Is It Time to Downsize, Even in a Seller’s Market?

SAN LUIS OBISPO SELLER MARKET

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country including San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help. 

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about. 

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let me know so that I can help guide you through the process to your next home.

How Important Is The List Price?

Central Coast List Price

In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in most cities here in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges we’ll face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best real estate agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.

John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered their price. His article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price, published in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.

Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!

One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.

Price Visibility Chart

A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.

Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. I am here to simply and effectively explain what is happening in the your specific market and how it applies to your home. I am committed to telling you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. This will put us in the best possible position for success in selling your home in today’s market.

HOW’S THE MARKET? SAN LUIS OBISPO MARCH MARKET UPDATE

real_estate_market_tagcloud

How’s the market? How many times have you asked a Realtor that question? Probably more times than you can remember, right?

As a local San Luis Obispo Realtor I get asked that question more than 50 times a week. What most people don’t realize is how broad that question is and that we, Realtors, can’t properly give you the educated answer unless you tell us more about what you mean by that. Do you mean the California state market, the regional Central Coast market, the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county markets, the Pismo Beach market, or how’s the market for your specific property that you are looking to sell?

So next time you get to that place where you’re about to drop my favorite line, think to yourself what is it that you really want to know, so that I can give you what it is you really want to know. My goal is always to help you be informed, educated, and confident in your decision to buy, sell, or hold onto your current home or investment property.

If you are still curious about how the market is, here are some stats from March 2016 here in the city of San Luis Obispo for Single Family Homes.


 

Median Days on Market | 31 days | Down from Feb. 2016

Ave. Days on Market | 54 days | Down from Feb. 2016

Ave. Sales Price | $826,938 | Up from Feb. 2016

Median Sales Price | $707,750 | Up from Feb. 2106

Inventory | 40 New Listings | Up from Feb. 2016


 

THE WRAP UP

Homes sold faster and at higher prices despite there being more inventory for sale last month here in the city San Luis Obispo. All signs are pointing to a seller’s market and a highly competitive environment for buyers.

Interest rates remain at historical lows (under 4%) so if this is the right time for you and your family to look at buying a home make sure you are prepared by having your loan qualification and closing funds in place and ready to go.

For a free no obligation consultation you can call/text me at 805.776.3313 or email me at RenierADresser@me.com

Renier Dresser Photo