A resident of the Seacoast for more than 36 years, Paul Tarnowski helps clients make the best decisions about their real estate investments. He understands their needs, the market, and the community at large and will proactively work to help them achieve their goals. [...]
With historically low interest rates--hovering at 3 percent--and shelter in place restrictions easing, housing experts predict home sales will continue to rise during the summer months. But since so many sellers either removed their properties from the market as the pandemic unfolded or chose not to list at all, inventory is limited.
So, what do you do if you are a buyer in a seller’s market?
- Have a pre-qualification. Get pre-approved.
At minimum, get a pre-qualification, but even better is a pre-approval.
Pre-qualification simply means you spoke to a lender about your financial situation. Pre-approval requires a more detailed, signed application with supporting documentation to verify your finances. It also shows the seller you are serious about buying and have all your ducks in a row to move forward. Added benefit, your pre-approval will tell you how much house you can afford.
- Make your best offer.
When inventory is abundant it is reasonable to make a less-than-asking-price offer. But when inventory is tight, you don’t have that luxury. Make a strong opening offer and then be prepared for a bidding war. Tip: set your search below your maximum financing level to give you room to go over asking price, especially if you find a house you love.
- Work with an experienced agent.
Now is the time to be offer ready. Working with a seasoned professional can help you compete with other buyers and give you a better chance of getting the home you want. Real estate agents will save you time in a fast-paced seller’s market because they understand the process. Added advantage, they likely now about upcoming inventory.
With the kids back to school and the weather changing to a crisper climate, it will be interesting to see how the housing market is affected in Q4 of 2018. Before we look ahead though, we’d like to share Q3 housing market data for the NH Seacoast and offer some insight into what the data is telling us.
At the end of each quarter we compile all the sales transactions for the towns we do the majority of our business in and present it in an easy to digest summary. We hear from clients, customers and neighbors that the data helps them keep a close eye on the market and could potentially impact their decision on when/if to buy or sell.
All of the data can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the following links, but just in case you don’t have time to dig through it all on your own time, below are a few of the more notable stats that are worth a close look.
For this blog post we are highlighting a piece of the data - single family residence sales transactions in Rockingham County for the following towns: Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newmarket, North Hampton, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye and Stratham.
We are always looking to see where the activity is happening – i.e. where homes are selling from both a volume and days on market perspective. From July-September, Portsmouth recorded the most single family sales transactions with 54, followed by Hampton (48) and Exeter (37). However, when looking at the top towns with lowest days on market we saw Newfields, (while only recording three transactions for Q3), had the lowest days on market at 22. Taking second and third place were Newmarket and Exeter with 34 and 35 days on market, respectively.
With Exeter popping up towards the top of both of these lists, it's a strong signal that sellers are pricing homes at values being well received by the market and that there is high demand for property on the buyer side. To learn more about what makes Exeter a desirable community to live in, or research our other great Seacoast town, visit our Seacoast Towns page.
Rounding out the key findings from this quarter's report, the top three towns with the highest average sale price in Q3 were New Castle ($1,822,200), Rye ($1,074,340) and North Hampton ($832,825).
It will be interesting to see if these trends continue when we recap Q4 sales data at the end of the year, or if any new trends emerge for us to discuss!
As always, if you have any questions about the data or are thinking it might be time to buy/sell property along the Seacoast, give us a call or swing into our Rye office location.
- Your Madden Real Estate Team
That’s why almost every reputable Realtor will hire out the photography to a professional. This ensures two things – first that your Realtor is focusing on all the other critical steps needed to list and sell a property successfully (staging, contracts, marketing, showings/open houses, etc.) and second, that the photographs used to showcase your home are of the highest possible quality.
Professional photographers have special lenses for indoor photography, lighting kits to get the exposure right and a career’s worth of knowledge that helps them get shots that your smart phone’s camera just simply can’t.
There’s been a shift in recent years to adding aerial photography by using drones to help showcase a property. With drones more widely available (you still need a license to fly them), some professional photographers are offering the service as part of their package to Realtors and it can really make a big difference in how the public sees a property.
For example, check out this aerial photograph captured by Seacoast Aerial Solutions of one of our recent properties for sale:
It’s one thing to tell buyers that the home is “close to a body of water,” or that it’s “situated on a beautiful private lot,” but to be able to show it with an aerial photo really helps increase the perceived value of a property like this one pictured above.
While this tactic of showing a high overhead shot is starting to become more adopted by Realtors, it’s also a good idea to have your drone photographer take some shots straight on of the home from about 15-25 feet in the air. This allows you to get a different (and often better) angle than by just standing on the ground.
Here’s an example of how a drone was used to get a great photo of a property that sits up on a hill and was more difficult to photograph successfully from the ground:
(Photo taken from approx. 25 feet above ground using a drone)
(Photo taken standing in the driveway which slopes away from the home)
There are dozens of different ways to successfully use photography to showcase a property, and the use of drones is just the latest one impacting the real estate industry, but what’s important is that your Realtor is knowledgeable of the process and has relationships with reputable photographers that know how to capture the right images that will help sell the property for the highest value possible.
So it’s time to sell your house. You spend days (if not weeks) clearing out the clutter, organizing, cleaning and perfecting every square foot of your home so potential buyers can see it at its best possible version. Often times your Realtor might even offer up the services of a professional stager – it’s amazing what these experts can do without even bringing in any new décor. They simply take your existing furniture/decorations, work their magic and POOF your home looks like it should be on the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.
Going through the process of meticulously preparing your home for sale will improve the perceived value of your home and usually result in buyers willing to pay more to move in, but what if you took it one step further…allow me to introduce you to the idea of “white-boxing.”
White-boxing is a growing trend in the real estate industry and it’s basically the idea that when potential buyers are looking at property they have a very specific idea of how they want to design/construct the interior and therefore, you should give them as blank a canvas as possible.
Imagine having two similar homes. The first home is meticulously decorated to the liking of the current homeowner. The second home’s walls are bare of any paint, the kitchen cabinets have been stripped of hardware, lighting fixtures have been removed – you get the idea – the home has essentially been muted of its design elements. Which will sell faster?
It’s a bit of a tricky question to truly answer. If the first buyer who walks through the door of the first home loves the design elements, then we have a match and that home will sell, but if your goal (and it should be) is to have your home appeal to as broad an audience as possible, then white-boxing is something your should consider doing before listing your home.
Before you go ripping your home down to the studs, understand that there are levels and degrees to this idea of “white-boxing.” At its most extreme interpretation, yes, white-boxing means you would vacate any and all finishes in your home – countertops, lighting fixtures, bathroom tile – rip them all out and give buyers the ultimate clean slate. This level of white-boxing has it’s place (think multi-million dollar apartments), but a more practical approach to this theory is what most sellers should consider as they prepare to list their home and something a staging expert would actually be well suited to assist with (a little ironic, I know).
A staging expert can help you organize your home so that each room can be seen for its possibilities, rather than it’s current use – for example, what you may see as a living room space, may better suit a buyer as a dinning room. By removing unnecessary furniture, buyers can more easily envision their own furniture in the space and therefore will be more likely to have an emotional connection to home.
Another option that some sellers are choosing, which supports the theory behind white-boxing, is to just remove all the furniture from the home entirely. We actually have a beautiful home listed for sale in Rye, NH – 13 Perkins Road – that had been tastefully staged, but the sellers just decided to remove all the furniture to present the home as more of a blank canvas in hopes that it will appeal to a broader audience of buyers.
Those are just a couple of examples of how white-boxing may help sell your home but what’s important to remember is that each home is truly unique and the decisions you make in how you prepare your home for sale should be carefully weighed and discussed with a trusted Realtor (we know a few if you are looking :))