$300K could get you a mid-century rancher, a charming historic cottage or a traditional single family home.
But the big surprise for us was how hard it was to find anything at all—particularly inside the beltline, Midtown and all quadrants of North Raleigh.
Gina Gilliam, owner/broker of Gilliam & Associates Realty searched MLS for us: “There are only nine homes active on the market as of today in the $290k to $310K range. That’s all properties: condos, townhomes, single family homes, cluster homes; that is practically nothing!”
A seller’s market
“I’ve never seen inventory so low,” continued Gilliam, who’s been selling real estate since 1994. “The interesting part is that it’s a seller’s market because interest rates are low, but buyers are also very picky.
“Sellers who have their home in move-in condition and priced right are rewarded with fast sales and often multiple offers. Sellers who have not updated their homes or overprice them find, even in this low inventory environment, their home sits unsold.”
Shari Ellis, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, North Hills, says those with smaller budgets—less than $225K—feel locked out of the market.
“I’m currently working with a couple renting an apartment who asked me to assist them in buying a home in the North Hills area with a budget of $200-$225k,” says Ellis. “That’s a tall order because every real estate broker in town has a similar buyer, and because land is such a premium in Raleigh, we are competing against the builders and the buyers. After searching to no avail, my buyers have decided to wait a year until they can move up to the $300,000 price range.”
Feeling locked out?
Consider the three “Ps”
Be patient, be prepared and be pre-qualified.
“The first and most important step a buyer can take is to meet with a mortgage lender and obtain a pre-qualification or proof-of-funds letter,” says Ellis. “Most sellers won’t even entertain a buyer’s offer without a lender letter.
Sleep with one eye open
Use the Internet to be first in line
“We set our buyers up on an automatic search that populates a web portal for them,” says Gilliam. “As soon as a new listing comes on the market, they’re emailed, and we are too. If it’s one we know will work for them, we run comps and even have the contract ready for them to sign, so they can be one of the first to present an offer. Sometimes this prevents a multiple offer situation, which can mean paying less for a home.”
Write a love letter
Write a letter to the sellers telling them all the things you love about their house and why you want to make it yours.
“I recently worked with a buyer who is a widow and has a high school-aged son,” says Ellis. “She wanted to live in a certain community, but the ‘sold’ signs were going up the same day as the ‘for sale’ signs. We found a house they loved, and it went to multiple offers. My buyer got the house, and the seller’s agent said it was the letter.”