The New Normal

I’m through complaining about the lack of inventory in the local real estate market. The number of houses for sale in our area is at its lowest level in more than 20 years and that’s just the way it’s going to be for a while. And while I can’t easily decipher Janet Yellen’s musings I think the same can probably be said for the low interest rates and for our strong local economy. Say hello to the new normal!

Much like the weather around here, the “spring” real estate market seems to be heating up a bit early. Here are a few interesting stats that illustrate what’s going on.

With that backdrop here are some things to consider if you are thinking about buying or selling in this seller’s market.

• Even in this seller’s market, if you shoot for the moon and overprice your home it will sit on the market. The market remains very efficient (and brutally honest). By contrast, it is virtually impossible to under-price your home in this market. Go a little low and if your home is worth more buyers will bid it up to its rightful level. Get a professional (non-Zillow) price opinion from someone who is not just telling you what you want to hear and don’t get greedy.
• Since you will likely be able to dictate some of the terms of your sale, make sure your agent understands the deal terms other than price that are most important to you (i.e. closing date, pre-inspections, financing terms, remaining in the house after closing, etc.). Properly communicating your preferences to buyers up front can help during negotiations and really streamline the process.
• As you get ready to sell don’t spend “dumb” money on projects that won’t increase the value of your home in the eyes most buyers. The goal is to do the things that will make your home appeal to the broadest possible buyer pool. A quick conversation about what to do, what not to do and why is always worth the time. Call me.

• Get someone good on your side. In a hot market like ours you need to have an agent working for you who can give you that “unfair advantage”. A good agent’s intimate market knowledge and a strong personal and professional network can give you a first mover advantage, strengthen your negotiating position and ensure that your offer stands above the crowd. (Despite the urban myths, few ever “outfox” the market and in times like these the number is actually zero!)
• Make sure your financial house is in order. Unless you are an all-cash buyer with the full amount of your purchase sitting in the bank, make sure you consult with a mortgage professional to figure out all your options and get pre-approved for a loan. A good mortgage person will propose options you had not considered and when the time comes will help make your offer as strong as it can be.

So that’s the view from here. Let me know how I can help.