What Americans Have Spent So Far This Year In Commissions:

or Understanding the New Home Buyer

Home sellers must learn to become much more aggressive marketing combatants in the home selling wars.

US Residential Real Estate Landscape 2012

Every seller needs to know what is going on in their respective local and national markets so they can make educated decisions about when and at what price to sell their home. We talk about how to really learn your local market<link> (for free) in this article here. But on the national scale, what do these numbers mean and why are they important (or not)?

Knowing what’s going on in the national real estate market is important for a couple of reasons.  Besides the actual light it may be able to shed on the current economic situation and related housing market, the most important takeaway is understanding the answer to the question, “what are buyers thinking and hearing right now?” to help sellers think in terms of how to adapt to the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive landscape.

Some frequently quoted US Housing Market statistics today

Between media hype, big numbers, statistical estimates, and general US housing market news, buyers are scared. We’ve listed some (varying  and contradictory) macro level statistics being put out over the news and web. Here are some numbers you should take note of:

  • Sellers are competing with somewhere between 1.5 to 10 million homes that are presently and in the soon to be future bank foreclosure pipeline.
  • There are approximately 55 million mortgages in the US. An estimated 20% of all mortgages are in default now or soon to be so.  (That’s about 11 million)
  • Including bank owned properties, homes presently in foreclosure and all mortgages that are thirty days or more late on their payments, there are over 2 million homes in the foreclosure pipeline
  • There are up to 15 million properties currently in the foreclosure process. This figure includes bank-owned, foreclosure, and properties late on mortgage payments.
  • There are 1 million houses in foreclosure that have not sold. Another 4 million more properties are seriously delinquent (Rick Sharga, SVP, Realty Trac).
    • Sharga says that at the current rate of distressed sales it would take more than nine years to sell all of the inventory.  This glut of distressed homes is contributing to the spiraling lowering of home values nationwide.

Okay, so what’s all this really mean for me as a seller?

These are the widely diverse numbers that five industry expert researchers claim are the distressed numbers home sellers are competing with when they try to sell their home. Whether you believe home sellers are competing with four million, fifteen million or some number in between, it is evident that the most conservative estimates listed indicates the housing crisis may continue for three or more years.

It’s not possible to grasp the extent or length of a down market. It is possible to understand buyer perceptions, fears, and market demand. These numbers are relevant because this is the buyer pool you are dealing with. Selling your home in today’s distressed environment requires home sellers to work harder than ever before to conclude the successful sale of their home.  Gone are the days of throwing a sign up on your yard or giving your friend’s Realtor a call and waiting for a sale. Outside of bank-owned properties and short sales, the homes that are selling are the ones with maximized exposure and smart pricing. The successful sellers are the ones adapting to conditions, participating in their home’s marketing program, and choosing well-positioned Realtors with the necessary web reach and lead management skills to move an offer to closing. If you’re currently in the process of selling your home, ask yourself, “Am I doing and utilizing everything I can to sell my home?”

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