The Spring Market starts at several different times. For some sellers chomping at the bit to list their home, that day is January 2. Holidays are over, it's time to sell. For some buyers and sellers, it's really after the Super Bowl. No more things occupying your Sundays? Why not go look at houses? And for the rest of the world, it's when the weather breaks.
Sometimes I feel like part Realtor ® part weathergirl, but this business is definitely tied to the weather. It's been cold but we're hoping that little Groundhog was right and spring is on the way! Like, soon.
The litmus test I have thus far of this market is that it's not only competitive still for buyers, it's clearly also competitive for agents. There don't seem to be as many people looking for homes as there were at this time last year, and the few people who are out there looking are getting sucked into vortexes. Allow me to explain.
We've had several buyers contact us to discuss the market and possibly buying at some point in late spring or summer, only to then go to an open house a few days later and end up writing an offer right there. I have to laugh because it's the listing agent's dream to have someone come in to an open house and just write an offer. How easy! How exciting! How....fast. But to know that several people have done this? It seems, suspect.
Upon further contact, I'm hearing the same story - and multiple times from different, unrelated people. "We walked into an open house, decided we loved it and the agent said it was going to go fast and we better move quick. So we decided we better get our offer in and they wrote it up right there."
Uhhh.....seriously? I call it the Wedding Dress Debacle.
That's my beautiful, perfect, "second choice" wedding dress.
First, I'm a firm believer that people should not buy the first house the see any more than they should marry the first person they date or buy the first wedding dress they try on. (Yes, I did this, and yes, it was a beautiful dress but then I kept wondering if there was something better out there and then I couldn't stop looking at wedding dresses.) But okay, maybe I just need to do more research than the average person with my major life decisions. And maybe I'm more of a "second guesser." (Ask the hubs - he'll say yes.)
Second, is it really that bad out there that agents are aggressively encouraging people to write offers right away and not even contact the agent they have representing them? It's kind of an interesting situation, and I'm critical of other agents when I hear stories like this - multiple times now in a matter of weeks - because it's not how it should be. Our job is to find people the right house, not to stick them into any house just to make the money and move on to the next deal. That's not being aggressive, it's being disingenuous and self-serving. But then, I'm not an agent who is all about lining my pocket. I don't want people to have second thoughts, so I make sure we do our due diligence and that includes looking at any house that may be an option and ruling out before making a final decision. Just like finding a mate, and just like finding a wedding dress.
Because sometimes the excitement of a home, the perfection of the staging, and fear of someone else getting the house is enough to encourage someone to buy a home. And those are all the wrong reasons for doing so.
Melissa has been in the Real Estate Industry for 15 years and is a Realtor® with City Chic Real Estate in Washington, D.C.