August 06, 2012Uncertain about the state of Real Estate in Greensboro? Confused if now is a good time to buy, build or sell? Market conditions are improving, but you have to keep your expectations realistic, according to Lolita Malave, 2012 president of the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association (GRRA).
"It is a weird market right now, I'm just going to be really honest," said Malave. "It's much better than it has been, but I think we have gone back to basics, as I like to call it – correctly priced homes in great condition, with sellers and buyers both in the game to make it happen. That is when you are finding the successful deals."
Being realistic from a seller's standpoint means not overpricing the home you are selling. "If it is overpriced," Malave said, "it will not sell."
Real estate professionals who belong to the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association not only serve their clients but the community as well, volunteering and donating to programs such as Holiday for the Homeless (above) and Get a Kid Ready for School (below).
For buyers, she cautions that while there certainly are great deals out there, they are only going to be so great. "People are not giving away their homes." And the competition for homes is real. By way of example, she said she was just involved in trying to secure a home for one buyer, where multiple offers were on the table, and her buyer did not get the house.
One way that Malave said she believes buyers are being more realistic is when it comes to how much they can afford to borrow to buy a home. "Just because the bank says someone can afford a $200,000 mortgage, maybe that's not what they want to do," she said. Instead, she said she finds potential buyers will opt for a lower amount, such as $150,000, which leaves them the ability to afford to do other things. "Buyers tell me they've been approved for much higher than what they intend to spend, so they feel like they can search and find something they love in a lower price range," she said. "It's a huge difference and I'm glad to see it. That's more the trend I am seeing."
Greensboro does have a foreclosure market that buyers are taking advantage of, according to Malave, but our area has not suffered nearly the number of foreclosed homes that other parts of the country have.
When it comes to new construction, Malave said things are still rather quiet, but she is seeing more and more hitting the market. "It lets me know builders and contractors are coming back."
No matter what is going on with Real Estate, Malave says so much rides on what the individual wants. "I have buyers I've worked with who won't buy anything but new construction. Others that say if it's the right house in the right place at the right price that is what they want to buy," she said.
The bottom line in Malave's opinion is that there have to be realistic buyers and sellers collaborating with hard-working Realtors to make it happen. While the Real Estate market is still recovering, she is hopeful that this trend will continue. "I think, perhaps, we learned a lesson, and buyers are far more savvy and willing to say 'You think that is what I should spend, but I don't think that is what I should spend.' People are buying what they want, where they want it, at a price they can afford to buy it for."
Even as the Greensboro Real Estate market rebounds, the GRRA has continued its many and varied philanthropic activities. "We're very active in the Greensboro community, and philanthropy always has been a huge focus," Malave said. "We have a number of committees and a foundation, which are all committed to making the community we live and work in a little better."
The GRRA's foundation operates year round, meeting eight times a year to consider different requests from various charitable organizations. To be considered, the goal of the organizations have to fit with the GRRA's mission statement, then the foundation will consider a donation based on the group's needs and the GRRA's available funds.
With the back to school season fast approaching, one such project is the GRRA's Get a Kid Ready for School. Realtors donate money and the GRRA buys school supplies to fully outfit all of the children attending Hunter Elementary. "We donate any surplus of supplies to the Teacher Supply Warehouse," said Malave. "We've done this for a number of years and we're really proud of it."
Another area the GRRA helps out the Greensboro community is with Realtors 'R' Rebuilding, a partnership with Housing Greensboro that completes repairs and renovations for low-income Greensboro homeowners. "We supply the manpower – the muscle and heart. We've redone kitchens, bathrooms, painted, put on roofs, you name it we've done it," Malave said. She is quick to point out that all work is done under the supervision of qualified builders.
In October, the group will hold their second annual bingo night to raise money to fund one of their other big endeavors – Holiday for the Homeless. Working with Urban Ministries, the GRRA provides a bag of clothing and other necessities to homeless men and women every December.
Additionally, GRRA members hold two or three food drives a year. The next one is coming up around Thanksgiving and Christmas. "We give to less fortunate families so they can have a nice holiday and after the holiday as well, because we forget that people need to eat every day, not just at the holidays," said Malave.
"We've been doing these things for a long time, but no one really knew about it – it was all a well kept secret," said Malave. "We realized from the state association that we have to pat ourselves on the back and toot our own horn – yes, we will sell your house, but we will also help make it a home."
For more information on the GRRA, visit their website at www.grra.org.