“I’d sell my house but where would I go?”
In Colorado and across the hottest housing markets in the United States, potential home sellers are asking themselves this very question. “Where will I go when my home is sold?” Scarcity has reared its head, and in turn, is helping to drive housing markets into some of the lowest inventory levels ever seen.
But is burying your head in the sand and waiting for the market to change the best way to make financial decisions that will impact you and your family now and in the future? Perhaps there are ways to put this sellers’ market to work for you as a home seller and a home buyer.
According to some of metro Denver’s Realtors, what you need in a market like this is a good team on your side, a bit of preparation before you begin the process of buying or selling, and a healthy dose of gumption. And they all agree that you can sell and buy a house with those pieces in place.
Why make a move now in this market?
Home prices and mortgage interest rates are continuing to rise. So, although staying where you are and waiting for the market to “fix itself” may seem safe, you’re betting against yourself. As interest rates rise, the amount a buyer qualifies for goes down. As time goes by and home prices rise, buyers may find that they qualify for less home.
“It’s a unique time to make a move in the Denver Metro real estate market,” says Jamie Nevers, Real Estate Advisor with the Legends Team of Your Castle Realty. But selling your current home and buying your next dream home is possible. Sellers can use the equity in their home, buy a home that better suits their needs, and use the equity they have accumulated to put a larger down payment on a home, while keeping their mortgage payments close to what they are accustomed to, she notes.
“Just because you are making a move doesn’t mean that you have to overpay or have a larger mortgage payment to reach your goals,” she says.
Julie Voorhees, a Realtor with Keller Williams Action Realty, echoes Nevers, adding that to forge ahead in this market buyers and sellers must get in the right mindset and have reasonable expectations and a strong team supporting them, whether they are buyers, sellers or both.
“In this market we have been experiencing ‘seller greed’ and ‘buyer fatigue,’” says Voorhees. Now is not the time to enter the market on your own. “The best way to be positioned to buy and sell is to have an excellent Realtor and lender… This is a skills market. Hire someone who has the skills.”
Why do sellers need a Realtor in a market like this?
First and foremost, if homeowners are selling their home with the intention of moving to another, they need to have their “ducks in a row,” before they make a move. They need to be agile and ready. A Realtor is positioned to help them negotiate offers on their current home, find the right home to purchase, and get their offered accepted on the new home, something that can prove challenging. Now is not the time for sellers or buyers to go-it-alone.
But what if a homeowner who wants to move still feels nervous about putting out the “for sale” sign?
Amy Hitch, a Realtor with HomeSmart Cherry Creek, acknowledges that for sellers who want to make a move now, letting go of your current home feels risky. The looming question, “Where will I go?” never disappears.
“I remind them that I am here to help them through the entire process. You never know what a day will bring, and what will be listed and on the market tomorrow,” she says.
She also educates her sellers who are looking to move to their next home about “buy before you sell” programs to ensure homeowners are ready to make a move when the sold sign goes up in their yard.
Voorhees complements this suggestion with other ways that home sellers can make their decision to sell and move less stressful. She reminds her sellers that they can ask for a lease back period of 60 or more days, which gives the sellers time to purchase their next home, or they can ask for a delayed closing, again providing sellers the cushion they need.
Nevers offers yet another approach – She recommends being proactive, having a pre-approval letter from the lender and being ready when your home goes under contract to start looking for your new home immediately. She works with her buyers to be strategic and practice patience.
“Start looking in the areas you are interested in purchasing as soon as possible and educate yourself on what a strong offer looks like in that area. When you do find the perfect home, you can put your highest and best offer in without hesitation,” she concludes.
As with anything in real estate, these professionals all agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in this market, but with the right team, the right amount of persistence, and a bit of gumption, there is something for every seller and every buyer, and they can help any scaredy cat seller off the fence and into their new home