A slower fall season in home buying may help more lingering home buyers to jump in. Credit the flurry of back-to-school activities and end-of summer vacations for sidetracking some sellers and buyers. Typically, the last two weeks or so of August cool a bit and the market picks up again full steam once school resumes for one last big push up until the Holiday season.
Home buyers may find attractive mortgage rates this fall. Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Freddie Mac reported last week that the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.
Studies have shown that fall can be the best time to buy. A study conducted by RealtyTrac in 2015 found that October was the best month for home buyers. Purchasers in October paid 2.6 percent below the estimated market value at the time for their home, according to the analysis. Oct. 8 was found to have the best day for bargains too, with an average of 10.8 percent below estimated market value, according to the study.
Locally, for August, we experienced a more robust market than anticipated in the greater Seattle metro area. Pending sales area-wide during August totaled 11,867 transactions, barely exceeding the number of new listings (11,781) added during the month. At month end, there were 15,987 total active listings in the MLS database, a shrinkage of 12.8 percent from a year ago.
As we head into fall, September and October will see new listing inventory drop by about 20 percent from the summer months, so the next two months will be the best opportunity for selection and availability for buyers to purchase a home. Starting in November, the number of new listings will typically drop by another 30 percent over the winter. Savvy buyers will take advantage of slightly longer market times, affording them the opportunity for reasonable contingencies. Also while we still saw multiple offers on many properties, the overall numbers of bidding wars were down somewhat, and several offer review dates came and went with no offers by those deadlines.
For Sellers who now may face longer sale times and fewer active buyers, here are a few tips for you as well:
1.) Summer is Over, Why Bother with Curb Appeal?
Fall is officially here, but that doesn’t mean the extra attention the exterior of your home has been receiving over the summer has to come to an end as well. Make sure your fall curb appeal is exactly where it needs to be by ensuring walkways and gutters are free of leaves and debris, and ensure your lawn is always mowed. With unexpected weather the fall months can bring, keeping your trees neatly trimmed will ensure fallen branches don’t make your yard appear messy and unkempt.
2.) People Spend More Time Indoors, So Focus Your Attention There
Just because fall doesn’t have the heat of the summer, doesn’t mean people stay indoors. With the beauty the changing leaves and crisp fall air has to offer, some people actually enjoy spending time outdoors in the fall more than they do in the summer. Celebrate the season with seasonal home decor around the holidays that will attract potential buyers by making your house feel more like a home.
3.) The Weather is Cold, and So is Your Home
When summer inevitably comes to an end, the first sign will be the plummeting temperatures outdoors. Just because it’s cooler outdoors doesn’t mean your home décor needs to reflect that! Consider a fresh coat of paint in a warmer shade, and don’t be afraid to bring the temperature up a couple degrees to make your guests feel comfortable. If you don’t want to make a large change, a few additions like cozy pillows or throws can go a long way in cozying up your home décor for the cooler months.
The biggest mistake you can make when selling in the fall is pricing it incorrectly. We know what you’re thinking: “Hey, it’s worth a shot!” But if you start with some sky-high asking price, you'll soon come back to Earth when you realize that an overpriced home just won't sell. Additionally overpricing your home isn't easily fixed just by lowering it later on. The reason: Homes that have lingered on the market for months—or that have undergone one or more price reductions—make buyers presume that something must be wrong with it. As such, they might still steer clear, or offer even less than the price you're now asking. Working with a professional will help you ensure your home is priced correctly for the fall market.
5.) Once It Sells, You’re Done!
The paper’s are signed, and the deal is done, so all you have to do is pack up and move, right? Not quite! Leading up to the holidays, everyone is very busy which means you may have issues finding time to pack, finding a company to help you move, or even finding family and friends who would normally be able to lend a helping hand. To eliminate these issues, plan ahead! Make sure your moving date is scheduled firm in everyone’s calendar, and plan ahead to ensure you aren’t left without a solution if someone is forced to back out. A stress free move will make the world of a difference in the first couple days in your new home.
The Cascade Team Real Estate is a company like no other because of the marketing, service and home seller savings we provide. We understand that in today’s real estate & home selling environment, we need to provide a high level of real estate service and wide spread marketing of the home for sale, utilize technology to keep our home seller clients in the communication loop and provide added value to both buyers and home sellers in the real estate transaction. The effective use of technology tools allows our local Seattle & San Diego real estate agents to focus more of their time on servicing our clients and finding buyers for your home, all the while providing the most comprehensive real estate marketing program available. In the end, you get the perfect combination of online real estate tools and personal service in the home selling process.