What’s happening in our market at the moment? When COVID-19 hit and the stay-at-home orders went into effect, sellers got nervous. People who had planned to move suddenly felt uncomfortable doing so given the amount of new, seemingly unanswerable questions that emerged. I’d say that the sellers put more on hold than the buyers did. Though the sellers are starting to come back out, our inventory is still extremely low. Homes priced correctly and in good condition are drawing heavy competition and selling fast.
What does this mean for prices? For the most part, prices have remained roughly the same, but homes in good condition are going under contract a lot quicker. However, prices could increase depending on what happens in the next few months.
Typically, most of my summer closings occur in June and July, and I don’t see a ton of them in August. However, we all know this year has been anything but typical, so we’re not sure yet whether COVID has pushed our summer market back. The jury is also still out on whether we’ll see unusually high activity through September and October, and that’s mostly because it’s hard to gauge the real impact of layoffs, furloughs, and mortgage forbearances on the market.
Looking for a house in this market has to be sort of like a part-time job. You must have a very good relationship with your agent, who should be scouring the private listings, talking to other agents in their network, and checking back in with potential sellers from last year. Agents have to be resourceful for their buyers, and buyers have to be working with excellent agents.
Buyers need to start their search sooner rather than later. Make sure you’re seeing homes that are hitting the market and attending open houses (expect the routine safety precautions, of course).
If you’re thinking about selling, my advice is to go ahead and do what you need to do to get that property on the market. Don’t worry too much about getting it into pristine condition, but rather reach out to your agent immediately and try to get into the private network (i.e., the behind-the-scenes, agent-only side of the MLS). The benefit of going into the private network is that it’s centered around your time frame and price.
On the private network, you can test out the market, you can have your closing date, and the condition of your home doesn’t have to be great. For example, if I have a home in the private market and a buyer’s agent wants to show it, I have the authority to say, “Look, the house is not ready, and we’re not claiming it’s ready yet. So, if you want to see it, you’ll have to look past some of these issues.” This sets the tone for buyers, and I’ve noticed that buyers who look at private network homes are more agreeable and understanding than they would be otherwise.
Normally, I’m a lot better at forecasting what’s in store for the North Shore market, but due to the lagging effects of COVID, I must admit the future is unclear. That being said, I’ll continue to keep you posted with market insights.
Reach out to me via phone or email if ever you have any questions about real estate. I look forward to hearing from you!