Selling Your Home During The Holidays

Hello Everyone,

 

The Holidays are among us and its time to Sell Sell Sell!

The number of home buyers from foreign nations has increased dramatically as the real estate market in the United States has improved over the past few years. These buyers don’t observe the same calendar of events as most Americans. We’ve seen significant upticks in buyer showings and home sales around holiday periods that traditionally were unofficial vacation periods for the real estate industry. When the foreign buyer comes to house hunt, American holidays are often not part of the scheduling process.

2. American Homeowner Mobility Continues to Increase

Americans are far more mobile in their lifestyles than they used to be. Occupations change at a higher rate. Companies relocate more often. The vast changes in technology create boom scenarios that make one region flush with jobs after another.

Home buyers employed in these business sectors are called to move across the country at any point in the year. Their employers often reimburse them through a relocation package to sell their home and buy a new one. When they arrive in a new city, it doesn’t matter if it’s January or July. They’re going to buy a home fairly quickly.

3. Seller Competition Is Lighter During the Holidays

While these new crops of international and mobile American home buyers are searching for homes at odd times of the year, home sellers are often still reluctant to list their homes during the holidays. This creates a shortage of inventory and a strong seller’s market in many cases. The home seller who is on the market in an area with very few comparable homes can often stick strongly to the price they’re hoping to get. Without a reasonable number of similar, competitive listings for buyers to visit, the seller is in a unique position of power because of the scarcity of comparable homes.

4. Holiday Home Shoppers Are More Motivated

Take the average American home buyer who isn’t relocating. They’d just like to buy a home in the town they live in. Those who aren’t particularly motivated by time will often take a break from searching during the holidays and start again in the spring.

Those home buyers who remain active in their searches, however, are the extremely motivated buyers. They’re willing to alter their holiday schedules and brave bad weather to get into a home. These are the kinds of buyers that home sellers dream about. They want to move right away and are willing to spend significant money to relieve their anxiousness about getting on with the home buying process as quickly as possible.

5. Internet Searches During the Holidays Surge

Many home buyers devote a larger portion of their house hunting time during the holidays to searching online, as opposed to seeing homes in person. The added convenience of whittling down a list of preferred homes from the warmth of the buyer’s home during bad weather makes real estate website traffic kick up significantly when the overall market sales might be slowing down.

To have your home discovered during this timeframe, it must be on the market. Word-of-mouth, drive-by sightings, and other forms of direct-contact marketing diminish significantly in effectiveness during bad weather periods. Homes advertised correctly online during this time get significantly more exposure than the average home, and those sellers that are taking a break from being on the market are as good as non-existent to the online buyer.

Five Reasons That a Holiday Real Estate Listing Need Not Be a Hassle

1. If You’re Traveling, It’s Easy

You leave town, and your REALTOR® is in charge of everything. Not only will your home be vacant and clean, it will also get a nice check-in a few times while you’re gone. Your REALTOR®will be by to see if things are fine. You can keep the heat on and it will not only keep your pipes from freezing, it will keep your potential buyers happy. Buyers’ REALTORS® will be in and out often enough to keep the home looking busy and well-travelled.

2. You Don’t Have to Take Any Calls You Don’t Want To

Who says a home seller has to receive calls 24/7? Every REALTOR®-client relationship is different. You, as the client, can manage how you communicate together. If you’d like to only receive showing requests via email or text, so be it. If you want your REALTOR® to only call between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., he or she can do that. As long as you are reasonable about having a regular communication check-in with your REALTOR®, the way you communicate can be as unique as you’d like.

3. You Can Have a Daily Showing Schedule

Showings don’t have to happen at all hours of the day. While the more your home is available, the better it is for buyers, it’s also understandable to have a limited schedule during the holidays. If every day between noon and 6:30 p.m. is the only time you’d like buyers to come through the home, that can be arranged. If yoga class on Tuesday makes it a difficult day, make that part of the official showing schedule, and have your REALTOR® put it into the listing. It will help buyers’ REALTORS® schedule showings and keep you focused on enjoying your own personal schedule.

4. You Can Create Blackout Dates

When your in-laws are coming to visit for a week, let your REALTOR® know that the entire week is off-limits. Unless a buyer has come in and set a large envelope of cash on their desk, they need to schedule all showings the prior week or the week afterward.

The bonus with this strategy is that your home is still on the MLS and still being advertised online. While it might not be available to see in person that particular week, those holiday home buyers will still see the listing and be aware that it will be available soon. Meanwhile, your family is relaxing at home as if it were just a regular holiday season.

5. Holiday Decorations? Just Go For It.

Very few home buyers are truly turned off by holiday decorations. They might find them tacky, overdone  or distasteful, but they’re much like paint colors. They could certainly help if they looked good, but they’re rarely deal breakers.

If you can constrain yourself a bit and keep your Christmas tree from looking like a spinning Wal-Mart rack, you’ll certainly impress your home buyers a bit more. Those 200,000 lights on your roof might also not be the ideal decoration. But, if you really feel the need, just do it.

Home buyers like the idea of a home looking like it fits into a neighborhood. They don’t want to be drowned in your personal treasures, but a little bit of personality is nothing to be afraid of.

Be Proactive – Take Control of Your Holiday Home Listing

Selling your home during the holidays can actually be a well-managed, stress-free experience. If you take the time to set ground rules and boundaries, you’ll find that you and your REALTOR® will benefit from the understanding during the process. In the meantime, you might be the only home on the block that is visibly available for sale to the next out-of-towner or anxious first-time buyer that is out on the holiday house hunting prowl.

Please give us a call to speak to one of our professionals today!

Cordially,

Scott Myers, GRI
Broker-Owner
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors – 2015 Fast Track winner as voted by the San Antonio Business Journal
11830 Wurzbach Rd. (The Elms)
San Antonio, Tx. 78230
Phone # 210-479-1222
Fax # 210-479-1981
Toll free Phone # 1-888-868-1222 Scott.Myers@Century21.com
Find us: Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | ReachFactor | Google +
Check out our Blog: Living in San Antonio
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/blog/2015/06/fasttrack-winners-announced-in-under-10m-category.

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Homebuying Process Breakdown

Hello Everyone,

Buying a home can be a very intimidating process, especially if you’ve never done it before.

So the first thing you should do before you start the home buying process is to figure out whether owning a home is right for you. It may or may not be and this decision depends on you and what your circumstances are. Take into account that if you do buy a home, there are extra responsibilities and costs that go along with owning a home-such as lawn care, home maintenance and repairs, etc.

Step 1: Check Your Credit Report & Score

Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you’re allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you’ll qualify for. Don’t forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score

.

Step 2: Figure out How Much You Can Afford

You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don’t forget to factor in money you’ll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. Remember that you don’t always have to put down 20 percent as your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. An experienced home loan expert can help you understand all your loan options, closing costs and other fees.

Step 3: Find the Right Lender and Real Estate Agent

To find the right mortgage lender It’s best to shop around. Get recommendations from your friends and family and check with theBetter Business Bureau. Talk to at least three or four mortgage lenders. Ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you. Make sure to find someone that you are comfortable with and who makes you feel at ease.

Once you have the right mortgage lender, make sure you at least get a pre-approval. Pre-qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for. The lender will actually pull your credit and get more information about you. However, you could even take it one step further by getting an actual approval before you start home shopping. That way, when you’re ready to make an offer, it will make the sale go much quicker. Besides, your offer will look more appealing than other buyers since your financing is guaranteed.

Step 4: Look for the Right Home

Make a list of the things you’ll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you’ve made a list of your must-have’s, don’t forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.

Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home

Now that you’ve found the home you want, you have to make an offer. Most sellers price their homes a bit high, expecting that there will be some haggling involved. A decent place to start is about five percent below the asking price. You can also get a list from your real estate agent to find out how much comparable homes have sold for. Once you’ve made your offer, don’t think it’s final. The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer. But you don’t want to go back and forth too much. Somewhere, you have to meet in the middle. Once you’ve agreed on a price, you’ll make an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith.

Step 6: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, but as a first-time home buyer, you should be aware of the three basics: adjustable rate, fixed rate and interest-only.

  • Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are short-term mortgages that offer an interest rate that is fixed for a short period of time, usually between one to seven years. After that, the interest rate can adjust every year up or down, depending on the market. These are good for people who don’t plan on living in their home very long and/or are looking for a lower interest rate and payment.
  • Fixed-rate mortgages are more traditional and offer a fixed interest rate (and thus a fixed monthly payment) for a longer period of time, usually 15 or 30 years, though they’re available in 20 or 25 year terms. These are good for people who like a predictable payment and plan on living in their home for a long time.
  • Both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages can have an interest-only payment. What this means is that for a certain amount of time during the loan term, you’re allowed to pay only enough to cover the interest portion of your payment. You can still pay principal when you wish, but don’t have to if your budget is tight. There is a myth that with interest-only mortgages, you don’t build equity. This is not necessarily true, since you can build equity through home appreciation. The benefit to interest-only mortgages is that you increase your cash flow by not paying principal.

Remember to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage banker lots of questions about which mortgage is right for you and your situation.

Step 7: Close on Your Home

Make sure you get a home inspection before you close. It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property’s structural soundness and good condition.

Setting the closing date that is convenient to both parties may be tricky, but can certainly be done. Remember that you may have to wait until your rental agreement runs out and the seller may have to wait until they close on their new house.

Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.

Step 8: Move In!

You’ve got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it’s time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you have to move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you’re done with the home buying process! Just start unpacking and start enjoying your first home! Buying a home for the first time doesn’t have to be a hassle if you’re prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. Choose an experienced home loan lender and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent-they are the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!

   Cordially,

Scott Myers, GRI
Broker-Owner
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors – 2015 Fast Track winner as voted by the San Antonio Business Journal
11830 Wurzbach Rd. (The Elms)
San Antonio, Tx. 78230
Phone # 210-479-1222
Fax # 210-479-1981
Toll free Phone # 1-888-868-1222 Scott.Myers@Century21.com
Find us: Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | ReachFactor | Google +
Check out our Blog: Living in San Antonio
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/blog/2015/06/fasttrack-winners-announced-in-under-10m-category.