Tag Archives: market value

How Buying Power Affects Buying and Selling Property

Buying power in real estate is directly related to interest rates for a mortgage. Before a buyer should start searching for property to buy, the buyer will want to get pre-approved by a lender. The mortgage lender will determine what a buyer can afford in terms of purchase price based on what the buyer can afford in monthly payments after looking at income, other debt, etc.

The higher the interest rate for a loan, the less the buyer can afford to buy in terms of the purchase price. For example, a 1% increase in interest rates is equal to 10% of the purchase price of a property. As illustrated in the chart below, if a buyer could afford the monthly payments for a $400,000 home at 3.5% interest, at 4.5% interest a buyer would only be able to afford a $360,000 home. Depending on the real estate sales market you are looking in, this will change your buying options drastically.

Interest Rate vs Loan Payment

 

Freddie Mac History

With interest rates where they are, buyers have more money to spend on property. However, many potential sellers have asked me if they should hold on to their property and wait until prices go up to put their listing on the market. No one can predict what will happen next year or even a few months from now, but the current circumstances make now a great time to sell property. Low inventory means low competition. Historic low mortgage rates means strong buying power. No time in recent history has seen these two factors in play together. Even Warren Buffet has said we will not see buying power at this level for another lifetime.

 

Interest Rates from 2012-2013Even though the interests rates are ticking back up, it may be a couple years before they are back up to 5% or 7%. But I can guarantee if one seller I spoke with is thinking about holding on to their property to sell next year, there are a lot more thinking the same thing. Simply put, it is supply and demand. Right now, it is a seller’s market which is getting sellers multiple offers over asking price after a week on the market. The limited supply of available properties on the real estate sales market and an excess of buyers is pushing up the prices. Next year, if everyone decides to sell, it could become a buyers market with sellers hoping to get close to their asking price. When the supply increases buyers will take their time to look around and even under-bid.

Contact us to assess your individual situation and what the best strategy is in the current market.

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Selling Property: Are You Ready?

I have not made any secret about how great the real estate sales market is behaving right now especially if you are selling. Inventory is low and the properties on the market are getting multiple offers and selling over-asking. It is very exciting to be a seller in this market but only if you are ready to sell. So how do you know if you are ready to sell?

1. You have another place to go.

If you are thinking about selling your property and want to put it on the market to see what you can get, what will you do if you actually get an offer? Do you have another neighborhood to which you want to move? Another state? Are you looking for something bigger? Smaller? You do not necessarily have to have another home in escrow, but if you have already moved on mentally, it will be much easier to move on physically.

2. Your current place is no longer suiting your needs.

Is your one bedroom too small for you and your growing family? Or have all the kids moved out and now your large home is too much work? When you look at your current home and only see how it no longer works for your lifestyle, you are ready to move on.

3. You are receptive to advice.

Whether this is the first home your are selling or your seventh, unless you work full time in real estate, you are not an expert. Three reasons define why properties do not sell today and when you are fighting with your Realtor about any of these, you are fighting the real estate sales market.

  • Are You Ready to Sell Your Property?Price – Realtors have to abide by certain ethical guidelines, so if we are telling you the price is too high, we are not secretly trying to get you to lower the price to fit our buyer’s budget. We have done the research, we have listened to the feedback from the buyers and agents. Pricing is the difference between a sold listing and old listing.
  • Staging - This is your home that you have decorated to your taste that you love, we understand and respect this. But if your taste is preventing any buyer from being able to envision it to their taste, it will not sell. It is always a good idea to visit other listings you are competing against and “borrow” some ideas from the ones that show very well
  • Marketing – This is only as good as the Realtor you use. If you don’t want to be bothered  with what needs to be done to market your home to sell, you may not be ready to sell.

4. Timing makes sense.

Many people have held onto their property as an investment and rented it out instead of selling in a down market. In certain areas, rent is high enough to cover the mortgage and then some. However, being a landlord can be more trouble than it’s worth and with tenant laws continuously evolving (such as Boston’s New Inspection Ordinance), it may be worth it to sell now and move on.

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Assessed Value vs Market Value

“Why is the assessed value vs market value so far off for this property?”

Many buyers have asked this question thinking a ratio of assessed value offers a shortcut to a property’s fair market value. While I use and can suggest many factors and figures to determine a property’s fair market value, I do not ever look at the assessed value when pricing a property. In fact, the only time I consider a property’s assessed value is when I want to provide buyers with the figure they will pay for property taxes.

The fair market value is the price agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances (not under duress). The fair market value is the highest estimated price in terms of money which the property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a buyer who is purchasing with full knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best suited and for which it can be legally used.

Market Value vs Assessed ValueIn contrast, the assessed value is the dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for the purposes of measuring applicable taxes. Some states require assessed value to be a percentage of the real market value, but most do not. In Massachusetts, Town Assessors are required to submit assessed values to the State Department of Revenue for certification every three years. Assessors review the real estate sales market data every year and therefore reassess values each year. Many states do not allow the assessment value to be increased unless the home is sold or improvements are done to the home (called Proposition 13 protection in California). If market value falls below assessed value, the home owner may petition the tax collector for an abatement.

Since fair market value and assessed value differ in purpose and in how they are determined, an analysis of assessed value vs market value does not provide a consistent ratio from which to judge the merits of one metric or the other. After charting the two values looking for a correlation, the results show assessed values are all over the place in relation to a property’s fair market value.

I suggest using better methods of gauging a listing price’s merit in the current market. A comparable market analysis (CMA) is the best method for determining probable price of a property, but even price per square foot or the ratio of sale price to list price can be used as quick metrics of a list price’s validity in today’s market. Our Realtors are available to provide you with a CMA if you are considering buying property or thinking about listing your home for sale.

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