How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with abuyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counter intuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday... Did Yours? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 14,986 houses sold yesterday, 14,986 will sell today and14,986 will sell tomorrow.

14,986!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,986 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.0-month supply of inventory available for sale, (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

One More Time, Real Estate is a Great Investment

One More Time, Real Estate is a Great Investment | Keeping Current Matters

In a recent blog post on Marginal Revolution, economist Alex Tabarrok discussed homeownership as an investment.

Here is what Mr. Tabarrok had to say:

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment. First, it’s not good to have a significant share of your wealth locked into a single asset. Diversification is better and it’s easier to diversify with stocks. Second, unless you are renting the basement, houses don’t pay dividends. Stocks do. You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market. You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Here is a rebuttal:

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. Tomorrow, we’ll touch on the personal benefits to homeownership.

Eric Belsky, the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University expanded on the top financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Let’s use some quotes from Belsky’s study to address comments by Mr. Tabarrok:

Tabarrok:  

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment.”

Belsky:

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

Tabarrok:

You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market.”

Belsky:

“Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

Tabarrok:

“You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Belsky:

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.

Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is | Keeping Current Matters

Yesterday, we discussed the reasons why homeownership makes sense, financially. Today we wanted to touch on the emotional or ‘real’ reasons that many Americans strive to become homeowners.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase. 

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents: 

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future? 

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

Home Prices Up 5.76% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Prices Up 5.76% Across The Country! | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latestQuarterly Home Price Index report.
  • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
  • Based on the latest numbers, waiting to move may end up costing you more!

Put Your Housing Cost To Work For You!

Put Your Housing Cost To Work For You! | Keeping Current Matters

There are many young people debating whether they should renew the lease on their apartment or sign a contract to purchase their first home. As we have said before, mortgage interest rates are still near historic lows and rents continue to rise.

Housing Cost & Net Worth

Whether you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing cost.

As a buyer, you are contributing to YOUR net worth.

Every mortgage payment is a form of what Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls “forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The principal portion of your mortgage payment helps build your net worth through building the equity you have in your home.

As a renter, you are contributing to YOUR LANDLORD’S net worth.

Below is an example of the home equity that would be accrued over the course of the next five years if you had purchased a home in January; based on the results of theHome Price Expectation Survey.

Put Your Housing Cost To Work For You! | Keeping Current Matters

In this example, simply by paying your mortgage, you would have increased your net worth by over $44,000!

Bottom Line

Use your monthly housing cost to your advantage! Meet with a local real estate professional who can explain the opportunities available in your market.

Study Again Finds Homeownership to be a Better Way of Producing Wealth

Study Again Finds Homeownership to be a Better Way of Producing Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Indexhomeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting.

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers use a “’horse race’ comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

“The nation as a whole is in buy territory. Continued near record low mortgage rates, unsteady stock market performance, and rents (on average) now out pacing the cost of ownership (maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc.) all combine to favor owning and building wealth through home equity over renting and reinvesting in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”

Dallas, Denver and Houston currently remain deep in rent territory but, “there is some degree of good news from these markets for homeowners as the cost of renting is now increasing at a faster rate than the cost of homeownership — reducing the advantage of renting over buying.” 

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Where Are Americans Moving? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Where Are Americans Moving? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • For the 4th year in a row the Northeast saw a concentration of High Outbound activity.
  • Oregon held on to the top stop of High Inbound states for the 3rd year in a row.
  • Much of this Outbound activity can be attributed to Boomers relocating to warmer climates after retiring.

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!!

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!! | Keeping Current Matters

Recently, on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” said Millennials “don’t give a poo-poo about owning a house.” This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give a few examples to make this point.

1.) In the recent National Housing Market Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, it was revealed that:

“…data indicates that millennial renters today have as much desire to own a home as the general population of renters. According to NHS data, the substantial majority of renters age 25-34 say that owning makes more sense than renting from a financial perspective. A majority also agree that owning makes more sense than renting from a lifestyle perspective. The vast majority of millennial renters tell us they plan to own a home at some point in the future.”

2.) A recent Merrill Lynch report found that 81% of Millennials agree that“homeownership is an important part of their personal American Dream”

3.) The most recent H.O.M.E. Survey explained that 85% of Americans ages 34 and under believe that “homeownership is a good financial decision”.

Bottom Line

Kevin O’Leary might be a great white shark when it comes to investing in companies. However, he is just a guppy when dealing with the residential real estate market.

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.