How Long Does it Take to Tour a Home?
If you are a first time home buyer, you may wonder how much time it takes to tour a home. Really, it depends on two things:
- Your level of interest in the home
- The size of the property
If you don’t like a home in the first few minutes, the tour may only take ten minutes, if that. It may take twenty to thirty minutes to tour an average sized Bristow or Gainesville townhouse, when you are interested and checking things out. By contrast, forty-five minutes in a four bedroom single family home with three finished levels seems to be the right amount of time for an interested buyer. Add in a pandemic and many sellers not wanting to allow overlapping showings, and sometimes you are touring a single family home in fifteen minutes. That’s because that is the only time frame available, or the listing agent is only allowing fifteen minute showings to let in as many buyers as possible.
I have been known to book two back to back fifteen minute showing times to accommodate my buyers. Sometimes, I don’t have a choice and my buyers just have to roll with a fifteen minute showing window. You do what you have to do to see a home these days.
What is crazy is to think that you probably spend more time grocery shopping. You definitely spend more time picking out a new car. And I know the ladies out there can spend hours shopping for the perfect outfit for a special event. Why does a house tour take so little time?
Being in a home the major things buyers look for is the feel of the layout. Does the floor plan work for their daily lives and have the space they need? They look at the privacy of the lot and determine if it is satisfactory. Are the finishes pleasing? The reality is that, by the time a buyer is touring a home, location has been determined along with some key components the buyers want or need.
The home inspection, which takes anywhere from two to four hours depending on the size of the home and the process of the individual inspector, is where buyers really get an in-depth look at the home they are purchasing. Unfortunately, in the 2021 seller’s market, many buyers are having to forego a home inspection just to get under contract. That’s frightening, since this is when buyers get the “test drive,” so to speak.
If you are looking to purchase in Gainesville, Bristow or the surrounding areas this year, make sure you have a full-time, experienced professional looking out for your best interests. It’s a tough market with a lot of potential pitfalls. Representation is the only way to go.
Are Buyers Over Paying for Houses Right Now?
In the Bristow/Gainesville first quarter real estate market of 2021, we’re picking up where 2020 left off. Sellers are in the driver’s seat due to extremely low inventory and intense buyer demand. In fact, it’s crazier right now than it was in 2020.
A townhouse or single family home can sell for well above a reasonable list price after dozens of offers. Sadly, some listing agents are advising sellers to under price homes to open the market up to more buyers. The reality of that move is not good. You just disappoint those buyers in lower price ranges.
Buyers tend to get list prices stuck in their heads as absolutes. Sort of like buying something off the shelf at Target. It says the price is this, so that’s the price. Not in house hunting. It’s more like an eBay auction for a hard to find item around the holidays. The bidding between interested buyers can drastically increase the price.
Does that mean that buyers are over paying for homes right now? Considering that the sale of every home becomes the most recent comparable sale for other homes in the neighborhood, no. There is no such thing as over paying in this market. Just like there is no such thing as a “deal.” You get something below market value, well, your sale just affected market value and brought down neighborhood values. It’s all relative and no real estate sale occurs in a bubble.
Do buyers need to be concerned about prices coming down in the future? I don’t know if they need to be concerned about it, but prices don’t always go up. What goes up, must come down. There are always options available if you find yourself upside down and unable to sell in five years or more. At today’s super low interest rates, most mortgage payments can be easily covered by the going monthly rental rates. And of course, higher down payment buyers may never been upside down.
The reason to buy a home is stability and control over your living situation. Yes, your home is a investment as well. Sometimes, however, the money you make is money saved on taxes due to the mortgage interest deduction. Or not having to spend money moving every year or two because you landlord is not renewing your lease.
Want to discuss a purchase in the 2021 market and how it may affect you in the future? Get in touch with me and let’s see if a purchase now makes sense for you.
Let’s Talk About Ugly Kitchens
Last week I helped buyer-clients make an offer on a three level garage townhouse in Bristow with their dream kitchen. Granite in tones of white with gray veins, white cabinets with soft close doors and drawers and stainless steel appliances. What’s not to love, right? The problem with this townhouse is that it was under priced by at LEAST twenty-thousand dollars. My guess is the townhouse will sell for thirty or thirty-five thousand more than list price.
My buyers, and probably a lot of others, fell into the trap this gorgeous kitchen laid out with its unbelievably low list price. It was too good to be true. The dream kitchen is often where many first time buyers get heartbroken, or have unreasonable expectations in creating. There is no more lowballing an ugly kitchen.
As I write this post, we are in the second month of 2021 and the Bristow/Gainesville real estate market is growing ever more difficult for buyers. Now, even in the first time buyer price ranges, which are becoming rapidly unaffordable, buyers in multiple offer scenarios are going in with ZERO contingencies. No financing contingency. No appraisal contingency. And no inspection contingency. What’s a buyer to do?
This is where ugly kitchens come in. See the kitchen pictured above. My home seller got some crappy low offers because this kitchen “needed” to be replaced. Mind you, everything in the kitchen worked just fine and it was priced well below the cost of renovating it. Over the course of a week, one buyer saw that this kitchen was priced for what it was and snapped it up with a full price offer.
Ugly kitchens work just fine. And just because you buy a home with an ugly kitchen doesn’t mean it has to be renovated or updated right away. We are living in unprecedented times. Saving money should be top of everyone’s priority list. You never know when you may need to go a few months without a paycheck. It kills me to hear first time buyers talk of what “needs” to be done in prioritizing cosmetic updates at a time when a home with a basic, ugly kitchen is becoming unaffordable.
Remember when you bought your first car? You didn’t wait to buy a car because you wanted a Porsche or a Ferrari. And new drivers right now aren’t turning up their noses at cars that aren’t Teslas….or at least I sure hope they aren’t. A car, no matter how outdated, represented freedom.
Our society, thanks to any number of home improvement “reality” shows has become focused on the latest and greatest trends in kitchens and bathrooms. Home owners, or soon to be home owners are left to feel they are nothing without these updates. What happened to just loving a home because it was your very first one?
The kitchen in the first property I purchased still is ingrained in my memory. It had white laminate counter tops, was a galley configuration, had no microwave but had a small refrigerator and a dishwasher that I had to roll out and hook up to the faucet. Talk about outdated! And that was outdated in 1996!!! I still miss that kitchen. Why? It was my very first kitchen in my very property that I OWNED. It was luxury to me because it had a gas range. And when I updated it, I put in a new refrigerator and a space saver CD player under the basic white cabinets. There was no granite. No tile back splash. And forget stainless steel appliances.
The price ranges in Bristow/Gainesville are rising so rapidly that dream kitchens are becoming out of reach. Don’t let that deter you from buying an ugly kitchen. Cook a few meals in it, in your very own home, and you may feel differently about it. You shouldn’t have to spend every penny of your savings to keep up with the reality TV trends. Maybe you can do an inexpensive renovation with a can of paint on the cabinets. An ugly kitchen that is yours is still better than a dream kitchen in a rental.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Right now I have that Tom Petty song playing in my head.
♫♫ The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part ♫♫
On Friday a buyer client of mine submitted a STRONG offer on a property in Gainesville. This is her fifth offer in six weeks. She is determined to find a home. Thankfully, we have found five homes to date that would work for her. These particular sellers were going to review offers tonight, Monday. That’s a long time to wait, but what choice do we have?
Each offer scenario has involved a torturous waiting game while the Listing Agents collect offers. Inevitably, even the two of the four previous that said they would present offers as they received them, well, misrepresented reality. They collected multiple offers. Hard to blame them. If my buyer were a seller, she would probably want to do the same thing, but be honest about it for goodness sake!
Most times we get to know when sellers are reviewing offers. Rarely, do we as Buyer’s Agents get a call to let us know if the offer was rejected. Usually, it is a canned email from the Listing Agent.
The encouraging indicator today was that I received a call from the Listing Agent who told us she really liked the offer, but it was lacking in a particular area. My buyer, for the first time in five offers has made it to the final round of best offers. Waiting to hear if she has been accepted is maddening.
Wait…my phone is ringing….it’s the Listing Agent.
MY CLIENT GOT THE HOUSE!!!
Looks like all I had to do was start a blog post about this. Success at last! Time to change my tune. I’m going back to my 80’s roots and going with Kool and the Gang “Celebration.”