Leaving Money on the Table

Demand for Charlotte real estate continues to be strong almost three months into the new year. The biggest challenge the industry faces is a lack of supply, and this issue has created its own set of concerns. Having been very active in the business for 18 years, I have seen all markets from the buyer’s market to the seller’s market and everything in between. Different markets require different strategies.

When I meet with a new seller, I assume that the number one goal is to help them get the most money possible for their home. Now, I know what happens when one assumes, so I’m also careful to ask questions to make sure that my assumption is correct. But it’s rare that a seller will tell me that something other than maximizing price is the driving factor.

For this reason, I’m concerned that there may be wide spread misunderstanding going on in our market right now. Real estate has always been the largest investment that a person makes in their lifetime, yet this current market has me witnessing people leaving money on the table due to basic misunderstanding of the real estate market fundamentals.

Due to lack of supply, multiple offers are a very common occurrence when a great house hits the market. For the owner of the real estate, this is an opportunity to allow buyers to compete for their home, often resulting in over asking price offers and is ultimately how a maximum price is obtained. When a home is openly listed on the market, it allows for all ready, willing and able buyers to become aware of the opportunity and to make their best offer.

In the past week, my team has listed three homes and all received a high number of offers. We helped the sellers prepare for market, set expectations about the showing process, and allowed each one to show for a few days so that interested buyers had a chance to participate. The result for each homeowner was a strategic and intentional process to vet each buyer’s willingness and ability to close, and allowing them to select the offer that best suited their needs. I’m thrilled to say that we have three very happy homeowners and respectively, there are three very happy buyers!

There is a very simple and professional way to handle a real estate sale in this seemingly hectic market. So why then are so many buyers missing out on opportunities to tour homes and make offers? The answer is not because “this market is crazy.” It is lack of understanding about how the process can work, if done right.

When a buyer knocks on your door and tells you they’d like to buy your house, remember that entertaining this offer means losing leverage and the competitive nature of the market. It means leaving money on the table and wasting time on a sale with a higher likelihood of not closing. When you list a home in ‘Coming Soon’ status and accept an offer before anyone has the chance to see the house in person, once again, leverage and competition are lost and the buyer is more likely to get “cold feet” after they finally visit in person.

There is a right way to sell a home in any market in order to maximize equity and save time, stress, and avoid unexpected losses during the closing process. It starts with keeping a cool head and getting educated on the basics of how to sell your largest investment the right way.

This week we’ll publish the market stats for Mecklenburg County single family home sales comparing January to the previous month and again to last year. You can also view the stats on our website. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Home sales are down 33% from last month, but up 13% from last year.
  • Average sales price is down 2% from last month, but up 12% from last year.
  • Median sales price is even with last month, but up 17% from last year.
  • Average price per square foot is up 1% from last month and 15% from last year.
  • Average time on market is even with last month, but down 56% from last year.
  • Pending sales are up 14% from last month and 15% from last year.
  • Supply is up 6% from last month, but down 24% from last year.
  • Mortgage rates at 2.74% are about the same as last month, but down from 3.62% last year.
  • Average house payment is down 1% from last month and even with last year.

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