Home buyers have to act quickly in tight Williamson market

Meg and Chandler Farmer went on vacation in Colorado after spending weeks unsuccessfully looking for a house to buy in Franklin. That’s when they unexpectedly spotted a posting on social media that friends planned to move.

The house was not yet listed for sale, but the Farmers realized they had to move quickly or risk losing it to competing buyers in Williamson County’s tight real estate market, where not enough homes are for sale to meet demand.

The problem was, they were more than 1,100 miles away and were afraid the house would be sold by the time they returned home. It had happened before.

“Every house we looked at, it was crazy. That day there would be two or three offers,” said Chandler Farmer.

Social media provided the solution. The Farmers called the couple and arranged a video tour.

“They FaceTimed us as they toured the house. They carried their iPhone through the house. We were video chatting. Then we put in an offer,” said Chandler Farmer.

Their resourcefulness paid off and the Farmers expect to move soon to their new home, located near the Goose Creek Bypass in Franklin.

Lisa Wurth, the Farmers’ Realtor, said the market is unbelievably competitive. She knows of one seller who received 21 offers in just one day.

“It’s obviously a sellers’ market and absolutely a prime time to sell,” said Wurth, managing broker for Benchmark Realty in Franklin and president-elect of the Williamson County Association of Realtors (WCAR).

The problem is that buyers are competing for a shrinking number of homes for sale. And that number is actually smaller than it may seem, said WCAR President David Logan. He is vice president of SilverPointe Properties in Brentwood.

There were 1,623 houses and condos listed for sale in Williamson County at the end of December. But one third of those homes have an offer pending or are under contract and are not really on the market anymore.

“That knocks down the number significantly. Of the 1,600 (listed), we have 1,000 homes available for people to look at,” Logan said.

He would prefer for the market to have a four-month supply of homes instead of today’s two-month inventory.

“We’ve got a problem. We have about half the inventory,” Logan said.

Not only are there fewer homes on the market than there appear to be, houses are selling faster than many people think, said Benchmark Realtor Sharon Brugman.

Homes officially spent an average of 60 days on the market, the WCAR reported in December. But that includes all houses up until the moment an offer is pending and the closing is imminent. The seller might have accepted an offer the day the house went on the market. Or even earlier.

“It could be pre-sold,” Brugman said.

Buyers have to be ready to move quickly, especially in certain price ranges, she said.

“If you see a house for $300,000 or below, you have a bidding war on your hands. Even $400,000 and below. That’s a crazy-strong market,” said Brugman.

That price range is especially appealing to young families who want their children to attend Williamson County’s schools, she said.

Buying a home is a significant step, and Logan understands why clients often tell him they want to take time to pray over their decision before making an offer.

“While you’re praying about it,” he tells them, “someone else’s prayers are being answered.”


Source:  Bill Lewis, For The Tennessean