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In this ‘seller’s market,’ Realtor says offer should be ‘as strong as possible’

Many norms of real estate are changing as seller’s market continues in Birmingham-Metro
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Houses in Alabama are selling, on average, within two months, according to state data, but for some neighborhoods in the Birmingham Metro area, the average is closer to two weeks.

“Prior to last year, you could go look at a house on a Friday and the person could say, ‘We’ll get back with you on Sunday. We’re going to think about it, talk to our family, or whomever, pray about it and we’ll let you know on Sunday,’” said Joy Groce, Realtor, Avast Realty.

Now, she says, by Sunday, that house is likely already under contract.

“When I first started, you could ask for closing costs, you could ask for home warranty, you could ask for termite bond, home inspection, you could even ask for some furniture if you wanted it, if you saw something you like, you could even ask for that!” said Groce, who has been in real estate for a decade.

“Well now, you can not ask for any of that [and expect to get the house].”

It’s a competitive market where bidding wars are expected and sellers can pick and choose their best offer. So, how do you make sure your bid is the one they accept?

“Anything that will make that offer more attractive. That’s what we have to do.”

Groce tells her clients to be ready to make an offer before stepping foot in a house.

“I think preparation for the buyers, because they’re having the hardest time, so I would recommend for any buyer to get with a great Realtor. Get with someone who is going to educate you about what’s going; making your offer strong, having a dynamic, pick up the phone and answer the phone lender when you need them, because that can make you or break you.”

Groce said list price is the starting point for most offers, and instead of trying to get a deal, she suggests buyers give their best offer first.

“This is my advice, do your best,” said she. “Be as strong as possible with something your comfortable with, because it will be you making the payments.”

She added, “Sometimes people are thinking they can lowball a little bit, or go like $5,000 over the list price, that’s not always the case.”

Groce said she’s had clients who have been outbid by other buyers offering $50,000 over the list price, and said it’s becoming more common for buyers to waive the home inspection.

“Last year, I had never heard of waiving a home inspection,” said Groce. “But now it’s becoming our new norm and we have to adapt.”

Groce said the current market can be disappointing for buyers, especially those who’ve made multiple offers and are still looking.

“[Our job] is to make you love the house and see yourself in the house. So to say, ‘Don’t get attached to this big investment that you’re about to make, be OK if you get it or not get it,’ that is really hard.”

She added, “[I tell my buyers], ‘You can like it, you can really, really like it, but in the back of your mind have a plan B.’”

READ: How to win a bidding war on a house

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