Real Estate Trends

Technology has rapidly evolved how we do real estate.

More than 70% of today’s buyers search for homes online; technology has rapidly evolved how we do real estate. During this pandemic, I think the use of technology has really come to the forefront in the real estate industry, and it should be used as an opportunity to improve the process and provide the best client experience possible. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or rent a home, pulling up listings to browse on your phone or tablet is the norm these days. Technology continues to play an impactful role in how both consumers and industry professionals are approaching the market. Technology offers a user-friendly experience when showing homes.

 Going beyond photos, new software allows buyers and sellers to take a 3-D virtual tour of a residential or commercial property, making it feel as if you were walking through the space without having to view it in person. The buyer can see the property in real time and even measure the room to see if their furniture will fit. REALTORS® can conduct the virtual tour via Zoom or Facetime call.

Technology also offers access to websites. Websites make it easy for anyone to view inventory and see what is available. Along with photos and detailed descriptions of the properties, you can find tax and purchase history, school ratings, and other neighborhood information. These sites have apps as well; easily accessible forms of technology that keep you informed without having to do a thing.         

Transaction management is much simpler using mobile technology. With electronic document signing apps and automated emails, we have significantly cut down the time spent on this portion of the sale. The agent-buyer interactions have changed over time as well. Data is easily accessible, making clients more knowledgeable on the topic. Technology allows clients to significantly narrow their searches by choosing the criteria that fits their buying needs.

Technology has been a wonderful addition to the real estate industry, but it has not and will not replace the real estate agent. Agents are highly trained and educated and can provide insight to buyers and sellers about their local markets and communities; you cannot get that personal information from technology. Working with a REALTOR® gives you the confidence that someone is representing your best interests in the transaction.

Technology is a part of everyday life, but it will never surpass the quality of one-on-one assistance you receive when working with a REALTOR®. We have REALTORS® in North Central West Virginia that have the same tools that technology offers in the process of searching for a new home. If you are in the market, and are looking for an experienced REALTOR®, please check out our website: www.morgantownrealtors.com.

Have a great week and remember to do good things.

What is the housing forecast for 2021?

What is the housing forecast for 2021? Will sellers still have the upper hand as buyers struggle with affordability? 2021 will be a robust sellers’ market as home prices hit new highs and buyer competition remains strong. Inventory is expected to make a slow but steady comeback, this will give buyers some relief. However, increasing interest rates and prices will make affordability a challenge throughout the year. This is all according to a Realtor.com study released in December.

So, what does this mean for our area? It could be a continuation of last year, with a lack of inventory and a surplus of buyers. This is a sellers’ market. Prices and demand will rise. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low which will keep stimulating demand. With the uncertainty of our economy, sellers remain skeptical about listing their homes. What if there is a quick sale and they have no place to go? Do they rent? Do they leave the area? These are all concerns weighing on their decision.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, they predict that the first quarter of 2021 will see a relatively high number of transactions. Demand is especially high in neighborhoods outside of downtown city cores, as increasing work from home and virtual learning requirements have driven many homeowners to favor space over on-the-doorstep amenities. They also feel there will be a continued shortage of inventory for sale on the market.

What should you do if you are considering buying? Make sure you are in a strong financial position when putting in an offer on a house, rather than just jumping at something you think is a good deal. If you have been considering buying a home, what is important is having your own financial house in order, and that means taking steps to shore up your credit history and save the necessary funds to purchase. If you have your house in order, absolutely, the first quarter is going to be a great time to buy.

It is a good time to spruce up your home, declutter the basement and talk to your local REALTOR® about selling your home. Most REALTORS® will provide you a market analysis of your property at no charge. What can it hurt? Maybe you are considering downsizing or even upsizing, if so, this is a great time to make the move. If you are a first-time home buyer, contact your mortgage lender to see what programs best fit your finances. Maybe the house payment is cheaper than the rent you are paying. You may be surprised at what you can afford.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember to do good things!

What should we expect in real estate trends for 2021?

As we wind down this crazy year of 2020, what should we expect in real estate trends for 2021? While the pandemic did disrupt home sales in the spring of 2020 which is usually considered the hottest season for real estate, the market quickly made an impressive rebound. Real estate experts have reported that the surge in home sales toward the end of 2020 made up for the spring market losses. Will we see more of the same results in 2021? How will the housing market shake out in our current economic climate? No one has a crystal ball to determine what 2021 will bring. However, we can hope for the best for our economy and community.

Mortgage rates should remain low according to the Federal Reserve which in turn will keep the buyers searching for their next or first home. Sellers however may still be leery of the market and our inventory could remain low in 2021. Low inventory means you need to be on your toes when you go house hunting—the best homes will likely be snatched up fast. In October 2020, more than 7 in 10 sold homes were on the market for less than a month.

So, what can you do? If you can’t find the house you want, be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and upgrade over time. What if the location where you are planning to buy is too competitive? You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Getting preapproved for a mortgage before you go house hunting is a must in any market. But in a market with such a limited home supply, not doing this legwork ahead of time gives a preapproved buyer free reign to swipe the home you want right out of your hands.

What does a low inventory market mean for sellers? It means low selling competition! Since your home will be one of the relatively few listed on the market, you could be in the driver’s seat. So, enjoy possibly picking the best offer and moving at a pace that best suits your timeline.

Home prices are still rising. Buyers should absolutely find out what they can really afford and commit to staying within that budget amount no matter how much pressure you feel watching competitors pluck good homes off the market.

Talk to a local lender, contact your REALTOR®, and start your house hunting today. If you are a seller, prep your home for the spring market and start packing.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Remember to do good things!