Local residential real estate shifts to a “sellers market”

Low interest rates spur big increase in home buying.

JOPLIN, Mo./FRONTENAC, Kan. – Brandy Stephens has been a realtor for two years, working as a licensed realtor for ReeceNichols Sunflower Realty Group in Pittsburg.

Over the last year, she’s had to learn a lot of new tricks.

“For a while, we didn’t do any in person showings,” explains Stephens. “We offered Facetime live tours, which has been really helpful.”

In the spring of 2020, during stay at home orders and mandates, local realtors experienced a lull in business.

“Things were very confusing to navigate during that time figuring out if we were essential and what we were able to do,” explains Nichole Hamblin at ReeceNichols Sunflower Realty.

But they dived in feet first, offering virtual and live video walkthroughs and tours.

“People are actually enjoying them because they’re in a more comfortable setting,” says Liz Scheurich, a buyer specialist with the Jonathan Leach Team at Keller Williams Realty. “I actually sold quite a few homes through Zoom showings in 2020.”

Now that we’re several months into the pandemic, things are starting to go back to normal.

Both realtors held in-person open houses on January 10th, both with pretty great success.

“It is nice to be able to do what we do, do what we love,” says Stephens. “We keep it safe. Going into other people’s home and in their personal space, it’s kind of up to them on if you want your shoes covered, you want people to wear gloves, and we let them dictate on how we do that.”

And even with the spring lull, both realty groups had great years.

They explain that low interest rates, as low as two and a half percent, have spurred buying interest. Something that’s pushed their sales past what they saw in 2019.

“Buyers are right on top of the listings. If they see something they want to get into, they contact their agent they get in, and generally within the day, if not hours, have an offer in. Because it’s just not gonna be available if they wait,” says Stephens.

They’re also seeing a big increase in buyers from out of state that are looking to move to a rural area from a big city, since they can work from home.

But that’s created another problem… there aren’t enough homes on the market, creating what they call a “sellers market.”

According to the ReeceNichols Southern Missouri Market Snapshot, in November sales were up 27.7 percent over November 2019. But the number of active listings was down 49.1 percent.

“So the buyers are out there. We need more sellers on the market for sure. There’s just not enough homes right now currently on the market,” says Scheurich.

So they say that now is the time to sell, since offers are coming in quick for every price range.

And if you’re on the other end of the transaction as a buyer, they recommend starting a plan with your realtor and getting pre-approved through your bank before you start looking for your dream home.

“You have the best luck if you get a realtor, have that buyer consult and really have them understand what you’re looking for so they can be looking for you,” says Scheurich.