35 years of home buying changes

home buying changes
Years of home buying changes? (infographic from keepingcurrentmatters.com)

This week’s release of the National Association of Realtors® Annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers marks the 35th year of NAR’s analysis and description of home buyer and seller behaviors and attitudes.  You may not remember what it was like in 1981, but the country was coming out of a deep recession.  The economy was still scarred with double-digit unemployment, inflation and interest rates.  The 35th issue makes us think about home buying changes over the years.

According to the US Census Bureau (census.gov), the median price for a new home in 1981 was $68,900, while in 2010 the average new home price was $221,800.  Freddie Mac’s (freddiemac.com) data indicates that the average mortgage interest rate in 1981 was 16.63 percent, and 4.69 percent in 2010.  Surprisingly, the cost of housing (when financing 100 percent of the sale price) has only increased about 17.5 percent from 1981 to 2010!

People want their space and privacy.  According to the American Enterprise Institute (aei.org), the median square feet per person in a home in 1981 was about 550sf, while in 2014 it was 987sf.  This expansion in personal space was expressed in the home size.  The median size of a home in 1981 1,550sf, while 2010 it was 2,169sf (according to the Census Bureau).  Also consider that the typical home of 1981 only had one and a half bathrooms, and the expectation today is that a home should have at least two and a half bathrooms.

An October 18th news release from the NAR (Five Notable Nuggets from NAR’s Home Buyer and Sellers Survey’s 35-Year History; realtor.org) provided some insight into how the housing market has changed through the years.  One noticeable factor is the reduced number of first time home buyers entering the market due to underemployment, student debt, lack of down payment, or delaying family formation.  Last year’s percentage of first time home buyers dropped the lowest rate since 1987; and “according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate for 18-35 year-olds is currently at 34.1 percent, the lowest level in records dating back to 1994.”

It’s becoming apparent that real estate agents are not being replaced by the internet.  Although a majority of home buyers use the internet to assist them with the home buying process, the NAR reported that 90 percent of home buyers and sellers surveyed for this year’s profile worked with a real estate agent.  As a result, for-sale-by-owner transactions were at the lowest level ever (FSBO transactions peaked during 2003-2004).

The home buying process now takes longer than it used to.  Putting aside recent changes to the mortgage process, the 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Profile brings attention to the amount of time a home buyer needs to find a home.  According to the NAR, the average time to find a home was relatively unchanged from the 1980’s to about 2007; which about seven to eight weeks.  The duration of the home search peaked at twelve weeks from 2009 to 2013.  However, since then the average time needed to find a home is about ten weeks.  The increased search time is due to a number of factors.  Brisk sales combined with periods of low inventory has not provided home buyers with much of a choice from which to select.  Not to mention an unprecedented amount of available information that has created a savvy home buyer.

Copyright © Dan Krell

If you like this post, do not copy; instead please:
reference the article,
like it at facebook
or re-tweet.

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

A glimpse into home buyer and seller behaviors

by Dan Krell © 2013
Google+
DanKrell.com

facebook linkedin twitter

homes for saleBuying and selling a home can be one of the most expensive and complex transactions you may undertake in your lifetime. Many are increasingly seeking assistance from real estate agents; according to the Highlights of the 2012 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (realtor.org), eighty-nine percent of home buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent (a substantial increase from the sixty-one percent who indicated they purchased through an agent in 2001), while eighty-eight percent of sellers listed with an agent.

If you plan to hire a real estate agent, conventional wisdom dictates that you should interview several before choosing an agent. However, the logic is countered by the survey results. Approximately two-thirds of home buyers and sellers only contacted one agent. Additionally, a majority of buyers and sellers reported that the top means of finding their real estate agent was through a referral from a friend or family member. Forty percent of home buyers and thirty-eight percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a family member or friend. First time home buyers were most reliant on their friends’ and family members’ referrals.

Repeat business was also a frequent way indicated in choosing a real estate agent. Although ninety percent of home buyers and eight-four percent of sellers reported that they would work with their agent again in the future; only twenty-three percent of home sellers and ten percent of buyers reported that they had worked with their agent in the past.

The internet is increasingly viewed as an important source of information for home buyers. Ninety percent of buyers surveyed indicated that they used the internet for their home search; the percentage rose to ninety-six for buyers under the age of 44.

Ultimately, your home purchase or sale falls upon the experience and skill of the agent you hire. Because of the increase in specialized transactions (such as short sales, 1031 exchanges, etc), it is probably a good idea to find out if the agent has the experience if your purchase or sale falls in this category.

A recent research study by Bennie Waller and Ali Jubran (“The Impact of Agent Experience on the Real Estate Transaction.” Journal of Housing Research 21, no. 1 (2012): 67-82) highlights the notion that an experienced agent can yield a better result than an inexperienced agent. They concluded that hiring a “veteran” agent will have a positive effect on your home sale. The data indicates that “rookie” agents, those who have had their real estate license two years or less, sell homes for less, take longer to sell homes, and are less efficient during the process.

Asking friends and family for referrals as well as calling the agent you previously worked with is a good way to find a real estate agent. However, vetting out potential issues can be achieved by asking the right questions before you hire them.

Regardless of how you find your real estate agent, it is probably a good idea to find out more about them. A conversation about their experience, knowledge, and expertise is probably a good way to start. Additionally, knowledge about the local market is extremely important these days as market trends have become hyper-local. Not understanding the neighborhood market can lead an agent to over or under price a home.

More news and articles on “the Blog”
Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector
This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of August 26, 2013 (Montgomery County Sentinel). Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

Your real estate agent’s experience is more important than you know

by Dan Krell © 2013
Google+
DanKrell.com

Why your real estate agent’s experience is more important than you think:

Real Estate AgentsThe National Association of Realtors (realtor.org) publishes an annual profile of home buyers and sellers that includes data and descriptions about how consumers go about choosing a real estate agent.  There are obviously many factors that are involved in the choice, but it is striking that an agent’s experience is not a major reason for their hire; it seems as if most buyers and sellers hire an agent who was referred by someone the consumer knew, and that many buyers and sellers did not talk to more than one agent.

Even though experience is not heavily weighted in agent choice, it may be one intangible that should be considered when you choose your real estate agent.  A recent research study by Bennie Waller and Ali Jubran (“The Impact of Agent Experience on the Real Estate Transaction.” Journal of Housing Research 21, no. 1 (2012): 67-82) highlights the intuitive notion that an experienced agent can yield a better result than an inexperienced agent.

They concluded that hiring a “veteran” agent will have a positive effect on your home sale.  The data indicates that “rookie” agents, those who have had their real estate license two years or less, sell homes for less, take longer to sell homes, and are less efficient during the process.  Data collected from their sample indicated that rookie agents sold homes for about 10% less than experienced agents, which according to their sample data yielded an average net difference of $18,000 (the average list price was $201,297).  Homes listed by “veteran” agents sell about 32% faster than inexperienced agents.  And, experienced agents are more likely to expedite the transaction to completion.

One possible explanation provided by the researchers is that the experienced agents are more likely to list higher quality property that typically sells faster and for more money.  Although they concede that they cannot substantiate this rationalization by this study, they suggest that veteran agents are more successful in obtaining luxury real estate and new home listings.

Real Estate AgentA more likely reason for differences between rookie and veteran agents is the mindset brought forward to the business of real estate.  The investigators discuss how those who consider selling real estate their career are more successful and have better outcomes for their clients than those who do not.  They also suggest that those who consider themselves as “part-time” agents are less likely to achieve as high of a result in their transaction as the full time counterpart; they contend that successful veteran agents are dedicated and devoted to their career.

Other possible reasons for their conclusions (but not discussed in the study) are that veteran real estate agents are more acquainted with the nuances of the housing market and have an increased ability to engage the parties in the transaction.  Full time agents are invested in being aware of listing and sale activity in their respective markets, and network with other agents to compare notes.  Additionally, experienced agents may have developed the ability to easily connect with home buyers and sellers; as well as have greater capacity to understand the specific needs of buyers and sellers – thus facilitating a smoother and successful transaction.

The business of real estate is increasingly complex and difficult.  Rapidly changing demands on home buyers and sellers can be challenging and frustrating for those in the market.  Your agent’s experience, both general and specialized, could make the difference in your success.

More news and articles on “the Blog”
Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector
This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of April 8, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

If Cheap isn’t Selling, What is?

by Dan Krell
Google+

“Home buyers want location, quality, and value.”

Everyone has been talking about bargain real estate for many months now. However, are these bargain homes really selling? If you look on the local MLS, there are presently twenty four single family homes listed in the county priced under $250,000. Of these twenty four homes, approximately 16 of these homes are short sales, 6 are bank owned, and 2 are being sold by the resident. It sounds as if there are a lot of great bargains available, but if you take the time to read the MLS listing and walk through the homes, you realize that these homes may be cheap, but they are no bargain.

Although a short sale (when a home owner sells for less than what they owe their lender) could be a great opportunity to get a bargain home, the obstacles are many and the purchase can be needlessly complicated by the real estate agent who does not know how to manage this type of transaction. Buying a bank owned home (foreclosure) could also represent a home buying bargain; however once inside the home you may realize that the cost of acquiring and repairing the home can exceed the purchase price of neighborhood homes for sale that are in move in condition. The many bank owned home auction events (many of these foreclosures are unsold MLS listings) are an indication that most home buyers feel that a cheap home does not represent a bargain.

So if “cheap” isn’t selling, what is? Unlike the recent the seller’s market when a “tear down” rambler next to the train tracks attracted a bidding war, today’s home buyers are back to basics. Home buyers are looking for a combination of location, quality, and value.

Location, location, location. Yes, the clichéd saying always had meaning, but for various reasons (including gas prices) a home’s location is more important than ever. Whether it’s the local amenities, proximity to Metro, or both- some neighborhoods always seem to be in demand.

When you compare your home to other neighborhood homes, does your home have a superior or inferior location (consider physical location and proximity to amenities)? If your home has a lesser desired location, you might consider making an adjustment in the listing price.

Don’t under estimate the home buyer. Home buyers are savvy and they desire quality and value for their money. Often times, renovations and updates that are completed cheaply repel potential home buyers- mostly because of poor craftsmanship. Needless to say, uncompleted do-it-yourself projects have the same effect. New appliances and carpet make any home look better, except when you choose to buy the cheapest available. Thinking that home buyers won’t know the difference in quality is erroneous. If you look at the recent neighborhood home sales, many are likely to have had quality updates and renovations. If you decide to make updates to your home prior to listing, do it tastefully with a mind for quality. If you cannot, then consider not making updates but adjusting the listing price.

Although price is always at issue, it’s not always the “cheap” home that sells. Some home buyers may make sacrifices in location and quality; but the reality is that home buyers want value for their money.

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of May 26, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.