As we enter a new decade, the massive wave of technological advancements fueled by entrepreneurial tech companies has reshaped consumers’ expectations. Companies such as Uber and Amazon have both dramatically shortened the time that people expect to wait for gratification and raised consumers’ expectations with regard to the ease and smoothness of the experience. That is, consumers now expect to press a button and have whatever it is that they want delivered to them in a matter of a couple days (Amazon shipments), hours, or even minutes (Uber rides); moreover, they want to be able to track their shipment’s progress through a simple, pleasing interface on their phones.
While consumers now expect smooth, pleasant and near instant gratification in most aspects of their lives, the real estate home sale process still typically takes 30 to 45 days and — due to its complexity, legal ramifications, and the fact that it is an ongoing negotiation between multiple parties — it is usually neither frictionless nor “fun.” This growing friction between consumers’ expectations and the longer duration and complexity of completing a real estate transaction has made the industry ripe for innovation. What follows are the likely developments that will make real estate transactions faster and easier over the coming decade.
1. The home search-to-closing customer journey. The days of agents-as-gatekeepers of real estate listings are gone. These days, most buyers start their search online and look at up to hundreds of homes to educate themselves. When they get serious, though, about 90 percent of buyers (and sellers) choose to use an agent to help them with the home buying/selling process.
Why is that? It’s because Realtors realized that they needed to change their value proposition to buyers and sellers in order to stay relevant and, well, valuable. One of the challenges for buyers and sellers is that, with the exponential growth of information available on the internet, the amount of “noise” has grown exponentially as well, but the valuable information (the “signal”) has become harder to find. Today’s Realtors have things that are in short supply online: hyperlocal and market knowledge, a network of trusted vendors and professionals, expert negotiation skills, a refined process to make the home buying/selling experience less painful, etc. These skilled Realtors who have adapted to consumers’ shifting expectations provide their clients with better technology, a smoother process, and expert advice. Those agents who fail to adapt will eventually exit the business.
Other innovators, such as so-called iBuyers, will make you an offer, often within a day, to buy your home for cash quickly. This convenience, however, comes at a cost, as many iBuyers will likely cost you two-to-five times more out-of-your-pocket than using a Realtor would.
2. The loan experience. Typically, the longest (and perhaps most annoying) part of a real estate transaction is the loan process. Many lenders can take 30 days or more to complete their due diligence, including their assessment of your loan-worthiness and an appraisal of the home, before approving a home purchase loan. Anyone who has been through this process knows how frustrating and slow it can be.
Fortunately, at least for many people, this process may get a lot shorter and easier. Lenders are using artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct automated appraisals on properties and help with assessing buyer’s applications. For “in the box” situations, with well-qualified “W2 employees” buying homes that the AI algorithms can value with a high degree of confidence, the underwriting process can be dramatically shortened without the need for a physical appraisal. This is already a reality — last fall, we represented buyer clients whose lender did not require an appraisal on the home they were buying and gave them very fast loan approval.
3. The title and closing process. Almost everything can seemingly be accomplished these days online from the comfort of your home. However, at least in Colorado, you still need to physically go to the title company and hand-sign a stack of documents in front of its notary public (how barbaric, right?). Well, this isn’t actually the title company’s fault, as many lenders — and state law — still require physical notarization of certain documents.
The good news is that this may change in 2020, if the Colorado legislature passes a bill similar to Senate Bill 18-109, which would allow optional remote notarization of documents. If such a bill were to become law, then notarizations could be done using audio-video recording of the document signing (kind of like signing over Skype or FaceTime, but with more layers of security). Thus, you would be able to close on the purchase/sale of your home from anywhere in the world, so long as you have a good internet connection.
Conclusion. The players in the real estate industry have (finally) recognized that consumers’ expectations and demands have shifted and are innovating quickly to make the home buying and selling process faster, easier, and more enjoyable (or, at least, less painful). Within the next few years, many people will be able to buy/sell a home in half the time or less than it takes on average today, and with a lot less disruption to their lives.
Originally posted by Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
As we look ahead to coming trends in 2019 real estate, home buyers and sellers nationwide will face changes in the marketplace, according to the economic research team at realtor.com. From housing inventory to generational shifts, here are four top trends to look for in 2019.
1. Inventory will grow, especially for luxury homes
Inventory has been tight nationwide, hitting its lowest level in recorded history in the winter of 2017, says realtor.com. Supply finally began catching up with demand in 2018. That inventory growth will continue in 2019, but at rate of less than 7 percent. While sellers will have more competition, it will still be a good market.
“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com chief economist.
“It’s still going to be a very good market for sellers, but if they’ve had their expectations set by listening to stories of how quickly their neighbor’s home sold in 2017 or in 2018, they may have to adjust their expectations,” she adds.
In markets with strong economies and high-paying jobs, most of the expected inventory growth will come from listings of luxury homes.
2. Affording a home will be challenging
Interest rates and home prices are expected to continue to increase. Hale says homebuyers will continue to feel a “pinch” from affordability, as costs will still be a pain point. She predicts mortgage rates will reach around 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, which translates into the typical mortgage payment increasing by about 8 percent. Incomes are growing about 3 percent on average. These factors are hardest on first-time home buyers, who tend to borrow most heavily.
3. Millennials will dominate
Millennials are now the biggest generation of home buyers. Some are first-time home buyers, while others are moving up from starter homes. The millennial group accounts for 45 percent of mortgages compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers at 17 and 37 percent respectively, reports realtor.com. And many millennials still have student debt, which adds to the challenge of affording a home.
4. The new tax law’s effect is still unknown
For many tax filers, the effect of the new tax law won’t be known until their April tax filing results in a bigger tax bill or a bigger refund.
Renters are likely to have lower tax bills, but the new increased standard deduction reduces the appeal of the homeowner’s mortgage-interest deduction. The new tax law may dissuade people from taking out large mortgages which will affect higher cost homes. Add these factors to the challenge of affording a home and homeownership for some may be harder to achieve or less appealing.
The net effect of the coming 2019 trends is that even with these challenges, sellers are in a good position and homeowners will continue to enjoy positive financial gains from their home.
For more information, read the full report at https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/real-estate-trends-expect-2019/
Pricing and prepping your home to sell at the highest price requires strategy, even in a red hot market like Boulder County.
The best strategy is the one that suits your personal needs and local market conditions. For those reasons, your Realtor is the most reliable advisor for pricing your home. Your Realtor also can offer insights on improvements that will boost your home’s appeal and value.
If you’re just beginning to consider selling, take a look at these pricing and prepping strategies reported by Realty Times. Depending on your local market, your Realtor may recommend these approaches to selling your home.
Price Just Under a Price Break
For a home valued at $600,000, list at $599,000 to increase the number of searches your home appears in and the potential buyers that see your home. Even better, prices that aren’t typical, such as $597,400, increase the perception of value.
Price to Drive Demand
The same $600,000 home could be priced at $575,000, which is slightly undervalued. This might seem risky, since all offers could come in right at $575,000. As the seller, you can counteroffer or decline any offer you don’t want to accept. The advantage is that an under-value listing creates a sense of urgency, potentially motivating more buyers to make an offer. If enough people do this at once, this creates a buyer frenzy and increases the likelihood of multiple offers and escalated prices.
Review Comparable Listings
Review a comparative market analysis of recently sold homes and those currently active, expired and off-market. Remember, it’s important to look at what isn’t selling, as well as what is. Your Realtor will prepare this report for you and recommend how you should price your home relative to the comparable listings nearby. Generally, it’s recommended to price you home within 10 percent of the average home price in your area.
Make Select Home Improvements
When choosing which home improvements to make, go with those that will make a positive first impression and sell your home quickly for the lowest investment.
Two proven updates to make are:
Replace carpet that is more than five years old or looks worn or stained. Consider replacing the carpet with hard floors such as wood, bamboo or cork. Here’s an extra tip: Using the same material throughout each floor of your home makes it look bigger and creates the impression your home is worth more.
Apply a fresh coat of neutral paint to brighten your home and cover up scuff marks and dirt. Neutral grays and earth tones will appeal to a cross section of buyers. You can even freshen your kitchen with chalk paint, instead of going to the expense and inconvenience of fully remodeling. Chalk paint looks great and is hard to distinguish from the original finish.
Decisions on how to price and prepare your home for sale are important and influenced by local factors. So once you get past the considering stage, consult your Realtor for the best professional advice for your neighborhood.