Nearly the entire Richmond region real estate market saw home sales fall last month, with Hanover County as the exception with a 6 percent increase, according to Long & Foster’s Market Minute report. Median sale prices rose everywhere but Hanover County, including a 62 percent jump in Goochland County. Active inventory continued to decrease throughout the region and homes spent between one to two months on the market on average.
“Throughout the country, declining inventory has been the trend for the past 36 months, and the real crunch is at the lower end of the market,” said Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “In the last few months, that steady lack of available homes has brought home sales down with it, which we’re seeing in many markets, including Richmond. The bright spot is that interest rates are at a low and there are still opportunities to invest.”
Buyers who have vision and can see a property’s potential can take advantage of those opportunities, Scott said. While most buyers want the move-in ready homes that sell quickly, there are many homes that are sitting on the market much longer, typically because they aren’t updated, he said.
“Buyers may think a new home is the best way to get what they want, but purchasing a property that needs to be updated can allow them to make it their own,” Scott said “Additionally, buyers may not know that renovation loans can enable them to roll the cost of modernizing a home into their mortgage loan. This is why having the advice of a knowledgeable, professional real estate agent, such as those at Long & Foster, is so important.”
Those selling should pay close attention to the sale price of comparable properties nearby as opposed to the price of properties listed for sale, Scott said. A home that’s priced too high is likely to sit on the market, he said. An underpriced property will usually go under contract much faster and receive multiple offers that push the sale price up to its market value.
“A property’s listing price is not the most relevant number – it’s the sale price that tells the real story,” Scott said. “My recommendation is to work with a good real estate professional, do what they advise when preparing your home for the market and trust the pricing they propose.”