Since I initially drafted this post, the average interest rate has dropped nearly half a point. Good news abounds!
The coming year is looking economically healthy for San Antonio. Below are some slides from a presentation given by Lawrence Yun* in November 2018. His report is entitled, “Economic Trends and Outlook in a Rising Interest Rate Environment.”
Unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in many years.
These employment figures are complemented by increased consumer confidence and business spending. Always a good thing.
Interest rates are rising and that is slowing home sales in many markets. (See note above about the half point decrease since November 2018.)
Our experience in San Antonio is a continued upward trend in home sales (4% increase YoY in November 2018) and in median home prices (5% YoY in November 2018). This trend is supported by the employment growth rate in Texas.
* Ph.D. and Chief Economist, National Association of REALTORS®
Basically, the most attractive house is clean and decluttered. Clean and decluttered on the outside too.
If your budget permits, painting the interior in a neutral color can sell a house quicker than almost anything, but it can be especially important if the wall colors are individualized to the Seller’s taste. If carpet or flooring needs replacing and the budget allows for it, this too can secure the top dollar at the fastest pace. If you’re working with a limited budget, work with your agent to get estimates so that you have a good sense of costs when negotiating. But the cost of some elbow grease can go a long way.
Use your elbow grease to clean, sweep, mop, declutter, straighten, put away, and rake and clean up the yard. Make sure the entry is clean and attractive—maybe add some potted flowers. Many of us never use our front door and it has become netted over with cobwebs. Also, make sure the front door lock opens easily. Replace any burnt out light bulbs and make sure the covers are clean so that the light shows through.
Clear off countertops in the kitchen and baths, secure electronics, prescriptions, firearms, and other valuables. Replace any fixtures you want to take with you with operational fixtures. (Drapes and refrigerators can be excluded without removing them, but if you want to take that chandelier, put in a replacement lighting fixture.)
Rooms can become more attractive to buyers when some of the furniture pieces are removed or rearranged. Removing rugs can make rooms seem bigger in the photos (your Listing Agent does use a professional photographer, right?). It’s amazing how much more attractive our closets and bookcases become when the contents are thinned down to the necessities. The garage is a great place for the extra furniture and go ahead and start your packing with out-of-season clothing, extra linens, and infrequently used pans and appliances. And store those boxes in the garage too. (Just make sure the Inspector can get to the electrical panel, the attic access, garage door, etc.)
After you’ve got your house ready to sell, you’ll be in a great position to negotiate all those offers that come in.
Communication. Pure and simple, that’s it: Communication.
- Your agent should help you make the best decisions for your circumstances in preparing to show your house at its best.
- Your agents should provide you with a market analysis of your neighborhood and be prepared to discuss the differences of the current and sold properties.
- Your agent should give you a good idea of your closing costs especially when you receive an offer.
- Your agent should be prepared to explain the Listing Documents and any contract terms on offers.
- Your agent should advise you about the pluses and minuses of offers, especially in a multiple offer scenario.
- Your agent should provide you with feedback from showings.
- Your agent should coordinate showings with you in a way that balances your life with selling your house quickly and efficiently.
- Your agent should use an electronic SUPRA to secure your house and know who has entered it.
- Your agent should be prepared to do or arrange open houses.
- Your agent should communicate with you regularly.
The market remains steady in San Antonio.
Many people are a little put off by the prospect of trying to live a normal life in a house that’s listed to sell. Opendoor’s advertising makes it look like you’ll actually make more selling to them, but what they are really selling is convenience. Let’s look at what really happens in the San Antonio market.
Opendoor are not in the business of stockpiling single-family homes on their balance sheet; they are counting on a quick turnover. That means they need to buy cheaply enough to make a profit when they immediately put the property up for sale. This quote from a March 2018 article in Inman (a real estate industry e-mag) helps make my point: “On March 17, Opendoor was trying to sell its Las Vegas listings for an average of 6.13 percent more than it bought them for.”
The average purchase price in San Antonio is 8% below market value.
It actually costs more to sell with Opendoor.
You pay from 6.5% to 12% in “service fees” with Opendoor, and in San Antonio, that service fee is 8.8%.
But it doesn’t end there. A seller also agrees to pay for repair costs when they contract with Opendoor. These repair costs are, on average, significantly more and can’t be negotiated away as they can when you have an agent working on your behalf.
Opendoor is not using their money. Here is how it works out for San Antonio:
Opendoor’s website uses an average of 10 showings which computes to a loss of $2,080 per showing. The price of convenience is pretty steep!
By hiring a professional REALTOR® like me, you’ve got all my negotiating experience and marketing experience working for you. Let me get you the best deal for your property and in the quickest time!
*Service charge varies by market. San Antonio is seeing steady appreciation but not the ballooning values that allow Opendoor to charge the lower service fees they do in other parts of the country.
Were you aware that San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States? Below is a table from the US Census Bureau. According to a May 24, 2018 US Census Bureau press release, San Antonio added an average of 66 people a day between 2016 and 2017.
Below is an artist’s conception of one of the projects at San Antonio Hemisphere Park. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation about the Hemisphere Project given by Anne Krause of the Hemisfair Conversancy. I came away very impressed. Anne told us that the designers were asked to attend Fiesta. This was to understand the character of our City. They experienced the importance San Antonio places on family-centered and community-centered activities. The plans include transferring mature trees into the park (some trees are already thriving after their transfer) and toe-dipping water features. Much of the work is funded by philanthropic contributions (which Anne indicated is already substantially more than the $20MM from the approved bond issue).
For the Kiddos
Our tour started at the already completed Yanaguana Park which was a delight to us 30 adults—we spilled out of the bus and immediately started climbing on the equipment. The park is designed for all ages of children and youth with interests ranging from the active to the more cerebral. From “monkey bars” to building with the “tinker toy” blocks as big as a toddler to a “pick up game” of chess. There are even outdoor movies in the summer.
A Couple Pictures of Hemisphere Park
Artist’s conception of one of the parks in the Hemisphere Project. The plans are still evolving, but this will give one an idea what to expect.
At Yanaguana Park. A leopard crouches to spring upon a cormorant (from the Yanaguana creation story).
Through my connection with the National Realtors® Association, I have access to this monthly newsletter. Click on the link to access. Let me know if you have any questions.
Sales have continued to trend up over 2017 as we’ve seen it in the last 6 years. Year-over-year, the median sales price has been increasing at a rate of about 6-7% over each of the last 3 years.
Sales By Year
Total sales by year over the prior 3 years were reports as follows. Data for 2017 is not in yet.
- 2014: 24,812 (+5%)
- 2015: 27,256 (+9%)
- 2016: 29,508 (+8%)
Below the graph, I’ve included data for the last month to give you a thumbnail view of the San Antonio market.
A Graphic View
The data is from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Services which often includes sales outside of Bexar County. For information about your neighborhood, contact me and I’ll provide a market analysis for just your area.
5 Weeks of San Antonio Sales Data
Week in Sales: November 27 – December 3
- Total Sales: 520
- Average Sales Price: $264,318
- Median Sales Price: $230,000
Week in Sales: November 20 – November 26
- Total Sales: 247
- Average Sales Price: $256,502
- Median Sales Price: $205,500
Week in Sales: November 13 – November 19
- Total Sales: 405
- Average Sales Price: $265,372
- Median Sales Price: $221,900
Week in Sales: November 6 – November 12
- Total Sales: 270
- Average Sales Price: $252,286
- Median Sales Price: $202,500
Week in Sales: October 30 – November 5
- Total Sales: 514
- Average Sales Price: $260,355
- Median Sales Price: $215,600