There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
- The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
- The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission. A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.
With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the “busy spring real estate season” is shifting into the “summer real estate season.” In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.
Joel Kan, Economist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:
“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”
Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. As we can see, more potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.
What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?
Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment and stay-at-home orders, is historically low mortgage rates. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac indicates:
“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30%, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic… As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”
With mortgage rates at such low levels and states gradually beginning to reopen, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.
What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?
Finding a home to buy, however, is still a challenge, as this spring sellers removed many listings from the market. Though more people are now listing their homes for sale this month as compared to last month, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.
According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from Realtor.com:
“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”
If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be your best opportunity. With so few homes on the market for buyers to purchase, this season may be the time for your house enjoy limited competing properties. Buyers are looking, and your house may be at the top of that short list. Your trusted real estate professionals can help you list safely and effectively, keeping your family’s needs top of mind.
If you’re thinking of selling, many buyers may be eager to find a home just like yours. Let’s connect today to make sure you can get your house in on the action this summer.
All eyes are on the American economy. As it goes, so does the world economy. With states beginning to reopen, the question becomes: Which sectors of the economy will drive its recovery? There seems to be a growing consensus that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force, the tailwind that is necessary. Some may question that assertion as they look back on the last recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy – holding it back from sailing forward. But even then, the overall economy did not begin to recover until the real estate market started to regain its strength. This time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American, recently explained:
“Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.”
Fleming is not the only economist who believes this. Last week, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, (@DrFrankNothaft) tweeted:
“For the first 6 decades after WWII, the housing sector led the rest of the economy out of each recession. Expect it to do so this time as well.”
And, Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in an economic update last week explained:
“As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt… Based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.”
Every time a home is sold it has a tremendous financial impact on local economies. As the real estate market continues its recovery, it will act as a strong tailwind to the overall national economy.
Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone. This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:
“After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.”
What does the survey indicate about sellers?
Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes as stay-at-home directives continue to be lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.
Just this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:
“The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.”
What does the survey note about buyers?
The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:
- 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
- 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
- Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.
If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, let’s connect today. We can strategize about preparation and marketing when the timing is right for you. There’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours when you’re ready to sell.
** Data in this report reflect market activity from April 2020 compared to the previous month and year. Information is gathered from the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors® (RSAR) for the Greater Reno-Sparks region via Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service (www.nnrmls.com). Data accounts for single-family resale residences only, and excludes townhouses/condos, manufactured/modular and new construction.
Here is the market overview:
And here is the breakdown for a couple of interesting statistics from April 2020:
- At $416,500, the April 2020 Median Sales Price for single-family re-sale properties in Reno-Sparks combined for the month was $416,500, a slight 0.4% increase from March 2020, and up 10.5% April last year.
- As seen in the chart above, the # of Closed Sales at dropped from 507 in March 2020 to 374 in April. This marks a 26% decline in closed sales month-over-month, and nearly 30% fewer closed sales compared to last year.
Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) in April 2020 jumped back up 31% compared to March, recording 2.2 months supply. This measure of inventory is also about 6% higher than in April 2019. MSI accounts for the time it would take to “sell out” of the Reno-Sparks inventory at the current rate of sale. A balanced market is around 5-6 months of supply. Therefore, this the low 2.2 months supply, we are still very much considered to be in a Seller’s Market.
The average # of Days from Listing to Contract in April 2020 was 39 days. This is still quite a short period of time when looking back over the last few years. The # of Days to Contract is about 7% lower than April 2019. These averages account for all price ranges.
With Seller’s receiving an average of 98.9% of asking in April 2020, we have continued to see no significant change for this statistic overall.
One may wonder if coronavirus is having an effect on the percentage of distressed sales in Reno-Sparks. At this time, the answer appears to be “no.” In April 2020, Distressed Sales (short-sales and foreclosures) are nearly 50% lower than the same time last year.
Here is what is happening now… The Week Ending May 9, 2020:
After 4 straight weeks of an increase in New Contracts, the week ending May 9 saw a relative leveling out of New Contracts, with just a slight 2.2% decrease from the previous week. Overall, the number of new Contracts for this week last year is down about 10%.
# of New Listings to hit the market the week ending May 9 increased 25% compared to the previous week. The Reno-Sparks real estate market saw nearly 42% fewer new listings than the week ending May 11, 2019.
- Real Estate in Nevada continues to be an “essential service.” Governor Sisolak’s mandate to eliminate in-person open houses for all properties, and in-person showings of tenant/renter-occupied properties has been extended to May 30, 2020. All owner-occupied and vacant properties may still be shown to prospective buyers with practice of social distancing, use of personal protective equipment and frequent 20-second hand-washing &/or hand-sanitizing.
- Starting May 4, California Bay Area agents were allowed to show occupied properties and to stage vacant properties once again. The allowance for such activities could potentially mean an increase of activity in Nevada, a place where many Californias are expected to call their “new home.”
- Lending qualification parameters have tightened, but the Mortgage Interest Rates are staying low! For a super reputable, local lender recommendation, contact me. I will be happy to connect you with the best!
- Looking more closely at the last full week of activity (ending May 9) the # of New Contracts has leveled week-over-week, and the # of New Listings rose slightly.
- While the sales volume took a hit in April, the Median Sales Price has held steady, largely due to buyer-demand keeping pace fairly stable rate of sale and continued low inventory.
- Nationally acclaimed economist and author of the Blog “ECON 70” Elliot Eisenberg, PhD checked in again with the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors. This month, Elliot stands by last month’s assertion that the current recession is very different from previous recessions, and that it will be deep but relatively short. Click HERE to watch the April 2020 “Monthly Economic Minute.”
In the wake of COVID-19, many who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current location. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. When it comes to social distancing, as we’ve experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at Realtor.com notes:
“With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying behavior…consumers are already looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors. As we move into the recovery stage, these preferences will play an important role in the type of homes consumers will want to buy. They will also play a role in the coming discussions on zoning and urban planning. While higher density has been a hallmark of urban development over the past decade, the pandemic may lead to a re-thinking of space allocation.”
The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans, and 39% of the respondents who live in urban areas indicated the COVID-19 crisis has caused them to consider moving to a less populated area.
Today, moving outside the city limits is also more feasible than ever, especially as Americans have quickly become more accustomed to, and more accepting of, remote work. The number of people working from home has also spiked considerably, even before the pandemic came into play this year.
If you have a home in the suburbs or a rural area, you may see an increasing number of buyers looking for a property like yours. If you’re thinking of buying and don’t mind a commute to work in exchange for a little elbow room, you may want to consider looking at homes for sale outside the city. Let’s connect today to discuss the options available in our area.
On May 8, the unemployment rate for April 2020 was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 14.7%, the rate is the highest it has been since the Great Depression when it reached 24.9%. Today’s data represents real families and lives affected by the COVID-19 economic slowdown. Without a doubt, the numbers are alarming, and headlines broadcast doomsday scenarios that can, quite frankly, feel overwhelming. However, there is hope that as businesses reopen, most people will become employed again soon.
Although this chart appears to be daunting, the our next chart, labelled “U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Weekly Unemployment Filings in millions” shows another picture we must bear in mind. See below:
Looking over the last several weeks, the number of unemployment claims has decreased week-over-week since the beginning of April. Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) states based on what he is seeing:
He goes on to say that this doesn’t mean all companies are hiring, but it could mean they are at the point where they’re not cutting jobs anymore. Let’s hope this trend continues.
What will the future bring?
Most experts predict that while unemployment is high right now, it won’t be that way for long. The length of unemployment during this crisis is projected to be significantly shorter than the duration seen in the Great Recession and the Great Depression. While forecasts may be high, the numbers are trending down and the length of time is not expected to be indefinite.
Don’t let the headlines rattle you. There’s hope on the horizon as we start to safely reopen businesses throughout the country. Unemployment affects our families, our businesses, and our country. Our job is to rally around those impacted and do our part to support them through this difficult time.
For nearly two months, most of us have been following strict stay-at-home orders from our state and local governments. It is a whole new way of life that has put our daily lives on pause. On the other hand, many of us have also found a sense of comfort by slowing down and spending time at home, highlighting the feeling of security that comes with having a much-needed safe place for our families to live. The latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results indicate that the homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest we’ve seen in eight years (see graph to the right):
Why is the rate increasing? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained:
“Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy.”
The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:
“The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter 2020. Households under 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains, with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage points gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ group age (up by 0.2 percentage point).” (See chart below)
Homeownership is an important part of the American dream especially in moments like this when many are feeling incredibly grateful for the home they have to shelter in place with their families. COVID-19 may be slowing our lives down, but it is showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.
If you’re considering buying a home this year, let’s connect to set a plan that will help you get one step closer to achieving your dream.
Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty.
One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we shouldn’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market. Today, according to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph here):
In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below):
In essence, the amounts of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.
The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.
After a doubling of the # of New Listings from the week ending April 18 to the week ending April 25, the # of New Listings dropped by 48% during the week ending May 2. The # of New Listings compared to the same week in 2019 is down nearly 60%.
Summing It Up…
- California Real Estate is nearly fully operational! Property showings in California are now permitted for all properties (vacant AND occupied) and limited to entry by the agent and two buyers. Property staging in many counties is allowed again. Traditional open houses are still off-limits.
- With increased activity in California, we are hopeful for a flow-over of increased new activity in Nevada.
- Over the last few weeks, many Northern Nevada real estate professions (Realtors®, escrow/title officers and lenders) are reporting a great increase in activity in the last couple of weeks. Just a few days ago, I learned that one escrow officer opened 8 new escrows in one day. Excellent!
- Reno-Sparks is seeing an increase of New Contracts over the last 4 weeks! Again, we are hopeful this trend will continue in the coming weeks.
- While unemployment is a major concern for many, we appear to find Buyers who are qualified and taking great advantage of low interest rates at this time. If you are looking to purchase now and need to connect with a great lender, contact me. I’ll hook you up!
- For more information about specific property values and to search real estate for when YOU are ready to purchase/sell, please do not hesitate to call me at 775-233-0682 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.