This past week our listings saw an average of three showings each. Traffic is picking up momentum and the spring market is taking shape. As acting real estate professionals, my office is jam packed with activities. The trouble right now is that buyer and seller expectations seem to be diverging again.
Buyers are still worried that the worst is yet to come and sellers are optimistic that the worst is behind us. And that’s understandable because as human beings we seek information that supports our situation. Today’s media is telling both stories. There is plenty of news out there reporting that the economy is rebounding and we are on the path to recovery. However, there is an equal amount of gloom and doom that there are still many foreclosures to be worked through and that real estate sales and prices are expected to stay down for another year or even two.
In my eight years in the business, I’ve never seen such a high ratio of contracts that fall apart prior to closing. The sales process is more difficult now than its ever been and much of the complication rests at the delicate point where buyer and seller agree on terms. A successful real estate transaction is based on a “meeting of the minds”; a place where both the buyer is willing to buy and the seller is willing to sell.
In many cases, at the point when an agreement is reached on price, both sides feel beat up. Sellers feel like they are “giving their homes away”, but the buyers feeling like they are paying too much. Then, when it comes time for the due diligence such as inspections, one little stumbling block can kill the whole deal. And in today’s market, that’s exactly what is happening.
It is still a buyer’s market and although spring is upon us, an immediate jump in sales and prices is not going to happen. A recovery is underway, but it is going to be slow to happen. Sellers should consider themselves lucky to find a buyer who is interested in their home and make every attempt to work with them to find a meeting place, understanding that it might not feel like a home run sales price.
At the same time, buyer’s should recognize all the incredible benefits to buying right now. Interest rates are still low, but are on the rise quickly. Prices are down, but sales volume is starting to rise. When the foreclosure inventory is gone there will be fewer low priced comparables to justify lower selling prices and the deals will fade.
There really has never been a better time to buy real estate. As a buyer’s agent, I am constantly amazed as I show property to buyers what money can buy right now compared to where the market was just a few short years ago. We are in the midst of very unique times and I have no doubt that many of us will look back in a few years and say “I sure wish I had….”