It’s a different time –and a very different world when it comes to buying your first home.
Once upon a time, you might have looked online to see which homes were being held open on a Sunday afternoon. (Or once upon a time, long, long ago, you might have looked in the newspaper.) Once upon a time, you would have driven over to a home that you thought might be interesting to look at. You would have wandered through the house. You may or may not have engaged the agent holding the open house in conversation. You might have done this over and over again until you got serious about actually BUYING a house. At that point, hopefully, you would have met with a professional who would have helped you understand more about home ownership, gotten you pre-approved for a mortgage you could afford, and then focused you on the location, community and home that would be right for you.
It’s a different time and a different world now.
Inventory is low, competition is high. And here, in Bergen County, you CAN’T JUST WANDER INTO AN OPEN HOUSE! Showings are ONE AT A TIME! So what does this look like?
If you are searching in a typical entry-level price range, you are WAITING ON LINE. Summer is here, so you are not just waiting on line, you are SWEATING ON LINE. And there are lots of other “uneducated” buyers doing exactly the same thing as you are. So you are all WAITING ON LINE FOR A LONG TIME.
Three weeks ago, one of our team members held an open house in an entry-level price range in Hackensack. There were people waiting on line for an hour and a half. Worse, many were with their agents! And there was no reason for it. This was a vacant home that could have been shown at any time if their agent had made an appointment.
The end result is that people get caught up in the “auction effect”; they feel compelled to make an offer on the house.
What happened in this case? 24 offers came in –and then within hours, 5 were rescinded. (More may have pulled their offers though we only looked at the top bids on the house.) People are getting caught up in the crazy and throwing offers over-asking at homes they really don’t want. We have seen people back away from offers on homes time and again since mid-March. Don’t follow the herd!
Stop. Take a deep breath. Follow the advice we have given to buyers time and again, regardless of the market. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Decide what you can comfortably spend on a home. Decide on the right community. Understand the market you are working in. And especially now, work with a professional to make an appointment to see the homes that fit your needs, and a solid strategy to buy one. AND STAY AWAY FROM OPEN HOUSES! THEY CAN MAKE YOU CRAZY!