The Houston stock market has bounced back, and single-family home sales have increased by 29% year-over-year. In addition, the average selling price for single-family homes also increased up to $334,996.
If you are thinking ‘is now a good time to sell a house,’ the truth is that it’s not just about the housing marketing trends in Houston.
You also want to consider home prices in your area, as well as the quality of the home inventory in your Houston neighborhood.
Here are a few things to think about if you want to sell your home in Space City.
11 Things to Check Before Selling Your Houston Home
It’s been a strange year for homeowners and home buyers. With an up and down market, it’s great to see Houston bouncing back.
Homeowners are seeing higher sale prices for their homes, but there are a few factors that change this outlook depending on where you live in Space City.
1. Home buyer demand in Houston
Home sales dropped off in early 2020 due to COVID-19, but now home buyers are eagerly looking for homes in Houston County.
For one reason, the real estate market has rebounded, and many homebuyers are under the impression that they can get a great deal due to foreclosures.
However, it’s actually a seller’s market as sale prices have dramatically increased for the Houston area. The rise in home buyer demand has only increased sale prices, making it extremely competitive. Even homes in rural areas are in demand, as people working from home now can live farther away.
2. Home prices are on the way up
As the demand grows from home buyers, real estate market polls show a dramatic increase in sale prices.
In 2019 and early 2020, the housing market was dragging and the competition was steep for sellers.
If you didn’t price your home at the right price to sell, you likely wouldn’t receive an offer for many months. Today’s homes are going for top dollar, surprising many analysts who thought the pandemic would take out a hit on the housing market.
However, home asking prices are higher now than before the pandemic, leading many homeowners to sell their homes for much more than the original sales price.
3. Houston home inventory is low
In addition, there aren’t a ton of new homes on the market. The competition is high because inventory is so low, which means that home sellers can list at higher prices. The housing shortage is most likely due to COVID-19 restrictions, but that hasn’t stopped homebuyers from shopping for a new home.
Analysts also attribute the lower housing inventory to fewer distressed properties available on the market. Due to government stimulus support, mortgage forbearance, and unemployment benefits, many homeowners are staying in their homes despite likely needing to sell in 2021.
4. Lower mortgage interest rates
Freddie Mac published a report in July that showed the average interest rates for homes have reached record lows, coming in at 3.07% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
This means that homes cost much less over the entirety of the loan, and there’s less interest to pay.
This has led to many new home buyers who now qualify for mortgages and want to take advantage of these low rates. They can purchase houses at higher sales prices because they don’t have to worry about interest as much.
5. Is it safe to sell a home during a pandemic?
For anyone who needs to sell their home for personal reasons such as job relocation or financial problems, then you shouldn’t worry about the pandemic.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under the Department of Homeland Security declared that real estate sales were safe during the pandemic and would be allowed to continue.
However, there are conditions for open houses and appointments, so you should always consult local laws about how to show your home and maintain social distancing. Most in-person showings are still legal, but the number of people allowed has changed.
NAR also released guidelines for open houses so you have some guidance on the most appropriate ways to show your home during the pandemic.
6. Show your home online
Most importantly, sellers need to remember that many people have switched to completely online lifestyles in the midst of COVID-19. It’s more important than ever to have the following:
- Beautiful photos of your home
- Videos and walk-throughs published on your online listing
Virtual open houses have become commonplace. These events allow homeowners to conduct an open house over Zoom.
You can sign in online, ask questions, and talk to the agent as they show you each room via a pre-recorded video. Some virtual open houses are done in real-time if you have the cameras and equipment.
As you market your home, you also want to be available for Zoom calls where you can share your home safely with a potential buyer. If working with a real estate agent, they should be well adapted to digital technologies and marketing online.
Note: Ideally, your online listings have high-resolution, clear photos of all areas in the home, but it’s most important to show the exterior (front and back), living areas, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, outdoor areas, and other features that will impress potential buyers.
7. Where is the housing market headed?
The economy remains steady at this moment, and housing prices haven’t fallen in the past three months. If economic conditions do worsen, there is a fear by analysts that home prices might drop as homebuyers give up on buying a new home.
That’s why it’s important for homeowners to consider if they want to sell a home and to get started now if they absolutely must sell their house.
If your home is ready for listing, then it’s a no-brainer to sell your house right now while prices are trending upwards.
8. Faster ways to sell your home
Even as the housing market trends up in Houston, it can still be a long process to sell your home to the right buyer.
If you don’t want to wait for financing, then there’s always cash direct buyers.
These are typically individual buyers or cash investors who:
- Want to flip properties
- Own rental properties
- Prefer a faster home buying process where you’re paid directly–rather than through a mortgage broker
Cash buyers typically follow the housing market trends and pay a fair market value for your home, so if home prices are at an all-time high, then you’ll likely get an incredible valuation and faster sale than with a typical mortgage-backed buyer.
9. Will the pandemic cause future problems for Houston home sales?
The pandemic caused a significant decrease in home purchases in early 2020. Homebuyers suddenly were less motivated as states closed down and imposed restrictions, leading to loss of income and reliance on credit. However, as restrictions lifted and more homes went on the market, homebuyers came back.
However, there are many factors that could lead to another downtrend. As COVID cases have picked up, many homebuyers do not want to go to in-person showings. In addition, many families are saving as much cash and investments as possible. Others are dealing with lower credit scores as they’ve accumulated more debt after losing their income.
If the pandemic continues to rise, then the housing market may fall again, which is why now is probably the best time to list your home to get the highest sales price.
While analysts have high hopes that the vaccine will lead to the end of the pandemic, it’s still unclear how long it will take some home buyers to bounce back financially.
10. To hire a real estate agent or not
There are some advantages to hiring a real estate agent, but you also have to be prepared to pay additional fees for marketing and listing your home.
However, a real estate agent can take care of:
- Virtual open houses
- Video walk-throughs
- Negotiating with your home buyers
11. Special COVID-19 considerations
A recent Time article talked about why sellers are facing new considerations when selling their homes because of COVID-19. Some realtors suggest that you disclose if someone living in the home tested positive for COVID-19.
This question has become controversial as many homeowners state that the government doesn’t require you to disclose this information.
However, when selling your home, you should be able to answer any questions like this quickly and honestly. If your home buyer questions about COVID-19, you can be honest as well as talk about how the home has been disinfected, sterilized, and treated in response.
Final Thoughts: Is Now a Good Time to Sell a House
For the past year, the housing market has fluctuated quite a bit. In recent months, home sale prices have increased in Houston.
If you are thinking of selling or need to sell, you should list your home while prices are on the rise and housing inventory is low.