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Archive for the ‘Selling Tips’ Category

Selling Smart: Why a Real Estate Agent Makes All the Difference

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Selling Smart: Why a Real Estate Agent Makes All the Difference Simplifying The Market

If you’re considering selling your house on your own as a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO), you want to think about if it’s really worth the extra stress. Going this route means shouldering a lot of responsibilities by yourself – and, if you’re not an expert, that opens the door for mistakes to happen and can quickly become overwhelming.

A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows two key areas where people who sold their own house struggled the most: pricing and paperwork.

Here are just a few of the ways an agent makes those tasks a whole lot easier.

Getting the Price Right

Setting the right price for your house is important. And, if you’re selling your house on your own, two common issues can happen. You might ask for too much money (overpricing). Or you might not ask for enough (underpricing). Either can make it hard to sell your house. According to NerdWallet:

“When selling a home, first impressions matter. Your house’s market debut is your first chance to attract a buyer and it’s important to get the pricing right. If your home is overpriced, you run the risk of buyers not seeing the listing.

 . . . But price your house too low and you could end up leaving some serious money on the table. A bargain-basement price could also turn some buyers away, as they may wonder if there are any underlying problems with the house.”

To avoid these problems, team up with a real estate agent. Agents know how to figure out the perfect price because they have a deep understanding of the local housing market. And they’ll use that expertise to set a price that matches what buyers are willing to pay, giving your house the best chance to impress from the start.

Understanding and Performing Paperwork

Selling a house involves a bunch of paperwork and legal documentation that has to be just right. There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow, and that makes it a bit tricky for homeowners to manage everything on their own. Without a pro by your side, you could end up facing liability risks and legal complications.

Real estate agents are experts in all the contracts and paperwork needed for selling a house. They know the rules and can guide you through it all, reducing the chance of mistakes that might lead to legal problems or delays. As an article from First American explains:

“To buy or sell a home you need to accurately complete a lot of forms, disclosures, and legal documents. A real estate agent ensures you cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ to help you avoid having a transaction fall through and/or prevent a costly mistake.”

So, instead of dealing with the growing pile of documents on your own, team up with an agent who can be your advisor, helping you avoid any legal bumps in the road.

Bottom Line

Selling a house on your own can cost you a lot of time and stress. Connect with a local real estate agent so you have help with all the finer details, including setting the right price, handling all the paperwork, and so much more. That way you can take that stress off of your plate.

Your Equity Could Make a Move Possible

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Your Equity Could Make a Move Possible Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Today’s mortgage rates are higher than the one they currently have on their home, and that’s making it harder to want to sell and make a move. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

But what if there was a way to offset these higher borrowing costs? There is. And the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

What Is Equity?

Think of equity as a simple math equation. Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . your home’s equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.”

Your equity grows as you pay down your loan over time and as home prices climb. And thanks to the rapid home price appreciation we saw in recent years, you probably have a whole lot more of it than you realize.

The latest from the Census and ATTOM shows more than two out of three homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):

That means the majority of homeowners have a game-changing amount of equity right now.

How Your Equity Can Help Fuel Your Move

After you sell your house, that equity can help you move without worrying as much about today’s mortgage rates. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com says:

“A consideration today’s homeowners should review is what their home equity picture looks like. With the typical home listing price up 40% from just five years ago, many home sellers are sitting on a healthy equity cushion. This means they are likely to walk away from a home sale with proceeds that they can use to offset the amount of borrowing needed for their next home purchase.”

To give you some examples, here are a few ways you can use equity to buy your next home:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. 
  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much at today’s rates. 

The First Step: Determine How Much Equity You Have in Your Home

Want to find out how much equity you have? To do that, you’ll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To understand the current market value of your house, you can pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate agent who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report (PEAR).

Once you’ve connected with a trusted local agent and run the numbers, you’re one step closer to making a move you may not have thought was realistic – all thanks to your equity.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, connect with a local real estate professional.

How an Agent Helps Market Your House

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How an Agent Helps Market Your House Simplifying The Market

You’re ready to sell your house. But what do you need most from your real estate agent? Well, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) asked that very question to recent sellers and found one of the top things they were looking for is help marketing their house to potential buyers. Maybe that’s what you need the most help with too.

You expect your real estate agent to write a great description of your house for the listing and pair it with some high-quality photos. But that’s not all you’re going to get when you partner with a great agent.

They’ll do a lot more to make sure your house stands out. Here are some of the most common methods real estate agents use to market homes according to that same report from NAR (see graph below):

No Caption Received

So, how can you benefit from your agent using these methods?

  • Listing on the MLS – By listing your house on the MLS, it will get more visibility from other real estate agents and buyers. This could lead to more traffic, which could ultimately help you see an increase in offers and ultimately a better price.
  • Using a Yard Sign – A yard sign catches the eye of people driving or walking by. This method drums up local interest since people who live nearby might have friends or family looking to move into the area. It also prominently displays your agent’s contact information, so interested buyers can get in touch easily.
  • Having an Open House – When your agent advertises and hosts your open house, buyers see others are interested in your house, too. This competition can lead to stronger offers. An open house is also easier for you since you only need to leave once for many buyers to visit. Plus, your agent may get useful feedback on what people like or don’t like, which can help you make improvements to attract more buyers later, if needed.
  • Showcasing on Your Agent’s Website – Having your house visible on your agent’s website allows for a professional presentation of your property. Additionally, people visiting your agent’s website are more likely to be serious buyers who are ready to make a move.
  • Social Networking – Your real estate agent works hard to have a wide-ranging social media presence. Marketing your house this way allows them to reach a large audience. It also makes it easy for people to share your listing with friends and loved ones who might be interested.
  • Providing Virtual Tours – Virtual tours are extremely convenient for buyers, especially those who are relocating from out of town. This method allows them to tour anytime, day or night. It shows your agent is using the latest technology to market your house.

There are many tools that can be used to market your house. As NerdWallet sums up:

A good real estate agent will have a robust plan to promote your listing in an effort to find the right pool of buyers. Adding your home to databases of available homes called multiple listing services (MLS), open houses, 3D virtual tours, professional photography and broker tours for buyers’ agents (particularly for luxury homes) are all factors that may go into a marketing plan.”

As a seller, it’s smart to work with a creative local real estate agent who can maximize them to make sure you get as many eyes on your house as possible.

Bottom Line

When it comes to marketing your house, working with a pro has tons of benefits. If you’re ready to sell, but don’t know where to start, connect with a local real estate agent.

Questions You May Have About Selling Your House

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Questions You May Have About Selling Your House Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying mortgage rates are having a big impact on today’s housing market. And that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house and make a move.

Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

If you’re thinking about waiting to sell until after mortgage rates come down, here’s what you need to know. So are a ton of other people.

And while mortgage rates are still forecasted to come down later this year, if you wait for that to happen, you may be dealing with a lot more competition as other buyers and sellers jump back in too. As Bright MLS says:

“Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.”

That means if you wait it out, you’ll have to deal with things like prices rising faster and more multiple-offer scenarios when you buy your next home.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

But that doesn’t mean no one is moving right now. While some people are holding off, there are still plenty of buyers active today. And here’s the data to prove it.

The ShowingTime Showing Index is a measure of how frequently buyers are touring homes. The graph below uses that index to show buyer activity for March (the latest data available) over the past seven years:No Caption Received

You can see demand has dipped some since the ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). That’s in response to a lot of market factors, like higher mortgage rates, rising prices, and limited inventory. But, to really understand today’s demand, you have to compare where we are now with the last normal years in the market (2018-2019) – not the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years. 

When you focus on just the blue bars, you can get an idea of how 2024 stacks up. And that gives you a whole new perspective.

Nationally, demand is still high compared to the last normal years in the housing market (2018-2019). And that means there’s still a market for your house to sell.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

And if you’re worried about how you’ll afford your next move with today’s rates and prices, consider this: you probably have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained record amounts of equity over the past few years. And that equity can make a big difference when you buy your next home. You may even have enough to be an all-cash buyer and avoid taking out a mortgage altogether. As Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“ . . . those who have earned housing equity through home price appreciation are the current winners in today’s housing market. One-third of recent home buyers did not finance their home purchase last month—the highest share in a decade. For these buyers, interest rates may be less influential in their purchase decisions.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve had these three questions on your mind and they’ve been holding you back from selling, hopefully, it helps to have this information now. A recent survey from Realtor.com found more than 85% of potential sellers have been considering selling for over a year. That means there are a number of sellers like you who are on the fence.

But that same survey also talked to sellers who recently decided to take the plunge and list. And 79% of those recent sellers wish they’d sold sooner.

If you want to talk more about any of these questions or need more information, contact a real estate agent.

Thinking of Selling? You Want an Agent with These Skills

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Thinking of Selling? You Want an Agent with These Skills Simplifying The Market

Selling your house is a big decision. Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ve probably ever made, and it’s a place where you’ve created countless memories. That combo means there’s going to be a lot of emotions involved. You want someone who understands your perspective, knows what it feels like, and is an expert at helping homeowners just like you navigate the process of selling a home.

That’s where a good listing agent, also known as a seller’s agent, comes in. Here are just a few skills you’ll want your agent to have.

The Ability To Turn Something Complex into Something Simple

Some agents are going to use big, fancy real estate terms to try and impress you. But you shouldn’t have to know all the industry jargon in order to understand what they’re saying. If anything, it’s an agent’s job to keep it simple, so you don’t get overwhelmed or confused.

A great agent is going to be someone who is very good at explaining what’s happening in the housing market in a way that’s easy to understand. But they’ll take it one step further than that. They’ll explain what’s going on and, specifically, what that means for you. That way you’re always in the loop and it’s a lot easier to feel confident when you’re making a big decision. As Business Insider explains:

“Maybe you have a better rapport with one of the agents you’re considering, or you just feel like they’re easier to approach. You’re going to be working closely with this person, so it’s important to choose an agent you’re comfortable with.”

A Data-Based Approach on How To Price Your House

While it may be tempting to pick the agent who suggests the highest asking price for your house, that strategy may cost you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when you see a bigger number, but overpricing your house can have consequences. It could mean your house will sit on the market longer because the higher price is actually turning away buyers.

Instead, partner with an agent who’s going to have an open conversation about how they recommend you should price your house. They won’t throw out a number just to win your listing. A great agent will back up their number with solid data, explain their pricing strategy, and make sure you’re both on the same page. As NerdWallet explains:

“An agent who recommends the highest price isn’t always the best choice. Choose an agent who backs up the recommendation with market knowledge.”

A Fair, but Objective Negotiator

The home-selling process can be emotional, especially if you’ve been in your house for a long time. But that sentimental tie can make it harder to be objective during negotiations. That’s where a trusted professional can really make a difference.

They’re skilled negotiators who know how to stay calm under pressure. You can count on them to handle the back-and-forth and have your best interests at heart throughout the process. Not to mention, they’ll be able to rely on their market expertise and what they’re seeing work in other transactions to offer the best advice possible. As Rocket Mortgage explains:

“Whether this is your first or third time selling a house, listing agents work to help make the home selling process smoother and less stressful. These real estate professionals know the ins and outs of the industry and can help you secure the best deal.”

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time seller or you’ve been through this before, a great listing agent is the key to your success. Connect with a real estate professional so you have a skilled local expert by your side to guide you through every step of the process.

What’s Motivating Your Move?

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What's Motivating Your Move? Simplifying The Market

Thinking about selling your house? As you make your decision, consider what’s pushing you to think about moving. A recent survey from Realtor.com looked into why people want to sell their homes this year. Here are the top two reasons (see graphic below):

No Caption Received

Let’s take a closer look and see if they’re motivating you to make a change too.

1. To Make a Profit

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. Well, here’s some good news – the latest data shows most sellers get a great return on their investment when they sell. ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:

“. . . home sellers made a $121,000 profit on the typical sale in 2023, generating a 56.5 percent return on investment.”

That’s significant. And here’s one contributing factor. During the pandemic, home prices skyrocketed. There was way more buyer demand than homes available for sale and that combination pushed prices up.

Now, home prices are still rising, just not as fast. That ongoing appreciation is good news for your bottom line. Any profit you make can help offset some of today’s affordability challenges when you buy your next home.

If you want to know how much your house is worth now and what’s going on with prices in your area, talk to a local real estate agent.

2. For Family Reasons

Maybe you want to be near relatives to help take care of older family members or to have more support nearby. Or maybe you’re just eager to spend time together on special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

Selling a house and moving closer to the people who matter the most to you helps keep you connected. If the distance is making you miss out on some big milestones in their lives, it might be time to talk to a local real estate agent to find a place close by. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, there’s probably a good reason for it. Why not talk to a local real estate agent? They can help you make the right move to reach your goals this year.

What More Listings Mean When You Sell Your House

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What More Listings Mean When You Sell Your House Simplifying The Market

The number of homes for sale is playing a big role in today’s housing market. And, if you’re considering whether or not to list your house, today’s limited supply is one of the biggest advantages you have right now. That’s because your house stands out more when the inventory is low, especially if it’s priced right.

But the supply of homes for sale is growing. According to the latest data from Realtor.com, new listings (homeowners who just put their house up for sale) are trending up (see graph below):

 No Caption Received

This graph shows more homeowners are putting that sale sign up in their yards compared to the same time last year. As Realtor.com says:

“. . . sellers turned out in higher numbers this March as newly listed homes were 15.5% above last year’s levels. This marked the fifth month of increasing listing activity after a 17-month streak of decline.”

What This Means for You

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, maybe it’s time to start thinking about it again – before your neighbors do. While we’re not going to suddenly have a surplus of homes for sale, each house that pops on the market in your area runs the risk of pulling buyer attention away from yours.

For example, if your neighbor gets in on the action and lists their house too, it means you’ll have competition right next door. You don’t want buyers to tour your house and fall in love with someone else’s. You want yours to be in the spotlight.

A great agent can make that happen. They’ll help you get your house ready to list, draw attention to everything today’s buyers are looking for, and help you price it right. That way buyers are really drawn to your listing and eager to make it their home.

If you’re ready and able to sell now, here’s your chance to get the best of both worlds. Since the supply of homes for sale is growing, you’ll have more options for your own move. But you’ll also be able to sell while your house will still stand out.

Bottom Line

Even though inventory is still low, you don’t want to wait for more competition to pop up in your neighborhood. Connect with a local real estate agent to go over the perks of selling before more homes come to the market.

Should I Wait for Mortgage Rates To Come Down Before I Move?

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Should I Wait for Mortgage Rates To Come Down Before I Move? Simplifying The Market

If you’ve got a move on your mind, you may be wondering whether you should wait to sell until mortgage rates come down before you spring into action. Here’s some information that could help answer that question for you.

In the housing market, there’s a longstanding relationship between mortgage rates and buyer demand. Typically, the higher rates are, you’ll see lower buyer demand. That’s because some people who want to move will be hesitant to take on a higher mortgage rate for their next home. So, they decide to wait it out and put their plans on hold.

But when rates start to come down, things change. It goes from limited or weak demand to good or strong demand. That’s because a big portion of the buyers who sat on the sidelines when rates were higher are going to jump back in and make their moves happen. The graph below helps give you a visual of how this relationship works and where we are today:

 No Caption Received

As Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist for Bright MLS, explains:

“The higher rates we’re seeing now [are likely] going to lead more prospective buyers to sit out the market and wait for rates to come down.”

Why You Might Not Want To Wait

If you’re asking yourself: what does this mean for my move? Here’s the golden nugget. According to experts, mortgage rates are still projected to come down this year, just a bit later than they originally thought. 

When rates come down, more people are going to get back into the market. And that means you’ll have a lot more competition from other buyers when you go to purchase your next home. That may make your move more stressful if you wait because greater demand could lead to an increase in multiple offer scenarios and prices rising faster.

But if you’re ready and able to sell now, it may be worth it to get ahead of that. You have the chance to move before the competition increases.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about whether you should wait for rates to come down before you move, don’t forget to factor in buyer demand. Once rates decline, competition will go up even more. If you want to get ahead of that and sell now, talk to a real estate agent.