Friday, April 14, 2017

Multiple Offers

With supply down and interest up, there are many more multiple offers on houses being seen this spring.  They are, obviously, more complicated for both buyers and sellers (not to mention agents!).  Sometimes, they can lead to a feeding frenzy on a property; other times, buyers can all walk away, not wanting to get drawn in.  So what's a seller to do?

If you price your home correctly, that price will be a call to action.  In other words, buyers, who are very sophisticated about the market in the Internet age, will know that it won't be on the market long.  If they are interested, they will need to act quickly.  They also know that they can withdraw during the inspection process, so they may act, even when they haven't fully committed(sellers should take note of this!).  They also know, pretty well, what the house is worth, so they will bid at least full price, figuring that other people will as well.  In fact, we often tell them to make their "highest and best" offer--I say that people should offer what they would be upset to learn that someone else bought the property for.  This often takes place in a second round of offers, where everyone who has expressed interest has a chance to put in one last contract.

The seller should set a date to consider all offers, and make that soon; most offers are only good for a period of hours or a few days.  With multiple offers, sellers should assume that buyers are continuing to look at other properties, and should not feel that they are in the driver's seat, and can think about things too long.  S/he should choose one offer, using price and terms to pick the best one for them, and negotiate it through to a signed contract.

 Then the inspections begin.  That's where it might be good to have a back-up offer, which often makes buyers less insistent during the inspection negotiation.  Sometimes, if a buyer plans to do enough work to the property, s/he might even waive the inspections.  Often, buyers waive the mortgage contingency, although that doesn't always mean that they don't plan to get a mortgage.  If they don't, they often ask that the house "appraise out", meaning that there is an appraisal anyway, to make sure that they don't overpay, although that's a subjective term.  If they are getting a mortgage, the bank will do an appraisal, so the same vetting process on value will occur.  We don't consider the home sold until the contingencies are satisfied, so keep your fingers crossed both as buyer or seller, and don't let up on the timeline.

This explanation assumes that the sellers proceed with one contract at a time.  While it is legal to ask for all offers, and then sign one, or to negotiate (but not sign!) with more than one buyer at a time, it gets confusing and frustrating for everyone.  Final advice:  Don't be greedy.  If you have an offer at or above what you would have sold for, take it.  Those last dollars aren't guaranteed, especially if it doesn't appraise at that higher amount.  Take the money and run to your new home!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Current Absorption Rates

Explanation of absorption rate: The rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period. If you look at the number for New Haven you can say “If market conditions do not change and if no new listings come on the market it will take 4.4 months for the current inventory to sell at the current pace of the market. A balanced market’s absorption rate is typically between 5 - 7 months.”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Have It Your Way

The current plethora of informational sites displaying residential property reminds me of the old Burger King slogan:  Have it your way.  If you want alerts, apps, price ranges, school districts, agent ratings, or almost anything else, it's available on the internet, usually on multiple sites.  Even though Trulia is owned by Zillow, for example, they maintain two separate sites (clearly, it's easier to be a consumer than to be an agent trying to keep all listings and profiles updated!).  If you prefer one display over another, go for it.  If you like the search parameters of another site, have that one delivered to your inbox also. Want to know what an outside evaluator thought?  Check our Squeakly report. For those who choose to search through the site, we can wrap our contact information around the property data from the MLS. 

If you go back in time (I'm writing this on TBT), clients, who were then called customers--no buyer brokerage existed yet--had to come into a real estate office, to pore over a physical book of listings. That book came out every two weeks.  If you wanted to know what had sold in the past, and at what price, that was in another book, which came out every 6 or 12 months.  Books couldn't leave the hands of a Realtor, so there was no examining the inventory in the peace and quiet of your own home.  It's amazing to me, in fact, but more people log on to our site between 5 and 7 AM than at any other time.  They certainly weren't in a real estate office at those hours!

Given all of the options, it's easy to be overwhelmed by too much information.  Most people now know that Zestimates are off by 20%, on average, and more on the high end.  It's not surprising that outdated and expired listings appear in a Google search.  That's why, according to consumer studies, most buyers and sellers want to sit down in person at some point in the process.  That's why we're here.  Call us at any time--ok, maybe not at 5 AM, although I do get emails from agents at that hour--and help us add the "special sauce" that Burger King boasted of adding to the Whopper.  We call it market knowledge, and it isn't edible, but it is good!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Even With Snow Still on the Ground, the Spring Season is Here

I just went back and looked at the past three months' worth of Trulia leads and visits to our Pearce website from Trulia.  Leads were relatively flat from January through mid-February.  They went up 11% to 20% from week to week after that; in the most recent report, they have doubled. 

Although that's only one site, and the lead time for homebuyers can be long, it's a clear indication that interest in real estate is up, way up.  And, even if some people look at houses online instead of Netflix, many of the lookers will translate into buyers. 

Winter came so late this year that many buyers could begin the process without much interruption from the weather.  Even the recent "blizzard" didn't do much to send people back inside to wait for warm weather.  And sunshine helps--not only because it makes people feel positive, but because so many houses look their best in brighter light.  Of course, we've also switched to daylight savings time, giving us another hour of what feels like daytime at the end of the working day.  Anything that promotes movement and energy will boost traffic to open houses and initiate showings.

With all that happening, sellers should be doing everything in their power to get ready for the market, if they haven't already.  Spring can be fleeting, so take advantage of it while it lasts!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We're Excited about Homesnap

The Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS) is offering Homesnap to all of us now.  We think that consumers will absolutely love this free app, which is a cross between Zillow,,  and SoundHound.  That means that you can take a picture with your phone or iPad of any home you see; if it's not listed, you will get exterior and public information.  If it is listed, you will get what you would see on, all without having to do anything except point and click. In addition, by signing up, you can get updates every time something in your desired area comes on the market. If you sign up through an agent, it will be branded with that agent's info, and the agent will also have a record of what you're seeing.  This has the potential to make homebuying so much easier!

I've been playing around with the app this weekend, whenever it's too cold to do anything else--so I've clearly had a lot of time to spend!  I think this app will replace a bunch of others, since it combines so many great features into one delivery package.  At Pearce, we are busy training all of our agents on Homesnap, and we will soon be inviting you to come and join us.  In the meantime, you can certainly go on as a guest, and see whatever there is to see from the road, every time you have a few extra minutes.  If you're a fan of trolling on Zillow, this app's definitely for you.  I'm hoping that it will soon be available for commercial properties as well, but, for now, it's just great to have this new tool, in time for the spring market.