The rumors are true. It's been just over a month since the Hudson Valley real estate industry reopened as part of New York's four-part reopening process and tales of buyers scooping up prime listings in less than 24 hours on the market are already becoming commonplace. "In just a matter of weeks, we've gone from a buyers' market to a sellers' market, with an influx of buyers looking for a different lifestyle competing for the relatively few homes on the market," says Lisa Halter, owner of Woodstock and Kingston-based Halter Associates Realty.
As the market quickly shifts to the sellers' advantage, buyers' expectations for everything from what price they can offer for a house to where that house is located will need to shift as well. "Buyers shouldn't be discouraged though," says Halter. "As more homeowners realize this might be a good time to sell, new listings are coming on the market every day. Your perfect home is out there!"
So whether you're a local looking for a change of scenery or an out-of-towner hoping to set down roots in the country, here are her five tips for navigating the Upstate real estate market right now.
Work With an Experienced Agent
It might be a no-brainer, but your first step should be to find an agent who knows the territory. Choosing a local agent who has good relationships with other agents in the area and understands the nuances of the market is the best way for you to navigate the rest of the process swiftly and smoothly.
Come With Your Financial House in Order
With even less-than-ideal listings getting at or over asking price, your opportunity to negotiate in a sellers' market is limited. This requires a shift in your mindset when it comes to what you are willing to offer and how high you are willing to go. Before you put an offer in, get pre-qualified for your mortgage and/or be prepared to show bank statements that demonstrate your cash on hand.
Identify Your Must-Haves
Make a list of what you absolutely need to have in a property and what is nice to have. This will help you make decisions when there's pressure to increase your bid and help prevent buyers' remorse down the road. Are you willing to build that pool you have your heart set on after you buy? Do you have to be near an Amtrak station? Is lack of cell service or high-speed internet a deal-breaker?
Be Willing to Adjust Your Timeline
Inventory is moving very quickly right now, which can make it feel like you're missing out on the house of your dreams. You might not be able to close on a place next month, but trust that a house that fits your price range will likely come along eventually. On the flip side, you may also have to expedite your offer on a home that is likely to attract other buyers first.
Open Up Your Search Radius
When it comes to location, stay flexible. Identify comparable towns near your ideal spot or those farther afield that have the same cultural fit. The Catskills town of Phoenicia is just 20 minutes from Woodstock and has a similar vibe, but is a little more rural. If you're looking at Rhinebeck because of the proximity to Amtrak, define a driving distance that would be reasonable then start looking at towns within that circle, like Red Hook, Milan, or Staatsburg. If you keep your mind open, a knowledgeable local agent will be able to help you find cool little towns that might not even be on your radar!