SEATTLE – March 20, 2017 – The spring home-buying season could be one of the most competitive in recent history as listing inventory remains tight and mortgage rates appears to be going up.
In a survey of 13,000 recent home buyers and sellers, the top regret for both focused on preparation: They didn't start the process soon enough, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.
U.S. home values across the nation are up 7.2 percent over the past year, and there are three percent fewer homes to choose from than a year ago, according to the January Zillow® Real Estate Market Reports.
"Understanding whether you are in a buyer's or a seller's environment will help you manage your expectations and will give you insight into what you're going to need to bring to the table in order to close the deal," says Jeremy Wacksman with Zillow.
Being prepared: Buyers
- Keep options open. 52 percent of buyers said they also considered renting, and 37 percent of first-time buyers seriously considered continuing to rent. Savvy shoppers should have a Plan B in place – hoping to buy if it works out, perhaps, but willing to sign a lease if they don't make a deal by the time they must move.
- Be realistic about your budget. Set it and stick to it. First-time home buyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (39 percent vs 26 percent). Before meeting with a lender, buyers should study their personal finances and spending preferences, and calculate a monthly payment range they feel comfortable with.
- Get financing squared away early. Meet a few lenders four to six months before planning to buy to move quickly if a dream home comes along: 77 percent getting pre-approved by a lender before finding a home.
- Find an agent with a winning track record. Only 46 percent of buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process.
- Communication is key. Make sure your preferred method and frequency of communication matches your agent: 33 percent of buyers preferred phone calls, 21 percent preferred emails and 15 percent preferred texts.
Being prepared: Sellers
- Start early, be strategic. Sellers consider putting their home on the market for five months before they list it, but the top seller regret is that they'd spent more time prepping for the sale. Many cities have a magic window in the spring when homes have a higher likelihood of selling quickly for more money.
- Work with an agent from the start. 90 percent of sellers who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent; 58 percent began working with an agent at the very beginning of their selling journey.
- Pay attention to online curb appeal. Most buyers begin their search online. Sellers who sold their home for more than list price made imagery and home information available online: 48 percent had professional photos taken of the home, 30 percent shot video footage and 21 percent shot drone footage.
- Home improvements can be a worthwhile. Many sellers tackled a home improvement before listing their home
- Don't be afraid to try again. In many markets, nearly half of listing views occur in the first week a home is on the market – 26 percent of owners who sold above list price took their home off the market for a while to adjust the sales price.
© 2017 Florida Realtors