I wish I did. But it is not there.
In many of the neighborhoods and communities in which my buyer clients would like to purchase homes, there are very few homes on the market. Very. Few. Homes. Sometimes none.
An example….A few weeks ago a colleague thought I was exaggerating for dramatic effect when I told him that there was only ONE house on the market in Blue Ash between $250,000-$400,000. He laughed. (I nearly cried.) He thought I was kidding until I pulled up the listings and showed him. He stopped laughing.
One of my buyers is actually under contract and soon to close on a house in that community, in that price range. But only because we found the house before it went on the market. (Whew!) I think of this as an Invisible House…and these days I spend a significant part of every day looking for Invisible Houses.
So this is what it is like working with buyers right now….
In the last 24 hours I showed ONE client one garden variety, normal, on-the-market house. (How novel!)
But in the last 24 hours I also showed another buyer an Invisible House that a colleague will list soon. And found builders who will be working on teardowns/rebuilds…and got floorplans of these Invisible Houses to show a different buyer. And emailed yet another buyer about two homes that match his criteria that I’ve learned from sellers are “coming soon.” And corresponded with another agent who will be listing a house soon which could be a godsend for yet another buyer. These Invisible Houses are in five different communities.
I’m beginning to think that real estate licensure should require some Nancy Drew coursework! I note that I spend a great deal of my time now being a “sleuth” in search of Invisible Houses. If we wait for them to become Visible (i.e., On the Market)…they are gone.
Recently a first time buyer started his house hunt online. He got in touch with me and asked if I could help him find a home. Then, truly confused and discouraged, asked, “Why is every nice house online already pending?” Please try to imagine the very sad look in his eyes as he asked this. We’re working on his home search together now, watching the new listings every day. But I’m also doing my Nancy Drew work on his behalf, and have come up with some Invisible House options for him. (I think one might be his dream come true!)
So why are so many places already pending? Why is it necessary to become Nancy Drew? It’s because in some sought-after communities there is currently so little on the market to choose from, and as new offerings become available they get scooped up very quickly…because so many buyers are interested. I called clients last week to let them know an appealing new listing had come up that might interest them…and that we probably had only about 4 hours in which to act on it! (My clients decided the place was a little too small for them, but other buyers did scoop the place up immediately.)
It’s a very interesting time in real estate now. Some neighborhoods/communities still have reasonably plentiful listings, which means buying and selling there is more “normal.” But many of the “Hot Areas” have such a limited number of available homes and so many interested buyers, that home buying has become an adventure of nimbleness and quick decision-making (yup, that 4 hour window)…and of sleuthing for Invisible Homes. And when an Invisible House is found, it’s become an adventure of speed and flexibility. Why, yes, my client and I DID go to see a vacant house at 9:30 pm one night because had we not, the house would have been gone by the morning. She got the house! She got painfully little sleep, but she got the house.
It’s an interesting time in the “highly contested neighborhoods.” It’s an adventure of living where the land of Invisible Houses intersects with the land of Multiple Offers. Recently 4 couples all went to see a house that was not-yet-on-the-market-but-would-be-the-next-day. Four couples saw it, 3 made offers. That’s how it goes: an Invisible House in Multiple Offers that was immediately Pending.
So I’m off to fight the good fight. Sometimes I think the best case scenario would be Nancy Drew on roller skates, with a jet pack for good measure. Time is of the essence.
Another buyer just emailed me his price range in his preferred community; there is nothing on the market that matches his very reasonable criteria. (Surely by now you are not surprised to learn this.) Lots of buyers prefer his preferred community. Time to look for another Invisible House. In fact, maybe the best, best case scenario to assist him is actually a Nancy Drew/Hermione Granger hybrid. I’m thinking a magic wand would be an excellent addition to the house-sleuthing, roller-skates-and-jet-pack enterprise these days!
Yes, that’s what it’s like working with buyers right now…. I’m babbling about characters from Kid Lit while scanning the horizon for Invisible Houses. That sounds completely “normal” to you, doesn’t it?? Just a typical Wednesday….
On Facebook: Laurie Simon Goldman, Sibcy Cline Realtors