An open letter to sellers about today’s housing market
This is a great takeaway on the current state of our market that I am sharing that was written by Ryan Lundquist.
How are things? I hope all is well. It’s been such a crazy market, but things are starting to change. So, let’s chat. This is coming from a good place, and it’s based on observations and what I’m hearing from real estate professionals.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT TODAY’S MARKET:
1) You’ve lost power: The market is still competitive, but it’s not what it was in February. The truth is buyers have gained more power lately. Most agents I talk to say they are easily getting about half as many offers compared to a few months ago. So, instead of getting eight offers, you might only get a few. And if you’re priced too high, you’ll probably get zero offers.
2) Buyers are growing more sensitive: Mortgage rates skyrocketing means affordability has taken a beating. Seriously, buyers are easily paying $500 or more each month to get a mortgage this year compared to last year at the same time. This means buyers are becoming more sensitive to price, condition, and location. In other words, if they are paying top dollar, they are growing pickier about what they buy.
3) Don’t aim for unicorns: Be careful of the idea of a unicorn buyer who is going to swoop in, ignore the comps, and pay top dollar in cash for your home. If that happens, great. Keep in mind only about 15% of sales this year have been all cash in the region. This means 85% of buyers are getting a loan.
4) But Zillow says: Don’t get hung up on what Zillow says your house is worth. The only thing that matters is what real buyers are willing to pay. Nobody gets stuck on a low Zestimate, so why get hung up on a high one?
5) Avoid strongarm moves: “Remove the appraisal contingency, pay me an extra $25,000, and give me your firstborn child.” These things still happen in some price ranges (okay, not the child thing), but the market is starting to see just a little bit more sanity lately. I’ve heard quite a few stories of buyers bailing after the seller countered with a stongarm move that might’ve worked a few months back. In short, buyers are picky about getting into contract AND staying in contract.
6) Sales are old and crusty: Sales tell us what the market used to be like probably 30 to 60 days ago when the properties got into contract. In other words, sales are like historic artifacts that tell us what the market used to be like. In contrast, we see the current temperature of the market with what is happening with listings and pendings. This means it’s key to know the sales, AND gauge any temperature change since.
7) Be ready to negotiate if needed: I am hearing more stories of buyers asking for credits for repairs, concessions, and price reductions. Sometimes sellers feel they’re losing when this happens, but in some situations it’s simply the ticket to selling for top dollar. In short, listen to what buyers are asking for, and help the deal feel good for them too. This isn’t just about you. Don’t be afraid of FHA and VA buyers either.
8) It’s not time to push the price: Look, sellers aren’t entitled to always netting more than recent sales. My advice? Price reasonably and see what the market gives you. There are some situations where you might need to price lower than recent sales too to generate interest. Forget about record-breaking sales or your overpriced neighbor. What is getting into contract right now? That’s the ONLY thing that matters.
9) Tighten up the details: Buyers have become more sensitive about condition, so it can help to address minor cosmetic repairs before you hit the market (if you can). I’ve talked to a number of buyers who feel discouraged about the condition of homes right now for the price, so a good way to stand out is to be sure your property is tight. Buyers notice details, and solving minor issues only helps give them fewer reasons to say NO.
10) Watch for symptoms of softening: Talk to your agent about the temperature and be in tune with signs of softening. As you see stuff like this, let it influence your strategy for pricing and negotiating.
11) Don’t expect to go $100,000 over: A seller got two offers and said, “Let’s hold out for something higher.” I’m not saying to be hasty about accepting offers, but don’t embrace unrealistic expectations. Headlines from the past talked about bidding wars, but right now headlines are starting to say stuff like, “The temperature has changed,” or “It’s still competitive, but it’s not what it was.” On that note, don’t be afraid to reduce the price if needed. You are not giving up value if value wasn’t ever there in the first place.
12) Other: What other advice would you give? Please comment below.
I hope this was helpful.
Certified Appraiser / Housing Market Analyst
Sacramento Appraisal Blog