If you have been house hunting for a while, you probably noticed how quickly houses are selling. This is especially true if they are in good locations and are updated.
That’s because the amount of available inventory is at an all time low. Home sales in February 2017 “remained above year ago levels both nationally and in all major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®. and in 2016 home sales were the highest in many years.
This kind of activity is making it extremely competitive for prospective home buyers, while home sellers are enjoying high sale prices and in many cases, receiving multiple offers for their properties. So how does one successfully navigate this “seller’s” market when buyers don’t want to over pay and seller’s want to maximize their profits?
7 Tips for Navigating a Seller’s Market
Tip # 1 – Be Flexible on Location
Be as flexible as you can on narrowing down communities to search in. If prices are high and there is too much competition try towns near them which are lesser known and may provide more value. The spill over from one to town to another provides great opportunities for buyers looking for a town that’s on the “verge.”
For instance, because Montclair prices have gone up dramamtically buyers are having better luck in Belleville and Bloomfield and they can still easily access Montclair.
Tip # 2 – Be Flexible on Needs VS Wants
Separate the criteria from you “have-to-have” in your new home, from those you’d “like-to -have.” Being flexible on these as possible will be an advantage. For instance if you have to have 3 bedrooms, maybe you can compromise on the size of the yard. To narrow these down further please use our Home Buyer Assessment Guide here.
Tip # 3 – Don’t Be Scared Off by Ugly Decor
Do not be turned off by ugly decor. Decor can be a relatively inexpensive flaw to fix. Fresh paint and newly finished wood floors makes a huge difference in setting the back drop for your own decor. Don’t be afraid of wall paper — it is much easier to remove today with new technology. Having vision will be a huge advantage since most buyers tend to buy a home with decor that most closely matches their own.
Tip # 4 – Walk Away From Homes with Structural Issues
Look for structural issue like leaky roofs, faulty electrical and plumbing. These can be extremely expensive to replace or repair. No matter how much you may like a home, if these issues exist it is time to move on.
Tip # 5 – Don’t Be Fooled by Well Staged Homes
Well staged homes tend to get a great deal of interest and even multiple offers. You can make any home look well staged yourself, so look beyond the paint and furnishings.
Tip #6 – Beware of School Rankings by Third Party Sites
Everyone wants to live in a community that offers well rated schools. Each year Us News & World Report and NJ Monthly magazine, among others, come out with their “Top Schools” features. Home buyers typically devour them and prices go up in towns that ranked well. However, keep in mind New Jersey has one of the top rated public school systems in the country, so you are starting off with a distinct advantage.
Take the school rankings by media outlets with a grain of salt since they aren’t exactly scientific. Instead, ask people if they are happy with schools in the district and you can you can access the actual school reports from the state here.
Tip # 7 – Hire a Buyer’s Agent Who is An Expert in Your Markets of Interest
Realtors have specialties. You want to work with one who specializes in assisting buyers; not all do. Many Realtors have team members with less experience taking buyers out, because it is time consuming. But that is not in your best interest. Instead, you will want to work with an experienced “buyer’s agent” who know the specifics about the trends, prices, inventory etc in the communities you are exploring. This type of knowledge will give you a huge advantage in crafting an offer so it stands out.