— Local real estate professionals continue pushing through winter.
Did you know that you are more likely to net at least 22 percent more on the bottom line for the sale of your house if you use a real estate agent? According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 87 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. The latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions states that over a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to sell their homes and have a significant down payment toward their next home.
Plus, the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting—with a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage—in 98 of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
Brad Lewis, Associate Broker/Property Manager at Greentree Realty of Shepherdstown, Inc., received his real estate license during his senior year at Shepherd (College) in 1998. He graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration and then received his WV broker license in 2017.
December is seasonally slow the week before and after Christmas, but Lewis keeps himself busy planning for the New Year, and has advice for those selling their home during this time.
“I like to organize, set new goals, and prepare for the upcoming year that’s soon to begin,” he said. “January can be surprisingly busy, so I like to be ready to hit the ground running after New Year’s. Buyers and sellers should continue with their goals in December and remain patiently optimistic for the New Year.”
Lewis stated that the market in 2018 was steady, as in going in the right direction (up), and spotty in specific price ranges. If a listing was move-in condition, priced right, and under $400,000, it sold quickly. He considered 2018 a good year, yet it was very similar to what he experienced in 2017.
Lewis also carefully offered up projections for 2019. “The inventory is continually decreasing, prices are gently rising, distressed sales are disappearing, the economy is doing well, and interest rates are slowly increasing,” he noted. “Our area is also steady with increasing demand. This is a recipe for a market shifting ever so slowly, trying to get to a seller’s market. I say that very cautiously, as I am leery of making long-term forecasts. It may take all of 2019 to complete that shift.”
Lewis also believes Millennials in the market would help this cause—if a seller’s market were desired. “The real estate downturn of 2008-2014 slowed new developments and construction locally, as big builders pulled out,” he said. “Local builders are filling the void, but are also having a difficult time keeping up with the demand.”
As of July 2018, there were over a million members of the NAR, which stands to reason why there’s stiff competition in the business, and realtors need to use all facets of marketing to promote themselves.
Tara Sanders Lowe, WV, MD, and PA REALTOR® with Charles Town-based 4 State Real Estate, LLC, does just that. Having lived in Jefferson County for 30 years, with a background in marketing, event planning, advertising, and media, she uses her experience to advertise herself accordingly.
“When I first began, I reached out with mailers and written letters to the community,” she said. “I also use Facebook, my website, and a newsletter that goes out to a couple of thousand people. I also advertise in The Observer and The Journal, as well as go out and talk with folks in the community.”
Working with many types of clients with different wants and needs for a home takes a great deal of understanding. Sanders Lowe shares her methodology when working with buyers and sellers.
“It’s really about the client and the home that is being sold or purchased,” she explained. “It’s the client’s house—it’s the way they need to buy or sell it. I’m all about being timely. Communication is huge; I try to be available by text, email, or Skype—if they’re out of town. I’m also here to listen. Sometimes people need to talk it through. And there are times when I’m a coach or a therapist. Helping people through this process and hearing what they need or want is very important.”
Tripp Lowe, Partner at Lowe Real Estate Group (established in 2017 in Shepherdstown), shared what’s hot in the Eastern Panhandle and how it compares to national trends.
“The residential market is extremely active in the Eastern Panhandle,” he pointed out. “It’s a very desirable location based off of proximity from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and the surrounding states. The commercial development also continues to be active, as there are still opportunities based off of location for new projects.”
Lowe Real Estate Group prides themselves on customer service and identifying the needs of their clients. Their practice is to support their clients accordingly and work at their own pace and timeline.
“The purchase or sale of a residence can be extremely emotional and filled with a lot of highs and lows, so it’s extremely important to provide a high level of support and stabilization to your clients,” he said.
To that end, Lowe and his team regularly share in the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from helping a client through a successful transaction. “We really enjoy working with people and assisting them with achieving their overall goals,” he affirmed. “Working in real estate provides a lot of problem solving and challenges, and we welcome the opportunity to solve them.”