Despite some less than encouraging news about nationwide conditions in the real estate market, this can still be a good time for consumers looking to purchase a home. Recent trends towards stabilizing prices, moderating appreciation rates and increasing inventory all work in the favor of homebuyers for several reasons.
First, consumers should realize that “all real estate is local.” National statistics are weighed heavily by what happens in large markets at the extremes and don’t take into consideration many factors that impact local changes in pricing and inventory, such as business growth, employment and other aspects unique to each community.
Increased inventory also means more choices, more time to look at more properties and, once buyers find the home they want to purchase, more room for negotiation. Closing costs, special assessments, personal property and other terms and contingencies that had been nonnegotiable are again open for discussion. Offers that in a hot seller’s market would have gotten laughed off the table are now getting serious consideration, counteroffers and even accepted.
Not only that, but with more properties staying on the market longer and longer, and with fewer and fewer buyers competing for them, some of the pressure on buyers has been reduced. Often in hot seller’s markets, conditions dictate so much of what buyers are able to do, driving so many of their decisions. The pressures of such a market can even force consumers who have to buy-transferees or retirees, for example-to just “settle” on properties that they might not otherwise purchase under other circumstances. But as the pace slows, patience can again become the virtue that it should be, instead of a victim of the market.
Regardless of the national picture, however, a great place for consumers to start learning about their local market is to consult a professional who will keep their best interests top of mind as they make the decision to buy a home. Agents who have earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation have taken special training from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) to help guide their clients through the home-purchasing process-from market analysis to needs assessment to negotiations to closing and beyond.