Finding the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is a collaborative effort between you and your real estate agent. As you prepare to sell your home, it’s important to find an agent who not only can answer your questions throughout the selling process, but who also cares about the happiness and goals of you and your household, as well.

 

Before You Begin Your Agent Search

 

Once you’ve made the decision to sell, there are some things to consider before selecting an agent to work with.

 

Communicate your reason for selling

  • Behind every homeowner who decides to sell their home there’s a story, and every story is unique. In the early stages of working together, your agent will be processing a lot of information about your timeline and financial goals. Having these details ironed out and ready to communicate will help them understand your motives and guide the process effectively.

 

Think about selling strategy

  • Part of a real estate agent’s expertise is knowing the optimal selling strategy to pursue, but no one knows your home better than you. Putting time and effort into thinking about things like how your home will be marketed and how showings will be conducted will help inform your agent’s strategic advice.

Saving to Buy A Home During COVID-19

Saving to Buy A Home During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way people plan for their future. For those saving to buy a home, the landscape may seem daunting. However, this new world of social distancing and stay at home orders is an opportunity to rethink your spending and saving plans. Keeping the following suggestions for your budget and finances in mind can help make your dream of buying a home a reality.

 

Rethink your budget:

If there have been changes to your income amid COVID-19, adapting your budget is a logical and necessary step. If your income has gone unchanged, certain tweaks to your budget can yield significant savings. Knowing the leisure portion of your normal expenditure has been removed for the time being is a great starting point for reassessing your spending.

 

  • Begin with your income and assets
  • Determine your household’s new baseline and arrange your new budget accordingly
  • Divide your budget expenses out into Fixed and Variable
  • Adjust for changes in essential costs—Housing, Utilities, Insurance, Food
  • Put into savings what normally would have been your leisure spending money

 

As the stay-at-home lifestyle continues, take a look at your unnecessary costs for such things as memberships, subscriptions, and online shopping. Reach out to the subscription organizations and see if they are offering any options to delay your membership until a later date.

 

  • Categorize all active memberships as Cancel, Adjust, or Keep
  • For live entertainment, research how far out the venues have postponed shows
  • Adjust your online shopping needs for your current lifestyle
  • Reassess the must-haves of your new stay-at-home daily life

 

Review your finances:

If you’re planning on buying a home in the near future, you are likely already on your financial planning journey. With added uncertainty around COVID-19’s effective timeline, the more information you can gather, the better. In these unprecedented times, flexible solutions are being provided to customers. Exploring what options your banks and issuers are offering will keep you informed and prepared while keeping your finances in order.

 

Contact your credit card issuer to see if they are offering any of the following options to customers:

  • Payment deferral or forbearance
  • Flexible fee policies
  • Lowering your monthly payment or interest rate temporarily
  • Forgiveness or relief from late fees

 

Following the steps outlined above can go a long way towards helping you save for a home. As your finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, take time to adjust accordingly. Continuing to gather information and developing a strategy will help you steer your eventual home purchase in the right direction through these uncertain times.

 

If you'd like to talk with an agent about your home buying options, we are ready to connect you to a pro here.


Windermere Living Magazine - Winter 2020

Windermere Living Winter Edition Now Available!

The latest issue of Windermere Living is now available. Check out your featured listings and cozy culinary creations, tips for a museum inspired gallery wall, how to shop for your home virtually, and more!


Q4 Southern California Real Estate Market Update | Gardner Report

The following analysis of the Southern California real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The counties covered by this report — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside — saw total employment rise 54,500 jobs (+0.5%) year-over-year, an improvement compared to employment growth in the third quarter of 2019. Job growth rose in all but Orange County, which saw a contraction of 8,900 jobs.

The region’s unemployment rate dropped from 3.9% to 3.6% over the past year, with the total number of unemployed persons down 25,900 persons year-over-year. In all, these are reasonable numbers, though employment growth in this region remains lower than in other West Coast states.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 43,915 homes sold in the final quarter of 2019. This was an impressive increase of 10.7% over the same period in 2018, but 10.8% lower than in the third quarter of the year (likely a function of seasonality).
  • Pending home sales (an indicator of future closings) rose 18.4% compared to a year ago but dropped 17.1% from the third quarter of 2019.
  • Fourth quarter home sales rose in all counties contained in this report. Of note was a significant increase in Orange County, where over 1,000 more units changed hands than in the final quarter of 2018.
  • There was an average of 31,380 active listings in the fourth quarter — down 23.3% from a year ago and 20% lower than in the third quarter of the year. The market is tighter than I would like, but there is clearly demand from buyers.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Year-over-year, home prices in the region were 4.6% higher. They were 1.3% higher than in the third quarter of 2019.
  • Affordability concerns persist but buyers in the region still seem able to pay more for housing. That said, I maintain my position that price growth will continue to slow—though remain positive—as we move through 2020.
  • Home prices were higher in all counties contained in this report, with San Bernardino County holding onto the number one spot for price growth (+8.2%). Los Angeles and Riverside counties also saw significant price gains.
  • In 2020, I expect home prices will rise and mortgage rates should remain below 4%.

 

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 45 days, which is 1 day fewer than a year ago, but 3 days more than the third quarter.
  • Two markets — San Diego and Riverside — saw the time it took to sell a house drop compared to the final quarter of 2018.
  • Homes in San Diego County continue to sell at a faster rate than other markets in the region. In the final quarter of 2019, it took an average of 32 days to sell a home. This is 3 fewer days than it took a year ago.
  • Market time dropped compared to a year ago, and I think we may see further contraction as we move into the more buoyant spring sales period.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. Inventory levels and affordability concerns persist, but there still appears to be demand from home buyers. Pending sales have risen, which suggests the market still has legs to grow, thanks in no small part to competitive mortgage rates. Given the tight inventory levels and decent demand, I have moved the needle a little more toward sellers.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 


Q2 Southern California Real Estate Market Update | Gardner Report

The following analysis of the Southern California real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Unexpectantly, the counties covered by this report — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside — saw total employment drop by 10,700 jobs (-0.1%) year-over-year. However, while Los Angeles and Orange counties reported declines, the smaller Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties saw employment rise. This is a significant reversal from the growth rates that have been in place for quite some time and may be due to re-benchmarking, which is when the government compares its sample to broader, historic data. I suspect that this is an anomaly and will reverse course, but I will continue to follow employment data closely as we move through the balance of the summer to see if this is a trend.

Over the past year, the unemployment rate in Southern California dropped from 3.6% to 3.4%, which further points to a data issue rather than a new trend that we need to be concerned about. I’ll know more when we publish the third quarter Gardner Report.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 49,996 home sales in the second quarter of 2019. This was a drop of 3.6% from the same period in 2018 but 46.4% higher than the first quarter of this year.
  • Pending home sales (an indicator of future closings) rose by 3.7% compared to a year ago, suggesting that total sales in the third quarter are likely to be an improvement over current levels.
  • Following a trend that started last fall, home sales fell across the board. The most noticeable decline was again in San Bernardino County, which fell by 6.7%. The smallest drop was in the relatively affordable Riverside County.
  • There was an average of 40,174 active listings in the second quarter — up 13.1% from a year ago and 6.7% higher than in the first quarter of the year.

HOME PRICES

  • Year-over-year, average prices in the region were flat but were 5.3% higher than in the first quarter of 2019.
  • As stated above, affordability issues continue in most Southern California markets and this will likely lead price growth to taper.
  • Price growth in second quarter was mixed. Riverside County continues to have the greatest annual appreciation (+4.1%). Price gains were also seen in San Bernardino and San Diego counties. There were modest drops in average sale prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties, but this is not of great concern at the present time. That said, it is clear that affordability issues are present in these markets.
  • On a year-over-year basis, I still expect to see home prices continue to rise, but this likely only due to the very competitive mortgage rates. If rates move higher, this will have an impact on price growth.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 44 days. This is an 8-day increase over the second quarter of 2018 but is down 9 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • All markets saw the time it took to sell a house increase compared to the second quarter of 2018.
  • Homes in San Diego County continue to sell at a faster rate than other markets in the region. In the second quarter it took an average of just 29 days to sell a home. I would note that this is 5 more days than it took a year ago.
  • Market time is increasing, which may concern some, but it is simply a move back to historic averages.

 

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Rising inventory levels, and affordability concerns in many markets will likely lead to slower price growth as we move through 2019. That said, mortgage rates are still very attractive, and this can offset affordability issues to some degree.

Given rising inventories and slower price growth, I have moved the needle just a little more toward buyers, though it still remains a sellers market.

 

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 

 

 


Windermere Living - Spring 2019

In this Spring 2019 issue of the Windermere Living magazine you will learn about decluttering your home, edible flowers, five talented designers creative processes, and much more.

Windermere Living is an exclusive listings magazine published by Windermere Real Estate. Read the online version by clicking on the image below.

 


Q1 Southern California Real Estate Market Update | Gardner Report

The following analysis of the Southern California real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The counties covered by this report — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside — added 165,000 new jobs between February 2018 and February 2019. This represents an annual growth rate of 1.7%. In the same timeframe, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.4% to 3.9%. Employment growth in Southern California picked up a little in the late winter. Los Angeles County led the way, adding 96,500 new jobs. My 2019 forecast for employment in Southern California is for continued growth at around 1.5%.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 34,142 home sales in the first quarter of 2019. This was a drop of 12.4% from the same period in 2018 and 13.9% lower than the final quarter of last year
  • Pending home sales (an indicator of future closings) were just 2.8% lower than during the same period a year ago, but down 18% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. This suggests that second-quarter sales are likely to disappoint.
  • Home sales dropped across the board, but the most noticeable decline was again in Orange County, which fell by 15.2%. This drop is probably temporary and was more than likely driven by the 49% increase in inventory and high home prices. The smallest drop was in the more affordable Riverside County.
  • There was an average of 37,641 active listings in the first quarter — up 30.5% from a year ago.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Year-over-year, average prices in the region rose a very modest .3% and were 2.4% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Affordability remains an issue in most of the Southern California counties contained in this report, which, in concert with growing inventory, will likely continue to limit home price growth.
  • Price growth was varied. Riverside County showed the greatest annual appreciation (+4.3%). Average home prices dropped 1.4% in Orange County.
  • On a year-over-year basis, I expect to see home prices continue to rise through 2019, but the rate of growth will be more modest than the market has seen in several years.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 53 days. This is a 10-day increase compared to the first quarter of 2018, and eight days more than in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • All markets saw an increase in the time it took to sell a house in the first quarter of this year compared to both the first and fourth quarters of 2018.
  • Homes in San Diego County continue to sell at a faster rate than other markets in the region. In the first quarter, it took an average of 37 days to sell a home, which is eight days more than it took a year ago.
  • Market time is increasing, which may concern some; however, it is simply a move back to normal averages.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

The Southern California economy saw a bit of a boost in early 2019, which is good news. But rising inventory levels and low affordability in many markets will lead to slower price growth. Affordability remains a significant issue and I will be watching proposed legislation, such as Senate Bill 50, to see whether there is enough interest in addressing this obstacle to home ownership.

Rising inventories and slower price growth has led me to move the needle a little further toward buyers.

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.