Coronavirus Is Changing How Homes Look
We’ve all been spending more time at home. With quarantines and business closures, you’ve probably memorized the number of tiles in your kitchen by now. It’s no surprise that more time at home has meant some emerging trends in real estate. We’ve outlined a few things we’re seeing from renovations, new construction, and wish lists from current buyers.
Working from home is the new norm and some employers are scrapping plans to return to office life. Having a dedicated workspace inside the home is the hottest new must have.
Whether it’s hybrid classes or 100% home school, class is not fully back in session. We’re seeing flexible spaces being turned into dedicated learning spaces—essential for for both parents and children.
Having room to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home—mentally and physically—has taken a prominent role with many gyms closed or reduced capacity. Headspace, bodyspace, or space to stretch out is crucial.
A place to escape to the 4 walls we live and work is necessary, no matter the season. Outdoor spaces can become an extension of your home and weave the outdoors and indoors together, and we’re seeing plenty of new patios, decks, furniture, and revitalized lawns and gardens.
The pandemic is changing our lives, and our homes are at the center of it all. People are moving, upgrading, or downsizing, for a variety of different reasons today. You may not have space to implement all the trends we’re seeing, but if you’ve been trying to decide if now is the time to buy or upgrade your home, we recommend talking to a professional to see what’s realistic, and where you get the most bang for your buck.
There have been a few moments lately where we thought it would be handy to have a map of the different neighborhoods in SunCrest. Surely there’s an easy-to-read map of the community that we could keep handy when people post about missing pets, runaway garbage cans, or wildlife sightings, right? Well, there is now.
We had a lot of fun creating this map and we hope it’s helpful as you navigate the neighborhood or post about things going on in SunCrest.
How To Buy a House in a Competitive Market
Last month, we shared that homes for sale are in short supply. This month we’re seeing the same, but in addition, we’re now seeing a new surge of buyers enter the market. Record low interest rates have made it a great time to buy, and everyone who is stuck at home seems to want to make a change. Simply put, it’s a fiercely competitive market if you’re looking to buy a house.
Making Your Offer Stand Out
Sellers are seeing multiple offers, sometimes into the dozens. With so many offers to choose from, it’s likely that less attractive offers will be rejected. Here are 3 tips to make your offer stand out.
1) Price. Like it or not, we’re not seeing a lot of “room for negotiation.” Sellers can afford to be picky, and although you should do your due diligence to investigate the home’s value, most homes are being priced fairly and are selling at or above their listed price. If you can, cover your own loan costs and eliminate any costs you may ask a seller to pay, such as a home warranty or HOA transfer fee.
2) Timing. Being flexible with your timing can be enticing to sellers. Before submitting an offer, find out what’s most important to the seller. Would they prefer to close quickly or have a little extra time before they have to move?
3) Risk. Let’s face it, the more assurance that you as a buyer can give to a seller that the sale will actually go through, the better. Strong consideration, or earnest money, for an offer is a great start. Committing to and keeping your deadlines, and few or no variables or contingencies in your offer can help paint a low risk picture for a seller.
If you’re thinking of buying, we wouldn’t be concerned about entering the competitive market. Smart buyers are still getting wonderful homes for fair prices. However, the smartest buyers are writing strong, creative offers, and are pouncing on great homes with outstanding interest rates. Today’s landscape is definitely different and we always recommend partnering with a true expert, to navigate the housing shortage.
The Housing Shortage
Right now, we have a housing shortage. Homes for sale have been in short supply for a while now, but as businesses have adjusted to the pandemic and many workers will be at home for the foreseeable future, there’s been a surge of buyers looking to change their housing situation.
What Does This Mean?
Essentially, more people are competing to buy fewer houses. This imbalance leads to a shortage in housing, which in turn drives up home prices, creates competitive bidding wars, multiple offer scenarios, and means that houses that go up for sale tend to go under contract much faster. For buyers, buckle up, it may get bumpy. It’s not uncommon to see offers above a seller asking price, strategic contract terms, and quick timeframes. It’s likely to be competitive for the foreseeable future until we see more homes come to the market and inventory stabilizes. The good news is, rates have never been better. The average rate for a 30 year loan is now below 3%. Qualified buyers are able to purchase more homes for their money. Upsizing, downsizing, or a change of lifestyle can now mean more favorable financing, too. For sellers, there’s huge upside as more competition means you may get a better offer, if you play your cards right.
If you’re thinking of selling or selling, we wouldn’t be concerned about putting your house on the market right now or jumping into these competitive waters. There’s no better time to sell an item than when demand for it is high and supply is limited. Smart buyers who make intelligent moves and creative offers can pounce on great homes with outstanding interest rates. Today’s landscape is definitely different and we always recommend partnering with a true expert, to navigate the housing shortage.
Having a great real estate professional on your team when buying or selling a house can be a huge help, and can save you loads of stress, hassle, headache, and money.
But how do you hire a Realtor? We always recommend interviewing an agent before hiring them, and here are a few sample questions to consider in the interview process.
Having a great real estate professional on your team when buying or selling a house can be a huge help, and can save you loads of stress, hassle, headache, and money. But how do you hire a Realtor? We always recommend interviewing an agent before hiring them, and below are a few sample questions to consider in the interview process.
What’s your experience in the industry?
While tenure in the industry may be an important factor to consider, think about continuing education. Ongoing trainings, mentorships, and professional involvement are critical to an agent’s continued success and longevity. To be licensed, a real estate agent needs just over a hundred hours of coursework, but there is no minimum education, vocational training, or on the job experience requirement. Understanding how an agent is staying active, involved, and educated in the field will help you understand how your values may align.
What’s your experience in the neighborhood?
Neighborhoods have stories to tell and it’s important they are told right. People buy into communities just as much as they do the individual home. We recommend asking about real-life experience in your area and their ability to service it. Agents who know the neighborhood and its nearby amenities, schools, and attractions will much more effectively sell a home, and much more earnestly help you buy your own.
What’s included in your services?
From pre-listing activities, price guidance, a Multiple Listing Service posting, contract negotiations and management, and general advice (to name a few), there’s no standard model for “what’s included” and many agents, teams, and brokerages vary. Understanding what’s included ahead of time can potentially eliminate surprises down the road.
Where and how will my home be marketed?
In the past 20 years, real estate has gone from paper printouts to 3D tours. Every agent will have a different strategy for marketing their clients’ homes, so you’ll want to know exactly how your agent plans to find buyers for your home. Local, domestic, international. Print, digital, and social media. Open houses and virtual walkthroughs. Know their plan, and ask why they believe it’s right for your home.
In your own words, why should we hire you?
This is a good open ended question that allows the agents you’re interviewing to answer how they feel best. Take note of how they answer and what they say. Does it align with your goals and timing? In most cases, you’ll be working regularly with your agent on what is most people’s biggest purchase of their life, so you want to make sure you can work well together.
It’s up to you to find the right real estate agent, and the more prepared you are when you decide to interview them, the better. Take the time to figure out what you want from your agent, and find the right fit to help guide you through the process from start to finish.
Maximizing your outdoor space
People love to come to SunCrest for the clean air, the gorgeous views of the mountains, and to recreate, energize and rejuvenate in nature. When it comes to our homes, adding a functional outdoor exterior patio, deck or entertaining space can become an extension of your home and weave the outdoors and indoors together – a perfect compliment to the SunCrest Lifestyle.
Utah receives about 300 days of sunshine a year. Expanding our living spaces into our yards allows us to create specific areas to make memories, gather with family and friends, or find a quiet respite from our busy lives.
Through the use of adding things like visual screenings in our landscapes, cooking stations, gatherings spaces, placement of comfortable furniture and other design elements, we can improve not only the value of our homes but our quality of life in our SunCrest homes.
There’s nothing like a SunCrest sunrise or sunset. Maximizing your outdoor space to compliment one of the many views that SunCrest offers is not only a fun and relaxing way to spend your time living here, but outdoor spaces are common “must haves” on buyers wish lists. Considering an update? We’d love to share our opinion on what’s trending.
How has COVID-19 affected real estate?
We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how real estate is handling the COVID-19 situation. We’re going to break it down into two parts: How is the real estate market performing, and second, what are we advising when it comes to buying and selling homes?
Are buyers and sellers still moving forward?
The short answer: yes. The long answer. Let’s look
at the data. Almost immediately following local announcements of stay at home orders, we saw a sharp decrease in showings according to ShowingTime Showing Service – Utah’s leading provider for home showing analytics. Through the end of March, showings continued to trend downward as many home sellers and buyers adjusted to our temporary new normal. Showing activity has since increased since the beginning of April.
But are people buying and selling? Even if homes aren’t being shown as much, they’re still selling. March 2020 does not show any significant changes in number of homes listed or sold when compared to the previous three years. However, looking forward to April, we do anticipate a decline in pending home sales, as the number of current homes under contract is down versus previous years.
How are homes being bought and sold during a pandemic?
One thing is constant—change! Much of the transactional process of buying and selling already went through a paperless transition thanks to cloud storage, electronic signatures, and technology-driven startups that complement a Realtor’s workflow. Real Estate was declared an essential service and things like inspections, appraisals, and walkthroughs are being handled with extra caution and should follow recommended guidelines. We’ve seen increases in 3D tour experiences, more attention driven to digital media, and a stronger emphasis on virtual tours in lieu of (or prior to) physical tours. In-person walk throughs often have gloves, shoe booties, sanitizers, and only those purchasing are encouraged to tour the home.
In short, people still want to buy and sell homes right now, and with extra care we’re seeing the market adapt. If you have any questions throughout all of this, don’t hesitate to call, message, or email. We’re here to help.
Our SunCrest Market Update is a hyper-local analysis of the most up-to-date information regarding the SunCrest real estate market. The previous month’s SunCrest housing information and future editions are released monthly.
4th Quarter Utah Market Report
- The number of homes for sale in the final quarter of the year was 14.4% lower than in the same period a year ago and 21.3% lower than the third quarter of 2019.
- The average home price in the region continued to rise in the fourth quarter, with a year-over-year increase of 9.5% to an average of $403,186.
- Inventory levels remain low, even in the face of modestly increasing market time.
Wondering what this may mean if you’re looking to buy or sell? The market looks different throughout the year so you’ll need a season-specific game plan. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.