The best quick answer to that question is, “It depends on where you are and what you’re selling.” Marin County makes for a diverse real estate market, divided into many micro markets, all looking different but operating very dependent upon each other as far as business activity, mortgage opportunities and the psychology of today’s buyers are concerned.
In Marin the two surging marketplaces now are Novato and San Rafael for properties under $700,000. Sausalito began the year with 10% of its listings under contract and has doubled that figure to 20% in 3 short months. In the same time period, both Fairfax and Corte Madera have increased their percentage of homes in contract by 7%.
During an economic climate that has been cruel to luxury properties, it’s noteworthy that a home on the Belvedere Lagoon that was listed for $5,000,000 received an offer within eight days and sold for 98% of the asking price. “How did they do it?” you may ask. It goes back to “it depends on where you are and what you are selling.” This was a quality-built three-year-old home located on the water, and when it came to pricing, the sellers followed the agents’ advice.
We have also seen an uptick in luxury properties selling in Mill Valley. In the last two weeks in the $1-3 million range, four properties received an accepted offer and three properties successfully closed escrow.
With so much uncertainty, so many changes and potential false starts, why buy or sell now? Inventory, competition, the condition of a property, zip codes, lifestyles, the profile of a buyer, and the flexibility of a lender will be the keys to making the 2009 market work for both buyers and sellers.
If You’re A Seller
It’s important to invest in pre-home inspections and a home warranty as they will save you time and money in the negotiation and will help avoid surprises.
It’s also vital to get more aggressive about pricing and be willing to be flexible at the table. Sellers have one chance to get on the market-the first time they list, so prices have to be based on stats and facts, not emotions. Fair market value will be difficult to find in 2009 because in many areas there are so many tiers of pricing, from overpriced, to teaser prices, to foreclosure prices, to short sale prices.
Buyers are coming back to the market but are more cautious; some will be priced out of the market if interest rates rise, and those that stay will want concessions at the bargaining table.
If You’re A Buyer
Realize what a great market this is. We’re experiencing greater affordability and the lowest prices in years. Financing is also a favorable factor with the lowest interest rates in 52 years, government incentive programs, conforming loans increased to $729,250, and many sellers willing to extend financing. It is time to step out of the “buying shadows” and make the plunge. Don’t miss the market and the opportunity!
If you have any questions about the market, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 888.DREAM-13 or by email.