House Rules

Tips on buying and selling in a hot market

By Nan Bauroth

He who hesitates is lost. That old proverb has become the watchword in the current real estate market in Ballantyne. “If you know it’s the home you want, step forward on the purchase, because it will be gone in this market, and it is unlikely you could replicate it,” says Christine Hotham, a broker and Realtor with Helen Adams Realty in Ballantyne. Hotham specializes in high-end properties in neighborhoods, including Ballantyne Country Club and Highgate.

According to her, April and May were especially busy months with premium pricing, and then things cooled off over the summer as pandemic conditions improved and people took vacations. “But buyers out there are still desperate for homes,” she says, noting that in just one day recently, she had a buyer from Seattle and another from San Francisco. “They are absolutely wanting to move, saying they want to get out because of all the lockdowns and high property taxes.”

Marie Lorimer, who works as a team with her husband Steven for Allen Tate Realtors in Ballantyne, seconds that opinion. “We are getting a lot of buyers from Texas,” she says. “Although home prices here might seem expensive for locals, people out of state see them as a good value, especially property taxes compared to where they currently reside.”

Sophia Spearman, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Ballantyne, is also seeing phenomenal demand. “One buyer made 13 offers over five months before they got a home,” she says, adding that on average, homes here are on the market for three to four days, if that. “What I am getting on the listing side is buyers trying to put a deadline on their offer to a seller before the open house. When you see a house that goes on the market and then is suddenly gone, it means someone made an offer the seller could not refuse.”

This rush to buy has some people purchasing homes sight unseen, a decision almost unthinkable in the past. But technology has accelerated the ability to take a virtual tour of a property, which is good enough for some buyers. “Having a Realtor who can take professional photos and give the seller a great online presence is a must because so many buyers are searching on the internet,” says Spearman, who also suggests to her sellers that they post floorplans and a video tour, if possible. “That way, buyers know the layout, which aids them in making a decision.”