Tips for negotiating the 2017 spring market

Everyone knows that spring is the time when the real estate market heats up right? Traditionally, it’s a time when lots of new listings come on the market and buyers who have been waiting patiently for more selections get to really explore all their options. That’s not how spring 2017 is shaping up. So far, inventory has remained tight and the homes that are well priced and nicely updated are going under contract quickly and often with multiple offers. This is great news for sellers who have a realistic notion of their home’s value and who have kept up with design trends. It’s not necessarily bad for buyers, especially those who know what they want, have a clear idea of their budget and have some flexibility in when they purchase a house. But it certainly is stressful for both parties.

Here are some tips for successfully selling and buying a house in this current market:

What you can do as a seller

  • Keep your home updated - Time goes by quickly and it’s easy to lose track of current design trends. But if your college-aged children were toddlers when you last tackled a home project, you may want to take inventory. Buyers are busy and those who are interested in hiring contractors to undertake expensive projects is small.
  • Know the market- It might be a seller’s market, but buyers are savvy and won’t just snap up any overpriced listing. If you overshoot the market value of your home, it will take longer to sell it, and it might sell for less than if it was priced well at the start.
  • Now’s a good time - If you have been thinking about listing your home in the near future, let us know. We would be happy to provide you with a market analysis of your house to give you an idea of its current value.

What you can do as a buyer

  • Be ready - Make sure you have talked to a bank and have a pre-approval letter at the ready. When you find the right house, you don’t want to delay submitting an offer because you need to track down a bank letter or have an old one updated.
  • Know what you want - As buyers’ agents, a big part of our job is helping you figure out what you want in a home. Do you want an open floor plan or plenty of rooms to retreat to? Looking for a quiet neighborhood with land, or a quick walk to town? Hoping for the ease of new construction or the charm of an older home? Many times, buyers don’t know the answers to these questions until they start looking at houses. We always say that every house you see that you don’t like gets you closer to finding the right one, so start doing your research. We are happy to show our clients as many houses as they want to see.
  • Know your budget - This one’s obvious, but worth stating. We don’t want anyone to spend more than they are comfortable spending on a home. You need to have enough money left for when the water heater unexpectedly breaks or just to buy new bedroom furniture. Figure out what you can afford and then don’t look at houses that cost more.
  • Consider a project house - There are more houses in need of updating on the market than there are buyers interested in updating them, so here’s an opportunity to get a deal. Projects don’t come without costs but a house with good bones sometimes just needs some paint, refinished floors, new fixtures and appliances to really shine. Harness your inner HGTV personality!
  • Start early - Give yourself a few months lead time to find the right house. The home buying process is less stressful if you aren’t up against a tight deadline. The last thing we want is for our buyers to settle on a home because their lease is expiring.
  • Try not to fall in love with a house - This is a hard one, we know. We want our buyers to really, really like any house they bid on, but ideally we don’t want them to like it so much that they HAVE to have it. The numbers still need to work for you and once love enters into the equation… well you know what happens.

While the inventory is a bit tight, interest rates are still low and there is a lot of opportunity this spring!