The limited inventory of homes on St. Simons Island has made it a seller’s market, sometimes creating multiple bids on homes.
That’s good news for those who are looking to sell their homes.
Michael Harris, broker for Michael Harris Team, said houses selling for $400,000 and lower are getting about 95 percent of the asking price and about 30 percent of the sales are cash.
“You have a lot of retirees buying second homes,” Harris said.
It’s not until you get to homes with an asking price exceeding $1 million that Harris said he sees a larger gap between the asking and selling prices. The average asking price for homes valued in excess of $1 million on St. Simons Island, not including Sea Island, is $1.625 million and the selling price is $1.494 million — an 8.1 percent difference.
In some instances, the bidding wars start when a house has been on the market a long time and the owner is tired of waiting and the price is lowered.
“I’ve seen million dollar homes listed for a year selling for $200,000 less than the asking price,” he said.
Despite the large number of cash purchases in the Golden Isles, there are ways for home shoppers with good credit to compete.
Shoppers can get an underwritten loan that will be approved as long as the house appraisal is accurate, he said.
While some homes on the market receive multiple bids, Harris said the only time he sees a bidding war is when a house is underpriced after it goes on the market. But the asking price has be significantly underpriced lower — 30 to 40 percent — than the assessed value, he said.
Larry Delaney, a real estate professional for DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty, said he sees multiple bids on homes but the most bidding wars are for condominiums at the south end of St. Simons Island.
“There’s such a limited inventory prices are very high,” he said.
Shoppers competing with cash buyers can get their offer accepted by getting a pre-qualified loan before they start hunting for a home.
“That’s almost a prerequisite,” Delaney said.
Sometimes, a potential buyer will send a letter to the seller to explain why his or her offer should be accepted. He leaves the decision to write a letter up to the buyer, he said.
“You’re personalizing the sale,” he said. “Letters are a way to introduce yourself and state your love for the home or area.”
From a seller’s perspective, Harris said a pre-inspection paid by the home owner helps expedite a sale. A pre-inspection enables the seller to identify problems and fix them before the house goes on the market.
“I suggest it to every seller,” he said. “It is easier to sell a house that is pre-inspected. It really does make a difference.”