Where are all the sellers? The big issue in Boston area real estate is inventory. There are not enough houses for sale.
We have a stalemate about inventory here. These are the factors:
- Empty-nesters are staying longer in their houses. This is a demographic and cultural shift. They are holding on to their houses, partly because of personal choices and partly because they cannot find right-sized housing to retire into. This trend is limiting the number of trade-up properties available for people seeking bigger properties.
- Trade-up buyers cannot find the houses to move up into. Therefore, their condos are not available for the empty-nesters to move into.
- Investors have flooded into the market alongside buyers of primary residences. They are trying to profit from the suddenly rising price wave. Many are paying cash, without home inspections. This behavior has furthered the inventory crunch and left the typical buyer at a disadvantage. Real estate investors have added to the demand side of supply vs. demand.
Sellers want buyers who can buy without contingencies. Homeowners looking to sell their current home can’t get an offer accepted on their next place, if they can’t cover both mortgages. See how this resembles a Mexican Standoff? Everyone is making it harder for themselves as well as everyone else.
As buyer’s agents, we want more home owners to sell! It is a great time to sell. Prices are pretty near peak.
Encouragement for sellers who want to buy something else:
Because sellers have the upper hand in the current market, there are things you can do to make your transition easier.
- Use your advantage to get good terms of sale. Because you have the upper hand, ask for enough time to find what you want to buy. Ask for a long closing period or a chance to live in the house after closing for some number of months.
- Arrange to buy without needing your current place to sell, if you can. In this market, most properties sell quickly. If you have enough income and down payment, you can use it to ease this process.
- Hire a listing agent who can really take care of your needs. Because the seller’s side of the market is at an advantage, there are a lot of unskilled agents succeeding. Because we buyers’ agents face listing agents every day, we know which ones have skills and which ones don’t. The good listing agents will advise you on staging, security, as well as price. We can help you pick!