Buyer Craziness

Trying to get my mind around the current state of the Ann Arbor residential real estate market.

The market has gone nutty – crazy. Frantic.

There are still some dated or overpriced (or combo of both) houses that are languishing on the market, that is for certain.

However, any new listings that have been well kept, and are priced right, are getting good showing volumes and, often, getting multiple offers within days of going on market.

The result is a market where buyers are frantically combing the internet, driving though subdivisions of choice hoping they’ve missed something, and turning Buyer’s agents into paramedic / ninjas, where the moment the whiff of a new house hits the air, there is a mad scramble to get in immediately, before the throngs of rabid buyers.

What’s going on??? I know it doesn’t have to do with people smoking bath salt. That merely turns them into face-eating zombies.

What I believe is happening is this:

The market here in Ann Arbor has finally begun to show a slow but insistent uptick in home sales values. There is a LARGE group of buyers – both the usual group of transient university and tech associated folks AND locals ready for a home change — who have decided the time is right to buy again.

However, there are a LOT of homes here that were bought between 2000 and 2008. Homes where the owners have realized a big loss in home value. And they don’t HAVE to move, even if they might WANT to. They also see that the market has stabilized, but the value they lost in those years means they will lose money on their investment, and they are therefore staying put.

So we have a significant EXCESS of buyers to

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sellers, causing the current kerfuffle.

This is a good situation for people who need or want to sell now.

One potential problem that arises out of this “Buyer Frenzy” I experienced firsthand.

I am selling a VERY cute home for some friends in the $200-$300k pricepoint.

They did a great job of getting their home staged, and we had multiple offers the first day the public had a chance to see it.

We had full price (plus) offers.

The problem was that the buyers were willing to pay more than the market value — which was discovered when the buyer’s lender’s appraiser appraised it for nearly $15k less than the offer price. And the appraiser was right. We all knew it.

Buyers have become so frantic to lock a house down that they are willing to write an offer beyond what the market really SHOULD bear.

What does that teach me?

That buyers need to evaluate HOW BADLY they NEED the home.

I got in trouble with a recent buyer I was working with.

I preach, as much as possible, that Buyers should take a CALM, reasoned approach to the purchase, and try, as much as possible to stay “detached”.

It is getting harder to get buyers to maintain such cool-headedness as they watch houses fly off the market in hours.

It requires a very clear message to your buyers: If you’re gonna be mad at yourself (or me) if you don’t get this house, be prepared to go over asking price with your offer. Its not ideal, but we’re not in 2009 anymore.

But please, try to remain calm?

I do believe the incident I experienced with the appraiser harkens back to the zany bubble days, and we should take the mentality of the appraiser and not the bath-salt crazed zombieinto our home-buying

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decision processes.

But don’t get your face bitten off either

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