So you decided it's time to move for any number of reasons. Now it's time to find a real estate agent to help. As the average person know 9.2 real estate agents, how do you decide which one to choose? Coming from a seasoned agent, here are a couple of pointers.
First, use someone who has the Realtor designation. This person has opted to be a part of a nation-wide group called the National Board of Realtors, which holds its members to a higher standard of ethics then those who are not members. Don't you want to work with someone that excels in ethics? Of course you do.
Next, choose an agent that has chosen real estate as their career – where real estate is a full time job, not just a hobby. Shockingly, 73 percent of real estate agents have another job. These agents have limited knowledge and experience which may negatively affect the outcome of your transaction. They also don't have the time to devote to your situation. Would you go to a part time doctor for surgery or a part time lawyer for important legal advise? I don't think so. Why risk a horrible experience that can be financially damaging on your largest lifetime investment.
Experience is key. While there are many components in a real estate transaction that are constant (filling out paperwork, arranging photography, holding open houses), other areas need expertise. An agents experience really counts when it comes time for negotiating, which happens all throughout the transaction starting with the initial offer, then the inspection and right through to the closing. Coordinating the various steps of your transaction can be daunting, but not for an experienced agent. We've been doing this long enough to know how to get things done.
And lastly, what is the reputation of the Realtor you are considering? Do they come recommended or are you just taking a shot in the dark? Align yourself with someone you feel you can trust. This might come via a personal referral or maybe you read glowing recommendations on websites that are client driven such as Trulia or Zillow. You will be spending a lot of time with your agent and making some pretty big decisions with their help. Equally, you must trust them to make decisions on your behalf throughout the entire transaction. Are you satisfied with their capabilities?
In the end, what is personally important to you in your Realtor. Experience? Commitment? Designations? Recommendations? Probably a combination of all of these. It's best to interview a few candidates to see which one is most compatible with your needs. Ask tough questions and listen carefully to their answers. One thing for certain is that you should be looking for a trusted counselor to skillfully guide you through the entire process, not just a facilitator of paperwork. Take the time up front to work through this process and you are bound to enjoy a smooth real estate transaction.
As I officially welcome in the new year and set about creating a plan for a successful 2015, I think it is key to look back over the last year and see where the real estate market is trending. The general feeling within our industry is one of optimism. And with reviewing the progress made from December 2014 to December 2015, I can understand why. Let me share this with you.
There are a number of key factors showing growth in our markets here in Whatcom County. When comparing this December with last December, the number of homes pending are up by 31% and the number of homes closed are up by 18.2%. During this same time frame, we have also seen a rise in price per square foot for homes sold – from $148 to $155. Then we are witnessing the decrease in our current inventory this year, from 5.7 months of inventory to only 4.6 months today. The graph below shows monthly inventory and monthly solds. All of these factors combined with historically low interest rates (30 year at 3.875%) help to create a great opportunity for sellers.
Buyers can also benefit from the current market by taking advantage of the low interest rates. Within the past few months, banks have loosened their “death” grip on the money they have to lend. As well, the Federal government has declared a substantial decrease in private mortgage insurance (required by all lenders for borrowers with less than 20% down) which gives you more buying power. Wonderful programs such as USDA & VA zero down loans and FHA 3.5% down loans are now available to qualified borrower.
Buying and selling real estate is a process. An educated buyer or seller is definitely a more satisfied client. Let my 23+ years of working with people just like you to find the perfect fit become your wealth of information. Call me to begin formulating your plan for success – 360-961-8052 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Yes. You heard me correctly. New listings are needed now throughout Whatcom County! Contrary to the belief that real estate sales stop during the holidays, there are actually people out in search of their next home right now. I was with two different families yesterday and sadly, we were very limited in the number of homes we could view. And so our search continues…
What typically happens this time of year is that real estate is forgotten by most people while they turn their attentions to the holiday at hand – the Christmas season. The number of people putting their homes on the market drops by about 50 percent this time of year. However, the number of those homes selling during this same time only drops by 25 percent, creating an inventory void. Take a look at the chart below which illustrates this from our local Multiple Listing Service.
This void in housing choices for those looking to buy can create an opportune time for home sellers to list and sell their home. So if you are toying with the idea of listing your home for sale, you don’t need to wait until spring like everybody else. Give me a call today to move forward on listing your home now to take advantage of this inventory void. Let’s make it happen!