Short Sale Home Selling

short sale home selling
Housing Market Expectations 2021

As you probably know, it’s been a sellers’ market with many listings getting multiple offers.  With such a strong housing market, it would seem unthinkable that some home owners would be underwater on their mortgages when selling their homes.  But the fact remains that there are many home owners who have to go through the short sale home selling process to sell their homes.

On the face of it, the January 14th press release from ATTOM Data Solutions (attomdata.com) seems to add credence to the housing market’s strength, touting that foreclosure activity is the lowest in sixteen years.  The report stated that default notices, auctions, and repossessions decreased 57 percent from the previous year, and decreased 93 percent from 2010’s peak would seem to be terrific news.  But the low foreclosure activity stats are actually a manifestation of a government moratoria on foreclosure activities that was imposed due to the pandemic emergency. 

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company, stated “The government’s moratoria have effectively stopped foreclosure activity on everything but vacant and abandoned properties. There is a backlog of foreclosures building up – loans that were in foreclosure prior to the moratoria; loans that would have defaulted under normal circumstances; and loans whose borrowers are in financial distress due to the pandemic.”  Further commenting on the foreclosure backlog, Sharga believes that the foreclosure wave won’t be as bad as what occurred prior and during the Great Recession.  But he cautioned that we won’t know how large the foreclosure wave will be until the moratoria expires. 

So, in the face of a strong housing market, there are many home owners who need to sell (due to job loss, job relocation, divorce, etc.) but can’t because the proposed sale price is short of the amount needed to cover the costs of selling (which typically includes mortgage, closing costs, realtor & title fees, etc.).  This is where a short sale can be considered.

A short sale is basically when your sales net isn’t enough to pay the mortgage(s) on the property.  In many cases, short selling home owners don’t have the funds to make up the shortage needed at settlement.  Instead, they seek lender approval to allow a lower mortgage payoff in order for the transaction to close.  Because short sales have become a common form of transaction in the real estate landscape, the process has become more standardized since the Great Recession.  Although the typical time to complete a short sale can take three to six months, short sales can take as little as forty-five days.  However, it’s important to note short sale approval can also take more than six months. 

Although the core process is the same, lenders have different requirements when collecting information and conducting their due diligence.  Having a professional negotiator helps facilitate your short sale.  Seasoned short sale listing agents typically work with experienced attorneys to negotiate and handle the process. 

If you are thinking of short sale home selling, interview several experienced and local short sale agents.  Ask about their track record for successful short sales and how they work on your behalf to get the job done.  Also talk to their negotiator, and ask about their track record in successfully negotiating short sales.   

When considering a short sale, consider all your other options as well and get professional advice from an attorney and CPA to determine your best solution. 

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2021

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Home Selling with Pets

home selling with pets
Home renovations (infographic from census.gov)

We love our pets, they’re part of the family!  If you’re home selling with pets, you’ll find home buyer pet owners will likely be drawn to your pet accommodations.  According to the 2020 Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process report (nar.realtor, April 2020) many home buyers make decisions with their pets in mind.  Some highlights include: 43 percent of pet owners would move to find a better home for their pet; paramount to 18 percent of pet owners is outdoor spaces and convenience to a vet; 68 percent of home buyers’ decision to buy or rent was based on the community’s animal policy.

But there are many other buyers who don’t have pets.  Non-pet home buyers are often turned off by a “pet home” for various reasons.  Some have pet allergies, and can be affected when they enter the home.  Others are turned off by pet odors.  And some are distracted by free-roaming pets while touring the home.  Is there a home selling with pets strategy that can make your home more appealing to all home buyers?

Professionally deep-clean your home. 

One of the most common obstacles home buyers encounter when viewing a home is that their allergies are triggered when they enter a home where a dog and/or a cat live.  A common cause for this is pet dander and odor.  These issues are typically addressed by hiring a professional to clean carpets and furniture.  Refusing to do this could devalue the home and stay on the market longer. 

Repair pet related damage.

Pets are wonderful, but they sometimes scratch walls, doors, and furniture. Carpets sometimes get ripped and stained.  Wood floors can also be scratched and stained.  Pets can also dig holes in the yard and garden beds. If your pet has done any of these things to your home, consider making repairs. Failing to repair pet related damage can turn off potential buyers, and devalue your home. 

Before a buyer visits a home.

Before buyers visit your home, vacuum rugs and furniture, and sweep up dander in any other areas.  Inspect your home to make sure there are no surprise droppings from your pet.  Put away your pet’s toys.  Professionals recommend placing non-toxic flowers and plants through the home to help provide a fresh environment.  Because not everyone is a dog lover, take your dog out for a walk while buyers tour your home.

Many professionals advise pet owning home sellers to hide traces of their pets as much as possible.  However, it many feel this is more work than they signed on for.  Is there a balance where you don’t have ot remove your pet while selling?

Melissa Dittmann Tracey, in her NAR article Can You Stage the Household Dog? (March 26, 2012; nar.realtor) relates her experience about selling her home by getting her dogs in on the sale.  The staging is basically making the pet area more homely.  Tracey dressed her dogs for a photo to be placed in their area. The photo said “Welcome to our home.”  She related that when she removed her pets, she didn’t get an offer.  However, when the pets where in the home, she received two offers.  Of course, Tracey’s experience is purely anecdotal, but it’s something to think about as an alternative staging idea.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2021

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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.

Price is Everything

Price is everything
Home owner equity

Home sellers want to get top dollar, and home buyers want value.  This is a hard to truth to acknowledge, but regardless of your home’s condition, location, etc. it all comes down to the home sale price.  Don’t just take my word on it. There’s plenty of peer reviewed research on the topic.  For example, Han and Strange’s study that demonstrates how home price effects home buyers’ response and motivation to visit and/or make an offer on your home (What is the Role of the Asking Price for a House?; Journal of Urban Economics; Volume 93, May 2016, P115-130).  The conclusion indicated that list prices that are consistent with neighborhood values (not overpriced) maximize home buyer engagement.  Price is everything .

The “price is everything” concept applies to any housing market.  It applies when the market is slow, and even when the market is doing well.  Take for example this year, when it seemed as if any home that come on the market sold quickly. However, there’s a caveat: homes that were priced correctly sold quickly.  Homes that were overpriced took much longer to sell.  For those overpriced homes that sold, they sold for less than original list price. 

As home prices continue to appreciate, home sellers are eager to push the envelope when setting their list price.  But home buyers are savvy and won’t overpay for a home, so creating a realistic pricing strategy is key to your home sale success.  Things to consider include your home’s condition, your local market, and your competition.

The main tool to help you decide on a list price is the CMA (comparative market analysis), which you can get from your agent.  The CMA is not an appraisal, but it is a snapshot of market activity for similar homes in your market area.  The CMA can show how homes like yours (that are similar in size, style, age and condition) sell by price and days on market.  Typically, the CMA is broken down into 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month segments to show how home sales are trending.  Compare active homes to homes that sold as well as those that didn’t sell for sale price and days-on-market).  Also be aware of any seller concession, which can affect your net sale.  Finally keep track of neighborhood active listings, this is your competition that can also help you modulate your price if needed.

To help sellers understand how their homes compare to the competition, I used to advise clients to visit neighborhood open houses.  This was helpful in understanding how to prepare their homes by comparing the homes’ condition and features.  Although visiting open houses may not be practical for you these days, technology makes it easy to see the interior of home via HD pictures, virtual tours and floor plans. 

Another pricing strategy that many home sellers use to get more buyer traffic is “just-below” pricing.  Just-below pricing is reducing your decided list price below the rounded number.  For example, if your list price is $450,000, the just-below price might be $449,900. This strategy was demonstrated through research by Beracha and Seiler (The Effect of Pricing Strategy on Home Selection and Transaction Prices: An Investigation of the Left-Most Digit Effect; Journal of Housing Research; 2015; Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.147-161).  Just-below pricing works best the list price is rounded down to the nearest hundred or thousand.

Original published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/20/price-is-everything/

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

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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.

Home Prices 2021

It’s almost inconceivable to think that the housing market will undergo a foreclosure crisis similar to what we went through back in 2008.  How will home prices 2021 be affected by an impending wave of foreclosures?

home prices 2021
Home Buyer traffic 2020

If you remember, the 2007 housing market peaked as home prices skyrocketed.  Homes were a hot commodity as home buyers and speculators seemingly could not get enough.  But by the fall 2007, as if someone flipped a switch, inventory piled up.  There was a reckoning in 2008 as the market was flooded with foreclosures.  Home prices dropped to the lowest levels in a decade and days-on-market averaged in months.  It took five years for home prices to stabilize and maintain solid gains.

Fast forward to the 2020 lockdowns.  The housing market took off like a rocket during the summer and fall, after taking several months off.  Pent-up demand was the catalyst for record home sales leaving inventory depleted and forced upward pressure on home prices.  Housing is again economy’s workhorse.

A November 19th NAR press release (nar.realtor) touting October home sales indicated that existing-home sales increased 26.6 percent year-over-year!   Additionally, the median existing-home sale price increased 16 percent year-over-year.  All this occurred as home sale inventory levels are historically low.  Interestingly, it was noted that about 70% of homes sold during October, which means not all homes sold.

Additionally, October’s pending home sales point to a strong market into 2021.  The NAR’s October Pending Home Sale Index indicated that although new contracts declined a slight 1.1 percent from September to October, the year-over-year new contracts increased about 20 percent!

With stats like this, many industry experts are expecting a strong housing market and increased home prices 2021.  The high expectations for the housing market is demonstrated by a December 3rd HousingWire report (housingwire.com) titled, “Even with low inventory, expect a strong 2021 housing market.

home prices 2021
Home Sale Inventory 2020

And as many celebrate this hot housing market during a global pan-demic, some are raising concerns about the many home owners who are delinquent on their mortgages.  Unfortunately, delinquent mortgages haven’t received as much coverage as it probably should have.  Many home owners are unable to stay current on their mortgages due to lock-down job cutbacks.  As a result, some are expecting a surge in foreclosure notices.

An October 13th CoreLogic press release indicated that the July mortgage delinquency rate (30 days or more late) was 6.6 percent.  Although the rate slightly dropped from June’s 7.1 percent, serious delinquencies (90 days or more past due) jumped to 4.1 percent (compared to 1.3 percent a year earlier).  Serious delinquencies are the highest since April 2014.  Troubling is that mortgages which are 120 days or more late surged to 1.4 percent – which is a 21-year high, eclipsing the 2009 peak!  The metropolitan areas experiencing the highest delinquency rates are those where home price increases made the most gains (such as New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Houston). 

So, what does this mean?

An August 27th CoreLogic report made a case for declining home prices in 2021.  There’s no denying it, there is a foreclosure wave waiting in the wings.  It’s unclear when the foreclosures will occur because of the current pan-demic moratorium.  However, if foreclosures are as numerous as they were in 2008, home prices 2021 will likely decline when these homes come to market.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/05/home-prices-2021/

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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.

About Your List Price

list price
Where are home buyers finding their homes?
(infographic from nar.realtor)

When you’re selling a home, a consequential decision is your list price and pricing strategy.  Deciding on your price can be confusing because, sometimes, what you hear from the media is not exactly what your real estate agent is telling you.  Additionally, making matters worse is hearing disparate information from different real estate agents.

For example, your home’s market value is not the same as a list or sale price.  It’s a common mistake to assume that your home will sell for “market value.”  However, market value is an appraisal term that describes a probable price that a home buyer would pay in any given market.  Market value can vary depending on the scope and purpose of the appraisal.  Knowing the “market value” for your home can build up expectations for your sale that may not be realized.  However, until you do an analysis of comparables and market conditions, you won’t have a realistic list price. 

Adding to the confusion is hearing that your list price may not necessarily be the sale price.  In a buyer’s market, your sale price could be less than list price.  In a seller’s market, your sale price could be more than list price.

There’s definitely a science when deciding on a list price, where you can work with real numbers.  Unfortunately, the “science” of home pricing is inexact.  Determining a list price is much like baking cookies.  The end result is similar, but expert bakers have their own recipe.  So, although listing agents don’t always agree, there’s some commonality in determining a list price.  And much like baking, some pricing “recipes” are better than others.

Part of the inexact science of home pricing is creating a market analysis.  The market analysis will guide you in deciding a list price by providing a price range.  Although there are basic guidelines for collecting data, agents don’t always agree on the process.  However, once you pinned down a price range, then you can decide your pricing strategy by considering your selling motivation, the economy, and housing market conditions.

Basically, the market analysis is deciding which recent sales are most similar to your home.  The best comparables are homes in your neighborhood that sold in the previous three to six months.  The homes in your neighborhood are likely very similar to yours, and recent sales are an indicator of market conditions.  However, it’s common to go outside your neighborhood when similar neighborhood sales are not available.  These comparables provide a price range.  The more adjustments made to comparable sales, the less exact your analysis.

Besides looking at recent sales, you should also look at neighborhood homes that are actively on the market.  Active home sales are your competition.  These sales can reveal additional market conditions by comparing price and days on market with your sale comparables.  You should also consider recent withdrawn and expired sales because they provide insight about pricing strategies that may not work in the current market. 

Your pricing strategy is how you decide to position your home in the market.  Your goal is to sell for top dollar and least amount of time on market.  In determining your pricing strategy, you need to consider your competition, as well as your motivation, economy, and housing market conditions.  Also remember that the list price may have to be adjusted as days on market accrue, while keeping an eye on your competition.

Original article is published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/02/14/about-your-list-price/

By Dan Krell
Copyright© 2020

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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.