Home buyers don’t have much – if any – control over the process, which leads to frustration and disappointment. They don’t have any way to cause more homes to list for sale, and the only way to eliminate the competition is to out-bid them, which can be even more harrowing.
One solution is for buyers to expand their parameters, but that’s not easy and can lead to another ailment that a client described yesterday as “frozen in indecision”.
Just when you want to give up……it looks like others might have beaten you to it!
Showings throughout the state are lower than they were during the first week of January!
It’s been mentioned that not every agent uses this service, but it is such a large sample size that the trend should be a decent indicator of buyer sentiment – they’re exhausted.
Sure, active listings are half of what they were at this time last year, but the showings are 260% different!
Just like with selling, when is the best time to be a buyer? When no one else is!
We already know what’s going to happen with sales in 2022 – they will be the same as this year, with a possible adjustment of +/- 10%.
But the rest of 2021 could get wacky!
It looks like the competition is dwindling, and any seller who comes to market around the holidays has to be motivated! Buyers – stay in the hunt!
The old rule was that any agent could advertise any MLS listing via the IDX, as long as the listing agent’s name and brokerage was displayed. But now you have to include their contact information too. He sounds confident because this is clearly a shot at Zillow but the unintended consequences from directing the consumer to the listing agent is promoting single agency which will eventually eliminate broker cooperation as we know it.
The discouragement of buyers getting their own representation from a buyer-agent is part of the dumbing-down of the business. Sellers and listing agents prefer buyers who just pay whatever it takes and don’t ask questions, and when the History of the 2020-2021 Frenzy is written, it should include that it was fueled in part by crazy buyers getting no good help.
In an emailed statement, a Zillow spokesperson said, “As part of our switch to IDX feeds and becoming CRMLS participants earlier this year, we agreed to comply with all CRMLS rules and regulations, which includes adhering to listing credit and display rules — such as the updates that went into effect this month.
“One of our core values is to empower consumers and increase transparency in real estate, which includes efforts to give shoppers the information they need to connect with listing agents. For more than a decade, our philosophy of ‘turning on the lights’ for consumers has meant that we’ve consistently displayed listing agents’ names and contact information, something not done on all IDX sites today.”
Kim Rohrer was looking forward to leaving the leaky windows in the two-bedroom Berkeley rental duplex that she shared with her husband and two small children.
The couple recently found a three-bedroom, two-bathroom chalet-style house in Berkeley listed for $799,000, which seemed relatively affordable for the area.
The house needed significant work, including plumbing upgrades, but the couple wasn’t deterred. “It was like a dream house,” said Ms. Rohrer, who works in human resources for a tech company. (Her husband works at the University of California, Berkeley.)
The couple offered well above the asking price: $850,000. They knew there would likely be multiple offers but they also needed to save some money for the necessary repairs. They didn’t get the house.
They didn’t even come close. The home sold for $1.4 million — nearly double its asking price. “It’s terrible,” she says of her house hunting experience so far. “Completely terrible.”
As people wait to relocate throughout the country, it really boils down to how patient you are.
If you want and need to move today, then join the fight. The key is to find suitable answers on the buy side, and these are the choices:
Sell and rentback for 30-60 days. It’s a gamble, and you will probably be under pressure to pay more than you’d like on the buy side, or be forced to….
Sell and rent a different home. This gives you much more flexibility and patience to buy the right house, at the right price.
Buy first, then sell. Need ample horsepower, and/or a bridge loan.
Sell your home contingent upon finding a home to buy. Getting the buyer of your home to hang around while you shop for a new home won’t be easy, and may require a discount. But it’s the safest way to make sure you don’t have to move unless you find the right home, at the right price. A good option for sellers when there are homes available for sale that you would buy today.
Those with more patience may decide to wait it out, in hopes of it getting better, later. But there will always be some juggling of the choices above.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until we pull into Plateau City, when it becomes hard to sell, AND hard to buy.
If you find a hot buy that is likely to have multiple offers, you will be confronting the uneasy choice of waiving the appraisal contingency in your offer. It’s likely that the other buyers will do it too, so it’s become a part of the minimum package needed just to compete.
If the appraisal comes in below the sales price and you have a 20% down payment or less, you will be forced to make up the difference in cash (or pay mortgage insurance, if possible).
In an unfortunate frenzy effect, because the appraisal contingency has been waived, listing agents don’t show up to help substantiate the value to the appraiser. It used to be one of the vital jobs of the seller’s agent to provide recent sales to the appraiser to ensure the appraisal came in at the sales price – so the sellers wouldn’t be faced with potentially having to lower the price to appease the buyers.
But these days, the listing agents couldn’t care less.
So now when we have the buyers, I meet the appraisers. I want to make sure I do everything I can to persuade the appraiser to hit the sales price so my buyers don’t have to bring in more money.
I just had one where, two days before our appraisal appointment, a new listing of a model-match but inferior condo hit the open market priced at 10% UNDER our sales price in an obvious ploy to start a bidding war. I already had a big challenge with the comps because there had not been a sale in the complex all year – and appraisers don’t like using sales from complexes that were 3-4 miles away.
But I convinced him, and the appraisal came in at our sales price!
Home buyers deserve to have their own representation.
The broker cooperation system which allows every agent to share their inventory with all other buyers via the MLS has worked well for 100+ years. But it has been under attack for years, and it may not survive the tight-inventory era where sellers and listing agents want to minimize or eliminate buyer-agents altogether.
An agent sent this in today:
Do you know that Lennar is no longer paying agents a commission or referral fee?
I have been working with a client for almost a year. She wouldn’t have known about the Lennar at Treviso community without me bringing her there. I registered her as my client and when her name got called on the list, they told her they’re no longer cooperating with agents and if she tried to include me she’d lose the house. Thank you Lennar for putting my client is a horrible position. Hey builders. Don’t ostracize the brokerage community! The market may be busy now but when the tides turn, you’re going to need us again. This is bad business.
I know for a fact that Lennar isn’t paying commissions on any of their SD communities currently.
I agree that it’s bad business to have an agent sign in their buyer as required to receive the commission, but then rescind their offer of compensation when the buyer steps up to purchase. But nobody cares about buyer-agents, and the abuse will continue. Lower or no commission being offered, no clarity on how multiple offers get handled (other than the usual “I just let the sellers decide”, which is a lie), and no easy path to show and sell.
What is the result of buyer-agents being snuffed out?
Buyers don’t recognize the need for getting good help.
An apprentice from a realtor team will suck them in with the promise of getting them an ‘off-market deal’, but then get sold a 1,200sf two-story house in a gang-infested area for 10% to 20% over value (true story).
We should probably just drop the seller-paid commissions – though they should have the right to offer a bounty – and have buyers pay their own agents. Those who value good help will seek out the best agents, and those who don’t will get what they get and wind up with regrets.
In the last couple of weeks, you may have seen prices on new listings reflecting today’s exuberance.
Homes that are priced attractively will generate the crowds, and likely get bid up over list.
Others are listed for a price that raises an eyebrow. In areas where we’ve seen 10% to 20% appreciation in the last six months, are sellers packing that much on to their list price PLUS another 5% to 10% – or more?
How do you recognize the difference?
The difference between a bidding-war listing, and a seller just daring you to pay their price?
Thoughts for Buyers Wondering If The List Price Is A Dare:
Compare to the Pendings
If you only consider the sold comps from the last six months, you probably won’t buy a house in this market – one which should last at least a couple of more months before there’s any possibility of unsold listings starting to stack up.
Who is the Listing Agent?
Known and successful listing agents aren’t going to list a home for some crazy too-high price. They know it’s better to keep it attractive, and let the market do its thing. If you’ve never heard of the agent and he acts more like a kook from Montaluk, then know that their list price is more likely to be outrageous.
Quiz the Listing Agent
The number of showings doesn’t matter as much – the number of offers does. If there have been 50 showings but only 2-3 offers, it means the price turned off 90% of the buyers. Unfortunately most listing agents are shutting down the showings so fast that it’s hard to get an accurate count – or to get them to fess up.
The Age of the Home
The older the home is, the less likely it’s worth a premium. The floor plans aren’t current and the upgrading over the years is likely to be inconsistent – those will be even more difficult to sell in a normal market. They do tend to be in the better locations, so the home’s age isn’t a hard stop. But typically the older homes are less likely to be worth a big premium today, let alone in the future.
Days On Market
If you’re not sure if the price is right, then wait it out. The initial frenzy dies off quickly, so if you don’t need this house like you need air to breathe, let ride and see if it goes unsold for the first 7-10 days. It’s really the only way to know for sure if the price is wrong.
Only pay a huge premium if it’s the perfect house for you. There’s a decent chance that appreciation flattens out over the next few years and you end up high & dry for a while. But you don’t care because you’re in it for the long haul, so make sure this home fits ALL your needs. No compromise.
The market for the best homes has been hyper-competitive for years – it’s only because of the covid/low-rate cocktail that buyers are flooding the streets in numbers we’ve never seen before.
Maybe you should wait it out? Aren’t all sellers daring you to buy now?
You’re just buying homes today at tomorrow’s prices. If prices go up another 10%, and appreciation flattens out and you can score a deal at 10% off, then you’re only back to where you would have been today.