2016 has been a unique year so far in the real estate world, mirroring national trends. As a buyer, it can be a tricky market to navigate. When agents and brokers talk about a "Seller's Market" what they are basically referring to is months-of-supply. When there are a lot of houses on the market and months-of-supply exceeds 6 to 9 months, we find ourselves in a "Buyer's Market". When the supply is less than 3, the market favors sellers. Recently, Lawrence has seen many price ranges of single family homes with under 2 months of supply. If you're wanting to buy a home, this environment can seem extremely intimidating, especially to first-time home buyers.
So what can you do? My best advise is to start early with finding an agent. When you begin your search for a home, you can look at agents online as you view listings. As you get more serious you'll want to either find someone who can refer a good agent or you can interview agents at open houses, etc. An agent can give you the lay-of-the-land, so to speak, and let you know the steps you'll need to take to be ready to buy a home. It is essential to find an agent that you trust.
What I never recommend is finding the house you want to buy first, and then seek out an agent to help you. If you're using online sites like Zillow and Trulia, and it's a Seller's Market, by the time you get in touch with an agent there is a good chance the home you want to buy is already under contract. And often, those sites present incomplete pictures of the market. In Lawrence, that is absolutely the case. Sites like exploringlawrence.com feed directly off of the local MLS and are updated frequently. It presents the whole picture of homes for sale (except for For Sale By Owner listings, but that is a topic for another post).
The great thing about real estate and buying or selling a home is working with an agent who is trustworthy and communicates well. We get to work with people we like and trust in this business and that's how I approach my client relationships. Getting results is important, but it's the process we remember. There should be some fun in that process or it wouldn't be worth doing. Give me a call today if you're thinking about buying or selling, it's never to early to start the conversation!