Low Inventory Continues to Drive the Market

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Both Pierce County and Thurston County continue to see strong sales despite low inventory.  This crazy ride that the real estate market has seen over the last couple years will likely carry into 2022 with a lot of momentum.

Generally speaking, a balanced and stable real estate market where prices hold steady sees somewhere in the five to six months of inventory “active” on the market for sale.  Buyers have time to shop around, they have a little room to negotiate, etc.  There may or may not be additional buyers wanting to purchase that same house, at the same time.  Ah, civility. I miss those times.

Our current real estate market is simply not that.  Rather than five to six months of inventory, we are consistently seeing approximately two weeks of inventory across both Pierce and Thurston counties.  If a house comes on the market that is anything like what you are seeking, we should look at it today. Tomorrow, it very well could be under contract with another buyer from the 10 or more offers that the seller has already received.  Some of those offers will likely be over the asking price or have an escalation clause.

So, the big question is:  How do you succeed in a crazy market like this?  The answer is simple to say, but a fair amount of work to do. You have to be prepared.

  1. Find a good real estate agent to work with.
  2. Find a good lender to work with and get yourself pre-approved for a home loan.
  3. Learn about an “escalation clause,” where you make your offer at a certain price, but your offer will automatically increase in order to beat a competing offer by an amount you decide and up to a limit that you, or your lender decides.
  4. Be ready to act fast. This includes getting out to look fast, take a good hard look at the house but then be able to decide quickly if this is a good home for you, and of course get a good offer in quickly.
  5. Don’t fixate on the asking price.  Look at it, look at the comparable sales in the area.  Decide for yourself, with the help of your agent, what the house is worth to you today.  Offer a price that you’re comfortable with — win or lose.

The real estate market will eventually slow down, but as long as inventory continues to be this low, it won’t be something that happens anytime soon.

Article by Bill Sauneuf / John L. Scott Real Estate, Yelm

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