Buying a home in a competitive market? Do this . . .

Buying a home in a competitive market

So, you’re buying a home? That is awesome! Unfortunately, you’ve heard that the market is really competitive now. What does that actually mean to you? A lot. When you’re buying a home in a competitive market, you will likely need to develop a strategy.

A competitive market isn’t like a buyer’s market where you can throw any offer at a Buying a home in a competitive market?seller and he accepts it. No, in a competitive market (also called a seller’s market), you are likely to get into a bidding war with multiple buyers. The mechanics change, the price isn’t as important and other factors come into play that influence the seller’s choice in offers.

When buying a home in a competitive market you’ve got to forget about the norms.

An average real estate sale starts with a seller and a buyer. The seller sets the price, and the buyer makes an offer. A few minor negotiations may go back and forth, but in the end, it’s just two parties working out the details.

When buying a home in a competitive market, you’ve got to forget about the norms. There may be many buyers vying for the same house. The list price may just be a starting point and the negotiations may become stressful and lengthy. Other buyers may bump their offer up $5000, $10,000, and I even had one where the winning bidder bumped his offer up $50,000. The list price means nothing at that point.

How can you win when buying a home in a competitive market?

There are no guarantees when you get into that kind of competitive market, but there are things you can do to up the odds in your favor. For instance, Keep the contract as clean as possible. What does that mean? Every contingency is a mark against you in a contract.

A home inspection, a financing contingency, a radon test, a home sale contingency, an appraisal contingency, the loan type, or a request for closing cost assistance are all issues that can sway a seller one way or the other.

In a competitive buying situation, cash is often King (though not always). If you’re bidding against a buyer with cash, you’re already at a disadvantage. That doesn’t mean she’ll get the property. You can offer more than the list price with an early close date, and the seller may be willing to wait a few weeks for the extra cash.

Home inspections are desirable, but they can be the difference between winning and losing.

A home inspection gives the seller a reason to worry if he hasn’t maintained his property. That item alone (and I recommend them) can bounce your contract to the trash pile. A seller who knows he is about to be hit with a laundry list of repairs is likely going to skip over that offer for the offer with no home inspection.

Financing and loan types can be a killer.

A financing contingency tells the seller that you may be pre-qualified, but you are not approved for a loan. While he waits for your lender to give you the thumbs up, he loses all the other bidders who were trying to get the house. Get your pre-approval early and then look for a home. You will cut weeks off of your closing time, and that is an advantage for you in a bidding war.

Loan type can also nix your chances in a multi-offer environment. A USDA loan, VA or FHA loan all have stricter guidelines on their appraisals. If seller hasn’t maintained his home, the appraisers will report that and the lender will need those items to be repaired before a loan will be given.

Some loans naturally take longer, such as a USDA loan. A seller in a hurry will not look as favorably on that type of loan because it’s a waiting game that could be avoided with a cash deal or a conventional loan.

Put your highest and best out early when buying a home in a competitive market.

I recently had a wonderful couple lose out on their dream home because they wanted to get it at a price that was more in line with their desired payment than in the home’s real value. They got into a bidding war and the other buyer made a full price off with fewer contingencies. Done. They were out of the running before the race started.

This is one of those times where you really need to trust your Realtor. If you can’t trust your Realtor, you have the wrong Realtor. In the case just mentioned, I told the couple there was no way the seller was going to accept their first offer. He was already selling a wonderful home below the local government assessed value.

The seller had to move, and he had to move quickly. The buyers hesitated just long enough (a week) to allow another buyer to surface who recognized the value of the discounted property. They had a less desirable loan, they had a financing contingency (the other bidder did too), they had a home inspection and they had an appraisal contingency. The other bidder had 50% of those contract contingencies on his offer.

My buyers looked at the list price and then did the math. They wanted to come up with what the house should sell for based on a payment they wanted. It doesn’t work that way. The price is typically set by market data and a seller’s need or wish to sell and then it is negotiated with a contract. The winning bidder offered 5% more with fewer contingencies and won hands down.

If my buyers had listened to their experienced Realtor/Investor, they would have had a better chance. When buyers violate the rules of negotiating, they lose. I believe if they had acted when they first saw the home, they would be living there today. They would have been able to offer less, have their contingencies in the contract and still get a ratified contract.

The second mouse gets the cheese.

They hesitated too long. Remember, the second mouse gets the cheese. They ignored their Realtor’s advice. They loaded their offer with contingencies and then tried to low-ball the seller when they were competing against a highly motivated buyer. Put your best offer forward in the beginning. If you lose out, move on. You should never fall in love with anything that can’t love you back. Buyers need to realize that not all sellers are desperate to sell. In this case, the seller was desperate, but my buyers waited to long to get into the game.

Call a pro when you’re buying a home in a competitive market

When you’re ready to buy a home in a competitive market, like the Winchester-Frederick County, VA market, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro. 

 

 

Wakeland Manor, Stephens City, VA – 2016 Real Estate Market Review

Wakeland Manor, Stephens City, VA – 2016 Real Estate Market Review

Wakeland Manor in Stephens City, VA, is one of the oldest and newest subdivisions in Wakeland Manor, Stephens City, VA - 2016 Real Estate Market Reviewthe Frederick County. Some homes date back to the 1970s and there is new construction going on today.

The community is made up of older ranch style houses, split foyers and newer two-story colonials and contemporary homes. There is also wonderful townhouse complex in the neighborhood. Wakeland Manor has a community center with a pool for residents. It is on the east side of Stephens City, which is a great place for commuters. Residents who live in Wakeland Manor have quick access to multiple highways leading in the DC Metro area and north and south into West Virginia and Maryland and the southern Shenandoah Valley.

Wakeland Manor by the numbers 2016

Wakeland Manor had a small pullback on home sales in 2016 as compared to 2015. There were 40 homes sold compared to 50 in 2015. Of those homes sold, the townhouse complex made up 13 of those homes. Those townhouses are large homes with spacious rooms and a contemporary style. The townhouse complex also has tennis courts and a basketball court for residents.

The average days on the market was up slightly from 2015. The average days on the market was 53 in 2016 and 43 in 2015. That’s not a major change. There is new construction at all corners of Stephens City, VA. That may have contributed to the days on the market. More options give buyers more time to make a decision.

The best numbers

The best numbers came in the average sale price of homes sold. In 2015, the average sale price was $269,692 and it was $272,037 in 2016. That’s not a huge number, but it is a number that is moving in the right direction. Wakeland Manor has something for every housing taste.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell in the Wakeland Manor area, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.

 

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA Real Estate Year in Review – 2016

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA Real Estate Year in Review – 2016

Canter Estates is on the east side of Stephens City, VA. It’s a highly desirable Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA Real Estate Year in Review - 2016neighborhood with a variety of housing styles. Custom builders, such as, KHovnanian and Ashbrooke Homes have shared in the construction of many, if not most of the homes built there.

The neighborhood boarders Rt 522 which is a connecting highway between Rt 66, Rt 50, I81, Rt 55 and Rt 340 which makes Canter Estates a commuter’s dream. Within a few minutes, a homeowner who commutes into the DC Metro area can be on a highway leading to their destination. It also gives southern and northern commuters the same advantage.

Canter Estates by the numbers

Canter Estates saw an incredible jump in home sales in 2016. Homes sales were up 142% from 2015 with 29. The previous year saw 12. Distressed properties have not had a major market impact over the 2015-2016 market years.

In a unique phenomenon, 18 of the 29 homes sold in the first 6 months. Eleven homes were sold from July through December. March and November saw no home sales. There is no simple explanation for those stats.

More good numbers

Canter Estates real estate did see some similarities with 2015. The average days on the market were 28 in 2016 and 32 in 2015. Also, the average sale price for 2016 was $304,732, and the average for 2015 was $302,383. These numbers show no real change.

The average sale in 2016 was a 4 bedroom – 2.5 baths home. Two of the 29 sales were homes constructed in 2016, but the average year of construction was 2004. New construction continues to appear on the Canter Estates landscape. Canter Estates gives buyers the advantage of feeling like they are living in a quiet comfortable rural area while having access to all city amenities within minutes.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell in this great neighborhood, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.

Oakdale Crossing, Ravenwing and Raven Pointe Real Estate Year in Review – 2016

Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe Real Estate Year in Review – 2016

Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe are the trifecta of great housing in Oakdale Crossing, Ravenwing and Raven Pointe Real Estate Year in Review - 2016Winchester, VA. These three neighborhoods flow seamlessly from and to the other on the east side of Winchester, VA. They have all been highly desirable since the first footers were dug in the late 1990s.

One of the great attributes of these three neighborhoods is the quality of the custom-built homes. They are not like many neighborhoods that offer a few options but end up looking more like a cookie cutter was used and not a custom builder. There are two-story colonials, spacious ranch homes, and cape cod styles.

Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe – by the numbers

Throughout 2016, only 17 homes were soldOakdale Crossing, Ravenwing and Raven Pointe Real Estate Year in Review - 2016 in this 400 plus community. Of those 17, Oakdale Crossing had 2 sales, Raven Pointe had 3 and Raven Wing had 12. You can see, there is not a lot of movement in the neighborhood. Why? People love their homes.

The average sale price in 2016 was $377,514. The highest sale was $419,000 and the lowest was $299,900. Of those sales, only one property was listed as a distressed property.  It was a foreclosure in Oakdale Crossing. The neighborhood had a 94% fair market sales record for 2016.That is higher than the average for the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. 

The average sale was made up of a four bedroom, four bath and one half bath home. The average days on the market was 86, which is consistent with the overall local market.

What does the future hold for Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe?

What does the future hold for Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe? Good Oakdale Crossing, Ravenwing and Raven Pointe Real Estate Year in Review - 2016things. The local Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market appears to have fully recovered from the 2008 recession and has had a few years of consistent sales with increasing home prices.

Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing and Raven Pointe now have seven homes available for buyers to view. There is one pending. The average list price of the current listings is $468,654. If that price holds to contract and closing, that is a substantial increase in the average sales price. The average days on the market of the current listings is 144. That does show the impact of the election cycle,the seasonal changes and the holidays. Warmer weather will bring more buyers and more sales.

For would-be buyers, you have seven chances to own a home in this highly desirable neighborhood. When you’re ready to buy or sell in Oakdale Crossing, Raven Wing, or Raven Pointe, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.