Category: Small Business
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Savvy home buyers know that winter is typically a good time to embark on a house hunt, since much of their competition stays holed up at home until spring. But this winter, buyers might notice that despite the cold and the holidays, they’ve got company.
Lots of it, in fact.
“Normally winter is a good time for buyers,” says realtor.comÂ® chief economist Danielle Hale. However, since the coronavirus kept buyers on lockdown for much of spring, many are making up for lost time by home shopping hard right now.
“This year’s unusual seasonal pattern means that buyers aren’t getting the usual break from the market frenzy that they typically do in the cooler weather,” Hale explains.
As a result, this winter is shaping up to be a seller’s market, with low real estate inventory, high prices, and bidding wars that could give buyers a major run for their money.
This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towelâjust that you’ll have to hone your house hunt in new ways to suit the times. Here are some tactics that will keep you ahead of the pack so you’ll be sitting in a new home by the new year.
Secure your financing as soon as possible
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage and securing financing are an essential first step when buying a home. It gives you a clear picture of how much house you can afford, and lets you make an offer as soon as you find your dream home.
Matt van Winkle, a real estate broker and owner at Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Seattle, says this process is more important now than ever.
âGetting pre-approved for a loan is obviously important, but is there anything else they can do to put themselves in a good position?â he says. âBuyers need to be ready to buy a house before they start looking.â
Too often, buyers donât line up their financing until they find a home they want to buy, van Winkle says. In the current competitive market, waiting to get pre-approval means you could lose out on purchasing a home you love.
âThat creates a mad dash and stress to get everything lined up under pressure,â he says. âGet all your financing secured and ready before you look, that way when you find the right home you’re 100% ready.â
Starting early could also help you lock in an ultralow interest rate, which could affect your monthly mortgage payment and mean you could afford a more expensive home. As of Oct. 22, Freddie Mac listed rates at 2.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
Know what you want before you house hunt
COVID-19 has changed how we live and work. Weâre spending much more time at home, and people are looking for different features in their living spaces.
Make a list of your must-haves before you start house shoppingâand share your needs with your real estate agent.
Simon Isaacs, broker and owner of Simon Isaacs Real Estate in Palm Beach, FL, says it helps cut down on the number of homes youâll have to view before finding the right one.
âI would suggest buyers not look at 25 homes,â he says. âIf the agent is showing them that many houses, the agent doesn’t know what they want.â
In such a competitive landscape, knowing exactly what you want enables you to act fast when you want to make an offer.
Tour homes virtually first
More real estate agents are embracing virtual tours and remote showings to ease coronavirus safety concerns. In some cases, theyâre even limiting in-person showings to the most serious buyersâthose with financing already secured, for example.
âReal estate agents in our local market are adjusting to the client’s needs by continuing to provide in-person showings with precautions and also assisting buyers virtually with their home purchases,â says Matt Curtis, owner of Matt Curtis Real Estate in Huntsville, AL.
Virtual home tours, using Zoom or FaceTime, let you view the home from anywhere, and depending on the setup, you might be able to ask questions in real time. So you can narrow down the homes youâre most interested in and physically visit only the ones that best meet your needs.
Don’t dawdle if you want to make an offer
In September, there were nearly 40% fewer homes on the market than during the same month last year, according to a realtor.com report. At the same time, buyer demand has increased, creating an incredibly competitive marketplace. Homes were on the market for an average of 54 days in September, 12 fewer days than last year.
Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL, says the buyers sheâs worked with lately have had just a few homes to consider. And, with all the other buyers in a location also looking at those same houses, youâll need to act fast if youâre interested.
The challenge, she says, is potential buyers have little time to mull things over, and they are pitted against one another.
Isaacs is seeing a similar situation. Wait too long to submit an offer, and another buyer is likely to swoop in with an offer of their own.
âI would say donât deliberate on buying,â he says. âIâve had too many clients who were [saying], âShould we, shouldnât we.â I would say if itâs something that you want to do, do it.â
Make your offer stand out
Since inventory is so low, sellers are getting multiple offers on their homes these days. To make sure yours gets accepted, youâll need to make it stand out.
Cash offers and inspection waivers are some ways to make your offer more appealing, Curtis says.
A cash offer, if you can afford it, is attractive to sellers because it eliminates dealing with a mortgage lender and often speeds up closings. An inspection waiver comes with lots of risks, since youâre essentially agreeing to purchase a home as is, but the waiver removes any repair negotiations and helps you close faster.
For competitive markets, where you know youâll be competing directly with many buyers, Jones suggests talking to your agent about escalation clauses. This is a contract addendum where you agree to pay more than other offers (up to a maximum you set).
Bottom line: âFind a strategy to help make your offer stand out amongst the 10, 20, or more offers that may come in on your dream home,â Curtis says.
The post Bundle Up! Winter’s Home-Buying Game Has Changed. Here’s How To Win appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The local Arizona housing market has been hot nearly all year long. As we get closer and closer to the yearâs end, will the trends continue? We checked out all the stats for Arizonaâs market during November. Check out what we found out!
According to data from the ARMLS Â® from November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020, monthly sales in the Phoenix metro area rose significantly from where they were at this same time last year. With a +27.4% year-over-year increase, sales landed at 8,886 for the month.
While this number is a slight drop from the previous month of October, the -8.3% month-to-month decrease in sales is in line with the typical slow down in the market as the year starts wrapping up.
At $453.9K, November saw a +6.4% year-over-year increase in average list price. Median prices also rose. With a +10.0% increase from November 2019, the median list price in November was $330K.
Average sale prices increased by +18.0% between November 2019 and November 2020, landing at $418.7K. With a slightly smaller jump, median sale prices still rose significantly with +16.8% year-over-year increase. The November median sale price was $331.0K.
As forecasts predicted, these numbers are slightly lower than sale prices in October of this year. The average sale price was -1.5% lower than that of October and the median sale price was -1% lower. For next month, the average sale price is projected to increase, while the median sale price is expected to have another small decrease. Check back next month to see how these forecasts turn out.
Days on Market (DOM)
While many metrics in the market slowed down this November compared to the previous month, the Average Cumulative Days on Market did not. This number continues to steadily drop, showing homes are being sold more and more quickly. Landing at 41, the Average DOM saw a 2-day decrease from October of this year and a 17-day decrease from November of last year.
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A Message From Sales and Operations Manager, Wayne Graham
Going into December, inventory is 28.2% lower than it was a year ago. In fact, some areas are experiencing record low levels of inventory. However, In contrast to the record low levels of inventory, weâre seeing record-high levels of sales. Demand increased by 27.4% between November 2019 and November 2020. Low supply and high demand are one of the surest guarantees of rising sales prices.
But even though prices are rising, according to the National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index it is still very affordable to buy a home in Phoenix compared to historical market trends. This is still possible because of extremely low-interest rates. So overall, home affordability is still in a good historical place in the Phoenix area.
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The post Homieâs Greater Phoenix, AZ Housing Market Update November 2020 appeared first on Homie Blog.
When I was buying my first house, everything seemed too good to be trueâat least at the start of the process. I found a home within a couple of weeks, the price was fabulously low, it was in a cute lake community with a style I loved, and funding came through quickly and easily. I even received a first-time home buyerâs bonus for tax time. Plus, I didnât need much of a down payment.
But it turned out too good to be true. My smooth path to homeownership suddenly became rocky when the inspection report came back with a big fat failure on it. I immediately panicked. What did it mean? Was I still able to buy the house? And if I did, was it going to fall apart?
After a few calls with my real estate agent (who, at that point, had become more of a home-buying therapist), I learned that a bad inspection isnât that rare. In fact, my new home wasnât in as bad of shape as I initially feared. We were able to make some repairs and, after a second inspection, the house was appraised and the sale was able to go through.
During the process, though, I learned a lot more than I ever expected about home inspections. Whether you’re a first-time or repeat home buyer, hereâs my advice for getting the house you want after a shaky home inspection.
Houses don’t really pass or fail
Though my home inspection appeared to be a failure, homes aren’t actually graded on a pass/fail system.
âThere is no such thing as a failed inspection,â said Karen Kostiw, an agent with Warburg Realty in New York. âThe inspection just points out small and potentially larger issues that you may not be aware of.â
Sure, some houses can sail through the process and others may fare poorly, but itâs not a âYou can never buy thisâ situation if there are problems with the property.
For me, my mortgage hinged on a solid inspectionâso the initial results meant I wouldnât get the loan unless things were fixed. That being said, if I had enough cash on hand or wanted to try a different mortgage lender, I could have continued with the purchase even with a negative inspection report.
So if the house you’re set on buying ends up having issues, donât panic. You still have options.
Most inspection issues are small
Itâs important to remember every home inspection report will come back with something, according to Kate Ziegler, a real estate agent with Arborview Realty in Boston. My inspection report had noted about 40 fixes. But a lot of times, the problems arenât as bad as you think.
Keep in mind that the inspector’s job is to call out any trouble spot. Also, all issues noted in the report aren’t equal: Some problems flagged by an inspector can wait.
âThe inspector will find defectsâsometimes many defectsâbut that does not mean buyers are not purchasing a good home,â Kostiw says. âThe small leak might mean a bolt needs to be tightened, or the dishwasher is not working because the waterline was switched off by accident. These are easy fixes. However, when buyers see a laundry list of items, it can seem as if the home is falling down. This is most often not the case.â
Red flags do exist
Ziegler and Kostiw agree that though most repairs are easy fixes, some items should give you pause if you see them on your report.
Structural problems, antique electrical systems, old windows, unexplained water damage, evidence of termites or wood rot, a bad roof, asbestos, mold, radon, and lead paint are all red flags that can show up during a home inspection. If fixing these problems is impossible or way beyond the means your budget, you may want to reconsider your purchase.
âWhether or not inspection items warrant backing out entirely depends quite a bit on any individual buyer’s experience and bandwidth, as well as personal risk tolerances and financial situation,â Ziegler says. âIt’s true that houses don’t stay in good repair on their own. They require maintenance and care, just like your houseplants and your sourdough starter!â
Donât try to fix things yourself
Unless a repair is something truly minor like caulking a bathroom tub or putting a cabinet door back on its hinges, donât try to fix anything on your own. You could make things worse or even injure yourself. Hire licensed contractors that youâve vetted to handle any problems. And try not to leave it all up to the sellerâthey’re not going to be living in the home. You will be.
âMotivations in this case are not aligned,â Ziegler says. âThe seller wants to spend as little as possible to meet their contractual obligations, but [a] buyer should be more concerned with the quality of the repair.â
Work the costs into the sale
At first I worried I would have to pay to fix everything that was wrong with my house. But itâs important to know you can work the cost of repairsâand how long it should take to make themâinto the sale.
Say you can’t afford to fix the busted water heater but the seller can. You can raise the offer price by that cost, or you can trade off: The seller fixes one thing, and you fix another. In my case, I only had to add a banister to one stairwell. The sellers were particularly motivated to unload the home so they handled everything else.
Hopefully by the end of this process, every issue will be fixed and youâll be ready to purchase your home. And youâll be able to move in with a clear head, knowing everything is really as good as it seems.
The post My House Failed Its First Real Estate InspectionâHere’s What I Did To Get Through Escrow appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
As a small business owner, you may have a tough fight when it comes to standing out. Not only are you competing against other small businesses in your field, but you’re also competing against bigger corporations. And those big businesses have a more national reach and have the necessary cash to better promote themselves.
Do not lose hope just yet, however. There are a number of alternative options and ideas to make you, as a small business owner, stand out among your competitors. Also, it always helps to get some financial expertise on your side. So, consider working with an experienced financial advisor.
1. Engage in Social Media.
Big and successful businesses have the capital to promote themselves through advertisements and other marketing channels. But small businesses may face challenges to obtain financing to market themselves. So, for small businesses, the idea is to have a strong social media presence.
Not only is it free, also there is a personal touch that comes from operating a small business that big corporations may often lack. There are many social media platforms to market yourself (i.e, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik-Tok, YouTube, just to name a few). So, post regularly on these platforms and respond to people’s comments.
2. Start A Podcast.
Just like marketing yourself through online platforms can be rewarding, starting a podcast is also a good way to promote your small business. Talk about the subjects that people seek out when they need a solution to a problem. People will then see you as an expert in your field. That in turn can provide you with more leads and marketing opportunities.
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3. Get Featured in Your Local Newspaper.
One of the best ways to get your name out there is to get featured in your local newspaper. This can be done for free or at a very low cost.
4. Establish a Good Relationship in Your Community.
It’s a good idea for a small business to establish a good relationship in their local community. If people always see you face-to-face in the community at charity events, or networking events, they are more likely to trust you and your product. Also, having a good relationship with your local bank will also help as you may one day want to ask for a business loan.
5. Apply for a Business Loan.
Lastly, consider applying for a small business loan. A small business loan can be a solution to your marketing strategy. It can help pay for your advertising cost without dipping into your own funds.
There is a challenge, however.
Many lenders require small businesses to have been in business for a number of years or to be making a minimum amount of revenue before they will lend any money. That is because these lenders want to make sure you will be able to pay off the loan, as many new businesses do not succeed.
So, do your shopping as there might be lenders that do not have any requirements at all. Before you start the process of applying for a small business loan, it’s a good idea to work out if you can afford it in the first place.
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The post 5 Best Ways to Promote Your Small Business in 2021 appeared first on GrowthRapidly.