Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Home This Spring

Blooming flowers and warmer temperatures don’t just mark the start of allergy season. Spring is also peak season for real estate sales. If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, you’re probably wondering what the current market is like and how to navigate it.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide

low-housing-inventory
The 2017 spring real estate season differs from past spring markets in some big ways. Here’s what you need to know…

1. Inventory Is Low

Home inventory has dropped for eight consecutive quarters, making it harder to find a home, according to Trulia’s research.

In 2017, homebuyers are up against a very competitive market, where there are fewer homes for sale that cost more than they did last year.

Hit hardest? First-time homebuyers. There’s a larger inventory of trade-up homes and luxury homes than starter homes. As prices rise, people who might have been looking for a luxury home may now be in the trade-up market. Those who would have been in the trade-up market are buying starter homes or hanging on to the homes they already have. This means first-time buyers have to put in extra effort to land a home.

RELATED: 10 Rookie Mistakes That Hurt First-Time Homebuyers

2. Homes Are Selling Fast

Understanding the current real estate market can keep you from being blindsided. Short supply is the dominant issue this spring. Homes that are priced at market and are in attractive condition sell in days.

You may want to act quickly when you find something you like, and be flexible with seller requests — two tactics that can help you buy a home in a competitive market.

3. Interest Rates Are Rising

Rising interest rates could price some buyers out of the market. The Federal Reserve announced in March that interest rates would be increased by a quarter point based on the growing confidence on the economy.

But interest rates are still historically low and affordable. Higher rates will likely decrease one’s home-buying power, but it’s unlikely to deter serious buyers who are actively looking for a new home. What’s likelier to happen, at least in the short term, is that more people will enter the market before rates get even higher.

4. Timing Is Everything

The hardest part of buying a starter home is saving the down payment. Once you have that in place, there are great options.

But should you wait to save 20% for a down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), or should you buy now with only, say, 5% to put down before interest rates rise?

RELATED: Making Sense of Mortgage Rates, APR and PMI

In most cases, it becomes more expensive to wait. If it’s going to take you two years to save 20% and prices and rates rise, it’ll usually be better to go ahead at 5% and pay PMI.

RELATED: What Is The Cost of Waiting Until 2019 to Buy A Home

5. Consumer Confidence Is High

Rising interest rates signal a strong economy, and consumers, with renewed confidence in this strong job market, are buying homes. This is what most people call a comeback. People who found themselves underwater on their homes are now starting to see those homes gain value. They can now make — instead of lose — money on a home sale.

6. Try To Overlook The Little Things

If your ultimate goal is to become a homeowner this spring, you may wish to circle back to that older home with no upgrades that didn’t initially excite you.

Some available properties may lack modern layouts and amenities. Consider ignoring cosmetic issues like bad paint colors or poorly placed furniture and determine your budget for desired upgrades. In a competitive real estate market with low inventory, being able to overlook simpler flaws could be the difference between getting a good deal on a home and not getting a home at all.

7. Preapproval Is More Important Than Ever

You may need to offer more money to buy a home in this busy real estate season. First, figure out what you can comfortably afford. Don’t stretch yourself financially.

A good formula for a starter-home buyer would be to dedicate 38.3% of monthly income to your home — a 2.9 point increase from last year.

Once your budget is set, focus on prepping your finances for a home purchase. The more prepared in preapproval you are, the more value you add to yourself and your buying appearance. This means having all documentation in line so you can move fast.

YOUR TURN

Are you planning to buy a home this spring? Tell us why on our Facebook Page or Twitter or Instagram Feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Why the Holidays Are A Great Time to Sell Your Home

When it comes to real estate, many believe the ideal time to sell your home often falls in the spring months. After all, people often hunker down during the winter or are too busy with the holidays to think about purchasing a new home. Not to mention that people like to start shopping in the spring to make sure they are settled in their home before the start of a new school year.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Home Selling Essentials: The Ultimate Guide

But putting your house up for sale around the holidays has its benefits. Sure, you may not get into a bidding war, but you are going to deal with serious buyers who are ready to pull the trigger.

SELL-YOUR-JERSEY-SHORE-HOME

Consider these major benefits to selling your home this holiday season:

1. There’s Less Inventory

Conventional wisdom says people should wait until the spring to get the most from a home sale. But studies have shown that homes listed around the holidays can not only command more money, but can also sell quicker than ones listed in the spring.

One of the reasons is there is less competition during the holidays. For a multitude of reasons people won’t put their houses up for sale when the holidays are coming up, and so the ones shopping aren’t going to have dozens of houses to choose from. In the spring, inventory usually picks up, and price wars break out in coveted neighborhoods. But during the holidays, there will be limited choices which means a homeowner can have a higher asking price.

2. Buyers Are More Serious

Anyone who is shopping for a new home around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s is undoubtedly going to be a serious buyer. While hitting open houses is a favorite pastime for many Americans, they aren’t going to spend their precious time around the holidays seeing how the other half lives. In the spring, when open houses are a regular occurrence, people may check out homes without a clear plan to buy.

If your house is up for sale in the winter and someone is looking at it, chances are that person is serious and is ready to pull the trigger. That can often result in a quicker sales process.

3. You Can Make the Home Warm and Cozy

The holidays are often a time when people gather around fireplaces, have hot chocolate and make nice smelling cakes and pies. For homeowners who put their house up for sale during the winter months, they can stage their house to give off the comfy and homey vibe that appeals to many home buyers. Some people may argue that showing a house in the winter is hard to do because there’s snow on the ground, the house is drafty and the curb appeal is lacking. But keeping the heat up, having a pie baking in the oven to give off a pleasant smell and keeping the sidewalk and driveway clear of snow and ice can boost a home’s appeal.

Not to mention that buyers tend to be more emotional during the holidays and will make decisions based on the feeling a house conjures up. During the spring there is a lot more foot traffic in homes that are up for sale. Buyers may not be able to do a thorough walk-through, may get frustrated because of the number of people looking at it and can leave with a bad feeling about the home.

4. Timing Is Perfect for Transfers

The end of the year is typically the time when people get notified that they will be moving because of a job transfer. Those people are going to need a house sooner rather than later, and as a result will be hunting for a new home during the holidays. These buyers can’t wait for the spring, which is why listing during the holidays can get the home sold and sold quickly.

5. Your Neighborhood May Look More Appealing

One of the staples of the holiday months, particularly Christmas, is that many people adorn their homes with festive lights and decorations. That is also true of local communities where lit-up snowflakes and wreaths can be found on lamp poles and up and down the main streets. People purchasing a home during that time may see the neighborhood in a different light and may be more willing to consider an area that they may have been on the fence about.

6. End-of-Year Tax Breaks

Reducing the tax bill is not the main reason buyers purchase a new home, but it could be the reason serious buyers make a move during the holidays. That’s because if the home sale closes before Dec. 31, buyers can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes and interest costs of the loan. The tax deductions can be significant and could prompt a home buyer to move during the holidays instead of waiting until the spring.

YOU TURN

Nobody wants their home to languish on the market nor do they want to have to lower the price they are asking for. And while many fear that will happen if they list their home during the holidays, often that isn’t the case.

Are you planning on selling your home? Contact us to find out why selling your home during the holiday season can mean less competition, more serious buyers and a quicker sale.

Mega Tips for a First-Time Home Seller

Homeowners don’t generally think about filling the shoes of a first-time home seller until they decide to buy a new home. Usually, the motivating factor is the need to move — due to work-related issues or the needs of a growing family — and that generally involves buying another house. It’s when the homeowners stop to consider the move that it may dawn on them, yes, because they need to sell, they are now a first-time home seller.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

Selling a home is very different from buying a home. Whereas buying a home generally involves emotions and feelings, selling a home typically centers on what listing agents like to call maximizing profit potential.


Here are the key steps to keep in mind as a first-time homeseller to sell your home fast and for top-dollar:

1. Price Your Home Accurately

To price your home accurately you need the assistance of a reputable Listing Agent. This is not the time to choose your cousin’s sister-in-law, for example, who dabbles in real estate. You’ll fare much better if you select an experienced real estate agent who sells a fair number of listings, preferably in your neighborhood.

RELATED: What’s My Home Worth? Find Out Now!

Your Agent will analyze comparable sales and prepare an estimate of value often called a CMA, for comparative market analysis. It is OK to use real estate websites to get an idea of this figure, but you’ll soon learn the variances your agent will point out because your they have the experience and education to provide you with a more accurate opinion of value.

2. Prepare Your Home For Sale

Ask your Listing Agent to advise you on preparing your home for sale. Most homes show better with about half of the furniture removed. If a buyer walks in the door and wonders if anybody lives in the house, you’ve done your job correctly. Consider home staging to boost your selling power and appeal.

RELATED: 10 Low Cost Ways To Help Your Home Sell Fast

Painting is the single most effective improvement you can make. Don’t let dings in the woodwork or scraps on the walls make your home reflect deferred maintenance.

3. Be Flexible with Showings

If home showings are too much of an imposition, consider going away the first weekend your home is on the market. Yes, it can feel a bit intrusive to allow strangers to trek through your home and check out your soft-closing drawers in the kitchen. The best way to sell your home is to let a buyer inside with her buyer’s agent to tour in peace and quiet.

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Never Say When Selling Your Home

Leave the house when buyer’s agents show up. Anything you say can and will be used against you, plus, buyer’s agents prefer to show without interference

4. Allow An Open House

Not every home is a viable candidate for an open house. If your home is located in an area close to major traffic, that is generally indicative of a reasonable expectation that the open house signs will pull in visitors.

Ask your Listing Agent if they advertise the open houses online. Many a home buyer has had no desire to buy a home until she spots an open house and subsequently falls in love.

5. Review Your Listing Online

Look at your home listing on various websites to make sure the information conveyed is accurate. Agents do their best to ensure accuracy, but since it is your home, you know the details better than anyone. If you spot a feature that is missing, contact your agent and ask for an inclusion.

6. Try to Respond Promptly to A Purchase Offer

Many offers contain a date by which the offer expires. Notwithstanding, it can drive buyers crazy if they are forced to wait for a seller to decide whether to accept their offer or to issue a counter offer. Remember, if you are selling because you need to buy a new home, you are no different when you are a home buyer yourself.

7. Line Up Your Movers Early

If you are thinking about moving during the summer, for example, which is a very busy time of year for movers, you might find it is impossible to locate movers for the day you want. You can start packing before your home hits the market, which will give you a head start on the process. It will also give you peace of mind to be prepared. Selling can be stressful enough.

YOUR TURN

Are you a first-time home seller? What tips do you have to add to our list? Sound off on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or our Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

 

Don’t Get Snowed Under by These 6 Winter Open House Blunders

Summer open houses are easy-breezy. The sun is shining, the air is warm, potential buyers are out in force, and your curb appeal is on point thanks to blooming flowers and a lush green lawn.

Winter is a very different beast when it comes to open houses. Buyers huddle inside, wary of the cold and snow. Foot traffic can slow to a trickle during the holidays, when folks spend time with family and friends and suspend their hunt for a home.

And if you create additional hurdles for potential buyers before you even open your door, it could be a long slog through the snowy months. Avoid these seven gaffes when throwing a winter open house, and make buyers feel the warm fuzzies for your home.

1. Not clearing a path, for goodness’ sake

No one’s going to be happy at your open house if you make them trek through a month’s worth of built-up snow to get there—or worse, if they slip and fall on an icy surface. Of all the open house mortal sins, causing a potential buyer to fracture a hip is definitely up there.

And clearing a path isn’t just about shoveling: Try laying down rock salt to keep any melted snow from refreezing.

open-house-in-new-jersey

And make sure to look beyond your sidewalk. Snow buildup on your street might make your home less visible, or it could mean potential buyers will have to park farther away—and have ample time to snap out of the buying spirit. Shovel out plenty of parking spaces for visitors.

2. Skipping the ‘landing zone’

In most places, winter means snow and rain. And snow and rain mean scarves, jackets, gloves, and muddy shoes. Try as they might to be polite, potential buyers are tracking in all kinds of muck—all over your professionally cleaned or staged home.

Create a landing zone by your entrance to keep the mess at bay. Add extra hooks and a coat rack so no one is forced to tote around a heavy parka. Put up a placard kindly requesting guests to remove their footwear, and provide baskets or cubbies to stow the items. Don’t forget an umbrella stand.

Want to be really nice? Purchase inexpensive slippers so guests won’t have to shuffle about in their socks. They’ll love it.

3. Overheating the place

Piles of snow cover your yard, icicles dangle from your trees, and you can’t step outside without six layers of clothing. Winter isn’t coming—it’s here. But a serious chill doesn’t mean you need to turn your home’s interior into a sauna.

Find a reasonable temperature for your thermostat – and that does not mean 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember your potential visitors will be entering your house from a much colder outdoor temperature. Buried in hats, coats, and boots, they will find the 80-degree temperature downright steamy. Stick to 68 degrees to keep everyone comfy.

4. Phoning it in

Don’t limit yourself to the standard plate of supermarket cookies and bottled water. A winter open house requires more effort — and will be appreciated by those who had to abandon their warm spot on the couch to come see your home.

Hiring a caterer or investing in warm chaffing dishes to provide seasonal treats, snacks, and hot chocolate will make your guests feel right at home. And that’s exactly what you want.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Attracting Buyers and Selling Your Home

And make sure to flaunt that fireplace to give things an extra cozy feel. After all, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) light that sucker for a summer open house, so you might as well take advantage of the season.

5. Lacking light

Darkness and dreariness rule during winter, but you want visitors to find your open house bright and cheerful.

Lighting can be one of the most important factors in selling a home. Second only to location, lighting is the one thing that every buyer cites as a necessity.

Sure, you’ve survived with your lights as is for long enough, but are they enough to entice your buyer? Give each room a long, hard look. If it lacks can lighting or any kind of built-in light fixture, double up on lamps to make the room pop.

Adding more bulbs isn’t the only way to brighten a room. Try removing drapes, scrubbing the windows, increasing your wattage, and trimming outside bushes to let the sun shine in.

6. Forgetting to keep an eye on the weather

You can host an open house in a flurry, but if those flakes become a full-strength blizzard, be prepared to reschedule. Know the forecast. A little flexibility can mean the difference between a low turnout and a house full of happy potential buyers.

YOUR TURN

Ever get snowed in by these Open House Blunders? Or were you able to bring buyers in from the cold? Sound of on The Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When Buying in the Winter

Winter is supposed to be a buyer’s market, right? Fewer buyers = way less competition. After all, you have no problem trekking through the snow to find the perfect home. Let the others wait until spring. Right?

But winter home-buying assumptions can cost you. Just because the market moves slower doesn’t mean there aren’t pitfalls lying beneath the powder. Keep in mind these five common mistakes—otherwise you might just lose out on your dream space. And that would lead to a very long winter indeed.

house-buying-in-winter

1. Failing to use your imagination

Yes, the property looks a bit … drab. But don’t all homes seem sad in winter, especially if they’re not charmingly covered in snow? Don’t dismiss a property because of bare tree limbs and dead grass. Imagine what the home could be in all its springtime glory.

Pretend the trees are blooming and the rose bushes are covered in color. That’s the mental picture you should use to make your decision.

2. Ignoring possible closing date delays

Don’t assume everything will go as planned. Things will go wrong and this is normal. Does the plumbing need updating? Is the wiring a little funky? These delay-causing problems are always a headache, but in winter they can create a full-on migraine. This goes double for custom or new-build homes.

While many trades will work through the winter, there are certain processes that cannot be completed during heavy snowfall or dramatically low temperatures. This can be frustrating and particularly problematic if the home buyers’ closing date on their current home is coming up quickly.

So, build in some buffer time for your new home’s closing – or just a little snow might crash your move-in day hopes.

3. Lacking flexibility

House hunting always requires a certain level of spontaneity – you have to be ready to pounce as soon as you hear a place fitting all your criteria is on the market. But when the weather’s against you, make sure to loosen your schedule even more.

4. Assuming you’ll automatically score a sweet deal

In the winter (generally speaking), home prices are lower. Sellers are motivated. The competition’s bundled up inside, warming their hands by the fire. Bidding wars are a vestige of the summer months. Now’s a great time to buy, right?

Unfortunately, the math doesn’t necessarily work in your favor.

A lot of buyers assume they can get a better deal in winter because [fewer] people are competing but that’s not always the case. Inventory is lower, so the number of people who are competing is similar.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your Dream Home

No, prices may not rocket to the sky-high levels seen when the weather is warm. But if you expect to score a bargain-basement home deal, you might be disappointed.

5. Lowballing your offer

If you don’t get a discount on a home during the winter months, maybe you think you can create your own discount with a lowball offer. Sellers listing their homes in the winter must be desperate to sell, the theory goes.

Think again.

Not only can a lowball offer be off-putting to the seller, but sometimes they can be so offended, they will be closed to a counteroffer. This is where working with your Agent to craft a competitive is critical. Nothing is worse than losing the home you love to another buyer because you prioritized the deal over finding a place that perfectly fits your family.

Related: About The Negotiation Process

YOUR TURN

Does house hunting in the winter leave you cold? Or can you skate past these mistakes and land the cozy home of your dreams? Sound of on our Facebook Page or on our Twitter feed. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE eNewsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

6 Reasons To Sell Your Home In 2017

Planning to sell in the new year? Get a head start by listing early.

sell-my-home-monmouth-county

Being early has its benefits: “The early bird catches the worm” or “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” You get the idea. So if you’re thinking about listing your home for sale in Monmouth County or on the Jersey Shore in 2017 — or if you already know you will — why not do so early, as in January or February? By getting in on the real estate market at the beginning of the year, you could benefit in some unexpected ways. Here are six of them.

1. There’s low inventory

When inventory’s low, it’s usually a great time to put your house on the market. Your new listing could cause buyers to pounce when there’s little competition, especially if your home is in a desirable neighborhood. Research conducted by Trulia revealed that 2016 was the year of low inventory.

2. There’s more urgency

There are plenty of reasons people need to get in a home fast. Many companies transfer employees at the start of a year, for one. Whatever the reason, if you encounter a homebuyer in the dead of winter, they probably need to buy sooner rather than later. And unless you’re in a hot climate, January and February are not the months most people want to be out hitting the streets to browse. Winter buyers often have a sense of urgency — when they find what they’re looking for, they’ll make an offer.

RELATED: Why Winter is A Great Time to Sell Your Home

3. Spring starts early in warm markets

If your home is in a warm climate, you could really benefit by listing your home for sale in early spring. “Traditionally, our real estate website has at least double the number of visitors starting the day after Christmas,” says Patrick Parker, Broker/Owner of Patrick Parker Realty.

“While homebuyers may not be personally visiting houses as quickly, they will be looking online. We advise that listing a home earlier helps a home stand out in the market.”

Also, when the weather outside is frightful, retirees and people in the market for a second home seek a more temperate climate.

4. There’s early movement for lower price points

The lower-price-point markets move a little earlier. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and are currently saving in preparation to buy, you might have earmarked that tax refund coming to you for the purpose.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Get A Deal During Real Estate’s Off-Season

“When these potential buyers get a refund on their taxes, they’ll sometimes use that as a down payment to roll into a purchase,” says Parker. The sooner you turn in your tax return, the sooner you’ll get your refund, usually in fewer than 21 days.

5. There’s a new administration

Speculation and uncertainty abound whenever a new administration takes the helm. If you think the Trump administration will make it tougher for people to buy a home, you might want to sell early in the year.

It is common for people to worry when reforms laid out by the new Republican platform could potentially force buyers to fork over larger down payments. This could be a challenge for many home sellers as the pool of eligible homebuyers begins to shrink. Of course, speculation is just that. But if you believe this to be true, it makes sense to sell your home now.

6. There’s a potential interest rate hike coming

Some people are concerned about rising interest rates this year. If homebuyers think rates will rise, they might buy sooner rather than later.

The interest rates have been very low for a long time, as they begin to tick up, you will start to see consumers’ buying power drop because of the cost to cover mortgage payments. It is all an unknown, but there is some thought that rates could continue to rise in 2017 like they have been doing slightly at the end of 2016.

YOUR TURN

What tips for selling your home in early 2017 do you have? Share your suggestions on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feed. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

How to Decorate for the Holidays When Your Home Is for Sale

Some folks think they have to stifle the spirit and eschew traditions entirely if their house is on the market in November and December. Not true. You can celebrate the season and still make your home attractive to potential buyers. Here’s how.

christmas-tree-lighting-new-jersey

1. Clean and declutter before you decorate. If your house is already full of knickknacks and furniture, piling on the holiday decor and plopping a blinking, tinsel-laden tree in the middle is a sure way to turn a potential buyer into Scrooge. The cardinal rules of home staging apply, no matter when you list your home. So give your house a good, deep clean and pack up those everyday tchotchkes before you haul out the holiday bins.

RELATED: Why The Holidays Are The Best Time To Sell Your Home

2. Less is more.  Ornaments stuffed into every nook, twinkle lights dripping from walls and gutters, and that rooftop inflatable Santa may seem bright and festive to you but are likely to turn off, not dazzle, your buyers.

You want them to be impressed with your house, not distracted by decorations. So keep it simple this year. If minimizing the “ho ho ho” cramps your style, just remind yourself that you can go all-out next year in your new home.

candle-sale-christmas

3. Treat all the senses.  Wintery, holiday scents are welcoming, but use them judiciously and avoid the cloying and artificial.Try a nice basket of scented pinecones, simmer cinnamon on the stovetop or simply allow the subtle and fresh smell of a fir wreath to tantalize and mesmerize.

That being said, no matter how many cookies you bake, nothing will hide the smell of kitty litter or wet dog. So refer to tip No. 1 — deep clean and then use scent to enhance the cozy vibe.

christmas-decorating-tips

4. Class, not clash.  For the best impression, make sure your holiday decor complements your existing color palette. For example, if your home is done up in warm or earth tones, lean toward golds, forest greens and deep reds. If your palette is cooler, use silvers, blues and whites to make your home sparkle.

If your usual decorations don’t fit the bill, consider purchasing some new ones just for the listing.

decorating-tips

5. Decorate to accentuate.  Show off your home’s selling points by decorating strategically. Does your home have a beautiful archway? Hang a single shiny ornament to draw the eye. Funky-cool beehive fireplace? Go easy on the stockings and give the mantel some breathing room. Curved staircase? String garlands up the railing. Stunning view? Place a menorah or simple evergreen bough across the sill and don’t hide that money maker behind lights and fake snowflakes.

christmas-tree-lighting-new-jersey-2

6. Keep it neutral.  Any time of year, religious decorations are a sticky topic, and never more so than during the holidays. And the fact is, you do want to sell your home and not turn off potential buyers. Certainly, display decorations that make the season meaningful to you but consider saving the oversize and overt displays to adorn your new home next year.

RELATED: The Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

7. Trim down the Tannenbaum.  Traditionally, the Christmas tree is afforded a place of honor in the home. However, space sells and, most likely, that tree will be occupying prime interior real estate. Don’t worry; you don’t have to do without it. Simply make sure your tree has the right proportions rather than being the elephant in the room.

YOUR TURN

Are you a home seller with holiday decorating tips? Are you currently house hunting and have been turned off by holiday décor? Sound off on our Facebook Page, on our Twitter feed or on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty HOME ADVICE eNewsletter for articles, tips and guides like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Why the Holidays Are a Good Time to Sell  Your House

 

jersey-shore-real-estateWhen it comes to real estate, the ideal time to sell your home often falls in the spring months. After all, many people hunker down during the winter months or are too busy with the holidays to think about purchasing a new home. Not to mention that people like to start shopping in the spring to make sure they are settled in their home before the start of a new school year. But putting your house up for sale around the holidays has its benefits, granted you position your home right. Sure you may not get into a bidding war, but you are going to deal with serious buyers who are ready to pull the trigger.

There’s Less Inventory
Conventional wisdom says people should wait until the spring to get the most from a home sale. But studies have shown that homes listed around the holidays can not only command more money, but can also sell quicker than ones listed in the spring. One of the reasons is there is less competition during the holidays. For a multitude of reasons people won’t put their houses up for sale when the holidays are coming up, and so the ones shopping aren’t going to have dozens of houses to choose from. In the spring, inventory usually picks up, and price wars break out in coveted neighborhoods. But during the holidays, there will be limited choices which means a homeowner can have a higher asking price.

Buyers Are More Serious
Anyone who is shopping for a new home around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s is undoubtedly going to be a serious buyer. While hitting open houses is a favorite pastime for many Americans, they aren’t going to spend their precious time around the holidays seeing how the other half lives. In the spring, when open houses are a regular occurrence, people may check out homes without a clear plan to buy. If your house is up for sale in the winter and someone is looking at it, chances are that person is serious and is ready to pull the trigger. That can often result in a quicker sales process.

RELATED > 7 Ways To Get A Deal During Real Estate’s Off-Season

You Can Make the Home Warm and Cozy
The holidays are often a time when people gather around fireplaces, have hot chocolate and make nice smelling cakes and pies. For homeowners who put their house up for sale during the winter months, they can stage their house to give off the comfy and homey vibe that appeals to many home buyers. Some people may argue that showing a house in the winter is hard to do because there’s snow on the ground, the house is drafty and the curb appeal is lacking. But keeping the heat up, having a pie baking in the oven to give off a pleasant smell and keeping the sidewalk and driveway clear of snow and ice can boost a home’s appeal. Not to mention that buyers tend to be more emotional during the holidays and will make decisions based on the feeling a house conjures up. During the spring there is a lot more foot traffic in homes that are up for sale. Buyers may not be able to do a thorough walk-through, may get frustrated because of the number of people looking at it and can leave with a bad feeling about the home.

Timing Is Perfect for Transfers
The end of the year is typically the time when people get notified that they will be moving because of a job transfer. Those people are going to need a house sooner rather than later, and as a result will be hunting for a new home during the holidays. These buyers can’t wait for the spring, which is why listing during the holidays can get the home sold and sold quickly.

Your Neighborhood May Look More Appealing
One of the staples of the holiday months, particularly Christmas, is that many people adorn their homes with festive lights and decorations. That is also true of local communities where lit-up snowflakes and wreaths can be found on lamp poles and up and down the main streets. People purchasing a home during that time may see the neighborhood in a different light and may be more willing to consider an area that they may have been on the fence about.

End-of-Year Tax Breaks
Reducing the tax bill is not the main reason buyers purchase a new home, but it could be the reason serious buyers make a move during the holidays. That’s because if the home sale closes before Dec. 31, buyers can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes and interest costs of the loan. The tax deductions can be significant and could prompt a home buyer to move during the holidays instead of waiting until the spring.

The Bottom Line
Nobody wants their home to languish on the market nor do they want to have to lower the price they are asking for. And while many fear that will happen if they list their home during the holidays, often that isn’t the case. When you sell your home during the holidays, you will face less competition, more serious buyers and a quicker sales process. It also presents a unique opportunities to create a warm and cozy environment that you can’t have in the spring or summer months.

Like Patrick Parker Realty on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE™ eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

7 Ways To Get A Deal During Real Estate’s Off-Season

Inventory might be lower, but so is your competition. Find out why you might want to buy a home during the winter.

get-deal-new-jersey-real-estate

The holiday season can seem to go by at warp speed with all the shopping, traveling, baking, and gift wrapping that goes on … in addition to everyday life. So selling or buying a home probably isn’t at the top of your (and most people’s) to-do list. That means low inventory but also mild competition, which presents an opportunity for the savvy buyer in cold-weather markets.

Here are seven tips on how to get a great deal on a home during the winter:

1. Negotiate with confidence
When you know you’ve got the upper hand in a deal, you should welcome the negotiation process. And during the winter, buyers typically have the upper hand. Given the luxury of choosing any time of year to sell, most sellers probably wouldn’t pick wintertime. So if someone is listing their home during winter, they probably need to sell it quickly, or their home has been sitting on the market for a while, and the seller is probably more than ready to negotiate.

2. Just show up
Sometimes a house for sale during the off-season can draw about as big a crowd as an annual watching-the-grass-grow event would. In other words, open-house attendance and general interest are bound to be low. The buyer pool is reduced in winter, and this often puts those ready to write an offer in a stronger position. So just showing interest and making an offer could get you that property.

3. Don’t let a little snow scare you away
Many buyers don’t want to trudge through the snow to find their dream house. Plus, it’s difficult to see a home’s curb appeal with snow hiding everything. But strive to look past dirty snow heaps and picture instead spring daffodils.

4. Know how to offer less than asking price
You might be calling the shots as a buyer of winter realty, but that doesn’t mean all sellers are willing to just roll over.

Offer a relatively low, but not a lowball, price. What’s the difference? A low offer might be 90% of the home’s price, but a lowball offer would be downright insulting. Even a small difference in price can mean significant savings for buyers in the long run. Another option; ask for perks such as furniture or the pool table that you admire.

5. Put your agent to work
During peak season, any real estate agent worth their salt will be busy. But during the off-season, even the best agents should have some more time on their hands.

Housing professionals, such as agents and mortgage brokers, are paid on commission, so they will be extra hungry during the lean winter months. That usually translates to better service and more flexibility to make sure your deal closes.

6. Offer to move through inspections and appraisals quickly
It’s always good to get the house you want to buy appraised and inspected as quickly as possible. If both processes go well, you can move forward, and if they don’t, you can move on. In winter, you theoretically can get both done quicker because there is less activity, and inspectors and appraisers can probably get to you faster.

7. Be flexible
For a person selling a home in winter, it would probably be a dream to sell the house and not have to move during the holidays. You can be the person to make that dream come true.

“Even though someone is selling in the winter, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to move in the winter,” says Patrick Parker, Broker and owner of Patrick Parker Realty. “If you can agree to get into contract but allow the sellers to have possession of the home until after the holidays, this could probably translate into a better deal for you if you are looking to bid under the asking price.”

YOUR TURN

Did you get a deal buying a home during real estate’s off-season? Sound of on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, our Twitter or LinkedIn Feed and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE™ eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

.
4 Common (but Terrible) Reasons for Overpricing Your Home

We know, we know—you love your house. The kitchen is the perfect size, your weekly summer barbecues give your neighbors patio envy, and your ’70s-style conversation pit is totally coming back into vogue—as you knew it would.

You’ve seen the comps for your neighborhood, but you just know your home is worth more, so you’re going to list it at a higher price.

HAVEN’T SEEN YOUR COMPS? Request A Free Comparable Market Analysis

This is one of a few reasons why sellers overprice their home, and none are smart. If you price your home too high, it’ll take longer to sell, raising doubts in buyers’ minds about whether there’s something wrong with it, and you’ll probably have to drop the price eventually anyway.

So don’t fall for any of these five common justifications sellers use to inflate the price of their beloved property:

1. You have the Midas touch in decor (you think)
The reason that interiors are often painted white or neutral colors before a sale is that that allows potential buyers to envision what colors would make it their home. Your colorful touches might not be for everyone, and can actually devalue your house.

RELATED: To Sell Your Home Think Like A Buyer

Recently an Agent listed a home for a client whose bathrooms were all sorts of strange colors—olive-green toilets, a purple bathtub, and a pink sink. Agents need to be honest with you at all costs – pun intended. But when it was recommended to the seller a price that factored in the cost of necessary updates, things got a little heated.

The owner was upset and argued that the colorful fixtures added value, because people are tired of the all-white, stale hospital look.

So we tried the seller’s way first, listing it for his desired price. It didn’t sell, and buyers gave feedback that the home was overpriced. After weeks on the market, the seller finally agreed to lower the price. It sold within 2 weeks.

2. You’re nitpicking comps
Comps (or comparable market analysis) are valuable reference points that allow you to compare your home to similar nearby homes in order to price it right. But some sellers place too much value on ultimately negligible differences between their home and the comps.

Recently an Agent received the following feedback from a seller; “My home has a 60-gallon hot water heater; every other home has 40. My deck is 60 feet larger. My den has real barn wood paneling.”

While small features like this might be worth pointing out to potential buyers, they are not going to make or break a deal – and trying to price your home based on the size of your deck is a setup for disappointment. Plus, you might not see the flaws in your home – your deck might be big, but it might also need work.

We don’t want to be a downer; by nature, we see life through rose-colored glasses. Sadly, it can cost you when it comes to selling your home.

RELATED: Request A Free Comparable Market Analysis

3. You’re too focused on your ROI
A house is an investment, and everyone wants a return on their investment. Couple that with emotional attachment, and you’re primed to mark up your home’s value.

We often find Sellers think that their house is worth what they want or need to sell it for, but the harsh reality is that a home is worth whatever a buyer is ready, willing, and able to pay for it.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Your Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

Even in a seller’s market, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money on your house. And just because you need $500,000 to buy that house in Shark River Hills doesn’t mean you can sell your house for the same amount.

4. You’re imagining you’ll haggle
Perhaps the most common reason people overprice their home is because they’re looking to negotiate.

On paper, it sounds like something you’d see on “Pawn Stars.” You offer up a vintage silver tea set at an inflated price. Rick Harrison offers you 25% of that, but he eventually goes up to 30%.

OK, maybe “Pawn Stars” is a bad example, but you get the idea: You price your house 10% higher, fully expecting a buyer to try to lowball you, netting you the price you wanted all along while the buyer walks away thinking he got a bargain.

It doesn’t work like that in real estate.

It’s much better to price it right and create such interest and demand where buyers are chasing you, versus you chasing the market backward [and] searching for the demand.

sell-your-home-for-top-dollar-new-jersey

RELATED: The Importance of Proper Pricing

So don’t be afraid to price your home fairly, or price it based on your Agent’s advice. This is what will attract buyers and boost the price to where it should be.

Ultimately, everything sells when it’s priced right.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Your Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

YOUR TURN

Did you recently sell your home? What experience did you have when it came to proper pricing? Are you currently selling? What are your proper pricing observations?

Sound of on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages and don’t forget to subscribe to the Patrick Parker Realty monthly Newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/patri034/public_html/wp-content/themes/parker/category.php on line 36