Existing-home sales inched up again during January, according to a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Existing-home sales, which include recently purchased single family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops are on pace to reach 4.92 million annual units, up 9.1 percent compared to January of last year.
Hearing the words Seller’s market can create quite a stir so most of us are cautious of uttering those melodious words that sellers have been longing for. The market has changed quite markedly in the last year and even more so in the last 6 months. What was once clearly a Blue Light special for Real Estate has taken a turn. No longer can a buyer do some of the things they have done for the past 5 or more years due to a drastic reduction in inventory.
Some of the habits of buyers may not work to their advantage anymore so I thought we could address a few of buyer practices. The first one is those good ole low ball offers. There was once a time when the seller was so anxious about selling and competing with the short sales and foreclosures that they would bite their lips and counter those low ball offers. In the past few months I have seen many a seller just not even address the offer. The danger for the buyer is that once you give a disrespectful way below market offer the seller does not take you serious and worst yet while the buyer is angling for a steal of a deal …. a more sincere buyer waltzes in and snags the home.
When the market was flourishing with inventory buyers would have plenty of time to sleep on it and even sleep on it for days, weeks and even months. Thankfully those days are gone because while you are sleeping, someone else is packing up and moving in the house you were secretly loving but hankering for that better deal. Granted there are many homes that stay on the market for a while but frankly if priced to the market, in a good neighborhood and in good condition the home should sell quite quickly now.
Another buyer mistake that has lost many a home for the would be home owner is flooding the contract with contingencies. The cleaner and neater and without ambiguities the easier for the seller to take the deal. I am a real lover of AS IS contracts ( more on that later) because it takes the guess work out of the deal, you either want it or you don’t. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule but the less complicated the deal the easier it is to make it to the finish line with everyone’s sanity in tact.
I guess we are really doing this backwards because one of the most important things that a buyer can have ready is their prequalification letter in hand. House hunting before you are knowledgeable about what you qualify for is a loosing proposition for everyone. Your agent does not want to get you all excited about 300,000 houses if your budget is for 200,000. Most sellers are wanting that letter in hand before they even accept your offer so be ready so you can get the home that you want for the price that you are comfortable with.
So if you have to sum it up so that the happy home owner gets the pick of the litter quite simply remember do these 4 things:
- Make a respectable offer based on the market and condition of the home with the help of your favorite Real Estate agent
- Know what you want when you are looking so that when you find it you can act quickly with inspection periods of course.
- Make a clean offer with a minimum period for inspections.
- Have your financing in order
Now… Ready… Set …GO….. Call your favorite Real Estate agent after you have visited with your favorite banker and soon you should be loading and unloading boxes and enjoying your new home. Thanks for letting me share little knowledge and some joy and until next week remember, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us.”