Tips for navigating today’s fast-paced real estate market

By Christian Zarif

The process of buying and selling a home can be stressful even in “normal” market conditions, so when you factor in the fast-paced conditions we’ve seen in the real estate market recently, you can imagine the additional layers of pressure put on both buyers and sellers. Here are a few tips to help navigate the challenges of the current real estate market:

Be ready to move quickly

As a buyer in this market, you have to be able to move as quickly as you can when a home comes on the market. Hiring a Realtor who takes the time to understand the type of home you are looking for and who understands your unique needs and wants can save you massive amounts of time by filtering through the clutter. Lean on their knowledge of the market, homes, and access to information such as the property history and tax records that you might not have the time or resources to look up quickly.

As seller, make sure all your ducks are in a row so when the sign goes in the yard, you are ready, willing and able to move quickly. Decluttering and moving unnecessary items into storage can help get the process move along. As a side benefit, it can also help with the staging of your home so you can get top dollar. Additionally, plan ahead in case of a quick sale. Even if it means moving in with a family member for a short period of time, have a plan in place. If your home is priced appropriately, it will likely sell quickly and you will need to be ready.

Brace yourself for inspections

One of the most challenging parts of the real estate transaction in today’s climate is the inspection and resolution process. Many buyers are competing in multiple offer situations and due to the competitive market, paying at or above list price for a home. Thus, they expect to have more negotiating power on repair-related requests and expenses. I have seen first-hand the buyer mindset of: “I couldn’t negotiate on the price up front, so I’m not that willing to negotiate on repair requests.”

On the flip side, a sellers’ mindset is often: “I had multiple buyers on my home within days of putting it on the market, so I don’t need to do the repair requests or a price concession. I can simply put it back on the market and get another quick offer for at or above my list price.”

This line of thinking from either party can sink a transaction fast. Statistics indicate that homes that come back on the market after inspections often sell at a lower price and/or take longer to sell. Sellers should note that all the findings on an inspection report will and should be shared with all future buyers. The old adage, “one in the hand is worth two in the bush” rings true in the inspection and resolution process. In most cases, the sellers will be expected to do some repairs, especially when safety issues come into play, but that doesn’t give the buyer free reign to be unreasonable. This is another prime example of how hiring a Realtor who can navigate and counsel you through the inspection process can save you both time and money.

In many local areas, the real estate market is moving at warp speed. Being prepared and educated about all of the potential challenges of a transaction is critical to ensuring you will have a great experience and a smooth road to closing.

Christian Zarif is the 2016 President of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors.