For the majority of baby boomers, homes are paid off and their kids have left the nest. These soon-to-be-retirees might not have been in the real estate market for the past 25 years. During their multi-generational hiatus, technology has changed the way that homes are bought and sold, which has made the real estate market challenging and confusing. Fortunately, with the help of a little education, you and your fellow baby boomers can take a leap of faith and dive into the deep end of the real estate market. Consider the following tips:
- Education should start long before you decide to sell your home. With increasingly publicized home records, valuations and even neighborhood statistical reports, the average buyer will come to visit your home equipped with a binder filled with information. In other words, if you want to sell your home for the best price, you need to know the capabilities and limitations of the market.
- Understand the current state of mind of potential buyers.According to U.S. census data, house sizes throughout the United States increased decade over decade before reaching the incredible 2,521-square-foot average in 2007. The birth of the "McMansions" came quickly to an end during the recent recession. For many buyers, the lessons of the recent recession have caused them to be cautious when viewing "larger-than-life" homes. This is not to say that if you own a mansion, you won't be able to quickly sell it. Rather, these cautionary words are simply to showcase that education and knowledge of the buyer's mindset is imperative to real estate success in today's market.
- Real estate transactions are digitally driven. It is no secret that the birth of real estate conglomerates Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, etc. has led to the digitalization of real estate transactions. Buyers can now make offers and negotiate a contract without ever meeting their agent in person. Mobile technologies and applications make it easier for buyers, sellers and agents to review documents, sign contracts and complete the necessary paperwork without attempting to bring all parties into the same room. Understanding the new digital real estate technologies will help you tremendously when you decide to sell your home.
- A good local real estate agent is a must in a competitive market. Without a local agent, your home could sit on the market for months on end, and the offer that you contemplated making on a new condo could easily go unnoticed.
- While millennials drive over $26 billion in sales each year, they aren’t particularly interested in buying homes. According to the Wall Street Journal, millennials have a record level of debt, reaching $1 trillion. With a higher-than-usual unemployment rate for 18- to 29-year-old workers, buying a home is simply not an option, nor is it a desire. While many news platforms are constantly writing about the frivolous spending habits of millennials, the real estate sector is not one of them.
Bottom Line: Real Estate May Have Gone Digital, But the Basics Remain the Same
When you first purchased your home, you might have had to complete every step of the process during in-person meetings. However, in the new, digitally driven real estate world, many of the transactional steps can be conducted via online portals, email transactions and digital signatures. With this in mind, knowing what to expect before you begin your latest real estate journey can help smooth your transition back into the market. Even though the in-person meetings have been reduced, technologies have increased, and the market has changed, the basic reasons for buying, selling or downsizing to a smaller home have remained the same. In this vein, real estate will always be a personal, emotional and financial journey that is enhanced through positive real estate agent interactions and an understanding of the current market.