In my last blog, I looked at how vibrant the winter home selling season is in our area and the wisdom of listing your home early (please click here if you missed it).
While the end of the year is always a very robust sales period in our area, due to the warm weather and secondary home market that peaks at that time, unfortunately it doesn't always mean that your agent is going to be there to support you.
Sadly, not all agents work the full 12-month cycle.
If you're unlucky enough to have hired such an under motivated agent, your home is very likely to remain unsold. This year that's arguably even more critical, with a new presidential administration starting in January, with all the uncertainties that may present, irrespective of who wins. There are also no guarantees that the low mortgage rates, that have done so much to stimulate sales this year, will still be around in 2017.
It often surprises clients to discover that the average agent in this country sells less than a handful of homes a year. Indeed, it's reckoned that just 5% of all agents do 95% of the business!
There are something like two million active agents in the nation, and many of them do not treat real estate as a full-time occupation. Thus, when the holidays move into sight, many are not to be found at their desks but on vacation somewhere, or indeed working another job...
It's therefore essential that you ask your agent if he/she will be working full-time to sell your property throughout the winter.
If you don't like what you hear, give us a call. We operate the full year with the same level of dedication and energy that we always devote to our clients. Why not contact us today.
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Perhaps the most common myth in real estate is that homes don't sell in the final quarter of the year.
This is simply untrue wherever one lives, but especially so here in Southern Florida, where our warm winter weather and secondary home market combine to ensure that the end of the year is always a very strong sales period.
I'd like to encourage you to not only consider the significant merits of listing your home to capture the winter market, but also to do so now.
Once snowbirds with second home purchase in mind begin to arrive in our part of the world, we usually see the inventory of available suitable homes for sale rising by about 15%.
It therefore makes a great deal of sense to be an early bird yourself and list now, so that you don't miss the start of this brisk selling season and capture the interest of the very earliest arriving snowbirds.
The key advantage to being on the market before the inventory rises is that with less competition around in early season, your home will be more visible in the marketplace and crucially, when there is more competition, price becomes a major factor in selling.
We are very experienced in every aspect of the secondary homes market. Please contact us today and we'll happily answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Today I wanted to talk to you about offers that come in very soon after your property has listed.
What I often find in these circumstances is that, when an offer arrives after only a few days, sellers sometimes don't have a sense of urgency and adopt a "wait and see" attitude, to see if an even better offer comes in.
Ultimately, of course, you are in control of the situation - our job is to simply to help you to make an informed decision as to what to do with the property. At the same time, however, no agent can tell you with a high level of confidence how long it will take you to get another offer. No one has a crystal ball and it could take days, weeks or even months.
There is also no guarantee that the second offer, whenever it comes in, is going to be better than the first one.
So what should you do with an early offer?
Our suggestion to sellers is that it always makes sense to at least make a counter offer, even if the initial offer came in much lower than you were expecting. Buyers often test the water by making a low starting offer, often in the almost certain expectation of receiving a higher counter offer. This process gives you an opportunity to get closer, or to even reach, your asking price, enabling you to make the decision whether to accept the early offer or not a much simpler one.
I hope this information will be of assistance to you if you are currently listing or considering putting your home on the market. As always, please feel free to contact us. We are always delighted to be of assistance.
When it comes to selling your home, our intentions match yours, in terms of obtaining the highest price in the most reasonable amount of time.
In order that everyone is on the same page in achieving this goal, here are three common mistakes that sellers make when listing their home with an agent:
Pricing your home to suit market conditions is one of the key benefits of teaming up with a top performing agent. Your agent will have intimate knowledge of what other homes like yours are selling for in the area. Unfortunately, however, some sellers will try to insist that their home is the most unique in the neighborhood, for whatever reasons, and demand that the asking price is raised. Unfortunately, some agents will go along with this just to get the listing. Pricing your home uncompetitively will prolong the sale until the realization dawns that some correction is needed. Although we're in a lively market right now, correct pricing is still absolutely critical to success.
Misjudging Buyer Loyalty
It's a huge mistake to think that buyers will come back to you after they have made an offer that you haven't accepted. There are usually plenty of other options and this is where a good agent will work well for you, staying in touch with the buyer to explore any further possibilities. And if buyers don't turn up for a showing, never assume that they will reappoint. Once again, a professional agent will contact the buyer to try and set another date.
Attending the Showing
It may surprise you, but attending showings of your home can be hugely counter-productive. Buyers often feel nervous and awkward about making honest comments about the home when the owner is present. Even worse, you are also likely to be upset by any negative comments, starting the whole process off in a bad way. It's much better to leave this critical presentation entirely in the hands of your agent, who will know what to say, and when, avoiding the tendency of many sellers to say too much and put a far too personal spin on what they perceive to be the home's qualities. Much better to leave buyers to draw their own conclusions.
We hope the above tips are of use. We believe they also stress the importance of teaming up with the right agent. We look forward to the opportunity to be of assistance. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Over the past month or so, a question that's come up quite a lot in negotiations is what does an "As Is" contract mean when it's applied to real estate?
When an offer is written on an "As Is" contract the buyer still has the right to do an inspection and isn't necessarily giving up the right to ask for a credit, or for work to be done if an issue arises.
However what is true from a seller's perspective is that if you have accepted an offer on that basis you are not obligated to do anything if something comes up in the inspection.
You essentially have options.
One option is to simply say "no" if a buyer makes a request in the inspection period and perhaps asks for a credit. You can respond by saying that the contract is "As Is" and the buyer needs to continue to proceed with the purchase.
The second option is that you can accept that the request is a reasonable one and do the work or provide the buyer with some sort of credit.
The third potential outcome is that you can negotiate. If, for instance, the buyer tells you that there is a leak in the roof and termites have been discovered and demands a $5000 credit, you can respond by saying you are prepared to offer, say, a $2000 credit.
So why do buyers even consider making an "As Is" offer? From their perspective, making an offer on an "As Is" contract structures things in such a way that the seller is more likely to accept an otherwise identical offer.
I hope that clears things up, if you were in any doubt.
Please reach out to us today if you have any further questions and, as always, we're happy to assist you in any way to help you get the result you want in the right timeframe. .
It's really quite incredible that we're already calling half-time on this year. Perhaps the reason it appears to have gone so fast is because we've enjoyed a very busy time.
Now approaching multi-year lows, mortgage rates have been a key driver for many buyers in this market so far in 2016. Experts were predicting a gradual rise in rates during this year to between 4.5% and 4.65%, but instead they have progressively moved south, with rates around 3.6% commonly available for a 30 year home loan. That represents a fantastic opportunity to lock in a low rate.
While nothing is guaranteed, there has even been speculation that a cocktail of disappointing economic news at home and continued financial uncertainties around the globe could send mortgage rates even lower.
Predicting the future direction of rates is a notoriously difficult task, as last winter's wildly incorrect expert forecasts proved, but what's undeniable is that buyer sentiment and demand in certain sectors is very high at present and sellers should recognize the tremendous opportunities for good returns that exist right now, rather than gambling on bigger returns later.
We've seen something of a split personality market locally, especially in terms of inventory of available homes for sale. While single-family residential homes at or below $425,000 have been in very heavy demand, inventory at the higher price points above $600,000 has been growing, due to less robust demand in that sector. The current affordability of home loans has unquestionably, and understandably, been a bigger motivation at the lower price points.
Moving forward, it's interesting that residential resales are at their highest level since 2007 and net worth in America is back up to 2007 levels, signaling that asset prices have gone up (stocks and real estate). However production GDP has not. This signals inflated asset prices. Also, I am noticing major banks bypassing FHA and offering out their own mortgage products, where buyers can put only 3% down for a mortgage.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next six months. As I hinted earlier, I'm already seeing shifts in the market in certain price points where inventory is climbing and sales are slowing down. Prices are being pushed in a downward fashion in those sectors.
As ever, please contact us to discuss your best options moving forward.
Today I want to touch on a subject that comes up a lot at this time of the year - making a decision to continue to rent a property or to explore the option of selling it.
A lot of leases come up at this time of year and I get a lot of questions from sellers asking me whether it makes sense to sell or to continue to rent.
I believe that there are a few things to consider here.
The first thing to look at is the macro-economic environment. The average amount of residential resales appears to be peaking and is at its second highest ever level. I also saw a statistic recently that credit card debt of US consumers is at its second highest ever level as well. Coincidentally the highest level for both was 2007 and we all know what happened after that...
So if you're not interested in renting for an extended period of time, these stats might help to convince you that it makes a lot of sense to cash out and sell the property.
The two other important considerations are questions that sellers need to ask themselves.
Firstly, if someone was to offer your property with its current cashflow and situation, would you buy it today at the current market price? If the answer is no, then the logical, rational decision is to sell the property, because if you're not a willing buyer of that asset on that basis you technically should be a seller.
Another helpful question you can ask yourself is if someone asked your advice on a property deal and given the individual circumstances, would you advise that person to hold onto it or cash out and sell? It's often easier to eliminate the emotion of the decision by artificially extracting yourself from the equation.
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you in making a logical decision. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to know the current value of your property and whether or not it makes sense to sell or continue to rent, don't hesitate to reach out to us today.
You may have observed that a "For Sale by Owner" sign in front of a house often eventually changes to one representing a professional real estate agent.
The reason for this is that most “DIY” sellers quickly discover that selling and marketing their home is a far more multifaceted and highly skilled process than they anticipated.
Here are just some of the key benefits that top producing agents bring to the sale:
Maximum exposure for your home - Only a realtor can reach the widest range of potential buyers, through access to the local MLS service that effectively transmits information about your property on a worldwide level. Generic home search websites, and indeed other local realtor sites, all derive information about a home from what's called the IDX feed generated by MLS listings.
Expertise in marketing - A realtor is an expert at marketing homes, knowing exactly what to highlight when listing or describing a property to potential buyers. This can be a quite sophisticated process, as different areas and price levels require their own tailored approach. Furthermore, the right realtor will run a thriving, professional website, adding value by blogging useful information to buyers and sellers and promoting homes through the various social networking platforms.
Access to buyer's agents - Listing your home through an agent facilitates distribution of your home information to all active buyer's agents in the area who are likely to have a waiting list of potential buyers looking for a home just like yours!
Access to a wide range of relevant contacts - The best realtors will aggressively market property, directly prospecting to neighbors and staying in regular contact with past clients and others who can influence the sale of homes. Even if not interested themselves, contacts may be aware of friends of relatives for whom your home is the perfect fit.
Achieving the Very Best Price for Your Home - Using an attractive price is a strategy that will ultimately net the seller the most amount of money possible. When you position a property well, price-wise, it can make the difference between receiving showings and no offers and receiving multiple offers. With all the information available on the internet, it can be difficult to obtain realistic picture of value.
When it comes to achieving top dollar, your agent uses local knowledge of recent actual sold prices and uses a range of negotiating tactics to ensure that you get the very best overall deal.
Experience in Closing the Sale - A home purchase or sale generates a lot of paperwork. There are many opportunities for costly errors if you embark on a process in which you probably have zero experience. As realtors deal with closing all the time, they know all the pitfalls and will therefore be looking out for them on your behalf.
These are just a few great reasons why agents offer significant advantages over the "DIY" approach. Why not contact us today and discover the extra steps we take to ensure that your property sale is a smooth and rewarding process.
Today I'd like to talk to you about expired listings.
An expired listing is when a home is put on the market and after months comes off the market unsold. There is usually a time frame to the agreement and when that expires the home then comes off the multiple listing service and is no longer active on the market for sale.
About 20% of our clients come to us after their home listing has expired. Therefore I thought it would be useful to go over some of the reasons why a home expires.
The first reason is, quite simply, that the sellers change their minds. Whatever was prompting them to move has changed and they are no longer interested in selling. This is perfectly fine. My job as an agent is to help people sell, it's never to talk them into selling.
The second reason why a home comes off the market unsold has to do with the agent the seller initially hired. Just 5% of agents do 95% of all sales!
What usually happens when a seller has listed their home and it hasn't sold and they reach out for me to help them, is that they hired someone who was maybe a referral from a friend, or was simply someone they knew and/or was based in their neighborhood and essentially didn't get good service. Typically the agent wasn't candid and up front with them about what it would take to sell the property, wasn't calling the seller on a regular basis to discuss why the home wasn't selling and, as often happens, took low quality pictures of the home with their phone rather than hiring a professional.
Whatever the specific reasons, invariably the agent has ultimately fallen asleep at the wheel and the home goes unsold, which is unfortunate as it ends up affecting sellers and their plans.
The next reason is the condition of the property - what it looks like overall and what the showing condition is. That can certainly influence things.
The final reason why a home doesn't sell has to do with the price. Ultimately what something's worth is what someone is willing to pay for it.
When sellers with expired homes come to us, we aim to get these four factors back in alignment. We talk to sellers about whether they still actually want to sell and, if they do, based on our track record there's a very good chance we can help them. Then we have a conversation with regard to the overall condition of the property and the price.
On average, we can help people to get the home sold in 30 to 45 days, even though they may have listed with another agent for six months or more, or even unsuccessfully hired more than one agent.
If you find yourself in this position, or know someone who is, or have a home that has been on the market for some time and is about to expire, feel free to contact us today. We're supremely confident that we can help you.
We have just completed the first quarter and the market place has continued to be strong in specific pockets.
Due to artificially low interest rates, single-family residential properties in certain price points ($450,000 and below) are in very high demand.
In the higher price points ($600,000 and above) the inventory is growing and demand is not as strong.
The condo segment of the market is the place where I have seen the most change. The inventory has grown dramatically in the last 12 months and as it sits now, if no one put a new condo on the market, it would take eight months to sell all the ones currently listed. There are also many new-construction condo projects going up, as I am sure you have seen with all the cranes in the sky.
All in all, the quarter was great for the market and great for The Novello Group. We had the good fortune of helping 61 people in the first quarter buy or sell a home.
We look forward to the opportunity to be of assistance to you and yours. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.