After an unusually warm winter here in Arlington, spring is upon us with a vengeance. And, along with the roses and rhododendrons, we all wait to see what homes will be sporting a FOR SALE sign outside their polished exteriors. But more and more, those signs seem to be fewer and farther between. Conventional wisdom would point to the perennial discussion around inventory levels but there might be something else at work in our community – so called “off market” sales.
Coral Gundlach, a CRS top producing real estate consultant and Tuckahoe parent, is starting to notice that this is more than just one or two homes being sold amongst friends, it is developing into a trend. Assisted by the ability to do virtual tours at the tap of a finger, buying a home has never been more immediate.
“Many buyers and sellers are connecting only via their agents and skipping the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) process. We’ve almost gone back in time where real estate is all about who you know,” explains Gundlach. Her latest listing in the Tuckahoe district didn’t even get past the “Coming Soon” sign. A neighbor renting one street over had her agent contact Gundlach, got early access, and made the sellers a compelling offer that kept it out of the broader market.
Gundlach cautions that when buying a “coming soon” listing the sellers are in the driver’s seat. Don’t think that an off market deal is a bargain. While you might not have to deal with the drama of a bidding war, sellers know there isn’t much inventory and it’s a calculated risk to sell without full exposure via the MLS. As a buyer, you need to make them an offer they cannot refuse. Your offer might have to be over asking price, have short or no contingencies and accept the property in as-is condition.
One might think this would make agents step out of the picture but quite the opposite says Gundlach, “It’s not about having any agent, it’s about having the right agent. Reputations and relationships within the real estate community can make or break a client’s ability to buy right now.”
More than ever, developing a relationship with a trusted realtor is becoming critical to finding the property that will fit your wish list. While online tools can give a snapshot of comparable properties, the real steals are often never listed – it has become a bit of a mystery about what is even up for the taking.
So, how does a potential buyer get ahead of that game? If you’re not local yet, spend some time looking for the right agent for the neighborhood(s) in which you are interested. Interview agents and ask them specifically about their local networks and experience with “off market” sales. An agent’s local experience and “ear to the ground” knowledge of not just the neighborhood, but positive relationships with neighbors, the community at large, and other agents can be critical to helping you find the right home.
Gundlach suggests, “If you know you are moving this way or have always wanted to live in a specific neighborhood, reach out and start establishing connections now. Visit the neighborhoods, libraries, schools and local businesses so that you have a good frame of reference. That way, when you are advised that a home is available, you will have a better understanding if the location will meet your needs.”
The Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour is one of the best opportunities to start familiarizing a buyer with the area. Come and see new unique properties and talk to the people who live here for insights on everything from the pizza and playgrounds to school programs and community centers! Tickets are on sale now at www.tuckahoe.org/tickets
Coral Gundlach is a Platinum Sponsor for the 2017 Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour. She has become a top producer by helping clients define their goals and look at the big picture to buy, sell, rent or refinance to reach their goals. She also spends time uniquely packaging the home and neighborhood’s best features to buyers through a variety of media channels—YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. A premier agent on Zillow and Trulia, she ensures that her sellers’ listings rank at the top of buyers’ home searches. Working extensively with all kinds of buyers—from first time to repeat, Gundlach navigates through the confusing process from finding the right neighborhood to negotiating price, inspections, mortgage options and make the experience exciting and enjoyable. For more information, check out www.coralgundlach.com