Understanding the Current Real Estate Market



Right now, it is a hot real estate market. One could compare the current market to "Charleston hot" in August when humidity and heat mix for uncomfortable and sticky perspiration. We have less than 2,000 active listings and rising prices: the typical result of low inventory and high demand. Couple this with low interest rates - buyers' demand is even more insatiable. We haven't seen anything quite like it in recent history. How long this type of market will last, we aren't sure - but for now, this real estate phenomena exists, especially here in the Charleston market.

 Wanting to get a better understanding of this market and its implications for buyers and sellers, I asked several real estate agents a few questions and to share their thoughts with me:

What impact is the current real estate market having on buyers?

Buyers are nervous.  They know they could be in multiple offer situations and when they lose a home, they get frustrated.  Some buyers that do not have to move are backing off.  Prices in our area are going up and making homes out of reach for many.  Those buyers are moving further out, which can mean higher commute costs.  Overall, this market does have its downside.

Franne Schwarb, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker

 

The lack of inventory is the biggest issue buyers are facing. Homes that are well staged and in good repair are selling at a premium price right now. Buyers are able to pay the higher prices because mortgage rates are still so low, but most don't really want to do a lot of work once they buy. 

Noah Moore, Realtor®, Carolina One Real Estate

 

It is definitely putting a sense of urgency on buyers, and rightly so.  Our inventory from late fall to now, which was already low at that time, has now been cut in half.  Multiple offer situations, but buyers still want close to perfection on homes; ideally, most do not want to do any renovations or improvements.

Kim Meyer, Realtor ®, Keller Williams Realty

 

What is the pulse of sellers right now?

Some sellers think they can ask anything for their home and get it.  I like to call that a "wish price".  We will list a house for whatever a seller wants us to, but they must keep in mind that it has to appraise and if they get greedy it could sit on the market.  We don't know what the future will hold and the market can turn.

Franne Schwarb, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker


There are a lot of people selling so they can move closer to family or have more room now that they have spent so much time at home. It seems that the biggest hold up for people not selling is the uncertainty of where they will buy next. The problem is that once you do find that perfect place it may be too late if you are not ready on your end. Although some homes are selling quickly, there is a misconception of what will sell fast. We tend to see this with homes that are put on the market that are not ready (staging, repairs, landscaping). 

Noah Moore, Realtor®, Carolina One Real Estate

 

Sellers should not stop with plans on improvements or making sure it is Real-Estate-Ready, and that's where staging comes in.   

Kim Meyer, Realtor ®, Keller Williams Realty

 

What advice would you offer to homeowners who are considering selling in the next couple of months?

 Use a REALTOR®.  There is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent.  Do your homework and make sure your agent does the same.  Know your competition.  My best advice: use a stager.  You don't get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.  

 Franne Schwarb, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker

 

Work with professionals. Have your home ready so you don't run into surprises at every corner. Think of what you would want if you were purchasing a new home for yourself. Ensure your home is professionally photographed, get professional advice for staging your home, and get a pre-inspection for your home. Do all of these things with a purpose so you can quickly get your home on the market. It is the perfect time!  

Noah Moore, Realtor®, Carolina One Real Estate

Curb appeal a must; fresh paint, plantings, even house numbers make a difference in addition to having the interior clean, tidy, and expertly staged.

Kim Meyer, Realtor ®, Keller Williams Realty

Based on the answers of these real estate professionals, it is clear that while the market is hot, sellers should still be aware that a move-in ready home is the most marketable and desirable. Buyers should also be ready to make offers quickly, given the low inventory and eagerness of buyers. No matter what market, professional staging is a necessary component that these Realtors® value and recommend. 

Lorelie Brown, M.A., CPRES, CID is the Owner of Showhomes Charleston in Charleston, SC.  RESA-PRO member, an HSRA-Elite Member and part of HSRA Elite Leadership. She is passionate about the power of home staging and has staged over $300 million in real estate.