It’s the oldest real estate cliché there is. The three factors in the price of a house are location, location, and location. That isn’t totally true, of course. Condition has a lot to do with it as well. But …
Lately, the old cliché has come back to me. Big time.
I got my real estate license five years ago in November, and landed in a market that had lost its mind. My first attempt at a deal started on December 26 with a call from a friend who had seen a new For Sale sign that afternoon and wanted the house. I was coming down with the flu and losing my voice, but I helped her write an offer the same day. We didn’t get the deal because there were five other offers within 24 hours. My client offered asking price, but most of the others were higher.
And so it went for several years. If you wanted a house priced under $500,000 you had to be ready to jump into the game immediately. And bring your biggest, boldest offer.
In the past 18 months or so, our market has cooled a bit. Inventory is up a little, prices – or price increases, at least – have eased. And yet …
Right now, I’m working with a couple shopping in the $800,000 range. In the past three months they have lost out in three multiple offer situations. In one, they offered $50,000 above asking and still did not get the house.
Over the same time period, I’ve worked with several buyers whose budgets top out at $350,000 and they’ve had plenty to look at. We’ve made offers and gotten deals.
So, what’s driving this upside down situation? The only thing that matters it seems – location.
My $800K clients are looking close to town, between the Vanderbilt campus and Belle Meade/Green Hills. Inventory is low, demand is high, and things are nuts. My other clients have looked in a variety of neighborhoods, and in most of them the action is a little less intense.
So, what do we learn from this? With location, flexibility is the key to happiness.
I’m sure, sooner rather than later, my $800K clients will be living in their new house and the long, hard search will be fading into memory. It’s a matter of time and patience.
But those with less time and patience will have it easier if they are happy looking in a variety of areas. If you have your sights locked on one specific neighborhood, it’s a pretty good bet others do as well, and the competition is going to be fairly stiff, regardless of the price point.
There are lesser-known neighborhoods all around us, still convenient to town, that offer interesting, livable houses at reasonable prices. Bordeaux, Glencliff, and Madison come to mind.
So, look around with an open mind.
I can help.