DON’T SHOP FOR HOMES ALONE
Written by Blanche Evans
Homebuyers are increasingly shopping for homes with a real estate agent. Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, up from 69 percent in 2001, says a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®.
That means your competition has professional help. Do you?
In 2014, buyers used a wide variety of resources in searching for a home, with the Internet (92 percent) and real estate agents (87 percent) leading the way. And 90 percent of home buyers who searched for homes online ended up purchasing their home through an agent. Buyers who used the Internet were more likely to purchase their home through an agent than those who didn’t (67 percent).
When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 43 percent said the Internet. That’s up from 36 percent in 2009. Thirty-three percent learned about their home from a real estate agent. That’s pretty impressive odds.
So in the age of home buying apps, why are more buyers using a real estate agent? A number of reasons. First, the bubble and implosion in housing values made buyers more cautious. Then the housing market rebounded, leaving many buyers unprepared for bidding wars, investors, and a tighter mortgage market. Last, buyers have been on the sidelines so long, that they’re entering the market with more maturity than buyers of past generations.
There’s no reason not to use all the help you can get. Licensing laws allow agents to work with both buyers and sellers as both fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries, depending on state disclosure requirements.
When an agent contracts with a seller to sell their home, the agent contracts commission fees with the seller to cover the costs of paying the buyer’s agent. Buyers may not realize that most agents are paid at the closing, and that they won’t be out any upfront money to hire their own agent.
Having an agent multiplies the buyer’s chances of finding the right home at the best price. The buyer’s agent networks with other agents to find the right home and they learn which homes are coming onto the market before the general public. Many homes are bought and sold without a sign ever going into the yard.
But, if a buyer goes to open houses, or builder model homes without registering their buyer’s agent’s name, or calls on a listing without mentioning their agent, the listing agent or builder’s agent has every right to assume the buyer is unrepresented. They may refuse to pay the buyer’s agent commission.
Today’s agents are like today’s buyers and sellers. They’re more technology-savvy and willing to work hard to please their buyers. They know that buyers eventually become sellers, and sellers become repeat buyers.
That’s how good agents build their businesses, through repeat business and referrals. They are highly motivated to do the best job possible for homebuyers.
Why wouldn’t any buyer want to take advantage of that?
Chris Maroc-As your professional real estate adviser, I will focus on your satisfaction. My business is about service and I am not happy until you are happy. I will share in-depth knowledge of the area, recent sales comparisons, market data, and strong negotiating skills. I will find you a home that will best suit your needs and budget. Please call me at 914-215-2025
Jessica Edwards with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage shares what to expect in this important part of the home buying process.
So, you’ve found your dream home and you’ve nearly made it through the home buying process. You’ve made an offer on a house, you’ve gotten approved for a mortgage, and you’ve conducted a home inspection. Now, it’s time for closing. So, what happens at a closing on a home?
In the below video, real estate professional Jessica Edwards with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage explains the closing process.
Whether you’re just starting your home search, or getting ready to move to your next home, home begins at coldwellbanker.com.
If you have any questions, please call, Chris Maroc 914-215-2025
The growth outlook was further buoyed by other reports on Thursday showing that in August, factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region hit its highest level since March 2011 while a gauge of future economic activity increased solidly last month.
“The economy is beginning to fire on more cylinders,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytic in West Chester, Pa.
The National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales increased 2.4 percent, to an annual rate of 5.15 million units. That was the highest reading since September and confounded economists’ expectations for a pullback.
It was the fourth consecutive monthly gain in sales, confounding economists, who had expected a decline.
In a further encouraging sign, the share of first-time buyers rose for a second consecutive month and more houses came onto the market, which should temper price increases. Earlier stages of the housing recovery were driven by investors.
Housing activity stagnated in the second half of 2013, weighed down by a run-up in mortgage rates and home prices, but it now appears to be regaining its footing. A report on Tuesday showed a surge in home construction in July.
“We are moving back to a more normal market where it’s driven by the fundamentals of confidence in the economy,” said Budge Huskey, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Madison, N.J.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16. That pointed to a sustained improvement in labor market conditions.
The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,750, to 300,750. At that level, it is consistent with solid job growth, and claims are back to prerecession levels.
The jobless claims report covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for August’s nonfarm payrolls data. The four-week average of claims fell 8,500 between the July and August survey periods, suggesting another month of relatively strong job gains.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 in July, marking the sixth consecutive month that job growth topped 200,000, a sign of strength last seen in 1997.
The firming jobs picture has caught Federal Reserve officials by surprise. Minutes of the Fed’s July policy meeting published on Wednesday showed that officials viewed the improvement in labor market conditions as “greater than anticipated” and hinted that it could lead to an early interest rate increase.
In a third report, the financial data firm Markit said its preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers index for the United States rose to 58 this month, the highest point since April 2010, from 55.8 in July.
That show of strength was corroborated by a separate report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, which showed that its business activity index increased to 28.0 this month, the highest point since March 2011, from 23.9 in July. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing.
“Over all, today’s Philly Fed and Markit manufacturing surveys indicate continued healthy growth in the manufacturing sector in August,” said Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays in New York.
by Blanche Evans
When your home is marked down from its original price, it’s a sure sign that your marketing plan failed. Not only have you missed the critical first two weeks when buyers and real estate professionals are most interested, but there’s no way for your home to compete with other homes that are better priced.
No one wants to waste time trying to deal with an unreasonable seller, so lowering the price may not help as much as you may think. Buyers may think something is wrong with the home, or they may decide that there’s room for even more discounts. Real estate professionals won’t get excited when your agent relists your home at a lower price because it’s not a new listing.
If you’re really ready to sell your home, don’t test the market. The best thing for you to do is to price it right in the first place and then sell as close to the original asking price as possible. For the best results, price your home at current fair market value — not where prices were in 2005, or where they might be in 2015.
Current fair market value means your home favorably compares to recent listings and closed sales of homes most similar to yours in size, finishes, amenities and location. It also means your home is on target with price trending. If homes are dropping in price in your area, you may want to set your original price under current fair market values in order to generate more interest from buyers. If prices are trending upward, stay current – don’t price ahead. That only works in the strongest sellers’ markets when banks are more comfortable about rising prices.
Next, make sure that buyers see your home in the best light. Among real estate professionals, the most important considerations is how your home looks from the curb and how it looks online. First impressions require that you spend particular time and attention on curb appeal, from keeping your walks and drives swept, to painting the front door a fresh new color, to putting out a new welcome mat.
Photography can be your home’s best selling tool when it’s done correctly and professionally. Stage the rooms that will be photographed by removing clutter. Fluff the pillows, clear tabletops and countertops, and remove the dog’s water bowl and your children’s toys out of the viewfinder. Take a few digital shots and look for flaws – the rumpled bed, the wastebasket full of paper, or the closet bulging with clothes. Once all the flaws are removed, you’re home is ready for the professional photographer who has the right lighting and equipment to help you market your home.
In homeselling, less is more. You want the home to come forward and your belongings to fade to the background. If you have too much stuff, put the excess in storage. As little as $50 to $250 for short-term storage could make the difference in the buyer’s offer price.
When buyers come to your home, they will be looking for flaws, so make sure the little details are done, especially small repairs. The less that needs to be fixed or replaced, the better maintained and the more move-in ready the home appears to the buyer.
Buyer-friendliness is a factor that can’t be underestimated. If you want a certain price for your home, make sure to give the buyer something extra to make it worth paying full price. Offer to pay closing costs up to a certain amount, or offer to leave the washer, dryer and refrigerator.
It’s not just the home that needs to be attractive. As the seller, you’re part of the whole package. You should appear buyer-friendly, just as your home should appear move-in friendly.
A home that is priced to reflect current market conditions and shows well in person and online will always sell for more than homes that aren’t maintained and marketed as well.
Please call me, Chris Maroc at 914-215-2025 for a free market evaluation.