Every day, I get feeds from real estate news services that talk about the real estate market, and many of the stories tell me it’s slowing down.
Yeah, right! Maybe in Nebraska?
Even though much of the market here is quite robust, there are still opportunities for buyers in popular DC neighborhoods. Here are some of the basics navigating today’s local housing market (along with a price that is way over asking):
- Pre-emptive offers: most new listings go live on Thursday, and there is a deadline of Monday or Tuesday of the next week for offers. But if you are willing to be aggressive, make an offer that is too good to pass up on Thursday evening, and chances are that the sellers will take it.
- Be clean: in a normal market, offers will have three main contingencies for a home inspection, financing approval and an appraisal for at least the amount of the contract sales price. In this market, the successful offers waive all three, with pre-inspection, pre-approval for financing, and prayers that the house will appraise at the way-above asking price. You need a very clean offer to be competitive.
- Matching the sellers’ time frame: find out what the sellers need in terms of timing and include their ideal settlement date in your offer. Offer them flexibility, like a quick settlement with the ability to stay in the house (ideally rent-free) until it’s time for them to move into their new place.
- Little things can mean a lot: I had successful sellers offer to take a messy house with the mess – they would take care of giving away and throwing away the books, furniture and various stuff the seller chose to leave behind. Another seller fed the feral “community cats”, and the buyers included in their offer they’d continue this tradition. Enthusiasm for a garden and a promise to maintain it can mean a lot. Of course, these contract elements must be combined with an otherwise squeaky-clean offer with a great number attached to it.
- Forget about those “love letters”: sure, you love the place and can imagine how your Christmas tree will look in the living room while you are cooking Christmas dinner in the designer kitchen. And your well-behaved children are so excited about the tree house in the back yard. By their very nature, the personal letters from buyer to seller tend to violate most fair housing laws, and smart agents are now refusing to pass them on to the sellers.
And, yes, the market is still quite crazy, at least for detached houses under $1 million in close-in neighborhoods near Metro. But look at it this way – if you wait until next spring, instead of a three- or four-way bidding war, you’ll have 15 or 20 (maybe more) sets of buyers vying for the same house. Ugh!
If you are considering a move, please contact me at 202-549-5167. I would be honored to help.
Originally published 11/15/2021