We have had “stay-at-home” restrictions during these challenging times, and as many claim, probably considered the worst time to place a home on the market. Or is it? On the contrary, it may be the optimum time.
Of course, it is always a challenge to place a home on the market. The questions you ask yourself are: Is it the right time?, Will I get the best price?, How do I prepare my home to show in its best light?, Is the pandemic a deterrent? etc., etc. Believe it or not, this can be compared to the winter months of January and February, and waiting to list for the Spring selling season. The proverbial Spring season is coming upon us just 3 months late. However, if you have to sell–you have to sell, no matter what the timing and before it is too late, consider placing your home on the market now.
Just knowing what is necessary to sell your home for the time of the year will give you one leg up on your competition. Yes, your competition. There pent up sellers looking to list inventory once go back to normal. Once those houses are placed on the market the supply increases affecting the lowering of prices (Economics 101 at its best). When a home gets on the market plays a big role on how to market that home and the price it will garner.
The bright spot about placing your home on the market now as opposed to the end of this pandemic, is that your competition is not as great (less homes on the market gives less of a choice to buyers). Which also places your home ahead of the upcoming reopening of the market onslaught of homes, including this year’s possibility of those unfortunate souls who may not have jobs waiting for them which could result in another stretch of short sales and foreclosures which will increase supply even and ultimately lower prices even more so. With less competition now, you have a greater chance to get it shown and sold in relatively a very short amount of time.
To make matters more favorable for home sellers, buyers are a-plenty. There are more buyers than homes for sale, especially in “The Burbs” as people are fleeing the cities to social distance by adding space. The absorption rate (time it would take current listing to sell) in Morris County is far below six months – a true seller’s market. (Anything above 6 mths is a buyer’s market.) To add fuel to the buyer fire is the fact that the mortgage interest rates are “crazy” low. In actuality, it is more affordable to own a home today than 10 years ago (interest rates with stabilizing pricing creates a lower monthly payment). FHA mortgages have become more accessible, which creates a higher buyer pool. There are other mitigating factors, including the prospect that realizing that employees can be just, if not more, productive working from home, employers are changing their attitude of work-at-home. This not only costs companies less as the commercial space will be lessened, it also creates a better work/life balance. All these factors, and those not mentioned, have resulted in multiple bidding wars on the homes that are currently on the market.
This higher percentage of buyers are “real buyers” vs. the “lookie-loos” we find during the normal Spring Selling Season. With the Covid19 protocols, home showings have been relegated to virtual first showings followed by a live walk-thru when the buyer is very interested and wants to have their other senses touched. Some purchases now are directly from a virtual showing, including open houses, where the first live visit may be during the home inspection. Although this was in the making, the pandemic has moved up this selling format to today and maybe forever.
With pent-up demand for housing, it is the perfect storm to get a home on the market.
When choosing a Realtor to represent you in selling, especially during these challenging times, the necessity isn’t to choose one that “owns” the town with multiple listings, or who brags about how great they are by spending advertising dollars on self promotion more than on their listings’ marketing. The real estate business is not about them, it is about the home seller and buyer. The choice must be based on their experience, their willingness to do the right things for their client, to be able to collaborate with the seller with counseling on pricing, staging and transaction management; adapting quickly to changes; and most importantly, putting their client first and foremost.
Choose wisely and stay safe.
About the Author: Jeffrey Halpern, Broker-Associate, Realtor, has been a full-time real estate professional since 1985. Team leader of the Halpern Real Estate Group of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, he has successfully been involved with closing thousands of real estate closings through several varying markets with his “No excuses…just a solution” approach. He is also a Real Estate Educator, blogger and has extensive branch management experience, and Rotarian. He lives in Morris County with his family. With the slogan “Opening Doors, one home at a time”, he can be reached 201.317.7527 or Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org.