Scott Yocum still has the first check his brother Marty Dreibelbis made out to him in 1976.
They bought apartment buildings in Pine Grove Mills and Houserville that year. Aside from about a four-year hiatus, Yocum has worked in real estate ever since. He cofounded Re/Max Centre Realty 27 years ago.
And, no, Yocum doesn’t see retirement in his future.
Like his dad, real-estate developer and Nittany Oil Company founder Galen Dreibelbis, he likes to keep busy.
That’s good, because home buyers are coming out to see what is on the market.
Q: Last Monday the temperature reached 50 degrees, the sun was out and State College was bustling. Is this the time of year you start getting more calls from people looking to buy a house?
A: Spring is a busy time, and we call it the busy time. A lot of it is weather-driven. I remember back about five years ago in the first week of January it was in the 50s, and I sold over 10 homes in 10 days. Then, we had another storm, and it really slowed down. After the holiday season, people always wait for good weather, and this past week it reached 58 degrees versus -8 degrees 10 days ago, so it’s just very brisk, very active in real estate.
Q: How does the real estate market change seasonally?
A: It does change, there are about two to three changes. Here, in the spring is the big push. A lot of people buy houses now to close in April or May, because a lot of people like to be settled in before school starts in September. August is also a big close closing month, but August and September are usually not the best time when people are buying houses. The weather can still be nice and sometimes too hot, but people have already had things in line for school in September. It will then get a little busy again, but slow down a little over the holiday season, but not always. It depends on the weather.
Q: When is the best time of the year to be a buyer? And, on the flip side, a seller?
A: The best time to buy financially is typically from Oct. 31 to the end of February, because you’re coming into what we call the tail end of the season. Someone’s house may have been put on the market in May, June or July, and they missed that brisk market. Maybe their price was too high, so the buyer should be looking in that time period. Plus, people want to sell, because they don’t want to winterize their house and pay for heat. The buyers that want to make the best financial decisions and make good deals can do it in that time period. The downside is that there’s not always a lot of inventory to pick from.
For sellers, the best time to sell is now, now, now. Right now is the good time to sell for multiple reasons. Inventory of our Centre County houses are low right now, and interest rates are low.
Q: I once heard the best time to make an offer is on a Tuesday. Is there ever a right time of the week to make an offer?
A: I’ve never heard of the best time of the week to make an offer. The busiest day for me is Monday, because I’ll take care of things that happened all weekend. The second busiest day is Friday to get ready for the weekend, because I’m lining up all my shows. Those that wait until Tuesday may have lost the opportunity to by that house, because if I showed it on the weekend I’m writing it Monday. If you wait, you may lose it. Real estate is like a pair of shoes — it has to fit, it has to be comfortable, and if it’s comfortable you buy it.
Q: What’s the shortest and longest time that one of your houses has been on the market?
A: The longest I’ve probably ever had a property on the market was about two and a half years. It was a very unique property that needed a lot of TLC. There was a lot of upgrading and deferred maintenance. A lot of people today like everything ready to go now. They don’t like to go in there thinking they have to paint all weekend, that they need to redo roofing and cut shrubs and trees and all the things that need done on deferred maintenance. People want to move in and relax.
The shortest? I think I had it on for about an hour and a half, because every Tuesday we have a sales meeting, then we go on properties that have just been listed. I had just listed a real nice stone duplex in College Heights near the golf course, and another real estate agent happened to be there. She looked at it and gave me an offer, full price obviously, and it was sold.
Q: Any funny stories about selling a house?
A: Oh, yeah. I sold a house in Penns Valley, and the people were moving to Syracuse. They had about nine chickens and an old dog. We got an offer, but part of the negotiations were the nine chickens and the dog had to stay with that house. The people said, “What are going to do with nine chickens and a dog?” I told them they could start collecting eggs, and they’d have a watch dog. It ended up the chickens and dog were included in the sale.