Shelley Walters, an FC Tucker real estate broker in the Carmel Arts & Design District, was recently putting a new Carmel home on the market. As she put the sign in the front yard, a man drove up and asked about the house.
“He looked at it right then and came back with his realtor and made an offer,” she said. “I still had the sign in my hand.”
Walters said it’s one example of how fast homes are selling in Carmel, and there aren’t enough houses to sell. In some cases, buyers are advised to be pre-approved for a mortgage, so whenever they see a house they like, they can jump on it right away.
“Basically, we need listings,” Walters said. “I think homeowners have seen notes come in the mail about a realtor needing their home for their buyer. In the past, that was a good marketing tool to just try and get a listing here or there. Today, if a homeowner gets one of those, they might want to take it seriously, but if they respond, they might want to be ready to move.”
Karen Tanner, broker/owner with The Bonwell Tanner Group, said she estimates there are three times as many interested buyers than sellers when you consider homes less than $350,000 in Carmel. She said most buyers are looking to spend between $200,000 and $500,000. Walters estimated it could be as high as 10 buyers for every one home for homes less than $500,000.
“Buyers are looking for move-in ready homes that require little updating and minimal out-of-pocket expenses,” Walters said.
Tanner also added that home buying could be seasonal. She said the average Carmel homes sat on the market for 72 days during the winter months, but homes listed after Feb. 1 have sat on the market an average of 15 days.
“The demand for move-in ready homes is much greater during the spring and early summer markets,” Tanner said. “This has caused prices to increase over the past few years. We have also seen a huge increase in the number of multiple-offer situations and homes selling at or above list price.”
There are, of course, occasional homes that sit on the market for longer. Most of these homes cost approximately $1 million. And while homes are often selling for more than their listed price, there are occasional sellers who list their homes too high.
“If a home has been lingering on the market, then something needs to be addressed in some way, because a good home that is priced right will sell pretty quickly if it is marketed right,” Walters said.
Lauren Wintrode, a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty, said interested buyers need to be prepared for stiff competition when it comes to buying a home in Carmel, or really anywhere in Hamilton Co.
“It means they must set themselves apart from the pack,” Wintrode said. “Before even calling a realtor, buyers should meet with a qualified mortgage lender and ask for a letter of pre-approval. This will establish how much home they’re qualified to buy, avoiding wasted time looking at homes in the wrong price range and offering proof to sellers that their offer is serious. If buyers get a pre-approval letter, shop with a realtor in their price range, keep their expectations realistic, and make sure their first offer on the home of their dreams is their highest and best, they’ll maximize the opportunity to make that dream of Carmel home ownership a reality.”