Real estate professionals are often asked the question “how’s the market?” In our current economy, the answer is a resounding it depends. As of the date of this post, in the Fresno/Clovis area, there are approximately 1,500 single family homes for sale. On average, a house listed for sale in our county will sell in 40 days.¹ The answer to “how’s the market” is that it depends entirely upon whether you are a buyer or a seller.
What that means in everyday language is that we are currently in a Seller’s Market. Houses are staying on the market fewer days and commanding a higher asking price to boot. This is awesome for anyone selling a house. It is highly likely that a seller would receive multiple offers and possibly even one for higher than the asking price. For buyers, on the other hand, writing an offer that will be accepted can be tricky. As a buyer in a fast moving market, where most sellers will receive competing offers, it is super important to keep in mind a few helpful hints.
If you heed these rules, you can score the house of your dreams…even in a seller’s market!
- Shop during the week. Open houses are typically held on the weekends. This is also when most offers are made. If you can be flexible with your time and tour houses during the week, you may be able to get an offer in the seller’s hands before anyone else even sees the house.
- Have a loan pre-approval letter from a local mortgage lender ready to submit with your offer. A seller will usually be more likely to accept an offer if they know you can easily and quickly remove the loan contingency. Working with a local lender means your loan representative can be highly responsive to requests for documentation and will be available in the same time zone.
- Hand over a higher than normal deposit along with your offer. It shows you have considerable skin in the game and you’ll have to pony up the cash in escrow anyway. Writing a bigger check up front is like dangling a big juicy carrot in the seller’s face.
- Don’t ask for any extras. It can be tempting to write up an offer that is loaded with wish list items. A portion of the closing costs, repairs-repairs-repairs, that 80″ flat screen tv you saw hanging above the mantle… Forget it. Be prepared to do the repair work on your own and pay for every penny of your closing costs. If a seller has two full price offers to consider, you better believe he will select the one that asks for the least amount of extra items and work.
- Don’t lowball your offer. Look at houses in your comfortable price range and pay what they are asking. This isn’t the time to shop $30k over your loan pre-approval and submit a lowball offer with fingers crossed. It’s a bad strategy right now. In fact, it could be prudent to shop slightly below your maximum price and offer high!
- Use a Realtor. Let a professional do the negotiating for you. Things are moving fast right now and your Realtor will be able to submit paperwork in the proper timelines and effectively communicate with the other parties on your behalf. You won’t gain anything but stress by going it alone. We are here to help, so please let us.
Now let’s get down to business and find your dream home! Seller’s market or not, there are tons of awesome houses out there and I know I can find the right one for you.
“Beautifully maintained 2 story home on a spacious cul de sac lot. One bedroom with a bathroom is isolated downstairs. Loft area as a great bonus room. Spacious kitchen with a breakfast bar and eating area, opens to the family room, with a fireplace. Separate living room, formal dining room. Covered patio, shed, mature landscaping. 3 car garage with storage, shed. Unobstructed mountain views. Too many amenities to mention. Must see to appreciate!”
The house I visited for this post is in Clovis near Barstow and Temperance. It is a larger home with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, loft, formal dining room, and a nice sized backyard. This was an open house, so even though it is still occupied by the owners, I had the opportunity to look around and take some pictures. You’ll see the occupant’s furniture and personal belongings in here, but try to picture it with your own sofa and bedroom set instead. Then let me know if you want to make this gorgeous house your next home.