Housing Supply, Housing Demand and “The Corona”

The biggest unknown in any economic model is how we the consumers will act, and this rings true for Charlotte real estate as well. I had someone tell me that the “bottom fell out” of our real estate market and I had to take a step back to regroup before responding.

What market indicators were they looking at? Well, it turns out that they were looking at the economic indicator that reigns supreme above all others… their own gut feeling. No one feels comfy making large decisions in the midst of a global pandemic and yes, based on the Charlotte Region Weekly Market Activity Report from our local Realtor® association there have been some slowdowns. However, these slowdowns aren’t necessarily what you might think.

Pre-Corona Armageddon 2020 there was no disputing that the Charlotte real estate market is highly sought-after. There are tons of people moving here for all different reasons each and every day, and we have a booming economy and our job market is top-notch for people in professional industries. There’s so much opportunity here that we have to bring in job applicants from other cities and states because prior to the pandemic we had extremely low unemployment numbers for those working in traditional desk jobs. (No, the same cannot be said for those working in trades, customer service and labor positions, but the affordable housing crisis is a blog post for another day.)

Our biggest issue within Charlotte’s real estate market is and has been a supply problem. We have tons of qualified people and not enough housing to ensure that even the majority of buyers can find a suitable home. This in-turn drives up the prices for the homes that are available and creates the chaos and bidding wars we’ve seen for the last few years.

The changes that have been felt in our market are honestly, more of the same old story: too many buyers and not enough houses. Based on the Weekly Market Activity data the market is slowing down from the perspective of less homes are being listed for sale. So, in an already jammed up market people who would sell are afraid to sell. However, those that do venture into listing are being rewarded by receiving a higher percentage of their listing price at closing and their home being on the market an average of 38 days, that’s 19.1% LESS time than last year when the average days on market was 47 days.

If you’re looking to sell just remember: To the victor goes the spoils.  Get out there and get listed. If you’re a buyer waiting for the true “bottom” to fall out, it appears that you’ll be waiting a little longer than what a globally-debilitating economic crisis can offer up to impact our Charlotte slice of heaven.

Thank U. Next.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that everyone has their own opinion of what’s “best” for you. This has become glaringly apparent in both my personal life and my professional life as I left a marriage I was alone in, I moved to a city that wasn’t “home” and I left a steady career I was miserable in to follow my passion for entrepreneurship and real estate.

I thank God every day for the second chances I’ve been given and the strength he’s given me to trust in him and myself.

Most-recently I’ve hit a stumbling block in my business: people who’ve known me think that this career isn’t living up to my potential. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you learn that someone you’ve cared deeply about feels this way and that they won’t be supporting you in your career, after all, it must just be a faze anyway, right?

Actually, no. And I’m sorry that your definition of success is so narrow.

I became a Realtor to utilize my strengths in understanding law, finance and economics to be of service to those around me. I support my clients through difficult personal transformations and represent their interests in a logical, compelling and legal way to get them their best possible outcome. I use my strengths in negotiating and understanding of legal and ethical pitfalls of this industry to navigate families through the homeownership process all while caring for my clients’ interests as I would my own family’s.

Many of the people who started out as my clients have become what I consider to be my “Charlotte tribe” and “Charlotte family.” My clients have returned my care, loyalty and support to me in ways that I simply can’t explain in writing. They are the people who get to experience me in my every day life (the good, the bad, the ugly and the unexplainably hilarious).

I love meeting new people and allowing them the space to be themselves. I love getting to know these new people and new families, and I love letting them get to know me. The REAL me. The audacious, quick-witted, take-no-crap from anyone, nerd, that loves a good dog meme, non-political and intelligently lead debate, glass of bourbon and explosive laughter.

It saddens me that there are family and friends that don’t want me to be successful because they believe that my life is “beneath” what it should be. Because happiness and helping others while enjoying my co-workers, friends and everyday life without a six-figure salaried 9-to-5 job is somehow failing. Thank you for your concern and please know that your opinion has been heard. I just don’t care what you think my life “should” be.

I work hard and I’m surrounded by amazing people. I’ve lived through some craziness and I’m better because of it. I’m happier, healthier and more confident in myself than I’ve ever been. I’m sorry you’ve chosen not to support me, but I’m not sorry that I’m still standing and living in my own authenticity.

 

 

 

 

 

the “sweet” life

I am so incredibly blessed to walk this journey in real estate, and through it I have met some of the most amazing people in my life. People from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and there are a cherished few that I can pick up the phone and laugh with.

Sometimes all you need on a stressful morning is a “Good morning Sunshine!” and one of my clients continues to teach me that, and lift up any kind of a day I’m having. Real estate is more than a transaction, it is a connection of people working together no-matter their side, their background or anything else that may differentiate us. We all need a safe space, whether that be a physical place to call home or a conversation with someone you can’t stop laughing with. I love the clients that I laugh out loud with and make my coworkers wonder what shenanigans we’re discussing at 10am on a Wednesday morning. These connections are worth more than any listing, any sale, any commission check.

I thank this business for giving me the people I’m surrounded by and for allowing me to use my love of real estate, accounting, and understanding law to help others. When it earns me a paycheck too, then it’s just that much sweeter.

 

What the F… Foreclosure, I mean

Everyone in the real estate market is looking for a good deal, but is a foreclosure property the right choice? There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that I don’t receive this question from a client. We all want a great deal in this saturated real estate market, it’s competitive out there, it’s hard, and it’s emotional. To make the best decision possible for you and your family, let’s shed some light on the process, which is likely different than what most consumers think that it is.

The Auction process

A true foreclosure is a property where the owner has fallen behind on their property taxes, mortgage payments or another form of debt that is secured by an interest in their home. This means that if a borrower doesn’t pay, their bank can take their home and auction it in an effort to be compensated for the debt.

In North Carolina, the majority of foreclosures are nonjudicial, which means that the lender doesn’t have to file a lawsuit against the buyer, however, there will need to be a hearing in front of the clerk of courts in the county where the property is located. Once approved by the clerk, the home is advertised and a notice of sale is sent to the owner.

This is where things get confusing for someone looking to purchase a foreclosure! Foreclosure sales are auctions, not foreclosure postings on popular real estate websites. To participate in an auction you need cash, and you may be buying a property with undisclosed debts tied to the title. Even if you win a foreclosure auction there’s a 10-day upset bidding period, which means someone else can still outbid you (which may trigger another 10-day upset bidding period) or the homeowner that was foreclosed on can redeem their property and cancel your purchase.

Foreclosures Listed on Real Estate Search Websites

Foreclosure properties listed on the consumer websites are most-likely bank-owned homes. These homes have gone through the foreclosure process and are now being listed for sale, so the word ‘Foreclosure’ is more of a marketing term than anything at this point. However, there are still some significant stumbling blocks to ownership for the average homebuyer.

Properties listed as foreclosures are likely to be distressed properties. When someone knows their home is going to be foreclosed on, they are less likely to take good care of it. When the bank takes over ownership it really wants to offload this property and therefore offers the home in as-is condition. This could mean that the property is not even in an inhabitable state. There could be major foundation issues, mold, holes in the roof, you name it. North Carolina is a buyer-beware state, so it’s extremely important to know what you’re about to enter into if you decide to go under contract on one of these homes.

If you are using traditional financing such as a mortgage of your primary residence, the homes needs to be deemed inhabitable for your bank to go through with lending on the home. The bank will send out a property appraiser to walk the home and research recent sales for similar properties in the area. This ensures that the money the bank is going to lend to purchase the home, is being used for an asset that is worth that amount of money. This also covers them if they need to foreclose on you if you don’t pay your mortgage and then sell the home to cover your defaulted mortgage.

During the property appraisal, the appraiser may deem the home uninhabitable unless certain items are fixed. This stops the purchase dead in its tracks. Without those fixes being made to the home, the lender won’t go through with lending you the money to purchase the home. How could this home be your primary residence if it’s too dangerous to live in?

This puts the borrower in quite a dilemma, because the seller has made it clear that the home is to be sold in its “as is” condition, and that they will not make any repairs. So it’s up to the borrower, who legally can’t make those repairs because they don’t own the home. So, the sales transaction is now in a stale-mate. The borrower is out of a lot of money in due diligence and earnest money fees, appraisal fees to the bank and possibly inspections, but they don’t have a home.

How do you know if a foreclosure is right for you?

If you are looking at foreclosures as your primary residence, it’s important to understand the pitfalls. This is why I ask each one of my clients that would like to pursue a ‘foreclosed’ home these two questions:

1- are you financing your home with a mortgage or are you paying cash?

2- how risk-averse are you? (i.e. what’s the risk profile of your investment portfolio? or, How do you feel when the stock market goes down and negatively impacts the balance in your 401k account?)

If a client is using a mortgage to finance their purchase and they don’t have a healthy appetite for risk I advise staying out of the foreclosures arena. There are many beautiful homes for sale that don’t have the headaches associated with foreclosure homes.

… Because, people.

When I made the jump from the cozy confines of corporate America to the Great Unknown of real estate, I thought about how I could best use the skills I’ve gained through experience and education. I never thought that my greatest passion and excitement would be fueled by the people I get to meet and help each day.

After just a few short weeks in production, I’ve written two contracts. And in both cases I have been blessed to represent and connect with some AMAZING people. After telling family and friends about each transaction I realized that I was more excited to talk about the people my clients are, how I helped them, and the quirks and stories that I learned about them than I was to talk about the house, the money or anything else.

The homebuying process is emotionally heavy, especially with buyers up against a definitively seller-centric market like Charlotte. It never crossed my mind that those involved in the transaction would be craving to connect on a personal level with those across the table. I had heard stories about how investors were getting every decent property by coming in with an all-cash offer, however I’ve now been the part of two transactions were the decision came down to “who?” instead of just “how much?”

I’m choosing to set aside the question of “Does revealing details of the parties potentially violate fair housing laws?” and choosing to see the good in people connecting on a real, emotional level. How people can see themselves in the party across the table and the opportunity that a home has given them, and the opportunity that it will give to another family. As long as my clients feel completely comfortable, and understands that they are under no obligation to discuss non-business matters with the other party, I choose to be in awe of the gentle, human element that I’ve been lucky enough to witness during these first few weeks.