Moving to the Midstate: Local market is hot for sellers, challenging for buyers

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This past summer, Brad Parfitt decided it was time to part with the beloved home he had built with his late wife, Ann, 20 years ago. He had an opportunity to build a home next to his grown children and grandchildren and felt the timing was right.

But he worried the process might take some time.

Brad Parfitt with his grandchildren.

“I saw houses on the market for hundreds of days, if not a full year sometimes,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a drawn-out process, to tell you the truth.”

But it turns out, Parfitt’s timing was perfect.

He listed his home in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Lower Paxton Township for approximately $550,000 and ended up with six offers in just 36 hours, all well over his asking price.

Parfitt’s former home in Lower Paxton Township. Courtesy: Next Door Photos
Parfitt’s former home in Lower Paxton Township. Courtesy: Next Door Photos

“They waived house inspections, mortgage contingencies,” Parfitt said. “In Harrisburg I never would have guessed that could happen. It was an incredible experience.”

Parfitt’s story is incredible, but it’s not unique according to his real estate agent Jamie Esser.

“It’s a revolving door and of course with COVID, the situation is we can only have one showing at a time,” Esser said.

It’s become so much of a “feeding frenzy” that Esser tells her sellers to leave town when their home goes on the market.

“As soon as the property goes on the market anybody that’s remotely looking in that area in that price range wants to get in,” she said. “We just don’t have any inventory, so there’s 50 buyers for that one house that goes on. That’s crazy.”

It’s great for sellers, but challenging for buyers.

Leslie Machulsy of Berkshire Hathaway has several clients looking to buy in Parfitt’s old neighbhorood. There’s a high demand but very little supply.

“So they’re all going to be in a competing offer situation and there’s only going to be on person that gets the house,” she said.

So when clients do find a home they love, Machulsky encourages an aggressive approach.

“Honestly they have to go all in,” she said. “There was a time people could offer less for houses and elect every inspection under the sun. But now they have to offer over asking price, often time they have to offer over appraisal value.”

That’s what Shay and Chelsea Zeiders-Knouse did when they put in the winning offer for Parfitt’s home; $57,000 over asking price with no inspections or contingencies.

The Zeiders-Knouse family. Courtesy: Danielle Streck Photography

“It was nerve wracking,” Chelsea said.

“We knew we had to come in and really give it our best shot,” Shay added.

That “best shot” included writing Parfitt a letter, explaining that his home actually backed up to Chelsea’s parents backyard; a perfect set-up for their two young daughters.

“Being here just really feels like our home, and so we feel very, very lucky,” Chelsea said.

And as stressful as the buying process was, selling their existing home was the fun part. They listed their home a few streets over and within two days had 14 competing offers to choose from. They settled for $46,000 over asking price.

The home recently sold by Shay and Chelsea Zeiders-Knouse. Courtesy: Annie Weiler

“That was exciting,” Shay said. “I enjoyed that process of it.”

Parfitt is now waiting for his new home to be finished, calling it “grandpa heaven.”

And he’s still pinching himself over his unexpected, yet impeccable timing.

“I don’t know that you’re ever going to get a better price for your house than you will today,” he said.

Industry experts predict this “seller’s market” will continue into 2022, as it shows no signs of slowing down.

For more on why home are so in-demand right now, watch Seth Kaplan’s follow-up report here.

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