It’s been a while since I posted. Maybe because I got busy, sidetracked, interrupted, lazy or perhaps I really had nothing to say. The people who really know me would say that last excuse would be impossible. Truth is I do have plenty to say but I find that listening is way more effective. This past year I continued to listen. I listened to sellers, I listened to buyers and other agents. I listened to anyone who had a positive or intelligent argument different than mine. I tried not to listen to the media-especially about the election, or national statistics about this months housing starts and what the current average home price is-was or will be relative to last year.Historic Sales Price Trend
I tried not to bring up or talk about the “bubble”. It was almost 10 years ago. The correction was needed and it took place between 2006-2011 for where I do most of my real estate business. My advice to everyone? Get over it…. It’s almost irrelevant today except for those who bought at the height of the market.
2016 was by all accounts a good year locally in real estate. The median house price rose, inventory fell and mortgage rates finally ticked up just a bit albeit at the end of the year. Only 5 years after the mortgage industry was telling buyers that rates where headed up.
Buyers seemed to have the luxury of time, patience and they sometimes met up uncooperative sellers (those sellers who disagreed with the buyers’ overly aggressive offer). Many people who were in the market were renters. Really wanting to make the leap to home ownership but either couldn’t qualify with today’s very strict guidelines, or they couldn’t find what they wanted within their budget or the lenders guidelines.
Sellers also seemed to have the luxury of time and patience. Locally, many really did not have to sell. Their move was a decision they were making. Not an employer, or the bank telling them its time to pay or quit. We did have a few sellers who made the move to be closer to their children and grand children.
“Motivation goes both ways. When neither the seller or the buyer is truly motivated an offer is rarely successfully negotiated. The best transactions occur when both sides feel like they “won” the negotiation or they both get what they truly wanted.”-Jim Mellen”
Real estate agents also have an impact on the market. There are agents who do this for a living. There are agents who do this as a hobby. The standards and requirements for a real estate license have very little to do with what we do on a daily basis. A license to cut someone’s hair or groom a pet, is far harder than what it takes to become a licensed real estate agent-at least in Virginia. I can’t speak about license requirements everywhere. With 60 hours of education (that you can do online), anyone who passes a state test now has the same right and ability that I do to list your home or write a contract for your purchase. But they don’t have the 14 year of experience I now have. Of course the same was true when I got in!
I have no idea what’s in store for 2017. My gut tells me our challenge locally is many buyers don’t really have to buy and many sellers don’t really have to sell. That makes things tough.
My advice to sellers will continue to be have the best house on the market, in the right location, for the right price and in the right condition, and a buyer is ready willing and able to buy it. I’m absolutely certain of that. Of course sellers can’t control their location. And my buyers, today as always, are being encouraged to think a little about resale before they ever buy.
My advice to buyers has always been to work with a professional agent who understands the local market and takes the time to listen to your needs and wants, but is professional enough to challenge you too when those may stray from reality.