How to Shop for a House in a Sellers’ Market
A sellers’ market, where the demand for homes exceeds number of available properties, makes some predictable changes to the buying and selling process:
- Faster Sales. With fewer opportunities to buy, savvy buyers are scooping up properties as fast as possible. Plum properties don’t last long in seller’s markets.
- Multiple Offers. More buyers than houses means that sellers often receive multiple offers to purchase their homes, and have the option to choose the one that’s best for them. For many, price is the deciding factor, but some sellers are swayed by other factors such as a favourable closing date or an unconditional offer.
- Higher Prices. The law of supply and demand drives prices up in markets with low inventory, as Ottawa is experiencing right now. Creating new dwellings is a slow process, which means that sellers’ markets can last for some time.
So what’s a buyer to do when competition for properties is fierce?
- Shop below your budget. If your budget is $350,000, don’t set your heart on that charming bungalow listed for $349,900. In a sellers’ market, properties frequently sell for higher than the asking price — sometimes much higher. By looking at properties with listing prices below your maximum budget, you increase your chances of putting in a stronger offer than other competing buyers, without busting your budget.
- Present your strongest offer. This means offering what you believe is a fair, manageable, and competitive price for the property you desire. It also means paying close attention to the details that will matter most to a seller. Are you flexible about closing dates? Are you pre-approved for mortgage financing? Is your offer light on, or free of, conditions that might burden the seller?
- Choose the right Realtor® for your needs. Like doctors, lawyers, and accountants, Realtors® specialize in the services they offer. If you’re shopping for condos in a particular neighbourhood, research Realtors® who have a strong record of condo sales in that area. Experience will give them the knowledge they need to advise you throughout your home search and purchase. The right Realtor® can be the difference between a strong, successful offer, and an offer that gets rejected.
Our team specializes in residential homes and condos. We have clients from Orleans to Stittsville, but concentrate our expertise in the Riverside South and Barrhaven areas. Our understanding of the nuances and pecularities of the neighborhood helps us advise you on everything from list price and school zones, to weather impacts and traffic patterns. Dana, a former engineer, is the perfect person to ask about concerns such as foundations, HVAC, roofs, or drainage. Rachel, a former social worker, is an expert at addressing the human element in real estate sales: what does your family need for your particular situation? Chris, our dedicated buyer's agent, is a master at helping you narrow down your list of wants and needs to find the perfect property. We pool our expertise to help our clients find the right home, wherever it may be in Ottawa.
- Stick to your budget. Nothing creates buyer remorse like overextending your budget to be highest bidder on a property. Financial hardship and the toll it takes on a family isn’t worth it. Rather than become “house poor” through a tense multiple offer scenario, go into your home search with a firm budget in mind. An honest and ethical Realtor® will work within your budget, and never advise you to take on a larger mortgage than you can handle.
Shopping in a sellers’ market may be a discouraging process for some buyers, and it may take longer than you’d like to find the right home for the right price, but it is possible to become a happy homeowner when all is said and done. Give yourself the best advantage by doing your research, acknowledging your limitations, and partnering with the right Realtor®.
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