Tips for Buyers
BUYING IN A SELLER’S MARKET
It can be a tough market for buyers right now. But that doesn’t mean you should lose perspective. Buying your next home or investment property is a long term and expensive venture. Keep in mind your priorities, even as you put together the most attractive offer you can to get that house! This agent to agent column in the Chronicle is sound knowledge for buyers as well.
May 23, 2014
SOUND OFF: How do you keep clients buoyed when they are repeatedly outbid?
A: The real estate market is particularly challenging for buyers. Close to 40 percent of all offers in the Bay Area are all cash, with verification of funds to close, and the remaining 60 percent often feel like they can’t compete. This is not necessarily true. I am a firm believer that if we don’t prevail on an offer, there is a better home waiting; we just need to find it.
My favorite four-letter word is “Next.” I have found a sense of humor to be especially helpful in this market.That said, buyers still have to do their homework and have a reality check. They may need to adjust their expectations and start at a lower price point to allow for the highly probable possibility that they will be paying a considerable premium above the asking price.
Buyers need to be prepared to do their due diligence and be comfortable with the possibility of a non-contingent offer – an “as is” purchase – and provide the seller up to 60 days “rent back” at no cost to the seller. They need to be comfortable with moving quickly in making a major life decision in this fast-paced market. I have yet to have any of my buyers not find a suitable home. Patience is a virtue and all is well that ends well. David Harmen
A: The most important thing is to set expectations up front, and let buyers know they may be in for a marathon instead of a sprint! San Francisco is a top-tier city, and as a buyer in this market, they are most likely going to be in a competitive situation. Buyers need to always put their best offer on the table, and if they don’t get the property, they can’t take it personally. The buyer needs to stay focused, keep a sense of humor and realize the law of averages will eventually be on their side: The more they shoot, the more they’ll score.
I encourage buyers to keep an open mind regarding neighborhoods and criteria that suits their needs. Buyers get caught up in the excitement of the “new” inventory every week, but often there are good properties that have fallen off the radar. Those properties may have been overpriced to begin with, or just lost in the shuffle – but one shouldn’t ignore real estate that has been on the market for several weeks. In addition, I always keep an eye out for “off market” or pocket listings – buyers want to work with an experienced local agent who hears about these listings, either through Top Agent Network or their relationships with other agents. Elyse Barca
A: Here on the Peninsula, fierce competition and multiple offers have become the new normal for the most desirable properties. It’s kill or be killed in a high stakes game of “I want that house!” For me, a large part of a successful buyer strategy is managing my clients’ expectations. If I can get them to buy in to a big-picture goal, they are far less likely to lose hope or become discouraged if they miss out on a home or two along the way.
Not being successful in your first few offer attempts is quite a common experience for most buyers. They need to understand it may take up to seven or eight offers in order to secure the home they want. In some ways, failure is the new success. There are lessons to be learned and valuable experience to be gained by losing in multiple-offer situations. The process can either tear you down or build you up.I want my buyers to develop the strength and confidence that come from experience.In the end, that confidence should yield a smarter offer approach and a happier home owner. Marsha Williams
“Incredibly knowledgable about Marin’s housing stock, both what is on the market and off, Vance & Anna truly set the standard for excellence in real estate… I wouldn’t want to buy a house in Marin without them!”
Stacie Grant, Novato