There is a laundry lists of issues that create stress when buying or selling a home*. Market conditions, the loan approval process, finding the right property, dealing with the seller and a “bad fit” real estate agent. Some argue that selling is even more stressful, There are some great links at the bottom with advice on minimizing stress for both sellers and buyers. These sources contain invaluable information that would apply anywhere. Local active realtor Guy Abernathey and local retired realtor Paula Castiglione weigh in with specific tips of their own regarding Delaware beach towns.
“Because the current market is so tight, buyers should be looking for agents that really have the pulse of the local market because often sales transpire before they actually hit the market,” says Castiglione. “With the use of the ‘Coming Soon’ tool now used, people are submitting bids without seeing properties hoping to move to the top of the sellers acceptable list. Cash is king and that is what is driving the price increases as some properties wouldn’t appraise due to prior comps”.
New construction popping up in the region bring with them a different set of issues. “New construction holds its own pitfalls. It is easy for buyers to see a model and get sucked in”, Castiglione cautions. “Again, a savvy professional should be able to help find the right mix of quality and price. I would also suggest an independent inspection by an independent inspector.”
“Every buyer I have met is ‘looking for a deal,’” says Abernathey. “In today’s market, a deal is WINNING a home! Today’s buyers need knowledge to navigate comfortably through the process and advance preparation is a must for them to be successful”. According to him, they will need to be prepared to make the strongest offer (and make it first) to be competitive. Multiple offers are common in about 30% of all transactions, compared to approximately 2% in 2019. Competitive listings (desirable properties in terms of condition, amenities, location, and price) are selling faster than local real estate agents can market and advertise them.
“I would tell buyers now if they can afford a $500K property, only look at properties below $450K because to win it they will probably have to go over asking price,” says Castiglione.
Abernathey thinks 2022 will continue as a seller’s market but not as robust as 2021, partially due to rising interest rates. “Remember to set the stage”, he says. “From applying a fresh coat of paint (a neutral shade) to rearranging furniture, it is important to ensure the property is visually ready to make the right first impression with buyers. Then market materials should be prepared utilizing professional photographs, illustrative floorplans, video tours and writing the listing description”. He advises clients to think about what information a buyer needs to make an offer, even without seeing the property firsthand.
Castiglione agrees. She shares that you don’t have to go as far as paying a “stager” but neutralizing a house so buyers could picture their things in the house is key (they need to see how they would live it in). “Declutter and de-personalize, “she advises. If a home is older, update bedding, linens etc. “Today’s buyers don’t want to really do much. Pricing a home appropriately is the first step and Zillow isn’t the answer. Get a professional to give you a ‘today’ price based on actual comps”.
SO, in this brave new world, here is the BEST strategy: Organize your team (so you’re prepared to face it all and fast)- Financing, Realtor, Home Inspection.
*Finance of America: Why Buying a Home is Stressful (and how to minimize the stress)
*Zillow’s: How to minimize stress for buyers and sellers
Stay Tuned: Abernathey and Castiglione will share their perspectives on what to consider on how to buy or sell in Part Two.
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist