Buying a Home in This Market? Better Be Patient

Local Realtors offer a few tips on improving your odds of getting the home you want
By EDDIE RIVERA, Weekendr Editor
Published on Jul 1, 2021

Home prices are high and the inventory and interest rates are low. This makes for a seriously fierce real estate market. How competitive? Realtors are now reporting getting upwards of 60 offers on one single listing. So what chance do you have?

Knowing just how to navigate such a zealous market is helpful, for starters. So we spoke to some knowledgeable local real estate experts to offer you a little push off the starting line.

“From the buyer’s perspective,” said Realtor Adam Bray-Ali, “the pro tip would be, number one, to ask, recognize and understand that the market speed and pace feels uncomfortable. And don’t be mad about it. It’s sort of like an acceptance that this is what it is and that you’re not obligated to do anything.”

Bray-Ali added, “I think accepting that frustration is normal, and that this is what it is right now. Sometimes when I meet a new buyer, it takes them a while to figure that out.”

As with anything else of importance, emphasizes Realtor Ann-Marie Villicana, be prepared.

“First and foremost, she says, “Pick a great real estate agent. Number two, get pre-approved so that you know how much debt you can take on and how much of a house you can buy, and so that you feel comfortable with the mortgage payment that’s set up.”

Villicana continued, “You have to know that you have enough money to do it, whatever it is that you’re going to do. And you have to be comfortable with what the payment is. And, do not forget to factor in the property taxes, because a lot of people forget about property taxes. Property taxes are a big percentage of it.”

Realtor Nancy Valentine offered a daunting, big-picture assessment of the current scene, explaining that, “People were forced to stay home and work from home during the last 15 months of COVID. It put their living situation into the spotlight. People became acutely aware of their home’s deficiencies and this created an urgency to change that. The result has been buyers who, for every reason you can imagine, want to buy right now.”

And they don’t want a fixer-upper, says Valentine. This is because a shortage of building materials combined with price increases, and the unavailability of workers, means some buyers are ready to do whatever it takes to get into a new home last week.

Adding to the frenzy, said Valentine, is a “tense, nervous market with buyers experiencing a feeling that they will lose out if they don’t act now.”

This resulted in the high demand, high-priced, aggressive, impatient market that buyers and sellers are currently navigating, she said.

So here’s the deal, said Valentine: If you have a thought to sell in the near future, the near future is here. Sellers don’t necessarily have to make any major improvements but should make the home look as move-in ready as possible.

Show your home only to qualified buyers only, she adds. Having no “lookie-loos” creates that urgent, competitive dynamic.

Buyers should take stock of their living situation and figure out if they can make it work in the “New Normal.” Buyers should ask themselves: Will I continue to work remotely? Do I need to be close to an urban center? What are my future plans regarding my free time?

Finally, don’t count on prices going down, Valentine emphasizes. This fierce market isn’t going anywhere for a while.

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