Central Ohio Housing Report – February 2021

New listings are down almost 50% in central Ohio in February when compared to one year ago.

Multiple offers are still the norm, but don’t be dissuaded from buying right now.  Choose an active agent, like those of us on The Columbus Team, who can successfully guide you through creating a winning offer.

If you’re considering a sale, we can help you coordinate your buy and sale so you won’t be caught homeless through the process.  Just ask us how!  

Can inventory get any lower?

(Mar. 22, 2021 – Columbus Ohio) Although new listings remained relatively unchanged over the last decade, there was a noticeable drop in new listings in February 2021. Down almost 17 percent from the average for the second month of the year, the drop did little to assuage the many buyers looking for homes today.

Fewer homes added to the market resulted in fewer contracts and sales. Although sales were only down three percent last month, In Contracts – an indication of sales to come – dropped almost 12 percent.
 
Five years ago, there were over 5,400 homes for sale in central Ohio. Ten years ago, there were over 15,500 homes for sale.
 
However, February 2021 ended with just 1,689 homes listed for sale, down 48.1 percent from a year ago and the lowest on record according to the Columbus REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service.
 
Additionally, the months’ supply remains at 0.6 which means that, if no more inventory were added to the market, it would just over two weeks to sell all listed homes based on the current sales pace.
 
The BIA of Central Ohio reported that 11,864 housing permits were obtained by builders in 2020, a 46 percent increase from 2019 and the highest number since 2005 and preliminary data suggests a 32 percent increase in single-family permits in January.
 
Even with the additional new homes, central Ohio is still short of what is needed to meeting existing demand.
 
Areas that saw an increase in new listings last month include Grove City, Gahanna, Groveport, Downtown Columbus, Canal Winchester, Whitehall, Obetz, and Johnstown.
 
“We’ve never seen inventory this low before,” said Michael Jones, 2021 Columbus REALTORS® President. “As a result, housing is moving at a frenzied pace and we’re seeing multiple offers and offers over asking price.”
 
“Buyers interested in winning the bid need to be prepared and move quickly.”
 
Although the average days on market last month was 26, the time it takes a home to sell is based on several factors such as location, condition, and price.

Homes under $350,000 sold in an average of 21 days. Homes sold between $350,000 and $500,000 took about 39 days to sell. Homes sold between $500,000 and $700,000 sold in an average of 57 days and homes over $700,000 took an average of 68 days to sell.
 
The average home sale price was $266,893 in February, an increase of 13.4 percent. At $255,500, the median sale price reflected a 7.4 percent gain.
 
With demand significantly outpacing supply, most homes sold in February sold for more than the list price. Those home that did sell for more than asking price, sold for an average of five percent more.
 
“Many homeowners have been reluctant to open their homes for showing due to concerns about the pandemic,” added Jones. “We expect to see an increase in sellers entering the market this spring as more and more people get vaccinated.”
 
February 2021 Housing Report

Columbus REALTORS® is comprised of over 8,700 real estate professionals engaged in residential sales and leasing, commercial sales and leasing, property management, appraisal, consultation, real estate syndication, land development and more.
 
The Columbus REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) serves all of Franklin, Delaware, Fayette, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Union Counties and parts of Athens, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Knox, Logan, Marion, Muskingum, Perry and Ross counties.

Questions to ask at an Open House or Showing

By Maddie Ogden

Open houses and house showings can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. It is the first opportunity for you to see your potential new home. While these events are exciting, it is also the perfect time for you to ask important questions about the house.

You may be wondering, what sort of questions should I be asking? That is exactly what we are here for! Here are some questions you should ask both before and during an open house.

Questions to ask before the Open House or Showing

  1. How long has the house been on the market?
  2. Have there been any price reductions?
  3. Is it vacant? If so, how long has it been vacant?

Go over the following questions with your chosen real estate agent since they can be indicators of how desirable the property is.

  1. Why are the owners selling?
  2. Have there been any offers?
  3. When does the seller want to move?

Questions about the sellers expectations are also important to go over with your chosen real estate agent before an open house or showing. The answers to these questions hint at what the negotiation process will be like and how quickly the seller wants to close.

Questions to Ask During the Open House or Showing

  1. What are the house’s biggest problems?
  2. Has the house been tested for mold, radon, lead, and/or asbestos?
  3. When was the last time the roof was replaced?
  4. Is the house in a flood zone?
  5. How much do the utilities cost?

If you are seriously interested in purchasing the property, here is additional information about the community you may want to know. The answers to these questions will help finalize your decision to make an offer.

  1. What is the neighborhood like?
  2. What’s within walking and driving distance?
  3. Is there a Homeowner’s Association?
  4. What is the crime rate in the neighborhood?
  5. Where can I get information on the local schools?

Knowing information about the neighborhood is just as important as knowing information about the house.  If you don’t like the neighborhood the house is in, then chances are you will not be satisfied with the house.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Your Offer

  1. Will my furniture fit here?
  2. What’s the cell signal like?
  3. What updates would I make, if any?
  4. Can I picture this house becoming my home?

Open houses and showings are an excellent way to gather information about a particular home that has caught your interest. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide whether a house is right for you, or not.  We are here to help you find a home that is a perfect match for you!

Win-Win Contracts for Buyers and Sellers

Win-Win Contracts for Buyers and Sellers

 

Buyers and Sellers are traditionally thought of as adversaries, and while it’s true they often square off during negotiations, it’s possible for both buyers and sellers to win in one home sale! Part of the secret is to understand the other point of view so you can negotiate a winning compromise!

Home Buyers

Buyers are looking for a lower price, the home of their dreams with features important to them, a home that’s ready to occupy, a home in great condition, and a home that will be a good investment over time.

Home Sellers

Sellers are looking for a price that gives them a good profit, recognition of the value they see in their current home, an easy sale without having to do improvements or fixes, feeling that they’ve gotten the full value out of every improvement they’ve already made, and to feel that this house was a good investment and served them well.

How Realtors Negotiate Win-Win Contracts for Buyers and Sellers

Your REALTOR uses their knowledge of buyers and sellers to negotiate every day. The more you understand about how the negotiations work, the more flexible you may feel about meeting in the middle ground and allowing both parties to win.

For instance, rather than offering an opening bid so low that it can’t generate a counter-offer, your REALTOR may offer comparable homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood as proof that a lower price is reasonable. That gives sellers a reason to compromise.

Sellers may not want to replace the carpet or cracked bathroom tile at their expense as they are trying to move and close on the home in question. So, sellers may offer an “allowance” to offset the cost of new carpet. This provides them with more time, but acknowledges to the buyer that the carpet is getting older.

Perhaps the buyers are in a hurry to move in, but the sellers’ new home isn’t ready yet. The parties can close on the home and the sellers may agree to rent another home for a month until their new home is ready, or the buyers may agree to rent the home back to the sellers.  There are many solutions that can be found with a Realtor who is willing to dig deep and find the key negotiating points.

Take a deep breath and consider how you’ll feel when it’s your turn on the other side of the deal. Then get creative with your real estate professional to find solutions that create a win for both parties!

Should I Stage My Home?

is home staging necessary?

 

 

If you’re getting ready to sell your home you may be asking, “Should I stage my home?” Yes! Many buyers shop online first, and they eliminate homes based on photos alone. The first impression of your home could be the ONLY impression it makes!

Buyers tell Realtors all the time that they don’t like the photos, or that the house in question looks too dated, cluttered, small, or messy to consider. It may be in their price range and have all the features the buyer is looking for, but that first visual impression is crucial to catching the buyer’s attention and sparking their serious interest in a property.

Every homeowner works hard to personalize their home, to make it their home. It’s only human nature. But a buyer is looking at photos or walking through a showing trying to imagine personalizing your home to their tastes, their needs. A home with a strong personal style, outdated (no matter how lovely) décor, or a ton of mess and clutter is going to make it difficult for the buyer to picture themselves living there. So they don’t. They move on to another, more sale-ready home. Ultimately, these problems can lower the price you charge for your home. This is an issue that affects your bottom line!

A Home Stager can do two things for you. If you’ve already moved out, they can rent a few key pieces of furniture and knickknacks to make your empty house feel livable, thus encouraging a higher price. Or, more commonly, the Stager walks through your home taking notes of various changes she thinks would bring a higher price or make your home more attractive to buyers. This can be hard on you, especially since her goal is to de-personalize your lovingly decorated home! But it can earn a higher selling price.

Here’s the basics of Staging a home:

Get rid of clutter. The ultimate goal is to make it look like either a model home, or a magazine ad. Surfaces should be clear of clutter, floors should only have furniture and throw rugs, and your brother’s beer can collection needs to be put in storage for the duration of the sale.

Remove as much personality as you can. The stuff that makes your home yours is the stuff to put into storage for now. Family photos, collections, posters, unusual art, and even extra furniture can be stored during the sale process to make your home look cleaner, larger, and more inviting. This can even include painting a neutral color over that bright red accent wall or stenciled vine. Heartbreaking to undo what you did with love, but important to show your home well.

Clean, clean, clean. Remove any dirt or grime. Have the carpets professionally cleaned. Scrub the bathtub and replace any mildewed caulk. And if a wall is too dirty to wash? Paint it over. Your house needs to look as like a model home. And it doesn’t hurt to bake something right before a showing to make your house SMELL as good as it looks. (Take kids, pets, and litter boxes with you when you leave the house for a showing…it make a big difference.)

Update or repair problem areas. This can get a little pricey, but a good stager and your Realtor can tell you where you can get the most bang for your buck by renovating. It may be as simple as painting a bright wall neutral again, or it may be replacing torn carpet, or even remodeling a dated kitchen or bath. Perhaps spiffing up your curb appeal with some quick and simple landscaping. It’s worth hearing a neutral opinion before choosing what to work on and what must be “as is”.

We have a home stager on our team because your successful sale is important to us.

What is a Short Sale?

Columbus Oh Short Sale infoSimply put, a short sale is a home sale that is short of funds.

The homeowner is behind on their mortgage payments. There could be many reasons: loss of a job, bankruptcy, medical bills, etc. In today’s world he/she often can’t afford to sell the home because the home’s value is less than the mortgage payoff.

So, said homeowner goes to the lender and asks permission to sell the home for an amount that will not fulfill the payoff amount. The bank has to agree to this, since the bank will be taking a loss once the home is sold.

The good/bad for sellers are they can get out of a bad financial situation, but they will have a definite drop in their credit score. The bank wins because they get most of their money and do not have to foreclose and take over ownership of the property. A home buyer wins by buying a home that has a great selling price.

There are several things a savvy home buyer needs to know about a short sale:

  1. The property is sold ‘as-is’- any repairs or problems becomes the buyer’s future headache.
  2. These transactions are often long and delayed. Anticipate a roller-coaster ride to closing.
  3. While the seller’s bank has agreed to consider a short sale, this is frequently only a verbal discussion and there’s no guarantee the bank will agree to your price. (See number #2 above.) Check to see if the seller/lender has completed their short sale process and things are in writing.
  4. If there are two mortgages involved (and possibly two lenders), double the issues/process times two.

Since the flood of short sale homes (that started in 2009) has abated, many kinks have been worked out and the process has become smoother. Talk to your Columbus Team Realtor and lender, who can offer further advice and details to assure a smooth transaction.

Sellers: need to know more about the short sale process? Follow that link and call the Columbus Team today at 614.888.6100. We’re experts at handling home sales that are ‘short of funds’ in today’s market! It’s in your best interest to work with a real estate agent who has extensive experience with short sales.