Archive for the ‘seller news’ Category
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
It feels great to be blogging again, and I am sorry I have not posted for over a week! I do have an excuse: the spring home sale season is well underway! I can’t remember being this busy in a long time – not since the early 2000s; it has been incredible! If you are wondering what is going on out there in the North San Diego real estate market here is an overview:
Slight rise in inventory. Although we still do not have a surge in inventory there have been increases, enough so that local agents are able to show several properties to buyers in most cases, rather than just one! According to Housing Tracker, inventory has increased on a national level 13.5% so far this year. In San Diego county there were about 7540 homes listed on the MLS as of the start of this week, which is about 100 more homes listed than the same time last month. The lowest inventory level we hit here in San Diego county was in February of 2013, and the last time we had inventory levels higher than right now was in December 2012…so although inventory is still low from a historical perspective, there is some comfort in knowing that it is rising slightly.
Multiple offers/quick market times still dominate. Yes, we are still seeing many new sales with multiple offers, and usually within days of listing. Buyers have to present their strongest offers in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Cash buyers are still in the game and often outbid those requiring lender approval. It can be frustrating, but there are always things that can be done to present the strongest offer possible, even in multiple offer situations (for more on this click here)
Prices are still rising, especially in some areas or neighborhoods. Prices continue to rise in most areas, and San Diego is no exception. The challenge with area appraisers to find higher values in pending property sales finally seems to be getting easier, as many appraisers are now applying the faster growing values into their analyses. For those who are afraid we are approaching another bubble, you can rest assured that will not happen so long as prices stop rising drastically at some point and level out. My guess is that this will happen by the end of the year. For more of my perspectives on the bubble possibility, click here.
Distressed inventory declines. According to market research firm Core Logic, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages has fallen about 33% since the peak (3.7 million) in January 2010. This is good news for buyers who are not finding as many short sales out there. But I must say that they are still out there, and that they are as painful as ever. I am personally awaiting for lender approval on two short sales that have been contingent for a long time – one since December of 2012. Lenders’ promises that short sales were going to get quicker never came to fruition and I don’t believe they ever will (but that is the subject for another blog…stay tuned!) More good news: foreclosure filings also fell to a 74 month low in April, according to RealtyTrac.
Loans may be a tad easier to obtain. There is growing demand for home loans, and application levels continue to rise. In order for banks to improve mortgage assets they will need to address the demands. Also, the Federal Reserve recently discovered that 8% of banks loosened mortgage credit conditions in the past 3 months (ending in April) – now you may laugh and say that 8% is not a big number, but it is a start. Also, according to Realty Times “27 percent of banks plan to up residential mortgage assets over the next year and know they can’t do that without taking on a little more risk.” Good news for borrowers.
All in all the market seems to be shaping up and we are well on the road to recovery. Luckily spring time came along right when the market started climbing out of the doldrums, and it seems we will have a strong spring and summer sales season.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Someone called me the other day with a question about short sales and HOA fees. She wanted to know whether a homeowner should continue to pay HOA fees if they are involved in short selling their home, and are awaiting lender approval. The answer is YES.
Unlike other fees which short sale lenders typically agree to pay (such as county transfer fees and certain document fees, escrow and title fees, etc.), lenders normally will NOT pay late HOA fees. In most situations where the homeowner is behind on these fees, the buyer will end up having to pay for them. This obviously could be an issue if the balance is hefty.
The even bigger problem is that the HOA could file a lien on the property for the late fees. This could hold up the closing of the short sale, or even worse: cause the parties to miss the closing deadline that was specified in the lender approval letter.
The best advice to give short sellers (and I always do so right from the start) is to stay current with HOA payments, even when they are no longer current with their loan(s). This will assure a much smoother transfer of title and avoid any problems that could lead to a bungled short sale and a foreclosure.
If you have any other questions regarding short sales or questions related to legal ramifications of selling your home, please feel free to contact me at Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Sellers rejoice: it is finally a sellers’ market in many areas. For those homeowners who need or want to sell, this news has been a long time coming, after the last few years of the housing market collapse and bad news. There are some very positive market conditions that accompany this changeover:
Home price increases: If you follow the housing market in your area you may have noticed that prices are increasing in most areas (of course, you should check with your local real estate professional, as every area is different). The median national home price has increased 12.3% in San Diego county from this time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The great news is that this will move many homeowners from being underwater, to being able to finally sell and move on. Many of these people were “stuck” in their homes because they owed more than their homes were worth. Zillow reported that over 2 million homeowners came out of the negative equity doldrums on their homes in 2012, and that is expected to continue this year. Over the next year we will see many of these underwater homeowners get out of negative equity situations, which will then increase the inventory levels and bring the market back into “normal,” aka healthy, status.
Increase in buyer demand: Also, according to NAR, buyer traffic has increased 40% from a year ago. There are many buyers out there ready to buy, and less inventory for them to see. This keeps prices climbing and leads to…
Multiple offers: Many listings are obtaining multiple offers, and many are also selling not only over comparable market value, but over appraised value. Lots of buyers are willing to pay cash out of pocket for homes where their appraisal has come in too low (they pay the difference between the appraisal and the sales price), thus driving neighborhood comparables upwards.
Market times have decreased: Due to all the above factors, market times have decreased and homes are selling more quickly. In San Diego county, average market times decreased for almost every city. The average days on market in North San Diego for detached homes was 36, down from 48 days in December 2012. Market time for attached homes similarly fell in the majority of San Diego county cities, some as much as 84%, with the median attached home market time all across the county at 48. (Source: HomeDex)
The market is improving and all signs are pointing toward a healthy 2013 for the real estate market. The biggest plus is that we will eliminate the negative equity situation for many homeowners, creating more inventory for buyers, and allowing many current homeowners to sell and purchase properties that are more cost-efficient for them. All this, of course, will create higher home values, which benefit neighborhoods.
All in all, this is a great time to be in the position to sell, so get your home in tip-top shape and enjoy the turn of the market. If you are thinking of selling your home, it is important to consult with an experienced neighborhood real estate agent.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Monday, October 8th, 2012
Many real estate agents, mortgage professionals and economists have been saying it: “now is a great time to buy.” In fact, those cries have been echoed for the last year or so. Interestingly, there ARE many ready buyers out there, but inventory is so low and it is very difficult to be the lucky one whose offer is chosen, as many homes that are listed on the market obtain multiple offers, often in the first day or two.
So what makes now such a great time to buy real estate? There are 3 main reasons:
1. (Still) historically low interest rates. The interest rates are still at unprecedented lows. Part of this reason is because there is little inventory in most markets. As prices climb, inventory will rise (because sellers will see a good reason to finally sell again) and in turn interest rates will likely rise. It’s a Catch-22, but if you want the best rates, the end of a long downturn is a great time to take advantage.
2. Prices are rising in many markets. Many buyers have been waiting, some for a long time, until the market “bottomed out.” Well folks, we have reached that point and are now on the upswing. Prices in north county have risen, homes are receiving multiple offers, and the condo market is officially a seller’s market. Single family homes are soon to reach that level as well. If you are a buyer who has been “on the fence,” now is definitely the time to climb off and start looking, lest you find yourself facing higher prices and more competition as we head toward the Spring/Summer selling season.
3. Distressed inventory is down. Foreclosures have slackened off since the start of the summer, mostly in part to lenders embracing short sales and other programs, like loan modifications or sales to third party investors that help people stay in their homes. With less distressed inventory prices can continue to rise at a steady, “normal” pace. Note that even if you live in an area where there are still a lot of short sales, the jump in averages prices in those neighborhoods will cause lenders who hold paper on the distressed properties to seek prices that are more in line with the comparable sold properties, and since many lenders are trying to close short sales quicker and are being stricter with prices they will accept, it is likely such sales will not have a substantial effect on comparable properties.
4. Rents continue to rise and rentals are harder to find – great for investors, not so great for those seeking to rent. Rents have risen over the past year and are at a 10 year high, according to research reported in the Wall Street Journal. One study by Trulia even found that it is cheaper to own rather than rent in many markets. Not to mention the rental market is so hot, that it requires much luck to even find a rental and be chosen as a renter, since there is so much competition. I have had renters call on all my listings over the past year, asking if the sellers were willing to rent instead of sell – people are desperate. One of my investors just leased out a newly purchased property – the same floorplan I sold last year to a different investor – and he was able to obtain a monthly rent almost $100 higher per month than the first investor.
5. Low inventory. Low inventory in most markets means much greater competition amongst buyers. How, you say, is this a reason to buy now? Well, since competition is so high and prices are rising, if you are lucky to be the chosen buyer on a property you will likely end up paying less than when there is more inventory. There is only less than a three month supply of inventory on the market now in San Diego. If the many buyers out there looking cannot find a home to purchase now, and hold off until there is more inventory (usually after the holidays), there will also be more competition, as you will also get the buyers at that time of year who want to make a move after school gets out for the summer. Also, you will likely get a lower interest rate if you buy now rather than down the road, as many economists predict interest rate increases as inventory rises.
Do you need a few more reasons? How about this: housing statistics have been and continue to be on the rise. Building statistics are up in many areas, and many markets are becoming seller’s markets. So remember that “now is truly a great time to buy” may sound like an old cliche, but truly makes sense right now. If you are serious about buying now, make sure you understand the importance of writing a strong offer – click here for some great tips. Happy house hunting!
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Although many local housing markets are experiencing increased sales prices, it is still very important to be careful in listing your home at the right price. I have always adhered to the notion that a listing has the strongest potential to attract qualified home buyers the first two weeks on the market (many agents say it is the first 30 days, but I think the first two weeks are the most crucial). With a great listing agent, a strong marketing plan, and quality photos of your home, the right list price will provide the opportunity to attract many buyers, possibly leading to multiple offers.
Here are some of the issues sellers can face if their home is not priced right from the start:
1. Lack of interest. It used to be that buyers would come and see properties even if they were not priced well. In the last few years, it seems like that is no longer the case. Many buyers now prefer to to wait on price reductions, with the philosophy that lengthy market time means sellers are breaking down their barriers and might be willing to sell for UNDER market value, just to finally get rid of their homes. Those homes that are priced well garner more interest from both agents and buyers, and have a higher chance of selling. In fact, in many areas, such as here in North San Diego, homes that are priced well end up getting multiple offers and even selling above list price.
2. Extended market time. This really goes hand in hand with number one, above. If you do not have your home priced right you will not generate interest amongst qualified buyers; no interest = longer market times. Lots of buyers tend to want to wait until prices come down, rather than trying to negotiate with sellers whom they feel are unreasonable in the expectations. Price reductions down the road do not seem to stimulate interest like a new listing hitting the market.
3. Appraisal issues. We are seeing many more appraisal issues now, mostly because the banks have been so stubborn with lending. They want to prevent the free-for-all lending environment that caused the housing crash. In my opinion, they are really being too strict in lots of cases. Where there are strong sold comparables, and home prices can justifiably be increased (due to location, condition and upgrades), it is important for the lenders to understand that such properties should sell for more. But of course, there are limits.
4. Distressed property comparisons. Many sold comparables might contain a few or lots of distressed sales. Some agents still believe that appraisers appraise properties with two different sets of criteria: distressed and non-distressed. That is no longer the case, in my opinion. Just because a home is distressed most lenders still expect the home to sell according to comparable market prices. There IS an advantage to the waiting periods for non-distressed properties, but all things being equal your home should not sell for $100,000 more simply because it is not a short sale or bank-owned property. Of course, many other factors need to be considered in appraisals, including condition, location and upgrades.
So, how do you come up with the right price for your property? The first thing to do is to hire an experienced area agent. He or she can provide you with an extensive comparable market analysis, and then you can consider any upgrades, superior location, views, etc. It is alright to add on a reasonable amount for any of these “extras,” so discuss with your agent as to what is considered reasonable. If you have a home that is difficult to compare, you may want to consider paying for an appraisal before listing. Even if your market has become a sellers’ market, as have many attached homes in San Diego cities, you still need to be reasonable in pricing your listing. In retrospect, once you have sold your home, I think you will be happy that you did everything right at the beginning.
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Infographic printed with permission from the California Association of Realtors
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
There is a strange phenomenon occurring in San Diego this Spring season – there are less homes for sale than anticipated. It is not uncommon for buyers to find themselves in multiple offer situations, being outbid and outshone by others, including cash investors. Will we see more inventory as we head into summer, and what is keeping sellers from selling? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.
1. Negative Equity Rising. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, economists believe that as negative equity rises, people are less likely to list their homes because more foreclosures become a possibility, meaning property values go down. If sellers cannot get more for their homes, they will be unable to have the money needed for downpayments to purchase new homes, and to pay all the fees associated with selling. Thus, many are waiting for the market to go up before selling. Some of those who have to sell end up short selling their homes, which does not help neighborhood market values.
2. Fear. Many people are still afraid that the economy has not healed, and that the housing market has still not hit the “bottom.” To this I reiterate how important it is to focus on your own specific housing market, not the national reports. For instance, here in San Diego many communities are currently “seller’s markets” (for the first time in a long time) when it comes to condos, townhomes and attached homes. Multiple offer situations are common, and prices are rising. Many buyers are frustrated – they are making offers and are qualified for loans, but they are outbid. So, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable area agent to understand your specific market.
3. Election? Being an election year, many people feel that there will be changes within the economy and housing market if a new administration is elected, and those changes create fear and uncertainty. Some sellers choose to wait and see the results, so they can try to analyze where the market may go from that point. Again, it is imperative to really understand your local market, and not simply wait to see what might happen in the future. If you are in a market that has risen, and there is great demand there, you may be in the driver’s seat as a seller.
4. Investors in the market. There are many investors out there snatching up properties, especially those in the under-$300,000 price range. A large percentage of these investors pay cash, and their offers outshine those from buyers who need to get a loan, as they are easier to close. It is not uncommon to see buyers being outbid by these investors, and there is a lot of frustration amongst many buyers today. The only thing a buyer can do is be as well qualified as possible, and appeal to the sellers via a handwritten letter, making the sale feel more personal. This won’t always help, but I have my buyers write them, as it makes things more personal.
Most importantly, buyers and sellers need to understand the following: if somehow we knew that the market was going to improve from here on out, that improvement will be gradual – not a crazy spike like in the early 2000′s. Annual price increases of several percentage points a year will be likely. Sellers need to figure out the difference in waiting to make a few thousand dollars, compared to paying the mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance over that period of time. Buyers need to consider that when the market starts to correct, it is likely that interest rates will rise as well – so they could potentially be hit with higher prices and rates. There are buyers out there ready and waiting for homes to be listed, so speak with a qualified agent about your options if you are thinking of selling your home.
Photos courtesy of Dreamstime