It’s a seller’s market for real estate at Lake of the Ozarks.

Annie Faulstich, owner of Lakefront Living Realty, says light inventories and strong demand, fueled by a healthy economy and rising interest rates, have created an opportunity for sellers. 

Not even a decade has passed since the bottom dropped out of the housing market, but it’s not hard to see why real estate professionals today see that historic crash as a distant memory. The housing market has rebounded with a vengeance, and confidence is skyrocketing as homes here and across the nation are moving in record time. Tighter inventories mean buyers often are willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market, and often multiple buyers are vying for limited properties. 

In other words: it’s a great time to be a seller. But for those who plan to sell in 2018, Faulstich says the window of opportunity may be closing. 

Today’s mortgage rates remain low, giving buyers a strong incentive – and the financial means – to buy. But experts predict rates are poised to rise, and many buyers are anxious to close the deal before they do. “If you’re thinking about selling, you’d be wise to list your home now before mortgage credit gets more expensive,” Faulstich said.

There are more buyers than there are available homes at the Lake. This is particularly true for anyone looking for lakefront property. “Lots for new construction are scarce, which is why we’re increasingly seeing older homes and cabins being torn down for new construction,” she said. “With their choices limited, lakefront buyers are going to great lengths to get the Lake house.” 

Buyers are more likely to make cash offers, as those with the strongest ability to waive financing contingencies gain the upper hand over other potential buyers. To compete, others are willing to agree to major concessions to close the deal. That creates a climate ripe for bidding wars, which not only pushes up prices but also prompts offers with very pro-seller terms – like forgoing the repair request or waving the appraisal contingency, Faulstich explains.

“When inventories are high, sellers feel pressure to make their home perfect before listing, which can be expensive. With a tight inventory, though, that’s not as crucial. Buyers are more willing to make an offer on a property with plans to make upgrades and improvements after the sale,” she said.

A couple of other factors – a strong and expanding economy and demographic changes – also benefit sellers. 

Consumer confidence, low unemployment and stock market surges all mean buyers have more money at their disposal. As incomes grow and people improve their job status, an increasing number of buyers have more money for a housing upgrade. An ancillary effect is that more and more millennials who were previously reluctant to invest in a home now find themselves with the financial means to take the first-time homebuyers’ plunge. Similarly, the booming economy has many Generation Xers in a position to buy a vacation home for the first time. 

So why aren’t more sellers taking advantage of the opportunity? Faulstich says one reason is the economic conditions that created the seller’s market are keeping property owners from listing:

“Homeowners typically aren’t selling to rent. They want to own their home, but the limited inventory keeps them from finding a replacement home or property. Plus, many of them recently refinanced to take advantage of record-low interest rates, and they’re disinclined to go back to higher monthly housing costs. So they stay put. 

But if enough owners begin to take advantage of the benefits of this seller’s market, the effects will trickle down to benefit all sellers and buyers, and the earlier you can list, the better off you’ll be.”

Faulstich says homeowners have another incentive to sell: because of the dearth of listings, real estate agents and brokers are willing to come to a home at no cost and give a comparative market analysis. Often this analysis will show that with little or no out-of-pocket costs for upgrades and improvements, a potential seller’s home may be worth a lot more than they think. 

“If you’ve thought at all that you might want to list your Lake home, contact an experienced local real estate specialist and get a free comparative market analysis,” Faulstich ended. “It’s a great time to be a seller, and we can find you buyers.”

Annie Faulstich is the owner/broker for Lakefront Living Realty (lakefrontliving.com), the Lake’s only real estate firm that handles solely lakefront and lake-access property. She can be reached at AnnieF@LakefrontLiving.com or by calling 833-LKFRONT.

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