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Latest Realty News from NAR
At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.71 percent this May, up 17.5 percent compared to 4.01 percent a year ago.
Some homeowners opt to sell their residence without a real estate agent to get around paying a commission and make more of the profit. Forty-three percent of people (down from 48 percent last year) who sell without a real estate agent think that if they sell themselves, they’ll end up doing a little extra work in exchange for not paying a commission or closing fee. According to the research, however, what they actually get is a lot of time spent hustling to make the sale and a final selling price that is less than what the market can bear.
Do you have a lot of extra time to market your home and do all the work to meet and greet properly? Are you versed in local trends on the housing market and know the latest regulations for closing a sale? Do you have a list of potential buyers ready to view your home? Eighty-nine percent of all homes sold in 2017 were sold with the assistance of an experienced real estate professional, according to the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Most leave it to the professionals, yet there is still a small group of people who prefer to do it themselves. Eight percent of home sellers chose to list themselves, known as For-Sale-By-Owners (FSBO) home sales. That number has steadily declined since 2004 where only 82 percent of all home sales were agent-assisted and 14 percent of homes were listed FSBO. FSBO sales are currently at an all-time low since data collection began in 1981.
Picture This: are you a single female seller, early sixties, selling a single-family home or mobile in a suburban or rural area? If so, you might want to consider working with a real estate agent.
Let’s break it down further. Thirty-eight percent of all FSBOs—that’s only three percent of the total home sales in 2017—were homes sold to people where the buyer knew the seller selling to a friend, neighbor, or family member. However, 62 percent of FSBO home sales—five percent of total homes sold—were sold by the owner to someone they didn’t know. According to the 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile report, sellers cited creating yard signs, listing their homes online on multiple websites, spreading the news through word of mouth, putting out classified ads, displaying on social media, hosting an open house, and registering with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. That’s a lot of work just on marketing and finding potential buyers.
The time it takes to sell a home on the market was a median of two weeks for FSBO sellers and three weeks for agent-assisted homes, but again many of the sales are arms-length transactions. Forty percent of all homes were sold in less than two weeks last year. Most FSBO homes sales were located rural areas (22 percent), urban area or central cities (19 percent), or small towns (16 percent). Sixty-six percent of FSBO sales were detached single-family homes, compared to 81 percent of all homes sold. Thirteen percent were mobile or manufactured homes, compared to three percent of all homes sold. FSBO sellers typically had lower incomes than those who worked with an agent. The median income of all FSBO sellers was $86,500 and for those who sold only through an agent was $102,900. Those who sell themselves have the perception that they have less money to pay for assistance when selling their home and opt to go it alone.
As it turns out, FSBO make less money on their home sales than buyers who work with a real estate agent. According to the report, the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $190,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number plunges to the median selling price of $160,300. For homes sold with the assistance of an agent, the median selling price was $250,000 ̶ that’s $60,000-90,000 more for the typical home sale. According to NAR’s 2017 Member Profile, seventy-five percent of all real estate agents get paid by a percentage commission split between two agents representing the buyer and seller.
Talk to an agent and find out what they suggest for the commission and then do the math yourself. The closing price for the agent-assisted seller is likely going to be way above an FSBO. In reality, homes sold by the owner make less money overall. Based on these closing numbers, why not save yourself time and make more money by working with a real estate agent that is excited to sell your home?
More contracts are being settled on time, according to a survey of REALTORS® in the May 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. The monthly survey asks REALTOR® respondents: “Think of your most recent sales contract in the past 3 months that was either closed or terminated. Please explain how the deal concluded.”
Among respondents who either closed a sale or terminated a sales contract in the past three months (March, April, May), 76 percent reported that their most recent sales contract was settled on time, 19 percent reported a delay, and five percent reported the most recent contract ended in a termination. Broadly, the fraction of contracts that are settled on time has increased since October 2016.
Among contracts that had a delayed settlement, obtaining financing and appraisal-related issues were the major reasons. Among contracts that were delayed, 33 percent had issues related to the buyer obtaining financing, and/or 22 percent had issues related to the appraisal.
Home inspection was cited as a cause in 15 percent of delayed settlements, and titling/deed issues was cited in 11 percent.
Home/flood insurance issues was cited as a cause for two percent of the delayed contracts.
The median days to close a contract has also hovered at 30 days since August 2017, a decrease from about 40 days since NAR tracked this information in July 2015. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been implementing programs to streamline and make the process easier for borrowers, which may account for the increase in contracts being settled on time.
 Responses about the most recent sales contract can be viewed as a random sample of all sales contracts during the three -month period.
 The respondent can cite several issues that caused the delayed settlement.
Fannie Mae introduced the Desktop Underwriter Validation Service and Property Inspection Waiver, and Freddie Mac introduced the Automated Collateral Valuation for certain Loan Product Advisor mortgages, both in 2017.
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