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Should buyers get more aggressive?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 5, 2012 06:45 AM

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Sellers are getting stingier as the real estate market perks up. There's been a significant reduction in the number of Boston areas homes on the market with price reductions, as I noted in this recent post.

But the Real Estate Café's Bill Wendel argues home buyers should aggressively pursue bargains during the typically sleepy holiday season. In fact, buyers shouldn't be waiting on the sidelines, hoping sellers cut their prices.

Instead, they should be out there approaching sellers of homes that look promising and making offers, he argues. Of course, Wendel, a buyer's agent, would be more than happy to help in this endeavor, but that is hardly a reason to dismiss what he is saying. As Wendel notes, he gets paid based on what he can save the buyer.

Here's Wendel:

There was a time, a generation or two ago, when it was expected that a gentleman would ask a "Lady" to dance. Now, Miss Manners doesn't raise her eyebrow when women ask men to dance. Similarly, there may have been a time when homebuyers, perhaps acting alone or without the help of an experienced buyer agent, might have waited for sellers to reduce their asking price before making an offer. This time of year, that's a missed opportunity.

Wendel also offers a couple intriguing stats, based on the 2011 holiday season.

  • Approximately one in ten closings during the last 40 days of 2011 were approximately $40,000 or more off the last list price.
  • Six figure savings are possible, and could occur weekly in some towns between now and Christmas -- guess which 15 are most likely?
  • One-third of the six figure savings are approximately $200,000 or more.

I personally like Wendel's damn-the-torpedoes approach.

Yet there are solid reasons why buyers may also want to consider sitting out the holiday season.

The number of homes on the market is hitting new lows, with inventory having plunged steadily over the last year. And December, already one of the worst months when it comes to having a wide range of homes to choose from, is looking particularly skimpy this year.

The danger then is buying a home now and missing out on something that might suit your needs better when the spring market sees a fresh batch of homes hit the market.

Still, it can't hurt to look. And, if you see a potential bargain, go for it!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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