How Changing Seasons Affects the Real Estate Market

It’s no secret in the real estate industry that spring is peak season for potential buyers to start looking at homes. Families want to relocate while the kids are out of school and there won’t be any chance of snow-related issues during the move.

While you may get more traffic by listing your home in the spring or summer, that may not be the best choice overall. One study found that sellers are more likely to sell their home above asking price between the months of December and March. This is even true for areas with cold winters. Furthermore, homes listed in the winter sold slightly faster than those listed in the spring, on average.

A possible reason for this could be that people looking in the winter are looking because they’re more serious about buying in a timely fashion. For example, if a couple needs a bigger home before the arrival of a child or if a professional needs to move for a new job. To get in a home they love quickly, they’ll sometimes be willing to pay top dollar.

Before you make winter listings your new passion, there are a few things to consider.

  • The Area’s Housing Market

Real estate fluctuates constantly. Before listing a home, do some research. Look at the homes currently for sale when winter hits. Have they all been on the market for two months? If so, it may be better to wait until the spring when there is a heavier flow of potential home buyers. If someone sees that the home has been listed for a while, they may try to use that as leverage to lower their asking price.

  • The Asking Price

Some sellers choose to price a home low to generate a bidding war. In the winter, that’s not a great idea since you’re less likely to receive multiple offers. However, you also don’t want to list the home too high because that could be an immediate turnoff. Seasoned real estate agents are pros at finding that sweet spot to hone in the right buyers.

  • Repairs that Matter

Home buyers in the winter aren’t looking for a major fixer-upper if they’re trying to move in immediately. If there are problems with the HVAC, furnace or roof, it could be a deciding factor that sends the buyers in another direction. Be sure that the home’s major systems have been inspected and updated if any repairs are needed. Additionally, change air filters, weather-strip the windows and clean the gutters before any showings or open houses.

Winter home sales might not be ideal for every seller, but it’s an option that shouldn’t be completely off the table from the start.

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Originally posted at http://jasoncohenpittsburgh.com/how-seasonality-affects-the-housing-market/

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How Cigarette Smoke Can Kill Your Property’s Resale Value

After years of school programs and radio ads, it’s common knowledge that cigarette smoke is bad for your health. However, it’s an addictive habit that many people have difficulty kicking. This is especially true for older generations who have smoked for the majority of their lives.

Two decades ago, it was completely normal for a restaurant hostess to ask if you’d prefer a seat in the smoking or non-smoking section. Smoking indoors is now banned in most public places, but this doesn’t mean homeowners have stopped smoking in their own homes.

What they may not realize is that they’re doing more damage to their wallets each year. This isn’t just because of the rising cost of cigarettes. It’s also because of the smoke damage done to the home.

Puffing Away at the Resale Value

One Canadian poll found that slightly less than half of all real estate agents said smoking reduces a home’s value. Among those who gave that answer, the exact value reduction ranged from 10-29%. Additionally, they noted that a quarter of buyers are unwilling to buy a smoker’s home.

It is very difficult to hide when a smoker lived in a home. Even air freshener, opening the windows and simmering vinegar won’t fully neutralize the smell.

When a nonsmoker is buying a home, they don’t want to expose themselves to the toxic thirdhand smoke (yes, it’s a thing) left by previous owners. Chemical compounds stick to carpets, walls, ceilings, electrical sockets, ventilation ducts, etc. The new homeowners would have to either clean or replace everything to fully get the smell and chemicals out of the house. For serious jobs, the cost could be between $1,500 and $10,000 for a professional cleaning.

Some homeowners may be tempted to paint over the smoke damage, but that isn’t a permanent solution. To prevent the tars and nicotine from resurfacing on the walls and ceiling, they must be thoroughly cleaned and repainted. A good primer like Killz is recommended for the best results. And that is just for the walls and ceiling, not considering the other home surfaces that were affected by smoke.

As a real estate professional, it’s important to keep this information in the back of your mind. Even an otherwise solid property could be tough to sell because of lingering residue from cigarette smoke. As a selling agent, you should be prepared to list the house accordingly and target the right potential buyers.

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I originally discussed this topic on my blog at JasonCohenPittsburgh.org.

Technology in Real Estate

Despite being the single largest industry in the United States in terms of assets, the real estate sector has been surprisingly behind the times when it comes to the adoption of cutting-edge technology.

According to a recent article in Forbes, the real estate industry is at the same place now that many other industries were just getting to in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Many of the largest real estate companies are using proprietary technology, which entails frequent updates, patches, and ever-expanding functionality, along with all of the known problems that those sorts of fixes bring.

At the same time, there has been little interest in adopting industry-standard platforms in almost all other sectors. This has led to terrible inefficiency, a sort of constant reinvention of the wheel as 20 different companies develop 20 different solutions to precisely the same problem without ever collaborating with each other or determining what an optimal solution might look like based on their collective experience.

All told, the real estate industry is behind the technological times.

Some innovations are showing big promise…

See my blog at JasonCohenPittsburgh.org for my full article.

Pittsburgh Real Estate: The Market in 2018

Those looking to make a savvy investment may want to look towards Pittsburgh. George Hackett, president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh, remarks that home sales have been “extraordinary” for 2018, citing a ten percent increase in home sale closings over the past year.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania isn’t the most booming market in the United States. It’s currently rated as the twenty-second most populous city in the country, but that can be seen as a positive given the long-term history of the city. The collapse of the city’s reputation as the steel manufacturing capital of the country presaged a nosedive for Pittsburgh’s economy, but today it’s seen as undergoing something of a renaissance.

Pittsburgh has been drawing in national tech companies like Uber and Apple, and with that comes both an influx of new residents and a higher standard of living. The sudden growth of industry in the city brings with it new investments in luxury boutiques and an aggressive push to make more appealing and livable spaces in the once-floundering metropolis.

Further bolstering this economic boom is a new initiative by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They’ve recently announced plans to build a $200 million immunology center that could draw in scientists and medical professionals from around the world.

And while it’s easy to speak in anecdotes about a city’s health, these particular anecdotes come backed by some respectable numbers. Home prices have increased on average by almost eleven percent in the past year, putting the new median home price at $142,800. While that’s a significant increase, it still puts pricing well below the national median of $216,700. That leaves prospective homeowners in a promising position.

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I originally discussed this topic on my blog at JasonCohenPittsburgh.com.