How to Win in the Most Competitive
Summer Real Estate Markets

By: Matilda Davies
Photo by Luke Van Zyl

According to The National Association of Realtors, “May, June, July, and August account for 40% of an average year’s total home-selling volume.” And this summer, San Jose, Raleigh, Seattle, Charlotte, and San Francisco are expected to be the most competitive.

To better understand how both buyers and sellers can brave the toughest housing markets, we spoke with Corey Short, a licensed real estate agent in Raleigh, North Carolina. Zillow named Raleigh the second-hottest housing market for 2018: The load of high-paying tech jobs in the Raleigh-Durham area paired with the rising cost of real estate poise Raleigh to be one of the fastest moving and most competitive markets in the nation this summer. Zillow predicts that home values in Raleigh are expected to rise at a faster pace than in the rest of the country, with home values expected to increase 3.2% this year.

Summer is famously a crowded time for real estate. What advice would you give to buyers entering such a competitive market?

The market is always the hottest in the summer (excuse the pun). As a buyer in a crowded market, you need to be quick on your toes and to have an agent that is able to drop what they’re doing to show a newly listed home. The best advice I can give to a buyer is to be ready at all times. Being prequalified to purchase a home before going to see one is very important. I bring a blank contract with me to all showings in case we find the one and need to put an offer in on the spot.

Advice for sellers?

Just because homes are selling in days and, in many cases, over asking price when they list in the summer, it doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to be easy to sell a home. Sellers still need to make sure their home is in top condition to expect top dollar. The other obstacle for sellers can be finding their next home. For many, people are selling their home to either cash out on their equity to “move up” or to downsize and it can create a stressful situation if their home is under contract and they do not have a place to live.

My suggestion is to hire a moving company to move all of your belongings into storage and either sign a short term rental or move in with reluctant family members to avoid making rash decisions when buying the next home.

Mortgage rates and home prices are rising. If you want to be a homeowner, sooner is better than later.”

What would you say to a prospective buyer who is deciding whether to jump in the market now or wait until the summer rush cools off?

There is rarely a bad time to be in the market. The summer months tend to see homes move quicker than in other months but the market has been competitive all year long. It is easy to get discouraged in the summer if you put multiple offers on homes that do not get accepted, but you can’t let it push you out of the market. Mortgage rates and home prices are rising. If you want to be a homeowner, sooner is better than later.

Should sellers list during summer or wait?

It depends on the seller’s situation. If they are fine with their house being under contract and needing to move within 30–60 days from the day they put the home on the market, it is an excellent time to list.

Being prequalified to purchase a home before going to see one is very important. I bring a blank contract with me to all showings in case we find the one and need to put an offer in on the spot.”

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Should sellers expect buyers wanting to negotiate price this summer?

Sellers should always expect buyers to negotiate the price. Just because it is a hot market, doesn’t mean people aren’t still going to try and buy a house for the least amount possible. Especially when home prices are rising as fast as they are.

What questions should a buyer be asking about the condition of a home?

When viewing a home, there are a few important items to pay attention to and they happen to be some of the most expensive repairs to do.

  • The age and condition of the roof is a major one. An experienced real estate agent can spot an old roof as you are walking up to the house.
  • Another sign is signs of water stains on ceilings in the inside of the home.
  • The next item to pay attention to is the age and condition of the heating and air system. There will be a date on the outside condensing unit but it is best to have a professional inspect the HVAC system.
  • The next item to look for is the age and condition of the windows. If the windows look old, are difficult to move, and show signs of leaking, they probably need to be replaced soon. Old windows are one of the biggest reasons for a high energy bill.
  • The last item to look for is any damage to the structural integrity of the home. This can be difficult to look for on your own but a professional real estate agent should be able to spot signs of damage such as cracks in the foundation, cracks from the corners of doors inside, etc.

It is important to consider the condition of all of the items I’ve mentioned before putting an offer in on a home, but I always strongly recommend hiring a professional to inspect the home completely.

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