Buying a house is hard. Hours of searching the internet, looking at tiny pictures of not-so-great homes, just to find a few that might be. Hours of driving around on weekends touring Open Houses trying to find the right house in the right neighborhood. And all of that is before you have even found the right agent to do all the hard work for you. And let me tell you that is key. What is your time worth? Do you really have enough time to search Zillow, Trulia, etc every single day looking at houses that have already been Sold but they won't update for another week? And while I know a lot of really great Realtors, do you really want the same agent who has signed a listing contract with the Sellers promising to serve their best interests above all others representing you when you find that house? "No" is probably the answer to both of those questions.
But let's say you're past all that. You have the right agent. You've got your pre-approval ready to go. You've found the right neighborhood/s. You just need to find the right, or even right-ish, house. Your agent sends you listings every day. Some work and some don't. At least now you only have to spend a few minutes every day, and the homes he's sending you are closer to what you really want. You go out on a Sunday to see a few of them. And finally you find one. A house you could see yourself living in. A house you could see making your home. NOW comes the hard part.
Yes, it is STILL a seller's market. Especially here in the South Bay. Some areas of the market have shifted already, and some are still on the verge of a shift. You want a new construction home over 3000 square feet in Manhattan Beach? I could show you a few, all beautiful, and you could probably get a deal. You could get a $3,000,000 house for $2,900,000! You want a $1 million-plus Townhouse in Redondo? Same thing. But... Let's say your budget stops at $800,000-900,000. THAT is when it gets hard.
Because while there may be a few listings out there that fall under that mark, there are only one or two that could be your home. In great locations, in great condition, that feel like home. Those are not going to be the ones that have Days-on-Market numbers in the 30s. Those are the ones that are gone in under a week. Who knows? Maybe not even that long. I've seen a few that are off the market the second they go on the market. Before you can even look at them. How frustrating is that? And these are going to be the homes you love, that are right enough you make the huge step of Making an Offer.
These are also the homes that have that effect on all the other people searching for a home. And this is when you learn that the asking price is only a starting point. I know it seems crazy to offer to pay someone more money than they are asking for something. But that is what it will take to get your home in this market. Because these properties are the ones getting not one, not two, but SEVEN offers. I had a conversation with an agent friend the other day who told me he was playing it cool on a property, not trying to let on to the other agent his clients really wanted a house. He called the night before offers are due just to feel it out. The listing agent told him he had FIFTEEN offers already!
The truth is they just might not bother countering all of these offers. So, that is why it is important to listen to your agent. They work in this market. They study it. They do this every day. They know that the fully remodeled 2 bedroom ocean view condo in South Redondo isn't going to go for $699,000. (It went for $770,000 and was off the market and closed in under a month!) They know that the North Redondo Townhouse on the nice, quiet non-through street and that feels like being in the coziest cabin ever is going to get lots of offers Monday morning and that it will go for between $30-50,000 over asking. (It's still not closed but that number will be closer to $60,000.)
But even though they know that. And even though they tell you that. And even though you kind of believe that. It is still really, really hard to offer to pay someone $30,000 more than they are asking for. And that is why losing a house you love will probably happen. But, I guarantee you that won't be your home. It never was. You will find your home. And when you do, you will be ready.
Author:Ron Melendez Phone: 310-989-5502 Dated: December 19th 2016 Views: 339 About Ron: A Southern California native, Ron Melendez has lived all over the Los Angeles area. Growing up in th...
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