From time to time I get frustrated with what buyers are looking for versus what is on the market, and more frustrated that the first thing an agent does when a buyer calls to see a home is put them in their car and hit the town, before spending any time educating the buyer. Why does the agent do that? Because the buyers rarely care or want any advice. After all, they’ve looked at Zillow or Trulia, the clear authorities on market value right? There is no doubt buyers have ample sources for online house hunting and listing websites. Are they accurate and are they complete? Not always…
Buyers need to let us help. They shouldn’t have to ask us to help explain the market. Realtors should require a sit down to explain the market. We should help them evaluate what it is they want and need, and what is their budget. Is the budget a cap or is it a beginning point? Many buyers come to me and want to start thousands over their budget cap, while not giving an inch on location, condition, terms. What a buyer visualizes, may not be in their budget. I really do want to help you find what you want and need, but even when money is no object, it really is.
So what is it an experienced agent brings to the table that Zillow and Trulia don’t?
First and foremost agents have local experience, knowledge and perceptions. Granted the levels of those all vary greatly and need to be vetted. But any agent maybe better than no agent or an unknown agent. Secondly, an agent will or should be able to separate you from the emotional aspect of buying. Not replace the emotion, but to help you see the logical and long term aspects of your search and ultimate decision.
Weeding through the market intelligence available is important. We are all flooded with statistics every day. We make decisions based on those, while hopefully tempering the emotional part of the decision.
So my value to you will be my 11+ years of experience, education and training. As both a very experienced listing and buyers agent I can help you see both sides of the transaction. I use my experience as a buyers agent to help my sellers understand the transaction from that perspective and likewise, my buyers learn from my understanding of the listing process and sellers perspective. Lately, we’ve been getting lots of encouraging news about real estate activity, albeit nationally. Locally, I can report mediocre sales and activity. I think expectations and buyer readiness is part of the problem and coincidentally that is the same for sellers today!
Here are some stats simply listed as a starting point. My criteria was pulled from the WilliamsburgMLS which carries the brunt of our local listing data. There is a margin of error because not all sales are listed properties or may not be listed or sold using the WilliamsburgMLS or Realtors who belong. I used the whole MLS for sold listings over the previous 12 months from this posting date, then looked at various price ranges and detached single family homes in zip code 23188 for now, and factored out the sold properties in 55+ adult communities. My next post will break down the differences between the various zip codes and municipalities making up “Williamsburg”.
Todays active listing count is 1459 total. The past 12 months sold count is 1798. For zip code 23188 that dwindles to 464 and when factoring out the local age restricted community that drops to 297 sold detached single family properties in the last 12 months. The same criteria for 9/2012-9/2013 was a total of 1494, and 9/2011-9/2012 was 1215 closed sales respectively. Data excluding age restricted communities is not avalaible Year to date we are slower than last year, but way better since the bubble burst!
For zip code 23188 the average sold price in the last 12 months was $371,002 vs an asking price of $380,343 and the average square footage was 2616. Looking at that more closely there was a low of $275,000 for a 2641 SF home and a high of $488,000 for a 2629 SF home. Looking at the average price, I found a $375,000 1600SF home and a $375,000 3359 SF home. So buyers focusing only price or price per square foot can see vastly different “values” or homes.
Out of the 434 active homes in 23188 today, 337 are single family detached. They break down by price this way:
- Under $300,000=72
- Under $200,000=19
- Under $150,000=5
- $500,000 to $999,000=91
Once we start looking at other criteria like bedroom count, schools, age etc we can really get to the heart of the “market” for a particular buyer or seller. That is the value of finding the right agent. You have to be willing to share and accept information, criticism and advice as an agent and as a buyer or seller!