Home buyers' windfall a challenge to sellers
A Southern California native, Woerner has worked as a licensed real estate agent for 10 years in the greater Indianapolis area with RE/MAX and the Jimmy Dulin Group. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering as a Junior Girl Scout Leader, traveling and investing in real estate.
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Whether you're preparing to buy or sell a home, it's important to have a good understanding of your area's real estate market. The Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors reports that Indianapolis' average home price dropped 1.8 percent overall - to $152,028 - in 2007. But with a nearly 10-percent decrease in existing-home sales, the region also ended last year with an 11-month inventory of listed homes for sale and mortgage rates dipping to six-year lows. Combine anxious sellers, a glut of homes, dropping prices and mortgage rates, and you've definitely got a buyer's market.
For home sellers, my best advice is to listen to what the real estate expert you hired tells you. They know and understand the market and can honestly compare your home with others that have sold. Buyers are no longer confined to a limited supply of homes that enable you to demand any price. With a growing numbers of homes on the market and favorable interest rates, you are going to be in competition - making your home's condition, price and location more important than ever. You need to be aggressive and remove your emotions from the transaction.
Most professionally staged, well-maintained and decluttered homes will sell more quickly and at a higher value than homes that require buyers to make updates or repairs. Sellers should also expect that more buyers will need your financial help for items like title and lending fees, and home inspections. Buyers are out there and they're making purchases. However, if your home has been on the market without much interest, take an honest look at its condition and price.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecasts that existing-home sale prices nationwide will stabilize and slowly rise in the second half of 2008 and into 2009, with the overall number of existing-home sales growing by about 1 percent each year. The Indiana Association of Realtors has faith in those projections and plans to see an improved housing market in Indiana over the next year, according to policy director Mark Brown. NAR also predicts that interest rates, which are hovering around 5.5 percent, could decline into the low 5-percent or even high 4-percent range.
The market is also good for those looking to refinance or purchase second homes as a financial investment. The elimination of sub-prime loans has decreased the number of buyers who qualify for mortgage financing. Thus, there are now more renters to occupy investment homes. But homeowners who want to buy without the burden of a second mortgage have to time the purchase with the sale of their existing home. For that, there are always bridge loans and other financial products to consider. Keep in mind that spring and summer are the best seasons to attempt changing homes. Last but not least, remember that all the market conditions are in your favor. There's no reason to make a hasty purchse and every reason to make it a sound one.