For many home sellers, there’s no better time to list than the spring, and for good reason: This is peak home-buying season, folks! Buyers turn out in droves once warmer weather finally arrives, bringing people out of hibernation mode, and bidding wars abound as buyers look for ways to one-up their competition.
All the demand
While home sales decline in the winter (chalk it up to bad weather and holiday obligations), many home buyers blitz the housing market in spring, says Dossman. To meet that pent-up demand, many sellers list their homes at this time of year. It’s no surprise, then, that the lion’s share of real estate agents say March, April, and May are the best months to sell a home. With so many buyers competing for homes, sellers may be in a stronger position to spark bidding wars.
Selling in warmer weather
Open houses are often more successful during the spring than in the winter, says Dossman, since the nicer weather makes buyers more willing to emerge from the comfort of their homes to shop for houses. Another boon for home sellers: Daylight saving time gives buyers more time to look at houses, which means your property can potentially be seen by more people, says Dana Hill, vice president of Buyer’s Edge Realty in Bethesda, MD.
That said, “Sellers still need to do some prep work before holding an open house,” Dossman adds. To make sure your home is ready to be seen, do a thorough cleaning, remove such personal belongings as family photos and religious artwork, and trim your lawn for maximum curb appeal. Pro tip: Take a hike for a few hours during the open house. Buyers will feel more comfortable asking questions of your agent if you’re not hovering in the background.
The higher valuations
When your home’s value is assessed by a home buyer’s appraiser, the appraiser will look at data for comparable homes (or “comps”) that were recently sold in your neighborhood. The good news: With more homes selling in the on-season, the comparable data tend in your favor, Hill says. In other words, your house is more likely to pass the home appraisal, assuming that you’re selling it at around its fair market value.
Spring is just around the corner and not only flowers are popping up everywhere, houses are also being prepared for the spring selling season. Home owners typically sell during spring, and buyers are taking advantage of this huge opportunity to get the best home. There is competition among buyers who want to get the best pick. In this adrenaline-driven situation, it pays to follow these 5 house hunting tips so you would will not be left behind.
1. Canvass your dream house, the old-fashioned way. Close your laptop and go to open houses. Online listings are good sources of information, but nothing beats seeing the house with your own two eyes. It’s a great idea to go online, research the house you want and set up alerts so you know when a new house is being put in the market. However, if you really want to find your perfect house, you have to get up from your desk and get on your feet. The spring season means higher demands for houses, therefore buyers should always be in the position to decide quickly.
2. Research market trends. Housing trends are forever changing. What’s ok now might not be good tomorrow and what seems to worthless today could be worth a fortune in the coming years. As a buyer, you have to be informed of what’s happening in the current market as well as the past trends in the housing industry. This would give you a chance to compare and formulate marketing predictions that would help in your decision making. Take note that these trends have a huge impact on house prices so the more you know, the better chances for you to get a good price. Don’t forget to research both local and general markets.
3. Take advantage of low mortgage rates. Act now while mortgage rates are historically low. Having low interest rates allows you affordable payments for a long time. Mortgage rates are very unpredictable so you have to take action the minute it goes down.
4. Build your team. Everything is fast-paced today with the market on hype due to spring season. As a buyer, you have to make sure that everyone you are working with is ready to go so you’ll have a smooth and fast transaction. Your home buying team should include a knowledgeable real estate agent, lender, lawyer and inspector. To save time, make sure you get pre-approved first so you can quickly submit your bid once you find the right home.
5. Prepare deal-breakers. In a bidding war, you will come across other buyers who are also well prepared. In order to win, you have to sweeten your offer to entice the seller to choose you. How do you do that? You can offer a higher down payment or even forego some contingencies (consult with your team first).
However, the most important advice is BE PREPARED. When that perfect house or opportunity comes up, make sure that you are ready to grab it.
Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.
Relatively speaking, 2019 might seem to be the best time for you to put your house on the market especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next.
Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.
If you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game.
Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019:
New buyers are still entering the market.
Interest rates are still on the lower end.
You have high equity.
Selling now will be better than waiting till 2020.
New Buyers Are Still Entering the Market
With available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. According to Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.
Interest Rates Are Still Low-ish
Mortgage interest rates have been on a bit of a bumpy road over the last few months. Interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage reached their highest level in over seven years in November 2018, when they hit 4.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac. As of the end of February 2019, however, interest rates are down slightly to 4.35 percent, which is much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.
It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.
A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though rates are predicted to continue to climb.
If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.
You Have High Equity
Homeowners who bought during the recession or shortly after benefited from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode. If you fall into that category, your home equity has risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses on the block that sold for a higher price.
The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which can easily go toward the down payment on your next house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be, and the less likely you’ll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.
Selling in 2019 vs. 2020
If not selling your home in 2019 means putting your house on the market in 2020, the sooner option is the best one. In a survey of 100 U.S. real estate experts and economists by real estate information company Zillow, released in May, almost half expect the next recession to occur in 2020. Another 14 percent believe the recession will hold out until 2021, while 24 percent of panelists expect the recession earlier – sometime in 2019.
Whether you believe the recession is imminent or a long way off, current real estate patterns indicate a sudden upswing in activity or prices is unlikely in the near future. Real estate markets tend to operate on a cycle of their own, the length of which varies by market but can be between 10 and 16 years total and flow from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.
The best seller is one who is highly motivated. A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell at a price that is less than his or her house is actually worth. And it matters that you find out why. Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the seller get what they want: a timely sale.
When given the opportunity to meet with sellers, ask them why they are selling. The reason could be anything, such as a job change to a new location or financial problems. If you can solve their problem, whether it is cash related or time related, do so. For example, if the sellers are highly motivated because they need to move quickly, give them a fast sale – and a lower price. If you can make an offer, even a low one, that gives them cash in a short time, they are more likely to accept.
There are also some sellers that you should avoid. Not every seller is as genuinely motivated as they make themselves to be. Some possible hints:
they stall on having the home appraised or inspected
they are unable to clear up liens against their property
they do not own 100% of their property
they push back the move-out date
they do not have a replacement property or back up plan
It is impossible to find the perfect seller. But it is possible to find out which sellers are legit and which ones aren’t.
Laid-back, hip, and perpetually sunny, San Diego is a slice of beachy paradise—and a hotbed of wonderful culture, worldly cuisine, shopping, and nightlife. Apart from well-known attractions like the famed San Diego Zoo and the iconic Balboa Park, there are numerous art galleries, quirky-cool museums, and high-end eateries to discover. If you’ve just taken a leap and moved to the area, check out these top places to explore in San Diego!
Arts & Culture
San Diego is a city in which the arts, in all their forms, are widely beloved. From well-established museums to small-scale galleries, these are the top arts & culture experiences to have when you visit San Diego:
Visit world-class art museums.
Though Balboa Park is touristy, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art are must-see destinations for serious art lovers. The former attraction houses masterworks by Rembrandt and Jacques-Louis David, and the latter has works by dozens of popular American painters, from Georgia O’Keefe to Stuart Davis. Fight the crowds or go on a weekday; both museums are well worth it. Either way, you’ll avoid San Diego traffic, as Balboa Park is a highly walkable area. Park yourcar in a convenient lot and leave it for the day!
See Chicano murals.
In the neighborhood of Barrio Logan, you’ll find Chicano Park, which features the biggest collection of Chicano murals in the world (there are over 80 paintings on seven acres), as well as several art galleries and shops. Head here in the daytime to be able to appreciate the true vibrancy and beauty of the murals.
Stroll around an artsy neighborhood.
In North Park, art loving-travelers can experience an abundance of cool street art, in addition to galleries and studios, performance art spaces, and under-the-radar concert venues.
Dining & Drinks
Historically influenced by Mexican cuisine, the food scene in San Diego is thriving and growing all the time. The city is now home to a variety of farm-to-table restaurants, top French and Italian eateries, and some of the best fresh seafood in the country. And the drinking scene is diverse, as well. Take your pick from upscale oceanfront cocktail bars, neighborhood watering holes, and over 150 craft breweries.
Little Italy in San Diego
The best place to get an all-around feel for the local food & drink scene is the lively, cool Little Italy neighborhood, where you’ll find a plethora of awesome eateries, cool coffee shops, wine bars, craft brew pubs, and more. Stroll through the buzzing Mercato Farmers’ Market on a Saturday to sample fresh-baked bread, locally-made jams, farm-fresh produce, and other artisanal foods from over 175 farmers and vendors. This is the city’s biggest downtown market, and it’s definitely a local fave spot.
Also in Little Italy, James Coffee Co. is the perfect spot to enjoy handcrafted roasted coffee blends, Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room has excellent local brews, and Craft & Commerce has tasty small plates (think grilled oysters, charred eggplant dip, and marinated olives) and craft cocktails. Even a drive down the main drag, India Street, is a great way to explore the area.
Here are three other can’t-miss San Diego food & drink experiences:
Check out a hip food market
At Liberty Public Market, a 25,000-square-foot public market in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, visitors can peruse a dazzling array of food and goods from 30 local chefs and artisans—there’s also live music every week, and a dog-friendly market patio every Sunday.
Sample the best tacos in the city.
Craving tacos? Look no further than El Paisa Mexican Grill, easily one of the most beloved taquerias in the city—they make their own tortillas here, and you can pretty much get any type of taco you want.
Dine at a five-star French hotspot.
And for those who want to splurge on a decadent five-star meal during their trip? Make a reservation for Addison, a critically acclaimed Grand Del Mar resort with incredible dishes like langoustines with caviar and parsley and mussels with green curry, as well as a killer wine list.
It’s near-impossible to go to San Diego and not spend some time at the beach—not only is the weather here perma-beautiful, but the city boasts over 70 miles of scenic coastline punctuated by pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, and gorgeous blue-green bays. Take a drive out to one of the many beaches. Although you can’t really go wrong with any of the beaches here, there are a few standout spots to check out:
La Jolla Cove is the place to be if you want to try your hand at snorkeling or scuba diving—this tiny gem of a beach has crystal-clear waters and exciting marine life, like the bright orange Garibaldi fish.
Ocean Beach feels like 70s-era hippie California, with its barefoot surfers, funky beach communities, and collection of novelty and vintage shops. Head here if you’re into bohemian vibes, oceanfront live music, and boho-chic boutiques.
At Mission Beach, you’ll find over two miles of oceanfront boardwalk, tons of surf shops, and an old-school amusement park right on the water. In other words, it’s pretty much impossible to get bored at this bustling, action-packed beach.
Finally, although Coronado Beach is a bit touristy, it’s well worth a visit—with the postcard-perfect Hotel del Coronado, sparkling white sand, and the city skyline in the background, it’s the quintessential San Diego beach.
All in all, San Diego is chock-full of exciting culture, cuisine, and nightlife—and, not to mention, some of the most stunning beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking for the ideal romantic getaway, a great place to spend the weekend with friends, or the perfect family-friendly destination, San Diego has a little something for everyone.
It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they have found their dream home, then they go to get pre-approved. However, in today’s market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing a dream home.
Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone. Based on general questions about your income, debt, assets, and credit history, lenders can estimate how much mortgage you qualify for. However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different things. Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage; you have filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report, and verified your employment, assets, etc. When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.
A pre-qualified letter is not verified and in essence, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved. When you are pre-approved, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford. It gives you credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property.
In addition to being pre-approved, it’s important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender. Legitimate lenders include: banks, mortgage bankers, credit unions, savings and loan associations, mortgage brokers, and online lenders.
Some lenders to avoid: those who lose a form or misplace a file, those who gather information from you in an unorganized manner, those who are not informed about interest rates, points or costs, and those who cannot provide you with the right information.
Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money. It is imperative that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the escrow process was developed.
As a buyer or seller, you want to be certain all conditions of sale have been met before property and money change hands. The technical definition of an escrow is a transaction where one party engaged in the sale, transfer or lease of real or personal property with another person delivers a written instrument, money or other items of value to a neutral third person, called an escrow agent or escrow holder. This third person holds the money or items for disbursement upon the happening of a specified event or the performance of a specified condition.
Simply stated, the escrow holder impartially carries out the written instructions given by the principals. This includes receiving funds and documents necessary to comply with those instructions, completing or obtaining required forms and handling final delivery of all items to the proper parties upon the successful completion of the escrow.
The escrow must be provided with the necessary information to close the transaction. This may include loan documents, tax statements, fire and other insurance policies, title insurance policies, terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing, and requests for payment for various services to be paid out of escrow funds.
If the transaction is dependent on arranging new financing, it is the buyer’s or the buyer’s agent’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements. Documentation of the new loan agreement must be in the hands of the escrow holder before the transfer of property can take place. A real estate agent can help identify appropriate lending institutions.
When all the instructions in the escrow have been carried out, the closing can take place. At this time, all outstanding funds are collected and fees- such as title insurance premiums, real estate commissions, termite inspection charges- are paid. Title to the property is then transferred under the terms of the escrow instructions and appropriate title insurance is issued.
Payment of funds at the close of escrow should be in the form acceptable to the escrow, since out-of-town and personal checks can cause days of delay in processing the transaction.
The following items represent a typical list of what an escrow holder does and does not do:
THE ESCROW HOLDER:
serves as the neutral “stakeholder” and the communications link to all parties in the transaction;
prepares escrow instructions;
requests a preliminary title search to determine the present condition of title to the property;
requests a beneficiary’s statement if debt or obligation is to be taken over by the buyer;
complies with lender’s requirements, specified in the escrow agreement;
receives purchase funds from the buyer;
prepares or secures the deed or other documents related to escrow;
prorates taxes, interest, insurance and rents according to instructions;
secures releases of all contingencies or other conditions as imposed on any particular escrow;
records deeds and any other documents as instructed;
requests issuance of the title insurance policy;
closes escrow when all the instructions of buyer and seller have been carried out;
disburses funds as authorized by instructions, including charges for title insurance, recording fees, real estate commissions and loan payoffs;
prepares final statements for the parties accounting for the disposition of all funds deposited in escrow (these are useful in the preparation of tax returns).
THE ESCROW HOLDER DOES NOT:
offer legal advice;
negotiate the transaction;
offer investment advice.
Your local title company should be happy to provide additional information.