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Market Update

by Cynthia LaChapelle

This is an amazing time to get a property on the market. The Triangle area supply of homes for sale is down to historic lows, while prices have been rising. The amount of time required to sell is also down. Here are some facts about the year-to-date statistics:

  • New Listings in the Triangle region increased 2.2% to 4,204.
  • Pending Sales were down 43.2% to 1,752.
  • Inventory levels fell 16.2% to 12,545 units.
  • Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 10.0% to $231,000.
  • Days on Market was down 11.5% to 54 days.
  • Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 22.4% to 4.6 months.

The general division between a Seller’s Market and  Buyer’s Market is at the point of having a six-month supply of inventory. More inventory indicates a Buyer’s Market, less inventory indicates a Seller’s Market. 

Interested in selling?  What will it take to get your home on the market?  We can answer that.  Maybe you're worried about missing out on your dream home in a hot market.  Use our custom search tool so you never miss a listing!

Yes Virginia, This is a Seller's Market...

by Cynthia LaChapelle
If you are in the right place and prepare your home properly

The market switches between being a Seller's market and Buyer's market at six months as average time listed on the market. You may know that we entered a seller's market in most parts of our area last year and earlier. You also may have heard rumors recently about bidding wars and houses selling on the first day that they hit the market. Both are true. (By the way, when a house shows a house was listed 2-5 days on the MLS until pending, that usually means that it took that long to negotiate which buyers to take, the final price and get it in the computer.)

The biggest surprise is that the market heated early - in mid-January. That is well ahead of the usual Spring bump in the market. Showings normally are the highest numbers in March and April, followed by the highest number of closings in May and June. (It often takes 30-60 days to complete escrow.) I have been involved in several multiple bidding wars this year in the western wake county area. We're past trying to negotiate the best deal in most instances. We have moved into the market where the broker's job is to be able to get the house for the buyer. I've lost houses because we showed up on Day 2 and others because we didn't bid high enough above List price. Register here to have custom listings emailed to you as they appear on the market

One caution to the person who is thinking about selling, however. Most of the houses that are sought after and fought over have been put into beautiful condition. They are freshly painted, usually have new or newer carpet, updated kitchens and baths and very little (if any) brass. Often the buyers ask if the sellers are still living in it. The ones that are dirty and need work will still sit a while. They won't usually have more than one offer at a time, which is the way that sellers get higher than list price. People don't want to buy your dirt and mess.There are numerous resources available if you want to know how to fix up your home for sale, including a number of articles on our website.  Interested in getting an idea of how your home compares to others in your neighborhood?  Check out this website

However, beware of whether or not you can get the house to appraise in a rapidly rising price market. Houses in short supply go for higher prices than when the buyer has his pick of homes. Most appraisers want to value the homes at least where the buyer has paid, but they do have constraints put on them by the banks who have hired them. (They work for the bank, but are paid by the buyer.) Different types of loans and different mortgage companies put varying restrictions on the appraisers. They do use past data, which will be lower in a rising market. Whether you are a buyer or seller, it is wise to remember that when you win a bidding war, you will still need to be cognizant of the possibility of a low appraisal. The bank will lend only on the amount of the appraisal, not the sales price.


  • Buyers need to watch for new listings closely and view them immediately
  • Sellers need to spend the time and money to make their homes market-ready
  • A properly prepared home will sell very quickly at a good price
  • Be cautious of appraisal amounts. The buyer may or may not be willing or able to come up with the extra down payment.

When VINYL is a Four-Letter Word

by Cynthia LaChapelle

I was asked recently to look into why a house in my neighborhood was still unsold. It's in an upscale Cary neighborhood where houses are selling in an average of 40 days. This one has been on the market for more than three months. The price is good, and it looks nice on the outside and is in a good location. Next I checked the inside pictures. It's clean and nicely furnished.

The problem I see is that the fittings don't match the price and location. The notes said new carpet, and that actually made me sad for the sellers. They had the opportunity to fix the biggest glaring problem and passed it by. The pictures show hardwood floors in the dining room only. It shows carpet downstairs and worst of all - VINYL  IN THE KITCHEN. I also see laminate countertops and some of the fixtures are still the old brass.  I expect to see these finishes in a mobile home. (Want more tips on how to avoid common seller mistakes? Click Here)

Vinyl is the worst. One of my good friends, a long-time appraiser, looks at vinyl like I would at newspaper lining the floor of a birdcage. She gets paid for her opinion of what types of finishes should be used in homes of various prices and areas. She does appraisals for FHA, HUD, mortgage companies and individual investors who want to know the "After Repaired Value" of house they have purchased.  She sees vinyl floor as something people should not do. 

You get more money faster if the Buyers love it. Consider that people buy homes for one of two reasons. Either they fall in love with it and want to live there, or it is a low enough price that they are willing to do renovations on it to make it fit.  If you want to know what people love, buy the glossy magazines and look. Go into the very expensive neighborhoods and see the model homes. This will show what people love specific to your area. The upscale home in our area needs upscale finishes like granite, stainless steel appliances, wood floors, nice tile work, etc. You won't find a model home that has brass fixtures or white vinyl cabinets left over from the Eighties and Nineties.

The hands-down most preferred flooring in our area is hardwood. Yes, I know not everyone wants hardwoods- just practically everyone. (There are floor preferences based on the geographic origination of the buyer that could be the subject of another whole blog.) You also don't want to see several different floorings in an area. The style now is continuous floors. The Eighties are over.

So where do we see vinyl floors most? Mobile homes. If you have the same finishes in your home in a country club community in Cary as a mobile home, you will have a problem.  Even mobile homes sell really well when they are renovated to look like a nice stick-built home. I know a woman from my investment club, the Triangle Real Estate Investors Association, who buys, renovates and resells mobile homes exclusively.  She does a profitable business. Her rehabs are in high demand, because she puts very nice fittings in them. She removes the finishes that look cheap and uses tiles and stone surfaces and the sort of lighting you'd find in a really nice home. I've seen pictures of her renovated mobile homes that look nicer than this Cary country club home.

I don't know all the facts of this sale. I don't know if the sellers are cooperative about showings or restrict when buyers can visit. Maybe they keep it dirty and cluttered on a daily basis - not like the one day that the pictures were shot.  These two things also can hamper a house from selling. The one thing I can see with my own eyes is that when buyers come into this house, they are met with very down market finishes that they aren't likely to want to live with in an area of up market choices.  Most buyers in our market don't have the time, inclination or experience to renovate a home. They want to walk into something pretty and just live there. (Want to find out your home's value?  Follow this link)

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3