Holy Cow! The sun is out! A friend who recently moved here from Seattle to escape the gloomy weather now fears he may have brought it with him. No kidding, we’ve had 56 inches of rain so far this year, and I can’t believe this next line, but it is apparently not even a record. I think the 19 inches in October was a record, though.
But yes, now the sun is shining, and I am set up here at Two Story Coffee in 5 Points, positioned in the upstairs room with the most Eastern exposure and Vitamin S is finally bathing me after what seems like many many weeks/months of really dreary weather. Seems too like we realtors were beginning to worry about the long term effect of drought on our business. Goes to show you never can tell.
The sun and numerous listing appointments so far this week have me thinking about the impending (looming?) buying season and what is in store for you the seller/buyer and me the realtor. I have all kinds of predictions, based on all kinds of anecdotes, facts, gut feelings, etc. Here are some:
- The buying season will begin early this year due to the unusual deadline on the first time homebuyer tax credit extension. By early I mean there will be no down season, as right now is traditionally considered. December closings are already up and I am confident the first quarter will be busier than last year.
- The pent up demand to sell will result in more and better housing stock on the market this Spring over last Spring. Many homeowners, who really took care of their homes and improved them during ownership, held off on marketing their properties last year because they didn’t want to be subjected to low ball offers, and rightfully so. They didn’t work all those weekends and spend all that money to then bring their checkbooks to closing. Likely, they need to sell more now than last year, and the new $6500.00 tax credit for repeat buyers is certainly going to be rationalized by many sellers as a way to make up on the back end for any potential/slight slight loss on the front end.
- Proactive sellers will begin marketing their properties early this year, like in January. If you miss the boat on moving your property this year, there is no telling how much longer you will be holding it. By February, there will be a scrambling by those sellers who realize that the year keeps moving forward even though they are still saying Happy New Year to folks. If you wait any longer, your place better be good and ready for the market.
- Those sellers with reasonably priced, solid, well-maintained homes in good neighborhoods will see multiple offers this season, especially early on. The volume of good housing stock just wasn’t out there last year, and this created a pent up buyer demand. Those buyers shopped and shopped only to head to the sidelines and rent for the year. They will be back out in force this year, especially after they see the sheer volume of good housing stock out there.
- Prices will be lower than most sellers will want to realize. But there will be offers! Don’t be surprised when you get an offer in the 80-85% of listing range on what you think is an already well priced home. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. In the old days that was called a low ball offer. Now we have a new name for it: it’s called an offer. A good agent will weed out the serious buyers just testing the waters before going up in price verses the not so serious buyers engaging in folly, dragging you through the mud in the process.
(You knew one had to be coming)
The unpredictable economic situation in the nation and in the Athens Regional Area, specifically, will be a great big X factor in this coming year’s real estate market. The predictions I just made could be completely off. About 2 years ago, I predicted a 6-7% drop in home values in the ATH area, and I was way way off, unfortunately. I actually thought we had bottomed out a while back! Jeez. However, a 15-20% reduction in value in many areas around here is not uncommon at this point (thanks in part to foreclosures). Some areas have held more firm while others have softened like putty in a warm hand…