Are you thinking of buying or selling right now during the COVID pandemic? Are you wondering if winter is a good time to sell here in Minnesota?
I asked Layla Rismoen, a local realtor and mom, some questions about buying and selling houses, and here is what she shared!
1) With everyone staying home during COVID, how are people buying and selling houses?
The market, surprisingly enough has been busy. I think the reason for this is interest rates are still low, so people have more buying power, and also…they want to have a space that really works for their lifestyle, and now lifestyle with covid. They need dedicated home office space, more room for kids to home school, play..just be home more and not be on top of each other.
2) Are sellers still doing open houses, and how have they changed?
Some seller’s are, but not all. Recently we have been doing them for vacant homes, but an open house isn’t typically needed to sell your home if its marketed well. More common now are virtual showings, and video tours of the home. A must is high quality photography, virtual staging and sometimes videography…online is the first real showing for your home, so we need to make sure the first impression is excellent.
3) How has COVID affected home prices?
Home prices are still on the rise. Sales are up about 21% from this time last year, home prices have increased by about 11% and homes for sale are down roughly 32%. It is definitely a strong market for sellers, we are seeing strong multiple offers and very low list time.
4) Many people are unemployed right now or just starting a new job. Can they buy a home?
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that lending standards are tightening, which makes it a bit more difficult for some buyers to qualify, but if you do have steady employment and good credit, you shouldn’t have issues with an approval, and their are still zero down payment options for VA qualified buyers and as little as 3% for FHA and Conventional buyers.
5) How long does it take now during COVID to close on a home?
Each situation is different, but an average timeline is 45-60 days.
6) Many families want to sell their home but can’t afford to do improvements first. What do you suggest for them?
I have partnered up with an amazing group called Realvitalize to help homeowners with this! Once I have a signed listing agreement and a plan for repairs needed, homeowners can use a percentage of the estimated proceeds from the sale to update their home, stage or just have general odds and ends that need to be done completed to maximize profits on the sale. My clients get priority scheduling to get work done, and repair costs are competitive so seller’s aren’t getting gouged to use this service. This has been a great tool for my clients to give their homes that wow factor when listing they wouldn’t have had otherwise..and in every sale it’s helped them net more than they would have had repairs or upgrades not been done.
7) Is it cheaper to sell a home yourself? Why should they hire a realtor?
It may seem cheaper initially, but selling your home is hard, and there are a lot of details, even in a seller’s market, sellers overlook when listing themselves. There is real value in knowing what to repair, upgrade and improve before selling. Marketing, negotiating and legal document preparation are crucial to a successful transaction. Selling the home you have spent time in making memories is a very personal decision…it can be hard to separate those feelings from the business side of things. Sellers who list and sell themselves often end up selling for, on average about 10-15% less than if they hired a Realtor, and that’s factoring in commissions paid. In addition, market time and price reductions tend to be greater. It’s a big decision to sell your home..you need a professional to manage the details and make you the money. You will end up with more in your pocket using a Realtor.
8) Is selling your home in the fall/winter a good idea in Minnesota?
Yes. Current projections predict that home buyers will continue to push on..until they find that perfect home. Many buyers lost multiple homes in multiple offers all spring, summer and fall. Those buyers are waiting to pounce on the perfect home, and with that they are willing to bring high priced offers with few or no contingencies so they don’t lose again. The “off season” listing will generally see less buyer traffic, but stronger, feicer buyers, and less market time.
9) Is buying in the winter a good idea ?
Yes it is! While their are historically less homes on the market, seller’s who are listing often may not have planned for a move..maybe a job transfer has initiated the move, or a change in family needs, or they finally found their next new home, etc…winter market homes tend to be of excellent quality for these reasons.. and are priced to sell because seller’s are nervous about winter market conditions. I’ve found my clients some great properties in the winter months for sure, with less buyer competition it can be a great time to find your new home.
About Layla Rismoen
As your Realtor, I will to help you through the process of buying and selling your home. I have been working in real estate for over 15 years, my experience has helped me become a trusted resource to the communities I live and work in. Offering you innovative marketing strategies, expertise of neighborhood features, targeted home searches and awesome negotiation skills, I will support you through closing and beyond.
Visit her website and contact her at https://www.laylarismoen.com/.
Her phone numbers are: