5 Signs It’s Time to Break up With Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent can’t make more housing supply appear out of thin air or double the value of your home overnight. But they should make you feel supported and well represented in a crazy market. If not, it may be time to cut ties.

This is not a decision to make lightly, but if you do you certainly have no shortage of options. As of October, the National Association of Realtors, the real estate’s largest trade group, had 1,564,547 members — a 7% jump from the end of 2020. And many more real estate agents aren’t NAR members.

With all the competition, real estate agents are fighting tooth and nail for clients. “It’s a dog-eat-dog industry,” says Jason Gelios, an agent with Community Choice Realty in Southeast Michigan. Considering that you have plenty of agents to choose from, there’s no reason to stay with your agent if you’re not happy with their service.

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Negotiate a Better Deal

The very thought of haggling, no matter what you’re haggling for, creates a crushing wave of anxiety in a surprising number of people. And while some personality types jump at the chance of striking a deal, many of us avoid negotiating at all costs.

But negotiating skills can be learned. And knowing how to negotiate when you’re buying a new car, making an offer on a house, asking for a cheaper cable or internet bill, or planning a wedding can save you a lot of money.

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How to Win in a Red-Hot Housing Market

Laura Gross knew that she’d be facing fierce competition this spring when she was getting ready to bid on a four-bedroom house in Troy, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. So she pulled out all the stops: She waived an appraisal contingency, offered $30,000 above the home’s $285,000 list price, wrote a letter expressing why she loved the home (it reminded her of the house she grew up in a mile away), and offered the seller a free 60-day rent-back.

The seller chose Gross’s offer over seven others. “I knew I had to offer above list price and waive con­tingencies to even have my offer considered in this market,” says Gross, an accounting manager at a manufacturing company.

Gross is just one in a tsunami of house hunters who have flooded the housing market since the coronavirus pandemic began. She experienced firsthand how tough today’s housing market is for buyers.

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Half of Homes Are Selling for Over Asking Price. Here’s How to Decide What to Bid

Home prices have always been negotiable. Usually, that has meant buyers pushing sellers below their asking price. But lately, in a nation marked by a record-low supply of homes for sale, the opposite has been happening.

Consider: half of U.S. homes sold for more than their list price during the four-week period ending May 16, according to Redfin. That marks a record high since 2012, when the brokerage began tracking.

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Can the Housing Market Get Any Hotter? A Guide to Home Buying This Spring

The words “spring home buying season” carry a very different meaning this year than they did last year.

Normally spring is the hottest time of year for home sales — more buyers surface when the warmer weather emerges and families prefer to move before the next school year begins. Last year’s spring market, though, was an anomaly. The coronavirus crisis ground the housing market to a halt in mid-March, as states locked down and house hunters put their home search on ice while following stay-at-home orders.

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How Homebuyers Can Win a Bidding War

If you’re buying a home right now, you might find the competition is stiff: More than 60 percent of homes faced a bidding war, a recent Redfin report found, thanks to low mortgage rates and scarce inventory.

Your offer will need to rise to the top. But how? We asked some real estate pros how to make an offer that will win a bidding war.

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Home Buyers Loving the Suburbs Again

For years, buyers have been flocking to cities and close-in suburbs, seeking a boost in quality of life by shortening their commutes and gaining easy access to restaurants and cultural events. The pandemic turned that trend on its head.

Last year, a number of city dwellers migrated to the suburbs and exurbs to get more space, both indoors and outdoors. Gaining the freedom to telecommute gave more buyers the ability to move from urban centers. A survey from the American Institute of CPAs found that 42% of employed Americans worked remotely at some point during the pandemic. Companies such as Twitter, REI and Square have announced plans to let employees work remotely indefinitely.

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Why This Winter Should Be One of the Best Ever for Home Sales

The temperature may be going down as we inch closer to winter, but home prices in the U.S. are still heating up — and there are few signs of cooling.

Normally, home sales peak in the summer and slow once kids start returning to school. That was not the case this year.

In the third quarter of 2020, median single-family home prices rose in all 181 metropolitan areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors. Of those, 117 saw double-digit price growth from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the median sales price of an existing home sold in October 2020 hit $313,000, up from $271,100 in October 2019 and $310,600 in August, according to NAR.

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In the Competitive Coronavirus Housing Market, This Loophole Is Making It Easier to Buy a House

The pandemic’s latest effect on the housing market could be a good one for borrowers: Fewer mortgages are requiring a home appraisal, which is making it a whole lot easier for some people to purchase a home or qualify for a loan refinance.

According to a September report from the public policy think tank American Enterprise Institute, appraisals were waived on 42% of all government-sponsored purchase and refinance mortgages in July, up from roughly 20% in December.

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How the Pandemic Is Persuading Millennials to Leave the City and Make Living in the Suburbs … Cool?

City living treated Dylan Gray well. For two years, Gray, 26, rented an apartment in downtown Indianapolis with bars, restaurants, and his office all in walking distance. But when the coronavirus pandemic required him to start working remotely, Gray set his sights on buying a home in Broad Ripple, a neighborhood with a suburban feel located six miles north of downtown.

“Once my ability to walk to work was no longer a factor, it made sense for me to buy a house, especially given how low rates are right now,” says Gray, a business analyst at Salesforce. He purchased a 3-bedroom detached house for $230,000 last month, using a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 3.3% interest rate.

Before the pandemic, many Americans relished the perks of living in a big city. According to a 2016 Census Bureau report, about eight in 10 Americans lived in urban areas. But COVID-19 has some urbanites reevaluating where they want to live—and the type of homes the want to live in. During the second quarter of this year, 51% of property views by urban residents of America’s 100 largest metros went to suburban properties, an all-time high since Realtor.com began tracking metro level search data in 2017.

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