While we have seen a moderate increase in sales recently our Gatlinburg area real estate market is still decidedly slanted in favor of buyers, not the sellers. I have begun describing our market by comparing it to a southern community grocery store when a rare winter storm is forecast. Because we don’t get much snow here in the valleys of the East Tennessee Smokies when a snow storm is imminent we jump into a sort of crisis mode. At the weather forecast’s first mention of snow or ice, grocery stores go into high gear as almost everyone heads out to stock up on staples such as bread, milk, etc. so that they won’t risk going without. Keep in mind that snows here in Sevier County rarely linger for more than a day or two before they melt but that doesn’t matter. Even with every employee working and every cash register lane open the lines quickly form. I have seen my local Food City store here in Sevierville have 12 lanes open each lane 8 or more people deep. Everyone is frustrated because they are stuck in line but yet they feel that have to bring home the items in their buggy so they wait and inch closer to the overworked cashier.
Our current real estate market is very much like the winter storm imminent grocery store scene. Sellers all want to get to a closing (the cashier) so that they can get on with their life. Because there are not enough closings to handle the large number of near desperate sellers lines form which equates to long days on market for the sellers.
Now imagine that you are in that painfully long line at the grocery store inching your way forward. Just as you get close to the cashier, someone breaks in line in front of you, and quickly checks out while you wait and grit your teeth. Being a rather nice and forgiving person, you don’t say much or reach out and slug them. You simply settle back and realize that although your departure has been delayed you are still next in line and should be leaving soon with your bread and milk. Now picture that the same thing happens again and again. Each time you get close to the cashier some other desperate customer jumps in front of you and the cashier rings up their purchase. After a few delays because of these rude customers you finally speak up and tell the next person that there will be no more breaking in line – You’ve been patiently waiting your turn and they will have to wait theirs.
Now back to our Smoky Mountain real estate market. The people that break in line and get to the cashier are the sellers who are super motivated and are willing to sell their properties at terms that are exceedingly attractive to the buyers. These are primarily bank-owned foreclosure properties and other motivated sellers who are more concerned with a prompt sale than they are hurting the feelings of those that they broke line in front of. Because each aggressively priced property will jump to the front of the line and get sold, it is possible that properties that aren’t well priced will spend a VERY long time in line waiting to get to that cashier (closing).
This is exactly what is happening in our Sevier County real estate market (and many others around the nation) right now. Only the most motivated sellers are having much success and the rest of the sellers in the marketplace are simply waiting in line while a constant parade of “line breakers” continues to jump in front of them. The only way out of this hellish scenario is either to decide you don’t have to get to the cashier and leave your groceries at the market or to become rude like the other sellers and set your price so low that nobody else will be able to jump in front of you. While neither of these choices is particularly attractive they are the only options that sellers in our second home market currently have. Sellers, if you don’t want to give your properties away you may have to put them back on the shelf and decide that you don’t really have to sell right now. That is precisely what I and a lot of other potential sellers of Gatlinburg area real estate have decided to do. We will wait until the snow forecast is past and the balance between cashiers and shoppers is more evenly balanced.
If on the other you are a potential buyer you will LOVE the current second home real estate market is like. Get ready to snag a real bargain from a desperate seller who can’t wait in line any longer. For professional real estate advice regardless of the weather conditions please contact us.