For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or real estate agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, 35% of homeowners who decided to FSBO last year did so to avoid paying a commission or fee. But, homes sold with an agent net 6% more than those sold as a FSBO according to Collateral Analytics.
Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the real estate industry is pivoting away from in-person events and embracing virtualization. But, renting is a big decision–how is a tenant supposed to choose the right apartment without stepping foot inside? Enter: virtual showings. Real estate agents are leading stand out virtual showings–either by FaceTiming their client or recording a comprehensive walk through–to keep real estate running as usual. Scroll down to see 5 secrets of virtual showings for real estate agents.
5 Secrets for Stand Out Virtual Showings
1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Good Lighting
As any good photographer knows–it’s all about light. So, make sure that you’re doing your apartment justice by filming your virtual showing with great lighting. Go during the day, and experiment with what looks best on camera. Got shadowy corners in the apartment? Could the living room use a couple of extra pieces of floor lighting? Bring your own gear. Purchase a small, handheld light and shine it in the dark areas of the apartment to get your client the best possible view.
2. Mind Your Windows
Be mindful of windows in your apartment. All the light that comes streaming through large windows can distort the visuals in your virtual tours. Windows can totally white out an image, or can make a room go very dark, so be careful. When you move your camera to show an area with lots of windows, go quickly and don’t linger on the light-source.
3. Practice Beforehand
Whether you’ve chose to send your client a pre-recorded video of an apartment or you’ve decided to live-stream a showing while your client is on FaceTime, do a dry-run. There, rehearse the key selling point, and features of the apartment. Even if you’ve been leading showings for years, using a phone to do the job might throw you for a loop. Don’t take any chances. Instead, show up twenty minutes before you’ve agreed to FaceTime your client and rehearse your main talking points and the path you’ll take through the apartment. If you’re opting for a pre-recorded showing, try filming a couple of takes before you select the one you’ll send to your client.
4. Keep Things Steady with a Stabilization Device
Ever been on FaceTime with someone taking a walk and felt yourself get seasick by the movement? Make sure your clients have a better experience (and are able to see the apartment in its best light!) by investing in a cheap stabilization device (a pop socket or another type of grip), or, if you want to spend a little bit money, purchase a dolly–a tripod with wheels. It’s possible that virtual showings will become the norm for a while, so adapt and make sure you can give your client a smooth ride as you explore potential homes.
5. Don’t Take Wi-Fi For Granted: How Will Your Service Be?
If you’re leading a live-showing (FaceTiming your client at a specified time), good Wi-Fi is a must. A bad reception can garble the images your apartment, and–worse– disconnect repeatedly and cause a stressful and frustrating experience for both you and your client. When you call ahead to the landlord or property manager to let them know that you’ll be conducting a virtual showing, ask them about their WiFi situation. If it’s not good, you might need to dip into your data, or let your client know that a pre-recorded showing might work better.
6. Go Beyond Descriptive Words:
This is great to keep in mind even if you’re leading in-personal showings–make sure to use very precise descriptions.
Instead of saying: “This open concept living-dining room is pretty big.”
Say: “This open concept living-dining room could comfortably fit a round table for four and two couches.”
It can be tough to really get a good sense of space using a screen, so help your client envision what these spaces look like in real life with your words.
7. Don’t Rush: Walk Slow and Leave Time for Comments
Don’t rush your good work! It can be tough to envision something from an iPhone screen, so take your time walking through the apartment and showing off its fantastic features. Ask your client if you are moving too slow or too fast, and be sure to course-correct your pace as per their recommendations
8. Luxury Apartment? Best to Leave it To the Professionals
Are you working with luxury apartments? If so, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Connect with real estate photographers and see if they would be willing to lead a virtual showing for your client. Yes, it’s an extra expense. However, professionals have long-range cameras that will be able to capture depth in a much more realistic and compelling way than your iPhone can, and will know best-practices to make your showings successful. It’s an expense well worth it if you’re working for clients seeking luxury apartments. And, the opportunity to network with another real estate professional can grow your sphere of influence, and maybe even generate referrals.
As the home sales cycle softens in response to COVID, the flexibility and affordability of rentals is starting to increase in popularity. With Rental Beast, real estate agents can connect with eager renters, search thousands of no co-broke apartment units with virtual showing capacity, and quickly process leasing applications. We’re the end-to-end leasing platform that makes rentals simple and profitable for real estate agents. Click here to learn more about the Rental Beast platform, and see how rentals can help you supercharge your business.
A recent survey by Lending Tree tapped into behaviors of over 1,000 prospective buyers. The results indicated 53% of all homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year, even amid the current health crisis. The survey further revealed why, naming several reasons buyers are more likely to move this year (see graph below):
Let’s break down why these are a few of the key factors motivating buyers to actively engage in the home search process, and the corresponding wins for sellers as well.
1. Low Mortgage Rates
The biggest reason potential homebuyers indicated they’re eager to purchase this year is due to current mortgage rates, which are hovering near all-time lows. Today’s low rates are making it more affordable than ever to buy a home, which is a huge incentive for purchasers. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Lending Tree survey want to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This is no surprise when comparing historic mortgage rates by decade (see below):
Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macrecently said:
“As the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery.”
2. Reduced Spending
Some people have also been able to save a little extra money over the past few months while sheltering in place. One of the upsides of staying home recently is that many have been able to work remotely and minimize extra spending on things like commuting expenses, social events, and more. For those who fall into this category, they may have a bit more saved up for down payments and closing costs, making purchasing a home more feasible today.
3. Re-Evaluating Their Space
Spending time at home has also given buyers a chance to really evaluate their living space, whether renting or as a current homeowner. With time available to craft a wish list of what they really need in their next home, from more square footage to a more spacious neighborhood, they’re ready to make it happen.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
With these three factors in play, the demand for housing will keep growing this year, especially over the summer as more communities continue their phased approach to reopening. Buyers can take advantage of additional savings and low mortgage rates. And if you’re thinking of selling, know that your home may be in high demand as buyer interest grows and the number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. This may be your moment to list your house and make a move into a new space as well.
If you’re ready to buy or sell – or maybe both – let’s connect to put your plans in motion. With low mortgage rates leading the way, it’s a great time to take advantage of your position in today’s market.
As the health crisis started making its way throughout our country earlier this spring, sellers have been cautious about putting their homes on the market. This hesitation stemmed primarily from fear of the spread of the coronavirus, and understandably so. This abundant caution has greatly impacted the number of homes for sale and slowed the pace of a typically busy spring real estate season. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americannotes:
“As more homeowners are reluctant to list their homes for sale amid the pandemic, the supply of homes available to potential home buyers continues to dwindle.”
With many states beginning a phased approach to reopening, virtual best practices and health and safety guidelines for the industry are in place to increase the comfort level of buyers and sellers. What we see today, though, is that sellers are still making a very calculated return to the market. In their latest Weekly Housing Trends Report, realtor.com indicates:
“New listings: On the slow path to recovery. Nationwide the size of declines held mostly steady this week, dropping 23 percent over last year, a slight increase over last week but still an improvement over the 30 percent declines in the first half of May.”
Although we’re starting to inch our way toward more homes for sale throughout the country, the number of homes on the market is still well below the demand from buyers. In the same report, Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for realtor.com shares:
“Sellers have yet to come back in full force, limiting the availability of homes for sale. Total active listings are declining from a year ago at a faster rate than observed in previous weeks, and this trend could worsen as buyers regain confidence and come back to the market before sellers.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) seems to agree:
“In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about homebuying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”
What we can see today is that homebuyers are more confident than the sellers, and they’re ready to make up for lost time from the traditional spring market. Summer is gearing up to be the 2020 buying season, so including your house in the mix may be your best opportunity to sell yet. Interest in your house may be higher than you think with so few sellers on the market today. As Vivas says:
“More properties will have to enter the market in June to bring the number of options for buyers back to normal levels for this time of the year, nationwide and in all large markets.”
If you’re ready to sell your house this summer, let’s connect today. Buyers are interested and they may be looking for a house just like yours.
There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission. A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.
Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty. One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market. Today, according to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below):
In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below):
In essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.
The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.
If your move is delayed, evaluate the features of your current home so you know just what you want in your next one.
Now that many of us have spent several weeks living inside, we’ve become quite familiar with our homes — in some cases, maybe too familiar. If you were planning to move before COVID-19, and still plan to do so when the timing is right, you might want to take this time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not in your current home. For instance, those stairs you’ve climbed 10 times a day may have kept you moving while you’ve stayed home, but maybe you’d like stair-free living in your next home. Or perhaps the yard you thought you could do without has now become a must-have.
We’ve come up with a list of questions to help you pinpoint what you like and don’t like about your current home so you can find more comfort and pleasure in your next one.
What’s working for you — and what’s not?
On a scale of 1-10, how do you like your current home?
What’s your home’s best quality?
And its worst quality?
Do you like the style of your home? If not, is there an architectural style or era you prefer?
What’s your favorite room, and what makes spending time there pleasurable?
Space and flow: How do you feel when you’re at home?
Do you have enough space or too much? Where could you use more/less space?
How would you describe the layout — an open floor plan or more compartmentalized? Does it suit your lifestyle?
Do you have enough or too many bedrooms? Bathrooms?
Do you like the number of levels (single or multistory)?
Are you happy with the windows (enough natural light, well-placed, too sunny)?
Do you like the fixtures and finishes?
Is there a specialized room you’ve never had but have always wanted (such as a home office, workout room, sewing room, laundry room or mudroom)?
What’s outside — and how does it affect your experience of home?
If you have an outdoor space, do you enjoy spending time there?
If you don’t have one, do you feel like you’re missing out?
Do you enjoy taking care of a yard… or feel burdened by it (be honest!)?
Does your home have curb appeal? If not, what needs to be improved?
Do you have adequate parking? Is a garage or carport a must-have?
How much time and effort does the exterior require for upkeep (painting, staining, etc.)?
Your neighborhood: Community connections can make life all the sweeter
Are you happy with your neighborhood? Think about all its characteristics, including walkability, parks, nearby activities, density, noise level and neighbor involvement.
Do you have to travel far for basics such as groceries or a doctor’s appointment?
Are you happy with your commute?
Are there enough activities going on around you — or too many?
Spring is typically a busy time for buying and selling homes, but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed homeowners and shoppers into new, uncharted territory. Shelter-in-place orders and concerns about contagion have forced many real estate agents to cancel open houses, while unemployment is at a historically high level.
But even in the midst of a deadly pandemic that is devastating the economy, many Americans still want or even need to buy a home in the near future.
“I definitely have clients that are still interested in viewing homes but have been honest that they won’t put pen to paper and write an offer until they know the health crisis has passed and they can assess the impact on real estate and the economy,” says Noah Grassi, a Realtor® for Compass in San Diego.
So, what does the current state of the housing market mean for buyers? With so much uncertainty these days, buying—or planning to buy—a home during a pandemic requires extra careful consideration. That’s why we reached out to real estate agents to get their honest takes on what’s really happening in the housing market in the time of COVID-19, how buyers can prepare, and what we can likely expect when the pandemic subsides.
There may be some reductions in home prices
The federal government has provided relief through cash payments, and lenders are also offering mortgage forbearance options. But with unemployment numbers rising, more people could be forced to sell their homes or enter foreclosure, potentially leading to reductions in home prices.
“Due to millions of job losses per week, and the long-term impact of COVID, I expect housing prices to shift into a downward trend,” says Justin Brennan with Brennan Real Estate Group, Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. “To what extent they go down will be determined by how many job losses become permanent versus temporary.”
If the price cuts materialize, that would be good news for buyers in locations where affordability was already stretched thin.
More homes will come onto the market
A bigger inventory of homes on the market may soon be on the horizon for buyers.
“There’s an inventory of sellers on the sidelines, and it is growing every day,” says Grassi. “These are owners that still reside in their property and don’t want strangers—agents and potential buyers—walking through their home at the moment due to the health crisis. Once it is clear the risk is minimal, I think we are going to see a big increase in the number of homes for sale.”
There’s a chance that buyers are also waiting in the wings for the coronavirus pandemic to end and the economy to get back on its feet. But the likely big inventory of homes for sale could put buyers in a good position.
Interest rates are likely to stay low
Over the past few months, mortgage interest rates have been lower than we’ve ever seen. And experts expect that trend to continue.
“The general consensus of the experts is that mortgage interest rates will remain attractive for many months to come,” says Grassi. “If buyers are hoping to try to find a deal on their mortgage during this health crisis, they should be writing offers now.”
If low mortgage rates and being stuck indoors have convinced you it’s time to find a new home, this may be a time to consider buying.
Keep in touch with your mortgage lender
Serious buyers should always have their mortgage lender on speed dial, but in these unprecedented times, this advice is more relevant than ever.
“Make sure you are constantly speaking with your lender on updates in the lending market,” says Brennan. “If you fall in love with a home, focus on the long term and getting a great interest rate and payment versus trying to time the market.”
In an age of social distancing, one of the best ways to limit exposure while successfully marketing your client’s home is through a virtual open house. If you haven’t been doing a lot with video, you may feel intimidated at the idea of streaming an open house or conducting a virtual walkthrough. However, the same things that make a successful live event contribute to a successful virtual event: friendliness, knowledge and market expertise.
Here are seven strategies to help make your virtual open house successful—and to help you repurpose it to more effectively market your listing.
1. Promote your virtual open house ahead of time. Promote your virtual open house the same way you would promote an IRL open house—through the local MLS, email blasts to buyer leads and fellow agents, and through your social media platforms. Give a timeframe for the virtual open house and build interest with details about the property.
2. Spend time on your tour. A virtual open house should take time, much the way a traditional, live open house does. Aim for 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of the house) of streaming as you take viewers on a virtual tour of the home.
3. Provide plenty of detailed information. Start outside and guide viewers through the front entrance just as you would for an in-person private showing. Next, proceed through each room, ending up back outside with the outdoor spaces. Show closet space, upgrades and finishes, as well as attention-getting extras, like the view from the bedroom or deck. You’ll want to take some time to talk about the neighborhood, local amenities, schools and other highlights. Be sure to stop and answer questions from viewers during the livestream.
4. Consider multiple tours in a day. If you want to make a big impact, consider a day of virtual tours for all of your current listings. Promote these heavily beforehand through email and on social media. It’s a great way to promote both your listings and your services.
5. Find a partner to work with. If you don’t have enough listings of your own, consider partnering with an agent in your office or on your team to show additional properties. Put together a number of agents and keep the fun going throughout the day with a series of virtual open houses, or add presentations from a local lender or title representative. The more people you partner with, the greater your sphere of influence and the more social media followers you’ll reach.
6. Upgrade your video equipment and platforms. Consider upgrading your camera, optimizing lighting or using a tripod to make your virtual open house a little more professional. Want to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously? A multi-stream switchboard can make it possible.
7. Repurpose your content for ongoing promotions. Once your livestream is over, you’ll want to download, edit and repurpose the virtual open house as video content for YouTube and on your website. Follow up your previous email with a link to the tour, and invite those who couldn’t attend the live broadcast to catch up. If you collaborated with other agents or affiliates, share their content on your platforms—and send them your links to share, as well.
Most of all, be yourself and have fun with your virtual open house. Bring your personality, your sense of humor, your second-to-none market expertise—whatever makes you the best agent in your market—and use it to engage your fans and followers to get that listing sold.
Posted by The Experts at Real Estate Express on RISMedia