Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Different Market

All real estate markets are variable, as are all cycles.  What applies to one property may not apply to another.  Yet there are usually certain truisms that stand out at any given time.  So what are we seeing now?

First of all, inventories have tightened in almost every segment.  There just isn't as much on the market.  Good properties can get snapped up almost instantly, sometimes with multiple offers.  This is particularly true on the lower end of the price continuum.

Secondly, rates have been rising, meaning that time is of the essence.  If you are able to afford a home now, don't wait.  It will cost you more every month in the future, if rates go up further, and inflation is a real fear in this economy.  Even if you are downsizing, money is cheaper to borrow currently.

Thirdly, sellers (who tend to be older than buyers) value different things than do buyers (who tend to be younger).  There is often renegotiation that takes place after the inspections, not because the home is falling apart, but because the buyer intends to do work that the seller might not think is necessary, and which, indeed, may not be.  A seller shouldn't be surprised if a buyer is looking to change the floor pattern, bathrooms, security system, or appliances.  As a seller, you don't have to participate in those choices, unless you want to sell your home to that buyer.  There is an exception here--multiple offers reduce the cost of renegotiation, by changing the power dynamics.

Multiple offers still tend to come on properties that are very well priced, and also on those that are in move-in condition.  Prepping the house well for sale helps with that, as does making your offering price so attractive that more than one party will bid, often above asking.  Not only does that drive up the final sales price, but it cuts down on give backs, since buyers know they are competing.

If you are trading up to a larger and/or more expensive home, you may be better off than those trading down.  Not only is supply more plentiful, but carrying costs are a real concern for many people, and bigger homes can sell at discounts that smaller homes would not have to face.  This provides a real opportunity for those who are willing and able to purchase a large home, and those buyers can end up with a lot for their money.  In addition, they will start with more money, since the smaller home that they are selling is probably increasing faster than the larger one they are seeking to buy.  Every market has pockets of opportunity, and this is one--go over $1,000,000 for the best value.

Finally, don't expect this market to change rapidly.  Every other part of the country has already seen declining and tight inventory, and therefore rising prices.  If it is starting to happen here, remember that it is just starting.  And adjust your expectations--then make your move!