March 2021 Housing Stats

The March 2021 Housing Statistics are in and they are pretty much what you've been hearing. There isn't much inventory and it's a seller's market. We've had so much buyer demand that there simply aren't enough homes on the market right now. Homes aren't lasting very long on the market, and are often going into multiple offers, and even over asking price. 

What does this mean for the Sarasota/Manatee housing market?                         

For buyers- There are currently more homes going into a pending (under contract) status than homes on the market and available. We are no longer in a market where you can offer low and go into negotiations with the seller until you settle on a mutually agreeable price. So, what can a buyer do to help get that home?

  • Be ready to prove you can buy it. This means have a current pre-approval (not a pre-qualification) or a Proof of Funds before you start looking for a home. Waiting until you identify the house you love could mean it goes under contract while you get your pre-approval or POF.
  • Your first offer should be your best. Not every seller will gather offers and call for a Highest and Best. Most sellers will have a cut-off time to receive offers, then evaluate what they receive. "Lowball" offers just aren't happening right now. 

It's not always about the highest price. Make the rest of your offer attractive. Find out when the sellers need or want to be out and accomodate them. If they need 90 days to move, don't make an offer to close in 30 days. Put as much into escrow as you can. Yes, even with cash offers, your "skin in the game" makes a difference. Sellers also want to see a smaller window for inspections. The default on the contract is 15 days, many are shortening that to 10 or even 7 days. 

For Sellers- Yes, sellers are selling in record time for more money than they would have even a few months ago. But, many are not selling because they don't know where to go after.   So, what is a seller to do?

  • Be as prepared as possible before you go live on the market. Trust me, the market isn't going to change in the 2 (or 4) weeks it takes you to ready your house. You still should pack up personal items, declutter, clean, and stage. After all, you want top dollar, right?
  • There are so many ways you can build in time to find a home. You can stipulate a 60 or 90 day closing to give you time to close. Some owners are doing lease-backs. Others are renting while they look. There are options, that can help you determine what works best for you. 
  • Allow your Realtor to help you break down what the offers mean. The highest price may not be best because the buyers have risk factors (or contingencies) in their offer. Sometimes the best offer is the one that will surely get you to closing with the fewest headaches. 
  • If you take an offer with a loan, do not try to have them close in just a few weeks. Our lenders are also overwhelmed and need time to put a loan together. Rushing your buyer through this could be disasterous. 

What should you do?

Whether buying or selling, be sure to have a Realtor you trust in your corner. You want a buyer's agent who is keeping an eye on inventory and networking with other agents to find properties for you. And, don't think listing agents have it easy. They are often at homes for 2 or 3 days in a row handling the onslaught of buyers. They are fielding questions at a rapid rate, researching questions, and gathering all those offers together and helping their sellers make sense of them all. Once the property is under contract, the listing agent has to keep that transaction alive. When everyone's emotions are riding high, working the transaction takes more patience and effort than ever.

So, you think you can sell it yourself? I'd think twice about that. There are so many loopholes, dates, and differences in the types of contracts we use, that it is easy to have a buyer cancel (or they can't and you don't know the legalities of that), or you can get into legal trouble if you don't understand a portion of the contract. 

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