Do I Need to Stage My Home for it to Sell?

Researchers say, showcasing the best side of a home to create interest and help you get top dollar, is better than leaving it empty. From first impressions to possible layouts, home staging provides potential buyers with a visual representation of a home and can help you sell your home quickly and for a competitive price. By using staging, sellers can show buyers potential without making them use their imagination. If a home is empty and without furniture it can be difficult to see how comfortable the home truly can be.

With the current lack of selling inventory and dozens of buyers lining up to see the few actually available, you’d think that the amount of prep work going into homes being readied for sale would have diminished dramatically.

Think again.

In reality, the overall quality of homes currently for sale is significantly higher than a few years ago. Part of the reason is that we’re no longer seeing the multitudes of trashy foreclosures that dominated the landscape (not only are there less foreclosures, those that do appear are in better condition because banks have learned that a small investment in new carpet and paint will reap larger returns).

In a declining market, sellers realize that they’ll be losing money if they invest too much in getting their home sold. If they put $10,000 into modernizing a kitchen, they might get $5,000 back. Although they understand the need to make their home as presentable as possible, most sellers will do it on the cheap so as not to lose any more than they absolutely have to.

When the market turns and heads back up, the profit margins change. In the current hot market, home prices are not dictated by previous sales, they are now governed by multiple offers and how much any given buyer is willing to pay. That same $10,000 kitchen upgrade might very well score a $15,000-$20,000 return. Factor in paint, new floors and the like and the chances of reaping a windfall dramatically increase. Particularly in West Coast hot markets, where on average 3-5 offers are received on a dingy property — well prepared homes are frequently seeing well over 20 offers. And of course, the more offers a seller receives, the better the chances of a solid sale at way over asking price.

Market conditions have changed. Now that home prices are on the rise, it’s best to put your best foot forward when selling a home.  If the home is empty, have it professionally staged.


When Is the Best Time to Sell My House?

In a new study, researchers at Zillow found that homes listed between May 1 through May 15 sold, on average, around 18.5 days faster than homes that weren’t listed during that timeframe. Homes that sold in the first half of May were also purchased for about 1 percent more than the average listing, which translates to a premium of about $1,700.

However, this window does shift depending on metro area. More people shop for homes when the weather is nice out, so depending on regional differences like climate, this timeframe can shift depending on where you live. Homes in locations that experience more intense seasonal changes, like Baltimore and Minneapolis, are more likely to have a key optimal selling window. Warmer climate states like California have more flexibility.

Even though the optimal time to sell your home varies depending on regional factors, and potential buyers may rush to make a decision after weeks of frustration, one thing may be certain: the best time to purchase a house is likely not early May.


What Does Brexit Mean for Mortgage Rates?

Brexit vote sends mortgage rates tumbling to 3-year low.

Mortgage rates fell this week to a level not seen since May 2013, as the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union shocked financial markets already unsettled by mixed reports about the U.S. economy.

 The last time the 30-year fixed was lower was in Bankrate’s survey conducted May 8, 2014, when it stood at 3.6%. It rose half a percentage point, to 4.1%, just 4 weeks later.

  • The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.89% from 2.97%.
  • The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.01% from 3.06%.
  • The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage fell to 3.67% from 3.71%

Slower ‘turn times’

Borrowers should be prepared for mortgages to take longer to close as lenders are unlikely to hire more workers for what could be a temporary surge in demand.

Lenders took 45 days, on average, to close a loan in May, according to Ellie Mae, a mortgage industry software provider in Pleasanton, California. Six months earlier, loans closed in an average of 49 days.

Low rates could spur more home purchases this summer, even though home prices have been rising and buyers have limited choices of for-sale properties.

Sales of existing homes “sprang ahead” in May to the highest annualized pace — 5.53 million, since February 2007 — according to the National Association of Realtors.

Also in May, the median nationwide home sales price rose to an all-time high of $239,700 and the supply of existing homes for sale dropped to 4.7 months at the then-current pace of sales. A supply of less than 6 months is generally believed to signal a sellers’ market.

Homes typically sold in just 32 days in May, which is the shortest days-on-the-market figure since NAR started to track that stat 5 years ago.