A Tip for Getting the Edge When Buying Homes in Sacramento

In this Sacramento real estate market, it doesn’t matter how many offers the seller has received. Yet, agents continue to call and ask that question. Why doesn’t it matter? Because any well priced home will be sold within hours if not within days of hitting the market. If a listing agent doesn’t have an offer when the buyer’s agent calls, you can bet an offer is on its way. Maybe 10 or 20 offers are in the works. It just doesn’t matter.

What does matter is how strong is your purchase offer? How well written is your offer? Have you included any special conditions to make your offer stand out among other offers?

I have empathy for buyer’s agents in this market. It’s very tough. A buyer’s agent is but one of many pigeons in the park scrambling for tossed bread crumbs. Sacramento is a seller’s market. Limited inventory. Want to know how many homes are available for sale in the entire county of Sacramento today? I just ran an MLS search and the answer is 1,831 homes. Of those, only 407 are short sales. To put this into perspective for you, in August of 2007, the number of our available homes for sale in Sacramento County was 10,521. Five years ago we had almost 6 times the inventory! Buying homes in Sacramento is very difficult today.

This is a huge drop in the number of homes for sale in Sacramento County. It’s gigantic. It’s like King Kong and Jessica Lange.

It must be even tougher to be a buyer’s agent who doesn’t want to tick off a buyer when the buyer insists on offering less than list price. It’s amusing to receive a low offer accompanied by a note telling us how much the buyer loves the home. They adore this home so much that they want to negotiate on the price. I don’t know where some buyers get the idea that making their offer even less attractive gives them a fighting chance or that a seller would be willing to issue a counter offer. When a seller has received a dozen offers — some cash and above list — the seller tosses lowball offers in the circular bin.

It’s difficult to get your head around the fact that a less-than-list price offer could be considered a lowball in today’s market. For all the home buyers buying homes in Sacramento, do yourself a favor and hire a buyer’s agent who will present the true picture and guide you in the right direction. Otherwise, you may as well go to the park and feed the birds.

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