Stella was slated to arrive in about half an hour. As is always the case when you’re expecting a guest, there is always a flurry of last minute activity to accomplish. So, at 2:30 in the afternoon on March 14th, my team listed a $230,000 property for sale on Rosebud Trail in Webster. Then, moments before this year’s big snow storm hit us with her full force, they ran out the door and headed home. Collectively, Rochesterians hunkered down, wrapping themselves in blankets while opening great bottles of Burgundy and stoking blazing fires to fortify themselves against the frigid onslaught. Personally, I reminisced about Buffalo in the year 1977 when I was a 12 year old, excited to know that the following day was going to be a snow day! Knowing that I was going to sleep in a bit late and luxuriate through an easier day (something that I don’t typically enjoy during the spring market) I stayed up until midnight, read a bit more of Richard Branson’s great biography and closed my eyes.
The next morning, I threw on a pair of shorts and laced up my sneakers as I prepared to go upstairs and get in some cardio. As I threw myself into one of the large chairs in the living room, I began dialing my office voice mail knowing that it would only take a moment to retrieve whatever errant message was left for me that morning. Somehow, the morning passed into afternoon and afternoon turned into early evening and I never actually got around to burning off the previous night’s Pasta Carbonara. Remarkably, ten hours had elapsed and I was just finishing the last of my calls, rising from my makeshift desk, exhausted by the onslaught of spring market demands.
So, what exactly happened during those ten hours? I ended up selling five houses including that property on Rosebud Trail. Lori Mason, a rather intrepid agent with the Penfield Nothnagle office, must have commandeered a snow plow in the midst of the county-imposed travel ban. How else was she able to make it over the Bay Bridge to ensure that her clients were the first to walk through the property? I can only assume that they were tired of the prospect of engaging in another bidding war or losing out on another opportunity. They wrote an offer $7,000 over asking price- with no other competition- in exchange for our agreement to cancel the appointments that a small army of buyers had scheduled for the following day. Welcome to the crazy world of this year’s spring real estate market!
As we near the end of the first quarter of the year, some startling statistics are starting to emerge locally.
· Sales for the month of Februarydeclined 17% over sales for the samemonth last year
· The number of listings decreased 30% from February of last year!
· Prices have increased 10.8% year over year No wonder buyers are parading through the streets, kicking in doors and throwing bricks through windows! There’s just no product available for them to purchase!
What does this mean for prospective participants in this year’s market?
If you’re a seller, you’re clearly in the driver’s seat. The big question that you have to ask yourself is, “What price should I list my house for?” Too high and you won’t get any offers. Too low and you’ll sell but you’ll potentially leave money on the table. The real art comes about as a result of pricing it in such a way that you list it high enough to sell without languishing on the market or listing it at a price that will engender a bidding war. Of late, I’ve begun telling a number of prospective sellers that my job really isn’t about selling their home. Instead, my job has been transformed to one in which my responsibility is to sell their home for an outrageous sum of money. I’m glad to report that I’m actually really good at my new job!
Buyers, on the other hand, are obviously having a much more difficult time of it. If a good property comes on the market and it’s located on a good street and it’s priced appropriately, it will sell within 24 hours. (Actually, it doesn’t even have to have a great location. Ask me sometime about the bidding war that we created when I was asked to sell a great little house located next to a gas station in Brighton!) There are quite a number of strategies that my team and I employ to ensure that our clients prevail in a bidding war. I won’t tell you all of them. After all, we do want you to have reason to call into the office! However, I will tell you that we, inordinately, prevail when engaged in a bidding war. In order to whet your appetite, here are a few suggestions:
· If possible, increase the amount of your earnest money deposit
· Attach your pre-approval letter to the contract
· Write an offer for as much as you feel you would want to pay without overpaying. In other words, if another offer prevails, what is the most that you would have offered without feeling remorse that somebody else paid more?
We’re more than glad to continue divulging some of the other secrets to our success. Give us a call and we’ll schedule some time to have you come in!
Finally, despite such tough market conditions, I’m thrilled to report that our team is enjoying sales in the first quarter that are 15% higher than the same period last year. Rochester has come to understand that our team’s commitment to marketing and our commitment to customer service are really making a difference. I think that the community has finally come to recognize that a large team of individual experts can really have an impact on the level of enjoyment and the financial success of a transaction. You wouldn’t expect that your physician is going to schedule the appointment for you to meet nor would you expect him or her to take your blood pressure or draw your blood. Likewise, sellers and buyers have come to understand that, while it’s important for contracts to be scanned and e-mailed, there are probably better uses of my time. I’ll remain focused on my areas of expertise (negotiating, networking, coordinating and selling) and I’ll have my crew of specialists- our listing coordinator, transaction coordinator, social media coordinator, and client concierge- ensure that our clients walk away satisfied and grateful.
We’re having a great time this year working with our clients to help them fulfill their real estate goals and dreams. If you would like to talk over the phone or perhaps schedule some time to get together, feel free to give me a call. I would welcome the opportunity!
I can be reached at 461-6375. Thanks!