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The Bay State housing market is currently a paradise for sellers yet a seemingly constant paradise lost for buyers.

The reason can be summed up in one word – inventory. As any real estate broker or PR executive representing a real estate broker can tell you, there’s just not enough homes to go around.

Having been on a condo hunt for the past four months, take my word that home buying in this climate is the ultimate poker game. The tension rattles the senses; you initially have no idea how you fare against the competition; and you must up the ante if you want to have a prayer of making it to a final round of negotiating.

On the plus (and public relations) side, now is the optimal time to pitch out your real estate clients to shed light on how to stay afloat in this housing market. Here are some firsthand pointers about the market and how the home-buying process should proceed:

  • Be patient – Housing inventories are low, which means properties are hitting the market at a trickled pace. If you’re serious about making an offer, know that at least 10 other offers will likely be in the mix as well.
  • Hit the Open Houses – Pictures may show you a dream home, but you can never verify that unless you physically set foot in a home and explore it from top to bottom. You are likely to make one offer for every 15 properties you see up close.
  • The listing price is hardly ever the final price – Given fierce competition, you need to strategically plot out an offer that is not beyond your means, but will make a seller take notice. Above all else, the sellers want a return on their own initial investment.
  • The personal touch never hurts – While negotiations are traditionally done on a broker-to-broker basis, it never hurts to include a formal letter with your offer to indicate who you are, and how the property complements your needs.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – Tenacity is key with home buying. In this climate, a property is listed, available for an Open House, and sold within a week.
  • Read a listing closely – A real estate listing will preach the best qualities of a home but if a property remains on the market for more than a week in this climate, something about it needs to be looked at further.
  • Hire a good broker – Legalities tied to home-buying can be mind-boggling. You want to work with someone who knows the rights and wrongs of purchasing a home, but more than that cares primarily about securing you the best deal possible.

Ira Kantor, Account Executive

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