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Real estate markets can vary significantly from one area to the next. In general, the majority of the U.S has been in a seller’s market since the beginning of 2021. The difference between a buyer’s and seller's market is quite simple. A buyer’s market is more favorable to buyers because there is more inventory and lower prices. A seller’s market is more favorable to sellers because it means low inventory, which leads to increased prices. With bidding wars and a constant tug of war between supply and demand, a seller’s market is a difficult climate for buyer’s agents today. However, there are a few steps that agents can take to sell more homes in the existing seller’s market of 2021.

Encourage buyers to be aggressive.

If you are serious about buying a home in a sellers market, it is important to understand what it means to be aggressive. When the market is more favorable to buyers, you may find success by making a low, safe offer. However, in the competitive market today, most buyers must make a strong first offer. Real estate agents almost always have more insight on home prices in the local area. By educating your clients on local market conditions, they are more prepared to make a competitive first offer when they encounter the right home.

Find the right fit for foreclosures.

While foreclosures are often overlooked by many buyers, many foreclosure properties offer great potential for a future home. With lower prices and clear titles, foreclosures present buyers with an opportunity to purchase a property below their budget and customize their home to their liking over time. Although foreclosures may be appealing to some, it is important to note that there are risks associated with buying a foreclosure, so it is essential to come prepared for paperwork and potential issues with the property before making a decision.

Suggest that buyers expand their search.

More often than not, buyers have a particular area in mind when they begin their home search. While it may be challenging to redirect a buyer's focus to a new area, this may be their only option in a competitive sellers market. High prices and low inventory can make it extremely difficult to find the right home. However, real estate agents may want to consider presenting other nearby areas to increase their chances of finding a suitable home. Sometimes, the next town over may be significantly cheaper and have more inventory.

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We are currently in a seller's market in the United States. This is because the housing inventory is at historic lows leading to higher prices across the country. As a buyer, you may be discouraged at the current state of the housing market. However, it is entirely possible to land your dream home in 2021. Consider the following tips for purchasing a home in a seller’s market.

Rely on the expertise of an agent.

It can be extremely difficult to navigate through the process of buying a home without having the assistance of an experienced real estate agent. This is especially true in a seller’s market where housing inventory is low. A reputable agent with years of experience can give you a tremendous advantage because of their knowledge surrounding when homes are being listed. With this, they can quickly schedule home showings for you as soon as they are available. Also, when it comes to negotiating an offer, it is almost always in your best interest to have someone to negotiate for you. 

Seek the lowest mortgage rate as soon as possible.

Did you know that mortgage rates are currently at historic lows? If you are able to obtain one of these extremely low rates it may offset the inflated prices we have been seeing in recent months. However, in order to qualify for one of these low rates, it may take some work on your part. You may need to raise your credit score by settling overdue accounts, paying off debts, and addressing any mistakes on your credit report. 

Get pre-approved prior to your search.

Buyers who are preapproved have a significant advantage over the competition. This is because they are viewed as more serious buyers and less of a risk for sellers. If a seller is faced with multiple offers, they are generally more inclined to accept the offer from a buyer who is preapproved.

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Staging a home can be an overwhelming process. In an effort to appeal to the masses you need to follow a few common practices. If you are preparing to sell your home, read on and discover some of the best staging tips that will help your home sell in 2021.

Modernize outdated cabinets.

If your home was built prior to 2000, there is a good chance that your cabinets are dated. The good news is that you do not necessarily need to invest thousands of dollars to buy new ones or to modernize your existing ones. In many cases, you may be able to get away with some fresh stain or paint. Also, you may want to consider replacing old, and outdated knobs, hinges, pulls, etc., with updated ones. This is a great way to freshen up a kitchen or bathroom.

Eliminate personal touches.

Sellers often struggle with removing personal touches from their home. The goal of staging to appeal to the greatest number of homebuyers so you have no trouble selling your home. While you may think that your decor looks beautiful, it may be too niche for home staging purposes. In terms of staging, less is more.

Use neutral paint colors.

The majority of homebuyers are looking for homes with neutral colors in 2021. While there are obviously some buyers who are enticed by bright or bold colored walls, you want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. When in doubt, stick with warm neutral colors paint colors.

Limit the amount of furnishings.

You never want your home to be over finished because it can cause your home to look crowded or even smaller in size. In terms of furniture, you want to remove any unnecessary pieces and just stick to your best items.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a challenging year in regards to real estate. Agents, buyers, and sellers have all had to be flexible this year to various social distancing guidelines. In a year that has brought much uncertainty, we can still anticipate some remaining trends as we continue through the pandemic and look forward to the upcoming season.

Continued reliance on virtual home tours 

The health and safety of buyers and sellers remains the top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. The real estate industry as a whole has successfully adapted to various social distancing measures this year. Many real estate agents and buyers have opted for virtual home tours as an alternative to in-person showings. Additionally, many buyers now prefer touring homes virtually out of convenience. Buyers are able to rule out listings from their home search without needing to set foot inside. In what has been an extremely competitive market, buyers have been able to rely on virtual tours to aid them in their home search. Virtual tours may even be here to stay after the pandemic subsides.

Low mortgage interest rates

Many people are still unaware that mortgage interest rates have remained at historic lows for the last several months. One of the greatest benefits of searching for your next home this winter is that the rates should remain fairly low for at least the next few months. According to Freddie Mac, as of November 25, 2020, the US weekly average on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 2.72% and a 15-year fixed rate mortgage is at 2.28%. This makes this winter an especially ideal time to buy.

Changing buyer wish lists

Because many buyers can afford more due to lower interest rates, they have been able to alter their wish lists more this year. Not only can many people afford larger homes, but they are also looking for more rooms to accommodate their work-from-home needs.

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Due to various social distancing measures, sellers and agents are turning to video as an alternative method for showing homes this year. Although video tours already had a strong presence in the real estate industry, they have become increasingly popular in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, here are a few tips for hosting successful home video tours.

Monitor the length of the video

The vast majority of homebuyers will not want to sit through a long video tour with an agent speaking about every single feature of the home. Generally speaking, it is best to focus on the most important features of a home that will appeal to the greatest number of buyers, such as storage space, new appliances, and granite countertops. Buyers with short attention spans may lose interest if your video tour is over five minutes in length. With this, it's best to keep home video tours to just a few minutes.

Plan your tour prior to filming.

Be sure that you begin every video tour with a calculated plan for showcasing the home. Additionally, it is important that you know your way around the home, as well as which features of the home you want to highlight, prior to starting the video. Whether you choose to start at the front door, driveway, or a specific room, it is important to have a plan for progressing through the property in a way that makes it easy for the viewer to follow along.

Ensure that you have sufficient lighting.

One of the best steps you can take before filming a video tour is to walk around the home and ensure there is ample lighting in each room. In most cases, you want to rely on natural daylight whenever possible, so be sure to open all curtains and  window treatments. Poor lighting can ruin your video tours by making the home seem dark, dreary, and generally uninviting.

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In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the real estate industry. Real estate agents are continuing to adjust their day-to-day practices as a way of accommodating buyers and sellers with social distancing measures in place. At the same time, buyers are adapting to newly implemented safety standards and real estate trends, which is also leading them to alter their wish lists this year.

Multiple individuals in a family are now working from home. 

Because many Americans have transitioned to working remotely, many have decided that they would prefer their home to feature rooms that are structurally separated from one another. This trend only seems to be growing in 2020. With multiple family members now working at home together, it can be challenging to find a quiet space during the day. Below are some additional commonly asked questions:

  • "How can I attend my virtual meeting in this room?"
  • "How can my child focus on their homework in this room?"
  • "How can my family members and I get our work done in a home that features an open-concept?"

Many schools are conducting remote classes until 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are hosting remote classes through the end of the year. As such, parents are working to accommodate the needs of their children from within their homes. 

Homebuyers may buy with the pandemic in mind.

Homebuyers today are asking the same questions when they are touring homes this year. Because there is much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, people want their homes to be functional for work-from-home purposes. While home buying trends seem to change yearly, the growing disinterest in open-concept type homes may be one to continue for years to come as more companies are offering work-from-home options.

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