Tag Archives: #realtor.com

Buyers Are Regaining Negotiating Power

If you’re thinking about buying a home today, here’s some welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate now than even earlier this year. The days of feeling like you need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.

Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that kept you on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.

1. The Return of Contingencies

Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.

The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. A recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study: 95% of sellers reported that buyers requested a home inspection, while 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection.

All of our recent sales have included home inspections.

2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs

Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon to see buyers ask sellers to help with some of their closing costs. This didn’t happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.

Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com that uses the results of a national survey suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be an option available to you when you purchase a home, although we have not experienced it yet with any of our recent clients.

Bottom Line

The extremely competitive housing market of the past few years seems to be easing a bit. The data suggests that the days of over the top offers with no contingencies are waning and sellers now have to negotiate with buyers. This is good news if you’re planning to enter the housing market.

For more information about buying or selling, please request our Fall Guides. The video below explains what you can learn.

…and to find out how the market is shifting, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you the latest data, as well as our recent experience as sellers and buyers ourselves.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Should You Sell Your House This Year?

There’s no denying that the housing market is undergoing a shift as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows.

On Cape Cod, there were 231 homes for sale in January. In August, there were 563. This is nowhere near what we consider to be a normal market. But, what it does represent is a slow tick upward in the number of homes available.

So, here’s a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: Where Can You Go?

We often hear from those who are thinking about selling that their biggest concern is that they don’t know where they can go. But, one of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, this actually can benefit you as a seller

If you’re marketing your house to make a move, it means you’ll have more options for your own home search. This gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you’ve put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.

Opportunity #2: The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers’ market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there needs to be a six months’ supply of homes nationally. According to the latest report from the Cape and Island Association of Realtors there’s a 1.9 month supply here.

While you’ll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. On Cape, the Cumulative Days on Market Before Sale is 29 (YTD), still quick by traditional standards, but not the gone-in-a-weekend pace of even just a few months ago.

Opportunity #3: Your Equity Has Grown by Record Amounts

The home price appreciation that the market experienced over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains: “Homeowners trying to decide if now is the time to market their homes are still in a good position in many places across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion…”

While there are no statistics available on individual equity, we can report based on our own personal experience and that of our sellers that this is true.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.

That’s what we did a few months ago. We used the equity in our home as down payment for our new one. So, we were able to secure where we were going before the For Sale sign ever went up in our yard.

There’s often never a “good time” to market a home: an unexpected job transfer, the loss of a loved one, or a family break up can make the decision hard and the process difficult. But sellers manage to get through it with the help of a knowledgeable professional.

If, however, the market is presenting you with an opportunity to benefit from your long-term real estate investment and make the change that you’ve been contemplating for years, why not move forward?

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to talk about your possibilities. We’re happy to help.

Mari and Hank

What Does the Rest of 2022 Hold for the Housing Market?

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, you’re at an exciting decision point where timing can be crucial. So, what does the rest of the year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts have to say.

The Number of Homes Available for Sale Is Likely To Grow

There are early signs housing inventory is starting to grow and experts say that should continue in the months ahead. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com: “The gap between this year’s homes for sale and last year’s is one-fifth the size that it was at the beginning of the year. The catch up is likely to continue…This growth will mean more options for shoppers than they’ve had in a while, even though inventory continues to lag pre-pandemic normal.”

  • As a buyer, having more options is welcome news. Just remember, housing supply is still low, so be ready to act fast and put in your best offer up front.
  • As a seller, your house may soon face more competition when other sellers list their homes. But the good news is, if you’re also buying your next home, having more options to choose from should make that move-up process easier.

Here on Cape, there has been a very modest, but steady increase in new listings this year. In January, there were 209. In April, there were 375. For some perspective, there were 629 new listings in April 2019 and we had 5.8 months of housing inventory.

Commenting on social media last week, Ryan Castle, Chief Executive Officer of the Cape and Island Association of Realtors, reported that “162 of 223 properties that became available over the last two weeks are still for sale.”

Cumulative days on the market before sale (YTD) is 36 seeming to indicate that not every property is selling in a day. Just a few years ago, days on market for well-maintained and appropriately priced homes could number in the months.

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Continue To Respond to Inflationary Pressures

Experts also agree inflation should continue to drive up mortgage rates, albeit more moderately. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First Americansays: “…ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even high in the months to come.”

  • As a buyer, work with reputable lenders, so you can learn how rising the mortgage rate environment impacts your purchasing power. It may make sense to buy now before it costs more to do so, if you’re ready.
  • As a seller, rising mortgage rates are motivating some homeowners to make a move up sooner rather than later. If you’re planning to buy your next home, talk to us and we can give you some advice on timing your move based on our own experience.

Home Prices Are Projected To Continue To Increase

Home prices are forecast to keep appreciating because there are still fewer homes for sale than there are buyers in the market. That said, experts agree the pace of that appreciation should moderate – but home prices won’t fall. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says: “Given the extremely low inventory, we’re unlikely to see prices decline, but appreciation should slow in the coming months.”

  • As a buyer, continued home price appreciation means it’ll cost you more to buy the longer you wait. But it also gives you peace of mind that, once you do buy a home, it will likely grow in value. That makes it historically a good investment and a strong hedge against inflation.
  • As a seller, price appreciation is great news for the value of your home. Again, you can take advantage of our experience to find the best way to strike the right balance for both selling your house and buying your next one. (We just did that!)

On Cape, the median sales price for a single family home (TYD) is up 12.5% to $675,000.00. In April 2019, it was $420,000.00.

But, the percentage of original list price received (YTD) is 101.1% suggesting that the days of head scratching offers may be fading. (Although there will always be exceptions.) In 2019, percentage of list was 92.9%. Back then asking price was the best you could hope for, not the starting point as it often is today.

Thinking about making your move? We’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. It’s important that you have the most accurate information to make the best decision for you.


…and speaking of making your move, today (Monday) is moving day for us. We closed on our new condo this past Wednesday and have used the last several days to finish packing up our house where we have lived for the last 28 years and bringing in painters, etc. to our new place. We close on our “old” home this coming Wednesday,

We’ve been chronicling what we’ve been doing in a series called “Mari Makes the Move” that you can find on our YouTube channel Mari Sennott Plus and on many of our social media platforms.

We’ll let you know next week how it all went…

Mari and Hank

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think

When we decided earlier this year to sell our home and downsize, we faced the immediate decision about how much work needed to be done to get the place market ready.

While no one would accuse us of being “house people,” we’ve taken pretty good care of our home over the years. Mari re-designed the kitchen three years ago. Last year, when our service technician told us that he wasn’t going to waste our money or his time and declined to do annual maintenance, we replaced our furnace and water heater. The roof has been an on-going project for us. The oldest sections are 10 years old.

Those are probably the three big items on a buyer’s check list, so that left smaller projects to complete. As a result, we had our home ready to sell in about a month, typical of most recent sellers.

According to a survey from realtor.com: “With many homeowners expecting a quick sale, and in many cases a lack of contingencies, the preparation process took less than a month for over 50% of home sellers…with 20% completing it in less than two weeks.”

Of course, each situation is different, and knowing what repairs or updates your house needs to stand out is critical.

In today’s market an older furnace or roof is not necessarily a draw back. But, if a home inspection discovers a tag on your furnace from your service technician that says “needs to be replaced,” you can probably expect your potential buyer to ask for money off the final purchase price.

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

To see some of what we did, please check out this episode from our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube channel. (Our home quickly went under contract after two busy Open Houses.)

Curious about your options, but maybe a little worried about the time it’ll take to get your home ready? Let’s connect to 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re more than happy to answer your questions.

Remember: we’re selling and buying, too.

Have a great week!

Mari and Hank

What You Can Expect from the Spring Market

With the spring housing market underway, many of you are probably curious about what you can expect when it comes to buying or selling a house. While there are multiple factors causing some uncertainty, the housing market seems to be relatively immune from the impacts of the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and the first rate increase from the Federal Reserve in over three years.

Here’s a look at what the real experts say you can expect this spring.

1. Mortgage Rates Will Climb

Freddie Mac reports the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased by more than a full point in the past six months. And despite some mild fluctuation in recent weeks, experts believe rates will continue to edge up over the next 90 days. As Freddie Mac says: “The Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases means mortgage rates should continue to rise over the course of they year.”

If you’re a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving to a home that better fits your needs, realize that waiting will likely mean you’ll pay a higher mortgage rate on your purchase. And that higher rate drives up your monthly payment and can really add up over the life of your loan.

2. Housing Inventory Will Increase

There may be some relief coming for buyers searching for a home to purchase.

 Realtor.com recently reported that the number of newly listed homes has grown for each of the last two months. Also, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced the months’ supply of inventory increased for the first time in eight months. The inventory of existing homes usually grows every spring, and it seems, based on recent activity, the next 90 days could bring more listings to the market.

On Cape Cod, there were a little over 200 new listings in January. In February that number was over 400. While that’s not close to normal inventory, it is trending in the right direction.

Anecdotally, our colleagues at our Today Real Estate company wide meetings seem to be talking more about new listings than they have in a while.

If you’re a buyer and have been frustrated with the limited supply of homes available for sale, it looks like you could find some relief this spring. However, be prepared to act quickly if you find the right one.

If you’re a seller, listing now instead of waiting for additional competition to hit the market makes sense. Your leverage in any negotiation during the sale will be impacted as additional homes come to market.

3. Home Prices Will Rise

Prices are always determined by supply and demand. Though the number of homes entering the market is increasing, buyer demand remains very strong.

As realtor.com explains in their most recent Housing Report: “During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year…However, with millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road catching up with demand.”

What does that mean for you? With the demand for housing still outpacing supply, home prices will continue to appreciate. Many experts believe the level of appreciation will decelerate from the high double-digit levels we’ve seen over the last two years. That means prices will continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace. Most experts are predicting home prices will not depreciate.

Won’t Increasing Mortgage Rates Cause Home Prices To Fall?

While some people may believe a 1% increase in mortgage rates will impact demand so dramatically that home prices will have to fall, experts say otherwise. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Maesays: “What I will caution against is making the inference that interest rates have a direct impacting on house prices. That is not true.”

Freddie Mac studied the impact that mortgage rates increasing by at least 1% had on home prices in the past. Here are the results of that study:

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the chart shows, mortgage rates jumped by at least 1% six times in the last 30 years. In each case, home values increased.

So again, if you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, waiting to likely means you’ll pay more for a home later in the year (as compared to its current value).

Bottom Line

Three things seem certain going into the spring housing market:

  1. Mortgage rates will continue to rise.
  2. The selection of homes available for sale will modestly improve.
  3. Prices will continue to appreciate, just at a slightly slower pace.

Curious about your options? We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

Is This Really the Year to Buy a Home?

Every year, many renters ask themselves the same question: Should I continue renting, or is it finally time to buy a home? 

On Cape Cod, if you’ve been lucky enough to find a place to rent, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question at least once lately, as it’s likely your monthly housing costs have risen. After all, according to Census data, rents have gone up consistently for decades.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable place to rent, you know how difficult that is. You may be wondering, if purchasing a home is a better plan.

To make an informed and powerful decision about buying a house, the first step is understanding what’s happening in today’s market, so you can determine which option is the better long-term financial decision for you.

Rents Are Going Up Again This Year

Make no mistake, rents are skyrocketing.  Data from realtor.com shows just how much rental prices are surging throughout the country. The graph below highlights rental unit price increases over the past year:

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home? | MyKCM

The Fair Market Rent (FMR) for the Cape/Barnstable County for a two bedroom home this year is $1,879! (That could be a pretty decent mortgage payment.)

In 2021, the FMR was $1,667.

Homeownership Offers Stable Monthly Costs

One of the key benefits of owning your home is that you’re able to lock in and stabilize your payments for the duration of your loan. That’s not the case when you rent.

With rents on the rise, there’s a good chance many people will see their costs increase even more this year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays: “With rents already at a high and expected to keep going up, affordability will increasingly challenge many Americans in 2022.”

So, if you’re ready to become a homeowner, continuing to wait may not make financial sense. Instead, you can escape the cycle of rising rents and enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership.

Starting your journey can pay off significantly. We know it’s a big step. And you probably have well-meaning relatives and friends advising you to not make a move. But, by continuing to pay rent, all you’re doing is paying your landlord’s mortgage.

Have questions about whether this if your time? We’d be happy to answer them. Let’s talk at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

We can also refer you to a number of reputable lenders, who can give you excellent advice about your financial options.

In addition, you can receive a copy of our e-guide for Home Buyers, which is available by clicking here.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Happy Spring!

Mari and Hank

Patience Is Key to Buying a Home This Year

There’s one question were consistently asked: “Why is it so hard to find a house?

The answer is that we’re in the midst of the ultimate sellers’ market, which means real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale, and that number — and prices — keep rising.

On Cape Cod, 43% of all transactions that closed in March 2021 were for above asking price, compared to 11% in March 2020 and 9.5% in March 2019.

In addition, the median sales price for a single family home in Barnstable County rose to $653,500 last month, setting a new record high for median sale price on Cape.

Why?

It’s because there are so few houses for sale.

New listings in March on Cape for single-family homes were 391 and 93 for condominiums. This is a 18 percent decrease, and a 19.1 percent decrease respectively from last March, which had 477 new listings for single-family homes and 115 new listings for condominiums.

At the end of this March, there were 346 single-family homes for sale and 131 condominiums for sale in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service. Last March, there were 1,567 single-family homes and 446 condos listed for sale, a 77.9 percent decrease, and a 70.6 percent decrease, respectively.

Low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, but it’s becoming more challenging. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com put it simply: “Buyers can’t buy what’s not for sale.”

While many homeowners paused their plans to sell during the height of the virus crisis, this isn’t the main cause of today’s gap between supply and demand. (But, the lack of current homeowners looking to upsize, downsize or move to that someday neighborhood certainly isn’t helping…)

Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac’s Economic and Housing Research Division, says that the main driver of the housing shortfall is a long term decline in the construction of single family houses, which has resulted in a decrease in the supply of starter homes.

When you consider the number of houses built in the U.S. by decade, the serious lack of new construction is obvious. (See graph below)

Patience Is the Key to Buying a Home This Year | MyKCM

To catch up to current demand, Freddie Mac estimates we need to build almost four million homes. The good news is that nationally there were 1.74 million housing starts in March – the highest in 14 years. Experts say the industry will need to keep that pace for three years to make up for the shortfall.

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success is being patient and working with real estate professionals — like Mari Sennott Plus — who know the Cape Cod market and can guide you through this very competitive environment. Providing our clients with the best advice has been our full time job for more than 20 years. So, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@today realestate.com to review your options.

Your new home is out there waiting for you. It’s just going to take a little longer to find it.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

PS: If you’ve been thinking about selling, what are you waiting for?? Let’s talk soon…

Not Everyone Is Looking for a Bigger Home

Over the past year, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect on what we consider important in our lives. For more than a few, where we call home has been the subject of some serious thought. According to George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com:

“The very nature of the pandemic, through the health implications, social distancing, and need to isolate, has really brought a central focus on the importance of home for most Americans…In a sense, it has elevated real estate markets as a centerpiece of our lives.”

This has spurred an interest by many in making a move to a home that better suits changing needs. In a recent study on today’s homebuyer preferences, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported:

“When asked more specifically how the pandemic may have impacted their preference for home size21% or about 1 out of every 5 buyers, do want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment – 12% – would prefer a smaller one instead.”

While you might expect more time at home to lead to a need for more space, it’s interesting that a significant portion of homeowners actually want less. For those who currently own larger homes and have a desire to move, today’s housing market is full of opportunities as Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explained:

“In a real estate market that is tipped in the favor of sellers, boomers and older homeowners are really the ones holding the cards…Those who are selling homes can use the profits to help them buy new ones.”

Today’s homeowners likely have equity that can be put toward the purchase of their next home. With the equity growing over the past year, you may have more than you think, which can help you significantly make a move into your next home. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $66,000 more than they purchased it. Sellers 22 to 30 years gained the least at $33,400 in equity compared to sellers 66 to 74 years gained $100,000 in equity as they likely had lived in their homes for a longer period of time.”

Despite the benefits of growing home equity, some homeowners remain hesitant to move and could be considering remodeling or making changes to their current space. However, if you’ve thought about aging in place rather than downsizing, you may want to reconsider. The U.S. Census Bureau points out:

Of the nation’s 115 million housing units, only 10% are ready to accommodate older populations.”

If your house is no longer the best fit for your evolving needs, it may be time to put your equity to work for you and downsize to the home you really want.

Today’s housing market favors homeowners, who are ready to sell and make a move. If you’re thinking about downsizing this year, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review your options.

———-

In response to industry regulatory changes, we’ve rebranded our team name to “Mari Sennott Plus.”

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing references to “Mari Sennott and Associates” on our website, email, etc. replaced with our new team name.

While we were very happy with the old name, the new “Mari Sennott Plus” reflects our commitment to always going the extra mile for our clients, as well as a hoped for expansion of our team later this year.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank