We know we’re past the grey days and sandy roads of early spring when the grass turns green, and the crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths start to bloom. Soon the maples and birches will explode with leaves, and we will again enjoy the lush landscape of summer.
After a long winter – and long year – part- and full-time residents will soon trade their boots and pants for sandals and shorts and begin to look forward to all that makes summer in the Adirondacks magical. I, for one, look forward to town bustling with people who come to hike, camp, boat, and bike. I also look forward to the busiest time of year in real estate.
The housing market took off at record speed in 2020 and is positioned for an even stronger 2021. Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor, with average mortgage rates hovering at historic all-time lows. According to Residential Real Estate Sales Manager Tim Taylor of Community Bank in Lake Placid, the 30-year rate can be as low as 2.875%.
Buyer demand in our area is incredibly strong. With so few homes for sale right now, we are experiencing an unbalanced supply and demand. Record-low inventory means sales will decrease. Nationally, the number of homes currently for sale is at an all time low of 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago. Locally, there are only 26 homes for sale in Lake Placid, and only 4 of them are listed between $200,000.00 and $350,000.00.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
Most prospective buyers spend lots of time online looking at photos and videos of houses. It is my job to help sellers show off their homes in exciting new ways. More than 80% of homebuyers last year found their new homes online. I work with my clients to ensure that their homes have great “screen appeal,” which starts with two pieces of advice: walk through your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time and decide what you can do to neutralize the color palette and maximize space.
To optimize your home’s screen appeal, and increase the number of inquiries and showings, I advise my clients to do the following:
Here are a few ideas:
1. Let’s use the most up-to-date technology, including 360 degree professional photography, video, Zillow 3D tours, social media advertising, and put comprehensive listings on multiple platforms and websites.
Winter is upon us. While I often think of the season as a bit slower than summer, winter 2020 is proving to be very busy. On top of preparing for the holidays, and enjoying the opportunity to ski Whiteface, this is a busy selling season for area Realtors and their clients.
The northern Adirondacks continues to see a very active real estate market. Here are a few statistics:
As we approach Thanksgiving, I feel proud, even blessed, to be a member of the Lake Placid community, one that has come together in amazing, though unsurprising, ways as we work to keep our families safe and well during Covid-19. While some find themselves combatting the temptation to express frustration and blame, particularly on social media, about how difficult it is to maintain a sense of wellbeing and financial stability, overall we are fortunate to have had only a handful of cases in Lake Placid. I am confident that we will continue to support one another – and local businesses and non-profits – and that our community will continue to thrive through this extended period of uncertainty and stress.
With all of the recent changes and challenges, we have all had to adjust, and re-adjust our expectations and goals. Every day we are working hard to get to where we would like to be, while constantly reevaluating what “success” looks like and how to achieve it.
Many of you know what happened to me this winter: while on vacation I came down with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which was caused by a reaction to a flu shot I received in October. I became paralyzed from the neck down, was placed on life support for four and a half weeks, spent 78 days in Florida hospitals, and later received excellent outpatient care at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Tennessee. It is not possible to describe how difficult, painful, and scary it was to work to regain control of my muscles and re-learn how to breathe, move my arms, use my hands, and, ultimately, walk.
Our local real estate market has been on an unprecedented run these last years due to the popularity of the Adirondacks and a limited inventory of homes for sale. This bull market positioned home owners well for continued pricing optimism going into 2020. We all know however that our world has been turned upside down by COVID-19.
I have received many calls and emails from potential clients asking how COVID-19 will affect our local real estate market. To answer peoples questions, we should look to historical events and the effects those events had in the short, and long term.
In case you aren't aware, I am a data geek about all things real estate. The National Association of Realtors happened to post a few facts that I found interesting:
* The median rent in the U.S. has risen to $1,435.00 a month.
* National home values rose 6.7% last year.
* 10.7% fewer homes are available for purchase since 2017 in the U.S.
These facts all point to how expensive housing is, and how challenging it can be for young people to purchase their first home.
Luckily, there is often some assistance for qualifying first home buyers. Check with your Realtor for information.
61% of first time buyers made a downpayment of under 6%. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accept mortgage applications with as little as 3% downpayment to ease the access to credit for first-time buyers. Again, ask your Realtor for more information.
As always, please let me know if I may be of assistance.
Gull Pond, a pristine, spring-fed glacial lake, is often called a jewel by the lucky few who have had the opportunity to enjoy it. With no public access and protected by deed restrictions limiting motorized boating, this 350-acre, 75 foot deep lake and its shoreline is a true paddlers paradise.
The number of homes is extremely limited and plots are large, guaranteeing privacy for homeowners and their guests. Gull Pond is an exceptional place to fish, swim, paddle, row, observe wildlife, and simply delight in the view. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, and rainbow trout.
To make the biggest impact, stage your home before your listing photos are taken. You want a potential buyer to have the best first impression possible. Here’s our list of a few "Hot Tips" to help you on your way to a home that buyers will want to make their own.
Hot Tip #1: Hang a Mirror
We all know that a mirror makes a space feel more open, but when it comes to home staging, mirrors can serve an even more important purpose. If you’d like a potential home buyer to see themselves in that house, what better way than to have them see themselves in that space? Additional tip: make sure your mirrors are clean and streak free!
Bob Miller is an Associate Broker with 10 years of real estate experience as well as 15 years of service as a former Lake Placid School Board member, and is currently a 3-time elected Town Councilman in Lake Placid.