Having a home for sale as autumn swings into full bloom has more than one advantage. First off, this is definitely not looky-loo season—the majority of home shoppers this time of year tend to be serious-minded (perhaps because many are hoping to be comfortably moved in by the holidays). Whatever the reason, because many other owners will wait until spring to put up their own home for sale, if you are listing now, you can usually count on a narrower amount of competition.
A subtler reason why fall is an exciting season to put up a home for sale has to do with what can be a presentation advantage—the same reason home décor professionals like this time of year. It’s the Autumn Advantage: a time of year loaded with eye-catching decorating ideas. When the leaves start to change, it’s time to take advantage of the autumnal decorations that can make any home for sale extra inviting.
- Pumpkins aren’t Just for Jack-o’-Lanterns
Modern Man may have cracked the atom and devised telescopes that can see to the very edge of the Universe, but it has still failed to come up with a way to spruce up a home for fall without adding a pumpkin or two. Why fight it? There are a thousand ways to use the ubiquitous squash in arresting placements. One example is to cut a generous hole in the top, then drop a fall-appropriately planted pot (think gold, red, orange and brown) through it, flowers and all. This “pumpkin plant pot” can work to add color both inside and outside any home for sale.
· Re-purpose an old Window
Where a rustic touch is appropriate, another autumnal planter idea is to find a discarded wooden window (the more thoroughly weathered, the better: decorators call it ‘up-cycling’), secure a potted plant to it, then hang it on the wall in place of a family picture (remember: when you have a home for sale, it’s recommended to remove as many of the personal mementos as possible). This “outside inside” décor trick creates a seasonal feel you can add to by embellishing further with dried leaves and berries.
· Scents of Autumn
Using scents can be central to fall decorating. These seasonal aromas can be counted upon to trigger positive memories for the visitors to your home. Scented candles are an appropriate way to add ambiance to your house. You can go further by tying cinnamon sticks around your candles, or adding a few drops of clove and cinnamon oil to your potpourri or fall arrangements (just don’t overdo it)!
· Fall: a Season for Comfort
If you’re thinking warm fires, plump cushions and plush throws to emphasize the coziness of the season, you’ll make it happen. A comfortable home highlighted with fall colors sets a scene that boosts the beauty of a home for sale unlike any other time of the year.
Whether you have already listed your home for sale, or are just now setting the stage, give me a call to put together a marketing blitz that will use the season to make that sale happen! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Market Watch October 2014
I have a lot of interesting information and statistics for this month’s Market Watch, but before I start that discussion I think I should share some basic real estate concepts. First, basic economic concepts apply to real estate. For example, increased supply results in decreased demand, which lowers prices. Conversely decreased supply results in increased demand, which increases prices. The catch to this basic principle is that other factors such as the general state of the economy, the job market, interest rates and consumer optimism also affect prices as well as buyers and sellers desire to buy or sell homes. With this most basic background let’s now explore some interesting trends in the market.
First, according to The Wall Street Journal, new home sales (as opposed to previously owned homes) were at their highest level in August since May of 2008. These sales were up 33% compared to August of last year. Although this is clearly good news, I think we should view this in context of very low new home construction over the past few years. Good numbers in August suggest full year totals of between 400,000 and 450,000 new home sales for all of 2014. Although this is clearly an improvement from less than 250,000 sales a few years ago, it still falls far short of the 1 million new homes that sold at the height of the real estate boom. Increased new home sales have left only a 4.8 month supply of new homes on the market.
A second fact, according to RIS Media, is that prices increased for the 30th consecutive month when compared to the previous year. This statistic seems pretty clear. Home prices continue to rise at what has remained a pretty steady pace. The median price of a home nationwide is now $219,000.
My third fact, again according to RIS Media is that in the 2nd quarter of 2014, 950,000 homes returned to a positive equity situation, meaning that these homes are now worth more than the outstanding mortgage balance on those homes. As you may recall, when the real estate market was adversely affected by the last recession many homes nationwide lost value and owners owed more in mortgage loans that their homes were worth. RIS claims that as of today, 14.9% of homes nationwide are still in a negative equity situation but that represents 2 million fewer homes underwater than just a year ago.
I think we can draw several conclusions from this data. First, the real estate market is on sound ground and continues to improve. Second, new home construction continues to recover. Third, prices continue to rise slowly. And finally inventory levels are still lower than normal and there is demand for more listings.
All of the information in this month’s Market Watch is national data although I believe that the same trends I’ve just discussed apply locally. As is always the case with real estate, demand and price for homes is always specific to one individual home. Please give me a call if you would like to discuss the value of your house or the home you are considering buying. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
If you want to do some research before we talk, the most accurate information on our local real estate market is always at FCTuckerEmge.com.
AUGUST HOME SALES BEHIND PACE SET IN 2013, AHEAD OF FIVE YEARS PRIOR
Prices better than last year and continue to lead housing performance statewide
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – There were just 276 less homes sold statewide in August than during the same month of last year, a 3.6 percent decrease; however, last month’s home sales outpaced the five years prior to 2013. This is according to the Indiana Real Estate Markets Report today released by the state’s REALTORS®.
August home sale prices were better than last year. The median sale price of $130,000 is a 4.0 percent increase from 2013, and the average of $159,846 is a 6.1 percent increase.
Other year-over-year comparisons from the report show -
- The number of pending home sales increased 4.4 percent to 6,889
- The percent of original list price received increased 1.6 percent to 94.2
- The number of new listings decreased 6.7 percent to 10,327
- The inventory of homes for sale increased 4.8 percent to 47,901
“Activity may fall a bit short of the impressive levels it reached last year, but housing has performed much stronger altogether than predicted the first of the year, with prices leading the charge,” said Karl Berron, CEO of the Indiana Association of REALTORS®.
“It’s encouraging to see second quarter GDP growth revised upwards and stronger-than-expected jobs numbers in recent months,” continued Berron. “Wage growth is the fuel necessary for recovery to really take off.”
You’ve successfully located the home that fits your wish list! The listing agent says the home is in “great condition!” Financing is pretty much a done deal! Time to relax!
Er—maybe not just yet.
When you are buying a home, among the scores of thoughts that might be racing through your head (“Is this the best one for the money?” “Will everyone be comfortable in it?” “Will it be enough house over the long haul?”), one you definitely don’t need is “Will this house become a money pit?”
The home that looks perfect may well be exactly that—but if not, you certainly don’t want to find yourself pouring hard-earned dollars into repairs that become apparent only after you have signed. Surprises are fine for birthday parties, but to avoid the sort no home buyer needs, getting a professional property inspection is the most direct way to tell if there are any significant underlying issues.
To alleviate the worry, you should make any offer conditional on a home inspection…then order up a professional property inspection done by an experienced home inspector.
When a home inspector arrives at the property, he or she will invite you along on the tour. However, you don’t have to accompany the inspector to some of the less-accessible areas like the roof, attic and crawl spaces (unless you want to). The inspector will likely start outside, checking for any suspicious areas that may allow water to penetrate, then move indoors for a thorough investigation of each room in the house. As the inspection moves along, definitely feel free to ask questions as they crop up: after all, inspector works for you!
It’s important to remember that any property inspection is not 100% certain to uncover every possible defect: a home inspector, no matter how experienced, is not clairvoyant. But you will receive a thoroughgoing assessment of the potential likely problems with the home’s systems—as well as an opinion on the condition of the home. You may be able to renegotiate your offer should conditions warrant it.
Property inspection costs tend to differ depending on the size and condition of the home, and usually take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete. Often, the verbal assessment made at the time will be very informative. Later, you’ll get the fuller detailed written report. If the inspection reveals a deal-breaking flaw, you will have saved yourself from a bad investment. Less commonly, more detailed property inspections could be in order—especially if you are also ordering sewer line, pool, fireplace or other specific inspections. Most inspectors offer discounted rates if subsequent inspections are in order.
Property inspections are not intended to offer warrantees or guarantees, but an experienced home inspection is the next best thing. It’s something most homebuyers find makes their purchase a lot less stressful. If you’re looking at buying a home in the Evansville area this fall, call me today to discuss the market. And once you find a likely new home, I can recommend several of our most experienced and reliable property inspectors. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Residents don’t have to have children at home to know when we’ve gone through the familiar back-to-school rituals. Just turn on a radio or TV, step into a retail store, or drive past a school and the calls to educational muster are evident. At the same time, it’s hard not to be reminded how significant education is when it comes to home buying—how likely it is for schools to be on the forefront of many buyers’ minds.
Most people know intuitively that top-notch schools carry significant weight in the searching and home buying processes—but the result of a survey done by realtor.com has spelled it out in black-and-white. Their research reveals that more than 60% of buyers consider school district boundaries during their home buying process. It’s a surprisingly weighty number.
The depth of interest that buyers registered was also illuminating. The same survey uncovered the fact that prospective homebuyers are willing to spend more—and give up other features—in exchange for a house located in a preferred school district. For example, many buyers said that they are ready to ignore access to shopping malls and parks to be in a district where their preferred school is located.
Prospective buyers are likely to also factor in the impact the same phenomenon could have on a property’s resale value down the line. That could be part of the reason why more than 23% of respondents said that are willing to pay 1-5% over their budget to be in a preferred school district boundary. Another 20% said they would pay 6-10 % above budget, while 9% would pay as much as 11-20% more!
When queried about which factors weigh most heavily on their home buying preferences, over 90% said that school district boundaries are either “important” or “somewhat important.” Only 7.4% said that school districts are “unimportant” or “very unimportant,” while 2% classified them as “neutral.”
This level of unanimity should be of interest to anyone about to embark on their own home buying expedition—whether or not they have children of their own. It’s hard to ignore the proposition that when you go to resell a house in the future, its school district may carry the same importance to home buyers down the line. If today’s buyers give such importance to school district boundaries, it may not pay (to borrow Wall Street’s famous phrase) to “fight the tape.” In any case, it always pays to ask questions, do some neighborhood research—and to call me when you’re looking to buy or sell in Evansville! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
The halfway point of the year is a good time to see where we are this year compared to last year. Before we look at this year compared to last I think it is important to remember how strong last year was. Both unit sales and dollar volume increased over 21% last year. This was by far the biggest year over year increase we have ever had. It is not surprising that our results this year have been much more mundane. Unit sales this year have declined by 6.3% while average prices have increased just over 2%.
While I would never say I’m happy with a reduction in sales, the truth is I’m not really that disappointed. Increases like we saw in 2013 are clearly unsustainable. A moderate decline in unit sales this year demonstrates that the market has fully recovered from the housing recession. I believe that by the end of this year we will be closer to 2013 levels than we are now. There are two specific reasons I feel this way. One is that the last two months of 2013 were very weak compared to the first ten months. The second is that the first two months of 2014 were significantly slower than the March through June period.
The two biggest factors affecting the housing market going forward are job growth and inventory levels. Job growth has clearly been sluggish for the past few years but has begun to show some improvement in recent months. Inventory levels are still significantly below historical levels. The best way to increase inventory is to build more new homes. I do believe that construction levels will continue to increase but not as fast as fast as the market demands.
Over the second half of the year I do not expect to see the dramatic monthly swings we saw earlier this year. I expect inventory levels to remain a challenge and I believe that if job growth improves, so will real estate sales.
If you are in the market to buy a home you must be prepared to make an offer on a home as soon as it is listed and you had a chance to see the home. Homes that are updated and priced right sell within days. If you are in the market to sell your home you are in a good position. We have very low inventories. In either case, if you are buying or selling, call me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email at RolandoTrentini@FCTE.com
When you determine to sell your house, one of the first choices that comes up is tactical: do you try to sell it yourself as a “For Sale by Owner” property—or do you enlist a real estate agent? Since your object is to maximize your profit, you might think that most thrift-minded home owners would decide to eliminate the agent’s commission and do the work themselves. But that’s not the case.
The majority of sellers ultimately team up with a real estate agent. Sometimes they go the For Sale by Owner route first, but after testing that method, change courses. The statistics show that the selling price of Realtor®-assisted home sales is higher (a $40,000 difference, according to the latest study) which certainly would explain part of the reason. But other factors come into play, too:
1.Pricing: If you aren’t immersed in the area’s real estate business five to seven days a week, there’s no way you can have the intimate knowledge about the current market that comes with daily work in the field. A real estate agent comes armed with extensive knowledge of the local market and all the changes that have brought it about. It’s extremely important to price your home correctly to sell it on the first go-round. It’s a demonstrated fact that the longer a home sits on the market, the lower its final sale price.
2.Time and Energy: A For Sale by Owner sign in the front yard means you are in charge, 24/7! That’s despite any other demands on your time—for example, your job! One of the benefits of using a real estate pro is that selling your property is our singular focus: our job! It means marketing, networking, working with buyers. Doing whatever it takes to get your house sold is our first priority. Lacking the same kind of time and resources, a For Sale by Owner seller is at a clear disadvantage in the competition to sell houses. It’s a marketplace where one missed buyer can mean the difference between a listing that turns into a sale…and a listing that turns stale.
3.Objectivity: The house is yours: you designed or decorated it; you’ve fixed and painted and mowed and swept it. If you took your work seriously, you feel at least some pride in how it’s presented. Unfortunately, that’s a problem. Lacking objectivity in the sales milieu can be one of the biggest hindrances to actually selling your house. It makes it hard for you to negotiate—to see and acknowledge the flaws a buyer sees. And it can make buyers wary of even wanting to negotiate with you in the first place. Either factor can prove costly. Separating owner from sales agent opens communication. It’s a relief for everyone!
4.Paperwork: This is the most obvious point. If you choose to wade into the paperwork/deadline process yourself, you’d be wise to count on needing a bit of extra attention from a good real estate attorney—if only to avoid potential litigation down the line.
5.Security: It’s unfortunate, but putting your house up For Sale by Owner in can make you a target. Less-than-honest folks are out there—creeps who may specialize in sellers who might not follow the proper measures for letting people into their homes.
If you are looking into selling your own home this summer, I’d like to offer you a complimentary property evaluation. Whether or not you decide to go the For Sale by Owner route, it’s sure to be well worth discussing what to expect from today’s market! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com