What is a Buyer’s Market Anyway?

J Philip Faranda November 20, 2009

Now is a great time to buy real estate. I was quoted 3.75% on a 7/1 ARM today (great if you are putting a lot down and plan to move in 5 years or less), and 30 year fixed are getting deliciously close to 5%. The high inventory and low prices are all in the buyer’s favor. I see homes off 25-30% from their peak in some very nice areas, and even more in some parts. Sellers want to make a deal too, and I am seeing them do things they never would have done even 2 years ago: include furniture, help with closing costs, eating the difference in low appraisals, and even agree to significant repairs. All this points to a strong buyer’s market. 

Yet some buyers are frustrated. Why? Because all this talk in the media has them thinking that if they offer $400,000 on a gorgeous $500,000 home in a prime location that the seller will fall down and kiss their feet! Worse, when someone outbids them for that gorgeous, well appointed home in a prime location they are perplexed! Prices are down 50% in Shamokin! I should be able to get something in White Plains or Scarsdale for 25% off! Isn’t a buyer’s market a license to steal?

 

Of course it isn’t. A buyer’s market isn’t a flea market. That $500,000 house was selling for $650,000 4 years ago. That’s your discount. If I am your buyer agent, you might get it for $460,000 or $475,000. And the seller may throw in the deck furniture, the snow blower and the breakfront you liked. But a market, by its very definition, is not where theft occurs. It is only a good deal if the seller goes for it. And until we are able to hypnotize the seller, their agent, their lawyer and Uncle Vinny, you aren’t gonna raid the neighborhood like an invading Visigoth. 

Moreover, in those perplexing cases where you are outbid, you have to understand that if you adore a fantastic place that is aggressively priced, then someone else will probably love it too! Hot properties still have a larger audience. So happy househunting for you brave, smart people out there actually looking in earnest, and do remember that a buyer’s market is distinct from a hold up.  

 

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