June 16, 2020
After years of steady growth, COVID-19 has shoved the U.S. into a recession.
That word might strike panic in home sellers who remember the 2008 housing crisis, but this pandemic-related recession is much different. Due to years of extremely low inventory a backlog of demand for housing is still there, and many homebuyers are itching to get in on these historically low interest rates.
Even with the promise of high demand, homeowners who prepared to sell their homes in the spring are wondering if they should proceed.
Restrictions are phasing out at a slow crawl, making real estate transactions complicated. There are still many unknowns regarding when life will get back to normal and what lasting impact this will have on jobs and the economy.
In addition, what makes a home desirable in a certain area might have changed after the entire population spent months in their homes. More spacious houses, outdoor space, updated kitchens, and quieter neighborhoods or better soundproofing are suddenly much more appealing.
With so much in flux, many sellers are turning to Houwzer for their local expertise, simple streamlined process, and massive savings. Houwzer has built a reputation for providing an exceptional experience through technology and a team of salaried, specialized agents who save home sellers thousands in commissions – an incredible value in times of financial unknowns.
After witnessing how quickly things can change, homeowners are beginning to recognize the importance of holding onto their personal equity. That’s where Houwzer’s money-saving listing model comes into play.
Houwzer lists homes for a flat fee of $5,000 plus 2.5% to the buyer’s agent, all paid at the closing table. Houwzer has been able to cut costs while still delivering a full-service experience by taking advantage of advances in technology and the internet. The typical home sale commission of 6% (3% to each agent) has been roughly the same for the last two decades, even though the internet has made it faster, easier, and cheaper to sell homes. Houwzer opts to pass those savings on to the consumer. As a result, homeowners save $15,000 on average by listing with Houwzer.
Although Houwzer is digitally savvy, this is not a discount, online-only brokerage. The $5,000 flat fee includes the full range of services you would expect including open houses, professional HD photographs, virtual tours, social and email marketing, direct mail campaigns, and puts homes on all of the major online listing platforms. Every client experiences personal, 1-on-1 advocacy with their listing specialist from the initial consultation to the closing table.
Considering that the housing market is still limited by COVID-19 safety restrictions, having a digitally-robust platform will also be essential for getting a home in front of the maximum number of qualified buyers quickly.
Waiting to see how things play out? Because inventory is lower than ever, homeowners stand a great chance of getting the most value out of their home right now.
“If you look at the last 60 days, you can get a pretty good idea of what the next 60 days will look like,” advises Houwzer Listing Agent June Piper-Brandon. “Now is a good time to sell. Because inventory is still low, buyers don’t have as much to choose from, which can result in a lot of competitive offers.”
Mortgage rates are another key piece of the puzzle - and provides a powerful incentive to sell. “Interest rates are historically low right now,” explains Piper-Brandon. “People might have a 5% rate right now on their current home, if they bought it a few years ago. Today, rates are hovering around almost half of that.” Homeowners who move on to their next home now can still take advantage of these historic low interest rates before they go up again, allowing them to shave hundreds of dollars off their monthly mortgage payments.
“In the mortgage market, rates have fallen and continue to push all-time lows,” notes Houwzer CEO Mike Maher in the company’s recent Market Outlook. “Though we expect these conditions to continue, [historically] when rates do rise, they tend to rise very sharply. While rates are still trending down, they could reverse course with little warning.”
In other words, sellers waiting for rates to drop even further before they buy a home should consider the value of locking in a great rate now, rather than losing out completely while waiting for another quarter point drop or waiting for their current home value to rise. Because rates tend to rise sharply, there’s little time for homeowners to react once they do.
Houwzer has a seamless Bundle program to help sweeten the deal for homeowners who buy and sell with them: bundle clients receive $2,500 of their $5,000 listing fee back at the closing table. That’s money they can put toward necessary renovations, the down payment, or closing costs.
The 2008 financial crisis shaped many peoples’ ideas of what a recession means for the housing market, but 2008 was actually an anomaly because it was triggered by questionable mortgage lending. A wave of foreclosures flooded the market with inventory and caused home values to plummet.
Today, lenders are more strict with mortgage requirements and inventory is lower than ever.
Homeowners don’t need to worry about prices tanking just yet: recent data still reflects a robust market. According to Realtor.com, home prices for the last week of May actually increased in about 75% of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
As things stabilize, more homes are likely to come onto the market, but low inventory is expected to persist. The same factors that have crushed inventory over the last few years–baby boomers opting to age in place, a lack of new home building, zoning laws–still exist, and they aren’t going to change anytime soon.
For those whose personal wealth is directly tied to their home’s worth, there might not be a better time to sell than right now. And by hiring a top rated salaried expert with the right pricing strategy and strong negotiation skills, home sellers can maximize the equity they walk away with.