It’s no secret at a certain price point ( under $400k) in many Essex county communities (Gloucester, Rockport, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, Essex, Ipswich and Peabody), buying a home has become quite competitive. Purchasing real estate in 2013 has its own level of “March Madness“. There are 20, 40 or 60+ people viewing well priced properties at open house(s). There are multiple offers and yes people are paying above asking price. Every house? No, just homes priced appropriately for their age, condition, location and size. Buyers are not offering crazy amounts of money because we all know at the end of the day it must appraise, since most purchases are contingent on buyers receiving a mortgage.
So what will tip the scales in the favor of your offer being accepted, if you are a buyer ? There are four practices I use with consistent success when I know there is a chance that there will be multiple offers.
1) View the house and make the offer ASAP. The early bird gets the worm. Yes it may be inconvenient and you may have to cancel a previous appointment to go view a house. Sorry, this is about getting the house you want, not living a balanced life.
2) Offer asking price at a minimum. If you know potentially there will be multiple offers, forget about “stealing” a property. You like the house, you want it, now get it! Offer above asking to a level your agent or lender feels it will appraise at (and you are pre approved for).
3) Have your agent write the “magic letter”. People like to do business with people they know and like. Share with the buyers how much you like their house. Compliment them about their decorating or cleanliness. Find out what is motivating the sellers to sell and speak to that. Be real and be personal. Don’t laugh this works, I have had several clients achieve their home in a competitive situation because the sellers felt like they knew them and liked them after reading the “magic letter”.
4) Last but not least, always ask the sellers agent for a final and last opportunity to submit a final bid if there are multiple offers. Don’t assume that the list agent will automatically give everyone a chance to rebid; they may not. If a buyer does not want to offer more, they don’t have to, but at least they have the opportunity to make up their own mind about their final bid.
When my clients were looking for a home nearly 7(!) years ago, it was all I could do to get them in the front door of this “plain Jane” home. However, once inside the front door, they were pleasantly surprised! or should I say shocked The home sparkles…it is full of light and it exactly what they were looking for: open living spaces, a large, updated kitchen (nice cabinets with dovetail drawers!), granite countertops and hardwood floors. The 3 bedrooms were a “must have” and the updated bath(s) were another pleasant surprise. The 2 car garage and the finished basement, again, were icing on the cake after walking through the open, spacious and modern first floor.
Turns out this house has been perfect for them-they love to entertain their family around a big meal and a sports event (Red Sox, Patriots!) on TV… the way the dining room sets up to the kitchen and living room is perfect for their lifestyle. The fireplace in the living room and central air conditioning have been much coveted, adding ambiance and comfort, year round. The location has been sweet too, since one of the owners commutes to Salem and the other owner needs to access Rt.128 5 or 6 days a week. Reluctantly, they leave their enjoyable home to be closer to their true love, which is their family.
A walk score of 92…this is a walkers paradise! This condo is so conveniently located in Gloucester you can “roll” out the door and get to lots and lots of locations! The train, the MAC, Shaws groceries, the Rumline, Gloucester Depot...the list goes on and on and then there is the 5 minute walk to Main Street stores and restaurants! The Gloucester harbor and Pavillion Beach (great beach for seaglass!) is a ten minute walk away. In an elevator building; it is in excellent condition; lovely finishes and an open living space. I love this location – because I love to walk in Gloucester.
Location, location location is the age old axiom of advice when purchasing real estate. It is still excellent advice. But condition, condition, condition is definitely giving it a run for the money and I do mean money. Todays buyers are placing a premium on the condition of a property for many reasons:
1. Buyers may not have excess cash for renovations/updates.
2. Buyers can be overwhelmed by the thought of finding reputable contractors.
3. Buyers may not have the time and patience for home projects (general contracting).
4. Not all buyers have vision when renovations are required.
Todays buyers are placing a premium on the condition of the property. When sellers are preparing their home to go on the market I encourage them to “tie up all the loose ends”; no project or detail should be left undone. Clean as though there is no tomorrow if you want people to purchase your property at top dollar. People just plain like the way clean smells, never mind the way it looks!
Think about it this way if you are wondering what to do when preparing your home for sale. A home is most people’s largest ever purchase; it requires most of us to be employed at a job in order to make this purchase possible. So to most buyers it doesn’t make sense to purchase a new home that is itself a “project” or a “job”. At the end of the day, most people only want one job and not one they have to pay a mortgage on! No they are not overlooking the location, but good condition, condition condition can be a very strong persuader and can overcome other objections a buyer may have.
Walk score is becoming a new way that people evaluate a property’s location. It is a value from 1 to 100 and the higher the number the more conveniences or things there are to do within about a 15 minute stroll 0r a quarter mile. More and more people have come to value the healthy aspects of walking as exercise. Dogs which require frequent walking have become a bigger part of family and singles (!) lifestyle. Americans are happily parking their cars, saving money by not purchasing gas and supporting small neighborhood businesses that are in their own neighborhood. As more and more people return to an urban setting or a neighborhood style of living, local business creativity is booming especially in the eateries and coffee shop arenas. It is no secret that commuting is no fun, drinking and driving is not an option and most of us would prefer to remain in our own towns or neighborhoods. The more people interact with each other and become familiar with their neighbors the safer and more pleasant an area becomes! Passers by and acquaintances become friends. Nods become smiles. and before you know it a street or 2 or 3 is a neighborhood full of familiar faces! If this sounds like something you value when you home hunt be sure and evaluate the “walk score” as you consider, location, location, location!
The popularity of video on the internet is undeniable! Can you say You tube? Two recent stats worth mentioning regarding real estate consumers are: 87% of real estate consumers prefer their content in video and 78% of real estate internet viewers are more likely to stay on a website offering video. These are big numbers in support of this style of marketing.Would you like buyers to tour your home from the comfort of their own home or as soon as your house is listed? Real estate video does it for you….the real thing, not slides stitched together! Real estate video allows the consumer to feel the way a house lives or lays out. It is a first showing, which can happen almost instantaneously. How nice & easy for all involved! Sometimes I film my own with the support of an outside service (HDHat) and sometimes I go straight to one of the founding fathers of real estate video, Fred Light from Nashua Video Tours. Listen to Fred (above) speak about real real estate video! And below is an example of how compelling video is:
Ever dream of living on the Boulevard in Gloucester? Having water views 365 days out of the year? Having lots of fun & events at your doorstep? The Fiesta events, the Parade of Sails, the July 4th parade, the Christmas parade all happening at your door step…no need to make plans to attend, you are already there! Walk across the street to Pavilion Beach, sit by the water side, launch your kayak or search for sea glass. Tired of the non stop water view and boat activity? Walk to Stage Fort Park, let your kids or grand kids play at the playground and your dog(s) run free at the dog park. Hungry? Some of the best restaurants in town are all in walking distance. In one direction is the Causeway and in the other direction head for The Franklin Cafe, Passports, Latitude 43 or Cafe Bishco to name a very few Walk to both cinemas in town, the train station, the synagogue & churches. Park your car and enjoy the daily pleasures of life in Gloucester served up at your doorstep each & every day, with a harbor view! Think this Gloucester lifestyle sounds like fun?
This two family house is in the middle of renovations, the second floor unit being more complete then the first. Both units are two bedrooms and two baths.The property asks for someone with vision and creativity, who loves a water view! Take a peek at this opportunity http://59westernave.com
As a full time real estate agent who loves real estate technology I’m always interested in the latest “shiny” new app. This one is not yet perfect and not yet released for Droids, but boy is it cool!!! Called, “Homesnap” it is a real estate app for the iPhone or iPad. It is still “touchy” and may take a few tries to get the correct information, but wait until you hear what it does! The app, takes a picture of the home (for sale or not for sale) and then downloads onto your device the public information (from the town) available about the home, (haven’t tried it with commercial buildings). If it is “For Sale”, it gives the listing information. How cool is this? One photo and you can find out price (if listed), # of bed rooms, lot size and general assessor information.
Some of the technology being used is based on an “AVM” or automatic valuation formula. AVM is what Zillow is using when displaying their famous or infamous “Zestimates“. It is a formula which gives a home value sight unseen. Is it accurate?…well not always. AVM’s tend to be much more accurate in parts of the country where the home construction is more “cookie cutter” then here in the Northeast, which is full of varying types and ages of home construction.
Anyway…back to Homesnap. This app is the fastest way I know to get information about homes as one is traveling and spots a home that you find interesting or attractive in your home search. No more remembering an address or a company. Just take a picture with your phone and voila you are empowered with all the available listing information. Check it out and let me know if you find it useful. Of course it is free