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By LessThan6Percent | Broker in San Francisco, CA
  • Real Estate Trends for 2014

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in California, Home Buying in California, Home Selling in California  |  January 23, 2014 4:34 PM  |  559 views  |  No comments
    2014

    It's a new year, and all indications are that this year will be another interesting one for the real estate market. Unlike 2013 where we saw the real estate market shot up and buyers bidding for limited inventories, most experts predict that 2014 will be more balanced.

    Here are the top real estate trends for 2014.


    1. More homes on the market which will likely stabilize the market
    One major reason that home prices rose rapidly in 2013 was due to short supply. Rising prices and new construction are predicted to bring more homes onto the market in 2014, which should stabilize inventory to traditional levels. With more homes on the market, the buyer bidding wars of 2013 should not repeat in 2014.

     
    2. Home buying process less crazed
    During the real estate downturn, it is estimated that investors bought up 20% of homes in America. Most experts agree that investors will be stepping out of the buying market now that prices have increased and there are fewer distressed properties on the market. This is good news for non-investors, as they will have more selection, and don't have to compete against all-cash offers. All in all, buyers will have more control and selection compared to 2013.

    3. Mortgage will be easier to obtain but rates will rise
    Mortgage rates have been steadily climbing since Q3 of 2013, and are expected to hit 5% by the end of 2014. Mortgage increases were partly the reason why a lot buyers were rushing to purchase in 2013, and will prove to be a motivating factor in 2014 as well. While 5% is higher than the 3 - 4% rates of the most recent few years, it is still extremely low in the historical context. The flip side to rising interest rate is that getting a loan will be easier, since fewer consumers will be refinancing their exiting their loans, lenders will be forced to compete for home buyers by potentially loosening their lending standards. There is also a growing lending practice transacted outside of banks to bypass strict regulations, this will also drive more competition to the mortgage business.
     
    4. Home prices will continue to increase, but at a more modest rate

    In 2013, home prices rose 5% nationally, with increases of more than 20% in some hot spots such as the San Francisco Bay Area. Most experts saw this increase as an adjustment to the depressed prices of the downturn, and the result of economic recovery and a buying frenzy as buyers competed for limited inventory. It is predicted that price increases will be more modest in 2014, with a range of 3 to 5%. Factors contributing to this slower growth are higher mortgage rates, more supply created by fewer underwater homeowners and more new constructions. Overall, 2014 is predicted to be a more sustainable and healthier and more balanced market for both sellers and buyers.

    5. Fewer homeowners will be underwater

    One of the most critical things to have resulted from rising prices is that millions of homeowners throughout America regained positive equity in 2013. As the result, a lot of these homeowners are now again potential home sellers and home buyers. These move-up ready home owners are essential for a healthy real estate market, and will be critical as the market finds its equilibrium in 2014.


    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html



  • Real estate industry is relieved as federal government avoids default...for now

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Financing in San Francisco  |  October 16, 2013 11:27 PM  |  568 views  |  No comments
    Government is backHome buyers, sellers and real estate agents alike breathed a sigh of relief as the Senate and Congress passed legislationWednesday night to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and fund the government through Jan. 15. There had been dire warnings from the real estate industry relating to the potential impact of a default. A default would have caused U.S. Treasury rates to rise and mortgage rates along with them, even a 1% increase in mortgage rates could lead to 350,000 to 450,000 fewer home sales. That is because an increase of any size would price out or disqualify many potential homebuyers by increasing their monthly mortgage payment and debt-to-income ratio.

    Since many FHA and VA loans have been unprocessed during the 16-day government shutdown, not to mention that most lenders have not been able to verify borrowers' income with the IRS, there will be a flurry of closing activities in the coming days/weeks in the real estate market. Federal employees will be back at work and will receive back-pay for their furloughed days, which will hopefully mean those who were in the process of buying a home won't be permanently impacted by the shutdown.

    However, given that the legislation only funds the government through Jan. 15 (a short 3-month) and raises the debt limit throughFeb. 7, the real estate industry and the whole country/world alike will still be anxiously observing the political debate until a long term solution is reached. We can only hope that our politicians won't shut down the government twice in 3 months...

    If you're looking for an experienced local agent to help you navigate through this economically uncertain times - check out our site www.lessthan6percent.com.  

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Now is a good time to list or prepare to list your rental property

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco, Investment Properties in San Francisco  |  October 2, 2013 11:50 PM  |  671 views  |  No comments
    Maybe you have held on to your rental property during the real estate down market, and now you're wondering if is the right time to sell. National and local data both show that listing price has not increased on a month-over-month basis during the past few months, which indicate that inventory supply is starting to catch up with demand. Higher mortgage rates coupled with increased inventory will keep prices from increasing at the same pace it did during the first half of the year. Many experts expect prices to continue to move laterally on a month-over-month basis going forward. In other words, prices have stabilized, and now is a good time to list, or prepare to list, your rental property before the market turns another unexpected turn. 




    Finding a Rental Property Specialist on Lessthan6Percent

    Once you decided that now is a good time to list, you start the search for the right agent. You need a resource that caters to your needs since you face different challenges than most home sellers. Perhaps you live outside of the area where the property is located, or you are not sure if you should evict the tenants prior to listing, or you are looking to sell the property with tenant occupied. Since this is an investment property, you are also looking for ways to maximize your profit, thus requiring an agent who offers you a competitive commission rate but also sells your property at the highest possible price. 

    This is where LessThan6Percent steps in. We have hundreds of premier partner agents who specialize in rental/investment properties ready to assist you. We help you find the agents in the area where your rental property is located, so you don't have to research them one by one. We showcase each of their experience, current listings, and marketing materials on our site so you can compare them easily. When you submit a request through our site, we will match you with agents who specialize in rental properties so he/she offers you expertise in tenant management, marketing, staging and pricing, all while offering you a competitive commission rate that you can't negotiate on your own. 

    Take the next step today and submit on our site, we promise this will the beginning of a rewarding financial decision.  Risk free, hassle free and all at no cost to you. 

    Other articles to follow - Listing a rental property with or without tenants, Way to work with a tenant while selling property tenant-occupied, capital tax considerations, 1031 in kind exchange. Stay tuned!


    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Why It's Better to Hire an Agent Than Sell Your Home Yourself

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Jose, Home Selling in San Jose, Property Q&A in San Jose  |  June 11, 2013 11:44 AM  |  647 views  |  No comments

    In this economy we are all looking for ways to save money and some homeowners are looking at the option of selling their homes themselves to save money. Selling your own home may seem easy enough but there are a lot of things you may be unaware of. Hiring an agent to sell your home has a lot of advantages over a FSBO, for sale by owner, property. The reasons below will outline why it is better to hire an agent than to sell your home yourself.

     

    MLS Access

    One of the first advantages real estate agents have is their access to MLS. FSBO properties are not listed in the multiple listing services or MLS. MLS is a big marketing tool for licensed real estate agents and brokers and is only open to licensed agents; homeowners cannot list their properties in these databases. The MLS listings reach a wide variety of home search engines and web sites which helps to promote the property and sell it. A FSBO property does have some advertising options but they are generally limited to a for sale sign in front of the home and newspaper advertisements. This is a huge disadvantage because when selling real estate it is really important to reach the masses.

    Agents Wont Show Your Home

    A disadvantage of selling your home yourself is that other real estate agents likely won't show your home. The reason that other real estate agents will likely avoid your home is because there is no listing agreement which guarantees the buyers' agent to their commission for their participation in the sale. Also some agents aren't willing to show these homes because they are unwilling to work with a self-represented seller during all the necessary transactions that are part of selling a home. This limited the potential buyers of your property drastically.

    Risk of Overpricing Your Home

    Another big factor you will want to consider is that many homeowners end up overpricing their homes. Homeowners are notorious for believing their homes are worth more than they are and they really need the advice of a real estate agent to price their home properly. The expertise of a real estate agent will help with the asking price of your home, the current market conditions and other tips for appealing to buyers. Real estate agents don't just handle the paperwork of a sale they help bring in buyers, prepare the home for sale and provide many other services. Also there are legal issues that can arise and when selling your home yourself you are liable for providing all the disclosures and other paperwork.

    Buyers are Less Comfortable

    Finally you need to consider the buyers feelings when listing your home. Most buyers are much more comfortable working with a home listed by an agent rather than the homeowners. It is stressful to view a home that is for sale with the owners present and buyers tend to spend less time in the home if the owners are present. The buy will likely feel uncomfortable discussing their feelings about the home if the owner in present. Also buyers may feel like it is more challenging to negotiate the terms of the sale if the owner is selling the property which may deter them for making an offer.

    Considering all the factors listed above there is really no question that using a real estate agent is the best choice for listing a property. While there may be some financially advantages to listing your home for sale without an agent there are far too many disadvantages to make the savings worthwhile. Working with a real estate agent will take the burden of paperwork and other work related to the sale off your shoulders and allows you to concentrate on finding your new home.

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Choosing The Best Time of Year to Sell Your Home

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Orange County, Home Selling in Orange County  |  June 3, 2013 1:29 PM  |  446 views  |  No comments

    When it comes to selling your home there are a lot of big decisions to make from list price to the agent you choose. One factor you may have to consider is the time of year to list your home. Listing your home at the right time can make or break the sale. There are some key points to consider when listing your home to help you choose the perfect time to put it on the market.

    List When the Weather Is Good

    Rain and other less pleasant weather can deter home buyers from looking at homes. Pleasant weather encourages more home buyers to go out and look at open houses and tour homes that are for sale. Sunshine is great for getting people into a good mood and may even be the boost you need to sell your home. Also clear skies can help maximize your view and create more positive reactions to your home.

    List in the Spring or Summer

    Spring is commonly referred to as the best time of the year to sell a home and for good reason but May through July are actually the busiest months for selling homes. These busy months can encourage more buyers to look at your home and create competition for the purchase of your home. More buyers are in the market for new homes during the spring because they have received their tax rebate checks and can afford the down payment and other costs associated with buying a home. Also it appears that home sales during the spring are more likely to be at full asking price which is a great benefit for the seller. Summer is a great time to move for a variety of reasons which is why so many homes are sold during these months.

    Tax Incentives

    Look for incentives in your area as cues to when to list your home. If there is a rebate for first time homebuyers being offered or some other sort of incentive that will be ending you should list your home prior to the end of these incentives. The government has offered great tax breaks in the past and these tax incentives are big motivating factor for buyers. Using these to your advantage can affect the time of year that you should list your home. Buyers may also be looking to buy before the April 15th tax deadline so keep that date in mind when listing your home.

    Pay Attention to Inventory

    Working with a real estate to understand the inventory of houses in your market can also affect when you want to list your home. This factor will change from year to year but when the inventory of homes is low it is a great time to list your house.

    The best time to sell your home is subject to a lot of factors and a real estate agent is the best resource for making the determination of when to list your home. Home sales are not something that can be generalized and each market has different norms. Real estate agents are generally experts in the housing market in their area and an invaluable resource for selling your home and advise you on the best time to list your property.

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Tips For Dropping the Listing Price of Your Home

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Orange County, Home Selling in Orange County  |  May 31, 2013 10:25 AM  |  493 views  |  2 comments

    When selling a home the last thing you want to do is drop the asking price of your home but unfortunately it is sometimes necessary. Knowing when to drop the price of your home and how to drop the price will make a big difference in the results of the price reduction. The real estate market is full of ups and downs and price is an area that is subject to fluctuations and changes.

    Listen to Your Agent

    When you hire a real estate agent you are bringing them in as an expert, listen to their advice. Dropping the price of your home can be very hard but it may be just what you need to finalize a sale on your property. The real estate agent you are working with is constantly monitoring sales in your area and can advise you if your home is listed at too high of a price. The agent you are working with may also set certain timelines for price reductions based on their experience in real estate sales.

    The Sooner the Better

    When your house enters the market it is the new star of the show, if there are not many showings in the first weeks you may need to assess the price. It is important to act quickly with home sales because as your home is on the market longer it will adversely affect the appeal of your property. Choosing to lower the price quickly will likely drum up more interest in the property and should encourage more showings. While many homeowners may think it's better to hold on but in reality you need to strike while the iron is hot and dropping. Talk to your agent about the average Days on Market or DOM in your area and keep this number in mind. If your home is reaching the average DOM in your area it is probably time to consider a price reduction.

    Consider the Competition

    Dropping the price of your home doesn't have to be drastic; a slight price drop may be all that is necessary. Comparable homes in your neighborhood should be considered when pricing and reducing the price of your home. When you are listing your home you will probably go over these with your agent. Prices do fluctuate in the market and you may need to revisit these numbers if your home doesn't move quickly. Keeping your home priced similarly to the other homes in the area is one of the biggest reasons you will need to reduce the asking price. Consider having your real estate agent send you weekly market analysis reports to ensure your home stays competitively priced.

    While lowering the price of your home may feel like a defeat it will likely lead to a sale which is the ultimate goal. Real estate is a fickle market and dropping your price may be what is necessary to complete your sale. Keeping your price in line with your local real estate market is the key to getting your home to sell. Work with your real estate agent and be practical about your asking price and you will be putting up a sold sign in no time.

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Top Real Estate Companies in California

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco, Moving in San Francisco  |  May 30, 2013 4:24 PM  |  777 views  |  1 comment
    Real Estate is Making a ComebackTop Real Estate Companies


    The real estate market has finally turned the bend. Business journals and economists are reporting an upswing in number of home sales and the average sale price over 2012, and some of California's top producing real estate companies are turning this into great news for home owners looking to sell. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, 10 of the top 25 grossing REALTORS hail from California. 




    National Full Service Firms

    One of California's top producing real estate companies is Keller Williams Silicon Valley. Keller Williams won the J.D. Power and Associates awards for "Highest in Overall Satisfaction for Buyers and Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms" for 2012, and the Silicon Valley franchise boasts some of the most motivated and productive agents available in California. Among them is Jim Holt, who is using new tools, including websites like www.lessthan6percent.com to promote his services and listings online. 


    Representing the American Riviera, Santa Barbara, is Sotheby's Santa Barbara Coastal, which houses several of the top grossing REALTORS in the country. Sotheby's, a brand which specializes in fine and unique properties, is best known for its auction houses, but has been steadily developing its international real estate reputation. Not only is Sotheby's known for providing top notch real estate marketing and representation, but their agents participate in Conservation International's "Protect an Acre" program to help protect precious rainforest acres and the species they contain. 


    With perhaps the most top grossing REALTORS on the Wall Street Journal's list, Coldwell Banker makes an astounding impression on anyone seeking real estate representation. Six of the top 25 agents come from various California Coldwell Banker offices, which means that wherever you live, there's a reputable Coldwell Banker brokerage ready to help you sell your home for profit. The oldest, most established residential real estate franchise in North America, Coldwell Banker has an international network of real estate professionals to promote your listing worldwide. 



    Independent Real Estate Firms


    There are a number of benefits associated with choosing an independent real estate firm to handle the sale of your property. Often, you'll be able to do business with the company's direct founder, so you know that you're always getting the best information direct from the source. Independent real estate firms are also free of corporate rules, making them a good choice for a long-term real estate partner.


    If you're in the South Bay Area and looking to go independent, Shorewood Realtors is the firm for you. With the top grossing real estate salesperson in the entire state of California on staff, Shorewood Realtors is equipped to handle your entire real estate portfolio. They handle properties for sale or for rent, and are actively involved in their community. In business for over 50 years, Shorewood has more than 350 highly trained real estate professionals available to work with you, making even the most complex real estate transactions trouble-free. 


    Alain Pinel Realtors, in Saratoga, also brings the results. Two of their real estate professionals were on the Wall Street Journal's top 25 list, and they've been in business for the last 20 years. Since opening their doors, Alain Pinel Realtors has averaged no fewer than five awards for service per year, including Best Broker for Luxury Homes by San Jose Mercury News. They have in-house mortgage advisors, relocation and client services, a proprietary investment group, and an international network of referring real estate agents. Now you can take your confidence with you, wherever you go. 


    Making the Right Call


    The California Association of Realtors has just launched a new TV, Web, radio, and print campaign which highlights the positive impact of REALTORS in California's economy. Regardless of whether you decide to go with a nationally-recognized brand like Coldwell Banker, or a powerful independent firm like Shorewood Realtors, make sure that you choose a real estate professional that is a licensed REALTOR, educated in the ways to save you money and hassle, and registered with www.lessthan6percent.com, so you know that you're being connected with a top agent from a top firm.


    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html


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