As I write this, there are only 8 houses on the market in Wellesley, 5 Needham, and 17 in Weston. It's quite interesting that Weston has so many more homes for sale, but they are mostly over the $3M mark and have been on MLS for an average of 150 days. Weston has almost 1/3 the population of Needham/Wellesley, yet the market there is traditionally just a little bit slower than the surrounding towns.
In Belmont, we just listed a beautiful classic colonial built in the 1930’s and loaded with charm. We had 12 showings Thursday, and nearly 30 parties on Friday, which included an open house. With the snow, the seller decided not to host any appointments or open houses today, so we will work around the storm. The plan is for business to resume on Sunday, and offers to be reviewed Monday at 1pm. This should give buyers plenty of time to see the house, have a pre-inspection if they choose, and put together a thoughtful offer.
The Feds will raise rates again in March, so there will be another uptick of the mortgage rates in the coming months. Clearly the increase a few weeks ago had no impact on our market. Perhaps there is a slight sense of even more urgency to lock in a rate before they inch up again, but with no houses for sale it’s tough for buyers to have that kind of control. A mortgage broker did remind me this week though, that even if we get to 4%, that is historically low.
As some of you may know, my passion for real estate is also channeled into being an investor. Owning single family homes and then renting them out has helped me become an even stronger Realtor and like you, I have had the same experiences trying to buy properties. Inventory is incredibly low in North Carolina, where we have most of our investments. To buy a property, I also am in bidding wars. It’s a little different down south because your “due diligence” or earnest money that accompanies a signed offer goes directly to the seller. They get to keep it whether you follow through with the closing or pull out. Buyers are putting down tens of the thousands of dollars of non-refundable money to be the winner. It’s a risk. I'm always happy to share my experiences as an investor, so please reach out!
 That being said, rents are going up just as fast as housing prices. People are desperate to get into rentals and one of the biggest reasons is because they can’t find houses to buy so they are sitting out of that game for the time being. I hear from a lot of folks that they would rather rent now and wait for the market to cool down. If I only had a magic ball, but I don’t think it’s going to settle any time soon. It’s going to take a lot of houses hitting the market at once for the pace to regulate. I don’t see that happening very quickly.
Finally, I wanted to end with a tip. People have asked me lately whether it’s worth cleaning up their homes, doing some projects, or staging before we list their house, since houses consistently go quickly. My answer is always - yes! It does make a difference because a property that is well cared for and cleaned up is always going to appeal to more buyers. In the end you will see a higher selling price. A house filled with clutter won’t resonate with buyers because they won’t envision themselves living there. When telling the story of your home, we have to keep in mind how emotional this is for the buyers too. Their new home will be the backdrop to their lives - not yours.
Have a great week. Keep warm and enjoy the snow. I escaped to Florida for a few days and the vitamin D from the sun helped me so much. I am ready to take on the SNOW!
Off topic - MGS Group is looking for a transaction coordinator and a full-time showing assistant. If you or someone you know may be a good fit for either of those jobs, let me know. I would love to hear from you!