Ducks in a Row, Please

DucksNotInARowI am fairly certain that the spring real estate market turned on last week. Do you know how I know this? I started waking up at 4am without the assistance of my alarm clock, thinking about all of the work that I needed to do, and then getting up to do it. Activating new listings, preparing for more listing appointments for houses that will come on the market, and then the subsequent showings with buyer clients that followed as lots of other agents listed houses too.

This spring market feels very similar to last year’s, although with more of an inventory shortage in March. Buyer clients keep asking when there are going to be more houses to see. My response, “once this freaking snow goes away!” Sellers don’t want snow in their pictures, people tracking dirt and mud into their houses and no one wants to be first to list. So they don’t list and don’t list and don’t list, and then all of a sudden the flood gates open and it seems like everyone lists their house at the same time.

If you are a buyer that is planning to purchase this spring, please get your ducks in a row. There are a lot of you out there and you may be in competition with others for choice properties. That means get pre-qualified by a lender so you know how much you can afford and determine how much you’d actually like to spend. They are very often different numbers. Find a buyer’s agent to work with and start touring houses to get an understanding of the market. This will help you determine what’s really important to you and what would just be a nice-to-have. It will also make you feel more comfortable in making an offer once you find “the one.”

When the market moves quickly, buyers that aren’t prepared will be left behind. Honestly, you snooze, you lose. If you’re thinking you’ll find a house by looking at them casually through open houses, it’s not going to happen. At least not for the properties that are priced well and move-in ready. You’re going to be left in the dust by buyers with agents that can help them write strong offers and that are comfortable with the market.

If you’d like to buy a house this spring, take the necessary steps to do so now. It doesn’t cost any money, only your time, and will make you feel more educated in your decision when you’re ready to move forward.