And I'm here to tell you why you can stop worrying about the real estate market.
FIRST THIS: When we decided, in late August, to relocate full time to our house at the beach, I thought for sure we had missed the boat. I should have listed in the spring when inventory was in the single digits in many zip codes and buyers were delivering handmade gifts to sellers because there were so many offers on the table. But of course, that wasn't the case so I just had to deal with it.
Should we still try to sell? Should we rent it? Should we just keep it? After all, we've owned the house for less than a year, so surely it doesn't make sense to sell. But in typical fashion, and in the spirit of keeping our life simple + minimal, I DECIDED TO SELL.
So I did what I usually do, whether I'm selling my own house or a client's house: spend an inordinate amount of time making the house look perfectly staged, from top to bottom, compulsively removing items, rearranging furniture, swapping out linens, artwork, and accessories, repainting, repairing, cleaning, and decluttering until the house looks borderline-unlived-in-but-still-inviting-and-cozy [I just coined that phrase; do you like it?].
Anyway, long story short, I listed our house, had a bunch of showings on the first day, received two unbelievable offers - better than what I had hoped for - and we settle at the end of the month.
So I'm here to tell you that you can stop worrying about the real estate market. In this market, and any other, as long as you are working with someone who KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING and actually cares about selling your house [sorry, don't use your best friend's cousin who just got his real estate license] you will be just fine.
Why NOT worry?
Mortgage rates are the highest they've been since 2008, which, understandably has caused some buyers to take a step back and some would-be-sellers to reconsider. Lots of worries out there, and I get it! But here's why I don't think you should worry about the housing market:
#1 DID YOU RECENTLY BUY A NEW HOUSE?
If so, you probably overpaid. Yes, that's the truth, and it's basically what I've been telling my clients for the past two years. But do you love your new home? Are you going to stay for at least a few years? Are you going to make improvements to make it your own?
If the answer to ANY of these questions is yes, then I encourage you to NOT worry about the real estate market at this time. Since you just moved and likely won't be selling your house anytime soon, AND since we can't predict the future, there is no sense in worrying.
#2 ARE YOU A BUYER STILL LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT PLACE?
The good news is that even though interest rates are up, the growing inventory of homes means that you, as a buyer, are more likely to get a good deal when purchasing [remember: more housing inventory = lower prices]. I can say for certain that the majority of buyers right now are going to pay less than they would have six months ago.
GOOD NEWS FOR BUYERS: 40% of sellers in the Mid-Atlantic who have an active listing have lowered their list price. But many are taking their time to adjust to new market conditions [by overpricing initially]. Among properties active on the market the first full week of October:
Only 1% of sellers had dropped their price in the first week. Some sellers are still committed to pricing their homes aggressively and are testing the waters.
About 8% of homes on the market between 7 and 13 days dropped their list price.
Of the properties on the market between 2 and 3 weeks, 21.5% had dropped in price.
*source: Bright MLS
So the bottom line is this: if you are a buyer, you are in a pretty good position right now, so you definitely have no need to worry. Be patient, and you will find the right property.
#3 DO YOU NEED/WANT TO SELL RIGHT NOW REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES?
I have the most to say about this scenario. Maybe you are relocating for a job, maybe you desperately need more space, maybe you need to sell for financial reasons. No matter the circumstance, I feel strongly in saying that AS LONG AS YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT AGENT, you should never be worried about selling your home.
Back to my personal story again for a moment: I have to admit that I was worried just before we listed our house. After months and months of nearly zero inventory in my neighborhood, there were suddenly several listings on the market. And they weren't selling.
So, I prepared myself for the worst case scenario since I had so much competition. I had to take the advice that I always give my sellers: take the realistic price you expect the house to sell for and price it just below that number. Yikes. that was scary for me. After all, we purchased the house less than a year ago which meant we kind of overpaid and were very close to our break even point at the number we listed.
But, like I mentioned before, I still did all the things I typically do to get my listings ready for sale, including spending the money on a few improvements I had wanted to do over the last year but never did [see photo above] and you know the rest... I already told you.
So here are the takeaways:
There is ALWAYS going to be uncertainty when selling your home. In ANY kind of market. It is understandable to have anxieties and concerns and worries and that is totally fine and expected. But we need to control the things we can, which brings me to my next point.
You MUST hire a good agent to represent you when selling your home. Again, I'm sorry to say, but it's just not the best idea to use a relative who just got their license or a friend of a friend who is a part-time realtor and not familiar with your area. You get the point.
Here are your instructions:
Do your research and read reviews
Ask for references
Ask to see listing photos of the agent's recent sales
Make a personal connection [make sure you like your agent; you will be BFFs for a while]
Make sure your agent is available to take your calls & texts and gets back to you quickly
Choose an agent that has a good reputation among other agents [more about this in a future blog post]
You, as a seller, can directly control the kind of experience you have when selling your home, the level of stress you have to go through, and the amount of money you will make. BUT IT IS IMPERATIVE TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT AGENT. I can't stress that enough. If you choose the right agent, in any type of market including the one we are in right now, you can have a pleasant and profitable experience.
SOME FINAL WORDS
I set out to tell you why you can stop worrying about the real estate market, but I probably said a bit more than that.
The truth is, there are things that are out of our control and things that are within our control. If we focus on the things we can control, like choosing the right agent, then there should be nothing to worry about when you sell your home. If you have to sell your home in a tough or changing real estate market, find an agent that will work hard for you and tell you the truth.
Get in touch to talk more about the real estate market and let me ease your worries.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 443.465.0954.