If you're considering selling your home in 2014, now is the time to get ready. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now.
Why? Because buyers are already on the hunt.
The Internet is the new curb appeal
Last month will likely be remembered for polar vortexes, widespread snow, and historic traffic jams. Lost in the shuffle is that while American's were sitting inside trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.
Experian Marketing Services released its monthly most visited real estate website rankings earlier this week for web traffic in January. The results are eye popping.
Web traffic to real estate websites was up 25% from December to 364 million visits. Zillow (NASDAQ:ZG) led the way with over 57 million visits and Trulia (NYSE:TRLA) limped into second at over 30 million visits.
If you're considering selling and your home is not yet online, then every day you're missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.
Even more incentive for buyers
Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.
Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.
For example, a traditional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738.
For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $22 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. Over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower $7,963!
For buyers, the time is now!
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.
According to CoreLogic and reported by Realtor.org, home prices in 2013 saw the largest percentage increase across the board since 2005, north of 11% as of December. The appreciation was most pronounced in the states that were hit hardest in the real estate collapse: Nevada rose 23.9%, California 19.7%, and Michigan 14% rounding out the top three.
Buyers are ready. Are you?
The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you're planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don't miss out on the perfect, well qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long.
Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Zillow. The Motley Fool owns shares of Zillow. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.