It is a hot real estate market on the Paradise Coast. Folks are moving to Florida at a rate of about 1,000 per day, and many are finding their way to the Gulf Coast. Home sales are way up, but that means, according to local news sources, the Spring 2021 real estate market has almost 60% fewer single-family houses available than it did a year ago and inventory is down almost 50% overall over 2020. For buyers, this means you are dealing with a seller's market. Other signs that it's a hot market, you may make 8 offers on 8 different homes and lose them all. Do not give up or put in a desperation bid. Bidding too much on a home you like, or making an offer on a home you don't, will leave you feeling sour. There's always renting, but right now, that market is competitive, too. In the meantime, here are seven tips for sanely navigating this Naples seller's market:
1. Browse and browse again
Get a feel for what's available by frequently checking out a few local real estate websites for new listings. This onscreen education will give you a grip on the market without the stress of feeling compelled to put an offer in on a property. If you're a good internet researcher, dig around for reconnaissance on different neighborhoods and school districts. At Olde Cypress, we showcase all of the availability homes within the community under the REAL ESTATE tab. Click HERE to view.
2. Hire an experienced agent
In a scorching real estate market, buyer's need an agent with the following experience and characteristics: skilled negotiator when it's time to put in an offer that stands out; local insider who has connections and relationships that provide intel on listings before they hit the market; a winner who has a proven record of getting buyer's the homes they want. Interview more than one agent and ask them how they'll help you find a home that's the right fit and get in a bid that matters. Don't skimp on checking references from recent and past clients.
3. Determine what's non-negotiable
Some homes will be turn-key, but others will be dated and in need of some work. If you know that tackling a renovation is not in your wheelhouse, stick with properties that look updated and well maintained. If you have creative vision and don't mind powering through a home makeover, you may have more homes to choose from in a hot market, and less bidding competitors. Some home descriptors can't be altered such as being a corner lot on a busy street, or having a yard that backs up to a commercial zone. If something worries you now, it may only get worse with time.
4. Check your financial status
Kind of like a TSA pre-check for frequent fliers, potential home buyers can get a mortgage preapproval. More homework for you: talk to many mortgage brokers or lenders and compare rates. Ask your agent for names of lenders they've worked with recently that will follow through with a quick closing. Remember, in a toasty hot market, you'll need a mortgage partner who is known for quick loan closes and fulfilling promises.
5. Try for a pre-inspection
Let's say you found a home to purchase. Some sellers will allow you to send an inspector in before you put in an offer. Keep in mind that in this type of market, a seller will be stubborn about repairing little problems. If you do a pre-inspection, you can make an offer sans inspection contingency. Of note: in a hot market, many sellers will set one day for receiving offers, providing buyers with time to get pre-inspections and put together bids.
6. Cautiously waive other contingencies
A seller in a hot market is not going to take your offer seriously if you have to sell your home in New Jersey, Minnesota, or wherever first. That's not their problem. What you can do to help woo a seller is getting a mortgage that waives the financing contingency. Be careful, though: if your lender backs out, you are forfeiting your deposit to the seller. Contingencies protect your rights and your money, so treat them judiciously.
7. Make your offer—fast
If you've done all your homework and pinpointed a dreamy home in a wonderful neighborhood, like The Club at Olde Cypress, have your agent find out what the seller's expected closing time is and see if you can beat it. This may put you in front of the offer line if the seller is ready to move speedily. Let's hope they had an easier time figuring out where they are going to live than you did!