Who better to get a true picture of the real estate market than from one who hits the road or the internet everyday in search of a new home for a client? Or one who has spent endless hours helping a seller clean out their garage and stage their home for potential buyers? As a real estate agent, who works with clients everyday in the northern Nevada region, here is my totally biased appraisal of the current market.
Up, up, up for sales prices in Reno and surrounding areas since January. We are at a year high for median sales prices in Reno at $385,000; Sparks slightly less, but still high. We have not yet reached the highs seen before the big market crash, but most home owners now have equity in their homes and very few are underwater. It’s an excellent time for selling if you want to reposition yourself in the market, whether moving up or down in house size, changing location or newly buying into the market. Sales are brisk and buyers are eager for new homes coming on the market. The inventory of homes for sale has sometimes been slim in the median and lower priced range, but new homes come on the market all the time, so it’s not a total “sellers market”.
Sellers who shoot too high with their sales price, stay on market for awhile until they lower their unreasonable prices, whether through an actual lower listing price, or the acceptance of a lower priced offer. Market time for well priced homes that are in good condition is short, usually within a month or less (sometimes days), even in higher priced homes. The higher the price, the more buyers expect pristine homes with current upgrades, especially in terms of kitchen appliances, countertops, flooring and big money items. Location, location, location…..if a home is in a very desirable location, there is more competition and the prices have gone through the roof in all these areas and buyers seem to be less likely to care about present upgrades or price because inventory is low. For sellers….this isn’t San Francisco or Silicon Valley- there is a limit on what you think you can get away with here. There are many homes that were bought at auction to be flipped or have been rentals that are being turned over now and the sellers are starting out with crazy listing prices based upon the condition and presentation of the homes. These homes usually stay on market until the seller gets “real” about their valuation of their home.
This leads me to the buyers side of things in this market. I have been working a lot with buyers this year and it usually takes a lot of research and a lot of showings and sometimes a few offers before I can find the right home for my buyers at many price points. Inventory is actually keeping pace with buyers; as soon as I think there is nothing on the market for them, new offerings show up, so that’s a good thing. Buyers should be prequalified for loans when presenting an offer. Contingent offers are common, but are not as strong.
Current interest rates are in favor of buyers and that is not going to change greatly anytime soon. There are government sponsored downpayment assistance programs that are open to many people up to $400,000 (still above the median- not just first time home buyers), great veterans programs and there are renovation loans available that allow a buyer to finance home improvements put into their mortgage loan. It’s a great way to combine your purchase with improvements at a low interest rate.
So, it is a great time to buy and sell. The market is fluid and that is all good.