That’s a question I’m often asked, but no one can know for certain. As long as the existing supply of homes for sale remains this historically low while demands continues to surge, then history tells us it should remain a strong seller’s market for at least the foreseeable future. That should continue to drive home prices higher. Unfortunately, the rising interest rates will always be an obstacle for the housing market, especially to those buyers seeking to own their first home. As of May 1, 2022, there are only a total of 152 active residential listings in all of Columbia County. Not very many when you consider that includes every price range.
After a review of the first quarter sales results, it appears we may be headed towards the perfect storm. For example this year, 121 homes sold in our county through our local Multiple Listing service, compared to 168 that sold last year for the same period. First explanation is that existing inventory is at an all time low of only 119 residential home available for sale. The second reason is that interest rates are climbing higher and are getting ever so close to 5%. This is leaving more potential buyers on the sidelines. Home prices are continuing to go higher with the current median price here in Columbia County reaching $437,500. In order to slow down the rate of inflation the Federal Government will resort to continuing to raise interest rates & what generally follows is that demand will decrease, and that could lead to a cooling down of our market. That’s why watching trends is so important.
This is a question I’m often asked and there are no simple answers as there are many factors that impact all markets. Most impactful is our limited inventory of residential properties. Many would-be sellers continue to question where they would go should they decide to put their homes on the market. Home prices have risen in just about every market in the US. What we are certain of is that there doesn’t appear to be any conditions where we can expect a surge of new properties coming into the market any time soon. I do believe we will see fewer buyers enter the market as mortgage rates continue to move higher. However, for at least the near future, I see the market to remain a strong sellers market.
In the past, I have often suggested that you should interview a few agents before deciding on one that you are comfortable working with. You and your agent will now be a team working together to find you a suitable home to purchase. This agent should be a professional who knows the market that you’re interested in. Step one should be your ability to clearly explain and define your objectives. Also, allow them to make the selections of the homes that you should see. Don’t send them listings, they know the market and the surrounding neighborhoods. Be clear and realistic in your expectations by separating your needs from your wants. They need to know in advance what items would not be acceptable for you. Early on, make clear when you will be available and how each of you prefer to be in communication with each other. Establish goals that have a timeline in which to achieve them. If during your search, for any reason, you are not satisfied about something, make certain you communicate that to your agent. They want you to be happy with their services. When you are working with a professional, the stress of house hunting is truly minimized.
So often buying or selling Real Estate involves some of the biggest and most important decisions we ever have to make in our lives. For many buyers and sellers it can also become one of our most stressful moments. Is there anything you can do to minimize these conditions? After over thirty years in the business, I have concluded that there are. It starts like many other tasks we have to take on. Plan in writing with a set of realistic objectives and expectations. If you are a couple, it’s imperative that each of you have input. Both people being on the same page has proven to be essential later on in the process. Where there are differences, work out a compromise in advance. If you’re a buyer, get your finances in order before even considering to look for a house. Choose a professional experienced mortgage broker as part of your team. Stay away from the attraction of lower rates offered by online companies as you will need to communicate with a professional throughout the process. Don’t just contact Real Estate Agents at random, whether you are buying or selling, do some research. Ask for referrals & interview potential agents. You need to hire a professional to lead your team to a successful conclusion. The same standard applies to Real Estate Attorneys, don’t just hire the least expensive one. Surround yourself by a team of the best people and your stress level will be dramatically reduced.
Today’s home buyers are becoming more and more frustrated, especially since the start of the Covid pandemic. They often get caught up in bidding wars when they finally find a home that is suitable. Adding to that stress is that this a decision that can be a life altering event, while also being one of the biggest financial decisions buyers will ever have to make. As difficult as this is, you should try to not allow your emotions to direct your actions. By entering into a competitive situation, and perhaps over paying for a house, buyers may make a mistake that they could regret later on. I have also witnessed buyers remove a home inspection contingence in order to make their offer appear more attractive to the seller. In my opinion this is not a wise option as serious problems may turn up later on, that not only could be serious in nature, but also extremely costly. Once you own a home, in the long term you can generally expect to see growth in the appreciation of the property value. However, should circumstances occur where you would need to sell it, in the short term, you may not be able to recover your investment. All markets go through cycles. This seller’s market will not continue indefinitely, unless you must buy now, perhaps because of a job relocation, I don’t recommend you make any hasty emotional decisions. The stakes are much too high. Plan ahead, and good luck in what ever decision you make.
Home owners who are considering putting their homes on the market often ask me what suggestions I may have for them prior to listing their homes. Except in rare cases of newer homes, I always recommend a pre-listing home inspection. The reason is simple, too often I have witnessed sales fall through after an buyer does a home inspection. The reason being that they may have uncovered a condition they were not aware of doing their initial visits to the property. Often even the homeowners are surprised. Why gamble on losing a potential buyer. A pre-inspection can alert the seller of a problem, whereby it can be addressed prior to the home going on the market, often for a lot less money than a potential buyer will be asking for. If you uncover a problem and address it, your agent can include that upgrade in their marketing remarks and that could sometimes result in you even getting a better price. Sometimes a home inspector will offer a less costly pre-inspection charge. Get some suggestions and advise from your local Real Estate professional, they know the inspectors and can make sound recommendations. Think of this a small investment that can many times pay big dividends.
With residential inventories at historically low levels, sellers are in a unique position of not only getting their full asking price, but many times, getting over asking. When demand exceeds the supply buyers are forced to be in competition with each other. One smart strategy being used by sellers is to list the home a little below its true market value. How long will these conditions continue, no one can say for sure. Savvy sellers are hiring experienced real estate agents with proven track records in the area of the their home or property. An agent needs to know the market values of not only the homes that have sold, but also of those you will be competing with. This is essential
in order to design a marketing strategy that will lead to a quick sale. A seller’s market does not mean you can list a house that is not in good condition and in need of lots of work or attention and still expect to get a premium price for it. There may be more buyers than in a typical market, however these buyers are not going to buy a bad product or overpay for it. Seasoned agents are your best resource to get sound advice before jumping into the market.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic, Americans are moving and making lifestyle changes in unprecedented numbers. Many are getting caught up in the rush and therefore making drastic & emotional changes to their lives. Buying a home while moving to an entirely new community should start with some very important pre-planning. A prime example is buyers often rely on the tax information given on the listing document. Those reported taxes are based on the homes current assessment. Buyers in many cases today are willing to pay far above the asking price, and often far above the assessment. There will be a very strong likelihood that in the not too distant future that the assessment will be adjusted, thereby increasing substantially both the county, town and school taxes. Another example we have seen is many buyers moving to a rural community from a big city & not budgeting for expenses they hadn’t thought about before. The cost of snow removal is a reality, as is lawn care, & even not having a generator can be a costly expense when your are suddenly without power. For the most part, internet access is not an issue in most large cities, not always the case in the country. Another big surprise I have often heard from city dwellers moving into our area is, “Why can’t I get someone to respond to my calls for work I need done?” Unlike metro areas, where there are so many choices of vendors, here your ability to get a quick response are truly limited. Don’t let emotions dictate your actions. Planning in advance and seeking the advice of experienced local & professional Realtor can be a resource that could save you thousand of dollars and reduce the stress of your move.
Plan ahead, and good luck!