Whether or not you are actively looking to buy or sell this year, chances are you have heard a bit about the Charlotte real estate market or at least spent some evenings scrolling through Zillow listings just for fun. News outlets and industry experts alike all have shared how low mortgage rates and even lower levels of available housing inventory have spurred buyer demand and a highly-competitive market. If you read Genevieve’s 2021 Market Forecast last month, you know that Charlotte ranks as one of the top housing markets in the country this year, but what does that mean for you if you are thinking about making a move? We are sharing some of the frequently-asked questions we receive from our clients, friends, and neighbors to shed a little more light…

What can sellers expect if they are selling their home this spring?

January and February listings always provide an indicator of what spring, real estate’s busiest season, will be like (with the exception of last year’s unforeseen pandemic). Without a doubt, the Charlotte real estate market is hot and we are in a strong seller’s market. Spring 2021 sellers can anticipate their home selling quickly, likely in the first few days on the market, and oftentimes with multiple offers that drive the purchase price above asking. This may sound like a slam dunk, but, in order to obtain top dollar for their home, sellers must still prepare their home for market and do the necessary checklist items to have their home in peak condition and ready for sale.

What can buyers expect?

With such low housing inventory, buyers can expect that the competition to purchase a home will be fierce. Buyers will need to have their finances in order from the get-go to be competitive. Many buyers are going to lose out on their first, and even second or third, offer attempts to another buyer who has been in the market longer and, thus, more aggressive in their offer approach based on their recent experiences. Realistically, buyers should be ready to pay over asking price and offer a high due diligence fee.

We are in a seller’s market. Does this mean that all sellers should expect their home to sell for top dollar?

If the home’s condition, location, and listing price align, yes, sellers can anticipate getting top dollar. If not, the home can sit on the market and sellers can lose out on thousands of dollars as the days on market grow. It doesn’t matter what the market state is, it is always imperative to properly prepare your home to go on market.

What are some key reasons why some houses don’t sell?

Whether presenting your home to buyers touring in-person or to potential buyers browsing the internet, impression matters so, again, preparation is key. From paint touch-ups and decluttering to unaddressed repairs and improper staging for awkward floor plans, our team can advise you on how to put your home in its best light. Another reason homes don’t sell quickly is going too aggressive with pricing. Ultimately, the market decides what the price of a home is because it is what buyers are willing to pay for it. Driving traffic to your home is essential so having a price that is completely out of line with the condition and location oftentimes prevents online buyers from taking the next step of taking an in-person tour.

Given the low inventory and competitive market, is it still a good time for buyers to buy?

Absolutely! Interest rates are at a historic low, which is a big factor in affordability. Plus, Charlotte is a booming city with no signs of slowing down. Real estate is still a very solid investment.

What should buyers be aware of if they encounter a bidding war?

Making an offer that is contingent upon you selling your current home simply won’t make you competitive with multiple offers on the table. We can talk you through a customized approach that is best for your circumstances, but taking steps to not make yourself a contingent buyer– whether that is selling your home first, pulling a line of equity on your current home, or going the cash route if that is an option– can make a big difference. Be prepared to lay all of your cards on the table to win a multiple offer situation. To some clients, it can feel like you are overpaying, but with Charlotte’s growth, it won’t feel that way six months from now.

What can buyers do to set themselves apart?

Writing a compelling letter to the sellers can make you stand out from other offers and gives the sellers an opportunity to know a little more about you instead of only your offer terms. As your agent, we will also make sure we are in touch with the seller’s agent to find out what is most important to them. Tailoring your offer to what specifically matters to the seller is always a win!

Is it possible to buy a home and sell your home simultaneously?

Of course– we do it all the time for clients! However, the timing piece is usually the most stressful part of the process for our clients since there are a lot of moving pieces. This is exactly why you need a whole team behind you and on your side every step of the way!

What are some of the easiest and cost-effective things sellers can do to their home before listing that will have the greatest impact?

Decluttering and having a thoughtful staging plan with your existing furniture and decor is both free and high-impact. It gives buyers a great first impression, can highlight the best features of a space, and can give a room a clearly-defined purpose. Paint touch-ups and small paint projects are low-cost and immediately freshen up a space. Also, landscaping — it typically has a 100% return on investment.

What are some items every buyer should inquire about for a home they are interested in?

Getting inside a home to tour it very quickly when it lists will give you as much time as possible to think about it in this fast-paced market. In many situations, our clients only have a day or so to think about a home before the best and final deadline is called. Ask the sellers about their timeframe, read through the home’s disclosures, drive through the neighborhood, and ask questions. Be sure to take your time when you are viewing the home by looking at rooms more than once, fully walking around the outdoor spaces, and opening closets and storage areas. You may have to make a decision on such an important investment having only seen the home in person for 30 minutes to an hour so be sure to take it all in.

What’s a common mistake that buyers make?

It is such a victory for buyers to get a house they love under contract. Competition is a part of the process in this market, but it can be a mistake for buyers to have a win-at-all-costs mentality.  Buying a home is likely the largest investment you will ever make so you need to be comfortable with both the house and your finances. Focus on submitting a highly-competitive offer on houses that you truly love and can picture yourself living in and don’t feel defeated if you lose out on a house. Then once under contract, realize that you and the sellers have the same ultimate goal of closing the transaction. Be prepared to negotiate repairs, address any appraisal hurdles, and rent-back scenarios. It is important not to view these added negotiations as a time for one party to win and one party to lose. The goal is win-win!

What about sellers?

A mistake sellers can make is declining a showing or placing too many restrictions on when potential buyers can view the home. Even in this market, a buyer whose showing is declined is very unlikely to return. Simply put, the harder it is show a home, the harder it is to sell it.

Do you have some additional questions about buying or selling in this market? We would love to help and are always here to guide you through. Contact us anytime!