Aug. 20, 2022

Home Showings In The Rain

Everyone loves home showing days when the temps are just right, the sky is blue, and there's not a cloud in the sky, but what about all those other days when those conditions are not the case.  Let's take rain for example.  The day is overcast - not dangerous storms - and home showings are on the schedule.  Is it a good day to see homes?  Well, maybe.  While we all enjoy what we consider beautiful days, the not-so-beautiful days can be helpful too.  One of the major issues an inspector looks for on a home is if it has issues with water.  Those are usually related whether water properly drains away from a home, and if a home takes on water from any flooding or rising of water levels.  Well, what better time to see that then when it's been raining.  So, yes, seeing homes in the rain can be very beneficial.  Sure, it's an inconvenience navigating from car to home each time, but buyers get to see how well each lot drains and that may help with the decision if each home is a potential candidate for purchasing.

 

Posted in Buyers, Real Estate
Aug. 12, 2022

How To Price My Home?

It's often thought that a home (or anything else for that matter) is worth what someONE will pay for it.  Well, there is some truth to that... if you're willing to wait for that ONE buyer and that buyer is paying 100% cash.  In real estate, "worth" or "value" is determined on a broader scale and much of the reason for that is homes are often financed - meaning they're being purchased with someone else's money and that person or entity wants to be reassured that they not unknowingly lending more than the collateral (the home) is worth in case is needs to be liquidated to recover the borrowed funds.  The best way to determine the market value of real estate is through historical data that shows a track record of how buyers valued similar (or comparable) properties.  The word "comp" is often used much more loosely than it's actual definition.  A "comp" is a property that extremely similar to the subject property, and where differences occur there have been financial adjustments to make them similar.  This is done through a formal appraisal process and often during a comparative market analysis.  There can also be adjustments to the determined value based on how the market is trending.  To determine the value of a property, research is done within databases (usually the local MLS) to discover the most similar properties (including location) that have sold in the recent past followed by making financial adjustments for the differences.

How much is my home worth?

Can I (the seller) set my price?

Sellers always set the price they want to list their home for - hopefully after appreciating the counsel of their real estate professional.  Listing for a price and selling for that price are not always the same thing though, so it's wise to list a property for the genuine value rather than attempting to shoot for the stars.  A careful look at past sales of comparable properties (not just properties nearby) in combination with market conditions will allow for calculating a projected value for the home being sold.

 

Should I price high to allow for negotiations?

Sellers often tend to have emotional connections to their homes which causes them to over-price, so if a seller wishes to price highly on top of what may already be an inflated price the seller could be doing themselves a disservice.  It's always best to price a home based on the factual information provided by historical sales combined with the current market conditions.  Pricing too highly may cost the seller exposure of the home by discouraging buyers from even coming to view the home.  Pricing appropriately is justified by research and will bring the most applicable buyers for the home.

 

The summary to the question about how to price a home is complex and does not have a one-size-fits-all answer, but with proper research in historical data combined with an analysis of the current market conditions, proper pricing is attainable to net the seller the most without the listing becoming stale.

Aug. 7, 2022

3 FAQs by Sellers Before Listing

When homeowners are considering selling their home, there are nearly an endless list of questions.  Questions that a real estate professional should be happy to and well-qualified to answer.  While there are so many and usually relate to specifics about the specific property and market, here are a few very common questions that homeowners ask before actually listing their home on the market.

FAQ Home Sellers

When is the best time to sell my home?

This is a very individual question because so many aspects come into play to determine "best".  You have the personal side of the home sale process and the market side of things including buyer and conditions timing.  When it comes to the personal side of selling your home, it includes timing situations that may include job transitions, a school year calendar, personal preference of holiday interruptions, personal celebrations, and sometimes any long-term situations a family may be encountering.  Those need to be considered so that the personal lives of any family members can best be synced up with the transition.  On the market side of things, this can depend on where the real estate is located.  For example, a home or property being sold in a vacation area may have peak market times that differ from an area more concentrated with full-time residents.  Another aspect is the property type.  Some property types (single family home, condo, farm, etc.) may have seasonal trends to them that may affect the best time to sell.  The fact is that homes sell all year round and more traditional urban/suburb areas have a more stable trend through the year that people would think.  There is often a rise in activity during mid/late spring, but it's really something that is answered after some analysis of the property type and area it's located in.

 

What are the market conditions like?

With how much information society has pushed in front of them today, many homeowners have a preliminary feel for the real estate market is like before asking this question.  The more refined question is "How do the current market conditions affect me?" which is very logical question and varies with each property.  For example, a real estate market may be hot, but it may include a transition where buyers are moving outward from urban cores and to the suburbs.  In this case, the market is performing well, but if a seller owns a property in the urban core, the answer to them may be different than the answer to a seller in the suburbs.  So, much like the timing of a sale, market conditions can be relative to the property type and its location.  In general terms though, sellers are looking to know if the market is strong and that can be answered by studying statistics like absorption rates, progressions of list and sales prices, days on market, and percentage of list price that sellers are receiving.  Those can be indicators of the overall market conditions for a specific area.

 

How should I prepare my home to sell?

Just as every home is unique, so is the preparation for market.  What needs to be done, will there be a positive return on the investment, and a sellers willingness to perform those tasks are all things to consider when preparing a home to sell.  In an ultra hot market when homes regularly receive multiple offers, it's often though that no or little prep is needed, however, the principles of economics still hold true.  Demand will help drive price levels, and what helps create demand is perceived value by buyers.  In the home selling process that is often done by having a home in great condition with top presentation to buyers.  This includes having a high level of curb appeal through proper care of the lawn, landscaping, and concrete/hardscaped areas.  First impressions may determine if the buyer even comes inside for the showing.  The interior of the home should be ultra clean and decluttered.  The condition of the interior should be at a high level that often includes a level of repair that has been deferred over the years along with some freshening of finishes such as paint and carpet.  Perceived value will also rise to another level if home components are all functioning without the need of repair, and are of a relatively young age.  Every case is different.  Some homes go on the market when they're only a year or two old and if taken care of they may need very little effort.  Other homes that are older or that may have had less care may need a higher level of investment of time and cost to appeal to buyers at a price level sought by the seller.  A real estate professional and sometimes their team of resources can analyze each home and project the optimum level of attention for each home in order for the seller to not only get the highest price, but also to net the most in their pocket.

 

July 31, 2022

In which months do most homes sell?

This is one question that all Realtors are asked regularly.  Keep in mind that this is not the same question as "Which time of year should I sell my home?".  That's an entirely different question.  Here' we're going to take a look at the Middle Tennessee area including the counties of Willamson which includes cites like Franklin & Brentwood, Davidson which is Nashville, Rutherford which includes cities like Murfreesboro, Wilson that includes Lebanon and Mt. Juliet, Sumner that includes Hendersonville, and Maury that includes part of Spring Hill and Columbia.

Market conditions explained

For those reading this in the future, it should be noted that in the years of late 2019 through early 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic had a great impact on worldly economics including real estate.  In many cases, it was predicted that real estate would come to a stop with all the restrictions and stay-home mandates.  The opposite ended up being true, and the real estate world lit up on fire causing spikes in demand and shortages of inventory.  Political and societal unrest combined with Covid had many people leaving urban cores and heading for the suburbs and beyond.  The new advancements in technology for working remotely (from home) have reset the mindset of many people and they now choose to live where they choose.  All of this caused huge demands, extreme multiple offer situations (10, 20, 30+ offers), paying well over list price - sometimes up to 30-40%), waiving of inspections & appraisals, and quick closings.  All of this is important as the data is viewed - especially in the years of late 2020 when people started venturing out more and throughout 2021.

Home sales reports

Once 2022 arrived, inflation started rising and by spring, the Fed started adjusting interest rates to curtail the rise.  By mid-summer, rates stabilized for the moment.  All of this caused some buyers to hit the pause button, while others chose to purchase before the rates climbed too high.

All of that is important because the last 20-30 months have been more different than most have seen in their lives, so it's important to apply that to the results.  I'm also licensed in Florida, and that market shows a very different set of curves in their graph, so what occurred has much to do with which market someone was in.

When to sell is a different question

I'm often asked about which month produces the most home sales, and I always remind the person asking that home sell all year long.  Late spring and early summer usually see a bump due to people coming out of the winter-mode, they're sprucing up their homes, and if moves relate to school at all those home buyers are acting so that they can make their move over the summer vacation.  As you'll see in the graph though, much of the year has a very strong sales record that is fairly constant.  Sometimes the holidays bring a mix because buying & selling during the holidays can be a hassle, but as shown... a lot of people do it and they are usually very serious about it because they're willing to do it in between all the hustle & bustle of the holidays.

Now, as mentioned... "When should you sell YOUR home?" is a different question that we're most willing to help you answer.  Simply reach out and we'll evaluate your plans.

 

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July 7, 2022

Market Report June 2022

The summer in Middle Tennessee has kept the home sales strong, but inflation continues to rise and so do the interest rates in an attempt to reduce the inflation rise. As we mentioned previously, rising interest rates do cause some home buyers to hit the pause button.  For others, it can cause a pressing of the stop button with an uncertain plan forward.  On the other hand, there's another group of buyers who decide to go ahead and purchase before rates climb too high, so there are still plenty of home sales going on in the midst of a normalization of the market.  Days on market numbers will creep a little higher which actually provides options to buyers.  After 24 months of chasing homes, waiving inspections and appraisals, bidding well over asking price, and continuing to lose, home buyers will not have a calmer environment in which to act.  Sellers, don't worry... homes are still selling and for strong prices.  It's also predicted the home prices will continue to rise - just not at the crazy-fast rates we've seen over the last 24 months.  All in all, this adjustment should bring a calming effect to the market.  Maybe everyone can take a minute to breath again.

So, let's see what happened in some Middle Tennessee counties in June 2022.  Counties include Davidson (Nashville)WilliamsonMauryWilsonSumner, and Rutherford.  

Williamson county real estate market report June 2022

Davidson county real estate market report June 2022

Wilson county real estate market report June 2022

Rutherford county real estate market report June 2022

Maury county real estate market report June 2022

Sumner county real estate market report June 2022

 

 

July 7, 2022

How to price a home and when to reduce

Home price adjustment

Pricing of a home or property involves a lot of variables.  There are the statistical aspects which are derived from data often pulled from the local MLS which includes key pieces of information like the quantity of properties sold, list price, selling price, days on market, and in-depth details on those properties.  Contrary to what much of the public thinks, "comping" isn't simply what the home down the street sold for.  Comping involves matching homes and calculating monetary off-sets for the differences in order to arrive at a value of the subject home.  Although that provides statistical data, there is also the human factor.  How people perceive the home... including the seller.  Most sellers have some level of emotional attachment to their home.  The longer they have lived there, usually the more attachment which can translate to over-pricing.  Nearly every homeowner wishes to overprice their home which occurs for a few reasons:  1) they are emotionally attached to the property which translates to their perceived value, 2) they perceive the home as nicer than the others which makes senses because that's why they purchased it originally, however, other buyers my like other homes more which is why they purchase those homes, so this becomes a subjective opinion which is why statistical data helps bring an objective view to everything, and 3) the seller may simply want to reach for what I call "lottery money".  They're simply wishing to hit the jackpot on a sale without reason or substantiation for the sales price.  While not impossible, it's more along the lines of finding a needle in a haystack rather than appealing to the broad market.  All of those reasons are why it benefits the process to take as close to an objective view of the home or property as one can to arrive at a true value that will appeal to the market.  An experienced professional for the subject property type will be able to suggest home and property characteristics that may have appeal or provide objections to a wide buyer base when those buyers are comparing different properties.

Once the pricing process is completed and the home becomes active and available, a timer begins.  That timer is called "days on market" which is the time from when a home goes active in the MLS to the time a contract is placed on the home.  If a home should come back to market without closing and without being under a new MLS#, the days on market begin counting again.  Days on market is a very significant indicator of how the market is responding to the listing provided the home or property has receive proper exposure.  It should be noted that this is a relative measure though.  For example, if a home is on the market for 14 days prior to going under contract, this may be great if the average (of like homes) is 30.  The opposite may be true if the average is 4 (such as in a hotter market).  A single number without basis is not enough to go on.  It must be compared to the activity level for the subject property's market AND similar homes are experiencing.

If it's established that a home/property is lagging compared to similar properties, then the market is sending signals that the property is priced too highly for how buyers are perceiving the home.  Pricing may even have been in-line with the statistical data, but perhaps there are one or more characteristics that are holding buyers back more than anticipated.  Things like condition, finishes, datedness, size, layout, lot conditions, lot positioning, and external variables near the property.  Once it's concluded that the property is lagging, there are few options.  The most common are to either make the home/property nicer, or to reduce the price.  The key to either of these is to not wait too long to take action.  It is absolutely true that a property that accumulates too many days on market is harder to refresh in buyers’ minds.  Even if buyers are only data-watchers and have never stepped foot in the home, they will begin concluding that something is wrong with the property.  It's an example of herd mentality.  The actions or lack of actions of others result in how others perceive something, and this is absolutely true of home buyers.  Homeowners want to avoid that zone by monitoring the market's response early and take actions accordingly.

As a homeowner considering adjusting the price (downward) on a home, consider what motivates you.  Would you be motivated over a small reduction?  Not usually.  Homeowners wanting to sell for the highest price often see reductions as money they won't receive - but the market has indicated they were not going to receive it anyway as the home was over-priced, so it's a hypothetical loss.  The reduction is a measure to start asking the appropriate value of the home, and that's what sellers should focus on.  Reductions can also be made in parallel with offering other types of concessions.  Perhaps the seller offers to pay a portion or all of the buyer's closing costs.  This can have both a positive psychological effect for buyers, and can also become a logistical appeal should a buyer actually need that in order to afford their closing costs in certain situations.  There are various strategies to make the financial aspect more appealing the buyers.

With how today's buyers shop homes online and have auto-notices set up for various conditions, reductions can trigger new interest.  A reduction may launch a set of notifications to buyers who have saved searches on all the real estate websites.  Be sure a reduction is genuine though and not just a strategy to set off those notices.  Some MLSes have rules in place for such behaviors to help ensure reductions are for the right purpose.  With the proper reduction and market awareness, new and rekindled interest can be sparked for a property bringing it from a status of being stale to a status of having competing demand which supports the truth that properly prices properties will be welcomed by the market.  One such case is a home listed that was an absolutely beautiful home in a highly-demanded area, but the exterior material of the home caused some buyers pause, and we recognized this pattern based on feedback.  Through a carefully planned and timed reduction, new interest was sparked, an offer was accepted, and the home closed quickly without any hurdles.

The take-away is to price properties properly from the beginning.  If a home or property encounters some push-back from the market, do not allow days on market to accumulate.  Have a plan and implement it before the market starts labeling the property as "stale" and it begins to have a stigma to it because once that point is reached a home or property is going to need additional effort (reductions) to draw in buyers.  

If you would like to discuss a buying or selling plan for a property, we would greatly enjoy working with you toward a successful transaction.

 

July 5, 2022

Nashville Fireworks July 4th 2022

Have you ever witnessed something so positive that it nearly left you speechless? Well, that's about how watching July 4th fireworks in Nashville, TN goes.  Many years ago, Nashville made a deliberate decision to up their game for July 4th, and they were without a doubt successful and that mission has only strengthened over the years.  "Fireworks" has evolved into a multi-day party experience on 1st Avenue and Broadway with fun, food, and music everywhere.  When it comes time for the show and you're standing on 1st Avenue, seeing and hearing that first shell pop into the air raises your adrenaline, and you're on a ride for about 30 minutes of pure awesomeness.  All your senses are the ride.  You see it, you hear it, and you feel it.  Those shells pop, the sound bounces off 1st Ave buildings and you're in a full-on experience which you'll remember forever.  I guarantee it, so if you've never been... put it on your calendar.

Here's a video from News 2 to show you the absolute excess of multi-firing of shells that is unbelievable.  Keep in mind this is from a distance, but the live show is only across the river from the launch site so viewers are in the ultimate viewing position.

This is about 30 minutes long.  If you can't watch it all, be sure to see from about the 25-minute mark forward when they really turn up the madness.  Enjoy!

 

July 3, 2022

Home closing & possession

Home closing timing

This should be prefaced by sharing that the closing process of a home purchase will vary by region and per transaction, so always refer to the purchase agreement for complete details.

It’s Thursday and a buyer is excited about signing their closing documents at 4:00pm today.  The seller will be signing later.  The moving trucks actually ran ahead of time, so they’re already in the neighborhood waiting to unload.  The buyer can hardly stand the excitement, so they tell the movers they should be able to start by about 4:45 or so.

Let’s take a look at what closing is.  It’s a popular belief that “closing” is simply when a buyer or seller signs their set of documents for the process.  That is incorrect.  Closing is a process that includes much more.  It includes both the seller and buyer sides signing their documents (often at different locations and different times), title companies sharing each side’s documents with the other title company, the disbursement of proceeds, and in some areas even the registration of the deed.  The purchase contract and sometimes local protocols will dictate the steps required prior to the buyer taking possession of the property.

As you can see, the home buyer in the above example is in for a big surprise.  The movers most likely will not be able to start as soon as hoped.  Here are some reasons why:

The seller has not signed their documents yet, and will not be doing so until later in the day.

The day’s cut-off time to wire out funds to everyone has probably already passed by 4:00, so funds will not be disbursed until the next business day.

If this buyer’s agreement specifies possession does not occur until closing is completed and funds are disbursed, this buyer will not be gaining access until at least the following business day.  What if the movers cannot wait due to other commitments?

Let’s take that one step further.  This example is on a Thursday.  What if this was a Friday?  Funds would not be disbursed until the next business day… Monday, so they could potentially have a serious problem on their hands.  Either the movers cannot wait and have to unload into storage causing the buyer to hire another mover on Monday, or the buyer will be paying fees for the truck to sit over the weekend.  In most cases, the seller is in no way obligated to provide early access to the home despite the buyer’s pleading for that after realizing their mistake in scheduling.

This situation is VERY real.  It DOES happen.  How closing works and when possession is given in your area and under your purchase agreement is very important to understand.  Buyers are very often under the impression they get keys and access as soon as they put their pen down at the closing table.  Buyers should be consulted on this even before submitting an offer, but most definitely before they make assumptions and start scheduling movers.  Hopefully, the professional a buyer has chosen to work with will preempt this as part of their education on how the entire process works.  Learn what a closing timeline looks like in your situation and plan accordingly.

 

July 1, 2022

Nolensvillle TN Fireworks 2022

It's that time of year again... time for the July 4th celebration all around Middle Tennessee.  While many residents are familiar with the downtown Nashville display of fireworks and surrounding activities as well as others in Franklin & Brentwood, be sure to check out Nolensville's celebration.  This year, it's on July 2nd, so you can enjoy this one as well as another on July 4th.  We personally have been to these in the past years and can confirm what Nolensville does is impressive and incredibly enjoyable.  In the years past, they've been downtown Nolensville, but they're shifting to Nolensville High School this year, so be sure to spread the word.  Here's a link for more details:  Nolensville Fireworks 2022

Nolensville July 4th Fireworks 2022

June 30, 2022

Aggregate or Concrete for your home's hardscapes

What type of material are you using for your driveways and sidewalks. Each type has their advantages.  Sometimes one is required by the community. Ever wonder how exposed aggregate is done?

Exposed Aggregate or Concrete