Archive for February, 2015


Five Crucial Home Selling Decisions if You Want to Sell in 2015

If you’re planning on selling your home in 2015 there are five crucial decisions that can help you maximize your sale price, get your home sold quickly and do it all without the mountain of stress that often comes with the sale of your home.

Decision #1 – Decide to prepare sooner than later. Home sellers who wait until spring to get their home “ready” are already behind the curve. The real estate year is in full swing by March 1st and homes that sell quickly and for top dollar during the “selling season” are the homes where the owner had a plan, got their home ready, staged, and listed early in the year.

Decision #2 – Decide to prepare yourself emotionally. Selling your home can be very emotional. When you receive an offer for less than you think your home is worth, it generates a whole host of negative emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, and think everyone is trying to steal your home from you.

Well, they’re not. Buyers just want to know they’re getting the best price. We all feel similar when we make a big purchase. So be careful to manage your emotions. And if you get a “low-ball” offer rely on the help of a trusted professional. A good agent can often gently negotiate the price into a range where everyone wins. The key is to keep your emotional swings in check.

Decision #3 – Be realistic and price your home accordingly. One of the big keys to getting your home sold quickly, for the most money, is pricing it correctly. If you price your home too high, thinking you’ll “test the market,” it can be costly. Your home can sit on the market too long and get labeled as a “no-need-to-show” because you’re viewed as being unrealistic.

You see it all the time. Sellers think they are going to “hold out” and get a better price. Well, you need to consider how soon you want to sell? The reality is you can get just about any price you want if you’re willing to wait long enough. If you wait 5-7 years your home will very likely sell for a more than it will today. But if you want to sell in 90-120 days for top dollar, pricing is a crucial issue that you should discuss at length with a trusted real estate professional.

Decision #4 – Reconcile reality quickly. This is somewhat similar to decision #2, but it’s actually more practical and actionable. Emotions can be hard to define and control, like in point #2. But what is fairly easy to judge is your market’s numbers, and the realities of value.

Agents always hear things like, “But my home has this, this and this. Therefor it should be worth a lot more.” In theory that’s somewhat true. However, the reality you have to be prepared to reconcile is, if people won’t pay more for those things, it doesn’t make your home worth more.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to soften you up so you give your home away. The goal is to help you get the highest possible price, in the shortest time, with the fewest hassles. But something that’s very important to deal with is reality, not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking backs tens of thousands of home sellers into very difficult positions every year.

Having a clear objective view of reality, as well as a trusted professional to help guide you through the emotional ups and downs, can help you avoid a massive mountain of emotional stress, while your home just sits on the market.

My encouragement is, prepare yourself for the true realities, while maintaining high standards throughout the process. It’s a balancing act that with the help of a trusted professional can be far easier to navigate.

Decision #5 – Trust your gut. When interviewing agents there are few things more important than a deep level of trust between you and the agent you choose to represent you. And trust comes in two crucial parts. The first is professional competency.

To trust someone with what is likely the single biggest financial transaction of your life, you need to have confidence that the agent you choose has the skills, technology and ability to fight hard and win what’s in your best interests. That’s why choosing someone just because they’re a “friend of the family” isn’t always the best choice.

The second layer of trust is personal. When you work with someone on something as important as the sale of your home, you need to know you can trust that person personally.

You need to feel a deep sense of confidence that your agent puts your needs in front of their own. It’s not about flash and glitter, or how many homes that agent sold. What’s important is, “Can I trust this person with my financial future?”

That’s where “listen to your gut” comes in. most of us can sense authenticity and integrity. It comes out in many ways and generally when you’re in the presence of it you know in your gut. Sometimes the person might be a little quirky, other times they’re not, but again it’s not about flash and charisma.

The bottom line, choose someone you trust on both a professional and personal level and “go with your gut.”

I hope you found these suggestions helpful. Selling your home is a life altering series of decisions. The better prepared you are to make those decisions effectively, the better the end result.

And as always, if there is anything at all I can do to help you, please feel free to call me at 1-401-580-9797. The conversation is always free and you’re under no obligation of any kind. My entire objective in our conversation is always to help you in any way that I can.

Also, if you would like to know approximately what your home is worth before meeting with an agent, feel free to check out my offer below. It’s a free over-the-phone market evaluation. Just call anytime 24 hours a day and if I don’t pick up leave a message with your email address and I’ll get that evaluation out to you ASAP!

Generally speaking, the consensus seems is that the residential real estate market in most parts of the country is on the upswing in the aggregate.  As a licensed Realtor, I will run with that consensus as much as I can because so much of our economic health is psychological and relies on consumer perception.  Anecdotal evidence indicates that there is an impressive correlation between the tone of the national headlines about the economy and the psyche of the average consumer.  If the news anchors say the sky is falling everyone will soon be running for shelter, even if there is no empirical evidence to support the claim.  Similarly, if national headlines are droning on about the lousy economy, high unemployment, and soon-to-be-rising interest rates, home-buying will grind to a virtual stand-still.  What both of these occurrences have in common is that they frequently rely on inconclusive, or superficial, data that do not adequately represent the economic “status-quo”.  For example, below is a graphical representation of actual data from Core Logic, an aggregator of real estate data (among other things).

Equity-InfoGraphic

The old saying goes: “The only difference between a recession and a depression is that in a recession your neighbor is out of work, in a depression YOU are out of work”  So what does this mean?  Selfishly speaking, I don’t know and as long as houses are selling in RI and MA (which they are) I am not sure if I should be concerned.   However, when I read economic data that do not support the economic outlook; in the back of my mind I can hear the voice of one of my college economics professors emphatically stating that the real numbers do not lie…but those numbers can be manipulated by others for political gain. Case in point: http://tiny.cc/ifnutx an article in the NYT trumpeting the great employment outlook, and this sobering report by the CEO of Gallup http://tiny.cc/oknutx.   What do you think???

This past week I came across two separate indications about what may happen to the residential real estate market in southern New England, and elsewhere, in 2015.  The first was actual data that demonstrated that while sales were down in 2014 compared to 2013, the prices had risen close to 5%…and this is in Rhode Island, traditionally one of the “lagging indicators” of all states and historically one of the last to exit from economic downturns.  See the below:Median House Prices and Sales 2013-14

Rhode Island has been hit especially hard since the last downturn because the unemployment rate has been one  of the highest in the nation, and it has been ranked last by CNBC on several occasions for business attractiveness.  Next I read the predictions for interest rates from several different sources and they all indicated that rates are going up from .3% to 1.2% by the 2015 4Q.

Mortgage Rate Predictions 2015

So to extrapolate: In a “worst case scenario”, if the price of a house increases from $200,000 to $210,000 AND interest rates increase 1.2% (NAR) the monthly payment excluding taxes and insurance would increase from $948/mo today to $1,143/mo at the end of 2015.  That is an extra $2,340/year, $35,100 over 15 years, and a whopping, uncompounded,  $70,200 over 30 years.  Wouldn’t it be better to have that money in your retirement account, or use it for a vacation home?  Since we have been at historic lows for a few years, and prior to the downturn the “Fantastic Rates” were well over 5%, this is not that outlandish.  It is also not outlandish to think that we will not be returning to rates this low for generations since prior to 2010 we had never had rates in the 4% range (BankRate.com.)  So what do you think is now a good time to buy or sell a home???  If you have questions about buying or selling a home, email Joe@JoeLucaRealEstate.com or voice/text at 401-580-9797.

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