Tag Archives: #zillowpremieragent

The Best Week to List Your House Is Almost Here

Are you thinking about selling your house? If so, you may want to make it a priority to start the process soon.

According to realtor.com, the sweet spot for sellers is just around the corner. In a recent study, experts analyzed housing market trends by looking at data from the past several years (excluding 2020, since it was an atypical year). When applied to the current market, experts determined the ideal week to list a house this year. The research says:

“Home sellers on the fence waiting for that perfect moment to sell should start preparations, because the best time to list a home in 2022 is approaching quickly. The week of April 10-16 is expected to have the ideal balance of housing market conditions that favor home sellers, more so than any other week in the year.”

If you’ve been putting your move on the back burner waiting for the ideal time to sell, you should know your golden window of opportunity is coming up. If you’re able to get your house ready quickly, here’s what you can expect from that week.

You Should See More Buyer Activity

The article expects higher buyer demand based on what’s happened in previous years. This could result in increased competition among buyers and ultimately a bidding war over your house. And since mortgage rates recently ticked up over 4%, chances are good that analysis is right. When rates rise, experts say buyers often hurry to make their purchase before rates climb higher.

In addition, the week of April 10-16 includes Easter Weekend. We know this is a busy time on Cape with many families here visiting relatives.

Your House Should Sell Quickly

Additionally, the realtor.com analysis shows houses sell even faster during this week of the year, likely due to the heightened buyer demand. If you work with a trusted real estate professional to price your house right, it should sell quickly. With homes already selling in just 18 days according to NAR, that could set you up for a big win.

Your House Will Be in the Spotlight

Since the beginning of the year, the number of homes available for sale has been at or near record lows. According to the realtor.com study, the typical trend for this week of the year is that there will be even fewer sellers on the market. If you list when inventory is low, your house will be the center of attention for eager buyers craving options.

If you’re ready to move fast, you may want to shoot for April 10th-16th as your target goal. Just remember, even if you’re not ready to list within the next couple of weeks, rest assured this is still a hot sellers’ market. If you list later in April, you’ll still be in the driver’s seat.

Bottom Line

Thinking that now’s the time? Ready to get the ball rolling? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to schedule a time to go over your next steps.

In the meantime, make a checklist of things you need to tackle to get your house ready. When we get together, we can prioritize your to-do list and get you on the road to success.

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

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Cape Cod by the Numbers

Despite near historic low levels of inventory, the Cape Cod real estate market is showing no signs of slowing its blistering pace logging a 74.3% increase in pending sales for single family homes this April, as compared to a year ago.

According to a report released by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® (CCIAOR), Cape-wide pending sales at the end of April were 380 for single-family homes and 100 for condominiums. Last April, there were 218 pending single-family homes and 39 pending condominiums.

The report said that 394 homes sold in April, 307 single-family homes and 87 condominiums. Median sales price was $625,000 for single-family homes and $345,000 for condominiums. Last April, 329 homes (265 single-family homes and 64 condos) sold at a median price of $439,900 for single-family homes and $303,250 for condominiums.

The CCIAOR also noted that April showed the first increase in inventory on a month to month basis since the start of the virus crisis and subsequent real estate boom.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cape-Inventory.png

What this all means for a Cape Cod homeowner is that if you’ve been waiting to market your property, competition is slowly increasing as more houses are listed. Even though there has been a lot of talk about the number of homes being sold for above list price, CCIAOR says that nearly 1 in 2 listings are actually going for BELOW asking price. A situation that will only increase as more homes become available.

In addition, more than 60% of the transactions are being financed, which belies the somewhat common impression that most buyers are paying cash.

If you are wondering if now is the time to make your move, it probably is. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options and develop a plan to best market your home.

With inventory increasing, it will also be easier to help you find your new home, whether you’re looking to upsize, downsize, or move to your someday neighborhood.

We hope you are enjoying this Memorial Day and remembering all those who gave their lives so we can call Cape Cod home.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Sandwich by the Numbers

Despite near historic low levels of inventory, the Cape Cod real estate market is showing no signs of slowing its blistering pace logging a 74.3% increase in pending sales for single family homes this April, as compared to a year ago.

Cape-wide pending sales at the end of April were 380 for single-family homes and 100 for condominiums. Last April, there were 218 pending single-family homes and 39 pending condominiums.

In Sandwich, closed sales for single family homes in April increased from 19 a year ago to 31 – a 63% increase! Median sale price was up 28% comparing this April to last — $551,000.00 versus $430,000.00.

No condominiums sold in Town in April. According to a report from the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors (CCIAOR), there was one pending condo sale at the close of the month. Year to date, the median sale price for a condominium in Sandwich is $280,000.00.

The CCIAOR also noted that April showed the first climb in Cape inventory on a month to month basis since the start of the virus crisis and subsequent real estate boom.

What this means for a Sandwich homeowner is that if you’ve been waiting to market your property, competition is slowly increasing as more houses are listed. Even though there has been a lot of talk about the number of homes being sold for above list price, CCIAOR says that nearly 1 in 2 listings are actually going for BELOW asking price.

In addition, more than 60% of the transactions are being financed, which belies the somewhat common impression that most buyers are paying cash.

As always, we’re happy to help and answer any of your questions. Please reach out at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

We hope you are enjoying this Memorial Day and remembering all those who gave their lives so we could call Cape Cod home.

Mari and Hank

Sellers Should Be Ready to Enter the Housing Market

One of the biggest questions in real estate today is, “When will sellers return to the housing market?”

An ongoing shortage of home supply has created a hyper-competitive environment for hopeful buyers, leading to the ultimate sellers’ market. However, as the economy continues to improve and more people get vaccinated, more sellers may finally be in sight.

The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae recently noted the percentage of consumer respondents, who say it’s a good time to sell a home, has increased from 61% to 67%. According to Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, “Consumer positivity regarding home-selling conditions has nearly matched its all-time high.”

Sellers Are Ready To Enter the Housing Market | MyKCM

Fannie Mae isn’t the only expert group noticing a rise in the percentage of people thinking about selling. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.comsays:

“The results of a realtor.com survey…showed that one in 10 homeowners plans to sell this year, with 63% of those looking to list in the next six months.”

Anecdotally, there seems to have been an increase in available property on Cape Cod over the past few weeks, but still nowhere near enough to reach traditional levels.

What this does mean is that if you’re considering selling your home, you shouldn’t delay much longer as competition will be popping up in your neighborhood — maybe even next door!

Selling your house can be a daunting task, even more so today. However, the fact that we’re in a strong sellers’ market can eliminate common concerns.

We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can learn more about current market statistics and the opportunities that are available for homeowners, who are ready to sell.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

It’s Not Too Late to Apply for Forbearance

With so much focus on lack of housing inventory — while a record number of buyers are seeking homes on Cape Cod — not enough time has been spent talking about those homeowners, who have found it it challenging to make their mortgage payments because of the virus crisis.

The government initiated a forbearance program to provide much-needed support for these homeowners. But, many who are eligible have not used it, because they’re simply not familiar with it or pessimistic or unsure that they qualify.

But, there’ still time. Unless extended again, some of these plans and corresponding mortgage payment deferral options will expire soon. If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, or VA, you can apply for initial forbearance by June 30, 2021.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who can apply.

This is how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains the program:

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited time while you build back your finances.

Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still obligated to repay any missed payments, which, in most cases, may be repaid over time or when you refinance or sell your home. Before the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how to repay the missed payments.

According to the CFPB, you may have a right to a COVID hardship forbearance if:

  • You’re experiencing financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • You have a federally backed mortgage, which includes HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans.

For mortgages that are not federally backed, servicers may offer similar forbearance options. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, lenders are generally required to discuss payment relief options with you, whether or not your loan is federally backed.

Forbearance is not expensive.

According to CFPB: “For most loans, there will be no additional fees, penalties, or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account.” You also do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify. You can simply tell your servicer that you have a pandemic-related financial hardship.

But, it’s important to contact your mortgage provider (the company you send your mortgage payment to every month) to explain your current situation and determine the best plan available for your needs.

The process to apply is rather simple.

  1. Find the contact information for your servicer
  2. Call your servicer
  3. Ask if you’re eligible for protection under the CARES Act
  4. Ask what happens when your forbearance period ends
  5. Ask your servicer to provide the agreement in writing

Our homes are our biggest asset. If you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, there’s still time to take advantage of critical relief options to help keep you in your home.

You need to contact your mortgage provider to determine if you qualify. If you have other concerns or questions about the housing market, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to assist you in any way we can.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Four Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

The housing market keeps sailing along at a breathtaking pace. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March 2020. As we shared with you last week, the number of homes here on Cape Cod is significantly less when compared to last year, as well.

The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to become available. However, many homeowners are worried that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.

Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified those concerns, in addition to what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.

1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.

In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other, while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.

In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:

  • To buy before prices appreciate out of their reach
  • To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last
  • To finally own a home of their own

These buyer needs to give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home.

The homeowner could sell his/her home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.

This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.

2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.

This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.

Whenever there’s a biding war, the price of the item for sales escalates. Bloomberg recently reported that “for the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above list price.”

3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their homes requiring work or updates.

Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.

It may also be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen and make design decisions that are best for their specific tastes and lifestyles. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. It makes sense to not over-invest in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway.

We are always available to work with you to assist you in determining the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it. Historically low inventory likely makes some projects that were seen as crucial just a few years ago less critical to the sale of the house today.

4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.

When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:

  • The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
  • The time it takes to close the transaction

In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explained that 83% of homes that sold this March were on the market for less than a month. The average days on market (DOM) right now is 18 – a new record! All cash sales can usually be closed in 30 days. If a mortgage is involved, the rule of thumb is usually 45 days to close.

So, if you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.

Selling your house is often daunting, even more so today. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.

…and watch for our video series discussing ways to manage selling your home and buying a new one at the same time.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

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


Why This Is a Great Year to Sell Your Vacation Home

As more Americans become vaccinated and travel resumes, many people are planning for those long-awaited vacations that they missed out on over the past year. Some households are even focusing their efforts on buying a vacation home at get away locations like Cape Cod rather than renting or staying in a hotel. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports:

Second homes (i.e., homes sold to buyers who are not going to occupy the home year-round, but use it as a vacation home, investment property, etc.) account for 15 percent of new single-family home sales.”

It’s not surprising that there’s an increase in demand for vacation homes. The majority of Americans are realizing they prefer to be around small groups, as shown in a recent survey from The Harris Poll:

“Social distancing taught consumers new things about how they like to socialize; (75%) said, ‘during COVID social distancing I realized I preferred smaller social gatherings at home or at friends’ place.’”

With more Americans being given the option to continue working remotely or retire earlier than expected, vacation style homes are even becoming year-round options. The NAHB explains:

“Remote work arrangements have made it possible for… Americans to move to alternate locations that are not just small, suburban shifts from within their current metro area.  More fundamentally, second home demand may also be benefitting by an acceleration of retirement plans, as well as stock market gains.”

If you own a home on Cape and have been thinking about selling, now is a great time to take advantage of today’s very full buyer pool. Buyers should know that the process generally takes approximately 45 days from accepted offer to close; perfect timing for vacation to start!

Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for more than 20 years. Let’s talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Homeownership Is Worth it

When you’re getting ready to buy your first home, there’s always a well intentioned family member or friend whispering in your ear telling you that it’s not worth it.

“Just rent,” they say. “You don’t need the aggravation.”

“A house is a money pit. There’s always something.”

“Think about all you’ll save by not paying property taxes.”

But, respondents to a recent Fannie Mae  consumer survey beg to differ. According to them, the top four financial benefits of owning a home are:

  • 88% – a better chance of saving for retirement
  • 87% – the best investment plan
  • 85% – the chance to be better off financially
  • 85% – the chance to build up wealth

Additional financial advantages of homeownership mentioned in the survey are having the best overall tax situation and being able to live within your budget.

Does homeownership actually give you a better chance to build wealth?

No one can question a person’s unique feelings about the importance of homeownership. However, it’s fair to ask if the numbers justify homeownership as a financial asset.

Last fall, the Federal Reserve released the Survey of Consumer Finances, a report done every three years, with the latest edition covering through 2019. Their findings confirmed that homeownership is a clear financial benefit. The survey found that homeowners have forty times higher net worth than renters ($255,000 for homeowners compared to $6,300 for renters).

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits | MyKCM

The difference in net worth between homeowners and renters has continued to grow. Here’s a graph showing the results of the last four Fed surveys:The above graph only includes data through 2019, but according to CoreLogic, the equity held by homeowners grew by $26,300 over the last twelve months alone. That means the gap between the net worth of homeowners and renters has probably widened even further over the last year.

Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits | MyKCM

Some might argue the difference in net worth may be due to homeowners normally having larger incomes than renters and therefore the ability to save more money. However, a study by First American shows homeowners have greater net worth than renters regardless of their income level. Here are the findings :Others may think homeowners are older and that’s why they have a greater net worth. However, a Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University report on homeowners and renters over the age of 65 reveals:

Homeowners 65 and older have 47.6 times greater net worth than renters.

“The ability to build equity puts homeowners far ahead of renters in terms of household wealth…the median owner age 65 and over had home equity of $143,500 and net wealth of $319,200. By comparison, the net wealth of the same-age renter was just $6,700.”

Clearly homeownership is worth the “aggravation” as it is a direct way to build your net worth.

So, thank well meaning family and friends for their concern. Then let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. Helping our clients — including many first time homebuyers — make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for more than 20 years. Let’s talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Bottom Line