With mortgage rates staying high, housing inventory staying low, and home prices steadily rising, many families find themselves stuck in their homes and unable to move.
Whether you’re looking to get out of renting, being forced to move with a job, or are just looking for a change of scenery, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by today’s real estate market in Greenville, South Carolina. Dan Hamilton, Hamilton & Co, is here to outline 5 ways you can work around today’s tricky real estate market factors. As a real estate agent for over 20 years, Dan has utilized each of these strategies with his clients. Keep reading, some of the solutions may surprise you! Thank you to Hamilton & Co for sponsoring this article.
2023 Housing Market: A Snapshot
Before I jump into some creative solutions, I want to offer a quick overview of the real estate market as I see it in South Carolina right now, focusing on three metrics: housing inventory, listing price, and interest rates.
Inventory, or the number of active listings on the market, is stable month to month but still very low. While we have recovered from the pandemic’s all-time low inventory with an almost 50% jump year-over-year in Greenville, inventory remains tight considering buyer demand and the larger picture.
The median sales price for homes in Greenville year-to-date is $305,000, which is a 1.8% increase from this time last year. To put that in perspective, home values in Greenville jumped 18.1% between 2021 and 2022. This year’s increase in home value is much more in line with typical year-over-year appreciation. I expect to continue seeing reasonable increases in home prices this fall, but no major jumps like we’ve experienced in the last couple years.
Lastly – and probably the most present on people’s minds – are interest rates! Though I know this is an unpopular opinion, “high” interest rates are likely here to stay. While inflation stays high and a stalemate between buyers and sellers exists, I don’t expect the Federal Reserve to drop interest rates; in fact, they will raise them again this fall. As I’m writing, 30-year fixed rates are sitting around 7.14%, and they may have changed by the time you’re reading this!
To summarize, house prices and interest rates will stay roughly the same throughout the remainder of the year (with slight increases), and I don’t expect a big change in inventory.
Making It Work For You
Feeling overwhelmed? I get that. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to work around some of these big market factors. Let’s get into a couple that may work for you.
Solution #1: Buy Now, Sell Later (Cash Offers)
One of the biggest challenges facing homeowners today isn’t selling – it’s finding a home once you’ve sold! And with most homeowners holding onto a home with a 3-4% interest rate, there really isn’t a lot of motivation to get moving.
But what if you could buy your next house before you sell your current home, taking the uncertainty out of the equation? My real estate team Hamilton & Company has a variety of solutions that allow our clients to “buy now and sell later.”
One option allows me to offer you cash upfront for your home – no strings attached – and let you walk away without hosting a single showing or going to the trouble of listing your house. Unlike the cash offers of many of my competitors, this is a “full-appraisal offer,” meaning I pay you what your home is worth and nothing less. That’s hard to beat!
Another option…our investor can buy your house from you now at a small discount, fix it up, resell it, and then pay you again when they close – you get a portion of the profits!
I offer a number of full-appraisal cash offer solutions through my team at Hamilton & Company. The best way to find out if you qualify for one of these offers is to give me a call and talk me through your specific situation. You can schedule a call here or shoot me an email at [email protected].
Solution #2: Sell Your Home for More (by investing in high ROI improvements)
If you’ve considered a move recently, chances are you have also considered updating your home to improve its desirability. But since you won’t be around to enjoy those home improvements, you’re really only interested in the renovation’s ROI, or return on investment. That means you should be strategic with your renovations, only investing in improvements that are sure to raise that sale price! The home improvements with the best ROI typically are those that add functional space and square footage to your home.
If you aren’t moving this year but will soon, consider investing in a long-term improvement like finishing your home’s basement or attic or converting a half bath into a full bath. Families looking for quicker improvements should consider bathroom and/or kitchen remodels (with an emphasis on function over aesthetics), a fresh coat of paint, or a project that improves outdoor quality of life like a patio.
If you’d like to learn more about maximizing your renovation budget, check out my article on the best home renovations to consider before listing your home. I also offer my clients a customized renovation evaluation as part of my free home consultation.
Solution #3: Buy a Home and Keep the Seller’s Interest Rate!
The best way to avoid high interest rates? Ignore them altogether! Qualified buyers can do exactly that with something called an Assumable Mortgage.
An assumable mortgage allows you – the buyer – to purchase a home and “assume” the interest rate of the seller. That means you could actually purchase a home at an interest rate as low as 2-3% if you found it on the market! As amazing as this deal sounds, not all homes (or buyers) qualify for an assumable mortgage. Conventional mortgage holders, for example, cannot qualify, but VA, FHA, and USDA loans can!
The best way to figure out if this is a legitimate option for you is to set up a call with me where we can talk through your options.
Solution #4: Tap Into Your Current Home’s Equity
If you’re one of those families I mentioned earlier who’s current home has a low interest rate, you don’t necessarily have to sell it in order to buy a new one!
Rather than selling your current home to pay for your next home’s down payment, consider tapping into your home’s equity with a home equity loan. A home equity loan uses your current home as collateral and the amount is determined by your personal equity in the home. Once you’ve moved out of your current home, you can rent it and offset the cost of the initial, lower mortgage.
This solution doesn’t change the fact your new mortgage is set at that higher rate, but it does allow you to reap the benefits of expanding your real estate portfolio and creates a lower average interest rate.
Solution #5: ARM, Creative Financing
I’ve already explained a way to obtain a lower than average mortgage rate using something called an assumable mortgage. But there are many more forms of “creative financing” out there that help buyers get houses every day. Let’s take a minute to break down a couple more…
- Adjustable Rate Mortgages: Adjustable Rate Mortgages, or “ARMs,” introduce a set period of time where your interest rate doesn’t change. For example, if you did a five-year ARM, your rate would be fixed for five years and either increase or decrease to match the average rate at the end of that period. This is a great option in a market like ours, because rates are likely to be lower in coming years.
- Seller-Financed Temporary Buydown: A temporary buydown is when a party involved with the real estate transaction pays a large sum up-front to “buy down” the buyer’s interest rate for a set number of years. In this case, that party would be the seller. This allows the buyer to either ease into that larger monthly payment or refinance at the end of the buy down period when rates will hopefully be lower. A Seller-Financed Temporary Buydown can be negotiated into your contract by your real estate agent, and can last for as little as one year or up to 5 years depending on your negotiation.
The Bottom Line
As an agent with over 20 years of real estate experience, I’ve seen a lot of different housing markets. While I wouldn’t characterize today’s market as a “bad” or “impossible” one, I definitely think it comes with its challenges.
In this article, I’ve shared just a few of the unique solutions I’ve used to help real clients sell and buy homes this year in Greenville. But most of these are highly specific solutions to unique problems.
The best way to figure out one of these options (or another one I couldn’t cover here!) might work for you is to set up a short call with me. I’ll learn about your unique situation and put together a customized solution that fits your needs, timeline, and budget. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, set up a time to talk with me using my calendar linked here. I promise, this call is quick, free, and zero obligation.
Let’s help you realize your real estate goals this year – high interest rates or not!
Contact Hamilton & Co
If you’re looking to buy or sell and you think one of these outside-of-the-box solutions may be a good fit for you, give me a call at 864-527-7685. I’d be happy to break down these options and more, helping you find an answer to your tricky real estate questions.