This year will be the last year, as foreseen by experts, that a low inventory in the housing market will help raise prices for sellers. Foreclosure and distressed properties are going away, and sellers stand to gain from this lack of available houses for sale. Considering the years behind us since the bust in 2008, sellers will be able to breathe again and hope for a steady stream of buyers competing for their home. Buyers out there, knowing that interest rates will be going up, with home prices following that trend at the same time, will be feeling the pinch of underwriting restrictions.
In a normal year and market, home values are expected to rise about 3% a year. This year a 4.5% increase is expected by the end of the year, but will not this keep this pace for years to come. So sellers can take advantage of this good news and expect to see this steady gain translate into their home values rising beyond the 2007 peak, near the end of 2018.
So with this good news, here is good advice for the coming year, so you can protect your equity and your future home plans.
Work with a licensed REALTOR like myself; trained and experienced in home selling, as opposed to an agent, who sells homes. When people invest time, money and effort into obtaining an advanced status, you will receive more professional service that will equate, for you, a better experience and most likely more money for your home.
Demand a Buyer’s pre-approval letter –not just a pre-qualification, before accepting any offer. I always contact the buyer’s mortgage broker to find out how much information already has been gathered from the buyer, not only credit review but also income and debt analysis, because you do not want any surprises later.
Use an official legal Florida Association of Realtors contract, not something pulled off the internet by you or an agent. This contract protects your rights, as well as, the buyers for a smoother closing.
To determine the seriousness of your potential buyer always require the buyer to put his money where his/her mouth is: ask for at least a 1%, if not higher in some circumstances, in Escrow Deposit funds upfront, once the offer is signed by both parties.
A home inspection by the buyer can make or break a sale. You can foresee some repairs, by hiring a home inspector prior to your listing, and either repair any items found yourself or be able to identify to potential buyers what to expect, in the sellers disclosure. As in any profession, credentials are important. Inspectors can be certified by ASHI and conform to tighter training and regulations. You can ask for a shorter time on the contract to have inspections…lessening the time your home is off-the-market, should the buyer decide to rescind the contract, if the inspection does not meet their expectations, in regards to repairs being needed by the home.