5 Reasons To List Your Home in the Summer

Although it sounds reasonable to think with all the guests coming, it would be better to just sell the home in the fall or spring, take a look at these 5 reasons you could be missing out by waiting.

  1. Inventory has been our biggest challenge in terms of pricing. June, July, and August are historically the time of year when our inventory is the lowest.  Why not take advantage of that incredible opportunity?  Lower inventory could mean higher prices.
  2. The Outer Banks will have over 3 million visitors each year. Obviously, the majority of those folks visit during the summer months.  We cannot get that kind of exposure any other time of year!
  3. The home is fully open and operational. Buyers will have inspections done before closing.  When the house is winterized during the fall/winter there are extra costs to open the house back up for those inspections.  Right now, everything is up and running and easy to inspect and ensure to the buyer the home is in good condition.
  4. It’s a beach house! When does the beach look the best?  Summertime of course.  Your beach house will show the best with sun shining, deck chairs out, pool open, hot tub running!  Buyers get excited about these things and it helps to sell your home.
  5. Buyers this time of year are serious about buying! If a potential buyer is going to take time out of their much-anticipated vacation to look at your home, it means they are serious about buying.  They’re here with all decision-makers too.

IS YOUR HOUSE READY TO GO ON THE MARKET? CHECK OUT THESE 8 TIPS!

It’s no secret the real estate market on the Outer Banks is shifting. Even as we move into a seller’s market, keep in mind a majority of our home sales are secondary homes. This means more than 50% of our home buyers will spend up to 2 years searching for the right home. They can do that because they aren’t physically moving into the home.

Being a discretionary purchase, they have the time to wait for the right house. That means even if you have the upper hand in terms of lower inventory and potentially rising prices, buyers still want what they want. Your home can still sit on the market for a prolonged period of time if it’s not set up to sell in today’s real estate market.

We’ve put together a checklist of readiness to ensure your home can hit the market and sell for the best price in the fastest time frame. Consider the following market statistics:

  • In 2019 there were 1,842 single-family homes sold
  • Currently, there are only 1,079 single-family homes listed for sale (2/20/2020)
  • Almost 60% (58%) of all properties sell in the first 90 days
  • Median days on market is 69
  • They are selling within 4% to 5% of asking price

If closed sales for January and current Under Contract numbers are at record highs, we could easily see 2020 hit the 2,000 single-family homes sold mark. That means we barely have half the homes on the market right now that could potentially sell this year.

The following checklist is designed to get you the most for your home in the current market:

1. HAVE A HOME INSPECTION

Let’s face it, the last time we had this kind of market shift in 2000, a home built in 1985 was only 15 years old. Today, that home is now 35 years old. In the extreme weather environment, we have on the OBX, a lot can happen in 35 years. If your home is more than 10 years old, you need a pre-listing home inspection. The number one cause for deals to fall apart is a home inspection revealing more than the eye can see. Buyers get nervous and walk. When that happens, the entire world knows your home sold, then un-sold, and everyone wants to know why. The items discovered will most likely become a material fact and have to be disclosed to future buyers. If an inspection is done beforehand, major items can be addressed and taken care of. End of story. There is no reason to list your home blindly and set yourself up to negotiate the “unknown” 2 to 3 weeks into a sale.

2. MAINTENANCE ITEMS

Even if a home inspection reveals no issues, sometimes systems will be at the end of their life expectancy. Buyers today do not want to walk into automatic maintenance without expecting a deep discount. If your 20-year roof is on year 18, it is wise to replace it. There’s no guarantee you can add that cost to the top of your asking price, but what it can do is sway a buyer towards your property versus another. The number one concern for buyers today is condition. Your home does not become more valuable because the systems work. However, it does immediately become more saleable.

3. POWERWASH/CLEAN

This should be a no-brainer, yet all the time I show or preview homes that look like they’ve been abandoned. Everyone likes things that look nice. Take an honest look at your home’s exterior and interior. One of the easiest spaces to turn off a buyer is the carport and outside shower area. Buyers say all the time, you can tell how well the owners have cared for this home by how those areas look. Clean up the leaves, sand, junk that can accumulate. Power wash the gunk off the decks and siding. Get the interior a nice spring clean. First impressions don’t generally get a do-over.

4. PREPARE THE ENTRYWAY

What will buyers see as they approach your home, climb the stairs and enter the front door? Is it inviting? Is the door rotted or rusted? Does the key work easily? Are there spider webs or overgrown plants and weeds? This will set the tone for the entire showing. Sometimes buyers will change their minds about seeing a home altogether if the entry isn’t pleasant. Be mindful of the best way to enter your home. If your electronic keypad is on a door that isn’t the best entry, insist on giving your agent a key to the best entrance and have buyers go in that way. I recently went into preview a $750,000 home that was quite lovely. The entrance had imported tile, great artwork and felt very welcoming. The agent gave me a keycode that opened a door to an empty two-car, cold, garage. This is not the first impression you want.

5. YARDWORK

No matter what time of year you list your home for sale, take a good look at the landscape of your yard, which is the main aspect of curb appeal. Having branches scraping the side of your car as you pull into the driveway is not a good look! Do what you can to clean it up for whatever is appropriate for the season.

6. DECLUTTER OR STAGING

Whether you live in the home or it’s your vacation home, have a professional eye look and give advice on how to stage it to sell. Most people need to see space, rather than stuff, in order to envision themselves in your home. Less is more when it comes to wall hangings and nick-knacks. Updating bedspreads and shower curtains is an easy way to give the home a fresh look. If the home is being sold furnished, some fresh, beachy furnishings can make all the difference.

7. UPGRADES

With the new HGTV culture, buyers expect homes to be already updated. This type of preparation can take several months to do. These are the things you want to plan 6 months to a year before you list your home for sale. Depending on whether you live there or rent, everyone can also get a chance to enjoy the upgrades as well. Before spending any money, decide what your budget is and have an agent come over to advise the best use of that money. Some updates will prove a better return than others. We talk to hundreds of buyers a year, so we have a clear idea of what will get you the most for your money. Be prepared though, construction costs have doubled in the last 10 years. You’ll want to really follow a plan to stay on budget and get the most out of it.

8. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT DETAILS

With the growing popularity of VRBO and Air BnB type of rental arrangements, there are some real challenges when selling. Those types of reservations, when done solely through the property owner, are automatically not transferrable when selling. If a buyer is relying on the income of your home to make the purchase, you could run into some real issues at the closing table. Even if you are renting through a traditional property management company, there can be cancellation fees you incur if the new buyer doesn’t stick with your rental company. It’s becoming increasingly more important to employ the proper timing strategy to sell, depending on the source of your weekly guests. Talking to an agent ahead of listing about how the transfer works will help avoid any major stresses once the home is under contract.

WHY DO YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AGENT, EVEN IN THIS MARKET?

Ilona Matteson, Beach Realty

Getting an offer on your home in an active market seems quite easy, and in most cases it is.  What do you need an agent for then?  Well, finding the buyer is just the first of dozens of steps in getting your home sold.

The question becomes, do you want to ensure you are getting maximum VALUE as well as maximum CONVENIENCE when selling?  It’s actually a pretty pain staking process to go through the entire 45 to 60 day process and requires many, many hours of time.

Many sellers think they can get an offer and then “let the attorney handle it”.  Yes, your attorney can manage the CLOSING.  That simply entails preparing your deed and handling the transfer of money AT THE END OF THE TRANSACTION.

Here’s what it doesn’t include:

  • Pre-Qualifying the buyer/agent/offer to make sure it’s a solid deal
  • Negotiating for the highest dollar
  • Choosing the best offer, in the case of multiple offers (it’s not always about the highest price)
  • Negotiating the home inspection, including finding contractors to give estimates, and meeting them at the home
  • Pest Inspection, Septic Inspection, Pool/Hot Tub, HVAC – knowing vendors and meeting them at the home
  • Prepping the appraiser or answering comparable questions – attorneys don’t have access to MLS, nor have been in the latest homes sold
  • Staying on top of the buyer’s loan process
  • Knowing which lenders and other vendors perform on time
  • Working with the rental company to transition buyer
  • Handling the dozens of calls from buyer/buyer’s agent throughout the process

Bottom line, we are experiencing an extreme number of homes selling per month.  All requiring an attorney to manage the closing.  The attorney is not available to answer calls throughout the day to deal with the day to day situations that come up during your closing process.  In addition to that, if they were available, they would be charging you per hour for that time.  Most attorneys charge around $200/hour.  On average an agent will spend 30 to 40 hours working on your transaction.

Even if you offer a commission to a Buyer’s Agent and think they can assist with these tasks, that’s true.  However, the Buyer’s Agent works for the buyer.  You are now essentially paying the buyer’s agent to work AGAINST you, without your own representation.

In the end, the best way to maximize VALUE and CONVENIENCE is to have a professional agent manage the ever challenging task of getting your home sale to a successful closing.

Hard Truths about Selling a Home on the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks Real Estate Market is still recovering from the bubble that started busting around 2005.  There will be roughly 1500 homes sell this year and we expect that number to be about the same for next year.

While things are starting to stabilize here, it doesn’t come without challenges.  Listed below are some Hard Truths about selling a home on the Outer Banks today.  These are not easy things to say, or to read, but my goal is always to be completely up front and honest about what it takes to make it happen.

  1. Inventory levels still far exceed a 1 year supply. Right now we have 17 months worth of inventory, IF no other homes come on the market.  It would take 17 months to sell out what we have based on the number of current buyers per month.  Consider then, that on average each month 385 new listings come on the market.  Only 175 are selling.  With a current inventory of 3000…that creates a supply and demand issue, which is the main factor keeping prices down.  How can prices possibly rise with supply and demand that far out of balance?
  2. Condition is the number one concern for buyers. The price MUST match the condition of your property.  This includes cosmetic updates.  Buyers are so price conscious today that they want move in ready.  Your home may have been meticulously maintained, but because of high inventory levels, a buyer can purchase a home that is updated for the same price or slightly more.  They will pay it to avoid having to put any more out of pocket up front.
  3. Waiting it out will take longer than you think. I hear almost daily that a seller will wait another year before selling.  Honestly, there’s no financial or logical data to support that decision…unless you’re just simply not ready to sell.  Prices are not going to turn around overnight.  Consider point number 1.  If it will be at least 1.5 to 2 years to filter out the inventory problem, then your home is still worth 10% to 15% to 20% less than what you really want for it, how long could it take for the value to rise by that percentage?  All the while, the home is getting older and you’re coming out of pocket to support it.  In many cases the cost to keep it while waiting the market out will be the same or more than the increase in value.
  4. Overpricing your home is the biggest mistake in a volatile market. By overpricing your home, you’re simply helping to sell the competition.  We see it over and over.  By the time the price is finally reduced to cause a sale, the home sells for less than it could have sold if it was priced correctly 6 to 12 months ago.  See the next point.
  5. Don’t be fooled, prices are still going down. Considering the average time on the market is 240 days and normally there will be 3 to 4 price reductions to procure an offer, those are both huge indicators that prices are still dropping.  No, they aren’t dropping by catastrophic percentages like a few years ago, but 2% to 5% is still money out of your pocket by waiting or chasing the market with a price too high.
  6. The Outer Banks market is still very much trying to recover. Did you know that only 10% of the properties on the market today are under contract?  Yes, you read that correctly.  90% of the properties for sale today are not selling.  Only 10% are under contract.  Can you see now how important price is in today’s market?
  7. You can be the leader or the follower. When you price your home aggressively to sell quickly, YOU get to set the price!  By waiting and letting other homes sell before you, usually at lower prices, you become subject to their lead.  While it may feel like you are leaving money on the table, the truth is you priced your home to sell and it did.  Putting you in the lead and ahead of the 90% of homes that aren’t selling.
  8. It has been 10 years since 2005. I know it may sound harsh, but that ship has sailed.  I sometimes joke that 2005 called, they want their prices back!  It’s time to let go of the idea that 10 years ago your home was worth X number of dollars.  Your home is now 10 years older and the market is drastically different than it was then.  The truth is those prices will come again, in 15 to 20 years from now.  Holding on to the past is never sound advice.  If you truly want to sell your home now, you have to let go of 2005.
  9. You are not “giving your house away.” Pricing your home to sell in a market that is struggling to recover is not the same as giving it away. Prices change.  Markets change.  Trends change.  Today’s market has different rules than yesterday’s market.  Refer back to point 8.
  10. I know you don’t HAVE to sell your home.  On a daily basis I hear this from sellers.  “Well we don’t HAVE to sell it.”  Of course you don’t.  It’s not like you live here and are moving for a job transfer or downsizing or upsizing.  It’s a second home.  The motivations to sell vacation homes are very different.  However, you probably do WANT to sell it.  And if you don’t sell the home you will HAVE to keep maintaining it..HAVE to keep dealing with renters…HAVE to keep paying for it…HAVE to keep fixing things that break…HAVE to not move on to the next thing.  Bottom line is if you really don’t WANT to sell it, don’t list it.  We already have an inventory problem.  Keep it off the market until you are truly ready to do what it takes.
  11. I am the best agent for the job of selling your home. I will likely take a lot of heat for this list.  Which I’m prepared for.  I know that in challenging times like this I HAVE to be committed to telling my clients the truth and getting things done.  If I sugar coat it, you’ll lose money and that is absolutely unacceptable to me.  Time and time again sellers have not taken my recommendation and ended up on the market longer than necessary and selling for less than had to be, just to “see what happens.”  I’ve been through 2 of these major cycles in my 19 years of doing this.  I can tell you what will happen.  I just did in these 10 points.

I hope you can appreciate the spirit in which I share this information with you.  If some of these were hard to read, then I did my job.  Nothing would make me happier than to sell your home for more money, yet nothing will frustrate you more than if I don’t sell it at all.

Outer Banks December Market Report      

While we do have a slowdown in activity over the winter months, the real estate market is not a total loss for December – February.  There are still buyers looking and sellers wanting to move on, so don’t discount us just because you can’t jump in the ocean during your visit right now.

This year we saw a few things happen that are noteworthy:

  • Inventory went up moderately over last year (about 10%)
  • Number of sales stayed roughly the same (up only 1%)
  • Prices remained steady going neither up nor down for most areas
  • Yet, price reductions are sgingerbread housetill required for most homes to sell
  • Once priced to attract an offer, homes are selling at about 93% to 95% of asking price
  • Average days on market is still topping 240 days (for those that sold)
  • Distressed properties are still lingering
  • The OBX market as a whole is at a 17 month supply of homes for sale
  • Condition and price are recognized as the most important factors for buyers

If you’ve thought about selling your home, don’t wait until the spring.  Here are 5 reasons to go ahead and list now!

  • People who look for a home during the holidays are more serious
  • There are fewer transactions so the deal can close faster
  • Buyers have more time to look during the holidays
  • There will be a 30% increase in listings in the Spring which could impact your price then versus now.

We’ve had an exciting year in sales for 2014.  With interest rates going NO WHERE for the time being, it seems likely we can have another strong year of sales for 2015.

If you have thought about either buying or selling in the new year, contact me so we can come up with a strategy for you.

Real Estate on the Outer Banks for the 1st quarter of 2013

What a great start to another year for real estate on the Outer Banks!  After ending another record year in 2012 we were expecting big things for 2013.  So far there are a few interesting trends to take note of.

It’s hard to tell exactly what caused home sales for the first quarter to be down 18%, but the good news is for March, properties going under contract are up 7%.   I’m also slightly surprised by the average sale price being down 11% over the same period last year.  There is still time for that to level out.  One thing is for sure, if you are waiting 12 months before selling your home, you could end up regretting that strategy.

It’s clear this recovery isn’t going to happen quickly.  For example, consider the following scenario…If your recommended price today is say, $500,000 and the market starts to appreciate as early as 2015 at a NORMAL rate of either 2% or 5% per year, take a look at the length of time it will take to just reach $550,000.

Today’s Recommended Price:

$500,000.00

$500,000.00

2013 – 0% appreciation

$500,000.00

0%

$500,000.00

2014 – 0% appreciation

$500,000.00

0%

$500,000.00

2015 – 2% appreciation

$510,000.00

5%

$525,000.00

2016 – 2% appreciation

$520,200.00

5%

$551,250.00

2017 – 2% appreciation

$530,604.00

5%

$578,812.50

2018 – 2% appreciation

$541,216.08

5%

$607,753.13

2019 – 2% appreciation

$552,040.40

5%

$638,140.78

2020 – 2% appreciation

$563,081.21

5%

$670,047.82

2021 – 2% appreciation

$574,342.83

5%

$703,550.21

It can be a minimum of 3 to 6 years!  Consider your carrying cost during that time frame, are you really better off to wait for that price or go ahead and sell now?

So the question becomes what will it take to turn this market around?  The biggest challenge we face today isn’t distressed sales, it’s supply and demand.  Right now we have over 3000 properties for sale and 143 buyers a month (based on a 3 month average).  That means if no other home is listed for sale it would take 21 months to sell of what we have right now.  And on top of it there are 435 new listings coming into the market each MONTH!

I don’t want to paint the picture of gloom and doom, because our market is far from that.  I can absolutely guarantee that if you price your home competitively I CAN SELL IT!

In a market full of many choices for a buyer, the buyer is going to purchase the home they perceive as the best value.  There are 4 factors that determine value.

  1. Location – this has always been the case for real estate.  The better the location the higher the price.  However, recently we’ve noticed buyers don’t make the decision solely on this factor anymore.
  2. Condition – with funds being tighter, insurance costs going up buyers are less likely to buy a home with maintenance issues.
  3. Amenities – what can your home offer the buyer that the others you’re competing with can’t?  Do you have a view, new furniture, a pool, hot tub, deeded beach access?
  4. Rental income – most buyers are going to want to know how this home will support itself.  The less of 1 through 3 you have, the less income, the less value to a buyer in most cases.

The moral of the story is to be the best value you have to have MORE for LESS.  That’s how you stand out in a market with massive inventory and guarantee a sale.

For information on what your home is worth, contact me today!

5 Reasons Listing your Home this Fall is a great choice!

Every year we see a surge of listing activity in the Spring, as expected, and then another surge again in the Fall.  These are by far the two best times to have your home on the market.  Statistics prove that activity is greater in March, April, May and again September, October, November.

So if you’ve thought about selling your Outer Banks home, it’s definitely time to get started!  Take a look…

  1. You’ve collected all the rental income!  Why carry the home through the winter?
  2. If you’re facing a Capital Gain, right now the tax rate is 15% which is scheduled to change to 20% starting January 1, 2013.
  3. Why go through the hassle of winterizing and re-preparing the home next year?  Sell now and let the buyer take care of that.
  4. Inventory is down 24% and number of sales up 17% compared to this time last year.  That’s a much better environment to sell your home in!
  5. Buyers get the bug while on vacation and then come back in the Fall when access to the home is easier.  You’ll have eager buyers ready to deal so they can spend the holidays here.

Consider these facts, then give me a call/email for a FREE analysis of your home.