The real estate market right now feels different from any market we’ve experienced in Edmonton, from the stress test to the economy, to the inventory of homes on the market, we're seeing some unusual things happen. So, we've put together some tips for those looking to buy or sell a home in the Edmonton area this spring.

#1 Be Patient

Typically, when a negotiation fails, that's the end of it. In other words, if a buyer and seller can't come to terms, and one or both parties walk away, there's generally no getting them back together. I've heard of three scenarios in the past couple of weeks at our brokerage alone, where the seller came back to the table "hat in hand" and made an agreement with the buyer. My partner Sheldon has been in the business for 30 years and has rarely seen this happen, until now. Darryl Van Eerde, an Associate with Liv Real Estate® told me about a negotiation last week, that took quite a while to put together. His client wrote an offer, and the seller dragged out negotiations for a week and another offer eventually came in. They rejected his client's offer but were unable to come to terms with the second buyer. About a week later they came back to our buyer, and accepted an offer that was lower than their original "lowest number." So... be patient, you might just get what you want.

#2 Be Ready to Act Quickly

Even though the market is slower than normal and inventory is higher than normal, some homes are still moving quickly. When a buyer has seen all the existing listings they want to see and don't find "the one" they wait for new listings to come on the market, so when a new listing is priced well and looks great, it goes fast. A quick survey showed nearly all of our agents had a client lose out on a house because it went pending before they decided to write an offer in recent weeks (often in less than two days), and many of our agents have had multiple clients lose out because they didn't move quickly enough. Beverley Hasinoff said: "A lot of buyers are watching and waiting, and when a good listing comes on the market, they act quickly. I've had multiple listings go pending in 24-48 hours this spring." And Deidre Harrison said, "One of my listings went pending in 12 hours last week!" So... have your team in place, your pre-approval ready and in writing and be ready to act when the right home comes on the market.

#3 Have a Backup Plan

When a property is pending, a second buyer may want to go ahead and write a "backup offer," that would come into effect if the first buyers don't remove their conditions. A backup offer is often seen as an advantage for the seller because it forces the first buyers to remove conditions on time and without re-negotiating, and in most markets, the buyer that wrote the backup offer rarely ends up purchasing the property. However, in the current market lenders are being exceptionally picky, and more deals are falling apart than normal, which means a lot of backup offers are coming into play. Allison Meston an Associate with Liv Real Estate® said: "the way a backup offer is structured is extremely important because it can work more in the buyer's or seller's favour." She added, "Even though more backup offers are coming into play in today's market, I always tell my buyer clients not to get their hopes up if we do get a backup offer accepted because chances are the current buyers will proceed with the purchase."

#4 Consider All Your Options

Jason Hatton, a Mortgage Broker with iMortgage Solutions has noticed many clients are frustrated by the Federal government's "Stress Test" and are simply not getting approved for the home they want, even if their income says they can afford it comfortably! "But there is hope! People can get approved simply by restructuring their monthly expenses using a variety of creative solutions. Here's an example: a client wanted a house that was worth $310,000, but was only pre-approved for 285,000 because she had 2 high-interest credit cards and the monthly payments of $619.39 were eating up her available income. So, we helped her roll those cards into a loan with a lower interest rate that dropped her monthly payments and boosted her pre-approval by $25,000! Now, she is getting the home she wants AND reducing her monthly expenses by  $162.69." If you're not getting the results you want from your bank or broker, it might be time to get another opinion.

#5 Price it Sharp

Pricing your home correctly is always important, but there are times when you have even less room for error, and the current market is one of those times. Drury Mason, an Associate with Liv Real Estate® adds: "With market conditions as they are, pricing is clearly important.  But perhaps even more critical is making sure your property is as unblemished as possible.  With so many homes on the market and so many options to choose from, even the slightest negatives will cause buyers to look elsewhere.  Small things like an un-vacuumed carpet, burned out lightbulbs, a dirty ashtray in the garage or nicked up window coverings give buyers pause for thought and reduce the chances that your home creates a positive emotional reaction for the buyer." A pretty, well-priced home always gets the best results when you're selling. Posted by Liv Real Estate on
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