Whether you’re ready to sell or looking to buy, Charlotte is its own unique cosmos when it comes to real estate, and it doesn’t always reflect what’s happening in the national market.
What’s hot and what’s not – especially when it comes to real estate is best assessed by an expert, so, we did a quick sit down with some of CLT’s top producing Helen Adams Realty REALTORS® to find out if we should be buying or selling as the sun sets on summer.
Great expectations – The Seasonal Edit
Just like with your wardrobe, from spring to fall there are distinctive changes in the real estate market.
And, Charlotte tends to have its own runway show when it comes to all-things houses; what’s ‘in’ nation-wide may not be cool by Queen City standards.
According to the Adams Teden Team – Randolph Office, much of that may have to do with the types of business that call Charlotte home:
“The second half of the year fluctuates more than the first part of the year. You have summer vacations, back to school, and major holidays that disrupt the market. Historically, buyers are more active in the spring because there is usually more inventory, and several industries issue bonuses in the first quarter. By the second half of the year, there aren’t as many buyers to compete with, so, when in the spring you’ll see 5-10 offers on a home, in the fall you may see more like 2-5.”
Charlotte By the numbers – Robin Woods – Ballantyne Office
- Charlotte’s supply is historically low even compared to last year’s low inventory. Higher interest rates are keeping some sellers from listing their homes if they are locked in with a much lower rate.
- Competition for a great listing may be tough if the home is unique to the market supply. It is very possible that there may be multiple offers, cash buyers, and offers over asking if the property is priced correctly.
- Contingent offers are unlikely going to win a house in this market unless it’s been sitting for a long time. A 30-year fixed is hovering around 7% today.
Finding Balance for Buyers in a Sellers’ Market
Finding the balance for buyers and sellers can give even the best real estate agent a run for their money – balancing the roles of parttime therapist, financial advisor, landscaper, interior designer and all-round advocate – you can see why, having an expert in your corner is crucial to securing a good buy in a sellers’ market.
“It is still a sellers’ market, but it is more balanced than it was. Buyers are getting inspections and getting concessions from the sellers, unlike last year. But high due diligence fees and appraisal waivers are still the norm when it comes to multiple offers, which means it is very much a sellers’ market,” says the Adams Teden Team.
Charlotte is also considered one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, which keeps the local housing demand strong. It’s imperative that you have an agent who knows Charlotte and can negotiation the nuisances of the local market.
Robin says “Days on market have increased since last year but there is still under a 2-month supply of inventory, which is low considering a 6-month supply is considered a balanced market:
- There were close to 4k newly listed condos in our MLS last June versus roughly 3k this June.
- There were approximately 66k newly listed single-family homes in our MLS last June versus 56k this June.”
“One important tip I always try to employ is to create an offer that is win/win for both the buyer and seller. Having a relationship with both an experienced realtor and a lender is key to finding success in this market. A house in a desirable location that has been prepared well and priced correctly will attract multiple buyers,” says Amy Merrigan – Fort Mill Office.
Get your Girl Scout On and Be Prepared
Be pre-qualified for a loan or if you really want the top badge be pre-approved. Big difference.
Obviously, it’s about being ready to make an offer when you find the right home – but doing your financial homework first also makes sure you know exactly how much you can afford – as a down-payment, estimated closing costs and monthly mortgage payments.
“Getting pre-approved demonstrates you are a serious buyer and makes your offer more favorable to sellers in a multiple offer scenario,” says Jennifer Korinchack – Lake Norman Office.
Robin agrees saying “Be ready to act quickly if you find the perfect property. Have your lender pre-approval in hand or even better, have your loan underwritten so that your offer looks as good as cash and:
- Don’t ask for personal property that is not included with the sale.
- If there are multiple offers, offer the most that the property is worth to you upfront. You usually only have one shot to win it.
- Have your Realtor find out when the seller wants to close and what other terms may be important to the seller (do they need a rent back, higher due diligence, quick closing, etc).”
Set the Stage to Sell at Top Dollar
What’s selling hasn’t changed too much this year. A move-in ready home is eeking-out a win over fixer-uppers with many buyers not looking to take on a ‘project’.
A solution like Helen Adams’ Market Ready program lends money to sellers free of charge to get their homes in the best possible condition for listing. This can make the difference between your home receiving multiple offers the first day versus sitting on the market for several weeks (with people starting to wonder ‘what’s wrong with that home’).
“You only have one shot to make a first impression, so regardless of how well decorated your home is, we will still provide an extensive list to get your house ready. You want a buyer to see your home in its best possible condition and that will ensure you are getting the best price,” offers the Adams Teden Team.
Girlfriend Goldilocks Has It Right When It Comes to Price
Jennifer says “Price it right! I can’t stress this enough, regardless of how ‘hot’ the market or a specific neighborhood is, overpricing can be detrimental. Listing too high will scare off buyers, limit competition, and prevent you from getting top dollar.
Competitive pricing is critical to attracting buyers:
- Interest in your home will be highest the minute your home hits the market.
- Overprice it and buyers won’t be interested or your home won’t come in their price range filters.
- Stale – the longer the home sits on the market, the less desirable it becomes, which leads agents and buyers to become skeptical.
- Appraisal Issues – if the home appraises lower than the offer price, the buyer has to come up with the difference in cash or terminate the contract.
Seller’s Secrets – What You Need to Know
Manage your expectations: The general mood is that buyer’s are growing weary of overpaying – so area-wide you’re probably not going to get the $50-100k over asking as has previously been the case.
Amy says “Sellers who choose to overprice their homes in today’s market should be prepared for the house to sit. The first impression of the house matters more than people realize and once buyers have written a house off, they typically don’t give it a second look. When a house is priced accurately, a seller can expect to go under contract with a buyer very close to their list price.”
Invest in a pre-listing home inspection. This is typically something thought of as the buyer’s responsibly – and that still will happen, but the experts say doing your own in advance gives you the opportunity to identify any big-ticket repairs or unwanted surprises and keeps the seller in control.
“Having all your home facts up front puts you in the driver’s seat. Pre-Inspections help prioritize which improvements to make before listing and they give you more negotiating power once the home is under contract,” says Jennifer.
Remember that you’re selling more than your home – you’re inspiring a lifestyle. Some buyers may be willing to overlook a few ‘structural needs’ if the location is right – make sure your agent is helping you communicate what it feels like to live in the neighborhood – whether that’s a short walk to restaurants, or a big backyard to enjoy the sunset over the lake.
If you need to feel good about the home you’re moving on from or want to get that once-in-a lifetime: ‘This. Is. The One!’ feeling of a new home, the only way to do that is to have an expert realtor in your corner who creates just that day-in and day-out. If you’re ready to start moving reach out to Helen Adams Realty.