Getting A Good Deal — in this Market?!

Finding a Good Deal?Getting a good deal starts with being the only offer.

In today’s wild seller’s market, Silicon Valley’s hottest homes are sometimes seeing 18-20 offers, sometimes more. For homeowners, it has been a fantastic year to sell real estate. Even a distressed property or one with multiple issues, when marketed appropriately, can receive multiple offers and fetch a good price.

Good listing agents will do their best to create the right conditions to encourage as many offers as possible so that their seller can get the best price and terms for their home. This high-volume competition for homes, known as a bidding war, is great news for sellers and tough on buyers.

Needless to say, it’s not a great market for deal-seekers. Most buyers are loosing out on multiple homes before they are able to buy. Some feel hopeless watching the prices rise and choose to give up the search. Even buyers who are bidding at or over where a listing comps out often loose to higher offers with no contingencies!

No one wants to overpay for a home, but in this market it can sometimes feel like the only option.

So what’s a buyer to do? Here are my tips for home-seekers looking for a good deal in Silicon Valley’s hot housing market today.

Before you Buy

The first step is to understand that a good deal today is not the same thing as a good deal 5 years ago. It’s not even the same as last month or last week! Setting expectations based on the current market is key. Our monthly market reports are a useful tool to begin tracking these trends while you house hunt!

In the kind of raging hot seller’s market we’re seeing, yesterday’s news really is yesterday’s news. While the comps from last week’s sales might give an idea about market value, it isn’t today’s market value. Pent up demand and not enough inventory is having a strong impact on activity.

Think of it this way: if 15 people lost out on the last house that was available in a neighborhood, there’s a good chance many of them will be bidding on the next one and willing to offer more! This can be a hard pill to swallow. A good Realtor will help buyers understand the similar comparable sales, the trends, and the activity of a specific property to gauge where a home is likely to sell and how to make a successful offer.

The market is always fluctuating (watch the weekly updates on my Altos market report), but this year we’ve been seeing market activity like we haven’t seen since 2017 – it just keeps ramping up! Keep the trajectory of the market in mind and adjust your expectations to match it.

Finding A Good Deal Today

The #1 rule is that a good deal starts with being an only offer. Everything else comes from this rule!

The house that the bidders rejected.

Bargain buyers, avoid the hottest freshest listings! Instead, look at homes that have been on the market for longer than 14 days.

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Is buying a home in late fall or winter a good idea, or is it better to wait until spring?

Home Buying In Silicon ValleyFirst time home buyers in Silicon Valley and folks relocating from out of the San Francisco Bay Area often ask me if buying a home in late fall or winter is a good idea, or if it would be  better to wait until spring, when there’s presumably more inventory. We sell a good number of homes year-round here, thanks to our sub-tropical climate.  This is true even when we get a whole lot of rain.

The real estate market is a little different each year, but there are some general trends – you just cannot count on them, that’s all!  Here are some “usually” situations, but please know that this may or may not apply the year you want to purchase a property!

  • Usually we see the most inventory in summer (followed by spring)
  • Usually we see the least inventory in winter (especially between about Thanksgiving and the Superbowl)
  • Prices are normally softest in winter – closings in January (sales in December) tend to be the lowest
  • Interest rates on mortgages or loans are normally at their lowest during the winter (it’s supply and demand related)

If you want a better deal, shop in the late fall and winter.  If you want more selection, shop in spring and summer (but it will often cost more!). It is up to you!

What I normally tell my clients is this:  buy the home you want to live in, when you’re ready, regardless of the time of year. If you can find what you like now, buy it! We never know what the coming year will bring, but right now, it’s expected that prices will rise in 2019.

See what’s currently for sale in Santa Clara County on the map below: