I think the key word here is WAS. In Reston, VA in the last couple of months, we have experienced quite a change in the market. Late last year, we started to see multiple offer situations more often than usual, but people were still bidding under list price. Therefore, it was safe to offer list price and still get the property. Boy, has that changed! In such a short period of time, the real estate market feels like it was flipped upside down. I remember the last time that happened, which was when we went from a seller's market to a buyer's market overnight. Now we have multiple offers on properties that have been sitting for over 200 days and they are selling for way over list price! How can this happen? With inventory levels shrinking and demand rising significantly, it's only bound to happen. I remember telling buyers last year that there will be people that sit around and do nothing until after the Reson real estate market has already changed and miss out on the best deals. Although it's too soon to tell, I think it's happening and it's changing as rapidly as it did during the last shift.
Of the five properties I sold this past week, four of them were multiple offer situations. I also had a buyer put an offer on a property that was well over list price and didn't have the winning bid. An agent friend of mine said she also put five offers out there this past week and ALL of them were multiple offer situations and ALL of them were over list price. Yet NONE of them were accepted! She also told me that two of the homes for sale had been on the market for over 200 days!
Now, I'm not blind to the economic news and what the media is saying, but I just wonder how often they are right. Most of the reporters don't actually WORK in real estate or the stock market so they can only report news and trends AFTER they happen. How much lag time there is between the truth and the reports is tough to estimate, but I do recall their reporting of the real estate bubble existing at least 6 months after it had already burst. That means people were still buying property based on the assumption that prices were still going up when the reality was that they were falling and doing so sharply. It's interesting how the reverse is now happening.
The best way to avoid paying too much or not enough for the home you really want is to hire an agent that is privy to the most current and accurate real estate data available in the area in which you are interested. For instance, how much inventory is on the market compared to how many have sold? What are the real estate statistics for this county, city, and exact neighborhood? Real estate statistics can vary so much for properties even right across the street from each other if they are in different neighborhoods, school districts, etc. The only way to know how to buy real estate smartly is to know the current and local FACTS, not what your coworkers are spouting off from what they heard in the news.
To get an assessment of your local area in Northern Virginia, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm here to help.