- I spent weeks chatting with realtors across the country about the chaotic market.
- They shared their top tips on what to know up front and how to win a bidding war.
- I found four things to remember, one of which is that buying too quickly can lead to regrets.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Last year, during the first weeks of the pandemic shutdowns, it was heartwarming to indulge in a fantasy: a house with more space and maybe even its own backyard.
This life, which previously seemed inaccessible to many urban millennials like me, is suddenly within reach. The pandemic has made anywhere work the norm, not the exception. And those of us who were fortunate enough to have kept our jobs during a time of economic uncertainty for many Americans were able to save money for the first time in our adulthood, helped by checks. stimulus and, frankly, nothing to spend the money on.
All of a sudden, this fantasy seemed more like a possibility, and many millennials decided to take the plunge. Combined with existing homeowners looking to upgrade or expand, or simply take advantage of low interest rates, the US real estate market has become a wild grab, with buyers hoping to snatch homes amid soaring prices.
Read more: Should I buy a house now? Here are the 5 things you need to know before diving into the bonkers real estate market.
To find out more about the market – and perhaps, selfishly, to understand the situation in case I wanted to explore the process on my own – I turned to eight realtors who work in markets across the country to answer. to questions such as what potential buyers should know before entering the process, how to win a bidding war, and what other buyers are looking for in a home right now.
Here are my biggest takeaways after spending three weeks learning from the country’s realtors:
Try not to fall in love with every house you see.
Given the competitive state of the market, the process of buying a home can have emotional consequences.
Glen Clemmons, real estate broker and agent for Costello Real Estate and Investments in North Carolina, said that in certain situations, he and his clients ended up feeling “beaten”.
âI had a client who wrote 15 offers before they finally got one, and it’s exhausting,â he said.
Clemmons said his clients go to multiple screenings, submit multiple offers, and generally go through “the emotional roller coaster of” Shall we get this one? “”
âWhat I would say is check your heart when you walk through a house,â he added. “[Going to a showing is] not a guarantee that you are going to get it. Do your best and be patient. ”
Know that you can always fix the ugly.
Mary Pope-Handy, a Sereno Company agent in Northern California and blogger who written about real estate in Silicon Valley, told Insider she saw many first-time homebuyers who continued to be excluded from competitive bidding wars. While many of her clients are looking for a home ready to move in, that is not always an option.
She advises these buyers to look for a home that has been on the market for a while, as it is less likely to be competitive. But with that advice comes a caveat: The types of homes that have been for sale for a month or more, especially given the current state of the market, usually have something wrong with them. It might be priced too high or just plain ugly.
âYou can fix lousy,â she said. “I would always pick the lousy house, with the walls in the right places, in the right location, and then fix the ugly house over time.”
Don’t ignore the condo market.
For some buyers, condos are not as attractive an option as a free-standing home, especially during the pandemic, said Sean Waeiss, broker and owner of Wise Property Group in Austin.
Condos aren’t always what people think of as their first home since they are grouped together and don’t always have their own outdoor space. From an investment standpoint, too, a condo is unlikely to gain in value like a single-family home. âIt’s the canary in the coal mine. With times of recession and stuff like that, it’s the first to get hurt and it’s the last to recover,â he said.
But a condo could also be the perfect option for a young buyer, especially one who continues to outbid single-family homes, Waeiss said. Demand, at least in Austin, is significantly lower than supply, and condos are typically located in urban centers where it is possible to walk to shops, bars, restaurants, and even the office – a convenience. key now that cities in the United States are reopening.
âI think Americans by nature have short-term memories,â he said. âWhen the majority of the country is vaccinated and events happen, concerts are held regularly and restaurants are operating at full capacityâ¦ I think there is going to be this increased demand in those dense condo areas downtown. ”
Don’t buy a house just to own âsomethingâ.
Nadine Pierre, real estate agent with Allison James Estates & Homes in South Florida, said she was putting the ads on the market at 8 a.m. and by 5 p.m. she would already have 20 offers. In an effort to increase inventory, she has sent letters to neighborhoods that her customers are looking at in hopes of finding a “dormant vendor.”
Clemmons said some of his buyers have started bidding on “upcoming” announcements without having seen the light of day.
But a recent Bankrate poll found that 64% of millennial homeowners regret buying their current home, mostly due to unforeseen costs. Most said that the maintenance and other costs were too high, that their house was in a bad location, or that they had bought a house that was too big or too small for them.
Scott Trench, CEO of Real Estate Investment Resource Bigger pockets, recently told Insider’s Taylor Borden that buyers should think twice before trying to buy a home right now.
“Frantically trying to buy ‘something’ is a great way to make a bad buy,” he said.