Betty Johnson has never seen a real estate market like the one she is seeing in Peterborough right now.
With 16 years of experience as a local realtor at RE/MAX Eastern Realty Inc, Betty is taking some deep breaths and doing what she can to help buyers and sellers stay calm and to stay out of the frenzy that is turning the local real estate market upside down.
“I want to make sure people are protected,” Betty explains.
That desire to keep buyers and sellers protected includes getting to know her clients, understanding their budget, and trying to figure out what they really want and need. So Betty starts with a plan: she takes the time to figure out not only what her clients want, but also what they can afford.
“It will save you heartache if you know up-front what you can spend,” Betty says.
New financial stress tests are making it harder for people to access as much credit as they might have a year ago and, with 30 years of experience as a mortgage broker, Betty’s personalized service includes helping clients prepare for securing the funding they need to get the home they want.
“I’m like a buffer for my clients,” she says. “I spend lots of time explaining the details to people, like with clients who are self-employed. I talk to people about what they will need to prepare for and what financial details they will have to present.”
Betty has also seen a boom in business with seniors who are selling a family home to move into seniors’ residences or rental accommodations. She says she loves working with these clients and using tools like pre-home inspections and a professional photographer to get homes sold for the best price.
And then there are the younger, first-time buyers that Betty feels protective of. These are the clients she encourages to hire home inspectors so that they know what the actual costs of repairs will be, and so that people can realistically plan for what costs they will face once they move into their new home.
“Marriages fail because of the stress of debt,” she says.
The emotional ups and downs are a reality for Betty and her clients and often she says she feels like a therapist as she helps them navigate the waves of local uncertainty.
“It’s a tough market now and it’s tough to get a house,” Betty explains. “There’s not much inventory, there’s lots of demand and, with multiple offers happening, things can be stressful.”
Housing prices in Peterborough have jumped over the past four years. In 2014, the average selling price for a home in Peterborough was $263,000. In 2018, that price is closer to $402,000.
As more people are financially squeezed out of the GTA and as more people consider Peterborough as a great place to live, local homes are increasing in value. Higher sale prices now make moving within Peterborough difficult for many locals. This can stall new inventory from hitting the market and make life difficult for people who have to move.
“You really do have to listen to people to get a sense of what’s going on,” Betty says. “It really is almost like being a therapist.”
Looking to the future, Betty thinks the market will even out in the years ahead as new housing stock is built and brought to market, but that prices will remain strong as more and more people discover all that Peterborough has to offer.
“We have everything you need, right here,” she says. “We’ve got a great lifestyle and that’s why we’re growing. People love Peterborough.”
You can contact Betty Johnson at RE/MAX Eastern Realty Inc., Brokerage (91 George Street North in Peterborough) by phone at 705-743-9111, toll free at 1-800-567-4546, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.bettysellshomes.net or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.