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What was it that Mark Twain said about statistics? Well, numbers can certainly be a nice way to sum up a lot of information quickly but it is difficult to know when you can trust them and how to apply them to real world scenarios. This is particularly true in real estate. Consider these:
- According to realtor.com, the web site for the National Association of Realtors, the average number of days a house is currently sitting on the market in Denver, CO is 25. In Indianapolis, that number is well more than double.
- Six of the ten cities in the country that have seen the greatest price increases from 2013 to 2014 are in California or Nevada and, you guessed it, none of them are in Indiana.
- National inventory was up 10% in March 2014 compared to March 2013 but yet realtors in Indiana can’t get over how low our inventory has been so far this year.
What should a potential buyer or seller in a local marketplace make of national statistics like these? Do the really matter? The best course of action is to pay attention to this type of information while recognizing that real estate is a very local marketplace. More local, in fact, than you might realize:
- The number of days the house three doors down has been on the market should always matter more to your thought process than a hot market in Denver, CO.
- Price increases of homes in southern California may be decent indicators for your 401k’s performance over the next two years but they have very little to do with your ability to find a good deal on real estate in Indianapolis.
- The market activity in your neighborhood, town and metropolitan area will have some correlation with the national market over long periods of time but it is not uncommon for a local marketplace to act exactly counter to the national marketplace because there are so many factors at play.
While national housing statistics will always be at your fingertips and there are good reasons to keep up on them, talking to a local realtor is the ideal way to get the most relevant information for your buying and selling decisions. We always look forward to sharing news about the industry that matters so much to our clients!
Now that the weather is warm, the snow has all melted, and there’s a spring in everyone’s step again, I think we can declare that house-buying season is officially open! No one really wants to be in the market for a new house during freezing temperatures and snow storms so unless you’re really in a time crunch, you’re usually going to wait for it to warm up before you crack down and start going house to house. This means that if you have your house on the market, it’s time to get it in tip-top shape for your new pool of buyers.
Photo credit: iAD, St. Clair Place Neighborhood, Indianapolis
Every year, the National Association of Realtors studies what buyers are looking for in a house and what turns them off when looking at yours. Year after year, they find that buyers just can’t look past superficial things like layout, paint, and furnishings when shopping for their home. (Some sources say only 10% of buyers have the gift of oversight but I can’t say I know where that number comes from.) I know we want them to be able to imagine what our houses look like cleaned, decluttered, and painted, but that’s just not what the data tells us. So if you’re serious about selling your house, the numbers show us that we’re going to have to do a little work.
The best place to start when doing improvements and staging your home to sell is to consider who is going to be buying your house. No one can predict the future, but take a good guess. Is your home on the smaller-side? Do you live in a trendy neighborhood? A young person, couple, or family, is likely to be your home’s next owner*. Downsizing from a more established neighborhood after your kids have gone off to college? Your pool of buyers is probably an older couple or more established family, perhaps with older kids.
Keep the next owners in mind when painting and rethinking your decor and layout. Here are some ideas on what younger buyers are looking for* which include picking trendy neutrals (i.e. a warm grey) for your walls, painting those old dated cabinets white, and not assuming all young buyers are looking for a fixer-upper.
Remember, no matter who the next person is to call your house “home”, it belongs to them now. Researching current trends and making updates that might not be your style is okay because there’s another house out there that belongs to you – now you just have to find it!
*Not sure who will be looking at your house? Can’t figure out what trends are appropriate for your neighborhood? Be sure to get in touch with a realtor who knows your neighborhood. They have shown similar houses and know what kind of comments buyers make and what they’re looking for.