Smart SpendingSmart Spending

More real estate agents saying 'Don't sell yet'

Still, a majority think now is a fine time to put a house on the market. And if you are thinking of buying, this could be a good time to start looking.

By Jan 7, 2014 12:42PM

This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyFewer real estate agents think now is a good time to sell a home in their markets, according to a survey of 468 Redfin real estate agents from 22 U.S. metropolitan areas.

The survey, conducted Dec. 12 through Dec. 14, showed 65 percent of agents saying it was a good time to sell, down from the 72 percent who said so in the third quarter and the 86 percent who said so in the second quarter. The data is not seasonally adjusted, and the report did not provide a year-over-year comparison for the statistic, but a spokeswoman for Redfin noted the shift reflected agents' observations that the market is starting to balance out after 2013's spike in home sales and prices. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said now is a good time to buy,  which is consistent with the third-quarter sentiment.

Home for sale © Digital Vision Ltd.A lot of potential homebuyers put their searches on hold during the holidays, but sellers have been dealing with more than just a seasonal decline in shoppers.

They've also been battling their unrealistic expectations of how much their homes are worth -- 63 percent of agents said that was the largest obstacle faced by sellers in the fourth quarter.

Home sales and prices have continued to see year-over-year growth, according to the latest DataQuick real estate numbers, but mortgage rates are also on the rise, which agents expect may price some buyers out of the market. In the Redfin survey, 39 percent of agents said sales and price gains would be severely limited if rates hit 5.5 percent in 2014 (they’re just above 4.4 percent at the moment, according to Bloomberg).

Despite agents’ seeming decline in enthusiasm, it remains a sellers’ market -- shopping for a home in the off-season has its benefits. Buyers, on the other hand, are complaining of a limited inventory of unsatisfactory homes. Agents identified the small number of homes for sale as consumers’ main frustration in the homebuying process.

If you're looking for a good deal on a home, it's not a bad idea to browse during the off-season, because the market tends to be a little less competitive in the winter than in the summer. Just as you should consider many options for the home, shop around for a good mortgage — to help with this, credit scoring models count multiple mortgage inquiries made within a 14-day window as a single inquiry, so your can find the best deal without hurting your credit scores.

More from

Jan 7, 2014 4:12PM
I have bought and sold 20+ homes/properties over the years...and one thing I've learned.  Realtor's are glorified car salesmen...they don't know shlt. I wouldn't trust their opinion for squat.  And as for these so called "home inspectors" ...don't even get me started on 5 year can check the same crap they do.
Jan 7, 2014 3:19PM
I sold my home in NJ for less than I paid for it, even though I had completely upgraded it and put in a lot of time and money to do so.  Unfortunately, I got laid off and could no longer afford it, so keeping the house was not an option.  Realtors will always say it's a great time to sell or buy, ditto for car dealers and all the rest.  They want to make money and that's all folks.  I don't know when the RE market will re-bound, but I heard the recession ended a few years back and I haven't seen anything that tells me the recession is over.  
Jan 7, 2014 2:20PM
Great article!!!  My broker just called me and told me now is a great time to buy equities as well.  Ironically, the local car dealership called me and told me now is a good time to get into a new ride!!!
Jan 7, 2014 4:05PM
Listening to housing predictions from a real estate agent is like taking financial advice from a 10 year old.
Jan 7, 2014 4:58PM

When I became a Realtor in 1985, mortgage rates had come down to 12% from around 17%.  We told people it was a great time to buy a house.  In the next 8 years, as rates came down to 8%, we told people it was a great time to buy a house.  It's always a great time to buy a house for some people.  If you wait to buy a house until the value of your present one increases, the value of the one you buy next will also have increased.  The only time you "make money" is when you sell your house and move to a rental. 

 (To the poster who claimed real estate agents were all crooked, some are and some aren't, about what you'd expect in any line of work.  Catholic priests haven't been getting very good press lately, but I would guess that there are some who are not molesting children.)

Jan 7, 2014 2:19PM
That's nice, unless you don't have a choice.
Jan 7, 2014 2:44PM

Three things I want to see play out before I go and buy:

1) Obama care tax filings...I want to see just how ugly this is or not is and what it does to the economy and the middle class

2) ATR - Ability to Repay...cuzz of Dodd Frank Act banks must now prove a borrower’s ability to repay (Self-employed, small biz owners, fixed income, etc.) gonna have to prove income, this may mean less "Prime Qualified Buyers". Vice Versa it also may help standardize things and hopefully bring investors back to ABS securitizations = more liquidity and $$$ for banks to lend.

3) End of Mortg Tax Credits = Last i checked the PMI and Loan Forgiveness tax deductions were expired...doubt that can help things if they let those expire..

Ton of uncertainty to me.

Jan 7, 2014 7:55PM

As a former real estate agent, I did not advise people to buy or sell.  Instead, I asked them why they were buying or selling.  When the market tanked, I did advise people to try to hang on until the market turned around.  But I also understood when they explained why they needed to sell in a down market and we strategized on ways to get the best possible price, from cleaning up the yard to putting in new carpet. 

Everyone's circumstances are different.  Even if the market is down, if you have to relocate, you have to sell.  If you've lost your job, you have to sell.  If you are ready to buy, and can qualify and find a house that will meet your needs, then buy.  I have seen a fair number of market crashes.  Eventually, however, the market recovers and housing prices begin increasing.  So if you're planning to stay awhile, purchasing in a down market is just fine.  If you're planning on moving in a year or two, you should probably not make a purchase.

You have to know the individual to know whether or not they need to buy or sell.  To claim that it is a good time to sell, based only on market conditions, is a mistake.

Jan 7, 2014 9:31PM
We all buy houses everyday. Everytime the government (fannie/freddie) forecloses on another house you the tax payer bought it, while the bankers have no accountability.
Jan 7, 2014 2:05PM
It's never been a good time to sell since Obama took office.  The whole economy is depressed.
Jan 7, 2014 6:57PM
Let's see.........If you don't put your house on the market, there are fewer houses to be purchased and the offers for the few existing homes for sale on the market go up.  Gee, that means that house prices go up due to the lack of inventory and the real estate agents make a bigger commission on the existing houses that are sold.  So, at that point, new home builders jump feet first in the real estate market to build units at a higher cost.  Hmmm...sounds like the same type of manipulation that we saw recently with the housing bubble.   
Jan 7, 2014 5:42PM

Just listed an $80,000 house that was worth $106,000 in 2005 for sale at $43,000

why? because I can, and I want to sell it.

the whole point of selling a house is to get rid of it, the price is ALWAYS negotiable

Jan 7, 2014 11:28PM
Re: bankers/lenders; they have no accountability because years ago, the government told them they were not accountable for risky loans. Blacks, hispanics, and their activist groups were screaming and whining  they were being denied mortgages and denied the American dream of home ownership simply because they could not repay the loans. Democrats and the activist groups said  those groups were being  unfairly excluded based upon their credit and inability to pay. They further screamed  it was unfair to deny those groups credit, homes, or anything else simply because they could not pay for it. The lenders were pressured by the democratic government to approve loans for people whom the lenders KNEW could not and would not repay. THAT is what caused the collapse of the mortgage and housing industries. Last year, obama demanded that lenders "relax" their requirements because many people were 'victims' of the collapse of the economy, and he felt that giving people 'second chances' would improve the economy and repair the mortgage and housing industries. The lenders demanded a condition that they would not be prosecuted by the department of justice for writing such loans, and that they were immune to losses from such loans. The black african in charge agreed, and agreed to have the government back  second-chance loans and other loans to black, hispanic, and high-risk, sub-prime borrowers. The ones who pay the price are the ones who, no matter how hard it was, paid their bills and their mortgages. The largest majority of those are whites, who are, once again, losing out to blacks and hispanics. Where is the relief for the white people whose homes are worth nothing in neighborhoods ruined by blacks?
Jan 7, 2014 3:31PM
I guess selling a house is likened to selling anything else..... A seller and buyer with mutual agreement in two opposite directions, a pleasing perception for both.
Jan 7, 2014 6:24PM
These realtors are a bunch of scumbags.  They always adjust their tune to whatever will bring them a commission.  They go to school for 6 weeks and all of a sudden they are experts on economics. They are lazy, typically uneducated and looking for a fast buck at YOUR expense.
Jan 7, 2014 3:15PM
We sold our house in April 2013.  We sold it for more than our purchase price and more than our asking prince on the first day.  We purchased our dream house for an excellent price and locked in our mortgage at 3.75%. Frankly, how could it have been better than that? Maybe all parts of the country aren't as robust as our area, but had we waited we may have lost a great deal!
Jan 7, 2014 10:46PM

Look, a thing is only worth what someone will write a check for. "Value" is just a concept - and sometimes the scryers are right, other times not so much.

Willy J: There are good real estate agents and rotten ones. In the end, the seller always gets to decide and should do their homework. Of course, I CAN sell my own house. With enough time, money, and energy I can do damned near anything. I could learn to fix my car! The point is do I want to? There's more than one way to sell or buy a house, but choosing to use an agent does not make anyone an idiot.

Jan 7, 2014 8:19PM
First off, only an idiot lets a realtor sell their house. The only thing they do is give you a good faith estimate as if anybody gives a crap about that and then they wait for the closing attorney to cut them their check for 5 or 6% of your profits. Had I let one sell my last house they would have pocketed over $16,000.00 of my profits. With just a little bit of research or a YouTube video anybody can sell a house using a site like However, I just refinanced for a 15 year mortgage at 2.75% about a year ago and if you can afford it this is the only way to go. You knock down the principle in big chunks instead of giving the bank big chunks of interest in the first years of the loan, unlike a 30 year mortgage where you pay huge chunks of interest and very little principle up front.
Jan 7, 2014 3:46PM
Well hopefully...all the home sellers will send you packing. Personally, I refuse to sell my home at $100K less than I paid for it a short while ago. I will live in it until I can see a reasonable level on sale prices. And hopefully, those who may lose their jobs will not be forced to sell their home to you.
I hope someone who buys it is someone who just couldn't afford to buy a home any other way.

Shame on you for being such a person who would get enjoyment out of taking advantage of someone else's heartache. I know it's happening...but that's no reason to gloat over it or plan a lowball offer to anybody. Be fair and offer them what the market prevails at. I'm sure they worked hard for every penny it took them to buy that home in the 1st place. And CAN happen to you.

Good luck to you anyway. I hope you eventually find the home you want and are happy there. It's good that you can finally afford to buy your dream home. It's unfortunate the rest of us were ripped off. Just please have a little bit of compassion in your heart, as you walk into the front door of your new home.

Jan 7, 2014 9:09PM

Redistribution won't be complete until Obamaville seizes the keys to your home.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.