Ask any real estate agent around Middle Tennessee about the real estate market and you are likely to hear, “Things are insane!” I have seen the ups and downs in the real estate market over my 22-plus years, but I haven’t ever seen things as they are now.
You may think that means every agent is selling homes like never before, and for some that is correct. What we are mostly seeing is the lack of supply in contrast with demand like we have never seen before, and it is stifling sales for many agents. Every agent doing business will tell you we need more inventory. We are not lacking buyers, we are lacking sellers across the board.
So why is our inventory so low?
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a wide range of serious problems all over the world. In the Middle Tennessee real estate market, I feel many homeowners who may have sold their homes in “normal” times have stayed put with so much uncertainty. Parents truly do not know day to day whether or not their kids will be attending school in-person or learning remotely. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get your home ready to go on the market, clean up every day for showings or inspections, dealing with negotiations… all while helping your child figure why they can’t log on for class while they are sitting at your dining room table? Oh, and throw in everyday homeowner job requirements… it’s baffling to think about. Hence, “would be sellers” stay put for now if they do not HAVE to sell right now.
Another simple reality is that in uncertain times, people hunker down in their nest unless they HAVE to move for a specific reason. The “want to sell” seller is often choosing to stay right where they are.
Nobody knows what the future holds. My hope is that people getting the vaccine will be somewhat calming to society and we will see the effects of COVID-19 start to slowly fade. I do not think that will be the flip of a typical light switch, but the slow moving of dimmer switch. As things start to calm, I believe we will see more and more of the “want to” sellers emerge. That should bring more inventory. The big question is “WHEN?” Again, I feel that we will see a slow improvement in inventory levels.
If you are a homeowner thinking of selling, now is as good a time as I have ever seen. The process can be quite complicated and detailed, especially in this type of market. Sellers need a reputable and knowledgeable real estate agent to provide expertise and navigation throughout the process. Multiple offers and all that come with make the process way more difficult than consumers realize. Be sure to contact the best agent you know if you are considering jumping in the 2021 real estate pool!
Chip Kerr is the founder and manager of Kerr & Co. Realty in Franklin, Tennessee. He is a Williamson County native and has been a licensed agent for over 22 years.