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If you’ve been thinking about selling your Mammoth Lakes property and hesitating or simply waiting, you may want to start thinking about how you’ll feel if you miss out on the best time to sell your house in a long time. You never know when (or if) conditions will be like this in the real estate market again.

It’s been a sellers’ market for quite some time now, and with rates going up significantly and home prices still historically high, there’s a lot of chatter about whether or not there’s a real estate “bubble” that’s about to pop. In particular, The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently warned about the potential of a housing bubble and how buyers’ “fear of missing out” (FOMO) is making it worse.

On the other hand, a recent survey revealed that home buyers are still hopeful and feel that it will still be a good time to buy a home in the next three months.

That’s despite the fact that even though there have been signs and reports about the market slowing, according to this Realtor Magazine article, as of March sellers have still been:

Much of that may very well be fueled by buyers’ FOMO, but it can’t and won’t last forever. That’s how the real estate market works—it goes up, then it goes down, and then back up again in cycles. So even if you “miss out” on this moment in history, there will certainly be a time when home values are this high, or even higher.

But will there be such a combination of high values, low inventory, historically low rates, and high demand? And when will it happen? How will you feel if you “miss out” now?

Those are questions you need to ask yourself if you’ve been toying with the idea of selling your house.

The Takeaway:

Don’t be fueled by fear of missing out, but definitely think about how it would affect you if you did, because the market’s still in your favor…for now at least. If you’re going to sell in the next few years, now is as good a time as any to take advantage of the fact that buyers are still hopeful, offers are plentiful and over asking price, and homes are selling quickly.

With mortgage rates rising, low inventory, and intense buyer competition, you may be wondering if it makes sense to wait and see if the market shifts in your favor before buying.

It certainly hasn’t been fun or ideal for buyers, so if there’s a chance you could have more houses to choose from at a better price, who could fault you for wanting to wait?

The problem is, there’s no crystal ball you can look into and see if and when the market will change, and in what way, so the only thing you can truly do is weigh the pros and cons of waiting. So let’s look take a look at both sides of the coin for 3 things you might be thinking about to help you decide:

Interest rates are getting high

Interest rates are certainly higher than they’ve been in years. That’s causing your monthly payment on a house (which you could’ve bought for the same price a few weeks ago) to be higher — or worse, even causing you to have to look at houses in a lower price range.

Pro for waiting: If you wait, interest rates may come back down.

Con for waiting: On the other hand, they may just continue to go up further.

Keep in mind interest rates are still at historically low levels. If rates go back down substantially, you can always refinance at some point.

Home prices may come down

There’s buzz (and maybe even some hope) that we might see a crash or bubble burst, much like we did back in 2006, causing prices to come down and allowing you to get a better deal on a house.

Pro for waiting: If the market crashes and you’re in good financial shape to buy a house in those market conditions, then you could get yourself a house for a better price than you could right now.

Con for waiting: According to this Time article, and many other sources, the current market differs considerably from the ‘06 market, and a crash isn’t as likely. Prices may just level off, or go down slightly, but the increase in interest rates may end up costing you more.

While the real estate market always fluctuates, and home prices will at some point take a dip, it’s hard to say how much of a dip or when they’ll bottom out. It’s an age-old gamble every buyer wrestles with no matter when they’re buying.

Buyer competition may cool down

There’s been some hints that buyers are “cooling off” due to the intense competition, low inventory, and rising rates. If that’s the case, then it stands to argue that waiting a while may lead to even more buyers taking a step back.

Pro for waiting: If enough buyers leave the market, it could cause prices to go down due to lower demand and competition. It could also give you a chance at buying a house without getting into a bidding war.

Con for waiting: There’s been so much demand for the amount of houses for sale, and there’s not a lot of projections that listing inventory is going to increase. So it will likely take a lot of buyers taking a break for there to be a significant change in the market.

Another way of thinking about it is that if you’re “waiting”, you’re essentially part of the group of buyers who are stepping back, so you aren’t even in the mix to buy a house if things do change.

The Takeaway:

There’s no clear cut answer for whether or not it makes sense for you to wait for the market to shift in your favor. For every reason to wait, there’s as much of a reason not to wait. So go by how you feel when weighing the above pros and cons. Which one worries you more? That’s a good sign as to what you should do.

But since real estate markets vary on a local level, you should also chat with your local real estate agent to get a sense of where the market is heading in your area. And if you share your thoughts and concerns with them, he or she can also be a great sounding board and help you weigh the pros and cons for your personal situation. The team at Destination Real Estate in Mammoth Lakes is here to help.

Flipping homes is a popular practice—and, when done right, buying a flipped home can be a good investment. I have seen some really nice ones in Mammoth Lakes.

But not all flipped homes are created equal—and if you want your home purchase to be a good investment, you need to avoid cheap, poorly done flips.

So how, exactly, do you do that?

recent article from realtor.com outlined telltale signs of a cheap flip, including:

The Takeaway:

Buying a flipped home that wasn’t properly done can end up costing you significant time, money, and frustration—so when you’re looking at potential homes, make sure to be on the lookout for these signs of a cheap flip.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things—including what buyers are looking for in homes.

So, as we navigate this new stage of the pandemic, what, exactly, are buyers looking for in their ideal properties?

recent article from realtor.com outlined the home upgrades buyers are looking for in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

The Takeaway:

If you’re planning on selling your home, it’s important to know what buyers are looking for. That way, you can position your home in a way that’s going to appeal to the most buyers—and (hopefully!) sell your home quickly and profitably as a result.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to get a mortgage in this market, particularly with buyers new to the mortgage process—and buying into those misconceptions can cost you a lot of time, energy, and, in some cases, money.

So what, exactly, are the most common mortgage misconceptions?

recent article from realtor.com outlined some misconceptions many buyers have about securing a mortgage in this market, including:

The takeaway — start the process EARLY and do not wait until you find the property you want to buy. Offers will not be accepted by sellers without either proof of funds (for cash offers) or a pre-approval letter. This link will take you to a list of lender with a proven local track record of success.

Whether you sold a home in the past few years or not, you’re probably well aware that houses have been selling fast, with multiple offers, and over asking price.

But everyone also knows it can’t always be like that. The real estate market is cyclical, and we’ve seen a favorable market for sellers for quite a while now. So at some point it will likely shift in favor of buyers, at least to some degree. When? Nobody knows for sure. But it’ll start happening in Mammoth Lakes and nationwide at some point, so it’s good to be aware of that and keep things in perspective if you’re thinking about selling in the near future.

There are so many different predictions about whether prices will fall, or just stabilize, but most theories are that prices won’t continue to rise. Buyer activity is projected to cool off due to rising interest rates, which could lead to less bidding wars, fewer offers, and ultimately lower offers for sellers.

Ideally the market won’t take a drastic hit for sellers. It will just cool off. This would be great for sellers and buyers alike. Sellers would get to benefit from the gains of recent years, while buyers would get some breathing room and the ability to make less rushed decisions without competing against multiple offers every single time.

People have gotten used to hearing that houses are selling in mere days, with multiple offers, and over asking every single time. But even if the market change isn’t drastic for sellers, there’s a chance you won’t experience what other sellers have over the past few years. Your expectations could be higher than they should be and cause you to worry more than you should and make poor decisions.

If your house is on the market now, or in the near future, prepare yourself to experience a few things:

The Takeaway:

At some point the market may change more dramatically, but in the near future, you’re more likely to experience the above signs that things are changing. Does that mean you shouldn’t sell? Should you pull your house off the market and wait for things to get better? Should you fire your agent and find a different one? Not at all.

The chances are, you’ll still sell your house for more than it would’ve sold for a year or two ago, but it may take a little more time, and you might see less demand than you anticipated.
But it’s easy to get concerned that the market is “bad” all of a sudden, or think that your agent is doing something wrong, or not enough to get your house sold, when it could just be the market changing ever so slightly.

Expecting these subtle shifts, and keeping the bigger picture in perspective, will help you keep your cool when the market cools, and help you avoid making any costly mistakes.

You’re probably well aware that mortgage rates are rising. At the same time, home prices don’t seem to be coming down, there’s still a ton of competition, and you’re probably no stranger to bidding wars when you make an offer on a house.

So you might be searching for a way to maintain the buying power you had when rates were a little lower, or just a competitive edge so you can offer a little more for the houses you bid on.
Which means you’ve probably been reading or hearing about adjustable rate mortgages making a comeback.

They haven’t been getting much attention for quite some time. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been so historically low, they haven’t been all that necessary to consider. But with the mix of rates going up, low inventory, and stiff competition, buyers are sizing them up as an option.

The last time they were popular was prior to the real estate market bubble bursting in 2007. Leading up to it, people were taking on riskier mortgages just to be able to afford a house. So you wouldn’t be out of line to stop and wonder if taking an adjustable rate mortgage could lead to trouble.

A difference is, back in 2007 and the years leading up to it, banks had been lax in their lending standards, and much of the market was affected by what is known as “subprime” mortgages. To put it simply, they were risky mortgages given to people who probably weren’t going to be able to afford the loans they were taking on. It wasn’t adjustable rate mortgages that were the actual problem, so much as it was careless lenders giving many different types of risky mortgages to people who just weren’t qualified.

The truth is, an adjustable rate mortgage can lead to trouble. But, it can also be a smart choice.

If you decide to apply for an adjustable rate mortgage, ideally your mortgage rep and underwriters will properly assess your situation and advise you as to whether or not you should go that route. But the reality is, you need to go into it eyes wide open and think for yourself as well. So here are some things to consider and help you decide if an adjustable rate mortgage is a smart choice for you:

The Takeaway:

An adjustable rate mortgage may be the right choice to help lower your monthly payments, help maintain your buying power amidst rising rates, and / or give you a competitive edge against other offers. They can be risky, but they can also be the perfect choice for you if you know what you’re getting into and weigh the risks versus the advantages. Just make sure to give it a good amount of thought before signing on the dotted line. If you need a great lender with a proven track record of success in Mammoth Lakes, check out our favorites HERE.

If you’re in the market to buy your first home in this market, it’s probably felt like an uphill battle. There aren’t a lot of houses to choose from, and the minute a house gets listed there are a ton of offers to compete against.

Adding to the stress, now you’re probably worrying about the news that interest rates are going up, and hoping to scoop up a house before rates go up too high and make buying a house more affordable.

But then there’s the news about pending home sales dropping over the past couple of months, which may sound hopeful to buyers.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Are buyers putting on the brakes and waiting to see if house prices come down due to rates rising? Should you wait and try to time the market?

All understandable questions buyers may be thinking about, but speculating and trying to time the market is a gamble that may not pay off as one would hope. Here’s a few reasons why:

So timing may not be the best bet, but time itself can be on your side as a first-time buyer in any market, but especially this one.

Part of the reason why there are so few homes for sale, and pending sales have dropped over the past few months, is due to the fact that many homeowners worry about where they’ll go if they sell their house. Think about your concerns as a first-time buyer having to find a house to begin with, and then hope you can beat out a bunch of other buyers. That concern is even greater for someone who already owns a house. Even if they truly want to move, it can be scary to pull the trigger and list their house because they have legitimate concerns that they won’t be able to find and buy a house.

This is where you, as a first-time buyer, have an advantage. Most sellers would love to have time on their side to look for a home once they get their house under contract. Sure they want as much money as they can get for their house, but time to look for a house can be more valuable than a higher offer another buyer makes.

The Takeaway:

Rather than put your house hunting on hold and speculating that prices will come down, or more inventory will magically appear, focus on what you have to offer that other buyers can’t offer to a seller—as much time as they need to find a house to buy.

This doesn’t mean you can get away with a lowball offer against other buyers, but it can give you the upperhand. So consider writing terms into your offers that give the seller as much time as they need to find a house.

And perhaps your real estate agent can even use your ability to wait as a reason to reach out to their network of past clients and other agents. There’s no guarantee, but he or she might be able to find a seller who hasn’t listed their house because they’re concerned about timing. It could be just the right thing that gets a hesitant homeowner to sell, and gets you a house to buy!

This article is copied from The Sheet and written by Jack Lunch. For the original version, visit TheSheetNews.com

What do you get when you hand a force of nature a camera? 

You get Nolan Nitschke. 

The esteemed local photographer, whose work has appeared in the Smithsonian on three different occasions, will be hosting a “Grand Opening” for his Sierra Light Gallery in the Mammoth Promenade on March 26. 

But it will be as much of a Grand Reintroduction as a Grand Opening. That’s what happens these days. There’s so much noise out there that even the local treasures have to break out a little razzle dazzle now and then. 

The point is, you know this guy’s work, even if he’s not a household name. Yet. 

His work was featured prominently for many years at the Mammoth Gallery. 

And when the Mammoth Gallery closed its doors, he opened his own gallery in the Mammoth Promenade. He’s now in his sixth year and recently moved into his second location. 

And when you see this new place (which formerly housed Coach), and you see how he’s set up the space, and how he displays his work, you’re gonna say to yourself, “This Nitschke is a proper heir to Galen Rowell.” 

Which makes a bit of sense, given that Nolan, 35, grew up in Bishop and spent countless hours in Mountain Light Gallery as a youth. 

His father was a big influence – not in the sense that he was a photographer, but that he was an avid outdoorsman, fishing, hunting, et. al. 

“But he’s not as much of a backpacker as I am,” says Nitschke, who bought his first camera simply to chronicle his backcountry adventures. 

Adding that during his first trip, he already knew that his new three megapixel camera wasn’t going to do.  

“It spiraled out of control quickly,” laughs Nitschke of his affinity for photography, “and became a full-blown addiction.” 

Lightning in a lens

Nitschke caught his first big break in 2013. 

He’d decided he wanted to capture lightning in Yosemite.

“I was super naive. Learning my craft,” he admits. But he’s also tireless, and not lacking in confidence. And he’s the type of guy who won’t quit until he gets it right. 

“I’ll go somewhere 50-100 times ‘til I get what I want from a location.” 

When you walk inside the gallery, on the right you’ll see a large, ten-foot wide, four-paneled shot of Mount Whitney with the full moon rising behind it on a perfectly clear day. 

“It took me five years to get that particular shot,” he says. 

That’s five climbs and a lot of praying on the weather. 

But back to 2013. Nitschke sees a forecast for severe thunderstorms in Yosemite, and chases the storm into the Park. 

The National Park Service kicks people out of Glacier Point, so he moves on down to Washburn Point and finds a safe spot and sets up his tripod. 

And then it’s just trial-and-error. Seeing a flickering in the clouds and anticipating it will be followed by a strike and shooting. 

But you’re shooting blind. If you can see the lightning, you’re already too late for the shot. 

He shot 700 photos that day. 

One shot captured lightning. Centered perfectly. And went viral. It was picked up by news agencies all over the world. And led to a two-page feature in Outdoor Photographer magazine. 

*Google Nolan Nitschke lightning and you’ll see dozens of entries and the photograph.

What makes Nitschke stand apart is his energy and his work ethic. 

Adjectives that come to mind: Gregarious. Savvy. Energetic. Enthusiastic.

The nature photography is just half of what he does. 

Nitschke also shoots a lot of the real estate photography in town for rentals and homes for sale. 

Sheet: Which ones are yours?

Nitschke (with a twinkle): Any one where you go, ‘oh, that looks really nice.’ That’s me. 

Among his clients are Tammy Hooper, MRG and Mammoth Village Properties.

As Tammy Hooper told The Sheet, “He’s the only one I use. It’s the quality of his work. His timeliness. There’s a sequential way to photograph a home You don’t even have to tell him. He just gets it done, captures the imagery … if you want the best, you go to the best.” 

Sheet: How do you find time for all of this? 

Nitschke: I work 80 hours a week.

Sheet: Your wife is very understanding. 

Nitschke: She’s the f*&%ing best. 

Nitschke said that he and his wife Lauren had just returned from a 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii. 

Sheet: Okay. Be honest. Do you choose vacation destinations based upon their photographic possibilities? 

Nitschke (sheepishly): Maybe. 

He then added that what he loves so much about Hawaii is that it’s so entirely different from the eastern Sierra that it forces him to rethink everything he’s doing. “It’s a challenge as well as a training exercise,” he says. 

As for why he’s excited about the grand opening on the 26th, Nitschke says it’s about evolution. 

When he opened his first gallery, it was a grand experiment just to see if he could pull it off, and it was more about pulling it off, the survival part, than the presentation. “The artwork vastly outshone the space,” he says.

“My intention with this space was to design and build it so the space plays off and his complementary to the artwork.” 

Swing by and judge for yourself. Gallery hours are 10-5 (10-6 Friday and Saturday). Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Nearly everyone is keeping an eye on what’s happening in Ukraine, hoping it will end quickly and without too much damage and loss of life.

It may feel trivial and even selfish to wonder how it will affect the US real estate market, but it’s a valid concern if you’re in the process of selling or buying a house, or simply thinking of doing either.

While it’s impossible to predict exact impacts on the entire US real estate market, let alone local markets, it’s possible to speculate on a few broad potentials:

Consumer Hesitancy

Whenever there are big question marks due to geopolitical events like this, people may hold off on selling or buying a house because they simply aren’t sure of the impacts it may have on them directly or indirectly. This could show in the form of buyers putting a pause on their home search, or sellers taking their house off the market.

As of now there hasn’t been much change in market conditions. There are still a lot more active buyers than there are houses for sale. In other words, it’s still a sellers’ market in most areas of the country.

Luxury and Secondary Markets Could Take a Hit

The stock market and investment accounts are a lot more volatile during a major conflict. One day they are down considerably, then they bounce back only to take another dip. Since luxury and secondary homes are more often funded by tapping into investment accounts, it could put a damper on the higher end home sales. This could mean an impact in places like Mammoth Lakes.

Rise in Construction Costs

Transportation costs have already been rising due to oil prices, but this conflict could lead to even less supply and higher prices, which would impact the transportation costs of building materials even more than the supply chain issue has affected costs. Therefore, new construction homes could see more of a hike in cost and delays.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are the X-factor. While there’s no guarantee it will last, mortgage rates actually came down a bit and could come down even more, or stabilize, rather than continue rising like they had been in recent weeks. This is likely due to investors looking for a safer place to put their money in such a volatile financial market, so they often invest in mortgage-backed securities, bonds and U.S. Treasury notes which affect mortgage rates.

The Takeaway:

Considering how unpredictably the market reacted (and how much it surged) during the COVID pandemic, there’s a good chance the market will continue along much like it has been for the past couple of years — especially if mortgage interest rates stop rising, or even go down again.

Low mortgage rates will likely lead to buyers who are still willing and anxious to buy. Couple that with the low number of houses for sale, and it paints a picture of an overall US real estate market not noticeably affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

As always, there’s no crystal ball in real estate, and it’s such an individual decision affected by one’s personal situation and local market. If you’re concerned about whether selling your house or buying a house makes sense for you, speak to your financial advisor and/or a local real estate agent for advice. The Destination Real Estate team in Mammoth Lakes is here for you.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent people of Ukraine.

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