First, it’s important to remember that we don’t have just one market in Santa Clara County, San Jose or even Los Gatos. We have a patchwork quilt of markets that are moved by price point, home condition, school districts and school scores, and many more things. An entry level house is always going to be a different market than a luxury estate – but all the shades of gray in between are equally distinct, too.
Once you can look at your particular segment of the market and identify it as such, you can then run the numbers. But beware, it’s too easy to miss a step here. If you’ve got a house worth $1.5 million in Almaden valley with Pioneer high school, please don’t compare it to a $1.5 million home in Almaden Valley with Leland High School. The price point and zip code may be the same, but after that you are in a different land. So drill down to your home (or your desired home’s market).
Next, realize that while there is a softening or cooling of the market, this isn’t a 180 reversal. Sellers, if you thought you’d get 5-8 offers, you may find that your house gets 2 or 3 or 4. That’s still good! Buyers, things are better, but don’t get too cocky – you are still unlikely to be the only bidder, so go in with your strongest package and your best foot forward. And always analyze the market before you bid. Some homes are priced unrealistically high, some unrealistically low, and some on target.
Contingent offers are back! I have done a few sales subject to the sale of another home this year. As long as the home that needs to be sold is priced well and marketed well, this can work. Sellers still want top dollar, so if that means waiting an extra 2-3 weeks for your home to sell, they’ll do it. I’ve seen contingent offers beat out regular offers because the whole package was just stronger.
Lastly, what I’m seeing is seasonally normal. This is not a market crash, only a slight softening.
Some sellers will think that they should wait until next spring to sell.
Some buyers will think that if they wait a year, prices will be far lower.
But for many, trying to “time the market” with real estate is as hard, or maybe harder, than trying to time the stock market. I tell my clients who are looking to buy to keep looking and if the right home comes along, go for it. If a seller needs or wants to sell, do it now. We don’t know when we’ll have the next earthquake, next terrorist attack, next economic crisis. None of us has a crystal ball, and we cannot ever guarantee that tomorrow will be better than today. I’ve been selling homes long enough to know better than to tell people to wait if they are ready now. There are always things out of our control, just around the corner, that we don’t know about.
Please call or email me if you’d like to chat about selling or buying a home in Santa Clara County.