Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), recently gave his annual forecast for home sales for 2014. Dr. Yun has been the chief economist for NAR for several years and was recognized last year by USA Today as one of the top 10 economists in the country.
His estimate for sales of existing homes in 2014 is 5.12 million homes, virtually identical to 2013’s 5.13 million sales. He expects new home sales to reach 508,000 in 2014 compared to 429,000 in 2013. This forecast says total sales will be essentially identical to last year. Although sales may remain flat he expects prices to rise 6% over last year. Steady sales with healthy a price increase is actually pretty impressive when one considers how much sales and prices have improved over the past two years.
Over the past two years cumulative unit’s sales have climbed 20% and prices have increased 18%. Those kinds of increases are clearly not sustainable which make this year’s prediction very positive. Although prices are up Dr. Yun points out “We’ve come off record high housing affordability conditions in the past year, and are now at a five year low, but conditions are still the fifth best in the past 40 years.” Dr. Yun also said that limited inventory; exacerbated by low numbers of new home construction, as well as a tsunami of new federal banking regulations, would hold back home sales.
As is always the case, national statistics are interesting but your home or the one you are thinking about buying are even more interesting. Trends in our market have been similar but less pronounced that the national numbers. What is accurate locally is that although sales and prices have increased, homes are still very affordable. If you would like to know the market value of your home or you are ready to start looking for a new one give me a call. Although real estate is somewhat seasonal, homes do sell during the holidays and in January. There is less competition in the winter and buyers planning to buy in the spring usually start looking months before they buy.
If you’re house hunting over the holidays, you’re likely a serious buyer with an immediate need. Perhaps you have to relocate for a new job opportunity, or there’s been a change in your personal life? Regardless, while you may assume it’s not an ideal time to be looking — namely because there isn’t much to look at — there are some advantages to buying this time of year.
Let’s start with the obvious one: less competition. This lowers the chances of multiple offers and bidding wars (something we saw a lot of last spring/summer), and should translate into a bigger discount for you. Know your market! This is where sites like Zillow come in handy. Start your research here for comps in your area and to see what homes are selling for.
Serious home sellers
Why would sellers pick such an inconvenient time — while everyone is busy entertaining family and friends and enjoying the spirit of the holidays — to list their properties? Probably because they need to sell and may feel compelled to do so before the end of the year for tax purposes. What this means for you: less hassle when it comes to negotiating; a greater willingness, on the part of the seller, to agree to concessions; less chance of the seller waffling; and greater respect for your offer, even if it’s a little lower than the seller was perhaps expecting.
Faster mortgage approval
Lenders aren’t as busy this time of year, and less volume could mean faster approval. Some lenders might even be willing to reduce fees during the off-peak season in hopes of gaining your business. Regardless, don’t just go with the first lender who comes along. It pays to shop around. Get multiple quotes and check out lender reviews on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.
Sure, home prices have been rising, but they’re typically lower in December than during any other month (so you don’t have to be as aggressive with your initial first offer, compared with buying during peak to high season). Zillow’s third quarter Real Estate Market Reports showed home value appreciation slowing. As we enter the slower home shopping season many overheated markets are moving away from bubble brink and ultimately becoming more affordable than they have been historically. If you want to take advantage of low interest rates, the time to act is now.
When a first-time home buyer begins hunting for the prize that has to serve both as a satisfactory home base and a solid investment, most feel a mixture of excitement (a home is a landmark achievement!) and maybe just a touch of apprehension. Like any expense you’ve never encountered before, it’s appropriate to take extra care the first time out — and to pay attention to what experience teaches. Along those lines, here are some mistakes that are easy for a first-time home buyer to make. Fortunately, they’re also easy to sidestep:
1. Waiting for a better rate
Adjustable rates may well be about as low as they’re going to get right now – and some signs point to an increase in the coming months. For a first-time home owner who will be taking out a loan, if the property is right, hesitating to make a commitment based on a loan rate gamble is seldom a good idea.
2. Thinking short term
Consider thinking of a home as a lifetime investment. Even for those who are single or newly-wedded, it’s possible that being open to a house with extra rooms could end up saving considerably on moving, transaction and agent fees, taxes, etc. It’s equally important to look at neighborhoods and how they are changing and developing. If you do resell your home, location can make a big difference in how.
3. Underestimating hidden costs
The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the ultimate bottom line. When a first-time home buyer comes across a property that fills (or exceeds) everything he or she has been looking for, if the mortgage payment looks to be right, it’s easy to overlook other homeowner expenses. Experienced buyers make hardheaded estimates of maintenance fees and property taxes — they will be every bit as consequential as the mortgage bill.
For a first-time home buyer in Evansville, when thoughtful perspective goes into your final decision, it’s that much more likely to be a decision that pays off in the long run. If you are preparing to buy this fall, I’ll be standing by to help get you started! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Conventional wisdom dictates that home sellers prefer cash offers. So what is a typical would-be buyer in Evansville to do when the competition comes forward with an all-cash offer? Cash offers may come from any of a variety of deep-pocketed parties: institutional investors, foreign investors, wealthy families or individual investors.
Beyond doing basic due diligence — gathering as much intel as you can about the property and the seller’s needs — if you’ve found the perfect home and are convinced it is the best property for your family, consider one or more of these tactics:
Bidding over asking — even by as little as 2% or 3% — can sometimes win the day, according to Noah Rosenblatt, founder of Urban Digs, a real estate analytics company. Cash buyers typically factor in opportunity costs, making it less likely that they will go beyond a certain price threshold. No one wants to pay more for a property than necessary, but going “over asking” may be the only way to secure an ideal property when cash offers are competing.
Removing any contingencies from your offer will help strengthen your position and may well convince a local seller that you are the party most likely to close successfully. The downside is that you will be assuming whatever risk had been the subject of the contingency in the first place. For example, if you were to submit an offer less any inspection contingencies, you might have to pay more than budgeted down the road if undiscovered repairs crop up.
The seller’s goal is maximize net return, so any term you add that puts more money in the seller’s pocket can sway the decision in your favor. Creative thinking pays. You might offer to pay the seller’s closing costs, cover your own Home Warranty policy, or any other add-on that has the desired effect.
While cash may be king in most cases, there are ways to compete with cash offers in Evansville. If you are looking for an agent with constructive solutions to help you find and secure the right property, why not call me today to take advantage of this fall’s inventory? You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
When you step outside and feel a crisp chill in the air, you know it: winter is on the way. If events have so ordered themselves that you find yourself selling your home in Evansville during the winter months, you’re probably aware that it is not the preferred real estate season. Prospects are less likely to be out and about touring properties when the weather can interfere; the holidays take huge chunks out of everybody’s schedule (not to mention the havoc wreaked on family budgets) — plus, the aura of optimism that arrives at springtime won’t arrive until far in the future…
Nonetheless, selling your home during the winter months is eminently doable! In fact, because fewer offerings will be competing for the quite determined corps of would-be homebuyers, selling your home during the winter months can actually yield an outstanding result. Veteran sellers know how to maximize that prospect:
1. Advertise with spring or summer photos
Showing what your house looks like when the weather’s prettiest will be warmly received. Don’t rely on prospective homebuyers’ imaginations to do it as well.
2. Make your home cozy
Selling your home in Evansville during the cooler months is actually an opportunity to show it at its “homiest.” Light the fireplace; turn on all the lamps; bake those chocolate chip cookies (or light scented candles — cinnamon is a holiday favorite).
3. Fine-tune the thermostat
People are turned off when a home feels chilly — just as they appreciate stepping into a warm and cozy listing (especially if they were just touring a vacant home).
4. Set a reasonable asking price
If you are going to be selling your home in Evansville during the approaching holiday season, it’s not the best time to “test the market.” Selling in a timely manner requires pricing the property accurately. You want to motivate the serious buyers to take a break from holiday obligations to turn out to view your house.
If you’ve been contemplating the idea of selling your home in Evansville, know that there will be winter buyers out there. Call me today — let’s find them! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
The national landscape for real estate has changed over the course of this year. Clearly 2013 has been an excellent year for real estate sales nationwide. Nationally year-to-date unit sales through September climbed 15%, while statewide units were up 14% and our local market increased 16%. Although these numbers are excellent the market is experiencing some other changes.
The mix of buyers has changed over the past few years. Investors represented about 34% of all buyers so far this year, while the percentage of first time buyers is fewer than 30%, a significant drop from historical levels, which have been closer to 40%. This relatively high percentage of investor buyers suggests that professional investors still feel real estate is a good investment. First time buyers have not declined because they don’t want to own their own home. Contrary to some articles you may have seen, the desire to own a home continues to be a goal across age groups. Survey after survey shows that if buyers have the ability to own a home they have a strong preference for owning vs. renting. There are two very clear reasons that the number of first time buyers has declined. One reason is the difficulty in obtaining mortgage loans. Increased banking regulations have made borrowing money an onerous process. Lenders have money and want to lend, unfortunately they are required to comply with expensive regulations making the entire process more cumbersome for everyone.
One additional positive in the housing market is the continued improvement in homeowner equity. Short sales and foreclosures have unfortunately been a significant portion of the market the past few years. With improved prices and more buyers the number of homes “underwater” has declined significantly. Current estimates suggest that over 8 million homeowners who currently owe more than their home is worth will be in a positive equity situation over the next 15 months.
Strong demand from investors, a strong desire to own vs. rent, and an improved equity situation all suggest that housing will stay strong for the foreseeable future.
Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season and please let me know if I can help with any of your or your friends housing needs. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com