Expert Opinions on Our Market

Each month for over 4 years, we have gathered top real estate agents to discuss the market, trends and future of our business.  Here is what we discussed this week:

Unprofessional agents are controlling a lot of the business out their today.  Lack of returned phone calls, delays in presentations, incorrect information listed in MLS, and general lack of respect for fellow Realtors.

The short sale process is taking even longer as banks appear to be more disorganized than the previous several months.  Paperwork isn’t being logged, lost or is being asked to be resent for verification.  In some instances, short sales have been lost to foreclosure as there is no communication within the bank.  In one scenario, the seller’s suffix wasn’t at the end of their name on some paperwork so the lender closed the file without notifying any of the parties in the transaction – just reported no updates at this time for 3 weeks before realizing they had actually closed the case.  There is no end in sight as more short sales continue to come on the market.  A uniform process should be implemented by banks to streamline the process and allow more short sales to go through.

Appraisals are still a leading concern.  The HVCC process is extremely disorganized and has many flaws.  Here are some examples:  An appraiser was assigned to do an appraisal in Alexandria VA and the appraiser was from Aberdeen MD – nearly 100 miles away.  An appraiser was assigned an appraisal in Oakton VA and they were from Waldorf MD – over 75 miles away.  Two appraisals were done on a property in Piedmont – one was $550,000 the other $635,000 on a sales price of $600,000 – the underwriter said both were flawed and said the house was only worth $590,000 – they were in OKLAHOMA!  How can they say what a property is worth when they aren’t familiar with our market and more importantly – never saw the house and based their opinion on 2 flawed appraisals?  Many of the appraisers aren’t following through on their commitments and add to delays in approvals by taking 10 to 14 days to get their appraisals in to the lender.  Values are being surpressed by unprofessional, uneducated, and inexperienced appraisers who are the low bidders for appraisals through Appraisal Management Companies.

Average sales prices are down for everyone in the group – more first time buyers, fewer move up buyers, and investor purchasing low priced homes for investment opportunities.

We continue to have pent up demand for housing.  The market is on fire below $450,000 with multiple contracts on virtually every home that is in good condition, shows well and is priced right.  With many properties experiencing multiple contract situations, agents are starting to look at new homes as an option.  There are tons of calls coming in from buyers – many have a huge back log of buyers but no inventory to sell them.

We still are not seeing foreclosures flood the market as has been discussed for nearly 9 months.  Our inventory levels are down to May 2005 levels and if they were to come on the market, we could absorb the inventory with the pent up demand we have in our marketplace.

The agents were encouraged to remain optimistic, to be proactive in reaching out to move up buyers, educate the public on the opportunities available and to go sell something!


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