Every month I think “Wow, inventory really can’t get any lower than this” – I am proven wrong. On a nearly continuous basis over the past 24 months homes for sale inventory has decreased. In case you wonder: Inventory is the amount of time it would take to sell all current listings at the current sales pace if no new listings became available.
An equal buyer-seller market is at 6 months, which means that sellers and buyers need to enter in a Give-And-Take during the transaction and negotiations. Right after the housing bubble burst it was a strong buyers market. If buyers requested repairs, sellers would fix it – if they could afford it- no questions asked. Tables have turned and now sellers have the say. Buyers, if you ask for too much, sellers will drop you like a hot potato and move on to the buyer next in line.
Generally, in this sellers market, buyers will have to see a house within the first 24 hours and make an offer. In tight price ranges just like in the price range of $300,000 and under you’ll get a showing appointment rush the first 24-48 hours up to the first week. Ideally, as the seller, you’ll want to be under contract within that week.
My buyer will have to compete with all the other buyers who decide to make an offer on the home that has just been listed. It can be a frenzy and people get swept away. If you don’t necessarily want to – or can- compete with these hot listings what are your options? I might sound like a broken record, but again and again, be patient, have the right attitude and look past the glitz. It’s all about flexibility. Train your eye and your mind to see beyond this perfectly staged home. Think outside the box to find the home for you.
When searching for homes, also consider homes that have been on the market a while. Sure, something is NOT right, but it could be as easy as brass in the home or other missing updates. How easy could it be to change that? Maybe the home isn’t staged properly and is just not appealing? Is there deferred maintenance that other buyers just did not want to deal with? The issue could be as little as a few thousand dollars and/or sweat equity. It is important to start assembling a team of contractors.
Buyers will pay a premium for move-in ready, Pottery Barn like staged homes. Rightfully so, as the sellers have put a lot of work into making the house look the way it does. However, YOUR opportunity in snagging a house is by considering homes that are less than perfect.
If you are starting to look at homes with the “I can do” attitude you start looking at homes in a different light: You start seeing what’s right and not what’s wrong.
You’ll see that the big ticket items are in good shape (or not) such as the roof, the windows, utilities (water heater, furnace), plumbing (is not polybutelene) etc, drainage is good, no structural issues. Then this makes everything else look less intimidating. Have courage, but know exactly what you are getting yourself into when it comes to home repairs and home maintenance.
Have you considered looking in different markets, such as the investment market instead of residential listings only?
Remember, the only thing you can’t change about a home is the location! That’s about it.
You are searching for at least 4 bedrooms? Why not look at 3 bedrooms and see if they have an office that could be transformed into another bedroom? Could you make another bedroom out of a loft? Do you really need the formal dining room?
While you might not be able to change a split level home into a rancher, but you absolutely can open up rooms with removing walls if you are looking for that open floor lay out.
3. Look in different listing categories
Can’t find anything among the residential listings? How about reviewing investment listings?
4. Expired and Cancelled listings
Look through expired and cancelled listings, maybe there is one or another seller who has not yet been approached yet by agents looking for buyers as well. You can just look at recently expired or cancelled listings, or, you can think about this strategy: Go back about 9-12 months, reason being that owners who could not sell last year, might have decided to rent their home and are coming now up on the end of the lease. The difficult part will be to get to them before other agents have gotten to them, or they decide to rent for another year, since they are not familiar with the new real estate market.
5. Avoid “glitzy” areas
While top school districts tend to dictate higher home prices, there are always areas within the desired school district that command lower prices than others. In Colorado Springs you also have a Choice In option, which allows you to live where-ever you want and still have your students attend the schools of your choice.
6. Have great realtor support
Don’t do it on your own. Have professional help by your side to manouvre this market. Call me at 719-321-0800 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am looking forward to speaking with you and guiding you towards buying your new house.