First, I want to start out this week's newsletter by thanking the families who showed up last week to meet new friends and fellowship with one another. More than 250 of you RSVP'd you'd be attending and with the addition of Movie Night in the Park, coupled with a perfect fall evening, we had a FANTASTIC turnout for "Newcomers Night" at the Community Center.
Along with ginormous charcuterie boards and sparkling water, the soft ice cream (with sprinkles) flowed nonstop until after 8:00pm, and there wasn't a leftover cracker or slice of cheese to be had (much to my son's dismay). All in all, it was a resounding success, thanks to the good intentions and efforts of more than a few caring folks, AND Sarah and I were pleased to underwrite this first-time ever "Newcomers Night." All in favor of making this an annual event, say "frosty please!" (We're game if you are.)
"I'm moving from the midwest for a new job," the woman said, "and I'm bringing four kids ages 11-15 with me." she continued. "We need a house, school directions, and a tutor. Can you help?"
Why yes, I can.
This story reminds me of my own journey some 20 years ago. While I didn't have four kids to transplant (two was plenty), we only knew one family in town, we were transferring our children from their private school in the city, leaving a group of friends we cherished, and also needed a tutor for one of our boys who had unexpectedly been diagnosed with a "learning difference." It's a story that repeats over and over.
"Before we list your house on our site," the man said, "we need to establish if the property is distressed or not,"
LOL, that's a good one. While I understand what he meant, coming off of a particularly challenging week, the concept of "stress" certainly wasn't lost on me.
To be clear, what the representative meant was - is the house showing its age? How well has it been maintained? Has it been remodeled or renovated? What is the current condition of the property? And how does it currently present . . . .
“A bit of shopping, flower market, sconces & tea!“ Jill’s cheerful text message said, after landing safely in London to visit her elder daughter, Anna. (I’m certain she meant scones - not sconces.)
Since hiring Jill, nearly. a decade ago, she’s become so valuable in her role as “project liaison,” that we’d truthfully be lost without her. Jill expertly mans (womans) the ship and coordinates 1001 moving parts with expert precision.
But no wonder the typo, Jill manages half a dozen projects simultaneously . . .
Because this piece captures the current marketplace better than I could ever say it, AND because so many of you are interested in what's next, AND because I'm off to replant a garden that got beat up in this week's heatwave (in lieu of writing this week's blog), I'm outright stealing from COMPASS' own prolific Leonard Steinberg - one of NYC's most successful and endearing agents. Please enjoy it as much as I did . . . .
"As the world battles high inflation fueled by a combination of excess cheap capital, intense pent-up demand mixed with supply-chain shortages, continue COVID outbreaks, health-related labor disruptions, energy under-investment, an ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and rising interest rates, etc, the FED is looking at housing as one of the key drivers of inflation that needs to be slowed or stopped.
Would it surprise you to know that there's more than one way to sell a house? (There is.)
However, for years we had been warning Sellers that selling "off-market" might leave money on the table. Why would anyone sell "off market" when high demand coupled with low inventory often led to HUGE overbids that, quite frankly, surprised the Realtors as much as they delighted the stunned Sellers. In fact, the market has been so bullish in favor of Sellers for the past SEVERAL years, that listing Agents often looked like magicians, or better yet, Super Heroes. (Thematic music please.)
This morning, I slept in until almost 7:00am (late for me) and then laid in bed with Cliff and Riley (my husband and our retriever), watching Instagrams of flying dolphins, professional surfers, shuffle dancers, exotic far-flung destinations, funkified roller-skaters, transformed houses, exercise/diet/makeup tips (none of which I follow), and funny moments with cats and dogs. (Instagram can suck up a lot of time if you're not careful. Let's not even talk about the babies.)
A few minutes in, I discovered "tidy dad," who is quite possibly, the man of my dreams. (Sorry, honey.)
It was inevitable I suppose, after more than a decade of escalating housing prices, two-and-a-half years of a worldwide pandemic, rapidly rising interest rates, rampant inflation, an ongoing war in Ukraine, and the threat of a looming recession (not to mention lack of consumer confidence), that residential real estate would experience a long overdue correction. Welcome to the new reality where "value" is a moving target. Some houses are still selling with multiple offers, while others are receiving little to no activity.
Which is why, after years of "strategic" pricing, with the expectation that the market would easily carry the final sales price higher (it almost always did), we are now seeing movement in the other direction.
I'm back after 16 days from our trip to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden; three extraordinarily beautiful countries that have managed to get it right both from a social perspective - no homeless encampments, clean streets, little crime, universal healthcare, affordable childcare, one full year of maternity/paternity leave, free university tuition, a $20 minimum wage, and five weeks of paid vacation (say what?) - AND from a green perspective. Each of these countries has significantly combated climate change and ALL are on their way towards zero-net emissions within the next few years.
Happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the red, white and blue of it all. Aside from the truckloads of watermelons for sale, the block parties, and the return of the festive Piedmont Fourth of July parade, we've clearly moved into the summer market as witnessed by the slower turn-around and longer marketing periods for many of our listings - perfectly good homes that would have flown off the market just a few short months ago.
This new reality is followed by more sobering news of "improved" or "transparent pricing," (aka price reductions) as Agents and Sellers come to terms with what's amounted to a reset of value (and for many Buyers, a pause in their hunt). Even so, values are still well above where they were prior to January 2020; a correction that probably shouldn't have surprised any of us (it was long overdue) but did so just the same.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.