The pendulum of the ever-changing real estate market is forever moving from one extreme to the other, sometimes at a fast pace as seen in the boom years in the early 2000’s as well as the great recession of 2008 just a few years later. However, for the majority of history, home sales have moved very slowly either up or down. I believe we are now in one of those very methodical periods where the direction of the real estate market seems somewhat predictable.
Foreclosures (properties eventually owned by the mortgage holder or banks) and short sales (properties sold prior to a foreclosure where the mortgage holder settles for less than what is owed) are fewer and are selling at a faster pace than previous years. Predictions by most pundits agree we may have hit bottom on pricing, and in some areas slight increases in values have been achieved. Most experts feel that 2013 will be a year of stable prices and a slight increase of 3% may be possible. New construction is on the increase but still far below what is considered to be a healthy market. However, the spring of 2013 may be the year builders have waited for as there are many potential buyers who may be ready to begin their new construction plans.
If you are a homeowner who has put off your plans, waiting for that “sign” to make your move, I believe the year of 2013 may just be the time for you to put your moving plans into action!
Interest rates are at all-time lows (3.25% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage) and may remain at low levels until 2015 as the recovery will likely take a few more years to reach stability and a prosperous economy. These low rates coupled with buyer confidence levels rising, and lower inventories of housing will lead to a positive outlook for spring sales next year.
We have seen a shift in priorities for young buyers starting their families. They will pay a premium price for a home that is “move-in” with updates cosmetically and structurally. Conversely they are not willing to pay market value for a home that shows poorly or one that is dated needing work. The difference from an updated home to one needing rehabilitation can be as much as 50%! Just think about that. A $200,000 home may sell for $100,000 if it needs paint, carpet, kitchen and bath remodeling. It can get even lower if there is a defective basement, roof or furnace.
Therefore, take advantage of this predictable market and prepare your home now as opposed to waiting for the “right moment” which may be the wrong time of year or a year where inventory may increase along with interest rates. Have a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) stop over and design a game plan for the coming year if you are one of those would be sellers who have put off your plans due to the economy. Have a staging expert stop over to offer ideas and solutions to upgrade your home’s current cosmetic deficiencies. Don’t paint the interior without getting advice from experts as to what young buyers find appealing. An example of penny wise and dollar foolish would be painting your home completely white or neutral. Today’s buyers are completely turned off by colors that were appealing just a few years ago. The same goes for flooring, light fixtures, etc.
Begin the process of preparing your home for sale now. Don’t procrastinate if selling your home would bring you to a better, healthier lifestyle. Proper planning can mean thousands in positive equity. Procrastination can only lead to frustration and more of the same. Remember, we are given a very finite time on this great planet. Waiting for the “right moment” may go on forever, until dreams of today may become regrets of the past.