Editor’s note: In this four-part series, we observe some of the latest changes taking place in housing markets – some subtle and some rapid. Read Part 1: Perfect home, perfect staging, imperfect market; Part 2: Housing inventory grows in some major markets and Part 4: 10 signs of a changing housing market.
The housing market is changing faster than Kate Moss’ career after the cocaine photo leak.
All the signs are there: no more double parking to get a sneak peek at an open house showing; no more buyers sweating it out to make the best offer among dozens, agreeing to feed the neighborhood squirrels or not to ever under any circumstances remove the old family curtains from the second-floor bedroom – just to get into that house.
The frenzy is over. Agents sit alone on Sundays waiting for a buyer to come and try the dip. Listings are piling up in some markets as buyers realize they’re gaining back some leverage.
This is the end of multiple offers as we know it. Gone are the days of desperate buyers paying $60,000 or $80,000 above asking price. Gone are the days of real estate agents shoving them aside on their way to the lucrative listings.
The bidding wars will be a remembrance of things past – like professional women from the 1990s in their bow-tie suits and tennis shoes with pumps in their purses.
We expect to see agents lining up for their copy of a new book on how to be nice to buyers, since they’ve spent the last 10 years treating them like cattle in a gold mine. We hear Miss Manners is working on the last few chapters right now.
We’ve also noticed those home stagers sure are busy. That house with the cracked foundation and the kitchen that hasn’t been updated since “The Cosby Show” was on prime time isn’t going anywhere “as is” in this new market.
The aisles of Home Depot will be filled with 40-somethings looking to sell and move up, rather than the 20-somethings trying to fix up their new little cracker box.
The tides are changing not just in our California neighborhoods. A home shopper in Brooklyn tells us: “One of the houses we went to see last week was listed at $599K. I liked it a lot; it had a beautiful kitchen and lots of original detail. To revisit, I had to submit a bid, which I did for $530K. Went to see it again and decided it wasn’t right…to my surprise, we were called two days later to see if we were still interested.”
At nearly every open house lately, the Brooklynite said, there were the expectant looks on the faces of the Realtors standing outside their empty parties, waiting for the endless line of anxious prospects ready and willing to buy something they can’t afford with money they haven’t got.
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