Andrew Wetzel's Musings

November 23, 2022

2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Highlights

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has published its annual report. The report is based on surveys of recent home buyers including those who sold one property to buy another. The survey consisted of 129 questions mailed to 153,045 recent home buyers. These reports began in 1981 with just 59 questions and are intended to provide insight into consumer behavior, specifically their needs and expectations.

The reports are as unique as the economic, social and demographic environment. The time period covered ran from July 2021 through June 2022 and was impacted by a number of major events including a Real Estate market in transition.

The highlights are broken down into several characteristics.

Home Buyers:

  • 26% were first-time buyers, the lowest share ever recorded in these reports, down from 34%
  • The typical first-time buyer was 36 years old, up from 33, and the typical repeat buyer was 59, both all-time highs for these reports
  • The share of unmarried couples buying was higher than reported previously
  • 22% of all buyers said that their primary reason for buying was to own their own home; the number rose to 62% for first-time buyers
  • 86% of recent buyers used a Real Estate professional; 10% bought directly from the owner
  • 49% used an agent to help them find the right home.

As you will see as I continue, several factors have been adversely affecting buyers, especially first-time buyers.

Homes Purchased:

  • 12% bought new homes with 41% of them looking to avoid renovations and mechanical problems
  • 88% bought previously-owned homes with 31% of them looking for a better price
  • 79% bought detached, single-family homes
  • The median distance between the recent purchase and their prior home was 50 miles, up from 15 miles as reported between 2018 and 2021
  • 49% cited the quality of the neighborhood as the most important factor in selecting a location; affordability and proximity to family and friends were both cited at 37%
  • The typical purchase was at the full asking price while 28% spent more than the asking price
  • Typical buyers expected to live in their home for 15 years; 28% said they would never move

The Home Search Process:

  • 47% started by searching online; 18% started by contacting a Real Estate agent
  • 96% of buyers used online tools in their search
  • Typical buyers searched for 10 weeks, up from 8 weeks, and looked at a median of five homes plus another four they only viewed online
  • 86% found their agent to be a very or somewhat useful source of information
  • 91% were at least somewhat satisfied with their home-buying process

As I have seen in other reports, delaying contacting a professional may have an adverse effect on buyers especially if they learn that financing requires them to do some work to “qualify”.

Financing the Home Purchase:

  • 78% of recent buyers financed their purchase, down from 87%
  • The typical down payment for first-time buyers was 6%; 17% for repeat buyers
  • 47% used their savings for their down payment. 38% of repeat buyers used the proceeds from the sale of their home; 22% of first-time buyers used a gift or a loan from family or friends
  • 26% of first-time buyers cited saving for a down payment as the most difficult step in the process
  • 88% of buyers viewed a home purchase as a good financial investment

Home Sellers:

  • The typical seller was 60 years old, up from 56
  • 21% sold to move closer to family and friends; 11% sold due to retirement; 11% said that their neighborhood had become less desirable
  • Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years, up from 8 years
  • 41% bought a larger home; 32% bought the same size home
  • 39% used the same Real Estate agent to buy as they used to sell
  • 86% used a Real Estate professional; 10% sold on their own, meaning without representation
  • The median final selling price was 100% of the asking price, the highest since 2002
  • The median time on the market was two weeks, up from one week
  • 91% of sellers were at least somewhat satisfied with the selling process

FSBO Sellers (meaning For Sale By Owner or Unrepresented Sellers):

  • 10% of sellers sold without representation, up from 7%
  • 6% of suburban sellers sold without representation while 13% did so in rural areas
  • 50% knew the buyer of their home
  • FSBO homes typically sold for less than Real Estate agent-assisted sales. FSBOs sold for a median price of $225,000 compared to Real Estate agent-assisted sales at $345,000.

Sellers who do not use a Real Estate agent typically do so to save the commission. Given the wide disparity in results that merits a conversation. That being said, some sellers say they needed to save the commission to make a move. Their choice but I respectfully suggest that all sellers think about it.

This is a lot to digest. How closely these results may reflect your feelings and experiences will vary. Selling and buying Real Estate is a personal decision, often an emotional one justified with logic.

Remember, when it comes to selling or buying what is likely your biggest asset and your largest overall investment,

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

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November 11, 2022

Sellers, Does Disclosing Multiple Offers on Your Property Make Sense?

That depends. What is your strategy, meaning what do you think will happen?

The Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS Listing Contract has a clause that states in part, “Unless prohibited by Seller, if Broker is asked … Broker will reveal the existence of other offers …”. Broker could mean Agent since the contract is really with the Broker.

This “conversation” should take place at the time the listing contract is being signed so that there is no misunderstanding about what the parties have agreed to do. Frankly, I am not sure that all agents really discuss what the seller is signing, that all agents completely understand the listing contract or that every seller really understands what they are signing or that they really care as long as their property gets sold. My experience as a mediator and serving on Professional Standards hearing panels has shown time and again that a number of sellers and buyers claim that they did not understand what they signed. The agents may have done their job or not. Electronic signing can make this more problematic as people rush to execute contracts and get properties on the market and under contract. How sad! Real Estate is typically our biggest asset and largest investment. Mistakes can be very costly!

At the very least, this MUST be discussed before there is any interest in a property or there could be a problem especially if the seller thinks their agent acted unethically. Absent discussing the paragraph, the “default” position as stated is that the agent has been “authorized” to disclose whether or not there are multiple offers. If asked, the answer could be yes or no.

Many buyer agents will call to ask if there are offers “in hand” or “other interest” in a property before preparing an offer; some will even call to ask before scheduling a showing. In “hot” seller’s markets these instances will increase. Why is this a concern at all?

From a buyer or buyer agent’s perspective, they may not want to waste their time pursuing a house that may be unattainable as doing so may result in their missing out on their “second choice” if a seller has or is about to sign another offer. Our multiple listing service requires that the listing status be changed within one business day of executing a contract but a lot can happen in that time. Listing agents may have advertised a due date for offers that others assume valid only to find that something was signed sooner than expected. Real Estate sales are a “moving target”. Even if I answer your question now, the answer could change.

As far as the disclosure, some buyers may be willing to “compete” so thinking that there is competition may cause them to make their “highest and best” offer at the outset. On the other hand, some may decide not to compete. Are they entitled to know anything short of an agreement of sale being signed? No they are not unless the seller grants that permission.

What should a seller do?

As far as how to respond to inquiries about “multiple offers”, a listing agent MUST have a conversation with their seller client about how to handle inquiries. We cannot lie and we cannot divulge the answer without our seller client’s permission. We can tell others that we are not authorized to answer the question, which may make others think there is competition. How they handle our response is up to them.

I do not like to disclose that we have other offers but I believe that there is a time and place for doing that. Telling others that there are no offers makes no sense, does it? Whatever other agents and sellers do, throughout any given year, I see MANY listings expire, meaning that the listing contract ran out before getting an offer signed, or get canceled, meaning that the seller and agent decided to stop working together such as when the seller decides not to sell, that advertised in their “remarks” section that there was a “multiple offer situation”. That adds a “twist”:  the listing agent is answering the question without being asked. Did the seller authorize that? The fact that these houses did not go “under contract” and sell can mean that multiple buyers thought them priced too high. Did that disclosure help the seller? Did it deter any serious buyers who may have offered enough to convince a seller to sign a purchase offer? There is no “one size fits all” answer.

There is no guarantee that, regardless of the type of market or the amount of competition, a buyer will have a “second” chance when making an offer to buy Real Estate. If they really like a house they may want to consider making their best offer at the outset. Should a buyer offer “more” if there is real or perceived competition or “less” if there isn’t? Shouldn’t they base their offer on HOW MUCH they like and want to own a house and what they can manage financially?

A market analysis is helpful as is concern about an eventual appraisal if financing is involved but why should a house be “worth more” because someone else may like it? Suppose money is “no object”? Here is the underlying question:  what is the point of making an offer on Real Estate? I believe that the goal should be to lock it up to exclude other buyers. A buyer can do a number of inspections to see if there are any “material defects”. If their interest changes, they can request repairs or credits or even terminate a sale. I do not take any of these lightly but I do feel for buyers who misjudge the market and miss out on what may have been the best house for their needs and wants.

One interesting point of contrast is that a seller may entertain any number of offers, of course they can only sign one, but a buyer can really only pursue one house. I have heard of buyers making multiple offers but that can blow up if not handled properly.

My job as a listing agent is to “protect and promote” my seller client’s best interest. They rely on my experience, training and education even if we disagree about how to manage this specific topic. As I mentioned, I do NOT like to disclose the existence of other offers generally speaking but that can change when it suits our strategy. Let me share the possibilities.

Let’s assume we have a buyer agent with a buyer interested in making an offer. When the agent calls me to ask if there are any offers, which I presume to mean “in writing” and not a mere expression of “interest” which means nothing and does not always result in an offer being written and presented, if I do not know my seller client’s thinking, absent this paragraph in the contract, I would have to say that I have not discussed that with my client, which may lead some to think there are offers or not. Either of those could hurt my client.

Suppose I have at least one offer in hand and I disclose that. Will their buyer decide not to compete or could that make them try to win? Who knows? However, having one or more offers in hand does not guarantee that a seller will sign one or even be interested in what they may have offered. Suppose I have multiple offers but all are well below the stated asking price or have contingencies or conditions that concern the seller? While that could help me convince the seller that the price is too high, what sense does it make to tell buyer agents that we have offers in hand if none are going to be signed?

The life of a listing agent would be easier if every listing had quality multiple offers to review and if telling someone that they have competition compelled them to do their best to “win” but

human beings are unpredictable. In reality, an offer can even be retracted before being signed and returned, which we call “execution and delivery”. As I often say. It is never over until the seller has the buyer’s money and the buyer has the seller’s house keys.

Here is what I suggest and my seller clients have generally agreed with my thinking:

First, I do not want to disclose whether or not we have other interest or offers in hand.

Second, when I receive an offer, after doing what I need to do before presenting it to my seller, I will look at the recent and upcoming showing activity and review any feedback I may have received. I need to think about whether anything else might be coming in. If I think there is, we need to stall to allow that to develop. However, purchase offers have expiration dates and I never assume they are flexible. Waiting for an offer that does not materialize and letting one “in hand” expire makes no sense. Some buyers will just move on to another house, especially in a competitive market.

Third, if I have received at least one offer that a seller is strongly considering signing and someone inquires about the existence of any offers in hand, I will ask my seller for permission to report that we do have other offers. I won’t specify the number or disclose the details. Worst case, the caller does nothing and we are no worse off. Best case, they bring us an offer that is better than what we already have in hand. Absent a concern about an “appraisal”, before signing the latest offer, to be fair, I ask my seller for permission to let the other agents know that there is competition and ask for their buyer client’s “highest and best” offer. My thinking is that it would only be fair to let everyone now know since the latest offer was prepared with that knowledge. I have heard complaints about agents who were led to believe that a seller was going to sign their offer but changed their mind when a better one came in. We need to be conscious of what we say and do to avoid any misunderstandings. A buyer may be selling their house and have an offer they would sign if they knew they had a house to buy. Imagine signing an offer only to learn that the house you wanted to buy was sold to someone else!

Do I have to go back to those who took the initiative and brought offers in already? I don’t think so. If none of those agents ever asked the question, that is on them. If they did ask, regardless of how I answered, they should not assume or expect me to keep them up-to-date as the situation changes. Again, Real Estate is a moving target. The seller is my client and I work for them.

As I often say, this is NOT a “retail” environment. The asking price is not necessarily the final price and the purchase of Real Estate typically requires several steps allowing either party the opportunity to “change their mind”. It can be like a “roller coaster” and that aspect can wear on the parties or their agents.

This is especially true when the market is not “in balance”, meaning that sellers or buyers have a decided or perceived advantage. Our REALTOR Code of Ethics requires us to be honest, meaning that we cannot lie although our not being permitted to disclose something could adversely affect another agent’s client. I try to be “fair” meaning that I am treating all parties “consistently”. The public, including my fellow agents, deserve nothing less regardless of what they “expect”.


There is NO TIME for inexperience, empty promises OR false expectations!


HIRE WISELY: We are NOT “all the same”!

November 8, 2022

Buyers, Does It REALLY Matter If a Listing Has Multiple Offers?

That depends. How would that information affect your level of interest?

As long as a property is “still available” to bid on and you know if a contract signing is imminent, you have a decision to make. Even then, there is no guarantee that, regardless of the type of market or the amount of competition, a buyer will have a “second” chance when making an offer to buy Real Estate. If they really like a house they may want to consider making their best offer at the outset. Should a buyer offer “more” if there is real or perceived competition or “less” if there isn’t? Shouldn’t they base their offer on HOW MUCH they like and want to own a house and what they can manage financially?

A market analysis is helpful as is concern about an appraisal if financing is involved but why should a house be “worth more” because someone else may like it? Suppose money is “no object”? Here is the underlying question:  what is the point of making an offer on Real Estate?

I have taught the Accredited Buyer Representative core course and offered my opinion that the point of putting a house “under contract” is simply to lock it up so that the buyer and seller can go through the process of seeing if transferring the deed works for both parties. When a house goes “under contract” before a buyer can make an offer or their offer gets rejected that opportunity does not exist. There may be no “second chance”. First impressions may doom an offer even if there is no competition. Not to minimize the process of buying or selling Real Estate but both parties likely have one or more chances to reconsider their interest in closing a sale. This is not a retail transaction.

Of course, we are dealing with human beings. How they respond to real or perceived “competition” will dictate whether and how they react when they learn about a house they like. If they reach a “meeting of the minds” with a seller will they come to think they paid too much? Home inspections and appraisals can help “correct” that. Do they have remorse, wondering if they bought the best house for their “needs and wants”? I have specific ideas about how to approach “the search” to help ensure that a buyer will have minimal if any “second thoughts” but, in reality, other houses will keep coming on the market. Whether sales contracts fall through or new houses become available, they can tantalize a buyer who is not fully committed to a house they have under contract. I have had buyers want to view a new listing or one that came back on the market while in the inspection contingency phase. I remind them about our search and how they arrived at the decision to make an offer on the house they now have under contract. I also tell them that we have no idea how much other interest the new listing may have, what it will take to get a signed contract, what may have led to its being back on the market or what inspection issues may exist. A “bird in the hand” ….

Is there anything worse for a serious buyer than NOT getting the “best house” under contract? Competition is what it is. Others may be in a better position to buy what you want to own. If you start looking before you are prepared and organized, you may be forced to watch others buy the house you liked and wanted to own. All any buyer can do is “know their limitations” and act accordingly. An experienced, trained and educated professional can help! The Real Estate market is constantly churning and that can frustrate even the most serious buyer.

As far as how to respond to inquiries about “multiple offers”, a listing agent MUST have a conversation with their seller client about how to handle inquiries. We cannot lie and we cannot divulge the answer without our seller client’s permission. We can tell others that we are not authorized to answer the question, which may make others think there is competition. How they handle the situation depends.

I do not like to disclose having other offers in hand but there is a time and place for doing

that. Telling others that there are no offers makes no sense. Whatever others do, throughout any given year, I see MANY listings expire, meaning the listing contract ran out, or get canceled that advertised in the “remarks” section that there was a “multiple offer situation”. The fact that these houses did not go “under contract” and sell can mean that multiple buyers thought them priced too high. Did that disclosure help the seller? Did it deter other serious buyers who may have offered enough to convince a seller to sign a purchase offer?

Frenzied markets typically result in buyers and sellers having regrets, especially if they failed to plan and prepare as well as they might have. Did sellers wait too long to put their houses on the market or to sign an offer, thinking prices would continue to rise? Did they sign one too quickly? Did buyers jump too quickly, perhaps thinking they paid too much? Do they wish they had bought a different house or waited to buy? Did they wait only to find that nothing nicer came on the market? There is no perfect house search!

Some sellers have told me they settled to quickly or waited too long and felt that they had missed a better opportunity. I have read a number of articles about buyers having remorse. Whether they feel that they overpaid or jumped too quickly only to find that a better choice came along is a shame! They may not be able to sell for what they paid or recover their costs. Real Estate is likely our biggest asset requiring our largest investment. Mistakes can be very costly!


There is NO TIME for inexperience, empty promises OR false expectations!

HIRE WISELY: We are NOT “all the same”!

Bright MLS September 2022 Delaware County PA Residential Housing Report

Showing Time, using Bright Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics, has released their Local Market Insight report for single-family homes in Delaware County Pennsylvania through September 2022. If you would like information about this or any other County or any specific municipalities in the Delaware Valley, please contact me or visit my website, AndrewWetzel.com. I am only a phone call, an email or a text away! I respond promptly to all inquiries.

We are at the three-quarter point for 2022 and the Real Estate market continues to be affected by recent economic developments which have resulted in a substantial increase in the interest rate and the lingering effects of the pandemic (which contributed to an inventory shortage and then pent-up demand for housing). All of these have added uncertainty to what is generally considered a long-term decision. While many of us contend that our present circumstances should not be confused with the “housing bubble” we experienced some 15 years ago, it is difficult to really assess what is going on as information ebbs and flows. What will sellers and buyers think later when they reflect on these days and how they responded to them?

For example, the pandemic caused many sellers to stay off the market, dramatically reducing inventory levels. While many buyers delayed taking action, the easing of the pandemic contributed to many jumping into the market shifting the “supply and demand” ratios. In many areas, the result was a huge advantage for sellers. Complicating this were several underlying factors.

On the “supply” side, housing starts are down, complicated by supply-chain issues driving up lumber and other costs, a general shortage of existing housing as the number of overall households has been increasing and a significant number of investors are buying in bulk, typically with cash and limited contingencies, solely for the purpose of using them as rentals. Those purchases are estimated to consume about 25% of the inventory. There has also been a drop-off in foreclosures due to a moratorium. That will be changing so do not be surprised by what may look like a sharp increase in foreclosures as there is about a two-year supply to manage.

On the “demand” side, millennial buyers entered the market looking to buy. In addition to the “supply” side issues already mentioned, many of the “bulk” purchases include properties that generally appeal to first-time buyers. The competition for them and other properties has driven up prices and prevented many new buyers from becoming homeowners. As long as rental income remains strong, these investors will continue to acquire properties. The irony is a “catch-22”. First, rental income remains strong meaning high as many are unable to purchase their own homes which creates competition for rentals. Second, the elevated rental pricing is preventing many from saving for the down payment they need to obtain financing. I am not sure there is a way to change this dynamic in the short term.

Interest rates, while still considered historically favorable, have risen rapidly in recent months putting pressure on monthly payments. While interest rates have not historically suppressed pricing, they can influence selling and buying which affects “supply and demand” on local levels. Locally, I am seeing inventory levels increasing, some of which is attributed to sales falling through due to inspection and financing issues. The “auction-type” environment has subsided in many areas resulting in longer times on the market and buyers being better able to work through the buying process.

Many sellers and their listing agents remain overly optimistic as evidenced by a number of dramatic price reductions. Many buyers are refusing to continue the panic-buying hysteria we have been seeing. It appears that, as with the “bubble years”,  many sellers waited too long to try selling although, if they are buying, that may have been in their best interests. From a selling perspective, once again I would remind people not to try to “time the market”. As always, your experience may differ depending on your location and how you have been personally impacted. As I always say, the decision to buy or sell Real Estate is a personal one and the current environment typifies that as many sellers stay off the market or wait for a better offer.

Some buyers are waiting for a “bubble” to burst as interest rates rise. I recently heard a slogan aimed at buyers that makes a lot of sense:  “date the interest rate and marry the house”! That makes sense. You can refinance the interest rate if it drops so what do you do if you find the perfect house for your “needs and wants”? Will something better come along? Alternatively, buying the “wrong “house” will have financial and other consequences. Will interest rates continue to rise while you think there is a better home waiting for you? Maybe; maybe not! As with all serious decisions, having options can present problems! When do you commit?

As always, this report compares current year-to-date results to one year ago during the same time period. As with all Real Estate statistics, two things are true. First, the performance within individual zip codes can and will vary significantly from the overall County. Real Estate is local and results can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even block to block. There is no such thing as a “national” Real Estate market any more than there is a national weather forecast so, whether you may be thinking about selling or buying, please contact me for details about your areas of interest. I can provide current information and keep you informed about the evolving market. Deciding whether it is the right time to sell or buy, again a personal decision, typically involves a number of variables, some of which you can control and some of which you cannot. I can provide the knowledge and insight to help you decide what works for you.

My second point is that, unfortunately, all Real Estate statistics involving sold data are stale. This is especially true if you are relying on Internet valuation models which use recorded sales data rather than up-to-date MLS information. Even then, while a sale may be reported as having settled or closed today, the real question is when was the offer negotiated? Typically, financed sales can take 45 to 60 days to close so the market today may be different from when the offer was presented and negotiated. This is especially true as markets change. Up-to-date information, even if not perfect, is important!

As far as the statistics, there were 6414 new “For Sale” listings through September 2022 compared to 7403 through September 2021, a decrease of 13.4%. There were 5496 closed sales through September 2022 compared to 6041 through September 2021, a decrease of 9.0%. The median selling price through September 2022 was $300,000 compared to $270,000 through September 2021, an increase of 11.1%. The decline in the number of newly listed properties impacted the number sold while substantially increasing their selling prices. Real Estate is a “supply and demand” commodity!

The number of currently available properties (667) is above last month (615) and well below one year ago (767). The Days on the Market (DOM) (21) is up from last month (16), the “Sold to List Price” ratio (99.3%) is down slightly while the MSI (Months of Supply) rose above one month (at 1.2 months), about the same as one year ago. Again, these numbers vary throughout the County:  the underlying data shows a wide range of results in all categories among the 49 different municipalities in Delaware County. What happens going forward? Only time will tell.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations! 

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

August 22, 2022

The Real Estate Market is Changing (Again!)

After many months of a buying frenzy that seemed more like an auction, the Real Estate market is changing. Inventory levels have increased with the market adding more listings each month than there are properties going “under contract. Some of these are houses that came back on the market that did not sell before and needed less competition and/ or lower prices to sell.

The number of multiple offers has generally decreased and, whether it is the market or buyers taking a stand, the number of purchase offers made “sight unseen” or without inspections seems to have been greatly reduced. Many agents and consumers, both buyers and sellers, are happy about all of this. However, when markets like we have seen change, often with little warning, one question always comes to mind:

What about the properties that did not sell?

Many properties came off the market and still remain off the market. I work with many sellers whose listing contracts expired without selling or who canceled their contracts. There are a variety of reasons for both expired and canceled listing contracts. Pricing and marketing are the primary reasons why houses do not sell but there are times when owners change, delay or cancel their plans.

Due to the pandemic, some sellers are still reluctant to let people they do not know and who may not be financially “qualified” to buy into their homes. Others may have issues they are dealing with, especially if they need to buy their own “next home”. While selling their home may produce a “windfall” if they have a lot of equity, what will buying cost?

My primary concern is always whether people are making an informed decision or reacting to what they “think” is happening in the market. Selling and buying Real Estate are personal decisions involving what is typically our biggest asset and our largest investment. As with the market 15 years ago, the sellers who jumped in early may have had the best success if they needed to buy another home. If that was not a concern, they could wait for prices to get to the point where they were compelled to sell. On the other hand, some sellers waited too long and missed an opportunity to maximize their proceeds. When will the next really hot market arrive? It could be years. Maybe not.

Buyers and sellers need to do the same planning and preparation that those tasks typically require, regardless of the market. Easier said than done! Anyone looking to sell or buy needs to understand their local market and decide how to react to the “variables” that exist. Hopefully, they know what they need and want from the process and understand that they cannot control interest rates, the economy, inflation and other things. The effects of buying and selling remain for years. They are important decisions and likely require the knowledge and insight that a Real Estate professional can provide.

I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee that their house will sell if it is on the market but am fairly certain that it will not if they take it off the market. Anyone trying to sell now may have less competition even if it may take weeks or months instead of days to sell and they may not see multiple offers. Hiring an experienced, trained and educated professional is more important than ever.

Regardless of “supply and demand” factors, every house will not sell. Houses may get showings without generating offers unless buyers think they are priced within the range of their perceived “worth”, whatever that means today. Most property listings whose contracts are canceled or allowed to expire have asking prices considered high for their market and/ or they were poorly marketed, meaning that some buyers and agents may not have even known that a house was available to look at or purchase. Some buyers may even make “full price” or higher offers just to control the process only to have remorse later as inspection results are revealed. Of course, this may well depend on the ratio of buyers and sellers so there is more to this than raw statistics.

If a market has a lot of inventory, some buyers may not be willing to look at houses priced high compared to the rest of the market:  why try to negotiate a price down when other similar properties are available at more competitive prices or similarly priced houses offer more? Many sellers open to negotiating their price will never get the chance. I will be happy to discuss specifics with you.

The “bottom line” is always that you should do what is in your “best interests” and plan accordingly. There may be no “perfect time” to sell or buy. Buyers waiting for the “best” house to come on the market may miss the one that really met their needs and wants. Sellers waiting for a better offer may see their activity level drop off or see offers lower than what they have already declined.

If you want to sell or buy, let’s talk. There is no obligation but you may get the information you need to decide what to do next. It is better to know than to wonder what might have been.

Remember,

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

April 20, 2022

The 2022 Real Estate Market:  Bubble or Not?

I listed and sold Real Estate during the build-up to the crash of 2008. I contend that this market is NOT the same. Let me explain.

Google defines “bubble” as a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last. Good? Fortunate? That depends on your perspective which makes the definition vague, allowing people see both markets as more similar than they are.

Whatever you think caused the crash in 2008, I will focus on my personal experiences. Starting around 2002, the specific months and years involved varied across the country, interest rates dropped dramatically to generate buyer interest. Interestingly enough, the rates that created that heated market were very much like what we see today which has many complaining about rising rates. How is that for perspective?

In addition, and very troubling, lending standards loosened dramatically. The changes included a reduction in the minimum credit score required to “qualify” for a loan as well as increased ratios, meaning that prospective buyers could use more of their gross and net income to buy Real Estate. Ever hear the phrase “house poor”? Let me digress for a moment.

I have always asserted that the smartest people on the planet worked in finance of some sort. Not to disparage other professions but it is impressive to see how financial people use data to make decisions. I wish “analytics” in sports were as good but the issues with them likely relate to who is using them.

Here is my point. Lenders are NOT in business to loan money. Nor are they in business to turn down “credit worthy” borrowers:  there are no awards for “most declined business”! Lenders are in business to MAKE MONEY plain and simple and they do that by lending money to “credit worthy” borrowers. Many companies quickly sell their loans as investments in the borrowers using the Real Estate as collateral if the borrower defaults. They do NOT want to evict people to take ownership of the Real Estate. Doing that, in addition to the emotion of displacing homeowners, is costly and time consuming, perhaps costing them tens of thousands of dollars and the properties are often in disrepair.

There are two major components to making loans. First, the prospective borrowers must demonstrate their “credit worthiness”. Many joke that lenders will only lend money to people who can prove that they do not need the money. Anyway, lenders use “metrics” to assess how viable a prospect is. I do not know how they determine the “benchmarks” they use but do not believe that they intentionally discriminate although I am sure that some people let personal bias affect how they do business. Others may commit fraud to enrich themselves. I will focus on how things are meant to work. The standards are the same for ALL people as far as I know so, just because one group seems disadvantaged by the metrics, does NOT prove anything wrong happened. That is a lesson I think many need to learn.

The second component is an appraisal of the property to ensure that the lender is making a smart investment and, worst case, can recover their money should the borrower default. I have heard of issues where some allege that specific groups suffer bias with appraisals but think some of that may have more to do with location, features and condition rather than simply assuming that appraisal issues relate to the owners or prospects but that is a subject for another day.

During the years 2002 through 2008, it seemed like many borrowers with lower credit scores AND

higher “ratios” than used historically were buying homes. The “ends seemed to justify the means” and helped sell a lot of houses, enriching many. It also seemed like every sale was a “new high” for the local market. Then, the market hit a wall. It was destined to happen sooner or later regardless of what many thought. How many sellers turned down good offers, assuming others were coming. How many buyers thought they could delay buying waiting for something better? Delaying likely benefited buyers more than sellers unless the buyers were truly able to finance and own Real Estate.

Unfortunately, many borrowers were sold “adjustable” interest rate loans to “qualify” with little consideration about what would happen when their interest rates reset to higher fixed rates. In addition to the revised lending standards proving problematic, this change led to many new owners being unable to continue making their monthly payments. The new word of the day was “short sale” where owners were allowed to sell their houses even though the proceeds were not sufficient to pay off the debt. It was preferable to “foreclosure”.

As far as the effects on the Real Estate market, they happened in stages. Early on, many houses that had not sold earlier were now selling and many new buyers were able to achieve the American Dream, if only for a short time. The initial reaction was a surge in buyers, clearing out our prospect “pipelines” as many who had been “waiting” to buy jumped off the fence.

Then the market shifted:  the imbalance of new buyers and “For Sale” houses created stiff competition and drove prices up. It reached a point where the combination of historically low interest rates and historically high selling prices resulted in monthly payments similar to what would have occurred with “normal” interest rates and selling prices. However, the major difference was that you could re-finance a high interest rate but NOT a high selling price. While sellers continued to achieve great results, buyers were being impacted. Once adjustable rates started to reset to higher fixed rates the market came to a screeching halt. If you look at statistics in my market for 2008 and 2009 you will see a precipitous drop in prices.

The “bottom line” is that the 2002-2008 market was leveraged with many instances of bad financing decisions resulting in the “bubble bursting”. The “irrational exuberance” of many buyers hurt them for many years to come. As recently as a few years ago I was still meeting sellers whose property values were well below what they had paid years before. Some refused to sell for less than what they paid even though they had a lot of equity while others had used their home’s equity like an ATM and simply owed too much to try selling. There were many lessons to be learned, but did we? I still hear talk about trying to get more groups involved in home ownership. That is great but the devil is in the details and the end does not justify the means! Instead of lowering lending standards, focus on why some people have issues with credit scores, managing debt and earning a good income. Raising the minimum wage was not a viable answer either and the effects are starting to become apparent!

The current market, while some may assume it meets the Google definition, has some similarities but a very different “cause” and likely a different outcome. The pandemic suppressed inventory levels. Some sellers did not want buyers coming into their homes. Some were financially affected by the lockdown and could not buy their “next home”. Many buyers were reluctant to visit homes or were also financially impacted. However, many buyers were still looking even though inventory levels were low. The imbalance created a serious sellers’ market resulting in intense competition and huge price surges. That being said, it “appears” that these buyers were financially qualified although I cannot state how valid appraisals are in a market like this as no one has a crystal ball. At some point pricing has to stop rising and perhaps start to decline, doesn’t it?

Assuming (and hoping) that the typical new owner is able to make their monthly payments, I wonder how many will suffer repercussions such as “buyer remorse” if they bought “sight unseen” and/ or without inspections? How will what they paid impact their future decision-making if they think about moving? A major difference between markets is that we are not seeing “short-sales” and “foreclosures” resulting from loose lending standards. While both outcomes will always occur, the current causes have more to do with the overall economy.

There is a lot more to what caused these two similar markets and it remains to be seen what evolves in the next few years. As far as whether the current market is a “bubble” or not depends on how you define the term. To me, there is quite a difference between lowering lending standards so more people can become homeowners and what is happening today when buyers “seem” financially qualified even if paying over asking price and being extremely creative to gain a competitive advantage. Even if sales prices tumble, which they may as some owners enter the picture after the pipeline of buyers has dried up, to me that is more like a “stock market” correction and not a “bubble” based on faulty underpinnings.

Semantics? Perhaps but I have heard too many equating the two markets. While I respect and understand buyers expressing concern about buying Real Estate today, wondering if prices are sustainable, there is never a guarantee that Real Estate prices will appreciate in a straight-line, if at all. Look at the stock market regularly and you will see this in action. There is always risk in ANY “investment” but what are the alternatives? If you are renting, is that a more prudent bet than owning? You will never recover your rent payments and they continue for as long as you rent. If you have delayed your plans to move, what is the cost to your personal happiness and any other factors impacted by your staying put wherever you are?

Buying and selling Real Estate are personal decisions that deserve a lot of consideration. This type of market does not typically offer time to decide. These are emotional decisions justified with logic. Planning and preparation are critical even if the time available is shortened. The time to plan and prepare is not after you find a house you think you like but are stuck watching someone better prepared buy it. Start before looking! Some lessons from the real “bubble” should be helpful.

Contact me in 5 or 10 years and we will have a clearer picture of what happened!

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations!

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”?

May 22, 2021

The Type of Market and How it Affects Searching for Price

I recently wrote a blog on “Multiple Offers” and how two different agents viewed them.  I want to explore one of their comments further.  One agent said that multiple offers are the result of pricing a property too low.  While I don’t agree, I do feel that there is something to this.  Let me explain.

Suppose an agent is working with a buyer “pre-qualified” and comfortable spending up to $300,000 on a house.  Pick any price.  What “price range” should they search?  I say “range” because no one would search for one specific price.  You can start at a certain number or go up to a certain number.  This is why pricing is different than before we had the Internet.  Agents have to “factor in” what a consumer may be thinking rather than trying to interact with the mindset of an experienced, trained and educated agent.  Let’s start with the minimum first.

For some buyers, such as investors, I do not set a minimum.  They may be open to considering whatever is in their search results and open to driving by or studying what I send them to eliminate houses that do not appeal to them.  Buyers looking for their next home, especially if they are financing the sale, may need to pick a starting point to meet their needs and abilities as well as the requirements of their financing.  Some houses simply need too much work.  How far they look below their “top number” depends.  Sometimes the areas that interest them or the features they include will provide some guidance.  Otherwise, they may evolve into “knowing” that anything below $x is a waste of time.

What about the top end?  They are “pre-qualified” and comfortable spending “up to $300,000” so why wouldn’t that be the number?  This is where it gets tricky.  The market will suggest or dictate what you should do if you want to succeed.  In a buyer’s market, if houses are getting less than full price, you can search higher than their top number.  That does not guarantee success as there may be competition even in “slower” moving markets.  A seller may still want full asking price.

In a seller’s market, when houses are getting more than full price, you may want to search lower than $300,000, expecting to have to raise your offer, if given the chance.  In a hot market every house will not sell so this is not a blanket statement but you may not succeed by offering full price.

The MLS offers data comparing the selling price to the opening and final asking prices.  However, “data integrity” may be lacking if incorrect information is entered, possibly impacting the overall report.  An agent has to look “within the numbers” to see what is really happening with pricing.

A buyer needs to know their financials, including their comfort level, and an agent needs to interpret the market so that they can properly advise their client.  How much to offer is still the buyer’s decision.  In some markets, offering “full price” will get a house “under contract”.  In other markets, the “asking price” is where the bidding starts.  The price is either a ceiling or a floor.  Ultimately, prices have to appeal to buyers, agents and appraisers.   Even cash sales have some parameters.  Sellers set the asking price and buyers determine the value.

That being said, some sellers and their agents purposely underprice a house to expose it to more people in the hope of generating multiple offers.  As I often say,  Real Estate is not retail!

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are not all the same!

May 15, 2021

All Offers Must Be Received By … and Will Be Presented on ….

The type of Real Estate market produces some creative ways to “protect and promote” the interest of our clients.  The ebb and flow of who has “power” and “leverage” is interesting.  What may work (or frustrate others) in one market may appear insane in another.  That being said, we are required and expected to respect different “business models”.  However, do we have to do as we are told?

Many listing agents use a “Presentation of Offers” form which spells out what they want included in a purchase offer and how they conduct business.  I respect different “business models” and think the concept makes sense but I am left wondering about some of what they expect.  As long as the seller agrees that is fine but some of what I see seems counter-productive.  Here are a few examples:

  • An agent must submit an offer before being allowed to show a property;
  • A buyer must perform inspections before submitting an offer;
  • Do not have any contingency expire on a weekend or holiday.  If you do, add language to the agreement stating that the time frame is extended to the next “business day”. What exactly is a “holiday” anyway?;
  • Offers received after 5pm will be presented to the seller the next morning;
  • Offers received after 5pm on Friday will be presented to the seller on Monday;
  • Offers are to be submitted at a “specified time” and will be reviewed at a “specified time”.

Respectfully, if a seller agrees with any of these or other terms, perhaps that is their wish and their choice, that is fine but some of these make me wonder.  Real Estate is not a 9-5 job although it should not be 24/7 either.  I guess it all comes down to the type of market.  The question is:  do we have to comply?

We are in the hottest seller’s market I have seen in years.  Every house seems flooded with showings and multiple offers which, combined with the pandemic, many sellers and buyers are finding very frustrating.  To accelerate what I refer to as the “second step” to selling or buying Real Estate, the “third step” being when an offer is negotiated, some listing agents are doing one of two things to generate immediate interest.  They start showings at an “open house” or use a “Coming Soon” strategy to make buyers salivate before they can legally get in.  Both can work but may be creating a frenzy that will not play out as expected.  Some buyers are making offers “sight unseen”, waiving inspections and/ or going well over asking price, all in an effort to beat real or perceived “competition”.  Some agents just make their listings “active” and let the fun begin.  Th market will change.  It always does.

Some agents take this a step further and advertise when offers are due and when they will be presented to the seller.  These are bold steps that must be managed.  I find it interesting when a property listing expires unsold or a contract gets canceled and the listing agent neglected to remove language stating that offers were due and would be presented weeks or months ago.  OOPS!

Let’s suppose I activate a listing on Friday, state that offers are due by Monday at 3pm and will be presented to the seller at 7pm.  Pick any days of the week or time frames you prefer.  What happens next?  Compliant buyers and their agents will honor the listing agent’s instructions assuming they will be followed.  But will they?  Suppose they aren’t?  Some agents will try to submit offers after 3pm.  Does the listing agent say NO?  Is that buyer or agent penalized for being late?  Suppose the buyer agent has difficulty reaching the listing agent to say they have an offer or has trouble getting it to them?  We do so much electronically these days so that should not be a problem but it can be if there are Internet or equipment issues.

Suppose I have a buyer who does not like competition, may have lost out on one or more other houses they really wanted to own or they just want a quick answer so they can pursue other options before they sell?  What should I do?  I would submit an offer as soon as I can and, if my buyer is willing, we can make it expire prior to the 7pm deadline.  Listing agents are required to submit all offers in a timely manner.  While it is possible that their seller has said not to present anything before Monday at 7pm, if I were the listing agent I would let my sellers know that I had something, especially if it is compelling.  Suppose the seller says they want to accept the offer that came in early?

Buyers and their agents who were in the process of meeting the 3pm deadline have every right to be upset but did the listing agent do anything wrong?  Suppose a seller signs an offer before an “open house”?  At the very least, if my seller decided to sign an offer earlier than we advertised, I would let agents know what happened to be transparent and fair.  I would not want to waste their time and effort.  You never know, something could happen with the accepted offer and we may need to resume showings.  Perhaps a buyer is willing to provide a back-up offer.

Multiple offers are common these days which sounds nice but explaining them, evaluating their differences, responding to them and selecting the “winner” can be more complicated than it seems.  Are they taken at “face value”, which means that no one is provided an opportunity for a “second chance”, or are all or some “negotiated”?  What happens if they only “entertain” a few of them?  Even with multiple offers there is no guarantee that a seller will get what they want but they might learn the market’s perception of value.  Sellers determine the price but buyers determine the value.

What happens when the “sight unseen” buyer finally sees inside or the buyer who waived inspections questions the condition of the property or what the seller disclosed?  What happens when the appraiser files their report?  The “creativity” that secured a signed purchase agreement does not guarantee a deed transfer.  Real Estate is like 3-dimensional chess compared to a basic retail transaction where I pay you and I get my purchased item right away.  Real Estate provides “delayed gratification”:  every day until settlement may offer an unpleasant surprise.  It is never over until the seller has the buyer’s money and the buyer has the seller’s keys.

Even in “normal” markets, which generally means 3-6 months of available inventory, depending on what you believe, things can get contentious.  While we generally “cooperate” with each other, this is a competitive industry.  Only one buyer gets the house.  Buying or selling Real Estate are emotional decisions justified with logic.  Putting in the time and effort to buy or sell Real Estate requires commitment and exposing yourself to potential frustration.  They are not things most people do every day.  What one person thinks is creative can have quite a different reaction from someone else.

REALTORS have to manage expectations.  We need to explain the process of buying or selling to our clients.  We have done this before.  The consumer has 24/7 access to endless amounts of data and information, including television shows, but it takes an experienced, trained and educated professional to add two secret ingredients:  knowledge and insight.

When it comes to buying or selling what is likely your largest asset and biggest investment,

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are not all the same!

April 16, 2021

When Should You Reduce Your Asking Price?

That depends.  Depends on what?  There are several things to consider.  Let me discuss two.

First, pricing is an art and not a science.  No matter what data and information went into determining your asking price, the price is an educated guess at best.  Is it realistic or hopeful?  If there is little or no information to rely on, it might just be a shot in the dark.  Either way, what would convince you to consider lowering it?  Some sellers think a reduction is the same as a loss when it might well be the difference between selling or not.

I suggest that a seller give this some thought at the beginning of the market process.  Their thinking may change but waiting to consider how to react to the market when a house is on the market can be stressful and cause a seller to miss a great opportunity.  Some sellers measure success by showings.  However, a lack of showings may the result of poor or ineffective marketing.  What about a house that gets many showings but no offers?  That is likely a price problem as it suggests that buyers found more for the same price or the same for a lower price.

Second, a listing agent needs to have a discussion about pricing.  The points already mentioned would make a great conversation.  In addition, a market analysis will provide historic information as well as some insight into what is happening now, both of which have a degree of subjectivity and built-in error.  As part of looking at the market and evaluating what the owner is selling, a listing agent needs to know their seller-client’s motivation:  is it time or money?  If the seller is committed to selling sooner rather than later, a price reduction would be more likely to be considered.  Of course, in that instance an asking price might have been aggressive at the start.  If it works, great.  If not, some sellers will think they have already agreed to accept less than the market value.  If they prioritize the amount they receive, they may be reluctant to reduce at all and if they agree, it could take time.  Again, having this discussion early on will save time later and may prevent problems.

Historic sales are just that.  Depending on the time frame you use, they may cross months, seasons and even years.  Even if a property settled yesterday, when was the offer made and negotiated?  It could be weeks or months old and not indicative of the current market.  A look at the pricing for houses under contract, while not providing the number the seller accepted and not being subject to an appraisal, will at least tell you what one buyer found compelling enough to consider.  You may see a trend higher than or lower than the settled pricing.  Of course, any agreed-upon price could be quite different from the then-current asking price and you won’t know that until after settlement.

Depending on the market, I believe that when a new listing hits the active market, it has its greatest chance of attracting interest as there may be more prospects looking at that time than will enter the market in the next few weeks.  It has been my experience that new listings can and should get a flurry of activity quickly and then, if activity or interest has been lacking, the seller has a decision to make.  Generally speaking, activity drops as the supply of buyers reforms, meaning new buyers come on the market, sales fall through or buyers have shopped and are ready to make an offer.

Many think you should give a house a week or two to gain maximum exposure to attract most of the buyers.  That makes sense.  After all, if you are satisfied with the marketing, meaning that agents and buyers will be able to find your property in their search results, a lack of activity generally means that buyers are not interested or they are simply more interested in other properties.  Again, activity is a poor measure if an owner wants a sale.  Showing your house to an endless parade of lookers gets old fast.

If buyers can find houses similar to yours for a lower price, you either need to meet the competition or wait until the competition has been sold.  If they can find houses priced like yours that offer them more, assuming you will not make improvements, you need to re-price to offset what you do not have.  Some sellers will consider making upgrades but that is risky and most will cost you more than they are worth.

The bottom line is that pricing is a tool.  It is used to connect buyers to properties.  However, Real Estate is NOT retail:  the price is generally considered negotiable.  The market helps determine whether the asking price is a “floor” or a “ceiling”.  Ideally, a price should take into account your location, the features and the condition while being competitive with other properties.  Owners determine their asking price and buyers determine the value.  If you believe that the price is the reason people aren’t coming or aren’t making offers, you can re-position your house with similar competition.

The real question is how much do you reduce?  If you are getting showings but not getting any offers or only low offers, the situation may not be as dire and perhaps your agent can contact the buyer agents who have visited to see if there is a price that would work.  A good buyer agent will initiate contact if their buyer-client has interest but not at your asking price.  A good listing agent won’t wait to see if you get any feedback. 

I believe that your first price reduction should be substantial and that you need to review the competition, stay engaged as the market changes and select a price that makes sense from a competitive standpoint and a technology standpoint.  Some houses need more than one reduction either because a house is simply priced too high even after being reduced or because the market changes.  When you pick your price, you pick YOUR competition.  There is no magic to it:  a reduction either changes “your luck” or it doesn’t and needs to be looked at again.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are not all the same!

Is it a Better Time to Sell or to Buy Real Estate in Spring 2021?

As is usual, my best answer is it depends!  Can the answer be a “tie”?  I would like to think that when Real Estate is sold that both people “won” but Real Estate is a competitive process where two people have opposite if not adversarial motives.  No buyer ever said I want to give the seller as much money as possible unless, of course, they know there is competition or they intend to use their successful offer as leverage to negotiate something to their benefit later such as inspection results.  No seller ever said they wanted to give a buyer the lowest price unless they wanted to dump the property or intended to make no repairs.  Most sales happen between those extremes.  Getting to settlement is another matter.

The market today, Spring 2021, is as competitive as I have ever seen and I have been doing this since 1996.  The years from 2003 through 2008 were fairly hectic but that was a true “bubble” fueled by government manipulation to increase home ownership that relied on loose lending standards which financially destroyed many of the buyers it was supposed to help.  Sadly, many who bought were not really qualified to manage the finances and, frankly, many flippers took advantage of the market and sold bad rehabs.  I could go on but my main point is that this is NOT what is happening today.

Today is very different.  The market has been created by a combination of perpetually low interest rates, extremely low inventory and pent-up demand delayed by the pandemic.  Lending standards appear to be solid so buyers are better situated today, at least financially.  That being said, this cannot go on forever.  Interest rates have been rising slightly but there is plenty of money to lend.

Two significant variables are likely to change.  One is the number of buyers.  If this is anything like the “bubble years”, buyers have jumped off and over the proverbial fence and decided to buy earlier than they had been planning.  Sooner or later the market runs low or out of qualified buyers and I hope that does not result in easing lending standards.  The other variable is the inventory level.  My best guess is that the number of properties for sale will rise once whatever is holding owners back changes.  Just as the number of buyers was inflated by a number of factors, I believe that owners have been held back by a number of factors.  These diverging trends produced what we are seeing today.

Real Estate depends on “supply and demand”:  buyers and sellers are on opposite ends of a proverbial see-saw.  The supply of one often exceeds the supply of the other causing prices to rise and fall.  Competition drives prices up; excess inventory drives them down.  External factors like interest rates, the general economy and other variables like a pandemic play a vital role.  So back to the original  question, is it a better time to sell or to buy?  Let me break it down this way.

I believe that the group that has or had the most to gain in the current environment are the owners of properties which they were not selling to buy something else.  I call these “extra” properties.  Whether they are vacant, used for investment or the owners were willing to go into a rental or some other arrangement, those owners only had to focus on getting the most they could for their property.  What they achieve is determined by their understanding of what is going on and their risk tolerance.  Did they sell too soon or did they wait too long?  Many will regret missing the opportunity to “cash in”.

While I value home ownership and embrace the concept of owning compared to renting, I fear that the group who may have the most to lose are the buyers who jumped in without really thinking long-term.  It is nice to talk about building equity and owning a home for almost the same monthly payment as your rent but home ownership is more complicated than numbers.  A home purchase decision can easily become regrettable if one or more of the following happens:  you spend your savings for a down payment and suffer a loss where your savings are needed, you buy without doing the legwork to see if a neighborhood or house fits your lifestyle (having to resell in the short term can be costly), you made an offer you come to regret (did you buy “sight unseen” or waive inspections to make your offer more competitive?).  Long term, Real Estate tends to be a great investment.  However, the short term is more volatile.  Either way, you have to live somewhere but Real Estate is an investment and subject to risk.

Don’t get me wrong, private home ownership is one of the many blessings we have in America.  However, with any opportunity comes responsibility.  Buying Real Estate is an emotional decision justified with logic.  “Normal” markets generally allow a buyer time to really consider whether it is the right time for them to buy and whether a specific house really fits their “wants” and “needs”.  You may have time for a second showing or to have family and friends take a look.  Sadly, I have worked with many sellers who told me they wish they had bought another house.  I have heard many stories of how they made their decision, what they wish they had done differently and how their decision impacted their life.  Where you live affects the quality of your life.  A poor decision can rob you of equity.

The current market does not generally allow a lot of time to think and ponder, let alone compare your options.  It may compel buyers to make unwise offers they may come to regret.  I have heard many buyers respond to being told that a seller accepted another offer by saying “it wasn’t meant to be”.  That is a great response, especially if they meant it.  I have also seen people react as if their world were crumbling.  I try to prepare my clients as best I can and hope that they are ready for the process.  Planning to buy Real Estate requires a serious commitment and can be like a full-time job.

If the last frenzy was any indication, I suspect that 10 to 15 years from now, some of today’s buyers may find that their house is worth about what they paid, no more and hopefully no less.  At least that means that they “broke even”.  You have to live somewhere.  After 10 to 15 years of paying rent you walk away with nothing and, chances are, your rent has gone up dramatically.

On the other hand, unless they are forced to sell, I don’t see sellers reminiscing about a house they sold, wishing they could get it back.  Cars have that effect but not houses.  That is not to say that all sellers succeed.  Their motivation or sense of urgency may cause them to accept an offer that was not the best.  On the other hand, patience is a virtue but it can be expensive.  Contingencies within an offer can cost them money even if the price seemed nice.  A seller needs to be informed about the market just as buyers do.  Are they more focused on the money they achieve or how long it takes to sell?

There is one more group to consider:  the seller who needs or wants to sell one house to buy their “next home”.  In this market, they may be facing an uphill battle especially if they have competition.  That type of contingency can really impact the process.  It also impacts prospective buyers for their house.  I see listing contracts expire or get canceled because a seller wants a buyer to give them time to find a house or they want a short-term rent-back.  Any of that may be a concern for buyers.

If a seller is buying their “next home”, aside from how they manage an agreement with their buyer or the seller of the home they like, they need to compare their market with that of their “next home”.  It may be a great time to sell, convincing them that they may never have another chance to get what this market offers.  However, what will their “next home” cost them?  One of the ironies I have seen a number of times is the owner who expects top dollar for their home and thinks they can get their “next home” cheap.  There is a serious disconnect there.  On the other hand, while the two processes have to be coordinated, I have seen sellers who really needed to reduce their asking price but refused to even consider it.  If a reduction makes buying impossible I understand that but ego can get in the way.  If the seller’s property’s market value is flat or declining and the cost of buying is rising, we have a conflict.  Every day, week or month that passes is costing them more than they are gaining.  Some sellers are willing to rent so that they can sell and, ideally, buy later when prices stabilize, whatever that means.

Buying or selling as a single, disconnected act is one thing.  No one can predict what tomorrow will bring and decisions always look clearer in hindsight.  Tying a sale to a purchase or a purchase to a sale takes the game from checkers to chess and expands the thinking.  The possibilities can be endless!  All you can do is get the best information you can, decide what you want and need to accomplish and know when to make a move or when to hold back.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are not all the same!

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