Baltimore realtor Nicole Callender had five homes scheduled to hit the market April 1. Then the coronavirus struck and all of her clients decided to postpone. Now with home sales picking back up in the last two weeks, Callender is urging sellers to move forward, betting that life — and her city’s real estate market — will soon be back to normal.
“I have a listing coming up in Locust Point, which is a very desirable location,” says Callender, who hopes the house will soon fetch the $485,000 asking price. “The seller was on the fence…but when I sat down with them and showed them how quickly homes are selling in the city, they decided they want to list their home now to avoid missing out on a hot market.”
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Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.
Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyperactive market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”
These days, knowing how to sell a house isn’t as simple as sticking a “For Sale” sign on your lawn. Times have changed—and the good news is the market is largely tilting in your favor.
“It’s undeniably a seller’s market,” says Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Neenah, WI. In other words, buyers are demanding homes, but there isn’t much inventory on the market nationally. Plus, half of home buyers are worried about rising interest rates and looking to lock into a home soon. As a result, “there is pressure on buyers to submit offers quickly, and to offer full or even above list price,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA.
All of this puts sellers squarely in the driver’s seat—which can be a lot of pressure if your GPS is broken and you don’t know how to navigate this new world. Consider this your crash course in getting up to speed.