Over the past few months there's been a noticeable shift in our local real estate market. Though we continue to have too few homes to satisfy all the buyers out there, inventory isn't flying off the market at the rates we've seen consistently over the past few years. What does this mean, and how can you still maximize your position to make the most of what's happening now?
How is the market shifting?
It's been standard practice to underprice homes to generate multiple offers. To understand this practice, read this. Lately, however, I've been seeing set offer dates pass with either no offers or just one. One offer on a property priced to generate multiple offers may give the lone buyer hope, but it only brings frustration and disappointment to the hopeful seller. This isn't a new rule by any means, but it's occurring with enough frequency that more properties are being priced "transparently" (meaning: what the seller will actually accept).
Why is this happening now?
From what I can tell, buyers are tired of going through the emotional roller coaster of submitting their best offer only to be beaten out and left to start anew in the routine of weekend open houses. We're reaching an exhaustion point for many buyers who've been actively trying to buy a home for six months or more, and rather than throw their hat in the ring "just in case they may get lucky," they're instead choosing to sit it out, waiting to see what happens -- or moving on to a property that feels more realistic for their abilities.
So are multiple offers still a thing?
Yes. A resounding yes. This shift is not a new rule, we have not reverted to the market strategy of the '90s (or other areas of the country). There are plenty of homes still receiving multiple offers, and even those that don't get offers on their offer date often still end up with multiple offers a week later due to their agents' diligent efforts.
What does this mean for sellers?
It means that you may need to be a bit more patient. Your agent is doing the best she can and though she's entrenched in the week to week fluctuations of the market with a close eye on what that means for the sale of your property, she does not have a crystal ball. It means that she will work harder for you because she, too, wants to get you the best price possible. The goal is client satisfaction, especially after all the work you've done together to get your home ready for market, and then to market it far and wide. It also means that it's in your best interest to work with an agent who has experience beyond these past few flush years, one who knows how to work effectively on your behalf in different market conditions. When choosing an agent to represent you in the sale of your property, longevity in the industry should be a consideration in addition to their marketing abilities and negotiation tactics.
What does this mean for buyers?
It means that just because the offer date passed and the property is still showing active, the seller is not desperate after 10-14 days on the market. If you want to swoop in to get a deal, you'll still need to make an offer enticing enough (read: over asking) that it gets accepted and not used as fodder to encourage other sideline/helicopter buyers. Just remember that offering over asking when you're the only offer on the table is still better than what you'd have to offer if you were in competition with even one other buyer.