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Spring is in the air and homebuyers are coming out of hibernation. With the holidays over and the weather warming up, it’s the time of year that's typically considered a hot period for the housing market.
If you’ve considered selling your home, here's why spring is a great time to move forward with those plans:
Spring is the undisputed champion of seasons for selling a home. Not only are flowers in bloom and the sky blue for some great marketing photos, but also people are chomping at the bit to start the closing process so they can move in and get settled before fall.
Homebuyers have a tendency to taper off in the winter, and not just in parts of the country that typically have frigid weather. A mixture of holiday obligations and kids in school lead to more homes coming off the market temporarily and buyers pressing pause on checking out new listings.
By the time spring hits, cabin fever has people anxious to start touring homes.
With work, school or family obligations at the end of summer, spring is the optimal time to take on house hunting and get moving on the purchase process.
A combination of low interest rates and low single-family housing inventory means there are a lot of eager homebuyers forced to compete for what’s on the market.
After increasing interest rates to 2.5% in December 2018, the Federal Reserve has expressed plans to keep interest rates at the same level through 2021. While rising interest rates previously scared off unsure buyers, Cardile points out that the steady outlook for interest rates since December has encouraged more buyers to resume shopping for homes.
Mortgage News Daily reports the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 4.34% as of April 16, 2019. The rate is a decrease of 0.16% compared to the year prior, and Mortgage News Daily shows the average mortgage rate has steadily declined since November 2018.
While housing has largely been in a seller's market over the last few years – meaning the seller has an upper hand since there are more buyers than homes available – the natural real estate cycle of indicates that's easing. Depending on where you live, there may be more new houses under construction to help ease demand or fewer active buyers.
Still, a softer market doesn't mean you won't be able to sell your house or that it's worth less. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which measures price increases in single-family homes across the U.S., found home prices increased by 4.26% from January 2018 to January 2019 – and they have been steadily climbing since February 2012.
Just a few years ago, millennials were brand-new to homebuying, but they've since become a staple demographic of the real estate market. With them, the real estate industry has evolved to better utilize technology and data to help home shoppers search for available homes. Now when a real estate agent lists a house on the local multiple listing service, it also gets picked up by consumer-facing portals like Zillow, realtor.com and Redfin to reach homebuyers directly.
Of course, this doesn't exclusively benefit millennial buyers. The National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that first-time homebuyers made up 33% of the total share of homebuyers last year, with a median age of 32. The median age for all homebuyers, however, was 47, indicating that new home purchases certainly aren't limited to first-time buyers or millennials.
Additionally, the move-in ready expectation that accompanied the rise of the millennial homebuyer is now widely embraced. To make your home as marketable as possible to all potential buyers, you should update key rooms like the kitchen and master bathroom, which are known to get a lot of attention from homebuyers. Consider replacing major appliances or systems that have reached the end of their life, such as the water heater or roof, since being able to say they're brand-new can add value to the house. Selling your home "as-is" promises quite a bit more work than a first-time buyer is willing to take on.
There’s still time to get your home on the market this spring to take advantage of the growing number of interested buyers, but successfully reaching potential buyers requires a bit more work than just an online listing, and it’s best to get started sooner rather than later. Reach out to your agent at least a few weeks before you'd like to put the house on the market to know what you need to do early on, so you can avoid a time crunch.
It's smart to have a Realtor come and look through the house room by room and make suggestions.
Selling your home also likely means you'll be buying a new one, and the earlier you start on one the sooner you can make moves on the other. Be active in the homebuying process at the same time. Especially if you need to be moved in before the end of summer, it's best to tour houses and have a head start on house hunting, even if you don't want to make an offer until your own home is under contract.
Here are four tips for taking advantage of the springtime homebuying surge:
Prep your home. It’s a year-round rule that you should be putting your home’s best face forward, from planting flowers along the walkway to updating appliances in the kitchen or bathroom. While an interested buyer may be competitive about bidding on a home, he or she will also be well-informed, and prepping your home is imperative to getting the highest possible return on your investment. Staging is also a key component. If you stage correctly, you have the right light, the right environment - you showcase the house at its best.
Price it right the first time. If your home is priced too high, it’s much harder to bring back the homebuyers who moved on to other listings because the asking price was out of their range. As of mid-February, more than 1 in 5 homes for sale on the site have undergone a price drop, an increase of about 3.5% of homes seeing price drops around the same time 2018.
Aim for a Thursday. A separate study reveals homes listed on a Thursday are more likely to sell above list price and find a buyer faster than homes put on the market any other day of the week. Thursdays are perfect because it gives people a chance to look at what's coming and make their plans for the weekend.
Stay competitive. Even in a seller’s market, there’s no guarantee your home will be scooped up quickly – or even scooped up at all. It’s important to pay attention to homes going on the market in your area and to emphasize the particular strengths of your home. And while many markets are heating up or hot already, it’s important to keep in mind that a jump in home values in one area doesn’t promise high home values anywhere else.
Redeveloping a kitchen can be very expensive, and you might not get back all the money invested in selling. Instead of redoing everything, you can make small changes to get your kitchen up to date. Opt for a new painting rather than new closets and change your appliances. If the equipment is really old and you decide to replace it, do not necessarily choose the most upscale. A clean, fresh and bright kitchen is enough to attract buyers, without having to leave all your savings. Here are some tips for preparing your kitchen before selling your home.
Rearrange your kitchen by clearly defining your different goals.
---> Must be clean and smell good.
---> Must look spacious and unencumbered. There is enough space in the drawers and cupboards.
---> Must be tastefully decorated: there must be no ugly or dated objects.
---> Must be welcoming: the buyer must be able to easily imagine using it and appreciate the space.
---> Must be alive without being messy.
Having your kitchen cleaned by a professional is a very good investment if you plan to sell your house. Sure, you could just as well do it yourself, but would the result really be so good? A kitchen is at its best when it is sparkling.
Be sure to remove all trash cans, recycling bags and pet accessories before making visits, and be sure to clean the inside and bottom of the bins. Spread a lemon under your trash. There is nothing worse to let a potential buyer spin than a bad smell. The refrigerator is another place to be attended to - refrigerator odors oftentimes carry far past the kitchen. Repair Aid, a professional appliance repair company, advises on how to solve this problem in this post.
Outside the household, you will get your money back if you redo the paintings. Spend a new layer in your kitchen, with a hue in harmony with the color of your closets and worktops. If you have a doubt, go for white. Even if your kitchen is new, look carefully at the walls and ceilings, and make the necessary adjustments, even the small ones.
Organizing your kitchen is the first step to move on, which is not always easy. If you are preparing your house for sale, it is time to no longer think of it as your home, but as a property about to be sold. This preparation, if done well, can make your home more attractive and speed up your sale. It is even sometimes possible to obtain more than originally hoped for. It is better to make the best possible impression from the beginning so that you do not have to endure the incessant visits. Keep this in mind during your preparations.
Clean the windows, both inside and out. If your windows are equipped with awesome curtains, consider removing them, or at least making sure they are well drawn during the visits.
A toaster and coffee maker are the only things you can stay on the counter. Everything else must be tidy.
Potential buyers will look inside your closets. And if they are overloaded, it will give the impression that there is not enough storage space in your kitchen. Remove any excess, or mismatched items, and anything that does not make a good impression. If you still need these items, keep them in a box that you place at the top of a shelf or cupboard during visits.
Reduce the contents of your pantry until there is empty space on each shelf. Arrange this leftover in matching boxes or baskets. It may be necessary to remove food, but remember that a well presented kitchen is not necessarily a practical kitchen. As with the objects in your closets, keep the extra items in a box that you will hide for visits.
People have a special relationship with wall shelves: we love or hate. They can be very beautiful, but are a real challenge when it comes to keeping them in order. If you have some in your kitchen, your goal will be to show visitors that they can be useful and beautiful. Leave some empty space on your shelves and expose only the matching dishes you use every day. The best option is once again the white dishes and the transparent glasses.
Dispose of old sponges and dishwashing liquids, and replace them with an original soap, a nice dishwashing liquid dispenser and a lotion, all well presented on a tray.
A clean and bright faucet always makes a good impression. Also be sure to repair any leaks.
A nice cookie or kettle on the hobs is a welcoming touch. Just make sure that what you choose is in perfect working order and without any scratches.
New tea towels are at the top of the list when you want to present your kitchen. They are an inexpensive way to add some color and pattern, especially in an all-white kitchen that might otherwise look bland.
Everything that is ripe and pretty will do the trick. Choose beautiful fruits and arrange them in a basket, a salad bowl or in a cake dish.
Just like the fruit basket, freshly cut flowers, branches or aromatic plants in jars bring life to your kitchen. No need to spend a fortune: in this kitchen, for example, sunflower-style flowers, cheap, have been arranged in a transparent vase, and a row of lemons rests on a white dish. This arrangement is easy to achieve, inexpensive, while being the most beautiful effect.
Cookbooks are an accessory that makes cooking attractive and useful. But think of sorting in your books: keep a single row, taking care to choose books in good condition. If you do not have a shelf, you can have a small stack on the worktop.
These are the top features on luxury home buyers wish lists this year.
While the average sale price for luxury homes nationwide rose 4.7 percent annually to $1,772,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018, a few things remain constant: the kinds of features and trends associated with high end houses.
Money can buy you a lot of things, and in luxury homes, several amenities ring universal.
The higher the price point, the more features buyers expect and that desire intensifies.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home in 2019–or just love daydreaming about them–these are the features and trends to watch this year.
In higher price points privacy is one of the things people are expecting. If you buy a $5 million home, you don’t want to see your neighbors or have someone on the street be able to walk up to your front door. People want gates, walls and hedges, but they must be aesthetically pleasing–no big chain link fence.
In addition to the privacy element, there is the security element. Most homes these days on the higher end allow you to remotely control everything from lights, fireplace, pool, air conditioning and security cameras from an iPad or a phone. It’s something that’s almost come to be expected. Rather than, ‘that would be nice,’ it’s become, ‘that needs to have it.’
We’re also seeing super high tech safes hidden in closets for valuables like expensive jewelry, watches or purses. Or they’re being displayed in a way where you can’t just open a drawer and take something. You have to open up your closet drawer like you unlock your phone.
A pool is expected, but these days, no one really wants a big deep pool taking up the whole backyard. Instead, buyers are looking for smaller plunge pools that are almost glorified jacuzzis. While houses have been built bigger and take up more space on the lot, the pool is still something people still want and expect–just less of it.
Luxury buyers we're working with this year want guest suites. It doesn’t have to be detached–it could be downstairs off the garage, or a bedroom with en-suite bathroom that can be used for a live–in nanny or maid, or friends or family who come to visit. Our clients want that extra space, as well as rooms that can be a home office, as well as a gym or workout room.
We’ve seen an emphasis on imported finishes–but pieces imported to California from Italy as opposed to New Jersey. In the kitchen, an obvious design choice is still Ceasarstone or quartz over granite, but also high-end appliances. A $5 million home shouldn’t have Kitchenaid or GE. Not because they’re bad, but because they don’t fit with the narrative of a luxury home. Similarly, if there are sliding doors, our clients want them to be pocket doors that disappear into wall. Those are the kinds of added touches expected in a luxury home.
A lot of homes we’ve shown have a trend of two. It’s no longer one stove and oven, now it’s two stoves, two ovens, two dishwashers, two sets of washers and dryers, and all upscale, designer brands. Luxury means never waiting or having dirty clothes or dishes.
There is also a risk with ultra luxury homes in that features might be too customized to fit an individual need. We’ve seen houses where a musician put in a recording studio, and a basketball player had a full court. Those are things that won’t appeal to everyone, and as a result, can negatively affect a sale.
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