Home sales are surging across the country according to a new report from the commerce department, which tracks economic growth as part of the President's economic team.
The report shows new home sales are the highest they've been in nine years. In our area, realtors with Coldwell Banker Town & Country properties, based in Clarks Summit, say that home sales are up 7% percent compared to 2015. And, since the first time since 2013, inventory is at its lowest, at least in Lackawanna County, which means there are fewer homes for sale which is driving the price up.
According to real estate agents, millennials (those born between 1982 and about 2002) are the largest group of buyers. Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey teamed up with the Coldwell Banker crew to explain the new home sales report and offer tips for potential buyers.
The following information/tips are from real estate agent Terri Ames. You can check our her website here!
What to do before buying a home or working with an agent:
- Ask yourself what are 3 things that are important to you in an Agent
(i.e. Experience, Market Knowledge, Communication, Responsiveness)
- Search online for reviews about the agent.
- Interview Agents: Ask what tools/services will be provided to guide you through the home buying process.
- Home buying guide
- Checklist to a successful closing
- Set up a Portal to help organize your home search
- Choose one Agent to represent you and establish a business relationship. You want to be represented just like a seller is represented (Buyer’s Agency Contract).
- Your Agent can show you any home on the market and will guide you through the entire home buying process.
Why get pre-approved for a mortgage?:
- Getting Pre-approved is the first step prior to looking at any homes. It helps you make better decisions on what you can afford in a home.
- Lenders will determine the type of loan you qualify for and provide current interest rates.
- Being pre-approved will also assist your Agent when assessing your wants and needs to narrow down your home search.
- You will be able to make an offer when you’ve found a home that’s right for you.
- Depending on market conditions, you may have to act quickly.
Greater Scranton Board of Realtors – Quarterly Indicators:
Halfway through 2016 sales and prices have been going up in most areas. The number of homes for sale and total months’ supply of inventory have been going down.
Inventory of homes down (-14%) compared to the 2nd quarter of 2015
Months supply of inventory is currently 9.9 months the lowest since 2013
Closed sales for Lackawanna County are up (over 7%) for the first half of 2016
Is winter the best time to sell a home? Report says yes (JustListed 12/4/15)
Interestingly enough, the data holds true across the country, regardless of climate. This included homes listed from March 22, 2011, through March 21, 2013.
Daniel Bortz of Time recently released three tips to make selling easier in the winter.
Price It Right
The quieter winter market brings special pricing considerations. Unlike in spring, when there are more shoppers—and it may make sense to price low to try to generate a bidding war—you’re less likely to receive multiple offers.
Winter is also a bad time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market value to nab a buyer before new properties appear in spring and make yours look stale by comparison.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Winter buyers are particularly attuned to issues related to heating and maintenance. Get the furnace, HVAC and roof inspected, and make any necessary repairs. Other things to consider addressing: Clean the gutters, change air filters and weather—strip the windows.
Many cold-weather house hunters will also be thinking about heating costs. Clients should consider low-cost upgrades like insulating the attic or installing energy-efficient windows, which can slash utility bills, says Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate.
Brighten Your Home
Suggest clients warm up curb appeal with basic landscaping, and add inexther plants like holly to invigorate outdoor space. Clients should also fix chipped paint, caulk windows and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation that freezes over and creates an eyesore.
And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room, where staging can have the greatest impact, according to a National Association of Realtors report. As always, clients should de-clutter and depersonalize, as well as put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home. Clients should instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard in the summertime. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean buyers can’t appreciate what the home has to offer year-round.
Kelly Leighton – multimedia content manager at Pennsylvania Association of Realtors