Date Archives: January 2023

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buying a home | 99 Posts
mortgage | 4 Posts
real estate news | 45 Posts
selling a home | 41 Posts
Uncategorized | 8 Posts
January
20

Developing a plan and setting attainable goals are two of the biggest ingredients in the process of selling a home successfully. By understanding what steps you need to take, when you need to take them, and where you can look for help along the way, you'll put yourself in a great position to sell a home quickly while maximizing your return on investment.

This step-by-step guide to selling a house is designed to prepare you for the process and help you achieve your goals.

From "For Sale" to Sold: A Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Your Next Home

Step One – Find the Right Real Estate Agent

The first step on our list just might be the most important because finding the right real estate agent will make all the steps that follow so much easier to handle. Remember that you definitely don't have to settle for the first agent you meet unless that agent truly shows that they're the right person to sell your home. Ask around for referrals, interview agents, and find the right agent for your unique needs. 

Step Two – Research the Market and Pick a Price

One of the first things that your agent can help you with is understanding your local real estate market, and picking a price that will help get your home sold. Your agent should offer a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will help you understand what other similar homes in your market are selling for, and set a price that attracts competitive offers.

Step Three – Clean, Clear Out Clutter, and Prepare Your Home for Sale

With a great agent on your side and a fair market price chosen for your home, you'll be ready to prepare your home for potential buyers. This is a great opportunity to start the process of moving out: clear clutter, store personal items, and make your home as attractive as possible for buyers. You'll want to clean every inch of your home, from the basement to the master bedroom. Curb appeal is a big deal, too, so make sure that your yard is looking its best.

Step Four – Market Your Home to the Masses

With your home ready for buyers to visit, it's time to start attracting attention and introducing buyers to what you have to offer. Your real estate agent can help you market your home through social media, online listings, and traditional marketing tools. You can also do your part by spreading the word and letting others know that your home is on the market.

Step Five – Prepare for Multiple Offers

By working with an experienced agent, picking the right price, and marketing your home effectively, you'll set yourself up to receive multiple offers on your home. Make sure that you understand exactly what you're looking for from an offer, so you can negotiate the deal that best matches your needs.

Step Six – Negotiate and Close the Deal

All of the work that you do up to this point leads up to the process of negotiating with the buyer and closing the deal. Work closely with your real estate agent to ensure that all of the key legal details are covered and that you're maximizing the value you receive in return for all of the hard work you've done to sell a home.

No matter where you are in the sales process, remember that there's plenty of help available, both from your real estate agent and from other homeowners you trust. Start by following our step-by-step guide, and you'll already be ahead of the game when you decide to sell a home.

January
16

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, most home sellers hire the first real estate agent they meet.

Now, that might not necessarily be a bad idea if you happen to meet a great agent right out of the gate, but selling your home is a big move, and it's important to choose your listing agent carefully.

To find the best agent for the job, you need to ask questions — and not just "how much will you get for the property?" and "what will the commission be?" Include these questions during the interview process:

  • What are your credentials?
    A real estate agent should have a state license and belong to the local real estate trade association. You may also find someone who is a licensed REALTOR® (a member of the National Association of REALTORS®), which requires additional training and a strict code of ethics.

  • Do you specialize in my neighborhood?
    Local expertise is crucial. Your agent needs to have in-depth experience in your local real estate market, including inside knowledge about any upcoming developments that might affect the value of your home.

  • How many homes have you sold in the last year?
    Past performance doesn't always ensure a quick sale, but you'll be able to put your mind at ease knowing that your agent has a track record of success. Ask about how much these homes sold for, so you know that your agent has experience selling homes in your price range.

  • How do you determine the listing price?
    The "money talk" is the make-or-break conversation for many home sellers. It's important that your agent can help you land on a listing price that you feel good about but is also appropriate for the market. An underpriced home doesn't give you the profit you deserve, but an overpriced home could end up languishing on the market. Be sure you understand how the agent arrives at a price for your home.

  • What's your sales plan?
    Your agent should have a plan laid out for marketing your home. Mailers, listing services, open houses, and social media are all important.

  • What will it cost me to sell my home?
    From broker's commission to closing fees, there are a number of costs that can really add up when you're selling your home. Find out what it will cost, and compare from one agent to the next.

  • Will I be working with you directly?
    There's a balancing act between working with a specific agent and a team of agents. Either way, you'll want to know for sure whether you'll be working with one specific agent or a member of the agent's team. It's also important to know how you will be communicating with your agent.

  • How long will it take to sell?
    No agent can say exactly how fast any home will sell. The national average is 65 days, but this depends on a variety of factors.

Your goal should be to finds an agent with whom you are confident and comfortable with and who can sell your home quickly and at the right price. 

Reach out to a local Montague Miller & Company real estate professional. Our agents are licensed REALTORS® with expertise and dedication to help guide you through the home selling process.

January
16

Before you engage in any real estate transaction, you need to know as much as you can about the home's value. There are two related but distinct processes that help people pin down the valuation of a property before they move forward: comparative market analysis and home appraisal.

Both of these will be performed at different steps in the sale process. Knowing the difference between the two can save you some valuable time.

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
    comparative market analysis is typically performed by a real estate agent. Thanks to MLS, real estate pros have the opportunity to compare your home to others that have sold in your general area. Selling prices, time on market, home improvements, and square footage can be used to determine an approximate value of your home.

    When a CMA is completed, it will provide you with a low, medium, and high selling price for your home. It will also give an estimate of the average number of days your home may be on the market.

  • Home Appraisal
    The home appraisal is paid for by potential home buyers — either out of pocket or as part of the fees they will ultimately finance in their mortgage.

    An appraisal of the home is performed after the buyer applies for a loan with a bank or other lender. Once the buyer submits an offer and requests financing, a licensed appraiser is dispatched.

    All practicing home appraisers must be licensed or certified by the state. Although they visit a property at the request of the bank, appraisers are intended to report neutral observations about each home. The comprehensive report they compile helps to determine the home's fair market value.

    This protects the bank from lending too much money for any given home.

    Though an appraisal will include some basic information on the home's condition, more time is spent on recent information about similar listings and housing market conditions in the neighborhood.

    Minor repairs and renovations performed before an appraisal can help raise the home's assessed value.

CMA Versus Home Appraisal: Final Considerations

Both a comparative market analysis and home appraisal provide valuable insights that help you and your real estate agent move toward a successful sale. Assuming a property spends only a moderate amount of time on the market, each usually needs to be completed only once.

Sometimes, however, a lender might request a new appraisal even if the previous appraisal was only a short time ago. You might even get a CMA before you make a final decision about selling your home. Each situation is different.

An experienced real estate agent can help you by ensuring you're equipped with an accurate CMA. Plus, when the time comes to prepare for an appraisal, they can guide you on the most important steps to raise your home's value in your budget and timeline.

As with anything in real estate, the sooner you get started with selling your home, the smoother the process.

Reach out to a trusted Montague Miller & Co real estate professional to help you make your next move.

January
1

 

Last year, one factor drove the real estate market more than any other: rising mortgage rates.

In March 2022, the Federal Reserve began a series of interest rate hikes in an effort to pump the brakes on inflation.1 And while some market sectors have been slow to respond, the housing market has reacted accordingly.

Both demand and price appreciation have tapered, as the primary challenge for homebuyers has shifted from availability to affordability. And although this higher-mortgage rate environment has been a painful adjustment for many buyers and sellers, it should ultimately lead to a more stable and balanced real estate market.

So what can we expect in 2023? Will mortgage rates continue to climb? Could home prices come crashing down? While this is one of the more challenging real estate periods to forecast, here's what several industry experts predict will happen to the U.S. housing market in the coming year.

MORTGAGE RATES WILL FLUCTUATE LESS

In 2022, 30-year fixed mortgage rates surged from roughly 3% in January to around 7%. According to Rick Sharga of real estate data company ATTOM, "We've never seen rates double in so short a period."2

This year, economists forecast a less dramatic shift.

In an interview with Bankrate, Nadia Evangelou, senior economist for the National Association of Realtors, shares her vision of three possible mortgage rate scenarios:3

  1. Inflation continues to surge, forcing the Fed to repeatedly raise interest rates. In that scenario, she predicts that rates could reach as high as 8.5%.
  2. Inflation decelerates and mortgage rates follow suit, averaging 7 to 7.5% for the year.
  3. Rising interest rates trigger a recession, which could ultimately lead mortgage rates to drop closer to 5% by the end of the year.

Realtor.com forecasts something similar to scenario #2 above: "Mortgage rates will average 7.4% in 2023, trickling down to 7.1% by year's end."4 The Mortgage Bankers Association, however, projects something closer to Evangelou's scenario #3, with the 30-year fixed rate declining steadily throughout the year, averaging 6.2% in Q1 and 5.2% by Q4.5

Economists at Fannie Mae fall somewhere in the middle. In a recent press release, they predicted that the U.S. economy will experience a "modest recession" this year.6 But in their December Housing Forecast, they project that 30-year fixed mortgage rates will only fall by half a point from an average of 6.5% in Q1 to 6.0% in Q4.7

"From our perspective, the good news is that demographics remain favorable for housing, so the sector appears well-positioned to help lead the economy out of what we expect will be a brief recession," said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.6

What does it mean for you?  Even the experts can't say for certain where mortgage rates are headed. Instead of trying to "time the market," focus instead on buying or selling a home when the time is right for you. There are a variety of mortgage options available that can make a home purchase more affordable, including adjustable rates, points, and buydowns—and keep in mind you can always refinance down the road. We'd be happy to refer you to a trusted mortgage professional who can outline your best options.

SALES VOLUME WILL FALL AND INVENTORY WILL RISE

It looks like the home-buying frenzy we experienced in recent years is behind us. While the desire to own a home remains strong, higher mortgage rates have made it unaffordable for a large segment of would-be buyers.

Many economists expect the number of home sales to continue to decline this year, leading to an increase in listing inventory and days-on-market, or the time it takes to sell a home. But, there is a wide range when it comes to specifics.

Economists at Fannie Mae forecast that total home sales will fall by around 20% this year before rising again by nearly 15% in 2024.7 National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun projects a less extreme dip of 7% in 2023 with a rebound of 10% next year.8

Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale foresees something in between. "The deceleration in home sales is likely to continue as high home prices and mortgage rates limit the pool of eligible home buyers. We anticipate that existing home sales will decline another 14.1% in 2023." She expects this drop in sales to lead to a nearly 23% increase in inventory levels this year, offering more choices for buyers who have struggled to find a home in the past.9

However, given the severe lack of housing supply, even with a double-digit increase, the market is expected to remain relatively tight and below pre-pandemic levels. Hale points out: "It's important to keep historical context in mind. The level of inventory in 2023 is expected to fall roughly 15% short of the 2019 average."9

What does it mean for you?  If you've been frustrated by a lack of inventory in the past, 2023 may bring new opportunities for you to find the perfect home. And today's buyers have more negotiating power than they've had in years. Contact us to find out about current and future listings that meet your criteria.

If you're hoping to sell, you may want to act fast; rising inventory levels will mean increased competition. We can help you chart the best course to maximize your profits, starting with a professional assessment of your home's current market value. Reach out to schedule a free consultation.

HOME PRICES WILL REMAIN RELATIVELY STABLE

While some economists expect home prices to fall this year, many expect them to remain fairly stable. "For most parts of the country, home prices are holding steady since available inventory is extremely low," said Yun at a November conference.8

Nationally, Yun expects the average median home price to tick up by 1% in 2023, with some markets experiencing greater appreciation and others experiencing declines.8 Economists at Fannie Mae offer a similar projection, forecasting a slight decrease in their Home Price Index of about 1.5%, year-over-year.7

Other experts foresee a larger fluctuation. Hale expects U.S. home prices to rise by 5.4% this year, while Morgan Stanley is forecasting a 7% drop from the peak in June 2022.9,10

Still, many economists agree that a housing market crash like the one we experienced in 2008 is highly unlikely. The factors that caused home prices to plunge during the Great Recession—specifically lax lending standards and a surplus of inventory—aren't prevalent in our current market.10 Therefore, home values are expected to remain comparatively stable.

What does it mean for you?  It can feel scary to buy a home when there's uncertainty in the market. However, real estate is a long-term investment that has been shown to appreciate over time. And keep in mind that the best bargains are often found in a slower market, like the one we're experiencing right now. Contact us to discuss your goals and budget. We can help you make an informed decision about the right time to buy.

And if you're planning to sell this year, you'll want to chart your path carefully to maximize your profits. Contact us for recommendations and to find out what your home could sell for in today's market.

RENT PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO CLIMB

 Affordability challenges for would-be buyers, inflationary pressures, and an overall lack of housing could continue to drive "above-average" rent price increases in much of the country.11 The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas expects year-over-year rental price growth to tick up to 8.4% in May before moderating later in the year.12

According to Hale, "U.S. renters will continue to face challenges from limited supply and excess demand in the coming year that will keep upward pressure on rent growth. At a national level, we forecast rent growth of 6.3% in the next 12 months, somewhat ahead of home price growth and historical rent trends."9

However, there are signs that the surge in rent prices could be tapering. According to Jay Parsons, head of economics for rental housing software company RealPage, there's some evidence of a slowdown in demand. He predicts that market-rate rents will rise just 3.3% this year. Still, analysts agree that a return to lower pre-pandemic rental prices is unlikely.10

What does it mean for you?  Rent prices are expected to keep climbing. But you can lock in a set mortgage payment and build long-term wealth by putting that money toward a home purchase instead. Reach out for a free consultation to discuss your options.

And if you've ever thought about purchasing a rental property, now may be a perfect time. Call today to get your investment property search started.

WE'RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate forecasts can provide a "big picture" outlook, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you're considering buying or selling a home in 2023, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We'll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/fed-funds-rate-history/
  2. Bankrate -
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/will-mortgage-rates-go-up-in-december-2022/
  3. Bankrate -
    https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/housing-market-predictions-2023/
  4. com -
    https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/2023-the-year-of-the-homebuyer-our-bold-predictions-on-home-prices-mortgage-rates-and-more/
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association -
    https://www.mba.org/docs/default-source/research-and-forecasts/forecasts/mortgage-finance-forecast-dec-2022.pdf?sfvrsn=b584bf7_1
  6. Fannie Mae -
    https://www.fanniemae.com/newsroom/fannie-mae-news/economy-still-expected-enter-and-exit-modest-recession-2023
  7. Fannie Mae -
    https://www.fanniemae.com/media/45801/display
  8. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/nars-lawrence-yun-predicts-us-home-prices-wont-experience-major-decline-could-possibly-rise-slightly
  9. com -
    https://www.realtor.com/research/2023-national-housing-forecast/
  10. The New York Times -
    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/04/realestate/housing-market-interest-rates.html
  11. CNBC -
    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/28/how-much-higher-rent-will-go-in-2023-according-to-experts.html
  12. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas -
    https://www.dallasfed.org/research/economics/2022/0816