Thinking of Selling Your Home? Get Ready to Negotiate!

selling home negotiate

Now that the market has showed signs of recovery, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their home on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation. In most cases, the seller is not. The seller must realize their ability to negotiate will determine whether they can get the best deal for themselves and their family.

Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the COs permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges on the house your buyer is selling
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired a real estate agent to sell their home has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Meet with a professional in your local market to see the difference they can make in easing the process.

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One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO Scores

The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.

FICO Score Distribution | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options.

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Where is Housing Headed for the Rest of 2016?

Where is housing headed in 2016? Montague Miller BlogWith the overall economy just inching along, some experts are questioning whether the housing market can continue its momentum throughout the rest of the year. People are beginning to ask questions such as:

  • Will disappointing economic news adversely impact housing?
  • Is affordability a major concern in today’s real estate market?
  • Are we approaching a new housing bubble?
  • Are mortgage standards too tight? Or have they loosened too much?

Freddie Mac, in their April Economic Outlook, addresses the disappointing economic news and what impact they think it will have on housing:

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.

We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy.”

What about real estate?

Freddie Mac was much more optimistic about housing…

“We maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity.”

They went on to conclude:

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth. Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

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Housing Inventory Disappearing

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. TheNational Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Reportwhich gives insight into today’s market conditions.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 5.1% month-over-month in March and are 1.5% higher than this time last year. Sales rose in all four major regions in March.

Total unsold housing inventory is 1.5% lower than March 2015 at a 4.5-month supply and remains well below the six months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still below 4%, programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 47 days and 42% of properties sold in less than a month.

Prices Rising

March marked the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $210,700 (up 5.7% from 2015).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

Housing Inventory Disappearing | Simplifying The Market

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

“Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2016, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Let’s meet up so we can get the process started.

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Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

The Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.

Here is the breakdown:

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Women
  • People between the ages of 18-29
  • People between the ages of 30-49
  • People between the ages of 50-64
  • People 65 and older
  • People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
  • People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
  • People with annual earnings of over $75,000
  • People with a college degree
  • People without a college degree

Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:

“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”

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Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recent survey of agentsby the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogicrecently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”

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A buyer in hand is worth two in the bush

In today’s highly competitive seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are listings for them to purchase, some sellers may feel like the ball is in their court.

And they would be right when it comes to choosing which offer to accept, the closing date, or even which improvements the seller is willing to make to the home prior to selling.

One thing to remember though is that there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

Interest rates could change, financing might not go through, the appraisal might not come back at the price that you have agreed to. These are all opportunities to work with your buyer to make sure that the sale still happens.

You may think that because buyer demand is high right now, that you could choose to make your buyer jump through hoops. But what happens if they reach their limit and need to walk away? You’re starting over… weeks, maybe months later… and other buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house that the deal fell through.

The Golden Rule

We were all taught from a young age to “treat others as you would like to be treated”. This shouldn’t change once you have a buyer who seems as though they would do anything to buy your home.

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Top Reason to List Your House For Sale Now!

top reason to list house for sale

If you are debating listing your house for sale this year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes For Sale

The National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun recently commented on the inventory shortage:

“While feedback from REALTORS® continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”

The latest Existing Home Sales Report shows that there is currently a 5.1-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market and well below November 2014 numbers.

The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced in 2015:

Housing Supply Year-Over-Year | Keeping Current Matters

Anything less than a six-month supply is considered a “Seller’s Market”.

Bottom Line

Meet with a local real estate professional who can show you the supply conditions in your neighborhood and assist you in gaining access to the buyers who are ready, willing and able to buy now!

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House Hasn’t Sold Yet? Take Another Look at the Price

house sold price

The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007. Demand remains strong going into the winter. Many real estate professionals are reporting that multiple offers are occurring regularly and listings are actually selling above listing price. What about your house?

If your house hasn’t sold, it is probably the price.

If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prospective buyers that will even see your house. (See Chart)

Proper Pricing Pyramid | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.

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Montague Miller Charlottesville Real Estate Market Report April 2016

Real Estate Market Report April 2016 Charlottesville

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