Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

The market is hot for house sales right now. So hot that you might get burned if you aren’t properly prepared for the transaction, explained realtor Julie Harmon of RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals in Charlotte. The housing market is so competitive that you could miss out if you are not prepared.
“The market is crazy now; you need to be ready,” she said, “because houses are selling so fast.”
Having a place to go to after the closing is probably the number one priority for the seller, she said. Sellers have sometimes found themselves in a bind when their house sells so quickly that they have nowhere to go.
With the super-competitive real estate marketplace, the sale “on contingency” of purchasing a new house to move into isn’t always an option. “Many times, there are multiple offers on a house,” Harmon said, “and your offer won’t even be considered if it’s contingent on selling your house.”
What’s going on that is spiking home sales like this? The price is often tied to supply and demand, and there is a shortage of housing inventory in the state. A year ago, there were about 1,500 houses on the market in the area, Harmon said. Now there are only about 600, which makes it hard for buyers.
Falling mortgage rates have also contributed to the situation. The cost of borrowing money to buy a house is dropping, going as low as 2.50 percent, which makes buying a house more enticing. COVID-19 has forced people to spend more time at home, and many want to get away from crowded cities. They are looking for yards and extra space to accommodate work and school.
Prices to build a new home have escalated so people are not building due to the cost of materials.
Before a potential buyer can put an offer on a house, they must be pre-approved, Harmon explained. The easiest way to do this is to find a real estate agent who can walk you through the steps or go directly to a lender you trust. It’s not a long process, usually taking a couple of days or less, Harmon said. Recent pay stubs and tax documents are needed to be approved. If you don’t qualify, she said, make sure you ask what you need to do to correct the situation, she advised, and work on those things. You can then re-apply.
Be prepared to decide quickly, and to put in a strong offer, often over the asking price, due to the strong competition. The prices seen at online real estate sites, like Zillow or, are not always up to date, so it’s good to check with a real estate professional who can check with Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to get the current information about a listing, including if a sale is already pending.
It’s important to keep an open schedule to view homes, but some houses are purchased sight unseen. “But I really don’t recommend this,” Harmon said. According to a survey of almost 2,000 home buyers commissioned by Redfin, a real estate brokerage, about 63% of homebuyers in 2020 made at least one offer on a property without visiting it first.
For more information about buying or selling a house, contact Julie Harmon at Re/Max by phone at 517-983-8545 or email her at