Every agent I know that’s any good is super busy right now. I could use the word overwhelmed, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that if you are a Top Agent, you have more business than you can handle right now.
In the Myrtle Beach area, condo activity has more than tripled in the past six months. We now have a total of 5,413 condos available for sale. We’ve sold 1,544 of them since June 1st. That is a sales activity of 6.34%, about three times higher than what we’ve been doing per month in the past few years.
To illustrate this point, take this quick analysis of activity in one popular Oceanfront condo project, Baywatch Resort:
Condos sold in:
2009 still has over a month left to go and we are already matching the number of transactions effected last year, and almost double what we did in all of 2006. I alone have three more transactions waiting to close this year at Baywatch and I imagine I’m not the only agent selling Baywatch condos.
That increased activity is reflected everywhere in the Myrtle Beach Market, but that rise is not the only thing causing good agents a time crisis. No, the real culprit is: instead of the typical 20 steps to close a deal, we now have 2,000. Yes, you heard right: 2,000! Each inch of the road is paved with sweat, guts and tears. If you have a dozen or more deals waiting to close, you have no life. Out of the 5,413 condos currently available for sale in the Myrtle Beach area, fully 610 (11.26%) of them are distressed properties (short sales or foreclosures). Last time I counted, out of 15 transactions we had waiting to close, only 2 or 3 were normal transactions; the rest were all distressed properties. That is what is selling now.
Take closings aside and let’s reflect on the other part of the equation: Buyers. Many of them would love to buy, but due to changes in financing, they can no longer qualify to do so. The few who can qualify don’t have the necessary 25% to put down (that’s what’s needed nowadays on oceanfront investment properties). Even investors with scores in the high 700’s who have the necessary sizable down payments are jumping through hoops to close on oceanfront properties, with at least 45 to 60 days closings (I once did a closing in 2005 in 3 days!). Is it any wonder that out of the 897 Oceanfront Sales we’ve had this year, fully 549 of them were CASH transactions? Yes, that’s right: over 61% of all Oceanfront Condo sales in the Myrtle Beach area were CASH transactions this year! How’s that for a statistic?
Let’s analyze this a little further: if we have plenty of condos for sale and only a few Buyers who can afford and are able to buy oceanfront properties, don’t you think they’ll be pretty darn picky? You bet! To add insult to injury, short sale transaction times are still stretching into many months and with plenty of extraordinary deals hitting the market on a daily basis, don’t you think some of these Buyers play “Musical Offers”? You bet! That’s why good Realtors are maxed out. For each executed contract I get, I probably write at least a dozen offers, maybe more. For each transaction I close, I probably put in 500% more time than I did in 2005. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you are doing even a quarter of the sales you used to make in 2005, you have a major time deficiency on your hands. You keep adding staff to cover for the missing time. Add that to the increased cost of advertising to make the sales in the first place and what you’ll discover is not a pretty picture: “I work this hard for what????”
To compensate for the inversion of income, I am now charging a higher sales commission, which is good only in theory, for making it squeak by the banks is another story… No, the banks want us all to work for free. Loss mitigation, short sale, every term involved denotes that someone is losing money; if you are involved in the transaction you lose too! “It’s only fair”, the bank says. “The Seller loses, we lose, you lose!”
I am not complaining here; I am merely observing my own Realtor Life of 2009. They don’t call me “Dog with a Bone” for nothing; I’ve earned that nickname and 2009 is simply another notch in my belt. I don’t know how your market is, but based on my own observations, I can tell you this for certain: for those of you still standing come 2010, my hat is off to you! Making it through 2009 has been the ultimate Realtor Test! Embark on your Holiday Season with a vengeance, for you more than deserve it!