If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to sell your house this year, there’s good news. For nearly two years, real estate professionals have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of buyers and sellers during the pandemic.
Today, they’re seasoned experts, not just in the art of buying and selling homes, but also in how to keep you safe throughout the process. Real estate professionals have learned new technologies plus safety and sanitation measures. As new variants emerge, those lessons continue to be key ways agents add value.
Real Estate Advisors Stay Current on Guidance for In-Person Showings
Agents don’t leave your health up to chance. They follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to ensure in-person showings are safe. NAR maintains industry-specific resources to ensure agents are informed on the latest recommendations and best practices.
Guidance from the CDC also equips real estate professionals with the know-how to employ sanitization and disinfectant measures during the health crisis, so they’re safe for you and your potential buyers.
Digital Tools Can Enhance Your Home Sale
In addition, agents are also well versed in using technology and digital tools to sell your home efficiently. In their guidance for realtors, NAR says:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting members in unprecedented ways, and raises numerous unique and novel issues for the real estate industry.”
Real estate advisors have responded by reimagining the tech and tools they use. For instance, serving clients at a distance and limiting exposure to others is more important now than ever. That’s because restricting the number of people you need to interact with during the sales process is one of the best ways to keep everyone safe.
To accomplish this, agents now use a variety of methods to serve their clients, including:
Virtual Open Houses, Tours, and Listing Appointments
High-Quality Photos for Websites and Social Media
The health challenges we face today have fundamentally changed the way real estate professionals conduct business for the better. Let’s connect today so you have the latest tools on your side to feel safe and confident when you sell your house this year.
If you’re looking to buy a home, you may want to put these items on your to-do list to ensure you hit your goals.
It’s important to start working on your credit and saving for a down payment early. When you’re ready to begin your search, work with a real estate professional and get pre-approved so you know how much you can borrow.
Connect with a real estate advisor so you have the guidance you need to achieve your homebuying goals this year.
When mortgage forbearance plans were first announced and the pandemic surged through the country in early 2020, many homeowners were allowed to pause their mortgage payments. Some analysts were concerned that once the forbearance program ended, the housing market would experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago.
Here’s a look at why that isn’t the case.
1. There Are Fewer Homeowners in Trouble This Time
After the last housing crash, over nine million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank. Many believed millions of homeowners would face the same fate again this time.
However, today’s data shows that most homeowners exited their forbearance plan either fully caught up on payments or with a plan from the bank that restructured their loan in a way that allowed them to start making payments again. The latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) studies how people exited the forbearance program from June 2020 to November 2021.
Here are those findings:
38.6% left the program paid in full
19.9% made their monthly payments during the forbearance period
16.8% left the program still in trouble and without a loss mitigation plan in place
2. Those Left in the Program Can Still Negotiate a Repayment Plan
As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 890,000. Those who remain in forbearance still have the chance to work out a suitable plan with the servicing company that represents their lender. And the servicing companies are under pressure to do just that by both federal and state agencies.
Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President at RealtyTrac, says in a recent tweet:
“The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and state [Attorneys General] look like they’re adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to mortgage servicing enforcement. Likely that this will limit #foreclosure activity for a good part of 2022, while servicers explore all possible loss [mitigation] options.”
For more information, read the warning issued by the Attorney General of New York State.
3. Most Homeowners Have More Than Enough Equity To Sell Their Homes
For those who can’t negotiate a solution and the 16.8% who left the forbearance program without a work-out, many will have enough equity to sell their homes and leave the closing with cash instead of facing foreclosures.
Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home. As Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic,explains:
“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”
4. There Have Been Far Fewer Foreclosures Over the Last Two Years
One of the seldom-reported benefits of the forbearance program was that it allowed households experiencing financial difficulties prior to the pandemic to enter the program. It gave those homeowners an extra two years to get their finances in order and work out a plan with their lender. That prevented over 400,000 foreclosures that normally would have come to the market had the new forbearance program not been available. Otherwise, the real estate market would have had to absorb those foreclosures. Here’s a graph depicting this data:
5. The Current Market Can Easily Absorb Over a Million New Listings
When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, they added to the oversupply of houses that were already for sale. That resulted in over a nine-month supply of listings, and anything over a six-month supply can cause prices to depreciate.
“Total housing inventory at the end of November amounted to 1.11 million units, down 9.8% from October and down 13.3% from one year ago (1.28 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, a decline from both the prior month and from one year ago.”
A balanced market would have approximately a six-month supply of inventory. At 2.1 months, the market is severely understocked. Even if one million homes enter the market, there still won’t be enough inventory to meet the current demand.
The end of the forbearance plan will not cause any upheaval in the housing market. Sharga puts it best:
“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect. . . .”
Many homeowners who plan to sell in 2022 may think the wise thing to do is to wait for the spring buying market since historically about 40 percent of home sales occur between April and July. However, this year’s expected to be much different than the norm. Here are five reasons to list your house now rather than waiting until the spring.
1. Buyers Are Looking Right Now, and They’re Ready To Purchase
The ShowingTime Showing Index reports data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country each month. In other words, it’s a gauge of how many buyers are out looking at homes at the current time.
The latest index, which covers November showings, reveals that buyers are still very active in the market. Comparing this November’s numbers to previous years, this graph shows that the index is higher than last year and much higher than the three years prior to the pandemic. Clearly, there’s an influx of buyers searching for your home.
Also, at this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the market. You and your loved ones won’t be inconvenienced by casual searchers. Freddie Mac addresses this in a recent blog:
“The buyers who are willing to house hunt in a winter market, when there are fewer options, are typically more serious. Plus, year-end bonuses and overtime payouts give people more purchasing power.”
And that theory is proving to be true right now based on the number of buyers who have put a home under contract to purchase. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes a monthly Pending Home Sales Index which measures housing contract activity. It’s based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The latest index shows:
“…housing demand continues to be high. . . . Homes placed on the market for sale go from ‘listed status’ to ‘under contract’ in approximately 18 days.”
Comparing the index to previous Novembers, while it’s slightly below November 2020 (when sales were pushed to later in the year because of the pandemic), it’s well above the previous three years.
The takeaway for you: There are purchasers in the market, and they’re ready and willing to buy.
2. Other Sellers Plan To List Earlier This Year
The law of supply and demand tells us that if you want the best price possible and to negotiate your ideal contract terms, put your house on the market when there’s strong demand and less competition.
A recent study by realtor.com reveals that, unlike in previous years, sellers plan to list their homes this winter instead of waiting until spring or summer. The study shows that 65% of sellers who plan to sell in 2022 have either already listed their home (19%) or are planning to put it on the market this winter.
Again, if you’re looking for the best price and the ability to best negotiate the other terms of the sale of your house, listing before this competition hits the market makes sense.
3. Newly Constructed Homes Will Be Your Competition in the Spring
In 2020, there were over 979,000 new single-family housing units authorized by building permits. Many of those homes have yet to be built because of labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks brought on by the pandemic. They will, however, be completed in 2022. That will create additional competition when you sell your house. Beating these newly constructed homes to the market is something you should consider to ensure your house gets as much attention from interested buyers as possible.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time To Move-Up
If you’re moving into a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 5% over the next 12 months. That means it will cost you more (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with a mortgage rate in the low 3’s right now. If you’re thinking of selling in 2022, you may want to do it now instead of waiting, as mortgage rates are forecast to rise throughout the year.
5. It May Be Time for You To Make a Change
Consider why you’re thinking of selling in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is waiting more important than being closer to your loved ones now? Is waiting more important than your health? Is waiting more important than having the space you truly need?
Only you know the answers to those questions. Take time to think about your goals and priorities as we move into 2022 and consider what’s most important to act on now.
If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s connect so you have expert advice on the best time to put your house on the market.
Are you one of the many renters thinking about where you’ll live the next time your lease is up? Before you decide whether to look for a new house or another apartment, it’s important to understand the true costs of renting in 2022.
As a renter, you should know rents have been rising since 1988 (see graph below):
In 2021, rents grew dramatically. According to ApartmentList.com, since January 2021:
“. . . the national median rent has increased by a staggering 17.8 percent. To put that in context, rent growth from January to November averaged just 2.6 percent in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”
That increase in 2021 was far greater than the typical rent increases we’ve seen in recent years. In other words – rents are rising fast. And the 2022 National Housing Forecast from realtor.com projects prices for vacant units will continue to increase this year:
“In 2022, we expect this trend will continue and fuel rent growth. At a national level, we forecast rent growth of 7.1% in the next 12 months, somewhat ahead of home price growth . . .”
That means, if you’re planning to move into a different rental this year, you’ll likely pay far more than you have in years past.
Homeownership Provides an Alternative to Rising Rents
If you’re a renter facing rising rental costs, you might wonder what alternatives you have. If so, consider homeownership. One of the many benefits of homeownership is it provides a stable monthly cost you can lock in for the duration of your loan.
As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“. . . fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”
If you’re planning to make a move this year, locking in your monthly housing costs for 15-30 years can be a major benefit. You’ll avoid wondering if you’ll need to adjust your budget to account for annual increases.
Homeowners also enjoy the added benefit of home equity, which has grown substantially right now. In fact, the latest Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic shows the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last 12 months. As a renter, your rent payment only covers the cost of your dwelling. When you pay your mortgage, you grow your wealth through the forced savings that is your home equity.
If you’re thinking of renting this year, it’s important to keep in mind the true costs you’ll face. Let’s connect so you can see how you can begin your journey to homeownership today.