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Orange County Register: How to Adjust to the End of a Seller's Market
By LESLIE SARGENT ESKILDSEN
January 12, 2019
For the first time in years, we are in a market that is tipped toward buyers, a product of an increased inventory of homes for sale and a drop off in the number of people making offers to buy homes.
Since we’ve been in a fairly strong seller’s market for so long, a few refreshers on how to behave in a buyer’s market seem in order.
Buyers can rejoice in the break from the necessity to drop everything, rush to see a house as soon as it hit the market to submit an offer over the list price that night to even have a chance to be in the running to get the deal.
Now you can take your time. Send the photos to your friends and family to see what they think. Have a leisurely dinner and get to cheer at your kids’ soccer practice. Set up a time with your Realtor to go take a look on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Go back again the next day to take a closer look. Work the numbers and then come up with a reasonable offer.
You still need to include your proof of funds for your down payment and closing costs and a pre-approval for a home loan from your lender. Now your lender can get her kids to swim team and tennis lessons and have a leisurely dinner, too.
But don’t kid yourself. This doesn’t mean sellers are going to jump at your insultingly low-ball offer. For goodness sake, they just spent a ton of money to update it, paint it, and have it professionally staged to grab your emotional heartstrings.
Just because there are more homes on the market today, don’t think that means sellers are going to drop very far below fair market value. You can certainly try to get the sellers to drop the price, but only in the rare case where the seller is extremely motivated will you be able to essentially steal the house.
Sellers, be patient.
The chances of getting multiple offers the first day on the market are somewhere between non-existent and exceptionally unlikely. Hang in there. It’s just going to take longer.
Yes, you have to keep your house clean and ready to show at all times. Yes, there’s more pressure on you to update and stage your house to at least be on par with your competition, and perhaps rise above the others like yours.
And yes, the chances of getting an insultingly low-ball offer are much higher today than a year ago. Don’t let this throw you into a death spiral. Look at it as a starting point.
You may go through rounds of negotiations via counter offer after counter offer. This market gives buyers more confidence to negotiate more aggressively and not be afraid to walk away and move on to the next opportunity.
Be realistic and reasonable to hang on to a viable, qualified buyer.