Narrowing Down Is Now Widening Up Choices

By
Real Estate Agent with Rocky Mountain Realty Co.

This is truly a crazy market. I am seeing trends that I have never seen before. I know it's a true buyer's market, but the last buyer's market, my cleints didn't seem to act the way they are now. It's not so much MY clients, but the agents who work for me.

I just wrote another post about the feedback we're getting that our listings are the buyer's "second choice", but this is what I've been seeing:

It used to be that we would take a client to see everything that looked to be a good candidate for their needs and wants. If they were REALLY lucky, we could find something within their price range that have everything they needed AND wanted, (because no matter how much a person can spend...they always want just a little bit more). Now it seems we have no shortage of things in a buyer's price range that have what they need and want, but instead of "narrowing down" the candidates as we formerly would, the list of candidates grows as we view property. So much so that the Buyers become as kids in a candy store...not able to make their choice.

  There's so much available that is on the wish list!

You would think this would make buyers feel lucky and happy that they are able to finally afford all that they have wanted, but have not been able to obtain in the Seller' market, but not so. The Buyers we are seeing are just browsing around blankly...widening their list of possiblities. Anyone else seeing this? One agent in my office has shown this couple almost 40 houses and their Listing just went under contract this weekend for full price, so they have to pick something, but she's concerned about how to narrow them down.

  The dream home doesn't seem enough to entice a decision in this market...

Anyone else experiencing this phenomena? I'd love to hear some "narrow down" techniques from you silver tounged angels out there! :-)

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Anonymous
Anonymous

I know what you are saying.  I have 2 truly great listings, and the feedback is just nasty, things like, the location sucks, OK you knew the location before you went, I cannot move it, the price more than reflects location, or this one I have been getting on another one, to close to the road, well excuse me, but this house is set back further than most of the homes on that road, I go on to ask, how long have you been selling real estate in the area, the response is 25 years, OK so I guess you don't know James Street well, response to me is I know it like the back of my hand, I say so what is the real reason, the Realtor hangs up on me. 

but was I out of line, she says she knows the street very well, but yet ...

Oct 08, 2007 03:57 AM #18
Rainer
339,851
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI
One question I ask my buyers after we've found what I believe is everything they've been asking for in a home:  "How will you feel if someone else buys this home?"  That usually narrows them down quickly as to putting in an offer or moving on to the next...
Oct 08, 2007 04:08 AM #19
Rainer
19,006
David Swierczynski
Century 21 Hometown - Antioch, IL
Lake County, IL Realtor

I like the "process of elimination". We see 2 homes. "which did you like better?" Number 2? OK number 1 is now eliminated. Ask this question after every home you show. Also ask "Are you ready to write an offer on this one?" Keep this going until there is nothing left to see.

Cheers,

David Swierczynski

Oct 08, 2007 07:09 AM #20
Rainer
129,628
Al Maxwell
Coldwell Banker - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Agent
It is hard to narrow down, especially with first time buyers. I do think it helps if you can really probe up front as to what they really want.
Oct 08, 2007 07:34 AM #21
Ambassador
1,478,460
Renée Burrows
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com

The major problem with buyers and feedback right now is as a list agent you have NO idea how qualified those buyers are..that's why I hate calling for feedback.

In working with your own buyers, analyze their needs and take them on an expedition ONCE.  Even with 29000 listings out in our region with only 2K selling monthly, there really isn't much that satisfies their needs.  If they REALLY know how to communicate you should come up with 2-5 listings that fit their needs and take them to go look.  They should make a decision.

Here's the deal in our market, if someone is ready willing and able and need something NOW, you can take out short sales and foreclosures.  Then you take out tenant occupied properties that are hard to show.  Then you look at the tax records and find the listing is entered wrong.  Then, really you virtually have almost nothing left to show.  Show and sell baby! 

Oct 08, 2007 08:10 AM #22
Rainmaker
120,446
Rebecca Savitski
NC List for Less Realty Incorporated - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Listings
I can relate I can relae - This has become my daily dilemna. As soon as we narrow down the search to 2 possible properties more properties become available.
Oct 08, 2007 08:20 AM #23
Rainmaker
356,756
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate
This is why I prefer to work with SELLERS - I don't have to guess at what they want or what is going to MOVE them! 

I am having the same problems with the Few buyers I am working with right now!  I notice that when I have taken my buyers in open houses, they and I are practically tackled, questioned and mauled by the agent holding the open house.  This is really bad for buyers to see - desparate agents!!
Oct 08, 2007 08:57 AM #24
Rainer
48,815
Lania DeMers
Rocky Mountain Realty Co. - Colorado Springs, CO
Broker, Rocky Mountain Realty Co.

Wow! Everyone has great feedback and all sorts of opinions! I know all the "narrowing down" techniques, but the buyers in Colorado Springs are just not that easy to narrow down. If I try to show them 5 houses, they say, "Well...we're in no hurry after all and there are hundreds of homes in our price range..." They are correct. As of today, we have 7,796 active single family residences in our little town of less than 400k...not including FSBO's and builder inventory.

Buyers come equipped with magazines and saved e-mail profiles full of houses they want to see "over the next couple of weeks". I assure you it's not that I don't know HOW to narrow down a buyer, but they want to see what is out there and the amount of what's out there keeps on growing.

I have asked, "how would you feel if we lost this one while we were out there looking at something else?" The general response is "there's plenty of fish in the sea!"

Have a great day!

Oct 08, 2007 10:08 AM #25
Anonymous
Anonymous

Great comment, Allison.

I always meet the buyer(s) at my office and we review what their housing criteria is and I really get them focused on what's important to have vs what they'd like to have.  I also find out what items would competely rule out a property.

I don't know how someone can make a decision in looking at 2 - 5 homes.  Yes, a lot of homes can be eliminated by doing searches on the Internet, but even I would look at more than 5 homes for myself.  Photos can often be deceiving and it's hard to get a feel for a home.  Yes, 40+ homes I feel can be on the  excessive side too, but you have to constantly question the buyers about each property and if something becomes a turn-off, then don't show more of those types of homes.

 

 

Oct 08, 2007 11:23 AM #26
Rainmaker
397,281
Dan Weis
Comey & Shepherd Realtors - Cincinnati, OH
CincinnatiRealEstateGuy.com

Great comment, Allison.

I always meet the buyer(s) at my office and we review what their housing criteria is and I really get them focused on what's important to have vs what they'd like to have.  I also find out what items would competely rule out a property.

I don't know how someone can make a decision in looking at 2 - 5 homes.  Yes, a lot of homes can be eliminated by doing searches on the Internet, but even I would look at more than 5 homes for myself.  Photos can often be deceiving and it's hard to get a feel for a home.  Yes, 40+ homes I feel can be on the  excessive side too, but you have to constantly question the buyers about each property and if something becomes a turn-off, then don't show more of those types of homes.

Oct 08, 2007 11:24 AM #27
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2,471,274
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Buyers are not "jumping on the best house" because it just doesn't feel right. 

What I've noticed is that relocating home buyers who don't know our market are looking at a number of homes and selecting the one they like the best in their price range. 

Local buyers, however, know what their friends and relatives got for their money and our buyers are seeing that they can't get into the same neighborhood, the same school district, the same size home, etc.

Until prices come down and folks can get real value for their qualifying price range, they'll keep looking.

Folks don't live in a cocoon.  They see the great homes folks bought back in the late 1990s.  Now, our buyers can't touch those neighborhoods with the prices today.  So, they're just sitting and waiting.  I don't blame them.

Our market is not going to improve until home prices come down.  Sellers can sit on those prices as long as they wish.  A lot of buyers are sitting too.  I've got a backlog of about 20 buyers that I'm watching the market for and when I see a break in pricing, I'll get them out to agents. 

 

 

Oct 08, 2007 01:00 PM #28
Rainer
131,625
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

I agree with Allison, but sometimes the client want to see and see and see. So, do you lose the client or work the client the way Allison does? I would like to try Allison and be confident and not show so many homes.

Then Lenn knows it right the buyers are the problem they do not know what is a good and bad buy right now.

Oct 08, 2007 02:11 PM #29
Rainmaker
65,564
David Thomas
West USA Realty, Scottsdale, Arizona - Gilbert, AZ
Phoenix,Chandler,Mesa,Gilbert,AZ
Part of the problem is getting the clients to believe in their own judgement - if a client is not committing part of it is that they wonder why somebody else hasn't bought this home if it is so good.  Trying to get them to believe in themselves and helping them to see what is good value might help them to make a decision. 
Oct 08, 2007 02:36 PM #30
Rainmaker
605,919
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
We are seeing that buyers no longer have to compromise - they can get everything on their wish list. And yes, definitely they can get Analysis Paralysis.
Oct 08, 2007 02:38 PM #31
Rainer
49,500
Portland Oregon Real Estate | Alecia Barnes - Broker
Portland, OR
I spent over 3 weeks with a client because of this same phenomenon, "I know this is what I said that I wanted, but there are SOOOOO many other choices." We finally made an offer (accepted) but only after spending 4-6 hours 3 times a week. I wouldn't have done this in any other case, except that I'm hearing this as the norm, and not the exception. I'm glad I didn't end up being a glorified taxi driver, but I sure felt like one!
Oct 08, 2007 03:32 PM #32
Rainmaker
100,233
Lisa Ryan
Callaway Henderson Sotheby's International Realty - Montgomery, NJ
Selling Princeton,West Windsor and Montgomery Town
I believe the issue with buyers, at least in my market, is that they hear the media hype and think that the market hasn't bottomed yet and are afraid to make a decision. God forbid they don't buy at rock bottom prices.  If by some chance the spring market and prices starts off at a good pace then there are going to be some sorry buyers around.
Oct 08, 2007 06:22 PM #33
Rainer
48,815
Lania DeMers
Rocky Mountain Realty Co. - Colorado Springs, CO
Broker, Rocky Mountain Realty Co.

Everyone is making great points. I tend to agree with Lisa...things are going to be picking up eventually and some will wait too long to pull the trigger.

 

Oct 08, 2007 06:32 PM #34
Rainmaker
24,637
Shari Posey
Prudential California Realty - Long Beach, CA

I'm with ya Lenn...only the relocation clients are jumping on a house the first or second time they go out. I also use the process of elimination with buyers, ending up with one favorite after a day of showing about 7 homes. The problem is they still don't want to make an offer even though it's the best home of the bunch in that price range.

What I'm hearing from other agents on a couple of my listings is that they are the VERY best out there in the price range BUT their buyers are comparing my totally remodeled home to fixers and they want it at the fixer's price.

It seems like a log jam out there to me.

Oct 08, 2007 07:08 PM #35
Ambassador
884,211
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy
Get your buyers to make choices.  I often get my buyers to pick between this and that.  After they pick one, they have to stack the next one up against the winner.  I do this while we are looking at the sheets (to get them prioritized) and also after seeing a house.  We establish a winner, and work towards an offer for that property.  
Oct 08, 2007 09:15 PM #36
Rainmaker
285,014
David Matney
Alliance Real Estate - Omaha, NE
Omaha, NE Real Estate | Omaha, NE Homes For Sale
Many great suggestions.  I would say narrow the search each day and have the buyer pick the best one thay have seen on that particular day. 
Oct 09, 2007 12:02 AM #37
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Lania DeMers

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