The GreenvilleSCRealEstateToday Blog Page

Oct. 19, 2017

Greenville Market Stats Update

The real estate market in Greenville continues to be encouraging, but with some interesting aspects that might give home buyers cause for concern. As you can see from the update as of October 10, 2017 below, the current active listings for sale is down another 5.4%. While you would think the total units for sale in Greenville, at over 4600, is a lot of homes, that is actually low considering the market area. Anyone who is looking right now can attest to some level of frustration in finding a decent selection of "great" buys out there. We are definitely still in a seller's market.

The average price for a home is up 5.5% to $349,878, more good news for sellers hoping to cash in. Comparing to the market at the end of 2015, it is pretty amazing that the average price was at $282,789 back then. This can be misleading though since it is only considering the homes actively for sale and not the actual sold homes. Look further down and you will see the average sold price at $226,136, still a jump of 7.1% from last year. The average sold price at the end of 2015 was $194,102, so home prices have certainly done well over the past few years. 

One comparison that I think is telling is the average days on the market for active homes vs sold homes. The average days on the market for active homes is at 109 and for sold homes it is 54. What that tells you is that there is definitely a more selective audience out there home shopping. The really nice homes (considering location, marketability, etc.) are selling very quickly and the ones that are not so nice are taking longer to sell. 

Overall though, we are still living in a great area and it is hard to not be thankful for that fact!

MLS stats 10-17

May 19, 2015

Inventory is low and demand is high!

WOW, the market is as good as I can remember in my 17 years in real estate! That is typically the response I have when someone asks me about business. Actually the first question is usually, how have you been and how is your family? But, if the person knows who I am, they will soon ask how business is going. Since the business of real estate seems to always be on the back of everyone's mind, mainly because everyone's home tends to be one of their biggest investments, it is a topic many like to hear about from a practicing professional. Let's take a quick look at one of the most recent Multiple Listing sold statistics for Greenville, released by our association on February 12, 2015.

Our current inventory shows about the same number of active listings as this same time last year, but the average price is up 7.3%. This would indicate definite optimism is continuing to thrive. The actual average sold price is up 8%! The number of sales year to date is up almost 18% and days on the market down almost 6%.  If you take into consideration that inventories have remained low for the past two years, you can understand how demand would be at an all time high.

This fact might lead many to believe that they don't need to assistance of a professional when selling their home. For those who are thinking along these lines, let me list some of the road blocks to a successful real estate transaction: Over pricing leads to failed transaction due to appraisals coming in low. Non disclosure issues can lead to discovery from inspections and in some cases litigation from these non disclosures. Multiple offers from unrepresented purchasers can lead to anger from the parties who lost, or even regret from the parties who won...leading in some cases to litigation from these individuals. These can certainly be worst case scenarios, but when you add in the benefits I can provide, like recommended attorneys, lenders, inspectors, home staging consultants, contractors (from plumbers to pest control experts) and a host of others, how can one think you wouldn't be better off with a licensed and experienced professional to handle the transaction?

Remember, the market is hot! Don't let what may be the biggest financial decision in your life be your worst. Call a real estate professional like myself to get your moving in the right direction!

Greenville SC MLS Sold Statistics 2-10-15

March 7, 2013

Low Inventory Equals High Demand


Today's real estate market has become somewhat of an unpredictable anomaly. Now, before I begin to explain what I see happening in the Greenville real estate market, let me preface this by saying that real estate trends, in general, tend to be local. That means that when you read about the housing statistics that come out and affect our economy, those are many times national figures and they can be quite different than your local statistics. Just because housing starts might be down nationally, might not mean local builders aren't having their best quarter in 5 years. That being said, I am hearing that the low inventory in existing homes for sale seems to be happening in a number of markets, not just Greenville.

This all started in January of 2012, when the market really started showing signs of a big upturn. Folks who had been "sitting on the fence" started to get that motivation to move again. We saw more contract put on homes in the first and second quarters of 2012 than we saw at the height of the Greenville housing market. This really carried through the entire year, though not as much to the extent as we saw in the first half. What has happened now is our inventory is very low, 10% lower than this time last year, which was 15% lower than the year before. In neighborhoods that typically have higher demand for good homes, this is creating a feeding frenzy! Multiple offers and bidding wars are not uncommon because there isn't any competition. Homes that typically might have been considered overpriced or not in the best of condition are going under contract. Buyers are getting anxious, especially if they have already sold the home they are living in now.

I spoke with a friend from Charleston who is in the market for a home in the Mt. Pleasant area and he has heard their inventory is down by almost 75% from last year in the areas he is looking. Not an ideal time to be looking for a home to say the least!

Is there an answer? It would seem to me that inventory should begin to pick up here soon, but that all depends on the economy. Right now, other than our government officials not seeming to know how to find a middle ground on anything, optimism seems to be high. The stock market just hit an all time high and it is still one of the best times to buy a home. Interest rates are still low, so that shouldn't be the reason people aren't selling. Only time will tell if we are able to sustain this seller's market. If seller's don't already know, this is one of the best times to sell! So let's get moving!Comparisons Jan-2013 Greenville MLS

June 6, 2012

Multiple Offers?

In the Realtor community around Greenville, SC, we haven't really had to talk with our buyers and sellers that much about multiple offers in the past five years. Though there are certainly situations where that never went away, like bank foreclosures and such, for the most part, any multiple offers we saw lately usually came in at "highest and best" well below list price.
This trend has changed as of late, mainly due to the fact that many folks have been starting to get back out into the marketplace, excited about moving again.  Statistics for the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors (GGAR) showed a 20% increase in 'under contracts' from the same quarter in 2011 and was 10% higher than 06' and 07' at the height of the market. With an inventory level that is much less than in those previous years, that has created a very big demand for housing. We are now seeing quite a few homes being sold in "bidding wars" in the first few days on the market. This has led to the next domino to fall, which is pricing increases.  GGAR statistics reported a 4% increase in the median price for homes in our market for the first quarter of 2012 alone!
So that brings me back to my original question for discussion...which is, how do these multiple offer situations typically play out?
There are various ways of handling multiple offers as a listing agent, or one who represents the seller. We typically let all the parties know the situation and ask that they send in their "highest and best" offer by a certain time. Once all the offers are in, we present them all at once to our seller and let them decide which one works best for their needs.
All offers are NOT created equal as you might imagine, and two might appear identical on the surface and offer different scenarios for the seller. Just recently, one of my buyer clients lost out on a dual offer situation because the other party was putting more money on their down payment. Other than that, we were told both offers were identical. The seller just felt that given all things being equal, they felt safer going with the buyer who seemed to be a little more stable financially. Logical... unfortunately for my buyer. As a buyer's agent, it was my job to let my client know that the house could easily sell for full price or more and that if you really wanted the house, wouldn't it make sense to offer $500 over list? They just offered full price and lost!
There are many other variations of multiple offer situations, including, but not limited to the listing agent actually sharing the offers with all parties, essentially creating an auction type scenario. This one is not as common in our marketplace, but has been listed as an acceptable method if the seller so chooses. This one is riskier around here because folks tend to get a tad frustrated, feel taken advantage of, principle takes over and the deal falls apart.
Some agents feel strongly that if multiple offers come in, they advise their seller to work with the first one that came in until it has been fully negotiated, and then if still available, move to the next one, and so on. This makes it more of an ultimate "fair play" scenario in my opinion because you are giving the legitimate first offer an opportunity to have the first right of refusal. This isn't necessarily the best case scenario for the seller though, so we only see this in the Realtors who have been in the business for decades and do things the "old fashioned" way.
However you look at it, the tables have definitely turned in some respects for an advantage to the seller in the more desirable neighborhoods in Greenville. And I can certainly vouch for one of my buyer clients in STINKS for the buyer in those situations.
Happy house hunting! Call me if you want someone who has the know how to look out for your best interests!

J. J. Bowers

Posted in Home Buyer's Tips
May 7, 2012

What to do with appraisals

We are starting to show the first true signs of coming out of the "great recession" and the real estate market will initially be searching to find a new identity with a whole new set of rules with which to live. Depending on where you live, property values have dropped over the past five years from a couple of percentage points up to forty and fifty percent in some areas.

Around Greenville, we have been relatively lucky to have come out of the downturn without too much of a loss. Now don't get me wrong, we have certainly seen some tough times. Foreclosures are still quite prevalent and the effects of what may be a substantial shadow inventory are yet to be fully recognized. With every foreclosure, you can see other home values suffer. The main reason comes down to simple math. When comparable homes sell in foreclosure, they typically will sell for much less, thus causing the good homes potential appraised value to be less.

The question I hear many folks asking is why would the bank appraiser use a foreclosure as a comparable? The answer is that one of the main restrictions that have been imposed on bank appraisers is to use comparable sales within the same neighborhood first. If there are two foreclosures and only one other sale within the past year, it can really affect the appraised value of some exceptional homes. These restrictions were imposed for good reasons, mainly so that homes don't sell for more than they should and create future foreclosure problems and bad investments for the banks. Yes, that is why we had the recession to begin with, so the government certainly doesn't want that to happen again.

So what are we to do with exceptional homes in a recovering economy? One has to be a better salesperson for one. When I put a home on the market that has had tremendous improvements made to it over the last couple of homes that have sold, I have to make sure I highlight those improvements and hope the prospects see the value. Then, when the appraiser comes around, be an even better salesperson! It appears that the general public is anxiously waiting to jump back out there, and they are certainly going to be interested in the more "move in" condition homes.  We just have to sell that value to the lender as well and hope they agree. It will be the only way we can start to get our property values back up and our biggest investment (our homes) back to the level where they once were.

J. J. Bowers

Realtor/owner -

April 24, 2012

Stop and Go Spring

Here we are in the heart of spring time! The weather has begun to get warmer, then colder, then hot, then...well, it is certainly unpredictable. Being a weather forecaster in the past year or so has certainly been a little more challenging, I would imagine. You might say the same for many industries for the past 5 years, and real estate is certainly not immune.
Historically, spring time has been one of the more active seasons in real estate, and this year started out showing some real signs of life. Here in Greenville, we were seeing homes sell faster and with more interest than in quite some time. There were even some homes that had multiple offers in the first few days on the market. Showings on listings were overwhelming, with two and three a day on good new listings. For sale by owners (fsbos) had been almost non existent in the past few years, but also started recently popping up with some success, thereby making others believe they could do it too. Yes, it appeared the pent up demand that had built up during the recession was starting to "spring" forth. Then all of the sudden we hear of some economic news that didn't meet expectations, and there is this pause in the action.
Now certainly everyone isn't going to believe that it would happen overnight...that several years of a down market and dropping prices, foreclosures, and short sales was going to just magically disappear in just a few short months. Actually there probably wasn't even a few folks that believed that would happen. It did appear, though, that we were starting to really make some modest headway back from the depressed economic stronghold that seemed to keep tightening it's grip. As it turns out, we are experiencing what experts predicted all along, a pause in our recovery. Last year, we experienced a pretty severe pause that lasted for a better part of an entire year. This year's pause won't likely be known for a few months. If the unemployment numbers stay strong and gas prices don't skyrocket, maybe we will know in a few weeks instead. This will, unfortunately, be a recovery of 'starts and stops.' Where it starts back will likely depend on the rest of the world, thereby reigniting that consumer confidence that has shown is there lurking in the darkness...and ready to explode! I think we all are about ready for that to happen.

J. J. Bowers

April 2, 2012

Greenville Drive

Fluor Field SignGreenville Drive Opens New Season

It is that time of the year and the minor league ballpark in downtown Greenville, Fluor Field, will begin to come alive again on April 5th. One of Greenville's many fabulous attractions has been the addition of this ballpark in the west end of downtown. While there were many pundits who were skeptical about whether or not Greenville could support this venture back when it was proposed, no one has doubts anymore. Modeled after Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, Fluor Field has its own "Green Monster." The look and feel are the same as if you were actually in Fenway, and the atmosphere is tremendous! Each season has more than 70 home games and the field itself plays host to numerous other civic functions and alternative sporting events. Tickets are very affordable and there is hardly a bad seat in the stadium.

One of the best times a family can have is to plan a night out at a Drive game. The cost of the entertainment is extremely reasonable and represents a fun, safe way to enjoy all that Greenville can offer in a professional sporting arena. Any time Greenville is highlighted in national television or media publications for ranking near the top for places of interest, the Drive stadium is one of the main features.

Many times, my wife and I have been involved in group nights out downtown where we will meet at Liberty Tap Room, a restaurant adjacent to the stadium, eat dinner and then attend a ball game. It really is hard to believe we have such a wonderful facility and friendly environment to enjoy an event such as what is offered here.

J. J. Bowers

March 22, 2012

Home Selling Tips

As the "selling" season starts to really get going, it is always good to keep in mind some helpful tips for preparing your home to go on the market. The first step you should take is to talk to a licensed real estate professional and have them walk through your home. I do this all the time, and I can let my sellers know some of the more important things to tackle and some of the jobs that they might be able to avoid. Keep in mind, you really need to give yourself some "prep" time, maybe a month or so depending on your self motivation, to get everything just right prior to showing the home.
Start with these five tips:
1. Clean and de-clutter - Don't let clutter and dinginess get in the way of a potential buyer falling in love with your home. If you aren't going to be using it for the next few months, box it up and put it in a storage facility. Also, remove any furniture that isn't the dominant setting for the room or if it isn't in the best shape.
2. Welcome yourself to the front door as if you were the buyer - When we show a home, we will typically sit at the front door for about a minute while we are retrieving the keys from the lock box. During this time, the buyer will be noticing little things like peeling paint, dirty siding and porches, etc. If necessary, paint the front door, replace or polish the old hardware, and clean any glass that is visible. As a nice touch, you can also add a new doormat, mailbox, and fresh plants or flowers on either side of the door. A good first impression can start the showing off just right.
3. Take down the old drapes - If you still have any outdated draperies or worn out blinds, now is the time to take them down. Replace these things with basic white mini-blinds or faux wood blinds that you can get at the big box home stores. This is one of the easiest ways to freshen your rooms over a week end.
4. Lightening and brightening - Some homes suffer from not having much natural lighting coming into them and need some help. The best way to remedy this problem is to brighten them yourself. Update old light fixtures with new ones that are more stylish for today’s standards and they will provide more light in the process. Look for light bulbs that have gone out and replace them to maximize the output of your existing fixtures.
5. Start from the ground floor - Worn out, old, or discolored carpeting can be the most obvious objection a buyer can have. Consider replacing old carpeting with what I call "builder beige." This is a fairly inexpensive carpeting that is neutral and can be put down for a good price (especially if you let me refer someone to you). Buyers don't want an allowance, the lenders don't like them in a transaction, and you eliminate one of the biggest objections we hear in today's market. And if you have wood floors underneath old carpeting, tear it out and expose the wood!
If you do the leg work up front, you can improve your chances of getting your home sold faster, which translates into a higher dollar amount and less stress along the way.

J. J. Bowers

Posted in Home Seller's Tips
March 20, 2012

March Madness is Upon Us!

That's right, here we are again, knee deep in our brackets and preparing for what appears to be surprisingly hot spring. I guess we shouldn't be that surprised though considering how seasonally warm our winter ended. This is all thanks to what weather experts are saying was a jet stream that didn't drop down into the states much of this year.

But enough about basketball and the weather, this is a real estate site and what I wanted to talk about was the March madness we see with home sales in the spring. Yes, once the weather starts to get warm, spring fever takes over and we find ourselves with renewed energy to get out of the house and get stuff done. This year, it appears that will include finally getting off the proverbial "fence" and jumping back into the housing market. Around Greenville, I have seen some pretty strong signs that we might finally be having that recovery everyone has been anticipating.

What does that mean for you as a buyer? It means that you might be looking at more to choose from as you begin your new home search. It also means you might be seeing more competition for those homes as well. Some of the more established neighborhoods that haven't seen as much action during the recession are really starting to pick up. New construction is also coming back strong with several new national builders making strides in unfinished developments that had suffered during the recession.

What does this mean for you as a seller? It means more homes will be coming on the market from sellers who have also been trying to wait out the downturn. Prices are still down, but it appears buyers are at least out there and that means homes can be sold. One reason pricing won't be coming back up very quickly remains the restrictions banks now have in place on the appraisal process. If the comparable sales aren't there, you won't be seeing many exceptions for the exceptional homes.

What this all translates to is that March Madness isn't just happening in college basketball. If you have been sitting on the fence waiting to make that move, it appears now might be a good time!

J. J. Bowers

March 15, 2012

Helpful Buyer's Tips

Helpful tips to consider when purchasing in today's new market

The inventory of homes available for sale in Greenville is surprisingly not as big as one might expect. There is certainly the potential of a rising "shadow inventory" on the horizon as I mentioned in a previous blog post, but until that time, buyers need to know it might not be the market they were expecting. The time could not be much better for buying a home, regardless, since we are still experiencing record low interest rates and lower home prices.  With that in mind, sifting through the current inventory of homes, or any inventory of homes, can still be changing unless you have some goals in mind while searching.  Consider the following tips before you tackle that all intensive home tour and you might save yourself some stress, headaches, and sore feet!

Create your "wish list," as I like to call it, of features that you can't live without. Even though we all typically have more than we need, let's call this list just that...home options you "need." You can sort through any guilty feelings you have later about this list, but try to pamper yourself for now.  This list will include the obvious features like bedrooms, baths, and school district.  Ah ha! You probably didn't think I was going to say schools did you? Well, schools mean location, and you know what they say about real estate...location...location...

Find, call, get a recommendation, or whatever you feel most comfortable with in getting to know a lender you can trust to give the you best service with the lowest rates and fees. Now that says a lot, but it can mean the difference in thousands of dollars out of your pocket and maybe some pretty stressful headaches avoided when you get ready to close. Like Realtors, everyone knows someone in mortgage lending. My advise is to go with a recommendation from your Realtor (that's me!) I can hook you up with some of the best, that will do all those things I said they should do. Once you contact the lender, you are going to need to get pre-approved for a price range. For more on this, read more in my buyer's guide about steps to take towards financing your home.

Now you can start your research online! Yeah, I know, you have already been doing that, or you wouldn't be reading this, right? Well, now that you have taken care of the previous preliminary work, you are really ready to start searching. Use your price range and "wish list" and create a search for properties that fit your criteria. You can view photos, take visual tours, and get all kinds of information about the homes for sale. Try to narrow it down to a couple of listings in each community you want to live before the in-home visits. You can open the search up more to individual subdivisions later once you have targeted one or two as your primary location.

The hard part can come with this one last important tip. Try not to get caught up with some of the aesthetics of the homes. These are the cosmetic features that can be changed fairly paint colors and light fixtures, and to some extent counter tops and appliances. You will almost never find the home that has every feature you want, but you should find some that have the lot size and location you want and need some changes inside to make you happy. Guess what? You can't change the lot size and the location, at least not until someone invents teleportation technology. Stick with homes that have the things you can change, that way you won't feel caught by the things you can't later on down the road.

That's it! All you need to know about buying a home! Well, not exactly.  In fact, not even close. We are just trying to get you started on the right path.  For a more in depth look at the buying process, take a look at my Real Estate Buyer's Guide.

Happy house hunting!

Posted in Home Buyer's Tips