According to general consensus, the U.S. housing market appears to be on the mend and heading on a sustainable path. This year, millions of homes are set to go on the market and the clouds of uncertainty are being lifted. As a result, buyer activity is expected to increase. However, it is still a very confusing market for many homeowners and investors, as plenty of changes are expected in the near future.
So what do those considering selling a home need to keep in mind? More importantly, what does the U.S. real estate landscape look like for those selling a house in 2014?
All Real Estate is Local
Location, location, location. While national figures may be marching upwards steadily, there continues to be an incredible amount of diversity between U.S. real estate in different parts of the country. Changes are evident between different counties, cities and even zip codes. Recognize the disparity between national media and what’s going on in your local market. Understand what you can expect to get for your home and how fast it should sell in your particular area. In other words, use data that is relevant to the house you are selling.
The Impact of Trends on the Housing Market
Global, national and regional housing markets don’t have their own predictable trends. Moreover, there are annual cycles to keep in mind when selling a home in 2014. This can throw many sellers off and make them overconfident or sell themselves short. They run the risk of getting the best price for their homes or even failing to sell it at all. Look for a boost in activity, as tax refunds are released during the late spring and summer months. The extra money in circulation could help you move property faster.
Home prices are expected to keep rising steadily through 2014, at least on a national basis. On the other hand, there are a number of real estate markets just starting to feel the pinch of the foreclosure crisis. This could mean some neighborhoods seeing property values declining. Others are being buffeted by tough inspections, crime and regulations. This can mean it is wiser for many to sell and move sooner rather than later.
Mortgage interest rates could be the biggest threat to those hoping to sell a house in 2014. They will rise; it’s just a matter of how fast and how high. Rising mortgage loan rates and borrowing costs can add far more to the real cost of buying a home than higher home prices. This could put a damper on those thinking they can wait until later in the year to net more for their properties.
Increased investment activity, home flipping and swelling equity is likely to mean a lot more properties eligible to come on the market in 2014. This will pit sellers against each other and put more pressure on sellers and real estate agents to do a better job of preparing their homes.
Due diligence is normally assumed to be a home buyer’s burden. However, especially given the recent waves of scandals, real estate scams and fraud schemes, robo-signing issues and foreclosures, it’s important for those selling a house to do their due diligence and be wise about who they contract with.
Mortgage lenders are expected to be even more unforgiving when it comes to foreclosing and evicting ex-homeowners in default. They are anticipated to speed up foreclosures and repossessions.