Key Reasons To Use a Real Estate Agent When You Sell [INFOGRAPHIC]

Key Reasons To Use a Real Estate Agent When You Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • An agent is a really important part of selling your home because they bring a lot of skill and expertise to the sales process.
  • They’ll explain what’s happening today, what that means for you, and how to price and market your house. They’re also skilled negotiators and well versed in the contracts and disclosures involved.
  • Connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have an expert helping you sell your house successfully.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? Newly Built Homes Might Be the Answer.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? Newly Built Homes Might Be the Answer. Simplifying The Market

Do you want to sell your house, but hesitate because you’re worried you won’t be able to find your next home in today’s market? You’re not alone, but there’s some good news that may ease your worries. New home construction is up and is becoming an increasingly significant part of the housing inventory.

That means when you go to put your house on the market this summer, considering newly built homes is crucial for expanding the options you’ll have for your next move.

Near-Record Percentage of New Home Inventory

Newly built homes today make up a near-record percentage of the total number of homes available for sale (see graph below):

In fact, as the data shows, newly built homes now make up 31% of the total for-sale inventory. Over the past couple of decades, newly built homes made up an average of only around 13% of total housing inventory from 1983 to 2019.

That means the percentage of the total available homes that are newly built is over two times higher than the norm.

Why This Matters to You 

Overall, the supply of homes for sale is still low. And when there’s limited supply, it’s crucial to explore all of your available choices. New-home construction has emerged as a game changer with increasing inventory. Not to mention, recent data shows it’s gaining even more momentum as more newly built homes are underway and will be coming to the market in the months ahead.

Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), highlights the importance of newly built homes for those looking to buy in today’s housing market. Dietz states:

“With limited available housing inventory, new construction will continue to be a significant part of prospective buyers’ search in the quarters ahead.”

Don’t overlook this growing market segment and risk missing out on great opportunities to find your ideal home. Since new home construction accounts for roughly 31% of total for sale inventory, you could be cutting nearly one in three options from your search if you don’t consider newly built homes. 

If you’re looking to make a move, a local real estate agent can help you sell your current house and explore newly built options in your area. They have the expertise you need to handle both sides of the process so you can move out of your current house and into your brand-new dream home.

Bottom Line

Now’s the time to sell your house and take advantage of the momentum that’s building in new home construction. Reach out to a trusted real estate agent who can guide you throughout the selling and buying process so you can make your transition to a newly built home a reality.

Lending Standards Are Not Like They Were Leading Up to the Crash

Lending Standards Are Not Like They Were Leading Up to the Crash Simplifying The Market

You might be worried we’re heading for a housing crash, but there are many reasons why this housing market isn’t like the one we saw in 2008. One of which is how lending standards are different today. Here’s a look at the data to help prove it. 

Every month, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) releases the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is . . . a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”

Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. Take a look at the graph below of the MCAI since they started keeping track of this data in 2004. It shows how lending standards have changed over time. It works like this: 

  • When lending standards are less strict, it’s easier to get a mortgage, and the index (the green line in the graph) is higher.
  • When lending standards are stricter, it’s harder to get a mortgage, and the line representing the index is lower.

In 2004, the index was around 400. But, by 2006, it had gone up to over 850. Today, the story is quite different. Since the crash, the index went down because lending standards got tighter, so today it’s harder to get a mortgage.

Loose Lending Standards Contributed to the Housing Bubble

One of the main factors that contributed to the housing bubble was that lending standards were a lot less strict back then. Realtor.com explains it like this: 

“In the early 2000s, it wasn’t exactly hard to snag a home mortgage. . . . plenty of mortgages were doled out to people who lied about their incomes and employment, and couldn’t actually afford homeownership.” 

The tall peak in the graph above indicates that leading up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get credit, and the requirements for getting a loan were far from strict. Back then, credit was widely available, and the threshold for qualifying for a loan was low.

Lenders were approving loans without always going through a verification process to confirm if the borrower would likely be able to repay the loan. That means creditors were lending to more borrowers who had a higher risk of defaulting on their loans.

Today’s Loans Are Much Tougher To Get than Before

As mentioned, lending standards have changed a lot since then. Bankrate describes the difference: 

“Today, lenders impose tough standards on borrowers – and those who are getting a mortgage overwhelmingly have excellent credit.”

If you look back at the graph, you’ll notice after the peak around the time of the housing crash, the line representing the index went down dramatically and has stayed low since. In fact, the line is far below where standards were even in 2004 – and it’s getting lower. Joel Kan, VP and Deputy Chief Economist at MBA, provides the most recent update from May:

“Mortgage credit availability decreased for the third consecutive month . . . With the decline in availability, the MCAI is now at its lowest level since January 2013.”

The decreasing index suggests standards are getting much tougher – which makes it clear we’re far away from the extreme lending practices that contributed to the crash.

Bottom Line

Leading up to the housing crash, lending standards were much more relaxed with little evaluation done to measure a borrower’s potential to repay their loan. Today, standards are tighter, and the risk is reduced for both lenders and borrowers. This goes to show, these are two very different housing markets, and this market isn’t like the last time.

Why Homeownership Wins in the Long Run

Why Homeownership Wins in the Long Run Simplifying The Market

Today’s higher mortgage rates, inflationary pressures, and concerns about a potential recession have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to think about the long-term benefits of homeownership when making your decision.

Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how home values grow with time and how, by extension, that grows your own wealth. That may be why, in a recent Fannie Mae survey, 70% of respondents say they believe buying a home is a safe investment.

Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.

Home Price Growth over Time

The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy price gains have been over the last five years. And, since home prices vary by area, the map is broken out regionally to help convey larger market trends.

If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by just over 56% nationwide over a five-year period.

Some regions are slightly above or below that average, but overall, home prices gained solid ground in a short time. And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains homeowners made over the years become even clearer (see map below):

The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over a roughly 30-year span.

 This nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house 30 years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. That’s a key factor in why so many homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.

And while you may have heard talk in late 2022 that home prices would crash, it didn’t happen. Even though home prices have moderated from the record peak we saw during the ‘unicorn’ years, prices are already rebounding in many areas today. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year.

The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and deal with annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home.

Bottom Line

If you’re questioning if it still makes sense to buy a home today, remember the incredible long-term benefits of homeownership. If you’re ready to start the conversation, reach out to a real estate professional today.

The True Cost of Selling Your House on Your Own

The True Cost of Selling Your House on Your Own Simplifying The Market

Selling your house is no simple task. While some homeowners opt to sell their homes on their own, known as a FSBO (For Sale by Owner), they often encounter various challenges without the guidance of a real estate agent. If you’re currently considering selling your house on your own, here’s what you should know.

The most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed homeowners who’d recently sold their own homes and asked what difficulties they faced. Those sellers say some of the greatest challenges were prepping their home for sale, pricing it right, and properly managing the required paperwork, just to name a few.

When it comes to selling your most valuable asset, consider the invaluable support that a real estate agent can provide. By partnering with an agent, you can navigate the complexities of the selling process with confidence. Here are just a few of the many ways an agent is essential to your home sale:

1. Marketing and Exposure

Effective marketing is a key piece of attracting qualified buyers to your property. Real estate agents have access to various marketing tools and platforms, including MLS listings, professional photography, virtual tours, and extensive professional networks. They can create a compelling listing that highlights your home’s best features and reaches a wider audience.

If you sell on your own, you may struggle to match the reach of agents, resulting in limited exposure and, ultimately, fewer potential buyers.

2. Managing Liability and Legal Considerations

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. And all that paperwork and all the legal aspects of selling a home can be a lot to manage. Selling a house without professional guidance exposes homeowners to potential liability risks and legal complications.

Real estate agents are well-versed in the contracts, disclosures, and regulations necessary during a sale. Their expertise helps minimize the risk of errors or omissions that could lead to legal disputes or delays.

3. Negotiations and Contracts

Negotiating the terms of a home sale can be challenging, especially when emotions are involved. You may find it overwhelming to navigate these negotiations alone. Without an agent, you assume this responsibility on your own. This means you’ll have full accountability for working and negotiating with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible.
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer.
  • The home inspection company, who works for the buyer.
  • The home appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender.

Rather than going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. Real estate agents act as intermediaries, skillfully negotiating on your behalf and ensuring that your best interests are protected. They have experience in handling tough negotiations, counteroffers, and contingencies. When you sell your house yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to manage these vendors on your own.

4. Pricing and Housing Market Knowledge

Determining the right asking price for your property is crucial. It requires in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market, including recent sales data, neighborhood trends, and the current demand for properties. Real estate agents have access to comprehensive market data and the expertise to analyze it accurately.

When you sell your house on your own without this comprehensive information, you risk overpricing or underpricing your home. This can result in an extended time on the market and also the risk of leaving money on the table – which decreases your future buying power. An agent is a key piece of the pricing puzzle.

Bottom Line

While selling a home on your own might seem appealing at first, the challenges that come with it can quickly become overwhelming. The expertise that a real estate agent brings to the table is vital for a successful sale. Instead of tackling it alone, make sure you have an expert on your side.