Like cannabis sales, home buying and selling has only powered onward through these tough economic times. Humans tend to prioritize their meds, and a place to lay their head. I’ve been helping clients with real estate for five years now. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced a market quite like this!
Droves of folks moving here from other states, along with a massive shortage of properties for sale, and more people working from home than ever, means bidding wars galore. With my current clients, all have faced multiple offer situations. So, although it is favorable for buyers due to historically low interest rates, some buyers have had to opt out completely, waiting until their finances are stronger. It’s competitive out there for home buyers. Sellers on the other hand get to choose from a plethora of offers (IF they price their property right), and in a matter of days get under contract.
Wait, isn’t a market crash coming? We are in one of the longest runs historically for rising property values; and it’s true that what goes up must come down. But, no one knows the day or hour this will happen. It was also just announced that Federal Reserve officials expect to leave interest rates near zero for years — through at least 2023, until our economy is back to full strength after the pandemic-induced recession. My personal gut feeling is that for us here in the highly desirable (pun intended) cactus state, we are still quite a way off from seeing a crash. This is only an opinion☺
What about those whose income is related to the cannabis industry? Does it matter? Well, yes and no. The gist is, Fannie Mae will allow W2 employees in the cannabis industry to qualify as long as they do not have more than 25% ownership in the company they work for. There is no difference compared to any other line of work when it comes to credit score, down payment, or debt-to-income requirements.
If you’re looking to buy, find someone not only happy to rep Mary Jane, but who is experienced enough to help you navigate through the white-water rapids of this housing market river, so to speak. If you’re a seller and you medicate indoors, just remember a lot of buyers may not be into the delicious scent of flower, it may turn them off. Even if you don’t smell it, the non-smoker will☺. So, remove your stash during showings and make it smell neutral. Keeping the house extra clean, baking cookies the day of showings or spraying some (not overly powerful) room spray are a couple ways to make the home shine that much more.
Inspect the Property
TIPS FOR BUYERS
SAVE YOUR CASH & BE PREPARED:
First and foremost, get with a lender! Understanding what you qualify for is step one. Especially if your income is from the cannabis market, you’ll need a clear game-plan.
Make sure you’ve got the cash on hand to make a move.
Once an offer is accepted, you’ll pay ‘earnest money’ to title, typically 1% of the purchase price which goes toward your down payment. This shows the buyer’s good faith in a transaction, giving the seller confidence to continue the deal.
You’ll need down payment money and closing cost money – both due at closing. This will typically be a total minimum 5% of the purchase price. i.e. If you’re buying a $350,000 property, you should plan to have a minimum of $17,500 cash on hand. Get with your lender to understand the exact cost of down payment.
You’ll need to pay for a home inspection; this is typically $300-400. You’ll also need to pay for the appraisal which is also around $300-400.
Be prepared that this is a real possibility in today’s market. Try and stay focused and keep emotion out of as much as humanly possible (tough I KNOW).
Come up with strategies with your agent such as using an escalation clause, reducing inspection period time, and if you’re comfortable and it’s absolutely necessary, there is an option to waive appraisal contingency. This is really only necessary if you’re offering over asking price and you know other buyers are doing the same.
Have your agent leave a thank you note and gift card for coffee for the sellers if the home is occupied.
Send a letter with your offer, without sounding desperate but to give a human touch to your offer.
If your Realtor tries to encourage you to skip inspection, DON’T DO IT. This is your opportunity to inspect the property and ask for repairs, and most importantly, back out and get your earnest money back if you’re not comfortable moving forward. Unless you plan to tear down or gut the place completely, always get a professional home inspection.
BE PATIENT AND TRUST THE PLAN:
Above all, it can feel overwhelming at times and like a rollercoaster you wish you could get off of, but try and be patient and keep believing, the right home will work out, it always does.
Don’t Get Greedy
TIPS FOR SELLERS
PRICE RIGHT AND KNOW WHAT YOU WANT:
Study the comparable properties in your area, your Realtor will provide this to you. Anything that has closed (or will be closing) in the past 6 months is what appraisers go off of. As mentioned above, it may not matter if your buyer waives the appraisal contingency, but if not, the home still has to appraise so don’t overprice.
Be clear on your net income when determining a list price. You’ll be paying closing costs and realtor commission fees, 1st mortgage payoff, title insurance, repairs, recording fees, prorated taxes, etc.
My recommendation is to price the home right at market value. Pricing over could delay showings and offers. Pricing right will drive a lot of action and most likely right now, multiple offers and offers over asking.
Get the property as show-ready as possible! A really clean and well staged property will get higher offers; think ‘model home’. Take personal photos down for the most part, remove all clutter from countertops, toilet seats down☺, to name a few things. Box up whatever you don’t need and get it out of the way.
For showings, turn on all lights/lamps in the house, open the blinds/drapes, turn on the ceiling fans.
Have your realtor leave take-aways on the counter of the listing and other important information such as upgrades.
KNOW WHEN TO SHIFT AND WHEN TO ACCEPT:
If the property isn’t getting action or offers in the first few days right now, consider lowering the price. The longer a property is active on the MLS, the less appealing it seems to buyers.
Don’t get greedy! If you have a strong offer that nets you what you wanted or more, take it! If you drag your feet, you could lose that buyer for good.
I truly hope you find the home you love! I encourage all my clients to trust that it will all work out okay, take some deep breaths, look up, and one day at a time, we’ll get through this.
If you need help, Home With Karmo is here for you.
Natalie Karmo, Realtor HomeWithKarmo@gmail.com | 602-421-9680
Tom Karmo, Lender Tom.Karmo@financeofamerica.com | 602-463-6903
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6: 27;33-34
Natalie Karmo is a daughter, sister, prayer warrior, advocate for cannabis and fighter against the opioid epidemic. She loves Yeshua (aka Jesus). She’s a dog mom to Louie and Jax, a Realtor and is currently working on her first manuscript. “Don’t worry” are two small words that mean a lot to Nat, and she hopes to encourage you in this too. Follow Natalie on Instagram, or you can reach Nat directly at HomeWithKarmo@gmail.com.