For years, patience was the golden key to unlocking the best real estate opportunities in the idyllic haven of Lake Tahoe. However, the landscape has shifted since 2020, and the days of waiting for end-of-year bargains are swiftly fading. The message is clear: buyers who procrastinate will be left disappointed.
Unlike the past, houses and condos priced near fair market value are attracting a barrage of weekly showings, some even garnering multiple offers. The looming hesitancy tied to high mortgage rates is expected to dissipate, with the Federal Reserve signaling rate drops in 2024, especially as we enter an election year. Once rates fall, the negotiating leverage of buyers may dwindle, potentially reigniting the frenzied pace witnessed during the pandemic real estate boom. Steady prices and an influx of informed buyers characterize the present scenario. With historically low inventory levels, buyers must act swiftly, seizing opportunities for optimal sale prices and seller concessions and potentially refinancing later.
The age-old strategy of waiting until spring or summer for a purchase appears unwise this year. Sellers are likely to list at a premium, anticipating a whole summer for their properties to sell. More buyers, attracted by lower rates, will enter the market, making it competitive. Procrastinating buyers might discover that the dream property they hoped to snag after winter is no longer available, especially as some sellers stand firm on their asking prices, foreseeing impending rate drops.
For those hoping to return in the summer to write an offer, disappointment may loom. The pent-up demand from urban escapees is still palpable, making it unlikely that the desired property will linger until snow melts and beaches open. While new listings will continue to trickle in until April, the winter months are unlikely to witness a surge in available properties. As summer approaches, although new listings may increase, they tend to move swiftly.
The winning strategy for buyers in 2024 is decisiveness. Procrastination is a risky game in a market where opportunities are swiftly snatched. Enlist the support of a seasoned local agent who understands the distinct customs, rules, and nuances of each Lake Tahoe community. An experienced agent can provide comparable sales information and expertly guide buyers through negotiations, ensuring the best possible deal.
As the winter unfolds in Incline Village, those who act decisively stand to be rewarded, while procrastinators might find themselves on the losing end. I advise potential buyers to navigate the current real estate landscape with swift determination rather than waiting for warmer days and more listings. The season of opportunity is here, and those who seize it are poised for success.
Sabrina Belleci is the Co-founder and Owner / Broker of RE/MAX North Lake.