1. First-time homebuyers: Get that starter home now
And we mean now! More than half of the home sales (52 percent) in 2017 are expected to be first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennial set (19 to 34 years old), many moving from urban rentals, research by the National Association of Realtors shows. That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce in the new year for such “starters” in desirable areas.
2. Sellers: Hire the right agent
Oftentimes, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.
First, look at an agent’s online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated?
Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms; and be sure to read internet reviews.
Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person.
3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there
Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again.
Borrowers with FICO scores as low as 690 are now getting conforming mortgage loans (those under $417,000).
4. Renters: It might be time to buy
In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years) seems to indicate an imminent upswing in renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.
5. Sellers: The grass is always greener
… in yards with a “sold” sign. Major presale upgrades typically aren’t needed, but a little “sprucing up” outdoors is a must.
Surveys show that strong curb appeal can increase prices by 10 percent or more. Greener grass, whether derived from new sod or fertilizer and water, is a must.
New shrubs, plantings, and flowers also project a welcoming feel. Sellers typically enjoy a 100 percent return on the money they put into curb appeal.
6. Sellers and buyers: Know the state of your market
A balanced housing market is defined as one with an average inventory of 6.5 months, according to Texas A&M University Real Estate Center research. When inventory remains below equilibrium, sellers enjoy more control over prices and terms, and the area becomes a seller’s market.
When inventory lingers well above stasis, you have a buyer’s market where sellers must get more serious about price reductions, credits, and throw-ins. Of course, these averages don’t necessarily reflect demand in certain desirable and undesirable submarkets.
Information compiled from bankrate.com. For more information on real estate, contact a Tauber Real Estate Services specialist today.