Orange County Real Estate Market At a Glance

I think everyone knows that the inventory of homes is tight, especially in the lower end of the price range. Must be because the people living in the more affordable homes either can’t afford to move, can’t find a good replacement home or are perfectly happy where they are! So if you DO need to sell your home, and it is valued under $500,000, you can probably expect to sell quickly. Here are some more stats for the current Orange County Real Estate Market.

  • The active listing inventory decreased by 223 homes in the past couple of weeks, and now totals 5,639. The trend is down for the remainder of the year. Last year, there were 7,040 homes on the market, 1,401 more than today.
  • There are 41% fewer homes on the market below $500,000 today compared to last year at this time and demand is down by 21%. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now priced below $500,000. This price range is slowly disappearing.
  • Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased by 201 homes in the past couple of weeks, down 7%, and now totals 2,624. The average pending price is $860,101.
  • The average list price for all of Orange County increased from $1.6 million to $1.7 million. This number is high due to the mix of homes in the luxury ranges that sit on the market and do not move as quickly as the lower end.
  • For homes priced below $750,000, the market is HOT with an expected market time of just 42 days. This range represents 39% of the active inventory and 60% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 56 days, a hot seller’s market (less than 60 days). This range represents 18% of the active inventory and 20% of demand.
  • For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the expected market time is 93 days, a balanced market that does not favor a buyer or seller.
  • The luxury end, all homes above $1.25 million, accounts for 34% of the inventory and only 14% of demand.
  • The expected market time for all homes in Orange County increased in the past couple of weeks from 61 days to 62 days, a tepid seller’s market (60 to 90 days). From here, we can expect the market time to slowly rise as housing makes its way through the Autumn Market.
  • Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, make up only 1.5% of all listings and 2.4% of demand. There are only 33 foreclosures and 54 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, that’s 87 total distressed homes on the active market, increasing by 5 in the past two weeks. Last year there were 125 total distressed sales, 44% more than today.
  • There were 3,110 closed sales in August, a 12% increase over July 2017 and a 1.3% increase over August 2016. The sales to list price ratio was 98.1% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.8% of all closed sales and short sales accounted for 0.7%. That means that 98.5% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned equity sellers.

A Home Filled with Love

Home filled with LoveMost of the time we define home value in terms of price, upgrades, location, size, etc. But it is the stuff we don’t usually talk about that ties us to the home; it keeps us making those payments, putting up with leaky faucets, dated wallpaper and the noisy furnace that constantly threatens to break down. That “stuff” is the memories, the happy sounds, the peaceful moments and the comfort of the familiar surroundings; in other words, it is the love that fills the home that has the most value.

I always encourage my clients to invest in a home they can picture themselves in for a long time. Once you move in, you put down roots, you fill your home full of things that have meaning to you, life happens, and you find yourself deeply connected to the home and all its faults. You have taken care of the home, and in turn, it has provided security, warmth and privacy; a place where you can raise a family, gather with friends, enjoy your alone time and so many more scenes from a lifetime. It becomes harder to move and leave all this behind no matter how much it might make sense to do so. Even if you can pack all the kids’ toys, all your home projects and all the knickknacks and favorite things, the feeling of home and familiarity won’t fit in the moving box so easily. However, there are some things you can do to take the love with you when you move to a new home.

woman loves her homeYou can create a blog on WordPress where you can upload photos and tell stories about them and comment on them. Photos of a favorite reading nook, a food-laden dining table at Thanksgiving, the view of the sunset from a window, a photo of your front door, mom or dad in the kitchen and a host of others that have meaning to you. Those photos will then be easily visible and accessible to you and other family members.

You can create a board on Pinterest. Upload those same photos to a “board” or maybe multiple boards as needed.  You can group them and view them all together like a photo album. You can share the boards on Facebook and via email so others can enjoy them, too.

There are other places where you can upload photos like Photobucket and Flickr, but I like to use WordPress and Pinterest.

So keep the love when you move even if you have to leave behind the physical security and warmth of the old home. You can take the love and the memories and preserve them online, sharing if you like, so others can experience the love, too.

Don’t Be Afraid – Selling Your Home is a Good Thing Right Now

Nice Orange County pool HomeA few years ago, around 2009-2010, if you had to sell, your home would most likely sit on the market for six months or so here in Orange County. But beginning about four years ago, buyers began to gobble up the inventory, raising home prices and greatly reducing the available homes for sale. It is called a seller’s market, folks. While the frenzy has died down, sales remain very brisk, and homes can sell in as little as 2-4 weeks. Right now, there are about 1,000 fewer homes for sale here in Orange County than there was this same time last year! If you are a buyer, you probably already knew that.

In my opinion, it is almost always a good time to place a home on the market here in Orange County. Of course, activity slows the last few weeks of the year, but during the months of February and March, buyers enter the market in greater number. Good, motivated  buyers. But unfortunately for them, they discover there are fewer homes for sale to choose from at that time. This creates a lovely window of opportunity for the savvy seller to list their home for sale while the buyers are hot and the competition is scarce.

Savvy SellersIf you decide to sell during the first 3-4 months of the year, you won’t have to worry so much about your home languishing on the market for months or of having to keep it neat and tidy for weeks and weeks. You can feel more confident about selling in a timely manner at a good price to a good buyer. The stress and inconvenience are greatly reduced, and I can help you prep and market your home in such a way as to take advantage of this beautiful window of opportunity.

So try not to worry about “best time” to list or “timing the market’ to sell, especially here in Orange County. If you need to sell, embrace it and use my expertise to help you achieve best results no matter when you decide to sell. Let me help you fearlessly open your door to buyers eager to place offers on your home!

Don’t Try and Hide It

Detailed Home InspectionWhen you sell your home, you are required to disclose a lot of things to the buyer including (but not limited to) any broken or non-functioning appliances, leaky pipes, etc. Failure to do so could lead to trouble, so it is best to be up front about any defects. If possible, FIX the issue!

A buyer has the right to inspect your property once you accept their offer and escrow is open. They don’t know your home like you do, so that little tiny leak or defect may be a non-issue to you, however to a buyer, a loose or broken thingy may be a red flag to them. They are thinking: Is this a big issue? is there a large underlying problem we can’t see? What else is the seller hiding? A buyer can easily blow up a tiny problem into a major remodel in their mind.

fixing and painting your homeOne way to avoid this is to FIX anything that is obviously broken and would be a red flag to a buyer. Covering up a hole in the roof with plastic is not the fix I am talking about. That would only serve to highlight and expand an issue rather than erase or diminish it. Replace a broken window. Fix a leaky faucet. Remove the red flags so the buyer feels more comfortable about buying your property. You will feel good, too, getting a better price and maybe a smoother transaction. These are items you may have to fix anyway during the course of the buyer inspection period.