It’s officially the Spring market, and we’ll be seeing a few changes. A spike in inventory, new buyers and sellers entering the market and a scramble to get everything done before the inevitable summer slowdown.
Sellers have been watching the prices their neighbors have been getting over the past six months, and buyers are itching to pick up properties before all the IPOs happen.
But we don’t all have to go off the deep end.
Here are five tips for maintaining your Spring sanity:
1. If you’re going on the market, stay on the market for at least a few days. You’ve staged your house, moved out and should want to expose that property to as many buyers as possible before taking offers. If you’ve scheduled open houses and a broker tour, commit to having those open houses and tour. This lets buyers and their agents at least take a crack at the purchase, and having an offer date can only benefit you if there’s significant buyer interest. (Incidentally, it’s really annoying to arrive at a broker tour and find a handwritten sign saying that the tour has been deleted.) It is ultimately a very sound idea to also have a backup offer in place when you accept an offer, and it’s hard to do that if you just take the first offer that comes along.
2. Don’t waste your time jumping into extreme offer situations if you can’t compete. If you don’t have the appetite to waive all your contingencies and the budget to prevail in an offer situation involving 25 interested buyers—most of whom will write offers—you might want to look elsewhere. That two-bedroom condo with parking, deeded deck and in-unit laundry one block from Dolores Park that’s listed for about $400,000 under the likely selling price will probably not be a true possibility. You’ll probably be better off avoiding a situation that will chip away at the emotional reserves you’ll need to be successful in your house hunt.
3. If you’re a listing agent, notify buyer agents of offer outcomes promptly. Yes, you and your sellers are thrilled with the eight offers that came in on their property. As the listing agent, you’ve already called the agent representing the buyer with the accepted offer and have given them the good news. But there are seven more agents you need to call before the night is through, because their buyers are going to lose some sleep if they don’t hear back until the morning.
4. Buyers, make sure your loan preapproval is current. You may have been preapproved a couple months ago, but interest rates change and so do prices. Before you start running around looking at open houses, run some updated numbers to make sure you’re not looking at homes that will be out of your price range.
5. Sellers, plan ahead. When you decide to sell your house, a lot of activities and people are thrown into action. Yes, it’s a seller’s market and everyone will be excited to see your home in Noe Valley when you list it. But if you’re planning to stage the house, that will typically require some notice, if only for logistical purposes. And there’s no better way to create buzz around a home than to give your listing agent some time to pre-market the property on the MLS, within agent networks and with a house sign. Remember, there will be more inventory with which to compete now, and you don’t want to get lost in the mix.