Two years ago, we covered the Five Stages of Buyers’ Grief, which garnered 62 comments on the frustrations of homebuying, plus some critiques of the 2009 market conditions:

We’ve been following ProfHoff’s journey, and the other day she mentioned some of her frustrations/disbeliefs about the market.  I sent her the condensed version – the three stages buyers go through today:

  1. I can’t believe these prices.
  2. Well maybe after everything I’ve seen sell for more than I thought, I might consider paying more for less.
  3. Dammit, just get this over with – pay what it takes.

Now is the time of year when the inventory is exhausted – every house has been picked over, and nobody wants them at their current list price.  Yet sellers are slow to adjust – so most buyers are waiting for new listings and/or getting comfortable with the thought of a long, cold winter.

For buyers in this position, consider these strategies:

  1. Make lowball offers.  While the vast majority of sellers and realtors expect you to just pay what the seller wants, occasionally you can find some that really need to sell – but are too ignorant or hopeful to lower the price.  It is worth a try, especially with houses that have been on the market for months.
  2. Focus on houses with all the upgrades.  At least if you have to pay more than you’d like, get a house in top condition, with all the extras included.  Hold out for the best location possible.
  3. Work off the grid.  Make sure you are working with an agent who is searching high and low for alternatives.  Everyone is waiting for the new listings to hit, and they are very competitive.

Some of the competition should diminish here in the off-season, so keep your chops up!

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