My last newsletter was written in late January, prior to the onset of the spring market, and served as a forecast as to where it is that I thought the local real estate market was headed. Now that our outlandish accumulation of snow has (mostly) melted away and the market has begun to define itself, I thought that it would be a good time to review what’s going on.
Despite the oppressive cold (remember, February was the coldest month ever recorded in the city of Rochester) my team and I enjoyed a remarkable 55% increase in our sales over the first two months of last year. Just as we prepared to open a vintage bottle of Tattinger, the market came to an abrupt halt and we found that, like the town of Arendelle in the Disney classic, it had frozen solid. Nothing was moving and I couldn’t understand why. I began to approach each of the forty or so homeowners who had told me that they were going to list in the spring and I asked them what was preventing them from putting their home on the market for sale. As if in unison, they announced that, rather than prepare their homes for market in the months of January and February, they instead enjoyed another cup of hot chocolate and threw yet another log into the fireplace. As the month of March wore on (and I became more despondent) I was made aware that there were 600 fewer properties on the market for sale in Greater Rochester than there were in the middle of March in 2015. It seems that the entire community was late in awakening from their winter hibernation and, by extension, late in painting dad’s den a warm shade of Frosty Mocha. I quickly realized that I had two options- 1) Catch up on what was happening with television’s most loveable family, the Kardashians or 2) Get to work. I quickly chose option two.
The chicken/egg that I needed to address had to do with the fact that my sellers, now prepped for market, suddenly didn’t want to list because there was no product for them to look at and, ultimately, buy. As I pondered a solution, I wondered, “What would Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney do?” and I suddenly found my answer. As a team, we had more than 40 anxious buyers and an equal number of prospective sellers. Taking my cue from Bea Arthur in Fiddler on the Roof, I began to introduce our buyers to our sellers telling our buyers that, if interested, they could write an offer on one of these properties with the following understanding: The sellers would have upwards of six months to allow the market to open up and find suitable property. Our buyers were so interested in finding a great house to purchase that they quickly agreed to these terms. On April 1st, we sang along with Zero Mostel as we uncorked that vintage champagne and celebrated the fact that our first quarter sales had increased a full 28% over the first quarter of last year.
My prediction, moving forward, is that sellers will, in the short term, continue to control the market. There just aren’t enough listings to sate the needs of all of the many buyers who are out there. As the next few weeks pass, a greater number of listings will begin to come on the market and, as a result, the ability that sellers currently have will begin to wane. In other words, if you’re thinking of selling, get your home on the market immediately!