Realtors are hard-wired for upbeatness. And Karen Scott is among the cheeriest of the cheery realtors I know.
But when I asked recently for her assessment of the current market, she did not bubble nonsensically.
“We’re in unprecedented times, especially for Westporters,” she said. “This is a marketplace people never expected, or thought would happen.”
Yet, she noted, “there is life — especially in the last couple of weeks.”
Karen — who’s with KMS Partners of Coldwell Banker — added: “There are opportunities to be had. If you’re a buyer with a job, good credit and money for a down payment, you can buy.”
The media has created fear, she said. But there are mortgages available — though with more scrutiny than before, and perhaps a longer wait.
People still relocate, Karen said. As they have for years, when they compare various towns Westport often seems desirable largely because of our schools.
“We worried that a very large budget cut would ruin our school system,” she continued. “Cuts had to be made, but I thought it ended up okay.”
The choice of inventory is greater than ever, Karen said. One result: Buyers have more time to pick and choose. “Gone are the days when you had to make a decision by tomorrow, or it would be gone. If you can get a great rate, a good deal and can stay a few years, this is a great time to buy.”
The hottest markets in Westport, she said, involve homes under $1 million, and first-time buyers.
Sellers, meanwhile, must price their properties below the competition for 2 reasons: to attract buyers, and satisfy appraisers. Some lenders now require 2 appraisals.
Karen said that realtors are “adjusting to a different way of doing business. We have to exhibit enormous patience. Buyers are all set to buy, then they read a scary headline and get all worried.”
However, compared to January, the “media hype and fear has subsided a lot. Sellers have made adjustments, lenders are lending, and people are holding onto their jobs.”
Some observers think the bottom of the market has been reached. Karen cautions: “You never know the bottom until you see it in the rear-view mirror.”
Karen Scott loves her job. “Business is still being conducted. And real estate is still a fascinating topic — people are always talking about it. Everyone has an opinion, or a story.”