Real Estate September 12, 2022

What to Expect When Selling Your Home

Selling your home can be overwhelming and feel like a full-time job… which is why there are realtors! Good realtors make the process so much smoother and less intimidating. To keep your mind at ease and prepare you for what will happen throughout the sale of your home we are sharing 10 top tips to get you from listed to sold in no time!

Discover what to expect when selling your home

1.       Select the right agent the 1st time

It is of the utmost importance that you pair with a full-time, knowledgeable agent who can best represent you through the process. This should be your number one priority. Studies show that homes listed with an agent sell for more than those listed without, and this is for good reason. Great agents dedicate their lives to keeping up with economic changes, are masters at negotiating and getting things done, and know all rules and regulations. This will pay off immensely in the long run if you trust their process. If you are unsure where to start, ask your friends who they trust and about their experience with them but don’t stop there. Interview at least two, preferably three brokers, and the differences should be immediately clear. If you still need help, Windermere has a full-time manager that will ask you pertinent questions about your needs, personality style, and specific goals to make the perfect real estate agent match. Windermere’s ultimate goal is not the sale of a home but to give you a real estate experience you want to share with others! When you are ready to pair with an agent connect with us and we will match you with the perfect broker.

2.       Set your timeline

A timeline is valuable in that it will keep you organized throughout the entire selling process. Anticipate that your timeline might change depending on circumstances and your local housing market conditions. You may need to adjust a couple of times, but the purpose is to keep you on track toward your end goal. SOLD! Your timeline will help guide you there. Know what the average days on market are for your home and price range (click here to determine Whidbey Islands) then add an average of 30-45 on that to get an estimate of how long it will take to sell once you go live. Work with your agent to build your unique timeline.

3.       Determine your home’s value

The SECRET to selling quickly is pricing your home right the first day it hits the market. Overpricing can create serious problems like not being seen by the right buyers, less traffic both in person and virtually, and worst of all becoming less attractive to buyers the longer it sits resulting in lower offers than if you priced it attractively, to begin with. Your agent will provide you with a (CMA) Comparative Market Analysis which compares your home to others in your local area that recently sold and/or are actively pending. This formulated analysis will assist you in properly determining the best price for your home. Discuss this with your agent. They will help walk you through the process even if you aren’t sure you’re ready to sell yet.

4.       Identify issues & execute the plan

This is the time to tackle any unfinished projects and address needed repairs. Talk with your agent to see if a pre-sale home inspection would be advantageous for your unique situation. Begin by creating a list of repairs you can do versus those needing to be hired out. Your agent can help you determine which will be the best use of your time, offer the largest return on investment, and help you find vendors and hire out projects. If money is tight it may be in your best interest to apply to our Windermere Ready Program which gets you cash for fixing up your home to list. Ask your Windermere Agent about how to apply.

5.       Put your best foot forward

First impressions go a long way! Start with curb appeal. Clean up your gardens, mow your lawns, clean out gutters, and add a pop of color to your flower beds. If you have any cracked or peeling paint, apply a fresh coat. Make sure to declutter the inside of your home. The best rule of thumb is to remove personal effects and present your home like a hotel in which the buyer could envision themselves living in the space. Talk to your agent about the possibility of having your home professionally staged.

6.       Get your home seen

Your realtor will help maximize the exposure of your home. They can list with the MLS, will get your listing on all major sites like Zillow and Redfin, and will be listed on their Brokerage site in addition to their own. These are just a few of the many ways in which your listing can be seen. Be sure to discuss the option for virtual tours with your agent. When it’s time for in-person showings, we suggest that you not be present so that the potential buyers can freely walk the home with their agent, ask questions, and ultimately have the space to imagine it as their new home.

7.       Reviewing offers & negotiating

If you price right, you might see more than one offer on your home because we are still in a strong Seller’s market. The offers may be at or above the asking price. When reviewing offers, you have three options: 1. Accept the offer, 2. Make a counteroffer, 3. Reject the offer. These should ALWAYS be made in writing, and you should always give the buyer a short time to respond. Whether you are selling or buying, you will likely find yourself in negotiations. It is important for you to discuss negotiation strategies with your agent ahead of time. At Windermere, we pride ourselves on negotiation tactics grounded in psychology and win-win strategies.

8.       Budget for closing costs

Closing costs include things like title insurance, recording fees, government taxes, lender fees, broker commissions, and numerous other things. Be sure to discuss this with your agent ahead of time and throughout the transaction so you don’t feel blindsided at closing and are adequately prepared.

9.       The inspection

It is common for offers to be contingent on a professional home inspection. Your agent can prepare you for what to expect from a home inspection. Typically a home inspector will look at things like the foundation, structure, roof, plumbing and electrical systems, floors, windows, doors, and signs for things like water or fire damage.

10.   Closing

You finally made it, but before you can officially close there are a couple of things to do. Ask the buyer to release any contingencies, sign the title, and close escrow before releasing the keys. Your escrow agent will help you through this process. Talk with your agent about questions you have about legal documents and settlement costs.

 

If you are considering selling and would like to speak to an experienced Windermere Realtor for more specific information connect with us by clicking here.

Real Estate December 27, 2021

The Benefits of Putting 20% Down on a House

If you read our, “How Long Does it Take to Save For a Down Payment?” article back in October, you know you don’t need a 20% downpayment to purchase a home because there are many alternative options available to you. However, while there are a plethora of options that you might qualify for, let’s look deeper into how putting 20% down could benefit you overall. You can find tried and true suggestions for saving up your downpayment here if you don’t have 20% saved up already. Keep in mind you can connect with us at any time to get personalized suggestions for what would work best for you in your unique situation.

In this article we are going to discuss how putting 20% down can help you get a lower interest rate, pay less overall, stand out in this competitive market, and avoid paying for PMI. Let’s get started.

Lower your interest rate:

A 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment demonstrates to your lender that you are financially stable and not a large credit risk. The more confident your lender is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the mortgage interest rate will likely be.

Pay less overall:

The larger your down payment, the smaller your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you are able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you will only pay interest on the remaining 80% of the cost of the home. If you put down 3.5 %, the additional 16.5% will be added to your loan and will accrue interest over time. This will end up costing you significantly more over the lifetime of your home loan.

Stand out in this competitive market:

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers often like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. Many buyers were hoping for the typical winter “slow-down” where they could see a less competitive market but that has proven not to be the case this year. Read more in our article, “Thinking the Housing Market is Going to Slow down this Winter? Think Again!” The seller in this current scenario gains the same confidence as the lender. You are seen as a stronger buyer with financing that is more likely to be approved. Therefore, there is a significantly higher chance that the deal will go through with a 20% downpayment.

Avoid paying for PMI:

You might be asking yourself, what is PMI? Freddie Mac explains, 

“For homeowners who put less than 20% down, Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is an added insurance policy for homeowners that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage.

It is not the same thing as homeowner’s insurance. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that’s required if you make a down payment less than 20%. . . . Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your monthly payment.”

As mentioned earlier, if you put down less than 20% when buying a home, your lender will see your loan as having more risk than those who do put 20% down. PMI helps lenders recover their investment in you in the case that you are unable to pay your loan. However, this insurance is not required if you are able to put down 20% or more. In turn, this saves you from paying those extra fees.

Oftentimes, sellers looking to move to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put 20% down on their next home. The equity homeowners have today, creates an advantageous opportunity to put those savings toward a larger down payment on a new home.

If you are considering buying or selling or just want to talk about this in more detail, connect with us. We are here to help.

HomeReal Estate November 29, 2021

Why you should NOT wait to list your house right now

As the year comes to an end, we recognize a trend where homeowners are motivated to make the move and finally get into a home that complements their changing lifestyles. It is clear that homeowners have begun to understand the benefits of today’s sellers’ market. With record-breaking home price appreciation, growing equity, low inventory, and competitive mortgage rates it makes perfect sense as to why.

To support this, take a peek at recent data from realtor.com that demonstrates a significant share of homeowners that intend to list their homes this winter.

What That Means for Homeowners:

That means more homes are about to hit the market increasing supply to be more in line with demand than we have recently seen. This means there will be more options for buyers to choose from when looking for their homes.

According to George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research at realtor.com:

“The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter.

If you are thinking about waiting till the spring to sell your house, keep in mind that your neighbors might be one step ahead of you and sell this winter. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this holiday season is the best time to make sure your house is available for buyers. Here’s why.

Sellers Are Still Firmly in the Driver’s Seat:

Historically, a 6-month supply of homes for sale is needed for a normal or neutral market. That level ensures there are enough homes available for active buyers (see graph below):Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House | MyKCMThe latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale sits at a 2.4-month supply. This is well below the 6-7 months supply needed for a neutral market.

What Does That Mean for You?

When the supply of homes for sale is as low as it is today, it is more difficult for buyers to find homes to purchase. This drives up competition among buyers, who then submit increasingly competitive offers to win out against others in the home search process. As this happens, prices rise and your leverage as a seller rises too, putting you in the best position to negotiate a contract that meets your ideal terms.

The low housing supply we are currently facing will not be solved overnight. Sellers this season should act quickly to maximize their potential. The data demonstrates that, with more prospective sellers planning to list their homes this winter, selling sooner rather than later helps your house rise to the top of a holiday buyer’s wish list so you can close the best possible deal.

Bottom Line:

Listing your home over the next few weeks gives you the best chance to be in front of buyers competing for homes this holiday season. Let’s connect today to discuss how you can benefit from today’s sellers’ market. Email us here. 

Real EstateStats March 10, 2021

Monthly Stats: February 2021

Monthly Stats, February, 2021

Real EstateStats February 22, 2021

Q4 | 2020 Gardner Report