You could say that it is the worst of times in real estate, but even as I write this, a few more properties are selling and our inventory is getting reduced.
Back in the fall, I had about sixteen properties from our MLS that I considered very good buys. I specialize in water access properties or homes near the water so these met the needs of the clients I was seeing. I showed a lot of them several times, and sold a few.
Since December, those sixteen properties have sold. The last one I sold should close at the end of July.
There is only one left that I really think is a great buy. It is a waterfront home on the upper reaches of the White Oak River. It is a perfect getaway with a wonderful view of the river. I hope I am the one to sell it. It's more expensive than the others which is why it is still available, but it is definitely worth the price. When the right person comes along, it will be gone in a flash just like the others.
No new properties have come onto to the market to match the ones that have sold out of this group. As I long suspected the cherries would get picked first.
These were the reasonably priced homes that had some water access and cost under $300K. While you can look around, I don't think you will find deals like these that have sold since January.
This doesn't mean that the market has turned around, but it does mean that we have taken the first step towards getting ourselves out of this mess.
There are still plenty of properties on the market and some of them will have to come down in price to sell.
We aren't to the point that the majority of buyers have returned to the market, but we have seen some very smart shoppers who have worked the market to their advantage.
They came in when prices were low and still dropping. There was no time pressure on them so they could take their time and get as close to what they wanted as possible.
They were smart shoppers, and I have felt very fortunate to have them buying at a time when most buyers are afraid to leave their computer screens.
As some of the best buys are now gone, we are left with properties that might be a little more difficult to sell. Some of them will not sell at anything close to what the owners want. There will still be some tough conversations ahead, but I do think better times might be here by next spring.
At this point if you have had your property on the market for a long time, and it has not sold, I don't think it is going to get any easier for a long time. Buyers are going to expect value. If you aren't priced close to the properties that are selling, I suspect your wait is going to be very long.
If you are planning on putting your home on the market at an unrealistic price, you can expect to have it on the market for an unrealistic time.
There are still very few buyers out there. The amount of inventory on the market gives them tremendous choice and the opportunity to see homes priced at a variety of levels. If you are not priced right, you might not even get the first showing, much less the second one.
The good news is the American Dream of a home is still alive and well. There are people looking for homes right now, contracts are still being signed and in nine months my prediction is that there will be more people looking for homes. Prices are not going to jump, but they might stop coming down.
To me it looks like a turning point, at least in our local market for homes. Vacant lots may well be another situation all together, but I expect we can work our way through those as well.
As hard as it has been to survive this long as a new Realtor®, this winter might be the toughest, but at least I now have a hope that spring might show some signs of improvement.
Maybe then all the work, the marketing, and the dollars spent when very little was coming into the bank, just might start to pay off.
At least that is my perspective from the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. I am looking forward to the time that I can say, "You remember how slow it was in 2007 & 2008?"