Many years ago I rented a condo on Siesta Key. My son was a baby and my business was seasonal, so it made good sense to spend most of the time that connected Thanksgiving and Christmas in another place. I learned many lessons during that trip, mostly about Red Tide and about driving great distances and about the relative monotony of daily sunshine. My business didn’t really suffer, because I didn’t have very much of it. That was the first and last time I spent more than 8 days away from this desk. Back then, it wasn’t too big of a deal because this market had some seriously quiet times during those winter weeks. Today? Well, seasonality is dead.
The thing is, many buyers don’t understand that. They sit on their hands and wait for the weather to tell them it’s time to think about summer. The obvious issue here is that by the time the weather turns it’s too late. The seasonal buyers rush to the lake in July and overturn rocks looking for some inventory. The seasonal buyers might find some inventory, but they tend to make some of the most egregious market mistakes. Ah, but you say there are no mistakes in a hot market that is starved for inventory. And to that I remind you that the mistakes aren’t visible, yet, but they are still mistakes. Seasonal buyers call on Saturdays and buy on Sundays, and while no one can blame them for their haste, it’s rather obvious to the market participants that this isn’t always the most prudent way to pursue a vacation home property. Unless, of course, you nod in agreement to those shows where a couple from Saint Louis fly to Aruba for the weekend and decide which terrible island home they’re going to buy before their return flight Sunday night.
It’s much easier for me to ask a buyer to drive up to the lake for a tour during the month of July than it is to ask the same in December. Buyers have things to do, work to accomplish, family to host. This is a busy time of year, and I certainly respect that. But this market, this inventory starved thing we’ve all created, it doesn’t wait for you to be ready. It offers its inventory whenever it feels like it, and if you’re a seasonal buyer, you’re going to miss out on opportunities. You can’t be a motivated buyer in August and a lethargic buyer in December. You just can’t be. Unless, of course, you don’t mind rushing around next May hoping to find a seller who wants to close before Memorial Day Weekend. If you’re in the market, we need to talk. I just might have some ideas for you that just don’t care if you think it’s the “off season”.
Above, this morning’s sunrise over Cedar Point.