It’s like riding a roller coaster, but it can leave you emotionally drained rather than aroused and agitated. Buying a home in the Greenville market could mean dozens of potential buyers preparing for one new listing, a sale price above the list price, a hassle-free appraisal process, and a very realistic prospect of starting over if the deal falls through. It’s an exciting ride, with fewer seats than people trying to board.
In this environment, upstate real estate agents play the roles of attorney, strategist, cheerleader, and psychologist. In a competitive market with low housing stocks and large numbers of potential buyers, the agent who can help clients manage their expectations is almost as important as who can end up closing the deal.
“As a realtor for nearly 20 years and licensed in three states, I have had the opportunity to share my experience of buying real estate on many levels. My best advice is patience and determination, ”said Kelly Commel of Wilson Associates Real Estate. “There are many tools that we, as realtors, use to accept offers while protecting our buyers. I don’t sugarcoat the process and set the right expectations from the start. My goal is for my customers to hear the truth, so that there are no unwanted surprises when they hire me. “
This process can be especially frustrating for out-of-town buyers who may not be prepared for how competitive the Greenville real estate market is. Greenville County has added over 70,000 new residents over the past decade, thanks in large part to the region’s fast-growing industrial sector and its enviable quality of life. Even more new residents have flooded the area since the coronavirus pandemic, looking for a location away from major urban centers with a good climate and plenty of outdoor activities.
Robbie Brady of Allen Tate Realtors uses a combination of Zoom, FaceTime and video sharing software to determine the expectations of out-of-town customers before they move. “We tell them that the market is very strong and that houses are changing fast,” Brady said. “We recommend that they work with the lender to obtain pre-approval for the loan to stand out among the pre-qualified buyers for the loan. As experienced agents, we let them know that we have advice on how to navigate this market and we have helped many buyers succeed in a multi-supply situation. ”
Multiple offers, low days on the market
As narrow as the Greenville market is, there is good news for buyers: the region’s inventory shortages are not as acute as they have been in the past few months. Inventories were down 23.2 percent from the same month last year, according to May data from the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors. While the deficit remains a deficit, it is also an improvement over April, when inventories fell 47.6 percent year on year, and March, when inventories fell 50.3 percent.
The figures for May represent the region’s smallest inventory deficit since June 2020, when the market fell 21.2 percent from the same period last year. And the 2,697 homes listed for sale in May were the highest in a month in the region since 2,801 homes entered the market in October 2020.
But shoppers in Greenville continue to face challenges. According to GGAR, the share of list price received in May was 100.8%, the highest in at least 12 months. Over the past year, the average has been 99 percent. The average selling price in May was $ 328,568, up $ 22,000 from April and $ 63,498 more than the average sales price since May 2020.
All this results in sales prices regularly exceeding list price, sellers receiving multiple bids, and a process in which it is important to be strategically and emotionally controlled. “Managing customer expectations can be challenging, but it’s a big part of our job in any market,” Brady said. “We strategize with the buyer to help them make the best offer by reminding them that they haven’t signed the contract until we get the signed contract back from the seller’s agent.”
According to GGAR, the average number of days on the market for a home listing in May was 31, the lowest in a year and well below the 49-day average in May 2020. But even that last number can be deceiving, because many new listings can attract dozens of offers in one day and be on the market for less than a week. This means that agents almost always have to help clients deal with the frustration of losing their home.
“It doesn’t have to be,” Commel said. “As corny as it sounds, it’s 100 percent true. There will be a home that even better suits their needs for them to receive. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard this in my career. “
Not too low, not too high
For potential buyers in the Greenville market, putting together the right offer is critical. If it’s too low, they run the risk of offending the salesperson – not to mention the fact that they will be noticeably less than enthusiastic about other offers. But even offers above the list price can be dangerous, given that the offer must ultimately satisfy not only the seller but also the financial institution issuing the mortgage used to buy the home.
Because in Greenville, getting a contract house is only half the battle. Pricing can be a nerve-racking affair given that many sales prices are well above list price. If the mortgage bank does not agree that the house is worth that amount, the buyer can return to their original position. The financial goal that many buyers need to achieve – one that exceeds the list price but not too much – is narrow, and agent advice is key.
“In a competitive market, buyers who offer much more than the asking price can charge the contract price higher than the price of recent sales in the area. So we are seeing low ratings, ”said Brady. “An experienced agent can help the buyer avoid pricing problems or resolve pricing if the pricing is below the contract price.”
For buyers, having the keys to a new home in Greenville may depend on finding an agent who knows not only the market, but trends and tactics that have proven to be effective. “It may seem simple with experienced agents,” Commel said, “but behind the scenes, we work tirelessly day and night and make sacrifices for our clients because we choose.”
Along the way, they also play the role of a psychologist, setting realistic expectations and helping navigate the emotional ups and downs of home buying in the Greenville market. “Experience and training is very important for agents in any market, but especially today,” says Brady.
added. “Setting expectations and helping the buyer position their offer will best help them win the bid.”