The first full week of autumn has seen the weather cool off a bit here on Long Island, and has people wondering whether, or when, the same can be said for the local real estate market. Properties continue to move quickly, prices and the number of potential buyers for any given home remain high while inventory and mortgage rates remain historically low. Even so, successful selling in this market just might come down to a single word: expectations.
“For the fall, for sellers, it would be in their best interest to price responsibly,” says Kevin Leatherman of Leatherman Homes. It is advice the Long Island real estate veteran of more than three decades gives often, warning against the urge to indulge in aspirational pricing. Just because prices have been going up and up does not mean such a trajectory is without end. Or at least adjustment.
“If you’re pricing for a market that is slowing down—and I didn’t say falling apart, just slowing down—you don’t want to build this extra appreciation in there that’s not there yet,” he says. “They’d be better served pricing responsibly, respecting the buyers and also understanding that if they push too hard for that price and they don’t get any showings, then the property’s probably not selling in 5 or 10 days. It’s expectations.”
Indeed, one cannot plan on enjoying the same pace of appreciation that has come as home prices across Long Island have gone up so significantly in such a relatively short period of time. The same goes for the rapid pace of sales.
“There are a lot of sellers who’ve gone out of state, bought other properties and then come back and think they’re getting their house sold in three days. There are sellers I’ve dealt with who are packing—we haven’t even taken the photographs of their house and there are moving boxes and the whole house is torn apart and I’m like, Okay, I need to photograph this to make it look like it’s a beautiful property for consumers to come to look at. I’m supposed to advertise moving boxes?” he says with a laugh. “That sends the wrong message. It’s nice we know you’re really moving, but it’s really not in their best interest to do so.”
And still, it happens. There are certainly people from Manhasset to Montauk who you’ll hear say things like, “I was at a party and I heard my neighbor’s brother say that he went to an open house and had to wait an hour to get in, and then there were 30 above-ask offers and it sold in a bidding war in 20 minutes.” This is not to say that such scenarios never occur. It is simply that being realistic, responsible, is essential to success as a seller.
“Again, it’s the expectations,” Leatherman says. “This is somebody who thought, ‘Okay, in one weekend my house will be sold.’ And guess what? It’s not. That’s because they hear oh, there’s lines and blah blah blah.
“It also depends on different price ranges,” he adds. “For a single-family home anywhere in Nassau County for $400,000, your buyer pool is going to be much larger. It’s the financial pyramid—the higher up you go in price, the less people can afford it.”
Learn more about Kevin Leatherman and Leatherman Homes at leathermanhomes.com.