Contemplating buying or selling? The season of opportunity is only weeks away

We’re not quite there yet on the calendar, but you can already see (and with our recent weather, feel) evidence of the next season upon us — Spring. And, just about the time the new season blooms, the number of people interested in buying or selling a home increases significantly.

When it comes to the pace of our local real estate market, there’s a four to five month period when activity really spikes, relative to the rest of the year. We are a little less than 60 days away from the beginning of that time period. The time to prepare for that increase in activity, whether you are a buyer or a seller, is now. Before I get into some of the steps you can take, let’s look briefly at what we could be seeing very soon.

THE CALM BEFORE THE RUSH

Right around the middle of November every year, the number of homes that are sold in our market drops quite a bit. It’s the end of the year, the holidays are coming up, the kids are out of school — a variety of reasons are behind the slowdown. That trend begins around Thanksgiving time, and pretty much stays that way until mid-March. But then things begin to ramp up right away.

Last March, the number of homes which sold in our market, jumped 42% from where it was over the previous three months. An impressive increase. And that’s just the start.

In April, the increase was 20% over March; May was 12% over April, and then in June and July the pace cooled a bit, settling into single-digit increases. All of that activity over just about five months. Over that time frame of around 150 days, the number of homes that sold increased an average of nearly 80%. The hot month for sales— July. Compared to February, sales were up 106%.

PRICE POINT

So while all this increased activity is going on, what happened with prices? The short answer; they did very well. Over the same five month period, home prices in our market went up an average of about seven-percent. That is really a solid performance, because that average was really a straight line increase. By that I mean there weren’t any remarkable peaks or lows— it was consistent and steady; which meant buyers and sellers were working deals out, and they were doing it in a relatively short amount of time.

The length of time properties were on the market before they sold hovered around an average of 36 days. That is a very good time frame because it allows a seller ample time to get an idea of their home’s market value; and, on the buyer side it’s not a frenetic pace that can lead to decisions that are made under stressful conditions. And whether you’re a seller or a buyer, having a plan is step one.

YOU THE SELLER

STEP 1: It might sound odd, but in my experience (and in my opinion), the first thing for a seller to absolutely get behind is the idea of moving. The reason for that is twofold: It takes enthusiasm and motivation on the part of a seller, to sell their home. If your heart is not in it, don’t start the process because you will likely become miserable at some point. The second point; from the moment you list your home for sale, you now also (presumably) become a buyer, as you search for your next home. Buying a home can get frustrating, emotional, and exhilarating; you should be ready for all of those.

STEP 2: Be realistic about your list price, and remain open to discussing that point with your real estate agent, as well as open to revising the price as needed. What you need or want from the sale of your home versus what you can get from the sale are usually in conflict with each other. There’s an old adage in real estate that is absolutely true: “Price is the reason a home sells, and price is the reason a home doesn’t sell.”

STEP 3: Make your home accessible to buyers and agents. This is another one that seems obvious, but can become a challenge. Appointment only viewing under very narrow timeframes severely limits your audience. The more people see your home, the better the odds you will get something at or near your price.

STEP 4: Prepare your home for sale. Your agent will (or should) have an idea what buyers are looking for these days in a home. Even some of the smallest fixes and tune ups on your home can make a world of difference in both price and buyer interest. And finally…

STEP 5: Have a great time as a buyer! Most of the time home sellers immediately become home buyers, so enjoy that part of the equation. Yes, there will be an arc of emotion on that side of the transaction, but imagining all the new possibilities of a new home can be amazing!

YOU THE BUYER

STEP 1: Money. You knew that one was coming, right? Here’s the thing; if you haven’t applied for mortgage preapproval, you’re really still in the window shopping phase of home buying. And that’s fine, but getting reviewed for a mortgage is a fairly simple process, and one that takes a few days. So if you haven’t done it, it’s usually because you’re not ready to buy.

STEP 2: Assemble your team. The relationship you have with your agent should be one you enjoy. Don’t simply “tolerate” your agent, pick someone you feel comfortable with. Your agent should always be your advocate, and never your adversary. Trust your instincts and your personal radar about people, and you will make the right choice.

STEP 3: Look for what’s best for you and be willing to compromise. There’s no such thing as the “perfect house” out there; a simple home inspection will confirm that for you. The goal is to get as close to everything you want as possible, given the budget you’re working within.

STEP 4: Scout the neighborhoods where you would like to live. I always suggest to my buyer clients that they independently drive the neighborhoods they would like to live, as well as attend as many open houses they can in those areas. A house can look terrific online and seem statistically to meet your wants and needs, but if the vibe you get from the neighborhood isn’t there, then maybe it isn’t a good fit for you. As far as the open houses go; touring homes will give you a first-hand look at what you can get for the money, and how homes are priced relative to upgrades, location, etc.  Nobody knows better than you what you want, and what you’re willing to trade to get it. And…

STEP 5: The final step for Buyers is not unlike the first step for Sellers—jump in with both feet. If you are emotionally prepared for the process and the (house) hunt, your experience will be altogether different than if you are not.

Please always feel free to contact me for any assistance or questions you might have; I would look forward to the opportunity to work together to achieve your dream. You can call or text me at (818) 522-8378, or email me at marinorealestate@gmail.com.

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Author:Marino Real Estate

Specializing in residential and commercial real estate sales for the better part of a decade, my approach to real estate involves establishing a trust with my clients, that contributes to the ultimate success of our transaction. Whether it is a personal residence, or an investment property, I am committed to negotiating the best deal for my clients, and have enjoyed a history of meeting the important and unique needs of the many clients which have entrusted me with thier real estate goals.

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