by Kathe Barge | Jun 5, 2023 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, Interest Rates, Listings, Market Trends, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Sellers-Contracts, Selling Conditions
Are you still seeing multiple offers on homes these days?
Believe it or not, yes! Despite higher interest rates, we are still seeing multiple offers, depending on location, condition and price range. Multiple offers are primarily coming in the under $1,000,000 market. If your home is in a higher price range, that does not mean that you won’t get an offer, and it doesn’t mean that it won’t be a good offer – but you may only get one, and you may need to wait for it – the market does not always offer instantaneous results. The market is still strong, just not as crazy as it was a couple of weeks ago –the buyer demand is starting to be satisfied.
Multiple offers, over-asking-price offers and full-price offers are also far more likely in our hottest neighborhoods and historically most popular locations. Additionally, sellers who have conditioned their home for market, both in staging and making changes to meet current buying trends, are most likely to be those with multiple and/or full price offers. It is very important, however, to keep in mind that your initial asking price will dictate whether or not you receive a high offer. If you choose to challenge the market with your asking price, and are at the top of your neighborhood, it’s unlikely your home will be snapped up or will receive an asking price offer – you may need to be patient and wait for a buyer who sees the value as you do. On the other hand, if you price with last year’s prices, or shoot below market, you are far more likely to spur a bidding war. Yes, we are selling at premium pricing on premium products, but this typically happens because the asking price feels a little on the low end to buyers to begin with. So my best advice to sellers is to take the time to condition your home to meet market expectations and then price carefully – no one wants to give their home away, but do be careful not to overshoot the market’s historic guidance on pricing.
Buyers – you still have a lot of competition out there. If you are looking for a historically hot property (based on size, location or price range), you still need to plan to be very aggressive with your offers if you want to win, and make sure you are fully pre-approved!
by Kathe Barge | May 12, 2023 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, Helpful Tips, Market Trends, Marketing, Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Conditions
We have been hearing about the lack of inventory and the hot market – we feel this could be a great time to get a premium price for our home. Are we right?
Inventory is low, that is a fact. We are back to bidding wars. Data indicates that Pittsburgh prices increased 12.7% in 2021 and another 5.5% in 2022. High interest rates have not caused a downturn in this spring market. The millennials are buying in droves and there is no end in sight. So yes, now is a great time to sell.
However, not every home is selling fast and at a high price. There are plenty of homes sitting on the market, with gradual price reductions. Why? Longer time on the market is often the result of an improper alignment of price and condition. In other words, I like to tell my sellers I can sell any home, but not at any price. The price of the home must be carefully calibrated to features and condition. This is where an expert agent comes in. Agents who tour all of the inventory can help you to understand the subtle differences between homes and what it takes to generate premium prices. Not every client is willing or able to invest the resources to generate a premium price and that’s ok – price just needs to be adjusted accordingly.
So what does it take to achieve a premium price? In my opinion it starts with a pre-inspection and repair of some of the most concerning items. A spruce-up might be necessary – repainting wear and tear or strong colors, replacing dated lighting fixures… A deep clean is generally a must, and this goes way beyond what your weekly housekeeper can do. Staging is also a must if your house is vacant, and even if its not, a home stager or home organizer can help you get everything in good order.
Pricing, however is the ultimate key to success. It seems many sellers want to push the market right now and if you aren’t careful, you may end up with less than you would have had you priced properly out of the gate. It’s important to get the advice of an expert in your market area and then follow that advice, regardless of what you think or need. If you have to reduce later, you will have lost market momentum and that cannot be regained. Review a well-reasoned market report and then price according to the data, not according to your emotions, and you will likely have a positive result you can take to the bank!
by Kathe Barge | May 2, 2023 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, Helpful Tips, Interest Rates, Listings, Market Trends, Real Estate
We have been sitting on the sidelines for a while now waiting for a home that meets our wish list to come on the market – what’s coming this spring?
You might be surprised to find out you are one of dozens of prospective buyers sitting on the sidelines waiting for their ideal home to come on the market. Nationally we are at a 20 year low in available housing inventory. What is going on you might ask?
Many blame it on the Baby Boomers! Seventy-eight percent of Boomers own their own homes, and 85% of them have no intentions to move within the next year. This is tying up a significant portion of potentially available housing inventory. Why aren’t Boomers moving? Stated reasons range from being happy where they live and not wanting to uproot their lives, to having inadequate choices in empty nester inventory to escalating prices that make scale down homes more and more expensive. Boomers are choosing to stay in the homes and communities where their family and friends are.
In Sewickley, we have very few opportunities for scale down housing, and so Boomers are remaining in their homes. As a result, our inventory continues to dwindle and there are very few new introductions. There will likely be a few relocations, but with the low inventory and large backlog of buyers, I expect pricing will be high and bidding wars will continue.
To be successful in this housing market, if you define success as actually getting a home and moving, you are going to have to accept a few key premises. First, you need to reevaluate your wish list and see what compromises you are willing to make. We still have many nice homes on the market – they may not be a perfect match for you, but could you make one work? Second, if you decide to wait and a home comes on the market that is a good fit for you, be prepared to act fast and bid high. Complete the preapproval process now so that your offer is as strong as possible.
Our market is a steady one and I do expect we will see some new introductions as we move into our spring market, but your best recipe for success is one that includes reevaluation of the current inventory, compromise, fast action and generous, well-crafted offers.
by Kathe Barge | Dec 1, 2022 | Blog, Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, Helpful Tips, Interest Rates, Market Trends, Mortgage, Property Value, Real Estate
WE WOULD LIKE TO BUY A NEW HOME SOON BUT INTEREST RATES SEEM VERY HIGH – WE SEE ADVERTISEMENTS FOR INTERNET LENDERS OFFERING WHAT SEEM TO BE BELOW MARKET RATES. IS THIS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
If you were simply refinancing an existing mortgage debt, you MAY be ok choosing an internet lender. You would just need to be very careful that, before you apply to refinance your loan, you receive from the lender a full disclosure of all the costs and not just the rates. Often times I see lenders have exorbitantly high fees connected with low rates. In a sense, you would be buying down your rate by paying high fees upfront. You would want to be sure to compare them on the same day to a couple of local lenders and understand what you are paying to get the quoted rates. The reason you must compare rates on a singular date is because rates go up and down continuously and a rate may seem lower simply because you called a particular lender on a date rates dropped.
Since you are buying a new home rather than refinancing, I do NOT recommend that you use an internet lender. They do not tend to be familiar with area norms and that can cause you more headaches than you can imagine. There is a long list of particularities to PA Agreements of Sale and the last thing you want to do is have your closing delayed (while your movers are standing at the curb) while you wait for your lender (who does not have a local presence that you can visit personally to address any issues) to sort things out. As they are not familiar with our Agreements and processes, internet lenders may also impose requirements on you that are not requirements generally imposed by local lenders that may disadvantage you later. Finally, internet lenders often do not understand that PA Agreements of Sale declare “time is of the essence” inside the contract – what that means to you is that if you miss your closing date because the lender isn’t ready to close, the seller does have the legal right to declare you in default, keep your hand money and sell the home to someone else.
When buying, why take a risk? Rely on your trusted Realtor to help you find a local lender who offers the most competitively priced loan products and delivers exceptional customer service. Realtors cannot accept referral fees from lenders, so you can be sure we are motivated only by knowing you will have an outstanding transaction. Feel free to reach out to me for help finding you the best local lender to meet your financing needs!
by Kathe Barge | Nov 4, 2022 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, Helpful Tips, Interest Rates, Investment Properties, Listings, Market Trends, Mortgage, Property Value, Real Estate
Interest rates jumped up again. Is it time for us to just wait until spring and hope they start to come back down?
If you are a buyer, the real estate market offers you a great opportunity right now! Don’t be fooled by the higher interest rates – this is an awesome market for you to buy in! Why? Because all of the people who you would have been competing with are afraid of the interest rates and sitting by the sidelines. This allows you to have a competition – free opportunity to buy a home! Just six months ago, buyers would have been overjoyed to have an opportunity to buy a home without competition, to have had an opportunity to have had an offer accepted on the first home they offered on instead of their seventh, to have been able to purchase a home at asking price rather than asking price plus 10 percent! Do not miss this golden opportunity – there are some very nice homes available right now. You can refinance later with a convenient no cost refinance loan – get the house now! Once rates start to come back down, the buyers (who have all been sitting by the sidelines with you) will come racing back into the market, and bidding wars will be back. Make the smart move – buy now.
And as a side note, I do not feel we will see a “crash” in prices. Inventory remains at record lows and those homes that are selling continue to increase in their sales prices to new record highs, despite the increasing rates. This is not 2008 – I am not anticipating any “deals” to be had this spring – if anything the natural increase in the buyer pool we see every spring will boost prices because of the extreme lack of inventory. Feel free to reach out to me and we can strategize on how you can take the most advantage of the current real estate market while you still can!
A home’s value is set by the market. Value is always determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for your home. Many factors come into play in setting that value. Market value reflects quantitative factors such as: # bedrooms, # bathrooms, # garages, placement of garages (attached or integral), lot configuration (large and functional back yard? Cliff lot?), location of the home generally, age of roof, age of mechanicals. Market value also reflects more qualitative items: how updated is your home, and is it all new, or just refreshed? What is the floorplan (open concept?) What are your wall colors? There is always a range that value will land in, which we call the range of reasonable. There is no ONE price at which a home will sell. If there are many buyers seeking a home like yours, it will sell at the top of the range of reasonable. If there are not, it will take longer to sell and may sell a bit lower in the range. What the market does not consider in setting a value of a home is what you need from the home. In 2008, many homeowners had used their homes as ATMs and withdrawn large sums of money for educations, vacations and cars. When the market softened, there was not enough equity for them to be able to sell their homes and not be in a short sale situation. This fact, that a homeowner over-extended themselves on mortgages, is not the least bit relevant to market value. The market is also not going to consider what you plan to do next. If you plan to move to Los Angeles to be closer to family and are finding that the Pittsburgh market is not going to yield you enough to be able to buy in L.A., you will need to turn to other investments to make up any difference.
We are in a very robust market – your home is far more likely to garner more now – whatever that may be – than it could have in the past. Forecasters are also suggesting that values will soften by year end. My crystal ball is out for service, but what I can tell you is that every hot market eventually softens. Waiting out the market so that you can get a price that the market is unprepared to deliver at this time may have you waiting many, many years, and during that time you may need to invest even more in your home in order to deliver to the market what it needs in order to deliver an acceptable sale to you.
by Kathe Barge | Aug 26, 2022 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, For Sale By Owner, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Inspections, Listings, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Sellers-Contracts
We find the inspection process confusing – do we have to fix everything in the inspection report before we close on our home or just the repairs the buyer requested?
The home inspection report is the document from which your buyer works to make their repair requests of you. Some buyers will ask for everything and others will ask for only those items that they think are important. They may let some things go, for example, if they are planning on renovating an area and anticipate fixing those items as a part of the renovation.
Once you and your buyer agree on a list of repairs, these are memorialized on an addendum. It is that addendum, called a Change in Terms Addendum (“CTA”), from which you work when completing your repairs. You need not refer to the inspection again unless the CTA references it. You do, however, need to make sure that you do everything on the CTA exactly as specified, so be sure to read it carefully and provide a copy to your contractor(s). For example, if the CTA says that you will have GFCI outlets installed by a licensed electrician then you need to make sure you hire a licensed electrician, and not your favorite handyman, to make the repair! If the CTA says you must paint to match existing then you need to take a sample of the existing paint to the paint store and color match it – don’t rely on old paint in cans – paint fades with age and it won’t match. Be very careful to be sure you are complying with the terms of the CTA – if you do not, or if your contractor does not, your closing may be delayed or postponed until the work is done as specified. Along those lines, be sure to review your contactor’s work when complete and make sure that he actually did what you agreed to do on the CTA. If not, request that he return before it becomes a walk-through issue.
And of course, be sure to get paid receipts from all contractors, or if they have not been paid, notify the closing company so that they can be paid at closing. All repairs must be paid for before ownership changes hands so be sure to stay on top of your bills, and provide receipts to the buyers agent.