In the nine years that Jeremy R. Briggs has been in the real estate business, this is the best seller’s market he’s seen.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and halted in-person showings, times were tough, but as soon as things opened back up, everyone was looking to buy a house and the market got really hot with not only local buyers, but out-of-towners looking to relocate.
Mr. Briggs, of Motivated Realty in Watertown, is technology -focused and finds that it’s important for staying ahead of the curve, as well as for sellers and buyers to take advantage of. With more and more people looking at potential houses online and creating more competition, buyers need to be ready to jump on a house when they find it, he said.
“When you’re marketing your home, you really need the use of technology to increase those odds of selling or getting a higher price for your home,” Mr. Briggs said. “What I found is that through technology such as the 3D Matterport tour and video, people are more confident to pull the trigger or make the purchase on a home sight unseen.”
Video with description of the home has been helpful to making those buyers who are out of the area feel confident in their purchase. Mr. Briggs said he has sold a higher number of homes this year, sight unseen during the pandemic, than in previous years.
With everybody looking online, it’s not a question of if you can sell your home, but it’s a question of getting the top dollar for it.
According to Mr. Briggs, the two things that you can do to get the most value for your home, the most return on your money, are de-cluttering and painting. Also, the staging of one’s home and getting high quality photos taken are important to get your home in front of as many eyes as possible.
When Mr. Briggs looked up the homes that sold between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23 last year, there were 126 single-family homes in Jefferson County that sold. This year during that same time frame, there were 162, or 30% more homes sold.
For Erin E. Meyer, licensed real estate broker and owner at Meyer Real Estate LLC, this April marks 18 years in the real estate industry. Like Mr. Briggs, she said the biggest things sellers can do are de-clutter, add fresh coats of paint and stage their houses to appeal to buyers both in person and in photos. Another important factor is pricing, which she said is huge for sellers.
“Right now, we’re in a seller’s market,” Mrs. Meyer said. “My recommendation would be to have a real estate agent come out, take a look, and give you a good evaluation so you can market your property effectively in the market that you’re in.”
As Mrs. Meyer notes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. She finds that the better the presentation sellers have with their photos, the staging, and fresh coats of paint, the better the chances of the house being noticed.
In St. Lawrence County, where Mrs. Meyer is based, she, too, has noticed a boom of people moving to the north country.
“Up in this area, there’s a lot of waterfront property, a lot of lakefront property, and you get a lot of people from out of the area that come seasonally, but you don’t usually get that rush,” she said. “We’ve truly seen a rush of people coming from California, New Jersey, the New York City area, North Carolina; the bigger cities down there that are coming up here because they’re able to work remotely and their dollar goes so much farther.”
About half of Mrs. Meyer’s buyers that she is working with right now are from out of the area. Another thing she said that’s driving these buyers is lower interest rates, which she described as “exceptionally low.” The banks are offering many great programs allowing buyers to buy more of a house because the interest rates are lower, or offering different programs setting buyers up with lower down payments.
Mrs. Meyer said she’s seen a huge increase in cash buyers since this boom in the housing market, more so than usual, with buyers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle and able to afford more house for their dollars.
For Mrs. Meyer, the biggest thing she’s learned is you just don’t know what to expect in the real estate market. It’s always been a market of ups and downs, almost a feast or famine, but this new market really surprised her with how something like COVID, which has affected so many people negatively, how the real estate market came out of it on a positive note.
“Last year was an amazing year, considering,” she said. “Real estate’s always been a good place to put your money; it’s a good investment.”