Is This Just A Summer Lull, Or Has Inventory Finally Caught Up With Demand?

Anyone who has been following the real estate market here in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of NC, knows that we have had a severe shortage of houses considering the demand from folks wanting to relocate to this area. This shortage has caused a fast moving seller’s market that has been almost breathtaking! Meaning that… buyers and realtors and sellers have hardly had time to catch our breath because new listings were selling so fast and for 105%, 106% and even 110% of listing price! Whew!!!

Just in the past 3 weeks we have noticed that new listings are taking longer than 1 or 2 days to go under contract. New listings are sitting for a week, or two or three before selling. Even though the previous whirlwind was fun, it was also exhausting. It is nice for buyers to not have to buy in a frenzy and for sellers to have a little time to make plans for moving and relocating.

The real question is… has the inventory caught up with the demand or is this just a summer lull due to school being out and folks enjoying vacationing and traveling? It seems like every other week some town in the Triangle area of NC shows up in a top-10 list for something positive. The things this area has to offer seems to only get better, so I don’t think the demand has waned or quelled. Builders are building new homes like crazy and as more and more new homes come online, that certainly adds to the argument that inventory is catching up. Only time will tell.

After school starts back next month we will see if this is just a summer lull or if the inventory truly has caught up with demand. While we are waiting to see, keep in mind that we are still in a seller’s market, just not as severe as it was 2 months ago so sellers should enjoy that fact and take advantage of it while it lasts. If you are thinking of selling in the near future, I suggest not waiting much longer or you may miss the wave.

I cover the whole Triangle area, so whether buying or selling, I would love to assist you through the process. If selling, I offer a free (no obligation) comparable market analysis to help you understand what your home is worth in this current market. If buying, keep in mind that having an agent working on your behalf doesn’t cost you anything at all. You can always reach me at (919) 889-1766 or at kevin@kevinburrushomes.com. Feel free to visit my web site http://www.kevinburrushomes.com for more information.

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Agents Need to Educate Their Buyers On How to Navigate The Current Market

In the Raleigh/Durham area we are in a severe seller’s market. This was caused and is sustained by very low inventory (available homes on the market). There are certain things potential buyers need to know about how to operate in this market.

In this fast-moving market most sellers will not even contemplate accepting a “contingent” offer. By contingent I mean that the offer is contingent on the selling of another property before the buyers can close on this property. Sellers that have an existing house and it has to sell prior to buying the next one need to go ahead and wrap their heads around the fact that it will almost be impossible to time it out where they only have to move once. In order to attempt to make that timing issue work out, the best thing to do is list and get the existing house under contract. While that house is listed be looking and have a couple properties in mind that you want to go for. When negotiating an offer try to get the closing date to be around 60 days out. As soon as the existing house goes under contract, submit an offer on the one you want if it is still available. Since it take about 45 days for a loan to close, you have about 2 weeks to find and get an offer submitted and accepted on the next house and still be able to close both properties on or around the same day.

They have to be pre-approved for a mortgage before starting to search for the right house. Pre-qualifying is not sufficient in this market. If they get into a multi-offer situation the sellers will take the offer that is pre-approved over one that is just pre-qualified.

They need to be aware of new properties as they hit the market and if they look good on paper, they need to get out to see the house in person the same day it hits the market.  Houses in this area usually sell the first day and with multiple offers. Buyers can not afford to wait until the weekend to go see a hot property. It will most likely be gone by then.

In this current market haggling on price is not recommended and may cause the sellers to take another offer. Buyers need to make their offers as “clean” as possible. By clean I mean don’t ask for a lot of trivial things that may cause the seller to accept a “cleaner” offer (like home warranties, high amounts of closing costs paid by seller on behalf of buyer, etc.) A clean offer is “here’s what I will pay, I don’t need any concessions and I am pre-approved for a loan”. Those types of offers will get accepted almost every time.

Potential buyers don’t know these things and it is up to the buyer’s agent to guide and coach them through this “low-inventory” buying process.

Happy House-Hunting!

For more information please contact me at 919-889-1766 or at Kevin@KevinBurrusHomes.com

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Why Do We Have a Seller’s Market in the Triangle Area of NC?

In my market (the Triangle area of NC including Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill and surrounding towns) it is clearly a sellers market. The main reason for this is the severe lack of properties on the market.

In the Triangle market the reason we have a shortage of homes on the market is mainly the current economy. The people here that may want to sell and move up to a larger house and the ones that may be empty-nesters and want to down-size are all sitting tight, afraid to make a move due to this very sluggish economy. Basically they are paralyzed with fear that the economy could easily take another dive at any time and don’t want to take on any more debt. So all of the local movement (up and down) is not present like in a normal market.

The majority of listings on the market are from people relocating out of the area usually for work related reasons. Since the Triangle area is a hotbed of job opportunities, more people are actually relocating here than away from here. You can see how this “out” versus “in” discrepancy would easily account for the current shortage of homes on the market. With all of the job opportunities here we have more incoming than outgoing. Where are the incoming going to live?

Another problem contributing to the shortage of homes available is that at the end of 2007 when the housing market took a downturn, a lot of the builders in the area either went out of business or got out of the building industry. They are just now, 8 years later getting back into the market so their “new construction” inventory has not had time to add to the replenishment of home availability.

This is my take on why we have a seller’s market in the Triangle area of NC. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog entry about what sellers can expect when listing in a seller’s market.

For more information please visit kevinburrushomes.com for all of you real estate needs. You can also visit my Facebook page (kevinburrushomes.com) where I post daily real estate related articles and information that is useful for buyers and sellers. Be sure to “Like” my FB page while you are there. You can always reach me at (919) 889-1766.

 

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The Other Party Doesn’t Have Horns Growing Out of Their Head!

It always amazes me how personal things can get between buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction. I have been involved with a couple of nightmare scenarios lately and they have inspired this blog entry.

It should be fairly straight forward… there are two parties, one wants to sell and one wants to buy. A successful closing should be a shared goal between the two parties. It is a business transaction.

Unfortunately that is not always the case. Sellers get emotional and feel like the offer was too low and possibly so low that it was insulting. These feelings only get worse when the buyers submit a repair request after the home is inspected.

First let me address the low offer issue… if you are a seller and you receive a low offer, you do NOT have to take it. If after negotiating you are not satisfied with the terms you do NOT have to agree. I would rather for my seller to pass on a particular buyer than to bow to any pressure they may be feeling and accept an offer they are not happy with.

Regarding the repair request… the buyer wants the house to be in the best condition as it can. They are not selecting items found during the inspection just to upset the seller. And sellers, there is nothing that says you have to fix all or any of the items they have asked to be fixed. It is a negotiation. If one party is being way too difficult then let the deal fall apart. It is not worth your health and well-being to agree to something when you think the other side is being unreasonable. It just causes even more bad-will down the road.

I have had buyers and sellers so angry with each other that every decision is made with pay-back or vindictiveness in mind. When buyers and sellers have never met in person and are taking the negotiations personally it is easy for each party to think the other party is Satan himself and has horns growing out of his head! Over the years when I see this happening I usually suggest to the other agent that we somehow get the two parties to meet or at least talk on the phone. Every time I have tried this tactic it turns out good for everyone. The sellers realize the buyers are not intentionally trying to hurt them and the buyers realize the sellers are not bad people… just overly emotional about their home. Also… both parties can clearly see that there are no horns growing out their heads. 🙂

For you agents that have emotional clients… give this a try. It really works.

For more information or assistance with any of your real estate needs you can always contact me at (919) 889-1766.

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Understanding and Negotiating the Repair Request

In a normal residential sales transaction the buyer has the opportunity to do due-diligence (basically have a free-look period… to “kick the tires” so to speak).  The due-diligence period is a negotiable amount of time and is laid out in the sales contract. During the DD period the buyers can do whatever inspections or investigations regarding the property they deem necessary or desirable.  Prior to the end of the DD period the buyers can submit a repair request to the sellers asking them to fix, repair or correct defects or issues uncovered by the inspections and investigations.

What buyers and sellers need to understand about the repair requests is that they are negotiable. The seller doesn’t have to address all of the buyer’s concerns or any of them for that matter. Sellers need to be aware that by not satisfactorily addressing the concerns of the buyers, they are giving the buyers motive to walk away from the transaction. Buyers need to know that even though the sellers did not agree to do all or any of the items on the repair request, the buyers still have the option to agree to continue with the transaction.

It irks me when buyer’s agents encourage the buyers to ask for everything found in the inspection report. That is just laziness in my opinion. I encourage buyers to pick-and-choose. Select the items that they are very concerned about and leave the small stuff off the list. Regarding the small stuff… if a buyer is a handy person I suggest that they only ask for things they may not be particularity good at doing. If they are good at drywall repair but not good at shingle replacement then I may suggest for the buyer to handle fixing the hole in the drywall behind the bathroom door and ask the seller to take care of replacing the missing shingle. I also encourage that the entire inspection report be submitted along with the repair request. This creates some good-will when the sellers see that the buyers could have asked for a lot more than they did. That good-will encourages the seller to step up and take care of the items asked for.

Sellers should be aware that there are certain issues or defects that any reasonable buyer will ask to be corrected. Even if the seller is willing to lose the deal with one set of buyers because they think they were too picky, some issues like roof leaks, faulty HVAC systems, broken windows, etc. will most likely be requested by the next potential buyer. Even with a stubborn seller, I will encourage them to bite-the-bullet and fix those types of major defects.

The thing to take away from this article is that the repair request is 100% negotiable. Buyers can walk away if certain things are not agreed to by the sellers, but on the other hand, buyers can agree to continue with the transaction even if the sellers don’t agree to do anything. If the buyers are selective when choosing which items are asked for and the sellers are reasonable when it comes to issues that any buyer would ask for… it’s a good bet both parties will make it to a successful closing… and isn’t what we all want.

For more information please visit http://www.KevinBurrusHomes.com or contact me directly at (919) 889-1766.

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Smoking in the House Severely Hurts the Chances of Selling Your Home

Smokers hurt their chances of selling…

…not to mention their chances of living a long and healthy life. When people smoke in their homes, the smell gets in everything. The foul stale smoke odor gets ingrained in the carpet, the curtains, the furniture, and even the walls. The heating and air conditioning system circulates the smoke to all areas of the house. No part of the house escapes the smell. Some folks think they can at least smoke in their garage but the smell comes through walls and seeps up through the ceiling into the rest of the house.

Most smokers don’t even realize their house stinks. Let’s be honest. If you smoke, your sense of smell is impaired, to say the least. Smokers usually can’t smell the odor on their own person – in their clothes, in their hair or on their skin, much less the odor in their house from the smoke.

As an ex-smoker I can speak with some authority on this subject. I smoked for 16 years and fortunately had the desire and will to quit back in 1993. Even when I did smoke, I had the foresight to not smoke in my house.

Within 6 months after quitting, my sense of smell returned to normal. Now, as an agent, when I go on a listing appointment or show a house to a buyer, and the smell of stale smokes hits me in the face when I walk in the door, I want to turn around and walk out and sometimes potential buyers will do just that. They refuse to even see the rest of the house once they smell the stale smoke. They usually make a face as if they had just smelled dog poop and then make a beeline straight for the door.

I usually tell a potential seller, that at the bare minimum, they need to at least quit smoking in the house while the house is listed. If they are offended by that request or refuse, I suggest that they get another REALTOR®, because I am not the one for them. For the agent/seller relationship to work, sellers have to be willing to make some effort to do what is needed to sell their house. If they don’t want to make any effort then I don’t want to work with them.

In situations where the sellers have smoked in the house for years and now want to put it on the market, the idea situation would be to move out and try to correct the odor situation. Once the house is empty, install all new carpet and paint the interior. Take my word for it, this will not totally eliminate the smell of smoke in the house, but it will go a long way towards dulling the smell down. Lastly, place some find of air freshener near the HVAC air intake vent to dull the smoke odor that has collected on the walls of the duct work.

Like I said, that is the “ideal” situation. Most people because of money, or timing, can not move out prior to selling. If that is the case, have the carpets and the upholstery steam cleaned. Wash all curtains. Paint the interior, and again, place some air fresheners in strategic places throughout the house. Do whatever you can to try to get rid of the odor.

There are also fire restoration companies that can bring in ozone machines that can also help in getting the odor out. It is an expensive and time consuming process, but may be what is needed.

The absolute most important thing that you can do if you are a smoker to try to help your house sell is to QUIT SMOKING IN THE HOUSE! That’s a no-brainer.

For all of your real estate needs please visit my web site at http://www.kevinburrushomes.com or my facebook business page kevinburrushomes or call me at 919-889-1766.

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Let the Light In… An Often Forgotten Key to a Good First Impression

When I am showing a buyer homes I can always tell as soon as I walk in the door whether or not the listing agent did a good job coaching the sellers about creating a good first impression. Let’s face it, there a lot of things that a seller can do to create a good first impression, including: de-cluttering, doing a deep cleaning, get rid of any odors at the source, stage it like a model home, having some light jazz or classical music playing in the background at a low volume, etc. But my big pet-peeve when I open up a house to show and find it dark, drab, with no lights on in the house and most of curtains and blinds closed. I mean really?

The potential buyers have never been in the house, they don’t know of the homes features or charm. Do you really want their first impression to be groping to find lights, or squinting to see, or when I later ask them for feedback on a house and they say “that was the dark one, right?”

For my listings I always let me sellers know of the importance of that first impression. In addition to mentioning all of the things I listed in the first paragraph, I also stress to them to please, please, please leave lights on in the main rooms (Foyer, dining room, kitchen, family room, living room and bedrooms). I also ask them to open up the curtains and blinds and let the natural light in.

Sometimes I get a little push-back from a seller saying something like “we leave for work early and don’t want to leave lights on all day for an afternoon showing”. Believe me it is a small price to pay if you look at the bigger picture of selling versus not selling. And even if you are penny-pincher and don’t want to pay the $10 in electricity, is that an excuse not to open up all curtains and blinds? I think not.

When I open up a well-lit home I immediately know these sellers understand what is required to make a good first impression and I usually mention it to my clients (the potential buyers). Just my mentioning that these sellers know what they are doing and want to make a good first impression gives my clients a good feeling about the sellers (whom they have never met).

Bottom line… sellers, even if your agent didn’t coach you well, please do yourself a favor and leave lights on in the main rooms (not every closet and bathroom or hallway) and open up the curtains and blinds and LET THE LIGHT IN!

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