The housing market is starting to bloom right along with the cherry blossoms, and like cherry blossoms, we never know exactly how long it is until the next change. So, stop now—smell those flowers, attend those open houses, and get your home ready to sell.
February’s data provided positive movement and signs of strength in the housing market, despite media headlines to the contrary. While interest rates had reached the 7% mark or higher, and despite increases by the Fed raising the Federal Funds Rate, mortgage rates have seen a decline to mid-6% levels and therefore have brought Buyers back into the market. Because inventory shortages for the 1st couple months of 2023 have remained constant in many communities, as we enter the spring market, those levels have begun to rise from a record low and overall, however, supply is still much lower than in a balanced market. Therefore, prices in some local markets continue to rise with multiple offer situations due to this increase in demand.
If you’re looking to buy or sell, I offer a Free Home Valuation Evaluation for those considering a sale. Such analysis will look at your home to determine a fair market price in the present market. We also discuss the market direction, where you might be with a mortgage rate, such neighborhoods you’re interested in, and comparable homes in your area. Likewise, I can do a similar evaluation for Buyers looking to enter the market.
Why buy/sell now?
Inventory is increasing and competition is fierce. Although you won’t be seeing bids like we did during the pandemic, reaching 50-100k over asking, houses are still selling fast. Many of those who held out buying or selling last year due to inflation and increased mortgage rates are now ready to jump in. The market is impossible to 100% predict, so time is of the essence.
For sellers, the good news is that house prices are still high. While inventory is improving, it is still relatively low, which is keeping those prices on the higher end. Also, houses continue to be in great demand, especially since rental costs have significantly increased. According to Apartment Advisor’s March market report for Massachusetts, the average rent price for a one-bedroom apartment was $2,450. This is up 11.4% from last spring.
For buyers, remember that the market isn’t as aggressive as it was in 2021—asking for a home inspection isn’t a deal breaker and bids aren’t skyrocketing so far over asking that you’re suddenly in a new price bracket altogether. Buying a house feels more possible while breathing in this 2023 spring air.
Sellers: How should you prepare?
It’s important to make your house stand out amongst the competition. When selling a car, you would clean and shine it, right? Your approach to selling your home should be the same.
- Bring in a stager – Home staging creates an inviting atmosphere that can make a huge impact. A stager brings out the best in your home by organizing, arranging, and decorating rooms. If you don’t want your entire home staged, you can opt to have specific rooms staged, which would still make a significant difference and help your home appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers.
- Increase your curb appeal – Do you have any overgrown bushes leaning against windows or vinyl siding? Is the pathway leading to your front steps uneven or cracked? Is your lawn in need of mowing? Invest in landscaping. First impressions matter—you want potential buyers to see a well-cared-for home before they even walk through the door.
- Consider painting (both exterior and interior) – Painting the exterior and interior of your house gives a fresh and clean appearance, creates less work for the buyer when they move in, and makes the house feel newer. When thinking about painting, also consider the front door, the garage door, fence, and deck. Check for peeling or faded paint and signs of age.
Buyers: How should you prepare?
- Know your budget and get pre-approved – Get pre-approved by a local mortgage lender or a mortgage broker, which will demonstrate that you are a serious, credit-worthy home buyer.
- Make a short list of your wants and needs – Keep in mind what can and cannot be changed. Some important things to consider about a house are layout, size, and number of bedrooms. Be prepared to make some sacrifices but also hold on to the factors that are most important. You should feel confident in your bid and potential commitment.
- Remember that location is key – Are you looking for a quiet side street? Does it bother you if you’ll hear traffic/trains going by, or baseball games from a nearby park? Do you need to be near the highway for an easier commute? Before looking at a house, consider the location. That’s something you can’t paint, renovate, or hire a contractor to fix.
It’s important to find a realtor who has ample experience, extensive knowledge about the area you are buying or selling in, and many positive reviews. Selling or buying a home can be overwhelming, but when you have the right realtor by your side, the process feels less daunting. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the North Shore of Massachusetts, I would love the opportunity to work with you—contact me today!