Ask Us: “Change in Home Buyer Mentality?”

Where readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:

We’re planning to put our house on the marketing in a couple weeks. Have you seen any change in the SF home buyer mentality resulting from the recent news from Wall Street? I assume it varries by price range, but I’d be interested in your thoughts on how houses in the 1M – 1.5M range might be impacted in the weeks to come.

We could go around in circles on this question, depending on a number of factors (location, size, condition, amenities, views, etc.), but in a nutshell and to answer your question…yes. The market has been impacted, and given the recent near 700 point drop in the stock market, could be impacted more. Loans are harder to come by, and buyers are sitting on the fence. That said, if you have a desirable property in a nice area, it will likely still sell, and a buyer out there ready, willing, and able to qualify for a loan is likely looking for just what you have to offer.

That’s our $.02…


3 thoughts on “Ask Us: “Change in Home Buyer Mentality?”

  1. my own .02 is that the choice of AGENT is the most important move you have to make.

    you can pick an agent with his eyes on the past, wrong pricing the property, too lazy to have more than 2 times 2 hours open houses, not advertising your property properly
    or you can pick an agent who tries to know the market (anybody stating he/she KNOWS the market is an idiot or a liar), who will discuss in details each aspect of the marketing, including the open houses, the staging, how to prep the house to make it shine bright in this market, and who will work his/her ### to sell it to the best possible price in the timeliest possible way.

    If you already picked your agent, until the day your house hit the market and the DOM are counting, you can still negociate, plan, request, …. (and some of it will come with $ investment from your side)

    I agree with Alex: “good” properties will still sell. And “good” can mean anything (underpriced, unique, or … well presented AND well priced)

    BTW, as a openhouse voyeur, I can assure you that there is one absolute aspect that @#$@% me: when the open house is BEFORE the house is actually ready. Having partial repaints and paint cans in the closets is NOT acceptable. So plan carefully your “staging” (includes cleaning the storage, cleaning the garden, cleaning the fridge, touchups of paint, BUYING the new disposables [think messed up door handles, garbage disposal top, door bell, lightbulbs of the right color [[cool light or warm light according to each light target]] ] )
    Remember. First impression. Once you have lost clients, they are unlikely to come back with an offer, and you are on the sure way to stalefishdom.

    Last, I wouldnt worry too much about the perfect timing. There is no such thing. if you put your property on the market with everybody else, people can compare, and unless you property is dazzling, it’ll be held against you. If you put your property on the market during the intergalactical hole (thanksgiving till january 7th), then yes, it’s slow, but frustration for the buyers who HAVE TOO buy now is super high, and if your house is dazzling, it’ll sell no matter what.

    So back to point above: make your house dazzling. – and sell before the rain stops the market for a few weeks.

  2. I have a really beautiful listing right now, and I do not see much difference in buyer mentality since my last listing. That one was also top notch, and it was in the spring. The two listings were in completely different price ranges. However, both were at the top of their respective areas.

    In a nutshell, people are circling around and kicking the tires a whole lot more than they were. Right now the tumultuous financial news and the sheer volume of properties getting dropped into the MLS every Friday are only reinforcing that behavior. However, the behaviour is largely the same that I perceived three or four months ago.

    As far as the price range for your property is concerned, the lower end of that range will enable buyers to utilize the super conforming limit coupled with an equity line. The higher range, say 1.3 to 1.5M might be tougher … and it might not. You may see people who were otherwise thinking of ~$2M dropping down. You may also encounter people with sizeable nest eggs that can counter higher rates for jumbos. It’s hard to say. Again, it is very much down to the quality, location, and pricing.

    Hope that helped.

  3. Well, I for one think the SF market continues to be a hot area. Sure the tire kickers are kicking about for longer and you might even see a new type of buyer coming out of the closet to see if the market is finally ready. But prices seem stable and good places are selling fast. Saw an open home in Pacific Heights that is actually setting an offer date! Wow.

    Good luck. And call Alex to list your home. It’s the least you could do! :-)

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