“There’s no inventory!”

Those involved with purchasing a house are aware of that there aren’t many houses to choose from! There really has been a dramatic drop in the number of available properties in Cambridge, Somerville, and surrounding communities. I’m not aware of any prediction that would suggest a change to this situation. What actions should they take? What options do home buyers have?fayer

Be prepared to act fast. Properties tend to be available for only a few days (at best) before an offer is accepted. Make sure that your financing is all ready to go. Learn about the market so that you can establish the value of a property for you and that you can make an offer with confidence. Trust your Realtor’s advice!

Consider making a “clean” offer. Sellers will have the opportunity to compare multiple offers in many cases. They tend to choose to “best” combination of price and terms. Many buyers that you compete with make offers with no contingencies: no mortgage contingency, no inspection contingency, nada. A buyer needs to be confident in their financing and ability to repair any found deficiencies in order to do this.

Consider more than one location.  Buyers have a larger number of homes to pursue if they consider a variety of neighborhoods or towns. Increasing the search radius from which to choose is effective especially if you have a brief time-frame for purchasing a new home.

Buy a house that would benefit from system upgrades, renovations, expansion, or an addition. The majority of buyers seek properties in “move-in” condition. It’s much quicker and easier to do! Yet, renovating or adding onto a house may be the only way to move into your preferred neighborhood. Plus, clients with discerning sensibilities get exactly the quality they want. Several clients of mine have done remarkably well with this approach, especially those that create living space in basements.

Recognize and evaluate what you’re looking at. Discuss it with your Realtor + Architect. Is it an expensive problem to solve? Or, does it just look that way?  Clients of mine purchased a home sitting on a foundation that had collapsed in certain areas. They had a mason repair it; it was economical to do as no scaffolding was needed. They got a great deal on the house!

Re-classify a property. One set of clients purchased a two-family and converted it to a single-family. One of my clients purchased a church rectory and  converted it into a two-family. I’ve seen buyers purchase adjoining condominiums and connect them. Neighbors converted a two-family into a single-family for several years (while the kids were growing up) and then converting back to a two-family when their needs changed.

Consider a property that has lingered on the market. In some cases, a nice property can be star-crossed where offers have fallen apart, though there’s nothing of substance wrong with the property. In other cases, the seller may have a number in mind and is willing to wait for the market to rise to his price point.