<br /><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/3-30-16-realestateagent-245×300.jpg” alt=”3-30-16-realestateagent” width=”245″ height=”300″ class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-941″ /><br />Whenever a buyer or seller is set to enter the market, they find themselves faced with the task of identifying the Moreno Valley real estate agent who will serve them best. There are many of us to choose from—and not a lot guidance on how to proceed. <br /><br />Maybe there should be something like a Real Estate Agent Dowser. You remember dowsers—the folks who divine where to drill for ground water. Most do it by walking around, holding a dowsing rod (usually Y-shaped). When it shivers or points down, BINGO! That’s where the water is. Pay the fee and call the drilling company. Now, it’s said that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that dowsing works. Yet there are plenty of folks who live out in the country who will tell you that, of course it’s hard to believe, but still… That’s why dowsing is a real occupation. Just ask any one of the American Society of Dowsers’ 3,000 members…<br /><br />Here in Moreno Valley, when you set out to find a real estate agent to help with buying or selling a home, there is no American Society of Real Estate Agent Dowsers to help. Fortunately, Moreno Valley’s real estate agents aren’t as hard to find as underground water pockets—but even so, detecting which of us is best suited to be your partner is no “gimme.”<br /><br />One good solution is to interview the candidates with an eye toward finding out how they stack up against three practical benchmarks:<br /><br />Selling Skill. A great real estate agent is a great salesperson—easy to talk to, sympathetic to your needs—genuinely likeable. When you are interviewing potential agents, offer an objection or two to test how seamlessly the conversation proceeds. The most valuable sales representatives are those who can adapt to resistance without batting an eye, or letting negativity prevail. <br />Current knowledge and experience. Being able to provide accurate and fact-based market information and analysis is an important indicator— as is having successfully performed in a variety of Moreno Valley real estate transactions.<br />Negotiation Skill. When all else points to a good fit, discuss the terms that candidate proposes between you. Your chosen real estate agent will be negotiating on your behalf—so your agent’s ability to present hard business matters in a relaxed and amenable way will serve you well. <br /><br /><strong><em>When you become your own real estate agent dowser, you won’t need a witch hazel stick to point the way. A few thoughtful interviews will do the trick—and I hope you’ll be sure to give me a call as soon as you go dowsing!</em></strong>
<br /><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/3-30-homesales.jpg” alt=”3-30-homesales” width=”240″ height=”210″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-939″ /><br />Even the least vigilant of Moreno Valley’s market-watchers had their antennae out last week, the traditional time of month when real estate statistics are released from the most authoritative sources. National trends in home sales frequently provide clues to the direction the Moreno Valley market is likely to take—and with the spring selling season already under way, this is the time of year when movements can be more volatile than usual.<br /><br />Last week’s data was less exciting than has been the case in recent years—and what movement there was seemed to leave opinion-makers perplexed. The Associated Press writers put it this way:<br /><br />“The housing market enters the traditional spring buying season facing a quandary.” <br /><br />When you are interested in clues to how home sales are likely to fare, words like “quandary” don’t help. It was in fact glass-half-full/glass-half-empty kind of news. You could see what you wanted to see. <br /><br />If you were a pessimistic type, your predisposition might have been bolstered by The New York Times Headline, “Existing Home Sales Drop More Than Expected.” There it was! Confirmation of a downturn in activity. Though you could have admitted that the trend might not extend to every corner of the country, the possibility that Moreno Valley home sales might now head south couldn’t be denied. The New York Times said so!<br /><br />On the other hand, if you were among Moreno Valley’s more numerous optimistic observers, reading the same news left you thinking that the very same headline was actually slightly misleading. It was based on the National Association of Realtors® report that talked about home sales prices continuing to rise. The “home sales drop” was only (as the headline actually read) against what had been “expected.” Sales levels had been sizzling for months, so expectations had been high (not among the pessimists, certainly). But the numbers showed that existing home sales were actually 2.2% higher than a year earlier! <br /><br />Reading the entire NAR report could explain why The New York Times emerged with a quandary. In it, readers learned that U.S. job growth “continues to hum along at a robust pace” which could explain why “overall demand for buying is still solid entering the busy spring season.” But then they learned that “anxiety about the health of the economy is holding back a segment of would-be buyers.” On one hand, there was the 48th consecutive month of “steadfast price growth;” on the other, “unshakably low supply levels.” The share of first time home buyers fell 30%; yet the share of first time home buyers “is up 29% from a year ago.” <br /><br />The Times’ quandary was certainly understandable. But although not much light may have been shed on the prognosis for home sales in Moreno Valley, a couple of factors could have been deduced. In the coming months, home sales certainly won’t “be affected by the large East Coast blizzard” that had impacted February numbers. <br /><br /><em><strong>What is likely to affect sales is the continuation of tantalizingly low 30-year, conventional fixed-rate mortgage rates, “the lowest since April 2015.” If that kind of encouragement has you interested in checking out the current crop of great Moreno Valley home offerings, I hope you’ll forego the quandary altogether—just give me a call!</strong></em>
<br /><img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/3-1-16-spring-300×199.jpg” alt=”3-1-16-spring” width=”300″ height=”199″ class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-861″ /><br />Moreno Valley’s spring selling season is underway!<br /><br />Okay—it’s understandable if that seems like a somewhat premature announcement, but it is verifiable from any number of sources. Never mind that this year, spring doesn’t officially arrive in Moreno Valley until March 20…but that’s only what astronomers say (and they can’t even decide whether Pluto is a planet). Meteorologists take issue with them, anyway. It’s always March 1 as far as meteorologists are concerned. But this year’s Godzilla El Niño has made everything they say subject to revision. And anyway, we’re talking about real estate—and when it comes to real estate, spring is here already! <br /><br />Now, it may be true that if you look on one of those bank calendars you got in the mail last December, it’s likely to tell you that we’re weeks away from the change in seasons. And depending on what the latest weather seems to be doing, winter may seem to be hanging on for a while longer. <br /><br />But nimble Moreno Valley real estate watchers know they can’t believe everything they read (or see happening outside in the garden). Cherry blossoms can’t call the shots when it comes to announcing Moreno Valley’s spring selling season, any more than tulips can. And that groundhog can stay in his den, for all the difference it makes to home sales.<br /><br />This is fact: according to the real estate industry’s calendar, the spring selling season—in Moreno Valley and everywhere else across the nation—has definitely sprung! <br /><br />Supporting evidence has flooded in from everywhere. For example:<br /><br />⦁ Home Depot just announced it is hiring 80,000 workers for spring. These are the folks who work the cash registers [nowadays, shouldn’t they be called “plastic card registers?”] and help us wander up and down the aisles, looking for things we can’t describe exactly. Without them, spring wouldn’t be the same. With them, spring is clearly underway.<br />⦁ Internet real estate behemoth Zillow came out advising that everybody who is thinking about taking advantage of the spring selling season should start preparing their property “NOW”—and that was two weeks ago! <br />⦁ CNBC put it in real time: “Spring housing season kicks off with record short supply” was their headline. If CNBC says so, who could argue?<br />⦁ Baseball teams have hightailed it into camp. That should end the discussion…<br /><br /><strong><em>These harbingers of the spring selling season should certainly mean more than robins hopping across lawns or yellow and pink Peeps appearing on grocery store shelves. And even for any overly cautious souls who decide to wait for the bank calendars’ say-so, taking full advantage of the spring selling season in Moreno Valley necessarily calls for advance preparation. A strong way to start is by giving me a call!</em></strong>
“Is now a good time to sell?”
A Moreno Valley home is never put up for sale on a whim. Although outside events can conspire to control the timing of that kind of major real estate venture, in most cases, the sale or purchase of a home happens on a timetable the Moreno Valley buyer or seller thoughtfully works out. That can be when a move will least interfere with everything else that’s going on (school and career schedules are often the ruling considerations). Or, it can be when surrounding conditions seem particularly auspicious.
The answer to the “is now a good time to sell” question looked to be a pretty firm ‘yes’ last fall for a number of reasons. The rebound in Moreno Valley home values had been underway for long enough that in many instances, previous high water marks had been equaled. Many who would have expected low appraisals as few years back could now anticipate friendlier results. The volume of sales seemed mainly limited by the number of homes being offered; and if fewer competing properties were available, all the better. In the background, good economic news began to arrive more frequently…
Also, there was one well-publicized additional factor that made it look as if the “good time to sell” might not last much longer. It was widely anticipated that action by the Federal Reserve Board to finally raise the Fed funds rate would rain on the Moreno Valley real estate parade, since that would certainly force banks to raise home loan interest rates.
Nationwide, those reasons had the expected result. Per Reuters in last Friday’s New York Times, apparently it had been a very good time to sell. “HOME RESALES RALLIED IN DECEMBER, AND PRICES ROSE AS WELL” was the headline describing last month’s activity. Unseasonably warm weather had helped, but “buyers rushing into the market in anticipation of higher mortgage rates” may have been more of a factor.
Sure enough, the Fed did raise the benchmark Fed funds rate, causing mortgage interest rates to…er…
That’s where the analyses, expectations, predictions, forecasts and conjecture fell to pieces. The banks were supposed to have to raise home loan rates to match, yet by last Friday they had shed another quarter of a percent. As the Times reported, “…rates on 30-year mortgages have dropped below 4%, and many mortgage experts expect them to stay below 4.25% this year.”
As the Moreno Valley real estate market prepares for the upcoming spring selling season, that unexpected boost seems to herald a lengthy extension of the extremely favorable borrowing environment. When Moreno Valley homeowners ask themselves “is now a good time to sell?”—the answer seems to have gone from a “yes” to “yes, indeed!”
If your response to the buying or selling question is tipping toward a ‘yes,’ now is the time to explore how your plans mesh with today’s Moreno Valley market. A good start: give me a call!
If you go down to any Moreno Valley hardware store, you’ll be able to find them. They are right there in the corner, somewhere on the rack that has all the ‘GARAGE SALE’ and ‘BEWARE OF DOG’ placards. They’re the ‘FOR SALE BY OWNER’ signs.
They cost about $8.99 ($17.98 for two). Or, it is also possible to buy a couple of “For Sale by Owner” signs online for about the same price (although getting them delivered to Moreno Valley might run extra).
No matter which way you would get hold of the signs, you should be alerted to some possible extra costs. I don’t mean ‘shipping and handling’ charges you sometimes find tacked onto other offers. These are extras that have cost other sign purchasers thousands of dollars.
Naturally, anyone who buys a ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign has decided to sell their Moreno Valley house on their own rather than going with the crowd and listing through a Moreno Valley Realtor®.
The sign purchaser has probably made that decision for one of two reasons. The first is the less likely—namely, being convinced that he or she will do a better job. Selling your house without the specialized tools—the marketing connections, office backup, support of the professional real estate community—lacks most of the appeal of other Do-It-Yourself projects. Even just handling the technical details (hmmmm…where am I going to put the deposit money so it’s in escrow—or whatever they call it…).
The second reason is much more likely: saving commission dollars! Just thinking about the car you could buy with the savings makes for an appealing daydream…until you remember that you will probably have to pay half of the intended savings to the buyer’s agent. Maybe it’s a used car you could buy…after you’ve paid to post the listing; bought media advertising; maybe printed up some full color marketing materials…
But those aren’t the most crucial ‘extra’ costs associated with those ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs. The extras are head-turning. The latest figures from the NAR show that the ultimate price paid for a FSBO home was $39,000 less than for agent-assisted sales (which typically sold for 98% of their listing prices). The reasons may be many—the most frequently cited being that real estate professionals are experts in attracting qualified buyers. It is, after all, what we do!
So the all-in cost for a couple of ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs could be calculated using a whimsical formula like:
FSBO Cost = 2 x $8.99 + Y
Where Y=a total unknown, but it well might be as much or more that the cost of the car the sign buyer had been hoping to save.
More seriously, though, only 8% of U.S. homes wind up being sold by owners acting alone. Something like 70% of homeowners who tried to sell their homes themselves eventually go with an agent. Then their outlay for ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs is a 100% loss (the hardware store won’t pay anything for the used ones). The good news is, you can avoid all those costs—hidden and otherwise. Just call me: I’ll provide the signs!
When you read up on the dos and don’ts for selling your home, there is one piece of advice that’s universal when it comes to negotiating a successful deal: don’t let emotions get in the way. It does seem peculiar that something that is so obvious about any negotiation would have to be stated at all—much less repeated so often. You have to conclude that it happens a lot.
It does, and there are deep-seated reasons. Although selling your Moreno Valley home is primarily a business venture, it’s one with some of the emotional overtones usually associated with creative endeavors. When an artist or sculptor, jewelry designer or photographer—any creative professional—decides to offer works for sale to the public, it’s nearly impossible for him or her to remain completely objective about how it is received. Or to avoid forming feelings about those who accept or reject the creation.
Selling your Moreno Valley home only seems to be all business. True, it’s a single-transaction enterprise. It begins with preparing the property, and concludes with negotiating to close the deal. Every step of the process may seem to be all business. But in reality, it’s almost unavoidable for emotional cross currents to seep in from the very first step.
Consider preparing the property. If there were such a thing as a perfect home, this would be a cut-and-dried affair: all it would involve would be to eliminate every flaw. But since perfection exists only in some alternate universe, deciding which of a home’s features need to be enhanced, replaced, or done away with altogether involves making subjective judgments. Some of these can require paying significant amounts of money; others, significant amounts of elbow grease.
When the work is done and the results are first put on display, it’s like Opening Night. It is only human to feel personally connected with how prospective buyers react. Not only is the ‘product’ that’s being evaluated one that reflects your tastes and efforts—it’s also where you live! Your home, for goodness’ sake! It deserves to be appreciated at the very least…
Especially when it comes to the negotiations phase of selling your Moreno Valley home, this is one business venture wherein it’s nearly impossible to avoid the personal element. Acknowledging it is simple. And knowledge is power—if you expect that you might experience an emotional reaction at some point, you’ll recognize it for what it is. If it’s an overreaction, you will be much more likely to be able to simply take a deep breath, put it into perspective—and come up with an appropriate response.
“A lot of times buyers and sellers will argue tooth and nail over things that aren’t really that important,” New York City closing attorney Sandor Krauss blogged recently; “and sometimes it blows deals.”
One of the great advantages to having a Moreno Valley agent by your side when selling your Moreno Valley home is to have an experienced intermediary working on your behalf. It can put you at a professional remove from the direct negotiations with buyers—and their emotions! If you will be selling your home in Moreno Valley this winter or fall, I hope you’ll give me a call!
For years, there was little debate about the need for open houses in Moreno Valley: almost without exception, unless the seller of a Moreno Valley home objected, at least one or two open houses were an accepted part of how most real estate agents went about marketing the property.
Today, along with all the other changes that define modern real estate marketing, the potency of open houses is up for serious debate. Virtual online tours are increasingly popular among Moreno Valley real estate sellers and buyers—the ‘use’ statistics that tell agents how often the different parts of their sites are viewed prove that. Since open houses were formerly held in order to display a property to members of the general public—and since virtual tours do the same thing—it’s truly a question that deserves a hard look.
Here are three of the main reasons I see frequently cited for why open houses are still useful—and some both pros and cons for each:
1. Open Houses Can Bring Higher Prices
Pro: Open houses are most important for high demand properties when there is low inventory for similar homes. It can be possible to stage open houses in combination with delayed offer reviews—in this scenario, the seller hosts several open houses leading up to a final date when he or she will review competing offers.
Con: The same is accomplished with well-produced virtual tours. Interested viewers then contact the agent, who is able to qualify the prospects who will be invited for an actual on-site showing. Competing offers are just as likely to develop.
2. Open Houses Are More Convenient for Sellers
Pro: People want to sell their Moreno Valley homes as quickly as possible if for no other reason than they must keep their houses spotless and organized while on the market. Open houses are one way for sellers to have to prepare fewer times for their home to be displayed to buyers.
Con: Virtual tours accomplish the same thing for a far broader cross-section of the public. Professional photographers use their photo session to record the property at its spotless best, which is then on display 24/7/365—not just for one or two days!
3. Open Houses are More Convenient for Prospective Buyers
Pro: Interested parties can pop in for an on-site tour without the hassle of contacting the agent and scheduling an appointment—basically, of making even a minor level of commitment in advance of knowing much about the property. Open houses thus broaden the property’s exposure.
Con: Serious home shoppers are going online en masse; the effort expended on an open house is better spent preparing for interested, qualified buyers.
Every Moreno Valley home for sale presents uniquely individual marketing opportunities and challenges. Ruling out open houses (or ruling them in) as a one-size-fits-all solution is not the way I expand the reach and appeal of the properties I represent.
To talk about how we can maximize your own Moreno Valley real estate opportunity, just give me a call!