Frantically checking message updates in the middle of the night, staring at multiple screens of information, surreptitiously leaving the office to rendezvous in front of unfamiliar houses... Is this the plot of the latest spy novel? Not really, this sounds more like the home buyer of the past few months, as attested in this recent New York Times article. Such stories should come as no surprise given the tight housing inventories, mortgage interest rates still hovering above record lows and overwhelming desire to enter the market before prices reach their previous heights.
This has been especially true right here in Arlington with inventory below 1.5 months and average days on market dropping to 28 while the 5-year average has been 48 (statistics supplied by RealEstate Business Intelligence). Most buyers face multiple-offer situations where prudent strategies and nimble negotiation win the contract. Believe it or not, the offer price is not the only important component of an offer. Things like back-rent, preferred settlement company or waiving the home inspection can swing a seller one way or another. However, most buyers wouldn't know what questions to ask which could potentially cost them the home of their dreams. Worse, they might waive important contingencies hoping to make their offer stronger, but not fully realizing the risks they take on by doing so.
In such an active and often hectic market, it is more crucial than ever to have expert guidance and advice in order to avoid expensive mistakes. Little things such as writing a personal letter to the seller or having the buyer's lender personally contact the listing agent can be the deciding factor in close-call bidding situations.
Buyers are not the only group that can benefit from professional direction. Despite the strong seller’s market currently in place, property owners can still ask for an unrealistic price and wait too long to sell their investment while incurring full running costs. On the flip side, not fully understanding the market environment, they may leave money on the table without even realizing it.
Real-estate changes constantly, so the market could be very different even 6 months from now, especially given the uncertain future of interest rates. Having a seasoned real-estate professional on your side, however, is a great way to ensure a smooth transaction and worthwhile investment.