September Marks the ‘Calm Before the Storm’ in Sarasota and Manatee’s Housing Market
September 2021 sales were slower than 2020. A September slowdown is to be expected and perfectly normal for this time of year in Sarasota & Manatee counties. We are still low on inventory and will remain so in the months to come.
Homes still go under contract in about a week. The average closed sale price is still at 100% of asking price and has been for several months. What this means is we have some homes selling for over asking price and homes selling for under asking price. We aren't necessarily seeing the crazy over ask prices some areas of the country are.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
Sellers are essentially writing their own ticket these days. You will likely have a choice of offers with different prices and different conditions. You can choose based on what suits your situation best. Do you need to have a long closing or a lease-back to find your next home? Not to worry, that is absolutley a condition you can write into your listing. Some things, however, are changing that you should be aware of:
- "Love letters" are a hot topic right now and many brokerages and associations don't like them for fear they will create a Fair Housing issue. I would refrain from accepting them.
- Buyers want to see detailed proof of price if you use an escalation clause they submitted. Be sure you and your Realtor can provide all of the steps that got you to that price. The easiest and less liable solution is to ask for highest and best from everyone
- You can set your showing hours! If you go away for a weekend or are very flexible for 1-4 days of open houses and a rash of showings, you'll get that part over with quickly into the sale. If you will only allow specific hours and/or days, you may ver well linger on the market.
- Buyers are pushing back on appraisal gaps. If you aren't completely sure the finance offer will have an acceptable appraisal, you may want to go with the lower cash offer. Unless, of course, you are willing to lower your price once that appraisal comes in
- Professional photography, staging, and appropriate markting will still get you the best price for your house. You want to attract the right buyer and you want them to see that you do take good care of your home. Bad photography and a mess, cluttered house will subliminally give your buyer the impression you aren't taking care of your house and the offer will reflect that.
Buyers, there is more hope! The feeding frenzy seems to be over. We are seeing fewer offers on houses and fewer crazy offers. You still need to be prepared.
- Have that preapproval (not prequalification) in hand for the top amount you are comfortable paying. Make sure it is current; 60 days old or less is the norm.
- If you are paying cash, have the proof ready. Having to contact your financial advisor or banker on a Saturday could mean you lose the house you just found
- If you are willing to use an appraisal gap, make sure you understand them. If you don't ask and ask again until you do.
- Escalation clauses are being outright rejected by many sellers and agents. The path we have to chart showing how your incremental escalation can be cumbersome. This is especially so when there are multiple offers with escalation clauses. I've seen sellers just come back to buyers with the top amount of the submitted escalation clause as a counter. Just submit the highest you are willing to pay for the house.
- You may not get the first house you make an offer on, especially in certain price points. Be prepared now as it can become an emotional time.
As always, lean heavily on your trusted Realtor. We've been navigating this market for well over a year now and can help you get your goal.