180-400 days according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The lack of initial court intervention in non-judicial states, often means that the process of foreclosure takes significantly less time.
Therefore, judicial states as a whole, have taken longer to catch up to the rest of the country in liquidating foreclosure inventory.
All five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of mortgaged homes are judicial states.
On the list of the five lowest inventory states, only North Dakota uses a judicial process.
Even though some states have not recovered completely from the foreclosure crisis, the nation as a whole is on the right track as inventory decreases.
by The KCM Crew on June 17, 2014 in For Buyers
Lenders are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably below 5%.
The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of <5%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.
Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.
by The KCM Crew on July 1, 2014 in For Buyers
Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should look at the projections housing experts are making in two major areas: home prices and mortgage rates.
Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently surveyed. They were asked to project where home prices were headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve month period was approximately 4%.
In their last Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac predicted that 30 year fixed mortgage rates would be 4.8% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 4.14%.
If you are a first time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:
If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:
With both home prices and interest rates projected to increase, buying now instead of later might make sense.
Call me if you think you might be ready to buy.......