Is it too early in the season to be house hunting in Silicon Valley?

Photo of ranch style house with the question - Is it too early to begin house huntingIt’s a January that feels like March, if a dry one.  The weather is clear, mild, and temps are sixty to seventy degrees, the skies are blue and trees are beginning to blossom – a great environment for house hunting. Is it too early in the season to begin your search for the right home in Silicon Valley?

Each prospective home owner’s situation is different, but for many people, January is a great time to jump in with house hunting, before the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day or some other point a little later in the calendar year.

Weather, Inventory, Interest Rates and Silicon Valley house hunting

First, to note the obvious: there is no weather related reason to wait. (Sellers: pay attention!)

Second, let’s discuss selection. Inventory is horribly low (see the inventory data table in my 2020 predictions article). Most people expect the number of available listings to be higher in Spring.  Seasoned Realtors know that while this often happens, it doesn’t always, so we cannot count on it. (Check the Santa Clara County monthly real estate statistics here.)

How bad is it?  I’m on the MLS right now.  For single family homes (houses and duet homes) in Santa Clara County, there are 411 for sale right this moment which are not sale pending or under contract. This is for the whole county, where there are 1.8 million people residing.

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Writing a good purchase contract takes time

Why is there so much paperwork required?With the crazy low inventory and high buyer demand in Silicon Valley today, it’s more important than ever to write a thoughtful, clean offer so that you do not lose out in multiple offer situations.  When I am on the receiving end, that is, when I’m the listing agent on a house or home which gets lots of bids, it’s easy to eliminate some offers quickly. Don’t let it happen to you!

What can make your offer not have much of a chance of acceptance or even for receiving a counter offer?  Price is always a big deal, and so are the main terms around issues like repairs, time frames and of course the amount or percentage of cash down payment.  But you might be surprised at the little things that sloppy buyers and their agents do wrong. They can be tie breakers, so don’t undervalue them.  Here’s a quick list:

  1. Not including a pre approval letter
  2. Not including a copy of the initial deposit check
  3. Not making the initial deposit for a full 3%
  4. Not pulling the disclosures before drafting the contract (more…)