Dear Buyers and Sellers: Here’s some very surprising news.

Even though I make it a priority to stay on top of the local real estate market and trends, I am sometimes surprised at my own findings.  For example, this past week I did a search for a buyer with a very general wish list.  They want:

1.  to live in Conway. 

2. to live in a single family stick built or modular home.

3. to spend under $150,000.

4. to have 2 or more bedrooms.

5. to have 2 or more bathrooms.

6. to have at least a 1 car garage. (attached or detached)

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I've searched each day for the past several days and guess how many homes are active and for sale on MLS with the above criterion?  

100?  50?  25?  10? 

Nope.  If you said "Only 1 home",  you are correct.  That includes resales and new construction. 

Only one!! I was curious and ran the same search with "Horry County" instead of "Conway". 

4 homes showed up on the search results. 

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What does this mean?

For buyers with a $150,000 or less budget, it means there are very limited housing choices. It means waiting and saving while carefully watching for new listings that often go into multiple offer situations and under contract almost immediately.  It means competing with all the other buyers with a 150K budget who are watching and waiting for a new listing to hit the market. 

If you are considering a home purchase, I've got a few tips that can give you an added advantage in a competitive market:

1) While other buyers are doing their own searches on sites that don't update in real time, you can have your own buyer's agent who will inform you the minute a new listing hits the market or a price reduction puts an existing listing in your price range. I can't speak for all agents, but this is a service I provide for free to my potential buyers. There's no high pressure sales pitch. The listings can be emailed or we can set up a collaboration center where you have constant  access to real time listings.  My buyer clients can contact me immediately to find out more information or to set up showing appointments right away.  I can show my buyers any home that's for sale, not just my own listings.  Having your own buyer's agent means having someone who can represent your best interests before, during, and after the transaction for absolutely no cost to you.  There are many benefits of working with a buyer's agent. 

2) If financing is necessary, make sure you speak to a lender to find out what programs you are eligible for and get pre-approved. Now is the time to do this. Not after you find the house.  This is truly in your best interests and will minimize the risk of losing the property to a buyer who is prepared to move forward instead of scrambling for a pre-approval after finding the house.

3) While you wait, make sure you pay your bills on time.  Don't make any large purchase without checking with the lender who pre-approved you. Don't trade your car, open new lines of credit, or use existing credit without checking with the lender. Follow these rules, even if you are not yet under contract. Use this time to find out things you can do that will ensure the best terms and rates when you do find the right home. 

4) Don't delay.  That doesn't mean that you should make rash and uninformed decisions, but being pre-approved and having a concise plan of action will put you in  a much better position to successfully purchase the home you want. 

For Homeowners who want or need to sell their home, the current low inventory is definitely your friend. 

If you are a homeowner who has tried unsuccessfully to sell your home in the past, things could be very different now. 

There are way less homes on the market. This is especially true of,  but not limited to, homes under $150,000. I've personally helped sellers who bought their homes only a year or so ago, who were able to recently sell for a profit due to increased equity and/or less competition. While this isn't the case for everyone, you may be very surprised to know the value of your home. If you are a homeowner who would either like to sell your house or just know how much your property is worth, here's some information for you: 

1) Find a listing agent who can provide you a free Comparative Market Analysis.  You will want a more detailed analysis later on, if you actually decide to list your home for sale. An agent will ideally visit your home for the most accurate value report, but it's optional for information purposes. A real estate agent can prepare a general report based on public record, agent tools, and information you provide about your home.  This is something that many agents, myself included, will provide as a complimentary service with no obligations or fees. 

2)If you want to go a step further, you can ask the agent to prepare what's called an 'Estimated Net Sheet'. This will show how much you would earn  on the sale of your home after the typical closing costs and prorated items are estimated.  

3) It all depends on how much equity you have in your home, but rising home prices, low interest rates, and low inventory have definitely caused a true Seller's Market in our area. There are so many home buyers who are all watching and competing for the few homes that show up in their search criteria. If you were on the fence about selling, now may be the perfect time to sell! 

4)If you want or need to sell your home, I'd love to provide the information you need to feel comfortable with your decision.  If you want to sell your home, but don't know where to start, I am available for a free and confidential consultation to go over options and strategies for your individual situation. Perhaps selling isn't your best option and you decide you would rather keep your home and save money on your monthly mortgage. I'm happy to help with that as well. 

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I'm here for you, even if you just have  general real estate questions.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

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