A friend once told me that the definition of luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. In other words you are fortunate when you take advantage of an opportunity by being knowledgeable and prepared for that moment when it crosses your path.
Have you heard that prices are going up and inventory is down? Each year has one defining set of circumstances that separate one real estate year from another. For instance, last year the recession was considered by most pundits over, due to those buyers who decided it was time to make the move and invest in their future. Prior to last year young millennial purchasers were skeptical and afraid to buy their first home because they witnessed many of their cohorts losing their home to falling values from 2007-2013.
Back to this year’s real estate activity. Homeowners have for the most part decided to wait and see what this year brings. So far, right out of the shoot in February young buyers flocked to the market and began their search for their very first home. However, these eager homebuyers became a bit disillusioned when they put offer after offer in only to be rejected by homeowners who chose another buyer that offered more money. Quality homes that were in structural and top cosmetic condition attracted the greatest number of buyers. Homes were selling in one day significantly over asking. Properties that did not show well were penalized by would be buyers and offers were significantly lower and in most cases no multiple offers. This trend continues but has slowed up a bit in the last few weeks.
Low interest rates (3.85% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage) plus high demand created a euphoric market for today’s homeowners as long as they staged their homes and made sure all defects were taken care of prior to going on the market. As we all know nothing stays the same and change is the hallmark of real estate trends. Due to the word on the street that prices were escalating and selling time is short, many sellers have decided to wait on the sidelines and enjoy the appreciation which was absent in the recession. Another reason homeowners decided to put off their moves was the same reason today’s buyers are so frustrated. Low inventory, lack of choices and a frenzied market meant not being able to find a new home after selling their current home. This predicament has created a quandary for any home seller thinking of selling and downsizing.
I have found the most successful moves involved sellers preparing their homes for the market by staging, fixing basements and roofs, a fresh coat of contemporary paint colors and placing furniture in just the right place. But before actually putting the home on the market, getting financing lined up (a bridge loan) so that you can first buy the home that meets your needs and then putting your home on the market. This way you can take your time locating your new home without the pressure of having to move in 45-60 days after an accepting an offer on your property. Not everyone has the financial means to use this strategy, but a visit to your local bank may prove to be the best appointment you’ve ever made. You may find it much more reasonable to buy and then sell after finding that the bank will work with you by offering an interest only short term loan which will be paid off when you sell your home.
Remember, the stock market and real estate can change overnight. What seems like the market will last forever can be cut short by world events, financial shocks to the country and numerous other factors. Waiting is a good thing if you are not sure you really want to change your address. But if a move would improve the quality of your life, don’t wait. Have a Senior Real Estate Specialist visit with you so that you can understand the market and know the value of your home in today’s market. Go to your local bank or mortgage company and see just how much you qualify for if you are thinking of purchasing. If you are selling and moving to an apartment or senior community I would suggest selling while the market is hot…sooner than later as things do change and you are gambling on a trend that is unknown to all. Remember that life is precious and time is constantly moving forward. Trying to play the market is always a gamble. Don’t leave your future well-being to chance and change. Focus on what will improve your life and the rest will fall into place!