Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

Agents SOUND OFF

 

Tom Dreyer
Mill Valley
415.412.3443
tdreyer@apr.com

Question: Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

Answer: If the Fed continues to hold rates at present extraordinarily low levels, it should support and enable the hot local sales market. Low rates provide a clear incentive for all types of buyers as they are able to leverage additional buying power — and are able to borrow more without dramatically increasing their expected payments. With a stable rate, buyers willing to hold a property for at least five years can increase the chances of making money on the eventual sale.

That said, a small, incremental increase in rates by the Fed over several quarters typically will create a spike in buyer activity, while they fear their “buying window” may be closing. Over the long term, it also may price out some buyers until the market becomes more balanced.

The past weeks’ volatility in the stock market, should it continue, is a greater concern to me insofar as consumer confidence is concerned. If consumers do not feel financially stable, it can have a large impact on the real estate market.

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When should I stage and professionally photograph?

Agents Sound Off

 

Nick Granoski
Palo Alto
650.269.8850
ngranoski@apr.com

Question: When should I stage and professionally photograph?

Answer: The speed at which our market moves makes it critical to get everything right from the start.

Many times buyers need to make up their minds about whether or not to make an offer after seeing a home just one time. With only one chance to make a first impression, I always recommend staging and professional photography.

The degree of staging will vary based on the home. The condition of the interior and exterior along with the price range are all factors in making a decision regarding how much staging to use.

If the house is barely inhabitable and needs all new electrical, plumbing, roof, etc., it doesn’t make sense to stage. You want to make the home look livable, but no need to overdo it.

On the other end of the spectrum, a high-end home may already have custom furniture and paint colors picked by an interior designer, but it will still need some degree of staging to make it shine. The art of staging and photographing a home to sell is unique to each transaction, but all homes will benefit.

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What do buyers and sellers often fail to account for?

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Nick Granoski
Palo Alto
650.269-8856
ngranosk@apr.com

Question: What do buyers and sellers often fail to account for?

Answer: The power of live conversation can be underestimated in this age of technology, especially as it relates to fast-moving real estate transactions.

Buyers and sellers are using technology to be faster and more efficient with communicating via text, e-mail, etc. While this does facilitate faster communication, it’s important to remember that real estate transactions can also be emotional, and technology does not always translate emotions effectively. Feelings matter, and deals come together (or fall apart) based on what is communicated or interpreted.

Live conversation during transactions can quickly clear up misconceptions or assumptions faster and more cohesively than an ongoing exchange of e-mails or text messages back and forth. Tone of voice, clarity and questions that evolve based on the flow of conversation can be assessed quickly, accurately and will save both buyers and sellers lots of money and time when done correctly. Don’t underestimate the power of communicating the old-fashioned way when it comes to effective real estate transactions.

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What features add the most value to a home?

Agents Sound Off

 

Lance Fulford
San Francisco
415.793.6140
lfulford@apr.com

Question: What features add the most value to a home?

Answer: Value — like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder, and in my 20-plus years of experience as a local Realtor, there are multiple differences between buyers in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.

Across the board, however, I would rank a garage as the most valued. This is followed by outdoor space (patio, deck or gardens) and a remodeled kitchen and baths.

Many buyers will forgo remodeled features if they can get a “better” location or one that they put higher value on for their life stage and/or lifestyle.

Then we get into floor plan and functionality, and finer points such as hardwood flooring, moldings and other details including energy upgrades.

Buyers don’t put a value on structural items like foundation or a heating system because they expect those will be there and take that as a given. However, if structural items are an issue or are missing, most buyers will eliminate the property from their list altogether.

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What are the benefits to open houses around the holidays?

Agents Sound Off

 

Greg Celotti
Palo Alto
650.740.1580
greg@apr.com

Question: What are the benefits to open houses around the holidays?

Answer: There are pros and cons to having an open house during the holiday season, including some of which may sound a bit contradictory. The advantages include very little competition (inventory levels can be about one-third of what is typically on the market), plus some of the available homes may choose not to be held open. As in most businesses, less competition and more exposure is a good thing for a seller.

Additionally, there is an influx of out-of-area buyers who are here to visit family with the intention of moving here. Often, it’s easier for them to conduct home searches around social visits during their holiday vacations.

In terms of the disadvantages, some buyers will discontinue their search during the holidays due to travel plans, social events, and other seasonal commitments, thereby reducing the buyer pool.

For sellers, it can also be difficult to balance showing the home and still find time to enjoy the season for the very same reasons. Plus, in keeping with the conventional wisdom of staging/presenting a home in a neutral way, it may inhibit them from decorating like they normally would.

These are just a few of the factors to consider whether to hold a home open during the holidays. However, with the strong market, low inventory and large quantity of buyers, if you want to sell your home, you might want to do it.

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