Tag Archives: #sellersmarket

Buyers Are Regaining Negotiating Power

If you’re thinking about buying a home today, here’s some welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate now than even earlier this year. The days of feeling like you need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.

Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that kept you on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.

1. The Return of Contingencies

Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.

The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. A recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study: 95% of sellers reported that buyers requested a home inspection, while 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection.

All of our recent sales have included home inspections.

2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs

Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon to see buyers ask sellers to help with some of their closing costs. This didn’t happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.

Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com that uses the results of a national survey suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be an option available to you when you purchase a home, although we have not experienced it yet with any of our recent clients.

Bottom Line

The extremely competitive housing market of the past few years seems to be easing a bit. The data suggests that the days of over the top offers with no contingencies are waning and sellers now have to negotiate with buyers. This is good news if you’re planning to enter the housing market.

For more information about buying or selling, please request our Fall Guides. The video below explains what you can learn.

…and to find out how the market is shifting, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you the latest data, as well as our recent experience as sellers and buyers ourselves.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think

When we decided earlier this year to sell our home and downsize, we faced the immediate decision about how much work needed to be done to get the place market ready.

While no one would accuse us of being “house people,” we’ve taken pretty good care of our home over the years. Mari re-designed the kitchen three years ago. Last year, when our service technician told us that he wasn’t going to waste our money or his time and declined to do annual maintenance, we replaced our furnace and water heater. The roof has been an on-going project for us. The oldest sections are 10 years old.

Those are probably the three big items on a buyer’s check list, so that left smaller projects to complete. As a result, we had our home ready to sell in about a month, typical of most recent sellers.

According to a survey from realtor.com: “With many homeowners expecting a quick sale, and in many cases a lack of contingencies, the preparation process took less than a month for over 50% of home sellers…with 20% completing it in less than two weeks.”

Of course, each situation is different, and knowing what repairs or updates your house needs to stand out is critical.

In today’s market an older furnace or roof is not necessarily a draw back. But, if a home inspection discovers a tag on your furnace from your service technician that says “needs to be replaced,” you can probably expect your potential buyer to ask for money off the final purchase price.

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

To see some of what we did, please check out this episode from our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube channel. (Our home quickly went under contract after two busy Open Houses.)

Curious about your options, but maybe a little worried about the time it’ll take to get your home ready? Let’s connect to 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re more than happy to answer your questions.

Remember: we’re selling and buying, too.

Have a great week!

Mari and Hank

Balancing Wants vs. Needs

Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent.”

So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s too far out of reach.

Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, garage, etc.).
  • Dream State– This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, review it with trusted real estate advisors like Mari Sennott Plus, who live and work on Cape Cod. Engaging your uncle’s best friend’s son who lives north of Boston and just got his license is not necessarily the best move.

As local realtors, we’ll be able to help you refine your list further based on our market; coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home on Cape that meets your needs.

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so we can get started.

With spring cleaning comes a stack of important documents that you probably shouldn’t put in the trash or recycle. But, what to to? We have the answer.

We’ll have a truck from Great White Shred available from 9:00am to Noon in the parking lot of Today Real Estate, 299 Cotuit Rd., on Saturday, May 7, for you to safely dispose of your important documents. With identity theft being a major concern, please take advantage of this opportunity.

We hope the Easter Bunny is good to you!

Mari and Hank

Why Is the Housing Supply Still So Low?

The one question that’s top of mind for homebuyers as we start the new year is: why is it still so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we’re in the ultimate sellers’ market, so real estate is ultra-competitive  right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, it’s a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here’s a look at two reasons why today’s supply is low and what that means if you’re looking to buy.

1. New Home Construction Has Fallen Behind Demand

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven’t been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit before the pandemic started.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

2. The Pandemic’s Impact on the Housing Market

The pandemic fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, learn, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates and secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. But, at the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. On Cape Cod, the supply of available homes last month was 53% less than it was at the same time in 2020.

We ended the year with 14.7% fewer single family home sales in 2021 than 2020. (4,192 vs. 4,915). Median sales prices were up 26.6% over the same period. ($510,000 vs. 619,950).

Condominiums saw an 8.2% drop in sales (1,202 vs 1,104) and a 10.1% increase in median sales price. ($345,000 vs. $380,000).

What Does All of This Mean for You?

Buyers need to remember that low inventory doesn’t mean no inventory. If you want to find the home of your dreams, be sure that you’re pre-approved, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, and have your home on the market if you need to sell it. (You just won’t be able to compete with buyers who are offering large down payments or paying cash, if you home isn’t even being marketed.)

There is also some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market to take advantage of high returns on their investment or finally deciding that it’s time to get on with their lives.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective: “For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, be right to jump on it right away.”

Today’s market is favoring sellers. If you have questions, we’d be happy to provide answers. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. You need the right information to make an educated and informed decision about buying or selling in the year ahead.

Have a great week.

Mari and Hank

The Right Time to Sell Your Home

When Is the Right Time To Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide when to list your house, the time is now. There are plenty of buyers eagerly waiting for your home to hit the market. Just this morning, one of our colleagues at our office team meeting reported 120 buyers attending her weekend open houses!
  • The latest data indicates home showings are rising after a holiday lull. There are more buyers than homes for sale right now. That means you’ll likely receive multiple offers, and your home won’t be on the market long. But, as of now, those over asking price offers don’t seem to be as head scratching as they were back in the summer.

For more information about the market here on Cape, please check out this video that we posted at the end of last week on our YouTube channel, Mari Sennott Plus.

Today’s market favors sellers. If you have questions, we’d be happy to provide answers. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discus your options. You need the right information to make an educated and informed decision about buying or selling in the year ahead.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank

Four Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

The housing market keeps sailing along at a breathtaking pace. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March 2020. As we shared with you last week, the number of homes here on Cape Cod is significantly less when compared to last year, as well.

The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to become available. However, many homeowners are worried that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.

Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified those concerns, in addition to what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.

1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.

In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other, while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.

In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:

  • To buy before prices appreciate out of their reach
  • To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last
  • To finally own a home of their own

These buyer needs to give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home.

The homeowner could sell his/her home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.

This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.

2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.

This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.

Whenever there’s a biding war, the price of the item for sales escalates. Bloomberg recently reported that “for the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above list price.”

3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their homes requiring work or updates.

Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.

It may also be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen and make design decisions that are best for their specific tastes and lifestyles. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. It makes sense to not over-invest in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway.

We are always available to work with you to assist you in determining the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it. Historically low inventory likely makes some projects that were seen as crucial just a few years ago less critical to the sale of the house today.

4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.

When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:

  • The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
  • The time it takes to close the transaction

In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explained that 83% of homes that sold this March were on the market for less than a month. The average days on market (DOM) right now is 18 – a new record! All cash sales can usually be closed in 30 days. If a mortgage is involved, the rule of thumb is usually 45 days to close.

So, if you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.

Selling your house is often daunting, even more so today. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.

…and watch for our video series discussing ways to manage selling your home and buying a new one at the same time.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Patience Is Key to Buying a Home This Year

There’s one question were consistently asked: “Why is it so hard to find a house?

The answer is that we’re in the midst of the ultimate sellers’ market, which means real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale, and that number — and prices — keep rising.

On Cape Cod, 43% of all transactions that closed in March 2021 were for above asking price, compared to 11% in March 2020 and 9.5% in March 2019.

In addition, the median sales price for a single family home in Barnstable County rose to $653,500 last month, setting a new record high for median sale price on Cape.


It’s because there are so few houses for sale.

New listings in March on Cape for single-family homes were 391 and 93 for condominiums. This is a 18 percent decrease, and a 19.1 percent decrease respectively from last March, which had 477 new listings for single-family homes and 115 new listings for condominiums.

At the end of this March, there were 346 single-family homes for sale and 131 condominiums for sale in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service. Last March, there were 1,567 single-family homes and 446 condos listed for sale, a 77.9 percent decrease, and a 70.6 percent decrease, respectively.

Low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, but it’s becoming more challenging. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com put it simply: “Buyers can’t buy what’s not for sale.”

While many homeowners paused their plans to sell during the height of the virus crisis, this isn’t the main cause of today’s gap between supply and demand. (But, the lack of current homeowners looking to upsize, downsize or move to that someday neighborhood certainly isn’t helping…)

Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac’s Economic and Housing Research Division, says that the main driver of the housing shortfall is a long term decline in the construction of single family houses, which has resulted in a decrease in the supply of starter homes.

When you consider the number of houses built in the U.S. by decade, the serious lack of new construction is obvious. (See graph below)

Patience Is the Key to Buying a Home This Year | MyKCM

To catch up to current demand, Freddie Mac estimates we need to build almost four million homes. The good news is that nationally there were 1.74 million housing starts in March – the highest in 14 years. Experts say the industry will need to keep that pace for three years to make up for the shortfall.

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success is being patient and working with real estate professionals — like Mari Sennott Plus — who know the Cape Cod market and can guide you through this very competitive environment. Providing our clients with the best advice has been our full time job for more than 20 years. So, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@today realestate.com to review your options.

Your new home is out there waiting for you. It’s just going to take a little longer to find it.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

PS: If you’ve been thinking about selling, what are you waiting for?? Let’s talk soon…

Keeping It In Perspective

It’s hard not to be confused these days with all the information that’s being pushed at us.

It’s enough to make you want to turn off the TV and disconnect from the Internet.

While we can’t speak to the medical issues, we can offer some perspective about the economy and the housing market. As you know, we make it a point to stay in touch with experts on the local, state and national levels, so we can offer the best advice we can to our clients. (Note: We’re not financial advisors.)

The media is reporting that the current unemployment rate is on par with the Great Recession and Depression. But it also important to know that major financial institutions expect the high rate to be short lived.

While our hearts go out to those who have lost their jobs or are currently furloughed, we also need to remember that most of us (thankfully) are still employed. It’s probably safe to assume that it was virus related restrictions and concerns — not necessarily the economy — that caused most buyers and sellers to put their plans on hold.

In terms of the housing market, we are where we were in March. It’s a sellers market with a buyer pool that is arguably getting deeper. As the weather improves and restrictions are lifted, buyers will become more active looking to be settled on the Cape in time for their stay-cations. So, savvy sellers should begin marketing their homes sooner rather than later to beat the competition.

If you’re ready to discuss your options as a buyer and/or seller, we’d be happy to meet with you to discuss current conditions and how we can safely market your home using the latest technology. (See the next section.)

Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can meet virtually or at a safe distance wearing our masks.

One of the “positives” that has come from our virus crisis is how we’ve all learned to innovate to do our jobs. Many have discovered that working at home is a viable option to the daily commute. For us, we’ve learned that listing appointments can be easily and conveniently conducted using Zoom or other similar technologies.

Matterport, which is a virtual home tour, is another example of innovation that will probably remain popular in the future. If you’re not familiar with it, please check out this explanation that we posted last week on our social media platforms and on our YouTube channel, where we archive many of our videos and postings. Using Technology to Market Your Home.

We continue to see signs and other expressions of support and encouragement pop up around the area. Here’s another that caught our eye.

Stay healthy; stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank