Last year was a banner year for real estate sales in Utah; however, with low inventory and high demand for homes, it didn’t take long to realize we needed to change our approach to help meet market demands for buyers and sellers.
Low inventory made the market challenging for buyers who were ready to purchase. I made some major adjustments to address the decidedly dramatic turn toward a strong seller’s market. It paid off. RealTrends and Tom Ferry The Thousand (as featured in the Wall Street Journal) recently ranked my real estate business #1 in Utah by transaction count (242) and #3 in Utah for overall volume ($149,474,959). These rankings are based on 2021 numbers. I ranked 45th among all real estate agents in the nation. More than 3 million people in America have active real estate licenses. Of those agents, there are 1,547,699 Realtors®, according to a 2022 National Association of Realtors report.
I learned something this year. It’s something I’m pretty sure I already knew, but it became more critical than ever in 2021 to put my theory to work: a successful real estate business depends on an individual’s ability to ride the roller coaster and keep his seat; but, that’s not enough. You also have to pack a gourmet lunch for the trip, study the roller coaster’s frame and expertly anticipate every rise and fall. It helps if you put yourself in a position to drive the ride.
Let me set the scene for you
” … a successful real estate business depends on an individual’s ability to ride the roller coaster and keep his seat; but, that’s not enough. You also have to pack a gourmet lunch for the trip, study the roller coaster’s frame and expertly anticipate every rise and fall. It helps if you put yourself in a position to drive the ride.”~ Joel Carson
Just in case you have forgotten, let me set the scene for you: There we were in a global pandemic (you remember the pandemic, right?). People were held up in their houses terrified to catch a frightening illness that was taking the lives of our very own loved ones.
Interest rates were historically low. The Fed made sure of that to keep the economy rolling. Many families were receiving stimulus money monthly. Entire companies closed down their offices and sent their employees home to work. Mortgage forbearance and eviction moratoriums became the norm instead of the exception.
That led to some interesting changes in the housing market: Some people learned they actually liked working from home. They began to look for homes with offices and creative workspaces. Interest rates were crazy low and those who could jump on a home purchase did.
People who might otherwise have decided to sell their homes stayed put. The traditional flow of inventory all but dried up.
Low interest rates, high demand and minimal inventory sent home prices throughout the country soaring.
People realized the sudden influx of equity and cashed out to upsize or improve their living situations (a group of buyers who might not otherwise have been so keen on selling).
Many homeowners sold their homes for well over asking price as buyers got into bidding wars over the few available properties. In the Salt Lake Valley, some homes got 85 offers and more – I kid you not – 85 offers. Buyers were regularly paying 10 percent over asking to secure a home. Even if a home did not appraise for the high price a buyer wanted to pay, they often opted to make up the difference in cash.
The issue of supply and demand became increasingly important, particularly to buyers. So, we focused on making it easier for people who wanted to sell to do just that.
I developed a top-notch Turn-Key Sellers’ Service to encourage people to get their homes ready to sell. I formed a team and got out the elbow grease. My team includes a handyman to make needed repairs. I also have a window washer and a professional cleaner. I offer junk removal, professional staging and the best photographers in the market. Oh, and I pay for those services.
Word got around and sellers who didn’t normally have the means to get their homes ready for a cut-throat market got on board. Sellers were happy to get their homes sold. Buyers were happy to find a new home and the rest is history.
The secret here (and I’m only going to tell you this once) is to:
1. Identify the need.
2. Find a way to fill it.
It’s sound advice for any business and it has worked well for me. We took every possible precaution to prevent the spread of Covid so people were confident they were working in a safe environment.
The market is balancing
We’re seeing a slight shift in the market. It’s beginning to balance out. Are home prices going to crash? No. I don’t see that coming. Will the price of homes continue to increase? Yes, but at a much slower rate than we’ve seen in the past couple of years.
Based on data from the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service, fewer homes have sold so far this year compared to last year; however, sales volume is way up.
A balanced market will help more buyers get into the homes they want, but those who have already purchased their homes are most likely to continue to earn equity (based on sales data alone). A lot goes into maintaining and improving the value of your home. You can’t count on market statistics to protect your investment alone.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, give me a call. I will be glad to come out and walk through a home you want to buy or sell and give you my honest, experienced opinion.
Thank you to all of the clients who made 2021 great and who are already keeping the roller coaster ride open for those of us who love a challenge (and okay, a wild ride).