Conventional wisdom tells us to list our homes for sale during the spring and that nobody is buying in the dead of winter — especially during the holidays.
But that’s flat-out incorrect. While it’s true that there are fewer sales overall, that doesn’t mean your house can’t or won’t sell quickly, and at a good price. In November 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales actually rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.32 million units.
That’s a lot of properties. In fact, there are a number of solid reasons to sell during the holidays:
* Less competition. With less inventory available, you have a better chance at holding your price. There was an average 4-month supply of inventory in November 2018 compared with a 4.4-month supply in June 2019.
* Buyers are more serious. People who are buying a home during the holiday season often need to move or are simply much more serious about their search (or they simply didn’t get involved in the holiday excitement).
* Closings can happen faster. A slower season can be to your advantage when it comes to paperwork. With fewer closings in the queue, yours can take place faster than it might in the hectic spring and summer seasons.
* Company bonuses and relocations. Again, a buyer with intent. Most corporate relocations happen in January and February. These folks are serious about moving and aren’t wasting a lot of time window-shopping.
* Houses look and smell great during the holidays. We tend to worry about making our properties sparkle for showings, but it’s just as important to show that this is a home. And what’s better than warm cookies or some well-placed decorations (don’t overdo it) to invite people in?
Top tips for long-distance house hunters
Buying a house from afar can be challenging. Here are four tips to make the process a little easier.
1. Clarify your needs
First and foremost, you need to establish your priorities and your non-negotiables. Are you willing to renovate? What’s your budget? How important are schools? This will help you narrow down your options and thereby save you time.
2. Go online
Your first step should be to find out as much as possible about the neighborhoods you’re considering. What are commute times like? Are there issues with crime rates? How good are the schools? Don’t limit your search to factors that affect you directly: a house in a great area has more resale value.
3. Get someone on the ground
The internet is helpful, but you’ll need someone on the ground to really get a sense of what your options are. Spend time finding a good realtor, especially one that’s familiar with the area and who’ll take the time to communicate with you and answer your questions.
4. Plan to travel
It’s a good idea to spend a few days visiting houses on your short list. Give yourself enough time to see each one without rushing.
Long-distance house hunting isn’t easy. However, with the help of a good realtor, you’ll be able to find a great home that meets your needs.
Warren County Market Report – November 2019
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for November 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- New Listings were DOWN -14.8% in October 2019. Numbers recover a little, but are still down by -7.9% in November.
- Closed sales are UP 46.5%.
- Average Median Sold $230,000 in October and has climbed to $252,500 in November.
- Average Days on Market 55. In my opinion, anything under 60 days is great!
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to email@example.com.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated December 2019
Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
firstname.lastname@example.org | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
8 real estate investment tips
Investing in real estate offers substantial tax benefits and is a good way to diversify your portfolio. To make the most of your real estate investments, here are eight tips you should follow.
1. Do your research. If you’re not familiar with the market, seek the help of a professional and remember that the principle of “buy low, sell high” applies to real estate.
2. Diversify. Just like your overall portfolio, it’s crucial to diversify your real estate holdings. Invest in diverse areas and property types.
3. Team up. Unless you can devote a lot of time and energy to your holdings, it’s best to have an investment partner or join a group of investors.
4. Get advice. Seek the expertise of someone with a good track record in real estate transactions. They’ll be able to give you relevant information.
5. Adjust expectations. Don’t expect investing in real estate to be easy, because it isn’t. Just like other forms of wealth management, it requires know-how and experience.
6. Look beyond bargains. Don’t expect to find a major discount. Approach the market with a long-term outlook and privilege properties that are likely to help you build equity and grow your portfolio.
7. Have a way out. Selling a piece of property that’s appreciated in value may seem like a lucrative option, but you may end up paying a lot of taxes. Have a plan for reinvesting the profits.
8. Look at the big picture. Make sure you understand how real estate fits in with your overall investment strategy. The best thing to do is to sit down with a financial adviser and make a plan.
Above all, remember that the best way to enter the real estate market is strategically. Know what your goals are and make a plan to attain them.
3 tips for downsizing in a hot market
It’s common for seniors living in up-and-coming areas to be solicited by realtors and potential buyers interested in their homes. A hot real estate market can be a boon if you’re looking to downsize, but it can also attract predatory buyers and lowball offers.
Here’s how to get the most out of this opportunity, especially if you’ve been off the market for a while.
1. Hire a good realtor. Interview three or more and check their references. Ask questions about their experience with selling properties like yours, their general approach to closing on sales and what you can expect in terms of communication. You should also ensure that the realtor you hire is a registered member of the relevant professional organization in your area.
2. Get a market analysis. It’s important that you have a clear understanding of your home’s actual value. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a realistic estimate. You should also get a home appraiser to assess the value of the property.
3. Make your wishes known. Just because you’re selling doesn’t mean you need to leave everything behind. You’re perfectly within your rights to request that valuable or sentimental items, such as your vintage chandelier, be excluded from the sale.
Downsizing in a hot market can mean a quick sale, but it’s important that you work with a reliable realtor to ensure you get the most out of the deal.
Is home staging worth the money?
Staging involves altering the look of your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. Is it worth paying for? The short answer is, it depends.
How much does it cost?
The extent of the staging will largely determine how much it costs. A minimal staging involving a deep clean and a fresh coat of paint will be less expensive than one involving renting chic furniture and installing new light fixtures.
What are the advantages?
A 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors cites that 29 percent of seller’s agents believe that home staging can increase the dollar value of a home by one to five percent.
Staging can also prevent sellers from having to accept lowball offers or drop their asking price. Realtors may insist that the price of staging a home is offset by the (potentially) gained profits, but this strongly depends on a number of hard-to-predict factors such as how strong the market is. There’s no universal rule that can be applied in every scenario.
What’s the bottom line?
How effective staging is varies from case to case. The most important thing to do is have an open discussion about it so that you can define your budget, timeline and expectations.
Finally, remember that anyone can call themselves a home stager. If you decide to stage your home, make sure to check the stager or staging firm’s references.
Lockboxes: pros and cons
If you’re selling your home, your realtor might suggest keeping a set of your house keys in a lockbox. Though this can make it easier for potential buyers to view your home, is it a good idea? Here’s what you should know.
Lockboxes are convenient, especially when the property up for sale is vacant. Sellers don’t need to attend each visit and buyers can take a look at the property when it’s most convenient for them. In addition, some buyers prefer visiting homes when the sellers aren’t around.
No matter how secure the lockbox is, there’s always some level of risk that a burglar could access it. Mechanical lockboxes, however, are more vulnerable than electronic models.
Electronic lockboxes often use smartphone applications to enter a personal code, creating a record of who opened the box and when. While secure, they don’t eliminate the risk of human error.
Keep in mind that the use of a lockbox requires your consent following a thorough explanation of the risks. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, it’s your right to refuse. Finally, remember that realtors are never allowed to give the combination to anyone who isn’t a registered real estate agent. If you see this happen, report it right away.