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Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

by Mary Jean Agostini

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Maethe Mortgage Bankers Associationand theNational Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to find out if you are able to today.

 

Selling, a famous salesman once said, is essentially a transfer of feelings.

You love and cherish your home. You want the next owner to fall in love with it, too — through photos, through words, and through the experience of walking through your front door. But, perhaps most, you want to get the price you want.

This isn’t a small task. Selling a home requires work. It requires time. The journey isn’t always easy. There will be frustrations. But when you seal the deal and move on to your next chapter  — wow, what a blissful, boss feeling.

Below, we preview and link to each step in your journey.  We’ll discuss how to know what you want (and what your partner wants, if you’re selling together). How to understand the market, and ways to make a plan. And most importantly? How to create relationships with experts and trust them to help you get the job done.

Now, let’s talk about selling your house.

Jump to a specific home selling step using these links:

Know What You Want | Do Your Research | Interview and Select an Agent | Price Your Home | Prep Your Home for Sale | Market Your Home | Showcase Your Home | Receive Offers | Negotiate With the Buyer | Negotiate Home Inspection Repairs | Close the Sale

Know, Exactly, What You Want

First things first: You need to know what you want (and what your partner wants) in order to sell your home with minimum frustration. Why are you moving? What do you expect from the process? When, exactly, should you put that For Sale sign in the yard? We can help you get your thoughts in order with this home selling worksheet.

Do Your Research

Unless you bought your home last week, the housing market changed since you became a homeowner. Mortgage rates fluctuate, inventory shifts over time — these are just a few of the factors that affect the state of the market, and every market is unique. Educate yourself on what to expect. Start with our study guide on the market. 

Related Topic: Sell a Home: Step-by-Step

Interview and Select an Agent

This is the most important relationship you’ll form on your home selling journey. Pick the right agent and you’ll likely get a better sales price for your house. Here’s how to find and select the expert who’s right for you.

Price Your Home

How much is your home worth? That’s the … $300,000 question. Whatever the number, you need to know it. This is how your agent will help you pinpoint the price.

Prep Your Home for Sale

Today, home buyers have unfettered access to property listings online, so you have to make a great first impression — on the internet and IRL. That means you’ll have to declutter all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, make any necessary repairs, and get your home in swoon-worthy condition. Here’s how to stage your home. 

Market Your Home

Home buyers look at countless listings online. The best-marketed homes have beautiful photos and compelling property descriptions, so they can get likes — which can amount to buyer interest — on social media. Some agents are even using videos, virtual tours, texts, and audio messages. It’s time to consider how to promote your property.

Showcase Your Home

One of the best ways to get buyers in the door is to have an open house. This is your chance to show off your home’s best assets, and help buyers envision themselves living there. Know how your agent will organize, advertise, and host the event to ensure it’s a success.

Receive Offers

Yes, you might get offers plural, depending on your market. Assuming you’ve collaborated with your agent, you’ve likely positioned yourself to receive attractive bids. Your agent will review each offer with you to determine which is best for you. (Read: The offer price isn’t the only factor to consider: Here’s why.)

Negotiate With the Buyer

To get the best deal for you, you’ll likely have to do some negotiating. Your agent will help you craft a strategic counteroffer to the buyer’s offer, factoring in not only money, but contingencies, etc. Let’s talk about how to ask for what you want.

Negotiate Home Inspection Repairs

Ah, the home inspection. It’s as much a source of anxiety for buyers as it is for sellers. Nonetheless, most purchase agreements are contingent on a home inspection (plus an appraisal, which will be managed by the buyer’s lender). This gives the buyer the ability to inspect the home from top to bottom and request repairs — some even could be required per building codes. The upshot: You have some room to negotiate, including about certain repairs. Once again, your agent will be there to help you effectively communicate with the buyer.

Close the Sale

Settlement, or closing, is the last step in the home selling process. This is where you sign the final paperwork, make this whole thing official, and collect your check. Before that can happen though, you’ll have to prepare your home for the buyer’s final walk-through and troubleshoot any last-minute issues. We’ve got you covered with this closing checklist

The Difference an Hour Makes!

by Mary Jean Agostini

The Difference an Hour Will Make This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Difference an Hour Will Make This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 AM EST in observance of Daylight Saving Time.
  • Unless of course, you are a resident of Arizona or Hawaii!
  • Every hour in the United States: 614 homes are sold, 81 homes regain equity (meaning they are no longer underwater on their mortgage), and the median home price rises $1.51!
 

Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming!

by Mary Jean Agostini
 
Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming | Simplifying The Market

Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will rise over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Sales Report, the number of these permits were up 7.7% over last year.

How will this impact buyers?

More inventory means more options. Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s Chief Economistexplained this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:

“It’s not spectacular construction growth, but it’s slow and steady in the right direction. Eventually, the pickup in single-family home construction will mean [buyers] will have more options. Especially with the limited number of sales right now, more options are really needed.”

How will this impact sellers?

More inventory means more competition. Today, because of the tremendous lack of inventory, a seller can expect:

  1. A great price on their home as buyers outbid each other for it
  2. A quick sale as buyers have so little to choose from
  3. Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat” on the deal

With an increase in competition, the seller may not enjoy these same benefits. As Hale said:

“As new construction continues to increase, home shoppers will eventually have more [choices] and a bit more time to make purchase decisions compared to today’s quick-moving housing market.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering the sale of your home, it might make sense to beat this new construction competition to the market.

Slowing Sales in Summer

by Mary Jean Agostini

Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales are now at an annual pace of 5.52 million.
  • Inventory of existing homes for sale dropped to a 4.3-month supply, marking the 25th month in a row of declines.
  • The median price of homes sold in June was $263,800. This is the 64th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

A Lack of Listings Remains 'Huge' Challenge in the Market

by Mary Jean Agostini

The housing crisis is finally in the rearview mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures & short sales) are at their lowest mark in over 8 years. This has been, and will continue to be, a great year for real estate.

 

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic and demand continues to be the strongest it has been in years. The supply of homes for sale has not kept up with this demand and has driven prices up in many areas as buyers compete for their dream home.

 

Traditionally, the winter months create a natural slowdown in the market. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, points to low interest rates as one of the many reasons why buyers are still out in force looking for a home of their own.

 

“Overall, the fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the traditionally slower sales season, and pent-up demand remains substantial as buyers seek to get a home under contract while rates remain so low.”

 

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, points out that the inventory shortage we are currently experiencing isn’t a new challenge by any means:

 

"Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won't be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand."

 

Bottom Line

Healthy labor markets and job growth have created more and more buyers who are not just ready and willing to buy but are also able to. If you are debating whether or not to put your home on the market this year, now is the time to take advantage of the demand in the market.

 

Source: Keeping Current Matters

 

 

 

How Long Do Families Stay in a Home?

by Mary Jean Agostini

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps Historic Homes data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.

How Long Do Families Stay in a Home? | Simplifying The Market

Why the dramatic increase?

The reasons for this change are plentiful. The top two reasons are:

  1. The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property).
  2. The uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

However, with home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, over 90% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 70% of them having at least 20% equity.

And, with the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.

What does this mean for housing?

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo.

These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.

 

Source: Keeping Current Matters

GET YOUR SCARE ON! Halloween Events with Connecticut Landmarks!

by Mary Jean Agostini

It is that spook-tacular time of here! Halloween is just around the corner! With so many Historic Homes sites located throughout central Connecticut, it is easy to get in the spirit of the season. Check out these great Halloween activities through Connecticut Landmarks  going on through the end of the month!

 

Under the Harvest Moon

Date: Saturday, October 22nd

Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location: Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden (9 Main Street North, Bethlehem)

Cost: $5 per person, Free for children 4 and under

Enjoy an afternoon full of fun fall activities at Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden. There will be live music by Allen and Ian Johnson, a pumpkin painting contest, bounce house, temporary tattoos, children’s activities, and so much more! Starting at 2:30 pm, check out the Birds of Prey Program as rehabilitated injured or orphaned birds are showcased. There will also be a raffle with tickets at $2 a piece.

 

 

Hempsted Halloween

Date: Saturday, October 22nd

Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: Hempsted Houses (11 Hempstead St, New London)

Cost: FREE

Hear spooky stories from the ghosts of New Londeners! See if you are brave enough to talk to them!

 

Grave Yard Tour

Date: Saturday, October 22nd

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Nathan Hale Homestead (2299 South Street, Coventry)

Cost: $20 per person, $15 per Connecticut Landmark members

Go on a proper ghost hunt during this grave yard tour at Coventry’s Historic Cemetary. Led by the Seaside Shadows founder, you will use EMF detectors and spirit box communication equipment to interact with the ghosts on site. Reservations are required for this event. Be sure to call (860) 742-6917 or email hale@ctlandmarks.org to reserve your spot today!

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Dates: Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Nathan Hale Homestead (2299 South Street, Coventry)

Cost: $25 per person, $20 per Connecticut Landmark members

On a special candlelight tour, you will be led from room to room until you reach the spooky attic. Hear ghost stories from the Homestead. There will be refreshments served. Be sure to reserve your spot today. Register by calling (860) 742-6917 or emailing hale@ctlandmarks.org.

Introducing Smart Zip CMA

by Mary Jean Agostini

Selling your home? Wondering how much it is worth? Find out here! In order to accommodate all clients, RealPro Systems created Smart Zip CMA. This new program is more personable, easier and effective. Type in your address to immediately see all your property information ( # bed, # bath, sq. ft., lot size, year built and estimated value). A Google map shows comparable homes in your neighborhood, when they were sold and for how much. Another great feature is the neighborhood ratings- how great the schools are, safety, lifestyle, population and job growth. See an example below...

68 Norton Rd
New Britain CT 06053-3836
  • Estimated Home Value$121K - $125K
  • An Estimated Home Value can be helpful insight
    into your home’s value. Check or un-check comparable properties to modify your estimate.
  • Property TypeSingle family home
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Property Size (Sq. Ft.)
  • Lot Size (Sq. Ft.)
  • Year Built
 

Neighborhood Ratings

  • Appreciation
    60%
    Above Average
  • Schools
    30%
    Below Average
  • Safety
    50%
    Average
  • Lifestyle
    51%
    Average
  • Pop. Growth
    51%
    Average
  • Job Growth
    51%
    Average

Get Instant Alerts on changes to the home's value
and comparable sales.

 

 Go http://www.forhomesellers.com to see this application...

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9