I work with a lot of first time buyers. This year seems to be particularly busy because some markets in our area are experiencing depressed pricing compared to recent years and people are trying to take advantage of the $8,000 government tax credit. If people have stable employment and are mentally, financially, and emotionally ready, this is turning out to be a good year for them to buy.
The issue becomes that many buyers have been reading the national press and think they should be getting super bargains and that all sellers are desperate to sell. This is usually wishful thinking and not really the case in many instances in the Hartford area.
In the first time buyer price range in Greater Hartford, usually $150,000 to $300,000, we continue to see multiple offer situations and properties snapped up in the first few days they’re on the market. The most attractive are the homes that show well, even if they’re not completely updated, and are priced reasonably. There are so many first time buyers out there now trying to beat the tax credit window of closing by December 1 that it’s causing mini feeding frenzies.
I had two situations in the last week where two different buyers were interested in properties that came on the market, but both were gone before we could get to see them, two days after they were listed. Another one of my clients saw a well priced, updated home and decided to put in an offer. I provided recent comparison sales and gave my advice that I felt the home was priced well for the condition and location. My clients wanted to be aggressive with their offer, as they felt it is a buyer’s market. That home ended up having 4 offers come in that same day and went to another buyer. As a little statistical evidence, right now in Newington, of the 54 properties currently under contract waiting to close, 28% of them went under contract within the first 10 days on market.
Buyers, if you’re looking for a bargain right now, they are out there. You’ll want to focus your energies on properties that have been on the market for awhile, at least 2 or 3 months, that need some work. Other buyers have been passing them over, so there most likely is some flexibility in the price. If you find a nicely kept or updated home that your agent suggests is priced well, be prepared to have less, if any, flexibility in your offer if you’re serious about the home. There are many of you out there creating a tighter market for the desirable homes, so you need to act accordingly based on the specific situation.