It’s no secret that due to high demand and record low supplies of housing inventory the current real estate market is a tough one for many realtors and their clients to navigate.
However, one local real estate professional is uncovering lots of opportunity in it.
Alison Corradini, a Realtor® with Keller Williams in Allentown, has developed a unique way to assist her clients with her partner, Frederik “Frits” Roset. A custom contractor by trade, Frits is available to preview any home a client wishes to see; an optional service Corradini said benefits house hunters during a time of intense competition for properties.
“He is not an inspector, but taking him through with a contractor’s eyes, if he’s available, can be very helpful during a showing,” Corradini said. Sellers are receiving multiple offers and are able to be choosy in the contingencies they are willing to accept. She added that in many cases, sellers are only accepting offers with formal home inspections if they are performed “for informational purposes only,” removing any chance of negotiating repairs.
“If a seller has an offer that has elected no inspections, that offer would be viewed more favorably to a seller than one with inspections,” she explained. “I always recommend inspections for my buyer clients, but in this market we have learned after many lost bids that in order to get your offer accepted, sometimes the benefit of waiving inspections is worth the risk. Each client has to determine if that is a risk they are willing to take.”
“It’s very helpful with estates, because they don’t have completed disclosures,” she added.
With decades of experience renovating homes, Frits can spot anything from structural problems to smaller issues, like a missing expansion tank for a hot water heater, Corradini said.
“It will break down much sooner if you don’t have an expansion tank,” she explained. And, under the Realtor® Code of Ethics there’s never any obligation to hire him to make repairs if her client ultimately purchases the home in question.
Corradini received her real estate license in September 2020, but grew up with an interest in the housing market.
“My parents built a house when I was 12 and I was fascinated by it,” she recalled.
Frits’s grandfather was Meinrad Schnellman–a well-known developer in the Lehigh Valley in the 1950s and 1960s–and he became acquainted with the family business from an early age.
After Meinrad’s retirement, Frits worked in the business for his father and uncle throughout his teens and early twenties. He then took a break to pursue other interests, but ultimately returned to his first love, focusing this time on home improvement work.
Although he’ll tackle jobs of any size Corradini said Frits “gets more satisfaction out of a shorter term job.”
“He’s a people person so people usually like to work with him,” she added. “I’m happy to have him and my clients are happy to have him.”
What advice does Corradini have for Lehigh Valley homebuyers in the current market?
To start with, she said most should expect to pay anywhere from 10 to 20 percent above a home’s listed price, due to the intense competition among buyers.
That is particularly true for homes with price tags at the lower end of the spectrum.
“(With homes priced) anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000, nine times out of 10 you’re going to have a bidding war,” she noted.
Another issue she highlighted involves home appraisals, which may not be current due to the rapid increase in real estate values.
Corradini said buyers should try to have extra cash in hand, as sellers often request buyers offer cash above appraisal, in case the appraisal on the property they’ve bid on comes in low.
“Why am I paying more than this house is worth?” is a question she said she’s asked in these situations.
For Corradini, the answer is to ask her client, “How much is this house worth to you?”
Sellers are doing very well in this low-inventory market. With more buyers than sellers, sellers are able to be choosy when selecting offers. Many buyers are forgoing formal inspections, waiving appraisal and offering cash over appraisal to gain an advantage over the competition. Sellers like working with Frits and Alison as well, since they are able to inform the seller as to which repairs have the best return on investment (e.g. painting is often not worth it, repairing a non-working furnace is).
Competition among homebuyers is particularly intense in the Saucon Valley and Southern Lehigh areas.
Both districts are “rural but close to everything. They have these cute little Main streets, they’re very walkable with parks (and) those houses, they go fast; even the ones that are distressed,” Corradini said.
She cited a recent listing in Coopersburg that received 18 offers, which she said is fairly typical now for any home that is “turn-key.”
If a home doesn’t exactly fit that description, Corradini said she is happy to help match clients with a local mortgage broker who writes renovation loans. These are home repair loans that are rolled in with a conventional mortgage, so repairs can be made promptly.
The current financial landscape is adding to the stress many buyers are feeling, and that’s one reason Corradini said she doesn’t want any of her clients to feel buyer’s remorse down the road.
That’s one reason she doesn’t work with more clients at one time than she can handle.
She also makes it a point to view all homes with her clients, whereas some busier agents rely on showing assistants.
“I feel like I can’t do the best job with negotiating if I don’t see it with my own eyes,” she said.
Where does Corradini see the real estate market headed in the near future?
As interest rates creep back up the number of buyers may decrease, she said, but the seller’s market that exists now is likely to remain strong for some time to come.
Unlike in 2008, when buyers were taking out mortgages they couldn’t afford, “these (buyers) can afford these houses,” Corradini said.
That honest outlook and approach to real estate is something she said has already helped her form relationships of trust with the individuals and families who’ve placed their trust in her.
“My clients like me because they feel that I’m very real with them,” Corradini said.
To learn more about Alison Corradini as well as Roset Homes, visit RosetHomes.com, email her at alis
*Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. If you are already working with a real estate agent, this is not intended as a solicitation.
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