There is much more demand than supply for housing in our area right now and the most common question we get these days is….do you know of more houses coming on the market for sale? For any seller thinking to sell, now is the time to capitalize on the increased demand and low supply. The second most common question we get these days is timing…will the summer be a better time to sell than right now? All we know is right now, and right now there is a lot more demand than supply. We have no way of knowing if or how that will change in the future. Right now is a great time to sell if sellers want to capitalize on the surge in house buying.
Another question we get these days is price…have values increased given the low supply and high demand we’re experiencing right now? That depends on your offering. It’s true that there are so many eager buyers looking to buy right now and wanting to take advantage of low interest rates. AND the highest demand and highest sales price, as usual, is for houses in move-in-ready condition, in a good school district, in a good location, with not too much deferred maintenance, a good floor plan and some character and charm.
When buyers do inspections on a property, they’re looking with an eye for what they might need to address in the next 3-5 years. Sellers are wise to maintain their house in general and then to do a tune up before putting their house up for sale – clean gutters, change AC filters, repair cracked roof tiles, rooter the sewer line, brush the chimney, throw on a fresh coat of paint, etc. The more move-in ready a seller gets their house for a buyer and the less deferred maintenance a buyer finds during inspections, the higher the sales price the house will command.
Multiple offers, driven by low supply and high demand, are getting some sellers out of requests for repairs for maintenance because buyers want the house enough to overlook what they might not otherwise. But for the most part, the general rules hold true and sellers are wise to prepare accordingly. The house pre inspection still needs to attract multiple buyers enough so that the seller gets into a bidding war and ends up with buyers wanting the house badly enough to overlook those requests for repairs for maintenance.
On one listing, we recently got three offers. One offer came in at asking and the other two came in below. The owner signed the offer at asking. And the other two buyers were bummed that they missed out. In a multiple counter offer for backup, both buyers that started below asking, went way over asking…because they really want the house. In a competitive climate where buyers are up against multiple offers, to get the house it’s smartest to go in at a competitive price that has your offer beating the others instead of the other way around. I tell my buyers to think of the price that would make them happy if they got the house and not sad if they didn’t. Writing an offer for less than you really wish you could pay and losing the house isn’t smart…unless you care more about getting a deal than you care about getting the house. I’m seeing buyers in multiple offer situations on all different houses go up hundreds of thousands of dollars and that doesn’t really make sense – come in higher with your initial offer and you’ll fare way better in the contest.
On another listing, we have an offer from a buyer who had the house in escrow the last time we listed it for sale. This time, he showed up to see the house with a five inch binder that had all his inspection reports from years ago organized by category. The last time, he asked for a large credit for repairs and the owner cancelled and sold to the backup buyer. This time, he wrote an offer with no contingencies because he has all the information he needs to write an offer considering the repairs. Last time, once he got cancellation, he begged to undo it and to buy the house. It’s interesting that years later he came back with an offer to buy it. It will be more interesting to see if he will pay a price that has the current owners sell the house to him now.
On another listing, the buyers came back multiple times to see the house. On their last visit, they showed up in the rain, and we all discovered that two homeless guys climbed through a window and took a shower and spent the night at the house. As we all stood on the sidewalk after giving the homeless guys a warning that we were there, the homeless guys drove their bikes down the driveway and rode off. We quickly got the house together – putting back the night stands that were used to barricade the bedroom door shut and lamps that were moved to weird places – and we let the buyers in. Two duvets were taken, no doubt to keep the homeless guys warm in our recent frigid weather. And the next morning bright and early, the buyers submitted an offer, completely unfazed by the events of the night before.
At an inspection on Friday where our buyer’s agent is representing a buyer, when the inspector turned on a shower in a third floor condo unit, the shower handle flew off and a surge of water rushed out of that hole like an exploding fire hydrant. Water rushed through the shower drain, that clearly had plumbing issues, and flooded a condo unit two stories below, enough so that water came out the front door of that first floor condo and into the hallway common area. The listing agent is thinking the buyer will be unfazed by the plumbing issues, and will happily continue with their purchase. The listing agent put the listing on hold while the plumbing issues are explored and figured out. It will be interesting to see how that all unfolds.
In all the demand to buy a house, there are some buyers who want the house so much that they’re ok to address or to live with some issues. And then there are other buyers who dream of buying a house with no repairs needed at all. The concept of “no repairs needed at all” is an interesting one. And it can sometimes be more grey than black and white. What in life needs “no repairs at all”? If you think about cars or humans or houses or even articles of clothing, it can be subjective on some levels and it’s sometimes also the fine line between maintenance/ repairs vs a whole overhaul/redo. It makes sense that sellers who live in their houses without issues are surprised when buyers come up with a long list of items they want repaired or addressed. It also makes sense that we so often find that similar people are drawn to similar houses since on some levels it’s taste, judgement, choice, lifestyle, standards. There’s a lot of subjective stuff that sometimes goes into it.
My personal pet peeve is when buyers or sellers aren’t transparent or completely honest with one another. Buyers will represent that they won’t be super uptight about inspections but then they’ll even ask for cosmetic repairs and obvious upgrades. Buyers will offer a 21 day loan contingency intended to stay in place until they have loan approval, but then they’ll really want to keep their loan contingency in place for 45 days until the day before escrow closes to make sure that the deal actually funds. Sellers will once in a while raise an issue for the first time in disclosures that no one ever heard until the house was already in escrow. When any party isn’t transparent or completely honest I sometimes find that it’s manipulative and it’s a way to force another party to do something they wouldn’t have necessarily chosen to do if they weren’t already hooked and tied into going down a path they chose based on different information. The manipulative party sometimes gets away with it because the other party will get hurt by changing course at that point. To me that’s not winning. That’s forcing. And it’s icky behavior. I hate icky behavior.
I’m excited for the condo we just listed at 640 N Sweetzer #5. It’s a super cool two bedroom townhouse with private outdoor space that truly feels like a home with a formal living room, a formal dining room, a beautiful kitchen with an eat-in breakfast area, a nice separate laundry room, and two generous bedroom suites with great built-in closets. The owners are lovely clients we’ve worked with in the past and it’s such an honor to be representing them again.
I absolutely loved going to a wedding of dear friends this week and during the ceremony, my mind wandered to how much gratitude I have for all our dealings together. They were the first buyers I represented when I got my license almost 15 years ago. I counted in my head 11 times that I represented them in transactions since. What an honor it is to work together for so many years!
Our city is back!!!!!!!!!!! It’s awesome to see people dining on sidewalks and in parking lots again and working out on rooftops and outdoor spaces! There’s shrieking and laughter coming from Pan Pacific Park where they have an outdoor comedy show. I love that there’s life in our city! Here’s to the return of our city entirely and the continued thriving of all businesses and all humans in every age group and every industry!
Have an awesome weekend!