Our local market update

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If you talk to 100 people, you are going to get 100 different versions of how the real estate market is doing right now. Some would say that since we are inching toward a balanced market, that we are post-recession. Others, noting stagnant inventory and lackluster price growth believe we still have a ways to go.

Since we are asked about the state of the market on a daily basis, we’ve developed a short list of objective truths that we share with clients and friends.

NATIONAL INVENTORY IS UP
This is the first time in a long time that we are seeing housing supply/inventory increase on a national level.

INTEREST RATES ARE UP
Rates are fast approaching 5% and we expect them to surpass that mark soon.

% OF ORIGINAL PRICE TO CLOSE PRICE IS UP
This is a tabulation we make based off of the original list price, compared to the price at which the home sells. In the Barrington area, homes are selling for an average of 1% less than their sale price.

LOCAL MARKET TIME HAS REMAINED CONSTANT
Market time has hovered around 65 days for the past several years in the Barrington area, which makes sense since inventory has remained constant.

LOCAL INVENTORY HAS REMAINED RELATIVELY CONSTANT
Barrington area’s inventory has hovered around seven months for the past several years. Seven months of inventory would indicate a buyer’s market since there is so much supply. A balanced market is right around 6 months.

So what does all this mean for you?

IF YOU ARE A BUYER
Our advice to you, is to really take the time to figure out exactly what you are looking for, and then remain flexible. There is no one perfect house for you and your family. In our opinion there are a few that could make you very happy.

IF YOU ARE A SELLER
To set your listing apart from the rest, price it to sell from the start. This is not a market built for “testing the waters.” If your home is priced properly, it will sell!

How to: Stay competitive in a balanced market

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Let’s start with the definition of a balanced market since sometimes this can be confusing. The objective answer is the market is balanced or neutral with about six months of inventory. At this amount of inventory, there is enough housing to meet buyer demand, and conversely there is enough buyer demand to keep things moving.

So now the real question: do we want a neutral market? Is it good for everyone? Or are buyers AND sellers struggling in a neutral market?

For us, it’s all about staying competitive, both for buyers and sellers. The market will do what it may, but it is our job to be the steady hand through it all. Here are a few of our best tips:


FOR BUYERS:

Do your research! Start your search by identifying examples of recently sold homes that meet your list of criteria. Get a feel for home values, average market time, square footage—all of the factors that will help you when it comes time to write an offer.

It’s still all about location: A good location is like a fine wine, it only gets better in time. If you are worried about a property appreciating, finding a strong location is the best insurance policy possible.

Always be prepared: In a city like Chicago, there are always people looking to move in, which means even in a neutral market, there are always a certain number of serious buyers. Set yourself apart by preparing in advance. The number one way to prepare? Get pre-approved! It’s fast and easy, and proves to sellers that you are ready to go.

FOR SELLERS:

Never say no: When we hear sellers say that they rejected an offer outright, we truly never understand why. We encourage all of our sellers to at least try to negotiate every offer they receive for one simple reason: why not?! It takes very little time and energy to politely respond to an offer, and you never know where things could land.

Maintenance is crucial: In a faster seller’s market, you can get away with your home being less than move-in-ready. However, when the market slows, buyers quickly become more picky and scrutinizing. Fix what needs fixing, paint what needs painting, etc.

Your home is only worth what someone will pay: You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. The value of your home doesn’t take into account your personal situation or love for your home. If you base your expectations on fact, you will be much happier in the end!

20 Tips for Preparing Your House For Sale

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Some Highlights:

  • When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!

  • There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!

  • Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!