Feb. 6, 2018

Missoula Area Real Estate Update

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We had a great year in 2017. If you’re a client who either worked with us or referred us last year, thank you so much for your support.

As we head into the new year, I wanted to reach out and give you a quick update on what’s going on in the real estate market in the Missoula area.

Low inventory is the name of the game. There are only 1,904 total homes for sale on our MLS right now. On the first of the year, 650 homes expired in the best market we’ve ever had. That really shows the dangers of overpricing. In the best market we’ve ever had, there were still over 600 homes that didn’t sell because their prices were just too high for buyers to be willing to pay.

 "Buyers be ready to pay a fair price "

In Missoula, we’ve got 257 total properties for sale right now. We usually carry an inventory of anywhere from 400 to 800, so this is a huge opportunity for potential sellers. If you’re thinking about selling your home right now, you need to understand that you’re going to net more money now by listing than you will if you decide to wait until April or May to do so. By listing now, you can get ahead of the market and make sure that you’ll net a bit more money in your pocket when buyers come calling.

Not only is inventory low in Missoula, but it’s also extremely low in the following towns and communities in the area:

  • Frenchtown and Huson: 22 homes for sale
  • Lolo: 14 homes for sale
  • Florence: 41 homes for sale
  • Stevensville: 77 homes for sale
  • Corvallis: 31 homes for sale
  • Hamilton: 115 homes for sale

If you're a buyer in any one of these areas, be ready to pay a fair price. With low inventory like this, making a lowball offer to the seller won’t work. If you have a house to sell, get the ball rolling by getting your home listed so that you can increase your odds of selling before the big spring rush.

If you have any questions about your specific situation or you’d like a custom copy of our 26-point marketing plan, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you. Demand more from your agent in 2018. Demand more from me!

 

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 6, 2017

It's a Great Time to Sell in Western Montana

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Today, I’d like to take a look back on how our market fared this November. 

The market is definitely moving and shaking right now. Let me tell you, the seller who puts their home on the market now and gets it under contract before March is the seller who is going to make more money. 

Getting back to our market overall, let’s start with some statistics from Missoula. Right now, there are 337 active homes for sale in Missoula. On top of our limited inventory, interest rates have risen to 4.25%. This has gotten people off the fence and out into the market. 

There are currently 186 homes under contract in Missoula and if you are a buyer, you should absolutely make your move before interest rates rise again. Also in Missoula, we’re seeing homes spend an average of 70 days on the market with an average sales price of $270,000. 

I’ve noticed there are many more townhomes and condos on the market. Sellers have realized that people are looking for less expensive property right now. 

Let’s move on to Lolo. Right now in Lolo there are only 23 active homes on the market, meaning it’s a great time to list. There are currently 18 homes under contract and 107 have sold year-to-date. 

"Don’t believe the myths, right now is a great time to sell."

The average sales price in Lolo have gone through the roof, sitting at $265,000 with homes sitting on the market for just 73 days on average. 

In Florence, there are 38 active homes, 12 pending, and 81 homes have been sold year-to-date. Properties are spending an average of 93 days on market with an average sales price of $293,000. This price is way up from last year. 

Stevensville has 98 active homes, 24 under contract, and 164 homes have sold year-to-date. Spending a fantastic average of 81 days on market, homes are selling at an average sales price of $267,000. 

Currently, Corvallis has 39 active home listings, 15 pending, and 72 home closings year-to-date. Those listings are spending an average of 94 days on the market and are selling for an average sales price of $256,000. 

Hamilton has 126 active home listings right now with 21 pending and 201 closed year-to-date. With an average list price of $248,000, these listings are spending an average of 102 days on the market. 

As we can see from this data, average sales prices are rising across the board. So, once again, if you sell between now and March, you are set for success. You will make much more now when there are fewer homes competing on the market. Don’t believe the myths, right now is a great time to sell. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 7, 2017

It’s True—Fall Is a Fantastic Time to Sell Your Home

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I don’t know where the myth that nothing happens in the fall real estate market got started, but I want to end it here and now. Fall is an amazing time of year to sell your home. 

During this time of year, I hear a lot of people say they’re going to wait until spring to put their home on the market because of this myth, and I think that’s crazy. Granted, if you’re snowbirding for the winter and don’t want people dropping through your house, that’s understandable. 

Otherwise, in our regional MLS last year, between September 1st and December 31st, 1,710 homes were sold. Does that sound like a slow time of year to you? In Missoula alone, 424 homes sold during that time period. So far this year, 202 homes have sold between September 1st to the end of October, so we’re on pace to beat last year’s mark in and around Missoula. 

There are many reasons why fall is a great time to sell your home. While there may be fewer buyers out there, the ones who are out are far more serious about buying. You think any looky-loos will be out searching for homes during the holidays when it’s 20 degrees below zero? Absolutely not. 

"When there are fewer homes on the market, sellers tend to make more money."

After the holidays, a huge supply of listings typically hit the market in the spring because so many people took their homes off the market in October and November and were waiting to relist. This means there are fewer homes on the market now, and if yours is one of them, there’s a better chance it will sell. Low inventory also means you should be able to net more money for your sale. Another important advantage of this is that you will face less competition among other home sellers. 

Many buyers also have more time to look at homes during this time of year because of the time off we also usually get for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years.

Lastly, homes look great this time of year. Aside from all the seasonal decorations being put up, the leaves and foliage outside look beautiful. If you list with us, we can restrict your showings so your listing doesn’t interfere with any plans you might have for hosting company. 

So, if you’ve been thinking of taking your home off the market and waiting until spring, think of all of these advantages you’d have if you kept it listed instead. 

If you have any other questions about selling your home this fall or you want to know what’s going on in our market, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Oct. 25, 2017

Can You Take Advantage of Our Current Market?

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What’s the latest news from our market this October?

Overall, our market remains strong right now. We had a little bit of a slowdown in the beginning of October, but that’s part of the cyclical nature of things. 

In Missoula right now, there are 373 active listings and 224 homes under contract. The average sale price is $256,000. Year to date, 1,145 homes have sold, which is right in line with where the market was last year. Inventory has been very limited, though. Last year, there were 1,292 total properties sold. 

In the last few weeks, there’s been a huge influx of homes in the $180,000 and $250,000 range. A lot of those homes went under contract right away. If you have a home in this price range you’ve thought about selling, now would be a great time to put it on the market to maximize your profits. 

"Our market remains strong right now."

In Frenchtown and Huson, there are only 32 active listings, which is a very low level of inventory. If you’re a home seller in those areas, now’s an amazing time to hit the market. There are also 13 homes under contract, and only 61 closings year to date. 

In Lolo, there are 33 active listings, 23 homes under contract, and 91 closings year to date. 

In Florence, there are 40 active listings, 18 homes under contract, and 68 closings year to date. The average sale price here is $298,000. This area needs inventory, so if you’re a seller in this area, list now. 

In Stevensville, there are 110 active listings, 28 homes under contract, and 143 closing year to date. Since inventory is higher in this area, sellers might have to get a little more aggressive.

In Corvallis, there are 49 active listings, 12 homes under contract, and 64 closings year to date. The average sale price in that area is $260,000. 

In Hamilton, there are 145 active listings, 38 homes under contract, and 167 closings year to date. The average sale price is $245,000. 

That’s all for our October recap! As you can see, now is an opportune time to list your home in many areas. If you have any more questions about our market or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to help you. 

 

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 2, 2017

What's Wrong With Listing Without an Agent?

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I get a lot of calls from sellers who are considering listing without the help of a real estate agent. People wonder whether it’s wise for them to attempt listing For Sale By Owner (or FSBO). It may not be impossible to sell your home on your own, but rarely will you see the same kinds of results as you would get from working with an agent.

Today, I want to go over just a few of the reasons you should think about hiring an agent to help you sell your home. 

If you are thinking about listing alone, consider the fact that the average FSBO listing sells for 14% less than homes sold with the help of a Realtor. I recently read another interesting point from the real estate newsletter Inman News. 

Inman News consistently found that across all the people they queried, those who listed with a Realtor were able to net much more money, even after the commission. Realtors also do all of the work for you. 

If you try to sell alone, you are making a lot more work for yourself in the process. The amount of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction is immense. Additionally, this paperwork needs to be done correctly and in a timely manner to ensure your deal doesn’t implode. Do you really want to run the risk of ruining a deal over some paperwork?

"If you try to sell alone, you are making a lot more work for yourself in the process."

Realtors go through numerous transactions each year. They bring a huge level of experience to the table. In fact, did you know that only 8% of all sold homes are listed as FSBO? And many homes within that 8% actually are sold to family or friends instead of a buyer on the market.

A huge part of the real estate process is negotiation. Realtors not only have the knowledge, experience, and skills to negotiate for your listing, but also to get your listing to that point of the process in general.

Another important aspect is pricing. How do you know you’re pricing your home correctly? Many people simply don’t understand how much their home is worth. My team and I once worked with a FSBO seller who was originally listing his property at $190,000. 

After he came to us, we were actually able to sell his home for a final price of $215,000. We were able to sell his property faster and for more money. Part of the reason this is possible is that we understand current market conditions. As professionals, my team and I understand how to gauge the market and act accordingly. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

 

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Sept. 18, 2017

What One Kind of Home Is Becoming More Common?

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Today I’m bringing you the latest news from our Western Montana real estate market. 

Across Missoula County, there are a total of 601 homes for sale right now. Of those, 340 are currently under contract. This means that the market is doing fairly well. However, the numbers are down slightly from last year due to limited inventory. 

In Missoula County year-to-date, meaning from January 1st until today, 1,190 homes have sold so far. Our average sales price, which is $271,000, is up from last year. This is something sellers love to hear, of course. 

But, what is going to happen next year? No one knows, exactly. We’re just going to have to play it by ear. One thing we’ll be keeping a close watch on is whether interest rates are going to rise. This could have an effect on affordability. 

For now, let’s narrow in on the city of Missoula, itself. First of all, 1,292 homes sold in Missoula in 2016. Currently, there are 384 residential homes in the town for sale. Also, there are 277 homes under contract. 976 homes have closed so far this year at a $270,000 average sale price. This average is slightly lower than the average for the county, since homes outside of the city tend to have larger acreages. 

"With such a major influx of higher-end homes, sellers need to get very competitive."

Things are slightly different in Bitterroot Valley. I do a lot of business in that area, which is really split between upper and lower Bitterroot. In the upper Bitterroot towns of Florence and Stevensville, we have a $378,000 average list price. So far this year, 182 homes have sold at a median sales price of about $284,900. 

Looking at these numbers, it isn’t hard to see that there’s a big gap between the average list price and median sales price. The highest sale I could find in this area using the regional Multiple Listing Service (or MLS) was $775,000.

However, over half of the active homes for sale in these two towns are listed above $400,000. With such a major influx of higher-end homes, sellers need to get very competitive. This is especially true since fewer homes have sold now year-to-date in 2017 than was the case last year.

From what we’ve seen so far this year compared to where we were at this time last year, there’s about a 15 home difference in the number of closings. Personally, I attribute this difference to limited inventory. Nevertheless, the Florence and Stevensville markets are ultimately doing well. 

In the lower Bitterroot towns of Corvallis and Hamilton, there are 211 active listings. Even though this is more than there are in upper Bitterroot, these two towns only have 50 pending homes. This is a very low number considering the number of listings, but it is up from last year. 

This isn’t the only low number we’re seeing. The average pending price is just $244,000 in lower Bitterroot. As I look at this, I notice a disturbing trend for the higher-end homes on the market. 110 of the 211 listings are higher-end homes over $400,000. The highest pending home I could find in lower Bitterroot was $535,000. As is the case in upper Bitterroot, sellers in lower Bitterroot’s higher-end market should be expecting a lot of high competition. 

There is one factor, though, that has been affecting the entire county. Recent fires have been impacting home sales across the area, especially in areas where people are struggling to get insurance.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 22, 2017

9 Ways to Stand Out in a Competitive Market

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It’s a seller's market out there. Homes are going quickly and drawing multiple offers. As a buyer, you may wonder, “How in the world will I get my offer approved?” Luckily, I have nine tips to help you today: 

1. Stop overthinking everything. Call a great real estate agent, like me, go out and look at properties and—when you find one you like—put in an offer. I know that all of you analyticals out there are stressed out, but you’ve just got to get out there and react.  

2. Be ready to pay at or over asking price. “But I watch HGTV and those guys make low offers and buy foreclosures all the time! Surely I can to that!” Not in this market. Banks and sellers know that they will get top dollar. If you are buying a home, get ready for a bidding war because that’s the new normal.

"A tiered offer is a great way to make sure your offer is higher than others."

3. Make a tiered offer. Let’s say you submit an offer on a $300,000 home. You would say, “I allow the listing agent to raise my offer in $1,500 increments up to a certain amount.” That way, your offer will be $1,500 over the next offer. A tiered offer is a great way to make sure your offer is always the highest. 

4. Will the seller make multiple counteroffers? Have your agent ask the listing agent if their seller will just pick one offer to work with or if they will counter all of the offers. If they just plan on taking one, then you need to submit your best offer. Then, if you’re not selected, you can walk away knowing that you made your best offer rather than sitting around with false hope. 

5. Cash is not king anymore. At the end of the day, sellers don’t care if they get a bunch of nickels and dimes or a check from the title company. They are going to get at or over asking price in this market, so don’t expect to pay less for a home just because you have cash. 

6. Be proactive. Have your real estate agent set up daily listing alerts for you. Review those and drive by any properties that you’re interested in so that you can strike when a new listing hits the market. Our website updates every five minutes. Sometimes, a home is only on the market for a few minutes before showings start to pop up, so if you’re not on top of these alerts or you’re unavailable to look at a home, it can be really tough to find something in this market. 

7. Consider new construction. There are a lot of new homes and plans in the MLS. You will have to pay a bit more for a new home, but you will be away from the feeding frenzy. If you don’t have to move into a home right away and you can wait for one to be built, new construction is the way to go. 

8. Include smart contingencies. If you are buying a home while selling your current one, make sure it’s under contract and has passed the inspection so you can make a nice, clean offer. Include your pre-approval letter and throw down more earnest money if you can. 

9. Take some Dramamine because this is going to be a wild ride!

If you have any other questions or if you need any help navigating our current market, just give me a call or send me an email. My team and I would be happy to help you!

 

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
Aug. 16, 2017

How to Make Sure You Have a Home to Move into After Selling

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Today I have four tips that will ensure that you can get an offer accepted on a new home while you’re selling your current one.

1. List your house with a clause that states, “Subject to seller finding suitable housing.” This needs to be put in the listing contract under the additional provisions section. It’s important to put that in the listing contract so that any incoming buyer knows that information, and you have the ability to cancel any contract with a buyer in the event that you can’t find a new home to move into. 

2. Put your house on the market as soon as possible. No smart seller is going to accept your offer if your own house isn’t on the market and under contract. Some might not even look at your offer if your home isn’t under contract and has passed its inspections. Make sure you get on the market and get it under contract.

"Go out and look for the home of your dreams."

3. Get out and look! Go out and look for the home of your dreams. You have to be aggressive in this market. Have your agent send you listings, set up showings, and drive around the neighborhoods you like to move into. You won’t be able to move this process forward if you don’t find a home.

4. When you find the home you want, put your best foot forward. Make sure that if you’re making a contingent offer on the home you want to buy, that you’re making the best offer possible.

If you do these four things, you can ensure success when you’re a seller and you’re going to buy a home. If you have any other questions or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, give us a call. We’d be happy to help! 

Posted in Home Buyer Tips