The Spring Market
Yes, it’s January. Gray. Cold. Post-party and holiday spirits January. You may have already broken your resolutions by now (they never really had a chance, did they?) and the goal of losing 15 lbs. is already shattered by the fact that you are up 5 since January 1.
So much for the health and fitness goals, but maybe you have a different kind of goal on your list. You want to find a new home.
Well guess what. May, the tail end of high season in the real estate world, is not that far away. Or, put another way, you better start getting your ducks in a row if you want to move this summer.
Perhaps you have a few questions, such as:
- When does the spring market begin? It’s coming at you fast.
- When should we start looking? You’re on the computer, start now.
- When do the bidding wars start? Immediately.
- When do we start going to open houses? The next weekend on the calendar.
- When do we make contact with an agent? Pick up the phone. Now.
- When should I talk to the mortgage people? Pick up the phone. Now.
If I sound urgent, good. But I say all of these things from experience. People make good decisions when they are prepared with lots of information. So you should start working now to make a good decision this spring.
The last couple of spring seasons have been doozies. If 2016 continues a similar course, you can expect to find yourself engaged in a bidding war to buy the house you want, especially those markets with shallow inventories. If you doubt me, just talk to friends or colleagues who moved last year and they will tell you the truth.
As I said, bad decisions happen when buyers (or sellers) don’t have good information and/or you feel rushed. Overpaying for a home or offering terms that are uncomfortable in order to win a bid happens more often when you are in a time crunch. When your lease is about to expire or you have to be out of your house in 30 days because it has sold, your options decrease.
Early > Late
So what can you do to avoid the time crunch? That’s right – get started early. Here’s what you get when you get a jump start.
Understanding the current market can make a huge difference when buying. By paying attention, you’ll get a keen sense of what is a good deal and what isn’t, what sells quickly and what doesn’t. Pay attention for a few months—as opposed to several weeks—and you’ll really get a feel for what his happening. Also, if you prepare for your sale early, not only will you have superior knowledge, you’ll be able to offer potential buyers a little more flexibility in the closing window—and that has value.
Naturally, there’s advice for you sellers, too. Think about this: if you found the perfect home to buy, how long would it take you to get your home ready for the market? Because if it’s going to take you weeks, you’ll probably miss out on that opportunity.
The Numbers Tell the Story…
The following chart shows the rate at which new listings are brought onto the market and the rate at which they are absorbed:
Time On Your Side
It’s pretty clear, January means go time in the real estate world. Things are moving very quickly, right now, as you’re reading this. Okay, so maybe you can’t do something right this minute. But if you get started soon, it allows you to proceed deliberately, gather information about the accelerating market, get everything in order, and be poised to make the best possible decision.
This doesn’t mean you have to sell your home this weekend. I’m merely—or maybe not so merely—suggesting you start working now to set yourself up for success this spring. Too early is way way way better than too late. Buying a home is stressful and hard. But you can manage those by taking advantage of the time you have before the market gets hot.