What’s the market really like right now, and how to have success as a buyer

McAlpine house_exterior

{photo credit: McAlpine Tankersly Architecture}

Hi there! I’ve been a little pre-occupied with our renovation lately, but we are in full spring work mode over here and I today I wanted to talk about something that I get lots of questions from people about all of the time ~ what’s the real estate market like right now? And how can someone possibly have success in this market?!

Honestly, I get tons of questions all the time, they are all great questions and before I got into real estate I had no idea where to go to get answers for any of them ~

Is this just the next bubble that’s about to burst? 

Is the market ever going to slow down?

Do I have to move to the suburbs to afford anything? 

I want to buy a place but I feel so overwhelmed because I don’t know anything about any of this sooo… ? 

So today I’m sharing my honest insights about the current market, what are some of the biggest challenges, and how to set yourself up for success even in a challenging marketplace.

First, I will start off by saying that 2016 was a crazy year. Inventory was so low and competition was so tough that we weren’t even looking at properties that were on the market for our buyers. We were focusing on properties that weren’t even for sale yet… because if it had hit the market, the competition was so intense that it was too late. Anything good would be a multiple offer and things were going over list price all of the time. We had to find things early to even have a chance at something.

2017 and 2018 were each ever so slightly calmer. I wouldn’t call them slow by any stretch of the imagination, but we saw a bit of a calmer market, and noticed slightly fewer multiple offer situations each year.

Last year there was a fair amount of concern and speculation that we would see at least a slight market correction and a bit of a slower spring this year. There has been such low inventory for several years now which can add to stress and lead to a certain amount of buyer burnout. I mean, can you imagine how defeating it feels to miss out on multiple multiple-offer situations? It’s not fun. So we were preparing for a slower spring because of these and many other factors. We also experienced a surprisingly slow fall when we would normally see a noticeable pick up in the market, so we expected that to continue.

Boy were we surprised.

Now, to be honest – at least for us – it felt like the year got off to a bit of a slow start. We had many buyers but listings weren’t coming on the market as quickly after the new year, when we often see things take off at a breakneck pace for the spring. But now the spring real estate season is in full swing and there are a few things that are standing out for me this year.

First, the market is less predictable. When we would normally be able to put money on how quickly or what price something would sell for, we are experiencing anything but what we would ‘normally’ see. Listings we were certain would sell quickly are taking several weeks {or, in some pretty frustrating cases longer} to sell. Then we sometimes still experience multiple offers where in the past you would see that immediately when something great hit the market. Or we see multiple offers on properties that we would never expect, even properties that have been on the market for extensive periods of time.

Second, what’s with all the crazy multiple offers?! So, as I just mentioned before, we are seeing noticeably more multiple offers this spring than in the past two years where they had settled down a bit. But here’s the catch ~ it’s happening on places that have been on the market for three weeks… or 100+ days… or in a neighborhood you would normally not find competition for property… I don’t know why but it’s what’s happening this year.

However, multiple offers do not mean that a property will sell for over list price, which we found happened much more consistently in 2016. Sure, more than one person might want your place, but will any of them be willing to pay list price? Pricing property well is probably more important than ever before {what am I saying, it’s always one of the most important things!}

The other big thing I’m noticing this spring is that more deals are dying… I don’t have stats for this but it’s a noticeable increase from what we typically see. In the past, if your deal died as a seller, there was always a certain amount of stigma associated with it, and you were unlikely to be able to achieve the same price again, as people were wary about what might be wrong with the property. This spring more deals are falling apart, and while that might not be a good trend as it definitely adds to everyone’s stress on both sides of the transaction, I do feel that it’s removing some of the stigma from properties and people are less worried about this.

So when any buyer asks me how they can possibly have success in this challenging market here are my top pieces of advice:

Know what you need and want

Have certainty and clarity about what is most important to you in your search. Deep down you know what you can and can’t live without, figure that out, write it down and stick to your guns.

Be ready to put an offer on the right place – QUICKLY

Don’t be that person who ends up in a multiple offer situation on a place that’s been sitting there on the market for weeks just waiting for you. Be ready to see places that have serious potential as soon as they come on the market, so that if it’s the one, you can get it! But also…

Be willing to wait

Don’t feel pressured to just put an offer on something you don’t really love or know won’t work because there aren’t a lot of houses on the market. Even if it means passing on something and waiting longer. The right thing will come up for sale for you, but depending on your search parameters and budget, there may be more or less demand {ie. competition}, and that can mess with your head and psyche. It can be hard to pass on something that’s close but not quite it, but it’s worth it, and will save you a lot of time, stress and potentially money {if you end up going under contract and then cancelling after the inspection}

Stay grounded

Okay, if I’m being honest I don’t usually tell people this one out loud, but you guys know I’m all about the energy of everything and meditation does wonders. If you feel yourself becoming extra stressed out, or you just can’t find certainty in yourself when it comes to knowing whether a house is something you should put in an offer on, or pass… or if you have put in an offer on something and then find yourself completely panicking,  you might just be a little ungrounded, or disconnected from your own energy. That’s the time to hit the pause button and reset. Clear everything out, reconnect with your own energy, take a long deep breath and calm down. You don’t need any fancy meditation techniques to be able to take a minute and tune into your own energy, as long as you have the intention, it will happen. You know if something is right for you or not. Trust that feeling… and make sure you work with a broker who can help you figure it out if you need a little help getting there ;)

Yes, the market is strong, but it’s also pretty challenging in some ways right now as well. If you are smart you can still find a great place for a great value, it’s just a matter of time!


{photo credit: McAlpine Booth Interiors}

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