Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Sept. 12, 2019

The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House Sold

The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House Sold | Simplifying The Market

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process and you’ve been asked 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 you can provide to your agent to be able to show your home.

 

Here are five levels of access you can provide to a buyer, each with a brief description:

 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Open Access with a Phone Call – The seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  • 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.
  • Limited Access – Example: the home is only available for 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.

Sept. 12, 2019

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020 | Simplifying The Market

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association are all projecting home sales will increase nicely in 2020.

 

Below is a chart depicting the projections of each entity for 2019, as well as for 2020.

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020 | Simplifying The Market

As we can see, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association all believe homes sales will increase steadily over the next year. If you’re a homeowner who has considered selling your house recently, now may be the best time to put it on the market.

Posted in Move-Up Buyers
Sept. 12, 2019

A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Hiring a real estate professional to help you buy your dream home or sell your current house is one of the most powerful decisions you can make.
  • A real estate professional has the experience to help you confidently navigate through the entire process.
  • Make sure you work with someone who knows the current market conditions and can simply and effectively explain them to you and your family.
Sept. 12, 2019

Everybody Calm Down! This Is NOT 2008

Everybody Calm Down! This Is NOT 2008 | Simplifying The Market

Last week realtor.com released the results of a survey that produced three major revelations:

 

53% of home purchasers (first-time and repeat buyers) currently in the market believe a recession will occur this year or next.

57% believe the next recession will be as bad or worse than 2008.

55% said they would cancel plans to move if a recession occurred.

 

Since we are currently experiencing the longest-ever economic expansion in American history, there is reason to believe a recession could occur in the not-too-distant future. And, it does make sense that buyers and sellers remember the horrors of 2008 when they hear the word “recession.”

 

Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

 

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

 

Most experts, however, believe if there is a recession, it will not resemble 2008. This housing market is in no way the same as it was just over a decade ago.

 

Zillow Economist, Jeff Tucker, explained the difference in a recent article, Recessions Typically Have Limited Effect on the Housing Market:

 

 “As we look ahead to the next recession, it’s important to recognize how unusual the conditions were that caused the last one, and what’s different about the housing market today. Rather than abundant homes, we have a shortage of new home supply. Rather than risky borrowers taking on adjustable-rate mortgages, we have buyers with sterling credit scores taking out predictable 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. The housing market is simply much less risky than it was 15 years ago.”

 

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, also weighed in on the subject:

 

“This is going to be a much shorter recession than the last one, I don’t think the next recession will be a repeat of 2008…The housing market is in a better position.”

 

In the past 23 years, there have been two national recessions – the dot-com crash in 2001 and the Great Recession in 2008. It is true that home values fell 19.7% during the 2008 recession, which was caused by a mortgage meltdown that heavily impacted the housing market. However, while stock prices fell almost 25% in 2001, home values appreciated 6.6%. The triggers of the next recession will more closely mirror those from 2001 – not those from 2008.

 

Bottom Line

No one can accurately predict when the next recession will occur, but expecting one could possibly take place in the next 18-24 months is understandable. It is, however, important to realize that the impact of a recession on the housing market will in no way resemble 2008.

 

Sept. 12, 2019

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment | Simplifying The Market

When buying a home, taxes are one of the expenses that can make a significant difference in your monthly payment. Do you know how much you might pay for property taxes in your state or local area?

 

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll see one of two acronyms in your paperwork – P&I or PITI – depending on how you’re including your taxes in your mortgage payment.

 

P&I stand for Principal and Interest, and both are parts of your monthly mortgage payment that go toward paying off the loan you borrow. PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, and they’re all important factors to calculate when you want to determine exactly what the cost of your new home will be.

 

TaxRates.org defines property taxes as,

 

“A municipal tax levied by counties, cities, or special tax districts on most types of real estate – including homes, businesses, and parcels of land. The amount of property tax owed depends on the appraised fair market value of the property, as determined by the property tax assessor.”

 

This organization also provides a map showing annual property taxes by state (including the District of Columbia), from lowest to highest, as a percentage of median home value

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment | Simplifying The Market

The top 5 states with the highest median property taxes are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The states with the lowest median property taxes are Louisiana, Hawaii, Alabama, and Delaware, followed by the District of Columbia.

 

Bottom Line

Depending on where you live, property taxes can have a big impact on your monthly payment. To make sure your estimated taxes will fall within your desired budget, let’s get together today to determine how the neighborhood or area you choose can make a difference in your overall costs when buying a home.

Sept. 12, 2019

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Simplifying The Market

Below are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase…and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

 

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

 

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

 

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple years, for fear that they would not find a home to move to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

 

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time needed to close a loan is 43 days.

 

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

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that in the luxury or premium market.

 

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year. If you’re moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage) if you wait.

 

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 having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

 

Only you know the answers to these questions. 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.

Sept. 8, 2019

Homeownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream

Homeownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream | Simplifying The Market

On Labor Day we celebrate the hard work that helps us achieve the American Dream.

 

Growing up, many of us thought about our future lives with great ambition. We drew pictures of what jobs we wanted to have and where we would live as a representation of a secure life for ourselves and our families. Today we celebrate the workers that make this country a place where those dreams can become a reality.

 

According to Wikipedia,

 

“Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.”

 

The hard work that happens every day across this country allows so many to achieve the American Dream. The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says,

 

“Approximately 75% of non-homeowners believe homeownership is part of their American Dream, while 9 in 10 current homeowners said the same.”

 

Looking at the number of non-owners, you may wonder, ‘If they believe in homeownership, why haven’t they bought a home yet?’. Well, increasing home prices and low inventory can be part of the reason why some haven’t jumped in, but that does not mean there is a lack of interest. The same report shows the increase in the desire to buy in the last year (as shown in the graph below):

Homeownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream | Simplifying The Market

As we can see, there are more and more people each quarter who want to buy a home. The good news is, as more inventory comes to the market, more non-homeowners will be able to fulfill their dreams. Finally, they’ll be able to move into that home they drew when they were little kids!

 

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner considering selling, this fall might be the right time, as there are buyers in the market ready to buy. Let’s get together to determine how you can benefit from the pent-up housing demand.

Sept. 8, 2019

A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis [INFOGRAPHIC]

A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • There is plenty of talk in the media about a pending economic slowdown.
  • The good news is, home values actually increased in 3 of the last 5 U.S. recessions, and decreased by less than 2% in the 4th.
  • Many experts predict a potential recession is on the horizon. However, housing will not be the trigger, and home values will still continue to appreciate. It will not be a repeat of the crash in the 2008 housing market.

 

Aug. 29, 2019

iBuyers: What Is the “Cost of Convenience” When Selling Your Home?

iBuyers: What Is the “Cost of Convenience” When Selling Your Home? | Simplifying The Market

When thinking about selling their house, homeowners have many options. A relatively new option is using an “iBuyer.” What is an iBuyer?

 

According to Jovio, the definition is:

 

“A company or investor that uses Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) to make instant offers on homes. It allows sellers to close on a property quickly. Once sold, the company then turns around and resells the home for a profit.”

 

Today, there are many iBuyer companies such as OfferPad, Zillow Offers, Knock, Opendoor, and Perch. Even some more traditional companies offer the same or similar services (ex. Keller Williams, Redfin, Realogy). Ivy Zelman reported in her ‘Z’ Report that some traditional brokers are partnering with some of the larger iBuyers too:

 

“Keller Williams announced a partnership with Offerpad, aligning the largest franchise-based brokerage brand in the U.S. with the five-year-old iBuyer. The move follows Realogy’s partnership with Home Partners of America last year as an established brokerage player more directly providing an iBuyer alternative…

 

Likewise, in early July, Redfin and Opendoor announced a partnership, starting in Phoenix and Atlanta – aligning interests of the 13-year old, tech-enabled and value-focused brokerage with the largest and longest-standing iBuyer. Outside of these larger scale alliances, Zillow’s strategy has been to work with local brokerages as partners on a market-by-market basis.”

 

Does it make sense to sell your home to an iBuyer?

It depends. Collateral Analytics recently released a study which revealed the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer. According to the study, if the homeowner is looking for the convenience of a quick sale with less uncertainty, using an iBuyer may make sense.

 

“iBuyers offer quicker closings for sellers who would like to avoid the uncertainty of knowing when and if their home will sell. For motivated sellers who want a predictable sale date and need to move, perhaps a long distance from the current location, there is no question that iBuyers have provided a welcome alternative to traditional brokerage.”

 

The study, however, also showed there is a cost for that convenience. Collateral Analytics explained:

 

“Traditional brokers fees generally range from 5% to 7% of the sales price…In addition to this cost, buyers typically pay some closing costs including lender related charges in the range of 1% to 3%.”

 

In contrast:

 

“iBuyers charge sellers a ‘convenience fee’ of 6% to 9.5%, some also charge the seller for fees typically paid by buyers at closing adding another 1% or more. Most iBuyers will inspect the home, assess a generous home repair allowance and negotiate a (an additional) credit to handle such repairs…Overall the total direct costs, ignoring repair credits, will run 7% to 10% for an iBuyer, versus the typical 5% to 9% combined seller and buyer costs with a traditional broker. Yet, that is not the end of the story or comparison.”

 

The study went on to explain how iBuyers need to charge even more because they have additional expenses beyond that of the traditional broker. They include:

 

  • Carrying costs involving significant amounts of capital – The iBuyer must pay the expenses of the house between the time they purchase it and the time they sell it to a new buyer.
  • Safeguarding the home risks – A home with an iBuyer ‘For Sale Sign’ alerts anyone passing that the house is vacant. The study suggests that these homes could become targets for vagrants and criminals.
  • Adverse selection risks – The study explains that since iBuyers use computer models to determine their offer, they may be unaware of certain challenges in the neighborhood that could adversely impact the value.
  • Potential home price declines – As the survey states:

“A downturn in home prices, not forecast by the iBuyer market analysts could be devastating as they ramp up their business platforms, particularly if the cost of capital increases. At the same time, downturns are precisely when the most sellers would want this option.”

 

Bottom Line

After taking a thorough look at the iBuyer platform, the study concludes that using an iBuyer is more expensive for the homeowner than the traditional brokerage model, but for some sellers, it may still make sense:

 

“These preliminary empirical results suggest that sellers are paying not just the difference in fees of 2% to 5% more than with traditional agencies, and a generous repair allowance, but another 3% to 5% or more to compensate the iBuyer for liquidity risks and carrying costs. In all, the typical cost to a seller appears to be in the range of 13% to 15% depending on the iBuyer vendor. For some sellers, needing to move or requiring quick extraction of equity, this is certainly worthwhile, but what percentage of the market will want this service remains to be seen.”

Aug. 29, 2019

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids | Simplifying The Market

According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.

 

Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:

 

When Purchasing a Home

The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.

 

Buyers with children also purchase larger, detached single-family homes with 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms at approximately 2,110 square feet.

 

Furthermore, 26% noted how childcare expenses delayed the home-buying process and forced additional compromises: 31% in the size of the home, 24% in the price, and 18% in the distance from work.

 

When Selling a Home

Of those polled, 23% of buyers with children sold their home “very urgently,” and 46% indicated “somewhat urgently, within a reasonable time frame.” Selling with urgency can pressure sellers to accept offers that are not in their favor. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR explains,

 

“When buying or selling a home, exercising patience is beneficial, but in some cases – such as facing an upcoming school year or the outgrowing of a home – sellers find themselves rushed and forced to accept a less than ideal offer.”

 

For sellers with children, 21% want a real estate professional to help them sell the home within a specific time frame, 20% at a competitive price, and 19% to market their home to potential buyers.

 

Bottom Line

Buying or selling a home can be driven by different priorities when you are also raising a family. If you’re a seller with children and looking to relocate, let’s get together to navigate the process in the most reasonable time frame for you and your family.