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Blog :: 03-2015

6 Traits of Successful Home Sellers

The goal for any home seller is to sell a property quickly at the best price for the market. Here are six characteristics that will help home sellers succeed.

1. Realistic Expectations
Real estate agents do not pluck listing prices out of thin air. Every price range they recommend to potential home sellers is the result of meticulous research: of the property, the neighborhood and the current real estate market. Most of the factors that affect a property's saleability-location, interest rates, the local job market-are outside the seller's control. Other things, such as the condition of the home and how it is presented, are within the seller's control. Highly effective home sellers address the things they can control and accept the things they cannot. You might not like what the market is saying, but it doesn’t lie.

2. Flexibility
A flexible home seller is open to suggestions. Listen to your agent and heed his or her advice regarding pricing the home for sale, marketing the property and making it show ready. Flexible sellers are prepared to lower the price if they are not getting any showings. Flexible sellers are prepared to stage and remodel the home if they are getting showings but no offers. Delaying a sale by being inflexible can cost you money in extra mortgage payments.

3. Detachment
Homes sell faster when the seller stops thinking about the property as his home and starts thinking about it as product to be packaged for sale. Sellers who find it hard to emotionally detach from the home often sabotage viewings or reject offers, because they are not ready to leave their home. Be honest with yourself. If you are not ready to sell, don't. If you are, then pack up your emotions and accept that it is time to move on.

4. A Big Picture View
Giving way on price is not the same as giving way on the deal. Effective sellers think about all aspects of the deal. A seller who wants to move quickly may be prepared to lower the price in return for faster closing. Requests for repairs, no matter how galling, should be carefully scrutinized. Would you really want to lose a buyer over a $200 repair bill?

5. Availability
Selling your home is a time-consuming business. You must be available to speak to your agent and make urgent decisions concerning the list price, marketing strategies and any offers that come in. Remember, you can't sell a property if would-be buyers can't see it. Make sure that buyers can view your home at all reasonable hours. No showings on weekends might suit your lifestyle, but it certainly won't suit your buyers.

6. Learning
You don't need a degree to sell your home, but you do need a clear understanding of the home selling process. Sellers who understand how home sales work have a clearer idea of the hurdles buyers must jump to purchase a home and can better pre-empt a buyer's needs. Figure out what escrow means and what happens between the contract and closing. Speak to your agent. Ask him or her to fill you in on the local market, the lending environment and the types of things that buyers are looking for in your neighborhood.

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    Inventory Drops and Home Prices Continue to Increase

    In December, the total housing inventory dropped 11.1 percent. There were 1.85 million existing homes on the market, which is a 4.4 month supply at the current sales pace; in November, there was a 5.1 month supply. With the strengthening economy and sub-4 percent interest rates, the demand for homes from buyers should be increasing, but a tight supply of homes available for sale could cool that demand.

    Supply shortage causes home prices to increase. And according to the National Association of Realtors' economists, home prices and rents are outpacing wages, making it difficult for buyers to save for a down payment. The national median existing-home price reached $208,500 in 2014, the highest it’s been since 2007, and a 5.8 percent increase from 2013. What's more, every region of the country saw home prices increase. In the Northeast, prices rose by 3.2 percent from a year earlier, while the Midwest reported a climb of 5.3 percent. Prices in the South increased 6.6 percent from December 2013, while in the West, prices were up 5.6 percent.

    Home Sale Numbers
    December closed out the year with 5.04 million sales, a 3.5 percent increase from December 2013. December was also the third month in a row where sales climbed above year-over-year levels. However, sales for all of 2014 were still 3.1 percent below 2013. Existing-home sales were up in the West in December; sales climbed 9.8 percent month-over-month and 2.8 percent year-over-year. The South also saw gains in their real estate market, with sales climbing 3.8 percent from November to December and 7.4 percent from a year earlier. Existing-home sales fell in the Northeast by 2.9 percent, but the news wasn't all bad as sales are still 3.1 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, sales declined both month-over-month and year-over-year, falling 3.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

    First-time Buyers Decline
    The number of first-time buyers making purchases last year fell to the lowest level in almost three decades, according to a NAR survey. For all of 2014, first-time buyers accounted for 29 percent of the market, tying their percentage for 2013. In December, first-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers, down from 31 percent in November but up from 27 percent in December 2013. Economists with NAR are optimistic that first-time buyers will be better represented in the market in the coming year. The Federal Housing Administration recently reduced annual mortgage insurance premiums, which will make buying a home more affordable for new homebuyers.

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      A Note From Barb Trousdale

      Barb Trousdale, Broker, Owner, REALTOR

      Barb Trousdale
      Broker, Owner, REALTOR

      What a month! It’s been a great season for the skiers and snowmobilers among us, but I know many (including me) are looking forward to spring.

      2015 is turning out to be a fantastic year for real estate; we’ve helped many Buyers and Sellers accomplish their goal of moving already and we’re only two months into the New Year!!

      We are gearing up to have a booth at the Annual Home & Garden Show, which is sponsored by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association and will be held on April 18th & 19th at the Champlain Valley Expo. Please make plans to attend and stop by to say “Hi.” You’ll want to see the “tiny home” we’ll be sponsoring; one of the newest rages in some parts of the country.

      Please contact us if we can assist in helping you determine market value of your current home or just want to see what’s currently available in your favorite town. We have an easy way of setting up a search that will automatically send you listings any time a new one comes on the market, and it involves little to no effort on our part.

      Until next month, stay warm and keep your eyes open for that first robin of the season; a sure sign that warmer temps are on the way!

       

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        A Loan with a Down Payment Option as Low as 3%

        In December, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac launched Home Possible Advantage, a program that makes it possible for buyers to purchase a home with a smaller down payment. Through the program, low- and moderate-income buyers can qualify for loans with down payments as low as three percent. The program will open up the housing market to responsible buyers who do not have enough saved for a large down payment. Any risk of default is lessened by strong underwriting standards.

        The Specifics
        Home Possible Advantage mortgages are available as 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, with a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 97 percent. Mortgages can only be used to purchase single-unit properties. But the program isn't just for homebuyers; homeowners can also use the program to refinance their current mortgage, as long as that refinance is no-cash out.

        Who Qualifies?
        The Home Possible Advantage program is available to all buyers, not just first-timers. But there are several restrictions for buyers. First, you must live in the home you purchase; the program cannot be used to buy rental properties. Second, if you are a first-time buyer-a borrower who has not owned a residential property in the last three years-you will need to participate in a borrower education program, like Freddie Mac's CreditSmart. And lastly, if your Home Possible Advantage mortgage is underwritten manually by a lender, you must have a credit score of 660, or 680 for refinances. If you have a weaker credit score, you can use Freddie Mac's automated underwriting system, Loan Prospector. This system considers a loan based on multiple factors; a weak credit score won't necessarily disqualify you if you have a number of other positive factors.

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