High-demand and low-supply: Navigating the current housing market in the Tri-Cities

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – There were a number of worries for the housing market when the pandemic struck, but a year later the market is actually booming, especially for those selling their homes.

“This weekend, one of our listings just got 28 offers,” said Blue Ridge Properties Realtor Val George.

George said multiple offers on a home with the first few days isn’t uncommon these days. He said the low-interest rates currently being offered are encouraging people to buy new homes. While low supply, high demand, and higher prices may not sound the most appealing, he told News Channel 11’s Kelly Grosfield that now is a better time than ever to get in on the action.

“If you’re wanting to buy a house right now, I would say now is the time. If you’re thinking about selling your house, now is the time. You’re going to make more money than you probably could have before,” said George.

He said he’s especially noticed the boom in Kingsport and attributed the want to move to the area to the picturesque view, great schools, and even better community.

While buying a home right now can be hectic, George recommends meeting with a mortgage lender to lock in those low rates because there’s no telling when they’ll go back up. He also recommends meeting with a real estate agent, making sure they’re the right fit, and weighing your options carefully in the search for a home.

When it comes to the home buying process, some are having more luck than others. Peyton Brondos said he and his wife have been looking for a home since the start of the pandemic last year.

He said they were under contract on a home in Carter County, but following a reduced bank loan when the pandemic struck, they lost it, forcing them to start this process all over.

“The process has been pretty tough, there’s always something new you have to do and another hoop you have to jump through to get it,” said Brondos.

He also said he is running into issues with homes practically being off the market before he and his wife even get to see them. “We’ll look at them and my wife and I will think ‘oh man, that looks like the perfect little place’ and a couple of minutes later they’ll be contingent, they’ll be under contract, it’s blowing our Realtor’s mind and our mind and we’re just shocked,” he said.

Lori Lively also ran into this issue, “Everything we liked almost the same day had an offer on it,” she said.

Lively and her husband wanted to move to Kingsport from Louisville, Kentucky since Kingsport is her husband’s hometown. She said it was a fairly fast process. They started the search in December but ran into offers already being placed on homes they liked so they looked into every home buying option.

“We looked at everything from complete gut jobs to move-in, turn-key, to actually possibly even building from new. We had to look at all the options because there just wasn’t a lot of options for us to choose from.”

She said the lower interest rates were also very appealing, which also encouraged them to move during this time. Thankfully, they did find a home in Kingsport and moved in a few weeks ago. She said they went a little over the asking price in order to make their offer more attractive.

According to Kristi Bailey, the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors president, she said that’s exactly what you have to do right now.

“The best thing you can do is be ready with your best offer when you go in and don’t wait, don’t think you’ll be able to negotiate. You’ll have to be able to go in with your highest top dollar in the beginning because you don’t have a chance if you think you’re going to get something lower than what they’re asking,” said Bailey.

She went on to say that not only is this process hard on buyers right now but also sellers. While homes may attract multiple offers within the first day of posting, the work doesn’t end until the deal is done.

“It’s hard to make a decision because you’re always worried about taking the wrong one. It’s just a hard market for everybody and it really stresses everybody out, buyers and sellers,” said Bailey.

With historically low interest rates and a competitive market, loan officer Nolan Jenkins recommends getting pre-approved. He said doing so will help you when placing your bid on a home with multiple offers.

“Mortgage lenders and the Realtors, we work together to make sure that you can find what you’re looking for and of course get you closed as quickly as possible,” said Jenkins.

He said his office has been quiet since COVID hit, with many people opting to do things virtually, but he said nothing beats an actual conversation with a loan officer whose goal is to help clients close on a home.

Jenkins also said aside from buying and selling homes, he also saw an uptick in refinancing homes during the brunt of the pandemic so people could save money without having to buy a new home.

He said some tips when buying are knowing what you can afford when going into it and speaking to people and asking as many questions as possible to get the answers you need.

Having just gone through the process, Lively recommends people don’t settle. She said not to rush the process even though you may feel like you need to jump on an offer. While she said they got lucky, she said she feels everyone’s dream home is out there somewhere.

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