Have You Budgeted for Closing Costs?

Saving for a down payment is a key step in the homebuying process, and it’s not the only piece you need to include in your budget. Another factor that’s important to plan for is the closing costs required to obtain a mortgage.

What Are Closing Costs?

According to Trulia,
When you close on a home, a number of fees are due. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the total cost of the home, and can include title insurance, origination fees, underwriting fees, document preparation fees, and more.”
For those who buy a $250,000 home, for example, that amount could be between $5,000 and $12,500 in closing fees. Keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. As mentioned before,

Closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price.

 Trulia gives more great advice, saying,
“There will be lots of paperwork in front of you on closing day, and not enough time to read them all. Work closely with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney, if you have one, to get all the documents you need ahead of time.
The most important thing to read is the closing disclosure, which shows your loan terms, final closing costs, and any outstanding fees. You’ll get this form about three days before closing since, once you (the borrower) sign it, there’s a three-day waiting period before you can sign the mortgage loan docs. If you have any questions about the numbers or what any of the mortgage terms mean, this is the time to ask—your real estate agent is a great resource for getting you all the answers you need."

Bottom Line

Let’s get together to discuss the homebuying process, to be sure your plan includes budgeting for what you need to purchase your dream home – without any surprises!

Have You Outgrown Your Home?

It may seem hard to imagine that the home you’re in today – whether it’s your starter home or just one you’ve fallen in love with along the way – might not be your forever home.
The good news is, it’s okay to admit if your house no longer fits your needs.
According to the latest Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, prices have appreciated 3.5% year-over-year. At the same time, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports inventory has dropped 4.3% from one year ago.

These two statistics are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up.
This is great news if you own a home and are thinking about selling. The equity in your house has likely risen as prices have increased. Even better is the fact that there’s a large pool of buyers out there searching for the American dream, and your home may be high on their wish list.

Bottom Line

If you think you’ve outgrown your home, let's get together to discuss local market conditions and determine if now is the best time for you to sell.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Home in 2020

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces, but we can have deep sentimental attachments to the homes we’re leaving behind, too. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale, depending on how we manage them.
When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes. Being mindful of these things and prepared for the process can help you avoid some of the most common mishaps when selling your house.

1. Overpricing Your Home

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask for when we price our homes. Believe it or not, that’s far from the truth. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraisal to determine the fair value for your home. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be mindful that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you to set the true value of your home.

2. Letting Your Emotions Interfere with the Sale

Today, most homeowners have been living in their houses for an average of 10 years (as shown in the graph below):

This is several years longer than what used to be the norm, since many homeowners have been recouping from negative equity situations over the past 10 years. The side effect, however, is when you live for so long in one place, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought after you got married or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.
For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate, separating the emotional value of the home from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations in the process.

3. Not Staging Your Home

We’re generally quite proud of our d├ęcor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own personalized homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your home with the buyer in mind. Buyers want to envision themselves in the space, so it truly feels like their own. They need to see themselves in the space with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter your home so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through your house. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

Today’s seller’s market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s get together to help you navigate through the process while avoiding common seller mistakes.

5,300 Reasons to Be Happy You’re a Homeowner

Studies have shown that, in many cases, the largest asset a family owns is the house they live in. Over the last twelve months, that asset has gained substantial value.
CoreLogic just released their 2019 3rd Quarter Homeowner Equity Insights Report. The report revealed that:
“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”
The equity in a property is determined by comparing the current value of the property against the outstanding mortgage debt. As prices rise, the equity in a home increases.

The report went on to explain that the average homeowner gain in equity over the last twelve months was $5,300.

Here’s a map showing the average equity gain by state:

Since the housing crash in 2008, many homeowners have felt trapped in their current houses, as they didn’t have enough equity to sell. The gains in equity over the past few years may have freed some homeowners who have a desire to move.

Bottom Line

If you’re curious about your home’s equity, let’s get together to do a market analysis on the current value of your house. You may be pleasantly surprised.

When a House Becomes a Happy Home

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.
No matter the size or shape of a living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why

1. Owning your home offers stability to start and raise a family

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

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and kick-back after a long day. Sometimes, that’s just what we need to feel re-charged and truly content.

3. You have more space for you and your family

Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take all this into consideration when buying your dream home, so the space truly works for you.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to finally adopt that fur-baby puppy or kitten you’ve been hoping for. Who’s to say you can’t do all of these things in your own home?

Bottom Line

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

2020 Forecast Shows Continued Home Price Appreciation

Questions continue to rise around where home prices will head in 2020. The latest forecast from CoreLogic shows continued appreciation at 5.4% over the next year:

Additionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. Based on the most recent results, 32 of the 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) had a minimal probability of lowering by 2021.

Bottom Line

Experts forecast home price appreciation to continue at a moderate rate as we move through 2020 and beyond. With appreciation growing, let’s get together and plan for your next move.

Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise

Looking ahead, 2020 is projected to be a strong year for homeownership. According to the Freddie Mac Forecast,
“We expect rates to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.”
If you’re currently renting, 2020 may be a great time to think about making a jump into homeownership while mortgage rates are low.
As noted in the National Rent Report,
the national rent index increased by 1.4 percent year-over-year.”
With average rents on the rise, this year-over-year increase may not sound like much, but it can add up – fast. The math on how much extra it will cost you over time surely doesn’t lie.
Here’s an example: On a $1,500 rental payment, an increase of 1.4% adds an additional $21 dollars per month to your payment. When multiplied by the twelve months in a year, it’s a $252 overall annual increase. The price continues to multiply when you rent year after year, as rental prices rise.
History shows how average rental prices have been increasing each year, and there doesn’t seem to be much end in sight. Here’s a look at how rents have grown since 2012 alone:

Why not lock down your monthly housing expense, and at the same time build additional net worth for you and your family? If you’re thinking about buying a home, consider the financial benefits of what homeownership can do for you, especially while the market conditions are strong and current mortgage rates are low.

Bottom Line

With average rents continuing to rise, now may be a great time to stabilize your monthly payment by becoming a homeowner and locking into a low mortgage rate. Let’s get together to discuss how taking advantage of the current market conditions might work for you.

Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference

Some Highlights:

  • Choosing the right real estate professional is one of the most impactful decisions you can make in your home buying or selling process.
  • A real estate professional can explain current market conditions and break down what they will mean to you and your family.
  • If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2020, make sure to work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, and negotiations.

Why You Shouldn’t “For Sale By Owner”

Rising home prices coupled with the current inventory in today's market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their homes on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might be hard to execute well for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top 5 reasons not to FSBO:

1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers
Studies have shown that 93% of buyers search online for a home. That’s a pretty staggering number! Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
2. Results Come from the Internet
According to NAR, here’s where buyers found the homes they actually purchased:
  • 55% on the Internet
  • 28% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 10% Other
  • 6% from a Yard Sign
  • 1% from Newspapers
The days of selling your house by putting up a sign in your yard or placing an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.
3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here’s a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:
  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value
4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult
The paperwork involved in buying or selling a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, but the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
A report by Zillow revealed that FSBOs are inclined to do so because they believe it will save money (46 percent cite this among their top three reasons), but they don’t actually save anything, and eventually end up listing with an agent.
The same report revealed that,
“While 36% of sellers that (at first) attempted to sell their homes on their own, only 11 percent of sellers—in other words, less than a third…actually sold without an agent.”
It appears working with a real estate professional is the best answer.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss your needs.

So you've listed your home for sale and after multiple showings it just isn't selling. Or worst yet, you have had no showings at all. That means it's time to make some changes especially if your home was on the market and the listing has expired with no sale.

The average number of days on the market varies in South Central Kentucky. Just look at the data below. As of the beginning of the first quarter in 2020, the median DOM (Days on the Market) for residential property in each county in our market is as follows:

Allen County: 102
Barren County: 84
Butler County: 39
Edmonson County: 81
Logan County:74
Muhlenberg County: 107
Simpson County: 80
Warren County: 81

In general, a home is going to sell for the most amount of money in the first 30 days.

Buyers today are more savvy than in the past thanks to today's technology. 44% of today's buyers look online first for homes they are interested in before they call a real estate agent. More buyers are looking at comparable homes and the longer a home sits on the market they tend to ask "What's wrong with it?"

The longer a listing sits on the market, the more the sale price will fall. So for every day, week or month your home sits on the market, it is statistically going to sell for less than listing price. But don't lose hope! Don't stress about it! Making a few changes will bring your home back to buyer's attention.

Here are 10 likely reasons your home isn't selling.

1. Pricing

When it comes to a home not selling, if it isn't condition of the home or condition of the market, it is price. Pricing your home incorrectly is the biggest mistake many home sellers make. Removing your emotional attachment to the home and realizing that buyers set the market through what they are willing to pay, will help you to not over price your home. Your agent, is there to guide you and will help you set the price according to many variables. Setting your home price is not as easy as "I think it will sell for this". A thorough look at what has sold in the last 6 months, what is currently on the market, looking at other expired listings, your home's condition and location all play a factor in pricing strategy. 

So, what do you do if your home is priced too high? Consult your agent about a change in the price. When your home is being shown, your agent or the buyer's agent should provide feedback in regards to what may be a reason their buyer didn't make an offer. If it's price, consider a price drop. If your home is listed and you have had no showings and no offers within the first 3 weeks, a price improvement will help your home sell. 

For example: If your home is priced at $155,000 and the client hit count (ask your agent to get this data for you) is 10 and your home had 2 showings and no offers, then that means you may need to reconsider your pricing strategy. Lowering your price to $149,977 will likely reach more buyers whose budget is under $150,000. Your client hit count will increase. If condition is not a factor and location is not a factor, you should see an increase in showings and more likely to receive a fair offer. 

On a side note, when considering a price improvement, really make it an improvement! Don't be a $1,000 drop each week for 5 weeks to get to that $150,000 mark. You would be missing out on 5 weeks worth of potential buyer pool!  By then, those would be buyers, have already found another home that fit their budget. And if other homes in your neighborhood are selling and yours is not, those would be buyers might have just bought your neighbor's home instead. 

2. Listing Photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If your listing photos elicit an "I have no words for that kitchen." then you are losing potential buyers. High quality High Dynamic Range photos that show your home at it's best makes all the difference in how your home is perceived by would be buyers. Did your agent take photos with their phone? If so, it may be time to find a new agent or hire a photographer to take your listing photos. As a listing agent myself, I include HDR photos as well as 360 degree HDR virtual tours of listings. Buyers love being able to walk through your home without having to leave the comfort of their own home. If your home fits their requirements and is appealing to the buyer, they will schedule an appointment for a private showing. 

Unique photo requirements. Does your home sit on a lake or situated with a perfect view of hole 9 at a golf course? Do you have more than 2 acres of land that is part of the sale? Aerial photos will improve buyers perception of your home's value. I, as a licensed drone pilot, ensure that if your property needs unique photo perspectives, it will be done. Specialty buyers want to see where you home sits in proximity to the dock on the lake. What views will they get of hole 9 from your home's backyard? 

Not all homes will need aerial photographs. But, in today's tech savvy world, I believe a true virtual walk though tour (not just photos made into a video tour) increase buyer's desire to schedule a showing. Recently, I had a listing in a hard to sell area (small remote town) that drew the attention of buyers from Tennessee because they went to the virtual walk through tour and decided they wanted a private tour. Less than 30 minutes into the showing, they made a full price offer. They had already known it would fit their needs, it fit their budget, they liked the layout. Their private showing confirmed this was the home for them. 

So, take a look at your listing photos? What message are they conveying? Are they dark, blurry, out of frame or look like they were taken with a phone camera? If so, it's time to rethink your photos. Opening windows, blinds, timing of day can draw in the natural light and brighten your photos. Do your photos use the latest technology of HDR or 4K? Do you need 360 or aerial? Talk to your agent, they will know what photo strategy will work best for you home. 

3. Listing Description

I've looked at many expired listings and can say that many times the photos are great, the pricing is right, but the description fell flat. Your description needs to appeal to buyers. Give your buyers a mental picture of what it is like to live in your home. Do you have picturesque views of rolling hills in your backyard? Is your home situated on a quiet cul du sac? Is your master bedroom just a bedroom or an en suite?  Let's take a look at a listing description of a recently expired listing. 

This property is located in the highly desired South Warren County area. It is a 4 bedroom 3 bath 2,145 square foot home. Listing price was $174,900 and the current market value is approximately $190,000. The agent did adjust the price down to accommodate for the house needing updates. However, the listing expired. Priced right - CHECK! Location - CHECK! Appropriate photos - CHECK! And here is the description...

"4Bed. 3 Bath, Great location. Home needs updating."

I just cannot make this stuff up people. Truth is, in my professional opinion, that description did more than fall flat. To fall, you must be in an upright position. This description didn't even get off the ground. The very beginning stages and buyers are already going to be looking at what it NEEDS done to it rather than what it HAS to offer.

I drove by this property to get a feel for the area and how the house was situated. The home was appropriately landscaped with a winding walkway to the front door lined with green monkey grass and yellow day lilies. The driveway is paved. The front yard was lush green carpet of grass with mature shade trees. It's curb appeal...as I would say CHECK! So how could this description be worked into an more appealing ad to buyers? How about this...

This spacious 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath 2145 square foot home situated on beautifully landscaped mature tree lined 0.39 acres in the highly sought after South Warren County area awaits your refreshing vision. Priced 8% below market! Don't miss out on the opportunity to own this gem! Call to schedule your private showing today! 

See how we took out needs updating? Those are negative words. We can use more positive words to reflect that there are some necessary updates without giving the buyer an immediate "no" vibe. Refreshing vision simply conveys that it will need a new look without giving it a negative connotation upfront. 

When I work with sellers I ask several questions to help me construct an appealing description. Often times the sellers will know more about the area. For example: What prompted you to purchase the house yourself years ago? If they say "We liked that it was close to the school and park. But we are empty nesters now and that is not a necessity for us." Well, right there is a key element to what first time home buyers or a family looking to upgrade will be looking for! 

So, take a look at your description. Was it appealing? If not, ask your agent to revitalize the listing description. If it was, and your home is priced right, and the photos are great, there may be other reasons your home has not sold. Let's take a look at a few other reasons to consider. 

4. Property Condition

In Kentucky, you are required by law to notify potential buyers of repair issues. This is done through the Sellers Disclosure. The same holds true even for those repairs you didn't know you needed. Once you have accepted an offer, the buyer is going to hire a home inspector. The home inspection can take up to 3 hours or greater depending on the size of your home. The home inspector is trained to look for any number of repair or maintenance issues. The buyer will then ask that you either make those repairs or take a lower offer due to the repairs needed. 

In some instances, a buyer may be working with an FHA or USDA loan. Those loan types have a more stringent requirements for approval. If your home needs significant repairs and you elect not to fix those issues, FHA or USDA may require them to be completed before the sale can close. If you are adamant about selling your home AS IS with no expectation of repairs, then be prepared to lower your price to accommodate for such repairs and ask your agent to specify to other agents the transaction will need to be a cash only sale. But remember, doing so will limit your buyer pool. Especially if your home is in the price range of a sellers market. You don't want to be the lone wolf who couldn't sell their home because you were not willing to address issues with the home. 

Not every problem is a money sucker. Some minor repairs to take a look at for your home that you may not notice yourself but you can be sure a buyer will, and some that will hold up the appraisal are:

Loose doorknobs or hinges, burnt out lights, dripping faucets, peeling paint, caulking around windows, replacing worn out vapor barrier under the house.  

Additionally, as a buyer's representative, I have come across many homes that have open or damaged junction boxes in the attic or basement. Often those get missed by a homeowner because those are the least visited areas. Other electrical issues to look at are the panel. 100amps is recommended for most homes though some require 200 amps. Having yours inspected by an electrician will help determine if yours may be out of date and in need of an update. More simpler electrical issues that get missed by sellers are simple fixes such as a faulty switch, face plate cover cracked, broken or missing on plugs or switches. The most often noted item in need of an update in home inspections, as well as appraiser reports, are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) plugs missing. If you have plugs near a water source such as the washer, kitchen sink or bathroom sink, replacing standard plugs with GFCI will ensure to the buyer that any water getting in the plug area will trip the circuit and cut off all electricity to it to minimize electrical fire hazards. Additionally, this will help your home be more loan friendly as FHA and USDA will often ask for those to be replaced. Not all plugs need to be replaced. For example you may have 3 plugs in your kitchen. One of those plugs controls all the others. So a GFCI on the lead plug will trip others if there is a problem. Always consult a licensed electrician when in doubt. 

Other minor fixes that can improve the appeal of your home to buyers is to give your walls a fresh coat of paint. You may love red in your kitchen, but buyers today are looking for neutral colors. If your carpet is 5-7 years old, replace it. If you are lucky enough to have hardwood floors under the carpet, remove the carpet and give the hardwoods a fresh refinish. Today's buyers desire hardwood floors over carpet. I hear it very often "The carpet needs to go. I wonder if there is hardwood under the carpet?"  And if there is a snag in a corner somewhere, they may attempt to pull it up and see for themselves. 

Update your curb appeal. If buyers pull up to your home and the lawn is in dire need of mowing or the shrubs block the view from the bay window, they already have a feel that your home is not maintained. Trim shrubs, consider adding a few planted flowers where you can and mow the lawn. If your gutters are moldy or a downspout needs replaced, replace the downspout and pressure wash your gutters or paint them if needed. If they are faulty, consider that in your pricing or be prepared to fix them. While we are talking about downspouts, be sure to put in downspout extenders or a splash block to divert water away from the foundation. Clean your gutters thoroughly before listing your home. Trim any tree limbs that may touch the roof or side of your home. Paint or replace any shutters. You can paint your shutters for under $30.00 and a fresh paint job on your gutters and a pressure washing on your house can improve the curb appeal. 

Bathroom or kitchen in need of an update? Some simple updates that won't break the bank can give your kitchen or bathroom a refreshed look without the expense of a complete update. Paint the walls and/or cabinets to give an updated look. Change hardware on cabinet doors and drawers. Change the fixtures such as faucets. If your light was put in when the house was built in 1985, it's time to change the lighting. Make sure both of these rooms are kept clean. Clean the grout, repair any cracked or damaged tile or laminate. Remember: kitchens and baths are the two most important areas of a home that buyers notice first. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to look for, but rather the most common items found in a home inspection and appraisals that can hold up the closing of your home sale. Solving these problems before you list will help speed along the closing when you do get an offer on your home. 

Ask your agent to walk through your home and indicate areas that might need addressed. 

5. Not Loan Friendly

As noted above, if your home is not loan friendly due to repairs or other issues that affect the home financing capability, your home will sit on the market longer and may need a cash only buyer. For example: Fannie Mae has set guidelines that mortgage companies are required to adhere to when lending on a home. If your foundation was put in the year the home was built and has had no updates or doesn't meet today's standards, it could be a hindrance to lending. Old pier and post foundation? Crawl space less than 24" in height? Manufactured home not on a permanent foundation? These issues would need addressed to make your home more loan friendly. 

6. Staged Not To Sell

Not all homes need an expensive staging to appeal to buyers. Often times your current furniture can be re-positioned in a way to appeal to buyers. Simply removing an old table that is worn and has scratches can change the way a buyer perceives your home. Remember that less is more. Buyers want a home to feel large but yet inviting. Open drapes or blinds and allow as much light into a room as necessary. Your mahogany coffee table may be beautiful, but give it some flair with a pop of color and coordinate with decorative pillows on your sofa. 

According to a study by the National Association of REALTORS a staged home will sell 87% faster and for 17% more than a non-staged home. Vacant homes don't provide a buyer with a reflection of the home's full potential. So your bedroom is large enough for a queen size bed, 2 end tables and a dresser? Great! Let's show them that! Empty rooms can feel smaller. 

Does that mean you HAVE to stage? Not necessarily. Some vacant homes will sell due to other factors where staging would not matter. Others may need a simple staging to give it a feel of home without great expense. 

Staging a home can cost anywhere from $250 and up depending on the size of the room, how many rooms you want staged, if you are using your own furniture and just getting accessories, and several other factors. Your agent can help you determine if your home needs staged and can refer you to a trusted staging expert.

7. Marketing

Marketing your home correctly is key to getting your home sold. The more exposure your home has, the more buyer pool that is reached. Ask your agent about their marketing strategy for your home. If they don't have a specific plan, it may be time for a new agent. 

In today's market online presence is imperative. Utilizing social media and specialty websites to spread the word about your home is important. Even exposure in the MLS system is valuable. What do I mean by that? In the South Central Kentucky market there are approximately 700 active agents. Does your current agent have multiple MLS exposure or are you marketing to the same 700 agents as Joe Seller down the street? I, personally, made a choice to switch brokerage firms last year in order to increase my marketing reach for my seller clients. I belong to 2 REALTOR associations and our firm has cooperative agreements with 3 additional associations in the state of Kentucky.  What does that mean to you? It means that listing with our firm your home is exposed from South Central Indiana to North Central Tennessee and East to Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati and Lexington Regions. Approximately 6,000 agents are exposed to your listing. 

Does your home require a specialty site? Perhaps? Is it on 6 acres and can be considered a mini farm? Is it lake or golf community property? Is it in a resort community? Then, yes, specialty website presence would increase your exposure. Last year I had buyers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan and Colorado look at a listing on Barren River Lake because the home was listed on lakehomes.com. Ask your agent if they do specialty website listing.

And while we are on the subject of specialty marketing, does your home qualify for a various use home? What does that mean? It means could your home have many uses other than just a primary residence? For example: You own a lake home and it is your primary residence. That's great!  But that home could also be used as a second home (vacation property) or as an investment home (think AirBNB). So your home, as you see it, is just a home to live in. Where your agent needs to be able to look past it's current use and see what the potential use is for that home. Are they marketing to second home buyers? Are they marketing to investors? Can they provide potential buyers with data necessary to use it differently? If someone wants to use it as a second home and short term rental it when they are not using it, does your agent know the regulations? Can they provide nightly, weekly and seasonal rates for an investor looking to just rent out that lake house? As a Certified Resort and Second Property specialist, I make it a point to include this information to all buyers and their agent and in marketing advertisement to reach a broader audience. 

Social media plays a big role. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram are the most visited social websites. Marketing your home for sale on these sites is imperative to reaching local buyers. Targeting Markeplaces and local buy/sell groups improves your home's visibility. 

I have reviewed many expired listings and often come upon an agent may have posted the home on their own business page but never boosted it as a paid advertisement or put it on marketplace or in groups. Worst yet, the seller approved a price drop and the agent never posted a price improvement on their own page. How are Joe and Betty Buyer supposed to know the price dropped if it isn't advertised? 

As a seller, I believe you should know what you are paying for when you hand over that commission check at closing. Ask your agent how they intend to market your home. If they don't have a diverse marketing strategy with a social media plan in place, it's probably time to consider a new agent. 

8. Market Conditions

Current market conditions play a role in your home's ability to be sold in a timely manner. Pricing your home accordingly will determine how long your home sits on the market. Remember buyers set the market prices. Your agent does not and neither do sellers. I once reviewed an expired listing that was priced $700,000 above what other homes in the same neighborhood had sold for in the 6 months prior to the home being listed. A savvy agent will be able to tell you if your pricing is ambitious compared to what the market demands or not. If they are not willing to have an honest, up front, open conversation about the true market price for your home, I feel they are doing you a disservice. This only sets you up for high expectations when the reality is, your home will not sell and will bring on feelings of disappointment. 

Your agent will look at current market conditions and will be able to tell you if your home and its current market value are situated in a seller's market or a buyer's market. But wait!  You say. I thought we were in a seller's market? That is not necessarily true. For example: 15 homes sold in Simpson County in the month of December 2019. Of those homes 100% were priced under $199,000 on average. The same held true for the month of November 2019 where 25 homes sold and those sold were under $199,000 on average. So that means that homes priced under $199,000 are still in high demand (seller's market) those homes priced higher are still waiting for the right buyer to come along (buyer's market).

I hear this often as well, "We had the house appraised and it came in at $xxx,xxx." Yes, that may be true that your home is appraised at a higher value. However, that is not to say that buyers are willing to pay that price for your home. As a seller, expect buyers to come in with any offers less than what your appraised value may be. Remember, you as the seller are wanting to make the most money off of your home, but buyers are looking for the most home for the least amount of money. Be willing to negotiate as needed to get your home sold. And that may mean letting go of the "it's worth more" mentality. You have an emotional attachment to the home so it is natural to feel it is worth more. It's where you raised your kids. It holds memories. That means a lot to you. But, the buyers don't take that into consideration when they make an offer.

Ask your agent what the current market conditions are for your particular home. After they have run a thorough comparative market analysis for your home, they will be able to help you design a pricing strategy most appropriate for your home and to tell you if patience will be key. If your home is priced in a buyers market range, be patient. If your home is priced in the sellers market range and all other factors are good (photos, description, condition, etc) your home should sell within the market absorption time. 

What? What is absorption time? Your agent should discuss with you the current "absorption rate" in your market. This would mean how many months of inventory are on the market currently. If the current market shows an inventory level of 6.1 months (As Simpson County does at this time) that means it will take approximately 6 months for your home to be absorbed (sold) in the current market. Having the right marketing plan in place and all other factors discussed in this article in line, will help your home absorb into the market faster. 

Think about it. If you spill something, you want a great paper towel that will absorb the spill quicker. So you need to be working with an agent that can position your home to sell (absorb) quicker in the market. Your agent is your paper towel in the real estate market. 

9. Communication

After a showing your agent should receive feedback from the agent that showed the property or from any prospective buyers they have shown the home to. Not all agents will provide feedback. But for those that do, your agent should be discussing this feedback with you. What is the recurring comments made on the property? Can those issues be addressed and improve the marketability of your home? If so, are you willing to address those issues? If so, once addressed, is your agent going back to those buyers or other agents and informing them the issues have been addressed? You can't fix what you don't know needs fixed. 

An absent agent is a sure sign they are not making your home a priority. If you have reached out to your agent and not had a response in several days. It may be time to have a heart to heart with them about your communication expectations. Yes, agents get busy. Yes, we have multiple clients. However, a short text informing you they got your message and will get back with you by tomorrow afternoon or later that day doesn't take much effort. 

10. Complacency

Complacency contributes to lack of a home selling as well. So who is complacent? Often agents can become complacent. They get comfortable with how things have worked for them in the past. They may feel they have been in the business so long that their name alone can get a home sold. Simply putting a sign up in the yard should suffice. Right? Simply putting it on the MLS and give it a kiss for good luck should be enough. Right?  Well, truth is, it is not enough. It takes more than that to get a home sold. So how do you know if your home listing expired due to complacency? Ask your agent how they have marketed your property. If complacency is a factor, it may be time to find a new agent.

Not an exhaustive list but there you go! The 10 likely reasons your home isn't selling. When in doubt, get a second opinion! Ask another REALTOR to review your listing and uncover factors that may have played a role in your home not selling.

If you have listed your South Central Kentucky home for sale and your listing has expired with no sale, before you re-list your property, sign up below for your Complimentary Expired Listing Analysis! That's right! It's FREE baby!  And you are under no obligation to list your property with me. Just one of the services I provide to sellers in the South Central Kentucky region. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Sign up and get your FREE audit! 

Big Demand for Small Homes

Movies, tv shows, and celebrities often have us dreaming of owning large homes, but the reality for most people is quite different.
Since 2015, the square footage of newly built houses has been shrinking, according to Yahoo Finances. This is not projected to change as we continue into the beginning of the year.
“We expect this downsizing trend to continue in 2020, driven by a confluence of economic and demographic trends.”

Why are smaller homes trending now?

As noted in the article, there are a few main reasons for this demand:
  • “Many of today's younger, millennial home buyers have expressed a preference for denser, more urban homes that are more walkable to shared amenities.”
  • “Today's older homeowners are expressing a desire for smaller, less maintenance-heavy and more accessible (read: less stairs) homes as they age and move into newer homes.”
With these two demographic groups surging through the market, the demand for this type of home is rising. If you’re a homeowner with a smaller-scale house, now may be a great time to sell, as the demand for this end of the market is surely on the rise.

Bottom Line

The demand for smaller houses will continue to rise throughout 2020. Let’s get together to discuss what the housing inventory looks like in your neighborhood. It might be time for you to take advantage of this trend!

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You

This will be an interesting year for residential real estate. With a presidential election taking place this fall and talk of a possible recession occurring before the end of the year, predicting what will happen in the 2020 U.S. housing market can be challenging. As a result, taking a look at the combined projections from the most trusted entities in the industry when it comes to mortgage rateshome sales, and home prices is incredibly valuable – and they may surprise you.

Mortgage Rates

Projections from the experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac all forecast mortgage rates remaining stable throughout 2020:

Since rates have remained under 5% for the last decade, we may not fully realize the opportunity we have right now.
Here are the average mortgage interest rates over the last several decades:
  • 1970s: 8.86%
  • 1980s: 12.70%
  • 1990s: 8.12%
  • 2000s: 6.29%

Home Sales

Three of the four expert groups noted above also predict an increase in home sales in 2020, and the fourth sees the transaction number remaining stable:

With mortgage rates remaining near all-time lows, demand should not be a challenge. The lack of available inventory, however, may moderate the increase in sales.

Home Prices

Below are the projections from six different expert entities that look closely at home values: CoreLogicFannie Mae, Ivy Zelman’s “Z Report”, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Each group has home values continuing to improve through 2020, with four of them seeing price appreciation increasing at a greater pace than it did in 2019.

Is a Recession Possible?

In early 2019, a large percentage of economists began predicting a recession may occur in 2020. In addition, a recent survey of potential home purchasers showed that over 50% agreed it would occur this year. The economy, however, remained strong in the fourth quarter, and that has caused many to rethink the possibility.
For example, Goldman Sachs, in their 2020 U.S. Outlook, explained:
“Markets sounded the recession alarm this year, and the average forecaster now sees a 33% chance of recession over the next year. In contrast, our new recession model suggests just a 20% probability. Despite the record age of the expansion, the usual late-cycle problems—inflationary overheating and financial imbalances—do not look threatening.”

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are projected to remain under 4%, causing sales to increase in 2020. With growing demand and a limited supply of inventory, prices will continue to appreciate, while the threat of an impending recession seems to be softening. It looks like 2020 may be a solid year for the real estate market.

Search This Blog

About Rhonda

Rhonda Walker, Real Estate Agent

Strategic Advanced Marketing, Clear Communication, and Experience you can trust.

Utilizing innovative technologies and marketing strategies Rhonda is raising the bar in the real estate industry by increasing the number of views your home receives from potential buyers.


Popular Posts

Subscribe to Newsletter

* indicates required