The signs of mid-autumn are all around us. Last weekend, I enjoyed hoisting free pumpkins into passersby cars at the White Rock Homelife Real Estate office. On Halloween night I came home to my 20 year old son dressed up in a costume covered in Jagermeister bottles -- don't ask (I long for the times when I could push him out the door in my favourite hockey jersey). My wife was had all kinds of grey fabric hanging off of black pants and a shirt -- I didn't get it, but it was 50 shades of grey. With the exception of our pets, our family really enjoys autumn, and it’s crown jewel , All Hallow’s Eve -- but to get back to the purpose of the blog, ---- just like Halloween, the real estate market can be a tiny bit scary in the fall.
Real estate markets behave differently in the autumn so the secret is to wrap your head around the market and understand it. This year, mortgage rates are still good, and there are still opportunities to buy or sell homes. Get the stats of the recent market for your area. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board has not released the October stats yet, but September 2013 showed a 32% increase in sales over September 2012. But, this has not caused any increase in prices because inventory levels have held pace with demand.
Often in fall there are frustrated sellers who have missed the busier summer market. Their reaction is to either re-price their homes or take their properties off the market entirely before the holiday season brings the inevitable market lull. Houses, townhouses, condos and apartments all behave differently. Surrey, Langley, Delta and White Rock homes sales all behave differently from each other. There can also be hot and cool mini housing markets. Talk to your agent about what is happening in your area.
Before dropping out of the real estate market, I recommend both buyers and sellers take the opportunity that the fall market provides. For buyers, late autumn (after the kids are settled in school) is actually a great time to buy a home. Prices have settled back to what is more reflected of the true market value. Beautiful summer gardens do not distract buyers from maintenance issues. Now is the time to really make good and rational housing decisions. Are the gutters draining properly, is the furnace working, does the house smell fresh and free of dampness?
For sellers, remember the importance of the senses and embrace the season. For sight – add fall colours -- pumpkins, gords, mums, fall wreaths or cornstalks at the front door can add decorative homey appeal. For smell, how about apple pie or apple cider, you can whip something up in the kitchen or buy a candle with the appropriate scent. For feel (touch), my suggestion is to ensure the air and surfaces are warm and cozy, the house must be warm and inviting.