When I meet with homeowners who are considering selling a home and moving, one of the first questions I’m asked is, “When is the right time to sell?” The short answer is… it depends!
However, we can analyze the data and probably answer that great question fairly definitely. We are going to want to examine several factors to get the most accurate conclusion possible.
You will want to begin with the specific qualities of your home. Of course, location is going to be very important, but almost as important are factors such as when your house built, the square footage of your home, how large a lot you have, and what amenities the property offers. For example, have you updated it from the rose colored carpet? Do your pets claim it as their home?
We recently sold our home where my husband and I raised five children. It might be important to add that our family also included one Siberian Husky and an equally husky Saint Bernard–Lab like black dog, named “Diggy” – don’t even ask. Needless to say, there was some refreshing that was in order (that would be code for “repairing” that had to be done before the first buyer set their foot in the door)!
When selling a home, you will need to take a hard look at what your home really looks like through the eyes of a stranger – your potential buyer.
You need to get beyond yours’ and your family members’ viewpoint. Perhaps your children were like mine when I asked them to clean their room. I would hear, “But mom it looks great! I just vacuumed, uh, I think last month?“
The next consideration will be the sold data. The buyers are in the driver’s seat. They tell us what they are willing to pay for our properties at any given time. This last year has been good to area sellers; which is encouraging, as local sellers have had a long “dry spell” (as my grandpa used to say).
We can use data from our Multiple Listing Service, The Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors (GSMAR), to determine value and attempt to predict the near future. The data is showing an upward trend in general homes sales and just a bit fewer properties to choose from. Through December of this year 2015, almost 3,000 properties were listed in the GSMAR system, compared to more than 3,300 in 2014 and almost 3,600 in 2013. As a seller this is good news. Less competition is always good for sellers.
Another trend really worth noting is that there seem to be far fewer foreclosures this year than in the past as indicated by available data. There are also dramatically fewer short sales (property sales where the lender has agreed to settle the mortgage at a certain sale price).
The good news doesn’t end there. Most importantly of all, 2015 sales data in our area shows an appreciation in value between 7 and 14 percent over last year. Sellers have to say, “Hallelujah!” Despite the upward trend however, we still have a long way to go before we reach the high point that occurred before the national down-turn that caused many of our sellers to find themselves upside-down, owing more than they could sell for.
So what does this mean to those of you considering buying or selling a home within in the next few months?
Well, if you are thinking about selling, this is a great the time to start planning to put your house on the market. Skip through the Holidays and wait until the first of the year. The first of the year is a time buyers make New Year’s resolutions that include moving out of an apartment. Note that the real estate market is not dead in the winter like it is in the Northern area where they deal with difficult weather. So don’t wait to get started on the process if you are planning to sell your home.
Spend some time figuring out what you can afford to do to make your property appealing and what repairs are necessary. Work with a realtor. Let them offer you additional insight and suggestions. Ask them for advice on what would bring the most “bang for the buck.” You might be surprised at what agents are going to recommend that you repair. Sometimes, you can say with a smile, “I’ll pass on that and let the next homeowner enjoy tackling it!” It can be shocking, but some updates or repairs just won’t bring more money to the sale, no matter how much they cost. A savvy agent can get you the skinny on that.
For prospective buyers, depending on personal circumstances and credit scores, this is definitely the time to be house shopping. Although prices are steadily climbing, lending rates are still generally very, very low. There are many attractive loans, loans that require as little as 3.5 percent down or no money down and you can ask the seller to pay your closing costs. That is awesome news if you are renting and have little savings but a good steady job and average credit. If you are currently renting, it is very likely that you can buy a home and have a lower housing payment per month. Use this time to research the homes available, compare them to your list of wants, and then put the data together to make an offer on the property that is right for you.
No matter what choices you are facing with either buying or selling a home in 2016, the most important piece of advice I can offer is: patience is still a virtue! Just like your mother said, nothing worth doing is easy and without sacrifice but in the end it will be worth it!
Start the adventure! Many Blessings!