As the Lake Martin real estate market shifts to a buyers’ market, away from sellers, what does this mean? If you are about to sell or buy waterfront property, how can you use this to your advantage? What changes can we expect? We can guess a few possibilities from studying other markets around the nation that have been experiencing this phenomenon for a longer period of time. I’m not saying that all of these will happen, but they are strong possibilities:
1. More pizazz from sellers – there are 5 times as many waterfront properties for sale now as there were in 2005. More competition means Lake Martin sellers need to do more to get noticed and get paid. Some examples:
a. more pictures – too easy not to do it
b. home staging– a must
c. talking homes – look for a sign on the home that says “tune in to FM XX.X for more info” where a commercial is played over and over
d. text message info for homes – like the talking homes above, they have a “for more info text #12345” rider on the sign
2. Builder incentives to buyers – Builders who have extra spec homes sitting unsold are always among the first to slash prices. Some Lake Martin builders have already started doing some of the below:
a. free TVs
b. free boat storage
c. pay for first 3 months’ mortgage payments – haven’t seen this one yet, but just wait
d. extra commissions (above the 6%) to the realtor that brings the buyer. As a buyer, you need to ask your realtor if such an incentive exists. Not that that would affect your agent’s impartiality, of course……..
3. Less downward pressure on realtor commissions – A buyers’ market exposes the pretenders from the listing agents that really know how to market. If the sellers feel that they can pay the popular 6% in commission and have their waterfront home sell, instead of languish unsold for a year, they are less likely to go for the cheapest “low bidder.” In the Lake Martin sellers’ market up to 2005, sellers had so much influence they could almost name their commission. Not so now.
4. Proliferation of buyers’ agents? Since buyers hold the cards on Lake Martin now, many agents may shift their marketing focus to buyers. Some agents may even pitch themselves as exclusive buyers’ agents, refusing to list homes for sellers. In extreme buyers’ markets in other locations, they even go so far as to advertising that they will give part of their commission as a rebate back to the buyer. Could this happen at Lake Martin? It’s possible, but doubtful, I think.
5. Reduction in effective FSBOs – FSBO or For Sale By Owner – (pronounced FIZZ-bo) – again, in a sellers’ market, it was a lot easier for Lake Martin waterfront sellers to go it alone. Stick a sign in the yard, and get twelve offers tomorrow, right? Now that there is more supply out there for sale, it’s a lot harder to get it done, even for agents. See #1 and #3 above.
6. No change in BUDDY-BOs – I define “buddy bo” as sales by owners directly to that buddy or relative that told them “hey – if you ever sell that house on Lake Martin, let me know.” OK, so it’s not a change. But maybe the lack of change is crucial. These type sales are not as dependent on market conditions so I really don’t see a huge change here.
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