by Brandon Scott
This summer has been really interesting, not only the summer but the year altogether. We've had some highs, but we have had plenty of lows to last a decade. But I am a firm believer that life gives us clues. Think about it. There are so many lessons around us and opportunities for us to take action. Not just buying a sweater or spending time in some beautiful foreign destination. Rather, it’s an ideal time to reassess our priorities and to reset.
And, many people are doing just that. We’re paying more attention to things that we were previously too busy to make time for. We have some much free mental space that we are able to take on so much more, despite everything that is going on around us.
So, with that as a backdrop, what am I really here to talk about. What is burning that I needed to create a thumbnail, post it online and use hashtags and marketing to draw in the eyes of strangers? Well, Winter is Coming. Shout out to my most recent client that really brought this into perspective, for me, and is the inspiration for this article.
We have all been preoccupied with so many other endeavors or distractions that we’ve forgotten that winter is just a few months down the road. The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘have your properly prepared for what that looks like in a Corona world?’.
As soon as the rules lightened and the showers let up, people, especially in the DMV, found themselves outside, biking, running, enjoying the great outdoors but from a socially responsible distance, of course. But, all of that freedom, all of that space is going to be taken away from us. So the walls of your apartment are going to become your friend. The meaning of quarantine will become exponentially more real for so many people.
Think about it. Prior to Covid-19, we spent a vast amount of our time at work and away from our homes. Many of you have reached out to me to begin the process of purchasing a home or to make a plan to purchase a home because the initial strain and frustration of a lack of space was more than you could bear. Now, there is a whole subset of people that are going to be late to the party – if you will.
These individuals put off their home search, despite having thought about it, because the restrictions for going outside have let us. I would even wager that many in that subset are overcome with fear about the process; further fueling the underlying procrastination. However, there comes a point, restrictions or no restrictions, that the sun begins to set a 4:30p or 5:15pm during most winter days in the DMV. Depending on the year, the cold is bitter and is followed by unsettling snow. And other times, the winter rains are dreary and dampen the mood of anyone.
And it will be at this point that many people will realize their breaking point. It will be here that the walls inside of your house will slowly begin to get closer and closer. You’ll find that you have less space, even the common areas in your apartment building will be littered with people. Where will you go? Will you take up running or walking in the cold just to find some relief? Wouldn’t it be better if you could change your scenery by heading to the family room or basement. How many times will you be able to endure walking from your bedroom to your kitchen? Even then, if there enough storage in your apartment kitchen to meet a full winter that’s sprinkled with a quarantine. For me, especially knowing how tiny many DMV apartments are, the answers to these questions are obvious. The reality becomes even more apparent when you factor in having a fur baby (pet) or an actual child. Having the ability to have a space that is your own is inherent in all of us.
The pandemic has changed not only the way that we interact, do business but also the short-and long-term planning that we make. In addition, this year has presented numerous opportunities for home buyers and sellers. In certain areas of DC, homes are being purchased for hundreds of thousands above asking price. During several recent team sells meetings at my Dupont-Logan Coldwell Banker Office several agents testified of their involvement in bidding wars where buyers committed over $80,000 above asking price.
The reality of the market we’re in goes even further. Homebuyers are waving contingencies like never before – inspection contingency, gone. Waiting that 21, or so, days to know if the new home you want to buy is going to appraise, gone. This new world we’re in is not just advantageous for buyers but, obviously, for sellers as well. Sellers are having their pick of the litter. So for everyone that has waited to purchase a home, you’ll find yourself submitting more than one offer and you’re not just up against other buyers, but a region that does not traditionally experience price depreciation – aka there is always someone willing to pay the price in D.C.; especially with such a tight inventory. Plus, winter is coming. So, the race to find a place is on and is more competitive and, for many, urgent than ever before.
But the real estate game is changing right before your eyes. Which should be no surprise, honestly. Did you think that there would be a perfect storm and you could really sit by and wait to get into the game? Anecdotally, you should already know that finding a place under $400,000 west of the river in DC is closer to a distant memory than a reality. Also, you should know that interest rates are at a historic low. Like, rates never seen before, especially rates that have persisted for this amount of time. Final piece to all of this, inventory is low. You don’t need me or any other Realtor to certify that for you. You all have every real estate app that’s out there downloaded and you’re seeing the same homes. And the ones you do like are there today and gone tomorrow.
You are literally looking a gift horse in the mouth and walking away. And there’s a wave of buyers that are taking advantage of this opportunity and this perfect storm. So, winter is coming and you have to ask, where will you find yourself? What will the inventory look like? The plan exists, you just have to execute and reach out to me.
Brandon Scott is a licensed real estate agent in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. His license hangs with Coldwell Banker Dupont-Logan, DC. He’s been involved in the mortgage finance industry for the last 16 years in various fields. You can reach him by email at Brandon@bmscott.com. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel at RealTea DMV