When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, there were a lot of concerns about how it would impact the housing market—including whether it would spark a decrease in home values.

But, as it turns out, the opposite is true—and sellers are netting significantly more profit when they sell their home than anticipated.

According to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, during Q2 of 2020, home sellers netted a median $75,491 when they sold their home—up from $65,620 from Q2 2019. Q2’s profit represents a 36.3 percent return on investment compared to original purchase price—the highest ROI for sellers since the Great Recession.

On the local front in Mammoth Lakes, we are seeing  “ready to go” properties are selling quickly.  People want to be here now without having to do any work.  This is true across all price ranges – entry level to over $1M.  Many clients are telling me they can now work remotely and since the kids won’t be going back to a traditional classroom, why not be here in gorgeous Mammoth instead of the big city?   Although the majority of the interest has been in Mammoth Lakes, this is starting to trickle over to the outlying areas as well.

All this translates to a hot market for sellers with properties that are in good condition.  The nicer the property the more interest and offers.

 

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling, now is a great time to make a move, fetch top dollar for your home, and walk away from the sale with a healthy profit.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected life across the globe. Strict social distancing measures, school closures, and, in many locales, a ban on all non-essential businesses have turned people’s lives upside down and thrust us into a surreal existence where we’re spending nearly all of our time at home.

From a real estate perspective, it would be disingenuous to say that nothing has changed. Great agents are honest at all times, even (especially) when it’s difficult.

That said, there’s no indication that we’re in (or headed toward) a housing crisis like the once-in-a-century 2008 collapse. And, by all accounts, the fundamentals of the housing market remain in place, despite the safety precautions enforced by health and government officials.

The following list may help you better understand what’s changed and what hasn’t in the world of real estate

What Has Changed:

1. Access to Showings

In many places, the process of showing a home has changed. Some states have put limits on the number of people allowed to gather in one place, which has impacted open houses. Additionally, sellers, buyers, and agents are taking more precautions to keep themselves safe, with more cleaning, access to protective gear, and enforced distancing measures becoming the norm. Digital-only showings are also growing in popularity, although they’re still relatively new. The good news is I work with mostly out of town buyers so I have plenty of experience showing property in creative ways….including FaceTime and video.  It is pretty easy here since the majority of properties are vacant right now.  So, if there’s a home you’re interested in seeing, it’s still possible to make it happen.

2. The Closing Process

Much of the work that needs to be done between going under contract to sell or buy a house and the closing can be done remotely and electronically. But there are many things that need to be done by many people throughout the process. From the mortgage, to the title work, to inspections and appraisals, getting to the closing table depends upon a lot of people doing their job. Social distancing and working entirely remotely has a certain learning curve while everyone involved figures out how to get their end of things done. So, the process may take at least a little longer, and change as everyone figures out the best way to handle things. The upshot to this is that it could create better, more efficient ways of doing things moving forward.

3. Some Mortgage Products

Perhaps the most impactful changes in the real estate industry are happening in the mortgage market. The conditions on certain products are being tightened, and some lenders are temporarily exiting the market altogether. Jumbo loans (a type of financing where the loan amount is higher than the conforming loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency) seem to be feeling the most impact, while conventional loans, which are considered less risky, have been less affected. If you have questions about getting pre-approved, you should contact a mortgage professional who can help you better understand your options.  I like working with lenders who have experience in our market, so reach out if you would like me to put you in touch.

What Hasn’t Changed:

1. People’s Dreams

Even when the whole world comes to a stop, our hearts and minds do not. We all have dreams, whether it’s owning a ski in/ski out condo in Mammoth Lakes, a gorgeous custom home in Crowley Lake or a starter home in June Lake.  A pandemic doesn’t change that, even though it can help put things in perspective and remind us of what matters most. But don’t let the strange times we’re in stop you from daydreaming and working toward those dreams. A pandemic is temporary; our hopes are not.

2. Housing Demand

There’s been a well-documented housing shortage for years, and there’s no indication that the fundamentals have yet changed. That said, every real estate market is unique, and what holds true on a macro-level may not hold true in your desired market. Regardless of the specific market and overall demand in that area, people always need homes, despite a pandemic.  People still want vacation/second homes.  So, if you want to sell, there’s likely a buyer for your home. And if you want to buy, there’s likely a seller who’d love to sell.   The time it takes to find or sell the property just might take a little longer right now.

3. My Desire to Help

Most agents eat, breathe, and sleep real estate, and aside from looking out for our loved ones and wishing for a healthy and safe resolution to this mess, that hasn’t changed. I want to help you with your real estate needs because I am passionate about what I do, and it’s likely that our newfound home-time has coincided with a lot more real estate research than it has with cleaning or learning how to play the guitar.

Mammoth Lakes Real Estate Market Update – November 2018

mammoth lakes signIt is the last day of your vacation and you and your family have enjoyed your time in Mammoth Lakes California.  You decide you might want to buy a vacation home here so you stop by one of the local real estate offices on the way out of town and see if someone can show you a few properties before you leave.  Sounds reasonable, right?

Well since this is a resort town,  it is important to know it is not as easy as it may sound.  Since you are here on vacation, chances are occupancy is pretty high with other vacationers and there might be a limited number of properties you can view.  After narrowing down your interests, the agent will need to view the notes on each listing and contact the property management company to check availability.  In addition, many of the listed properties are on vacation rental programs and as such do not have lock-boxes (to prevent walk-ins on paying renters).  What this means is that in many cases the agent has to drive to multiple locations to pick up the various keys for the available properties.

While all of this is possible and done numerous times each week, it is not the perfect scenario.  Most agents will agree that a call at least a day ahead can save everyone time and hopefully maximize the time spent viewing properties.  Given a little time the agent can do the leg work in advance and still have time to prepare for the tour with custom materials for your review.   In the end planning ahead will be a better use of your time and help get you one step closer to making your second home a reality.

2013 meterIt is human nature to want to get the best deal so I’m not surprised when new clients ask this question.   My advice is not try and time the purchase to get a better price.  Often buyers think they will get a better deal on a home in the off or shoulder season.  But generally speaking, sellers are savvy and home values do not fluctuate by season.  The best time to buy a property is when you find the property you want.

Know what you want and be prepared to take action.  You have to be confident you understand where the market is and what you want out of your property.  What is your budget?  When will you be using the property?  Will you be renting?

When you do find the property you want, I recommend you request photos of the property taken during different seasons.  You really need to see the difference between summer and winter.  Where does the snow accumulate?  How is your view impacted by the snow or trees during the summer versus the winter?

Trying to time the real estate market is not recommended but do watch for trends.  It doesn’t matter if you buy the “deal of the century” if it is not something that matches your goals.   Prices were relatively flat in 2012 but we have seen an increase in 2013.  Historically Mammoth Lakes has followed the trends in San Diego and Orange County by 6-8 months.  In those markets they are currently seeing multiple offers and properties are selling for over the asking price.     The median days on market is decreasing in  Mammoth Lakes.

In summary, be prepared:

  1. Know your budget.
  2. Identify your goals for the property
  3. Know which area of town you want to buy.
  4. If financing, get preapproved.
  5. Establish a relationship with a real estate agent and communicate the info above.

A trustworthy real estate agent will help you understand the market and help you find the property that matches your goals.

For past articles, visit www.sonjabush.com

Stand Out From the CrowdOne of the most interesting things about showing property in Mammoth Lakes is I can show several different condos in the same complex and get drastically different feedback from the same potential buyers.

This past weekend was a good example. I took my client to see three different condos in the same complex. He wanted to see for himself why the price was so different when the floor plans and views were exactly the same.

The answer boiled down to four key areas:

1. Carpet: It is nice if the carpet is new but if it is not new, is it at least clean? Even though it is easy to clean, a dirty carpet leaves a nasty first impression.

2. Paint: When you enter the front door are the walls scuffed and paint chipped? If you are going to paint before selling, consider a neutral clean palette. The first 30 seconds in the property is important — paint can help make a good first impression.

3. Clutter: Should go without saying but buyers want to visualize the place as their own. All the ski gear, knick-knacks and items you will be taking when you sell, should be out of sight. Since most places are sold furnished in Mammoth Lakes, buyers can get a real sense of what it will be like for them when all the clutter is gone.

4. Kitchen: This is a costlier issue than paint, carpet and clutter but a necessary fix if someone really wants to sell. A total remodel is not necessary. Something as inexpensive as new kitchen cabinet hardware and light fixtures all the way to costlier new appliances will help you sell your property. Even a dated formica kitchen with dark wood cabinets looks better with new hardware. Consider a new faucet, painting the cabinets and upgrading appliances for a real boost.

Granted there are some buyers who want a “fixer” but most want a turn-key property. They want to buy it and enjoy it.

Ask your real estate agent for input. Better yet, ask them to show you a property similar to yours that has made some of these improvements so you can get some fresh ideas m

For previous articles visit www.sonjabush.com

Helpful tipsBuying a home can be confusing and overwhelming.  Being educated about the real estate market and staying informed on the latest trends and tips for buying a home are some of the most important factors when looking for a home. A little research can go a long way toward getting you in the door with a minimum amount of stress.

Source:  American Home Shield

For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com

OOPS!According to real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran (you might know her from Shark Tank) if you are in the position to consider making a down payment on another property, now’s the time to do it. According to Corcoran, “It’s the smartest thing you can do right now,” adding that the second-home market is “the last area you can still get a steal of a deal.” But if you’re thinking of taking the plunge, Corcoran advises you act fast. “In the second home market, the homes are abundant but starting to shrink up.” As for Mammoth Lakes specifically, inventory levels are extremely low for both condos and single family homes.

If you decide to make a second home purchase, be sure and avoid some of the biggest mistakes made by second home buyers.

 Buying Where Your Friends Live:  Too often, Corcoran says, people fantasize about vacationing with or near friends and end up making a purchase that isn’t right for them.

Not Having a Budget: Set a budget and stick with it. “Look over your budget,” Corcoran says. She also adds that it’s a smart move to make a low bid on a property that is out of your price range, especially if it has been languishing on the market for months. “People who have the nicest homes always overprice, and it just sits on the market,” she adds.

Focusing on the Wrong Amenities: Don’t buy into a community because of its amenities. If you’re not a tennis player now, you won’t become one because your new development has a court. “Most people generally won’t use the extra stuff and they get blinded by all of that,” Cochran explains.

For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com

For more information on Ms. Corcoran, visit www.BarbaraCorcoran.com

There are distressed sales in almost every market.   Before we look at Mammoth Lakes specifically, bank ownedit is important to understand the definition of distressed sale.

A distressed sale in real estate is defined as the urgent need to sell property when the owner can no longer make the mortgage payments.  He/she must sell the property immediately to pay off the mortgage, even if it involves losing money on the property.  There are two primary types of distressed sales:

Foreclosure:  A situation in which a mortgage lender takes possession of the property because the borrower  has not made payments on interest or principal for a certain period of time.

Short Sale:  An agreement between a mortgage borrower in distress and the lender that allows the borrower to sell the house and remit the proceeds to the lender.  A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Foreclosure-related sales are on the decline but distressed sales continue to claim a “disproportionately high portion” of total home sales across the country, according to RealtyTrac’s most recent foreclosure and short sales report. The firm also found increases in prices for distressed properties in 2012.

Distressed property sales made up 43 percent of all home sales nationwide in 2012, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure-related sales made up 21 percent of all sales, while non-foreclosure short sales made up 22 percent of sales. Together, foreclosure and REO sales decreased 6 percent from 2011 with a total of 947,995 sales over the year in 2012.

Here in Mammoth Lakes, in 2012 distressed property sales made up 41 percent of all home sales.  Foreclosure sales made up 15 percent of all sales and short sales were 26 percent.

A qualified licensed real estate agent can provide information on available distressed sales.  Often the lender has special requirements for buyers and although there are some “good deals,” patience is a virtue when dealing with distressed sales.

For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com

We all know houses are not selling like they used to.  If you are considering selling your home, there are several tips that will make it easier to sell.   First impressions make a huge difference between a sale or no sale.  These tips apply to any economy or market.For Sale

  1.  Less is More:  Even if you have not moved out, removing some furniture can help the home feel more spacious.  This also provides a potential buyer with a better visual of how the property could look as their home.
  2. Odor Control:  Sometimes homes have an odor you may not even notice since you there every day.  Ask a friend (or your agent) to be honest about any odor.  While the house is on the market, take the trash out every day and clean the refrigerator regularly.  If you have pets, keep an eye on the situation (i.e. litter box).  I have been in some gorgeous homes but a strong offensive odor has turned buyers away.
  3. The Little Things:  There are small and often inexpensive changes you can complete yourself to freshen up your home.  For example, replace dated/cracked light switch covers , install new hardware on cabinets, remove broken window treatment (no window covering is often better than broken blinds).  Although potential buyers know the house is lived it, it is helpful to remove excess clutter such as newspapers, mail, laundry and shoes.
  4. A Neutral Appeal:  If you have customized every room with dark paint or wall paper, you may want to update the colors to a more neutral tone.  This can help potential buyers create their own vision for the home and also when they are comparing their options, your home may need less investment and work if they buy the house.
  5. Curb Appeal:  This one is pretty obvious to most but again look at the exterior of your home from the potential buyers’ perspective.  Is the home welcoming?  Is there a clear path to the front door?  Is the front porch clean and appealing?

Keep these tips in mind when selling your property.  The best way to do this is to walk through your home with an honest friend as if you are both touring the home for the first time.  An experience real estate agent can also help.

Source:  Investopedia

For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com

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