December is here, I look back on 2015 and wonder where on earth it went. As we get older they seem to go faster and faster. It’s strange the things that make us reflect on a year and on life, and it’s not always the holiday season that does it. This month I accompanied my son for some day surgery. As we passed time waiting for them to come and take him into surgery, we reflected on when I was having surgery 10 years ago, he was 14, and my husband bought him and his older brother to see me. He told me how it made him feel, he was upset to see his Mom lying in hospital, not able to move. That day I was not his Mom, I was incapacitated Mom and it made him sad. ( I had spinal fusion surgery.)
Teenagers are pretty useless at explaining emotion, especially boys, amazing that it took him 10 years to voice how he felt at the time. I was moved, almost to tears but held them back because he was the vulnerable one this time. It’s times like those that make me truly thankful for the two men I have raised, and that they are still able to see me as a great support for them, something I will be until my life is done.
It was nice to focus on something other than real estate for a day too, something in this business it is hard to achieve. I was intrigued by the Panera Bread style pagers. (see photo). At every stage of the time my son was absent from me, I was paged with an update. So into surgery suite, prepped and ready for me to sit and wait with him, into operating room, out of surgery, 3 stages of recovery, the second of which I was allowed to go be with him, a Doctors consult and so on. Very clever. Great communication! (5 stars!)
But that day has passed, my son recovered at home and was back up and around in a day or two. As we charge toward The New Year it seems a great time to now reflect on real estate in Barrington for 2015. With most of the year done we’ll still have some closings but trends have been set.
Home Sold Trends for Median Price and Volume
As the year is not quite finished I am simply taking a look at all the sales under the area of 60010 and both detached and attached homes together. The median price sold each month has not varied much throughout the year, there were a couple of low median prices but in general it seems $450,000 is about where we are at. Also typical for our area, the most homes closed are in the middle of the year, proving again that the market heats up in spring. Remember that closings in the busiest month of June relate to contracts agreed in April and May. May to September are our busiest closing months.
If you are thinking of 2016 as the year to sell, you need to be on the market as soon as January and no later than March to tap into this buyer activity. With the new lending rules closings now need 60 days from contract to closing to be safe. 30 day closings are hard unless your buyer is paying cash and while 45 days is possible, one small hitch can cause an extended delay.
Last month we looked a the late year inventory of homes in Barrington. There you’ll find lots of information about marketing homes in the winter, curb appeal and the volume of new listings during the late months of the year. As the year comes to a close we’ll review many more parts of Barrington’s real estate trends.
What’s In Store for 2016?
While our market here in Barrington is stable, steady, not crazy, 2016 has some negatives that might impact our numbers. Next year is the year many HELOC loans reset. Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC’s) were often interest only for the first 10 years. Now borrowers have to start paying the principle loans back. The interest rates have been very low but the loan amounts have 15 years or less to be repaid. That is going to cause a size-able increase in monthly payment and many borrowers may struggle to pay. This could cause defaults, it could see a resurgence in short sales and foreclosures.
Many may be able to refinance but at least 5% equity is needed and monthly insurance premiums will come into play, so be cautious and check your numbers if you choose this path.
Interest rates rising? The experts think so and we have seen a marginal increase. But remember the Feds interest hike is NOT what causes mortgage rates to rise. They are linked to the Bond rates. Most of us do not follow those so I am not about to explain them here. A better measure is always to look at what the economy is doing. The Fed’s have increased their lending rate based on a rising economy. However they are being extremely cautious as too much too soon will cause any economy to stumble and for any President that’s a situation none of them wants. So I’ll stick my neck out here and say I do NOT think rates will rise dramatically this year.
A 1% increase over a year is likely all we can expect. The reality of 1% is we get to a mortgage rate of 5% or slightly higher and that is never going to cause the real estate market to crash and burn. Yes monthly payments will go up but the rate is still very low and buyers will still be looking for homes.
In 2015 Your Home Did Not Sell!
What should you do? Many competitors are going to say: you were priced too high, I do better marketing, no-one could find you on the internet, and so on and so forth. These are simply sales pitches to persuade you the Realtor you chose was doing a bad job. Especially if it means they want your listing now. There are many reasons a home did not sell:
- Perhaps your homes presentation was not up to par.
- Maybe you have a home that’s far above the normal home prices for your area.
- Older homes can reduce buyer pool, regardless of upgrades and condition.
- Did you make it available for all showings?
- What’s going on around the area? Road works? Anything else that might deter buyers?
Often homes do not sell because your Realtor is not giving you cold hard facts. If you were never given the information you really needed, your lack of sale can be the result. Then you move to Realtor number two, then three.
There’s a very simple formula to sell real estate.
- You must have an understanding of the local real estate market and where your property fits into it. This applies to pricing, times on market, your competition, your likely time for a sale to be achieved and marketing.
- You must present your property as if it’s in a competition, because it is!
- If you did 1 and 2, your sale will occur. If you do not understand and follow 1 and 2, you may well be flogging a dead horse in efforts to sell.
All homes listed on the MLS get massive internet exposure. Additional marketing can help especially for niches like horse property or a niche type of subdivision, like golf course homes. Pricing needs to be within range but all homes in our area are somewhat different, we are not a cookie cutter house, cookie cutter price type of area.
Don’t Panic! If you are worried, contact your real estate agent and ask for a review!
Can I Leave With a Word About the Weird Weather?
Love it or hate it, our late fall and early winter has been warm by comparison to averages. The ground is pretty saturated and seeping can occur in basements, so please go and take a peak if you haven’t done so.
Todays looks like real winter with sleet, snow, ice rain and wind. My resident Sand Hill Cranes are still here! Squadrons and squadrons left in November with some late fliers in mid December. But we’ve got a pair that live in our yard and a family of 3 across the street. They are all still here. I cannot believe they are liking todays weather but we have not had much by way of northerly winds. So if they fly they are against a headwind. Maybe if we get a turn around in wind direction they’ll chat among themselves and take to the skies.
That’s all for 2015. I have lots of work lined up for 2016. Whether it be real estate, helping my son grown his performance auto shop, or doing some much needed home upgrades, the years are flying by. I am taking my annual visit to England in a few weeks, feels like yesterday I got back from the last visit.
I wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year, no matter how you measure it. Stay safe and warm today!
Best regards, Corinne.