It wasn’t so long ago that bidding wars were the norm, with buyers scrambling to but anything, anything that vaguely resembled a house. It seemed unsustainable, and it was. The collapse was big, replaced by years of disappointment, frustration and fear on the parts of both Buyers and Sellers. And here we are again, and I’m guessing you’ve heard all the stories about the new bidding wars; 3, 6, 12, even eighteen offers. And it’s true. It may not make much sense, but it is the reality. So if you’re one of those lucky people who wants to sell their home, and even luckier if you’ve got some decent equity, what can you do to create a buying frenzy of your own?
Read the attached article from the IJ: Create Your OwnBidding War
The more deals I’m involved in the more I hear from mortgage brokers that loans are easier to get and more loan products are being offered. Add to that the fact that more entities are entering into the lending market, sensing the economic turnaround, the lessening risk and the chance to make a return on their money. And the reason this is all happening is that most experts believe that foreclosures will continue to decrease and that prices will continue to rise. If there are any reasons for concern, doesn’t this scenario seem eerily familiar and fairly recent in your mind? Joe loose is loose enough, and how loose is too much and too much risk?
Easier said than done today. But to simplify: every step you take needs to be considered, from being ready with a loan and loan approval, to walking in the door of the house for the first time, how you look at the house, assess it, how you interact with the listing agent and perhaps even the homeowner. When you’re ready to write an offer, you have to make it your best possible offer, not just in price, but also in the terms and time limits. Just don’t make an offer that potentially puts you at risk. If your offer is so big that it entails an unacceptable amount of risk, you really need to back off; ratchet your sights downward and look for another home. Typically you only get one chance with every house. Make it right.
Read this KCM article: Get Your Offer Accepted
Right on the heels of my last post comes this one from Bloomberg, echoing the sentiments of the earlier post. This time it’s Consumer Confidence, rising rapidly in large part to the light at the end of the dark real estate tunnel. Housing starts to recover, construction people go back to work, everyone gets excited and they start to spend more. Perception. While I cannot guarantee continued positive news in the housing sector, my view has always been that the elusive “confidence” is the single most important reason econimies rise and fall. Perception. More people believe the economy is improving, soon everyone believes it and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kind of like the stock market, but even on a larger scale. Read the article Consumer Confidence.
If the numbers from the attached article are any indication, the market shows no sign of slowing, at least not in Marin County. I was expecting some great numbers, but nothing like those reported. Median price for single family homes: $931,700, up 23% from April 2012. Number of homes sold up 21% from April 2012. Now I’m really curious, because May seems to be slowing a bit. I’ve heard the same from a few other agents, who attribute the change to the approach of the summer vacations, kids out of school, and an upsurge of new listings. While you think the routine might be: home goes on market, home sells over the first weekend. Well, I have to tell you that isn’t quite true. I’ve been searching for homes still unsold, and there are many, some quite stunning. Reason? Put on at too high a price. If you’re selling, learn a lesson and get realistic about your pricing. If you’re buying and chomping at the bit to find something, as more listings come on, exercise a little patience; you might find you save yourself quite a bit of money snagging a home that’s been languishing for 6-8 weeks.
If you want to know more about the trends, call 415-939-2308. The link to the IJ article is: Home Prices and Sales Continue to Soar.
This is a hot topic, where you’ll find a near-equal number who say housing is the salvation of our recovering economy while others say that housing just isn’t enough. The attached KCM article takes the position that housing is leading us out of the recession and will help fuel growth for years to come. While I cannot validate their numbers, the argument is persuasive. Just like the frenzied place we find ourselves in today, the optimists see that same demand for limited amounts of homes to continue into the future.
The article is: Housing and the Great Recession
While short sales are, for the moment, thankfully becoming less and less a part of our daily conversation, that’s not to say they are gone altogether. Far from it, there are still a ton of distressed homes out there, just not son many here in MarinCounty. If you are unfortunate enough to be forced into considering a Short Sale, have you ever wondered who holds the actual loan and what that might mean to you? If you have, you need to investigate, because every lender is different, and different mechanisms are in place for every type of loan. You need to educate yourself so you know what to expect, because it can be a very difficult process. Attached is an article from KCM with more detail. Who Owns My Loan?
While I for one am saddened on a daily basis with the demise of the printed word, whether it be magazines, newspapers, or books, there is no way we cannot acknowledge the inevitability of digital media, whether it be in how we get our news, how we get from A to B, or how we buy and sell real estate. When I hold open houses, I routinely ask “How did you hear about the house?” and the overwhelming answer is the Internet, followed as a distant second by “our real estate agent.” Some come because of the signs but almost none ever come because of the newspaper. I’m sure you’re not surprised if I say that I am not alone in noticing these trends. Read the short KCM article attached: Forget Newspapers.
The attached article is really a good overview for Sellers. In concise language it explains a number of essentials that should make the selling process that much easier ands that much more profitable, discussing among the following: attracting multiple offers, advice on trading up or trading down relative to an expected rise in market prices, fixing a home’s nagging problems, prepping for an appraisal, and more. The lesson learned: even in this inflating market, getting the best price for your home takes some serious thought and careful planning.
Good Times for Sellers from CNN Money
While there seems to be little doubt that the rebounding housing market has added a lot of impetus to our recovering economy, there are those who doubt it’s enough to keep that economy going unless some other sectors do their own share. However, there are people on both sides of the argument, some seeing an economy that might stumble in the near future, others who believe the housing market will once again be the engine for a national recovery.
Read this article in the Wall Street Journal for one person’s take: Housing and the Economy
It seems only yesterday that people were avoiding even having thoughts about homeownership, let alone taking the plunge and buying a house. Too risky, too burdensome, too many sleepless nights. And now…everyone wants to buy before it’s too late…again. Prices soaring, rates likely to follow, better get your loan. But does this make sense? That’s for you to decide. However, there’s no doubt in my mind how good it feels to have your own home, for a lot of logical financial reasons in addition to all those intangible ones. The question you need to ask yourself is: Is this the right time for you?
Read the short article from KCM. Home ownsership
Prices have been rising and look to keep rising for the rest of the year and probably into the next. Your home is still gathering value; do you have any plans to use that value? A re-fi is always a great option if you need funds for something else, and the lenders are making the process a lot easier than before. However, as a person who has done his share of re-financing, define your goals carefully, whether they be lowering your rate and your monthly payment or borrowing money to help a son or daughter through school. Borrow what you need, but try not to exceed that number as it is always nice to have an equity cushion should you need it at a later date.
Have a read on this CNN Money article which explores it from a few angles. Equity and Your Home
While just about everyone is happy about the economic turnaround, you’d think the only ones who are wishing the housing recovery hadn’t happened quite so quickly would be those growing ranks of frustrated sellers. But there are other people out there who should be concerned. The Fed has unleashed so much money to the banks to keep the rates down and streamline the lending process and get the loans into the hands of the people who want them that the lending institutions are once again making record profits, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac right there with all the rest. The nearly-free money was also designed to get investors to pull their cash out of storage and pump up the market. That worked, but how well? Is it happening too fast? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Here’s a good take on the situation from the Wall Street Journal. Housing Boom?
If you’re fortunate enough to be searching for a luxury home in Marin, you can expect a few changes in the lending market. The good news is that lenders are loosening up on the jumbo loans. Different packages for different needs. However…depending on the size of your expected loan, there are quite a few new rules. The basics: the bigger the loan, the bigger the down payment and the bigger the cash reserves to prove your credit worthiness. Still, onerous as this might seem, there hasn’t been a time as good as this for many, many years.
Read what the Wall Street Journal said: Big Loan
With good news from other parts of the economy on the rise, everything from consumer confidence and job growth, new construction is bound to follow. It’s already on the rise, and all those new homes are going to look real nice to people who’ve been burned in multiple offer meltdowns. New construction equals new competition for anyone thinking of selling. If you want to maximize your chances for a quick sale and a great price, you might want to consider selling before new inventory comes on market.
KCM has this final article. Sell Your Home Now
Part two of this series is all about the housing supply. It’s low, real low, but I’m guessing you know that already. It’s almost as if someone said to put your home on the market and unless you price it at some ridiculously high level, it will sell. I’ve noticed a flood of new listings, but I believe those numbers are more a reflection of seasonal change rather than a significant change in the housing supply. It would take many months of heavy listing to get back to what is considered a normal supply. Read the next installment for more information.
From KCM…Sell Your House Today
A few weeks ago I uploaded three posts about what a great time it was to buy. This time around I’m going to upload three new posts about how it’s a good time to sell. Now you might be asking, how is it possible for it be good for both sides of a real estate transaction? Read the attached link and find out. But given the crazy state of the market, it probably comes as no surprise that sellers haven’t had this much control for years. With homes in contract topping more than 55% of available listings, it’s a real lopsided Seller’s Market.
This is a topic that I have harped on about a lot in the recent months. Ever since the market started to steamroll, I began to witness more and more buyers getting burned in multiple offer situations, some sitting out altogether, others just not being well-prepared. The message is simple: if you really want to buy, do your homework and get prepared. The simplest and perhaps most important thing to do is get pre-approved, i.e. know what your realistic price range is, and don’t deviate from it. That all-important pre-approval allows you to make an offer on very short notice. It takes little time and costs you nothing.
Link to a nice, concise article from KCM. Five Tips
Are all those investors making your life miserable? Are you among the hundreds of Buyers who are getting squished in situations where 8 or more offers are submitted and the prices are 10-15% over asking? If you’ve been trying to buy a home, the answer is probably “yes.” FYI…the latest numbers are that Notices of Default (pre-foreclosure papers) have declined to their lowest level since before the downturn but that investors and cash are still around in great number. Here are some stats and a little perspective on the changing complexity of real estate investing. And you probably won’t be surprised to know that what’s happening across the country is also happening here in Marin.
KCM on Investment Home Sales
Sellers, this one’s for you. While all our sympathy has lately been falling on the side of the beleaguered Buyers, understandably frustrated and mad as hell, this posting is for Sellers who are finally coming out of the woodwork and putting their much-wanted homes on up for sale. No wonder, considering that some communities are seeing sales comparable to what we saw just before the crash. Catch the wave, cash out, move up or downsize. The main takeaway from the attached IJ article is that you don’t always have to do every little thing…Yes, the house needs to look good, especially that all-important first impression, but remember, you are not selling a new house. And Buyers and their agents should know it…
What exactly does that mean? This recent piece of news from the IJ merits a quick posting. Wow! But is it real? Yes, of course, but that’s a qualified yes…What are your immediate thoughts? Mine are mixed; clearly this is a dramatic piece of statistical information, but isn’t it also an incomplete bit of information. Typically, any headline trumpeting rising (or falling) prices is referring only to the same month a year ago…It’s a reflection of activity in one month…clearly not enough to make you rush out and sell your house or give up trying to buy. Yes, the market is on fire, but in a market as small as MarinCounty a spike in the number of high-end sales and a dip in the number of low-end sales can skew the numbers dramatically. Yes, it is important to know how a month or a three-month season is proceeding as an indicator of what might come next, but the only real numbers that matter are year-end numbers.
That being said, sales continue to rocket ahead. While it has already knocked some frustrated buyers out of the ring and into the locker room, they’re being replaced by floods of other buyers who feel they may miss their chance altogether. Advice: pre-approve, offer quickly and make it as strong as possible…
The article in full: Marin home prices see dramatic jump.
The third and final post with accompanying link…With skyrocketing rents, is it actually cheaper to buy? Yes, home prices are rising at a ridiculous pace, but so are rents, so much that one has to re-examine the financial side of renting versus buying. While I am not qualified to crunch or question the numbers, they make you think. One can never project where they’ll be some 20 years down the road, let alone where home prices will be. However, if I use myself as an example, when I first bought a home some 24 years ago, I quickly began to feel that it was the stupidest decision I had ever made, especially in light of the mini-housing crash that immediately followed for the next 2-3 years. Well, I hung on to the house, and I am very glad I did. Am I glad I stopped paying rent? You bet I am.
From kcm: Financial Reasons Part III
Following on the heels of yesterday’s post is this commentary on all-cash offers, namely, there are just too many of them. While the attached article from the IJ comments mainly on other Bay Area counties, Marin is getting more than it share in the midst of rising home prices. I particularly like the line “Regular buyers, who have a good down payment, who want to get into a regular home. It’s a little scary. I really do feel it’s a bubble. Unlike the bubble before, that was driven by liar loans, this time it’s being driven by cash” (my italics).
Read the article. Makes you think. Cash Buyers
Whether I talk to friends, clients, or other agents, the story reads the same…buyers have been looking for homes for a year or more, have submitted many offers on many houses and yet……they’re not even getting close. Four offers on a house, 8 offers, 14 offers, the winning offers usually all cash. Many buyers are giving up, but just as many are hanging in there on the belief that if they don’t get their home now, the rates and prices will rise so fast they’ll be priced out of the market. Unless there are some catastrophic, unforeseen events in the country or world, I think these persistent buyers are right. The prices show no sign of going down, the rates seem likely to creep up and the inventory is still unusually low. My advice, which I say to all buyers whether in an up or down market, is the same: don’t make an offer that’s so low that you lose the house for lack of $5000; don’t make the offer so high that you can’t sleep at night knowing you’re spent beyond your means; make the strongest offer possible if you want to have a chance; you may only get one chance.
Here’s a good article from kcm: Should Your Buyers Increase Their Offer?