For the past 3-4 weeks, I've been driving my buyer clients around, searching for homes in the $300,000 price range and below.
Time after time, what I am encountering is this: "multiple contracts" or "multiple offers", "highest and best", "no more showings". And most of these properties with these remarks are showing as "Active" listings.
For example, a simple search (3PM Eastern) for Detached homes in Springfield, VA priced $260,000 and below yields 11 properties. Six of them are short sales. The rest are bank owned. Two of the short sale listings indicated there were contracts either being reviewed or that they were only accepting back-up offers. One of the bank-owned property's remarks indicated final signatures on their contract was forthcoming.
Of the listing agents that I was able to reach, all indicated that they in fact had already received at least one offer on their property. I suspect that the rest will indicate the same. So effectively, there are no fully available properties in this price range in Springfield. The only difference between this market and that of 2001-2003 is the status of the owner.
This is no longer a Buyer's Market. Its a Seller's Market, or more accurately, its the Bank's Market!
The keys to success are this:
- Be diligent in your search for a home. Get a Buyer's Agreement so that your agent can search FSBO homes for you also.
- Be prepared to act quickly. This means have your pre-approval from the bank already completed.As soon as a property comes on the market, go see it. And be prepared to write a contract on the spot.
- Have the necessary cash for your downpayment. Or if you're doing 100% financing such as with VA, be sure you have enough cash to close.
- Have patience. You may have to write several contracts before you finally get the house you want.
- Be prepared to compromise. Bank addendums can be a deal killer if you don't go with what is contained in them. Banks want to relieve themselves of all liability. Be prepared for a one-sided deal. Banks in a short sale are giving some concessions, but be prepared for none.
- Choose a REALTOR that has experience in this market and knows how to write winning contracts.