As another quarter comes to a close, the real estate market in East Tennessee has proven yet again to be strong. This market has withstood many challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic being just one of them.
Throughout it all, we have seen continued growth in the number of homes sales, prices and newly licensed agents. I believe the notion that Realtors were considered “essential” during lockdown created a deep sense of pride in our industry, as we were reminded that home ownership is essential business.
If I had to sum up the market in just a few words, it would be low inventory. A low inventory market is when there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. Low inventory is great for sellers; a home will usually sell fast, receive multiple offers, and/or sell at a competitive price. It is typically also great for builders. However, the lumber industry slowed down production during the pandemic, while the housing market surprisingly ramped up. As a result, lumber prices have increased around 80% since mid-April.
Buyers, on the other hand, face an uphill battle in a low inventory market. If you are a buyer currently in the market for a new home, you may understand this struggle. It is common for a home to go under contract within the first few days of being listed.
If you are a buyer and wanting to survive this market, there are a few things you need to be doing. First and foremost, get pre-qualified. Having a letter of pre-qualification is the first step in the right direction. You can also set notifications on your phone through an app or website for new listings in your price range. If your agent is with Realty Executives, they can provide you with a personal app that provides listing notifications in real time. This will help you get a good idea of what is happening around the neighborhood that you are interested in. Finally, the most important step is to find an agent that has your best interest at heart. You need an agent who communicates clearly, understands what you need and is available to you as soon as the home comes available.
As for our company, we have seen another year of record growth. We’ve welcomed a record number of new agents to our firm since June and had multiple award-winning teams join forces with us.
At REA, we are creating an innovative concept for office licensing called “Powered Brands.” A Powered Brand enables a team or individual to grow their personal brand, but with the power and technology of Realty Executives. This concept has tested very positive in our area, as we have already welcomed two new Powered Brands in the last couple of months alone.
Looking forward, I expect the year to finish off on a high note. I am excited to see what new challenges and triumphs the next year brings to our ever-changing market!
Justin Bailey is CEO of Realty Executives Associates.