Congratulations to Jen Murrweiss on winning the Five Star Real Estate Agent award in 2022! Visit www.jmurrweiss.remax.com to learn more about Jen Murrweiss!
As the year wraps up I am finally able to get caught up on some things that I was to busy taking care of clients to notice. Yeah! I am proud to be a Five Star Agent and will continue to strive to always be there for my clients.
It’s been a long couple of years for homebuyers and their agents.
The pandemic-fueled tornado of low inventory, tons of buyers flocking to the market amidst record-low interest rates and would-be sellers holding onto their homes for fear of being left out in the cold with no place to go, made for a brutal homebuying experience in many places.
“Last year, it was pretty much come in every house guns blazing, do whatever you could do to acquire that house,” Max Stokes of Compass in Northern New Jersey told Inman. “There was no negotiation over the last couple of years.”
But the tides are turning.
Volatile — and comparatively high — interest rates coupled with an uncertain economy are starting to shift the market’s balance. Sellers don’t have the hold on the market that they once did. And it’s time for buyers to start taking advantage of the shift.
As a balanced market comes into view on the horizon, here’s how buyers’ agents are changing their negotiation tactics to help their clients achieve some wins that were once impossible in the frenzied market of the last two or so years.
Ask the developer to cover closing costs on new properties
On new development properties in Manhattan, where Leslie Singer of Brown Harris Stevens works, the taxes folded into closing costs can be a lot to swallow. In the past few years, sponsors (another term for developers) have typically put the onus of mansion and transfer taxes on the buyer of the property.
On New York City properties priced below $500,000, transfer taxes are 1 percent and on pricier properties, that tax increases to 1.425 percent. Mansion taxes kick in on properties priced at $1 million or higher and range from 1 percent to 3.9 percent, depending on the exact price.
But in this market, Singer said developers are a lot more willing to negotiate.
“In these types of markets, sponsors may be more flexible on the backend, such as assisting with closing costs,” she told Inman.
Leverage different listings against each other
With inventory staying on the market a bit longer these days, buyers have the time to comfortably compare different active listings — and potentially leverage them against each other if a seller is really being a stickler when it comes to negotiating, Stokes said.
With properties that he has represented recently, Stokes said homebuyers have pointed out to him other similar properties in the same market, and why they might be a better offer than his own listing, lighting a bit of a fire under the seller.
“[They’re] pointing out the differences in the comparables that are on the market and trying to leverage three [listings] against each other,” Stokes said.
Marry the house, date the rate
With elevated mortgage rates, a lot of buyers are hesitant to get out into the market now. But Gretchen Rosenberg of Kentwood Real Estate in Denver said that she and her agents are encouraging homebuyers to get off the fence and commit to a home if they love it. Mortgage rates will be in flux for a while, so buyers should get the house they want now and keep refinancing for a better rate in mind for the future. In other words, “marry the house and date the rate,” Rosenberg said.
“We are out there talking rates and just reminding buyers again, hopefully this is a longtime purchase. It’s not a year, it’s not like you’re a renter, you’re going to be in it for a while, and so someday down the road — we don’t know when, we can’t promise when rates will come back down — you’re likely going to be able to refinance. You also might be able to buy down the rate now, depending on your position.”
Get more recent data to back up the best offer
In the past, Rosenberg said she might gather comps from the last six months of sales to inform her buyer’s offer on a property. But with the market changing rapidly over the last few months, in large part as a result of volatile mortgage rates, Rosenberg said data from six months ago is already out of date. To help buyers craft the best offer that’s most likely to succeed, her agents are digging into data from a neighborhood’s most recent sales.
“They’re diving more into the data,” she explained. “They’re saying, well, what have the last couple of sales been? Not the last six months of sales, which is what we would normally do to comp a house, but the last couple of sales in this neighborhood, and how many price reductions have there been in this neighborhood? What are the days on market now? What’s the percent original list versus final sale price in the last 30 days?”
Don’t waive your rights
Stokes is working with homebuyers now who also transacted a home earlier in the pandemic, and he said he had to make it clear to them that waiving things like a home inspection or appraisal were concessions they wouldn’t even consider this time around — even if he didn’t necessarily encourage it the first time.
“You don’t need to do that anymore,” Stokes said. “The market’s normalizing, if not turning, so keep your rights in the contract … there’s no reason to do it just to do it.”
“People were voluntarily waiving [inspections] and just doing escalation clauses,” Dawn Maddux of Engel & Völkers Western Frontier in Missoula said. “In the 11 years I’ve been in real estate, I’ve not ever seen that before … Now, we’re kind of getting back to writing normal offers, maybe at or a little below asking price based on what the market will bear and based on what comps show, where before, it was just a frenzy.”
Along the same lines, Maddux elaborated that homebuyers shouldn’t feel rushed to make decisions before they’ve done all their due diligence on a property, and buyers’ agents should actively encourage this to avoid regret later.
“They have time to do their research there — there’s not a frenzied competition,” Maddux said. “It’s honestly better for the seller because, what we’re seeing happen, is there’s a lot of lawsuits pending where buyers jumped into properties, they end up with buyer’s remorse, they [find] out something [about] the house that the seller didn’t disclose, probably because they didn’t know about it, and they didn’t get an inspection so they wouldn’t have had a way to know.”
In this market, when a deal isn’t as sweet as a homebuyer or the buyer’s agent feels it could be, under the right circumstances, there’s no shame in even stepping away from the negotiations for a week or two altogether.
That opportunity arose recently for Stokes and one of his buyers, who was interested in a fixer-upper that he thought was overpriced given how much money would need to go into renovating the property.
“I said, ‘Well, there’s not going to be many buyers out there that are going to be willing to take this on their shoulders right now,” and [the sellers] disagreed,” Stokes told Inman. “And I just told my buyer, ‘Just trust me — you’re one of the only buyers out here that would do this right now. Take a deep breath, sit back, and let’s just watch this for a minute.’”
The seller reached back out a week later, wondering if they were still interested, and Stokes said they were considering some other options. Another week after that, the seller reached back out again and said they would drop the price to match the buyer’s offer
Whether you’re thinking of selling your home, or just looking to increase its value, investing in your entryway will surely make an impression! Message me for more home projects that can help increase your home’s value!
I know the last year has you asking yourself I don’t need to worry buyers are waiving inspections. I guarantee you that is changing and if you do not wish to have a Seller’s pre-inspection than you may wish to check out this list. You can make your home more attractive to buyers and increase your likelihood of obtaining a positive inspection report by performing routine maintenance now before going on the market.
A visual inspection does not pass or fail a house but simply describes those items in need of minor or major repair or replacement. The inspector will visually examine the structure, crawl space, attic, mechanical components and all interior rooms, as well as closets.
On the day of you can help by having keys available to any locked doors, removing obstacles around water heaters and other appliances, removing items from closets that provide access to attics, and so on. Please be ready to indicate the location of hidden components such as the water meter, electrical panel, sump pump and main sewer clean out.
You can eliminate seasonal limitations on the inspection by clearing pathways of snow or debris. Ensure that appliances not tested because of the temperature (such as air conditioners in winter) are operation. Move boxes and storage items away from interior walls and make certain the entire perimeter of the house can be observed. Finally, leave pets with a friend or, take them with you, for the few hours of the inspection.
Repair minor defects in the exterior wall coverings.
Repair damaged masonry on walkways and steps.
Repair missing or loose railings on decks and steps.
Recaulk around exterior windows and doors.
Replace missing or damaged shingles
Recaulk around flashing.
Clean debris from gutters.
Ensure downspouts are intact and water drains away from the house.
Trim trees and shrubs away from the roof.
Loosen any windows that are painted shut.
Replace missing or faulty hardware on doors and windows.
Repair any broken or cracked windows.
Replace damaged baseboard or molding.
Recaulk around bathtub and kitchen/bathroom sinks.
Re-grout tub and shower enclosures and the kitchen backsplash.
Repair leaky faucets and fixtures.
Unclog slow drains using commercial cleaner.
Replace oversized fuses with proper fuses.
Repair faulty receptacles and switches.
Ensure exhaust fans are in working order.
Have the fireplace chimney swept.
Have the furnace or other major appliances serviced.
Ensure central vacuum, garbage disposal, water softener and other ancillary components not part of the standard inspection are in working order.
Replace dead batteries in smoke and CO detectors.
Have service contracts, manuals and warranties available and in a drawer for the inspector/buyer to access.
Prior planning always pays off and makes for a smooth transaction after securing a buyer. Reach out to me for questions on this or if you are considering selling your home.
Are you a “the limit does not exist” or a “one and done” kind of pumpkin person? Leave me a comment and let me know. And if you don’t have a porch of your own to decorate, maybe it’s time to change that and give me a call? In the meantime check out some cool fall ideas and events!
Hey RENTERS we have good news! Rental payments now to be included as part of the underwriting process!
What does this mean?
Did you know that effective Sept 18 Fannie Mae has allowed rental payment history to be included in the underwriting process. Essentially making it easier for renters to become homeowners!
Rent is most times the largest expense for families and history of paying it on-time will now be considered for credit worthiness. With Fannie Mae’s new guideline, any missed rental payment wont’ keep you from getting a mortgage. With what’s going on around us, this couldn’t have come at a better time.
“For many households, rent is the single largest monthly expense. There is absolutely no reason timely payment of monthly housing expenses shouldn’t be included in underwriting calculations,” said Thompson. “With this update, Fannie Mae is taking another step toward understanding how rental payments can more broadly be included in a credit assessment, providing an additional opportunity for renters to achieve the dream of sustainable homeownership.”?
Those you might have been previously rejected due to lack of credit history may have greater chances getting into their dream home.
If you think this will benefit you, reach out today and let’s hop on a call to discuss next steps!
Considering a discount brokerage for listing service? Knowledge is power, and I would like to give you some power to make a wise decision for the largest financial transaction that most people will ever make.
With the hot market our area has been experiencing the last few years discount brokerages with listing services have “popped up” to get in the door. There are two sides to every transaction a listing side and a buyer side. If the listing side does 1.5% you have the buyers side at 3% so you are at 4.5%. If you devalue the buyer side the agent may not show your home or talk their clients into another one in the neighborhood that is offering a higher rate.
I know you work hard at your job and for your paycheck and believe me we do too. Generally, I have found agents who give their commissions away are part-time, new to the business or have very little real estate knowledge. I would like to give you an analogy “Nordstrom vs. Walmart” There are shoppers for both but why does one choose to pay Nordstrom prices over Walmart? Plain and simple: experience, knowledge, customer service and value. It is the same in every part of life if you think about it. The cheap roofer or the one you know will do the work right the first time? If you are a consumer, you may get lucky and come out alright but, then again, how much money will you leave on the table because you have an agent who cannot negotiate and doesn’t have the time to spend any effort on your transaction. They simply collect a fee and move on. Again, It’s the largest financial transaction most people will ever make. It just seems foolish to trust someone who does not value themselves and therefore, how can they value you or take care of your best interests?
I would like to share some real comments from local Realtors (not agents) around the area in response to the question How do you feel when your competing with discount brokerages in today’s market?
As the old saying goes you don’t get something for nothing. Any agent would have to be nuts to offer such low fees. I’m sure their trying to up-sell the customer once they get the listing ie staging, better photos ect.
Customer service and partnership. They have no interest in you past the extent of filling in the forms. No rapport is built or partnership. They will not verify your data input, nor will they scrutinize your form 17. They won’t negotiate on your behalf. We had a case a few months ago where a 1% entered exactly what the owner told them to and it was grossly wrong. Any Realtor would have caught this. We called the seller on this and explained to him how to fix it and even corresponded with Cheapo agent to get it corrected. That seller recognized the ‘partnership’ and ‘customer service’ value we presented and told us that he would be contacting us in the future. We saved him a potential lawsuit. If a seller isn’t investing in a Realtor who in turn is invested in them, then they are doing themselves a grave injustice!
Lower fees are not the way to go, offer better value for your client. The quality of service and representation of the client is reflected in the commission.
You get what you pay for. I think it’s typically just a listing service. They don’t provide any benefits to their clients. We are a full-service Broker with a network of vendors to help give our clients the best possible service.
Getting a buyer to write up an offer on your house is only the first step, and quite frankly, in this market that’s the easy step. What we’ll do is get you the best buyer who we’ll negotiate the best price and terms to net you the most money, and make sure the sale closes. Because if your sale doesn’t close it won’t really matter how much of a discount you get in commissions right?
I provide service & knowledge. Good service costs. We do have some discounters in our area as well as DIY providers. I try to educate potential sellers diplomatically that “you get what you pay for. My expertise, experience and marketing abilities have been honed over decades. I have no intention of giving that away. “If you work for “peanuts you get monkeys”
Cheap Realty type outfits come and go, but the only get a small smidgen of the market; if this was really an effect approach to market your home and get top dollar, don’t you think everybody would be using these gimmicks? You want top value and exposure, correct?
As Realtors we adhere to a strict code of ethics, agent’s do not.
Most all of us are in business for ourselves not our brokerages. If we do not do an amazing job, we will not be in business for long as referrals will build or destroy any business. Professional Brokers rely on referrals to grow their business therefore our best interest is the client. If we do not exceed expectations, then they will not refer us to anyone and we will have to be a 1%.
It will affect all of us in the industry in a negative way. When clients ask us to cut our commissions, we need to ask them if they would expect their surgeon to cut his commission! We work hard for our money, and it’s not always easy.
I think people doing this are incompetent and couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag.
Very easy to answer. I won’t show the property.
You get what you pay for.
I think it’s terrible. It lowers our standards on what we can do for our clients as far as staging and marketing but also makes our profession look “cheap” now. Buyer agents will most likely not show listings that offer low commissions, so it does not do the listing any good. The other point is, when buyers know that full commission is not offered…they will negotiate down…as they do not want to feel like they are now over paying.
They are desperate and will offer less value to the client. They always come and go with every robust market.
Cheapo is not interested in providing value just a quick transaction and nothing more.
It’s just a disservice to the owners and sets the bar very low for the Realtors in the industry.
Compare and contrast these lower listing services with that of a professional Realtor and you will see how much more value you receive working with a professional. For example, you have a trained expert that understands value. I am a Certified Master Negotiator, Managing Broker, Senior Real Estate Specialist, Military Relocation Expert and more! Sounds like a lot right? It is but I value the utmost trust my clients put in me and furthering my education on their behalf has given me a wealth of knowledge that only benefits my clients. The proof is obvious to me as most all my clients come back to me years later to help them again and keep referring me. My team knows how to decipher the fine details of any, and all, offers and we know how to negotiate with them prior to presenting the offers to you. This not only saves you time it achieves the most amazing offers with details and timelines that you and I construct at the beginning. I negotiate to not leave your money on the table. To get you the most net knowing all the financing types available to buyers and what will work best for your unique situation.
With me and my team you have a partner that will guide you through your transaction from start to finish. As a professional we represent you and no other. You can expect excellent communication from me and you will always know the status of your transaction. Additionally, not only do we value our partnership with you during your transaction we will stay in contact with you long after. Buying or selling a home is stressful therefore we will manage the details that will lead to a less stressful transaction. Another point of value to consider is we work with a network of many companies that will add value such as lenders, home inspection firms, title and escrow firms, moving companies and other professional’s as well. I hope this assists in showing the added value from a professional Realtor is so much more beneficial to you. Wouldn’t you agree?
Put me to work and you will experience amazing results our sellers have been receiving.
By the way, Red** did 35,000 transactions last year, and REMAX as a whole, about 1.2 million. What does this say? WAY more people trust a REMAX agent than an hourly agent who gets paid regardless of whether the home sells or not.
Happy Tuesday and Welcome to August! Yep, I am a few days late on the monthly newsletter please forgive me I was having a very fun weekend at the Gorge and Watershed. A bit slow and tired today but it was worth it. So as we slide into August enjoy with some great events, ideas, tips, real estate news and its National watermelon day so go enjoy!
Its been a HOT, HOT summer and the Real Estate market is no exception! Lets take a peak at your EYE on the market and then relax a bit with some grilling tips plus other tips, tricks and events. Enjoy!