Category Archives: Selling Market

Access: A Key Component in Getting Your House SOLD!

Access: A Key Component in Getting Your House SOLD! | Keeping Current Matters

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers. There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48 Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

If Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet… Check the Price!

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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 has remained strong throughout the winter as many real estate professionals are reporting bidding wars with many homes selling above listing price. What about your house?

If your house hasn’t sold, it is probably because of 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 below.

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Bottom Line

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

Sales Boom in New York City’s Suburbs

In the seven years since New York City’s real estate market hit rock bottom in 2009, the surrounding suburbs have experienced a striking increase in the number of homes sold year over year. During the same period, residential sales in the city have grown at a much slower pace. Is an exodus taking place?

Not exactly. The city’s market is hardly sagging; rather, high prices and low inventory may be causing buyers to spill over into surrounding areas.

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For comparison, we looked at the number of homes sold in Brooklyn and Westchester, and their average sales prices during the first three quarters of 2016 and every year since 2009. Average sales prices in Brooklyn rose nearly 67 percent during those seven years, and the number of homes sold increased by nearly 47 percent. In Westchester, prices went up nearly 9 percent during the same period, while the number of sales increased impressively by just over 106 percent.

And these numbers represent a historic high: In the first three quarters of 2016, there were 7,074 home sales in Westchester — the most since at least 1982, the earliest year for which data is available.

Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale

Start 2017 Off Right... List Your House for Sale | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

As we ring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years. The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category: Start 2017 Off Right... List Your House for Sale | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.

Study: Home Ownership Key in Retirement

Older home owners who leverage the equity in their home may be better off in funding their retirement, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. However, the recession may have hampered many retirees’ abilities to do so.

“Not only does a house meet the basic needs of shelter, but it’s an asset that typically can be used to build wealth as home owners pay down their mortgages,” the study’s authors note. “In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources—Social Security, pensions and savings—is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

Before the recession, home owners aged 65 or older could have used their home’s equity to increase their retirement income by over 50 percent – up to $60,000 –either by borrowing a home equity line of credit, selling their home at a profit, or taking a cash-out refinance or second mortgage. However, the Urban Institute’s study notes that percentage fell to 50 percent – up to $49,000 – by 2012, even though retirees accumulated an average 10 percent more equity than in 1998. Home owner’s equity grew from $117,000 to $166,000 between 2000 and 2006 before falling to $129,000 by 2012.

The study’s authors say that older home owners have more opportunity to unlock the wealth potential of their homes in retirement, particularly now with the recession over.

“The majority of older adults, regardless of income, race and ethnicity, and education, own homes that they could use to help finance their retirement,” the authors note.

Source: “Study: Home Equity Still a Retirement Failsafe?” RISMedia/Urban Institute (Nov. 13, 2016)

Is Home Equity Still a Retirement Failsafe?

Homeownership is one of the more viable paths to a secure retirement—but many older homeowners missed the prime opportunity to leverage that equity before the recession. How much usable equity can older homeowners now expect in retirement, given the rebound in home values?

A recent study by the Urban Institute explored the answer to this question, analyzing the equity patterns among older households before, during and after the recession.

“Not only does a house meet the basic need of shelter, but it’s an asset that typically can be used to build wealth as homeowners pay down their mortgages,” the study’s authors state. “In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources—Social Security, pensions and savings—is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

Is Home Equity Still a Retirement Failsafe? | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

Homeowners aged 65 or older, according to the study’s findings, could have used their home’s equity to grow their retirement income by over 50 percent (up to $60,000) pre-recession, either by borrowing a home equity line of credit, selling their home at a profit, or taking a cash-out refinance or second mortgage. That percentage dropped to 40 percent (up to $49,000) by 2012, despite accumulating an average 10 percent more equity then than in 1998. Home values, still, grew 3 percent by 2014. Monetarily, the average older homeowner’s equity stake increased from $117,000 to $166,000 between 2000 and 2006, then decreased to $129,000 by 2012.

The swings not only parallel the movement of the market—according to the study’s findings, equity patterns follow mortgage debt trends, as well. From 1990 to 2006, national mortgage debt grew to $11.3 trillion from $2.5 trillion, then fell to $9.9 trillion by 2015; for the average older homeowner, debt grew from $44,000 to $82,000 between 1998 and 2012.

Mortgage loan-to-value (LTV) ratios also moved in tandem; in fact, the proportion of older homeowners with LTV ratios at 80 percent or more doubled from 1998 to 2012, according to the study. The proportion of underwater homeowners tripled over the same period.

Older homeowners today have more favorable retirement conditions, but not without contingencies. Low-income and minority homeowners tend to have most of their wealth tied up in their homes, but accumulate the least equity overall, according to the study—with loan approval related to income, these segments could become challenged, even though they have the potential to increase their retirement incomes considerably more so than other higher-income or majority groups. Low-income and minority homeowners, the study’s authors postulate, will likely rely on Social Security as their primary source of income in retirement.

Older homeowners overall, however, have more of an opportunity now to unlock the wealth potential of their homes in retirement, even with the recession in the rearview. Their prospects, as the study demonstrates, lean on home value, as well as mortgage debt. State the study’s authors, “The majority of older adults, regardless of income, race and ethnicity, and education, own homes that they could use to help finance their retirement.”

From Empty Nest to Full House… Multigenerational Families Are Back!

Multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way! In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, the number of multigenerational homes dropped to as low as 12% in 1980 but has shot back up to 19%, roughly 60.6 million people, as recently as 2014.

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Multigenerational households typically occur when adult children (over the age of 25) either choose to, or need to, remain living in their parent’s home, and then have children of their own. These households also occur when grandparents join their adult children and grandchildren in their home.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 11% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were:

  • To take care of aging parents (19%)
  • Cost savings (18%, up from 15% last year)
  • Children over the age of 18 moving back home (14%, up from 11% last year)

Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, points out that,

“As the face of America is changing, so are family structures. It shouldn’t be a taboo or looked down upon if grown children are living with their families or older adults are living with their grown children.”

For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way human beings have always lived in – extended families.”

This shift can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living. The Asian and Hispanic populations are more likely to live in multigenerational family households and these two groups are growing rapidly.

Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (20% vs. 18%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics.

Carmen Multhauf, co-author of the book “Generational Housing: Myth or Mastery for Real Estate,” brings to light the fact that rents and home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “The younger generations have not been able to save,” and often struggle to get good-paying jobs.

Bottom Line

Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing inventory.

Winter Is Coming… 5 Reasons to Sell Now!

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.

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If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to sell now instead of in the dead of winter.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market (which is 4.5-months).

This means, in most areas, 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 soon.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase, reaching historic levels in 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream homes within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. 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.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.57% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

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 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.

Thinking of Selling? Don’t Overlook an Outdated Kitchen, Buyers Won’t

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If you are planning on listing your home for sale, make sure that you don’t overlook the condition of your kitchen. A recent article on realtor.com listed “7 Signs Your Kitchen Is Way Overdue for a Renovation,” in which they warned:

“Dated kitchens—just like bathrooms—are a major barrier for resale. Buyers want modern amenities and styling, and most aren’t interested in renovating post-purchase.”

Kitchen remodels can be pricey, with many complete remodels costing $20,000 or more. But not every kitchen needs a full remodel. There are many smaller projects that will help buyers see themselves trying their favorite Pinterest recipe in your home!

Here are a couple of project ideas that, if you’re handy or know someone who is, could end up boosting your home’s value without breaking the bank:

  • Are the cabinets in good shape but need an update? A new coat of paint and some updated hardware will instantly freshen up the space and drastically change the feel of the room all for under $300.
  • A new backsplash to match the freshly painted cabinets updates the space and adds some style while staying under $200, depending on the size of the room.
  • If the kitchen seems dark, consider adding LED under cabinet lighting for around $40.
  • If replacing the countertops in the kitchen isn’t within your budget, consider using a top coat to cover the current countertops.

If you decide to complete a full remodel of your outdated kitchen, you can expect a 67% return on a $30,000 upgrade (the national median cost). The benefits of a kitchen remodel aren’t purely financial, according to Houselogic:

“Eighty-two percent of homeowners said their updated kitchen gave them a greater desire to be at home, and 95% were happy or satisfied with the result.”

Bottom Line

Kitchens and bathrooms are often make or break for buyers when touring a home or searching through photo galleries online. Consult a local real estate professional who can help you identify which small projects could pay off big!

Why Waiting Until After the Holidays to Sell Isn’t a Smart Decision

Why Waiting Until After the Holidays to Sell Isn’t a Smart Decision | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays. Here are six great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Companies are not concerned with holiday time and if the buyers have kids, they want them to get into school after the holidays. 
  1. Purchasers that are looking for a home during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy.
  1. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  1. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays. 
  1. There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:
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  2. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2017, which will lessen the demand for your house.