The C-Word (in Real Estate)

The C-word is showing up in more real estate conversations lately. Well actually a few c-words: Cooling. Creative. CONTINGENT.

Yes, the hot seller’s market is now cooler. Higher interest rates and feelings of market uncertainty have contributed to a slower real estate market, and it’s time to adjust expectations. Buyers have the luxury of getting a little more creative with their offers, like including contingencies, and sellers may find themselves needing to be just as creative when marketing their properties. Let’s look at this from a couple of perspectives.

Sellers: Time to start getting creative. We’re moving into a more balanced market. There are more houses for sale, which means buyers have more choices and they feel they have more time to find the perfect match. The days of selling your house for cash in 24 hours with 10 offers are gone for now.

Make sure you’re working with an experienced agent who knows your neighborhood, and can offer an educated perspetive on what to expect in the coming months. This will help appropriately price and market your house, and it will sell more quickly. If you get one, consider looking at those contingent offers. Keep in mind many of those buyers are also motivated sellers themselves. Have your agent find out if the buyers want to buy your house as much as you want to sell it, first. If you go this route, have some patience. To get the highest price and best terms in this scenario, you’ll likely need to wait it out a couple of months for them to sell their house first.

Buyers: You can get creative too! Need to sell your house before buying? Include that contingency in your offer or ask for an extended close period. Even ask for what you want, what you really, really want. Maybe after seeing many houses you’ve found your 95% dream home. Consider asking the seller to make some concessions so you can afford to make those improvements right away, or even ask if they’ll make those improvements before it closes. It can’t hurt to ask, especially if your offer is the only one on the table.

This scenario played out on a house I sold last week. The buyers found their almost perfect home that these sellers had just remodeled. But, it was missing a few things (or rooms) to work well for their family. What sealed the deal? The extra bathroom and finished living space the buyers asked to be constructed in the the basement prior to close. Not only did the sellers come through on their wish list, this sale was contingent on the buyers house selling, too. Are you still following? So why would these sellers do that? First, they remodel houses for a living so it was in their wheelhouse. Second, the buyers were willing to hand their earnest money over to the sellers before closing so they could make these personalized updates for them.  Cool clients, contingent closings, creative considerations. All c-words on this one.

The market is changing. If you’re actively in it, you know that. Selling right now? Work with your agent to ensure you’re competitive and make sure they’re working creatively to get your house sold. If you’re buying, don’t pass up that 95% dream home. Just ask for what you want. The sellers will be glad you put a thoughtful offer together.

Bobby Curtis
Principal Broker
Licensed in Oregon
Licensed Contractor
CCB# 215071

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