Summer has arrived and you still haven’t found a new house.  The horror!  Whatever will you do?

First, relax.  Deep breath, count to ten, exhale.  Touch your toes, a few deep knee bends…

Better?  Good!

Now, back to the matter at hand.

Just because you didn’t close on a house before the 4th of July exodus doesn’t mean you missed the boat.  In fact, certain factors may have actually shifted in your favor.

To begin with, there are probably fewer buyers looking in your area.  This means less competition for you – a golden opportunity!

Also, consider the plight of the seller.  Any homeowner who hasn’t sold by this time has to be at least as disappointed and frustrated as buyers who haven’t bought.  The wiser among them will be re-thinking their pricing strategies and entertaining offers below their original asking price.  Keep an eye on how many days a house has been on the market without a price reduction.  Houses for sale aren’t wine or cheese; they don’t improve with age.  Quite the contrary, they get stale.  More often than not, the reason comes down to price.  Sellers simply hold out unrealistic expectations regarding their homes’ value.  Sooner or later, they will have to listen to the market.

YOU are the market!

Don’t ever forget that.  People new to the rough and tumble arena of real estate may not fully grasp the term “the market”.  They may even find it intimidating.

All it really means is the potential buyers for a property and what those buyers generally agree a particular property is worth.

So, what if you are the only buyer bidding on a house?  Can you now name any price you want and force the seller to accept it?

No, you cannot (though good to see you bounce back from your initial summer market despair, however much you may have over-corrected).  A lowball offer would only offend the seller, possibly causing him or her to cease any further negotiations with you.  A waste of time for all concerned.

However, you do have a certain amount of leverage.  Whatever the seller’s justifications or rationales, if they only have one buyer to negotiate with they will have to acknowledge the reality of the situation and come off their entrenched position.  If handled properly, this increased room for negotiation can, and should, result in more value for you, the buyer.  Your agent will be able to get a sense from the seller’s agent as to their level of motivation now that summer is upon them.

The key is to actually make an offer.  Give the seller something to counter.  Buyers sometimes wait until the seller reduces the price before responding.  Rookie mistake.  Everyone on the sidelines is doing the same thing.  If you wait your offer will become one of many.  More than that, it probably will not be as strong as some.  Get out in front of the competition and make an offer.  With the proper guidance from a seasoned real estate agent, you can reach a deal before any other buyers even know there has been movement on the property.  Be bold and be first!

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