Decisions Decisions

Deciding to buy or sell can be a spontaneous act or one well planned in advance, and in either scenario there is no shortage of choices to be made.

The 2020 real estate market has been unlike any other when it comes to the impact of the pandemic on the seasonal trends. As spring unfolded, which traditionally escalates the activity, buyers faced the question of whether or not to venture out to look and would-be sellers were reluctant to go on the market given all the health concerns and uncertainties.

The unusual slowdown began Week 14, hit the low point Week 21, and then shifted into high gear Week 35. The downward trend that normally develops in late summer has not yet materialized even as we approach the holidays.

In the midst of the pandemic the path forward was as clear as driving through a torrential rain limiting visibility of the cars ahead and even the center stripe.

In hindsight, late May (instead of usual early spring) would have been a good time to list a home for sale, and still is, as inventory remains extraordinarily low compared to the past 10 years.

On the flip side, buyers had similar concerns; e.g., is it safe to venture out to see vacant as well as occupied homes, what about near term and long term employment disruptions? Buyers that waited for more certain times now find most of the good stuff gone and less desirable or possibly overpriced homes remain.

Working with a Realtor with local market knowledge has always been a good idea, for both buyers and sellers.

Given the limited inventory a Realtor specializing in a very specific area may bring additional value to buyers as the need to discover off market property escalates. And, the break with the usual market cycle may lead homeowners who desire to make a move to hire a Realtor with a particular knowledge of their area and price range to gain the needed confidence and comfort needed to proceed.

Brady Miller has a very specific audience and client-centric business model.

The audience is the single family detached residential resales, generally priced $600,000+, in four Elementary Schools of East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge that feed Dickerson and Dodgen Middle Schools and in turn Walton High School.

  • For buyers, the goal is help secure the deal or ideal home on the first attempt in the least amount of time.
  • For sellers, the objective is to prepare them and position the property such they have the best opportunity to net more in less time.

The Miller Group Realty (MGR) business model is one that places a premium on client interest ahead of transaction volume and pursuing a metro-wide practice involving condos, townhomes, multi-family, land, lots, commercial property and leasing/rentals as a generalist. There are no distractions associated with time intensive new construction listings or conflicts arising from the buying, renovating, and selling of investment property for self interest.

Having an exclusive focus on a specific audience, working were he and his family lives, and engaging fewer (2 or 3) clients at a time translates into a better overall experience.

Thanks to Ashley McBroom Photography for this awesome family treasure!

Contact Brady without obligation to discuss your particular situation, and visit http://www.WaltonStats.com to view weekly, monthly, and quarterly MGR curated stats that include higher value price ranges down to the elementary school level.

Walton High School Higher Value Market

A couple of interesting points to make after collecting and viewing the most recent Walton monthly data for single family detached resales.

The normal shape of the line chart representing the number of Walton Active Listings in all price ranges changed in 2020. The typical cyclical trend is represented by a steep increase early in the year, peaking early to mid summer, and then slowly declining through the remainder of the year. This year’s activity still had the mid-year bell shaped curve one would expect however it never reached the early summer highs of previous years. The later half of 2020 thus far has shown the same general rate of decline although reaching a low not seen over the past four years. The same narrative applies to the higher value ($600k+) Walton market.

New construction Active Listings (that includes under construction and to be built) numbers were fairly consistent from Oct ’16 through Oct ’19. Since then the number of Active Listings have been declining.

Comparing the number of Active Listings (inventory) for the month of October, going back to 2015, it appears that seller’s of higher value ($600k+) homes had a more difficult time attracting buyers. Specifically, about 65% of all Active Listings in Oct ’20 were over $600k compared to the fairly consistent 45% experienced in the previous five Octobers.

Where to look if planning to make a Walton purchase in East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek or Timber Ridge:

  • under $600k in Mount Bethel and East Side
  • $600s in East Side and Sope Creek
  • $700s in Mount Bethel and Sope Creek
  • $800s – $1m in East Side and Sope Creek
  • $1m – $1.5m in East Side and Sope Creek
  • over $1.5m in Sope Creek

Buyers not finding their ideal Walton home should approach Brady to discuss their situation. Perhaps his exclusive hyperlocal focus can best prepare the buyer to make a successful offer on a new listing as well as to identify potential off market properties.

A Very Active Walton Housing Market

The featured image charts the cumulative number of Walton High School resale binding contracts in East Side, Mt Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge priced over $600k through Week 43 (ending Oct 23rd for this year) for years 2015 -2020.

Which line represents 2020?

Hint…2020 is like The Little Engine That Could, the black line, steadily out performing previous years. Few would have forecasted this back in March and April when the pandemic was increasingly spreading, businesses were closing and unemployment filings began to skyrocket.

Buyers have little to choose from the remaining Active Listings. And, homeowners with an Active Listing have to be asking themselves, “Why is my house not selling?”.

The following quantifies the feelings. Given the above criteria, the average Active Listing FMLS Total Days On Market is 129. However, and in comparison, MGR research reveals that homeowners first went public with their sales effort almost 250 days on average (after removing the top and bottom 10% of the Active Listings when ranked by TDOM).

See these and other weekly tracking illustrations by clicking here. And contact Brady to discuss the particulars of your ideal Walton or East Cobb home search, or to discuss the prospects of selling in the current market environment.

How’s The Market, in Walton?

The featured image represents the number of higher value ($600k+) single family detached resale Active Listings in four elementary schools (East Side, Mt Bethel, Sope Creek, Timber Ridge) that feed into Walton High School.

It is not surprising to see the dip that occurred earlier in the year when the virus took hold in the U.S. It also may not be unexpected this year to see the typical spring activity pushed out a few months as the news outlets reported a bounce or recovery in the market after the nationwide shutdown began to ease. And of course one hears again and again that the housing inventory is low, mortgage rates are the lowest ever, and the pandemic panic is being replaced by the in-town get-out-of-Dodge movement to the suburbs as everyone needs more space to work and school virtually from home.

The following chart is helpful for those of us that like visuals, as it puts into perspective what is happening in your world…assuming you are part of the hyperlocal market described in the opening.

The activity over the last 11 years can be divided into three phases which can be described as following.

  • The first phase of 2010 – 2012 generally represents the pent-up demand coming out of the housing market recession that began in 2007 and persisted into 2009.
  • The second phase of 2013 and 2014, which had lower numbers (refer to the table below), was a cooling off period from the excitement in the recent previous years as homeowners evaluated the market and their motivation.
  • The third phase that we are in now and began in 2015 saw an increase in the number of homeowners taking action to place their home on the market with a growing confidence in the outcome; i.e., a sale at an acceptable and predictable price.

What will occur the remainder of 2020 and next year is up for discussion on the mainstream news and social media, at upcoming holiday parties and around the table at local establishment. What we know now is that although the number of Active Listings is not at its lowest in the past 11 years, it is near bottom. That can bode well for homeowners wanting to sell, and be a stumbling block for those wanting to purchase.

I prepare daily for the opportunity to best serve my client’s interest.

Visit my website to learn more about my business model, the Best Home Marketing approach to selling, and to view a number of Walton stats by price range and elementary school.

WaltonStats.com

WaltonUpdate.com

MillerGroupRealty.com

BestHomeMarketing.com

Bloom or Bug?

Bloom or bug? What gets you thinking about making a move?

Blooms are about to appear with spring just around the corner. We don’t need a calendar to know it. Our eyes and nose tell us. Warmer weather. More sunshine. Greener grass. Homeowners transform into amateur gardeners. And perennials, shrubs and trees show us with new growth out of the ground or on old wood, and, yes, shortly thereafter blooms. Visual images and sense of smell are powerful motivators.

The bug in this case is not the insect but the emotion and mindset that prompts one to begin a search online, visit an Open House, drive neighborhoods, converse with friends, pause social media feeds displaying new construction, peruse a luxury home magazine, tune-in a DIY program, or swear off that home repair budget buster?

The arrival of spring and early summer drives activity in the metro Atlanta area. This graph of 2019 is similarly repeated year after year. The seasonal trend is pretty consistent.

2019 Walton Resale New Listings By Month

Miller Group Realty has an exclusive focus on this market. Contract Brady to discuss your plans.

First Time On The Market

First time on the market by the original owner in East Cobb, and more specifically the Walton, Dickerson, East Side school district and the luxury home community of Avignon.

5 beds, 4.5 baths, full basement, 0.57 acres, full 4-sides brick!

Spend time on 3771riverly.com to discover all this home offers, seller’s disclosures and offer information. Enjoy the heated salt water pool, spa and waterfalls now. Finish the 2,100+ full size basement at your leisure.

“I Know My Way Around The Kitchen”

I know my way around the kitchen is often used to communicate ones cooking skills.

Likewise, I know the local area is commonly used by real estate agents to immediately connect with a prospective buyer or seller.

“Know” is vague and without more information it is impossible to grasp a cook’s or agent’s level of expertise. Both expressions could be used by someone being very humble about their high level accomplishments. On the other hand, the expressions could purposefully be nondescript hoping the other party will assume the best and what they want to hear. Continue reading ““I Know My Way Around The Kitchen””

Know Your Obligations

Know your obligations. Put more bluntly, know the law. This applies to those selling a house with or without a listing agent. And, whatever advice is directed at sellers often applies to buyers, and vice versa.

The duty to disclose is a very important topic and was recently addressed by Seth Weissman, long time general counsel to the Georgia Association of Realtors. (Don’t take any action based on this information, instead seek legal advice from a real estate attorney.)

The featured image does not tell you much about the house and appears to say, “HERE IT IS!”, leaving it up to the buyer to find the good, bad and ugly. Notating that a property is being sold as-is and/or without a disclosure seems to be an all too common strategy among investors, heirs and even owner occupants to sidestep their obligation.

Sellers – Regardless of the circumstances or conditions of the sale the seller is legally obligated to report latent defects of which they are aware and which a buyer could not discover through a reasonable inspection.

With this understanding it may seem the way forward is clear. But what about when:

  • A seller does not want to disclose a latent defect because the previous owner who must have known did not disclose.
  • A seller disagrees with a pre-listing inspection or one produced by a buyer.
  • A seller receives but does not read the buyer’s inspection report.
  • A buyer ignores a seller’s instructions and sends the inspection report anyway.
  • A seller asks the listing agent not to divulge a material defect that is unlikely to be discovered.

Buyers – Conduct your due diligence or forever hold your peace! There is little to no chance of winning a case against a seller if the issue could have been discovered through a reasonable inspection of the property, including current and pending zoning, boundary lines, flood insurance rates, past insurance claims, city/county/state long range plans, sex offender whereabouts, etc.

 

 

 

Home Improvement Plans?

Home improvement plans? Two more things to consider.

First, is a building permit required? This question usually creates a lot of discussion, most of which seems to favor avoiding the process or downplaying the need as if it is optional.

The county has defined the work requiring a permit, and without question there are some gray areas and permitting does impact the financial and scheduling components of a project. Homeowner reasoning not to have work permitted may be shortsighted.

Often I hear a seller disclose, when asked, that the work in question was done without a permit but they are quick to point out that it was performed by a licensed contractor or a licensed tradesman. In most every case, the seller is unable to name the “licensed” person or company! It surprises me how often buyers proceed on hearsay and don’t attempt to negotiate an offset in price for the real or perceived added risk.

Second, the impact on the Guaranteed Home Replacement Cost feature of the home insurance policy. Have a conversation with the insurance agent before, during or immediately after the work is complete to be sure there is sufficient coverage in the event of a loss. Based on limited personal research, it appears that permitting (or lack thereof) is not a factor in determining insurance premiums and claim payout.

With that said, it is my personal belief that erring on the side of getting work permitted has little downside compared to the range of issues* that may occur from not pulling a permit when it is clear that one is required.

* potential higher sales price, less time on market, safety, etc.

Why Is The House Not Selling?

“Why is the house not selling?” is a question raised by owners as well as prospective buyers when a listing clocks long days on market. Some reasons most often given include it being over priced, lackluster marketing, the market, agent not proactive, off-peak season, etc. Perhaps the most overlooked is advertising errors. Continue reading “Why Is The House Not Selling?”