Should I sell my house? Is this the right time to buy? Is the market getting hotter? Is it going to cool off? Homeowners, actual and prospective, are searching everywhere for advice. And almost everybody, it seems, has some to share. But certainly not everybody can offer true expert advice. Except, of course, for the true experts. That’s why we turn to such insiders as Kevin Leatherman.
Kevin Leatherman of Leatherman Homes, who has built unparalleled expertise in Long Island real estate over decades of experience, offers his insights for sellers and buyers right now as he takes a look at hyperlocal markets, issues of inventory and more.
“For sellers, they should price responsibly,” says Leatherman, a native Long Islander. “We’ve had this mass exodus out of the metropolitan area and onto Long Island, but at this point, while there is still a migration happening, the buyers are interested in properties that are being priced correctly. The climate has changed.
“From July 4th through Labor Day, the showing activity was down tremendously,” he continues. “I’m not saying the volume of transactions was down, but the number of buyers physically viewing properties was down. Several have decided to wait until after the summer, so I think fall is a new opportunity, where you’re going to have buyers coming back into the market after they had a little R&R for the summer.”
Throughout the summer that was, we read and heard news that sales prices were rising higher and higher. Stories abounded about multiple offers coming in over asking price, bidding wars happening on a regular basis. People saw home values rising at an incredible pace, and many started to wonder, is it finally time to sell and take that gain? Will things continue on that upward trajectory? Is any price too high to ask for my house, since it seems the numbers just keep rising?
“I think the appreciation is leveling off, so don’t anticipate the appreciation you’ve had the last 12 months to be duplicated over the next 12 months,” Leatherman says. “I don’t see that happening. Price responsibly and you will get more showings, a higher probability of more offers, and you’ll get the job done quicker. And if the market is strong enough, then you’ll get above asking price.”
Then there is the question of what to do if you’ve sold your home, perhaps more quickly than anticipated, and you find yourself without a permanent residence at the same time. If you’re still looking to buy but have to be out of the home you just sold, how do you handle such a situation?
“Some people have sold and they’ve gone into temporary rentals or are staying with friends, and now they’re looking, so you have people in transition,” Leatherman observes. “The real issue is in a market where you have less than normal inventory—and normal inventory is defined as six months of inventory, and the power of buyers and sellers is equal, nobody has the upper hand. So if you have two or three month’s supply of single-family homes in Nassau County, for example, then that’s a seller’s market, still.
“When somebody wants to be selling and buying, it’s very tricky for them to line up all the details of both transactions,” he continues, “so they move their family from Point A to Point B, sometimes even to a hotel. As a result, some buyers, if they are in the financial position to do so, have gone into contract on their purchase before they’ve even put their property for sale.”
Yes, homes are still moving quickly. But don’t expect to list one day and be in contract the next, despite what you may hear some people saying.
“One of the things I’m starting to see is, some of the sellers are not being realistic, where they’re telling their agent, “Oh, the house has been on the market for 5 days or 10 days, why isn’t it sold?’ I think the news media—and some agents advertising on social media—has given a false sense as to the pace of the market. Because you have hyperlocal markets.
“For example, I’ll use Rockville Centre,” he goes on. “The condo and co-op market is a different market than the single-family home market. The single-family market under a million dollars is different than the market over a million dollars, so even within the same town or the same village, you have hyperlocal markets depending on what the specific product is.”
But, you may be thinking, your brother-in-law from Great Neck told you this. And your neighbor in Rockville Centre told you another thing. And your best friend from Long Beach had another incredible story. And an old college buddy from Dix Hills had another story. Don’t they all apply here?
“If you’re just having a family function or you’re speaking to one of your friends, you can’t talk about it as a general statement,” Leatherman warns. “And then if you want to talk about selling a one-bedroom cooperative in Forrest Hills, there might be 13 months of inventory on the market, whereas in Rockville Centre there might be 3 months of inventory on the market for a one-bedroom cooperative.
“So that’s why you really can’t take general phrases from news media or somebody’s social media post. You really have to have a professional come and analyze—whether it’s on the buy side or the sell side—to really get accurate information.”
Learn more about Kevin Leatherman and Leatherman Homes at leathermanhomes.com.