Right now it is a tricky time to be a buyer, and that is because we are still coming out of the winter season and inventory is very low in many places (including here in North San Diego). I have multiple buyers but there is very little to show them (and they have seen everything that meets their criteria already). Here are the expectations that many buyers and real estate agents have for Spring:
More inventory. This is by far the number one expectation. I am excited to see more properties list (and plan to list a few myself). There are many buyers out there who are qualified and ready, but are willing to wait until they find the right property…thus I believe today’s market is different from the feeding frenzy prior to the housing collapse. Buyers are more savvy and will not settle for properties that do not meet their requirements or are overpriced. With more inventory there will be more opportunities, and the market will continue to do well.
Price stabilization. In most areas I believe we have seen the last of crazy price increases, like we saw in 2013. I do believe that if inventory does not increase substantially there may be some properties that list and do sell for prices higher than comparables, so this could happen in some areas. But for the most part I think we will see stabilization and “normal” price increases of about 5% or so this year.
Better quality listings. Since buyers are more savvy today they expect listings to similarly look their best. Agents who list properties should discuss with their sellers the best ways to showcase their homes – be it decluttering, staging, painting, landscaping, etc. There are many great ways to show your home in it’s best light that do not have to cost a lot of money (click here for ideas). For those sellers who do not agree with this it is sad to say that they will not get top dollar and may not even have many showings at all. Agents need to use professional photography and have virtual tours – two things that buyers expect.
It used to be that buyers would come view a home even if the photos looked bad or the price was too high…those days are over. Sellers need to cater to buyers and lure them in with a home that offers high quality, low maintenance and curb appeal.
Rising interest rates. We have already seen interest rates rise slightly a few times this year. While I do not think we will see big rate increases I do believe that rates will continue to inch up. Since this fact can make a difference in monthly payments, as well as downpayments if buyers do not adjust downwards on their home searches, those who are ready to purchase will want to do so sooner rather than later to get the best rates. This is great news for sellers, but they also need to keep in mind the above quality expectations – homes that show well and are priced right will likely sell quickly this Spring and Summer.
If you are considering selling your home this Spring or Summer, speak with an experienced real estate agent in your area about what you can do to best showcase your home. Oftentimes it is helpful to have the sellers look at it from a buyer’s perspective – if they were the buyers what would they want or expect?