Really? In December, January? But, isn’t spring the best time to sell?
Has been. Families tended to buy in summer months when children were out of school.
But, everything’s different now. Don’t forget, the government tax incentive offers an $8000 tax credit to qualifying first time homebuyers who have a house under contract by April 30, 2010 and close by June 30th. Buyers who have owned their homes for at least 5 years may qualify for a $6500 tax credit. Those buyers will be looking in January and February.
Interest rates are still unbelievably low and are predicted to be climbing in 2010. Buyers who can will look now to lock in the best rates available.
FHA is tightening underwriting standards. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan announced in December that FHA has plans to:
- increase the amount of upfront cash homebuyers need to bring to closing
- raise minimum FICO scores for new borrowers
- reduce seller concessions from 6% to 3%
- and raise mortgage insurance premiums
Add to that the fact that there are typically less homes listed in the winter months. Now may be a great time to list with less competition.
I forward our office phones to my cell phone over the weekends. We’re “closed”, but so many people look at properties over the weekend that we always want to be available. This past Christmas weekend, we leased 3 properties! Really? Yup. I only had 4 vacancies when the weekend began. Many callers said, “I only have a little time this weekend to look but we really need to move.”
As it turns out, everyone of them brought deposit money and plan to move in January 15 or February 1. They’re not ready physically to move yet, but they were all ready to make the decision. Be available and be the one who does have something on the market during the “slow” times. One caller said that he was in town only for the holiday; he actually called Christmas day to leave a message and was surprised someone answered. He wanted to find a new place for his daughter to live during his 4 day visit with her.
So, put away your Christmas decorations, clean out the clutter, keep the sidewalks shoveled and make sure the sign in the yard can be seen from the street!
Want to add some impact? Shine a light on the “for sale” sign so it can be seen at night since it gets dark early in these winter months. Your sign needs to be seen by all drivers as they’re headed home from work. You may also want to add some outdoor lighting shining on the front of the house or, at least, keep the front porch light on so your home can be seen and looks its best even at night.
List your house now because:
- government tax incentives end April 30, 2010 so people are looking NOW for properties to put under contract
- interest rates are freakishly low
- qualifying for a loan will be getting tougher
- less homes on the market