4 Reasons December Is Favorable for Buyers

Many home shoppers don’t think about purchasing a house during the holiday months—many even put their home search on hold. I however see it as a opportunistic time for a Buyer to take advantage of a window of opportunity.

Less Competition, Better Prices.

Let your clients know that the holiday months work in their favor. Instead of competing with hungry buyers, eager to move in before the school year begins, the dip in demand actually drives prices down, and can create a mini buyers’ market.  Buyers often fare better in the negotiation process during the winter months.

More Time to (Home) Shop.

Time off around the holidays gives many buyers the opportunity to do some careful house hunting. Instead of giving up an entire weekend to open houses and showings, buyers can more leisurely tour homes during the week.

Tax Benefits.

We still don’t know how the Senate and House tax reform bills will shake out in conference committee; however, if your clients purchase in 2017, they can still deduct property taxes, loan interest, and other costs. Looking like it’s going to pass. Not good for middle class America.

Move-In Ready

For a large part of the country, winter is a favorable season to move. Lifting heavy items and improvement projects are easier to perform without the heat of the summer months.

There are numerous benefits and added perks to buying a house during the holiday season making December arguably the best time to buy.

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Factors Most Influential on Home Values

In today’s  real estate world Buyers have become wiser, researching important facts not only about the houses they’re interested in but also about the communities where the homes are located. Essential that real estate professionals show their value by keenly understanding the factors influencing home values in order to help and influence those research-savvy clients.

Study these four factors in your market:

  1. Location. This is nothing new; everyone knows location is extremely influential on home values. But it might be underutilized in the marketing listings. A great location is something sellers can capitalize on today more than ever, whether it’s a city, neighborhood, proximity to amenities, or the view according to most Agents
  2. Community statistics. School district performance, crime rates, walkability, and the number of establishments such as convenience stores and restaurants are factors that can influence home values, Agents agree, also influencing home buyers.
  3. Home updates. Improvements and renovations can have a dramatic effect on a home’s value. Take a look at comparable properties in the area to understand which updates will give your clients the most bang for their buck. Changes in flooring, wall paints, doors, and even added rooms will add to the home value and appeal to buyers.
  4. The neighborhood. “Home values are volatile, professionals agree. “Always do your dose of monitoring neighboring home prices. This way you can properly put a tag price on your own not only for profitable margins but also to be competitive with other homes for sale.”

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5 Things Buyers Should Never Compromise On

Sure, compromise between the buyer and seller is part of the game when getting to closing. But there are some things buyers should never acquiesce—or they’ll likely regret their home purchase. Realtor.com® recently asked real estate professionals to weigh in on some of the top items their clients regret about the home they bought

1. The floor plan. It’s difficult and expensive to reconfigure a home’s floor plan.  A home that does not fit your buyers’ minimum criteria in terms of number of rooms and the flow of the main living areas, should cross it off their list. You can change a layout to make it an open floor plan, but it’s a lot more difficult to change the bedroom and bathroom count. In the long run, you could end up having a lot of problems and taking on a really big financial undertaking.

2. The school district. Even buyers who don’t have children—but wish to one day—should carefully consider their neighborhood’s school district. Encourage buyers to visit the school district’s website to get a map of its exact boundaries. I will advertise a property as being near such-and-such school area but not necessarily specify the district, which can be very confusing. When discussing schools with my clients I give them access to resources that will aide them in selecting the “right school” that may fits their needs.

3. The neighbors. Buyers should be cognizant of the condition of neighboring homes, as it can affect their future resale value. You can’t change the house in front of you or to the side of you or move the people out. And then there’s the barking dog that won’t quit. Another case of “buyer be ware”.

4. The budget. Tell your clients to consider the expenses beyond just the list price. For example, they’ll want to factor in monthly mortgage payments, potential homeowner association dues, utility costs, and real estate taxes. A lender’s pre-approval will tell buyers how much house they can afford, but there other factors determine whether they’ll be financially comfortable. They may be able to purchase a bigger and better home at the expense of not having any food on the table. A good loan officer and or a good real estate agent will explain the realities of home ownership. It’s their duty to do so especially with first time home buyers.

5. The commute. Buyers should make sure they are comfortable with the time it takes to get to work. They should drive the route between the home and their office at the time they’ll be commuting.  Sometimes buyers are so infatuated with the home they end up losing a proper perspective of the big picture. Long commutes means less time spent in your “infatuation”.

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Fall May Be Best Time for Buyers to Move

A slower fall season in home buying may help more lingering home buyers to jump in.

Looks like prices are softening a bit. The median price of an existing home dropped for the second month in a row . The price reached $253,500 in August, after soaring to a record high of $263,300 in June, according to the latest data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Approaching into the fall median sales prices typically decline. Summer is the hottest time of the market both timing wise and weather wise. Families want to be settled in before an upcoming school year. Homes that sell well in the fall tend to be smaller in size for folks with no children and tend to be less expensive.

Existing homes are proving to be a bargain compared to newer homes. The median price of a new home reached $313,700 in July, which is 23.7 percent higher than an existing home. That’s a huge gap.

Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Last week the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

Studies have shown that fall can be the best time to buy. A recent study found that October was the best month for home buyers. Purchasers in October paid 2.6 percent below the estimated market value at the time for their home, according to the analysis. In other words, buyers interested in a $300,000 home tend to see a $7,800 discount on it in the fall. Oct. 8 was found to have the best day for bargains too, with an average of 10.8 percent below estimated market value, according to the study. This trend has been the same throughout my years of real estate practice. Even during the most recent housing market crisis.

August home sales  started to decline heading into the fall season. Sales of existing homes fell 1.7 percent from July to August, but the National Association of Realtors (NAR) mostly blamed the decrease on the limited number of listings for sale on the market. Again this is another example of what happens every August. No new news to me nor my colleagues.

With less inventory properties are staying on the market for less time, so buyers will need to be ready to act fast. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month, according to National Association of Realtors (NAR). Properties typically stayed on the market for just 30 days in August.

Happy house hunting.

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