Tight Inventory Could Extend Spring Selling Season

Buyers with children have a harder time finding the right property, likely because of their desire to purchase a home that best meets their family’s needs or is in their preferred school district.

WASHINGTON – August 15, 2016 – In many Florida school districts, kids are already heading back to school after the summer break. While households with children commonly strive to buy a home in the late spring to get settled in before the new school season starts, rising home prices and a lack of homes for sale may mean more families have been forced to continue their house hunt into fall.

"Despite recent industry reports to the contrary, busy families require hands on attention and unparalleled transaction and local market knowledge and regularly turn to full-service agents, who provide a broad range of services and manage most aspects of a home purchase and sale," says National Association of Realtors®(NAR) President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida.

The median days on market to find a buyer was 32 days in May (the shortest time on record) and 34 days in June. In Florida, it took an average of 41 days in June, according to Florida Realtors' research department.

Fewer and faster selling houses on the market translate into more pressure to make quick decisions, and despite advances in online real estate information and technology, most consumers still prefer buying and selling a home through a real estate professional. While more than 8 in 10 buyers worked with an agent to purchase a home last year, according to NAR's 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, agent use is even higher among buyers ages 36 to 50 (87 percent) and 35 and younger (89 percent) – the demographics most likely to have school-aged children.

"Buyers with children have a slightly harder time finding the right property, likely because of their desire to purchase a home that best meets their family's needs or is in their preferred school district; 53 percent of families with children cited finding the right property as the hardest step in the buying process compared to 50 percent of buyers without children," says Salomone.

In many cases, families are looking to move because their current home is too small (cited most at 29 percent for families with children at home compared to only 9 percent with no children at home); a job relocation (23 percent), or a change in their family situation such as birth of another child, marriage or divorce (12 percent). The typical homebuyer with children bought a 2,100-square-foot detached single-family home with four bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

Nearly 80 percent of recent sellers worked with an agent that provided a full range of services; only 9 percent received a limited set of services and 12 percent of sellers worked with an agent to list their home on the multiple-listing service and received few if any additional services. Sixty-two percent of sellers with children at home negotiated their agents compensation compared to 68 percent of sellers with no children at home.

When choosing a buyer's agent, parents with children under 18 at home want someone who can provide more mobile-ready, easy-to-access information; 71 percent said it was important when choosing an agent that he or she sends postings as soon as a property is listed or its status changes; sends property info and communicates via text (59 percent); sends market reports on recent listings and sales (55 percent); sends emails about specific needs (56 percent); and has a mobile site to show properties (30 percent).

When it comes to seller's agents, twice as many parents with children at home needed to sell their home urgently compared to those with no children at home (24 percent compared to 12 percent), perhaps to time transactions around the school season. It makes sense then, that sellers with children at home placed a higher priority on selling their home within a specific timeframe (22 percent) and help pricing it competitively (19 percent); compared to sellers with no children at home (20 percent and 15 percent, respectively).

Busy parents also rely more on referrals for finding their seller's agent: 46 percent of sellers with children at home first found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, compared to only 40 percent of sellers with no children at home.

When it comes to the home search, buyers who have children under the age of 18 living in their home said that the quality of the school district and convenience to schools was a strong influencing factor of their neighborhood choice. Recent buyers with children cited quality of the school district as an influencing factor (at 50 percent compared to 11 percent with no children in home), as well as convenience to schools (at 46 percent compared to 6 percent).

"If you are thinking of buying or selling a home this fall, don't be intimidated by the market or process while kids are back in school; overall, the fundamentals of the market are strong," says Salomone.

For charts about families with children who are buying or selling a home, visit NAR's website.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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