If you’re like many people who are nearing retirement and own a home that you’ve lived in for more than a few years, you know that homeownership is demanding – physically and emotionally. At times, it can almost be like a full-time (non-paying) job, too, between lawn care, regular cleaning tasks, and dealing with all sorts of things breaking and wearing out over time.
Maybe you’ve recently begun downsizing and decluttering, and you’re starting to think it’s time to move to a newer or smaller or generally more convenient home than your current one.
The good news is that now is a fantastic time to list – and quickly sell – your home. But, real estate industry sources caution that the window of opportunity may be closing soon. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait any longer to put your house up for sale.
You may have heard people saying this on TV, or perhaps you’ve even been contacted by a local realtor who mentioned it to you: it’s a seller’s market. That means demand is higher than available inventory in many home price ranges, which is great news for people looking to sell their homes.
In some areas of the country, high land prices are making new construction less affordable and out of reach for many, especially first-time buyers. This means more buyers take notice when existing homes hit the market. And, with all of the real estate apps and social media advertising of homes for sale, you can guarantee buyers know the instant a new listing pops up in their desired area.
These eager buyers are also more willing to overlook flaws in a home and less likely to balk at an asking price for fear of missing out. So, if you’ve been meaning to update those bathroom cabinets or paint the dining room but just didn’t get around to it, don’t hesitate to list your home for sale with those minor issues. In this market, it won’t make too much of a difference in your ability to close a sale quickly – especially with younger buyers who have caught the DIY bug.
Demand is high for several other reasons, as well. We’ll talk more about why buying is financially attractive in a moment, but a big reason is that a new generation of buyers has recently come on the scene – the Millennials.
It’s true that market analysts were previously worried that this generation, often saddled with crushing student loan debt and seemingly happy to rent, would never buy homes. However, they now account for the largest percentage of buyers at 36%, according to a National Association of Realtors report on generational trends. As they’re getting older, most Millennials (aka your kids and older grandkids) are now thinking about settling down. It turns out that they are tired of throwing money away on rent that’s always going up and they need more space for growing families, as well.
While mortgage interest rates are no longer historically low like they were a couple of years ago, they are still generally around 4%-5% on new 30-year fixed loans, which is very good.
Of course, rates have been creeping upward throughout much of 2018, and no one knows how long that trend will continue. Buyers are moving quickly to lock in lower rates while they still can, though this rush will eventually slow as buying becomes less financially appealing.
The takeaway? List your home while more buyers can still afford it with the help of low interest rates.
After the sharp decline in home prices immediately following the Great Recession in 2008-2009, prices continue to rebound a decade later. If you’ve lived in your home since before the recession and were accustomed to seeing those late 1990s and early 2000s inflated values associated with your property, you may still be somewhat disappointed. It’s time to let go of those negative feelings!
Know that values are hovering around the highest point they have been in 10 years, but growth has slowed somewhat recently. This means “selling high” is still possible, but dragging your feet could cost you money. Experts are not predicting another steep downturn in the near future, but it’s also true that no one knows what could happen later. The best advice is to contact an experienced real estate agent in your area to complete a comparative market analysis (CMA) for your home to get a realistic sense of its value in your particular area.
As you begin to consider the home selling process, don’t forget all of the great resources available to support you. You probably have many questions, and if it’s been years since you’ve bought or sold a home, there have been lots of major changes to the process. Contacting a trustworthy local real estate agent to help guide you through the process is a smart first step to getting your home sold quickly and for an excellent price.
Here at Homestead Village, we also work with individuals every day who are selling homes and downsizing to join our vibrant community and “supersize their happiness.” Get in touch today to talk about your plans for an exciting, fun future in retirement.